- KEEPING FAITH
As a Muslim I have been taught not to cheat, not to tell lies, not to break laws knowingly. I also know and believe that to do something against the law but act in such a circumvent way that hides that action and lets you get away scott-free is also a crime by every book of the law revealed or written by human beings
JALIL A KHAN
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he other day at about midday as I opened my front door to go out I saw one of my acquaintances, a bearded and very religious person whom I had had the chance to meet occasionally in the local mosque praying along, park his car onto the side of the road, open the car boot door and leaving it opened walk away into the grocery store next door. Believing that he had inadvertently left the car boot door open, I followed him in the store and met him there to inform him of his forgetfulness.
After exchanging the usual salutation when I tried to tell him of his (mistake as I had imagined) he with a boyish naughtiness smiled and took me by his hand and walking out of the store asked me to look straight up towards the overhead camera on the other side of the road and said, “Brother, there is the Big Brother watching, It is a simple ploy to fool the watchers that I am sort of loading unloading. Otherwise I would get a ticket for parking unlawfully, you understand it.”
I got enlightened and did fully understand what he perhaps did not want me to think about. He is my brother-in-faith and I do not doubt it because I have so many times met him in the mosque and prayed along with him as a practicing Muslim.
With all that in the mind I suddenly started questioning myself – does this brother of mine earnestly believe as well what I believe? I wonder what he would have said to the traffic warden if one had come along that way and had found his car parked illegally at restricted time. I will logically be fully justified to imagine that he would have said the same thing in words to the warden what he wanted others to believe seeing his car boot left open – loading/unloading!!
As a Muslim I have been taught not to cheat, not to tell lies, not to break laws knowingly. I also know and believe that to do something against the law but act in such a circumvent way that hides that action and lets you get away scott-free is also a crime by every book of the law revealed or written by human beings. Had not my brother by the act mentioned here done something knowingly against the law? I leave the question to my imagination and also to his conscience as well.
The other day it was raining and I had taken my umbrella along when going shopping. By the time I finished my shopping and came out of the store it had stopped raining therefore I kept the umbrella rolled up and decided to take the bus home. Walking towards the bus stop I saw a big shopping bag soaked in water lying by the kerb.
I knew it was in the way of people passing and there was danger that someone in a hurry might slip by stepping over it. Hesitated to hold it by hand I used my umbrella as a levering stick, picked it up with some difficulty, carried it along and deposited it in the bin by the side of the road. As I did this I heard someone across the road thanking me for that act of goodness.
There I saw a young woman obviously from a high social class admiring what I had done. As our eyes met I gestured to her my thanks for appreciating what I had done and calmly walked to the bus stop. Shortly the bus arrived and I boarded it. My destination was simply three or four stops away and that came very quickly. When I got off the bus and wanted to cross the road I saw a young man rushing towards the bus in order to catch it and in his hurry threw his half eaten fish and chip box by the kerb and climbed the bus. By all means it was something nasty, irresponsible and abhorrent that he had done.
However, ignoring him and using my umbrella again as a stick same way as I had done a few moments ago before starting my bus journey, I dragged that box along the path and as there was no bin nearby I deposited it on the side of the path and left it there. As I did this I felt a pat at my back. Surprised with the pat I looked around and found one of my good friend who has his business nearby smiling in my face and say, “I didn’t know you have taken the job of cleaning the roads of our area.”
I couldn’t judge whether he was appreciating what I had done or was sarcastic about it for it being something lowly and un-gentlemanly. I smiled and said, “Yes brother I have taken the job with the council to keep your path clear.” Saying this I left him and walked to my flat around the corner.
At home I got thinking about both the episodes I had gone through that afternoon and felt very disturbed when I compared both the incidents i.e. first the old lady admiring my action of lifting the rubbish and putting it in the bin and then my friend taunting me for doing the same thing five or six minutes later.
While I was trying to compare both the events of that day another unusual experience came to my mind that had happened some weeks ago. One of my very dear friends’ family was flying out to Pakistan and I had driven them to the airport. After checking we had some time to spare and feeling peckish went to the tea bar to freshen up. I took my friend’s 10 year old son along and giving him a tray asked him to choose whatever he wanted to eat.
While I picked up some cookies the boy picked up a large piece of cake that looked very inviting and put it in the tray. At the counter I asked the young man to prepare four large coffees and some orange juice for the boy. As he started tilling the hoard on the tray, he stopped abruptly and very politely asked me if I was a Muslim. Surprised with his abrupt and irrelevant question, I told him that I was.
In a very friendly tone he asked me not to let the young man eat that cake. Being surprised all the more I asked him why he was saying so. He then told me that the cake was soaked in rum and he knew that alcohol is forbidden for Muslims.
With his friendly gesture I was immensely pleased and thanking him I asked the boy to put the piece of cake back in the display shelf which he very obediently did. Intrigued by the whole thing I went back to the counter and asked the young man whether he was also a Muslim. To my further surprise he said ‘No Sir, I am Christian but some of my friends are Muslim.”
That night I had some food for thoughts that was enough to make me pray to my Allah and thank Him for the good things he has bestowed upon me in this life to enjoy and cherish.
Jalil A Khan is a senior journalist and writer based in London. He has worked as a press officer and as a journalist for reputed publications.