By E. Nigma
I went into the Prophet’s mosque in Madinah for Fajr prayers and took my seat next to an elderly man. After completing a Sunnah prayer, I faced him and extended my hand in the universal greeting of peace – a handshake. He asked if I could speak English and I nodded with a smile. He expressed relief at being able to meet someone who was able to speak English before he began telling me about his children and how they are doing at the moment. Obviously, he was one proud father. The man was from South Africa and was going to be in Madinah for 13 days after spending the last 13 days in Mekkah.
He then asked about me if I was married to which I said I was not. After the azan rang around the historical city, both of us rose to pray another two rakaat that the Prophet described as being better than “the world and all that is in it”. I noticed the man completed his prayers quicker than I could do mine but after he finished his, he stood up and performed another prayer, but this time it was at a slightly slower pace.
After he finished the second prayer, he tapped my leg and told me that he had just prayed for me to have a good wife. If I wasn’t already seated, I might have collapsed to the floor. This gesture of kindness filled my heart with all sorts of love. A man whom I may never meet again, whose name I may never know had just prayed for my wellbeing. He said if I had a good partner everything else will turn out fantastic in life.
A few years before this incident, I was jogging around my neighbourhood and as I was jogging past a man, he asked, “Why are you jogging? You’re already good!” Another random act of kindness that has me remembering it to this day.
I received a text message from a friend telling me how they enjoyed reading my work which made my day last week, and the week before that, a good friend of mine gave me a very detailed compliment that had me frolicking in flowers.
The heat in Saudi Arabia in the middle of the day can increase up to 50 degrees Celsius and if you are not quick enough, you will not be able to find shade to perform Zuhur prayers. As I was praying under a tent outside of the Mosque in Mekkah, an old man who was dressed in only a cloth wrapping his belly button and below came in front of me and sat down. The man seated next to him made space so that he wouldn’t have to be sitting directly below the scorching sun.
After the prayer ended, another Good Samaritan approached him and handed the old man a prayer mat before walking away.
I encountered numerous acts of kindness around Mekkah and Madinah during my two-week stay in the holy land but of course also acknowledged flaws in the Muslim society, the main problem being education.
Educated people would not litter and they would be patient, observing universal common courtesies such as queuing up, and not pushing other people out of their way in large crowds.
That is a whole different story though.
All these aside, kindness is what I could observe in people and how my people are kind, my people like helping other people, and my people pray for the wellbeing of their brothers. A lot of kind people understand that it costs nothing to be kind but being kind will only have the world for you to gain.
From what I have seen though, kindness and love still live in most people, albeit clouded by a slight ignorance and certain experiences in life that might have us questioning the existence and power of love.
It is of course perfectly alright to question what love is because if you go searching for the answer, you will find it in Our Lord who is the most loving.
In the words of Mumford and Sons, “Love will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, it will set you free, be more like the man that you were made to be.”
(This article is written by a final year student from Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences. For reasons known to him, he prefers to remain anonymous.) ***