Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Assalaamu’alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh
How goes inshaAllah? How for art thou? I pray you’re all in the best of health and emaan, aameen.
Ok i’ll be quick inshaAllah [well, as quick as i can; bear with me, i talk alot.]
Aarghh.. you know when you really just gotta say something? and you keep intending to and you keep intendin to and then you just dont get round to it and finally you force yourself to sit down and GET ON WITH IT.. well.. this would be that moment…and i’m not sure where to start.. =/
There’s a lady…
… a Muslimah; 80+, in ailing health. no. that’s not where i wanna start.
i wanna start by saying i need your help.
then i wanna start by telling you a story i once heard, about abu bakr and umar [ra]. the story goes that there lived an elderly blind lady on the outskirts of madinah, who umar would go to see daily with the intention of fulfilling any needs she may have. however, whenever umar [ra] got there, it always transpired that someone had beat him to it, and met the old lady’s needs. one day, umar [ra] decided to wait and see who this person was that always beat him to that most noble deed. of course, it was none other than abu bakr as siddique [ra].
Now, although badly told, this is a beautiful story, and one that has stayed with me for a long time. suffice to say, abu bakr and umar always competed in the lifetime of the prophet [salallaahu 'alayhi wasallam], striving to be the first to reap the rewards of the good deed.
Well amongst us today, alhamdulillah, Allah [swt] has presented us with a similar opportunity inshaAllah, to strive and compete for the good deed, and to hope for the munificent bounty of Allah azza wa jal, by seeing to the needs of an elderly Muslim lady living in East London.
The lady was a regular attendee at the Masjid, and would spend long hours in the house of Allah, praying with the congregation and joining in acts of worship. In more recent months however, the lady’s health deteriorated quite significantly, and she stopped showing up. Long story short, I, with the help of a dear and noble friend, Allah be well pleased with her, aameen; have managed to trace the grammy down.
Her story is that her only son has gone abroad with his wife and children, and she is pretty much confined to her home. I have been seeing her as much as possible over recent weeks, going from jumu’ah to jumu’ah to a) spend time in her wonderful company, b) to see if i can tend to any needs, and c) to try and recreate the atmosphere of the masjid in her home, as much as i can.
SubhanAllah, she’s amazing mashaAllah, in her fervor and love and attachment to Allah and His Remembrance. I recite and she corrects my tajweed, she looks forward to my engaging in some Qur’an recitation with her, she loves to recite memorized Surahs to you, and occassionally she breaks out in random du’aa and you just sit there and think, aaaaaammmeeeen!! SubhanAllah.
All this is despite the fact that i do not speak the same language as her, i understand very little of what she says, apart from her popular phrase “we oldman ladies..” – referring to herself whenever i try and force more food down her! Oh, and her memory is deteriorating more and more everyday; each time i go i kinda reintroduce myself and give a quick overview of my life. its not so bad, at least you never run out of conversation, ha ha!
Anyway, enough of the anecdotes…
The facts inshaAllah:
a) She’s old, ill, in-need and getting more and more dependent everyday.
b) Where’s her family? and when’s the son coming back!? good question.
c) she has a carer..who is a bit of a con and bit of a thief from what i understand. she’s abroad now, but when she was around, Grammy said she seldom shows up, doesn’t do much, is ‘bad’ etc etc.
Ok, ok. i’m tired. it’s late [ish]. Here’s the thing; I’m riddled with shortcomings, as you can probably figure from this. The thing is, its a bit of a tough one. My base is in West London, Nani lives in East London, and I live outside of London. So i can’t really go see her very often, i try from jumu’ah to jumu’ah, as i say, but i’m riddled with shortcomings, as i say, so that doesn’t always happen unfortunately.
More than that, however, the problem is, the lady needs to be checked up on, in person, more than once a week. Her condition is worsening, in health and living conditions, more and more. Last week i showed up to find her looking weaker than i’d last seen her [two weeks before], and went into her living room to find rotten food sat in front of her on the table [dunno how long it'd been there].
