Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Waseem: Flames to Dust...
The more you sacrifice, the greater the rewards.
The bigger your investment, the bigger your return.
But you have to be willing to take that chance. You have to understand that you might lose it all. But if you take that chance, and if you take that plunge, the final pay-off just might be worth it all.
I could have never, for the life of me, ever imagined the feeling of isolation and displacement I had felt the first few days after I had left home.
It was only then that I truly realised how little I really had, in terms of everything. It was a pure test of faith, forcing me to make decisions that would open up doorways of opportunity and understanding.
Because, the truth was, that the minute I left home, was the moment I left my past behind, to start another era of my life. It was me breaking free, allowing myself the opportunity to really make something of myself. It was the window to the world, in a whole new perspective.
It was the early parts of the morning, and after spending most of the night just tiring my brain of thinking about where I was headed… I was finally done. I thought I was being clever when I left home.
No more, I said to myself. No more stupid moves.
Now that I had left home, it didn’t seem like such a great idea any more. I really had nowhere I could go. In a nutshell, I was completely lost.
“Some change, brother?” The shabbily dressed balded guy asked, holding out his parched hand.
I honestly didn’t keep any change on me, so instead, I offered him the garage-bought coffee and muffin that I had just bought and looked up at him, scrutinising his attire.
Here I was, feeling sorry for myself, when this guy truly had nothing. I was busy contemplating what my next move was, when this guy didn’t even know where his next meal was coming from. The amazing part was that, I was sure that if this guy just could sustain himself from day to day, without worrying about it, I’m sure that he would be content. He would just carry on.
It would be no burden for him, because just so he could survive, he would desire no more.
But mankind, as I always saw it, was faulty. The more you get, the more you want. Never satisfied. The greed that people had for money and materialistic wealth just disturbed me.
“And know that your possessions and children are but a trial and that surely with Allaah is a mighty reward.” [al-Anfaal 8:28]
My thoughts immediately went back to my father and his words to me, just the previous night. Once again, I felt angry and disappointed, not understanding it at all. I mean, he had so much, why the greed and ugliness?
It was this constant rebelliousness, despite the favours they have been given. When you are constantly in places that remind you of the world, and only mingle with people who have the same obsession, it’s only expected that you too become inclined to that. People who have no knowledge about Deen get carried away with this world, and their hearts harden. Their aspirations are only for Duniyaa.
And although being poor, or not having anything in this world was indeed a difficulty, we failed to realise the greater hardship for us here… The greater test.
Even when we are gifted with the best of everything, every favour or possession that we have in this world is also a great trial for us. What we choose to do, or how we behave because of it, is the great test. Whether it diverts us from Allah, or makes us arrogant… That’s what defines what we are.
Nabi (SAW) is reported to have said: “Every nation has its fitnah (trial or temptation), and the fitnah of my ummah is wealth.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi).
I walked back to my car now, thinking about everything that had happened the previous night. I couldn’t understand why it had all played out this way, but I knew that there was definitely a greater wisdom behind me being here right now.
It’s gonna be okay, I told myself.
I knew that I would somehow rise above, despite the feelings of inadequacy brewing again. I kept thinking back to her, the girl that I had set my hopes on, wondering if it was too far out of my reach. I kept wondering how much more restlessness I would have to endure before it all gets sorted out.
I was starting to panic. I might as well just go back home. Get my life back.
Was this just the beginning?
I pulled out a cigarette from the box I kept for ’emergency’ situations, hoping to relieve some of the tension that I felt.
I really couldn’t think of where to go. Muhammed’s house was no option because his wife was around, and it wasn’t in me to burden anyone else with my morbid stories. I always had plenty of friends and girlfriends, and tons of places to go, but I wasn’t willing to tread that path once again.
No, I wouldn’t get tempted.
I was always an independent kind of guy, and I intended to keep it that way. At this poing in time, I had no attachments. I had to emerge from this with at least my dignity in tact.
The amount of time I had on my hands now was unbelievable, with no other diversions distracting me. All I was really doing was sitting in my car and cooling off. I could have done anything with the time that I had wasted.
What are you doing? Something inside me was asking. Why waste time?
This was the opportunity. It was the perfect place for me to do what I had been aspiring for during the past few weeks.
Since Maulana Umar had become such an influence in my life, I always promised myself that I would somehow and in some way join him in his pursuit of Deen. I always wanted to see the side of life that I had never been exposed to, and never thought important. I always wanted to be part of something big. Something huge. And this was the time.
And from the moment I made that choice, I knew that I wasn’t going to go back to what I came from. The threat was lingering above me seemed to dissipate into thin air, as I made up my mind. I had a number for Molvi Umar that I SMSed to seek advice, and made my way to the Madrassah , where I knew some of the guys stayed.
Most of them were younger than me, but that was the thing when it came to Deen. As old as you were, everyone was always learning. Everybody here was in the same boat.
