another near death experience

i almost died yesterday… again…  sub7anAllah.  it was around 1am and i was really tired and sleepy… i was trying to cross the street from the maw2af to get to the other side and find something to ride home.  i guess i really wasn’t paying attention and was thinking instead about “what will i take home,” and weighing my options as to what transportation is best to take.  i crossed half the street and saw cars coming, but didn’t register that they were flying… so i started crossing the road nonchalantly (mind you, this is a highway-type road) without paying much attention.

suddenly i hear screeching brakes and i look and i see a mini-truck (one of those that carries a particular type of good for a supermarket, etc) coming straight at me and scrambling to come to a halt… a second later, i realize that it’s going to hit me and he’s trying to stop to avoid hitting me.  i don’t know what happened, but i guess i stepped back two steps just in time to avoid getting hit.

i finished crossing the street and some people on the other side are like, “mesh tekhalee balak ya sheikh, hatdaya3 nafsak keda!”

sub7anAllah…  Allah saved me, al7amdulillah.  death can come at anytime…  the problem is that i often forget this.  may Allah grant us 7osn al-khatema - ameen.

free taxi rides

i stopped a taxi that had just picked up some people and was going the same direction i wanted to go in.  he asked the others if he could drop me off on his way to their destination.  because i was in a rush, i said, “if not, if you may please just drop me off at the end of the street on your way.”

so i got on, and he shook my hand and said “taqabal Allah mina wa minkum” - i was like, “uhh… thanks, jazakAllah khair”  (this wasn’t after a salah time, i wasn’t coming out of a masjid, and it wasn’t the end of ramadan, so i was just surprised)…

anyway, i made it to the end of the street.  i had a 5 LE note and 1.25 LE worth of change.  i valued the travel at 2LE, so i gave him the 5 and asked him for change.  he said, “i don’t have change.“  i said, “okay, take it and forget it” - he refused and put the money in my hand and clenched my hand and said “you’re making me hold up traffic, go!“  i insisted but to no avail…  in reterospect, i should have given him the 1.25, but i forgot that i had it at the time, and it wasn’t exactly fair either.  i felt bad, and so i made du3a that Allah gives him more rizq on that day than he ever made in a single day before - i hope it happened insha’Allah :)

that would be the second time i got a free taxi ride.  the first time, i was walking to jum3a at masjid al fat7, and a brother in a taxi stopped me and said, “are you going for jum3ah at masjid al fat7?” - and i said, “yes” - and he said, “come” - he also refused to take money, saying “i stopped you, you didn’t stop me” :p

transportation mania

today (well, yesterday actually) - was quite a busy day!  within 24 hours, i rode 4 different types of masharee3 (minivans), a bus, a train, an underground train, and a handful of taxis.

some of these minivans are crazy - imagine that when a minivan stops, 20 people run towards it, all trying to get on.  time passes and another one comes by and the process repeats.  it’s quite possible that you may end up standing inside the minivan, or even end up riding while hanging on to the door.

i’d like to add that google maps and gps definitely come in handy at times!

open 24 hours?

in egypt, you may encounter stores with large “open 24 hours” signs.  don’t believe what you read.

“we don’t accept reimbursements…”

a few days ago,  i had to wake up extra early to go to work, and it so happens that i also ended up sleeping really late that same night.  i woke up and was really spaced out.

i went to take a “mashroo3” (minibus) to work.  first off, i got on the wrong one (despite me asking, “is this going to x?” and him answering, “no, it’s going to y”).  secondly, i was next to the door.  “mashroo3 etiquette” mandates that the person by the door closes the door when passengers board or depart the vehicle.

the guy behind me pushed the door midway to close, and, being spaced out and all, i neglected to close it.  we drove a little, and the door fell off.  “Allah yenawar ya bashawat,” the driver said (sarcastically and seemingly upset - can’t really translate it, but an english equivalent would be, “nice going, gentlemen”).  the driver and his assistant went back, grabbed the door and tied it on the mashroo3.  the man said something about, “lazy people who don’t close the door,” got back in the car, and started driving.

i felt bad, so i handed the driver some money to fix the door with (of course i am sure it was already in really bad shape, otherwise it wouldn’t have fallen off from driving at such a slow speed on local roads for a minute or less, but nevertheless…).  the driver asked, “what’s this?“  i said, “this is to fix your door with.“  he said, “we don’t accept reimbursements…” i said, “but it’s my fault, i neglected to close the door.“  he said (approximately), “we drive with Allah’s protection, and the door’s time came and qadar Allah wa ma sha2a fa3al.“  he refused to take the money (and the passenger next to me also told me, “forget about it, keep your money”).

i really respected the guy for his mindset and for controlling his anger.  may Allah increase his rizq - ameen.

what on earth are you doing here?!

i took a metered cab in cairo to the train station a few days ago.  the driver and i started talking, and amidst our discussion, i told him that i lived in the us for the greater part of my life.  he asked, “what on earth are you doing here?“  in other words, “who in their right mind would come here when they have the option of living in the us?”

i gave him my reasoning and he wasn’t at all convinced.  the conclusion of the discussion was this translated and paraphrased quote (based on my memory and understanding):

“in 20 years, you’ll think back and realize that you wasted your time here and that you should have stayed there.  regardless of what good you see here, you’ll realize that things are better there (whether in terms of work, money, religion, or anything else), and you’ll regret the time you wasted here.  at that point, i want you to remember that the old man who drove you in the taxi said so, and ask Allah to have mercy on me regardless of whether i am alive or not.”

i posted this so that 2 decades from now (if i am alive), i can insha’Allah remember to look back to this conversation and say, “al7amdulillah, he was wrong - i have no regrets.”

google walking directions im egypt

image

it’s nice to have directions (walking and navigation) in egypt - quite useful (albeit imperfect).

sheikh-ul-masha'Allah

shook hands with shuyookh

in the words of wael:

“he is sheikh-ul-mashaAllah.”

suhur...

image

عسل و طحينه

ramadan in egypt – first impressions

image

salam 3alaikum -

first off, belated ramadan mubarak.  i wanted to take a moment to write a bit about ramadan here in egypt.

the first note is that about the ambiance and overall mood - apartment buildings, masajid, and streets are all decorated for ramadan.  cans of pepsi contain “ramadan mubarak” messages.

for those in the us, think of the overall ambiance around christmas time - it’s the same here during ramadan.  in addition, you hear Quran almost everywhere you go - taxis and busses (which usually are either playing quran or music) are mostly playing Quran.  the masajid are a lot more full.  you’ll see people on trains reading Quran to pass time.

there is a lot of khair going on - “ma2idat ramadan,” or “ramadan tables,” provide food for the needy and the traveling during ramadan.  the “shantet ramadan” (ramadan bag) project prepares a bag filled with rice and other necessary food items to feed a family and gives them to the needy.

many have told me that at iftar time, people walk around busy intersections and give food, dates, and water to those in their cars.

most masajid have taraweeh.  friends have told me that some masajid have tahajjud from day 1.

anyhow - that’s it for now, insha’Allah will perhaps write more later.

walsalam 3alaikum.