The Jumu’ah Sermon ended. The prayer ended. The sheikh is ending the prayer and the performers are hastening to leave the masjid, to go home, to go to work, to do nothing!
I’m sitting at the end of the third row. I’m stuck. The wall is on my left and on my right, is a man sinking in his own smelly sweat, trying hard to breathe. I am still sitting. I am ready to leave but the crowds are stopping me.
The sheikh coughs into the microphone to stop the fleeing crowds from leaving. He surprises them with his request- to which they should respond by custom. He asks them to stay to witness someone taking his Shahadah (embracing Islam).
The sheikh says, “I ask you all to stay to witness ‘Ebiad’ (Slave) embracing Islam.” I felt surprised, then upset. Didn’t he bother to ask about his name?!
I started to look around me and at the doors. I see the confused attendants going back to their places thinking: “What’s this? An hour sermon, and now he wants us to stay for another hour?!”
I try to pay attention to what’s happening. I look at the “Ebaid” sitting in front of the sheikh to talk to him holding him with his bright white hands. I thought to myself, “He must be asking him about his name”.
In our small village, if you are a foreign worker, you don’t really need a name; your black skin is enough to be called “Zoul” or “Ebaid”. If you are an Arab worker, your nationality is enough, as Egyptians, Tunisians and Moroccans do not only resemble us in racism, but also in our facial features.
Al-Ebaid looks like the actor who played Belal Ibn Rabah in Al-Aqqad’s piece. I start thinking about Belal Ibn Rabah and the message of the Seal of the Prophets and I start feeling guilty towards both of them: the one in front of me is not Belal and those around me don’t have his level of faith, may Allah be pleased with him.
I am comparing those people to a completely different nation. They are very far from love and from the submission to a power stronger than us, and most importantly, more merciful than us.
I think of the nonsense of our TV about the west and about freedom, then I think about our Muslims who fuss, condemn, and call for imposing face veil here, asking for minarets here and there and other assumptions.
Yes, assumptions because when you find yourself in an Islamic country that’s inflicted with hatred, sedition, aversion, split and prejudice due to one’s color, race, appearance, class or any other distorted classification, this is where the disease lies!
We are asking for something we don’t provide in the first place. We don’t provide people with thought, emotions, or sympathy; only the claim that we are Muslims!
The sheikh raises his voice in the microphone, saying “One… One…,” to make sure that everybody is listening- with their ears not their hearts!
They don’t even have hearts! Only stomachs that purr like cats waiting for this chore to end so that they hasten to their homes to eat dinner- not to hasten to embrace their new brother: the “Ebaid” who lost his name until real Islam is found.