September 9, 2015
Currently at Toronto International Airport, running somehow on 3 hours of broken sleep and Tim Hortons. There’s so many faces here. I think I get why classical Arabic uses “face” as a metaphor for a person’s entire being. Our faces are our most identifiable feature. It’s amazing how humans can recognize faces and determine if they are familiar or not almost subconsciously. Looking at all the different faces, you can truly see the handiwork of God. Many faces may have a similar shape or similar features but there are such minute differences that we can detect almost instantly whether the face belongs to someone we know.
I’ve been thinking about all the times I remember being at this airport. With Tyrel and Brad when we came for Anime North. With Tyrel when I won the Mythbusters contest. With Yasin when we came here for [MAC’s Central Annual Meeting]. And now, when I stand at the gateway to Saudi Arabia and Hajj.
The uniqueness of our faces is fascinating. Very rarely do you have people with identically matching faces, and even then there are some minute differences. Not only that, but we can recognize a face almost instantly, even across time. I once went to a rent-a-car place and recognized the face of the manager as someone I went to high school with almost a decade prior—we weren’t even friends or acquaintances, we just acknowledged each others’ existence.
Muhammad Asad explains in his work, The Message of the Qur’an, “Since the face of a person is the most expressive part of his body, it is used in classical Arabic to denote one’s whole personality, or whole being. This expression occurs in the Qur’an in verses such as, “But no! Whoever submits themselves [lit. “their face”] to God and does good will have their reward with their Lord. And there will be no fear for them, nor will they grieve.” (2:112).