Between Dusk and Dawn…

Some *scribble* *scribble* by Ameera

Monthly Archives: September 2007

A great loss…

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Assalam-o-alaikum.

Today, near the time for Fajr, a great soul departed from this wordly life. His name was Shoaib Tauheed and the impact he had on people’s lives was evident in the way his departure struck us all.

Professor Dr Shoaib Tauheed was Head of the Dept. of Physiology at Dow University for a long time. Not only was he intelligent (‘Google’ his name and look at the medical research-work that he’s been part of) and talented, his great heart and excellent character drew everyone to him.  Only in his forties, he was made the Head of Department and one of his own teachers was working under him. He belonged to everyone – the students, the teachers, parents, patients, janitors, clerks, peons, security guards – they all knew him like a brother, a father.

I’ve been in Dow for only two years now and I saw with my eyes how people would turn with respect to him as he humbly walked down the corridors, smiling and greeting everyone. He was perfectly in tune with Islamic teachings and never refused to help anyone. You could knock on his door with any problem and he’d never turn you down.

He’d teach us like there would be no tomorrow – hurrying from this fact to that, trying to instill in us the love of education, science and research. He’d constantly follow up on what the other teachers were teaching us, to make sure we got the right stuff. If a test date was worrying the students, he’d consult them and agree to change it if they wanted – so that they’d be better prepared. During the final exams, he’d try to sit in on as many student Vivas as possible, to support give his students support. Just seeing him sitting there, encouraging us, having such great confidence in us – it made everything seem so easy. He called us all, “Beta…” (“My child…”) with such love and affection. His aim was to mould our personalities and for that purpose, he sometimes chided us when he saw something wrong.

Professor Shoaib was a man, the like of which are not found often today. Perhaps that was why Allah(swt) loved him so much that He Wished to purify His slave of sins before calling him back. Sir Shoaib was diagnosed with colon cancer and he sought every treatment available, even going to America for an operation. Slowly, however, despite all the chemotherapy, the disease spread. Yet, he came to college between the chemotherapy, teaching, taking charge of the Department, helping us out in our petty little issues. He wrote a book on Physiology and published it in March this year – it’s an excellent book! When the cancer took his vertebrae, he could no longer walk and had to use a wheelchair. Still, he came to college and taught the First year students a month ago. He asked if we were fine and had done well on the second term tests.

His health started deteriorating rapidly and he was hospitalized this month. Students, colleagues all tried to visit him and were struck by the sight of the man they had difficulty recognizing. And yet, he asked them all how they were doing, loved to meet them and told them simply that he was in pain, that they should pray for him. My friends told me that he weighed only 24 kilograms, they couldn’t recognize him. That was why his wife, also a teacher at Dow, didn’t want his students too see him in the end, so that they could remember him as he was when he was healthy and up.

Allah (swt) must surely love this great person that He let him see Ramadan, let him pass away in Ramadan. The news struck everyone – the studies at Dow were paralysed. Students and teachers huddled together, sharing kind words for their mentor. As I write this, buses are leaving from Dow to attend his funeral prayers at a large mosque. After Zuhr, he will be laid to rest.

May Allah (swt) bless Sir Shoaib with the BEST in the Hereafter, the Jannat-ul-Firdaus. May he be in the company of the martys, the righteous…! May all his sins be washed away from him as touched hearts pray for his kind soul. May Allah enable us to always learn from him, through his legacy, through his words, and through his great morals. May Allah teach us piety and the excellence of character through people like Sir Shoaib. May Allah (swt) accept Sir Shoaib into the Muqarribeen for truly, I bear witness, that I saw in him no evil but only good. May Allah (swt) grant his family patience and fortitude in this loss, which will be greatest for them.

JazakAllah khayr Dr Shoaib for touching all our lives and may you now find the rest and comfort that you were praying for. You gave your test and we are giving ours. We saw you emulate the Prophet (s.a.w.)’s example and we pray that it will teach US to do the same! JazakAllah! And may we all meet you again in Jannat-al-Firdaus, InshAllah! Ameen! Summa Ameen!

“The Muqarribeen” (“The Close ones”) 

And those who surpassed have indeed excelled. It is they who are the close ones. They are in Gardens of peace. A large group from the earlier generations. And a few from the latter. On studded thrones. Reclining on them, facing each other. Surrounded by immortal boys. Carrying bowls and pitchers – and cups filled with wine flowing before them. Their heads shall not ache with it, nor shall they lose their senses. And fruits that they may like. And meat of birds that they may wish. And gorgeous eyed fair maidens. Like pearls safely hidden. The reward for what they did. They will not hear any useless speech in it, or any sin. Except the saying, “Peace, peace.”

(Quran: Surah Al-Waqiah, Verses 10-26)
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Praying for the best!

Assalam-o-alaikum.

Strange are the ways of us human-beings. When we want something, like an A-grade or distinction in some exam, or perhaps bigger things like cell phones, cars, homes, trophies at sporting tournaments and job promotions, we always have some sort of plan to work towards that. We know, for sure, that simply sitting at home, dreaming of such things, will never get us any where close to them. The focus is on working hard in the hope of getting there eventually.