I roughed it out at Madrassa for a few days before I managed to find myself a place to stay. It was a simple apartment close to the Masjid, but it was mine. Mo kept on trying to convince me to stay with him, but I didn’t want to intrude on his home life.
His place was huge and dynamic, no doubt, but staying there would still mean risking it, and I didn’t want to get too comfortable. I was going for Gasht with some of the guys, and I knew that I would get lazy if I was too far away.
And then was the first call for Jamaat at the nearby Masjid, to go out for three days.
Why not? I asked myself, taking the plunge. I knew that I was waiting for this opportunity for so long. No commitments, nothing holding me back. I mean, in essence, at any time in my life I could have done this, but I’ve always had my stories. Excuses was the only thing that stopped anyone, when in fact, it was really just that. Excuses.
Beacuse the reality was this: If Allah, in His infinite mercy, can sustain the person who does not even acknowledge Him or believe in Him, and provide him with the best of what he desires… How is it possible that the same Allah cannot provide for the one who is out in His path?
Our Lord was the only one who could provide… As He did for me when I was down and out. When I had nowhere else to go, it was only Him.
Never forget it Who remained, I reminded myself. He always remains.
Of course, doing this was only a minor way to show my gratitude to the One Who had my back through it all.
So from three day, I went to forty days, with Molvi’s guidance, engaging and interacting with some of the most inspiring and committed people who were in the work of Deen. And it was mind-blowing how focussed they were. No luxury or comfort came before Da’wah. They accepted no recognition for doing what they did, because it was only in Allah’s name that they did it. Sincerity was the test always, but the only thing that could keep us focussed.
And so, involved in something worthwhile for a change, it was only when I got back did I meet Maulana Umar properly. It was only then that I actually got the guts to ask him what had been occupying my mind for those past two months. The urge that I had felt to be settled and sort out my life had only been temporarily extracted with my new lifestyle, but as I hit my homebase again, I realised that I was never going to forget about it completely.
And that’s when I decided to invite him over, to chat with him about the direction I was heading. I needed some guidance and needed to know if he could help me out by putting in a good word. Feeling like my place was less than presentable with the mere necessities, Mo, being Mo, opened his home to me, saying that it was perfectly okay to invite the Molvi Dude over.
Of course, the rest of it was now history, as all of us got over the shock of Aasiya and Molvi Umar being related. Being there and witnessing the gasp of shock that Aasiya let escape, brought another whole mystery to the whole event. I never thought I’d see a Maulana run after a woman the way he did that day, and to say the least, it was just slightly amusing.
And yeah, of course I wanted to know what the deal was, but I wasn’t the type to interfere or pry into anyone else’s business. That was the difference between Ziyaad and I. He said I didn’t care, but he cared a bit too much. I, on the other hand, just sat on the couch a few minutes after Ziyaad had left, letting it all sink in.
I heard the footsteps before I saw who it was, and finally, I glanced Molvi’s welcomed face. Yeah, he looked a bit down, but he still had it in him to give a small smirk.
“How’s it goin’, Mus’ab?” he greeted again, taking a seat opposite me.
I grinned. That nickname got me every time, and I wondered what he actually saw in me to actually befriend a guy like me.
As much as I wanted to be selfish and talk about my own problems and what was really bothering me, I realised that he probably needed someone to hear him out. Maybe he needed to talk.
“All okay?” I asked, anticipating the worst.
He nodded slowly, as if he was still thinking.
“You know what’s the best part here, bru?” he asked suddenly, looking up at me.
I shook my head, not knowing where this was going.
“The best thing here, is that my wife would have loved to meet her,” he said, looking suddenly at a loss.
Wife? Ah, yes. Molvi was married. Now, by that time I had spent a lot of time with Molvi Umar, but he hadn’t ever mentioned his wife to me explicitly. Of course I knew that there was one, but I had a feeling that there was a reason he didn’t mention her very often.
Whatever it was, I sensed there was a deep attachment. And I found that drawing me even more to my own motives for calling him here.
Besides that, now that he had mentioned his wife, I knew that it was my opportunity to mention what I needed to.
And just when I was about to, as luck would have it, at that very moment, Aasiya and Muhammed came through the lounge door. Aasiya had two bags with her, and Muhammed was on her tail, trying to clearly reason with a woman on a mission. No attachments or sweet nothings were holding her back.
“Aasiya, just listen,” Muhammed was pleading, following her relentlesssly. “Just stay. We’ll sort this out. There’s no need to leave.”
Aasiya glanced at us, and Molvi, realising the tension immediately got up, looking for an exit.
“Siya, please,” Muhammed was literally begging now, holding her back. “Can’t we just all talk this through?”
In a moment, she spun around, now face-to face with my brother, almost staring him down.
I couldn’t hear the first few words that she said to him under her breath, but the last four were pretty loud and clear.
“This is all your fault!” she hissed, her voice sounding shaky.
They rung through my brain as if they were directed at me, but I knew there was a deeper meaning and story behind the whole thing.
With that, she grabbed her keys from Muhammed’s now limp hand, turned around, and left calmly through the front door.