the eleventh cup of tea

I apologize for such a delay in between stories. All too often I get caught up in the midst of what is happening during a stressful period and then I have a difficult time getting back to writing and photography.

This is a story told to me by my friend Abdullah Jamil. I decided to tell it from his perspective to make it feel a lot closer to you as the reader.

“There wasn’t any particular reason I was up so late that night. It was just one of those nights where you are just chilling, and time slips before you. Before I knew it, it was a little before 2:00 am in the morning. I checked Snapchat on my phone, just to see who else was awake at this hour. And there happened to be someone. Someone I hadn’t seen in six years.

To explain my relationship with Christian, the person who snapped me, we need to back track a little. Christian was a close friend that I had in middle school. He was the guy who I first started doing drugs with. In fact, Christian was the man I ended up getting caught with. After we parted ways we still maintained a close relationship through social media.

Since we still messaged each other now and then, I didn’t hesitate when I saw the notification. However, the content of the message shocked me. Christian’s mom had falsely accused him of storing drugs in the house and then kicked him out of the house. He had nowhere to spend the night.

It was a forty-minute drive to where Christian was, plus a forty-minute drive back to my house. He spent the night at my house, and my family welcomed him with open arms. He spent a few days with us, and it just so happened that we shared the same birthday. So as a family we celebrated mine and Christian’s birthday. It became a really special day.

Later at night, my teacher in Islam came by to wish me well on my birthday. Christian was still at our house during this, and so the three of us went down to the basement to talk. Christian began to get curious about Islam and what it was. He had so many questions about his existence and what life is. Where do we go from here? What is the plan for us? After the conversation was over, my teacher made a joke saying, “Maybe one day you’ll be a Muslim ‘Christian,’” which made him chuckle a little bit.

We all spent some more time together, then around the time for Maghreb prayer we went to the mosque, and he heard the Qur’an being recited. He said it was such a beautiful thing to hear.

He spent another night at my house. The next day, me, my mom, and my teacher all went with Christian back to his house to talk to his parents. After some convincing, his mom allowed him back in the home.

I haven’t spoken to Christian in a while, but it still amazes me how all that happened to him. And likewise, how I was able to experience such a thing. Change, even on the smallest scale, affects us as human beings so much. But I don’t think change is bad at all, it just breeds fear. Christian’s drastic change left him in great fear of what was to come, but at the end of the day I guess it’s all up to God. I like to think God kept me up that night, making me wait for Christian’s message, so that I would be able to lend him a hand, and bring him closer to whatever answers he was searching for.

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