TamaraMikell-ChoudhuryUS_01

Rosaries to me
look like yours
But ours are called tasbihs
We wear ours around our necks; we wrap them several times around our wrists
They come with us on appointments,
They keep us company when we go to bed.
Our rosaries are made of rare woods,
from Syria, Turkey, and Dubai
Some are made of translucent stones—grays and browns from such places as Arabia
Some have calligraphy with the Arabic names of God
Others look like simple beads
Each is separated three times by an unusual shape
to allow our fingers to keep track of the repetitive cycle
Thirty-three times my thumb touches the beads as it caresses my index finger
“La illah ha illa la”
“La illah ha illa la”
There is no God but God.
My lips move as I repeat chants of
recognition, singularity, and gratitude
My rosary, my tasbih
reminds me of my physical presence in this world
and it reminds me of a place I will soon visit that has no walls
My tasbih grounds me here,
to these stones
to those trees
It unites my fingers to OUR God
To a worldly and unworldly presence
Our rosaries
comparable in shape and
in purpose
Remind us of our similarities
of our oneness
Remember as you twirl your beads in the shopping mall
or at the bedside of your sick neighbor
That I too am moving my beads, one by one in a similar circular pattern
Just as you are chanting words of grace and hope,
I too am concentrating on words of glory.
Our worlds collide in these moments of remembrance.
You, a Christian.
And me a Muslim.
Together we are Angels of Peace.

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