I have less than 24 hours to submit my thesis draft and all I’m thinking about right now is Damascus Shawarma. In case you are not familiar with Damascus shawarma, it’s a shawarma place in Kenya run by a couple of Syrians from the back of a pick up truck. The best thing about working from the pick-up truck is that they don’t have to pay rent (unless the car itself is rented) and that they can move locations anytime they want. Their shawarmas are amazing, and even though they are located in a place that is not quite hungry for shawarma places (i.e. they have competition around), but their place is normally swarming with activity. The price of shawarma was 200 kenya shillings when we left; about 10 dirhams apiece. So you can get a picture on the economies of scale between UAE and Kenya, think that the typical employee working in a white-collar job is between 25,000 to 35,000 (between 1,100 dirhams and 1550 dirhams).
Now you’re probably thinking that I have lost my mind talking about a shawarma place when I’m supposed to be stressed out about the thesis (I didn’t finish the write-up by the way), but it got me thinking about the topic of arzaaq. When we spend time in university, studying for a degree, a lot of times we are doing it so we can have a better job opportunity in the real world tomorrow. So writing that paper or solving that exam is somehow connected to that paycheck we might get in the future. The problem with our society is that we’ve made the correlation so strong between the two that parents find themselves saying, “Do well in school so you can get into a good university so you can get a good job.”
But I’ve always wondered about the story of the two Syrians who somehow found themselves selling shawarma in Kenya and being successful despite people’s lower income and competition. Just to make a point, we don’t have many Shami’s in Mombasa (Indians, Somalis, Yemenis are common, but Shamis are not). Yet their rizq was maktoob there and they crossed the distance and they got it. So this draft due tomorrow, or this degree, can be thought of as a step in the direction of the rizq written for me. I’ll take that step, and in the end I’ll get what’s written for me in’sha Allah, and worse case scenario if I find myself at home jobless with nowhere to go, I’ll do what I do best in’sha Allah; write on this blog.
And in case you were wondering, I’m still craving that shawarma, who’s going to eat it for me?
Hadeeth of the Day
Narrated Abi Abdurrahman Abdullah bin Mas’ud, May Allah is pleased with him:
Allah’s Apostle, the true and truly inspired said, “(The matter of the Creation of) a human being is put together in the womb of the mother in forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then Allah sends an angel who breathes the soul into him, and is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his (i.e. the new creature’s) deeds, his livelihood, his (date of) death, and whether he will be blessed or wretched (in religion). So, by Allah the One, a man amongst you may do good deeds till there is only a cubit between him and Paradise and then what has been written for him decides his behavior and he starts doing (evil) deeds characteristic of the people of the (Hell) Fire. And similarly, a man amongst you may do (evil) deeds till there is only a cubit between him and the (Hell) Fire, and then what has been written for him decides his behavior, and he starts doing deeds characteristic of the people of Paradise.” Narrated by Al-Bukhari.