True story in Toronto
Last year, I accompanied my husband on his business trip to Toronto in Canada. Sometimes, my husband likes to take me with him on his business trips. He loves to share his travels with me to discover and enjoy new places together, especially if it is overseas.
Toronto was wonderful, the hotel was excellent, the restaurants, the stores, everything was very nice and beautiful.
During the daytime, when my husband was busy at work, I was in the hotel room doing my research on the net looking for Mediterranean restaurants. After five days of eating vegetarian and seafood meals from restaurants around the city, my stomach started to ask for meat, and because I eat only Halal meat, I had hoped to find any restaurant serving halal meat. Furthermore, I was starting to crave for my cultural food, Mediterranean, as I usually do when I travel to different cities.
I quickly found a Moroccan restaurant offering a simple but delicious menu, but it was far from the hotel, requiring about 30 minutes of driving. When my husband came back from work, he informed me that as it was our last night in Toronto, we were going to the CN Tower where he had already made a dinner reservation for two in a fancy revolving restaurant at the top of the tower, where the floor of the restaurant was made from glass, and when you stepped on it, you could see right through the bottom of the tower.
I had to choose between the two options: the simple Moroccan restaurant or the fancy revolving restaurant on top of the tower, which from our seat we could get a 360 degree view of the entire city.
My choice disappointed my husband when I refused to go to the fancy restaurant, preferring instead the simple Moroccan restaurant.
We got in the car using the GPS for directions. After 30 minutes of driving, following the GPS’ instructions, we arrived at the area of the given address. The street was almost dark, there were no signs around to indicate that we were in the right place, until we came close to the restaurant. Only then, did we see the restaurant sign. Finally, we were there!
“You still open?” We anxiously asked the owner who was sitting in front, because the restaurant was empty and it was 9 p.m. and we did not know what time it closed. When the answer was positive, I calmed down and thanked God because I did not want to disappoint my husband twice that day. First, when I chose to go to this restaurant, and second by getting him to drive 30 minutes to this place only to find it closed, plus we were very hungry!!
We stepped inside the restaurant following the waiter to our table. He gave us a nice seat, everything around was decorated in the Moroccan style. The atmosphere, the furniture, the lamps, everything looked nice and made me feel comfortable. Even the delicious smell of cooked food with special spices coming from the kitchen indicated to us that we were in the right place.
I held the menu sadly with no hope of having meat for my meal that night because it did not have the sign saying “We have Halal meat”, as my husband had already told me to find the sign when we were in Toronto before ordering any meat dishes. For that reason, I ordered vegetarian couscous. The waitress took our order, but before she left for the kitchen, something inside me pushed me to ask if they had any Halal meat as a special order? But I couldn’t bring myself to say it, so I just said, “The smell from the kitchen is very good but I only ordered the vegetarian meal because I cannot eat the meat here, I eat only Halal meat!”
Before I could finished my words, the waitress quickly replied saying, “All our meats are Halal!’
“What? Do you have Halal meat?”
“Everything is Halal!”
Really, I did not believe her. I thought she said that just to sell the food, until she called the owner. From his face he looked like an honest and religious man. He came and insisted, “All my food is Halal, even the ingredients I use in the food when I do the shopping, I make sure it’s all Halal!”
He continued, “I know Halal meat is more expensive but I have to give my customers the same as I give myself or my family.”
Really…I felt very happy, I turned to my husband and said, “You see? They have halal meat! I was right to come here!”
Of course, after that good news I substituted the vegetarian couscous meal with lamb tajeen.. It was very delicious and well worth the 30 minutes drive to get the delicious halal meat! And, the owner was very good, and a generous man, he offered us some tea after dinner!
We thanked the owner for his good food. I felt that the visit was a blessing from God, he had guided us to this nice place. We left the restaurant happy and comfortable not only because of the Halal meat, but also because during the dinner we were all listening to the recitation of the Quran coming from the restaurant’s speakers played by the owner.
Sobhana Allah. Until this moment I am still happy with my right choice. Do you imagine that I will find all these wonderful things that had happen to me, if I had chosen the Tower restaurant?
Of course not. Because Allah (SWT) looked into my heart and surely knew what I had wanted and what I deserved, he led me to this event. For that, I remember the Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him saying, “Verily Allah does not look to your faces and your wealth but He looks to your heart and to your deeds.”
[Sahih Muslim] .