Mirrored 

God created everything in pairs. There has been a lot said on this subject, and I really have no right to add anything to this, given my lack of experience, knowledge and judgment. But the fact remains: I have been extremely intrigued and fascinated by this. Everything was made in pairs: to everything there is a mirror. The sky and the ocean, Rumi and Shams, the sun and the moon, even the adhaan. Imagine there is a peace and tranquil that has descended upon the Earth. The people are deep in slumber, the world is a new place. Not everything is allowed to be fully conscious during this period. Even the birds have been shushed lest they should distract what the true hearts try to seek in those wee hours. God has descended upon the lowest heaven. Never was there anything more touching than seeing a true believer turn to his true Master, even though the believer had been labelled as a kaafir by the people of the world, even though the believer had been labelled as a kaafir by his self. In such a delicate time, the silence is broken by a deep melodious voice:

Allah-o-Akbar Allah-o-Akbar 

The believer, no matter how cracked his voice may be, no matter how ugly it may sound to others, silently mutters: 

Allah-o-Akbar Allah-o-Akbar 

The two voices, so entirely different, received in such different ways, loved by different people, and yet, the words are essentially the same. The words of the Muezzin mirrored by the believer.

What is interesting to see here is that this concept does not remain only in His material creations, but extends throughoutho the universe. Even in the Qur’an. I had been listening to a video on a surah of the Qur’an, and the speaker had actually used the word “mirror”. The beginning of the surah was mirrored by the end. It was so beautiful, the works of Allah.

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I know, dear reader, I know. As much as I have disappointed you, believe me I have disappointed myself even more with my words. Perhaps this piece was written by my heart (but perhaps it was not) and my heart has a limited vocabulary as compared to my mind. If I could have written this piece in the order of which I thought it out, it would have had some organisation. But the thoughts came too quick, and as I started writing it out, they refused to stop. What I wanted to write about in the beginning, what my real inspiration was, somehow got lost during the process. Hence there is an abrupt change of subject. My initial inspiration was somewhat linked to my final inspiration, and the result is what you see. I’m still going to publish this piece. I have had too many drafts waiting but never making their way out. Perhaps the next time we see each other, I shall have something of substance to tell you. Believe me this old mind has all sorts of stories and thoughts waiting to be liberated. But they are often lost as soon as I try to confine them in the form of words. I realise that I have been blabbing for quite some time now… if you have read it all, thankyou. I get the feeling not a lot read my posts anymore. But oh well. 

Until next time,

Rab Rakhan!

Faith 

The elders of the masjid sat down in a circle, and the old man they had chosen as their sarbarah (leader) sat at the head. The Masjid committee looked rather worried. It was jummah, Friday. On Friday they held a meeting, and opened the two charity boxes. The old man was old, but rather handsome, graceful in his white hair, a brown safari suit. Though his years had been rough, they had been unable to wither him completely. He beckoned one of the men of the Masjid to begin. 

The man started. “Our funds have finished. The renovations in the Masjid simply have to stop. We can’t afford it.”

The old man said:”The funds have finished? But how much money do you need? I’m sure we can cover the cost when we open the charity boxes.”

Usually, when they opened the boxes, they got fifty to sixty thousand rupees.

“Sahab, we need at least two lakhs and seventy five thousand rupees!”

“Let’s not stop the renovations yet. Look here everybody, don’t lose faith! Have tawwakul in the Al-Mighty’s ways. All we have to do is try. Leave the rest to Him. It is His job to do things. Let’s open the charity boxes for now. He will surley do something about this.”

All though not everybody was completely sure, they felt comforted at the old man’s speech. The boys were made to open and count the money. Out of one of the boxes, came out a taped and sealed package. They put it aside, and continued counting. There were sixty thousand rupees, as expected.

“What is that package over there?” Asked the old man.

“We don’t know sahab. We want you to open it.”

“Oh, hurry up. Let’s just get this over with.”

“No, no, we want you to open it. Who knows what’s inside.”

So the old man took the package and ripped the tape. It had several layers to it, but eventually, he got to the paper itself. As he ripped it apart, his eyes widened with surprise. Inside were new, fresh thousand-rupee notes. The committee was surprised.

“See, I told you. It is His job. All we need to do is have faith. Tawwakul. And look what he does!”

The boy were made to count the money. 

“How much is it?”    ” Sahab, it is two lakh rupees!”

The boys were then questioned. Had they seen anyone put the package there? No, but one of the boys had seen a person put a taped and sealed envelope. Did the package have any names or addresses or phone numbers? No. Then how did the package get in the box? Nobody knew.

It is strange, the works of God. The imaam thanked the anonymous gentleman who had done such a noble deed in his khutbah.

So I guess miracles do still happen. We just don’t believe anymore. Perhaps I should mention that the old man is, infact, my grandfather, MashAllah.

