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كان يا ما كان
×
27 August 2022

كان يا ما كان في اغرب الأزمان:

حسناء تخشى الغرق و رحال يخشى الظمأ! و كانت الحسناء تطلب اليابسة و الرحال يطلب اليَمَّ! و أدمنت الحسناء الخوفَ و أدمن الرحال البحث! و ملَّت الحسناء البرد و ملَّ الرحال الحر!

و التقت حسناء الثلج برَحَّال النار، فتمنت ناره المُهلكه و تمنت له صقيعها المهلك!

فنادى مُنَادٍ:
رُبَّ حضن!
فتحيطه بثلجها و يحوزها بناره، و تستوعبه ببردها و يشملها بدفئه، و تضمه بقَرسِها و يَلُمُّها بحموه!

 

 

مثلك قليل
×
18 January 2022

 

يا عم،

خدمتُ لأكثر من ٣٠ سنة في مجال مهم و حساس و معقد، و أعي تماماً أنني من الكوادر النادرة و من فئة العيار الثقيل. فالكهرباء و الماء كالروح و الأنفاس لكل بيت و قصر و مصنع و مسجد و مستشفى و مدرسة و مطار و طريق.

أجل يا عم، أنا العملاق قبل أن أُقارن جهدك بجهدي، فأَجِدُني قزم صغير و ضئيل. فكل ما انجزتُه لا يساوي حياة أُمٍ إبتُليت بداء شديد، فسعيتَ لها ليشفيها الله و لتبقى هي تربي هذا الصغير و ذاك الرضيع و اليتيم.

و من بعدي يا عم، الكثير حملوا راية الكهرباء و الماء، فمن يحمل من بعدك راية المحروم و الفقير و المسكين و اليتيم و عابر سبيل؟

يا عم، مثلي كثير و مثلك قليل.

و يا حبي للكلام و الوعظ و يا حبك للاستماع للجميع. يا حبي للكتابة و يا حبك للقراءة. يا حبي للتنظير و التخطيط و يا حبك للعمل و التنفيذ. يا عم، ألم أقل لك بأن مثلي كثير و مثلك قليل؟

قل لي يا عم، من فينا الحي و من الميت؟ من فينا السعيد يا أبا سعيد؟ لمثلك ترخص الادمع يا عبد المغيث.

رحمك الله يا عم. أسأل الله لك الفردوس الأعلى من الجنة و الصبر لاهلك و الثبات عند السؤال و على الصراط. عظم الله اجر الجميع.

يا عم، إلى أن نلتقي، إبق جميلاً كما عهدتك ❤

رحل عمر و الأمر جلل
×
28 October 2021

 

رحل عمر و الأمر جلل!

الأمر جلل! فقد إفتقدتُ إبتسامة ثمينة هذا الصباح، و لمثلك تغيب الابتسامات يا عمر.

الأمر جلل! فسأفتقد الإستماع الى حوارك مع صاحبة الإبتسامة الجميلة، و ما أجمل تحاوركما يا عمر.

الأمر جلل! فقد سمعت ما خفي بين أسطر كلماتكما، و ما أجمل حبكما يا عمر.

الأمر جلل! فسأفتقد صوتك الذي كان يذكرني بأبا عبدالله، و يا لجلال صوتكما يا عمر.

الأمر جلل! فسأفتقد ملامحك التي كانت تذكرني بملامح أبو طلال، و ما أجمل ملامحكما يا عمر.

الأمر جلل! فلم أنسى موقفك بعد دفن أبا عبدالله، و ما أجملك و أنت تعمل بالسنة و تأمر بأن لا يُشرَفَ بقبره يا عمر.

الأمر جلل! فسأفتقد روحك الحُرَّة، فما أجمل إستقلالك يا عمر.

رحمك الله يا عمر. أسأل الله لك الفردوس الأعلى من الجنة و الصبر لنا جميعاً و الثبات عند السؤال و على الصراط

حبيبي عمر، إلى أن نلتقي، إبق جميلاً كما عهدتك

 

عمتي الحبيبه
×
7 August 2021

من جديد و قبل قليل، توقف الوقت حزيناً و جرى بي شريط الزمان رويداً رويداً للخلف، حيث الماضي الثمين. فقد لَفَظَت عزيزة قومٍ أنفاسها الأخيرة و توقف قلبها الكبير و نضب حبر قلمها بعد أن آن لها أن تكتب بقلم جديد لا ينضب حبره أبداً

وَدَّعَتنا الحنونه و رحلت الى حيث يستقبلها أبٌ و أمٌ و زوجٌ و أخٌ و أُختانِ و أُمي و جمعٌ غفير من الأحباب و الأصحاب و الصالحين و الملائكة و رب كريم.

تركت لنا كتابٌ كبير، سَطَّرته بجميل الكرم و حميد الخُلُق و الجود بصبر أيوب (عليه الصلاة و السلام) و التَصَدُّق بالمطلوب و المرغوب. كَفَّييت و وَفَّييت يا أم الجميع، فجزاك الله عنا خير الجزاء 

أسال الله أن يعاملكِ بإحسانه و يرحمكِ رحمة واسعة و أن يجعل قبرك روضة من رياض الجنة و أن يجمعنا في الفردوس الأعلى من الجنة.

عمتي الحبيبه، إلى أن نلتقي، إبقي جميلة كما عهدتكِ ❤

The Block Factory
×
18 June 2021

 

That’s my father, AbdulRazzaq Yousuf Alkhaja, may Allah bless his soul around 1965. He is standing in his block factory at Port Saeed area (near the clock tower) Dubai.

In front of him is a block machine, which was used to produce a single block at a time. The machine in the bottom is the source of the vibration used to strengthen the block while casting it. One person used to work on this machine, manually lowering and raising the block frame using the large handle on the left.

The machine was manufactured in Lebanon. He used to import and distribute them as well. 

Each block was casted on a wooden pallet (carpentered at site). A worker used to transfer the block on the pallet and lay them on the ground in an open area in the factory, to be watered and Sun-Dried for several days before being manually loaded piece by piece on to a truck, delivered to a construction site and manually unloaded one by one.

Most of the buildings constructed in Dubai and Sharjah from 1960s up to the early 1980s only used these blocks that were made of salty sea sand, yet they are still perfectly standing as of now.

Rashid Hospital, the Trade Centre and the Zabeel Palace in Dubai are three of many projects that used AbdulRazzaq Yousuf Al-Khaja’s blocks, as I remember my father proudly saying.

As the city of Dubai developed, the factory had to shift to the Cartoon area (near Manamah) and finally to Al Qusais area. Of course, with every shift, the factory improved, got larger and more automated. The last one in Al Qusais had its own Batching Plant, a Crane for moving material (sand & Concrete) and an Automatic Hatching Block machine that produced multiple blocks at a time. Of course, the Salty sea sand was also replaced with washed sand and the wooden pallet were replaced with a large, levelled and concreted floor. 

Sadly, and late 1980s, after 30 years of block production, my father had to close the factory as he couldn’t meet the new standards and regulations imposed by the Dubai Municipality. He kept disputing the new rigorous testing and packaging regulations imposed by the younger generation. In response to Dubai Municipality inspector’s question about the quality of the blocks, I remember my father sarcastically answering:

“Why don’t you check the quality of Rashid Hospital’s blocks made with salty sea sand? Go ahead and shoot those old blocks with a machine gun and you will know the quality of our blocks”!

I can’t end this article without mentioning the joy of playing with Bobby, the loyal dog that safeguarded the factory from Camels and Cattle that used to enter the factory and step over the soft blocks left to dry.

I can’t end this article without describing the joy of visiting the bakery shop near the factory (The Automatic Bakery). My father didn’t have to ask to know that my younger brother (Dr. Anwar) and I desperately desired the smell of their freshly baked breads and the taste of their delicious sandwiches.

Rest in peace father, your signature blocks are firmly standing all around Dubai.

May Allah bless the souls of those who worked in that block factory. Until we meet, stay beautiful as usual.

حبيبي حسين
×
15 June 2021

 

القلم ثقيل و يدي ترتجف لدقات قلبي و أنا أكتب المشهد الأخير من قصة حياة أخ لم تلده أمي

حسين علي كريم القوي الأمين، شخصيته الاستثنائية و قصته تكادا تطابقان شخصية حسين بن عاقول و قصته مع درب الزلق. فلكل حي و دير حسين، يَضحك ليُضحك الجميع و يدفن ثقل مسؤولياته و قلقه على مستقبل أهله و جيرانه في قرية كاريون الإيرانية

لقاؤنا الأول كان في بيتنا الجديد و في منطقة المطينه و أنا أبلغ الثالثة من عمري (سنة ١٩٦٩ تقريبا). كنت أنزل من السلم فوافيته على مدخل البيت و هو يبلغ من العمر ١٢ سنة تقريبا. فقد توفي والده رحمه الله، فإضطر حسين الأُمِّي و اليتيم أن يترك أغنامه في السهول و يهاجر الى دبي ليعمل خادماً و طباخاً فسائقاً و من ثم أخ لنا لم تلده أُمنا

كم هو مؤلم أن تترك أمك و أخواتك الصغار و أصدقائك و قريتك و أغنامك و ذكرياتك بحثا عن لقمة العيش الكريمه، و كم هو صعب أن تضطر لدفن طفولتك في لحظة لتكبر و تصبح رجلاً و مسؤولاً. يشهد الله أنه لم يقصر معهم، فأكرمه الله لاحقاً بأن تموت أمه في حضنه بسلام و هي راضية عنه. فهنيأً لك يا حسين رضا والديك

شرَّفنا حسين بأمانته و خدمته لأكثر من ٤٧ سنه، فأصبحنا نخدمه حباً و كرامه بعد أن إضطر الى الرحيل لأسباب صحية و بعد أن إضطر مجدداً أن يدفن شخصيته و يعيش غربة جديدة هناك بين أهله و أهل قريته. يشهد الله أنه لم يقصر معنا، فأكرمه الله لاحقاً برحيل أمي و أبي و هما راضيان عنه كل الرضا. فهنيأً لك يا حسين مجدداً رضا الوالدين

بعد التقاعد و رغم مرضه، إنشغل حسين في حفظ القرآن و توزيع نسخ منه بين أهل كاريون. كما إنشغل في جمع الأموال لشراء الأضاحي و توزيع لحومها على أهل قريته من الفقراء و المساكين

ترجل الفارس اليوم عن صهوة جواده على سرير المستشفى و في جسمه طعنات اليتم و المسؤولية المبكرة و الكد و الحاجة و الغربة عن عمر يناهز ٦٣. أراد القدر أن يعيش حسين غربتين، غربة البعد عن أهله في كاريون و غربة البعد عن أهله في دبي. و أراد القدر أن يدفن حسين ٣ مرات، مرة عندما قدم الى دبي و مرة عندما ترك دبي و مرة عندما إستدعاه الرحمن الرحيم. و أراد القدر أن يتيتم حسين مرتين، مرة لوفاة والديه في كاريون و مرة لوفاة والديه في دبي

كم هو محزن أن لا أتمكن من حضور جنازة أخ لم تلده أمي. كفاك غربة و يُتماً أيها القوي الأمين. أسأل الله أن يجعل قبرك روضة من رياض الجنة و أن يرزقك الفردوس الأعلى من الجنة و أسال الله أن يصبر أهلك و أن يصبرنا، و أسأل الله لك الثبات عند السؤال و على الصراط

حبيبي حسين (حسين الخاجة)، لن ننساك أبداً أيها الوفي و دبي ستفتقدك كثيرا و لمثلك ترخص الدموع. أحمد الله الذي رزقنا بنعمة صحبتك. و الى أن نلتقي، إبقَ جميلاً كما عهدتك

أبو طلال
×
13 June 2020

 

في الرابع عشر من مايو سنة 2007، سمعت أجمل ما قيل في مواساة أهل الميت، و قيلت لزوجتي في الدقائق الأولى بعد وفاة أخيها عبدالله رحمه الله

إذ بُلِّغنا أن حالة أبو طلال حرجة، فاصطحبت زوجتي الى المستشفى على عجالة. و أثناء قيادتي للسيارة أتتني مكالمه بَرقِيَّه لم تستمر إلا ثوانٍ قيل لي فيها أن عبدالله قد إنتقل الى رحمة الله بعد طول عناء مع الفشل الكلوي

إستَفسَرَت زوجتي عن المكالمة، فأجبتها انها من فؤاد يُبلغني أن حالة عبدالله حرجة. كانت التجربة جديدة علي، لذا كتمت الخبر عنها بينما أُقَلِّب جميع الخيارات في الدقائق الأخيرة قبل وصولي للمستشفى، فليس كُل ما يُعرَف يُقَال. كانت هادئة و شاردة بفكرها، ترتكز نظراتها الى الأمام و الى نقطة فيها رَجاءُها، كما التائهة في المحيط. كانت في حالة لا تُحسَد عليها

لم أَرضَ لها الصدمة أمام الناس، و بمجرد أن إنتهيت من صَفِّ السيارة، مسكت بيدها و هي تحاول أن تنزل مسرعة و قُلتُ لها: عبدالله إِرتاح. لن أنسى نظرتها العاجزة عندما حدَّقت بي و تساءلت: كيف؟. فأعدت كلامي لأنني لم أجد أخف منها: عبدالله إرتاح. بَكَت و هي تحدق في عيني، و كان ما بها من حزن أضعاف ما عليها لرحيل أخاها الأكبر

بل رحل كتلة من الحنان تعجز كلماتي عن وصفها في أسطر، و لن أبالغ إن شَهدت و إعترفت أنه كان يُعَلمني و يُأَدبني و يُحبني بنظرات عينيه و أنا أَبْ! كانت عَيناه مِرآتي الصادقة، تعكس باعجاز حقيقتي بِشفافية و دون الحاجة إلى الكلمات الجارحة. لذا، كانت نصائح عينيه تَخْتَرق ذاتي و تسكن قلبي قبل عقلي. رحل مُرَبي الكبار، و ما أحوجني اليه و قد بلغت ٥٣ 

مَشينا في الممرات و على جدرانها صفوف صامةٌ لوجوه أعرفها، الى أن إنتهينا الى الغرفة في العناية المركزه حيث كان يستلقى، رحمه الله، على سرير المستشفى. وَقَفَتْ عند قدميه و هي تنظر اليه بدهشه، فَدَنَت منها المُعلمة غيداء و تكلمت بحكمة و ثقة و إعجاز أهل العراق و هي مبتسمه لتُلقِي علينا درساً جديداً في موقف يَعجز أغلبنا فيه عن النطق بكلمة و هي تردد على زوجتي: أُنظري اليه حبيبتي، إنه نائم. رأيت بأم عيني أثر كلماتها الشافيه على زوجتي

صَدَقَت و الله، أراه ينام بسلام في روضة من رياض الجنة

أبو طلال، الى أن نلتقي، إِبقَ جميلاً كما عَهِدتُك 

إمام إسبرينغز
×
2 June 2020

هذه كلمات مسلم عاش من سنة 1985 في مدينة دينفر المسالمه بولاية كولورادوا الامريكيه، وسط شعب مسالم و في فترة زمنية مثاليه، حيث الكل متحدون و منشغلون في قتال الشيوعية من أفغانستان و التشيع الصفوي من العراق، و ما أحوجنا اليوم لعدو مشترك

و أنعم الله على مدينتنا بمسجدين، أحدهما مسجد جامع بإمام قائم حيث تقام صلاة الجمعه. و لم أدرك قدر تلك النعمه الى أن شاء القدر سنة 1987 أن أنتقل نقلة لطيفه الى مدينة كولورادوا إسبرينغز الساحرة و حيث حديقة الآلهه و الخالية من المساجد. و كان قد سبقنا اليها رَهط من الطيبين إتخذوا شقة أحدهم مُصَلَّى و أركان الحرم الجامعي و أرضها مسجداً و طَهورا. و بدأ الطيبون بالرحيل تدريجياً في غفلة منا و لم أدرك مجددا قدر النعمة الى أن دعاني آخر الطيبين الى العَشاء و العِشاء. و ما أحوجنا اليوم لاستبدال السياسيين بالطيبين

قال لي أخي السعودي المتزوج و السخي بعد أن أطعمني من ما لذَّ و طاب:

صالح : خالد، أنا راحل و أطلب منك أن تتعهد إخوانك المسلمين في المدينه

خالد: ماذا تقصد؟

صالح: باذن الله، سارجع الى السعودية بعد التخرج في نهاية هذا الفصل الدراسي و أتمنى أن تَؤُم بعدي إخوانك المسلمين كل جمعه

خالد: مستحيل. أنا لا أصلح و لا أعرف و لا أستطيع

صالح: أعرف أنك لا تصلح للامامه و لكنك أفضلهم. ان لم تَؤُمُّهم ستتحمل ذنب تعطيل صلاة الجمعه

يا الله!

