By Mumtaz Moosa-Saley
Allah tests us in different ways, but He never abandons us during the test. Allah, in His wisdom, chooses to bring us closer to Him, and patience is the answer to most of the tests. It is important then to not allow these tests to harden our hearts.
This was the crux of the Maulana’s talk during the Fajr salaah, and it felt as if these were words that were spoken directly to me. The masjid was my place of solace, but I felt a heaviness overcome me as I listened. What if my brother is at death’s door? This and many other thoughts rushed in like a Tsunami that I didn’t even realise the talk was over.
As I mulled over my thoughts, the Imam walked over and asked if he could help, as he saw I was battling with serious thoughts. He sat, comforting me as my tears flowed, and soon, I was blurting out my troubles and Allah’s test that I was enduring. I explained that I was lonely since the loss of my wife, and the thought of now losing my brother, with whom I had just mended fences, had exacerbated these feelings. And my old age was adding to my despondency.
When I finished my monologue, the Imam, who had known me since he was a young boy, comforted me by saying that the kindness of Allah was with me. He added that the test would not be easy, but it would be an expiation.
He held my hand as he explained that an older man crying was nothing to be ashamed of, but rather it reflected his humanity and compassion. Sabr was to accept that Allah had given to us or tested us with, without questioning, but full trust in Him.
The Imam, whose name my addled brain had forgotten, taught me that rather than cry about losing my brother, I should spend more time with him and make dua for him constantly. He said that when the time comes for a Muslim to return to Allah, it is a reminder.
I thanked him for his wise words, and I spent a few extra minutes making dua for my brother, but I could no longer focus and decided to return home after a while.
Each step I take toward the masjid reminds me of my late dad, who would echo that no matter where we go in life, we need to be near a masjid to pray, collect our thoughts, and converse with Allah.
Abdullāh b. ʿAbbās (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said: One day, I was behind the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) so he said to me: “O young man, I am going to teach you some words. Be mindful of Allāh, and He will protect you. Be mindful of Allāh, and you will find Him facing you. If you ask, then ask of Allāh. If you seek aid, then seek aid in Allāh. Know that if the entire Ummah were to gather in order to benefit you with something, they could not benefit you with anything except with that which Allāh has written for you. And if the entire Ummah were to gather in order to harm you with something, they could not harm you with anything except with what Allāh has written against you. The pen has been lifted and the pages have dried.”