Night of "Coincidences"

>> Monday, January 22, 2007

There comes a time when you realize that everything falls into place.
And maybe there is somthing you can do about it, but maybe no
matter what you do, you still end up doing what has already been
set for you the day you were born.


I was sitting silently at the back of my boss' Pajero when I noticed
the digital clock on the dashboard as it added a minute more to the
already late hour. It's officially 2:01 am.

We were parked outside a convenience store in a district that was
at least 45 minutes away from Doha proper and the three of us in
the car were patiently waiting for the guy who sat beside me as he
bought some bread and milk.

I was lost in thought while observing the fog outside build up
across the vast expanse of the industrial area. It's the closest to
a desert I have ever been to in Qatar and the night was almost
perfect. The dim district made the stars look brighter, illuminating
the fog as it crept through the darkness. Just then, the empty seat
beside me caught my attention. There was a book, a thin one. I
read the note about the author on the back cover and was pleasantly
surprised. I have met the author a few weeks ago and he is by far
the most interesting adult I have met here. At first I thought he's
Sudanese but then he spoke excellent English. I didn't know then
that he wrote books, all I knew about Dr. Bilal Philips was that he
was passionate about Islam. My first encounter with him ended
with him giving me a book "Life of Mohammad" of which he said I
should take time to read. I did and in one sitting.

The guy who owned the book in the car finally came back. A few
minutes later we dropped him off at his house. It was only on our
way back home when the "coincidences" made sense to me. Could
this night be a sign? Then the questions started to come as if
answering each question with a question.

Why would the boss invite me to a late dinner with his friends when
I don't even speak Arabic? Why did it take us too long to finish dinner?
Why did we arrive just a minute after the bus left the station making
the boss' friend miss the last trip home? Why did the boss opt to drive
him home even it was already past 1am and the guy's house was way
out in the desert? Why didn't he just take a cab? Why did we have to
stop by the convenience store when we were already tired to make
stopovers? Why was boss' friend carrying a book and why did he leave
it when he went inside the store? Why did I read the cover? And why
did it have to be Dr. Bilal Philips, the same person who asked me to
know more about Islam? And more importantly, why am I connecting
all of these incidents as a sort of possibility that the events that occured
were "signs"?

Just as that last question filled my head, the boss turned on the radio.
Quran-reading filled the otherwise silent car. Now tell me if I'm just
overreacting. I smiled and looked at the window and as if the humor
won't stop, we passed by a mosque. That was then when I challenged
whatever or whoever was playing a trick on me. I said to myself that if
I see two more mosques before we reach the city proper, I would
definitely consider this "sign" as worth meditating over.

Not long after the first mosque, another mosque appeared. Only one more
mosque and I am going to blog about this, I thought then.

The city lights were drawing near and we're almost at the city proper
roundabout. And there it was to my left, a humble looking mosque standing
serenely beautiful in the starry night sky. Although you probably know
already because I'm blogging about it now.



(Al Wakra Mosque - Industrial District)

I lost the challenge. But to what or whom I don't know. I am more cautious
now because it's not fun when fate plays a practical joke on you. Or is it a joke
in the first place? Now I'm even beginning to wonder if I came here to Doha
to earn money or earn something else, dare I say it, a spirituality.

For now, that single night remains one of the most meaningful "coincidences"
that came my way. My eyes are open and my ears will listen.

Part of me calls it a bluff but there's also a part of me that wonders if the
last mosque I saw that night was also beautiful inside. OUT.

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Thirtysomething educator who holds the secret to the meaning of life. =P

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