Nu’maan sneered at me. “You really are stupid aren’t you?” “Hey this is all new to me dude!” I shouted after his retreating back. Damn it.
Later that night,just before lights off.( Lights off was when the whole boarding used to be dark because the mains were switched off and everyone was compelled to sleep.) Only later did I come to know not everyone exactly followed that. A time would come when I would ruin my Madressa studies by becoming one of Those boys.
“Ramzi,guess what? Today we did something crazy!” I said eyeing him eating a delicious looking concoction. “Bismillah,what was it ya Nabeel?”
“Idhaafah! Like I still don’t know what the heck the baabs are all about and now they hit us with that! This is a mudhaaf and that is a mudhaaf ilai,like what the hell?”
Ramzi motioned me to sit next to him. “Bring a pen and page, I think it is time we conquer the baabs. Give to me any word besides he one male did.”
“He one male farted?” I said hopefully
“No,other word, how about the word Look? Na’am?” but we will use it in dual
“Ok fine” I sighed willing my brains to stay alive.
“Nazharaa, They two males looked. They is in DUAL. Immediately you know the word is referring to 2 people because it has an alif at the end. If it was singular it wouldn’t .
“And if it was plural?” I questioned, the light slowly creeping in
“Then it would be Nazharoo just as Fa’aloo. They make us learn these scales so we use it as a what you say?…template for other words yes. If the word is Nazharat then you know it is female because it has a TAA at then end,this has no Taa so you know it’s Masculine so you say They 2 MALES and the word is in past tense and means Look so it becomes, THEY 2.MALES.LOOKED.Let’s use another word now…”
Ramzi continued explaining patiently to me while I ate my Maggi 2 minute noodles. A Darul Uloom staple.
“Thank yoooou! Gracias! Ramzi I got it! I got it! At last!
Ramzi just shook his shoulders in that humble style of his and said “Ma mushkila(no problem)but say JazakAllah Khair,may Allah reward you with good. it is a dua for a Muslim while thank you means nothing”
“JazakAllah khair! Hey Ramzi before Nu’maan comes,why is he so faulty? He said he’s Salafi and wanted a response from me I think.
What’s a Salafi?”
Ramzi sighed. “ Salafi is someone who doesn’t follow any of the 4 A’imma(Imams) ,and this is a Deobandi Madressah so he doesn’t feel very comfortable here and sometimes the teachers don’t feel comfortable with him,some of them”
“Err what’s a Deobandi? Is it a sect?” I had never came across the word before.
Ramzi looked at me. ‘no it is not a sect, Darul Uloom Deoband was one of the major Madressahs in India.It made Islam stable there na’am.Many from all over the world came to study there and opened up Madressahs all over in the same system of teaching. Including this Madressah, that is why all graduates of these Darul Ulooms are called Deobandi ,we will be too when we graduate to some extent”
“So what’s Nu’maans issue?”
“Well Nu’maans father was Salafi and the Deobandi and Salafis have some very strong differences. That’s the problem and you see you Nu’maan is …”
“Ok ok enough I’m getting bored now. Tell me more another day” I said yawning and stretching. Just on cue the devil I walked in with a scowl on his face. What’s new. If only I had heard Ramzi out before judging Nu’maan.
The lights went off and we all got into bed.
“Hey Ramzi, why don’t you read Salaah properly?” I asked in the dark.
“Matlab,meaning?” He gently asked back.
“I saw you lift your hands in Salaah more than once. I thought you’d know better since you’re a senior”
(yeah i was quite a moron)
The room burst into sniggers.
Nu’maan snorted. “Stupid Deo”
“I’m Shaafi Nabeel. That is our method of reading salaah. It is called rafa yadain”
I felt embarrassed as heck. Why did I not know so much??? Tomorrow I was going to ask my Ustadh what was a Shafi and that Yadain thing about.
Thursday night! Much anticipated and welcomed in Madressah. We got off from Muta’lah as classes resumed after Jumah the next day. I waited in line with the foreigners to make a call home. It was so weird using a call box for the first time.My cellphone was kept with one of the Asaatizah(teachers)
I called Mum first because I missed her the most, spoke to Dad who acted like using the phone was going to kill him so that was a short convo before the threw the phone at Nana.
“Take care beta and remember to practice everything you learn”
“Yeah yeah. Remind Mum to send my food stuff up with Zubair please. I’m dying without my snacks and some of these guys are real misers, they bring stacks and don’t even share their chocolate wrapper”
“ Don’t forget to share when you get your parcel.”
I made a mental note to gobble up the goodies in Nu’maan’s face. I’d share the aroma with him.Mwuhahah.
“and Yusuf called asking how you were. Phone him”
I put the phone down. Over here, away from everyone. My other life seemed so far away. My friends didn’t understand when I told them I had to enrol here. They were torn between laughter and shock and I was still pissed about them mocking me. Except Handsome of course who was his usual irritatingly encouraging self. I thought longingly of the girl I left behind,Zahira…and Shakira and Yumna and whats her name.. of course I didn’t think longingly of them! I was just 18,we don’t do emotions then. Leaving them was easy A. Yumna cried when I told her I’m going, that was great for my ego but awkward.I can’t handle my sisters crying leave alone a girl whose just my passing phase.Or as Mustafa used to say “meri timepass hai bhas bhai” (she’s just my time pass bro)
I did miss all the attention from my time-passes though.
I decided not to call Handsome. The truth was…I was kinda jealous of my own best friend. He got his dream. Was cracking it at campus. Having fun.And me? I was trapped here using a bloody callbox, in this century.