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August 8, 2004

Why did you have to do it?

(kr’s note: I’ve received several questions about what is the nature of this post and what it’s all about. I originally wrote this seven years ago in August 1997; for those who are familiar with my life story, they will know why August 1997 was such a difficult time for me. Certain events occurred that had made me fed up with the way life was playing itself out. I had even wanted out of Islam. The other day, something reminded me of that time and while thinking about it, I wrote this post. Essentially, this is a testimony of what brought me back, realizing I couldn’t escape from the hold the Prophet had over me… and realizing that I was blissfully content in that captivity. The old woman refers to the old woman in Makkah who wanted to run away from the Prophet since she heard about the “evil” that he had been causing [this is beautifully captured in a song by Dawud Wharnsby Ali titled “Don’t Talk About Muhammad”] and asks the help of a young man to help her move. He agrees and she makes him promise not to speak about Muhammad. After she reaches her destination and he helps her set up in her new residence, she tells him never to speak of Muhammad and his life will be fine. She then tells him that he’s been such a good companion but she doesn’t even know his name. The young man smiles at her and tells her, “O my mother, I am that Muhammad from whom you run.”. She immediately accepts Islam on the spot. This is the same feeling I felt when I wanted to run, only realizing what a futile escape I was attempting)

Seven years ago, I was ready to walk away. We all draw lines in sand, but when we etch lines in stone, these are sacrosanct lines. My line had been crossed. Don’t look at me innocently and tell me he didnt mean it. Save your reason of the “wisdom behind things” for someone else. I had my shoes on and was ready to walk, ready to find someone else. You know, I did believe your stories and your reasoning until now, don’t get me wrong. But what happens when your logic and your stories cannot make sense of things… you didn’t think of that did you? My mind was set, and there was nothing you could have said to make me change it.

So I walked out the door. With my first step, I felt as Atlas might have felt if he were to have let the world fall from his weary shoulders. I paused. If that was my first step, what would the second have felt like. No longer would I have to think of you. Armed with my thousand and one reasons, I found reason to forget about you. So I lifted my foot to take that second step and that’s when you gave me something you had not given me before. Before you had given me stories, but today, no matter where I looked, I could only see your face, calm and smiling. You said nothing. You smiled. I closed my eyes, determined not to see that face. But there it was, inscribed in my mind for all its denizens to see. I closed by eyes even tighter, determined not to let your power overwhelem me. But you, o you, your face was etched on my heart. I closed my eyes, but how can the eyes of the heart not see what has been painted in a thousand colors (and thousand more) on the heart itself. I had no other choice but to look. I saw your hands, made rough from having buried all of your children except one. I saw your lips, those same lips that invited your brethren to a wondrous feast, I saw in those lips the nights you spent crying for your people. I saw those eyes, those eyes that had seen what only a few believed you saw, I saw in those eyes your time in your uncle’s valley and more. I saw you having the chance to ask for anything, and you had to ask for your people, didn’t you? I saw people running from you, only to have no other choice but to come to you as they realized their escape was futile. The old woman knew it all along, didnt she? She fled from you, realizing she was only fleeing to you. How could I escape when others could not?

I looked down at my feet. Those same feet that were ready to walk a thousand thousand miles away from you were only fleeing towards you. I had thought about escape, thinking “and what an escape!”… and you whispered that back to me with that same smile on your face. “And what an escape!” You smiled knowing that you still had control of me. You smiled knowing that I knew your control of me was complete. You smiled knowing that I was content with being captured. So I shouted. Why did you have to do it?

You smiled still. What else could I do? I smiled back.


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  1. Anonymous permalink

    awwwwww…. liked your story
    salaam (wonderin… how can you change the eprops thing to chappal slaps??) (p.s.-chappal slaps, funny)

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