Mounds of Dirt 

They lay there forgotten. The world passed by, unaware of their presence. Barely visible now. The grass had grown tall now. The vegetation didn’t seem to notice there was anything or anyone here. To the grass they were just heaps of dirt. Organic matter.

A boy walked past, whistling. Two other boys rushed past him cycling. Chasing a dog. An old woman carrying a heavy bundle of something on her bent back walked past too. A man with a saw overtook the woman with an impatient expression on his face.

The car tried its best to get through this busy market place as fast as possible. So many cities left. So many kilometres left before it would reach it’s destination. No time to waste here. But a horse suddenly pulled free from its owner and, in a desperate attempt to flee, ran onto the road. The car, however, missed it by a few centimetres. In confusion, it turned sharply to the left and stopped. People gathered around to control the rogue horse. The argument that ensued between the driver and the owner of the horse was not really understood by anyone. The city dwellers in the car could not understand the local Punjabi dialect. And the locals were confused by this city language.

They, however, heard everything. And understood it. They lay there, aware of their fellow beings wasting away in petty matters, matters that did not matter at all. Matters that would soon be forgotten. Like themselves.

In mounds of dirt.

Dear Laiba Fatima…

I can’t believe it. I cannot believe that you are actually gone. I remember the day Arub told me about that brain haemorrhage. But the surgery was successful and you should have woken up. They were waiting, you know. All of us were.

I remember when I heard you had fainted during that test at the academy. The doctors said it was a brain haemorrhage and they even operated successfully, but then, dear, why didn’t you wake up?

It’s true we didn’t know each other that well. We didn’t even talk much. But you were there, a face eched in my memory, a comrade from my school. And when I read that message a few hours ago, I was so shocked. Laiba? Laiba Fatima?

Oh Laiba. As I sat there shaking with disbelief, my body trembling uncontrollably, why is it that all I could think of was that smile you gave me when I said salam? You were probably the same age as me, but still you looked so small… as if you were only thirteen or fourteen.

I remember that straight ponytail with those curly hair. That gentle, delicate voice as you discussed the exam afterwards. Oh Laiba, are you really gone?

Sometimes I feel as if I will remember this time as the time when I had no time for anything else. Not even time to mourn Laiba’s death. I sat there, trying hard to control my trembling hands enough to practice those physics numericals. Guiltily, i knew i had to study for this test the next day but somehow I felt so guilty that the World was still moving. The tears dropped from my eyes as my heart tore itself into a million pieces. Laiba, Laiba, Laiba Fatima…

And what made me even more guilty was the fact that I stayed at those numericals. I thought of how you must have done the very same ones before me, you always did like to keep ahead. You were the one who had all the brains. The one with the good grades in everything. 

I wonder, Laiba, if I feel this way, then how is Zerish, and Zobia, and all of them? And to think nothing of your mother, that woman whom I have never met, nor heard anything of, but all the same, how must she be? Losing her seventeen year old daughter?

Laiba I don’t even know you well enough to know what your ambitions were, to know what you were trying to be in life. But now, does that even matter anymore? Does anything even matter anymore? The one truth of life is death. And that’s where you are now.

Laiba I wonder what you must be feeling right this moment. I hope its happy thoughts. I hope you don’t have to face any of the hardships after death. Ya Allah! I pray with the sincerest of all prayers that you give Laiba a place in your heavens. I pray that you forgive her her minor sins. She had a good character. Allah! Give us sabr and patience to bear this, especially her family and loved ones. Allah! We are in no position to question your decree, so we pray. Allah! Please accept this. Who else can we go to in such situations? Who else has the power to grant? Allah! Rest her soul in peace. Ameen. 

Warmth

The water was cold. The one time she had counted on the warmth of the water to engulf her whole, to somehow soothe her, it was cold.

It wasn’t fair. Hadn’t the sun been shining on the water tank all day? Had the sun lost all its heat? Could it be possible that the sun felt as cold and numb as herself? 

No. At any rate the sun was supposed to heat the water. That was its job. The water was supposed to be boiling hot. She was supposed to complain about that. Was it normal to feel as if her entire blood had clotted in this heat?

She waited a few seconds before she bravely endeavoured into the cold shower. She hoped that somehow it would get warmer. Surely it must, it couldn’t be this cold. It just couldn’t.

She could feel herslf shivering but at the same time felt nothing at all. Numb. Then she remembered she was probably tired. She had been up for so long… And she hadn’t had anything to eat, either. She was probably low on energy.

Trying to be as brave as she could, struggled to keep her hands steady as she reached for the shampoo. The lump in her throat kept getting bigger and bigger until she decided it would be better to cry here, alone, than outside. But that feeling of numbness wouldn’t let her. She could feel the storm building up inside her… waiting for the wrong moment to come out. Well, she thought, i’ll just have to artificially initiate it. But as she did so, the muscles on her face seemed to be stretched too much somehow. It felt too artificial. She couldn’t do it. It was too much. She needed warmth.