A Moment of Clarity - Part II

BismiLlahir Rahmanir Raheem

Reminiscing... continued

The stones pressed sharply into my feet. The children and I took joy in the cooler currents of water as they soothed our aching feet. There was usually no space alongside the river to walk and when there was it was covered with rocks too, equally painful if not more. My phone was out of a service area, and I realized that we were no closer to our destination than the moment we stepped out of the truck. We stopped to ask the few women who stood at random and sparse points along the riverbanks if they knew of the family name of this family’s friends. Nobody knew. One lady asked if we were lost and if we wanted a ride back into town. We told her that we would walk a little further downstream. We hoped that perhaps our group had taken another route and would meet us at the other end of the river with the truck, but we told her that we would return to her if need be. Hope is a strong thing, and it was only that which kept us walking further away from where we last saw our group.

I began making mental notes on how much time remained before sunset as I tried to decide how much longer I would allow us to walk before I sought a suitable place for us to spend the night. I had two children, aged 10 and 12, with me and I wasn’t about to jeopardize their safety when I could take precautions that could ease the difficulty of the situation. Sama’ expressed her fears about our circumstances, and I told her not to worry. Allah would take care of us, and of that I had no doubt.

The ache in my feet was becoming unbearable, and my psychological encouragements failed to help me walk without grueling pain. I asked the children if they were alright. They seemed to be doing better than I was, perhaps they were less accustomed to covered feet. We continued walking.

At last, I could walk no more. I sat on the rocks, the water and dirt of the river soaked into my ‘abaya and pants. I can’t walk anymore, my feet hurt too much, I told them. They sat next to me and just then the phone rang. It was the children’s father so I passed the phone to Sama.’ Her conversation was brief. She told us that her father was mad and told us to return. Return? Is he out of his mind? I thought. He has a vehicle. What has he been doing all this time? And why is he mad? We’re the ones who have been walking for two hours because he told us to. Surely he wouldn’t tell us to walk if there was nothing to walk to. I was unimpressed and wondered how I would take another step let alone walk back another two hours. Allah would open a way for me, and I depended on Him. On the bright side, at least they awaited our return and our walking would now have a known destination. I rose again and walked one slow step at a time, flinching in pain.

If there was only something we could use to cover our feet, I thought. I looked at the area around me, but there was nothing suitable. By the grace of God, I realized then that we could use our very own clothes. Nothing too dramatic, but maybe just pull our pants slightly lower so they would cover the bottom of our feet. It worked well enough for me to at least walk, but Sama’ couldn’t claim any success with this strategy. Ibrahim tugged at dried up clothing that fused itself into a log at the edge of the river. He managed to get only a scrap, but that did not suffice, and he soon abandoned the idea. Sama’ found a slipper in the water which she wore, sharing it with Ibrahim and offering it to me. I refused her kindness. I felt for them, and kept my eyes open for more lost slippers in the river. We found a few more, but none seemed to last very long.

Two hours later, we found the rest of the group. They were settled at a spot about a 30 to 40 minute walk further down the river from where we started walking indicating that we surprisingly covered more ground in the two hours of our return. The truck, no longer trapped in the riverbed, was parked in a cleared space alongside the river while everyone ascended the slopes of mud that guarded the river as it formed a valley for the river to flow through. It was from there that they entered into the garden of their friends. When we arrived, they were all seated on light blankets resting in the shade of trees with a hearty lunch spread out around them. Since I didn’t have an appetite for food or their company, I made wudhu in the river and stood in pain to perform the ‘Asr prayer.

One reality of my existence stood clearly before me at that moment. Though the troubles of my heart only seemed amplified, I was grateful. Tears rolled down my cheeks easily, and all I could do or wanted to do was submit to my Lord as I bowed and prostrated in prayer. I know my Lord takes care of me, and never could I doubt Him.

I left the group and decided to make the most of a what seemed to have been a pretty trying day. I found a nice rock to sit on at the edge of the river. My feet took pleasure in the soothing currents while my heart and mind listened intently to the steady rhythm of the flowing water. Singing to myself, I tried desperately to take in the beauty and splendor of God’s creations that surrounded me, all the while acknowledging that my debt of gratitude is to Him alone.

