My late father lost his slippers one fine afternoon at the mosque. We never discussed how the slippers got lost, except that the thought of taking another pair that could be found (easily) at the premises was not an option. I never saw the logic. I ended up making a short film of it.
During my second visit to Madinah, in one of the visits to its Grand Mosque, I had forgotten to take along a plastic bag to keep in my slippers when I entered the mosque. Good luck to anyone who leave their footwear at the grand doorway to enter the mosque, and finding their respective pair on their way out.
Yet, during that visit, I decided to just leave my slippers at the doorway - a pair of footwear among the hundreds of footwear that have been left by the thousands of pilgrims in good faith. In good faith I left my slippers at one of the grand doorways - tucked at a little “safe” corner. At the back of my mind, it was a little social experiment - I had also wanted to see if my slippers was going to still be there. Yes, on the way out, I couldn’t find my slippers. Fortunately my hotel was about less that 200m away. So I walked back barefooted. My father walked 2km.
It was in the middle of summer. My nimble feet felt like it had walked on cooling embers of coal. I looked around and there were other pilgrims who were barefooted, but they seemed to soak up their situation within the marbled mosque compounds.
This evening, as I entered the mosque, I spotted a brother pacing along the walkway. He was looking for his slippers. He looked at me, his subconscious was frail. I understood. Must have been the same look when my dad lost his. And mine.
As I found a spot to remove my shoes, he returned with a pair of slippers. He explained meekly that he has taken the slippers from one of the toilet cubicles. He meant to return it next time he visits the mosque.
It’s ok brother, you need not explain.