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Bismillah stands outside Noah’s Mosque in Kabul, 2021.
Muslims won’t be surprised to see Noah’s name on this mosque. In Islam he’s called Nuh. The line just above the English reads, Mosque of the Precious Prophet Noah. Jews, Christians and Muslims are known as the People of the Book, in Islam. Ahl al Kitab, in Arabic, Ahl (People) al (The) Kitab (Book), the Of is implied. What they all have in common is the prophet Abraham. You’ll find Muslims named after those you’ll read about in the Bible, Ishmael is Ismail, Abraham is Ibrahim. In Judaism, Abraham is the Father of The People, and today from him we have Judaism which led to Christianity and to Islam. Billions of people using a code on how to live from the books.
This one day I visited families from around Afghanistan who had settled in Kabul, made homes and as is the tradition built a mosque as the focal point for the community, a place to pray and think, meet friends, settle matters, get married. The mosque is a physical place representing the ideas from the books. Like a church or a synagogue. I’ve visited all three and seen similarities. This man here is called Bismillah. His name means “In the name of Allah”, Muslims start their prayers with this word. After we chatted he stood in front of the mosque, he hadn’t been inside of it, it was chance he was there. But he stood for a short while, bowed his head, held his hand. I’d been asking him how his life was, maybe he was thinking about that. I was glad to have gotten this picture.
It was towards the end of my time in Afghanistan. I was sorry to be leaving because I’d gotten much from the people here, the experience. They’re struggling, and even now are open and welcoming. I felt a privilege in being allowed to document it, this time just after the country fell to the Taliban. I’d taken several hundred photos and needed time to sort through them. My visa was to expire soon so I had to leave the country to renew it. It all felt right. I wanted to come back soon but I knew it was a fine time to leave too. As I go through the photos I’ll post some here along with some words, but they’ll all be on Instagram, you can follow that here.
As we head towards Christmas, I came across this photo and it reminded me that three of the world’s religions had something in common, they were Abraham’s people.
From the last post
A friend told me heroin addicts were giving drugs to dogs and I wanted to see it for myself. One day walking to work near to where I was living I saw it. A man held an emptied bottle of the local Noshaq mineral water with its distinctive turquoise label and its bottom cut out over the nose of a mongrel dog then he blew smoke through it.
Read Dogs on Drugs here
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I’m looking for the next adventure. I’ll rest up in the UK, renew my visa, maybe head back to Afghanistan or elsewhere. Thank you for following and supporting. This post was free. Paid plans are $6.99 (£5.20) a month, or $69.99 (£52.06) a year. You’ll receive three of these a week. That’s the plan. There are times when I can’t get electricity and hot water which stops me for a short while. But I get back to the writing soon as I can. If the lives of people are of interest, I’ll keep sending you pictures and words.