This is a quiet little post quite unlike the grandstanding spectacle of yesterday. It's about the passage of time and of growing older and wiser. Today marks four years since I stepped off the plane in Cairo to begin a new chapter of my life.
I left America August 18, 2009 and arrived here the next day on August 19. That was four years ago, at the age of 41, with my little 4-year-old boy and four suitcases. That's a lot of fours! I wish I could say that I had $4,000 with me but I had half of that. I came to Egypt with a lot of trust in God.
I wrote about that in my series "Making Hijrah" which you can read. Many people say they read the 40 parts at one go. It is a page turner---although this a computer screen so we should probably think up a new expression for a suspenseful story in cyberspace.
As I sit here, in the safety of my furnished apartment with both my son and husband sleeping soundly, I do feel blessed. It's a quiet morning in Egypt with only bird song and the occasional shuffling of footsteps down on the street. Alhumdulillah.
It's been a hard week in Egypt. It's hard sometimes to feel God's Grace when you aren't getting exactly what you think you need. God, thankfully, doesn't give you what you think you need but rather what you actually need. God knows best.
Over the course of the last four years, I have been given the best life and I'm grateful. That doesn't mean every moment has been perfect; being the best and being perfect are two different things. Without question, I could not have improved my life by staying in America. I had to come to Egypt on hijrah.
There are lessons which only this adventure could have taught me. I feel cleaner, truer, and calmer. I feel more centered and stronger. I have found how to ask for respect and to give that respect. I have felt powerless and learned to let control needs go---for the most part. I'm still working on the control needs!
I truly did give myself to God. Maybe that sounds saintly but it's quite the opposite. It's that moment in a sinner's life when you can't live through one more gut wrencher so you stop and you submit. You don't wish for one more person or one more thing; you only wish for God's increased presence in your life.
Sure, it would have been possible in America for somebody else to go through that process but it was impossible for me. My destiny was to come to Giza. I know that hearing somebody speak of DESTINY sounds so grandiose and almost melodramatic. So, let me use the Arabic. It was my naseeb to come to Giza.
When you follow your naseeb, you can't go wrong. You can't. I have done that and I'm proud that I've stuck with it. Islam is the biggest commitment in my life. I'm almost 11 years in Islam, 10 years 8 months since I put on hijab, 10 since I've said all my daily prayers, 7 since I walked alone on this path, and 4 since I made hijrah. It's been a process. I didn't snap my fingers and become who I am today. I evolved. Alhumdulillah.
Sometimes I think of who I would be had I stayed in America but then I have to stop. It's a very sad thing to imagine. I can't go there in my head.
At this point in time, I have two governments telling me to leave Egypt and go back home. My mother said that she realized for the first time that I can't go home because I'm already home. I didn't want to contradict her. Though I've made a very nice home here, the reason I can't go home is because I don't feel all my blessings have run out of this place with these people.
I read Quran this morning. Praying fajr and reading Quran before I begin my day is one of my biggest faith goals. This is the Quran I purchased four years ago on my excursion into Khan Khalili with Ahmed. I only read through half of it before I caved in and brought over my huge Muhammad Asad translation from America in Summer, 2011. I was using that instead of the green volume from Al-Azhar. Yet, I came back to it and decided to finish that second half for Ramadan. I'm a little late, but I finished it this morning. Alhumdulillah.
What I can tell you is this: I don't have to stay in Egypt but I do have to be where God wants me. It isn't about me staying in a certain home or a certain country. It's about where God wants me. I trust that wherever God wants me to be, then He will guide me and protect me there. I have gone through so much and have come out for the better. I can't doubt my naseeb now. If I ever feel that it's time to leave, then inshahallah I will pray istakkarah and ask for God's guidance and blessing.
For now, four years and two revolutions later, I remain on hijrah enjoying the ease after hardship.