A Brush With Jehovah’s Witnesses
A Memoir by Arif Kabir
The Jehovah’s Witnesses opened the gate leading to my house and I watched them slowly walking up to my door. “Here comes”, I thought wryly as they started to knock. I sighed as I thought of my predicament; here I was, taking the day off from school because I was feeling sick and instead of being allowed to rest in peace, there were a group of people that were (by now banging) at my door. Instead of using the usual tactics of ignoring the door when a telemarketer comes by, I decided to open the door as it might turn out to be an interesting experience.
Opening the door, I saw a mother with her sons all dressed in suits and in their Sunday best (and mind you, it was a weekday). They decided to begin their persuasion with a question, “what do you think about money?” I was impressed as I saw their latest technique; instead of trying to explain everything about their religion in a comprehensive matter, they were rather approaching me from one subject and going into detail about that. I quickly replied, “Money is a temporary pleasure that doesn’t truly bring happiness. [Surah Kahf - "Wealth and sons are allurements of the life of this world: But the things that endure, good deeds, are best in the sight of thy Lord, as rewards, and best as (the foundation for) hopes."] It should just be used as a means and not as an ends.” The lady’s expression quickly became flabbergasted as it became apparent that she wasn’t expecting this answer. She stuttered, “Well, that’s rather deep from a young man!”
I merely shrugged my shoulders and said, “These are not my own words but they’re rather words that are mentioned in my own holy book, the Quran.” She started to open her mouth in retort, but thought better of it and quickly changed direction by thrusting into my hands two think brochures with images of gold and money emblazoned on the front. She began her tirade of telling me that money is the root of all evils and started quoting from various passages in her bible. Throughout it all, I listened to her politely, smiling the whole time. When I finally started to tire as I was feeling sick, I asked her sweetly, “Would you please like to come in? We can discuss each others’ books and I can show you my own book and what we believe.”
The lady looked at me with a frown; clearly, this was not at all going how she expected. The kids around her were looking at me with curious expressions as I opened my door and gestured for them to come in. The mother quickly put a protective arm around her children and told them to stay back. She looked at me and said, “Maybe another time. I might come back later” as she briskly led her children away. I waved at the kids, said, “Come back anytime”, and as they went to the next household, quickly closed the door and shot back to the comfort of my couch, grinning broadly. Life was good…