وافقت أن أحمل الأمانة على مضض، إذ كنت من الأقلية التي تصلي و لكن في غير وقتها، و كنت في رمضان أصوم عن الطعام و الشراب لا المنكرات، و كنت لا أعي فن الخطابة و لا العلوم الشرعية. بل كانت لي سلوكيات الطالب المغترب و التي لا تتناسب بتاتا مع مقام الامامة، و هي القيادة بمصداقية. كالطفل، رماني صالح الهذال في البحر لأتعلم السباحة. الكل سعد بالخبر عدى مُحَدِّثكم، و لم أدرك حينها مجددا فضل تلك النعمة و التجربة القيادية. ما أحوجنا اليوم لصناعة القيادة بالغرق

عكفت الليالي استخلص العلوم من الاشرطة العلمية و أخطها في الاوراق لتكتمل الخطبة، و من ثم ألقيها على أصحابي كل جمعه. كانت المهمة شاقة و تتطلب الكثير من الاستماع الى المادة العلمية و من ثم اختيار ما أريد و كتابتها بعد صياغتها و اعادة الاستماع و هكذا، فالانترنيت ظهر بعد عقد من الزمن و لم نكن ننعم يومئذ بنعمة القص و اللصق. و كان نابغة الكهرباء أجهل الحضور، يصحح الكثير من قراءتي بصوت عال أثناء الخطبة و هو يوزع الابتسامات و النظرات الساخرة، في حين تجلت حكمة البقية و هم ينصتون الي بتواضع و كأن عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه يخطب بهم و ذلك تقديراً منهم لموقفي الصعب، و هذا ما قد يفسر تأثري اثناء الخطبة. ما أحوج الذكاء الى الحكمة

“يُؤْتِي الْحِكْمَةَ مَنْ يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَنْ يُؤْتَ الْحِكْمَةَ فَقَدْ أُوتِيَ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا ۗ وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّا أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ” البقرة 269

مرت الأيام و بدأت أتأقلم مع الوضع. كنت أخطب غالبا عن الأخلاق و السمات الاسلامية الحسنة و خاصة تلك التي يحتاج المغترب اليها، فكنت اضطر أن أبحث و أتعلم قبل أن أذكر غيري و كنت بذلك أول المستفيدين. و أَصقَلَت تجربة الإمامة صفاتي القيادية و نَمَّت فيني المصداقية، إذ جعلتني التزم أكثر بالأخلاقيات التي كنت أذكر بها غيري. بدأت أهتم اكثر باداء الصلوات في أوقاتها و الإمتناع عن المنكرات أثناء الصيام. و الأجمل أنني حضيت بمكانة متميزة بين أصحابي و احترامهم، فالإمامة شرف. ما أحوجنا للمصداقية

نَمَت الجالية المسلمة في مدينتنا، فاحتجنا و اشتقنا الى مسجد يُؤوِي كل الجنسيات و الطوائف و تقام فيه الصلوات الخمس. تَبَنَّى أخونا السوري رضوان الجلاد الفكرة و سعى فيها بالاستفادة من تجربة إخواننا في مدينة دنفر بعد التنسيق مع المسؤولين في سلطة مدينتا. القوانين كانت واضحه و تشترط أولا تأسيس جمعية اسلامية في كولورادوا إسبرينغز لتقوم هي لاحقا باستئجار أو شراء أو بناء مسجد. بحمد الله، أسسنا الجمعيه و إستأجرنا المسجد، و كنت أحد مؤسسيه و أول إمام يخطب فيه الجمعه في مصلين من شتى البلدان و الطوائف. ما أحوجنا أن نزرع البذرة و لا نستعجل الثمرة

تَرَاجَعت خطوة للخلف و سلمت راية الإمامة الى أخونا الاردني عزام، بعد أن شاء القدر أن تتحقق أمنية والدتي رحمها الله. فبعد لقائي بالرسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم في المنام، رغبت في دراسة الشريعه بتشجيع من أمي و رفض تام من قبل معظم الذكور في العائلة و على رأسهم شقيقها العزيز. و بالرغم من انتصار الذكور، ضلت الوالدة تناديني بالشيخ. نعم، سلمت الأمانة الى الأخ عزام بعد ان تبين لي تمكنه من الشريعه و رغبته في القيادة، فحمل عني مسؤولية ضخمه. ما أحوجنا لِسِلمِيَّة الإستلام و التسليم

جزى الله الإخوه صالح و رضوان و عزام خير الجزاء

و رحم الله والدَيَّ و والديكم

 

My First Girlfriend
×
30 May 2020

 

My first encounter with a young and beautiful American female was somewhere around 1986, a year after arriving in USA as an undergraduate student. I was not religious, but from a conservative family that did not approve friendships between opposite sex.  Neither being in a free society that blessed sex before marriage nor being thousands of kilometres away from my family’s eyes seemed to really matter. I was determined to respect our family’s values despite being a minority even among my own people and the difficulty to ignore so much beauty in the air. Trust me, it was not easy to hang around my own countrymen and hearing stories after stories of their eyesome girlfriends. Nevertheless, I remained to be known for resisting pleas or advances and to the idea of love through isolation. Back then, I successfully used social distancing to avoid love and anything else that lead to sex.

That night, a friend of mine invited me to dinner and I was supposed to be his only guest. He knew very well that I did not feel comfortable socializing with women.  He was busy cooking dinner for the two of us when the doorbell sounded, and he asked me to open it. When I did, I encountered a stunning blond girl who said “Hello” and helped herself right to the kitchen and kissed my friend. “This is Cindy” he said with a smile on his nervous face.  “You know I don’t do this!” I mumbled in Arabic and headed to the living room to continue watching cable TV, mostly movies or MTV and VH1 music channels.

Shortly, the blondie joined me, and I continued pretending to watch TV as if she did not exist. Truth is that her beauty was distracting but I was exceptionally good in hiding my instability. Suddenly she cracked open and started bombarding me with many questions that I enjoyed answering while looking at her pretty face until she dropped the tough ones:

She: Do you have a girlfriend? “No” I replied.

She: Do you go out (night clubs)? “No” I replied.

She: Then what do you do other than going to college? “I practice Taekwondo”.

By now, I knew I sounded very boring to her.  She carried on:

She: Are you a gay? “No” I replied.

She: Then why you don’t have a girlfriend? “Because I expect my wife to be a virgin. It won’t be fair if I don’t keep my virginity” I nervously replied.

She did not show any emotion listening to my strange answers and I don’t recall us talking much after that. I was kind of intrigued by her openness and deep inside wished to talk to her again, as there were a lot of questions for me to ask. Months later, the same friend took me to a shopping mall, where she happened to be working, but I didn’t know that until we entered a shop. The moment she saw me, she ran towards me and hugged me so tight as if we were buddies. It felt good. She kissed me on the cheeks and looked back and proudly told her shop mates:

She: This is the guy I told you about. The one who is saving his virginity for his wife?!

That day I learned that I wasn’t the only one who was exceptionally good in hiding my instability and shocks. It turned out that she was shocked and totally unbalanced hearing my answers to her questions. It was obvious that she admired my answers and position, despite the vast differences between our two cultures. She dreamed of someone treating her like that.

Cindy and I ended up being soulmates. She never felt safer with anyone else. In fact, she shared all her secrets with me, including the ones related to her mysterious relations with my countrymen. One day, a group of us were watching the American football in my friend’s apartment when she joined us. She didn’t hesitate to lay her head on my legs and watch the game. When her boyfriend asked her why she is not setting next to him, she replied:

She: Because Khalid is the only one among you all who smiles for me without expecting anything in return.

Decades later, I told my story to my American boss and he smiled and said: Girls are like that, they trust most those who don’t have sex with them.

Those days, we were reckless and didn’t care to know our American friend’s family names and addresses. All I know are the first names. That’s why, I have lost track of Cindy and couple of other girlfriends. Its hard for me to find them again, but wherever they are, I just wish that they are safe and happy.

So dear Cindy, Michael and Sandy, until we meet, stay beautiful as usual

Miss you all!

Selfless Love
×
8 February 2020

Where do I begin?

It started with her first “Hello” to Hemi, the two years old babe boy suffering from Cerebral palsy, with permanent movement disorders. She could see him stretching on the ground, unable to walk, set, eat or talk. Although he was totally dependent, yet he was smart and able to occupy hearts with his charming smile.

Abandoned by his parents, his poor grandmother was raising him in a humble nomad house somewhere in a rural area of Davao, Philippine. That’s where the guardian met the angel.

“Take him, please!” the grandmother helplessly offered him to Mira. Next day, unlike the vast majority of us, Mira informed her family that she has decided to be there for Hemi and they agreed! That was not a coincidence.

Like the puzzled Philipino judge handling the adoption process, I was stupid enough to ask her “Why Hemi?!”. Soon I felt ashamed, selfish and embarrassed when she selflessly responded “Because he deserves a chance!”. Such a simple and human answer left me speechless, shrinking and feeling dwarfly small. Again, that was not a coincidence.

She decided to be there for him as long as it takes, knowing that his hour glass couldn’t hold much sand. But she never imagined that his last smile and peace of sand would unceremoniously blossom and drop sooner than what she wished for.

 

When I saw her unusual 09:04 PM missed call, I thought I was prepared for the worst, until I heard her devastated voice repeating for the third time “Hemi died”. No, I wasn’t prepared for this soul burning and mind freezing news. What could a small person like me possibly say to a broken hearted mother?

When Hemi moved in to Mira’s life, he found abandoned love and care not only from Mira but also from her Perales family. In return, Hemi offered this selfless family a noble purpose of life.

It wasn’t a coincidence. Silent visits to the needy and the vulnerable in the Philippine embassy, hospitals and construction sites is a norm in this selfless family.

I know Mira since 2013, hence, I was not surprised when she confidently repeated “Hemi will talk and walk someday” or when she dreamed of him graduating with a university degree as achieved by some other CP victims. I genuinely believe she could have achieved these goals.

She has inherited the Perales determination from her father side and selflessness from her mother’s. This is where she sources her desire to seriously live a selfless and purposeful life. That’s when and where Hemi started his first ever professional nutritional, speech and physical therapies. In the centre, he was known as the “Handsome Congeniality” for being a happy little boy amongst other CP cases. Obviously, values are deeply seated in this family that I wish to meet someday.

 

From that first “Hello”, Mira abandoned her batchelor lifestyle and turned into a responsible mother, offering unconditional love.

Don’t get me wrong, Mira doesn’t drink or smoke, but what she abandoned was her batchelor dreams. Instead of travelling the world, she kept visiting Philippine, where Hemi was, each and every opportunity. She cut her expenses to support Hemi’s demanding medical needs. She was aware of the tiniest details related to Hemi’s daily life and progress. Non of these are coincidence.

When the working single mother had to be in UAE to earn for her son, the Perales were taking turns to look after Hemi and spoil him. Nevertheless, that never stopped Mira from daily skyping her Hemi and monitoring his condition remotely through the CCTV. She was always there for him. That was not a coincidence.

Inspite of being away most of the time, the fact that Hemi recognized and distinguished Mira as his Nanai (mother in Philippine dialect) and the fact that he cried like any other child whenever Mira disappeared from the Skype screen, are testimonies of Mira and Hemi’s selfless love. He knew she is there for him.

That’s Mira, a selfless human who can’t live without a challenging purpose. Not so many know this about her and I feel privileged to be among the very few.

Last Thursday, February the 6th, and after three beautiful years with the Perales, Hemi decided to move on. He found that other one and the only  who could offer him more care. He was taught to be brave and so he did when he smiled for the last time and closed his eyes to reopen them, healed and happy in the arms of his creator, the almighty God.

 

I can hear him telling the almighty how greaftul he is for choosing Mira and the Perales to love him. I can hear him echoing:

“Thank you Nanai. Thank you for being there for me. Guess what, I am finally cured! I can walk and talk now. So, stay beautiful as usual. To you I dedicate this song. I know you love me so much but I love you more!”:

Where do I begin?
To tell the story of how great a love can be.
The sweet love story that is older than the sea.
The simple truth about the love she brings to me.
Where do I start?

With her first “Hello”,
She gave new meaning to this empty world of mine.
There’d never be another love, another time.
She came into my life and made the living fine.
She fills my heart.

She fills my heart with very special things.
With angels’ songs, with wild imaginings.
She fills my soul with so much love.
That anywhere I go I’m never lonely.
With her around, who could be lonely.
I reach for her hand, it’s always there.

