One of the events that was a part of my life before I started this blog was a part-time job I had as an English tutor in the commercial section of the American embassy in Baghdad (late 2004). That was an interesting experience in itself, with me heading to work every day not telling my relatives where I really worked, or what I really did; and me heading out of the Green Zone every day waiting for a car to notice me and hunt me down. I came from America, and I didn't feel like I was being a traitor doing this work. And the one cousin whom I felt close enough to to tell about this job position bashed me left and right for taking on this job. We did come to a conclusion at the end that we come from different cultures and have different feelings on all things America.
One of my Iraqi students was a young man named Firas. He had switched over to this job from another job for which he had been targeted and almost assassinated by gunmen outside his home. Only by the grace of God was he able to escape with a bullet shot to his (neck? shoulder?). He survived, but knew it was an off-chance. And he was thankful.
I left Baghdad and the tutoring job, with Firas being engaged and considering applying for his TOEFLs to study abroad. I later found out that he made it to the Sorbonne for his PhD (don't know in what field). But I also found out that his family received a special visa to travel to the States. And his mom found her death, not in bloody Baghdad but in bloody NY (see earlier post).
I posted about this tragic story earlier, but my near , near call with death in a recent car accident reminded me of Firas's story. It reminds me that death will come to you only where it is proscribed upon you, and only at the time it is prescribed for you. I hope i'm brave at that time, and ready for it. It also reminded me of the life of the great general in Islamic history, Khalid ibn al Walid, who died on his death bed with a thousand wounds, but none a mortal wound; he died a regular man's death. Fight a thousand battles, face a thousand enemies, take a thousand courageous stands, life and death will come to you only when it is time.