We were never really allowed to be children for long………..for life dealt us all a hand that matured us fast and furiously. He the eldest, me the second youngest from the bottom, not much in common but through the years in the major milestones of my life he has been the hand that steadied the rocking boat consistently and yet I think unknowingly.
These three days were different… hard to put a finger on the specifics. The mornings were spent with tafseer of the Quran online. Breakfast on the porch listening to the Quran and tafseer to the lilt of the waves allowing the acceptance of the Naimah of Allah to soak into every cell of our being like sunlight.
The afternoons were spent walking on the beach returning when the sun was sinking into the water, gathering the last remnants of light and looking ahead instead of back.
As Maghrib approached I came to anticipate the close of the day with the melodious voice of my brother leading salah and closing with a dua for all.
Dinner was always sumptuous and healthy with all the naimah of Allah soaked in the spices of the Middle East.
Remembrance of Allah came in so many ways with the sun, the breeze, the light of the sinking sun, the intense dark cloak of the night, the sound of the waves prostrating in obedience untiringly, and the occasional golf ball that landed on the deck and thankfully not on our heads.
After dinner was movie time. I had brought several movies to watch most all of them about Islam or peace. We watched the entire history of Al Aqsa in the movie called “The Dome of the Rock” production of a Yale graduate, and for the first time in my life I truly understood the tragic fragmentation and scattering of Muslim lands and life and the wrenching of innocence and freedom from the Muslim Ummah, eighty years ago. We discussed the movie with the eye of a critic and were amazed at how much history was jammed into such a short time.
We also saw “One Peace at a time” which initially seemed to be an Oxfam advertisement but matured as time went on into a thoughtful commentary on the massive refugees of war, resulting homelessness and hunger and the wasteful habits of the west and their effect on the rest of the world. It also instigated some discussion but soon the cool ocean air, took over and the world of hunger and disease receded into the night Salah, reading and falling asleep to the sound of the waves.
Friday came and we left the island to go to the mosque on the mainland and after a very informative Khutba were witness to the burgeoning Nafs of some of the people present there. Why was Allah showing us this………….we kept thinking of it as we walked to the auctioneer’s block where human slaves were sold along with corn and molasses.
I thought of all of those human beings sold in nakedness at this slave market and wondered about today where we have a black President who behaves like a white boy. Regret assailed me and I thanked Allah that he made me neither black nor white and gave me the vision to see the fallacy of demeaning others for the color of their skin.
Dunch, which was a mix of lunch and dinner, was at a café owned by a Turkish man, silver had entered his hair since I had last been there with my children. His 99-year lease of the restaurant in one of the most expensive neighborhoods of the city allows him to sell delicious food at a very reasonable rate.
Walking down the street the smell of fresh pralines assails our nostrils and we could not or I should say I could not resist the call to a sugar rush and went in to try some. If you have ever eaten freshly made pralines while they are still warm it is an experience that your mouth will never forget.
Every woman’s weak point is “lady Godiva” the Lady who rode naked on the bareback of the horse covered only by her long tresses to save her husband from execution or so the legend goes. For some reason Lady Godiva, not only brings up visions for men but for some stupid reason we women think it is highly romantic…….. And have thus continued to fall for this silly but effective marketing. I too fell for it despite knowing better, we both bought Lady Godiva chocolates for our absent loved ones.
How many times I had walked this path with my mother while my children were young…………. It was such a pleasure still to remember them on this stroll without the attendant anxieties of a young mother. I remembered how much fun and patient my mother was and how enjoyable they were in her company. My brother reminisced that she seemed to have spent special time with each of her children and left indelible pleasant, and fond memories.
Driving back to the island we sat back with a feeling of a day well spent but ready to enter the realm of the waves, the breeze and the peace.
Three beautiful harmonious days on the island with my big brother.
It was as if we were children again, not a care in the world. As we entered the island all the past had been left on the mainland. All we had was the present moment to smile, reflect and thank Allah for all the naimah He continues to give us……… For once we were in sync and the ocean continued to give us music………..
May Allah bless my brother for as long as he lives. Ameen