It’s getting too cold for those reflective moments out-of-doors. And autumn is the anniversary time of my Sufi birth.
Islamabad. Sector F-8/1. Winter.
A cold, un-insulated Pakistani student hostel at the International Islamic University.
Afghan student Zainab and Tanzanian student Shemsa reciting “Of what do they ask one another?” (Surah Naba) in the next room. Qari Aleemur Rahman reciting beautifully in the neighboring classroom. South African Shaheda reciting al-Mumtahina. Khala-ji, the cook, calling for people to get their beans and rice. The Chinese girls chatting and cooking upstairs. Baji, the administrative staff person, calling for Halima-Chinese! to take her phone call. Babaji calling for someone to see a visitor.
Prayers outdoors, ablutions with cold water for no reason except to say “please, please, please?”
Reading Inner Aspects of Faith.
Long walks past the white mosque down a leafy street in Sector F-7 to a chanting and devotions meeting.
Cold floors in Faisal Mosque. Warm sunshine and cold air. He is the First, the Last, the Manifest and the Hidden.
Autumn brings it all back.