As Salamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon you) my imprisoned brothers and sisters,

As l write this, it is the middle of July, but it sure does not feel like summer to me. I am writing from Salt Lake County Jail, and this place has the most powerful air conditioning system that l have ever experienced. Even the airport’s new international terminal is not this cool in the summer! Of course, the airport has lots of glass, and it’s surrounded by tarmac, so naturally it gets a lot more sunlight. This jail, on the other hand, has no windows at all. Well, none with a view of the outside anyway. The weather lady on TV says, “It’s hot today”, but it’s always cool in here. Sometimes it is a little too cool. l guess that’s why they call it “ The Cooler”.

Aside from decent food and the first amendment rights that most Americans take for granted (e.g. freedom of religion), the thing I really miss most about “the outs” is nature; Allah’s own creations. In here, about the only thing that’s green is the plastic cover on the mattress. That and the sheriff’s rule book. Nothing but concrete and steel and plexiglass everywhere you look. Even the water has a weird, vaguely industrial flavor to it. This is not how Allah meant for mankind to live!

The Qur’an describes Jannah (Paradise) as: “gardens with streams of running water” (9:72) and “perpetual gardens which they will enter with those of their fathers, spouses and children who were virtuous and at peace, with angels coming in through every door.” (13:23)

That is certainly not a description of this place!

I may have been stripped of my home, my family, my garden and my cat, but l still have my Qur’an (compliments of the S.L. County Library). Alhamdulillah!

The Qur’an is the one thing that has granted me to some vestige of sanity in this alien and artificial environment.

One day, InshaAllah, I will get out of here. And when that day comes, if the food here does not kill me first, I will never again take Allah’s creations for granted!


A.K.A.Hanif Abdullah