Let me tell you all, this is purely a voice from my heart. It has no intention to hurt anyone’s feelings or judge anyone’s role or lack thereof in Noor’s life. I pray for her soul and the patience of her family – as some one who knew Noor from days when she was just 15.
I promised God when I put pen to paper it would mean something. It would make us think if not act because I firmly believe thought always precedes action. Isn’t this what Islam tells us, every religion tells us, and this is what founder of positive thought like Napoleon Hill and Vincent Peale had told us throughout 20th century!
Night of silence and horror!
The night before Eid-ul-Azha, I was in my room, newly wed, theoretically preparing the dessert I was going to make the next morning. My first dessert in my new home. Laughing about it with my husband, my night was interrupted with messages on my social media app on phone, “You knew Noor?”
“Which Noor?” I responded to almost everyone, till an image of her beautiful face was on every headline on social media.
Noor Mukadam. Beheaded.
It was 2 am, I called my brother and another close friend who happened to be one of Noor’s closest friends.
Silence. Shock. More Silence.
I realized I hadn’t finished reading the headline, “Beheaded by Zahir Jaffer.” More Shock.
— WeTheWomen (@WeTheWomenAsia) July 28, 2021
I was frozen. Nauseated!
Brought back to life, by my husband’s voice. “She was my friend,” was all I could say.
Noor: A gentle soul, gone too soon!
I met Noor back in October 2009, when I first moved to Islamabad, a small city, with an even smaller social circle. We had very similar backgrounds. She, like me, was also a diplomat’s daughter, and we could understand each other’s lives, while many others could not.
To be honest, she was quiet and shy (unlike me), and always had a gentle smile on her face. I saw her often in 2009 till late 2010 at social gatherings, Kohsar Market with our friends, Monal… a mutual’s home.
We threw her a farewell at Serena hotel when she was leaving for Seoul, South Korea. The night was not eventful, so I remember trying to cheer her up and I remember her being adoringly thankful for my optimism.
Noor. She was my friend.
But was she really?
Noor used to contact me via Facebook messenger while she was in Seoul. I went over the messages and I wish I hadn’t.
“Mishayl! I miss you.” She asked me for my Skype ID and said “Aww I can’t wait to talk to you, Korea has been really boring.”
But we never did.
Noor had started wearing hijab!
I can assure you, we didn’t keep in touch because I didn’t hold my end of the bargain. Noor always did.
The next time I met her was after a hiatus of a few years, my family had gotten posted elsewhere and she was moving back to Islamabad soon. This was an even better Noor. She had started wearing hijab.
As an adult, I realize how brave she was. She had faith, amongst a social circle that looked down upon anyone who followed any religious sentiment traditionally.
You could be “spiritual” and rap about spirituality, sing about it, drink to it, but could you TRULY believe so strongly that displaying that belief was second nature to you? Not in my experience.
Noor. She was my friend.
But was she really?
I asked about how she was doing to a close friend of both of ours, less than 3 months ago, that is also the first I heard of Zahir Jaffer. And I remembered his presence too. In 2010, he was leaving for university, but that is all I remember knowing.
Noor: “We failed you”
My question remains. Was she really my friend? Had I been her friend, would I not have aggressively interfered in this toxic friendship? Would I not have saved her? Would I not have stopped her? Would I not have gotten other people involved?
But nobody goes as far as to think, bloody murder. We are the privileged, the rich, the powerful, the protected. Sure there might be fighting, and even abuse, but murder?
Reality has finally hit us in the face.
We are the privileged, the rich, the powerful, the protected, but to someone who has a little more than what we might, we are nothing. And because of our privilege, we are misunderstood for people who can never be soft-hearted or humble, or even religious. It’s exactly that misunderstanding that gives birth to the disgusting rumors that followed Noor’s passing.
The truth is, she was a good friend to everyone, but we failed her. We failed her as a community, as a society, and as a country. We remain answerable to her family.
Noor. Light. Her Noor. Her Light. Her family’s Noor. Her family’s Light.
All the sleepless nights, the nightmares I have since her passing can never come close to the emptiness that her family now lives with. The silence. The darkness!
We failed you, Noor. We failed your Light!
Author, Mishayl Hussain, has recently graduated as a medical doctor. She has a deep interest in psychiatry and holistic medicine. She has been a childhood friend with Noor Mukadam who was recently murdered and beheaded in a brutal event that shocked Islamabad and the whole world.