A Moment of Clarity - Part I

BismiLlahir Rahmanir Raheem


After an emotionally challenging Ramadhan and Eid, I wanted nothing more than to get deeply into my studies again. It was in my books where I found my pleasure and peace, and it was that which motivated me to persevere despite the increasing weight that slowly built in my heart. Unfortunately, the post-Ramadhan vacation wasn’t quite over yet, and I had to wait a few more days until my lessons could resume. It was the 2nd of Shawwal 1428, and I was told by my host family that we would be visiting one of their friends and having lunch with them. I wasn’t in the mood of visiting people, but nonetheless prepared myself to make the most of the outing. While I regret having left my camera behind, the events of the day I shall never forget, by the permission of God.

We first stopped in the outskirts of Ta’iz where we went to look at a massive tree - shajaratun gharibah - over 2 000 years old, that is said to have been visited by the sahabas of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon them all). It was intriguing, and I longed to know its story though there was nobody to tell it to me.

From there, we continued to an area with lush trees and greenery. We soon found ourselves driving through a river. To entertain the children, their father drove quickly through sections of the river. The children laughed and shared gleeful cries as the water splashed onto them passing through the opened windows. I, on the other hand, was busily enchanted by the trees that gracefully hovered over the river. It was breathtaking beauty. I looked at the river ahead of us wondering why we had to travel through the river to reach our destination. It seemed a cruel way to treat such an elegant portion of God’s masterful design. I thought that perhaps the river would taper into a trickle, but it only seemed to maintain its strength.

It wasn’t much later when the truck’s wheels were trapped in the mud beneath the gushing river. The men took off their shoes, rolled up their pants, and stepped into the water. The boys followed while the local women, who were moments before washing clothes on the adjacent rocks bordering the river, looked up to watch. The men and boys scooped out as much mud from around the rear tires as they could, and in union they all attempted to the push the truck out of the mud. Their efforts were in vain. I and the other womenfolk soon stepped out of the vehicle as well. After several more attempts, one women’s husband pointed at the river ahead of us and told us to walk. I wasn’t sure to where we would walk, but I removed my shoes and socks, grabbed my phone from the truck, lifted my ‘abaya slightly above the refreshing currents, and started walking.

The river was mesmerizing. Its steady rhythm sang deeply to me, but I could not understand its words. It was only much later, after spending the day in its midst, that I learned the meaning of some of the messages it tried to convey.

I wasn’t sure how far we would need to walk, but I found my feet too sensitive for the task at hand, and no more than a few minutes of walking on the river’s slippery and calloused rocks caused my feet to hurt. Mind over matter I told myself as I walked faster, steadying myself where necessary and keeping the pace of the children, Ibrahim and Sama’, while leaving the two other ladies behind. After some time, I said to the young girl, “Where are we walking to?” She didn’t know. I was disappointed because I didn’t know either and knew that in my haste to get to our destination quickly I should have stopped to at least ask where we were going. I turned around, and the women were no longer in sight. Perhaps they were still making their way around the river bend that we only just passed. I called out to Ibrahim telling him not to wander too far ahead without us. My feet were sore, and I was eager to get to the destination sooner than later. Perhaps the river will taper soon and lead to an open area with homes I thought.

We had walked for about an hour, our chit chatting slowly dwindling into silence, when finally the three of us rested under the trees for some time hoping that the womenfolk would catch up with us soon and lead the way to our destination. Or better yet, that the truck would soon be in sight in hot pursuit of us. Nobody came, and we continued walking.

...to be continued, insha'Allah.

A Prayer

BismiLlahir Rahmanir Rahim

A du'a with Dr. Tariq Ramadan - may the Almighty preserve him, bless him and his family and loved ones, and keep them strong in His way, ameen. Simply beautiful... masha'Allah...

...Al Fatiha...
"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]



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"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]