Prayer Mat

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

My father was the first from his family to immigrate to America. When he was alone in America, he turned to religion to help him cope. Because he was always surrounded by his six brothers back home he didn’t know how to deal with the loneliness he felt in America. There were times where he wanted to return home and give up on his dream of starting a family in America. However, my father kept on going. He said whenever he felt lonely or scared he would just take out his prayer mat, it was special to him because it was given to him as a present by my grandmother when he departed to America, and he would pray. He said it was calming; sitting down and praying using the prayer mat was how my father strengthened his will to keep on going. My father used religion to help him when he was scared. Whenever my father felt homesick and worried about how my mother was doing, he would pray for her wellbeing. Turning to religion gave my father hope in a time when he didn’t have much.         It was religion that allowed my father to make friends in America. He went to a mosque sometimes to pray and one day he made a friend. After a while he was able to fulfill his dream of starting a family in America. My father taught my sister and me how to pray, on the very same prayer mat he got as a present from my grandmother. When I left for college, my father gave me the prayer mat as a present and hoped that it would help me in the same way it has helped him in the past. 

Year: 1991

– Shahdi Qurashi

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant