“Akh’s” Adventure in China Part 2
Insh’Allah this reaches to find each and every single one of you in the best of health, spirits and the highest of emaan.
Apologies for not updating sooner…judging by the “abuse” i’m getting via text it seems that I have a lot to answer for on my return.
As i’m sending this straight via email, i can’t embed pictures directly, so you’ll have to click through to them. apologies…my connection is intermittent…i’ve had to type this on word then copy and paste as the connection keeps dropping, so sorry can’t give you any pictures.
The answers to some of your (deranged) texts are:
– If I do find a wife, I’ll make sure she has a sister for you 😉
Work out if I have answered your questions yourself!
Right..back to the matter at hand…work has been the prime focus, so really havn’t had much of a chance to get out and about.
Whenever I do get out, I realise i’m the “Chinaman” not the rest of the population…i’m used to getting stared at back in the UK (usually by the police) but to get stared at by damn near a billion people takes getting used to…I was warned about this before I left…guess too many of our kind don’t make it out to these here parts.
A lot of friends and family constantly tell me that Dubai or Qatar are the places to be, that they are the future.
No…China is the future.
I travelled via train from Shanghai to Hefei…bit like London to Glasgow…and we did it in less than 4 hours…why? the trains here are fast, cheap and reliable…sorry Dilla, but your boys ain’t got nothing on the chinese 😉 they have the Maglev train which can reach speeds upto 250mph…and when the train says it will depart at 14:49, you better beleive its departing at 14:49, not 14:48, not 14:50, it leaves precisely on the second it’s meant to leave…and arrives eaxctly the time, to the second, that it’s supposed to arrive!
Getting back to the point (there’s a point to all this you ask?) along the entire stretch of the journey, the horizon was littered with cranes and huge buildings being erected…it seemed to me that Shanghai almost never finished…it just morphed into the next city, and then the next city.
The scale of the construction kicks what’s happening in dubai into the long grass…the entire scale of the whole thing is simply
The place where i’m staying right now..Hefei, is the capital of An-Hui province, an area which is considered to be not as glamourous as the so called bigger cities. Not that you can tell, it has a population of over seven million and has more hi-tech skyscrapers then London does…and the construction work continues.
The weather out here has been balmy to say the least…25c is probably better than our summer’s, although with the constant cover of smog, you don’t really get to see the sun much…just a gauzed out little red dot.
We were on a tour of a plant today, and all of a sudden all the workers downed tools, turned towards us and started clapping…it really was bizarre, I was a bit embarrassed, and not knowing the decorum, I simply clapped back, which in turn raised a few smiles, and they clapped back even more thunderously.
Maybe they told the workers that I was a rich arab buying the factory and was giving them a bentley each…who knows?!
I’ve been very careful with what I eat, breakfast is the main meal, i stock up at the buffet on fruit, juices, toast, cereal, tea and eggs, and then eat again depending on if I fancy what’s on offer. I may as well be fasting.
Our clients have been very good with us, being kind and considerate enough to accept my apology beforehand that I don’t consume alcohol or meat, as i’m a Muslim….even had a chance to do some dawah to explain what halal meat was….if it means I don’t have to eat fried bullfrog (i’m not kidding) that i’ll apologise til the cows come home.
On a much sadder note, the chinese executed nine muslims, who they suspected of leading the revolt in urumqui earlier this year. These are Muslims who have a similar situation to the Palestinans, but I bet this news didn’t even get a whole minute of coverage on the 10’o clock news. For far too long Muslims have lived under treachorous
conditions, but slowly they are rising up and demanding they be given their rights. History will be the best judge of all the people who fight for the cause of the betterment of their people. We in the west look for the lamest of excuses not to get involved in politics so that we can make life for Muslims around the world just that little bit easier…shame on us.
I was hesitant on coming out here for obvious reasons, stated above, but it’s been a good thing that I did. The people out here have been welcoming, and i’ve picked up a few words in Mandarin which help to make things more pleasant.
For those that know me, can attest that i look like a Muslim, whatever that actually means, and I guess thats where the staring comes into it. I stand at 6’1″, my appearance (YES I have a beard!), walk and dress is different, so I’m beginning to understand why I get looked at. The best thing about being openly Muslim, is that I have had several complete strangers offer Salaam to me, which fills me with complete joy to hear and reciprocate.
I met a brother out here today…and despite none us being able to speak each other’s language…the bond of islam was evident…i was drawn into his takeaway as i could see the shahadah written in gold lettering across a huge chinese fan.
when i walked in to the place, it was pretty empty, and everyone stopped and double taked…like i was a gun slinger in an old cowboy movie.
all the muslims out here are recognisable by the fact tht they all wear “topi” type salaat hats…so i was sure he was one of us.
I said “As’Salaam’Alaikum” and he returned with “Wa’Laikum’As’Salaam”
there was a huge smile on my face…which mirrored his…he shook my hand…like a friend who hasn’t seen you for a very long time does…and showed me to the table…he didnt even let me order…just served me up the best tasting bowl of beef noodles and vegetables i’ve ever had.
I wasn’t sure if the meat was good to eat or not…and he sensed it…he came over and said “Halal…Halal!”
I’m ten thousand miles away from home, and yet i’m greeted by a stranger as if i’m his brother.
He did not leave my side while I ate, I kept gesturing for him to sit with me but he wouldn’t.
Once I was done, he kept pointing to the Shahadah fan, I assumed he wanted me to say it, so I said it with a firm voice.
Alhumdulillah, i’ve never seen a wider smile!
He disappeared and came back with a camera, and insisted he take my picture…normally i do everything i can to avoid getting my picture taken, but on this instant i could’nt refuse.
In fact I got a picture with him too.
To top it all off, he refused to accept payment for the food, no matter what i tried he just kept shaking his head.
He had his young daughter with him, so I went and gave her the money instead.
For me this is what Islam teaches us, the welcoming of a stranger with open arms, never have I felt so welcome by someone I have never seen before (and probably well never see again), who’s skin colour and language was completely different to mine, and yet the bond of Al-Islam is what binds us together.
No matter how much the “powers that be” try and highlight our differences amongst us, to divide us, to rape, pillage, torture and murder us, we have to realise that whether its our Muslim brothers and sisters in China, or the Muslims in Palestine, Kasmir, Chechnya, Iraq, Phillipines, Afghanistan or any other place on this earth, our common denominator is our Deen, the Deen Al Haqq – The Religion of Truth – Al-Islam.
The sooner we all realise this, and know that we are all involved in the same struggle – so ALL Muslims the world over do not have to fear to proclaim
Remember me in your duah’s as this traveller remembers his Ummah.
Akh the Angry Academic Activist