Monday, September 17, 2007

A Little Early Story

The chilly winds of an early Fall morning in Toronto failed to numb her cheeks - they were covered under a thin black cloth. The woman in the niqab walked down the street, oblivious to the stares of other pedestrians; she was late for her volunteer shift at the food shelter.

Mona, the young girl who saw the niqabi cross the street shook her head. She was Muslim too, but why did the niqabi not integrate like Mona? The niqabi was probably born in one of those hardline Muslim countries, Mona decided.

She could be like her - Mona prayed five times, ate halal food, did not date, yet had a normal life. The niqabi could be like her neighbor over there, standing by the bus stop, wearing the pink hijab yet friendly in her appearance. As she walked to her office, Mona nodding a greeting at her hijabi friend.

"She probably thinks I am out to get attention," The pink hijabi thought. "I am not admonishing her for not covering her head, why does she never say salaam to me?"

The man behind the hot dog cart rubbed his hands in front of the stove on his cart. Business was winding down with the summer, and even early openings did not break him even. Abdul had thought the 'halal' sign on his cart would attract more customers, yet the many Muslims he saw exiting the mosque opposite the road did not even glance at him. "Must be because I am a shia," he thought.

"Should I, or should I not?" thought Tariq, as he got a coffee from Tim Horton's. "That guy is so tempting, and halal too!" He then thought of the barely subtle hints his wife had dropped about his growing waistline, and decided to skip a hot dog for lunch today. He passed another bus stop on the way back to work. A man with a thick beard was getting the looks from everyone. Tareq laughed, "Silly immigrants! Why don't they shave and be rid of the hassle?"

It was time for zuhr. Tareq made his way to the small room that served as the neighborhood mosque. He hadn't been there - just last week an old Somalian janitor saw him praying in the hallway and told him about it. He stopped.

The bearded man was the imam. As he removed his jacket, Tareq saw that the bearded man was actually a white guy, and sported a Maple Leafs jacket! Tareq took his place beside the hot dog guy. God! He smelled of hot dog! The women lined up behind.

They all prayed to the same God. For some ten, quiet minutes, there was no Shia, no Sunni, no hijabi, no niqabi - just men and women, subservient before Allah.

Outside, a man pointed at the building and turned to his wife.

"That's the Muslim mosque." He turned up his nose. "The lot! Why don't they go back home?"


Anonymous said...

Wow, that was good! A good way to show how in the end we are all God's creation.

Anonymous said...

that is a trully inspiring piece of writing - shows we should care for 1 another rather than fight and bicker.

i hav almost same story in that one of the hot dog guys near our place was Ismaili and couple of brothers from the MSA used to boycott him.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this!


Anonymous said...

Mezba, I think you should write a book if you haven't already. You have great insight in how people might perceive certain things.

'liya said...

I liked that too :)

Anonymous said...

HEhehehe, that was classic, we all like pointing fingers to our fellow muslims forgetting that we get judged too! sf

Anonymous said...

and we probably do judge everyone the same way. well said. the native deen song ain't bad either.

Anonymous said...

I loved it! I am so impressed by your writing and creativity.

sannashine said...

have you seen the movie 'crash?' your story reminds me of that movie.

Athena said...

ooops sorry about that weird post earlier. I'll explain later why that happened.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that this was a really good post and loved the song.

Anonymous said...

Great Post!

Suroor said...

Very nice, Mezba!

Anonymous said...

Nicely done Mezba.


mezba said...

Mousehunter: indeed. If only everyone would remember we all descended from Adam people wouldn't have racist leanings.

Farah: thanx. So sad about the hotdog boycott. As long as it was halal, it shouldn't matter, right?

Baraka: thank you! oh you are back to blogging, wow this is good.

Anon: thank you for your comment, aw, you give me too much credit!

Liya: thank you. Something so sad but true, I am afraid.

Sf: yes that's why I added the last part about the non-Muslim guy in.

Yaser: it was actually the native deen song that inspired this short story.

Nermeen: is it the same blogger Nermeen? Nice to see you here.

Sannashine: nice name! yes I saw the movie Crash and I remember immediately thinking I could so put a Pakistani, Bengali, Indian, Arab and Somali there and make something similar.

Athena: weird post? I didn't get any from you.

Geekisiddiqui, Suroor, Muse: thank you. I only wish I didn't have to add "based on a true story".

Anonymous said...

Really nice story. You should continue on with the story, cause I wanted to read more. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

very astute mezba.!.good to be reading your blog again.

AnonyMouse said...

Brilliant! I absolutely love it... very Canadian Muslim indeed! :)

I think we Muslim bloggers who like to write short stories need to create an anthology of our very own... d'you think we could get a mention on CBC? :P

mezba said...

Fareen: thanx. I sort of left it at that point - I would like the readers to get from the story what is relevant to them!

Sonia: thank you. I hope you can come back and continue to read.

AnonyMouse: Please do contact me if you have more short stories like this. We can definitely collaborate.

AnonyMouse said...

Actually, I'm writing a blog post right now (for MuslimMatters) about doing something like that... it should be posted within the next week or so, insha'Allah.
Safiyyah Aly's short stories are another example of brilliant Canadian Muslim writing.

I'm a bit busy right now, but you can drop me a line at bintyounus AT yahoo DOT ca