Friday, October 08, 2004


Day 6 ~ Sunday 29th August 2004


We’re sitting on the back seats of a Tour Bus. (Upstairs, and its open-roofed). The shops are mainly closed today. Typical Sunday trading. Sun is hitting down on us.

We went to the camera shop, the bloke hadn’t forgotten; we can pick up the memory stick and CD tomorrow.

I’m listening to some Spaniard Guitars and vocals. God Almighty knows who this woman is cursing. (Interestingly enough the guitar owes its life to the ‘lute’ which was invented by the Arabs here hundreds of years back.) Amazing how strange the experiences seem in life when you cant understand a language. All the more reason for me to learn Arabic to access the Book I guess – what other reminder or analogy can I derive from this?

I had a migraine developing since the morning. And washing my hair didn’t help – its almost dry beneath the hijab (scarf). Earlier today when I went to enquire about my memory stick, I found a shop where we intend to do a lot of souvenir and gift shopping later. It’s owned by a Muslim family : a woman (perhaps Moroccan) in hijab, was very friendly and spoke English aswell – she told me that 4 girls were here from the UK last week, and whether I was part of that group. She was very kind and gave me a glass of water for my migraine tablet. The humility and hospitality of these people is so over-powering.

The bus is moving, the breeze is beautiful. I am listening to the guide on audio telling us about where we are going. The breeze is really strong. 11.20am

We’re going past Teatre Isabel La Cablica – the city’s largest theatre. A huge statue of Queen Isabella stands at the top of the building.
Ooooooh statues – another fearsome trigger…

I feel like a Queen sitting up so high – haha … someone just waved at me! Its another member of staff from the Sightseeing Bus company. I need my shades…

We’re going past Granadas’ oldest bridge built over the river.

We’ve just gone past Granada al Yahoud – the Quarters of Jews.

To the front of us are some very high peaks, some up to 1000 feet. The Sierra Nevada skiing resort leads from this road we’re on.

We are now going to the highest point – towards the Alhambra. Its beautiful here – Alhamdulila we’re near the Alhambra built by Muhammad I.


We are back on the bus – we got off at Alhambra to purchase a ticket for this evening. Unfortunately, they only do tickets for the specified time i.e. am in this case. Perhaps a crowd control measure – I guess? So we will need to phone for reservations for tomorrow. The scene from here is so beautiful.

SubhanAllah are these the same trees that were planted during the reign of the Muslims? Is this the same earth that we see in front of us that bore witness to the worship of the Creator? How the leafs themselves speak through their silent movements with the breeze.

Though Spanish music is on, on the bus – the silent yearnings of the leafs are piercing through other surrounding sounds. A silence that dominates and this is something distinct I have found about this awesome place; there is a certain element within the silence louder than words.

The stillness of the Palace and the Gardens speak of stories; stories which are told in a language of silence; which hold within them tales of a silent nature. Almost as if they were yearnings of the raw material itself; yearnings that are touching my personhood.

Questions emerge; which beg my spirit for answers. How could I answer? For these are questions being asked in a language, which though I understand; I can’t speak in. I can understand what is being asked, but do not know how best to respond.

As I sit on this bus, with the stillness of trees in front, awaiting, I remember the Kabah standing so majestically with the waves of the human sea circuiting around it. These trees speak just like the Majestic Kabah.

The bus begins to move. Bismillah… 12.06pm

The audio continues: Granada is an old city, some say it was founded by Grana – Prophet Nuh Alaisalam’s (Noah, Peace be upon hims’) daughter. Others say it was by the Greeks.

Granada became known in the eighth century by Muslims as Al Vira.

With the end of the Caliphate, it became a small kingdom governed by the Nasrid family. The town survived through three centuries, and the trade with North Africa helped in this survival. In 1492 Queen Isabella took over Granada. She allowed Muslims to practise their faith but co-existence was difficult and in 1568, the Moors were finally expelled.



We’re going past some residentials – some houses reflect Arab style. Its so peaceful Alhamdulila. Its such a tranquil journey going past these tall trees.

We’ve just passed San Sebastian House.
Sience Museum.
Parque de la Ciesas.


We have entered the new part of Granada city which has a population of 3000,000.

