The clock turns 8:45 p.m.,
and I hear Mullah’s Adhan.
I need to get ready, for now I’m in
a rush. On the way to masjid,
I arrive and say prayers in a beautiful masjid,
a masjid with beautiful minarets
attracting and inspiring people to pray
before Allah, and we perform Taraweeh—
prayers in the beautiful
masjid near our apartments, prayers
with special meaning for Muslims.

And it was Sunnah—
when these prayers were performed
by our Beloved—prophet Muhammad—
Peace be upon him.
And here, there is a separate place
for women. And here, I see
a girl, a beautiful young girl,
who looks twelve, who looks at me,
every day, every single day.
Yet, when I look at her, she
doesn’t say anything, but
she smiles, and her beautiful

smile is always in my mind
and I can’t forget her
or her innocent smile
whose purity has taken
my calmness—every single night
while performing Taraweeh—
our prayer for Ramadan. And she
looks toward me and smiles. And
one day, the last day of Taraweeh,
She came and sat with me,
And it felt like an angel sat with me—
So pure.
So innocent.

So calm.
Then, I knew something,
something I hadn’t known for weeks: we
had some kind of connection;
she loved Allah;
I loved Allah.
We both were in a masjid.
We both were worshipping Allah
We both were here to thank Allah.
Still, she was the mystery I did not know,
though I thought I knew everything
about her. Still, she inspired with her fine smile;
I never met a person smiling so brightly.

I believe we share so much by being friendly.
Seeing her, I believe goodness exists.
I believe the friendships between Afghan women
are the most powerful weapon against violence;
and I believe most are the subject of violence.   
Though I did not know her name, or what she was doing,
or which school she was attending,
I knew we had a connection. And even if a thousand,
thousand years have passed, we would understand
one another, for
she is my sister, my angel,
the younger sister I found after a long, long time—
found after a thousand, thousand splendid moons.

By Sveto

Photo of Masjid-e Jami, Herat, by Marius Arnesen