Once, when I was seven, I wanted pizza.
I don't just mean want. I mean true, actual desire.
I wanted pizza so bad, I considered sneaking out of my house, walking three miles to my favorite place, and begging Amo Waleetos to bake me a pizza. Amo is the Arabic word for uncle.
I was a pretty smart kid, so, fortunately, I didn't do that. Also my parents had ingrained in me the concept of actions and consequences, so I knew I wouldn't be able to see my friends again until I was 30.
Then this crazy thought popped into my head. In Islamic studies class at school, I had learned that when a prophet really wanted something, all he would do is ask. He would hold his hands in front of him, bow his head a little, and pleaded to Allah.
So that's exactly what I did. I put on my mom's hijab, rolled out my father's prayer rug, sat on my knees, squeezed my eyes shut and I asked. I asked Allah if on my dad's way home from work, he would get some intense pizza cravings. I asked Allah if my dad would turn the car around immediately and go to Waleetos.
Then I opened my eyes and looked in the mirror. In my haste to start my dua'a, I had barely thrown the hijab over my head and my hair was sticking out in all directions. I felt ridiculous. I tossed the hijab, rolled the rug back up and vowed never to tell anyone about the foolery I had just committed.
An hour later I heard my dad's key in the front door. I ran down the stairs to greet him, just like I always did, and lo and behold: he was carrying three giant boxes of pizza.
That day changed everything for me. I knew my dua'a, or supplication, had worked and I became a true believer. I knew this magic pizza wish fulfillment didn't happen to everyone, so I had two options: either I was a prophet (astagfirullah) or I had superpowers.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I tried to figure out which one it was. I paid attention in classes and read my Islamic studies books every chance I got. I asked my parents as many questions as I could get away with without giving away what I thought might be true.
My first hope was crushed when I read about Prophet Muhammed (saw). He was an extraordinary man with extraordinary qualities, but he was the very definitively the last prophet of Islam.
My second hope was crushed when I tried to do that same thing but with ice cream a few days later. No one spontaneously brought me ice cream, so it was clear that superpowers were out of the question.
After being disappointed twice, I gave up and forgot about it.
Over the years, I occasionally remember this incident and chuckle a little, but really, it reminds me of how innocent and pure-hearted children are.
All it took for me to actually believe in the power of dua'a came in the form of a flatbread topped with tomato sauce and cheese.
It is said that if you ask Allah for something, one of three things will happen. Either it comes true right away, it doesn't come true to save you from something, or it will be answered in the hereafter.
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