kaaba second floor
I prayed to Allah (SWT) before leaving for Ummrah to give Paul and me lots and lots of love at His (SWT) house and in my travels and to envelope me in his love at every step.
As my travel unraveled, it seemed that even the average person was kind and caring to me, starting from my fellow passengers to the immigration and custom officers that I encountered at the various airports.
It was no chance that I was being given so much love and affection on my journey. He SWT was sending his love to me in many forms and through His creation.
I was receiving it this time without my usual questions like “why is he being so nice? What does he really want?” I realized that over the years I had become a cynic. A cynic is defined as someone who has lost faith in the goodness that Allah SWT has put in every human being. Thus on this journey I found myself not only accepting His (SWT) love through his creation but also without questioning the intent.
Were the people in the Syrian airport just good to me because I was this that or the other, is the line of thought that I would have followed in the past, reasoning out why everyone was so kind and caring towards me.
I am confident that nothing happens by chance, that Allah SWT made a special permit for me, transmitting it to my guardian angels that warded off all unpleasantness and attracted all the goodness in people who came in contact with me. I almost feel that they saw me with eyes that only saw goodness in me and they reflected it. What happened to all my shortcomings?

I firmly believe that on this trip, He (SWT) put blinders on everyone that hid all my defects. This was His (SWT) gift to me, not because I had done anything special, but just because I had asked with all sincerity and He (SWT) granted my wish.
Whenever I travel, I miss my children. Ever since Shireen was six months of age, I have taken my children on every professional meeting where I taught a class or presented a scientific paper, both national and international.
Initially my mother traveled with us, as Paul was an academician and could not leave work. When I was with her I took both children and I have many lovely memories of those times. Even though at times, I felt stressed in the performance of the three roles of doting mother, obedient daughter and efficent medical Professor, all within the same traveling period.
As the children got older and my mother also, I would alternate kids on my international trips, so Tariq and Shireen each went to sixteen to eighteen different countries where I taught medicine and they learnt to sit quietly with a chaperone during my lectures as I did not want them out of my sight.
As I alighted at the Damascus airport, I felt a little lost but not anxious. I had made but not finalized my plans with Sunshine. I had never seen him but knew him through his Aunt (my dear friend who was supposed to accompany me, but her plans fell through).
My husband had noted my trepidation at traveling without anyone to an Arab country with no knowledge of the language and the people.

Having spent so much time in the west, I felt I did not know how to behave in an Arab country. Stereotypes have a lot to do with preconceived notions. My exposure to Arabs was restricted to the few Europeanized Arabs I knew at home and what I saw on TV or read in the newspapers. Paul said “Don’t spend all your time in the hotel, get out and look at Syria”

I walked out of the Damascus airport looking for a young man who may perhaps be wearing jeans since he was an American. I did not find one.

At the Jeddah airport I had met another young women whom my guardian angels had ushered me to. She was calm, beautiful and very gently hospitable. At the Damascus airport when she saw me looking lost, she asked me for his phone number, called him, and handed the phone to me. After salaam, I asked him where he was? I looked around and saw a young man in jeans standing two arms length from me.
From then on Sunshine it was. His conversation and behavior was a genuine mix of traditional muslim hospitality and American candor. He had chosen a beautiful, reasonably priced local hotel for me which is patronized by Arab tourists. He gave me a very interesting tour of everything enroute from the airport to the Hotel and that was just the beginning. (This is the outdoor cafe of the hotel>)

The hotel in Damascus
Allah SWT was looking after me, not only physically but emotionally also, He (SWT) knew I would intensely miss my son and my daughter on this visit, so He (SWT) in all his mercy sent me Sunshine. With whom I laughed, walked, ate delicious though simple Syrian food and discovered the beautiful nuances of Damascus.


We stopped to pray at different mosques all over the city for each salaat as the day progressed, and I was amazed how salaat could be incorporated into daily life without a hitch.

I was delighted to note that every mosque that I prayed in, had an immaculately clean, generous space for women.

I was starting my visit to Syria with sunshine on my face and Sunshine with me. His keen intellect and youthful ebullience made discovering Damascus a joy ………..what more could I ask for?

When someone says in a moment of distress and despair “all I can do is pray” I would like to say to them and remind myself that “ I will always pray first, make detailed plans next and then thankfully fall in with the plans that He (SWT) unfolds for me”

I am eternally grateful, and deeply thankful to Allah SWT for sending me Sunshine and illuminating my visit to Syria.

Dedicated to OS (Sunshine): May Allah continue to guide him in his Deen, give him health, and happiness and give his parents and his Aunt (my friend) the privilege of sharing his many moments of joy.

Who is the “Sunshine” in your life?

5 thoughts on “SUNSHINE AND……….

  1. Pingback: MEDICAL MISSION TO SYRIA ….PART ONE « Siraat-e-Mustaqeem

  2. Ahhh—–Syrian Fatta.melts in your mouth, comfort food with a delicious taste, unfathomable and undescipherable like Syria itself. It is my favorite too and Labana in the morning with olives and syrian bread….O how I miss it!
    However, t is good for me to deny my nafs for now.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s