“…I’ve got all my Sisters with me”

A sisterhood that knows no boundaries
Charlotte Observer Sept 14, 2016
By Rose Hamid

Rose Hamid said it’s rare that she and her sisters are all together. But at one recent birthday celebration they focused on things from their childhood. Fake lips were one highlight. Back row, from left, Amal and Rose. Front row, from left: Amy and Amira. Courtesy of Cathy Yambor

Rose Hamid said it’s rare that she and her sisters are all together. But at one recent birthday celebration they focused on things from their childhood. Fake lips were one highlight. Back row, from left, Amal and Rose. Front row, from left: Amy and Amira. Courtesy of Cathy Yambor

Sisterhood is a precious thing.  I’m lucky to have 3 sisters (and a brother) who are in constant communication with each other even though we are far apart.  We share the minutiae of our days, our frustrations with work/family/diets, funny anecdotes, and happenings with the rest of the family. We know we can count on each other when needed.

We have different strengths and talents and when we come together we are a force to be reckoned with.  We get things DONE.  (In the process our spouses have to suffer through some family pow-wows that can be quite maddening)

Although we share a lot of traits, we are different in many ways, including our faith.  We grew up Catholic, but as we grew older we chose different paths.  My oldest sister, Amal, lives in Philadelphia and belongs to a non-denominational Christian Church; I live in Charlotte and am a Muslim who wears hijab (head covering); Amira lives in Ft Lauderdale and is Muslim, but doesn’t cover; and Amy lives in Wake Forest and is Southern Baptist.  (My brother, Amir, lives in Los Angeles and is Muslim)

All of our faith traditions teach the importance of family ties.  Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said “Whoever believes in God and the Last Day, let him maintain the bonds of kinship.”

We are all strong in our perspective faiths and firmly believe we are on the correct path, which ultimately means we each would like others to find that same path. The best way for us to do that is to  live a life which follows the guidance of our faith and allow God to guide those whom He will.  (Not that it’s a competition or anything. wink wink)

Along with my biological sisters I’m also blessed to have a group of Sisters in Islam, who I’ve known since I started learning about Islam in Charlotte in 1987.  They come from all over the world, Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and America.

The Quran gives guidance on how to interact in society:   “Oh you who believe, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; … And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames… “49:11  “Oh you who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible):… And spy not on each other nor backbite…” 49:12

By following this guidance we have developed deep friendships. We have learned about Islam together, have grown in our faith and advised one another on all manner of subjects. We’ve raised our children together and now, they too, have a diverse group of both Muslim and non-Muslim friends.

Diversity of childhood friends who attended Suzanne Hamid's wedding in Amman Jordan

Diversity of childhood friends who attended Suzanne Hamid’s wedding in Amman Jordan

Further expanding the sisterhood are my sisters of other faiths.  Although Islam considers all of humanity to be children of God, women share a unique bond; one that unites us across ethnicities, language and faith.

Yes, sisterhood is a precious thing; we support each other, stand with each other hold on to each other regardless of our differences.  I am reminded of a beautiful friend with an exotic look and accent.  When people ask her where she is from she gracefully gives the perfect answer “I am from the Earth”.   From my blood sisters to my sisters in Islam to all women, we are sisters on this earth.

Edited version originally appeared in Charlotte Observer Sept. 14, 2016