At Fajr today (which was an hour ago really) I was praying and like so many Muslims, prayed for the highest level of Jannah – the Jannat-ul-Firdaus. That’s true, we must always pray for the best, the highest level. I remembered also thehadith in which the Prophet (s.a.w.) said that man would be with whom he loved (in Jannah).

Anas said that a man came to the Prophet and asked, “When will the Last Hour come, Oh Messenger of Allah?” He (the Prophet) asked ,”What have you prepared for it?” He replied, “I have not prepared a lot of prayer or fasting or charity for it, but I love Allah and His Messenger.” The Prophet said,

You will be with the one you love.”

(Narrated by: Imam Bukhari(Kitab Fadha’il al Sahaba: Bab Fadha’il ‘Umar ibn Khattab #3732; Kitab Al Adab: Bab Alamati hub Allah #6241) and Imam Muslim(Kitab al birr #6878-81 and 6883), Tirmidhi in his Sunan (Kitab al Zuhd), Imam Ahmadin his Musnad (Vol 3: Musnad Anas ibn Malik)

The two concepts together suddenly pointed towards the obvious – we keep praying to be in the highest level in Jannah with the Prophet (s.a.w) whom we all claim to love dearly… and yet, through our actions and efforts we often seem to have little to do with the Sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.). Isn’t that silly? How can one claim to love him and then have other ideals for life? 

Certainly, in a lot of ways, we are always trying to emulate the Prophet (s.a.w). However, we need to do a lot more. Following in the footsteps of the Prophet (s.a.w.) means more than simply praying like him or making Wudhu the way he did. In fact, in all the things that truly defined the Prophet (s.a.w.) and what he was sent with, we truly lag far behind. In most instances, as I look at my own self, we never set those ideals for us in the first place. If his Sunnah isn’t even on the list of ideals, no wonder we’re not getting there.

We need to take the Prophet (s.a.w.)’s example as a whole – his entire personality, the reflection of his character upon others and what he represented. It’s not good enough to pick up this or that aspect of his life, knowingly leaving out the others, and then claim to love him as well! Being honest here is difficult for my own-self too – I’ve been stressing so much on bits and pieces, and missing the entire point. If we take hold of the Sunnah as a whole, InshaAllah, we could hope to fulfill the criteria of Muminun. Is there truly any other way?

We’re all progressing at different levels, some further ahead on this path than others. May Allah support and expediate our efforts on this path defined and gifted by Himself, to try and aim for Jannat-ul-Firdaus. Ameen.

At Iftaar

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Assalam-o-alaikum. 

Ramadan is a blessed month certainly, full of miracles and so many opportunities to do good. Yesterday, at exactly the time the Maghrib Adhaan sounded, our doorbell rang. Thinking it was someone who’d come to with a tray of Iftaari, I hurriedly opened the door. It was actually a labourer, who was working with another in the apartment next door, fixing it up for the owners to move in.

 He passed me a plastic bottle. ‘Please give us some water in this – and two dates please.’

Now, before I tell you what happened next, I’ll narrate something that happened two hours before that episode. My sisters and I were watching Saudi TV and there was this really interesting programme on – “Eternalized Women.” The host was speaking about Ali (ra) and Fatima (ra)’s exemplary generosity and kindness. Once, this wonderful couple had sat down to open their fast in Ramadan when someone outside the door called out. It was a hungry man and they gave away all of their food to him. Instead, that evening, they opened their fast with bread and water. The next day, there was another call – this time, it was an orphan-child. They gave their food away generously, content with bread and water to break their fast. The third day, the same event occured and this time, a slave called out. Without a hint of impatience or selfishness, the charitable couple gave their food to him. Their own meal was bread and water again. The host of the TV programme said that the commentators of this narration say that the callers were actually different forms taken by the Angel Jibraeel (as), to test the patience and generosity of Ali (ra) and Fatima (ra).

 It was a story which taught a lot of lessons. The labourer who rang our bell as we had sat down to Iftaar drew such an amazing parallel with the story of Ali (ra) and Fatima (ra) that we had heard only two hours ago – it was such a good feeling, MashAllah! First, we gave the labourer dates and water. Then, my father decided we could certainly do without the jug of juice too and my sisters hastened in giving away the mini-pizzas and chicken rolls. What fun we had and how amazing we felt, for having the opportunity to emulate the Prophet (pbuh)’s exemplary household, in whatever way we could! Ofcourse, Alhamdolillah, we didn’t have to break our fast with dates and water, yet… the feeling of pure joy… I wish we could get such opportunities more often!

Also, I’d love to share this Hadith about providing food for others to break their fast:

Zaid bin Khalid Juhani (ra) narrates that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) stated, “Whoever provided food to a person who is fasting, to break the fast, his reward will be equivalent to that of the person who is fasting without any decrease in the reward of the latter.

(Sahih Sunan Al Tirmidhi Lil Albani, Vol. 1, Hadith no. 647)

May your Ramadan be just as beautiful and enriching as it is for me!

Assalam-o-alaikum.

 

 

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