Damascus …- I hear its call but I am too scared to answer it.
Outside my window I still hear boys playing in the street even at this late hour. An old man coughs as he walks by below. Somewhere a cat meows so loud you almost think it is a child’s cry. I hear some horns beeping coming from the Sahah.
Damascus is calling me. Its charm just wraps around a person and doesn’t let go. So many students have been here over the years from all over the world and they keep coming back. Their memories of this enchanting land never fade. My memories never fade.
There is one memory I have, almost four years ago to the day of writing this. We climbed on top of F&T’s little roof using their wooden ladder from their balcony. There we were so high up on Mount Qasyoun we could see the entire city before us. I could see people on their roofs nearby… taking down their washings or just preparing things. They sky turned a vivid hot pink and gold degree by degree and just when we thought it was so beautiful … the first Athaan rang out “Allaaaaaaaaahu Akbar, Allaaaaaaaaahu Akbar” and then another and another until we could see all the green fluorescent lights of Musallahs in the city light up one by one and heard all their calls.
This is Damascus.
How I have missed it. I am not well enough to venture out but I have missed it with a desperation I didn’t know. I want to walk down the Souks in my dusty Jilbab. I want to laugh in the internet cafe. I want to pray in the dark coolness of my local Masjid. I wonder if the Sahabah felt the call of this city too. Abu Darda is buried here, Bilal, some of the mothers of the believers, so many others. I think of all the righteous people that came before me. Salahuddin, Ibn Taymiyya, Rabia al Adawiiya, Imam Nawawi, scholars, Sufis, teachers.
This was their city. They walked through it, they breathed its air. They lived here. They died here.
I still don’t know what I’m doing in Damascus, but I do know that somehow within my soul there is an answer to its call.