Photo Courtesy: ‘Soul of Palestine’ on Facebook/Instagram
Whenever the sun sets and the thoughts set in, I ration my emotions into four
like the long-awaited hours of electricity.
180 megawatts of madness,
Sweat trickles down my back like the weak, slow drops of water from our shower. It reminds me of the last time I had a good bath. Proper bath. Clean bath. It was in a dream I had at 13 years old after hearing one of the American journalists who had come to our school answer curious Maryam’s question on whether they REALLY have electricity and water 24/7 in America.
All the light switches around the house are on as we wait for thee moment of truth. The moment we press ‘continue’ on our paused lives.
In my room, I sit and wait. Sit and wait. Sit and wait.
Half asleep. Half weighing my will to live.
And before my eyes adjust to the new light, a young boy shouts across the street in joy, “It is LIT! OUR HOUSE IS LIT! Is it lit at your home?!” Another happy voice shouts back, “IT IS!”
In less than a minute, the water pump is on.
The oven is on.
The fridge is on.
The blender is on.
I put all the phones and laptop at their respective chargers.
My brother irons his school clothes.
My baby sister rushes to complete her university project.
Abu Eyad, my neighbour with an amputated leg, calls out to his son to charge his electric scooter after being stuck at home for an entire day.
I think of Sameera’s mother at the hospital who’s been waiting for electricity to get dialysis.
The entire street is busy. This is the only time we are over-joyed at any kind of commotion. This is the only time we don’t really mind the madness.
My mother tells me of her brother who left home and never returned.
And of her uncle who returned and found no one left.
I imagine I will be martyred before I turn 30 because only the lucky live this long.
At night, we huddle together in the darkness of the night; the shahada on our tongues and hijabs on our heads. Airstrikes showering the clouds, our emergency bags close to the door.
Rahaf’s smile still haunts me; delicate like her name, bright like the future she deserved. She was the kid next door until she wasn’t.
She really loved her hair; long like the history of Palestine, beautiful, like its people. Sometimes, she comes to my dreams the same way she came to me to comb her hair the morning of her death.
Who knew that her school was going to be her war field?
My other neighbour’s son, Shaker, has a daily morning routine to get angry at something, anything or everything at once and shout: “What kind of life is this?!”
And his mother, in a helpless state to make anything better for him, would always respond:
“أفلا تكون عبداً شكورا؟”
(“Wouldn’t you be a grateful servant?”)
He would then walk away; his tiny fist still clenched, his eyes still weeping, and his heart still heavy.
Like many other Palestinian children, Shaker has become the embodiment of trauma; broken limbs and broken hearts.
After 2 years, 7 months, 11 days, and 696 minutes of waiting to get married to the love of her life, my cousin Ahlam arrived home from abroad to the news of the killing of her fiancé.
All dreams of 2 years, shattered within 2 seconds of utter brutality. In total silence, she stares at her red and silver wedding gown like the monument of her despair. In over 48 hours, her lips have not moved an inch.
I guess the Zionists have stolen her speech too.
Soon enough, darkness takes over, and the nakba that is our life continues.
Silence occupies the rubbles of our hearts and everything slows down.
Whenever the sun sets and the thoughts set in, I ration my emotions into four; plus one.
Sometimes I want to mourn;
For my father who was shot 5 times at the back of his head in front of my mother
For my best friend who was found under her demolished home three days after a bomb blast,
For my classmate whose entire family of 14 people has been wiped out of this earth and the registry
For the teenage boy that I saw get arrested with his entire face full of bruises from beatings
For the young man whose extremely beautiful and dream photography studio got bombed 2 days before the official opening
For the young boy running to say goodbye to his father’s dead body during his funeral while crying out, ‘may Allah make it easy for you baba.’
For all the Palestinians still carrying keys of their stolen, occupied houses
For the 1000s of olive trees burnt down to ashes
Sometimes I want to weep;
For the constant grieving of martyrs that has literally become part of our cultural traditions. Deeply saddened by the loss of innocent souls to the oppressors, yet happy for the shuhadaa who’ve been promised Jannah by our Lord, we sing:
“Oh mother of Muhammad! Oh mother of Muhammad! Indeed you are blessed. Indeed you are blessed! I wish it was my mother in your place. I wish it was my mother in your place!”