How long does it last?
Can love be measured by the hours in a day?
I have no answers now but this much I can say.
I know I’ll need her ’till the stars all burn away.
And she’ll be there.

https://youtu.be/7jEaIDqHl74

 

بَنُّوتَه
×
4 October 2019

انه الخميس، الثالث من اكتوبر سنة 2019

رَاَيتُكِ في المنام تُهدِينِي وردة. هو حلم قَصَّه اخٌ لاخته. سكتت زوجتي عن الحلم و كتمت تشاؤمها منه

اما انا، فكنت في بيت وَالِدَي، رحمهما الله، لحضور الإجتماع العائلي الاسبوعي. الاخَوَين تعذروا عن الحضور و اوكلا الى شرف ادارة المجلس. كانت الأجواء حميمية كعادتها الى ان دقت الساعة السادسه و ثمان و خمسون دقيقة مساءً و بعد أن تلقيت مكالمة كنت ارتقبها من سنين لينقل الى ابني خبر ثقيل “بنوته  ماتت”. لا يا ابني، بل مات جزء مني

رجعت الى البيت لادفن بنوته على عجالة. و العجيب انني كنت دائما في حيرة بشأن نخلتين عشوائيتين ظهرتا خلف البيت، و زال العجب عندما قررت ان اُدفن بنوته بينهما كاكثر الأماكن امنا. كما زال عجباً طال ١١ سنة، عندما استعملت ١٨ طوباً زادت من بناء البيت كي احوط بها قبرها.  كما قيل في المثل “إذا عُرِفَ السبب بطل العجب.” نامي بسلام يا ملاكي

 

قُدتُ سيارتي وحيداً راجعاً الى بيت والدي، رحمهما الله، لكي ادير الاجتماع الأسبوعي و عيناي تَنتَحِبَان حزنا

قررت ان اكتم الخبر عن الجَمْع. فلم اكن واثقا من ردة فعلهم إن بُحْتُ بما في قلبي و كنت اشك في تفهمهم لمشاعر انسان يحزن على موت قطة. وا اسفاه، اليست نَفْسَه؟! عزمت على كتمان الخبر و ادارة الامسية بابتسامة صفراء  مرسومة على وجهي الفارغ 

من المُدَمِّر ان يرحل احبابنا بلا مقدمات و دون ان يُتاح لنا فرصة للوداع. و من المحزن ان يكون السكوت بقلب غارق بالدم سبيلنا الوحيد للحزن

لن اشرح كيف تركت بنوته عالمنا، بل ساشرح كيف غيرت بنوته من عالمي

انضمت بنوته إلى اسرتنا قبل 5 سنين كهرة صغيره لتقضي ليلتها الاولى في المكتبه و بالتحديد على الكتب. و بعد بضع سنين، تاسفنا كثيرا لعدم تبنينا هرتين بدل الواحده. فبالرغم من مبالغتنا في العطاء، لم نستطع ان نملأ كيانها الفارغ من ونيس يحادثها، خاصة أن القطط السائبة لم تكن ترحب بالاليفة. نعم، سميتها بنوته فرحلت و هي بنوته

 

القطط صيادين مهرة بالغريزة. و لهذا، تجد في لعبهم شيء من الخشونه. لذا، اضطررت ان العب معها دور المنافس. كانت تعض يدي بانيابها و تخدشها بمخالبها و لكن بكل احتراف و دون ان تحدث لي اية أذى. كانت هذه اللعبة الخشنة طريقتنا الخاصة في ابراز حبنا العميق لبعضنا البعض. كانت تثق في قدراتها و تدعني انتصر دائما. آهٍ، سافتقد تلك اللعبة للأبد

 

قررنا ان لا نعبث في طبيعتها قدر الامكان و السماح لها بالخروج الى حديقة البيت. لم نُقَلِّم قط أظافرها، و عندما كبرت و اشتد عودها، تركناها تختار المبيت في الخارج. رغم الحرية التي تمتعت بها، سرعان ما استنتجت ان تبقى امنة في محيط بيتنا، و ليتها فعلت. و كلما سنحت لها الفرصة، كانت تستمتع بالنوم في سريرنا و بدفء جوارنا. سافتقد تلك اللحظات للأبد

 

كانت تاكل معنا و من طعامنا و كنت استمتع باطعامها من مائدتنا. كانت تعشق المارتيديلا الفاخرة و تشرب من حوض السباحة بكل مهارة. سافتقد تلك اللحظات للأبد

و بالأخص، سافتقد برنامجنا الصباحي. كانت تطلب مني ان افتح لها الباب ثم تنتظرني الى ان اخرج اليها حاملا غصن شجرة ناشفة. كانت تاخذني بجولة في بستانها و تحك براسها العصى كلما لامست الأرض. لم تكن مجرد نزهة، بل كانت رقصتنا اليومية. و كانت تستلقي على العشب لاقوم بتدليك اذنيها و المسح على جسمها. تَقَطَّعَ قلبي اليوم عندما تمشيت بالحديقة صباحا بِصُحبَةِ العصا و لكن بدون بنوته، و لكني ساستمر بالمشي احياء لذكراها

 

لم تترك بنوته اثرها في البستان فقط، بل غرست أثرها في قلبي القاسي و مَلَئَتهُ رقة و حنانا. سافتقد تلك اللحظات للأبد

 

يقول المثل الأجنبي “لا تقل ابداً ابداً”. اقول “اكيد ابداً”. لن املك قطة اخرى او اية بهيمه، فخسارتهم صعبة و اليمة. و لن يشارك بهيمه البستان مع بنوته، و ستضل البستان بستانها هي فقط و للأبد

لقد تحقق الحلم إذ رحلت بنوته عنا فجأة و ذبلت مبكرا كالوردة، و ليكون الراوي اول من يعزيني في مصابي. ما أجملك يا أبا عبدالله، يا اخٍ لم تلده أمي.  (ذَ ٰ⁠لِكَ تَأۡوِیلُ مَا لَمۡ تَسۡطِع عَّلَیۡهِ صَبۡرࣰا)

 

 

قالت لي انسانة راقية “عندما تموت الكائنات،  تتحول إلى نجوم تضيء السماء. فكلما انظر في النجوم، اعلم ان إحداها لعزيزة على قلبي. انظر في النجوم لترى بنوته”. نعم، سانظر و لكن الى القمر 

بنوته، حبيبتي ، الى ان نلتقي، كوني جميلة كما عهدتك

 

Banootah
×
4 October 2019

 

It’s Thursday October the 3rd, 2019.

“I dreamed you were giving me a flower” my brother in law told my wife. She decided to hide that dream.

I was at my parent’s for our weekly family gathering. Both of my brothers were busy and couldn’t attend, so I was tasked and honoured to host the event. It felt like another peaceful family day until 1858 hrs, when I recieved a long expected phone call from my son informing me that “Banootah is dead”. That’s when part of me died

I rushed back home to offer her a speedy burial. I never understood why there were two wild palms trees behind my house until I decided to safely bury Banootah between them. I never understood the purpose of 18 interlocking blocks stored ever since we build the house until I used them to mark her grave. I named her Banootah (little girl) and she died as a little girl.  Rest in peace my angel.

Sobbing in grief, I drove back alone to my parent’s place to lead the family gathering.

My instincts told me to hide the event from the rest. I wasn’t sure I would receive a proper reaction if I didn’t. I wasn’t sure I was permitted to grief over a cat. Alas, isn’t she a soul?! So I kept quiet while leading the gathering with a yellow smile covering my blank face.

It’s devastating when our loved ones leave unceremoniously, denying us a simple goodbye. It’s so sad when tying our mouth with a heart drowned in blood, is the only way to grief.

I am not going to share how Banootah left our world. Instead, I will share with you how she changed my world.

 

5 years back is when the angel joined our family as an adorable kitten. She spent her first night in the book shelf and above the books. Years later, we realized we should have got a couple. No matter how much we spoil them, fact is that we can’t be another cat. Single pet cats don’t feel complete without one of their own and they are not welcomed by other stray cats.

 

 

Cats are hunters by nature. That’s why they like to play rough. In absence of another cat, that is what I did. She gently scratched and bit but occasionally got serious. Yet, she was able to turn gentle in a second. That was our special way of saying “I love you” to eachother. She was confident and always let me win. I will miss it forever.

 

We decided not to tamper much with her world and let her enjoy our backyard. When she was strong enough, we even let her decide where to spend the night. Soon she learned she better remaine within our compound for her own safety. Alas, if only she did. Whenever allowed, she loved sleeping in our bed feeling our warmth. I will miss that forever.

She used to dine with us. I loved feeding her over the dining table. She loved eating mortadella and majestically drinking from the swimming pool. I will miss that forever.

Mostly, I will miss our morning walk. She would ask me to let her out and then wait outside the door for me. I would then take a stick that she loved and begin walking together in her garden, with her leading me and repeatedly rubbing her face to the stick everytime it hit the ground. It was more like our morning dance than just a walk. She would then stretch on the grass and expect me to massage her ears and scratch her body. It was absolutely heart breaking to walk this morning with the stick but without Banootah, yet I will continue to do so in her memory.

 

 

Banootah didn’t just leave her finger prints in my garden, in reality she also left her soft marks in my hard heart.  I will miss that forever.

 

 

They say “Never say never again”. Well, I say “Definitely never again”. I am not going to get another cat or any other pet. Losing them is too hard and heartbreaking. Plus, our backyard won’t be shared with any other. It will be reserved forever for Banootah and only for Banootah.

 

 

As in my brother in law’s dream, just like a flower, Banootah surprised us yesterday and withered so soon. Just as in the dream, my brother in law was the first and the last that night to condole me for my loss. “That is the interpretation of that about which you could not have patience.” Quran 18:82

 

 

A beautiful soul told me “Every living on earth that dies turn to be a star ⭐️ in the sky that gives us light in the night… so every time I look up and I see a star , I know one of those stars are my loved ones. So think about the star whenever you see in the sky”. So, I will look up but to the moon

Banootah, darling, until we meet, stay beautiful as usual.

 

Salam India
×
11 September 2019

I dedicate this diary to the soul of  my beloved friend and mentor Mr. Ayloor Narayan and his family. Bless you

 

My only trip to India was a two days business mission sometime in 1997 or 1998. Together with my Scottish colleague, we landed in Chennai (Midras) international airport.

The moment I stepped out of the airplane, I realised I’m dealing with a great nation. I was overwhelmed with the site of crowded humen line of obviously very poor, majestically transporting buckets full of concrete on their heads from a small batching plant to a small building under construction. There were many females among those hardworking people. I felt so sad for them, yet immensely proud of them. A country with such a workforce could move mountains, if they so desired.

My father used to live in India as a business man. I remembered him once silencing a fool who was making fun of the Indian government. “If the Indian government provides only 1 bread a day to each Indian, that’s more than a billion bread a day. That’s not a joke” said my father with a very serious tone, may Allah bless his soul.

Although I was warned about the corruption among the officials in the airport, I didn’t encounter any. I still remember though, the smiling face of an elderly custom duty officer hidden behind his two ‘Namaste’ hands.

During the drive from the airport to the office, I couldn’t help noticing how pale the city looked. I couldn’t see any greenery. But I did notice people on the road sides showing respect to so many small temples, rather idols, spreaded all over the city.

In response to my question, the driver showed me the VIP part of the the city and their biggest shopping center or the mall. My ignorance couldn’t stop me from being so shocked. Both the VIP area and the mall were pale and the later was nothing but a small building. “Where are those beautiful gardens, forests, rivers and flowers I usually see in my favorite Indian movies?” I whispered to myself. Chennai wasn’t the India I had imagined. Obviously, I was culturally shocked.

Ayloor Narayan, once described his shock following a visit to a poorly managed power station by saying “only God could miraculously run such a station. God must exist”. Similarly, I say anyone who experiences the Indian traffic will believe in God. The traffic and driving were scary. I could never drive there. Having said that, I was impressed with their traffic lights that counted down the time the signal remained green, a smart and safe feature that we still don’t have in Dubai.

We started the planned afternoon meeting in well equipped, yet humble offices, when I suddenly heard drumming sounds in the street. I was shocked when I learned that mourners drummed while escorting their dead to the grave yard, or better the burning yard. Hindus burn bodies of their dead.

I can not forget the shock and the concern on my host’s face when I innocently asked if I could watch this ceremony. My host approved it reluctantly and cautioned me not to provoke the mourners. In a quick glance, I noticed a body placed on a humble cart pulled by some animal, while only few of the followers played on the drums. To this date, I don’t know how I could have possibly provoked those mourners? Was my host worried that I could dance to the tone of the death drums? Or was it because I was a foreigner and a Muslim? Or probably he was worried that I repeat a provocative thing that one of his previous guests might have said or done?

In fact, foreigners to any land could unconsciously be very provocative and insulting. Like when I was visiting a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. This particular temple had 1000 Buddha idols in a single hall. In response to a question, the tour guide explained that monks would gather once a year to gently brush dust off the sacred idols. At that point a tourist among the crowd turned to her husband and said “Now I know why you don’t clean your car, it must be sacred”. I admit that the joke was really funny but it was definitely provocative and insulting to the Buddhists among us. The Buddhist tour guide wisely ignored them and proceeded with the tour.

At the door step of our dinner restaurant, we were each greeted with a flower chain put around our necks. That chain was originally placed around a huge idol positioned at the entrance of the restaurant. Although this tradition collided with my monotheistic Islamic faith , I decided to be a good guest and get along with my host’s culture.

Indian cuisine is one of the best internationally, if not the best. I loved the food until I woke up 3 am in the Sheraton hotel. I felt discomfort in my stomach, which gradually developed into a lose-motion followed by high temperature and vomiting. The receptionist arranged a doctor who checked and then asked “Is this your first visit to India?”. I responded “this is my first night in India”. The doctor smiled and said “welcome to India. Don’t worry, your immuned now. Next visit you will be just fine. For the time being, only drink bottled water and eat from the hotel”.

I stayed all day in bed, while my healthy Scottish colleague was completing our planned assignment. My condition worsened when I learned that there were two Sheraton hotels in Chennai and we weren’t staying in the best of the two.

So India, until we meet again, stay beautiful as usual.

 

سَلِمَتْ يَدَاك
×
22 July 2019

كنت في الصف الثالث الإعدادي عندما رتَّبَت لنا إدارة المدرسة رحلة مدرسية برفقة مدرسين اثنين . كنت اعشق تلك الرحلات و السعادة كانت تسبب لي نشوة يصعب التحكم بها . نشوة دفعتني هنا بالتحديد الى تحفيز أحد المعلمين في الباص ليهديني درسا خصوصيا عمليا و مؤثر جدا

كنت اجلس خلف المدرس مباشرة و غترته متدلية امامي. كان المنظر مغريا فقمت بسحب غترة الأستاذ للاسفل. شعرت بالعظمة و الأستاذ يضبط غترته في حين يضحك زملائي.  لم اتمالك نفسي و شعرت برغبة الى المزيد من الشهرة فقمت مجددا بسحب الغترة، الا ان النتيجة اتت مغايرة هذه المرة. فلم يلبث ان قام المدرس من كرسيه و التفت الي ليسطر كَفَّا آشوريا على وجهي و كف سامرائيا على وجه زميلي المبتسم و هو يزئر قائلا

“انا عراقي مب مصري”

كان الكف بمثابة درس خصوصي مؤثر في نقل تظاريس العراق و تاريخه القديم و الحديث من يده البابليه إلى ما تبقى من مخي المهروس.  و كان الكف أيضا درسا فعالا في صراع الحضارات، فلن أنسى ابدا الدهشة التي ارتسمت على وجه الأستاذ الثاني معنا في الباص و هو من جمهورية مصر العربية الشقيقة

أدركت يومها، اذا كانت العملية التعليمية تهدف الى نقل العلوم من جيل إلى جيل بطرق مختلفة، منها الشفاهيه و الكتابيه و العمليه فخبرتي الشخصية تاكد هنا ان الطرق العمليه اكثرها تأثيرا

صباح الخير
×
22 July 2019

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته 

أصبحنا و أصبح الملك لله

(رَّبِّ ٱرۡحَمۡهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّیَانِی صَغِیرࣰا)

اللهم أرزقنا أعين ترى أجمل ما فى الناس .. وقلوباً تسامحهم وعقولاً تنسى إساءتهم .. وروحاً لا تفقد الإيمان بك

شكرا لمن التمس لنا العذر قبل أن نعتذر ، ولمن قدّر أوضاعنا قبل أن نشرحها ، ولمن أحبنا في الله رغم عيُوبنا ، وعفا الله عنا وعن من آذانا وقال فينا ما ليس فينا

لا تبحث عن قيمتك في أعين الناس. إبحث عنها في ضميرك. فإذا ارتاح الضمير، ارتفع المقام

لا تضرك تفسيرات الآخرين تجاه تصرفاتك ، لو أشتهوا جمّلوها ، ولو أشتهوا قبّحوها ، أعمل كل شئ لوجه الله تعالى

و عين الرضا عن كل عيب كليلة

و لكن عين السخط تبدي المساويا

ان الله في عون العبد ما دام العبد في عون اخيه

اللهم إني أعوذ بك من جهد البلاء و درك الشقاء و سوء القضاء و شماتة الأعداء

أرجو الله لكم سكينة الروح، ونور العقل، وصحة الجسد، وصفاء القلب، وسلامة الفكر و دعوة أم، و ظهر اب ووجود أخ، وضحكة ابن، واهتمام صديق، ودعوة محب في الله

ما أصابنا لم يكن ليخطئنا

و ما أخطأنا لم يكن ليصيبنا

اللهم جنبنا السقوط للأسفل و للأعلى

صباح الخير يا الطيبين

Whoever and Wherever
×
13 July 2019

My first international flight was on October 14th 1985, bound for Washington DC together with 12 other young UAE nationals’ scholarship students. We met for the first time at the Dubai airport to take a Gulf Air flight to Paris.

