PRADO……..

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When Allah says that on the Day of Judgment you will be presented with a hologram of your acts………… it does not seem farfetched at all to me as I sit on the top of the red City tour bus in Madrid…..

We are passing Prado, the famous museum and the gardens surrounding it. In my mind plays the hologram of Shireen, Tariq and I taking the bus to Prada and enjoying the unique museum starting with the outrageous and irreverent exhibit of Salvatore Dali and Tariq laughing at some of the weird and strange paintings. Us sitting outside and eating these mini vegetarian sandwiches called tapas, which leave you hungry for more and are horrendously expensive. Madrid then was a city where anything without Jamon (pork) is hard to find.

Nine years later there is a silent but steady revival of Islam going on in Spain. The young spaniard on the plane with me returning after mountain climbing in the US is searching for purity as was his mother who dabbled in Hinduism and kabbalah and so on…….the search is on and out of the grass roots of Spain, the Spaniards are rediscovering their Muslim roots or are learning about Islam anew to bring peace to their hearts in a chaotic world with no rope to hang on to.

As we walk down to board the red bus for the Madrid city tour we stop for coffee at a place with shwarma slowly grilling the meat. My friend asks the owner if it is halal and he says “si”. His eyes are sad, he is from Syria and the gash in his homeland is breaking his heart, which is spilling out of his eyes. He shaves the shwarma for us and for a moment I am not in Madrid but in the Souk Al Hamadiya in front of the Storytellers cafésitting on a bench eating the most delicious shwarma in the world. A world that has been rent apart and the people scattered as tattered shreds of a ripped garment.

Prado……..the museum, with so many beautiful memories of my children and of a time cherished with an innate knowledge that this time will never come again but never even imagining how permanent and indelible that truth is and remains for all time.

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