Since the day I became aware of this life, and became aware of my surroundings, my vivid memories were always seeing my parents flipping through the channels to watch the news in Palestine. This sacred place I am from, so far away, yet so close to the hearts.
Palestine, Palestine, Palestine. Everywhere. Since I was a kid, I would always be proud during multicultural events at school, dress up as a ‘Palestinian’. All my school projects would be about my homeland, the most beautiful place on earth, the dearest thing to my heart. Yet… I never stepped on its soil, breathed its air, saw its sky. But I knew I loved it.
But one thing I never got is why were they always praying for Palestine, what it really meant for it being under attack.. I never ever understood why I would cry so much, why it tore up my grandparent’s hearts whenever they’d see the news. I never really got it, I knew I had to be torn up, I knew I had to make duaa’, but it just never made sense.
After 19 years…. The puzzle pieces of my life were finally put together. I finally got it. I finally stepped into Palestine. I finally prayed in masjid al-Aqsa. I finally was home. And I finally cried, cried and cried, and every tear that came down came literally from the heart.
My first hours in the Israeli airport were one the most heartbreaking experiences for me. I never felt so humiliated, so out of place, even though for the first time I was in my country. It was disgusting. They treated us like animals, just for the reason that I wanted to come home? Why? Why did I have to see an old lady cry and barely able to walk being yelled at, and have her luggage thrown at her, why? Just simply because she’s coming back home to visit her land.. it didn’t make sense. But at the same time I never felt so attached to Palestine.
When I first stepped on the soil of Hebron, breathed its fresh air, I didn’t know how to thank Allah. It was the most surreal seconds of my life.
And then, I prayed in alaqsa. Wallahi wallahi, I don’t ever recall feeling the way I did the moment I saw the Dome of the Rock. My heart skipped a beat- I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t know if I were to smile, to cry, to just run up to it and touch its pillars, to hug the people that gracefully walked on its land.
I reached just in time for Dhur prayer. And I stood there, between lines and lines of people, normal people, whom were heros to me, praying, just the way I saw them pray on TV, but it didn’t really hit me yet… till the moment I prostrated, and my forehead felt the cold ground of alqsa, the tears filled the floor, I forgot everything, and began kissing the most beautiful land on the face of this planet.
SubhanAllah, this was what the ‘perfect moment’ meant. And just there and then, I felt like if I were to die, I would die at ease. Because now I lived life, now I know what my purpose was, I went back home, I didn’t want to ever leave. Palestine, its like heaven on earth.
It was the most bittersweet trip… AlAqsa was crying, AlAqsa is in pain, and I felt it sharply stab me through the heart. Alaqsa, Gaza, Palestine, is crying… crying out. Its heartbroken, its broken, its sad and it needs us.
What I would do to just go back, just to pray another prayer in Palestine. Just to kiss its soil and admire its beautiful sky.
Now as I watch what is going on in Gaza, my heart literally is torn apart, my eyes cannot stand it, because I was on that land, and I saw its pure beautiful people. I saw the simple life; people lived every day to its fullest, because they never knew what to expect the day to come. I couldn’t get over the fact walking in my own streets of the city I came from and being searched… knowing that at certain times you can’t leave your home because you never know when something may go on.
This is why I cry today for Gaza, because I finally understand what Palestine is under siege means. I finally can understand the torn look in my grandfather’s eyes when he talks about home. I finally get why I sometimes see my grandmother dozing off into another world just thinking of home. This is what makes sense now, when I see how perfectly my grandmother paints the paintings of Palestine, and why they mean so much.
Ya rabb, ya jabbar, ya wadud, bring justice to Palestine, ya Allah mend the hearts of those who have lost their loved ones, ya Allah allow us all to spend the next Eid praying on this blessed land, in Your blessed mosque.
i took this picture alhamdulilah 🙂