The voice from the walnut tree


(Quote of Hiromi Nagakura taken from Marcela Grad’s ‘Massoud—An intimate portrait of the legendary Afghan leader’)

“One night, we were sleeping in Massoud’s small house. At three or four o’clock I went to out to the toilet, because there was not a good toilet in the house. It was completely dark—no light, no moon—but there is one big tree in his garden, a walnut tree. When I was coming back to the house in the dark, I heard a voice coming coming from that tree. I was surprised and thought, somebody is there, let’s listen. I tried to listen very carefully, and soon I understood it was Massoud. He was praying the verses of the Koran: “Ar Rahman, Ar Rahim” (The Beneficent, The Merciful), and he moved around the big tree. I couldn’t talk to him—I would have disturbed him—but I understood that when Massoud had a problem he talked to God.

To me, Massoud was a very good Muslim, and really good Muslims are few—always trying to have contact with God, to talk to God. The Japanese, we pray sometimes, but it’s just a custom, and for most Muslims praying is also just a custom. But for Massoud it was not a custom; his contact with God was very important…”

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