Nouman Ali Khan: Reflections from Sarajevo

Sitting here on the plane about to leave this place and I thought I put some of my thoughts into writing – What stood out to me most about the Bosnia experience?

Nouman Ali Khan

Firstly that the trauma experienced by these beautiful people is something they are still recovering from and very understandably so. After lots of conversations, the echo that resounds in my mind is that there is a desire to heal and move forward but there’s also the need to never forget.

The tension between the two is a deep struggle.

Secondly that the quality of Arabic and Islamic education initiatives is shockingly high. Perhaps other nations should learn to take from their playbook. I was thoroughly impressed with what’s just starting to blossom and will mature into an intellectual heritage إن شاء الله.

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Thirdly that I sensed a feeling of being ignored by the larger Muslim world and that of being left to their own devices.

I always receive love and appreciation for visiting a community but this was unusual. There was deep gratitude for acknowledging them with a visit.

This sentiment was perhaps best captured by an elder who lovingly sat by me and asked “What brought you to our invisible spec on the world map? I still can’t believe you’re here”.

The question hurt in unexpected ways. It’s almost as though there’s an assumption that they’re not going to be considered by anyone trying to span the Muslim world. Bosnia you are significant.

You matter. You are a part of our heart and we love you.

Finally, while language, culture, history, and other factors are so different between us, I used to think that the primary unifying thread between all of the ummah is Islam.

I’ve since added another thread. Emotional struggles in personal life. The way this story night is resonating with people across cultural lines and in all honesty I didn’t expect that. It was eye-opening and heartwarming.

Signing off from Bosnia with love.

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Annnnnnd ok bye

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