My husband has a wonderful trait-once he decides on something and goes through with it, he never regrets it. No matter how nagging I can get, asking him if perhaps we should have looked around for a better deal, perhaps we should have waited, perhaps…. He tells me, ‘Khalass, it’s over and I don’t regret it.’ And I love this trait about him, because it helps me feel better about some decisions I feel I may have forced him into!
But a few months ago, I did something different. Something that I should have done many years ago, but practice makes perfect. I thought about why I was going to the inauguration.
I had planned on going months ago, once Obama was elected president. And then the morning of the inauguration, I found myself going by myself, and I wondered if there was any truly ‘good’ reason for me to go other than to see something exciting, which didn’t sound very beneficial to my life and Hereafter.
So I decided that I would go and learn something new from this crowd of two million people. I would at least be a picture for Islam in America for these crowds who might not think Muslims were as interested as they in Obama’s inauguration.
And I went. It was cold, crowded, exhausting, and wonderful, and I went alhamdulillah. I was alone the whole time, and I got stuck in unbelievable human traffic afterwards (never ever imagined such a human traffic jam). It took me 2.5 hours to get home instead of 30 minutes, but alhamdulillah, I did not regret going because I got what I went for. People saw me, I gave a 30-second interview on something called Kosher TV, and I saw things that I did not think I’d see (like the Christian fundamentalists with their huge signs, coming to DC with a purpose, and getting booed by the crowd and told to go home), the Buddhist monks walking around the mall to their own drumbeat, and some extremely interesting crowd control issues.
Alhamdulillah, it was a learning experience. May God give me the focus and power to think through every action I take.
Fatima Abdallah is a dedicated mother, sister, daughter, and MAS youth worker. After spending several years in Cairo and post-Saddam Baghdad, she now lives in Virginia with her two daughters, ages 2 and 3.