I still get chills when I recall the perilous event that could have scarred my innocent and fragile daughter forever. I remember that day like it was yesterday. Back in 2007, upon recommendation of my neighbor and friend Faiza, I got in touch with a Qari Sahab of our colony regarding teaching of Holy Quran to my children. My sons, Ali and Haris, were 5 and 6 respectively while my eldest daughter was 8 years old. I met up with the Qari sahab – a sober looking man in mid 40s. After having a brief conversation, we finalized the date and his monthly stipend.
Qari Sahab regularly came at 6pm sharp. He taught kids recitation and translation of Holy Quran for 1 hour. He sat in the drawing room which was separated from the dining room via a translucent curtain. Two weeks into regular sessions, I came to dining room to get a tissue roll. I observed Qari sahab patting my daughter’s back and praising her at good recitation of Quran. I stood still in the moment of pride because I had been informed by Qari sahab that my daughter had difficulty pronouncing certain Arabic words often. He had asked me to give him extra 10 minutes with her. I had a vague view due to the curtain but I noticed my daughter shifting uneasily in her seat on sofa and trying to recoil herself from Qari sahab next to her. I was alarmed, therefore, I moved the curtain and entered drawing room.
Qari sahab quickly moved his hand away from my daughter and looked at me, stunned. It was his quick reflex that immediately revealed his ugly face and intentions to me. I pretended to inquire about the progress of my daughter, to which he meekly replied and stood to leave.
After he left I took my daughter to her room and asked her if Qari sahab ever did anything to make her feel uncomfortable. I was shocked to hear that everyday Qari sahab made her sit next to himself and asked the boys to leave early. He asked my daughter to sit in his lap; as this is what ‘good girls’ did. As if this wasn’t enough, he would touch her too; slowly moving his hand from her back to her hips. I could not fathom what my daughter was telling!
My entire world shook around me. Blood boiled in my veins, and I felt everything.
Anger; is this what our world has come to?
Regret; why didn’t I save my daughter earlier?
Pain; my daughter had been harassed while I sat in oblivion.
When all of these emotions brimmed over, I couldn’t stop myself from crying.
How could he do something like this? A serpent slithered under my roof and tried to poison my precious flower.
The next day, I had a long conversation with my daughter, in which I told her it was highly inappropriate of him. She should never keep such things hidden from me again. Furthermore, I educated my daughter that nobody was allowed to touch her in any way that made her feel uncomfortable.
I was prepared to face him. But, he never came back. I always Thank Allah almighty for sending me to the room that day and enabling me to save my daughter from the intentions of a devil. I do regret not taking any legal actions against him because my heart aches when I imagine him doing this to someone else’s daughter.
I request all mothers to always be vigilant about their kids. Do not trust any man or woman with your children! Never in a million years could I have imagined that a man who was supposed to be pious and a teacher of the Holy Quran could attempt such devious act. Ladies, the world out there is full of predators so I strongly advise you all to be on your guard whenever you have a tutor, Qari, driver, servant or any man/woman in any ‘appearance’ in your home.
May God protect our children from such devils! Ameen.
Based on a true story that inspired the author, Mehak Fatima.