I may write this late but it’s also because a lot going on at home. The crazy wife has been on 16 hour days 7 days a week for 3 weeks, my mind is racing, the kids are bored and it’s so hot I can bake cookies on my dashboard. But what I have to say in this post may put things in a different perspective.
Eid Al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan every year. Its a celebration of the Holy month for Muslims and it ends the month of fasting for 30 days.
This year, during Ramadan, in Dubai it was fasting from about 4:15am and lasting until just after 7pm. Because of how it fell, it was still during school and the school run and school pickup and normal life. Group that with around 45 degrees (c) at the time (now its around 50) and it makes for a very interesting time but also a very self inventive one.
I continued to fast 6 days after. My wife always says I’m trying to ‘get more points’ with Allah. Yes, its kinda of like that but it’s like a consolidation of fasting for the entire year. So I guess it’s like ‘points’ in a way. Again, she is the crazy wife.
I still go to gym and still do the whole thing. I know that sounds stupid – in fact – it sounds stupid to me, too – no water. The kids get a bit jumbled because we aren’t going for coffee anymore (and I believe my Starbucks guy thinks I’ve been deported at this point because all of the chocolate flakes for my MochaChocolate have gone stale now).
CrazyWife is on brunch withdrawals, many of her friends have all flown back home for the summer and sitting out in the garden is like her own personal sauna (if you’ve been to Dubai in the middle of summer and humidity and you will understand why her pores are so clear).
The joy of taking my daughter to the mosque every year for Eid is something that we have always looked forward to. It’s that time where it’s just us and we get to experience to the joy of that first day of Eid at 430 a.m. going to the Mosque.
We spent Eid in Al Ain this year because my sister and mom are there. We headed to the hotel (because my crazy wife can’t bear anything else but a pamper type hotel and she can’t bear the idea of staying with my family – long funny story there). By the way, the #AlAinRotana is about as cool as it gets! Hit the Falaj Suite – you won’t go back.
Here becomes the challenge.
We wake up and she is happily ready and waiting to go at 4am and off we go to find the closest mosque for our first Eid prayers.
We arrive and there is, I’m sure, more than 3000 people filtering in.
We find a place and I’m not at all comfortable.
My mind, which should be free and clear at this time – it should be pure and full of love and Allah – is not.
There was a bomb that happened in Saudi Arabia in Medina which is a holy city for Muslims. And, for the first time, my time was working – overtime.
Security was in front of the mosque and checking people that carried anything- even water bottles.
I held her close to me because there were so many people. It was the first time in my life I was seeing this and the first time in my life I worried. This was not how I grew up or went to the mosque. My mind was going in so many places and so many worries.
I have my daughter with me. What do I do if something goes wrong? I worry about her – I don’t care if I die – but I care about her fear and not knowing where she is.
I think I realised at this point about how vulnerable we are in the world. I realised that something that was so simple and pure and so real all of my life, became a threat.
For me, I’m in the house of Allah and I should be safe – this is the safe place – I should feel safe. My fear and all should be left at the door at that moment.
But what if something went wrong?
I looked at where we went to pray. I looked at the walls. The walls to be closest to. The walls in case something happened and there was a stampede. And, if she was left and I was hurt, I could only think she would be off to the side and not be hurt. What do we do if the wall comes down that we are standing by to protect us? How do I protect her? I thought of her mom and her little sister. My mind raced thinking of the fear on her little face not knowing what to do or where to go if something went wrong and the terror she would feel. My eyes are full of tears as I write this and my heart is my entire chest now.
I’m in a house of Allah and for the first time in my life I’m full of fear. I wasn’t fearful for me but for her. I’m her protector. She looks to me to make sure she ok. She is only 6.
My entire world changed and my prayers changed that day. My thoughts were not with me then. I felt fear.
Should I have left, I don’t know. Should I have gone home and relayed my fears to the crazy wife (who when I did promptly checked the status of the life insurance policy for exclusions), I don’t know.
I do know that this is not the fear that I want my daughter to feel.
I want her to see the good in the world. I want her to see how great it is to help people and not hurt them. I want her to understand that every religion lives together in harmony as it should. Even intra-religion it should be safe and secure and whole.
Where we are right now, I wasn’t sure at that point. And the decision that I made was what I made. But it changed me as a man and as a Muslim and as a father.
We do everything we can to protect our children. How do we protect them when things go wrong?
My life changed and I think that many lives are changing now as I write this for the very same reason.
I may be a bit serious at this point – but atleast the crazy wife has confirmed the life insurance policy status.
#Peace #Love #Compassion #Unity #OurWorld