(Photo By Sherif Sonbol, From Al-Ahram Weekly, July 1998
An evening stroll weaving in and out of crazy Cairo traffic. That’s what I needed. The sweet smell of second-hand sheesha smoke and some daredevil car-weaving had turned into an almost nightly ritual for me back in those days. I wasn’t expecting a change, but that’s when it always happens right? I walked out of my 5th floor apartment into the eerie, not-so-well-lit hallway, the same hallway where Mina and Maryam’s parents had slaughtered a sheep on Eid-ul-Adha.
Do you remember that day? I made them balloon animals while they took turns jumping over the pool of blood. That’s one day I’ll always remember, I had just come back from Eid prayer at Masjid Mustafa Mahmoud
to find a sizable pool of sheep’s blood in front of my apartment door. Not wanting to track any inside the apartment, I jumped over the puddle. I left the door open though, not because I enjoyed the scent of sheep’s blood, but because I found it rather amusing that a vast amount of blood was in front of my doorway and slowly spreading to the rest of the hallway.
A few years back I found a complete English translation of “Muhammad ‘Abduh” by Osman Amin originally published by Da’ir al-Ma’arif al-Islamiya, Cairo, 1944. This translation was published by the American Council of Learned Societies, as a part of their Near Eastern Translation Program, Washington, DC 1953. Amazing what you find in the Islam section of used bookstores for $4.00. Unfortunately, I’ve lost it since then— and all the other copies I see for sale are around $50 bucks.