I approached the gentleman in the booth for assistance. I had a Hijab on and they were dressed in jackets for the conference. I had a worried look as I approached him because I needed help urgently, since it was already 8:15 am and the lecture by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid will be starting at 9 am.
The gentleman in the booth smiled and said, “Don’t look so worried; what can I do for you?” I said, “I need help with the ticket machine”. He came over calmly and walked us through slowly with the steps. I started to think back if the same customer service would have been available on the TTC in Toronto. I don’t think in my 22 years in Toronto that I have seen this kind of service on the TTC. We purchased our tickets by credit card and got the receipts. We were happy and were about to step unto the escalator to the train.
“Now that I’ve taught you something, you teach me something“, he asked. We all looked puzzled but I said, “sure”. “I heard that Quran does not allow interest, but you just used a credit card to pay for your tickets?”, he questioned. “Islam does forbid interest, but we always pay our entire bill out by the due date”, we explained to him. We have not paid interest on a credit card for more than 20 years now. In fact the credit card company pays us back for using their card. Having a credit card is really nice for the convenience, but it does encourage some unnecessary spending sometimes. We had a few minutes discussion on the harm of interest and what it actually did to the economy recently.
We found out that this really nice American gentleman was Christian and believed in Christ the Savior. I mentioned to him that I am sure there are verses in the Bible that are against interest also. He didn’t know either if they existed or not.
“I really like the way you women dress, so modestly”, he said. “I would like my woman to dress like that too; the women look so beautiful”. My son and husband were totally engrossed in the conversation also. The station was filling up more with customers. Many needed help and he didn’t notice what was going on because he wanted to ask us more questions about our religion. We must have been talking with him for about 10 minutes and forgotten that we had a lecture to get to by 9 am. I looked around and told him that we should go now because we will be late and many people are waiting. He said, “Yes”. Then he asked whispering, “What do you think about Obama?”. “He is good, 100 times better than George Bush, and he is a Christian, then he must be God fearing”, I said. “He is no God fearing Christian, he is a politician and he lives in the White House”, he told us.
We wanted to tell him more about Islam but we were getting late, he had his duties to attend to and we were not that comfortable talking about the topic in this public area. On the train we wanted to go back and give him our contact information, but we decided if Allah wants to guide him, it will happen. My son mentioned that we can meet him when we come back in the evening. That was not possible because we planned to stay at the conference until after 9 pm. We even talked about telling Imam Zaid about him and asked him to go and find him at the Metro station.
May Allah help that really nice gentleman to find Islam in his life. InshaAllah, one day his woman (wife) will have a hijab on.