by Minha Khan
I looked at my watch. It read 9pm; he was late. But then again, what else could you expect from a Pakistani driver? I mean, it was as if punctuality meant nothing to them. Pakistanis had taken being “late” to a whole new level. After trying to kill time by impatiently walking from one end to the other for the last half hour, I finally decided to just wait it out.
I looked at myself in the mirror, fixed my tie and brushed my hair one last time. I was now completely ready for the driver to come pick me up for the meeting. I looked around the room, trying to find a way of killing time. A huge plasma screen TV stared at me, but I was never one to enjoy TV. Since birth, I had always been more of an active personality: always looking for mental or physical exercise.
I began opening drawers in search of something to read. I hadn't brought any reading material with me as I was only travelling for a day and had not expected to have had any free time on my hands.
I finally hit the jackpot. In the top drawer of my chest of drawers, there was a fat book carefully wrapped in silk. I flipped to the first page & realized what it was. The Qur'an. Despite my lack of interest in any religion, I began reading to kill time. I randomly turned to another page. On the left side, there was beautiful Arabic calligraphy and on the right was the translation. I started reading mid-page.
“O My servants who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not of the mercy of Allāh, verily, Allāh forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” I was pleasantly surprised to read this. It came as a shock to me. I had never imagined that “Allāh” was merciful. From the recent acts of terrorism, one was to think that the Muslim God was blood-thirsty rather than merciful.
I flipped to another page. “And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allāh (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves…” Wait…what? I had to re-read it. I could not believe my eyes. The Muslim God wanted them to be united? Just the other day I remember reading an article stating that there were over 150 sects of Muslims in the world. It made no sense. I wondered if I was reading the wrong version of the Qur'an. But that wasn't possible either. I remember that the same article had also stated that there was only one version of the Qur'an present.
I flipped to another page, eager to read more. “The true servants of the Most Merciful are those who behave gently and with humility on earth, and whenever the foolish quarrel with them, they reply with [words of] peace.” This time, I almost laughed. Gentle? With humility? Words of peace? The Muslims of today were far from any of those things.
I flipped through it once again. “And be true to every promise- for, verily you will be called to account for every promise which you have made.” Hmm…Impressive. Keeping your promise had always been one of my major values and it was heart-warming to see the importance given to it in this book.
Once again, I flipped the page. “And if you would count the graces of Allāh, never could you be able to count them. Truly! Allāh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” This ayat struck me. I closed the Qur'an and walked towards the window. As I looked out of it, I realized how blessed I was. Looking up at the many shades of blue in the sky, hearing the sound of people laughing in the streets below and smelling the salty sea air that filled the air. I looked at myself. Here I was, wearing one of the most expensive suits, staying in one of the most high-class hotels, waiting for a driver to come pick me up and take me to yet another business meeting which –if successful- would earn me and my company uncountable stacks of money.
I looked at myself in a new way. I had a pair of functional eyes and ears. All my organs worked perfectly. I lived a good life, without having to really worry about much. Everything was more or less taken care of. I wasn't the one working pumping my heart or circulating my blood. I wasn't the one who made my lungs work perfectly so that I could breathe comfortably. I wasn't the one who made sure that I was born in a respectable family where education was considered a right and a priority. Truthfully, I barely controlled any of the factors of my success and well-being.
My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of my phone beeping. The driver had texted me; informing me of his arrival. I picked up the Qur'an one more time before I had to rush down.
“Whatever blessings you enjoy are from Allāh, and when you are touched by distress, He is the One to Whom you cry for help.” Tears filled my eyes. Although some of the Muslims I knew today seemed corrupt, Islam was nothing close to that. I shut the Qur'an and all of a sudden, my body felt weak. I wanted to fall on my knees and cry. I wasn't completely sure why. My whole body seemed to shake, I felt numb. I closed my eyes for a second- trying to regain my stability.
“…Verily, in the remembrance of Allāh do hearts find rest.” I immediately turned around to see where the voice came from. There was no one else in the room besides me. I looked around me, I was all alone. I picked up my laptop bag & began brisk walking out of my room. I felt the jitters throughout the drive to the meeting and throughout the meeting itself. The words played over and over in my head. I finally realized that it was not the sound of the sentence that had startled me; it was the meaning. “…Verily, in the remembrance of Allāh do hearts find rest.” I had never heard a truer statement.
Although I would never dare say this in front of my friends, family or rather anyone in my society, I truly believe that the Qur'an is the truth. And whether the Muslims were right or wrong, it didn't matter.
There was a God, and in my opinion, somewhere deep down in me, I recognized Him. I slept well that night, these few verses from the Qur'an had changed my view on life itself: I had finally found the truth.
About the Author
Minha Khan is 15 years old, which makes her a sophomore in high school. She has lived in three different continents in numerous different cities. She was born in Greenville, South Caroline and currently lives in Saudia Arabia where she hopes to finish high school. Her favorite subjects are English, geography, and economics. She hopes to be a part-time writer and full-time social worker when she grows up, in hopes to make the world a better place one step at a time.
(Attention, writers! Muslim Kids Matter is a regular feature at Muslim Matters. New articles for kids are posted every other Sunday. You're welcome to send in your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org.)