The eastern horizon was streaked with heart melting shades of peach swirl and strawberry ripple, heralding the rising of a gargantuan ball of gas burning at a temperature of 15 million degrees centigrade – the sun. The perfect system of Allah runs smoothly, without any delays and flaws. Sure enough, at its appointed time, the sun peeked above the horizon, as if to check who is awake and who isn’t. Within minutes the beautiful orange disc came into full view and began its swift and steady climb in the sky – a climb it would have to continue doing daily until the command of Allah came for it to rise in the west. Getting brighter, more powerful, and more splendorous by the second, it sent forth its warm and comforting rays, illuminating that part of the world which was just a while ago draped with multiple layers of dense darkness. It was as if it had sprinkled gold dust over the silvery ocean surface and deep green palm fronds. A new sunrise means a new day, a new beam of hope, a new beginning, and another golden opportunity to change.
The peaceful and tranquil serenity was interrupted by resumed cries of agony. Safoorah was in the final stages of labour – those moments in which a woman balances precariously on the thin and delicate barrier separating life and death. Lying on her bed, drenched in sweat, gasping in pain, she pressed tightly on her husband Musa’s hand with her right hand, while holding on to the bed post with her left. The expression on Musa’s face showed a mixture of worry, fear, and sympathy as he silently begged Allah for ease and well-being for his wife and baby. Allah, through His immense power and mercy, enabled the miracle of birth to take place, and the midwife, an old bubbly lady, happily announced, “It’s a boy, mashallah!” She carefully wrapped the baby in a shawl and placed it in Musa’s outstretched hands. He lovingly cradled his son in his arms, tears of relief trickling down his cheeks, as he whispered, “Subhanallah, mashallah, alhamdulillah.” His eyes took in his bundle of joy with a gaze of marvel, as he gently touched the soft and tiny hands designed by Allah to the minutest detail of perfection. “Please bring him closer to me so that I can see him properly and touch him,” Safoora managed to say in a feeble voice, weak from the harrowing experience. Musa lowered the baby to her and she looked with love-filled eyes at the fluffy marshmallow they had been so excitedly waiting for. “I really want to name him Ilyas, what do you think, Safoorah?” Safoorah looked up and smiled, “It’s a really beautiful name, mashallah.” Musa replied, “Inshallah we have seven days to finalize, we can think over it. Let me finish the Adhaan and Tahneek, you should get some rest.” He gave the Adhaan in the right ear and the Iqamah in the left, preparing the newly born for the inevitable eventuality of his Salatul Janazah. Such is the emphasis that is laid in the beautiful Sunnah with regards to keeping death in focus at all times – begin the preparations of death immediately after birth. After that, he proceeded to fulfil the Sunnah of Tahneek. He opened a tin in which lay a date that had been chewed by a great wali of Allah. The hope from Allah was that through the Barkat in the date, He would grant the baby the ability to follow in the footsteps of the Wali. Musa took a tiny piece from the outer layer which had become soft and paste-like, and gently tried to push it into the baby’s mouth with his index finger. The baby immediately started sucking on the sweet paste, and a smile spread across his father’s face.
The happiness of the moment was violently shattered when the door was flung open and Sheereen, Musa’s elder sister, strode in. She caught Musa in the motion of trying to make sure the date was properly inside the delicate mouth. “Oh, the baby is here, you didn’t even inform me! And just what do you think you are doing by putting dates in its mouth?” Sheereen exclaimed in a loud, shrill voice. “I haven’t informed anyone, I wanted to finish the Adhaan and Tahneek first,” Musa replied softly and hesitatingly.
Sheereen screamed, “Haven’t I told the two of you not to do any such thing? How can you stuff dates into a new born baby? Where are your brains?! Don’t you realise what harm that could cause the child? And to make things worse, you are putting your dirty fingers in as well! Someone needs to knock some sense into you. I think I should report you to the authorities for child abuse and mistreatment!!”
Musa looked down at the floor and said softly, with a tremor in his voice due to the fear that his sister always put him in, “Sheereen, Tahneek is Sunnah, it is something that our beloved Nabi Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam used to do. The example that he left behind for us is perfect, every moment of his life is perfect, his every action is perfect. It is not possible that there can ever be any harm in something which he, Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, has encouraged us to do. We cannot give preference to Western, secular teachings and research over the illuminating words and actions of the Beloved of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, who was the epitome of perfection in every way and form.”
Sheereen glared at her brother, “Don’t you dare lecture me about Deen! I know our Deen very well, I was already performing the five daily Salaah long before you were even born!” She then turned her attention towards Safoorah, giving her a piercing, icy stare that made her cringe. She tried to shrink beneath the covers, desperate to escape the searing heat waves emanating from Sheereen. “Safoorah! Don’t be a weakling! We’ve all gone through child birth, don’t pretend like you’ve gone through more, I know you only want attention and sympathy. Sit up straight!”
Safoorah tried to pull herself up and grimaced in pain. Shireen scoffed at her, continuing her tirade, “Just look at yourself, you can’t take even a bit of pain! I told you, didn’t I, that you aren’t ready to become a mother? You don’t have the toughness it takes to become a mother, you are after all, nothing but an immature kid of nineteen years. And now you are going to raise up this child with zero parenting skills, I can already see it coming, you’ve already started by putting dates into the baby’s delicate stomach. Anyways, it’s your life, destroy it if you want to. I’ve had enough of you, the toxic people that you are, let me go back to humans who are a bit normal. I might drop in sometime later to see what new antics you are up to.” She tossed her head haughtily and marched off, slamming the door behind her.
Physically, mentally, and emotionally drained and broken, Safoorah collapsed into tears.