We celebrated our first Eid al-Adha in Memphis today. Like last year, this year's Eid brought a (mostly) unexpected blessing in the form of America's coolest nomads. There was henna, laughter, henna, food, henna, fasting and, of course, henna. I've been so busy, in fact, that I've asked my dear friend (and fellow Muslimah) Kate to post an Eid post here. She's a rare jewel of the Internet and an incredible writer. It's my honor to have her here. Thank you, my sister.
Today is Eid Al Adha and I can’t think of a better place to share the very first moment of my journey in Islam because, as it says at the top of this page, we all come from somewhere. This moment is where I come from, in so very many ways.
I got off the bus on a cool morning at the Jean Talon market in Montreal’s little Italy. I was alone shopping and wandering on a weekend because at 22 I had time to wander.
An unassuming tin roofed brick building stood on the outskirts of the market; inside it was a glorious palace with mountains of fruits and vegetables, teeming with the diverse colors of Canada’s cultural ‘salad.’
The people matched the produce. Bright dashikis and plantains, blue jeans and plums, stilettos and apricots, red leather and even redder tomatoes, saris and spindling long beans, salwar kameez, ginger root, niqab, tube tops, hijabs, dreadlocks, kippahs and kufis.
And me, a blond dance team captain from Iowa with a backpack and tennis shoes. We blended together, all of us doing a Saturday morning ballet and thinking nothing of our otherwise unlikely proximity and shared rhythm.
The strong and speedy employees spoke a mixture of French and Arabic and seemed to all be brothers. They hoisted boxes, weighed produce in hanging scales and yelled animatedly to one another.
Somewhere between the tomatoes, the lemons and the action, I heard music.
But it wasn’t music. It was just a voice.
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, la Illaha il Allah.
An unexpected call to something larger in the middle of life unfolding in her daily glory.
People who know ‘what I am’ ask me all the time why I’ve chosen such an unlikely path. This is the truest answer:
A need to answer to something larger in the middle of life unfolding in her daily glory.
It’s as simple and as complicated as that.
May we all make more sacrifices and give more charity, and may our Hajj be accepted wherever our journey begins and no matter how unexpectedly it leads us.
This morning in particular, we’ll be praying alongside Keith Ellison and Brother Ali (or at least at their regular mosque).
Kate is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer and a globally aware parent raising dynamic children in a plural world. She writes about family and the beauty of the mundane, with a focus on the shared aspects of life that unify us. Find her at home at Perpetually Nesting and for a conversation on Twitter.
If you're interested in offering your unique perspective of a specific practice, celebration or idea that contributes to North American diversity, I'd love to have you do a guest post here. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org