Soon after I was seated, I started exercising my freedom by lighting a cigarette, when I heard a serious voice saying “it’s a nonsmoking section” with his white finger pointing to the “No Smoking” sign right in front of me. I was so embarrassed, as only a fool could miss such a sign. I almost apologized to my cigarette as I was quickly putting it off.

After takeoff, I came to know through the enemy next to me that there is a smoking section on the plane. Soon I learned to never sit in that section as it smelled so horrible, even to a mad smoker. I was the smoker who always sat in the nonsmoking section.

Copying the enemy, I plugged in my air-phones but couldn’t hear anything. All my struggles went in vane until I lost my mind and punched my seat’s arm. Suddenly, a classical music played in my ears. I punched and the channel changed again. I was happy for the success while cursing the rubbish design. My cunning nonsmoking neighbor kept watching me embarrassing myself until we landed in Paris.

I cannot imagine the shock on the flight attendant’s faces as they waived us “Goodbye” and watching few of us getting off with the Gulf Air blankets on shoulders. Luckily, I was not one of those innocent students.

During our 6 hours transit, those Gulf Air blankets looked better than precious Persian carpets, as 12 of us played cards in a Charles De Gaulle Air Port corridor. The 13th student was an Emirati female, settings quietly in our sight. Our patriotism suddenly flourished, so we sent her an ambassador offering her help and he returned delivering her appreciation. But while boarding the TWA, we realized it was us who desperately needed her as we heard her chatting with the airport staff, when we could not say even 2 words in English.

The UAE embassy hosted us for couple of nights to finalize our paper works and introduce us to our Academic Advisers. My adviser was Mrs. Nadine Salman, my Allah bless her soul. Then we split and departed to different states. I still know those who ended up in Colorado, but the rest I don’t even recall their names.

May Allah bless you my friends, whoever and wherever you are.

Dedicated with Love.

 


What A Day
×
13 July 2019

It is a true story.

Between 1985 to 1990, I was attending university in Colorado, USA.

Initially and before I unconsciously fall in love with USA, I used to spend my long breaks back in Dubai with family, which obviously required travelling back and forth. Travelling is a great experience. There were no direct flights those days and I had to transit twice, once in Europe and once in USA. Air crafts were smaller, seats were uncomfortable and the travel used to take more than 28 hours.

It was 1988 and I was on my way to USA. I transited several hours in a famous European airport. I was settings alone among thousands of travelers waiting for my next flight when I cited a dark haired European man among the crowd pulling two large suitcases. Surprisingly, the stranger came straight to me and after greeting asked “would you please look after my suitcases for a short time?”. I accepted!!! He disappeared in the crowd leaving me starring at the two suitcases.

“What if there is a bomb in these suitcases dummy?” I told to myself. There was a huge and rounded column near the place. It felt safer as I stood behind it while watching the suitcases. “At least it won’t blow in my face” I  said to myself.

I was immensely relieved when I spotted him coming back. I quickly returned to my seat pretending I  was perfectly OK. He thanked me and sat next to me!!.

He introduced himself as a rich Jew and a leather businessman making good quality leather jackets . He took a magazine out of his suitcase and showed me a two full pages of an article about him and his successful business.

He then took out a bundle of cheques and started signing their back in order to deposit them. He was very tired of doing that. I learned that similar cheques requiring signature were all that he had in his two suitcases. That’s a lot of money.

In response to his question, I told him I was a student on my way to USA. Surprisingly, he turned out being on my flight to New York, except that I was heading to Colorado while he was heading to Arizona.

He told me that in his business a lot of leather was being wasted during the manufacturing process. He was ready to offer a generous amount to anyone who comes up with a smart idea that would make use of the wasted leather. I offered couple of ideas that were coldly rejected. He then asked me if I had a girlfriend. I told him that I didn’t. I  had to also assure him that I was neither gay nor religious. I was just a guy from a conservative family.

He then surprised me and told me that his wife is cheating him and probably having sex with her lover right now. I was shocked to hear that. “Why would he share such a private topic with me, a total stranger?!!! Why would a Jew open up to an Arab for God’s sake ?!!!”

I was somehow stuck with him. He was leading the discussions and the situation. We checked in together. After passing the immigration, we passed by the duty free shops where a lady in her 30s was standing and encouraging travelers to visit the duty free shops. He started talking to her. She recognized him immediately. She expressed her interest in his leather products that she couldn’t afford. He took out a peace of paper and wrote an amount on it before handing it to her. He told her that using the card, she could pic any product from any of his stores for that amount free of charge. The lady was so happy.

Then he told her “this is my partner Khalid from UAE , he is a multi millionaire”. I was shocked but couldn’t help playing along. The lady assured me that I won’t regret this partnership. As we walked away from the duty free lady I asked him “Why did you lie to her? We are not partners and I am not a millionaire!!!”. “To her you are a multi millionaire because I said so” He replied. I asked him not to lie and not to put me in a similar situation again. He agreed .

Then he asked me if I found the lady beautiful? I replied positively. Then he said “next time you travel through this city, let me know and I will show you around the city in one day. When you go to your hotel room , she will be waiting for you!!”. “I told you I don’t go out with women”, l said. He tried very hard to convince me. I liked the fantasy but was scared of the reality.

We sat near the gate. A young girl was seated near us , with her ears plugged enjoying the music played by her Walkman. “Go talk to her” my Jewish companion told me. “I told you I  don’t do that stuff!!” I replied. “Talk to her or I will ” He said. “Go for it. I care less” I replied.

He walked to her and started talking and introducing himself. She didn’t seem as excited as the duty free lady. “That’s my friend and he is shy to talk to you!” He told her while pointing at me. “Well his people are definitely not so shy!” She replied to him. Their conversation was enough to embarrass me to the melting point. “No wonder why she is so beautiful, the city she is from is famous for wining most of the beauty queen contests” He said. He continued trying to push me to talk to her but miserably failed.

He then came to know from her that a building in a prime area is offered for sale. He demonstrated his power for the last time by using a public phone. He came back after a while to announce “I bought the building”.

We then boarded the plan heading to New York. Luckily we were seated in two different sections and I didn’t see him again.

What do you get out of this true story? How do you explain all these coincidents?

Thank You Khalid
×
13 July 2019

 

Early 1970s, my kindergarten decided to take us on a school trip to Dubai zoo. We got onto a small minibus with our Arabic female teacher.

She played a song for us on her portable tape recorder. I knew neither the song nor the singer. I didn’t understand the lyrics but l really liked the music. The rhythm touched my childish heart so deep and it continued touching me as I grew up. I never heard that song again and I never talked about it to anyone until 1985.

I was a fresh English language student in United states. I was enjoying my break time in the Arapahoe Community college at Denver, Colorado’s cafeteria together with couple of students. One of them was an adorable half Egyptian and half Libyan also named Khalid.

Khalid was crazy about Arabic music and songs. He knew them all. He also got famous for being suspicious of terrorism. Those days Libya and USA relations were bad and one night he was arrested with other Libyans during an ambush. He reappeared after few weeks of absence with the usual smile on his face. USA officials had concluded that he had no links to terrorism so they set him free. Since his photo was released by media as a possible terrorist, he sued the government and won millions in compensation. Funny, his life changed for the better thereafter.

Anyway, l suddenly remembered my song and told Khalid about it. He asked me to play the music with my mouth. The moment I did he screamed “It’s El-Albe-Yaashaq-Kule-Ghameel for Um-Kolthoom. You can find it in the Arabian Grocery shop”.

I was shocked. I went mad. Is it possible that l am going to hear that same song again, for the second time in my life? I couldn’t wait any longer. I was absent minded, so I decided to skip class and go to the Arabic Grocery shop right away. I had been there several time and I knew where cassette tapes were being kept in the shop. Anxiously, I was searching through the cassettes. It didn’t take much efforts to find it.

My heart was pumping when I got into my car and played the cassette. It was the right song. The music started and took me back many years. Unconsciously, I started crying. They were tears of joy. Who could have thought I will find my favorite Arabic song in USA?

I don’t know what happened to my friend Khalid but wherever he is I hope he is happy and his beautiful smile is bringing joy to his family’s hearts as it did to mine.

Love you Khalid

To Flowers and Bulbuls
×
10 July 2019

 

 

Seven months ago, I lost my father. Today, I lost my mother too. In spite of the experience, it feels horrible and worst. But that’s life and it’s fair.

I feel very sad. I miss her smiling and telling me “Your a flower and a Bulbul”. Even ICU conditions didn’t stop her from saying it repeatedly. I always looked her in the eye and responded “I am the son of a flower and a Bulbul”. It’s very sad that I can no longer hear her say that and respond to her. It’s so sad to loose the soul that made me feel good about myself. But that’s life and it’s fair.

Mostly, I feel lonely and nervous. I know we all need God’s blessings to survive challenges of life. We use many channels to communicate with God and seek his blessings. Parents are our two most fastest channels to God. November 19th I lost one of the two channels and today I lost the second. Now I am 53 and all alone with God. But that’s life and it’s fair.

She was an excellent role model and generous by all means. She was generous in being down to earth, sacrificial, loving the poor, happy, patient, kind, optimistic, elegant, thankful, organized, polite, caring, hard worker, best cook, social, sincere, wise, beautiful, loyal, so clean and a good Muslim.

Don’t blame my eyes if they rain tears. It’s enough to tell you about her eating plain rice and dividing all the meat among us. We are no longer kids and understand now what she did for us.

May Allah bless her soul and reward her Jannaht AlFirdows together with other flowers and Bulbuls.

So dear mother and father, until we meet, stay beautiful as usual. Your my flower and Bulbul. I love you both. I am proud of you both.

To Allah we belong and to him we return.

“My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.” Quran 17:24

“And Paradise will be brought near to the righteous, not far, [It will be said], “This is what you were promised – for every returner [to Allah ] and keeper [of His covenant]. Who feared the Most Merciful unseen and came with a heart returning [in repentance]. Enter it in peace. This is the Day of Eternity. They will have whatever they wish therein, and with Us is more.” Quran 50:31 to 35.

 

June 27, 2019

الى الورد و البلبل
×
10 July 2019

مضت ٧ شهور على وفاة والدي و بالامس توفت امي ايضا. الخبرة لا تسعفني و التجربة مريرة و اشد. لكنها سنة الحياة و هي عادلة

اشعر بحزن عميق. كانت تبتسم لي و تردد “انت الوردة و انت البلبل”. حتى تعقيدات وحدة العناية المركزة لم تمنعها عن تكرار تلك الجملة. و كنت انظر في عيناها الهادئتين و ارد عليها بلا مللٍ قائلا ” انما انا ابن الوردة و ابن البُلبُله”. من المحزن أنني لم أعد استطيع الاستماع الى تلك الجملة و الرد عليها. و من المحزن أن افقد روحا كانت تحسسني بالجمال و الأهمية. ولكنها سنة الحياة و هي عادلة

و الأشد، انني بدأت احس بالوحدة و القلق. إنني ضعيف و كغيري بحاجة الى رضى الله و معونته للتعامل مع تحديات الحياة. إننا نعتمد على قنوات مختلفة للإتصال مع الله لطلب الرضى و المعونة. و دعوات الوالدين لنا من أهم و أسرع و أقوى القنوات التي توصلنا برضى الله و معونته. في ١٩ نوفمبر فقدت احدى تلك القنوات و اليوم فقدت الثانية. لاول مرة، بِتُّ اشعر بالوحدة مع الله و انا في ٥٣ من عمري. لكنها سنة الحياة و هي عادلة

كانت امي بحق قدوة حسنة و كريمة بمعنى الكلمة. برز سخاؤها في تضحياتها، تواضعها، حبها للفقراء، سعادتها، صبرها، شكرها للنعم، طيبتها، ايجابيتها، اناقتها، تنظيمها، ادبها، اهتمامها، اجتهادها في العمل، طيب طعامها، صداقاتها، امانتها، حكمتها، جمالها، وفائها، شدة نظافتها و تَديُنِهَا

لا تَلُمني إن جادت عيناي بالبكاء. يكفي أن اذكر كيف كانت تتقاسم اللحم بين صغارها و تكتفي هي بالرُّز. لم نعد صغارا وأصبحنا ندرك صنيعها معنا

اسال الله لها الرحمة و الفردوس الاعلى من الجنة مع بقية الورود و البلابل

أبي و امي، الى ان نلتقي، إبقَيَا جميلين كما عَهِدْتُكُمَا. انتما الوَردُ و البُلبٌل. احبكما و افخر بكما

إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون

( رَّبِّ ٱرۡحَمۡهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّیَانِی صَغِیرࣰا)

(وَأُزۡلِفَتِ ٱلۡجَنَّةُ لِلۡمُتَّقِینَ غَیۡرَ بَعِیدٍ ۝ هَذَا مَا تُوعَدُونَ لِكُلِّ أَوَّابٍ حَفِیظࣲ ۝ مَّنۡ خَشِیَ ٱلرَّحۡمَنَ بِٱلۡغَیۡبِ وَجَاۤءَ بِقَلۡبࣲ مُّنِیبٍ ۝ ٱدۡخُلُوهَا بِسَلَامࣲۖ ذَ ٰ⁠لِكَ یَوۡمُ ٱلۡخُلُودِ ۝ لَهُم مَّا یَشَاۤءُونَ فِیهَا وَلَدَیۡنَا مَزِیدࣱ)

28 June, 2019

ABOUT BU RASHID
×
10 July 2019

 

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid (Bu Rashid) is a name that many correctly associate with an advanced oasis called Dubai. Bu Rashid was born in July 15th 1949 to miraculously introduce a forgotten spot of the harsh Arabian desert to the entire world as the “THE COUNTRY OF CHOICE”.

To many, the name “Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid” means mega projects such as the Palm, Burj Khalifa, Emirates Airlines, dnata, Dubai World, Expo 2020, horse racing, mission to Mars … etc. But as an Emirati and being from the city of Dubai, l see him differently. The above mega projects can’t fairly describe him.

In anticipation for July 15th, his birthday, I couldn’t find a better occasion to open my 53 years old heart and humbly share with you his real and core achievements from my prospective, so help me God:

1- I was a student in United states from 1985 to 1990. To me, the most difficult question those years was “where are you from?”. You can’t imagine how difficult it was to answer this simple question. I felt I was no one and from no where. 20 years later, I was astonished when I landed in United states in 2010 to find out that I was a celebrity just because I am from Dubai. I was no longer a “no one” or from “no where”. I realized I am now from the “COUNTRY OF CHOICE” for so many worldwide. This means a lot to me and the credit goes to Bu Rashid.

2- UAE’s National day was another ordinary day off for me as an Emirati until Bu Rashid marched it with us and placed his finger print on a UAE map. Ever since, I feel belonging to the bigger home called UAE. This means a lot to me and the credit goes to Bu Rashid.

3- Our dress code in UAE was simply white with a strip of black. We were a color blind nation until one day Bu Rashid appeared in a blue Kandorah. Ever since, we have become a colorful nation. Bu Rashid brought color to our lives. This means a lot to me and the credit goes to Bu Rashid.

4- I was ashamed of our services and scared of being in any queue until “Dubai Government Excellence Program” was introduced by Bu Rashid in late 1990s. Today our services are either the best or among the best worldwide. Today, I feel at peace being in any queue and feel proud of our ever improving services. Our standard of acceptance has been lifted and our appreciation for the “CULTURE OF QUALITY” has improved dramatically. This means a lot to me and the credit goes to Bu Rashid.

5- Bu Rashid taught us to remain humble and wish the best for others. We enjoy celebrating achievements of others. We love to see others happy. This means a lot to me and the credit goes to Bu Rashid.

We know that Bu Rashid is neither God nor a prophet. He is simply a human being like all of us. He is certainly not perfect. But we know that he is many light years ahead of us. What makes us special is that we know our leaders are the best of us.

