Friday, October 2, 2015

Egyptians I Love

Asalamu Alaykom,

I tend to let the Egyptians who drive me crazy live in my head rent-free.  I'm not sure why I persist in giving them head space but I do.  I realized that if I'm going to advance my faith I've got to kick them out.  In their place, I want to usher in some Egyptians that I love.

Kids Who Make Their Own Fun

The above picture is a family of kids who have found boxes and will play with them as if they were the best toys money could buy.  They  do this because they don't have any money for toys.  I see kids kick around cans and bottles like they are the newest soccer balls.  Even if the kids have some pocket money, they buy old-fashioned playthings like marbles to shoot on the quiet side street or kites to fly on the rooftops.  I marvel at their ability to travel back in time.

The Little Old Lady in the Street

She was this little old lady, dressed in long flowing black from head to toe.  In the early morning, my eyes hadn't exactly adjusted to the sunlight and I couldn't figure out what she was doing.  She was suddenly crouching down on the pavement and sweeping something with her hand.  What was it?  With some difficulty, she stood up and then  she walked closer to where we were waiting for the bus.  I saw her stop at the pile of garbage and discard the fragments of bread there.

It was bread that she had been sweeping up with her hand.

Bread is a blessing from God.  It can't be under foot.  This elderly woman stopped and stooped to honor the rahma from Allah and to make sure no one unknowingly stepped upon it.  God bless her.

I love her.

Egyptians Who Balance Things on Their Heads

While we're on the subject of bread, let me also admit to loving the men who can balance a lattice tray of fresh bread on their head as they bicycle their delivery load.  It's like watching a circus act!

However, it's not just bread.  It's the big, metal bowl of produce from the market.

It's even the heavy gas tank!

If I want to make my husband laugh, I attempt to carry something on my head.  Truth is, I wish I were so talented.  There's a woman who carries white beans on her head and trills that they are for sale.  Just one day, I want to substitute for her.  I honestly don't know if I'd be strong enough to handle it.

Careful Taxi Drivers

 I don't drive in Egypt.  I haven't driven in six years.  Therefore, every time that we travel out of our neighborhood, I've had to place my trust in someone else's abilities.  I love the drivers who keep their cab so clean that you know it's become their home away from home.  Seeing that they have decorated it and made it personal warms my heart----except for the one who liked skulls.

One time, there was a driver who had a little devil on his dash.  It freaked me out.  I told him that it wasn't nice.  He threw it out the window right away.  You have to love that kind of customer service!

I'm not the easiest customer to please.  Yes, I want to get where I'm going, but I want to get there in one piece.  I will ask for the driver to slow down.  I tend to add that I'm about to throw up and that usually helps them to understand my needs.

While all of these reasons are important, what makes me really love drivers though is how they treat the other people on the street.  I love when they see someone crossing the street and they gesture them to go ahead.  They wait and let the pedestrians go.  It's kind!

Last month, I watched the driver of the day, full bushy beard and the outward appearance of a devout Muslim, as he started to slow down for a young man crossing the road.  I was just about to smile at this good deed when I caught the driver's expression in the mirror.  He was glaring with pure hatred at the tight jeans and carefree ways the young man exhibited.  It shocked me!  I had caught a glimpse of an ugly truth in the rear view mirror.  Honestly, it took me a couple of days to shake the sheik.

The drivers who are truly clean, good-natured, and fear Allah get my money and my du'as.  If they are very careful on the road, I take their number and have my husband call them for other excursions.

Those Who Offer Prayers Wherever They Are

Many workers have a short time to pray.  They can't make it to the mosque.  They might be beside the road, next to their stall, or on a grassy area in the middle of the square.  There they stand and then they bend to prostrate to Allah Subhana wa Tallah.  To me, a Muslim-American who was often scared to pray in public lest someone attack me, report me, or try to have me removed, I feel so tenderly towards these brothers in Islam.  They are not making excuses for place or time.  They know that their prayers can be given anywhere but must be given on time.

Often I see them as I pass by in a car or bus.  I ask Allah to accept their prayers.  They don't know that I have a love for them.

Love.  It's OK to love many people you don't even know----if it's for the sake of Allah.

Here are some more pictures of Egypt.  Many you can find someone else you love.