Last week I visited a feeding centre here in Malawi; ranked as the poorest country in the world. There is a large population in Malawi that suffers from extreme poverty. This feeding centre was an initiative taken by those who wanted to make a difference. And they are.
I met this little girl. She came up to me, and seeing that I was wearing my headscarf, greeted me with the words ‘Assalaamu Alaikum‘. Now, with the state the world is in, and how much the levels of hate crimes, due to Islamophobia, have increased, I was shocked to say the least.
I had to pause for a moment and collect my emotions before I burst into tears infront of this little girl.
I greeted her back and asked her name. Her name is Constance. I wasn’t very sure of her religion and I decided it didn’t matter. She was only four and she knew the greeting I used.
I was stunned. Not at her innocence or the beauty of her smile. But because I was not expecting it at all. Why was I so surprised? If I met a French person or an Indian, I would greet them in their own language. So why should the case be any different with me just because I’m Muslim.
For those who are unaware, ‘Assalaamu Alaikum‘ means ‘Peace be upon you‘. That is the way Muslims greet the people we meet. How beautiful is it that a child who does not understand the words she is saying, respectively greets in the way of the receiver. This moment and this lesson is something that will stay with me forever. Thank you, Constance, for being so beautifully loving. Peace be upon you, little girl.
Have any of you experienced such innocent love from children? Post some of your own stories in the comments below x