angel talk: interviews hosted by munkar & nakir

editorial for Reconstructed Magazine

This interview was hosted on the 13th of January 2020
The interviewees name will be censored for confidentiality.
This interview follows after the death of a young Black Muslim woman,
Munkar & Nakir took it upon themselves to record and share the exchange
between themselves and the interviewee. Munkar & Nakir set a basis rule to ask
a limited set of questions however progression onto the next question did not
happen unless both angels were fulfilled by the interviewees answer. The answers
given from the interviewee must be honest.

Nakir: Asalamu Alaikum [Interviewee]
Interviewee: Walaikum Assalam - Sorry, before we start can I just ask where I am? I have established I have passed away.
Nakir: Unfortunately we cannot disclose this information until the interview is over.Interviewee: Okay, what do you want to ask me?Nakir: Who are you? - Rather, who were you?
Interviewee: I’ve been asked this question so many times in my life, I never knew what to say.Nakir: Do you not know who you are?
Interviewee: I mean, if this was a human asking me, it would make sense to identify myself with what the world has already identified me as - people would just be on with their day.
Nakir: Understood. What identification was given to you on Earth?
Interviewee: For someone like me, I would say that I was queer, Black, a woman and it was only when I got much older I identified as Muslim.
Nakir: So you are, queer, Black, a woman and a believer. That is all you are, correct?
Interviewee: Well no.
Nakir: No?
Interviewee: I don’t really know who I am. I don’t think I ever did - My memory tends to fade but I remember for the longest time I was chasing myself, it was extremely tiresome, trying to figure out who I truly was. It's a strange little thing, being so detached from your mind and your body. So to answer your original question, I don’t know, sorry.
Nakir: What do you think, Munkar?
Munkar: Your answer has not been accepted [Interviewee]
Interviewee: But why? I don’t know how to answer the question, I don’t know what to say.
Nakir: Maybe on Earth you are all of those things you described, but now that your body has perished, who are you now?
Munkar: We do not know what you look like, these physical attributes that resonate with your human form does not do much for you now. So what are you claiming, are you merely flesh to be strung on wire for others to pin empty characteristics onto you?
Interviewee: No.
Munkar: Before you perished [Interviewee], you were a living and breathing vessel, you were complete concentrated life. You were a creature capable of beautiful things, don’t you agree Nakir?
Nakir: Yes. Me and the other angels find it truly fascinating how humans are capable of so much. The ability of your brains to produce chemicals that make you feel love, your ability to heal yourselves and others. More so, your animalistic nature, your physical bodies, the hairs on your skin, the sharpness of your teeth and ultimately the way your body speaks to you. Your wounds, scars and the minor abrasions that you humans try to scrape away, the way the hairs on your head have mannerisms, mannerisms that correspond to the Earth itself. The angels are also fascinated by humans burning desire to be better, all the time. This burning desire is beautiful if done with love, but that is another conversation for another lifetime.
Munkar: So you see [Interviewee] you are so much more than what you originally answered. And if you really want to conclude and summarise who you are, you are life, a human being.
Interviewee: But not anymore.
Nakir: Yes, but not anymore.
Interviewee: So who am I now?
Nakir: You tell us - tell us what your all time longing was, what rested on your heart until the day you died, your yearnings and ultimately how you cared for yourself.
Interviewee: Is this the second question?
Nakir: Yes
Interviewee: My all time longings - I’m not too sure, I suppose I longed for love. I longed for the world to handle me with care. A lot of things rested on my heart, for the longest time I was trying to unweave these tight constrictions around myself. I yearned for freedom every single day, to be and be happy with being. I never cared for myself enough however, I always tried.
Nakir: Elaborate.
Interviewee: Its like I spent a million nights chiselling my body until it was finally right, picking at my vocabulary or how I delivered my words that most people did not care about anyway. I spent a million nights switching facades and dancing in and out of shadows, to live or to hide? Not sure which one made me more uncomfortable on current Earth. My love language was to be understood, and if the other party did not understand, then they should proceed with gentleness. I was looking for truth in everything I did, sometimes I found it. Everything Im describing sounds like a radical goose-chase just aimlessly running towards what I thought to be ideal, its draining. Before I died I wish I didn’t drain my body into sea - Sorry if I’m not making sense.
Nakir: Do not fret - Munkar?
Munkar: Next question.
Nakir: Did being a believer ease these ‘tight constrictions’ around yourself?
Interviewer: I don’t know, I questioned my belief a lot.
Nakir: Why?
Interviewee: I just - I don’t know.
Munkar: What pulled you towards Islam.
Interviewee: Now that I’m dead does it really matter?
Munkar: Yes.
Interviewee: I was born into this belief, everyone was born into this belief. Thats my answer to the question, take it or leave it.
Nakir: Hostility does not make sense here.
Munkar: The sword is ultimately pointed towards yourself [Interviewee] and frankly we are not the ones holding it. The answer has not been accepted.
Interviewee: These questions are difficult.
Munkar: To release fear is difficult.
Nakir: I think it is best to pause for now and come back to this question later.
Munkar: Nakir, she must abandon her human fearful emotions, they do not serve her.
Nakir: She is indeed trying her best and for that, she is brave.

