Sep 25, 2014

THE HARAM DIARY (PART 4)

By Syed Faraz Luqman

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Bismillah

Day 4: Ramadhan 23st 1433 / August 11th 2012 

“Sometimes there is no better therapy than a deep, long, heartfelt cry”

My nose is a war-zone right now. A war-zone after ceasefire. The cold started a couple of nights ago, possibly due to the wuzu made with cold zamzam at the taps. Yesterday it was pretty heavy on me. Tissues borrowed from neighbours didn't survive more than a few seconds of my onslaught. For lack of better options, my used Ihram is on handkerchief duty until further notice.

Friday taraweeh was fine. Crowded but fine. Didn't get much sleep to start with.
The Ethiopian uncle went to the hotel on Friday night. Came back today noon. After Asr today he went out to the supermarket and brought extra stuff for everyone in our saff. He brought laban, olives and cheese for everyone, and as a special treat to me, he brought me a small bottle of juice. I smiled, thanked and refused as politely as I could but he gave me a stare and mumbled in pretence anger and stuffed the bottle in my hand, made a shhhh noise and forced me to drink it. He’s pampering me like a papa bear.

During yesterday night’s Qiyam al Layl though, I started feeling weird. My nose was already on high mutiny, my eyes joined in and as soon as I stood for salaah and closed my eyes in qiyam, I felt a wave of heat in my eyes. Immediately they began watering. It wasn't tears, it was like a hot fever had hit my eyes and they were tearing up to cool them. A slight headache joined in and I felt faint. I thought it was because of the lack of sleep. As the prayers progressed, the pain went from bad to worse. I felt like energy was being drained out of my head and wanted to rush to the washroom, no idea why.

After the 6th rakaah I almost ran, but then stayed listening to the voice in my head. Maybe it would get better. It didn't.

From 7th rakaat to the 10th, it got still worse. When Witr started, I was ready to faint and crash. I was sure it was evident because both Baba and Ali were looking at me with concern and asking me if I was okay. I begged Allah for no fever..not here..not now.. I stood there unsteadily in salaah and tried to pay attention as much as possible.. my eyes were burning, my nose was irritated and my head was spinning.

And then the Imam went into ruku, stood up and began the duas, and in a few seconds I broke down into a torrent of tears. The mad rush of tears which were partly conscious (towards the duas) and partly unconscious (from the uneasiness gripping my body) kept me on my feet. As soon as the Salaams were done, I felt a wave of relief pass over me. Like someone had lifted a hot blanket off me just as a cool breeze washed in. I felt calm, composed and my illness, whatever it was, had subsided. All thanks to the lord of the worlds.

I slept peacefully after Fajr. A few minutes before Zuhr azaan sounded, I woke to the smiling faces of 2 Indonesian brothers. One of them, for no apparent reason, whipped out a camphor oil and rubbed it on my hand and told me with a smile to smell it. That was heavy heavy stuff. I felt the irritating blockages clear from my nose all the way to my throat. I looked at the oil, it was an aromatherapy oil from their home country. I didn't even tell them I needed it, I'm sure they didn't even know I needed it…but for some strange reason, they gave it to me, I used it and it worked like a charm.

This place is wonderful in every sense of the word. SubhanAllah.

I thanked the brothers. They were from a place called Reoh in Indonesia, I told them I was from India…and in response to that, they looked at me with a big smile, pointed at me and said, “You are Shahrukkaaahn”

I laughed at the ridiculous comparison and of him being all they knew about India. They left after taraweeh. MashaAllah…Allah sends help in the most beautiful and unexpected ways.

After my special iftar today, I went to the mataaf area for a nafil tawaaf which I’d been putting off for awhile. It was really crowded but saw some amazing acts of kindness amidst it all.

- People were spraying the tired and sweating faithful with cool zamzam from the outer perimeter of the tawaaf
- Some pilgrims were walking around the tawaaf area just picking up thrown tissues and date seeds and plastic cups
- Some people quietly handing in money to the cleaning staff who were walking around in the tawaaf too cleaning as they go
- People helping older people whom they don’t even know.
- Old people and children locked in the same energetic trance of worship as the younger ones.

Its nice to see the people treating the masjid with respect and personal affection mashaAllah.

Witnessed something amazing after this.
It was probably my 2nd or 3rd round. Through the crowd I noticed a small clearing ahead and one African gentleman with a yellow prayer cap was in the middle of it. As I passed him I saw that he was blind. He was performing tawaaf alone..with his cane tapping about…Blind !! A few people tried to hold his hands, offering to help him complete the tawaaf. He smiled and refused and said he was fine. And let go of the hands and carried on..alone.
The thought is still driving me crazy.

The area of tawaaf (mataaf area) is deep inside the masjid. How he got through the city, through the massive courtyard, through 2-3 massive hall layers to get into the mataaf area baffles me beyond all known reason. Even in the mataaf area, the tawaaf begins from a specific point in the circle and ends there…and this place is completely filled to the brim with people from all over the world..

Here’s a man, blind, weak and frail of old age, praying and thanking Allah through a high form of worship, which he can skip owing to his disability. But he chooses not even to acknowledge the disability, going so far as to refusing help of willing people who’d gladly help him throughout the whole tawaaf and continuing his prayers. I had tears of shame at how, despite being blessed with a good pair of eyes, I lacked the piety, gratitude, determination and a smiling face in the face of what I’m sure he regards, is a minor setback… Wow!

And just to knock this lesson deeper home, after a couple more rounds, I saw another clearing but this time didn't see anyone in the middle of clearing. I heard a grinding sound and looked down to see a man, with no legs, sitting on a skate board with 2 cogs in his hands to propel himself forward, reciting duas as he performs his tawaf. He made the ubiquitous call of “Tareek tareek (an expression to excuse yourself or make way for you)”. He looked up at me as I stepped aside, smiled at me and said, “BarakAllah feek” (a way to say, Bless you) and slid away chanting prayers and smiling.

He was hardly 2 feet and easily stood a chance of being trampled, kicked or knocked off the board, but he doesn't give up. He pushes through and prays. It ashamed me further and no less thankful not just for a pair of eyes, but legs as well.

Again, this man got through from the city streets, through the hallways, found ways around the many stairs and hundreds and thousands of people to come and pay his dues.

Sheer awesome piety. I wonder what a man should go through mentally, physically and emotionally to get that level of piety, obedience and gratitude to Allah. To look life’s seemingly unfair terms and still be grateful, hopeful and filled with love for his Lord.

And here I was, feeling good about myself for standing through one night of prayer with what wasn't even a small fever.

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I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


2 comments:

Mashallah, I'm really loving this diary as it reminds me of my journey in 2012... Felling a real snse of "homesickness" as I read this diary. Jazakallah khair.

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