A Boy of  Unrelenting Desire

Walking busy streets
Crowded shops
Dark alleys
Finding his way among cultural expectations
Seeking answers about a religion he had routinely practiced
Starving for the truth
Thirsty for more than tribal customs
Jinn-obsessed clansmen
Hand-reading aunts
Black-magic uncles
and far-from-practicing parents
His world was confusing
Difficult to understand
Searching the faces of shop-keepers, imams, and the elders
Begging and pleading to his lord for an answer
dying to know Him and to understand why earlier Muslims would sacrifice so much for this way of life
He felt as if his world was a prison
always confronted with walls and barriers
between him and the truth
that laid out there somewhere
in a far-off place that hummed the words of dhikr
that cried ayats
that bled the soul of an Islam that lingered with love, beauty, and purpose
The taste of Ramadhan’s sweets weren’t as tempting as this need he was searching for
The Friday’s prayers were just another reinforcement of twisted cultural traditions
His heart was pumping more than blood
it pumped Islam
His heart had long left the place he called home
Quranic verses were only twisted into misconstrued interpretations for misguided acts
His country was hit severely by the jahiliya
Stories of the companions and the prophet Muhammad traveled with him for years
A brother that once told him of the things he learnt in America about Islam during his days of university
With a family that had rejected everything except for cultural traditions
As he traveled down roads leading to different places
He found a young man only a a few years older than himself
Reciting verses of the Qur’an
Saying words of remembrance
and the young teen couldn’t understand
how a man could praise his lord for he had only a shabby garment and food that would barely suffice for a day
The man felt the presence of an onlooker but did not turn around
He simply said
“Allah is sufficient for me. I am his servant. He is my master. There is no power or might except for He. Do not feel sorry for me. Do not cry for me. From Him we came and to him we return”
The young teen cried for he had finally understood this religion
this way of life that he had longed to understand
to love
to cherish
He took company with the man until his death
For the raised hand will never come back empty


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