By Zahra Bint Zaki
It was another calamity, another trial – just another news item that described the spilling of blood of umpteen creatures.
As Muhammad scrolled throughout the web page to learn about every minute detail of the very incident that took place, numbness paralyzed his fingers and the watering of eyes almost blurred his vision.
‘Calamities upon calamities,’ he whispered to himself.
Agitated he shut the lid, grabbed the laptop along with its case and ran towards the exit of his one-bedroom flat, as he hurriedly placed his laptop in its bag, rushing on the way. It was 8:00 am and he was already late for work.
“Mr. Muhammad al Fateh”, a voice called out from behind while he stood attentively, waiting to catch a bus to home, after spending long tiring hours of work at the office.
“Yes!” He exclaimed in surprise, as he turned around to look for who it was.
“Son, guess you accidentally dropped your Identity Card just now,” said a middle-aged man with a deep husky voice.
“Assalaamu Alaykum! JazakAllaahu khayran. That was really careless of me. Never mind, Alhamdulillah! May I know your good name?”
“Wa Alaykum Assalaam wa Rahmatullah! My name’s Ishaaq. Ishaaq Ahmed.”
“I’m pleased to meet you.”
“And me too. BarakAllaahu feek, son.”
“Wa feekum BarakAllaahu!”
“Is everything okay? I mean, I observed that you were pretty occupied with thoughts. I like your name by the way. Next Sultan Muhammad al Fateh, aren’t you? Eh?”
“Pardon me. I didn’t get you.”
“I said – perhaps you are next Sultan Muhammad al Fateh, aren’t you?” He said smilingly.
“Are you serious, Sir? Me?”
“Son…?” He questioned as he looked at a bus that just passed by them while they stood talking. It was the same bus Muhammad had been waiting for.
“Yes, you look quite similar to my son. You know… He was a medical doctor by profession, a man of vision.”
Ishaaq uttered a sigh.
Muhammad immediately turned his sight towards the middle-aged man.
“Yes, may Allah grant him Al Firdaws.”
“Ameen. I’m Sorry.”
“Got killed in Syria… He was volunteering along with his team there.”
“How hard it must have been for you… I’m sorry again.”
“It’s alright. To Him we belong and to Him shall we return. Look son, Al Firdaws is expensive. It’s not an easy bargain. It cannot be achieved in just five or ten minutes of prayers which may or may not have khushoo’. It cannot be acquired by just feeling upset over the daily news items that you scroll throughout the internet. Its inhabitants are the people of vision, of purpose – those who aspire to be like the ones who were around the Prophets, may peace be upon them all, the martyrs, the truthful ones, the scholars, and the righteous leaders.”
“Yeah, yes, right. You’re right. I know but…”
“What’s stopping you, is to pass at the blink of an eye.”
Muhammad’s thoughts rolled back into the past, the day when he had read about the great personality, the one inspired by whom his parents had given him the name.
“A man of vision he was…”
“Planning and action too,” Ishaaq added.
“Planning? Yeah, yes, yes, very well-organized planning, he was a strong young man, only twenty years old, very enthusiastic and ambitious. I remember… He was thinking of the conquest of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. This dream overwhelmed him to the extent that he would not talk about any subject except for the conquest of Constantinople. He would not even allow anyone, who was sitting with him, to talk, except about the expected conquest.”
Ishaaq smiled while Muhammad continued to talk about the great leader. A quarter of an hour had already passed, since they began their conversation.
“I also remember that the Sultan attained this victory when he was twenty-three years old. This indicated his early military genius. He also deserved the glad tidings of the Prophet, peace be upon him, who foretold that a good person would conquer that city.”
“Son…” Ishaaq interrupted, while staring at the speeding second-hand of his wrist watch.
“Is it late? Okay… Uncle, I like your watch by the way.”
“It was gifted by Khalid.”
“If I’m not wrong …, is Khalid your son about whom you mentioned just now?”
“Yes, he loved to give presents. He was generous. This one was gifted to me when he had received his first salary.”
Ishaaq continued to stare at the shiny black dial of the watch.
“Oh okay, I just got lost. Anyway, I’m so sorry. I guess I’m too late. Son, I’ll have to leave now.”
“I’m sorry I just got carried away. I’d love to stay connected to you.”
“Sure son. Here’s my number. You may ring me up anytime.”
“JazakAllaahu khayran,” Muhammad said smilingly while saving this new contact in his smart phone. This meeting surely had a purpose.
“Wa Iyyakum. Assalaamu Alaykum! And, remember the Ayah of the Qur’an – Be not sad surely, Allah is with us. And, never despair of His mercy and seek His assistance alone. It’s you who have to take a single step forward to bring up a generation of such warriors, In sha Allah.”
“Wa Alaykum Assalaam! I’ll try. I’ll keep reminding myself… from time to time. Thanks. Thank you so much.”
Ishaaq’s tall, thin figure disappeared amidst the large crowd, which rushed to climb the bus that had just arrived at the stop.
As Muhammad turned the tiny key in the lock to open his rented flat’s main door, the wise man’s pleasing recitation of the Ayah echoed in his mind leaving him introspective throughout the night.
“Be not sad (or afraid), surely Allah is with us.”
[Surat At Tawbah 9:40]
“Done,” he said to himself, as he looked at the handwritten page of the legal pad, that he had kept on his nightstand.
His lengthy introspection had yielded some fuzzy short-term goals, which he eventually managed to jot down and evaluate his position.
The ordered black-inked bullets, surfaced over the ruled yellow paper,
- Acquiring Ilm for – myself, Dawah and proper Tarbiyah for the sake of Allah
- Reviving the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him.
- Contributing in establishing mosques.
- Setting up/investing in Islamic educational institutions.
- Aid for suffering Muslim civilians/refugees
- Checking up orphanages – ensuring that at least two of the orphans are raised up and fortified with authentic knowledge of correct ‘Aqeedah and are able to execute their goals for helping the Ummah.
- Looking out for skilled poor – recruiting them at places where they can contribute to the Ummah at large and gain bread simultaneously.
- Arranging simple Nikah for the youth, especially the poor who have crossed twenties – reminding them of their goals and the purpose in life.
- Marrying a practicing Muslim woman – lover of Jannah – ardent follower of the righteous predecessors to bring up scholars, martyrs, leaders, Muslim scientific and medical experts.
Exhausted, he then collapsed himself on a hard pillow which was now carefully placed on the floor of the room, just beside a comfy bed.
“I’ll have more in there,” he said staring at the silk bed covers, while he lay on the bare floor, “I surely do not intend to miss tonight’s wonderful opportunity of Qiyam because of you. One more night, I have been blessed with, another chance to work for seeking the noble Face of my Lord.”
Slumber overtook him as he lay in darkness, while echoes of Ishaaq’s deep husky voice kept repeatedly knocking his mind.
‘Perhaps you are next Sultan Muhammad al Fateh. Aren’t you?’
Isn’t this a time to find the Hero of Islam inside you?