I pray to Allah to grant him and his loved ones the best of this life and the life after

Stay beautiful as usual

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كان يا ما كان
27 August 2022

كان يا ما كان في اغرب الأزمان:

حسناء تخشى الغرق و رحال يخشى الظمأ! و كانت الحسناء تطلب اليابسة و الرحال يطلب اليَمَّ! و أدمنت الحسناء الخوفَ و أدمن الرحال البحث! و ملَّت الحسناء البرد و ملَّ الرحال الحر!

و التقت حسناء الثلج برَحَّال النار، فتمنت ناره المُهلكه و تمنت له صقيعها المهلك!

فنادى مُنَادٍ:
رُبَّ حضن!
فتحيطه بثلجها و يحوزها بناره، و تستوعبه ببردها و يشملها بدفئه، و تضمه بقَرسِها و يَلُمُّها بحموه!

 

 

مثلك قليل
18 January 2022

 

يا عم،

خدمتُ لأكثر من ٣٠ سنة في مجال مهم و حساس و معقد، و أعي تماماً أنني من الكوادر النادرة و من فئة العيار الثقيل. فالكهرباء و الماء كالروح و الأنفاس لكل بيت و قصر و مصنع و مسجد و مستشفى و مدرسة و مطار و طريق.

أجل يا عم، أنا العملاق قبل أن أُقارن جهدك بجهدي، فأَجِدُني قزم صغير و ضئيل. فكل ما انجزتُه لا يساوي حياة أُمٍ إبتُليت بداء شديد، فسعيتَ لها ليشفيها الله و لتبقى هي تربي هذا الصغير و ذاك الرضيع و اليتيم.

و من بعدي يا عم، الكثير حملوا راية الكهرباء و الماء، فمن يحمل من بعدك راية المحروم و الفقير و المسكين و اليتيم و عابر سبيل؟

يا عم، مثلي كثير و مثلك قليل.

و يا حبي للكلام و الوعظ و يا حبك للاستماع للجميع. يا حبي للكتابة و يا حبك للقراءة. يا حبي للتنظير و التخطيط و يا حبك للعمل و التنفيذ. يا عم، ألم أقل لك بأن مثلي كثير و مثلك قليل؟

قل لي يا عم، من فينا الحي و من الميت؟ من فينا السعيد يا أبا سعيد؟ لمثلك ترخص الادمع يا عبد المغيث.

رحمك الله يا عم. أسأل الله لك الفردوس الأعلى من الجنة و الصبر لاهلك و الثبات عند السؤال و على الصراط. عظم الله اجر الجميع.

يا عم، إلى أن نلتقي، إبق جميلاً كما عهدتك ❤

رحل عمر و الأمر جلل
28 October 2021

 

رحل عمر و الأمر جلل!

الأمر جلل! فقد إفتقدتُ إبتسامة ثمينة هذا الصباح، و لمثلك تغيب الابتسامات يا عمر.

الأمر جلل! فسأفتقد الإستماع الى حوارك مع صاحبة الإبتسامة الجميلة، و ما أجمل تحاوركما يا عمر.

الأمر جلل! فقد سمعت ما خفي بين أسطر كلماتكما، و ما أجمل حبكما يا عمر.

الأمر جلل! فسأفتقد صوتك الذي كان يذكرني بأبا عبدالله، و يا لجلال صوتكما يا عمر.

الأمر جلل! فسأفتقد ملامحك التي كانت تذكرني بملامح أبو طلال، و ما أجمل ملامحكما يا عمر.

الأمر جلل! فلم أنسى موقفك بعد دفن أبا عبدالله، و ما أجملك و أنت تعمل بالسنة و تأمر بأن لا يُشرَفَ بقبره يا عمر.

الأمر جلل! فسأفتقد روحك الحُرَّة، فما أجمل إستقلالك يا عمر.

رحمك الله يا عمر. أسأل الله لك الفردوس الأعلى من الجنة و الصبر لنا جميعاً و الثبات عند السؤال و على الصراط

حبيبي عمر، إلى أن نلتقي، إبق جميلاً كما عهدتك

 

عمتي الحبيبه
7 August 2021

من جديد و قبل قليل، توقف الوقت حزيناً و جرى بي شريط الزمان رويداً رويداً للخلف، حيث الماضي الثمين. فقد لَفَظَت عزيزة قومٍ أنفاسها الأخيرة و توقف قلبها الكبير و نضب حبر قلمها بعد أن آن لها أن تكتب بقلم جديد لا ينضب حبره أبداً

وَدَّعَتنا الحنونه و رحلت الى حيث يستقبلها أبٌ و أمٌ و زوجٌ و أخٌ و أُختانِ و أُمي و جمعٌ غفير من الأحباب و الأصحاب و الصالحين و الملائكة و رب كريم.

تركت لنا كتابٌ كبير، سَطَّرته بجميل الكرم و حميد الخُلُق و الجود بصبر أيوب (عليه الصلاة و السلام) و التَصَدُّق بالمطلوب و المرغوب. كَفَّييت و وَفَّييت يا أم الجميع، فجزاك الله عنا خير الجزاء 

أسال الله أن يعاملكِ بإحسانه و يرحمكِ رحمة واسعة و أن يجعل قبرك روضة من رياض الجنة و أن يجمعنا في الفردوس الأعلى من الجنة.

عمتي الحبيبه، إلى أن نلتقي، إبقي جميلة كما عهدتكِ ❤

The Block Factory
18 June 2021

 

That’s my father, AbdulRazzaq Yousuf Alkhaja, may Allah bless his soul around 1965. He is standing in his block factory at Port Saeed area (near the clock tower) Dubai.

In front of him is a block machine, which was used to produce a single block at a time. The machine in the bottom is the source of the vibration used to strengthen the block while casting it. One person used to work on this machine, manually lowering and raising the block frame using the large handle on the left.

The machine was manufactured in Lebanon. He used to import and distribute them as well. 

Each block was casted on a wooden pallet (carpentered at site). A worker used to transfer the block on the pallet and lay them on the ground in an open area in the factory, to be watered and Sun-Dried for several days before being manually loaded piece by piece on to a truck, delivered to a construction site and manually unloaded one by one.

Most of the buildings constructed in Dubai and Sharjah from 1960s up to the early 1980s only used these blocks that were made of salty sea sand, yet they are still perfectly standing as of now.

Rashid Hospital, the Trade Centre and the Zabeel Palace in Dubai are three of many projects that used AbdulRazzaq Yousuf Al-Khaja’s blocks, as I remember my father proudly saying.

As the city of Dubai developed, the factory had to shift to the Cartoon area (near Manamah) and finally to Al Qusais area. Of course, with every shift, the factory improved, got larger and more automated. The last one in Al Qusais had its own Batching Plant, a Crane for moving material (sand & Concrete) and an Automatic Hatching Block machine that produced multiple blocks at a time. Of course, the Salty sea sand was also replaced with washed sand and the wooden pallet were replaced with a large, levelled and concreted floor. 

Sadly, and late 1980s, after 30 years of block production, my father had to close the factory as he couldn’t meet the new standards and regulations imposed by the Dubai Municipality. He kept disputing the new rigorous testing and packaging regulations imposed by the younger generation. In response to Dubai Municipality inspector’s question about the quality of the blocks, I remember my father sarcastically answering:

“Why don’t you check the quality of Rashid Hospital’s blocks made with salty sea sand? Go ahead and shoot those old blocks with a machine gun and you will know the quality of our blocks”!

I can’t end this article without mentioning the joy of playing with Bobby, the loyal dog that safeguarded the factory from Camels and Cattle that used to enter the factory and step over the soft blocks left to dry.

I can’t end this article without describing the joy of visiting the bakery shop near the factory (The Automatic Bakery). My father didn’t have to ask to know that my younger brother (Dr. Anwar) and I desperately desired the smell of their freshly baked breads and the taste of their delicious sandwiches.

Rest in peace father, your signature blocks are firmly standing all around Dubai.

May Allah bless the souls of those who worked in that block factory. Until we meet, stay beautiful as usual.

حبيبي حسين
15 June 2021

 

القلم ثقيل و يدي ترتجف لدقات قلبي و أنا أكتب المشهد الأخير من قصة حياة أخ لم تلده أمي

حسين علي كريم القوي الأمين، شخصيته الاستثنائية و قصته تكادا تطابقان شخصية حسين بن عاقول و قصته مع درب الزلق. فلكل حي و دير حسين، يَضحك ليُضحك الجميع و يدفن ثقل مسؤولياته و قلقه على مستقبل أهله و جيرانه في قرية كاريون الإيرانية

لقاؤنا الأول كان في بيتنا الجديد و في منطقة المطينه و أنا أبلغ الثالثة من عمري (سنة ١٩٦٩ تقريبا). كنت أنزل من السلم فوافيته على مدخل البيت و هو يبلغ من العمر ١٢ سنة تقريبا. فقد توفي والده رحمه الله، فإضطر حسين الأُمِّي و اليتيم أن يترك أغنامه في السهول و يهاجر الى دبي ليعمل خادماً و طباخاً فسائقاً و من ثم أخ لنا لم تلده أُمنا

كم هو مؤلم أن تترك أمك و أخواتك الصغار و أصدقائك و قريتك و أغنامك و ذكرياتك بحثا عن لقمة العيش الكريمه، و كم هو صعب أن تضطر لدفن طفولتك في لحظة لتكبر و تصبح رجلاً و مسؤولاً. يشهد الله أنه لم يقصر معهم، فأكرمه الله لاحقاً بأن تموت أمه في حضنه بسلام و هي راضية عنه. فهنيأً لك يا حسين رضا والديك

شرَّفنا حسين بأمانته و خدمته لأكثر من ٤٧ سنه، فأصبحنا نخدمه حباً و كرامه بعد أن إضطر الى الرحيل لأسباب صحية و بعد أن إضطر مجدداً أن يدفن شخصيته و يعيش غربة جديدة هناك بين أهله و أهل قريته. يشهد الله أنه لم يقصر معنا، فأكرمه الله لاحقاً برحيل أمي و أبي و هما راضيان عنه كل الرضا. فهنيأً لك يا حسين مجدداً رضا الوالدين

بعد التقاعد و رغم مرضه، إنشغل حسين في حفظ القرآن و توزيع نسخ منه بين أهل كاريون. كما إنشغل في جمع الأموال لشراء الأضاحي و توزيع لحومها على أهل قريته من الفقراء و المساكين

ترجل الفارس اليوم عن صهوة جواده على سرير المستشفى و في جسمه طعنات اليتم و المسؤولية المبكرة و الكد و الحاجة و الغربة عن عمر يناهز ٦٣. أراد القدر أن يعيش حسين غربتين، غربة البعد عن أهله في كاريون و غربة البعد عن أهله في دبي. و أراد القدر أن يدفن حسين ٣ مرات، مرة عندما قدم الى دبي و مرة عندما ترك دبي و مرة عندما إستدعاه الرحمن الرحيم. و أراد القدر أن يتيتم حسين مرتين، مرة لوفاة والديه في كاريون و مرة لوفاة والديه في دبي

كم هو محزن أن لا أتمكن من حضور جنازة أخ لم تلده أمي. كفاك غربة و يُتماً أيها القوي الأمين. أسأل الله أن يجعل قبرك روضة من رياض الجنة و أن يرزقك الفردوس الأعلى من الجنة و أسال الله أن يصبر أهلك و أن يصبرنا، و أسأل الله لك الثبات عند السؤال و على الصراط

حبيبي حسين (حسين الخاجة)، لن ننساك أبداً أيها الوفي و دبي ستفتقدك كثيرا و لمثلك ترخص الدموع. أحمد الله الذي رزقنا بنعمة صحبتك. و الى أن نلتقي، إبقَ جميلاً كما عهدتك

أبو طلال
13 June 2020

 

في الرابع عشر من مايو سنة 2007، سمعت أجمل ما قيل في مواساة أهل الميت، و قيلت لزوجتي في الدقائق الأولى بعد وفاة أخيها عبدالله رحمه الله

إذ بُلِّغنا أن حالة أبو طلال حرجة، فاصطحبت زوجتي الى المستشفى على عجالة. و أثناء قيادتي للسيارة أتتني مكالمه بَرقِيَّه لم تستمر إلا ثوانٍ قيل لي فيها أن عبدالله قد إنتقل الى رحمة الله بعد طول عناء مع الفشل الكلوي

إستَفسَرَت زوجتي عن المكالمة، فأجبتها انها من فؤاد يُبلغني أن حالة عبدالله حرجة. كانت التجربة جديدة علي، لذا كتمت الخبر عنها بينما أُقَلِّب جميع الخيارات في الدقائق الأخيرة قبل وصولي للمستشفى، فليس كُل ما يُعرَف يُقَال. كانت هادئة و شاردة بفكرها، ترتكز نظراتها الى الأمام و الى نقطة فيها رَجاءُها، كما التائهة في المحيط. كانت في حالة لا تُحسَد عليها

لم أَرضَ لها الصدمة أمام الناس، و بمجرد أن إنتهيت من صَفِّ السيارة، مسكت بيدها و هي تحاول أن تنزل مسرعة و قُلتُ لها: عبدالله إِرتاح. لن أنسى نظرتها العاجزة عندما حدَّقت بي و تساءلت: كيف؟. فأعدت كلامي لأنني لم أجد أخف منها: عبدالله إرتاح. بَكَت و هي تحدق في عيني، و كان ما بها من حزن أضعاف ما عليها لرحيل أخاها الأكبر

بل رحل كتلة من الحنان تعجز كلماتي عن وصفها في أسطر، و لن أبالغ إن شَهدت و إعترفت أنه كان يُعَلمني و يُأَدبني و يُحبني بنظرات عينيه و أنا أَبْ! كانت عَيناه مِرآتي الصادقة، تعكس باعجاز حقيقتي بِشفافية و دون الحاجة إلى الكلمات الجارحة. لذا، كانت نصائح عينيه تَخْتَرق ذاتي و تسكن قلبي قبل عقلي. رحل مُرَبي الكبار، و ما أحوجني اليه و قد بلغت ٥٣ 

مَشينا في الممرات و على جدرانها صفوف صامةٌ لوجوه أعرفها، الى أن إنتهينا الى الغرفة في العناية المركزه حيث كان يستلقى، رحمه الله، على سرير المستشفى. وَقَفَتْ عند قدميه و هي تنظر اليه بدهشه، فَدَنَت منها المُعلمة غيداء و تكلمت بحكمة و ثقة و إعجاز أهل العراق و هي مبتسمه لتُلقِي علينا درساً جديداً في موقف يَعجز أغلبنا فيه عن النطق بكلمة و هي تردد على زوجتي: أُنظري اليه حبيبتي، إنه نائم. رأيت بأم عيني أثر كلماتها الشافيه على زوجتي

صَدَقَت و الله، أراه ينام بسلام في روضة من رياض الجنة

أبو طلال، الى أن نلتقي، إِبقَ جميلاً كما عَهِدتُك 

إمام إسبرينغز
2 June 2020

هذه كلمات مسلم عاش من سنة 1985 في مدينة دينفر المسالمه بولاية كولورادوا الامريكيه، وسط شعب مسالم و في فترة زمنية مثاليه، حيث الكل متحدون و منشغلون في قتال الشيوعية من أفغانستان و التشيع الصفوي من العراق، و ما أحوجنا اليوم لعدو مشترك

و أنعم الله على مدينتنا بمسجدين، أحدهما مسجد جامع بإمام قائم حيث تقام صلاة الجمعه. و لم أدرك قدر تلك النعمه الى أن شاء القدر سنة 1987 أن أنتقل نقلة لطيفه الى مدينة كولورادوا إسبرينغز الساحرة و حيث حديقة الآلهه و الخالية من المساجد. و كان قد سبقنا اليها رَهط من الطيبين إتخذوا شقة أحدهم مُصَلَّى و أركان الحرم الجامعي و أرضها مسجداً و طَهورا. و بدأ الطيبون بالرحيل تدريجياً في غفلة منا و لم أدرك مجددا قدر النعمة الى أن دعاني آخر الطيبين الى العَشاء و العِشاء. و ما أحوجنا اليوم لاستبدال السياسيين بالطيبين

قال لي أخي السعودي المتزوج و السخي بعد أن أطعمني من ما لذَّ و طاب:

صالح : خالد، أنا راحل و أطلب منك أن تتعهد إخوانك المسلمين في المدينه

خالد: ماذا تقصد؟

صالح: باذن الله، سارجع الى السعودية بعد التخرج في نهاية هذا الفصل الدراسي و أتمنى أن تَؤُم بعدي إخوانك المسلمين كل جمعه

خالد: مستحيل. أنا لا أصلح و لا أعرف و لا أستطيع

صالح: أعرف أنك لا تصلح للامامه و لكنك أفضلهم. ان لم تَؤُمُّهم ستتحمل ذنب تعطيل صلاة الجمعه

يا الله!

