Guest Blog Post – Zarina on Family

I think families are in danger nowadays, elders are not respected. It seems people have to count the children they can have, when the decision of it belongs in reality to God and families are often seen as wrong for having more than 3 children.

I come from a small family, my mum is a single child and my dad and sisters separated when my granddad died. My other granddad left home when he retired. Then our family was limited to my mum, my dad, my sister and my 2 grandmas. 
I know I will be on my own for Christmas, but far away many people will think about me. In every day life I am never alone. So many others are. 

Today my dear blogging friend Zarina wrote a guest post on what it is like to have a big family. I thank her very much, before leaving you with:

I’ve been asked to write a guest postabout this and the truth is that I’ve been putting it off for so long because Ihave no idea where to begin and what to add. Knowing me, this post will end upbeing way too long so I’m going to try really hard to keep it to a readablesize.

Today is the 10th ofMuharram 1433. The 10th day of the first month in the Islamic lunarcalendar, this is a special day for Muslims for many reasons, one of which isthat if you spend on your family on this day, you will have blessing the wholeyear through. 
According to the Islamic calendar night comes before day. So fromthe time of sunset of last night, the 10th of Muharram began. Lastnight my family all got together for supper. It was a crazy gathering, full ofnoise, screaming and laughter as family members exchanged gifts (most of whichwent to the little children). I guess this craziness is normal when you comefrom a big family and you are destined to constantly be exposed to noise, noiseand more noise.
But let me not get ahead of myself.First things first- I am the third child in a family of eight siblings. We arefour sisters and four brothers, perfectly set out by the Almighty Creator. Imarvel at how my mother was able to raise 8 children and still remain sane,actually I’m not the only one who marvels at this. There are many things thatcan be said about big families, and I would be lying if I said there were nonegatives, but for me there have always being much more positives thannegatives.
For starters, my sisters have alwaysbeen my best friends. They’re the ones I share everything with, the one’s I canfight with and take out my frustrations on. The one’s who will forgive me evenwhen I’m acting crazy or unrealistic. They are the ones that will cry with me whenI’m feeling sad and rejoice with me when I’m happy. At times I want to throttlemy three sisters, for various reasons, and there are moments when I just needtime out from them, (women come with emotional baggage after all). Mostlythough, I appreciate that I have three crazy sisters who I can call my bestfriends.

And what about the brothers. Well,that’s another story on its own. I have learnt so much from having brothersthat I don’t know what life would’ve been like without them. From by oldestbrother begging us to play cricket with him, to my youngest brothers alwayscoming to you last minute when they need anything done. Having brothers is mostdefinitely and enlightening learning experience. Now I may not share all mysecrets and feelings with my brothers, but I know that they are there to lookout for me no matter what. Brothers are a different kind of blessing fromsisters. It’s not always emotional with them and they seem to simplify even themost complicated of things, making you wonder what you made a big deal about inthe first place.
There’s something else about brothersthough, they’re the ones who initiate all the teasing. Yes, speaking to otherpeople from big families, I think that one thing that is inevitable is that youwill be teased, constantly, continuously, relentlessly, for every little thing….

Like when my sister took part in sports andshe ran back to the start line instead of the finishing line in a bean bagrace. She still gets teased about that even though it happened like twentyyears ago or so. See the thing with big families is that they tend to showemotions in strange ways, or maybe that’s unique to my family, I’m not reallysure. In any case, instead of them saying something like; “hey well done youdid us proud”, they tease you, and this is their way of showing emotion, so Iguess if you get teased you should feel happy about it. For example, when I wasin Grade 1 I achieved the third position in class and I received a book prizeand certificate. My older brother and sister went home and told my parents thatI walked extremely slow to go and get the prize, and then I got teased foreverabout “walking on eggs” when I got the prize. That’s just the way it is though,you either accept it or cry about it, but if you cry it’ll only make thingsworse, because you’ll be giving them something else to tease you about.

