Literal contest "Between hope and fear"

Muhidin Topčagić,
Student of Faculty of Islamic Science in Sarajevo
Third prize in the contest of "Bošnjaci" Fund, Sarajevo

Our Lord, deliver us from wrong fear and false security.

Winter. Everything is under snow. Two spans of snow fell last night. Every crack in the wall is full of snow. Branches are breaking down under the weight. As soon as a drop of water slides down on the window it is already frozen. And the sky is so blue and clear, snow so white that eyes hurts from excessive viewing. The “pale” Sun stood high on the sky. There is no more screaming, noise and laughing of children who played on the road beside our house. Everything was deserted. There was subdued silence only broken by crows’ cow.

This winter has sneaked into our bones, in hearts. As it’s wanted to points out our real situation. On the state of our souls which are not the same ones after the war. Emptiness ruled in our hearts. Silence… sadness… darkness… pain… are just some of problems which have ruled in our souls and minds. But, the most difficult to us is that there are no our beloved here beside us. There are no those who have made our hearts happy. The spring of our souls has disappeared. Those beautiful flowers which have made us smiling are now dried…withered. They have withered, but the smell has remained which brings us in time when we could even watch them… and touch them…

But we, who have lost them also have been withering, we haven’t allowed anyone to touch us, come near. It is best seen by the behavior of the grandfather Amir, our first neighbor. Since he has lost Ahmed, nothing is the same. Faith has gone together with Ahmed, and hope – Amir has been talking to us choking in tears. Once he was constantly in the mosque, whenever azan is heard, grandfather Amir was in the mosque. And now, he is not there even on Eid. 

A grandson and daughter in law, the wife of the late Ahmed, lived with him. Grandfather Amir took care of his grandson, and he didn’t allow that he miss anything. He kept him as his eyes. Grandfather Amir unwillingly recalled memories from the war and everything that he passed through in it. His small, bloodstained eyes were full of sadness, and anger. He would give everything to bring him back – even own life, everything, just to see him here in front of him. So that he can touch him, hug.
But life has taught us that the way we wanted and planned rarely happens. So grandfather Amir’s life became even harder when his grandson got sick. One night he fainted while he was sitting at the table and fell in coma. They transported him to the hospital, and all the way grandfather Amir didn’t say a word. The doctors have found that he’s got a tumor. We were all affected by that news. Everybody burst into tears, and grandfather Amir was just sitting in the waiting room like he is still waiting the doctor to come. He had blank, distant view. The doctors have decided to operate him earlier.

Somewhere about midnight I went home. I was tired of everything that happened that day. I tried to sleep, but grandfather Amir constantly was in front of my eyes. I imagined him sitting in the chair in the corridor looking in empty space. I thought about small Ramiz and his mother. She lost her husband and now this happened. With these thoughts I welcomed down. I did praying and layed down for a while. I managed to fall asleep. Friday downed, and I was preparing for juma namaaz. I was passing by grandfather Amir’s house. No one was there. I intended to go to the hospital after juma to see how little Ramiz is. Everybody in the mosque talked about what happened last night, how Amir is bereaved, destroyed. All that conversation broke a voice of imam who started Khutbah in Arabic. Suddenly cold and sharp air came from somewhere. I turned back and saw grandfather Amir who stayed at the door. Imaam stopped for a while, looked at the grandfather and as he said by his view “welcome”. The grandfather came to me and sat down.

Imaam continued with his preaching. The whole Khutbah was like it was dedicated to small Ramiz, his mother, grandfather Amir. Everybody listened to imam with tears in eyes. “A believer lives between hope and fear. When it is missing or dominates only one of them, the life balance would be disrupted. Then it’ll disappear either hope in Allah’s mercy that leads to leaving of deeds or it’ll stay with us endless and illusive hope which gave the same results” – said the imam. The grandfather listened to carefully and some tears showed on his face. They were tears colored by sadness, pain, fear, hope…

After juma I left to the hospital together with the grandfather. His daughter in law Amina was sitting in the corridor and waiting for doctors to back Ramiz from a surgery room. The grandfather sat next to her and embraced her. The door open and a doctor, completely in green clothing, with a mask over mouth, came out. He approached to the grandfather and Amina and said with a quiet and gentle voice: “He’ll be all right as Allah wishes”

These words at that moment were ringing in my head and heart. I looked at Amina, she was crying, but now because of happiness. And the grandfather… I looked at him and saw how tiny dried lips were moving and saying thanks to Allah. After few days, Ramiz was released from the hospital and he came home. Grandfather Amir and Amina took care about him. And neighbors tried to help as much as they could.

Even now, seven years after that, everything seems like it was yesterday. But now the grandfather goes to the mosque together with his grandson. Proud, happy and dapper. The words of imaam which were spoken in that time were inscribed in my memory: “A believer lives between hope and fear”. After everything that we passed through, after everything that this suffering people passed through, this sentence should thought us that we mustn’t forget our beloved ones, and we mustn’t forget what happened to us. Because, if we forget it, we will stay without hope in mercy, without hope in new reunion.

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