Autism has its pros and cons- and boy does it ever have its cons- but SubhanAllah, it really has its pros. Khalid doesn’t just like dinosaurs, he likes reading about them, and he doesn’t just read stories, he reads encyclopedias. And he’s not just reading encyclopedias, he is memorizing them- word for word, page by page, and he’s on his fourth dinosaur encyclopedia now.
If you ask him about the Camarasaurus, he won’t just tell you it had four legs and went roar. It was a four legged herbivore with a bony crest on its head, and it was between 15 and 23 meters long. It had hollow vertebrae and was one of the larger sauropods.
And it went roar.
And here’s a picture.
And it was also known as the morosaurus.
So when Khalid starts getting interested in something, he doesn’t just dip his feet into the water, he dives in-head first, and forgets that there are any other things in the world that could ever be as interesting. When he was into maps, he would wake up in the morning and read the Dubai Street Atlas. He would carry it to and from school, and often kept mini-maps in his backpack. To this day, he can still give me road directions off the top of his head, and will often point out when I’m taking a wrong exit. MashaAllah, he doesn’t need a GPS. He is a GPS.
He is also a walking dinosaur encyclopedia, and now, InshaAllah, I hope he’ll become a walking Qur’an. Khalid immersed himself in the waters of Qur’an on the iPhone shortly after trains, and slightly before dinosaurs. He memorized a good half of Juz ‘Amma on his own and without us really knowing. We didn’t realize how many surahs he knew until we heard him driving trains up and down the hallway and reciting to himself, “Wal ‘adiyati dhub-haa! Fal moori’yaati qad-haa, Fal mughiraati sub-haa!”
Even now he surprises us- the other day I was in the kitchen cooking and randomly reciting Qur’an, and when I paused to make a distinction between the black pepper and the coriander powder in my hands- he called out the next verse for me while passing up the hall. It was in Surah An-Nabaa, which he already knew, MashaAllah, MashaAllah, MashaAllah.
And now, Alhamdulillah- with me sitting halfway across the world in Chicago and HF managing all three kids with the help of his parents, Khalid and Iman have started Qur’an class, and I am tremendously excited about what will be coming next. Of course, Alhamdulillah, I’m excited for Iman too- she’s a bright little star and she can carry a tune and stay on pitch like nobody’s business. But it’s Khalid- my little memorization machine, that I’m especially excited about. I could actually, really, InshaAllah, possibly even maybe become the mother of a haafiz.
It was narrated from Ali ibn Abu Talib (May Allah Be Pleased With Him) that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said : “If anyone recites the Qur’an, learns it by heart, declares what is lawful in it to be lawful and what is unlawful in it to be unlawful, Allah will bring him into Paradise and make him the intercessor for ten of his family all of whom have deserved Hell.” [Al-Tirmidhi 653]
I know we’re still a long way off from memorizing the entire Qur’an, but I’m excited. For Khalid, this could be an amazing use of his autism pros (laser-like focus, amazing memorization) and for me, this could be the next cool goal in my legacy project. Did I forget to capitalize that? My Legacy. There. If Khalid memorizes the Qur’an and keeps the halal halal and the haram haram, he can give his lil ole momma a leg up into Jannah, InshaAllah.
So duas would be nice, but don’t limit them to Khalid only. Include Iman in them too, because the only thing better than one righteous hafiz is two. 😉