Thursday, January 11, 2007

Personal forcefields

When I was about eight, my aunt, who was living with us in Connecticut at the time, taught my brother and me that we had to whisper the surah Al-Ikhlas (Purity) three times and then blow into the air around us three times before we went to sleep each night. By doing this, we would be protected from any harm, she said. She also said that if ever we were in any kind of trouble, we should recite this surah repeatedly.

Years later, I would find myself going through the ritual of reciting this verse three times and blowing in three directions not only before sleep, but before basketball tryouts, final exams, and on board planes as they picked up speed down the runway, thereby protecting everyone on board.

I sometimes still find myself reciting the verse. I knew what it meant once, when I was nine or so, but forgot steadily over the years. Reciting simply became a spell I could cast over myself: believing in my old personal ritual gave it power over me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When you are a born-again evangelical christian they tell you that all you have to do to be saved is to ask for forgiveness. For years, whenever the car would go too fast, I would board a plane or I would otherwise feel unsafe I would mutter a small prayer to Jesus asking for forgiveness just to cover my bases.
Sometimes I would think about possible scenarios like if I found myself falling off a 50 story building to my sure doom. Would I remember to ask for forgiveness before I hit the ground? This sort of thing haunted me.
I wonder if I ever found myself in an imminent death situation with a moment to think if I would still ask Jesus for forgiveness just to cover those bases.