We’re going past the place where the family of Federico G’Lorca spent their holidays – its now a museum. He loved roses. The park nearby has lots of roses planted. He wrote a lot of literature about Andalusia.

Flamenco – a mixture of Jewish, Arab and Gypsy dance. Artistic, music expression of Andalusian people.


We are going past the University of Granada which is about 500 years old and where 50,000 students attend.


We’ve past the hospital built in fifteenth century for the infirm and pilgrims. Now used by the university.

We’re going up some bricky road – shaky indeed..!

We’re near the Fountain of Tears. It used to be Muslims who owned this.

Cartesian Monastery. There’s a lot of intermix of both cultures. Monasterio de la Cartuja.

Anidermor Hills behind the Monastery.

Muslim pottery making – we are going past a place where clay was used for pottery.


We’re going past a bull ring where bull fights take place.

The Albaicin white houses are at the front. Its been designated as heritage site.
We need to change buses to go up to the Albaicin now. We’re on Gran Via de Colon (road).
The audio continues: some buildings from the old ‘Medina’ needed to be knocked down.

Narrow, irregular streets with wide houses are characteristic of Arab houses. These have remained still.
Its 32 degrees. 12.48pm


We went into a Moroccan Tapas Bar and had some drinks with the tapas; a dish made from semolina, rice and good old olives. Olives are a feature of Spanish cuisine and again were brought by the Arabs. Sad case of this (Muslim) Moroccan tapas bar – I just went to the Aseos (ladies’) and saw huge barrels of alcohol in there, what came to mind was the time when the streets of (Medina) flowed with alcohol as the companions of the Messenger stopped drinking it.


I’ve just come out of a cyber-café. Had to book tickets for Alhambra. The owner was a Pakistani man from Gujarat. He didn’t charge me! He said its because I’m another Pakistani. Hmmmmmm… patriotism?

37 degrees.
I just met the Pakistani ‘uncley-brother’ again! (This is the same man we met on the first day we got to Granada). 2.42pm.

We spotted a banner outside the supermarket, opposite our hotel saying “Terqui” in red and white. My companion said she’d noticed them on the bazaar aswell (where we had been around on the tour bus this morning. I must have been too busy writing my journal).

Supermarket website:

We are sitting here in the Hotel reception and can see the signs through the window. We asked at reception what this was and they told us it’s a month of Turkish culture. Ie celebration of culture. He said that they have a month of celebrating a country’s culture each month. And for instance, he said: “next month may be Japan”.

WOW – SubhanAllah, that’s absolutely what I call tolerance and celebration of culture.

Time to get fresh. 2.55pm


Yes – Just one look at the mirror – and I’m officially Brown Brown Brown! Wahoooo! I was wondering how I’d ever face the homies without a brown face!

I’m so happy – I hate the, (what I refer to as my skin colour) the ‘sickly yellow’ look that is often set on me – Goody good. Alhamdulila for the sun!

(When I did get back home to the UK – the first person I saw was dad who stroked my head and the second person I saw was mum. She was absolutely delighted and after hugging and kissing me, saw my face and said: “Oh my God, you have gone so healthy!” Alhamdulila.)


“I cant believe we’re telling them” says my companion as we explain to a couple of Chinese tourists that this bus that we’re sitting on is to the Albaicin. (The ticket we purchased for the tour bus is valid for 24 hours and one can get on and off within the day).

The bus is moving – Bismillah. Hey its parked up.

I’ve tried the Moran ice-cream from Los Italianos as recommended by Br ******. It was a cross between caramel, nuts, chocolate and bananas.

Bismillah – bus moves…

I will have to report back to him. There’s another one I need to check out that he also recommended: Herchato. He didn’t tell me that they were 2 separate ones. I thought it was one! The lady who served me was speaking pure Spanish – Alhamdulila I managed to get a little tub.

We are at the Plaza Nuewa. We’re going up to Albaicin. 4.32pm

SubhanAllah, we’re going past the Alhambra again! As my companion says “Its becoming a novelty now.”

Our jaws sure did drop when we first saw this beautiful sight. The bus will go around the Alhambra, then to Generalife. It’s a bit of a bumpy ride.
The benches surrounding the Alhambra are all tilted.

