Isn’t It amazing how..

05Sep09

I stole.

I must have been around eight at the time, I can’t remeber exactly. It was back in those days where the years blended together in what seemed like a never-ending childhood.

There was this girl that lived in my neighbourhood, lets call her Aisha, who seemed to be the epitome of cool. Being athletic, witty and strong  earned her  respect from all the kids in the neighbourhood.

I on the other hand was quite the opposite of Aisha. I was more into reading but I wasn’t completley innocent though.  I spent many summer afternoons tucked away in my favourite corner at my local public library, drifting off into novels, geography books  and anything else I could get my hands on.

On my countless trips to and from the library I would take a different route to avoid encounters with the neighbourhood kids as they rolled their eyes, “Library again, huh?” I would simply nod my head in embarrassment and keep on going; nothing could stop me from my love of books.

One day I decided to chill with Aisha,  we did the regular routine of aimlessly riding our bikes. As it came close to sunset,  she mentioned that she wanted to buy some candy and I obediently tagged along not knowing that this evening would take an unlikely turn.

She eventually  bought her candy and then turned to me and whispered as she pointed to the candy rack.

“Just take some, people do it all the time,” I hesitated and tried to avoid eye contact but she wasn’t having it.

“Trust me Dawud*  and them steal all the time, they steal toys and cards and they NEVER get caught!” she exclaimed.

I gave in, thinking I could finally impress her, thinking that just maybe I could be as cool as Dawud  and “them”.

My heart was beating as we quickly exited the store. Once I was safe from the storeowner’s eyes I  looked at the candy in my sweaty palm. It was peppermint, I hated peppermint candy. My stomach churned with the guilt.  Aisha grabbed for a candy and started chewing looking at me to do the same.

I  foolishly put the candy in my mouth and started to chew,  it tasted  stale.  I couldn’t get rid of the lump in my throat as I swallowed I felt the weight of what I had just done for a 50 cent candy.  I knew what I was doing was haraam, I knew it,   Allah subhnawat’ Ta’ala would not be happy with this, with me.

I never got caught, but passing by the same store throughout my life again at ages 12, 13,14,  15, 16, 17 still evokes the same feeling of guilt. Aisha and many of the kids I had wanted  to impress had long moved out of the neighbourhood, Dawud, like many of the other Muslim boys in my neighbourhood,  has been in and out of  jail for awhile and the rest of his friends are dropouts or dealers. Passing by the shop to send a letter today took me way back in time.

Its amazing what human beings do to gain respect from people, as kids we do it without really taking it in at the moment. But still as young adults we fall into the same traps seeking acceptance, love, and respect  from human beings. Whether it be doing acts we know we shouldn’t just to impress our friends or family or falling into the traps of having haraam relationships

Throughout it all we forget that we should be seeking acceptance from Allah subhana wa Ta’la not from humans who will never be satisfied even if we were to give them ourselves and all we own.

Looking back I laugh at all the things I did to fit in with Aisha and them,  from joining the basketball team to pulling pranks on neighbours. Regardless,  I learned alot from the peppermint candy experience, that incident pushed me off the edge –I would no longer do what she wanted.  I had come to accept the fact that I  couldn’t be the friend she  wanted me to be.

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