Death of the Bedouin
It all begins with the rising of the sun, over the hazy golden horizon just behind that sand dune.
I think of myself as to have lived a very fortunate life, to have the desert as my mother and the sky as my father.
People often have misconceptions about my mother they think of her as this dry expanse of nothingness and suffering wherein no one is but to perish. What they fail to realize is their lack of experience, how less time they’ve spent away from her in their cozy alluvial lands. Mother desert at first glance may seem as an embodiment of nothing but if you were to ponder you would see that each of her dunes tell a different story as you walk on their knife edge like summits you will be forced to ponder on the intricacies of its shape and how each grain blew in just the perfect way to form it, dunes are my mother’s way of guiding me through the seemingly redundant mass of sand around. Each dune is unique just as each grain of sand is different, these dunes help my camel find its way to water and lands of greenery. They helped me in my travels to various lands of which I will narrate to you soon. Not to forget my benevolent father who even in the eeriness of the night placed for me dots up above for me to ponder, to count and to follow, the greater the dot the better the place I end up at. At an interval of what I estimate to be 14 cycles of the sun’s rising and setting I see at night the sun’s sister I follow her for days only to see her fade away, leaving me with the blue dunes and my camel. I think of her as my travel companion now, a travel guide who leaves when their goal has been accomplished which here is to get me to my destinations safely. Another misunderstanding people carry in their hearts regarding the deserts has to do with its inhabitants, I am afraid camels are not the only animals you will find in a desert, we have wolves, hyenas, snakes were you only to pay more attention. The desert is not synonymous with no water, that is never the case, it exists in a spectrum varying in the levels of water you can dig up from the sand below.
A proper understanding of my father and mother will now provide you with some light, light which might be more diverse in its colors and even more soothing to the eyes than the expanse of the playful night sky that I witness once every 28 cycles of the sun.
A proper understanding of my father and mother will now hopefully lead you onto new endeavors to traverse the sands just as I did, from the volcanic ash like sands of Madina to the rigid and rock adorned ones near Mount Sainai. From the yellow sands of Alexandria to the orange and hazy gold ones near Jerusalem you’ll find that the desert and its people are not what you think, not what people tell you; I have walked and guided passers bys through these terrains to gain enough knowledge of one thing, the desert and the skies speak through their silence, their silence is often occupied by the remembrance of the time when they too will see their last day just like I, the silence in which they remember their creator Al Khaliq, it is astonishing that the people of the cities sometimes use this word- Al khaliq so casually completely forgetting to feel what they say. You may ask how can I “feel AL khaliq”?
I will show you,
When you see the trail of feet that have embedded itself in the now loose sand what do you feel passed thereby?
A Camel or an animal of the desert, as only it can make such perfectly precise marking on such as unstable surface.
Now when you see the trail of clouds that sometimes runs plain and sometimes brings with it water, when you see the shimmering dots in the sky break away from the dark ceiling and run swiftly to somewhere unknown, who do you think makes that happen?
Al Khaliq, he leaves his trails in things that are far beyond similes and metaphors, far beyond the capacity of language but are in perfect reach of a Bedouin to understand as they are simple, but a different kind of simple, a kind you will have to travel the desert to witness.
As I slowly turn grey and my breaths start to ease out for one final inhale, I know I will forever be a part of this desert as its knowledge lies in me and my steps lie on it.
I will be waiting for you, right here, in these shifting sands and guide you like the moon that shifts by the days accordingly.
This sunrise is beautiful.
Allahumma ila rafeeqil A’ala.