From Leila Anwar

I find myself walking slowly down the beautiful street, with the smell of the sea in the air. Step by step. The heat is interrupted by a mild breeze, allowing me to inhale and get some air into my lungs. My lungs hurt, because my heart beats so fast and strong, and yet I don’t know why. I just know – I have to keep going.
It’s a long street, and there is no one to be seen, but I can clearly hear the happy voices of people. “Just go, go!” – an unfamiliar voice is telling me, from the depth of my being. I make my steps fast, faster, I am almost running! Unknown buildings, street signs, where am I?!
Gazing towards the sky makes me calmer, as I think to myself: “I am under Allah’s sky, nothing else matters.” I am running now, my heart going wild. The street gets darker, the buildings somber, I can’t see the palm trees any more… I close my eyes, to kill the fear. I am still running.
Suddenly I feel the cold marble under my feet. I am still afraid to open my eyes, walking forward, slowing down. A powerful, beautiful scent takes over all my senses. I know it, it’s familiar. Like the scent of someone I love, someone so dear. What is it, who is it..?! Is it my grandmother and her love, or my dad’s hand in my hair..? My grandfather’s kiss on my forehead..? The safety of my husband’s hug? My children’s hands around my neck..? No, its even more beloved, closer! I still keep my eyes closed, I am afraid the scent will disappear!
I hear that voice again: “Your Allah is with you, open your eyes! You have arrived!” My eyes open and are frozen at the sight. My feet are no longer obeying and I fall down on the white marble. I don’t feel or hear my heart. Am I breathing? I don’t know and I don’t want to know! The world has stopped! I came to Rasulullah!
Ah, beautiful green dome! My best, best friend! My beloved! My teacher and my role model! Is this really possible, is this really your scent?! Is this your city, your masjid? Yes, my blossoming, singing soul is telling me, yes! There is no harm that didn’t run away because of your scent! There is no sorrow that didn’t fade, running away scared of your being! There is
no joy but this!
How many times have I asked, begged to come to you… To ask you to forgive me, offering my weakness as an apology… To thank you for coming to my dreams, for showing me your blessed face and allowing me to kiss your hand… You, the greatest happiness of my life. Aba al Qasim, who opened the door to Allah…my Allah. You, who have thought me everything good I know; you – beauty and mercy to everything, even to me ya Rasulallah… I came to you, at last.

The voice cuts my praise: “Go back!”

The white marble is gone. The green dome, the scent. All gone. In front of my eyes lies only the walls of my room, in Bosnia. Far from him. I look down and find my hand, peaceful and hopeless, resting in adab on my burning heart:
Allahumma salli wa sallim ‘ala habibi wa rasuli Muhammad!

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