Upraised Hands: Seeing is Believing
When my children were small and still inclined to gather near me after the Salat my youngest son Idris in particular, would watch my every gesture. –He seemed to be fascinated with my hands and what I would be doing with them –particularly with the tools of the trade: The Tasbih (prayer beads) and the books of Duah.
One day that will live in my memory forever is the day a tiny inquisitive voice asked: “Abu, I have been watching you for a long time (he was about five years old at the time) and I never see anything”. I asked him to explain –“In your hands”, he replied — “I never see anything coming into your hands”. “You hold your hands like you are asking for something, and I never see anything coming into them.”
I began to explain to him from my limited knowledge at the time that Barakat could be thought of as a blessing, and blessings come in many forms and in many ways, and that the up-raised hands gesture was after all a Gesture — it implied an asking — that it was an appeal for aid.
The next question came as innocently as the first, and set the tone for twenty years of serendipitous research –much like my search for “The Perfect Cup of Coffee”, the search that takes you all over the world. And during your travels you are searching for that definitive moment the moment of truth, in my case being a great lover of the Coffee Bean it was The search for the Perfect cup of Coffee, now to become the Search for a reasonable definition of Barakat. The search takes you around the world and back again — amazingly — you find the answer in your own kitchen while you are preparing a cup of coffee. So to speak.
“Abu, but what are blessings? And how can blessings be Barakat”? He asked, and again I was confronted with his wide-eyed innocence.
I tried as best I could to explain to my young son just what a blessing was –but to no avail. He was looking for a tangible, hands-on seeing is believing explanation that could not be explained but seen, touched and concretized as a thing, held in my hands, a visual reality like an ice cream cone or a bright colored ball that one could throw into the air, and have fun with.
After many years of asking questions of many divergent types of Alim’s, sheikh’s, Mullah’s and maulana’s, students of religion and spiritual pundits from many different schools of thought and religious orientation which include: Yogis, Monks of both Tibetan Buddhism and