‘I met a guy who is a second-hand car salesman. And he is blind.’
I admit it was difficult to believe. My father told us this, in 1996 after his first trip to Hadhramout. He came for the re-opening of Imam al-Haddad’s mosque – Masjid al-Fath, in al-Hawi district of #Tareem.
The mosque was renovated. It was said about 12,000 people turned up for the opening ceremony of the mosque. My father went with at least 6 others from Malaysia/Singapore. He played a VHS video recording of the opening ceremony and was telling us what was what. I was barely paying attention then, at age 12.
But I remembered clearly two things.
One of which was, when the video went through the crowd, there was a young man sitting within the extremely packed mosque.* He quickly pointed out as the camera briefly focused on the man:
‘see this guy. See this guy. Keep a lookout for him. He’s the youngest headmaster now in one of the schools there. He’s going to be huge. Huge.’
Today I am attending that same school and Habib Omar bin-Hafidz is ranked by one organization as the 28th Most Influential Muslim in the world, among scholars, monarchs, politicians and other Muslim leaders.
That’s not easy to believe. If you’ve come to Tareem and see how the tradition here is like, how the town is like, how the people are like and how he is like on a day to day basis.
Just like how it was difficult for me to believe that the fishmonger on the lorry I saw last month, selling and chopping fish with that huge knife, is also blind. I stayed long enough to check, and check again.
If the things you can see are great, think about what you can’t see. And its immensity.
And we are reminded of this, particularly as the end of Ramadhan comes later. Maaf zahir dan batin. Seen and unseen.