We’ve just met a couple from Scotland! They have got onto the bus. The husband has a Scottish accent; the wife has an English one. They’ve been in Spain since May and will stay till October. They are from Dundee. We share a few accent jokes!

We’re going through the cobbled roads of Albaicin. The couple are inviting us to Scotland.


I’m sitting outside an old chapel though it has the Star of David on the plaque. (We were dropped here by the bus). I feel confused; what is this building? I’m walking to read the plaque.
It actually reads: Abadia del Sacro-monte.

Its quiet.

I could hear the pigeons and the wind.

To my right is the chapel, to the left is what I term, greenery: huge, tall trees.

A moment to pause; a moment to reflect.

Behind these trees are high peaks, so beautiful.

The pigeons are speaking a language of history, again everything seems to be asking questions. How did we reach this point? The stillness of the leafs – so calm, so - -

I must go and see my companion. 4.57pm

(I found my companion filming the entrance to this 17th century building. I thought Sacromonte was the name of a monk but it’s the name of the area. There are 4 women here: myself, my companion, the guide and another woman. I am going inside to see the place while my companion contemplates life beneath the branches of those tall trees).

This building is so beautiful; it opens into a courtyard with a fountain and pool in the centre; typical of Moorish architecture. The remains of St Cecilio were found in the caves and the priest ordered the this to be built in 1601. So the bishop decided to build this as an abbey. And it became a private university to study initially theology, philosophy, oriental languages and history of the church and then law. Now its residence for the priest. It looks a replica of Islamic art schemes.

The symbol of the abbey is the 6-pointed star. Often we call it the ‘Star of David’. In actual fact it is the ‘Seal of Sulayman’ Alaislam. I think it was only used as the ‘Star of David’ in the last century to signify Judaism – so my history tells me, I need to check up on this.
We’re inside the abbey – many sculptures here about Christian theological beliefs. Though I usually have a deep-seated ‘fear’ of churches – this place is quite bearable insofar as controlling this ‘fear’ is concerned.

We see some books that were found within the cave in the sixteenth century. These books were written by Muslims who converted to Christianity. The guide tells us that they were trying to convince people that Muslims could co-exist with Christians since they were having a rough time. Pope II said these books were heretic and discarded them. however, continues our guide: these are important historical documents about the history of Granada, hence they have been preserved.

Amazing – yeah, my home-grown fear of churches is due to the spiritual ‘coldness’ I have felt whenever I have walked passed them. (This is not a statement to be taken as reading that I hate churches. I am merely describing the fear. The spiritual coldness I have cited is something I feel towards stone statues).

Growing up, one of my earliest encounters with ‘spirituality’ was seeing the statue of the semi-dressed ‘Messiah’. As a kid of 6 or 7 years I saw this statue across the road from where we lived.

Mass still takes place here every Sunday. We’re at the altar now. The remains of San Cecilio are shown every February on the last Sunday. It’s a “party in Granada” says our guide. The remains are kept near the altar. 5.20pm

The fear I speak of is not the fear as one feels when for instance I saw the creepy crawling crab yesterday at Almeria. Neither is it the fear that some people can feel when they are in the dark. It’s a fear embedded within a feeling of numbness - extremely difficult to explain.

The sound of choir can be heard near the caves. We are going into the cave of Sacromonte where the remains were found. The sound of choir is getting louder. The area is sealed, where the remains were found.
My fear is still alive.

I could smell the actual earth.

We’re in a seventeenth chapel, and there’s a stone here. Our guide tells us if we touch it, we will get married within a year. I ask: “can I touch it?”

There are only 3 of us: guide, me and another Spanish tourist. My companion is shooting (film) outside. We didn’t realise there was so much to see. We thought there wasn’t much and so she didn’t buy a ticket. 5.32pm

Back to my fear: I think my fear may be due to the stillness of statues. For that was one of my earliest conscious contact with religion… perhaps? (Statues are lifeless; religion is full of life; this sets a whole debate in my mind, and then follows the fear).

