I am frantically hoping, nay, praying that the Masjid al Hayy / HIC union will survive the initial, natural and expected turbulence of any new alliance and settle on an understanding to continue the marriage amicably. My prayers are that some respected and experienced elders will intervene, bring the two sides to a table over some Shivjee or Manji mutton pulau and kachumber, smack some good words of wisdom into hardheaded heads and we will be all smiles. Alas, no, the split happens while I am away overseas for a month. Driving to the navi Masjid for salaat about two miles away from my home here in Sanford, I must pass by the old HIC facility, a stone’s throw away. This is so bloody disheartening, it nearly brings tears of sadness and frustration to my eyes.
I have just returned from visiting CAI projects in India, the Philippines and our visiting our Rohingya orphans rotting in squalor camps in Bangladesh. When I see progress with the destitute people that CAI donor-funds help, and the children it assists educate; I am elated. Muslims have so many other challenges, unceasing tragedies no less, from the slaughter of 63 people attending a wedding in Kabul to the brutal lockdown in Kashmir and the general assault to our faith worldwide, yet we spend our energies and resources on seemingly petty issues. Every step we progress, I feel, is matched with three steps setback.
This split is sparing no one, I think, not least in my home, where there is conflict which centers to patronize, navi masjid or jooni center. Elsewhere, conspiracy theories twirl around like the swirling smoke from oud, anointing khushaali robes or allams in Muharram. Staying aloof from the fray of gossip and hearsay is made difficult by visiting speakers who touch on this subject from the pulpit, and wise minds who advise me that it’s all okay, we now have a choice between speakers for the coming Muharram lectures, that parking will be now made easier, or jesting that the pieces of choice meat in the niyaz will be there for the taking…
I am still hopeful that we will be one happy family once more, soon, insha’Allah. We have a beautiful center, a marvel fit for postcards, no less.
Remember, Mullah Mchungu scolds me over the phone later that very night, as if I have got anything to do with this mess, the Prophet’s (s) parting words on his deathbed, ‘my ummah, my ummah’. Heed to his divine and holy words ghadheero. Remember, misuse of Allah’s bounties and mercy will only lead to perdition.
Must he call me an ass every time I talk to him? My patience is running thin, walaahi. But I do increase the intensity and fervor of my supplications for a reunion. Kheyr insha’Allah.
Rohingya Orphans – Two Years On
It’s been two years now since CAI donors got together and built a safehouse/school for about 200 downtrodden children of Rohingya refugees. Alhamd’Allah, they get a healthy breakfast, a semblance of an education, some downtime for leisure TV shows and a hearty, healthy hot meal before they head to their hovels in the squalor camp they call home. Their clothing, hygiene and health needs are all taken care of and I notice they have put on weight and look healthier, happier.
It’s Eid ul Adha day, so after formal facilitation and a sumptuous meal and dessert, Shaida and I help gift every orphan some 750gm of meat from animals CAI donors have sacrificed for them; hard to get protein for their siblings and mothers. We tour the camp later, a cluster of makeshift hovels that are unimaginably depressing; there is squalor and wretchedness everywhere I look. Yet, this is home for thousands, where they live, eat, defecate (young naked children in the open, right in front of my eyes), procreate and somehow eke out a living. CAI donors make possible close to 40,000 of these Allah’s creations have clean potable water any time of the day.
CAI is committed to these 200 orphans and the diesel to run the water project until 2019. Funding for 2020 and beyond depends on the donor generosity of future funding; I am hopeful, insha’Allah.
Click here for trip photos.
Vivid Imaginations – A Memoir
A CAI donor has pledged $50,000 towards the SGH orphanage project in Andheri, Mumbai, India IF I can raise an additional $50,000 through the sale of my next book, Vivid Imaginations – A Memoir. It is a recount of a memorable life of a Khoja Muslim with Gujarati genes, born and reared in E. Africa, migrating to the Middle East and then to the US. A frank and self-critical account, funny yet somber and very telling. A not to be missed read insha’Allah. You can read a brief preview here.
So for the sake of these poor orphan girls and for the pleasure of Allah only (and a good read, perhaps?), please, purchase a copy? For legal and administrative purposes, the US$50 is not tax-deductible and must be purchased online at bit.ly/VividImaginations. Only $10,000 balance needed to meet the target. Allah bless.
Please note this book will be published in the first quarter of 2020 and mailed immediately thereafter, insha’Allah.