I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.”
Many of us have faith handed down to us by a bearded man who sits on the floor of our well-decorated living rooms or by the sweet voices of our mothers, reminding us that the five daily prayers were obligatory; as was making our beds every morning. Very few have faith gifted to us by a friend.
I happen to be one of them.
Faith was passed on to me like little pieces of paper with secret notes scribbled on that we would pass on to each other in school or hushed whispers when the teacher had her back turned on us. Faith was re-introduced to me by a friend and as a friend. It had been invited and warmly welcomed to our party of two. The introduction was somewhere along the lines of ‘You should talk to Him. He listens and He is very kind’.
My friend and I have survived catastrophic life-altering events and beautiful highs that we never wanted to come down from. We have stood beside each other at the arrival gates in Heathrow waiting for love, and waved goodbye as love left. We stood tall when death showed up and crumbled down when it took with it more than what we had bargained for. We welcomed all people and all emotions, the good, the bad and the ugly, for all could be dealt with as long as we stayed together. Sitting between the walls of our bedrooms or under open skies in the company of the sun or the sea, we shared our grief, joy, and bewilderment about a world we did not understand.
This friend has been with us for ten years, he is still invited where ever the two of us find ourselves to be. It was very recently where I realised how we talked of Him as a mutual Friend. On nights when the moon hangs low and my thoughts outweigh my body, I wrap the tasbeeh (rosary beads) around my hand, a gift from her, to help me fall asleep. Sometimes there are prayers, sometimes it’s just the familiar feeling of having the company of two friends and their presence that lingers long after they have left the room.
Often at times when we’re struggling day in and day out we write to each other in the middle of the night knowing the other too was being visited by restlessness. ‘I will pray that you fall asleep soon and for tomorrow to be a better day’. We talk about our other Friend and question whether we have been talking to Him as much as we would like to. Now and then, one of us remarks that she might’ve been forgotten or overlooked and is corrected shortly after by the other who quotes a reassurance.
What one forgets, the other remembers. What one starts, the other finishes.
One of my favourite memories of us growing up was when we had just started college and became separated by different fields of interest (at the time we didn’t know we would be separated by far more than a field of interest in the future, by cities and country borders). Every day for the first few months, we would find each other at lunch time and she would read to me her then favourite book (maybe still favourite book) Peer-i-Kamil (The Perfect Mentor). A story where faith is the protagonist. The book’s brilliance on its own would have little meaning to me if it were not for her voice reading it to me. She would skip pages to read to me her favourite parts that she had read overnight, hurrying, not wanting the piercing sound of the bell to disrupt our little haven.
Life has changed in ways we could never have imagined it would. We have changed. We have lost more faith in this world than we can even comprehend. But somehow we still manage to restore some of it in each other’s voices or by just sitting beside each other at sunset. Her father would call us ‘Hayya alal Falah’ growing up, because we were inseparable and because my name is Haya and hers Falah. What I didn’t appreciate then, ‘Hayya alal Falah’ means Come to Success in the Azaan (Call to Prayer). So if I were to ever to forget her, which is highly unlikely, the five times every day the loudspeaker calls out our names, we will respond to our roll call, for each other, and for all that we are yet to witness in each other’s lives but most importantly, for our other Friend, for we need Him more than He would ever need us.
Haya Fatima is in Karachi. She has a bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering. she is a writer and blogger and has been writing for creative purposes as it has been a passion of hers since she was very young using it as a means to feel, express and communicate with her community of friends. She is a Sufi at heart and uses everyday life to connect to the Universe. My blog handle is: https://wonderstruckintrovert.wordpress.com/