We are outside now. I tell my companion about the caves and the stone – she asks why I didn’t touch it…

…Lets walk to the bus stop…

(My companion had been lying under the shade of the trees and she said she had fell asleep whilst I was inside the abbey. She said she felt so peaceful and relaxed. Just like man was supposed to be).


We’re in an Arab café with Arab TV and music in the Albaicin. The ‘brother’ asks if we could speak Arabic – Oh damn – if only!!
We’ve ordered a 7UP for companion and Moroccan tea for me.

We asked if its all halal, he says its: “Kullo Halal!” My tea is here. 6.12pm

The tea is beautiful; no milk. Apparently you pour the tea (from the kettle) from a mile – haha!

I have managed to pour the tea only from about a 10cm distance from the cup without it splashing out. My cake is here! Yum yum!

Lots of people have come into the café. 6.22pm

We’ve just met a family from California. A mother and her two daughters. She speaks to us and we talk politics: she crosses two of her fingers and says this is the proximity of our leaders. A brief chat about Bush and Blair and off to pay the bill.

We asked the brother for a refill of water. 6.40pm
(The sign outside the café had the following web address:

Oops – we’re outside the café Meknes Rahma, and a car of 3 ‘weirdos’ drives past and stops. “Perhaps they are rich Arabs” says my companion. They asked us where we were from – my companion says England and they drive off. Hmmmm strange.

My companion reads my journal entry and starts to laugh! 6.50pm

We’re on the (tour) bus still going through the cobbled streets of Albaicin. Wibble Wobble and jumps aswell. camels unleashed!

The driver is the same guy who brought us here before – twice! We are all becoming familiar with one another.
We are rocking like nobodys’ business.

Mirada de la Lona is the road we’ve passed. My companion reminds me how we walked all this area on Wednesday. We are passing Carril de la Lona.
A downward steep ride. 6.59pm

My companion and I swapped – I was seated on a seat and she was standing – now I’ve placed a piece of paper on the floor and am sitting on it. The buses are only 8 seaters with paramount space in the aisle to sit down. It’s a mini bus. The window at the back end is a door. (We noticed how the buses here had two entrances – one for boarding and the other one for leaving – a nice system actually).

We’re outside. Now to Al-Baghdadi.

A nice chat about calligraphy. Need to pause. 7.05pm
I’m purchasing some prints.

Al-Baghdadi says:

May these hearts be tired like the bodies find to them funny wisdom.
Imam Ali.

This quote is an enquiry about funny wisdom. Al – Musawi. (Sayyid)


I’ve purchased the prints. We’re in a shop – me and my love for bracelets. Haha


SubhanAllah, I’ve just met a Gujarati Muslim family from Hackney, London. They know a certain family who we went to hajj with! Wow what a small world – and the hajj spirit is definitely renewed!


Don’t ask but we’re about to do some last minute bargaining with the Arab traders!

A thing we’ve learnt from our parents is to never pay the full price in markets, if you can help it! My companion says the shopworker looks like her middle brother –
Our plan is to pay together and get the shopkeeper to reduce the price.

Well, our bargaining skills are pretty primitive – if we’re lucky we’ll get 1 euro off! The ‘brother’ asks if we’re married – oh dear – entering bad territory –

(He explains to us that he works here and that he won’t be able to reduce the price very much; we’re overwhelmed by his humility – and especially since my companion sees her brother through him)
This Moroccan brother has stolen us – we feel sorry…
Oh, and we’re actually buying gifts made in Morocco!

He asks what I’m doing as I jot in my journal. Companion explains.

Brother Ahmad – so he tells us his name. He’s wrapping the gift that we’ve purchased. We purchased an engraving on clay which says: “Wa La Ghalib Allah”.

My companion is confusing the brother now by asking about the history of Granada.

The Moroccan brother –
Here goes –
1 euro discount!
Wahoo – what barters we are – mum would be proud!
My companion needs to inject herself – so we need to go quick. 8.05pm


So we’re rushing home – my companion makes some interesting observations – the markets of Arabs are all onto one side and distant from the man shopping area. Almost as if they are in the deprived end of the shopping centre. 8.13pm

We’re still walking and my companion speaks about the Moroccan brother at the shop again. I think she must be missing her little brother back in the UK.