Sometimes I want to cry;
For all the shattered dreams and tattered souls
For the millions and millions of us displaced, distressed and dispossessed
I want to cry for all those who lost their lives
But then I remember the words of Mustafa’s widow:
“We sacrifice ourselves for Al Aqsa. We sacrifice ourselves for you Ya Allah. We accept your decree, Oh Allah so be pleased with us. Take from our blood and wealth, until you are pleased.”
So I swallow a bitter lump, raise my head to the sky, and mutter: “Indeed, sufficient for us is Allah. Indeed, sufficient for us is none but Allah!”
Please take a minute:
اللهُمَّ أَصْلِحْ أَحْوَالَ الفلسطينيين ، اللهُمَّ أَصْلِحْ أَحْوَالَ المُسْلِمِِينَ فِي فِلِسطِينَ وفي كُلِّ مَكَانٍ، يَا ذَا الجَلالِ وَالإِكْرِامِ
Allahumma aslih ahwaalal-filisteeniyin, Allahumma aslih ahwaalal-muslimeena fi filisteena wa fi kulli makaanin ya dhul-jalali wal-ikraam.
O Allah! Rectify the affairs of the Palestinians. O Allah! Rectify the affairs of the Muslims in Palestine and in every place, O Lord of Majesty and Bounty.
اللهُمَّ إِنَّهُمْ مَغْلُوبُونَ فَانْتَصِرْ لَهُمْ
Allahumma innahum maghloobuna fantasir lahum.
O Allah! They are helpless, so help them.
رَبَّنَا أَفْرِغْ عَلَيْهِمْ صَبْراً وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ وَانْصُرْهُمْ عَلَى القَوْمِ الكَافِرِينَ
Rabbana afrigh ‘alayhim sabran wa thabbit aqdamahum wansurhum ‘alal-qawmil- kafireen.
Our Lord! Pour upon them patience, make them steadfast, and grant them victory over the Disbelivers.
اللهُمَّ مَكِّرْ لَهُمْ، وَاكْفِهِمْ بِمَا شِئْتَ إِنْ تَنْصُرْهُمْ فَلا غَالِبَ لَهُمْ، وَإِنْتَخْذُلْهُمْ فَمَنْ ذَا الَّذي يَنْصُرهُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِكَ
Allahumma makkir lahum, wakfihim bimaa shi’t. In tansurhum falaa ghaliba lahum, wa in takhdhulhum fa man dhal-ladh’ yansurhum min ba’dika.
O Allah! Plot for them, and suffice them with what You please, if You support them then nobody can overpower them, and if You forsake them, then who will be able to support them after You?
لا إِلاَ إِلا اللهُ العَظيمُ الحَليم، لا إِلهَ إِلا اللهُ رَبَّ العَرْشِ العَظِيمِ، لاإلهَ إِلا اللهُ رَبُّ السَّمَاوَتِ وَرَبُّ الأَرْضِ وَرَبُّ العَرْشِ الكَرِيمِ
La ilaha illAllahul adhimul-haleem. La ilaha illAllahu, rabbul-arshil- adheem. La ilaha illAllahu rabbus-samawaati wa rabbul-ardi wa rabbul-arshil- kareem.
There is no God but Allah, the Mighty the Forbearing, there is no God but Allah, Lord of the Mighty Throne, There is no God but Allah, Lord of the Heavens and Lord of the Earth and Lord of the Noble Throne
اللهُمَّ مََنْ أَرادَنَا وَبِلادَنَا وَالمُسْلِمِينَ بِسُوءٍ فَأَشْغِلْهُ فِي نَفْسِهِ، وَاجْعَلْ كَيْدَهُ فِي نَحْرِهِ، وَاجْعَلْ تَدْبِيرَهُ تَدْمِيرَه
Allahumma man aradana wa biladina bi su’in fash-ghilhu fi nafsih, waj’al kaydahu fi nahrih, waj’al tadbirahu tadmeerah.
O Allah! Whoever wants to harm us and our lands and the Muslims, then keep them busy with their own troubles, and return their plots to their own necks, and make their plans the cause of their own destruction.
Ameen thumma Ameen.
Please never stop praying for the Palestinians and for all other countries that are facing war, oppression, and injustices. May Allah save them all, ameen.