Saturday, 3 December 2016

Signs after signs after signs

Good evening,

Another impromptu post.

I left my home right after maghrib prayer this evening to attend a Qur'an circle in the masjid. I didn't imagine that I would come back home with so many signs and lessons.

My bus wasn't too busy considering it was the peak of the rush hour. I zigzagged through and saw that there were seats available at the very back of the bus. I sat, looked around to see who would be my sitting neighbours during this short ride, there were college students all looking down to their smartphones, there was a lady who didn't seem too pleased about something and a young Muslim girl on my right. The most important detail however, was this man sitting right opposite me. Within seconds of sitting down, I could sense a certain tension and I immediately understood why. The man in front of me was an elderly (cool grand-pa) gentleman with a silver beard that beautifully contrasted with his tanned face, a pair of neat glasses, a moustache that was shaven a few days ago and bushy eyebrows. He had his backpack on the seat next to him. I could see that everyone at the back of the bus was looking towards him, holding in their breath and it's only once I heard him recite Qur'an that I could understand the cause for this palpable tension. What a surprise it was for me though! I'm not sure if he was already reciting before I sat (most likely) or if he started when I sat but regardless, I immediately felt awe. Not only was his recitation absolutely beautiful, tajweed and warsh meshed together but depending on the meaning of the verses, he would either slow it or speed it up a little. He was in his bubble, physically here but spiritually somewhere else.

I didn't know whether staring at him would be rude but I couldn't help myself. He didn't seem to mind at all because clearly, the stares he was receiving didn't faze him in the slightest. There I received my first reminder of the evening. Sometimes, well especially when I'm back in the UK, I feel self-conscious of other people seeing my lips move while I'm reading my adkar, making dikr or reading Qur'an. I don't want anyone to think I'm cuckoo in the head and I tend to stop if people get in my close perimeter. Seeing this grand-pa doing his thing showed me that when you love something deeply, it really doesn't matter what others may think of you. Maybe all the other people on the bus thought he was mad but his reality couldn't be further from this.

(Side note: I once read a narration (but I don't recall the details) where a man was asked why he talking to himself (he was making dikr) and whether it was madness that was making him do this. To which he replied 'I am not mad but I am curing my madness through this dikr'. How beautiful is this statement?)

He was reading from Surah Ar-Ra'ad, one of the most rhythmic surahs of the Qur'an. Its meanings clear and sharp will touch any heart. I was very touched. I took out my mini-mushaf from my pocket and decided to follow along with him. If I can't read aloud, let me at least share this mad moment with you grand-pa! As I did so, some people looked towards me. I couldn't stop smiling. I felt humbled at how strong his memorisation was. Soon however, my stop arrived and I gathered all my layers of clothes in order to prepare myself to head for the exit. He was still reciting, he didn't stop once. I saw from the corner of my eye that he was also getting ready to stand up for the stop.

I got off and stood at the bus stop because I was catching a second one. He got off as well and came to me. He actually came close as if we knew each other and said something in his strong north African Arabic. I didn't catch it the first time so he repeated. I still wasn't sure what he said but I understood he was talking about money. I asked him 'do you want money?' I was so confused. Was he really asking me for money because I listened to his recitation? Surely not.. He said again 'do you have money? Check..' 

I said no. He then showed me a £10 and £5 notes folded together. I checked my pockets and I was indeed missing my money. I must have dropped them when I reached for my mushaf. I thanked him for his kindness. He remained for a bit and asked me 'la bess?' to which I replied 'alhamdulilah'. He continued with: 'is everything ok?' I said 'yes'. I opened my lips to say 'جزاكم الله خيرا على هذه التلاوة الجميلة' but he turned around and ran for his bus. I don't think he heard me. Again, for a few seconds.. my heart was so grateful for this man I bumped with on the bus. Not only was he such a great reminder for me to not be afraid of people's looks and to also keep Allah's Book close but his honesty was remarkable. While I was indulging in these thoughts, his bus drove off in front of me. I saw him smiling at me and waving energetically at me. I waved back and gave him my biggest smile. And.. I couldn't help but shed a little tear. I wished I had the chance to ask him for advice about hifdh, I'm sure he would have given me a good piece of nassiha.. God bless his soul

Little did I know that I was to receive more lessons at the House of Allah. The sister who was leading the circle decided to give a reminder. Reminders benefit the believers and I guess if you fail to benefit from reminders.. then maybe ask yourself questions? She said: 'I want to share a little bit with you from this book called Shaytan and Shahawaat'. Already, I knew this was directly meant for me. Shaytan and shahawaat are my two worst enemies in this world. She also touched upon so many of my favourite ahadith, too many for me to be able to post them here (gratitude, death, Qur'an, dikr ect). We were about 7 sisters yet the aunt was only looking at me. I'm the kind of person who looks directly into people's eyes when they talk, giving them my full undivided attention and so we had this intense eye-to-eye thing going on. She was talking to me and I'm sure my eyes were shinning.

As she finished and everyone dispersed, I remained behind. I sat on the ground.. just digesting everything. Maybe I should mention here that the past couple of days were emotional days for me. I was sad for no reason, let's just say that my repentance ritual was overdue (if you read my post on this then you know what I mean). Everything the aunt had said resonated so loudly with me.. it was a clear sign for me to restart again.

The call for Isha was made and we stood for prayer. Again, here was yet another sign. The prayer was unusually long, may Allah bless the brother who was leading because it was beautifully lead. The brother himself was feeling emotional and you could feel he was really taking his time (BarakAllahu feeh). In the second rak'at, he started reading from surah Fatir and as he reached these ayat .. his breathing became stuffed and I felt like these were talking directly to me..

''O men! Certainly the promise of Allah is true. Let not then this present life deceive you, nor let the Chief Deceiver (Satan) deceive you about Allah. Verily Satan is an enemy to you: so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his adherents, that they may become Companions of the Blazing Fire.''

As he reached this verse below, he couldn't continue due to his voice breaking and he went into ruk'u3

For those who reject Allah, is a terrible Penalty: but for those who believe and work righteous deeds, is Forgiveness, and a magnificent Reward.

I left the masjid.. with a renewed level of emotion within me. It was just incredible receiving all these sings and reminders in such a short space of time. I felt like I was being told something (from this man on the bus to the sister who was doing the reminder to the brother who lead the prayer).. these were not just all random. Thank You Lord for your signs and these lessons, I welcome them and I shall take heed..

Everyday we receive signs, some days are more significant than others but in everything and everyone is a lesson. Who will take heed? Who will pay attention? This is why I always say that we must live our lives consciously.

Be conscious, be aware...


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