Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I Saw A Woman in the Rain
A few days ago on my way home from class one night I waited underneath a canopy roof. The rain poured down the bricks like a river being thrown against the wall. It was a beautiful storm that let us see the wind as it blew and which flickered with light. I saw two elders speaking with one another, a man and a woman, and I heard the words being asked to the professor that perked up my ears as we stood waiting for the storm to end. In hearing those words I turned in their direction and watched the professor leave. A much longer time after, when the storm had not yet ceased and people grew tired of waiting, I walked over to the elderly couple who were dawning their rain gear to forge out into the harshness of the weather. I stood opposite them and spoke up hesitantly, because I had no idea what I was going to say. "Sorry to bother you, but did I hear you ask about a translation of the Qur'an?" I ended up saying. Either intentionally or by accident, she didn't give me a straight answer on the subject. It was dark, but it seemed as though they had stopped smiling when I came over. I then added, "there are many many translations you know, but only one Qur'an, which is in arabic, and you can always go back and check it. If it seems like the translation is wrong or what you are reading does not fit, you know what else you can do to check? "What?" she asked, she probably could have cared less but I like to think she was interested. At least I had her attention now. I reached for the strap on my backpack to take it off and write something down for them , but stopped when I noticed they looked annoyed. I continued. "Do you know what ahadith are?" She didn't know. "They are the words and acts of the prophet Muhammed (saw) when he was alive, dictated by those closest to him. They were recorded through history, and he is the best example of a Muslim and the source Muslims go to for guidance if there is an interpretation or meaning that is unclear in the Qur'an, like...beating women is a big contraversy in the media all the time, whether or not it says in the Qur'an that men are allowed to beat their wives. Some people say yes, some people say no, but if you look at Muhamed (saw) you would know right away that he never "beat his wives" in todays meaning of the term, never got close to it and was upset by it really...". This wasn't going anywhere. She did agree that it was smart to go back to the source, even if she did seem irritated at my presents, and seeing that they were ready to brave the storm, I quickly recommended to them the English translation of the Qur'an I had first read when I came to Islam three years ago (al7amdolillah). The translation is by Ahmed Ali, and gives good footnotes, multiple ways of explaining the interpretations through science, philosophy, history, and does a good job of explaining the concepts derived from the arabic words. The couple smiled and we went our seperate ways, and as I turned my head to see them from afar, they held still, resuming their previous descussion, disregarding whatever it was that I had said. I ran down the hill as the rivers of rain ran with me, streaming and rippling with a snakelike rythm, and the loudness of the rain sent shivers down my spine. You know that the power of Allah is always with you, but on some days you can feel it more than others. I reached my car, soaked to the bone, and drove home through the blinding rain. Today, I returned to my class. I opened the door, returned a smile to the gregorious elderly British man who sits in the corner, took off my backpack, and was eyeing the room for my seat when I saw a hand waving in the air. I turned my eyes in that direction and I saw the elderly woman smiling up at me in the front row. "Oh hello" I said, smiling that she had even acknowledged my existence. Without even returning the greeting, though out of excitement rather than rudeness, she asked me "is this the one you were talking about?". She showed me a book with that beautiful familiar cover-art from the Ahmed Ali's translation of the Qur'an. Green with gold design. I smiled inside and out and nodded, yes that was the one. "Wow...you have it..." I said slowly while beaming. She smiled explaining that this is the one she had "had all along". Sub7anallah. I smiled and joked, yet with the utmost sincerity, "I guess it was meant to be then, no?" She chuckled and agreed, "I guess it must be"..."Thank You" she added. I returned to my seat, and watched from afar, the elderly woman who was blessed, as I was blessed, on her journey in reading the greatest book in the world. May Allah guide her, and may Allah guide us all. Ameen.