Sunday, March 08, 2009

You can’t cheat him – he’s a Muslim!

I went grocery shopping at the outdoor market a few days ago. I picked up the usual items: some strawberries, tangerines, carrots and eggplant. When I got to the lettuce man, I bought two heads and asked for some cilantro. He gave it to me the last time and didn’t charge me, so I was pretty sure they were complimentary. To be sure, I asked him, “how much?”

He replied, “gift.” I was right.

At the same time, another man next to him asked me for 10LE (about $2). I suspected he was joking, of course. And the lettuce vendor chided him with a wag of the finger. “You can not cheat a fellow Muslim!” And to confirm that I was Muslim, he asked me, “you are a Muslim, yes?”

“Insha’ Allah!” God Willing!

“Thank you Eid,” I said.

“What’s your name?” he asked me. He had forgotten my name even though we met each other some weeks earlier and had exchanged names.

“Khelid,” I replied, giving him my Arabic name. (Khelid is Arabic for the immortal)

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