Words Asma G.
Photograph Fatema A.
Bostonian. Healthcare Consultant in NYC. Epidemiologist. Mehndi Artist. Photographer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. I like to believe I am a jack of all trades… and master of some.
Timekeeper Theme Blurb:
Time is about as large a semantic field as you can find for writing about. I once said that about war, but I think this is even more so. Over the next month, you will read courageous, funny, bolstering and thought-provoking pieces about that universal mistress. Called Timekeeper, this month’s theme may be a misnomer; after all, who here professes to keep time instead of being kept by her.
Time is precious.
When in the hazrat of Moula (TUS), the value of time is not only precious but priceless. For years, my body, mind and soul have been trained to utilise every second we are gifted when sharing the same space as Moula (TUS).
My body kicks into super gear when news of Moula (TUS) approaching the vicinity reaches my attuned ears. My mind now knows to cancel all worldly thoughts and focus on the few phrases I am determined to share with Moula (TUS) during qadambosi. My soul reaches an emotional state of excited longing as I inch closer to the bethak after spending hours in an endless line.
I, like many others, know that time spent in Hazrat Imamiyah is not to be squandered. Two years ago, mumineen all over North America heard the news of Moula’s (TUS) arrival in Los Angeles. Excitement flurried in my veins as the long wait of witnessing Moula’s (TUS) glory in our homeland was finally over. My concentration in class dwindled as the weekend approached, and time could not be going any slower.
Finally, Friday arrived. The time had come for me to cross our nation and land in a city blessed with Moula’s (TUS) presence. But, little did I know, time was not on my side that Friday night. My flight from Newark started off with a delay. Upon reaching Dallas, halfway to California, my flight was delayed, then cancelled due to an innocent coating of snow and ice in a city that is not equipped for winter weather. All of a sudden, my precious weekend worth of time in Moula’s (TUS) hazrat was chipping away by the second, and I was still over a thousand miles away from my destination.
Several frantic phone calls and a long night spent at a friend’s house later, my parents managed to book me on a new flight from Dallas to Los Angeles. In a bathroom stall at LAX, I hastily changed into a clean, but wrinkled, rida from my suitcase. As my taxi drove up to the masjid complex, I thought I could feel the positive energy surrounding the majestic buildings. But then, as quickly as my excitement grew, it sunk. Within seconds I realised the joy on people’s faces was from amazing deedar that they witnessed only minutes ago. Moula (TUS) hamnaj padhari gaya. I missed it. Through everything, I still didn’t make it in time to get long-awaited deedar. Tears welled in my eyes and my heart sunk as friends and family excitedly shared detailed nuggets of waaz and amazing glimpses of Moula (TUS), while I was stuck in a travelling nightmare.
After a few minutes of self-pity, something clicked. My mind, body and soul kicked into the overdrive I had tucked away until this moment. I knew it was only up to me to use the next two days to their fullest potential. From then on, my time was counted by the second, and anything I could do to spend it in the presence of Moula (TUS), I would do. The energy I had stored for this weekend revealed itself, and it felt like time was finally on my side.
When I look back, my initial feelings of anger at American Airlines are quickly replaced by the memory of the satisfaction my heart felt with every moment I was given in Los Angeles alongside other mumineen. The priceless seconds spent at the qadam of Moula (TUS) every night, imamat fajar namaz with barely one hundred people around me, the opportunity to pray madeh Moula (TUS) na saamne during bethak, and most importantly the time Moula (TUS) spent to listen to my arzi and ask about my blossoming career was all I could have ever asked for.
The rushed hours of that weekend were, ironically, filled with endless amounts of sukoon. The time taken away from me that Friday night forced me to be patient, but the time given to me was the greatest blessing I could ask for. As written in Raudat-ul-Hidayaat, “When time is in your favour do not be boastful; and when it is against, be patient.”