For Ibrahim and Aisha on the birth of their second daughter. May Allah bless you and your two daughters and son.
Outside the world mourns, the wheel turns, inexorable. People fight twenty-four seven, non-stop. They struggle, they lie and corrupt; they corrupt the same soil which keeps them alive, and still pretend they are making things right. How bold, how daring, how stupid. They rush and do not stop, they do not see any more. The days go by and they do not see the colours of the sky, what a pity, they are blind. The music of Life is playing, it never stops; every second a new melody is born, but they do not hear it. How sad, they are deaf. And how do you explain the fact that they do not even talk anymore? They babble sounds; what a waste of a mouth. They are so busy that I fear one day they are going forget to breathe. But no, I won’t lament that day, it won’t be different for them.
And yet my heart moves when I see children rummaging through rubbish dumps, when beggars, wrapped in plastic bags with no shoes or face, move like shadows, almost dead, through the streets of any borough. When the power of wealth destroys the beauty of the earth. And yet tears come to my eyes when I see that Love has been forgotten, and a fake worthless parody of it has been planted in the head. Tears flow endlessly when I see that the growing flower has been smashed by Progress’ road roller, when the old trees are cut down to build highways, when the pregnant female is chased out of the forest to be used as meat for some extravagant dish.
Inside I hear a scream. The night that covers the house is filled with light. The scream comes from one of the rooms, which I dare not to approach; those are not matters for men. A woman comes out, running with a bucket in her hand, she does not even see me, I cannot ask, it would be useless to think that I can help. Those are not matters for men. Another yell. I can feel it, it is almost here.
Suddenly I begin to feel scared, not for her, she is strong, she will be better soon, but about the little one, what a world to be born in to. Go back I want to say to him, or her. Do not even bother coming here, you will be much better off there, wherever it is you are, please do not come here. Another yell. It is here, I know it, I can see the light coming through the bottom of the door, a stream of radiance, suddenly there is clarity, but it is still night-time. I have forgotten my previous thoughts.
A woman comes out of the room once again. This time she is not running and she approaches me walking calmly, I run to her. She smiles.
-Congratulations, you are father to a precious little girl.
My heart overflows, I try to run into the room but the woman stops me with a vigorous arm. “Not yet”, she says, “not yet, you still have to wait”. Reluctantly I turn away and go back to where I was. From my chair I can see the window, it is almost dawn. I stand up and go to pray. I wash my face, arms, head and feet and then I face southeast, towards where Ibrahim, peace be upon him, left his wife and recently born son and later on he rebuilt the house of his Lord. Barakah, that is going to be her name.
When I am allowed into the room my wife is sitting on the bed leaning against the wall and Barakah rests in her arms while her small mouth drinks the milk that emanates from her mother’s breast. They do not notice me. They are one, yet each one its own. I stand by the door. I have never seen my wife so beautiful, it is as if she is not from earth, she certainly is not in it right now, the light that illuminates her face tells me so. The room is filled yet there is no one apart from mother and daughter, and me, observing from the door. My wife looks up, as if she has sensed me, and smiles.
-Barakah, she says, that has to be her name.
My head spins out of the room, my heart overflows with joy and thankfulness. Hope, I think, there is still hope for you little Barakah, as long as there is a Woman who gives birth on earth.
This post was originally written in September 2010