Sometimes in life, one comes across an individual, or special circumstances, which one finds difficult to explain or assess. This is especially true in the case of individuals. We are not always prepared to see Allah’s (ﷻ) “Hand” at work. If we understand that, then we will understand why individuals sometimes act in certain ways and why sometimes there are certain circumstances that we cannot explain.
Last Sunday, 16th January 2011, we went to a dhikr in Driftsands. At the end of the dhikr, the Imam mentioned to us that there was a young boy, perhaps between six and eight years of age, who a year ago embraced Islam with his parents’ permission. The little boy attends mosque five times a day, and for Fajr, he is there normally half an hour before the time. One morning, he did not come for Fajr and the Imam confronted him. He said: “Allah (ﷻ) is also in my house.” He is only a little nipper but made a profound statement of the Omnipresence of our Lord. Perhaps he did not even understand what he was saying but one thing he knows and that is that Allah (ﷻ) is not only in the mosque. Sometimes we learn from children, and if we want to know about our Lord, or something about Him, Allah (ﷻ) places wisdom on the tongues of young children. I still cannot believe what happened.
Many times in our relationship with people, especially since the time we came into Tariqah, we find that events occur which we cannot explain by ordinary logic. It appears that there are factors at work in these events, which are beyond our knowledge. In the case of Farouk, we have a small boy, a nipper as I call him, who takes a major step in his life by embracing Islam. Did he know what he was embracing? Did he understand what he was embracing? I do not think so. What we do know is that his heart was directing him to recite Shahadah and to embrace Islam. Perhaps even he is not aware of what his heart is up to. What is even more surprising is that after a few short months, he is able to recite Qur’an. When we come across cases like this, and I am sure many of us have come across such cases, we cannot find answers to the obvious questions.
What does a small boy who lives in a predominantly African culture, know about Islam? And what urged his parents to give their blessings and what urged the mother to come to me and ask me to pray on her behalf. Allah (ﷻ) many times shows us great things of His Guidance in small ways. Driftsands is a mainly Black township. Most of the people are quite poor but many of them have come to embrace Islam. We do not know the Workings of our Lord, although we pretend to know. We do not know why Allah (ﷻ) has sent the light of Islam into the hearts of the people living in that area. We do not know the Divine Reason. The same is the case with Farouk. Has our Lord prepared him for something very special? We do not know. We can only hope and pray. I am sure that from where we were sitting on Sunday, we were all shocked by the bewilderment on the boy’s face. He reminded me of a little dry leaf in the wind, being blown all over and unable to do anything about the direction in which the wind is blowing it.
Being a little dry leaf in the wind is what Tasawwuf is all about. We saw this exhibited in Farouk, but it was also for us! We must be prepared to accept to be like little dry leaves being blown about by the wind of Tariqah, and just as a little leaf cannot control what happens to it, so we must give ourselves over to our shaykhs and not worry what happens to us. In our listening and in our obedience we should all be little dry leaves. We should all be little Farouks.
I am positive that through Farouk, Allah (ﷻ) was teaching us a number of valuable lessons. The first, that there are no barriers of age when it comes to Allah’s (ﷻ) Guidance. And the second, our spiritual progress depends to a large degree on the extent we are prepared to listen and obey, on the extent we are prepared to become little dry leaves. Sometimes there are worries; worries that people wish to give expression to personal independence and personal decision-making; not realising that in Tasawwuf we have given our hearts over to Allah (ﷻ) and said: “O our Lord, our hearts are for Thee, do with them as Thou wishes.” This is the essence of Tasawwuf; when we lose our personal identities, discard our personal wishes and yearn to be under the Divine Will. Allah (ﷻ) taught us so many lessons last Sunday. A Christian lady comes to me and asks me to pray for her; another lesson. A Christian mother smiles in happiness because her child entered Islam; another lesson. When are we going to start to see the “Hand” of Allah (ﷻ) in our work, as He showed it to us last week? We must start to understand the importance of our work and the non-importance of our selves. It is in the discarding of our selves that we have to approach our Lord. That, all came through last Sunday. We must be deeply grateful to our Lord for all the lessons He teaches us in different ways, Subhanallah. We must show our appreciation by saying: “Alhamdu lillah”.