Wednesday, 12 January 2011

There was once this beautiful lady...

It all happened last year in Masjidil Nabawi, the masjid of the Prophet Muhammad salAllahu 'alaihi wasallam in Madinah. I was waiting for 'Asr adhan. I was a bit tired and sleepy, but my heart kept telling me this is not the best time to doze and my mind kept warning me to stay awake. I took the Qur'an from the shelves in front of me, tried to read some surahs, but my concentration failed me, the tajwids all went wrong, so I stopped immedately. I went back to my place and recited some zikr.

At one point I thought I heard someone talking beside me. I turned to see a young lady talking to an older lady about something. She was trying to explain something while gesturing it with both her hands, once in a while touching the feet of the elder, but the elder looked puzzled. After several minutes of observation, I finally understood the situation:

A young Pakistani lady was talking to an older Turkish lady about something.

The Turkish lady did not understand the Pakistani lady as she was speaking in her mother's tongue. This was shown clearly on the face. But the nice thing about her was that even though she had no idea what the Pakistani lady was talking about, she kept smiling and nodding her head as a sign of respect and friendship.

I was watching them with interest when suddenly the Pakistani lady turned just to catch me unguard. I instantly lowered my gaze to the floor, ashamed that she caught me listening to her conversations.

"Oh! I wish someone could understand me!" Frustrated, she sighed softly, more to herself, but loud enough for me to hear it.

"I understand you. Pretty well if you speak English" I said slowly, unsure of her respond. Who knows, she might suddenly snap at me.

She turned to stare at me and I saw her big, beautiful eyes. But Oh! Ya Allah! What have I said? Why did I intervene? Oh! Me and my big mouth!!!

"You can speak English! You understand me?" She held my hands. She was so excited. I smiled in relief and nodded. I simply can't put my eyes away from her. She has such a fair complexion.

"Alhamdulillah! For many days since I arrived in Madinah, I have not been able to talk to anyone but my own people. Most of these pilgrims only speak Arabic so it's been hard to communicate with them" She smiled. Masya-Allah, she has beautiful white teeth too!

"My name is Farida. I am from Karachi" she was still holding my hands when she said this.

"I am Ati, from Kuala Lumpur" my turn to introduce myself.

Within a few minutes afterwards, I learned that she is a doctor. I mean, a real medical doctor who can prescribe controlled medicine to patients in hospitals. Well, I am a doctor-to-be too, but I can't prescribe any medicine to anyone, unless the person wish for suicide. (hahaha...! who would like to try?) When I asked her what was it all about with the elder Turkish lady who sat next to her, Farida told me she was trying to help the lady who happened to have swollen legs, most probably due to her plumpy figure and the fact that she walks a long distance everyday. She was trying to tell the lady that putting her feet higher than the body when she rest at night will help her reduce the swelling, but the elder lady seemed not to understand her at all.

"I have tried to explain to her in English, but she just stared blankly at me. I then talked to her in Urdu, and I know she did not understand it either. Now I give up". We giggled quietly. Surprisingly, the elder lady suddenly joined us and giggled together though she did not understand anything. From that instance, the three of us became friends. Instant friends, like my favourite "Nescafe 3 in 1" drinks.

True indeed, it was such a pleasure to make new friends with other pilgrims from different backgrounds, here, at the Masjidil Nabawi. But of course it was sad too that right after the Maghrib prayer Farida had to leave us to join her husband for dinner. She finally revealed that she was married for only two months and that they both decided to perform umrah for their honeymoon. Masya-Allah, sweet!

We did not exchange contact details. We can't. For those who have been in Masjidil Nabawi, they would know how strict the rules are about bringing in personal belongings into the masjid. So we did not have anything in hand to record contacts. We just hugged and hoped to see each other again the next time, but of course that did not materialise. Till the day I departed for Makkah, I was still hoping to meet Farida one more time in the masjid, but amongst the sea of pilgrims, I knew that was impossible.

Nevertheless, I'll never forget this beautiful lady with kind heart. May Allah protect her always and help her save thousands of lives as she performs her tasks dutifully, lillahi ta'ala.


  1. Mashallah what a beautiful story = I loved reading it and perhaps more so because I long to make my hajj with mom, dad and my huband (if I had one) inshallah and Allahu A'lam. Love you ati (ps: in tegalo Ati means elder one)

  2. Such a beautiful, heart-warming story of a brief friendship, mashaAllah. Sweet and caring people, like Farida, make a long-lasting impression in such a short period of time.

  3. You will, my dear Blue Pearl, one fine day, perform hajj with your loved ones (including a handsome and loving husband!!!)Insya-Allah. I'll make lots of duas for you.

    Ati = elder one? I think that's a compliment. Since I am your elder sister, you must obey me! Now go to the kitchen and bake me a delicious chocolate cake! hahahaha.... love you tonnes!!

  4. I agree with you, sis Nadia. I pray there's more muslimahs like Farida in this world. Such a regret the beautiful friendship lasted for only a few hours. But she'll always be in my heart, Insya-Allah.

    Then when are we meeting up so that I can write something beautiful about you and me, huh? :) Take care, sis.

  5. I'm longing for the day we meet, Ati. I hope it's soon, inshaAllah :)

    You take good care of yourself too!

  6. Insya-Allah, one day we'll meet each other. I am so eager to be there at your beautiful place. We'll spend lots and lots of good times.

    Insya-Allah... :)



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