Till next time, London…

I never expected my last post in London to be like this. Me writing feeling this way. At peace. Sure. But still, unnervingly uncertain about what lies ahead…
I had plans, and mashallah, I achieved them. I successfully completed courses (including International Trade and International Marketing), the internship, and managed to step on the soil of 8 more countries.
But something else happened along the way. “They say the goodness in life belongs to those who believe.” Before, I had recited that lyric with aspiration, hoping its truth would one day make sense to me. Would one day be my own. Waiting to know what faith felt like.

But today, I believe. And I am so blessed to know the difference. I do not know many things. Like if I will be able to register for courses next term. If I will be able to complete my research. In what state will I find my family. My community. My country. I do not know what I will do when I graduate. Who I will become, who I will be with and who will not be with me.But, I have never felt so sure in the goodness promised to those who seek truth. I have never felt so safe in where I need to be.
During one of my last days at work, I was walking down the street after picking up groceries for the cookery club, and I was listening to Yusef Estes on my iPod. During the podcast, he said “No Muslim is in a hurry to die. But at the same time we take that as a fact of life…death.”

And it made think of a moment in my life, years ago.

I remember the image distinctly in my head. Our family had just finished praying together. I think it was during the month of Ramadan because the days were much shorter. I don’t think I was even able to see over my parents’ bed, but I followed my mom to the bedroom and asked her about something she had read to me in the Qur’an. I’m not sure how the verse read, but I remember envisioning the earth, the blues and the greens, and envisioning her leaving this world.

I demanded her to explain this thing called “death” and why God would take her away from me. Why she would not be with me forever. Even as I write this the tears fall. All I can remember was her smiling and laughing and holding me, telling me that this is true, but that I should not be afraid. And like many years to come, she would tell me to fear no one and nothing but God.

When I’d hate to go into our basement (evil surely had to reside in that scary place), I’d repeat that.And now, in what seems like centuries later, I still feel the comfort in remembering how small I am…

For the people who have known me these past few years, they probably see my changes as phases of growth. They know that I am never in one place for too long, physically and metaphorically. But for those who’ve known me longest, it may seem strange for them how often I now invoke God in a conversation. My little sister, for one, was sure to inform me of how funny it all is.

And sometimes I find myself trying to go back to October. Trying to recount the exact moment, when I had found what I had been looking for for many years now.
I know that if I had picked up the Qur’an and it read to spend my nights partying and drinking until it hurt, to intoxicate myself as much as possible so that I am not conscious of my existence, to have relations with everyone I run into without hesitation, to not want for the best, to be oppressed, then it would be very difficult for me to be a believer.

But that is not what I read.

I read how God hates oppression and restricts even Himself from doing it. I read to appreciate my beauty to the extent that I guard it every day from everyone but my family and for whomever else awaits. I read to spend as much time with my family as I can and to honor my mother three times after I honor God, and then could I honor my father. I read how to pray, when to pray and that God hears the one who prays.
And in that, I find the greatest consolation.

What next?
I will be returning to Brazil for a month after I graduate, inshaAllah. And, right now I have an application being reviewed for what will change my life if I receive it. And if not, I will work, do something, help people. Paint. Lock myself in a room for a year and paint and teach myself Italian, French, Arabic, Punjab/Hindu, and whatever else. Read. Be. Alone. For a minute. Just for a second. In the silence of my existence. …Then back to school.

But, I will miss London. I will miss the people that have been so kind do me during my stay. My coworkers. The children. My two Somali sisters who have been so nice to me. I will miss our short but fun times. Our discussions on hidden piercings, marriage, career plans, and most of all, Islam. The other Muslim friends I’ve made. The food.  Cadbury chocolate. The multiculturalism. The uncomfortable Tube rides. Taking the bus. The trips. The new friendships. The tea.
Yes, I will miss London and I hope to return.

To those reading, I have one piece of advice:
Seek Truth, and don’t stop until you find it. It’s out there.



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