“O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, in deeds some suspicions are sins. And spy not neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah, verily, Allah is the one who accepts repentance, Most Merciful” (Al-Hujuraat 49: 12)
Once upon a summer night, one of those nights were the thoughts like stars in the skies shine bright. Kick start ignition the mind sets of on another mission. Living in metaphors between the lines of life's pages, constantly rolling through the sphere of the past and the modern ages. Water holds your reflection but drowns you if you can’t swim. Running and hurdling obstacles striving to win.
I ran thousands of miles yet so many roads hopefully still to come. Insincere people like shadows creep around me even in the midday sun. Allah as my witness I wish no human any harm, the land looks more and more like an inner city farm, where sheep strut before the wolf and pigs try to fly. I still and will ever adhere to an eye for an eye.
Thankfully grateful for heavens provisions as I tuck into my dinner, hard to keep it down when I see Palestinian children living behind barbed wire. Even more so hypocrisy dwells within me, hunted by the images of the Somali child starving without shelter. Used to think it was a passing feeling that always disappeared once my body was caressed by the soft linen touch of my attire. Now my eternally growing desire it to be a part of my peoples healing.
Whoever asks that question knows, life is not fair and that’s how the story goes. I steady search for humanity, chasing the smallest radiance of its glow. My patience like a candle molded to burn slow, but I feel my tolerance dripping away. Unable to understand why, my community persists on setting the bar at the point of zero. Never collectively looking to move onwards, happy with lodging in the below.
Got an email from a far away sister, she asked if I could shade light on a certain Somali enigma. The irony of the subject induces no laughter, just a few days before I had conversed about this misreading satire with another. It read I hate the way my name has been given a derogative meaning. Xalima has been deemed a woman unworthy of the air she is breathing, her dilemma is her attraction to Faraax. a lowlife who knows not where his disgraceful life is heading. Even worse they both carry an illness in the heart for each other.
Maybe I am a foreigner even when residing in the midst of my people. Maybe I am just too ordinary and foolishly simple, as I can’t comprehend the reality of the issue. The other I had mentioned was also a sister, she said she was tired and complaining of Mr Maraax aka brother Faraax. I asked what the brother did to bring her displeasure, she said he was ignorant and had no future. Furthermore all Somali men were the same and none was ever going to be worthy of her.
I listened as she continued with the aim of cultivating an understanding for this dogma. I struggled to keep pace with the matters complexity; one thing was for certain she carried a mountain of anxiety and her words were distasteful. I said dear lady your words are disrespectful and if we had this conversation on a bad day, I might have walked away or even worse recoil into self defense and in insults indulge you.
Whatever the case at the end of the day that person is your brother, father and one day your husband and son. Say what you may now but I don’t see you marrying any other nor will you pledge to be a nun. Please don’t misunderstand me I am not playing possum to your notion, but how can you subject your limited scoped perception on an entire community. Bad apples grow in all trees and different tasting honey can come from a single colony of bees.
My main concern with all that transpired apart from the obvious negativity is the fact that the sisters feel so strongly aggrieved. There are no doubts that we the men are responsible for the light in which we are perceived. It is a natural human reaction to feel anger once troubled and deceived. Yet I can’t help feeling the spite, limbs often have no treatment for frostbite save decapitation. Without warmth and the shelter of care for one another we would be nothing more than a diseased nation.
I am forever the optimist and my own faults don’t fit into a shortlist, nevertheless I see the worth of my natives and that is ever priceless. So I said to the sister if I departed with that image you just painted, and passed on the harsh message to my brothers, saying I meet this crazy Xalima and reiterate the words that flowed from your tongue. The perception would be carried by the wind like a song, so much further then you and me it would have gone. As we Somalis are stern believers and formidable in the art of Chinese whispers.
If I had become disrespectful you would have stormed of furiously, once in the comfort of your sorority with tearful eyes relayed the Faraax story. We would become unhelpful instruments in our already fragmented society. We must always try and look for the good amongst our people, aid each other whenever one of us takes a tumble. And if that is too much to ask then please hold your peace and in your speech about another be humble.
I hope that when you leave here today, you take with you not just the words that I say. My wish is for you to have witnessed the goodness in us that we love to cast astray. So that when you go to your sisters for pleasurable company, a special more fruitful message I anticipate you to relay. Saying in our community present are people like the brother I came across yesterday.
The Prophet (SAWS) said: "Whoever protects his brother's honour in his absence, will be entitled to Allah's protection from the Fire." [Related by Ahmad, classed as Sahih]
Hamza Egal © copyright 2011 all rights reserved.
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