Dearest Baraka Khan,
I cannot recall how we became friends or why, rather that we just were and have been. I have a vague memory of being in my gym kit in your room after having ran with the Laurence the white boy and saying you must meet him. I also have vague memories of planning trips around the world, the softness of your room and distinct resemblance of your and George the other white boy’s accent.
My favourite memory of you was the week before your wedding when we went to Bond Street to get your dress. I passed out in the taxi and cut off the blood circulation in your hand but you never woke me up knowing that I needed sleep. I still think that’s the cutest thing EVER. After trying on every halal (and not so halal) dress in the shop, which we somehow had to ourselves, we walked up and down Oxford street looking for Yalla Yalla, only to find the air-conditioning in the restaurant made our sharwama a bit hard. But you never complained. I know you hated it too, I did. There’s nothing worse than a bad lamb sharwama. That’s the beauty of you: you see good in everything. You are grateful for everything.
I write this, having just read a message on the train, daily commute prayers or something to that effect:” My heart. It still keeps beating. But what for? Show me how to measure my life in something more than years.”
Baraka, in the last year of spending time with you and getting to know you, you have taught me so much on how to make living count. I have learnt a great many things about how we can make small differences in our everyday lives to bring as much goodness into the world as we can. You truly have a gift of putting others first, even as you suffer the most. I have learnt so much from you that to begin to articulate all the little changes that have been implemented based on your advice and actions would be trivial. My words are limited and I have often noticed how majority of time, I am not even aware of the change. This is all from one year of a few interactions.
Baraka, I have missed you so much in the past week, I keep feeling like I can call you and if I pressed the button, I’d hear your pleasant voice and hearty laugh at my bad jokes. I want to tell you what’s happened in my week, hear your thoughtful and witty remarks about the events and get your wise advice on all these little things I feel so lost in without you. I miss you Beaks.
I miss the warmth you brought to my life. I will try to hold on to the beautiful things you taught me; feed the homeless as you are passing by- never ignore another’s pain- we are all human regardless of background, say Salawaat, praise and thank God, and above all, face everything with absolute faith, conviction, good moral character, strength and dignity.
You are the most beautiful soul I know. We weep without you and blossom in the light you shone upon us. Inshallah we will be with you soon (I will try to be- I should pray more to get to Jannat- I am pretty sure only the prayers you stood next to me counted). That’s the other thing I loved, praying with you- holding your warm hands at the end, hearing your soft voice, praying in the gentleness of any space that would contain you. I miss that. That was my Khalwat. You were the balm that would soothe my soul.
I love you beyond words Baraka I. Khan. Always.