Islamic Studies

My Twenty Minute Identity

As I walked into the Titanic Exhibit today, the man who checked my ticket handed me my boarding pass. ‘boarding pass?’ I thought… ‘to an exhibit?’ Little did I know for the next twenty minutes I would not be living under the name that my Father had given me at birth, rather I would be reliving the life of the woman on my boarding pass.

I began to become acquainted with my new name, although at first i was a bit confused to as to what it really was. On the pass it said: “Passenger Name: Mrs. Ernest E. Nye (Elizabeth Ramell)”…..Ernest..? Isn’t that a guys name? How can I live a life, even if for only twenty minutes, of a guy. Then i realized….my name is Elizabeth..but these people aboard the Titanic had not been touched with the beauty of Islam. Elizabeth Ramell had to live a life of being the property of her husband, not even being known by her name…rather by her husbands. Anyways… I moved on trying to get a feel for the life of this woman I was to be for the next short part of my life. She had to ride second class, not first, not a big deal….i do that all the time…Reading on I saw facts about her tragic life, although only 29 she had to deal with death after death of those she loved so dearly…She must have been quite sad..what with no Islam to help her get over her losses. Alhamdulilah, I had become acquainted with her, so I decided to move on, and enter into the realm of the Titanic and see the real scraps they left behind.

Indestructible, or so they thought. I, Elizabeth Ramell, had been told that’s what it was. No one could break it…no one could tear it down “not even God himself”. Had this not been Elizabeth Ramell speaking she might have taken that as a warning….and hated this blasphemous statement, too bad Elizabeth Ramell was Elizabeth Ramell…. I walked from display to display putting myself in this Woman’s shoes….minus the alcohol…I can’t even bring myself to imagine that part. Traveling alone the terror of the sound and rumble that the impact, into the ice berg, caused flew through my veins. “Death…me? Am I to go join my loved ones? I’m not ready…i’ll change…i must save myself!” I thought the same thing most of the people on that boat must have thought….. We began running, screaming, praying to God to save us. I kept thinking ‘we uttered the most horrible words…said God could not sink this boat, and now God was going to sink this boat and we were going to go down with it!’ I saw the nearest lifeboat…and prayed they let me on. They did. I jumped in, fighting off cowardly men and women who couldn’t wait their turn to take my seat near the floor. Hopefully I’d be rescued…Hopefully I wouldn’t join those in the water….those who were….before my eyes…dying.

Snapping back to reality i walked forward towards two walls covered in names. Survivors…and other than survivors.

First Class: 199 Saved; 130 Dead

Second Class: 119 Saved; 166 Dead

Third Class: 183 Saved; 527 Dead

Crew: 212 Saved; 698 Dead

Would my temporary identity be one of those among the 119 Saved from second class…or those to be left at sea….to feed the fish? I started reading through the many names on that wall, first the dead. Name after name I read until i got through the 166, without finding my name. Every name was strange to me. People I have never met, and people that are not remembered except by having their name written on this wall. I couldn’t help but think about how these people were facing something greater than the ship they were on, greater than the wreck they died in. Imagine facing the One who knows everything you have EVER done, without exception. . Seeing that my twenty minute identity was not on the Death list, I moved on to read the survivors, I found the name.

She lived. Yes, Elizabeth Ramell was rescued but rescued from what? Rescued from going forward to meet her Lord, to face the fact that without islam she had wasted her entire life. Rescued from that meeting….so that she could continue to live her life..continue to disobey Allah (SWT)..continue to live without islam.

What about me? Yes the real me, not Elizabeth. Me. The me that never even saw the real Titanic. The me that never lived through a near death experience. The me that was walking through a exhibit in near by Houston….. living in a make-believe world. What will be my fate? When will I die? Will I be ready…for there will come a day..where I am nothing more than a name in this dunya..soon to be forgotten, and I must prepare.

Take heed of the signs that were left for us. Take heed of the lessons derived from the people that came before us.

wa Alhamdulilahi rabb al Alameen.


* would like to introduce one of our newest contributors “UndeR CoveR” Muslimah. We are looking forward to her writings and pray that, for each letter she writes, she will be rewarded greatly! This is an awesome article and I encourage all to read it!

About the author

Reehab Ramadan

After graduating from the University of Houston with a BA in Computer Science, Reehab Ramadan actively fills her time with exciting and fulfilling projects. She is a private tutor in Qur’an, a teacher at her own Hifdh class, and has served key roles in many organizations such as the MSA and Crescent Youth.

Reehab’s enriching experience in community activism, specifically with social service and youth work, provides for a rather enlightened perspective. Thankfully, her main outlet and therapeutic tool is to write, write, write! She keeps her own blog, contributes regularly to various publications, and – most importantly – you’ll find her entries on this site.

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