We’re in the (hotel) lift. (Don’t forget we were on floor 7).


With just 24 hours before we leave Granada, I must admit I will miss this place. We have learnt so much. And so many things have made us think amongst other things; the blessings we have from Allah Almighty. Almost as if there is a force which brought us here for a reason; an analogy can be made to Ebenezer Scrooge and the 3 ghosts. Though fictitious its as if there is a ‘Scrooge’ within us – which needs to be reminded about our humanity.
Its made us question what we are doing and where we are heading
Time to go up to the roof and film the Alhambra. (Remember, we could see the Alhambra from our roof-top – see Day 1). 8.47pm


We’re having a heart warmer, can hear the birds singing. We’re looking for a place to eat.
When I started practising my faith… I was told that Spain was Islamic once – and that’s one reason why I was so interested in it.
We’ve just read Ayat Al Kursi (Verse of The Throne which can be read for protection) and Durood Shareef (A supplication that is a Blessing upon the Prophet Alaisalam) as we walk through an isolated alley. 9.15pm

Yes – I had thought as a youngster that Muslims were only to be found within Middle Eastern countries and the Indian Subcontinent. And discovering that Spain had been Muslim made me curious about learning about the religion I’d been born into. (It instigated me to research into why this faith was so universally practised and what was meant by the fact that the Prophet of Islam was the ‘Seal of Prophets’. I had no comprehension that all Prophets and Messengers came from the One God, with the One Message and that this Message came in the form of the Quran as the Last Message to Mankind).

Another dark alley –
Ayat Al Kursi –

We are in the Arab Quarters now. We are near the old mosque, where I had gone to enquire about Shaykh AbdurRahman on our second day here.


And we’re back at the Moroccan restaurant that we ate at a few nights ago.

We found some mirrors that are Moroccan and were trying to sort out how to export them back to the UK. We may need to post them. but the cost is something we’ll think over dinner. It may cost 35 Euros for the mirror (from an original 48 Euros) and about 37 Euros for postage.

We’ve ordered our food – aah.
Vegetable tajines and chicken.
There’s no alcohol here. 9.45pm.

(A mega big problem we had was to find a suitable place where alcohol wasn’t consumed. As Islamic law indicates that sitting in a place where alcohol is consumed is prohibited and its not merely the drinking that we avoid – but also up to 10 categories surrounded to alcohol. It wasn’t an easy task at all. And unfortunately alcohol is very very widespread here. However, one thing myself and companion noticed was that we didn’t come across any drunkards.)


Food is done and we’re out of here.


We’ve done some shopping. We’ve said goodbye to the French lady we met who makes jewellery. MashaAllah very pretty woman, and also a warm sense of character aswell. (Some people just have a ‘warm’ aura about them; through their actions, expressions and words, they project a very pleasant image). There was a man with her whose from France also, he asked where we are from. He says he saw us in Almeria yesterday! We must be easily identifiable objects. He says he loves Scotland. Hmmmm

Well after our hugs with the French friend we leave and also say farewell to the Brazilian lady whom we brought the hand made bracelets from. (Its amazing that we didn’t even buy anything from the French woman but nonetheless she was so happy to talk to us).

My companion and myself are walking and she’s jeering jokes about my journal and about me! (I must admit – my dear companion had a lot of patience with me writing everywhere we went and thus not being able to spend too many hours chatting to her).

Yes, I put my hands up. She says: “My comrade says she’s been to this street earlier where in actual fact we haven’t!” (Remember what I said about me having de-ja-vus so many times and how every street looks the same?!)

She makes me laugh so much my tummy hurts… cant write..



We have had enough of a giggle and after a tummy-burst sit on a bench with an elderly Spanish couple who are having a heart-warming conversation with us in pure Spanish.
Alhamdulila my companion seems to be trying hard, I think we are trying too hard!


We pick up some language tips.

The elderly woman puts together her finger tips and passes them from her mouth, issuing a kiss saying: “Monita” – (we think it means) NICE!


The senior lady has just popped her finger on the tongue and touched my companions hand (since she’s sitting right besides her. It’s the senior man, senior woman, companion and me). I think this signifies “nazar” or safety from the ‘bad eye’. Since she was asking if we are married.

