By Shifta Flani.
Bobby looked out from his room to the small ‘kitchen garden’ a few metres from the edge of the house. He smiled, thoroughly pleased with his handiwork. Mmmh, fabulous! He mused. So he had a proactive brain capable of producing thoughts and ideas of such rare creativity and beauty? It was small, the garden; just measuring about 3 sqm. A normal person would have planted coriander, red chilli or garlic but according to reliable behavioural statistics and polls, Martin was no normal person. So he opted to plant weeds….Weed, Holy weed!! Grass! This was just a pilot project to test the feasibility of such a venture. He was a genius, maybe someday in the future when the Gov legalized it he would purchase huge tracts of land in Turkana, have a Weed plantation and import it to countries like Guatemala, Cook Islands blah blah blah.
Caroline had once upon a time told him that he had a ‘bad head’, pointing at hers with her index finger while making a terribly annoyed face. Translated, what she meant was that Martin had a brain malfunction. That he had the behavioural tendency of one fit to be an inmate of a psychiatric institution. That his brain was probably the size of his molar tooth thus the ‘bad head’….or to say it more street like, he was a kichwa kibof!
Caroline was wrong, he did have a brain, a yellow coloured brain because it was always ripe with ideas. Caroline’s’ must have been 50 shades of gray coz she was so monotonous in her display of ideas and creativity. For instance she used to write Once upon a time as ‘wansa pon a time’….now, if that constituted having a good brain then he must have been born in the wrong planet.
Caroline was the girl next door who was always under constant ringworm attack. Her head in most instances of such ruthless attacks was always bald; large, ugly rings all over with a rather recklessly smeared purple liquid. He didn’t know the liquid’s name but it was popularly known as ‘jeevee’.
He wondered who between them had a bad head!
Had he been more knowledgeable back then, he would have requested CDC to assist Lady Caroline with a cure for ringworm attacks!
The reason she had articulated in such drama that Bobby had a bad head was after he had placed a thorn on a bench they were seated on while playing (this was wansa pon a time when they were just innocent kids and Zucks had not discovered Facebook yet). The culprit, Caroline in this case sat on it unknowingly….goodness; he had never seen a girl scream and jump that high!
He looked at the ceiling. Caroline must have been high as he was right then. He looked at the joint he had rolled, took a long draw with his eyes wide open, sucking at it and inhaling as much as he could take. He loved putting a few seeds on it just so he could bust them by inhaling harder! He could feel the grass working miracles inside his brain, opening up veins and ventricles that had been clogged by….by…..well, who cared what had clogged them? Even high taxes could cause a ventricle blockage, or sharks attacking men in bikinis off the Guatemalan coast!
He let the smoke out through his nostrils; felt the exhilarating feeling all through his body. He smiled. This was holistic living, mate. This was the matter wise men were made of, that’s why they discovered holy weed on King Solomon’s grave.
Aaaaaah, wa gwan rasta! He was so high he just wanted to be the president of the world and make Guatemala his fav chill spot!
Go home selector and don’t come back.
This made him laugh so hard he thought he was gonna die laughing. He would die then rise from Solomon’s grave with a truck load of weed to make the world a better place. He laughed till he fell asleep.
There he was, seated on his prayer mat. Fahim had cultivated the habit of praying Dhuha everyday as it was Sunnah Muakkadah and a sadaqa for every joint in the body. He rose, neatly folded the mat, placed it on the edge of his bed and walked out through the back door, to his small ‘kitchen garden’.
He marvelled at its contents, despite its small size. He moved closer and could almost smell the lovely, fresh scent trying to ascertain itself amid the cool, mid morning breeze. He loved watering and taking care of his small garden; it acted as a constant reminder of what life was, summed up in the verse in Surah Yunus:
“Verily, the likeness of this worldly life is as the water which We send down from the sky; so by it arises the intermingled produce of the earth of which men and cattle eat: until when the earth is clad in its adornments and is beautified, and its people think they have all the powers of disposal over it, Our command reaches it by night or by day and We make it like a clean-mown harvest, as if it had not flourished yesterday! Thus do We explain the Ayat in detail for a people who reflect.” Quran 10: 24
The Quran was full of such similitude and it never ceased to amaze any reader.
In retrospect, his life had never held so much meaning as it did now. He had more clarity as to his purpose in life, more awareness, responsibility and self accountability. Prior to becoming a Muslim and a Da’wah planter, he had ventured into the rap industry forming a hip hop group with a bunch of buddies. He loved listening to underground hip hop by the likes of KRS-1, Chino XL and immortal Tech.He attended most of the rap battles held at F2.
Way back then he thought this was cool; he loved the rhymes and deep meaning in every stanza. All this changed when he reverted and started listening to the Quran; it completely blew his mind away, Wallahi it did.
At first he could barely understand Arabic, but every time he listened to the Quran and read the translation of the same later, he could not compare it with any poetry or hip hop line he ever listened to. It was even sweeter when he listened to a kid reciting it…..it always brought tears to his eyes.
“….The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it). Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allah…” Quran 39: 23
And he so loved sharing that experience with any non Muslim he came across, the truth in the Quran was irrefutable, no intelligent person worth his salt could say it was the work of a human mind. I mean, the way the verses were placed, the tone of each letter, the rhyme in every statement all pointed to some creativity way above any human effort. And the truth is that the Quran was revealed over 1400 years ago yet it spoke of truths and facts that even science got to discover just a few years back.
There’s gotta be some tangible credibility there, wouldn’t you agree?
And the way the Quran always challenged the readers, Subhanallah! “These are a sign for a people who reflect, people who know, men of understanding, people who have faith in certainty……”
And he wanted, craved, worked to being all that.
“And Allah is well-acquainted with what you do.” Quran 58:13
He loved Da’wah; it was the way of the Ambiya (prophets) and probably the only way one would benefit in this world and hereafter. Most people who had known him as Bobby were awed by the new him; in fact, one such awed lady was heard saying, “If it’s Islam that has changed Bobby this much, then it has to be a good thing!”
With Fahim, changing people was all about changing one’s personality to fit the brand you were calling to. It was about portraying a commendable, exemplary behaviour and character which would endear people to Islam, just like the Prophet (pbuh) used to do. It was about hanging out with the right crowd, brothers in deen, and presenting religious arguments in a proper manner devoid of insinuations and accusations.
Just like he loved to tell people, “My name is Fahim, am a Muslim and i love Jesus the son of Mary; that’s why i rock a beard and dress like he did.” He looked at his garden again. It looked all splendid in the bright mid morning sun. Then in the afternoon it would wilt, probably dry out completely the next day.
And so would his life, one day, someday.
What good will his hands have brought forth when his time to exit dunya came?