It is bedtime. My two children get to each choose a story. Recently, they keep choosing the story of 'Isa (alayhi salam). Again and again. The book does an okay job. It's not told in the most engaging way; it is wordy and it lacks an appealing narrative. The illustrations are so-so. I find myself having to fill in some fine print and paint more colorful descriptions. Still, I keep wondering, why do they want it time and time again? They, my kids—not creatures of habit but creatures of the novel. In prior bedtimes, I remember a very wide and wild selections of books. But not these days.
While I read it, I keep wondering why. And then, I see.
A precocious, special girl. Food from heaven. An inspiration to those near and near. The inspiration for the supplication that led to the birth of Yahya ('alayhi salam). A visitation by the Archangel himself. A solitary birth. Gentle, Divine solicitude at every turn. Sweet baby 'Isa. Social intrigue and censure. Blame, anger, accusations. A baby speaking. Birds breathed into being from clay. Healing of the terminally ill. The dead coming to life. A man of true heart. Shaking the powers that be. Political posturing within the religious elite. A table of food coming down from heaven. Fabrication, falsification and falsities. One of the most beloved of God raising, raising, raising into heaven....
I'm breathless and fully awake. I never. Ever.
They sleep soundly now. I hear their breathing rising and falling. The stillness of the night alights on us, and peace has descended. Their souls have journeyed to the beyond—where their pure imaginations have perhaps always been living.
But I'm still here. Apart Firmly on my earth. Shocked at the tender and subtle miracles that they have shown me. Wondering at how many I've missed in my blindness. Wanting to see the world through their eyes. Clutching at this thought in my heart, praying not to forget, trying to desperately remember it when they wake, insha Allah, tomorrow.
A miraculous birth, I pray, for me.
By Riad Saloojee , 17 Apr 2014