Very few people are blessed with having not to let go of things that they hold dear in their life. When I think back and scrutinize the two and a half decades of my life, I am reminded of so many fond memories of leaving. And some equally bitter. This is about the latter.
The first time I had to leave something close to my heart was when I left my island for studies in Eydhafushi, a neighboring island. Admittedly, it wasn’t as sad as one would expect, maybe because of the fact that the kid that I was back then had little or no idea about what I should be feeling—I was too excited about going and living in another island (perhaps it shouldn’t be dictated what one should be feeling, you should just accept it and deal with it as it comes and goes). And the fact that Eydhafushi was very closeby helped a lot.
The emotions came when my mother who came to drop me off eventually left. I can’t remember whether I cried in the bathroom or not, but I was left with a feeling that I hoped I would never have to feel again. Moreover, I was already and definitely looking forward to her next visit and the occasional weekend trip back home.
When I left Eydhafushi after 5 years of study, I hardly felt anything.
However, saying goodbye to BAEC (the school in Eydhafushi that I studied in) was something else altogether. When you leave a school like that—a school that you considered a second home, not unlike what Harry felt towards Hogwarts—you need to squeeze out every ounce of bravery and courage you have if you don’t want to break down crying. I hope I did a good job.
I hope I can go back there one day and pay back some of what I owe. I certainly owe BAEC a lot.
Somehow, I never felt anything like that on leaving any other school that I have studied in.
Then there is the time I said goodbye to my country.
When I left Maldives for studies in Saudi Arabia, I was both happy and sad. Happy because my dream of studying in Madhinah was at last becoming a reality, and sad because I had to leave behind my family, especially my wife.
I distinctly remember remembering them and crying in the bathroom—crying in the open is too weird for men.
Academic year started and came to an end like the passing of the wind, and it was time to leave Madhinah for the holidays.
Leaving Madhinah was always (and it still is) difficult for me. I always leave Madhinah in the summer, even if it is for a few weeks. But every time I do, my chest feels kind of restricted and I feel a strange type of anxiety. I have this ‘thought’ that I might not be able to return to Madhinah. Somehow, there are going to be problems wrong with my visa or something.
So, everytime I leave Madhinah, I go the Prophet’s Mosque and ask Allah to allow me to return to Madhinah. And so far, Allah has answered my prayers.
Leaving Makkah is on a whole new level.
Whenever I go to Makkah for Umrah or something, and the time of leaving comes, I feel as if I am leaving behind a part of me. Leaving your island, your parents, wife and loved ones—not even Madhinah—is nothing compared to leaving Makkah. I just want to sit in the Grand Mosque and keep starting at the Kaaba. Perhaps those of you who have visited Makkah might be able to understand what I am saying. The feeling remains for a better part of the trip from Makkah to home, which doesn’t feel like home during the sai time. I realize that these are great blessings that Allah has bestowed upon me, and I ask Allah not to deprive me of them, not ever.