Sunday, July 31, 2005

The best of company, the best of memories

Photo © Fareena Alam. Please do not re-use without permission and proper credit.

While in the Holy Cities, despite my desire to tell the world about what I was experiencing, I could never manage to put anything into words. This was quite disturbing as I am known for spending long hours writing and revising personal journals and stories. I was told "the world is waiting to hear your story", but how do you write a story when there are no words that truly describe what is happening?

All I can say is that something in my heart has definitely turned, and I am not the same as I was before I left. Ever since I landed in New York, I’ve put myself in semi-seclusion in a last ditch effort to preserve the warmth and inspiration that has entered my heart. It’s almost as if I had the sweetest dream, and I’m lying still in my bed, trying to savor it before everything is snatched away by my waking consciousness. I woke up after my first night at home to despair over the fact that Masjid Al-Nabawi was not across the street, the Kaaba wasn’t a bus ride away, and my newly made sister-friends were not just down the hall. Part of me fears that despite all the pictures, blogs, websites, and friends made, what I experienced in Mecca and Medina will fade away. Now I make du’a that Allah (swt) will allow my memories to stay as strong as they are at this moment.

Most of my fellow Rihla participants have written about the Islamic aspect of this journey. I would just like to take a moment to mention the human aspect that moved me almost as deeply as seeing the Kaaba or visiting the Rawdah. Not only was I in the company of our Beloved Nabi (صلي الله عليه و سلم), but I was in the company of some of the best Muslims I have ever met.

As someone who was not born into a Muslim family, it’s often hard for me to "fit in" with Muslim community. But I was so well received by the other sisters, that often forget to label myself as "the convert". I remember the sister who went from bus to bus in the pre-Asr sun, looking for a candy bar when my blood sugar dropped, making me feel ill.

I remember the sister who comforted me by holding my hand in the Rawdah as we walked out, even though I later learned she was suffering, and that it should have been me comforting her.

I remember the sister who allowed me to pick my favorite surahs and recited them for me as I listened, enjoying the rare sound of a woman reading the Holy Qur’an.

I remember the sisters who listened to my constant whining and worries about marriage and being a convert, and never wavered in patience and tolerance.

I remember the sister who determinately found escorts for me so I wouldn’t have to walk to the infamous call center in Makkah by myself.

And I remember so many more sisters (and a few brothers) who were so kind to me that it totally changed the way I saw Muslims.

Also, I ask that the readers of this blog who could not attend this trip to forgive us for not writing as you may have liked. There was so much emotion and intensity on this trip that it was hard for many of us to express it. Even though some of us tried, many times it came out a bit too personal to share with the world. May Allah increase our iman. Ameen.

Bint Larry


At Sunday, 31 July, 2005, Blogger Danya said...


At Friday, 05 August, 2005, Blogger Saman said...

asalaamu alaikum,

what a wonderful story allhamduLillah, JZK for sharing...



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