We are both climbing the mountain; he is on foot and I on the bus…….
He is pursued by assassins, I on a tour to seek the footsteps of the Beloved.
I can feel his breathing as he ascends the mountain road, stopping for a moment to assess the distance to the nearest town. I do the same. The rooftops of the town glisten in the morning sun, pristine in their whitewashed garb and in the midst of them a cylindrical green dome sits like an alien, just like him in an alien town far away from home.
He is fleeing his assassins and has nothing to help him except Allah and the duas of his grandfather in whom runs the blood of the family line of the Rasool pbuh. I on the other hand nothing to fear except the sheer drop from the edge of the road down into the valley and yet I know that nothing happens without the permission of Allah Subhanawataala and when it does, no one can stop it.
The cool air soothes his brow as if an affectionate hand has passed over his head fragrant with memories of his loved ones. He recalls what has been said: that when Prophet Muhammad pbuh touched the head of a child his hair remained fragrant………..and he the Prophet pbuh must have touched the head of his grandson Hasan many a time.
He reaches the outskirts of the village and seeks sanctuary; he neither speaks their language nor looks like them. I realize that we are both immigrants from different times in a land where no one speaks my language and does not look like me. Suddenly I am homesick for a home that has morphed far beyond my imagination into something I would not recognize today.
He too feels the stark difference and yet …………here is where there is a gap in my knowledge. He lives here for eight years and during this time, the locals not only accept him, they revere him. When he first arrives they hear his adhaan and want to know what it is? And as he teaches on demand the town slowly one by one embraces Islam, and he marries into one of them, (as do I).
There are so many parallels and yet I have not done an iota in the line of my faith compared to what he did.
He marries within the Berber tribes and a child is conceived but his assassins catch up with him. He receives a fragrance that turns out to be poison and he succumbs to it before he can experience the joy of becoming a father.
The town elders who are now all Muslims……….decide to wait and see when the baby is born, and take on the care of his widow. A boy is born and he is from the outset accepted as Moulay and taught the arts and crafts of faith and the spirituality that his father left behind.
I am reminded as the bus turns to stop at the town of Moulay Idriss I, that though we have a lot in common but I lack the essence and the energy that the spirituality of Islam gives to ones being.
I realize that he taught by being who he was and the people learned by example and within eight years the top of a mountain where the Berber tribes lived a pagan life had transformed to people whose faith was unshakable and istiqamah was their middle name.
He was Moulay Idriss from the lineage of Prophet Muhammad pbuh through his grandson Hasan RA, an immigrant seeking asylum in this mountain town, the people of which grew to revere him, to designate his son as the next Moulay of their tribes.
And I…….. just a humble girl from Pakistan, an immigrant to the west seeking to find………..a bit late, yet still struggling to seek His (Subhanawataala’s) favor (Rida).