As I write I am sitting in bed eating strawberries, it is now January 7,2022, the day after the joyous and blessed day. On that day I posted on Instagram with a photograph of a certificate, the paper copy not the certified version sworn in front of a Notary – that shall come later. Somewhat later knowing the practices of this country. The caption on the Instagram post was as follows;
Blessed day! Holy Day! I went to the Zayed Center for the Islamic Culture and blessedly became a certified Muslim. Covid has prevented a formal introduction to the faith in the USA. To say it was deeply meaningful to me is an understatement. I also received books and an on line course in Islamic studies. It is an oasis for new Muslims.
At this moment there are 14 likes and two messages. Then another received privately.
They shall be copied as they are amazing – their pride in what I have done and that they came from such different paths and parts of my life. Diametrically opposite and from different countries. One from Canada, one from a Palestinian woman living in Dubai and another from a woman in Qatar.
She 1: Congrats!! So proud of you may Allah bless you.
Me: Thank you for your beautiful message I feel incredibly blessed by Allah. I shall write of my deeper feelings on the blog tomorrow or the next day.
She 2: May Allah bless you with his countless blessings. Ameen
Me: Thank you for your blessings. It was wonderful meeting you and your dear family at the hotel pool the other day.
She 3: Congratulations and so happy for you.
Me: Thank you and it was you that told me about the Center. I will always and eternally be thankful to you.
She 4: Such an incredible blessing. I am happy to see your journey.
Me: I awoke to your message and similar ones from very diverse women, all recent, some very recent acquaintances. But your response was like a book end – a juxtaposition. You and I have known one another for years and years – not living in the same city but with family ties. So to have you there with me at this monumental time is so important. It puts it all together. All of the others sending their blessings and congratulations are Muslims, living in the Middle East, two living in Abu Dhabi but from Palestine and Pakistan. The other who sent a message lives in nearby Qatar.
As I write, another day has passed and it is now January 8, 2020. Still in the same bed.
I spoke to one saying that my deeper feelings would be revealed on this blog. I do admit to taking a day off of writing. Escorted by Grandson in a black Tesla car worthy of a Sheikha, it was off the Dubai, the home of Expo 2020. It was an amazing day. There were no crowds, the weather was cool, the staff at the Expo so cordial, so welcoming, so attentive to my needs. I did feel like a Sheikha and laughingly rode on a golf cart waving at people:
Me: It is me Sheikha Fatima, Hello.
I was, of course, laughing the whole time. Poor Grandson having to put up with the antics of his grandmother. But he just looked down on me (he is tall) with an amused, caring look on his face. Wait until you hear this! I got in free. Why? Not because I am a Sheikha but because I am old. A photo of the entrance ticket shall be pictured.
I had heard that the Russian Pavilion was definitely worth seeing and was a star of the Expo but was impossible to enter without a reservation. But it was not crowded and we were able to enter immediately without reservations. It was entirely, unbelievably impressive – it was a multimedia light show but full of little known information about the brain and personality. There were also exhibits showing the innovations and discoveries made by Russians. I took many photographs. We went to the Gift Store, at my insistence of course. (I have never in my life met a man who willingly goes into a Gift Store.) I had a long, involved, complicated and intimate conversation with a young man working there, from Russia of course. He spoke English, of course, otherwise I would not have a conversation with him. Hahaha I promised to come back and shall. What impressed me the most was the positive and warm emotions I felt after my visit to their pavilion – it made the whole idea of Expo come true. Prior to the visit I felt alienated from Russia, due to Western media, seeing them as an enemy who was taking away my so-called freedoms. Now I see Russia in a different light – a totally different light. I had the incredible good fortune of visiting Russia in about 1996 – it is possible to find the date with a little research. It was a cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow with stops in-between – small villages where they were casting votes for the very first time. I had always been a student and admirer of Russia, identifying with the people, probably it was their melancholy that drew me. Thought my favorite would be St. Petersburg but instead I loved the vibrancy of Moscow that was appealing. St. Petersburg consisted of gray massive buildings with no cafes or city life. I was encouraged by the young man to go back and visit Russia – that it has dramatically changed since the days of Communist rule. In the meantime, a return visit to the Russian pavilion at Expo shall have to suffice, be enough, be adequate. Synonyms of suffice are: meet requirements, satisfy demands, answer/fulfill/meet one’s needs, answer/serve the purpose, pass muster, fit/fill the bill, make the grade, cut the mustard, hit the spot.
At the moment this blog, barren of my deepest feelings upon formally becoming a Muslim, will have to pass muster, cut the mustard, and satisfy your demands. I shall write of serious matters after I have more time to reflect, think, get in touch with my feelings and all of that. I have so much to write about but writing twice in one day while maintaining a presence on Instagram would definitely be overkill.
Photos are my paper Arabic temporary certificate showing the world of my adherence to the Islamic faith, a photo of my free ticket to Expo 2020 and a photo of me kissing a camel – not a real one as yet. The caption on the Instagram posing was: Expo 2020. A great day. I am simultaneously kissing a camel and waving a free admission ticket. I got in for nothing as I am old. And EVERYONE politely said that I did NOT look my age. One person said I looked 30 – I love that person.