Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Dreams and Visions. And Hijab
In many parts of the world people talk about visions and dreams. In the Middle East people call them “ru’yah”. The person who can “see” things about others, or can interpret dreams is called a “wahi”.
As well, in other parts of the world people speak of seeing things, sights, visions, perhaps even sensing the presence of inanimate objects. Even movies explore just how true dreams can be. I think of Neo and Trinity in The Matrix, or Adel Imam’s Egyptian movie on the Jinn, or even something as simple as Groundhog day.
There is a word about this too. Pre-recognition: the ability to see the future. Dreams are part of this definition.
I am not speaking of the Islamic correctness of all this. That’s another discussion for another day.
I’m just remembering. See, a dialog or communication happened today after which I started thinking about dreams. My dreams. My dream. There’s only one.
I don’t normally get visions. If I do, I don’t remember them. I certainly do not remember how I felt in a dream. In short: I’m not a dreamer.
Except for that one time in my entire life and I’ve lived longer than a quarter of a century. There is only one dream, with a vision, and I remembered it when I woke up.
I was 19 when I had the dream. I remember it like it happened last night.
In the dream, it was me and my mother alone. I was a little girl, must have been seven or eight. My mother was an adult. Around us were dark mountains, the sky was dark, and in between the mountains was a very wide sea of lava and volcanic liquid. Had no big waves and no raging volcanic activity boiling the lava. It was just there.
Me and my mother were standing at the very edge of the ground that was at sea-level with the lava. If you look ahead of my little shoes as I stand there you will see the lava a few inches ahead of me, kept away from me only by the fact that I was on the ground. Because I was a little short girl I felt so horrifyingly close to it.
The dream begins.
The scene is set. I am standing there holding my mother’s hands. I am panting. I’m breathing hard. I’m losing myself in fear. I’m crying while still holding my mother’s hand because I am very, very afraid. I cry: “mama I’m scared!”
She, on the other hand, is cool as a Sunday breeze. I feel her hand against my scared, sweaty, panicking hand. She is calm like a baby in sleep. She is smiling. Looking ahead. She tells me: “don’t worry. There’s nothing to be afraid of”. She continues to smile, looking straight ahead. Still holding my hand.
I cry. And cry. My heart beats hard. I’m hysterical almost in shock. I’m in horror as if I am a second away from burning alive.
Tears everywhere and I’m saying; “mama I’m scared, mama I’m scared!”
The contrast between my mother and I in the dream was like day and night.
I wake up.
I am in my room in bed. And I’m crying like a baby shaken all up inside gripped by a fear I’ve never felt before in my life. I run to my mother’s room. Crying. Out loud. Something my mother is not accustomed to since she knows her girl doesn’t cry easy.
I fall in my mother’s arms and ask her to hug me hard. Real close. Real tight. Remember: I’m normally a rough 19 year old who doesn’t cry. And certainly I do not ask for hugs. This surprised both of us. I was terrified.
I tell her my dream while I’m crying and crying. Even years later, when I tell the story to my friends I feel myself clearing my throat making sure not to slip and break into tears. It shakes me up still, years later, just remembering it.
Standing on that ground under the open sky inches away from the lava felt so real I could still feel my feet on that ground after I woke up. While awake, the same heart that was racing in the dream kept racing while I was up, like dream and reality became one.
This dream was one of the biggest reasons why I put on my hijab, by the way. When I was telling my story to my mother, I said to her; “when I looked up at you, mom, while I was crying hysterically in front of that lava feeling so afraid, small and tiny in such a big scary world…..I looked up at you and you had your hijab on”.
At that time, my mother had recently put on the hijab. In the dream, she didn’t look like the non-hijabi mother I grew up with as a child. She looked like the mother I came to know as an adult.
Yes, indeed. This is the only dream I remember in my life. The only one I had, really. And I tell it sometimes, here and there when the occasion arises, say when I’m in a conversation with a girl about the story of my hijab …