The Smile: 10 years later

There is a Dari saying: “When someone you love is hurting, your soul feels it way before you find out.” June 7th, 2008 was an ordinary summer day, yet something felt so wrong about it.  A heavy knot in my stomach, an uneasy feeling that had settled since morning. This was my soul preparing me for the worst moment of my life. June 7th became a day forever etched in our hearts as the day my loving brother, Faridullah Abbasi, was taken from us. 


This year, it will be ten years since he was taken from us; not a single day goes by where our family does not think of him.  Faridullah, or “Fred” to his friends and family, was only 23 years old when his life was brutally cut short. Yet, he was no ordinary soul. His short life was filled with many hidden deeds of generosity and kindness. Almost every day after Fred passed away, it felt as though someone new was coming forward to share their story of how he had touched their lives.  Every day for the last ten years, our family has constantly been reminded of his giving nature; even though he has left this world, his good deeds and shining example still remain.

This year, our family decided to honor Fred's memory by coming together with Zam Zam in an effort to continue his legacy of serving others. We sought to construct two water wells in Kabul, Afghanistan in time for his 33rd birthday on May 8, 2018. It was only due to the tireless efforts of the Zam Zam staff that our hope to have the water projects built in time to mark Fred's birthday became a reality. Zam Zam turned the impossible into the possible. Our family will forever be grateful to Zam Zam for providing us an opportunity to dramatically improve the quality of life for two of the most impoverished communities in Kabul. Just as the month of Ramadan began, these communities now have reliable access to a clean water supply. We hope that Allah (SWT) will accept this work as another one of Fred's good deeds, perhaps one that will continue to benefit these two communities throughout the years.

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Every year,  our family gathers at the cemetery on May 8, to visit Fred on his birthday. It wasn't quite the same this year, though. As we all stood there at the cemetery, reciting Surahs from the holy Qur'an,  an aura of calmness and serenity filled the air.  If we closed our eyes, we could almost feel Fred standing amongst us, embracing us with his big radiant smile. On June 7th, the 10th anniversary of his passing, the students of Imam Bukhari Orphan Education Center held a Khatem Quran in honor of Fred. This wonderful feeling, this moment of grace, would not have been made possible had Allah SWT not intended for it, through the work of the Zam Zam. For you see, after all these years, it still bears true that “Indeed, Allah is with those who patiently endure.”

-Sharifa Abbasi

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