وافقت أن أحمل الأمانة على مضض، إذ كنت من الأقلية التي تصلي و لكن في غير وقتها، و كنت في رمضان أصوم عن الطعام و الشراب لا المنكرات، و كنت لا أعي فن الخطابة و لا العلوم الشرعية. بل كانت لي سلوكيات الطالب المغترب و التي لا تتناسب بتاتا مع مقام الامامة، و هي القيادة بمصداقية. كالطفل، رماني صالح الهذال في البحر لأتعلم السباحة. الكل سعد بالخبر عدى مُحَدِّثكم، و لم أدرك حينها مجددا فضل تلك النعمة و التجربة القيادية. ما أحوجنا اليوم لصناعة القيادة بالغرق

عكفت الليالي استخلص العلوم من الاشرطة العلمية و أخطها في الاوراق لتكتمل الخطبة، و من ثم ألقيها على أصحابي كل جمعه. كانت المهمة شاقة و تتطلب الكثير من الاستماع الى المادة العلمية و من ثم اختيار ما أريد و كتابتها بعد صياغتها و اعادة الاستماع و هكذا، فالانترنيت ظهر بعد عقد من الزمن و لم نكن ننعم يومئذ بنعمة القص و اللصق. و كان نابغة الكهرباء أجهل الحضور، يصحح الكثير من قراءتي بصوت عال أثناء الخطبة و هو يوزع الابتسامات و النظرات الساخرة، في حين تجلت حكمة البقية و هم ينصتون الي بتواضع و كأن عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه يخطب بهم و ذلك تقديراً منهم لموقفي الصعب، و هذا ما قد يفسر تأثري اثناء الخطبة. ما أحوج الذكاء الى الحكمة

“يُؤْتِي الْحِكْمَةَ مَنْ يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَنْ يُؤْتَ الْحِكْمَةَ فَقَدْ أُوتِيَ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا ۗ وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّا أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ” البقرة 269

مرت الأيام و بدأت أتأقلم مع الوضع. كنت أخطب غالبا عن الأخلاق و السمات الاسلامية الحسنة و خاصة تلك التي يحتاج المغترب اليها، فكنت اضطر أن أبحث و أتعلم قبل أن أذكر غيري و كنت بذلك أول المستفيدين. و أَصقَلَت تجربة الإمامة صفاتي القيادية و نَمَّت فيني المصداقية، إذ جعلتني التزم أكثر بالأخلاقيات التي كنت أذكر بها غيري. بدأت أهتم اكثر باداء الصلوات في أوقاتها و الإمتناع عن المنكرات أثناء الصيام. و الأجمل أنني حضيت بمكانة متميزة بين أصحابي و احترامهم، فالإمامة شرف. ما أحوجنا للمصداقية

نَمَت الجالية المسلمة في مدينتنا، فاحتجنا و اشتقنا الى مسجد يُؤوِي كل الجنسيات و الطوائف و تقام فيه الصلوات الخمس. تَبَنَّى أخونا السوري رضوان الجلاد الفكرة و سعى فيها بالاستفادة من تجربة إخواننا في مدينة دنفر بعد التنسيق مع المسؤولين في سلطة مدينتا. القوانين كانت واضحه و تشترط أولا تأسيس جمعية اسلامية في كولورادوا إسبرينغز لتقوم هي لاحقا باستئجار أو شراء أو بناء مسجد. بحمد الله، أسسنا الجمعيه و إستأجرنا المسجد، و كنت أحد مؤسسيه و أول إمام يخطب فيه الجمعه في مصلين من شتى البلدان و الطوائف. ما أحوجنا أن نزرع البذرة و لا نستعجل الثمرة

تَرَاجَعت خطوة للخلف و سلمت راية الإمامة الى أخونا الاردني عزام، بعد أن شاء القدر أن تتحقق أمنية والدتي رحمها الله. فبعد لقائي بالرسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم في المنام، رغبت في دراسة الشريعه بتشجيع من أمي و رفض تام من قبل معظم الذكور في العائلة و على رأسهم شقيقها العزيز. و بالرغم من انتصار الذكور، ضلت الوالدة تناديني بالشيخ. نعم، سلمت الأمانة الى الأخ عزام بعد ان تبين لي تمكنه من الشريعه و رغبته في القيادة، فحمل عني مسؤولية ضخمه. ما أحوجنا لِسِلمِيَّة الإستلام و التسليم

جزى الله الإخوه صالح و رضوان و عزام خير الجزاء

و رحم الله والدَيَّ و والديكم

 

My First Girlfriend
30 May 2020

 

My first encounter with a young and beautiful American female was somewhere around 1986, a year after arriving in USA as an undergraduate student. I was not religious, but from a conservative family that did not approve friendships between opposite sex.  Neither being in a free society that blessed sex before marriage nor being thousands of kilometres away from my family’s eyes seemed to really matter. I was determined to respect our family’s values despite being a minority even among my own people and the difficulty to ignore so much beauty in the air. Trust me, it was not easy to hang around my own countrymen and hearing stories after stories of their eyesome girlfriends. Nevertheless, I remained to be known for resisting pleas or advances and to the idea of love through isolation. Back then, I successfully used social distancing to avoid love and anything else that lead to sex.

That night, a friend of mine invited me to dinner and I was supposed to be his only guest. He knew very well that I did not feel comfortable socializing with women.  He was busy cooking dinner for the two of us when the doorbell sounded, and he asked me to open it. When I did, I encountered a stunning blond girl who said “Hello” and helped herself right to the kitchen and kissed my friend. “This is Cindy” he said with a smile on his nervous face.  “You know I don’t do this!” I mumbled in Arabic and headed to the living room to continue watching cable TV, mostly movies or MTV and VH1 music channels.

Shortly, the blondie joined me, and I continued pretending to watch TV as if she did not exist. Truth is that her beauty was distracting but I was exceptionally good in hiding my instability. Suddenly she cracked open and started bombarding me with many questions that I enjoyed answering while looking at her pretty face until she dropped the tough ones:

She: Do you have a girlfriend? “No” I replied.

She: Do you go out (night clubs)? “No” I replied.

She: Then what do you do other than going to college? “I practice Taekwondo”.

By now, I knew I sounded very boring to her.  She carried on:

She: Are you a gay? “No” I replied.

She: Then why you don’t have a girlfriend? “Because I expect my wife to be a virgin. It won’t be fair if I don’t keep my virginity” I nervously replied.

She did not show any emotion listening to my strange answers and I don’t recall us talking much after that. I was kind of intrigued by her openness and deep inside wished to talk to her again, as there were a lot of questions for me to ask. Months later, the same friend took me to a shopping mall, where she happened to be working, but I didn’t know that until we entered a shop. The moment she saw me, she ran towards me and hugged me so tight as if we were buddies. It felt good. She kissed me on the cheeks and looked back and proudly told her shop mates:

She: This is the guy I told you about. The one who is saving his virginity for his wife?!

That day I learned that I wasn’t the only one who was exceptionally good in hiding my instability and shocks. It turned out that she was shocked and totally unbalanced hearing my answers to her questions. It was obvious that she admired my answers and position, despite the vast differences between our two cultures. She dreamed of someone treating her like that.

Cindy and I ended up being soulmates. She never felt safer with anyone else. In fact, she shared all her secrets with me, including the ones related to her mysterious relations with my countrymen. One day, a group of us were watching the American football in my friend’s apartment when she joined us. She didn’t hesitate to lay her head on my legs and watch the game. When her boyfriend asked her why she is not setting next to him, she replied:

She: Because Khalid is the only one among you all who smiles for me without expecting anything in return.

Decades later, I told my story to my American boss and he smiled and said: Girls are like that, they trust most those who don’t have sex with them.

Those days, we were reckless and didn’t care to know our American friend’s family names and addresses. All I know are the first names. That’s why, I have lost track of Cindy and couple of other girlfriends. Its hard for me to find them again, but wherever they are, I just wish that they are safe and happy.

So dear Cindy, Michael and Sandy, until we meet, stay beautiful as usual

Miss you all!

Selfless Love
8 February 2020

Where do I begin?

It started with her first “Hello” to Hemi, the two years old babe boy suffering from Cerebral palsy, with permanent movement disorders. She could see him stretching on the ground, unable to walk, set, eat or talk. Although he was totally dependent, yet he was smart and able to occupy hearts with his charming smile.

Abandoned by his parents, his poor grandmother was raising him in a humble nomad house somewhere in a rural area of Davao, Philippine. That’s where the guardian met the angel.

“Take him, please!” the grandmother helplessly offered him to Mira. Next day, unlike the vast majority of us, Mira informed her family that she has decided to be there for Hemi and they agreed! That was not a coincidence.

Like the puzzled Philipino judge handling the adoption process, I was stupid enough to ask her “Why Hemi?!”. Soon I felt ashamed, selfish and embarrassed when she selflessly responded “Because he deserves a chance!”. Such a simple and human answer left me speechless, shrinking and feeling dwarfly small. Again, that was not a coincidence.

She decided to be there for him as long as it takes, knowing that his hour glass couldn’t hold much sand. But she never imagined that his last smile and peace of sand would unceremoniously blossom and drop sooner than what she wished for.

 

When I saw her unusual 09:04 PM missed call, I thought I was prepared for the worst, until I heard her devastated voice repeating for the third time “Hemi died”. No, I wasn’t prepared for this soul burning and mind freezing news. What could a small person like me possibly say to a broken hearted mother?

When Hemi moved in to Mira’s life, he found abandoned love and care not only from Mira but also from her Perales family. In return, Hemi offered this selfless family a noble purpose of life.

It wasn’t a coincidence. Silent visits to the needy and the vulnerable in the Philippine embassy, hospitals and construction sites is a norm in this selfless family.

I know Mira since 2013, hence, I was not surprised when she confidently repeated “Hemi will talk and walk someday” or when she dreamed of him graduating with a university degree as achieved by some other CP victims. I genuinely believe she could have achieved these goals.

She has inherited the Perales determination from her father side and selflessness from her mother’s. This is where she sources her desire to seriously live a selfless and purposeful life. That’s when and where Hemi started his first ever professional nutritional, speech and physical therapies. In the centre, he was known as the “Handsome Congeniality” for being a happy little boy amongst other CP cases. Obviously, values are deeply seated in this family that I wish to meet someday.

 

From that first “Hello”, Mira abandoned her batchelor lifestyle and turned into a responsible mother, offering unconditional love.

Don’t get me wrong, Mira doesn’t drink or smoke, but what she abandoned was her batchelor dreams. Instead of travelling the world, she kept visiting Philippine, where Hemi was, each and every opportunity. She cut her expenses to support Hemi’s demanding medical needs. She was aware of the tiniest details related to Hemi’s daily life and progress. Non of these are coincidence.

When the working single mother had to be in UAE to earn for her son, the Perales were taking turns to look after Hemi and spoil him. Nevertheless, that never stopped Mira from daily skyping her Hemi and monitoring his condition remotely through the CCTV. She was always there for him. That was not a coincidence.

Inspite of being away most of the time, the fact that Hemi recognized and distinguished Mira as his Nanai (mother in Philippine dialect) and the fact that he cried like any other child whenever Mira disappeared from the Skype screen, are testimonies of Mira and Hemi’s selfless love. He knew she is there for him.

That’s Mira, a selfless human who can’t live without a challenging purpose. Not so many know this about her and I feel privileged to be among the very few.

Last Thursday, February the 6th, and after three beautiful years with the Perales, Hemi decided to move on. He found that other one and the only  who could offer him more care. He was taught to be brave and so he did when he smiled for the last time and closed his eyes to reopen them, healed and happy in the arms of his creator, the almighty God.

 

I can hear him telling the almighty how greaftul he is for choosing Mira and the Perales to love him. I can hear him echoing:

“Thank you Nanai. Thank you for being there for me. Guess what, I am finally cured! I can walk and talk now. So, stay beautiful as usual. To you I dedicate this song. I know you love me so much but I love you more!”:

Where do I begin?
To tell the story of how great a love can be.
The sweet love story that is older than the sea.
The simple truth about the love she brings to me.
Where do I start?

With her first “Hello”,
She gave new meaning to this empty world of mine.
There’d never be another love, another time.
She came into my life and made the living fine.
She fills my heart.

She fills my heart with very special things.
With angels’ songs, with wild imaginings.
She fills my soul with so much love.
That anywhere I go I’m never lonely.
With her around, who could be lonely.
I reach for her hand, it’s always there.

