notwithstanding many assurances, i got stranded in cairo for lack of an entry visa. a kind gentleman from the ai-azhar, who was trying to help us obtain the relevant documents, got frustrated with the delay and in order to attend to his friday prayers, handed me and my son yousuf to a young egyptian lady, well-groomed in western attire.
after much effort and time she returned to us with the good news. "forty dollars," she said. i asked, "for what?" "the visas," she answered. twenty dollars for me and twenty for my son. "but i am a guest of the government," i insisted. she said that she knew nothing about it, so i smiled and paid.
from the lady's speech and deportment, i had sensed that she was well-educated and a lady of culture, so undauntedly i asked her again what her name was in my broken arabic. however, her name was too novel for me to remember. i asked her further: "are you a muslim?" she said, "no, i am an egyptian christian." this was the opening i was waiting for. i began, "do you know that before jesus christ departed from this world, he told his disciples," and i started to quote, now in meticulous arabic, a verse from the arabic bible, (see next page), which i had memorized for opportunities just like this particular one.
i had no need to translate the above arabic to her, because as an arab she understood the verse perfectly. but for the benefit of those who do not know arabic i give you its exact equivalent from the english bible, which i had also taken the trouble to memorize in my spare time. you can create that spare time also if you have true love for allah's deen and wish to share it with others.
nevertheless, i tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that i go away: for if i go not away, the comforter will not come unto you; but if i depart, i will send him unto you.
(holy bible) john 16:7