Zaabalawi has been described to be a mysterious character who has a solution and cure of every problem. It is believed that once a person finds him, he or she is guaranteed of absolute healing. Even though he has a cure for each problem, it is not easy to find him. The journey that a person has to take involves sacrifice and patients. It is because of this reason that many people do not get a cure for their diseases because they are not ready to take the epic journey to find him. Some even give up on their way to find him because of the challenges that they meet on the way. The narrator of the story is one of the individuals that decided to undertake the long journey of finding Zaabalawi. He has a disease Zaabalawi that only Zaabalawi can cure. The assurance within his heart and the need to have his issue solved makes him persevere all through the journey only to realize that Zaabalawi was deep within him but was so blinded by the issues of life.
Zaabalawi is a symbol used for a supernatural power that has the ability to cure and heal all our problems. From the description given considering the various characters, it is clear that Zaabalawi is so near yet so far. This is a spiritual journey through the heart and soul of a person. Realizing that attitude and focus plays a vital role in ensuring satisfaction and peace of an individual, critical measures have to be taken. This may not be as easy as a person may think, as it requires a lot of humility and patience. For a person to attain such qualities, they need to go through various situations that to appreciate life and be grateful for the little things (Somekh 81). The characters took a lot for granted the blessings they experienced until when they were encountered with an incurable situation. There is no consideration of a supernatural being until one reaches a point when they need such intervention.
The incurable disease the narrator had compelled him to look for Zaabalawi. He was also encouraged by his father who assured him that once he finds Zaabalawi, his disease would be cured. From here, we realize that there is more hunger in finding Zaabalawi more than even curing the disease. This is mainly because of the journey that lies before him which is not an easy one. There is no guarantee that the narrator will find Zaabalawi when he is still alive yet he is so determined to find him. Despite the horrifying experiences that he encounters on his way, nothing stopped him from achieving his goal and target (Gassick 181). It would have been easy for the narrator to choose to die of his illness rather than go through the life threatening experiences. The father of the narrator also acknowledged some of the tough experiences that his some might encounter but encourages him to take the journey. The confidence that both the narrator and his father have in Zaabalawi makes them psyche up for the journey.
When there is a deep need and desire to achieve a certain goal, a person is always ready to undertake the risks. This may happen especially when a person feels that they have no other alternative but to get what they desire. This may be termed as a do or die situation where a person cares less about the journey but rather what they will achieve at the end. Good things are never easy to attain and it is only those who are determined that will finally enjoy its fruits. Finding Zaabalawi was a guarantee that a person will have no more issues (Mahfouz 5). However, such advantages only came to those people who were ready to walk the narrow root of sacrifice and hardships. This applies to us in many ways in terms of finding inner satisfaction, achieving person goals and the likes. One has to endure opposition, criticism and ridicule yet it is their ability to ignore such voices that will determine whether they will achieve or not.
Deep within each person, there is usually a yearning for better things. It is rather unfortunate that ones a person achieves what they thought was their biggest desire, another desire comes up and hence spending their entire life looking for something better. This can be a tedious unfulfilling journey until when they learn to appreciate what they have. In most cases, human beings think that when they get what they want, then will live better lives. However, they realize that all is in vain, as each step of life has more complicated challenges (Gordon 24). Living one day at a time and appreciating the beauty that nature comes with as well as other achievements is the ultimate to life situations. Many people never realize this until when they go through various stages of life and realize that it is all vanity. Just like the narrator who came to realize that Zaabalawi was not as far as he thought, many people learn that the key to their happiness is deep within them.
Gassick, Trevor. Critical Perspectives on Naguib Mahfouz. London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1991
Gordon, Ḥayim. Naguib Mahfouz's Egypt. California: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1990.
Mahfouz, Naguib. Zaabalawi.
Somekh, Sasson. Life After Bagdad: Memoirs of an Arab-Jew in Israel, 1950-2000. New York: Sussex Academic Press, 2012.