This particular story hits close to home as it is a story very personal to us. The story is directly linked to the co-founder of TheoryLamp although it is not his own but rather the story of his mother.
Not very long ago. The singer turned televangelist Junaid Jamshed shared his opinion on a TV show on how he believes that women should not be allowed to drive. He cited the concern for his fear which stemmed out of his own personal feelings and we will not go onto discuss that here as only opinions that have a strong foundation of reason deserve to be discussed. Personal feelings need to be brushed aside when you know the opinion that stems from it can affect the thinking of millions of people that adhere to your words as if they were the unspoken law.
The anchor was quick to snub Jamshed and cited the case in which there was an emergency. “What is a woman to do in the case of an emergency?” the host asked. “That’s a one in a million case”, Junaid would say.
This the story of that one in a million case.
The 14th of February 2013 was a dark day for the co-founder’s family as it was during that particular day that his father passed away after having battled cancer for a period of more than 7 years. The disease was detected far too late despite the man having received multiple treatments at the best hospitals located abroad. Regardless, the miracle was that the father had managed to live far beyond the calculated life expectancy that was put forward by the doctors and would outgun their expectations with sheer willpower. This was a miracle built of the prayers and determination of many people but one particular person was the hero of this story – the man’s wife and the co-founder’s mother.
Why was this?
“It was hard time, those years”, she told us in an interview. The times were hard mostly because there wasn’t one struggle going on. Her son and daughter were not in the country as they were away completing their graduate degrees. She wanted them to complete their education without ever going into stress about their father. There was no one to help and always relying on family friends wasn’t the answer as everyone had a job to go to.
So what one skill helped the most in those years? “My husband’s treatment was at a cancer center that was far from the city”, she tells us. “Obviously, he could not drive himself. Especially after the chemotherapy treatment was provided”. The whole process of treatment spanned a period of more than 5 years in which she drove hundreds of kilometres in order that her husband could get treatment for his disease.
“If I did not know how to drive, then God knows what sort of difficulty we would have been in”, she states. “The public transportation system wasn’t very well developed for the far flung areas in the UAE back then”.
“Plus my husband could not wait for hours at a bus stop nor did he have the capacity to walk towards the bus stands that were at quite a distance from our home and getting a driver to drive your car is was simply too expensive where we lived”.
And when did she learn to drive?
“I decided to learn how to drive a few years before my husband was diagnosed with the disease”. During this time, the reason and motivation behind her desire stemmed from her husband’s chronic backpain. “He was diagnosed with severe back pain. At that time we did not realise it was cancer”. Regardless, she decided to learn how to drive during that time from a female instructor. She soon passed her driver’s test with flying colors.
And that whole time was exciting, as her youngest son was only a year old during those times and would often start crying when she was away practicing how to drive.
“My son would start to cry a lot and then my other children would bring him to the area where I practised driving”, she laughs. “I literally had to practice with him sitting in my lap”.
The biggest relief came to her husband, as she was now able to carry the responsibilities of picking and dropping her children from school and getting small work done that earlier required the presence of a car.
“I never drove around unnecessarily. I understood that driving a car came with its own costs besides the fuel that went into maintenance and repair”.
So was being able to drive a great benefit? “Absolutely” she says. Even today, after having a driver and two sons that can drive she still feels greatly confident that she is never dependant on anyone for anything. Her aged father lives with her today and earlier was going through a heart disease. This was when her action came into play once again.
Also, au contraire to what most people maybe perceiving the co – founder’s mother is a very religious person. Infact, she is a teacher of ‘Tajweed’ or the method through which the Holy Quran, the scripture of the Muslims, is recited. She has been driving to the Quran Academy herself for quite a while. Again, it is her ability to drive that enables many students to receive an education in Quranic recitation for free.
“My favourite show from the 80s was the Knight Rider, I absolutely loved KITT”, she tells us on a lighter note. Her final ruling on the issue? “Women should absolutely learn how to drive not as leisure but rather as a skill that is necessary and important in today’s world. We are still far off from self-driving cars and once they arrive well then no one would have to drive”
We agree with her fully. Mainly because there are certain things that are important in today’s world and discouraging people from learning this skill makes them dependant on others. Being independent and strong for a women is important, and if she is in a marriage, this will make her a support for her husband and further strengthen him.
We wonder what televangelists think of this story!