[This letter to the editor was sent to New Trend, but also relates to the Muslim Link's coverage of the passing of Halalco owner Mateen Chida “Abdul-Mateen Chida Returns to Allah” from our November 8, 2013 issue. – TML]
Your article reminded me of those two years of bitter sweet struggle we endured in getting the International Graphics up and running. Not only did Mateen Chida dedicate his unpaid time to the project, but so did Fazal Khan and his family. The MSA was being run by individuals who asked us to perform such dedication. I spent long hours driving back and forth to airports, with my children sometimes sleeping in the back of the car, to pick up visitors coming to check on the project and connect with the MSA. These visitors had to be housed in my house and fed. We had to share the costs for the food as none of us had much money and food consisted of large pots of rice, beans and salad, mostly without meat. In addition, Mamoona and I spent most of our lives at the International Graphics. Fazal stopped his job as well and so there was no income for us. I operated the Verityper for all the articles printed and I remember tending to my daughter Yasmin and infant son, Ahmad Ameen – sleeping on the floor of the shop, working during the day, and Mamoona and I taking turns running home to cook a meal and bring it back to the shop. It was a grueling two years done for the blessings of Allah. I’m sure you remember it well. Alhamdulilah.
In other ways many of the visitors have left fond memories in my heart to this day. I recall Mahmoud Saud, who said I reminded him of his daughter my age and who recited Quran endlessly. He was a highly educated individual who gave me strength at times and who chose the name for my son, Ahmad Ameen. Another, who became Dean of King Abdulaziz University, was the individual who provided a teaching position for my husband overseas in Saudi and so enabled us to have the blessing of living there for many years and visiting Makkah on a weekly basis. There were many who wrote books that I hope exist to this day.
As you mentioned, the Jamat ul Tablique were active at the time and once created a lively topic of conversation for my neighbors when 24 of them drove up in an open truck to stay at my house for a few days.
The Muslim Link, in its article about Mateen, did indeed mention Fazal Khan as joining with Mateen to open the printing press. I was surprised to read that, since the information had to come from perhaps Maimoona or another person who was involved with us in those days.
I would like recognition to be shown for my husband who was a kind, dedicated man and who would be devastated by the incarceration of his middle son. Wassalam.
Sr. Bilquis, Maryland