Sunday, 7 February 2021



    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.”

The landlord, 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.

Saturday, 16 January 2021



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.

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