DaysOfTaqwa: Rebirth. Interlude1

INTERLUDE: The Jumu’ah that started it all…

Immediately he saw her, he knew.
Her countenance cemented his conviction. Furrowed brows. Slightly trembling lips. The sheen of tears glistening behind her eyes.
He just knew she came bearing bad news.
She stopped in front of him, and her hands found his, interlocking their fingers.
“My love, the results…”
“What is it?”
His voice betrayed none of his fear. He had to be strong now.
A lone tear travelled down her cheek.
Nurudeen Abiola sat in the front row amongst the congregation, listening to the Imaam’s Friday sermon. Usually, he attended Jumu’ah prayer out of force of habit. He would tune out the sermon, preferring to mentally complete tasks. Today, however, something was different.
He found himself paying rapt attention to the Imaam, hanging on his every word like his life depended on it. Maybe it was because his world had shifted on its axis barely an hour ago. Nothing was quite the same anymore.
Cancer was something that happened to other people. People he didn’t know, or only heard about in passing. Yet his wife’s words still echoed in his ears and he could deny the truth no longer.
“Brothers and Sisters, Allah has commanded us to beware and save ourselves and our families from the fires of Hell. Allah says in Surah Tahrim verse 6:
“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allâh, but do that which they are commanded.”
Shock waves travelled all over Nurudeen. Countless times, he’d heard this verse being recited/translated, and had never had such a visceral reaction to it. This rendition by the Imaam felt like he was hearing it for the first time.
Goose bumps prickled his skin as he continued to listen.
“Many of us are so occupied with the matters of this dunya, that we have neglected the deeds that would earn us our Aakirah. Fathers know not what their family members get up to in their absence. Mothers pay no attention to their children and care less about their actions…”
The Imaam’s words pierced the walls of Nurudeen’s heart and settled there like an arrow finding its mark. Was this how Providence worked? Because he was convinced that the Imaam had composed the sermon with him in mind. Every word applied to him.
Nurudeen was not an overly religious person, so he never bothered to check if members of his family prayed, recited Qur’an etc. He was beginning to regret that.
“Take heed brothers and sisters. Each of you is a shepherd over your flock. Save yourselves and your family from a fire whose fuel is men and stones. Return to Allah before He calls you back to Him to account for how you herded your flock. Ask yourself how you would like to meet Him. Would you like to meet Him in your present state? Be sincere in answering that question then do the needful. May Allah grant us all istiqamah.
With tears in his eyes, Nurudeen realised he had neglected his duty towards his family. Especially towards his children, Nusrah and Naasir.
Nusrah – who reminded him of Na’imah and Naasir – who was beginning to look and behave more and more like himself at that age.
Who knew how much time he had left to spend with them?
All of a sudden, the fog of fear and uncertainty parted to reveal a sense of clarity and he could see this life as it truly is. A mirage. A fickle thing. The things that used to matter so much- his work, the money, the status – all seemed so trivial now.
The things that truly mattered, were the people in his life. And the meeting with Allah.
He vowed to not let the diagnosis limit him. To fight and make things right before his time came to an end.
For in the face of his looming mortality, there was a ray of hope. A possibility of an end well achieved.
Nurudeen already answered the Imaam’s question. And he knew exactly what to do to change it.
© Hafsah bint Nurein

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