I was sitting inside the double door on the left
Something blocked the sunlight streaming into the doorway, and I quickly glanced to see what had happened. Silhouetted in the doorway was the frame of a man not wearing a long shirtdress like the man who had earlier offered me the cup of mint tea. This was a well dressed man in a suit jacket and slacks, a professional gentleman with exquisite manners, eyes of a hawk, and the joyful smile of a very happy boy. Everytime I looked at him, I saw something else I liked. His fingers were smooth, with nails carefully trimmed, hands strong as steel, but he caught my hand gently in his as I stood to greet this interesting stranger I had just married the day before.
He asked me to please bring the children and come with him to oversee the work being done to the second story of the house, as he liked my approval of his plans. I liked the sound of his voice so much, I could have followed him to the end of the earth if he asked. His heavily accented english was so suave, so french, so rich dark chocolate delicious, I was completely attentive to his every word, like hearing the most beautiful love poem being recited for the very first time.
Walking around to the side of the house, we passed a narrow cornfield and entered the wide doorway of the three story chicken farm. Chicken hotel may be a better name for it. It was a well built commercial style building of brick, concrete and steel, with a concrete staircase leading up to each floor, and up to the roof as well. We climbed the four flights to the roof and sat in the shade of date palm trees, surveying the beautiful countryside of Egypt.
My children were wide eyed with a mixture of terror and excitement as they peered over the edge of the roof to the earth far below. I tried to hide my anxiety for their safety, but my own fear of heights wouldn’t allow me to join them near the edge. I sat down nonchalantly, but Mohamed took it all in and came up with a perfect answer. He suggested we descend one level and relax in his apartment on the third floor, where we could sit on the balcony and watch the work from there. “Yes, Sir! Thank you, I would like that very much,” I replied with manners I reserved for addressing Captains and Admirals and Secretaries of Defense. You never know which job skill you learned yesterday will come in handy today!
Leaving us comfortably seated in safety on the balcony of the apartment, my new Husband in Chief left to resume command of our dream home’s reconstruction on the second floor of his family home. I was happy for the chance to relax, and was even more happy when my children fell asleep together on the couch. Sitting in a comfortable chair on the balcony, I leaned back and closed my eyes. Then I hit, “Replay,” my favorite button on the internal memory card in my brain…
I wasn’t lost – I was here:
It was 1999. A wonderful time to be alive – anything you could imagine learning about was magically available on the internet, just waiting to be searched for! The PC was barely ten years old, but knowledge was already bursting at the seams of cyberspace, thanks to the unsung heroes of thousands of message boards and lists residing on monster networks of mainframe computer systems operated by universities and government institutions. And, now that we all had Mac’s or PC’s, the World Wide Web was way open for business!
I had been learning about Islam for about two years, after my marriage fell apart and I put my life under the microscope to figure out what went wrong. There was no relationship between the microscope and Islam, it was just a coincidence that I happened to make friends with a muslim girl living in Kosovo early in 1998. I ‘met’ her in a chat room on excite.com and we began emailing each other, sharing stories of our lives. She was engaged to a man in Algeria, but neither could travel due to the political instability in both of their countries. I was suffering from a nuclear meltdown in my marriage. She asked me what went wrong, and I spent months putting it all under the microscope with her. She offered me advice so practical and clear and then she explained that her advice came from Islam. I was intrigued and so began my gentle transformation into a muslim. The more I learned, the more intrigued I became. I became serious about becoming Muslim. The deal was clinched when I read this article online in early May of ’99:
To the Prospective Muslim Husband: What is a Wife?
By Shaykh Abdullah Adhami [Source: Madrasa In’aamiyyah]By getting married you are not just getting a wife, you are getting your whole world. From now until the rest of your days your wife will be your partner, your companion, and your best friend.
She will share your moments, your days, and your years. She will share your joys and sorrows, your successes and failures, your dreams and your fears. When you are ill, she will take the best care of you; when you need help, she will do all she can for you;
When you have a secret, she will keep it; when you need advice, she will give you the best advice. She will always be with you: when you wake up in the morning the first thing your eyes will see will be hers; during the day, she will be with you, if for a moment she is not with you by her physical body, she will be thinking of you, praying for you with all her heart, mind, and soul; when you go to sleep at night, the last thing your eyes will see will be her; and when you are asleep you will still see her in your dreams. In short, she will be your whole world and you will be her whole world.
…Click Here to read the full article
My divorce was finalized three months prior, and I had been husband-free for more than two years. I enjoy being a wife, and I missed having a husband. I didn’t miss my ex… but I missed being married, I missed being someone’s best friend. But next time, I had told myself after my sessions with the microscope, I want my husband to be my best friend, too! When I read that article, I wanted that husband. More than that, I wanted to be that wife! I felt sure if I became that woman, then I would get that husband! I became solidly muslim that evening, praying to Allah to make me that wife and to give me exactly that husband.
A few weeks went by and I went about my business of work and busy single motherhood. Checking my email late one night, I noticed that little box off to the right. You know the one, “Are you a ___________ looking for a _________?” And you fill in the blanks and hunt for your Prince Charming, right? Well, I never noticed that box being there before, but now it seemed like a pretty good idea! The only problem was that when the details of Prince Charming were offered for clicking on, there were no choices that matched my prince. White, Black, Latino, Asian, Native Indian, or Other. Okay… Other. Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddist, Atheist, or Other. Okay… Other. Country of Origin: Everywhere except countries in the Middle East… You get the picture… Other.
I figured out already in the past few weeks that I probably wasn’t going to meet that incredibly kind and understanding man in the article at my local library or grocery store. But I never imagined that the Internet had built in barriers protecting Western Womankind from meeting Middle Eastern Prince Charmings. In my ignorance, I just assumed they were stupid, and I hit Enter after selecting everything “Other.”
Then I clicked next next next next next like a clattering ball on the spinning roulette wheel of love. Page after page of “Other”-this and “Other”-that, but never “Other”-what I’m looking for. UntiI I clicked next one more time, and the page displayed this:
I couldn’t believe my eyes, so I went back and read it again. And again, and again! OMG – was it him?I emailed myself a copy of the ad and turned off my computer as fast as I could shut it down. I was scared to death! What should I do? I turned off the smooth jazz cd, blew out the candles in the living room of my condo, peeped quietly in my children’s rooms to be sure they were still sound asleep, then buried myself under the covers of my bed. I didn’t sleep, but I did pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I tossed and turned all night, trying to figure out what I should do next…. …O.M.G. I think it might be “him!”
…O.M.G. I think he might be looking for me!!
(Originally published on Aisha’s Oasis)