Archive for September, 2004

The happiest man ain’t always the richer

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

I open the door, slip off my cellphone and get in the car. Painted white and golden, the air conditioned Corolla taxi whips off immediately. The pathan driver casually flicks the meter.

“Straight please. Behind the Al Muhairy Center.”

He shrugs it off. He’s driven the streets of this tiny capital a thousand times. He knows the beat of the traffic signal, the rhythm of the street, the curves of each bend here. We zip, crawl, glide through traffic endlessly, a giant dodgeball game where you’re all ‘it’. Catch me if you can!

We pass by Mercedes, BMW 7 series and giant black Cadillacs. We spot a nexus of Lexus, huddled together as some sheikh drives by. We fly by Ferraris, Aston Martins and Porsche’s. We skim and dance away from the obvious Z’s, the fanch shmancy Mustangs and the freshly washed wet Vette. We drive in silence.

The Quran is on FM98.7

Soon I’m home and fumbing for change in my pocket. I can hear him breath easily, I can hear his fatigue whisper in his breath, I can hear his imaan articulate in his hearbeat.

“Assalamlaaikum wa rahmatullahe wa barakatuhu”
May Allah bless you with Peace, with His Mercy and His Barqat.
“Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahe wa barakatuhu”
And may Allah bless you too with Peace, you too with His Mercy, and you too my brother in Islam with His Barqat.

Six Months Ago

Thursday, September 23rd, 2004

Six months ago you wept when you found out. On sad Sundays, you still cry.

Six months ago you stood outside your Corolla and hugged me like never before. I still send you random IM’s.

Six months ago I closed your office door for the first time and you knew there was something wrong. You quoted a hadith to make me feel stronger.

Six months ago you made me swear we’ll be friends forever. And I carried your photo across the world.

Six months ago I thanked you for being the best neighbor in my life. You were.

Six months ago I recieved a phone call that changed my life. And I answered it properly.

Six months ago I watched a minute piece of God’s planning reveal itself. I was stunned.

Six months ago I sat in your office and bled tears. You are my favourite Imam.

Six months ago I called to say goodbye to you from Dulles Airport. You were driving with your wife.

Six months ago you told me that had you a sister, you would be proud to be related to me. I’m your brother in Islam.

Six months ago you almost drove 700 miles just to say goodbye. Some bonds do that to you.

Six months ago I changed your happy jumma to sad jumma. You changed your khutbah because of me.

Six months ago you called up everyone and had an impromptu going away party for me. There was fried chicken, old friends and we ran out of milk.

Six months ago you wrote me an entire hadith out of memory and gifted it to me. It’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever recieved.

Six months ago you told me you were more jealous of me then ever before. You are a better person then I’ll ever be bro.

Six months ago I questioned God and found Him very incredibly comforting. Thank you.

Six months ago I prayed isthikhara. Once. And decided. Thank you God.

Six months ago I packed up my entire life in 1 suitcase, 1 backpack, 1 carry-on. It took me 4 hours.

Six months ago I held a sobbing mother in my arm. My sobbing mother. And I knew I would never forgive the man who had made her cry. Burn in hell bastard.

Six months ago I gave up everything in the world, for everthing else in the world. Who knew the world had so much to offer?

It’s been six months.

The bloody stranger

Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

It was the screeching screams, the slammed metal doors that turned peoples’ heads.
Later, they realized.

The car hit him and the pain was nothing like he had expected it to be. Heroism is never thought, but always done. Pain is never best described but better felt, experienced. Satisfaction, you cannot buy, too expensive yet easily obtained with a single action. A thousand neurons exploded within a single instant, a roaring fire that consumed his being, his mind, his thoughts vanishing forever. No regrets.

He knew had done the right thing. He just wished he could have tried explaining it to his family. Tried. They would have argued endlessly with him and then poof! silence would have overtaken them all; they knew he was right. What do do. What to not do. Take me instead everyone prayed silently. He would have prayed the same.

He lay on the road, struggling to breath. This is what death felt like, he thought from the far back of his mind, a chasm, a void that had ripped apart his mind from his body. He tasted his own blood, he felt it flowing down his right hand that lay limp on the hot yet strangely comfortable road. Aaahh, it felt good to lie down. He was tired. He just needed to rest a little bit, then he would be ok. He had to be ok. He was invincible. Wasn’t he young after all?

Too young, the press argued. This should not have been, friends cried out. This isn’t fair, Life isn’t fair, old women tearfully prayed. Life isn’t, yes. God, however is. They held memorials for him, for the city had loved their social hero. The man who had moved them. The child who had symbolized their hope, their life, their future in visual existence. Gone.
Damn you for making us love you, lovers cursed falsely.

His beautiful blue gray eyes worked furiously to focus. He had to know. Sounds. He heard some. No, words. They sounded like words. Somebody screaming. Somebody yelling. Words. He needed all his energy to comprehend but failed. There. He moved his head and he was tired again. Too much, too much, better to close your eyes.
But he had to know.
The 5 year old boy finally came into view. Silent tears pouring pouring, he squatted down besides the bloody stranger, his hand caressing saphire covered cheeks, blood here blood there, so much blood. He himself wanted to bleed for this man, who had just saved his life.

The funeral took place with thousands in the audience. People demanded to help bury him so they took a longer route. The city itself mourned and turned mute, a pain too painful to express but in jagged breaths. There there, he would have soothed them, all comes from Him, and to Him all returns. Tearful painful smiles, the people cried even more and begged God for His Mercy. Begged madly.

The boy didn’t know what to say. The bloody bloody man could barely speak.
His last few breaths, the man wanted to say something meaningful, to make it all alright for this child.
La ilaha illalah… … … mu…muh…hammd… he tried whispering but the sound wouldn’t come. The boy read his lips. And repeated it out loud for the two of them.
It was the last thing he ever heard. From the boy who would be the most brilliant islamic scholar the world had ever seen.