Rahma Salie, her name means mercy. She was my first friend in college; she and her husband, Micky, and their unborn baby died on 9/11.
I met her during international students orientation. Although she has thousands of friends all over the world, when she spoke to you, it felt like you were the only person that meant something to her.
I asked our mutual friend, Naho Kamikawa, to share some memories of Rahma-
But one day stands out clearly, and it is the day and moment we all met – at the International Student’s Orientation at Slater. I remember how I ran into Rahma and I think she was already with you and Sabene when I greeted her at the brunch buffet.
A couple of days later, we visited you and Sabene at your dorm room at Bates, beautifully done in newly laid out carpet. We hung at in your room and we talked about our exciting days to come.
I also remember how she became very involved and in touch with her religion at Wellesley. I also knew her very briefly back in Tokyo too, but I think it was at Wellesley where she embraced Muslim [Islam].
Away from home for the first time during Ramadan, we would try to figure out ways to sneak food into our dorm room for Suhoor. The dining hall had a huge freezer with 6 flavors of ice cream, we sneaking in laughing and tripping- Suhoor with mint chocolate chip icecream was delicious. Our friends, Heather volunteered to fast with us, it was the first time either one of us had to explain why we fasted to anyone, we had always just done it- We started searching for answers so we could give them to her, talking with Heather was my first step towards practicing my deen. I remember Jum’ah with Rahma, in a small room in Chapel, getting jealous because the Hillel room was so large . Apprehensively, going to our first AlMuslimat meeting not sure if we would be accepted.
She met Micheal while she was still in college. Micky, as he was lovingly called, was raised as a Greek Orthodox Christian accepted Islam prior to his marriage to Rahma.
The last time I saw her was on Newbury Street in Boston, where her parents now run a café. We introduced our fiancées’ to each other, giddy in each other’s happiness. She must have been glowing and happy when she boarded that American Flight 11, she was going to attend a friend’s wedding in Los Angeles. Her baby would have now been my daughter’s age. The lesson I learned from 9/11: never take a day for granted, for life is very fragile and very short.
My pain in her loss in no less than anyone else’s in America, just because we are Muslim. Her friends still miss her and mourn her, many are gathering together this weekend at the college campus where Rahma spent 4 years of her life. 9/11 was personal to me then as it is now.
Sometimes you can not explain all the pain and suffering which man experiences as a result of evil but if you see it as preparation for the experience and attainment of joy and contentment of good. ‘Evil is not created or valued for its own sake, rather it is created for the necessary manifestation, realization and accomplishment of good. Hence, at the cosmic plane, evil which is limited and relative in nature contributes to the realization of the total good.’
She would not want to be remembered as a victim for she was such a positive ruh (soul) . Her friends still gather from all around the world every year to celebrate her life. Family and friends add pictures to a virtual memorial. There are photos of uncles and aunts from Sri Lanka, and cousins, best friends from her childhood in Japan, roommates from college, wedding pictures, a life interrupted. Inna lil lahi wa inna ilay ho rajioon. To Allah she belonged and to Him is surely her return. Please say a dua (prayer) for my friend. She really was a genuinely amazing person. May Allah SWT grant her Jannah tul Firdaus and give sabr Kamilah (divine patience) to her parents and siblings. The constant reminder of how she died, forces them to relive her death over and over again.