Under the hot midday sun, the ocean was a glistening glass carpet of rich turquoise so bright and beautiful, that the eyes could never get satiated, no matter how long they feasted. As if its surface was plated with an exquisite mixture of sapphire, jade, and emerald, the magnificent ocean serves as an unambiguous and obvious indication towards the unimaginable beauty of Allah, and the stunning, unprecedented colours of Jannah. The indication is obvious, however, only to those who are willing to look with the eyes of the heart. In the distance, the soothing and therapeutic rumbling and roaring of massive waves could be heard, as they crashed onto the rocky shore or into each other. Each wave was trying to push down the one before it, only to be pushed down by a bigger wave coming from behind. Eventually all the waves would collapse into snowy foam – bubbles of nothingness. Such is the condition of man – each one tries to push down the other so that he can rise, only to be pushed down by someone else. In a few days, all end up in the nothingness of their graves, empty and hollow, having failed to fulfil the true purpose of their existence.
The cloudless sky was bluer than a field of forget-me-nots, and the densely green foliage created an ambience of lushness and vibrant life. Ilyas stared thoughtfully at the vast expanse of water in front of him, as a gentle breeze lazily wafted towards him and softly caressed his face with its pleasantly cool fingers. It brought with itself a tantalizing aroma that was a mixture of salty ocean air and the fragrance of freshly cut grass. He took a deep breath and filled his lungs with the refreshing air.
The eye-candy scene drew Ilyas towards pondering over the never-ending shower of Allah’s favours. At every moment of our lives, we bask in wave after wave of Allah’s special gifts, yet we continue to persist in His disobedience. As he thought about what Allah had blessed him with in the twenty years that he had been alive, images, scenes, and memories flashed past in front of his eyes. Allah had brought his parents to this beautiful place on the island, and had given them a small, cozy house which was just enough for them. He had given Musa a small grocery shop very close to where they lived, which yielded just enough profit to sustain them. They hardly had anything left over at the end of the month, they didn’t have much, but it was sufficient for survival. Ilyas recalled a dua which Nabi Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam used to make – “O Allah, make the sustenance of the family of Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam just enough for survival.” His father’s words of advice rang in his ears as if he was hearing them being said again – “Contentment is the key to happiness. When there is contentment, then something will be everything. And when there is no contentment, then everything will be nothing. Contentment can only come when there is true humility in the heart – when we understand that we don’t deserve even the little that we have.”
Ahmed, lived next door with his family, and was Musa’s friend from childhood.
His father, now deceased, had been a wealthy man who was the owner of many
prime properties and thriving businesses. It was Ahmed himself who told Musa to
come stay in the empty house next to his, when Musa had been so desperately
searching for a place to live. Safoorah had described the scene and the
conversation to her son in vivid detail, it was a moment that had been etched
into the innermost depths of her heart. Musa and Ahmed were standing outside,
while Safoorah, who was newly pregnant, and Shaakirah, Ahmed’s wife, with her
three-month-old daughter Saabirah in her arms, looked on from inside.
Ahmed asked Musa excitedly, “So, do you like it?”
“It’s beautiful, mashallah,” Musa replied.
“Alhamdulillah! When do you want to move in? I can’t wait to have you as my neighbour!” Ahmed couldn’t contain his excitement.
Musa hung his head down in embarrassment, staring at the ground. After a few moments of silence, he said, “Ahmed, the only reason I need to move out from where I’m staying right now is that I can’t afford the rent. The rent here is probably double or triple of that, there’s no way I can afford it. My only means of income is the small snack business we have at home, this house is totally beyond my budget, I’m sorry.”
Ahmed looked surprised, “When did I say anything about rent? I don’t want you to pay a cent to me. All I want is for you to live here, that’s all.”
“Oh no, Ahmed, please, I can’t…” Musa stuttered.
Ahmed put his hand on Musa’s shoulder, looked into his eyes, and said, “Musa, is our friendship so cheap that money can come between us? Is the love that we have for each other so weak that we can allow something as worthless as money distance us from each other? Is our almost life-long companionship so valueless that the paltry, insignificant material things of this ephemeral world can stop us from helping each other out, and from being there for each other? No Musa, our friendship goes beyond money, because it is for the sake of Allah, and Allah is that Being Who grants wealth to whomever He wants, and takes it away from whomever He wants. Alhamdulillah He has blessed us with a lot, the rent of this house is beyond our basic needs, so you don’t need to worry at all. Oh, and we have a small shop just outside on the main road that was vacated recently, you can set up your business there inshallah.”
Tears welled up in Musa’s eyes, and seeing them, Ahmed also started to cry. Inside, their wives were also shedding tears. Musa embraced Ahmed in a tight hug, and managed to say amid sobs, “Ahmed, I don’t know what to say, I’m speechless. I still feel embarrassment and hesitancy in accepting your offer, I don’t deserve it at all, but at the same time I feel so happy that I would be able to stay next to you.”
“I value our closeness more than anything else in this world, I can give up my life for you. Money is temporary, it comes and goes, but connections made for the sake of Allah are timeless, they help us greatly in the Aakhirah, and carry over into Jannah. Remember, Allah has said in the Quran that all friends will become enemies of each other on the Day of Qiyamah except those who have Taqwa. We need to strive together to attain Taqwa so that our friendship can become a means of our salvation. Alhamdulillah that Allah has blessed me with a friend like you.” Ahmed smiled as he spoke.
“May Allah grant me the level of Ikhlaas which you have. I want to do something for you in return, although I know I will never be able to repay you for all this,” Musa replied.
Ahmed’s face lit up, “Oh
yes, there is something I want you to do for me in return – I want you to move
in to this house as soon as possible!”
“Ilyas, please come, I need some help.” Safoorah’s voice pulled Ilyas out of his thoughts. He quickly wiped a tear that was doing a balancing act on his cheek, and rushed into the house to answer his mother.