Note: Sorry about the delayed post…. Been a bit crazy recently.
Please don’t forget to recite abundant Durood on Nabi (SAW) this Jumuah.
Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
The sound of the automatic blinds lifting in my room immediately awoke me, interrupting one of the most awesome dreams that I could remember.
I couldn’t remember exactly where I was, but I did remember that there was lots of food… And where there was food, there were women.
Well, it wasn’t rocket science. Those were the two main draw cards for me at any event.
I was just completely bummed that I didn’t get to the end of it.
“I need you check on the two Mayview tenants,” my father’s voice boomed from somewhere in my room. “And collect that payment from Uncle O, and tell him the other two need to be here… Yesterday! He’s taking advantage now, and if I speak to him, I’ll give him a piece of my mind. Also, the other-”
“Daaaad!” I moaned, putting my head under the memory foam pillow that I slept on.
Couldn’t I just sleep in peace?
Damn, I missed those carefree days when I had nothing to do other than kill time. Why the hell did I have to get myself involved in this crap?
“It’s nearly 9 o clock!” My father shouted, unfazed by my unenthusiasm.
9 o’clock? Was he kidding? I remembered the days when I only went to bed at 9.
“Get a move on. We’ve got things to do today!”
We do? We do. Wait. Why was I feeling like today was an important day?
I literally jumped out of bed, realising that I really did have tons of things to do today.
“Dad, I cant,” I said to my father, pulling on my vest and rushing to the dressing room.
“What do you mean, ‘you can’t’?” My father asked, sounding angry. “I’m not giving you an option. I’ll be downstairs waiting.”
I had told Mo that I would sort out the car and the sound system for tomorrow. I had to go.
“Dad, tomorrow is Waseem’s function,” I started saying, coming out with my clothes on.
I looked around at the empty room, realising that he’d already left.
I grabbed my car keys and flew down the stairs, bumping into my mother as I went down the passage.
“Don’t mention the function to him,” my mother hissed, looking worried. “He’s already in a bad mood.”
“Tell him I’m gone,” I said, not wanting to confront him.
The whole week had been spent trying to avoid him, but somehow, I still got caught up in my father’s conquests. It looked like he was trying to replace Waseem in a way, by giving me all the tasks that he used to do. The weird part was the that he never once even mentioned Waseem. With Waseem gone, it was like he had just removed him from the equation altogether. Like the blue-eyed boy had never existed.
My mother, on the other hand, seemed to be emotionless. I guess I took after her. She sometimes had moments of hopelessness, but if I noticed them, I would say something stupid and she would smile. I was good at that.
“Can I be your new favourite?” I had asked her earlier that week while munching on my Milo cereal, determined to kill the sense of uneasiness in the house.
Mum just smiled and shook her head at me.
The fridges were empty again, and so I was only left with boxed options for breakfast.
Hey, I wasn’t complaining.
I supposed no-one felt like cooking. Not even the cook that my mother usually used in the kitchens. Maybe she had given them some time off. Maybe she thought we were too spoilt, and we needed to starve a bit.
The week, even though lonely without Waseem, was not completely lost. Being the kind of person I was, I was terrified of falling into boredom again. In attempting to avoid Dad at all costs, I had decided to take a stand.
Instead of mixing with the wrong kind of people who kept on phoning me to ask if I wanted to meet up, I knew that before I gave into temptation, I had to find someone who would have my back. Mo was busy, and of course, obsessed with his wife, so I couldn’t always hang out with him.
Now that Waseem had also tied the knot, I knew that there was a possibility that the Zee would probably resort to his old ways again. It was what scared me the most, and so, I had to come up with plan to keep straight. And it must have been divine intervention, but meeting with Junaid that morning before Dhuhr at the Masjid, was just what was required.
“How’s your bru?” He said, as we stood outside the Mosque watching passers by. There was still a few minutes till Adhaan, and I pulled out a cigarrette, lighting it and inhaling slowly, taking it all in.
I know, I was trying to quit, but the task was proving to be easier said than done.
Waseem had smsed me a few one word answes during the course of the week, but from his brief responses, I could tell that he was probably having an awesome time. I mean, in his situation, who wouldn’t be having an awesome time?
“Mus’ab,” I said, remembering the name that Junaid had used for him.
“Do you want to be like him?” Junaid asked, assuming I was referring to Waseem again.
I shook my head, frowning.
“Why ‘Mus’ab’?” I asked, wanting to know more.
He looked at me, taking a pull from the cigarette I offered him.
“Because Waseem’s found Deen with the world at his feet,” he replied simply, giving me back my cigarrette.
“Even though I just moved here recently… I had already caught up with the type of guy he had always been. His spirit is like that… Mus’ab bin Umair (RA) displayed the height of sacrifice for no other reason but Nabi (SAW) and Islam.”
And then he told me the story, and I was completely blown away. In my entire youthful existence, I had never read about any of the Sahaba, and now I had come to know that there were so many, all with their own conquests and battles to face.
Mus’ab bin Umair (RA) was a definite favourite.
Most charming of the Makkans, and the most handsome and youthful. He was the flower of the Quraish, born and brought up in wealth, and grown up with its abundant luxuries. He was pampered by his parents and the talk of the ladies of Makkah. He was the jewel of it’s clubs and assemblies.
