Tuesday, September 11, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 14


'The Dream' followed Allah to Toronto

Shazia Siddiqi

As the Rockets say farewell to Hakeem Olajuwon, many of us have different feelings toward the athlete, who for the last 22 years has glorified Houston.

I had a chance to personally interview Olajuwon last week, and as I expected, the reality of his leave is not based on anything worldly like
greed, as some have assumed.

As you may remember, Olajuwon is a Muslim. Muslims believe that Allah (God Almighty) knows what is best for their future. Like any other
follower of Islam, Olajuwon sought the guidance of Allah, the Creator.

In the Quran, which Muslims believe is a book of direct, unchanged guidance for mankind, Allah says, "... Then, when thou hast taken a
decision, put thy trust in Allah. For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him)." (Surah Al-Imran: 159).

Hence, a devoted Muslim always seeks guidance from Allah when making any decision, big or small. So rather than going through the
psychological dilemma of choosing between Houston and Toronto, Olajuwon left it up to God to guide him through this decision. How?
Through a prayer called Istikhaarah, in which the Muslim recites the following translation:

"Oh Allah, I seek Your counsel by Your knowledge and by Your power. I seek strength and I ask you from your immense favor, for verily You
are able while I am not and You are the Knower of the unseen. Oh Allah, if you know this affair -- (here he or she mentions his or her need)
-- to be good for me in relation to my religion, my life and end, then decree and facilitate it for me, and bless me with it. And if You know this
affair to be ill for me towards my religion, my life and end, then remove it from me and decree for me what is good, wherever it be, and make
me satisfied with such."

Receiving guidance allowed Olajuwon to feel comfortable with the decision to move to Toronto. As for the rest of the Muslim community,
including myself, we understand and admire this decision.

In Islam, there's a universality of brotherhood. To all Muslims, Olajuwon is a brother, a member of our community. Whether he's here or in
Toronto, it's all the same. He will always be part of the vast Muslim community that is scattered all over the world.

Through his faith, Olajuwon was able to take the game to a higher level, a balance between the material and the spiritual. Take a look back
at his past experiences while playing for the Rockets. Where was the greed when he took neither one sip of water nor one bite of food
during the playoffs, and not one sip of beer to celebrate the championship?

Through his behavior, I saw a person gleaming with nothing other than tolerance, patience, focus and faith, which was enough to make him
a dream in the public eye.

I thought, "How could it be possible for such a person to exist in this type of society?" It seemed unrealistic to many, but in actuality, there are
more than a billion other people living today who radiate these same qualities. The world must lift the veil covering its eyes and heart to
discover who these people are.

Siddiqi, a sophomore psychology
major, can be reached at shazihuma@hotmail.com.

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