I've had a couple of days of feeling too much. I feel more than I think. A lot of women are like this. We get stuck in memories
I've had a lot of memories which hurt. Here in Giza, I sat in my overstuffed chair in the corner and got lost for a minute or two. I was back in 2002. I had thought I'd married a Muslim man. We had moved into a new home together back in the States.
I had gone shopping at the Somali mall with my two children. My girl was five and my boy was eight. I was shopping for hijabs. I didn't have but two. For some reason, I had not bought any in Egypt.
That just hit me. I had been in Egypt for two weeks and hadn't bought one hijab. I was actually wearing hijab in Egypt but my new husband didn't buy me one hijab.
So, I was alone with two kids in the Somali mall. It was filled with...SOMALIS. Go figure, right? I was this really white, really clueless new Muslimah mom.
A couple came by the store where I had been shopping. The man started talking to me. By coincidence (though we know there are no coincidences) his unusual first name was the unusual name I chose as my new middle name when I came to Islam.
You don't have to chose a new name when you come to Islam. I did. I needed a fresh start.
I was nice. They were nice. It was nice being nice. In that moment, the man offered to buy a gift for each of the kids. For my little blonde girlie, he bought a two-piece white hijab. For my bespectacled boy, the man bought a green prayer rug.
Back Egypt, sitting in my chair, in the moments after magrib, I thought about that green prayer rug. Where was it now? I remembered that I left it back in the States. I couldn't take everything four years ago. It must be in the storage unit now. Whatever I left with my mom was placed in storage this Spring.
I was sure I'd have a prayer rug in Egypt. As I sat there, in the darkening desert breeze, I realized for the first time that in 2002, I married a Muslim man who didn't have a prayer rug.
Why didn't he have a prayer rug?
I started to make excuses for him----like how I always used to. He lived with a group of guys. I bet they shared a prayer rug. He used any rug available. He didn't have to use a specific rug. He...
You know, if you tell yourself a lie long enough, you believe it. I really believed I married a Muslim man in 2002. I came to Islam and I thought I came to embrace the same faith as my man. The truth is that he had let go of his religion. In many ways, his letting go meant that he could find me. Alhumdulillah for everything.
When we brought that green rug back to the house, it became our family's prayer rug. It belonged to us. We used only that. We used a prayer rug bought for my son by a stranger. God bless both my boy and that brother in Islam. We didn't pray on a rug bought by my husband. We couldn't do that because he never used his money to buy a rug.
Come to think of it...
he didn't have a prayer rug in our apartment in Egypt either. We prayed on a small circular rug in the hallway. It was big enough for two people. He had originally bought that with his first-and-current wife.
It's funny, when you think about it, how a prayer rug is rectangular. It focuses your attention from where you are to where the Kabba is. It's straight. It's directing energy.
A circular rug scatters energy in all directions so it is unfocused. It means that all things are important at once without differentiation. If you stand on a circular rug, you are sharing yourself with everything and everybody indiscriminately without making a conscious choice. That was our first prayer rug in our first home. It was only for two weeks.
Our home in America was from November, 2002 until November, 2006. That's four years. Now that I've lived in Egypt for four years, it's giving me some perspective on what those other four years were about.
I was happier with that man.
I was sadder with that man.
In the end, I'm glad I'm not with him. Alhumdulillah. Not everything you want in life is good for you. When you get out of a bad situation, you might still be stuck in a lie. It might take you years to realize the truths of what you had...and what you didn't.
We didn't have a prayer rug.