Final Moments

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After a quick rest, we head down to explore a bit of Casablanca.  Nihla wanted to try Paella and I, unknowingly, ordered shrimps.  Not really a big fan of them.

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As we were eating and people-watching, I was also deep in thoughts about the 3 weeks away from home. Reflecting on the many lessons that He presented to me in the most beautiful ways, especially lessons on giving and rizq.

Timely to my thoughts, a man approached our table and looked at me. I couldn’t figure out what he was saying initially till he repeated “aqua”. I remembered crying in my heart, in nervousness and gratitude, as though He was telling me “Here’s your final test.” Somewhat shakened by my own thoughts, I poured water into my glass and gave it to him. Not wanting to look him in the eye, I continued talking to Nihla as though no stranger was there.

He finished the glass of water, then he walked away casually. He didn’t ask for money, he didn’t grab our food and belongings. He only asked for a glass of water. The old me would have probably ignored this stranger.

Never expect Thank You. Now I understood why, very clearly.

15 May 2015, Thursday

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This is it. The last day of an amazing journey. What have I learnt? Put trust in Him. Allah ma’ana, daiman.

We’ve been blessed to meet wonderful and kind people like the Korean guys in Madrid, Hanna and Maryam in Granada, and in Morocco – Fathiah, our dearest brother, Said, Hassan, Raoul, Mercedes, Khalid and Saad.

I will never forget the joy and laughter Nihla and I shared. The giggles when people asked if we are from Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan (?!), Somalia, Ethiopia and never Singapore.

He is indeed the Best Planner. I couldn’t have asked for a more enriching, learning and somewhat emotionally sacred journey.

This journey reminded me of a Rumi’s quote “What you seek, is seeking you.”

aeroport

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Emotional Encounter in Casablanca

14 May 2014, Wednesday

Habibah, the staff at the Riad assisted with the luggage. She’s a young 28 year old mother with an 8 year old son, Muhammad Amin. We tried to communicate in the most basic Arabic. Francois called Habibah to apologise that she couldn’t send us off. How sweet!  While we were about get in Said’s car, I heard someone calling out my name. It was Saad who waved like how an old friend would.

A 3hr journey from the imperial city to Casablanca on the highway.  Said broke the news that it would be his last day with us, as he has another client.  He told us that he felt that he wasn’t working but on a holiday with his sisters. Alhamdulillah. It felt too short, really.

Casablanca

Peak hour – traffic jam, cars honking. A preview of city life to prep us for the reality back at our fast-paced hometown the next day.

hassanII-iI couldn’t wait to see the majestic Hassan II Mosque which used to be the 2nd or 3rd largest mosque in the world after Masjidil Haram. We arrived just shortly before Zuhr prayers (the mosque is closed to visitors during prayers). So we missed the entrance to male’s hall.hassanII-v

After about 15 minutes or so in the mosque compound, I heard Said’s voice from behind us. “Girls! Would you like to pray Zuhr at the mosque?” Allah answered our prayers! We agreed to meet again at 2pm.

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We realised much later that we left our prayer garbs in the car. Confidently, I thought, they might have some at the mosque. After ablution, we took off our shoes near the escalator. I asked from the first woman I saw at the praying area, in my elementary level Arabic, for an abaya. She signalled there was none and willingly handed me her beautiful woven shawl which comfortably covered my hands.

While waiting for Nihla to complete her prayers, I sat beside this kind woman. She asked me where I was from and my occupation. I couldn’t figure out her 2nd question. We giggled and she leaned over from her chair and hugged me (I was sitting on the carpet). She kissed my cheeks and touched my face lovingly like a grandmother, and said “Anti jamilah.” I could only say to her “MasyaAllah. La anti kazalik. Syukran.”

She asked the same question again but this time her colleague who speaks clearer Arabic, tried to explain and included doctor, teacher? I don’t know how to describe my job so I just agreed when she asked if I am a student. Hehe.

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“Min balad?” she asked and then went on to talk about my trip. She was proud to hear that I’ve visited quite a few cities in Morocco. Heavy-hearted, we had to leave. I gave her a hug in return for kisses.

Back in the car, Said asked “Solatu? (Prayed?) How was it?” I told him about the lovely encounter. He commented “When you are nice to people, they will be nice to you. You girls are real Muslims.”  I was puzzled.

He then told us of his strange encounter whilst waiting for us. He said that after he dropped us off, a much older man (a tour bus driver) approach him and asked if he was with us and whether we are true Muslims (i.e. if we are practising Muslims)? Said replied yes (masyaAllah…insyaAllah). The old man continued to remind him to take good care of them and Allah will reward you.

Said, shocked by this reminder from a stranger, shared that sadly, it was his last day with us. To which the man consoled Said by saying that it was ok and he was sure Said has taken care of us well.

Nihla and I were trying to stop our tears from flowing down. I told you…this was a spiritual journey.

Sadly, we had to say our goodbyes to Said, our little brother and travel companion of almost 12 days.  I hate goodbyes.  I don’t think I can ever be a tour guide.  I get attached to people too easily.
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