We’re sitting in front of the fountain we usually sit. On the benches with the elderly couple.


Hugs and kisses with our senior (lady) citizen and it’s a farewell to them. Sweet. Aah.


I am sitting outside in the corridor of our floor with my night attire and a big chaadar (the size of a bedsheet) – yes an extreme odd combination. My companion is telephoning her husband so its only correct adhab to take leave from the room.

We came into the hotel not long ago – but before we did, we spotted another sightseeing bus. We had a bizarre idea and thought: hows about seeing Granada at dark? We ran for the bus which had stopped in red lights and the driver gave us a moments’ time saying its now “fineethe” and also passed us a leaflet. How friendly.

Most people in Andalusia have been friendly and very helpful indeed. Considering we are wearing the headscarf which recently has received a lot of press – we have not faced any negative remarks. This would be very useful to tell dad since he was very concerned at how people would react to a brown (or in my case; sickly yellow) face of a Muslim. The history of this remarkable country is frightening for some – and I guess dad has a right to be concerned in the era we are living in. All Praise to God.

I cant believe we have survived almost a week here without knowing even the minimal of basic vocabulary. Alhamdulila. God Almighty brought us here and He has looked after our needs in the best of manners.

This thought should extend to our general way of thinking about things in life. Especially since we are no doubt faced with many situations which sometimes appear intangible. We should merely remember that the Creator of the situation will also bring about a resolution. A resolution that will be the best for that circumstance we await.

If anything, is this not again Tawakal Allah?

If it is, then it comes to show how Tawakal Allah is not something that is confined to one moment of our life. It is not only sought and practised in one part or stage of our life. Rather it is an ongoing process which must be developed and nurtured throughout ones’ life.

Reliance on God because He is the Best Source of Reliance.

Not Reliance on God because there’s no other.

The former and not the latter because it leaves all ‘others’ – it demonstrates that the Best form of Reliance which is also the very Source and Origin of Reliance is in God Almighty Himself.

Rejection of the latter comes since it contains an element of ‘out of necessity’ i.e. that “if there were others” they would be sought.

This reduces the whole concept of Reliance to one of choosing. It also relies on the assumption that there were ‘no other good ones’ so this opinion was sought. Hence questioning the ‘dependence’ of man on God.

Of course, I am no theologian neither do I propose to reach a scholarly level. But I have been blessed to be taught one or two things through experience of life itself. And this is nothing but a blessing for me. For I am in need of blessings.

Blessings which will guide the spiritual boat away from the harsh tides; tides which set upon us without us being prepared to handle their forces.

Thus, it is a great bounty that Allah Almighty has shown me yet again through His infinite signs the Power of Tawakal Allah. And it is only through experience of Reliance that man can spread this quality (which no doubt is a mandatory element for constituting a healthy spiritual balance) through to his wider lifestyle and view of his world.

For surely our worlds’ are but a mirage we see before us and no doubt one day they will be no more. But a world viewed with the Reliance in the Creator is a world which makes more sense.

A world which is less likely to throw you into the folds of disbelief.

A world where you will be able to see the reason for things the way they are without the knowledge of them.

A way of contentment of the spirit which will inevitably lead to a state of celestial celebrations.


We have about 20 hours left in Granada. I cant believe it. SubhanAllah. How six days can change an individual so much. Well I suppose this is nothing – Alhamdulila just one glance of Masjid-eh Nabwi illuminated at night time, as we flew over Medina on our plane from Damascus last year, was sufficient to send messages of Remembrance to us.

One look at the Kabah and all the yearnings of a lifetime were fulfilled; A handful of sand in Arafaat and the memories of our Father Adam Alaisalam were refreshed.

Tears come to the eyes.

A soul which has travelled so far and wide for peace.

A spirit which journeyed throughout – for what – a moment to see humanity standing aright in the hope of salvation.

Surely one moment IS sufficient – so what are 6 days?
Many Praises to Him who blessed this spirit to once again be amused with wonders and bribes which will restore; restore the vows made in the sands of Madaaneh-Hashr. InshaAllah.


It is now 1am. I must head back to the room. We intend to visit the Alhambra tomorrow.

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