Jane is a scientist who is always busy researching, testing new experiments; she practically lives in the lab of the company which she managed to open with her best friend Sara who works in the sales department.
Both girls had been friends since college, and three years ago decided to launch a company together called Distinct. Sara is a practicing Muslim, and Jane is confused about religion, yet their friendship is very strong. There had been days when Jane thought about religiosity; however since she was so engrossed in work she barely had a chance to reflect on the subject.
Finally after three years of hard work their company is firmly established and buzzing with employees. Their latest project was a colossal success which for Jane meant time for another research.
It was late afternoon in January, Jane was waiting on Sara at a café. Sara had called and informed her that they had to meet at this particular place. The cool breeze felt pleasant to Jane who was sitting out on the patio. Then she saw Sara pulling into the driveway, Jane noticed that Sara looked upset as she came out to the patio.
“Hi-whats up?” Jane asked as Sara took her seat.
“Hey, how are you- sorry I’m late.” Said Sara who was usually very punctual.
“That’s ok, I was enjoying the weather.” Replied Jane sipping her coffee.
“Well that’s actually why I’m here.” At Janes puzzled look Sara explained, “You know the company star street. I heard from sources that they are launching a new product which will destroy about 2/4 of the amazon rainforest, which will have a great effect on the endangered species.”
“That’s messed up.” Agreed Jane handing Sara a cup of coffee, “but what can we do about it and anyways what if your sources are not correct?”
“Oh my sources are correct alright, and what we can do about it is that pack your bags we are travelling to the Amazonia.” Exclaimed Sara and drank up the caffeine.
“You can’t be serious?” Said Jane surprised at Sara.
“Jane we are Distinct! it is our duty to stand up for wildlife and the ecosystem. I’m booking tickets to Brazil.” Said Sara as she got up to leave.
“Alright Amazonia it is then.” Jane said reluctantly.
Sara had just finished checking in her baggage, when she spotted Jane. She waved at her and both of them proceeded to their gate. They still had an hour for the departure of their flight, but Sara kept checking her watch and mumbling. Jane put down the travel guide and finally asked, “What’s up you seem upset?”
Sara explained, “Yeah well-
“Assalamalikum.” A deep voice cut Sara in the middle of her sentence.
“Ahmed you are late again.” Said Sara turning towards the man.
“I’m sorry I was on call last night, so just finished packing and rushed here as fast as I could, still got here thirty minutes prior to departure.” Ahmed finished with a grin.
“Alhamdulillah. Jane this is my brother Ahmed he is a physician. I asked him to come along since I’m travelling overseas I will need him to be with me. Ahmed this is Jane my business partner.” Sara introduced the two.
“Hello.” said Ahmed with a nod.
“Nice to meet you. Now I get why you were upset.” Said Jane turning to Sara.
“I’m going to go and pray before we board.” Ahmed told the girls and went to the prayer room.
Jane was amazed at how this person was juggling a busy schedule, and had time for prayer. Finally the three of them boarded the plane. Jane sat next to the window, Sara in the middle, and Ahmed took the aisle seat. They were buckled and ready for take-off.
Jane noticed how Sara and her brother raised their hands and mumbled something. It felt funny to Jane that even though she had been good friends with Sara she never had the courage to ask her about her beliefs. Then again what would she ask, she already knew a few things about her religion. Sara had explained couple of things to her such as Muslims worship one God and that there were five pillars of Islam. They had to be modest, men and women don’t mingle. They can’t have relations outside of marriage.
There were many things about the religion which attracted Jane’s heart towards it inwardly she believed in one God. Jane would find her mind wandering about Islam, but because of what she saw on the news she was reluctant to ask Sara about the subject. She enjoyed her friendship with Sara and didn’t want to intrude.
“What were you doing?” the words escaped Jane’s mouth before she could stop herself.
“Praying.” Sara answered casually.
“Oh…. ok.” Jane said, silently wishing she had not asked.
The entire flight Jane was on her laptop researching about Brazil and the Amazonia. It was late at night when the three of them arrived in Brazil. They proceeded to the small guesthouse which they had rented prior to their arrival. It was located at the outskirts of Brazil closer to the Amazonia which would save them commute time. The girls were next to each other and Ahmed’s room was across Sara’s.
“Alright let’s unpack since tomorrow will be a busy day.” Announced Sara. After unpacking the girls headed straight to bed.
It was around 5:00 a.m. when Jane heard a sound. She got up from bed and went to the main room to see what was happening. She saw Ahmed and Sara performing some kind of a ritual. They were standing straight, then would bend, and then bow down until their forehead would touch the ground. Jane felt the tranquility of the moment.
After completing the ritual Sara came towards her and explained, “Sorry Jane we tried to keep it down so as not to disturb you.”
“No it wasn’t disturbing at all; actually it was very….peaceful.” Jane replied.
Sara and Ahmed exchanged glances then Sara sat down next to Jane.
“Remember when we became friends I had told you about our religion and the five pillars.” Jane nodded and Sara continued, “Well this is one of the most important pillar of our religion, prayer. We were performing the dawn prayer. You know I realize we have never spoken on this matter before, but may I ask you about your beliefs?”
“Sure. I was a Christian. However, since childhood I was always confused about certain aspects of the religion. Never had time to… well research about it, so kind of drifted away from religion itself. However I always felt as if something was missing from life but couldn’t figure out what it was until I saw you guys praying. If you don’t mind can you tell me more about your religion?” Finished Jane looking at Sara filled with hope.
Sara was baffled, and she realized that all those years her best friend was living in darkness, and Sara having the knowledge of truth had kept it to herself. Sara felt ashamed and promised to herself that she would help Jane find the truth.
“I would love to.” Answered Sara.
“Sara I’m going to go and fix some breakfast, since we have to leave for the rainforest in 30 min.” Ahmed said walking towards the kitchen.
“jazakallahu khair.” Sara replied.
The two girls sat and had a deep conversation on religion for about twenty minutes, Jane pitched out question after question and Sara did her best to enlighten her. Jane’s search for the truth only kept growing. They both had lost track of time when suddenly Ahmed walked in with a tray of food and placed it next to Sara then said, “I’m going to go get ready you have ten minutes, finish up so we can start on your new project.”
Both of them were famished so they finished their breakfast in a jiffy. In ten minutes the trio were ready and loading their jeep for the new adventure awaiting them. The entire car ride Jane kept informing them about the research she had done on the place.
“Isn’t it amazing that 10% of the worlds known species live in the Amazon rainforest! Did you know that the worlds rising temperature and a severe drought threatens the very existence of the rain forest?” Jane kept chatting.
The minute their jeep entered into the rainforest the three were amazed at the wonderful creation they witnessed. The thick green trees were like a dark canopy over their heads. There were orangutans leaping from one enormous tree to the other. There was a beautiful Macaw cawing on top of a tree branch. The trio kept pointing animals out to each other.
To be continued…