To all the pilgrims headed and heading to Hajj this season, May Allah accept your Hajj! Hajj Mabrour!
– GrowMama Team
In the nick of time, he grabbed my arm.
Earlier this past Ramadan, I had the opportunity alhamdulillah to perform ‘Umrah, and despite what seems so routine for the millions of Makkah-going Muslims, every visit to that blessed place holds a unique treasure from The Most Generous that is tagged explicitly for each one of His guests. This includes the sense of awe from the Ka’bah’s majesty, the humility felt while wearing essentially your burial cloth, the sense of unity with all men and women from all walks of life, the connection to our beloved Mustafa and to our forefather Ibrahim and to Hajar and Isma’eel – and so much more. For me, this ‘Umrah visit’s treasure was a simple kind act of ONE random brother in faith because in the nick of time, he grabbed my arm.
It happened only a few feet from the Ka’bah, right after fajr as the circles of prayer rows dissolved into the quick-moving circle of tawaf. I heard the imam’s call for janaza prayer but getting safely out of the tawaf trample-path seemed like a much higher priority. Fard kifayah, I thought to myself, that can easily be fulfilled by any of the three million others around me that morning… besides, one person simply can’t stand still smack in the path of tawaf.
The imam gave the first takbeer and my heart panicked as it wrestled with my brain: Is saving myself from the unyielding onslaught of tawafers adequate reason to pass on praying for the soul of fellow Muslim? I clearly saw no other options.
At that very second, I felt a warm hand grab my arm and suddenly another option opened up. Caught off guard I looked for an explanation into the eyes of the random brother whose hand grabbed me. Why this violation of my personal space? Why me? Whose business was it to grab my arm?
Perhaps it was the physical exhaustion from staying up all night or perhaps it was the serenity of masjid al-haraam, or perhaps it was the brother’s sincerity that starred back into my eyes at that moment ….or perhaps it was simply not the right time nor place to analyze every detail. Before I could process what was going on, I found myself in what instantly became a full line of men praying janazah. The prayer finished and in an instant the moving circle of tawaf took over once again.
By that point, my mind needed a few minutes to catch up with my heart. It hit me like the weight of the Ka’bah itself along with the three million Muslims around it that day. Did THAT actually just happen??? In a split second, a random brother had changed my fate: Instead of my rushing off for what I thought was a matter of dear personal safety, an Uhud-mountain-full of thawab was suddenly mine… perhaps several mountains from The Most Generous for an otherwise forsaken 2-minute janazah prayer in the holiest city during the holiest month of Ramadan.
What a blessing NOT to have enough time to analyze every detail! I guess it took the magnitude of masjid al-haraam to cut me down enough notches to see that my never-ending analysis was actually cluttering my reliance and trust in Allah. It was like my brain was yanked back into sync with my heart.This ONE random brother who grabbed my arm reminded me of so much more that it made my brain spin: and if you attempt to count the blessings of Allah, you cannot list them.
This random brother showed me the great power of ONE. Just like Surat Yasin’s Habeeb al-Najjar hurried across the city, this one random brother’s quick decision made a huge difference for me that day. I reflected on the reward of jama’ah prayer, the reward of prayers in Makkah, and the multiplied rewards of both fard and nafl prayers during Ramadan. I thought of how feeble I felt to stand alone and yet how protected I stood once part of a full row (and quickly several rows) of janazah-praying Muslims… like the hadith’s solid wall of bricks, each brick supporting the next. I remembered that I am still part of our Beloved’s (pbuh) ummah that will never fail so long as we each stick to the greater jama’ah.
Just as I claim to be open-minded, I need to also open my heart so that if a random brother’s hand touches mine, it’s not an intrusion into my personal space nor a restriction of my movement: it’s a treasure from the Most Generous.
The random brother reminded me that even if I can’t see them, Allah is never short of other options. Taking one simple step towards Allah brings new options into view… and while it’s important to actively take steps towards Allah, it’s also great to occasionally have a brother gently push me in that direction
Finally, the random brother’s warm hand reminded me of the hadith that describes how Allah the Most Just and Merciful invites His jannah-bound servant to take the hand of his brother with him into paradise. Only a fool would analyze an extended hand into paradise.
Alhamdulillah and jazakumullahu khayran to you, dear ONE raoldndom brother for the Uhud-mountain of thawab and for all of the reminders.
Thank you dear ONE random brother for your unexpected gift of a push in the right direction. Though I had only one quick look into your eyes, I pray that we meet again, if not in this world then I ask Allah for the honor of meeting you in our aakhirah under the shade of the Almighty’s throne.
Today, I know for absolute sure that there was no random brother. He was just another Makkah-loving Muslim who is very not-randomly my true brother. I know this because Allah’s love is not random; it is endless and all-reaching. Allah’s generosity is not random; it is poignantly directed as He wills.
Please O Allah, accept my love for Your sake of my Makkah-brother sent only by You. Please O Allah take my brother’s hand into paradise and allow my brother to grab my arm again and take me with him.
Yaman Kahf migrated with his parents to the United States in 1971. Growing up through through public schools at a time before the introduction of Islamic schools, he credits (after Allah) his parents and the local masjid weekend schools for keeping him in line. He is currently the chapter president for MAS-Orange County.