Mus’id & Mus’idaReckless driving [Archives:2003/626/Last Page]

March 10 2003

Written by Abdulrahman Mutahhar
Translated by Janet Watson

M – What on earth do you think you were doing, Mus'ida, running into the path of a car like that! You were just asking to be killed! Have you no eyes in your head, or were you gazing at the stars?
Ma – Was I gazing at the stars! I ask you! I never dare cross the road until I've looked left and right at least three times! I still care about my life, you know.
M – So how come that driver went and drove over the bag of tomatoes and squashed them? How did it get to be under the tyre in the first place?
Ma – Let's just say, if the bag of tomatoes hadn't fallen under the tyre on its own, that driver would have squashed me along with the tomatoes without giving it a second thought! But God was merciful. I took a step back, the bag of tomatoes fell off my head into the path of the car, and the driver went straight over it with the front tyre. I don't think I'll ever get over the shock!
M – Mus'ida, if you think that shock'll have a bad effect on you, I'll go and heat up the cauterising iron and cauterise you.
Ma – You will do no such thing! The only one who needs to be cauterised is that lunatic of a driver! But I told him just what I thought of him and got people to crowd around him.
M – And what good did it do getting people to crowd round him? You'd have done better with a stone in your hand.
Ma – It's not a question of throwing stones, it's a question of manners! I'm astounded by that driver. Rather than say, 'Thank God you're not hurt, dear!' he got out of his car with a furrowed brow and started yelling at me. You'd think I was his mother-in-law the way he went on. He had absolutely no sense of shame or dignity!
M – That's the problem, Mus'ida. Unfortunately some drivers seem to lack any sense of responsibility and don't bother about behaving well. They don't respect the right of the road, or pedestrians, or have any regard for the rules of the road, or the traffic police. They don't obey directions, or traffic lights. And this recklessness, bad manners and lack of regard for other people is typical of ignoramuses.
Ma – The description you've just given applies perfectly to that driver who almost knocked me down and squashed my bag of tomatoes with his tyre. But some people would be impudent outside a police station. As the Yemeni proverb goes, 'He who has no sense of shame will do whatever he wants.'
M – Exactly, having a sense of shame is part of Islamic belief, and is a feature of a true believer. Respect for the road, caring for the safety of pedestrians, sticking to the rules of the road, and showing respect for the traffic police is all part of having a sense of shame. 'He who has no sense of shame will do whatever he wants.'
Ma – And I found all this out first hand! That driver is someone who doesn't care about any rules or values. This type of behaviour causes accidents which result in tragic loss of life and damage to property and possessions. And the ones who bear the costs are the family, society and the state departments responsible. We can't carry on footing the bill, and we can't sit back and let these people get away with it. But that Yemeni proverb sums it up nicely, 'It's only weak donkeys that let you down.'

Al-Akwa', p. 136.
Al-Akwa', p. 1091; Zayd, p. 47.