Hat? Okay!


Iman Helping Mar 2009
Iman is helping. Thanks kid.

I never thought I’d be so happy to report that my son will just NOT stop babbling. Although his vocabulary has yet to cross the ten-word mark, he has begun to mimic sounds and start conversations with people other than me- the most amusing of which is generally Iman. Khalid will grin excitedly at her, and say ‘Okay?’ and Iman will beam and reply ‘Hat!’ Of course, it’s much more than just ‘hat,’ to Iman, it’s a prolonged, ecstatic exclamation of haaaaAAAAAAt! in a high-pitched squeak bordering on baby giddiness.

Admiring the handsome little boy in the mirror.
Admiring the handsome little boy in the mirror.

Yes, Iman says hat, and she says it loud, and she says it clear, and it is as meaningful to her as ‘Okay’ is to Khalid. They had a three-way conversation yesterday with the Imam of the masjid during Isha prayer. It went like this.


Imam: (over loud speaker) Allahu Akbar

Khalid: Okay?

Iman: Haaaaaaaat!

Imam: Sami’Allahu liman Hamida

Khalid: Okay!


Imam: Allu Akbar


Khalid: Okay!

Iman: haaaaaAAAAAAAAT!


Of course, right after the jamaat finished, someone came over and banged angrily on the divider between the men’s and women’s sections, and frankly speaking, I was seriously offended. Yes, my kids were making noise, but children make noise in the masjid all the time. I was still praying though, and so my kids continued to fill the large, echoing dome of the masjid with hats and okays until the Imam came and knocked on the door (gently) of the women’s section and asked Ruth (who opened the door) to please bring the children outside.

When I finished praying I walked out and outside the women’s side entrance, saw HF talking to two men, presumably the Imam and one other local. Khalid, upon seeing HF, ran and flung himself into his arms and unleashed a series of happy Okays! According to HF, as soon as Khalid did this, both the men changed their stances from stern to understanding. It’s easier to be mad about someone’s bratty kids when 1. you can’t see them and 2. they’re not autistic.

Ruth and the kids & I waited in the car while HF talked with the Imam & Co for about ten minutes. Alhamdulillah, this is one wonderful thing about HF, if a situation gets tense, he doesn’t get mad, he gets charming. I told this to Ruth, and she laughed. “You’ll see,” I said, “By the time he finishes talking to them he’ll have made some new friends.”

And of course, he had. After an explanation of autism and Khalid’s understanding (or the lack thereof) the Imam invited him over for tea repeatedly and was disappointed when HF politely deferred. The second man then plied HF for his life story and then asked him to come over and fix his computer. Numbers were exchanged. We went back home.

Ruth took the kids in and threw them into their respective tubs, and then I had a good cry about things with HF outside.  True, the matter isn’t black and white- kids need to be taught how to behave in a place of worship, adults need to manage their problems more tactfully than by banging on the walls of the woman’s section- but it all boiled down to this- I’m not allowed to complain about having an autistic child, so neither is anyone else.
I went to the salon last week for a quick trim, and Khalid, misunderstanding the situation and thinking it was his head on the chopping block, went into red-alert tantrum mode and ended up crammed under a chair while kicking the wall and screaming. Calming him down failed, and so I told the woman to just finish as soon as possible so I could pay and take Khalid home.
The sweet receptionist tried (to no avail) to distract Khalid- to offer him sweets, to engage him while he was busy screaming.  This lasted around ten minutes.  The other ladies stared disapprovingly at me while Khalid raged and the hairdresser snipped.  When it was done and I had paid,  I collected Khalid from his well-kicked corner, and said to one of the other hairdressers, “Sorry about the noise, he thought he was going to have his hair cut, and he doesn’t understand.”
They stared blankly and I told them he was autistic.  They didn’t know what that meant, I told them he was mentally around 1 years old and had little idea what was going on.  Ooooooh….now they got it, he had some problem with his brain?  They asked polite nervous questions and the air changed from frigid to embarrassed.
I don’t know whether there’s a crash course somewhere for being a ‘special needs mom,’ but I think I’m doing as well I can with the amount of training I got. :p  I adore Khalid, he is the most beautiful, crazy, energetic, loving little man, and that other people don’t understand him is not his fault.  Nor is it theirs, but I’m not about to start apologizing for him being the way he is.  Allah allows everything to happen for a reason, and even if it’s just to teach everyone around him a little more patience, that’s a good enough reason for me.


Abez is a 50% white, 50% Pakistani, and 100% Muslim. She is also chronically ill and terminally awesome. She is the ever-lovin Momma of: - Khalid, a special little boy with autism - Iman, a special little girl with especially big hair -Musfira, an especially devious baby Spoiler, Abez is also Zeba Khan on Muslimmatters.org.

  1. thanaya asgher

    salams sister…. i was new to your blog hence i had no clue what abez meant, now i do:) your experiences are beautiful and ive sent copy-pasted e-mails of ur stories to so many other females who need help in some area or the other(esp if theyre moms of children with special needs) … i so agree with you sister, that if you cannot complain abt ur autistic child then nobody else has the right to do that either… yet, i also have to say that people have better tolerance levels and acceptance and knowledge of special needs nowadays… IA your child will always bring you good luck and will help you in ways that will not be visible to others! tc, duaas

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