It began this way. I was scrolling through Instagram reels, happened upon one entitled Quran is the Rope, a young man speaking of the Quran. In order to be on the same page (so to speak) you must now clink on this link: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CgzfHGgDPSU/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=
I responded to them: Yes! I became a Muslim during Covid. The Islamic scholar told me after a long conversation that I was to read the Quran , speak to Allah and we should decide when I was ready. I did so and became a Muslim on October 20, 2020. All praise to Allah.
Him: That’s my birthday.
Me: Oh my goodness. All praise to Allah. That is amazing. Why I picked that particular day to come the faith is a very personal story. But I was putting it off but then I was having a health scare and I said to myself. ‘What are you waiting for Alexis? Alone said the words in English. More officially came to the faith at the Zayed Islamic Center in Abu Dhabi over a year later, and received my Muslim name which is Fatimah. Health scare was successfully treated by the way.
Me:I shall speak of this on my blog which has had four million views since it began
He: May Allah preserve your status and make your family believers in the one true Jesus and Mohammed. ALLAH. I am so glad to come across you sister. I am also from Canada but the most thing I hold dear to my hart is Islam. And wow, the Sheikh Zayed nGrand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is an amazing place to take shahada and proclaim your faith. All praise to Allah sister salamlaikum
Me: I have no family but Allah but that is certainly all that one could ever ask for. Abu Dhabi was a terrible five month experience but the Grand Mosque was the first and only mosque I have been to. Profound religious experience in the Women’s Prayer Room, was allowed to be there on my own.
He Did you know that the very first mosque was opened in Edmonton. Go check it out.
Me: Of course I knew. That is why I came to Edmonton. But they were totally inhospitable. Totally!! So I am back to the Quran convinced that it is what Allah wants.
Incredible Instagram brought wonderful news of a different nature. I made and distributed a reel. Received a response which brought total joy to my heart
She: So interesting. Dear Alexis. I ran away from the Ukraine. Now in a safe place in Saudi Arabia. Working in hotel. Fitness coach
Me: Fabulous! Will come to Mecca on day and see you.
She: We will keep in touch
Me: Weird absolutely must. Where are you in Saudi Arabia
She: In Riyadh
Me: I need a rest but the frigid weather here may bring me your way. We shall have such fun together and then I will go to Mecca .
She: I really hope to see you again.
Me: You shall. I promise. Such joy it will bring us,
I met Marina in what seems to be ages ago at the Abu Dhabi Rixos Resort, it was actually in November 2021. She was a water aerobics instructor but like most working at the Rixos Resort – slaved under utterly inhumane conditions. So she quit and returned to her homeland which was inconveniently the Ukraine. It has not been invaded by Russia at her return but she valiantly remained there sending Instagram reels of the destruction of her city. I was terrified for her, suggesting she might come to Canada. Well she didn’t, but she is safe in Saudi Arabia. This is fantastic news to the Muslim Me as Mecca is a required ‘pilgrimage’ if one can afford it. It seemed impossible because I knew no one there and did not feel altogether safe. But with tough Marina there it is safe to venture to that country. Not only will Marina be there but another woman – an Emeriti woman met at Costa Coffee in the Abu Dhabi Airport Premier Inn will join me. I met she and her two daughters, one a dentist, the other a psychiatrist. They were fashionably clad in black abayas and hijabs, Our Instagram interaction has continued . She often communicates from her Lexus which of course causes me delight.
Me: There you are driving a Lexus while communicating with Alexis.
She: Yes. What a privilege!
Here is our most recent conversation
Me: One of my friends from Abu Dhabi is now working in Saudi Arabia. So more reason to go to Mecca sooner rather than later.
Me: She was a water aerobics instructor at the Rixos, then to Ukraine, now to Saudi Arabia
Me: Marina and Allah – a package deal. Hahahaha
She: What’s that?
Me: Two for the price of one
She: Aha Great deal
Me: I know and I will get to see you too. Right?
Me: Great Superb!
Then a reel from another young man met at the Rixos Resort. We too have stayed in touch. He sent this from the Grand Mosque. I began to cry when viewing it. Photographs of the Grand Mosque (taken by me) adorn my Edmonton apartment but seeing a reel with him there made me sad – missing him, missing the Grand Mosque. Look at his reel: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CgzfHGgDPSU/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=
I have saved the best until last. An incredible experience. I was at the Allin Clinic for an eye exam and physiotherapy appointment. As I left, heard drumming but could not tell where it was coming from, so set out to explore. It was coming from a black truck, an Indigenous man was chanting and drumming, as you shall hear it was so melodic, so mournful. Was able to record it, placing it on Instagram. It has gotten many responses. My caption said something like this. The Canadian government has tried to drum this out of your people but you drum on. https://www.instagram.com/reel/ChSfGXxJLh6/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=
Canadians are most accepting of people from other cultures and other lands. But for some strange and unknowable reason there is rampant racism leveled against the Indigenous population. This shell be discussed in a subsequent blog.
Tomorrow’s blog shall concentrate upon life in Edmonton, my continuing adventure in this city surrounded by so many kind and helpful people, all happy to be here. A previous blog criticized a passivity, a ‘taking for granted’ of the freedoms offered by this country. But afterwards thought about the inhabitants of Marin County where entitlement reigns supreme. Entitlement is the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. Some synonyms are right, privilege, prerogative, claim, title, dispensation, privilege.
Most Edmontonians I have spoken with are thankful for the way of life accorded to all. Folks from other lands are particularly thankful and comfortable to be in Canada. I have not met anyone who misses their homeland. I have done some research on assimilation and acceleration and shall speak of it in a later blog.
One photograph shows me and ‘Grandson’ on our way to visit the Grand Mosque for the first time. Another of the interior of the Grand Mosque. The last of me taken in the Grand Mosque probably the day of the intense religious experience.