We didn’t quite have the Sunday Open Thread ready, so we thought you would enjoy the 2nd part by Tariq. Feel free to use previous Sunday thread (link here) to add any new topics. -Editor
Part 1: What Do You See?
[posted by abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed]
Innalhamdolillah, wa bismillah, was salamu alaykum.
Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah
Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.
The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.
Instant re-cap: “millions of white dots, distracted by black dots, Hajj ruined! (naudhobillah)” Remember?
The story resumes right where it left off — me, terrified (on the inside, but stoic on the outside) that I might be haunted by black dots.
“Haunted by black dots? Is this some kind of Jinn-Hajj story?” Audhobillah!
I mean haunted the way a mistake you make once (or many times) might sneak up on you even after you try to leave it. While there are some mistakes a person can tell you about once, and you never repeat them, alhamdolillah, those are not usually the kind of mistakes that can ruin your Hajj or your life. May Allah strengthen me and all of you, and every Muslim, in our resolve to improve our ibadat and character for His sake. And may He accept all my repentance and yours. And may He be pleased with you and me. Ameen.
Shaykh Muhammad had said that the black dot in the midst of millions of white dots might ruin my Hajj if I let it.
And I did not know how to save myself.
So I was scared.
Alhamdolillah, it’s okay. :) As I recall, what came next was also scary.
Shaykh Muhammad asked each of us to think about the one thing we would most hate to have happen during the next few weeks (we had seventeen days, alhamdolillah, in the Haramain). The thing that, if it would happen, we would surely lose control of our emotions.
“It will happen.” (He was not smiling.)
He continued, “Hajj is a test. And this thing that would make you lose control, I guarantee that if it could upset you, it will happen on this trip. You will be tested.” (I was not smiling either.)
Whatever people think might be their personal disaster: the bus getting lost, lines for the toilet, food issues, or even something like losing your seat on the bus or losing your luggage — he said we had to realize that the reward of Hajj is so great because every person is challenged.
Being patient when everything is going smoothly is not a challenge. Compared to the generations that came before us, our challenges may not seem like much, but the sad fact is that many Hujjaaj will sacrifice their ajr over something like a bus driver who took the wrong turn. Or a meal that was cold instead of hot.
And my Hajj was in danger from black dots.
If the story had stopped when we realized the presence of millions of white dots that go unappreciated all around us, or if the story had stopped right here… I would have been lost, wAllaho’Alim.
Did you think I was getting ready to make you wait for “part 3”? Maybe you need to look for more white dots. ;)
Shaykh Muhammad asked us all, “What will you do when someone wants to talk to you about a black dot? When someone wants to complain to you? They want you to agree with them, but if you say something bad, it may destroy your Hajj, so what are you going to do?”
“You put on a big smile,” and mashaAllah, he had a huge smile on his face. :)
“And you start, ‘Lubbaik, Allahumma, lubbaik. Lubbaika, laa sharika laka, lubbaik. Innalhamda, wan-naymata, laka wal mulk, laa sharika lak.'”
Shaykh Muhammad told us, “You can’t risk your Hajj trying to talk someone else out of his frustration because if he is stubborn, he may start abusing you, or you may lose your temper with him for not acting better — and then you’ve both lost!
So, whenever someone comes up to you and starts complaining, give him a big smile, and start making the talbiyah. He’s only going to have two choices. Either he can stop complaining and join you — which means you’ve earned the ajr of encouraging what is good and discouraging what was bad! Or he’s going to be frustrated with you, too, and leave — and that’s his problem.”
Alhamdolillah, I was traveling with my parents, so I was the third of three. On every bus ride, the seat next to mine was empty. And one particular brother from our Hajj group almost always took that seat. He’s a good person, mashaAllah. But somehow I always found myself answering him with my own big smile plus talbiyah.
How did I do? Allah Knows, but I received a hint in the Abu Dhabi airport on our way back from Hajj. My bus-buddy told me I was the nicest person he had ever met, and he was glad he had made Hajj with me. I am still surprised to this day (other people on my bus would ask me to lower the volume of my talbiyah). So I asked him why he had said that. He told me I never complained even once during the trip. :D
We cannot exactly make talbiyah every day of our lives, even if it feels really good. :) Could you just imagine it, though? Like in New York or London: busy Muslim commuters, walking through crowded streets, focusing on white dots by constantly making talbiyah with wide, happy smiles on their faces?
But wouldn’t you want every day of your life to feel like you had just successfully completed Hajj?
To me the key is in the talbiyah itself: Lubbaik, Allahumma, lubbaik. Allah is the One on Whom you call. (If you are haunted by quotes from history, TV, movies — treat them all like black dots, and just call on Allah.)
Emulate the Prophet Muhammad sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam, and keep the dhikr of Allah on your lips. It’s amazing to me how easily you can avoid saying something unpleasant. Have you ever said to someone in anger, “Alhamdolillah, you ____________.” I think it would literally tie your tongue. I’m not even sure it is possible to say something in anger if the first words out of your mouth are “alhamdolillah.”
“Innalhamdolillah,” might let you launch a tirade, though, so keep a smile on your face, too. ;)
Finally, many people will look at you funny if you do not add “alaa kulli haal.” Maybe those people never read the story of the king whose vizier always said “alhamdolillah.” Have you? ;)