The old guy in front of the mosque could not speak English very well, but he was doing his best nonetheless. He had something very important to tell me and wasn't about to let a trivial language barrier stand in the way.
"Allah is everywhere..." he was telling me. He motioned with his hands scanning the sky and the ground and everything else inbetween.
"...and we are nothing, nothing at all" he continued.
I guess that my surprised look of slight confusion (or that hint of hesitation) triggered him to start in the first place. He began pointing at his forehead.
"This is who we truly are, just this you know. The spirit inside of us, right here, and nothing else..."
Jabbing at his skin, as if in disgust, pinching and pulling at it like it was a piece of plastic or a blob of the most worthless substance imaginable, he continued, "...and this is nothing, nothing! When we die this nothingness disappears and then we continue, that is our spirit joins Allah again."
Nothing out of the ordinary, the soul joining the source all over again, not what you could call a revolutionary idea. But this person, this old guy scratching his grey beard, he thought it was the most important thing there ever was that would ever be. He was not going to let this bare-footed ignorant Westerner leave the mosque before converting him.
I just kept nodding my head agreeing totally with him. But there must have been this subtle look or something that gave him the idea that I was a non-believer. He had to convert me. I felt uncomfortable and impatient, what with all his enthusiasm, and I did not feel like being converted that day. Time to go, get out of there.
You see, I had already been converted ages ago. Maybe I was a Christian, maybe I was a Muslim, and maybe I would follow the footsteps of good old Buddha himself. I used to think I was Siddhartha reincarnated. I and my soul and my spirit and my body and all else was converted. Converted way back before I could even remember, the day I was born, or even before that. That was why I chose my parents in the first place.
When I put my shoes back on, I had to stop looking at him in order to look downward. That was good. That was when he stopped speaking. He scratched his beard and reminded me a little of that famous cleric person who had just been assassinated in Iraq. What was his name? Blown to bits along with a hundred other so-called believers. Is that a suspicious looking truck I see over there slowly approaching the front entrance?
Just thinking about that this and the other things made me feel pretty uncomfortable. I knew for sure it was time to go. See you later. Allah is great.
I was already a believer, and there was no reason to become converted again. Not again, not now.
Maybe another day, just for fun. Just for the heck of it.