How long does it last?
Can love be measured by the hours in a day?
I have no answers now but this much I can say.
I know I’ll need her ’till the stars all burn away.
And she’ll be there.

https://youtu.be/7jEaIDqHl74

 

بَنُّوتَه
4 October 2019

انه الخميس، الثالث من اكتوبر سنة 2019

رَاَيتُكِ في المنام تُهدِينِي وردة. هو حلم قَصَّه اخٌ لاخته. سكتت زوجتي عن الحلم و كتمت تشاؤمها منه

اما انا، فكنت في بيت وَالِدَي، رحمهما الله، لحضور الإجتماع العائلي الاسبوعي. الاخَوَين تعذروا عن الحضور و اوكلا الى شرف ادارة المجلس. كانت الأجواء حميمية كعادتها الى ان دقت الساعة السادسه و ثمان و خمسون دقيقة مساءً و بعد أن تلقيت مكالمة كنت ارتقبها من سنين لينقل الى ابني خبر ثقيل “بنوته  ماتت”. لا يا ابني، بل مات جزء مني

رجعت الى البيت لادفن بنوته على عجالة. و العجيب انني كنت دائما في حيرة بشأن نخلتين عشوائيتين ظهرتا خلف البيت، و زال العجب عندما قررت ان اُدفن بنوته بينهما كاكثر الأماكن امنا. كما زال عجباً طال ١١ سنة، عندما استعملت ١٨ طوباً زادت من بناء البيت كي احوط بها قبرها.  كما قيل في المثل “إذا عُرِفَ السبب بطل العجب.” نامي بسلام يا ملاكي

 

قُدتُ سيارتي وحيداً راجعاً الى بيت والدي، رحمهما الله، لكي ادير الاجتماع الأسبوعي و عيناي تَنتَحِبَان حزنا

قررت ان اكتم الخبر عن الجَمْع. فلم اكن واثقا من ردة فعلهم إن بُحْتُ بما في قلبي و كنت اشك في تفهمهم لمشاعر انسان يحزن على موت قطة. وا اسفاه، اليست نَفْسَه؟! عزمت على كتمان الخبر و ادارة الامسية بابتسامة صفراء  مرسومة على وجهي الفارغ 

من المُدَمِّر ان يرحل احبابنا بلا مقدمات و دون ان يُتاح لنا فرصة للوداع. و من المحزن ان يكون السكوت بقلب غارق بالدم سبيلنا الوحيد للحزن

لن اشرح كيف تركت بنوته عالمنا، بل ساشرح كيف غيرت بنوته من عالمي

انضمت بنوته إلى اسرتنا قبل 5 سنين كهرة صغيره لتقضي ليلتها الاولى في المكتبه و بالتحديد على الكتب. و بعد بضع سنين، تاسفنا كثيرا لعدم تبنينا هرتين بدل الواحده. فبالرغم من مبالغتنا في العطاء، لم نستطع ان نملأ كيانها الفارغ من ونيس يحادثها، خاصة أن القطط السائبة لم تكن ترحب بالاليفة. نعم، سميتها بنوته فرحلت و هي بنوته

 

القطط صيادين مهرة بالغريزة. و لهذا، تجد في لعبهم شيء من الخشونه. لذا، اضطررت ان العب معها دور المنافس. كانت تعض يدي بانيابها و تخدشها بمخالبها و لكن بكل احتراف و دون ان تحدث لي اية أذى. كانت هذه اللعبة الخشنة طريقتنا الخاصة في ابراز حبنا العميق لبعضنا البعض. كانت تثق في قدراتها و تدعني انتصر دائما. آهٍ، سافتقد تلك اللعبة للأبد

 

قررنا ان لا نعبث في طبيعتها قدر الامكان و السماح لها بالخروج الى حديقة البيت. لم نُقَلِّم قط أظافرها، و عندما كبرت و اشتد عودها، تركناها تختار المبيت في الخارج. رغم الحرية التي تمتعت بها، سرعان ما استنتجت ان تبقى امنة في محيط بيتنا، و ليتها فعلت. و كلما سنحت لها الفرصة، كانت تستمتع بالنوم في سريرنا و بدفء جوارنا. سافتقد تلك اللحظات للأبد

 

كانت تاكل معنا و من طعامنا و كنت استمتع باطعامها من مائدتنا. كانت تعشق المارتيديلا الفاخرة و تشرب من حوض السباحة بكل مهارة. سافتقد تلك اللحظات للأبد

و بالأخص، سافتقد برنامجنا الصباحي. كانت تطلب مني ان افتح لها الباب ثم تنتظرني الى ان اخرج اليها حاملا غصن شجرة ناشفة. كانت تاخذني بجولة في بستانها و تحك براسها العصى كلما لامست الأرض. لم تكن مجرد نزهة، بل كانت رقصتنا اليومية. و كانت تستلقي على العشب لاقوم بتدليك اذنيها و المسح على جسمها. تَقَطَّعَ قلبي اليوم عندما تمشيت بالحديقة صباحا بِصُحبَةِ العصا و لكن بدون بنوته، و لكني ساستمر بالمشي احياء لذكراها

 

لم تترك بنوته اثرها في البستان فقط، بل غرست أثرها في قلبي القاسي و مَلَئَتهُ رقة و حنانا. سافتقد تلك اللحظات للأبد

 

يقول المثل الأجنبي “لا تقل ابداً ابداً”. اقول “اكيد ابداً”. لن املك قطة اخرى او اية بهيمه، فخسارتهم صعبة و اليمة. و لن يشارك بهيمه البستان مع بنوته، و ستضل البستان بستانها هي فقط و للأبد

لقد تحقق الحلم إذ رحلت بنوته عنا فجأة و ذبلت مبكرا كالوردة، و ليكون الراوي اول من يعزيني في مصابي. ما أجملك يا أبا عبدالله، يا اخٍ لم تلده أمي.  (ذَ ٰ⁠لِكَ تَأۡوِیلُ مَا لَمۡ تَسۡطِع عَّلَیۡهِ صَبۡرࣰا)

 

 

قالت لي انسانة راقية “عندما تموت الكائنات،  تتحول إلى نجوم تضيء السماء. فكلما انظر في النجوم، اعلم ان إحداها لعزيزة على قلبي. انظر في النجوم لترى بنوته”. نعم، سانظر و لكن الى القمر 

بنوته، حبيبتي ، الى ان نلتقي، كوني جميلة كما عهدتك

 

Banootah
4 October 2019

 

It’s Thursday October the 3rd, 2019.

“I dreamed you were giving me a flower” my brother in law told my wife. She decided to hide that dream.

I was at my parent’s for our weekly family gathering. Both of my brothers were busy and couldn’t attend, so I was tasked and honoured to host the event. It felt like another peaceful family day until 1858 hrs, when I recieved a long expected phone call from my son informing me that “Banootah is dead”. That’s when part of me died

I rushed back home to offer her a speedy burial. I never understood why there were two wild palms trees behind my house until I decided to safely bury Banootah between them. I never understood the purpose of 18 interlocking blocks stored ever since we build the house until I used them to mark her grave. I named her Banootah (little girl) and she died as a little girl.  Rest in peace my angel.

Sobbing in grief, I drove back alone to my parent’s place to lead the family gathering.

My instincts told me to hide the event from the rest. I wasn’t sure I would receive a proper reaction if I didn’t. I wasn’t sure I was permitted to grief over a cat. Alas, isn’t she a soul?! So I kept quiet while leading the gathering with a yellow smile covering my blank face.

It’s devastating when our loved ones leave unceremoniously, denying us a simple goodbye. It’s so sad when tying our mouth with a heart drowned in blood, is the only way to grief.

I am not going to share how Banootah left our world. Instead, I will share with you how she changed my world.

 

5 years back is when the angel joined our family as an adorable kitten. She spent her first night in the book shelf and above the books. Years later, we realized we should have got a couple. No matter how much we spoil them, fact is that we can’t be another cat. Single pet cats don’t feel complete without one of their own and they are not welcomed by other stray cats.

 

 

Cats are hunters by nature. That’s why they like to play rough. In absence of another cat, that is what I did. She gently scratched and bit but occasionally got serious. Yet, she was able to turn gentle in a second. That was our special way of saying “I love you” to eachother. She was confident and always let me win. I will miss it forever.

 

We decided not to tamper much with her world and let her enjoy our backyard. When she was strong enough, we even let her decide where to spend the night. Soon she learned she better remaine within our compound for her own safety. Alas, if only she did. Whenever allowed, she loved sleeping in our bed feeling our warmth. I will miss that forever.

She used to dine with us. I loved feeding her over the dining table. She loved eating mortadella and majestically drinking from the swimming pool. I will miss that forever.

Mostly, I will miss our morning walk. She would ask me to let her out and then wait outside the door for me. I would then take a stick that she loved and begin walking together in her garden, with her leading me and repeatedly rubbing her face to the stick everytime it hit the ground. It was more like our morning dance than just a walk. She would then stretch on the grass and expect me to massage her ears and scratch her body. It was absolutely heart breaking to walk this morning with the stick but without Banootah, yet I will continue to do so in her memory.

 

 

Banootah didn’t just leave her finger prints in my garden, in reality she also left her soft marks in my hard heart.  I will miss that forever.

 

 

They say “Never say never again”. Well, I say “Definitely never again”. I am not going to get another cat or any other pet. Losing them is too hard and heartbreaking. Plus, our backyard won’t be shared with any other. It will be reserved forever for Banootah and only for Banootah.

 

 

As in my brother in law’s dream, just like a flower, Banootah surprised us yesterday and withered so soon. Just as in the dream, my brother in law was the first and the last that night to condole me for my loss. “That is the interpretation of that about which you could not have patience.” Quran 18:82

 

 

A beautiful soul told me “Every living on earth that dies turn to be a star ⭐️ in the sky that gives us light in the night… so every time I look up and I see a star , I know one of those stars are my loved ones. So think about the star whenever you see in the sky”. So, I will look up but to the moon

Banootah, darling, until we meet, stay beautiful as usual.

 

Salam India
11 September 2019

I dedicate this diary to the soul of  my beloved friend and mentor Mr. Ayloor Narayan and his family. Bless you

 

My only trip to India was a two days business mission sometime in 1997 or 1998. Together with my Scottish colleague, we landed in Chennai (Midras) international airport.

The moment I stepped out of the airplane, I realised I’m dealing with a great nation. I was overwhelmed with the site of crowded humen line of obviously very poor, majestically transporting buckets full of concrete on their heads from a small batching plant to a small building under construction. There were many females among those hardworking people. I felt so sad for them, yet immensely proud of them. A country with such a workforce could move mountains, if they so desired.

My father used to live in India as a business man. I remembered him once silencing a fool who was making fun of the Indian government. “If the Indian government provides only 1 bread a day to each Indian, that’s more than a billion bread a day. That’s not a joke” said my father with a very serious tone, may Allah bless his soul.

Although I was warned about the corruption among the officials in the airport, I didn’t encounter any. I still remember though, the smiling face of an elderly custom duty officer hidden behind his two ‘Namaste’ hands.

During the drive from the airport to the office, I couldn’t help noticing how pale the city looked. I couldn’t see any greenery. But I did notice people on the road sides showing respect to so many small temples, rather idols, spreaded all over the city.

In response to my question, the driver showed me the VIP part of the the city and their biggest shopping center or the mall. My ignorance couldn’t stop me from being so shocked. Both the VIP area and the mall were pale and the later was nothing but a small building. “Where are those beautiful gardens, forests, rivers and flowers I usually see in my favorite Indian movies?” I whispered to myself. Chennai wasn’t the India I had imagined. Obviously, I was culturally shocked.

Ayloor Narayan, once described his shock following a visit to a poorly managed power station by saying “only God could miraculously run such a station. God must exist”. Similarly, I say anyone who experiences the Indian traffic will believe in God. The traffic and driving were scary. I could never drive there. Having said that, I was impressed with their traffic lights that counted down the time the signal remained green, a smart and safe feature that we still don’t have in Dubai.

We started the planned afternoon meeting in well equipped, yet humble offices, when I suddenly heard drumming sounds in the street. I was shocked when I learned that mourners drummed while escorting their dead to the grave yard, or better the burning yard. Hindus burn bodies of their dead.

I can not forget the shock and the concern on my host’s face when I innocently asked if I could watch this ceremony. My host approved it reluctantly and cautioned me not to provoke the mourners. In a quick glance, I noticed a body placed on a humble cart pulled by some animal, while only few of the followers played on the drums. To this date, I don’t know how I could have possibly provoked those mourners? Was my host worried that I could dance to the tone of the death drums? Or was it because I was a foreigner and a Muslim? Or probably he was worried that I repeat a provocative thing that one of his previous guests might have said or done?

In fact, foreigners to any land could unconsciously be very provocative and insulting. Like when I was visiting a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. This particular temple had 1000 Buddha idols in a single hall. In response to a question, the tour guide explained that monks would gather once a year to gently brush dust off the sacred idols. At that point a tourist among the crowd turned to her husband and said “Now I know why you don’t clean your car, it must be sacred”. I admit that the joke was really funny but it was definitely provocative and insulting to the Buddhists among us. The Buddhist tour guide wisely ignored them and proceeded with the tour.

At the door step of our dinner restaurant, we were each greeted with a flower chain put around our necks. That chain was originally placed around a huge idol positioned at the entrance of the restaurant. Although this tradition collided with my monotheistic Islamic faith , I decided to be a good guest and get along with my host’s culture.

Indian cuisine is one of the best internationally, if not the best. I loved the food until I woke up 3 am in the Sheraton hotel. I felt discomfort in my stomach, which gradually developed into a lose-motion followed by high temperature and vomiting. The receptionist arranged a doctor who checked and then asked “Is this your first visit to India?”. I responded “this is my first night in India”. The doctor smiled and said “welcome to India. Don’t worry, your immuned now. Next visit you will be just fine. For the time being, only drink bottled water and eat from the hotel”.

I stayed all day in bed, while my healthy Scottish colleague was completing our planned assignment. My condition worsened when I learned that there were two Sheraton hotels in Chennai and we weren’t staying in the best of the two.

So India, until we meet again, stay beautiful as usual.

 

سَلِمَتْ يَدَاك
22 July 2019

كنت في الصف الثالث الإعدادي عندما رتَّبَت لنا إدارة المدرسة رحلة مدرسية برفقة مدرسين اثنين . كنت اعشق تلك الرحلات و السعادة كانت تسبب لي نشوة يصعب التحكم بها . نشوة دفعتني هنا بالتحديد الى تحفيز أحد المعلمين في الباص ليهديني درسا خصوصيا عمليا و مؤثر جدا

كنت اجلس خلف المدرس مباشرة و غترته متدلية امامي. كان المنظر مغريا فقمت بسحب غترة الأستاذ للاسفل. شعرت بالعظمة و الأستاذ يضبط غترته في حين يضحك زملائي.  لم اتمالك نفسي و شعرت برغبة الى المزيد من الشهرة فقمت مجددا بسحب الغترة، الا ان النتيجة اتت مغايرة هذه المرة. فلم يلبث ان قام المدرس من كرسيه و التفت الي ليسطر كَفَّا آشوريا على وجهي و كف سامرائيا على وجه زميلي المبتسم و هو يزئر قائلا

“انا عراقي مب مصري”

كان الكف بمثابة درس خصوصي مؤثر في نقل تظاريس العراق و تاريخه القديم و الحديث من يده البابليه إلى ما تبقى من مخي المهروس.  و كان الكف أيضا درسا فعالا في صراع الحضارات، فلن أنسى ابدا الدهشة التي ارتسمت على وجه الأستاذ الثاني معنا في الباص و هو من جمهورية مصر العربية الشقيقة

أدركت يومها، اذا كانت العملية التعليمية تهدف الى نقل العلوم من جيل إلى جيل بطرق مختلفة، منها الشفاهيه و الكتابيه و العمليه فخبرتي الشخصية تاكد هنا ان الطرق العمليه اكثرها تأثيرا

صباح الخير
22 July 2019

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته 

أصبحنا و أصبح الملك لله

(رَّبِّ ٱرۡحَمۡهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّیَانِی صَغِیرࣰا)

اللهم أرزقنا أعين ترى أجمل ما فى الناس .. وقلوباً تسامحهم وعقولاً تنسى إساءتهم .. وروحاً لا تفقد الإيمان بك

شكرا لمن التمس لنا العذر قبل أن نعتذر ، ولمن قدّر أوضاعنا قبل أن نشرحها ، ولمن أحبنا في الله رغم عيُوبنا ، وعفا الله عنا وعن من آذانا وقال فينا ما ليس فينا

لا تبحث عن قيمتك في أعين الناس. إبحث عنها في ضميرك. فإذا ارتاح الضمير، ارتفع المقام

لا تضرك تفسيرات الآخرين تجاه تصرفاتك ، لو أشتهوا جمّلوها ، ولو أشتهوا قبّحوها ، أعمل كل شئ لوجه الله تعالى

و عين الرضا عن كل عيب كليلة

و لكن عين السخط تبدي المساويا

ان الله في عون العبد ما دام العبد في عون اخيه

اللهم إني أعوذ بك من جهد البلاء و درك الشقاء و سوء القضاء و شماتة الأعداء

أرجو الله لكم سكينة الروح، ونور العقل، وصحة الجسد، وصفاء القلب، وسلامة الفكر و دعوة أم، و ظهر اب ووجود أخ، وضحكة ابن، واهتمام صديق، ودعوة محب في الله

ما أصابنا لم يكن ليخطئنا

و ما أخطأنا لم يكن ليصيبنا

اللهم جنبنا السقوط للأسفل و للأعلى

صباح الخير يا الطيبين

Whoever and Wherever
13 July 2019

My first international flight was on October 14th 1985, bound for Washington DC together with 12 other young UAE nationals’ scholarship students. We met for the first time at the Dubai airport to take a Gulf Air flight to Paris.

