Walls that water..
New year’s reflections..
“Whenever I eat my fill, I can cry if I want to. I remember how the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) left the world.. By Allah! He never had his fill of bread and meat twice in a day.” ~ Prophet’s wife Ayesha.
“What did the city people do so great that God made their walls give water?” ~ My great grandma to my grandfather upon seeing the ‘taps’ for the first time.
Sacrifice. Love. Innocence. Simplicity. Gratitude. The treasures that are depleting faster than fossil fuels. And while we do have alternatives for the fossils, we have none for these.
Reflections and images..
Image of my visiting aunt rushing to collect the seeds after we ate a watermelon, before I could chuck them in the trash. “I’ll grow them in the village. My grandkids will be very happy.” As I saw her carefully tie them in a corner of her shawl, I wondered, how far we have strayed, from seeds to plastic toys as souvenirs. Simplicity. Gratitude.
I imagine my father refusing to drive to the mosque and insisting on walking in the blistering heat of the midday prayer. “I don’t want to hurt everyone to please God.” For him, everyone means all humans and animals who will be affected by the pollution that he’d cause if he drove.
Image of my principal taking the mic in our last international gathering, and struggling thru her tears for the first few minutes as the auditorium echoed with our own sobs. Oceans of emotions. Faithhood. She needn't say anything. We all knew. And felt. The few words that she was able to manage were stronger than a hundred speeches. Resolve. Dream. Little did we know that it’d be the last time many of us would see her.
Image of my aunt waking me up for predawn prayer at 4 am, whispering in my ear. ‘Get up sweetie, this is the time! Allah is right here.’ And when I groaned sleepily, she pulls the blanket back on me and pats me lovingly: ‘ Oh so you’re sleepy. Your brother is sleeping too. Don’t worry, I’ll make such a prayer it will be enough for all of you!’ And as I opened my eyes a little, I saw her turn, with energy and agility of a soldier on a mission. Minutes later, I’d hear her whispered prayers thru her muffled sobs: ‘O my sweet Lord.. your guidance… my sweet children…’ A prayer that will be enough for all of you.
Her pet phrase was ‘Allah razi shwo’. (Allah be pleased with you.) And she used all the variations of it. I wear a new dress and she finds me cute, she would beam, hug, kiss and exclaim: Allah razi shwo!. She would see me crying and comfort me with the same phrase with a somber intonation: Don’t worry sweetie. Allah razi shwo. My son would drop a glass and break it and she would say in a shock: oh God. No problem, Allah razi shwo.
A thousand other images of people that make this life beautiful and worth living. And of those that passed away.
And as I pray today on the last night of 2021. Fighting the incredible pain and loss of my beloved principal and others who left this world on this year. I don’t know how much of my journey is left, that I’ll have to carry on without them. It feels difficult. I see more and more great people go and not enough good people replacing them. What fraction of their legacy am I carrying on? What fraction of these wonderful treasures will my children have?
No Allah, I didn’t do anything to deserve watering walls, or the aunt who prays ‘enough’ so we could sleep tight, or a motherly principal who gave us a dream and purpose to live for.. And I know that i haven't been half as selfless, loving and visionary as they were. But I'm trying. And it feels so difficult to carry on without them. The dream and vision of a faithful life seems blurred without them… But I’ll keep trying as long as You’re there.. Please be there for us. Please razi shwo. Razi shwo. Razi shwo.