At approximately 11:58 A.M on Friday, December 16, Overland Park Police officers responded to a report of a missing person in the area of the Kansas University Edwards Campus at 12600 Quivira Road. The missing person is Aisha Khan, a 19-year-old female. She is also a student at Johnson County Community College. She last left a voicemail on her sister's phone saying how scared she was because there was a drunk person approaching her. When her sister found the spot Aisha was sitting in studying for finals she found only Aisha's backpack and ipod there, but not Aisha.
My Personal Request:
Before fajr as I got up to get ready for my first prayer of the day, the words from my prior conversation with my husband dwindled in my mind. The khutbah this Friday was about how numb we were towards everyone and everything, hiding behind technology, securing every moment with mindless engagements. He said, "In this time we are so numbed by facebooking, tweeting, watching Netflix that we actually can't genuinely feel a single emotion towards someone else's pain. We've got so much to deal with in our own lives that we'd actually rather be desensitized to other people's pain."
This conversation reminded me of something once my mom said to me. She said, "Times have changed, beta [darling]....Gone are the days when my pain affected you and your pain affected me. They say that in this time even our blood has changed it's own color from being red to white." I'm sure this saying makes more sense in Urdu, but the point to the saying was that we are so numbed by society and their pain that even the color of our own blood has altered. We can't even call it blood because it's so desensitized. Back in the day, people cared about each other, your sorrow was my sorrow and my sorrow was your sorrow --- today, we are so addicted to numbing ourselves just to run away from this lifelong battle with pain that we'll do anything just to avoid something that will consume us in in the slightest way. Or, at least, we'll do anything to make sure we don't get bothered by it, because one more problem is just not what we need right now or ever.
That's my attitude towards life as is probably yours. I can't handle another situation --- I've dealt with family and friends' problems, grandparents dying, seeing abusive relationships, people cheating on each other, divorces, heartbreaks, financial problems, and honestly, my heart is so broken that perhaps another catastrophe that big might just consume me. I think I numb myself so that I don't get sucked into a black hole, even if it means that it's taking away from the mere essence of life.
This morning I woke up and scrolled through facebook testing to see whether I was so high off of my own problems to actually be able to physically avoid reading into the Aisha Khan case which has been all over facebook. Jittery and feeling like I hadn't had my dose of drugs, I forced myself to watch the news interview Aisha's sister gave about how she listened to her sister's last voicemail moments before Aisha had been abducted. Half way into it I realized why i'd rather be numbed, because it just hurt too much. It just was too much for me to take on. I began imagining getting that dreaded call from my very own sister, or reminiscing to the days when I was in university just a year ago and was just like Aisha studying at school. I didn't want to read, hear or think about it because it was just too much to think about it... where she would be right now and in what kind of conditions?
However, in that brief moment where I slipped up by watching this news and putting myself out there completely vulnerable without my numbing drug... I felt human again --- I felt pain --- I felt insignificant --- Insignificant enough to raise my hands in front of Allah swt to make dua [prayer] with a heart that felt like it was seconds away from just bursting out of my chest. I was actually human enough to even shed a few tears for a girl I knew nothing about except how serious her situation really was.
I actually made dua for someone else instead of thinking that Allah swt was Santa Claus and I could only call on Him when I needed to superficial things like that SLR camera, or I could only call on Him when I wanted to immediately fix a completely out of control situation.
This was possibly the first prayer in my life that I started and ended the prayer continuously thinking about how much I wanted a young sister, daughter, wife and Muslimah to be found. I managed to reverse the process of desensitizing my soul, for 2 minutes today I actually felt pain and I felt insignificant. It hurts like no other and has stolen my sleep, but which would you rather be --- the one who never felt enough pain in your heart to make dua or the one who couldn't sleep at night because there was so much pain in the world that needed your attention.
This isn't just a plea to help find Aisha Khan, rather it's a humble request to open your hearts and feel vulnerable and realize that humans weren't made to be desensitized. Use your emotions and pain to call out to Allah swt, to find Him closer to you, and to find yourself closer to Him.
(If anyone has seen Aisha Khan, a 19-year-old female from Overland Park who has been missing since 11am, Fri. Dec. 16, please make sure to contact the number on the poster. Facebook link is provided here: Help Find Aisha Khan Facebook Page)