I have always regarded myself as oneof the fortunate people. I don’t really like going on about it because truly Ibelieve that everything you get comes from The Creator. But when I look back atmy childhood I have very happy memories. We were not rich, but we were neverpoor, and we always had enough. My father worked alone to support his 8children and people obviously had a lot to say about the fact that my parentshad so many kids. On many occasion my mother was told many negative things andpeople thought we’d turn out like poor helpless kids having to take fromeveryone else. 
But my parents put their trust in God (Allah) and that’s whatalways helped them through, and my parents were never afraid to share whateverthey could. So there was always blessings in our money  (All praise it due to Allah), and with mydad’s salary he not only supported 8 kids but put us through university andschool and today my parents are still continuing to share with their 12grandchildren.
Being part of a big family has taughtme many things and it’s also helped me to stay young.  I learnt so much from my older siblings sowhen it was my turn to learn things everything was easier, and when it came tomy younger siblings, I was reminded about youth and things that others my agehad already forgotten. Besides this, each one of us has our own personality androle to play within the family and because of this; you are exposed to so manydifferent things. Anything any one of us becomes interested in automaticallybecomes an interest to the others, and so on.
My one sister recently got married andher husband was amazed because she had exposure to so many different things,even things he didn’t expect her to know about. But that’s how it is with bigfamilies- you are always learning and re-learning- whether it’s from yournieces and nephews telling you about their experiences or from your siblingsand of course from your parents.

I’ll be honest, I have moments when Ineed quite time, and in those moments I wish that I could be alone on anisland, of course with my computer and some good books. But the truth is that Iknow I won’t be able to manage being alone for too long. Soon I’ll miss thenoise, the children screaming and running around the house, the adults speakingso loudly that they can’t even hear themselves speaking and my parents,watching us all, calmly looking on, my two endless sources of wisdom andguidance, patiently accepting that this is their family and they have to acceptus all for who and what we are, and well, if that comes with a whole lot ofnoise and craziness then so be it.

I would never swap families ever. If Iwas given the chance to have a small family I would never choose it. I am who Iam because of my family, each member contributing in their own special way towho I have become.  People have fearsabout having big families, but I think that being a part of a big family hasmade me healthier and stronger than many other people. Most of all, it hasgiven me stability. I know that I always have a place of belonging and peoplewith whom I belong. This is a gift which has being given to me by the Almighty.It’s a gift I very often take for granted, a gift I often disregard and it’s agift that I will never fully understand the beauty of, but despite this I knowfor sure that I love being a part of a big family and I am thankful to my Lordfor giving me this.
Surely other people will havedifferent opinions, but this is just my opinion based on my experiences. I’dlike to thank Marie for asking me to share this with you all, may she always beblessed. 


9 thoughts on “Guest Blog Post – Zarina on Family

  1. I always appreciate learning more about Islam when I visit here, and I was especially touched by the big family story. As I wrote recently in my post titled My Plan B Family, I am an adoptive and foster parent of five kids. My kids are from different ethnic backgrounds, and have differing abilities. They came into my family out of the birth order of their birth families. So everything got all mixed up on many levels! But we are all a family, and I hope years down the road, my kids will look back and be grateful for all they learned from growing up in this unusual family.


  2. Having a big family is not easy at first sight, but on the other hand it's rewarding,. 🙂 This story of is very inspiring, thanks Marie for sharing us about Zarina,:) Great day/night to both of you!:)


  3. you are so blessed to have them Zarina..I am an only child and now honestly I have always wanted a brother or a sister..I am now alone living with my two kids because my father and mother are far from where I is so hard being a single Mom where you can't ask anyone for help..we are celebrating our birthdays just the three of us and yes even now this coming Christmas and New parents won't be coming because like what they always say..they are busy on their church are blessed to be surrounded with loving people Zarina..thank you for sharing 😉


  4. Galen Pearl, I remember reading this post about your family and I have to say it's a touching and very interesting story.Maybe unusual but definitely a family, I am sure your children have learnt a lot from each other and from your unconditional love and kindness. Thank you.Sie, I am lucky to have my husband, so now we are on the way to create a new family. But my mum is an only child too and it has always been hard for her to deal with it. Thinking about you away from your loved ones for Christmas. I will be on my own too, maybe sharing a diner with friends. But it is not the same. Much love, one day you know you'll build up this family you always dreamt of. xxxSagittarian, Thank you. Family is unique and so important. A blessing really. Take care.


  5. this was one of the finest post I read on bloggers…. i mean that. Firstly: family is one of the biggest gift we hav. Though my family is small. Me, mom, dad, bro but families of my mom n dad is very very big… that mean I have n no of relatives n definitely know the value of having a loving, big family 🙂 I agree, sometimes for few moments it may irritate, but than at the end of the day u feel good to have so many ppl caring abt u n loving u !!Awesome read 🙂


  6. Thank you for sharing this experience with us, Zarina. My husband and I are at the point of wondering how big of a family we should aim for. Both of us grew up in households that were not close-knit, at all. We think that if we have more people in our family, that possibly, we will be closer together.Your story is inspring, 8 kids raised on one income. Dang!


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