Soon after I was seated, I started exercising my freedom by lighting a cigarette, when I heard a serious voice saying “it’s a nonsmoking section” with his white finger pointing to the “No Smoking” sign right in front of me. I was so embarrassed, as only a fool could miss such a sign. I almost apologized to my cigarette as I was quickly putting it off.

After takeoff, I came to know through the enemy next to me that there is a smoking section on the plane. Soon I learned to never sit in that section as it smelled so horrible, even to a mad smoker. I was the smoker who always sat in the nonsmoking section.

Copying the enemy, I plugged in my air-phones but couldn’t hear anything. All my struggles went in vane until I lost my mind and punched my seat’s arm. Suddenly, a classical music played in my ears. I punched and the channel changed again. I was happy for the success while cursing the rubbish design. My cunning nonsmoking neighbor kept watching me embarrassing myself until we landed in Paris.

I cannot imagine the shock on the flight attendant’s faces as they waived us “Goodbye” and watching few of us getting off with the Gulf Air blankets on shoulders. Luckily, I was not one of those innocent students.

During our 6 hours transit, those Gulf Air blankets looked better than precious Persian carpets, as 12 of us played cards in a Charles De Gaulle Air Port corridor. The 13th student was an Emirati female, settings quietly in our sight. Our patriotism suddenly flourished, so we sent her an ambassador offering her help and he returned delivering her appreciation. But while boarding the TWA, we realized it was us who desperately needed her as we heard her chatting with the airport staff, when we could not say even 2 words in English.

The UAE embassy hosted us for couple of nights to finalize our paper works and introduce us to our Academic Advisers. My adviser was Mrs. Nadine Salman, my Allah bless her soul. Then we split and departed to different states. I still know those who ended up in Colorado, but the rest I don’t even recall their names.

May Allah bless you my friends, whoever and wherever you are.

Dedicated with Love.

 


What A Day
13 July 2019

It is a true story.

Between 1985 to 1990, I was attending university in Colorado, USA.

Initially and before I unconsciously fall in love with USA, I used to spend my long breaks back in Dubai with family, which obviously required travelling back and forth. Travelling is a great experience. There were no direct flights those days and I had to transit twice, once in Europe and once in USA. Air crafts were smaller, seats were uncomfortable and the travel used to take more than 28 hours.

It was 1988 and I was on my way to USA. I transited several hours in a famous European airport. I was settings alone among thousands of travelers waiting for my next flight when I cited a dark haired European man among the crowd pulling two large suitcases. Surprisingly, the stranger came straight to me and after greeting asked “would you please look after my suitcases for a short time?”. I accepted!!! He disappeared in the crowd leaving me starring at the two suitcases.

“What if there is a bomb in these suitcases dummy?” I told to myself. There was a huge and rounded column near the place. It felt safer as I stood behind it while watching the suitcases. “At least it won’t blow in my face” I  said to myself.

I was immensely relieved when I spotted him coming back. I quickly returned to my seat pretending I  was perfectly OK. He thanked me and sat next to me!!.

He introduced himself as a rich Jew and a leather businessman making good quality leather jackets . He took a magazine out of his suitcase and showed me a two full pages of an article about him and his successful business.

He then took out a bundle of cheques and started signing their back in order to deposit them. He was very tired of doing that. I learned that similar cheques requiring signature were all that he had in his two suitcases. That’s a lot of money.

In response to his question, I told him I was a student on my way to USA. Surprisingly, he turned out being on my flight to New York, except that I was heading to Colorado while he was heading to Arizona.

He told me that in his business a lot of leather was being wasted during the manufacturing process. He was ready to offer a generous amount to anyone who comes up with a smart idea that would make use of the wasted leather. I offered couple of ideas that were coldly rejected. He then asked me if I had a girlfriend. I told him that I didn’t. I  had to also assure him that I was neither gay nor religious. I was just a guy from a conservative family.

He then surprised me and told me that his wife is cheating him and probably having sex with her lover right now. I was shocked to hear that. “Why would he share such a private topic with me, a total stranger?!!! Why would a Jew open up to an Arab for God’s sake ?!!!”

I was somehow stuck with him. He was leading the discussions and the situation. We checked in together. After passing the immigration, we passed by the duty free shops where a lady in her 30s was standing and encouraging travelers to visit the duty free shops. He started talking to her. She recognized him immediately. She expressed her interest in his leather products that she couldn’t afford. He took out a peace of paper and wrote an amount on it before handing it to her. He told her that using the card, she could pic any product from any of his stores for that amount free of charge. The lady was so happy.

Then he told her “this is my partner Khalid from UAE , he is a multi millionaire”. I was shocked but couldn’t help playing along. The lady assured me that I won’t regret this partnership. As we walked away from the duty free lady I asked him “Why did you lie to her? We are not partners and I am not a millionaire!!!”. “To her you are a multi millionaire because I said so” He replied. I asked him not to lie and not to put me in a similar situation again. He agreed .

Then he asked me if I found the lady beautiful? I replied positively. Then he said “next time you travel through this city, let me know and I will show you around the city in one day. When you go to your hotel room , she will be waiting for you!!”. “I told you I don’t go out with women”, l said. He tried very hard to convince me. I liked the fantasy but was scared of the reality.

We sat near the gate. A young girl was seated near us , with her ears plugged enjoying the music played by her Walkman. “Go talk to her” my Jewish companion told me. “I told you I  don’t do that stuff!!” I replied. “Talk to her or I will ” He said. “Go for it. I care less” I replied.

He walked to her and started talking and introducing himself. She didn’t seem as excited as the duty free lady. “That’s my friend and he is shy to talk to you!” He told her while pointing at me. “Well his people are definitely not so shy!” She replied to him. Their conversation was enough to embarrass me to the melting point. “No wonder why she is so beautiful, the city she is from is famous for wining most of the beauty queen contests” He said. He continued trying to push me to talk to her but miserably failed.

He then came to know from her that a building in a prime area is offered for sale. He demonstrated his power for the last time by using a public phone. He came back after a while to announce “I bought the building”.

We then boarded the plan heading to New York. Luckily we were seated in two different sections and I didn’t see him again.

What do you get out of this true story? How do you explain all these coincidents?

Thank You Khalid
13 July 2019

 

Early 1970s, my kindergarten decided to take us on a school trip to Dubai zoo. We got onto a small minibus with our Arabic female teacher.

She played a song for us on her portable tape recorder. I knew neither the song nor the singer. I didn’t understand the lyrics but l really liked the music. The rhythm touched my childish heart so deep and it continued touching me as I grew up. I never heard that song again and I never talked about it to anyone until 1985.

I was a fresh English language student in United states. I was enjoying my break time in the Arapahoe Community college at Denver, Colorado’s cafeteria together with couple of students. One of them was an adorable half Egyptian and half Libyan also named Khalid.

Khalid was crazy about Arabic music and songs. He knew them all. He also got famous for being suspicious of terrorism. Those days Libya and USA relations were bad and one night he was arrested with other Libyans during an ambush. He reappeared after few weeks of absence with the usual smile on his face. USA officials had concluded that he had no links to terrorism so they set him free. Since his photo was released by media as a possible terrorist, he sued the government and won millions in compensation. Funny, his life changed for the better thereafter.

Anyway, l suddenly remembered my song and told Khalid about it. He asked me to play the music with my mouth. The moment I did he screamed “It’s El-Albe-Yaashaq-Kule-Ghameel for Um-Kolthoom. You can find it in the Arabian Grocery shop”.

I was shocked. I went mad. Is it possible that l am going to hear that same song again, for the second time in my life? I couldn’t wait any longer. I was absent minded, so I decided to skip class and go to the Arabic Grocery shop right away. I had been there several time and I knew where cassette tapes were being kept in the shop. Anxiously, I was searching through the cassettes. It didn’t take much efforts to find it.

My heart was pumping when I got into my car and played the cassette. It was the right song. The music started and took me back many years. Unconsciously, I started crying. They were tears of joy. Who could have thought I will find my favorite Arabic song in USA?

I don’t know what happened to my friend Khalid but wherever he is I hope he is happy and his beautiful smile is bringing joy to his family’s hearts as it did to mine.

Love you Khalid

To Flowers and Bulbuls
10 July 2019

 

 

Seven months ago, I lost my father. Today, I lost my mother too. In spite of the experience, it feels horrible and worst. But that’s life and it’s fair.

I feel very sad. I miss her smiling and telling me “Your a flower and a Bulbul”. Even ICU conditions didn’t stop her from saying it repeatedly. I always looked her in the eye and responded “I am the son of a flower and a Bulbul”. It’s very sad that I can no longer hear her say that and respond to her. It’s so sad to loose the soul that made me feel good about myself. But that’s life and it’s fair.

Mostly, I feel lonely and nervous. I know we all need God’s blessings to survive challenges of life. We use many channels to communicate with God and seek his blessings. Parents are our two most fastest channels to God. November 19th I lost one of the two channels and today I lost the second. Now I am 53 and all alone with God. But that’s life and it’s fair.

She was an excellent role model and generous by all means. She was generous in being down to earth, sacrificial, loving the poor, happy, patient, kind, optimistic, elegant, thankful, organized, polite, caring, hard worker, best cook, social, sincere, wise, beautiful, loyal, so clean and a good Muslim.

Don’t blame my eyes if they rain tears. It’s enough to tell you about her eating plain rice and dividing all the meat among us. We are no longer kids and understand now what she did for us.

May Allah bless her soul and reward her Jannaht AlFirdows together with other flowers and Bulbuls.

So dear mother and father, until we meet, stay beautiful as usual. Your my flower and Bulbul. I love you both. I am proud of you both.

To Allah we belong and to him we return.

“My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.” Quran 17:24

“And Paradise will be brought near to the righteous, not far, [It will be said], “This is what you were promised – for every returner [to Allah ] and keeper [of His covenant]. Who feared the Most Merciful unseen and came with a heart returning [in repentance]. Enter it in peace. This is the Day of Eternity. They will have whatever they wish therein, and with Us is more.” Quran 50:31 to 35.

 

June 27, 2019

الى الورد و البلبل
10 July 2019

مضت ٧ شهور على وفاة والدي و بالامس توفت امي ايضا. الخبرة لا تسعفني و التجربة مريرة و اشد. لكنها سنة الحياة و هي عادلة

اشعر بحزن عميق. كانت تبتسم لي و تردد “انت الوردة و انت البلبل”. حتى تعقيدات وحدة العناية المركزة لم تمنعها عن تكرار تلك الجملة. و كنت انظر في عيناها الهادئتين و ارد عليها بلا مللٍ قائلا ” انما انا ابن الوردة و ابن البُلبُله”. من المحزن أنني لم أعد استطيع الاستماع الى تلك الجملة و الرد عليها. و من المحزن أن افقد روحا كانت تحسسني بالجمال و الأهمية. ولكنها سنة الحياة و هي عادلة

و الأشد، انني بدأت احس بالوحدة و القلق. إنني ضعيف و كغيري بحاجة الى رضى الله و معونته للتعامل مع تحديات الحياة. إننا نعتمد على قنوات مختلفة للإتصال مع الله لطلب الرضى و المعونة. و دعوات الوالدين لنا من أهم و أسرع و أقوى القنوات التي توصلنا برضى الله و معونته. في ١٩ نوفمبر فقدت احدى تلك القنوات و اليوم فقدت الثانية. لاول مرة، بِتُّ اشعر بالوحدة مع الله و انا في ٥٣ من عمري. لكنها سنة الحياة و هي عادلة

كانت امي بحق قدوة حسنة و كريمة بمعنى الكلمة. برز سخاؤها في تضحياتها، تواضعها، حبها للفقراء، سعادتها، صبرها، شكرها للنعم، طيبتها، ايجابيتها، اناقتها، تنظيمها، ادبها، اهتمامها، اجتهادها في العمل، طيب طعامها، صداقاتها، امانتها، حكمتها، جمالها، وفائها، شدة نظافتها و تَديُنِهَا

لا تَلُمني إن جادت عيناي بالبكاء. يكفي أن اذكر كيف كانت تتقاسم اللحم بين صغارها و تكتفي هي بالرُّز. لم نعد صغارا وأصبحنا ندرك صنيعها معنا

اسال الله لها الرحمة و الفردوس الاعلى من الجنة مع بقية الورود و البلابل

أبي و امي، الى ان نلتقي، إبقَيَا جميلين كما عَهِدْتُكُمَا. انتما الوَردُ و البُلبٌل. احبكما و افخر بكما

إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون

( رَّبِّ ٱرۡحَمۡهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّیَانِی صَغِیرࣰا)

(وَأُزۡلِفَتِ ٱلۡجَنَّةُ لِلۡمُتَّقِینَ غَیۡرَ بَعِیدٍ ۝ هَذَا مَا تُوعَدُونَ لِكُلِّ أَوَّابٍ حَفِیظࣲ ۝ مَّنۡ خَشِیَ ٱلرَّحۡمَنَ بِٱلۡغَیۡبِ وَجَاۤءَ بِقَلۡبࣲ مُّنِیبٍ ۝ ٱدۡخُلُوهَا بِسَلَامࣲۖ ذَ ٰ⁠لِكَ یَوۡمُ ٱلۡخُلُودِ ۝ لَهُم مَّا یَشَاۤءُونَ فِیهَا وَلَدَیۡنَا مَزِیدࣱ)

28 June, 2019

ABOUT BU RASHID
10 July 2019

 

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid (Bu Rashid) is a name that many correctly associate with an advanced oasis called Dubai. Bu Rashid was born in July 15th 1949 to miraculously introduce a forgotten spot of the harsh Arabian desert to the entire world as the “THE COUNTRY OF CHOICE”.

To many, the name “Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid” means mega projects such as the Palm, Burj Khalifa, Emirates Airlines, dnata, Dubai World, Expo 2020, horse racing, mission to Mars … etc. But as an Emirati and being from the city of Dubai, l see him differently. The above mega projects can’t fairly describe him.

In anticipation for July 15th, his birthday, I couldn’t find a better occasion to open my 53 years old heart and humbly share with you his real and core achievements from my prospective, so help me God:

1- I was a student in United states from 1985 to 1990. To me, the most difficult question those years was “where are you from?”. You can’t imagine how difficult it was to answer this simple question. I felt I was no one and from no where. 20 years later, I was astonished when I landed in United states in 2010 to find out that I was a celebrity just because I am from Dubai. I was no longer a “no one” or from “no where”. I realized I am now from the “COUNTRY OF CHOICE” for so many worldwide. This means a lot to me and the credit goes to Bu Rashid.

2- UAE’s National day was another ordinary day off for me as an Emirati until Bu Rashid marched it with us and placed his finger print on a UAE map. Ever since, I feel belonging to the bigger home called UAE. This means a lot to me and the credit goes to Bu Rashid.

3- Our dress code in UAE was simply white with a strip of black. We were a color blind nation until one day Bu Rashid appeared in a blue Kandorah. Ever since, we have become a colorful nation. Bu Rashid brought color to our lives. This means a lot to me and the credit goes to Bu Rashid.

4- I was ashamed of our services and scared of being in any queue until “Dubai Government Excellence Program” was introduced by Bu Rashid in late 1990s. Today our services are either the best or among the best worldwide. Today, I feel at peace being in any queue and feel proud of our ever improving services. Our standard of acceptance has been lifted and our appreciation for the “CULTURE OF QUALITY” has improved dramatically. This means a lot to me and the credit goes to Bu Rashid.

5- Bu Rashid taught us to remain humble and wish the best for others. We enjoy celebrating achievements of others. We love to see others happy. This means a lot to me and the credit goes to Bu Rashid.

We know that Bu Rashid is neither God nor a prophet. He is simply a human being like all of us. He is certainly not perfect. But we know that he is many light years ahead of us. What makes us special is that we know our leaders are the best of us.

I pray to Allah to grant him and his loved ones the best of this life and the life after

Stay beautiful as usual

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