“This place is a dream. Only a sleeper considers it real. Then death comes like dawn, and you wake up laughing at what you thought was your grief.”
Humans have an instinctive desire to go on living. . Few of us are comfortable talking about death, whether our own or a loved one’s. People tell us we should fight hard against illness and death. Life is a celebration, we should celebrate each moment. However, sometimes we have to accept the reality and death is an imminent reality. It is also a reality which most of us like to keep out of our minds. In Islam, death is not an end to our existence; it is a passage, which takes us from this world to the hereafter.
The Quran says, “Every being (individual consciousness) will taste death.”
Eating Disorders kill. Crow and colleagues found that crude mortality rates were 4.0% for anorexia nervosa, 3.9% for bulimia nervosa, and 5.2% for eating disorder not otherwise specified. They also found a high suicide rate in bulimia nervosa.
I want to write so much, but words fail me. I thank this person with anorexia nervosa for sharing this with us. Keep on loving the person, keep on showering them with love and trust me you’ll see a miracle unfold. This simple journey was a miracle. It makes me believe, I’ll get to see her after Ramadan, in the middle of summer and winter. Inshallah.
My Blessed Friday Walk
“make your last journey
from this strange world
soar for the heights
where there is no more
separation of you and your home
God has created
your wings not to be dormant
as long as you are alive
you must try more and more
to use your wings to show you’re alive”
My eyes flew open. No! Thank God, I wasn’t in Belgrade. I wasn’t at the airport in Serbia. I walked from one end of airport to other in agony. My legs were hurting. It was so cold. Saying Goodbye to my other was so hard. She wanted to come with me, but couldn’t.
I look around , thank God I was in England in my room with familiar surroundings. Soon it will be time for pre-dawn prayer.
And then a vision came, I saw trees, golden dome glistening in the sunlight and birds singing. Every morning birds sang to me. I know what they said, because I also said the same thing. There were three mosques near my house, I could easily have my pick and could easily go to any of them, but this mosque with lush green surroundings and golden minaret was calling me. I felt it.
“Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you.”
Impossible, there was no way I could have made that long journey to this mosque in London. I was bed bound. My legs were simply paralyzed. I prayed to Allah: “O Allah! My Lord, I release myself to you. Take me there, make the journey possible for me.”
“I am so close, I may look distant.
So completely mixed with you, I may look separate.
So out in the open, I appear hidden.
So silent, because I am constantly talking with you.”
It was Friday morning, the sun was shining brightly. No one was home. Perfect! I don’t know where the strength came from, I picked out a long outfit, a gift from Northern Pakistan. A long heavy robe. I tested my legs for strength. I couldn’t walk more for than 60 seconds without fainting. It was a risk, what if I faint? What if I collapse? My mother, hundreds of miles away will be devastated. But what could I do the mosque was calling me. The tress were calling me. I called the taxi. A person who could walk for hours at once upon a time now had to use a taxi.
“Don’t wait any longer.
Dive in the ocean,
Leave and let the sea be you.”
Climbing those stairs at the station was such an effort. It took me 15 minutes to get from the main entrance to platform no.2. So many eyes were on me. I took a step and then I would stop, pant, rub strength back into my legs and take another step. Anorexia was killing me.
Gratefully, I was able to get a fast non-stop service to London Waterloo. Luckily I was able to get a double seat on a train. And yes despite the heavy dress, and sunglasses, people were watching me. I made such a picture. I bit my lip. I hated attention. I just hated it.
I sat by the window and watched the passing scenery. I slept through the entire train journey.
It was a miracle but soon I was at the Regent Park Station. “What line did I take, was it Bakerloo, Northern?” No memory whatsoever. At the Regent Park Station, I saw those stairs I had to climb and my mind shut down. It was impossible. One, two, three, I was reduced to tears. Thankfully, my sunglasses hid my tears. They were now my camouflage. I don’t know how I managed, but I climbed that Mount Everest all by myself.
Now I had a mission to walk to the mosque. Will I make it there for the sermon? I was too scared to look at my wrist watch.
My friend lived across the street from the station. Maybe I can go there and drop off my bag with extra pair of clothing and blanket and my energy shakes. I could no longer carry the bag. It hurt. She opened the door and a huge smile broke out on her face, and despite my protests drove me to the mosque.
Soon I saw the mosque, a beautiful golden dome. Such a pretty serenely welcoming sight. My eyes were filled with the power of green.
And with the name of God, I entered the mosque.
The ladies at the entrance greeted me, peace on you. Peace on you I sang, peace on you, peace on you, thousands peace on you.
I entered ladies prayer hall. I did two prayers for entering the mosque. I only drifted to sleep once, but I was brave enough to quickly wake up.
I listened to Friday Sermon in Arabic and then in English. I was in the second row. No one disturbed me. No meaningful glances in my way.
Last two moths I had been doing my prayers sitting down. I had become very very ill. Today, I magically did all my prayers standing up. My grandmother told my weeping mother, “this girl doesn’t have long to go. You better prepare yourself. Don’t make any future plans for her. She’s not going to live”.
I was ready for the possibility that I may not make it to this summer, but when those words are delivered to you by a wise old lady, it has a powerful impact on you. I brought my mind back to present. I wanted to come here. I wanted to pray here. This is where late Gai Eaton worked.
“There’s such a blessing in offering your prayer in congregation on a blessed day of Friday. It’s so healing and so fills you with powerful energy”. A man from New Zealand said last year.
After the sermon, we all offered our Friday prayer in congregation. Imam was our leader. Soon the prayer was over. It was nearly 2 pm, and an announcement was made. A stunned silence fell over the crowd. A man was going to say his Shahadah. We all listened to him repeating the declaration of faith and then we all rose to the voice of Takbeer. We all stood together and repeated Takbeer 3 times.
I thanked God for blessing me with this Friday. Women came and told me my outfit was unique and beautiful. I soothed my heart in the mosque with the recitation of Sura Yasin.
After 4 hours, I was ready to go. I was happy. So happy. I couldn’t feel the pain in my legs. I went downstairs to the mosque’s food hall and had my late lunch. I needed the fuel to keep the body engine running, to make the journey back home.
I walked across the Regent Park. A beautiful park. Just a very little tiny glimpse of heaven on earth.
Salam ili Kum trees, peace on you.
Salam ili kum beautiful birds and big ducks.
“Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself.” – Rumi
I offered my greetings to all.
I sat down on the bench. “Our world is so beautiful.” The beauty is everywhere. What are you saying to me, Allah? I opened my kindle and read the translation of Qur’an.
I flew to my friend’s house. I picked up my bag. They were preparing for the night of musical evening.
Time was running out, and soon my mother would know I wasn’t home. She would literally faint, if she knew the risk I had taken. But Allah is so merciful, so Azeem, His power overrides everything. I flew back home. No one pushed me in the busy moving crowd.
“There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground; there are a thousand ways to go home again.”
Sun was setting. I did my evening prayers.
My biggest achievement of 2016.
I know the tears of joy that will run down my dear friend’s face in Jeddah when she hears of my journey, and I just couldn’t wait to tell others about the blessings of Friday, about the beauty of Friday, and about what I had achieved.
Now one week later, as I type this, I’m very proud, I’m in awe how Allah took me to the mosque, made the journey so easy for me and made sure the sun was shining, and keeping me warm all the time.
Maybe I’ll live till next Friday, and if the sun is shining, I’ll go to another mosque in England. Mosque is a house of God, I know God lives in our hearts, but mosques are a place of peace.
“Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. I have tried prudent planning long enough. From now on I’ll be mad.” ― Rumi