Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem
Today I want to change the pace a bit and share with y’all something a bit different. The following two pieces are a bit more on the creative writing side, and I thought it might be a bit fun to share them here. I actually love to do some creative writing, which comes out a little in my more reflective writing here, but I don’t share much of it with the outside world.
The first one, ‘A Place to Call Home,’ is something I wrote about my very first prayer rug that a dear friend gave me. I had just finished my maghrib prayer, way back in the day (this couldn’t have been more than a few months after I converted…maybe one or two after my official shahada), and wrote a little love letter to my prayer rug.
The second, ‘Treasured Stability,’ is actually my response to a prompt from WordPress’ Writing 101 class, from back when I had my very first blog, also way back in the day (any of my current readers used to follow the Secret Muhajaba? Ya, that was me!).
Anyhow, they both kind of revolve around the theme of “home,” which is something that has again been on my mind a lot lately, and something I am feeling I am missing right now.
So here they are, do let me know what you think!! I love to hear from y’all in the comments =)
A Place to Call Home
It was jade green with intricate gold patterns; triangles, points, and curves play with each other amongst the sections of beautifully marbled lines. The first time I laid it out, I ran my fingers through the softness, ma shaa Allah. It has laid there ever since, always in my sight, always inviting.
As the days go by I can see it becoming worn; a place the size of my forehead becomes lighter than the rest and the fringes where my feet rest become slightly tangled. I can almost see the many whispered prayers woven into the threads.
As I sit here contemplating my recently completed maghrib prayer it gives me a sense of peace to see the pointed tip of the design, like the needle of a compass, pointing to the land it is my destiny to go to.
And I know that later, when I bow down for ‘isha to speak with my God, it will be like leaning my head on the shoulder of an old friend.
What do I treasure most? This question requires a deep inventory of my mind, to dig through the everyday and the mundane and find out what I hold above all else in the world.
I first thought it could be one of my books, but asking to me to choose a favorite book is like asking a mother to choose her favorite child. I cannot. If I was properly devout I would tell you that the Qur’an is my most prized possession, but if we are being honest I love the Qur’an, and the literature about it, and the literature about the Prophet (pbuh), and I even find the vast amount of convert literature interesting as well. So you see, in any given genre of writing I cannot even pick out one book.
So maybe I treasure my work most? I have crocheted, sewed, cross-stitched and embroidered many things. But most of those I have made to give away to dear friends and family, so no, it cannot be my projects.
As I write this at six a.m. my mind wanders to my bed…I am indeed very fond of my electric blanket. I tend to run on the cold side, for me anything below eighty degrees is chilly. So that blanket is what keeps my alive through cold winter nights. But it is more necessary than treasured.
So what thing do I love the most in the world that I can’t live without? I would give abstract ideas like my intelligence, which I am very proud of, or my fiancé, who I would be lost in this world without, but I feel like I need to find an actual physical possession that I love, that I take with me no matter where I go…
Ah, that last sentence did it. What do I take to every new place I live? I bring Cacti. He has been with me since I graduated high school, and has stuck around through thick and thin for the past four years. My room in London felt empty without him sitting on the windowsill, and now that he is back in his place, my room feels happy and bright.
What, you may be asking, is Cacti? He is my little cactus. I couldn’t tell you what kind exactly, but I can tell you all about his personality. It all started my senior year of high school, when I drew some kid’s name for Secret Santa that I did not know at all. So I thought I would be unique, and I bought him a cheap little cactus, and decorated it (very carefully) with little bows and ribbons and ornaments. He thought it was hilarious, and when I got to thinking about getting a plant for my new dorm room next fall, I chose a cute little cactus.
He never grew much bigger, he has always been a little bulb-y guy. Now, however, due to my horrible parenting, he is a little lopsided. I tend to let one side get more sun than the other, because I forget to rotate him. It is lucky for him that he does not need that much water…But there he sits, in the windowsill of whatever room I am living in, a little cactus in a big pot.
He has always been a little unruly, one might even say rebellious. He is a jumper- he likes to launch himself off of whatever window or ledge he is sitting on, the higher the better. This is why I no longer keep him on the balcony. If it gives you some insight into how much I love this cactus: last time he tried to jump from on top of my record player, I caught his prickly little body in my bare hands and put him gently back in his pot, before going to meticulously pick all the spines out of my palm.
He used to have a little clover buddy, only three leaved, but still cute. One day a girl that I lived with decided that this clover was a weed, and yanked it out. So now he only has a couple of rocks to keep him company.
You may be thinking, a cactus, really? This is the thing you treasure most in the world? Well no, of course not. If suddenly Cacti jumped from my windowsill and out into the road below and got run over by an avid cyclist, it would not be the end of my world. He is just a physical representation, one stable thing that I have in a serious of new faces, places, and things. He is the one thing that links the past four years of my life together, no matter where I was at the time. He is the steadfastness I have always wanted in my life.