Nakir: Salaam [Interviewee]
Interviewee: Salaam
Munkar: Back to the previous question, we would just like to understand what exactly Islam has done to help you on the journey of your life before you perished.
Interviewee: As I said before, I questioned my belief frequently. I’d go some months feeling extremely disconnected from Islam and then I’d have strange and sudden pulls towards it.
Munkar: Continue
Interviewee: Shall I be completely honest?
Munkar: If you wish.
Nakir: That is all we ask.
Interviewee: My ever-wavering belief sat on the premise of being told what to do, being born into a split religion household I often found myself in limbo. My father was never really religious and my mother lived and breathed Islam, so I didn’t really know where to place myself. I often longed for the connection my mother had, Islam gave her strength. With all this, I sometimes believe that I should just be kind and loving often thinking that should be enough, love being my religion. Peace. I am quite distraught now that I am reflecting on my pastlife, I wish I navigated Islam completely differently, but then, I feel like I somehow indirectly followed the teachings of Islam. To summarise, I think my life was aided by being genuine when I could, being awfully kind and just being human. There was so much bubbling tension all over the world, and Earth being as beautiful as it is had so many insidious dark patches that just seemed to burst into death. Islam might have not had immense impact on the life I lived but I saw how Islam held my mothers hand through all her hardships. She found Islam on her own you know - she was an orphan, she was alone in the ocean that was the world. She believed in Islam to guide her, sometimes I think she done everything by herself, I mean she did - but - um - yeah she was strong through it all, and thanked Allah (swt) for everything she overcame. I think that’s beautiful, its not my beauty I know, its hers, but I witnessed it in realtime.
Nakir: Beautiful indeed.
Munkar: Mashallah - This is the final question before you pass on, it might sound slightly insensitive - Are you ready for the transformation of your body and soul. You said you have established you are no longer alive, do you mean that?
Interviewee: Well I have no choice
Munkar: You always have choice
Nakir: What do you choose?
Interviewee: I choose to be free, in Jannah.
Munkar: In Jannah
Interviewee: Earth was cruel, the cruelest thing to ever be written. That place is so full of fury and unrest, there was some nights where my heart could not bear this Earth for a second longer. There were some nights I’d be so disgusted to be human. I don’t know if this sounds strange, but I am content with the uncertainty of my soul - If it decides to transform into a beautiful thing of light or burst into nothingness, either way, the cycle of my spirit has ended.
Munkar: So you have chosen to be free in Jannah, we will of course let you proceed, but your soul might reject the fate you have chosen. Are you sure this is what you want?
Interviewee: Yes.
Munkar: Granted.
Nakir: Granted.
Munkar: Is there any questions you have for us before you go?
Interviewee: No, I am weary.
Munkar: Very well.
Nakir: Thank you for letting us record this, you are cherished.
Interviewee: Thank you, will I see you again?
Munkar: I thought you were weary! - The answer is no, you will never see us again.
Nakir: Goodbye [Interviewee]
Munkar: Asalamu Alaikum
Nakir: She is already gone - Walaikum Asalaam