But when Makkah slept and woke, there was no other talk but the Prophet (SAW) and his religion, and this spoiled boy was one of the most attentive listeners.
The recitation of Qur’an prompted him into submission… It’s pleasure almost flung him from his seat, as he was filled with a wild ecstasy. With the Prophet’s (SAW) intervention, in the twinkling of an eye, the youth who had just become Muslim adapted a stance that would change his course forever.
Several years later, Mus’ab came upon a gathering of Muslims sitting around the Prophet (SAW). They bowed their heads and lowered their gaze when they saw Mus’ab, and some were even moved to tears. This was because his clothing was old and in tatters and they were immediately taken back to the days before his acceptance of Islam when he was a model of elegance.
The Prophet (SAW) looked at Mus’ab, smiled gracefully and said:
“I saw Mus’ab here, and there was no youth in Makkah more petted by his parents than he. Then he abandoned all that for the love of Allah and His Prophet!”
The Prophet (SAW) then went on to say:
“There will come a time when God will grant you victory over Persia and Byzantium. You would have one dress in the morning and another in the evening and you would eat out of one dish in the morning and another in the evening.”
In other words, the Prophet (SAW) prophesied that the Muslims would become rich and powerful and that they would have material goods in plenty. The companions sitting around asked the Prophet (SAW).
“O Messenger of Allah (SAW), are we in a better situation in these times or would we be better off then?”
He replied: “You are rather better off now than you would be then. If you knew of the world what I know you would certainly not be so much concerned with it.”
And that’s what the Sahaba had understood. They knew that this world was worth nothing.
It was amazing how far that this youth had come. Before Islam, he would adorn the best of clothes… A new set every day. It was said that his perfume could be smelt for miles, and with this signal, women would line up to try and win him over. Such was his stature in society… And when Islam came, it’s message still prompted him to sacrifice everything.
And by everything, we come to realise what ‘everything’ meant when Mus’ab (RA) met his end. After existing in the laps of luxury, with the finest of clothing and the world at his feet… In death, Mus’ab bin Umair (RA) had nothing but a cloth in possession when his death came.
It was over the body of Mus’ab that the Prophet (SAW) stood with great emotion. He remembered Mus’ab (RA) as he first saw him in Makkah, stylish and elegant, and then looked at the short burdah which was now the only garment he possessed. Just a piece of fabric.
When they covered his head with it, his legs showed; when his legs were covered, his head was exposed. The Prophet (SAW) then instructed the Sahabah:
“Place the garment over his head and cover his feet and legs with the leaves of the idhkhir (rue) plant.”
His journey was that. From where he knew only the world to where the world for him was just a piece of cloth… That was his sacrifice. And I never understood real sacrifice until I heard that.
The Zee’s somewhat rigid heart was actually softening as I stood there. Was I becoming a softy?
“I know his bru-in-law,” Junaid was saying. He had moved on to talk about Waseem again. “Top owe. Good family.”
It was like he was obsessed with my brother. I was used to it though.
I nodded. I was still thinking about Mus’ab (RA). And how Nabi (SAW) had promised them Jannah because of all they had endured… A small price to pay for eternal bliss.
I knew that Waseem had got the gold. I knew that he understood exactly what sacrifice meant. I mean, he had just uprooted himself from his awesome life, and left it all behind. How far was I willing to go to get it?
I rushed to the front of the Masjid as Salaah started, trying to focus on building that connection with my Lord. My zeal to acquire that concentration was always wavering… I had to start getting right by actually making my Salaah worth something. I had to start improving my efforts… I couldn’t risk going back the way that I had come.
These days, the thought of Farah and my old friends crossed my mind more than often. I took the opportunity to look for just a few seconds extra when I passed a girl, allowing my Nafs to take over. I realised that I was slowly losing track, when I didn’t try hard enough to be on time for Jamaat Salaah.
With everything and everyone around me to tempt me, it was so easy to fall back into the trap of Shaytaan… I raised my hands, humbling myself completely, hoping that someday I could reach the likes of firstly Waseem, and the the closer friends of Allah. It was a tall order, but yeah, I had to have aspirations.
Without striving, I would just remain stagnant.
I got up slowly, feeling renewed. Like the first day I had left this Masjid, knowing that I wouldn’t go back to that dark place that I had come from. Turning my body slightly as I fetched my iPhone from behind me, from the corner of my eye, a tall figure caught my eye.
I looked again, realising that I wasn’t imagining things. It was Waseem, and he was back earlier than predicted. He was only due tomorrow, so him being here wasn’t an expected thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I was psyched to see my brother, but as he got closer, the look on his face just got me slightly frantic.
“What’s going on?” I asked, not even bothering to ask him anything else.
This wasn’t good. I mean, the guy was on honeymoon the whole week… He was supposed to be looking (and feeling) like a million bucks or more. I wasn’t completely foreign to the concept.
He stopped to greet, biting his lip slightly, as if he wasn’t sure what next to say. Or maybe he just didn’t know how to say it.
“Zee, you know I love you,” he started, and I already knew this was something big.
I cocked my head to the side and narrowed my eyes, although still prepared to hear him out.
“I need your help…”