Reading of on Darkness
Channel: Ammar Alshukry
File Size: 6.73MB
Episode Transcript ©
Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate and at times crude. We are considering building a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system. No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever.
On darkness written for Muslim matters.org by Marcia curry,
haunting my mind for the past year or so has been the fact that I haven't seen a starry night in almost a decade as a child that would take frequent trips to my family's village in Sudan that didn't have electricity until the late 90s, where we would sleep outside to escape from the heat, our nightly ceiling being the North African sky and all its splendor, the stars were simply incalculable. I learned the constellations from my grandfather and songs to be sung to the moon from my great grandmother. Only on dark nights, would we be in need of kerosene lamps or flashlights. Otherwise, when the moon was full, we would simply walk in its glow. That image of a night filled
with stars stayed and printed in my mind. I started off locally searching online for the best places to see the stars in New York. My searches brought up the names of restaurants and clubs where celebrities are most likely to frequent. It was easy to see that the Big Apple was not a place for the type of stargazing I was looking for. As I traveled from city to city and town to town, I would often ask locals if there were any locations where one could see the stars. Finally, in Los Angeles, I read that the Nevada desert was have the best locations in the country to see the stars. But it was a four hour drive my state wouldn't allow for such an aggressive undertaking, it would have to
be at another time or in another place. Yesterday, I happen to be speaking with a friend who lives in New Jersey, a good 60 miles west of New York City and its suburbs. Before he hung up, I asked him if the stars can be seen from his house. The sky is filled with stars here, he responded. With the phone still in my hand, I reached over to my computer and began searching for hotels in his area. I hadn't found any hotels that I was satisfied with. But I assumed that I could simply book a room somewhere with my phone. When I got there. I jumped into my car and began driving West, it was appropriate that my phone would die 15 minutes into the drive. I mean, here I was chasing a memory
and printer from a world long past. So how can I do it depending on a cell phone and GPS. Although I was confident I'd still be able to get to where I wanted to go, I would no longer have the flashlight application that I would probably need on my phone. No matter. It wasn't long before I reached my exit off of the highway. I turned onto a main road and looking up at the sky through my windshield I could see maybe one or two stars above me and an airplane. I continued to drive until the streetlights became fewer and finally the Main Street forked into a smaller winding road. No longer surrounded by gas stations, car dealerships in offices, but by trees. I wouldn't say traffic
disappeared. So much as human company at all did.
Every few minutes a car would drive by from the opposite direction and blind with its high beams. I turned off my headlights ever so briefly in the sky filled with stars. I spent another few miles looking for a place to park off road where I will be able to soak in the majesty of the Knights canopy. I finally found a decent sized lot that may or may not have been part of a large house that stood a few 100 feet away. The house actually reminded me of the cover of Welcome to dead house. The first issue of Goosebumps of popular horror book series that I used to read as a child it was as though my childhood was coming back just like I wanted. I pulled into it my headlights shining into
the dozens of trees behind the metal railing off the road. When I stepped out of the car and turn off the light I looked at the sky. But when I saw it in my periphery distracted me. I was swallowed in darkness completed utterly perfect darkness I looked up at the sky and saw what must have been 1000s of lights shining. Then I looked down and couldn't see anything. I stood for a while waiting for my eyes to adjust, checking to see if my phone would decide to Heraclea give me a good few minutes and turn on again. But neither my phone nor my eyes did what I expected. I began to think of where I was the middle of nowhere. The thicket of trees a wide lock and open space a dark house
without being able to see anything near me. I began to read it and go see the star gazing was very anticlimactic. I took a few more glances at the sky before jumping into my car and driving back towards civilization. It was the darkness that had captured my imagination, darkness and fear. I'm not afraid of the dark. I was pretty confident about that. Then why would I cut short the entire purpose of my trip. And something that I had waited so long before I realized that a city dwellers, we very rarely come across the power of nature. We walked from electricity lit homes, to streets to cars to buildings. Even when we turn off the lights at home to test whether or not we're afraid of
the dark. We still know where the light switches are, and that we're in a controlled darkness, a comforting darkness. We know we're protected from the elements that were safe and secure. I imagined the darkness experienced by caravans traversing deserts throughout history or by sailors at sea to be of a much different kind. And sort of the note. Allah describes the darkness of a vast sea with waves above which are waves above which are clouds darkness is some of them above each other. If a person were to stick their hand out in front of them, they wouldn't be able to see it. I thought it was sailors predicament under stars hidden behind clouds.
When even their light and guidance is hidden in my temporary darkness, I was comforted by glancing upwards at the sky. Even if I couldn't see what was around me, how could the two darkness be the same? And if light, no matter how distance was of comfort as compared to not having any light, then it makes perfect sense why the requests of the hypocrites from the believers on the Day of Judgment, the day of the extinguishing of all previous known sources of light will be that they give them some of their light, they will be without light on that day due to their lack of preparing to have their path illuminated. Just as I had assumed my phone's flashlight application would carry me through the
darkness, here only to have it die sooner than I expected. If only I had charged it more, if only I had prepared. I thought of how many times darkness is mentioned regarding the world of the Hereafter, the darkness of the grave the darkness of a person resurrected blind after having sight and the darkness of the bridge over the hellfire, and the darkness of the Hellfire itself. What induces fear
of uncontrolled darkness is the unknown. What may come out of the thicket, the house, the trees, the open space. So when everything about the hereafter is new and unknown, than the thought of the darkness that it brings us terrifying. I drove back feeling so foolish. How could I possibly have let myself go so long without this experience? How could I fall to the illusion of a manmade world and illusion carved up in my mind into countries and cities that are traveled to from one manmade airport to another, all the while thinking that I've traveled across the world, when I've seen none of the world nor the signs that Allah has placed within it? How can I appreciate the power of the
verses that I recite describing the stars falling, the mountains crumbling in the oceans ablaze? If I've never appreciated the innumerable city of the stars, the might of the mountains, the utter vastness of the oceans? I have heard many times that the universe is among the signs of Allah that are witnessed, and the Quran is comprised of the signs of Allah that are recited what happens to people who neither witness nor recite His signs? Isn't that a sure recipe for a hardened heart?