ALLAH HEARD MY PRAYERS
“After studies, it was very difficult to find a job. So I had no job—and was jobless around two to three years. I was feeling very bad at that time. After two years, Allah heard my prayer. The Islamic Center here said we want you to be imam of this mosque. God heard my prayer. I got a letter that said they had received my application form and, ‘…next month I’ll call you for an interview.’
When I saw the letter I said, ‘Insha’Allah, I will get this job.’ This was only an interview letter but I thought, ‘I will get this job!’
And in the interview, he said, ‘I want you now. I want you to be imam of this mosque.’ I felt very happy.
Allah heard my voice, my prayers.”
I met Imam Mohamad Lutfi Syahwan in Pekan, Malaysia when my producer and friend Rokman and I came upon a most beautiful mosque: The Sultan Ahmad I Mosque. Imam Mohamad Lutfi Syahwan was 30 years old when I interviewed him, and had five years of experience. He was a warm and humble young man who seemed to be at once both grateful to have a job like any 30-year-old and, at the same time, an old soul with a profound depth and message about faith. When it came time to make his portrait, he was excited to show me where he stood during Friday prayers to make his speech and where the Sultan listened to him preach.
As we parted ways after the interview, he asked me a question I never expected to hear: “Are you on Facebook?” For me, meeting the imam was an interview of extremes—of old and new, of far away and close, of distant and intimate.