[Captured above: the sunset on the tea plantations on my trip to Malawi]
Tuesday, February 26 2019
2:28 am: I woke up to the moon smiling at me. My heart beat faster as I remembered the Creator of this moon, and strangely, the sight reminded me of death. I quickly got up and made ablution. Now an hour later, I sit on my bed next to my window. The night is still. The air is crisp. And the moon stares back at me glowing with beauty.
Days and nights are passing us by. The moon shines at night and disappears by dawn. The sun rises and sets. And our lives are inscribed by the angels on our right and left . Raqib writes the good. Atid writes the bad. Every day and every night is a blessing. A sign. A lesson. Every day and every night is a chance to love Allah, our Creator. To worship Him. To learn about Him. If only we took a moment to remember Him. To think and ponder as we hustle through our busy lives.
2:45 am: the moon is beaming at me.
Yesterday, at 8:45 am: in Usul Al-Fiqh class (Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence) we learnt about the circumstances of the Arabs before the message of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Initially, the Arabs were upon the shariah (law) of Prophet Abraham and Ismail peace be upon them, built on tawhid.* Many of them were illiterate, many of them could not read or write. However, their illiteracy did not mean that they did not have knowledge. Their language was powerful, pure and crystal clear. I remember another teacher of mine explaining it to me many semesters ago.The Arabs would look at something that would amaze them, and right there on the spot, they would be able to describe it in the most eloquent lines of poetry. They had a place they called ‘souq ukath’, or ‘the Market of Ukath’, where they would share their poetry. The best poems were then written down and hung on the Kabah and were called The Mualaqat.
Yesterday, at 10 am: once my class ended I headed to the mosque. I decided to take a nap before my next class in order to be fresh and alert for it. In my sleep I had a dream. I dreamt of two of my friends- Khadeeja and Afaaf texting me, warning me to be careful because they had once slept and ended up over sleeping, missing the class. I woke up.
Yesterday, at 11:27 am: there were 3 minutes until my class – Introduction to the Sciences of Quranic Reading. As I rubbed my face to remove the sleepiness from my eyes, I saw light bouncing from the mosque’s colourful glass window onto my shoes. The reflection of light looked beautiful. And how beautiful it felt to know that my feet would be walking to a gathering of knowledge by the permission of Allah, so I made a supplication. I took a picture, put on my shoes, and rushed to class. At the entrance of the classroom, I met my friend Khadeeja. “You were sleeping weren’t you?” She asked me. She smiled as I shared with her my dream.
Yesterday, 12:02 pm: in The sciences of Quranic Recitations, we learnt about the famous reciters among the companions of the Prophet peace be upon him. We learnt about how Abu Bakr peace be upon him contributed to the preservation of the Quran and the recitations through having memorised it, reciting it frequently, being an Imam and having been the first to compile the Quran in writing. Once, Abu Bakr had recited the entire Surat Al Baqarah (the longest chapter in the Quran) in the two rakahs of Fajr salah. After the prayer, he was told: “ the sun is about to rise.” So Abu Bakr peace be upon him said: if it rises, we were not from the ghafileen (those who are heedless and don’t worship).** “What does the word harees (حريص) mean oh ustath?” One of the students asked. Harees means to be very concerned. For example, (فاطمة حريصة في طلب العلم) Fatima is hareesah (very concerned, keen and eager) in knowledge seeking, she always writes notes, asks questions, and reads. Although my teacher was using my name hypothetically, his example made me happy. And so I made a supplication.
Yesterday, at 2 pm: in Ahadith Al Ahkam (Legislative Texts of Hadith) we revised the different types of Hadith books and watched a discussion (in the Egyptian Arabic dialect) about the famous hadith- every action is by its intention. The Sheikh mentioned how someone who understands and applies this hadith will always be in a peaceful state of mind and their hearts are always content as everything he or she does- great or small- if done for the sake of Allah can have reward in it.
Yesterday, at 3:30 pm: in the next class, our teacher discussed one of our assignments. We had to study and translate a book from Arabic to English, and prepare a presentation relating what we studied to Tadwin Al-Sunnah (Recording of The Sunnah). My professor (who calls us his children) emphasised that we should not be exam-oriented students aiming for a certificate, but that knowledge should get us closer to our Creator. He reminded us to ponder about everything we see around us- the signs Allah has placed for us. That is how we gain true knowledge. He then went on to explain how most of us will aim for the certificate, then the job, then the car, then the house…”I teach parenting (a co-curricular subject), and most of you won’t even be wanting to get married at that point, am I right?” Then he said: “Except Fatima.” I don’t know why he mentioned me, but my friend Afaaf and I looked at each other in amusement, and I made a supplication.
Yesterday at 6 pm: the sunrays shone warmly on my face as I stood by the sink on my dorm balcony, washing vegetables in preparation for dinner.
Yesterday, at 7:27 pm: the sun set, the maghrib athaan called worshippers to prayer and success, the sky was destined to be cloaked in black and the moon was destined to appear. The day was over.
I started writing this at 2:28 am. It’s 4:02 am now. One and a half hours of my life has passed by. This is life. Life is short. And yet filled with Allah’s light and mercy. I stare out at the moon as the crickets chirp outside. It is the last third and most precious part of the night.*** And so I make a supplication. Allah is An-Nur (The Illuminator). And He placed a light inside of us. Never give up on that light.
P.S. I need your feedback! Did you like reading about the things I learned during my day? Would you like more posts like this? Comment below!
*Tawhid: belief that God is One with no partners
** Arabic reference:
روى الزهري عن أنس أن أبو بكر صلى الصبح، فقرأ فيها البقرة في الركعتين، فقيل له حين سلم: كادت الشمس تطلع، فقال: لو طلعت لم تجدنا غافلين
*** The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the night remains and says: ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer Him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will seek My forgiveness, that I may forgive him?’”
[Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim]