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“They who shall not cry”

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In the name of the Almighty, the Beneficent the Merciful
“Only the patient will be paid back their reward in full without measure” (Quran 39:10)


During the past two weeks and in fact up till this moment, I have learnt and still continue to learn hard lessons in life and living. I have learnt and continue to do that there is a world difference between giving sermon and receiving sermons. I have learnt, and still continue to do, that the easiest vocation in life is that of a counselor; that the hardest position in life is to be a witness to a tragedy in which the beloved is the victim.

He is a young boy in the dawn of life. She is a girl just discovering the beauty of existence. Suddenly death came calling. He answered the call, the last call, just like the first call, by force. But unlike that other place when the death of the beloved led to the question- “why him and why me”, the bereaved, male and female, could only mutter, inna lillaah wa inna ilayhi rajiun- to the Almighty we belong; back to Him shall be our return.

Whenever death takes away the beloved, the lover feels such a pain only the bereaved could describe. My Sister, nothing can describe the pain of loss other than the pleasure of gain. We live in the knowledge of death as inevitable; we live life in constant and wilfull denial that it could be you or me or any of the beloved. We are usually forgetful that appointment with death is usually not about age; that passage into eternity is not a function of status or race; that departure from life into another life is not because he is closer to the Almighty or farther away from Satan. How forgetful indeed we are that the child is old enough to die the moment he takes his first breath in life; that the ‘taste’ of death is as ‘sweet’ as the taste of life. However unlike living, only the dead could describe what and how it feels dying.

The past couple of weeks have been very particularly instructive. It has been restorative of the Prophetic tradition. I remembered, once again, that in order for them to be Prophets they were taken through the crucible and furnace of tribulation. Prophet Muhammad emerged as the exemplar not only because he received the best and delivered the best of the messages, he equally experienced the best of earthly trials and emerged on top. He had six children in the first instance. He ended up burying all of them while alive. He was succeeded by one of his dearest daughters. Fatimah, the beloved daughter of the Prophet was “happy” the moment her father breathed his last in the knowledge that she was going to be the first of his household to join him in eternity. Around six months thereafter she bid the world bye.

While pondering the above, the thread below came my way. The fish one day told the sea: “You can never see my tears, because I am in the water.” The sea responded: “But I can feel your tears, because you are in my heart”. No other entity but the Almighty can really feel the way we feel. Whenever he visits us with what we dislike, it is because He desires for us something greater particularly if we are patient with Him. Consider the following story.

Arwah bin al-Zubayr’s leg was cut because of the disease which he suffered, and on the same day the dearest of his seven sons died. He died as a result of a kick he received from one of his father’s horses. Arwah said: “Allahuma laka Al hamd, Inna lillaahi Waina Lillah Waina Ilayhi Rajiuun.” -O! Almighty, to you belong all praises! To the Almighty we belong and to Him our Return”. He gave me seven sons and He took one. He gave me two legs and two hands and He took only one leg. Whenever the tests us with calamities, He forgives our sins thereby. And whenever He takes away something from us, He always gives back something better. I ask the Almighty to join us together in paradise”.

Days thereafter, Arwah entered the house of a Khalifa, and met an elder man who was blind and had scars all over his face. The Khalifa said: Oh Arwah ask this shayh about his story. Arwah asked him: “What is your story, Oh Shaykh? The Shaykh then responded: O! Arwah do you know that I was living in a valley?
In that valley there nobody was richer or more prosperous than me. One night it rained heavily and flood water destroyed all properties. I also lost all my children except a small baby and a camel. At sunrise the following, my camel suddenly took off and ran away and I immediately decided to run after it. I had not gone far when I heard the scream of my baby. I turned back and saw the baby’s head in the mouth of a wolf. I tried to save the baby but I could not as the wolf had torn him apart. As I was going away the wolf hit me lightly on my face. This is the reason I lost my eyesight and my face got disfigured. Arwah asked him: What did you say after all this, Oh Shaykh? The Shaykh replied: I said: Allahuma Laka Alhamd -to you belong all praises: You left with me a heart and a tongue which will always mention You. This is the real patience”.

I then reminded the bereaved in the self and other: calamities become lightened when we take solace in Him, the Almighty (Quran 2:214); tribulations become disquisitions when we seek other authorities beside Him as if they could by themselves cause the sun to rise at dawn. Brethren, trials would come not from any other source but from and in that in which and from which we derive pleasure and happiness. It is they who shall not cry, those who have no earthly attractions; she would be enarmoured against the vicissitudes of life she who is free from earthly desires and aspirations. May it pass you by such calamities as would invalidate the essence of your being.

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Afis A. OladosuQuran
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