She’s living on tesco wraps which she has with banana/sugar, and makes do like this. the first time i went her kitchen sink was all blocked up and her drains were overflowing into her kitchen and then bathroom. disgusting, right?
What I need..
What i need is for you to
a) not panic and get the wrong idea. don’t think this is some random scraggly haired biddy stuck in some grimy hole; the sight and smell of whom will revolt you. no – you couldn’t be more wrong.
Let me tell you something, and i apologize beforehand if in my passion i get a little aggressive here; but none of us has the guarantee that we’re gonna make it to 80+ years of age, let alone to be that old and to have your heart tied to Allah; let alone, to be that old, and to ONLY be kept from the masjid and praying in congregation day in day out, because ill-health has rendered you so weak that you can’t even lock your door.
She is mashaAllah, a very clean and presentable person, with good habits, manners and much kindness pouring out from her.
b) i need 2-3 people, to read this, sift through the waffle, extract the relevant bits, and see that i need you to volunteer. i need you to go and see the lady once a week inshaAllah, and to see to her needs. All i want is for you to go and give her company for an hour or two, to sit and talk with her, read some Qur’aan with her, pray in her home – just recreate the feeling of the masjid the best you can inshaAllah. If she’s empty on food, please just get her some fruit, milk, wraps – basic necessities - and i will reimburse you any money inshaAllah.
Since i aim to go on a Friday, ideally i want someone to go on Sunday, and someone else on Tuesday, and someone else on Wednesday/Thursday – just so that there’s people regularly checking on her well being inshaAllah.
Please please find it in your hearts to make that time, and to find that generosity within you, and to sincerely want to do this for the sake of Allah.
I do not ask you for the lady’s sake, for I know that her affair is with Allah, and I know that Allah [swt] does not desert His slaves, and He is sufficient as Protector and Guardian over those in His care. And whose care is better than Allah’s care?
But I want to make something clear inshaAllah. This is a communal obligation that this community of Muslims is massively falling short in, amongst all the other things the Muslims unfortunately fall short in. She is one lady, and this is one case. but there are many, many other people out there. and in reality, it’s a shame on us, a shame you and a shame on me, that our elders’ are in such dire conditions; that someone is an attendee at a masjid for years, and is known to the people there, for she is there day in day out, with every congregation and every Jumu’ah prayer. and yet, one day she stops showing up, and apart from a couple of queries, nobody has bothered to take the time to find out where this upright Muslim has gone, what has happened to them, what condition they are in. really, it is a shame on us. and we need to take heed and reflect and think deeply about this, and we need to recognize, that Allah [swt] is with us as we are with His slaves. so we need to take a good look around us and see how it is that we take care of the rights of His slaves, how we show mercy to His creation, how quickly we hasten to fulfill the rights of fellow Muslims; we need to take a good hard look at ourselves, and think about this.
a) i apologise profusely and sincerely if i sound condescending, or obnoxious or rude [or any other polite expletive you can think of]. i apologise for the length of this – my niyyah was to keep it short and sweet, make a ‘pithy point’ as Mr Connor used to say. But as Mr Connor would vouch, i talk alot!
b) Please hasten to the good deed. If you are a sister who’d like to help, get in touch inshaAllah. Brothers, if you have a sister, wife, mother who you think would be willing to help, please have them get in touch with me asap.
c) Just a heads up: yes, there will be times when you’re knackered, and you’re gonna think, ‘really, can’t i give it a miss this week? I’m sure she’s ok..and i’m so shattered..’ This is only natural, we are only human, and any striving for the sake of Allah imbues shaytaan to hasten to discourage us and shake our resolve. In fact, i felt like this just last week. and i really did have an exhausting week, and i really was shattered. and i wouldn’t have gone, honest, i really wouldn’t have, but then the words of one of our Shaykhs came to me. I remembered him discussing the ayah:
“Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties; [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise…Then rejoice in the transaction that you have contracted. That is the supreme success.” [Surah Tawbah 111]
I assure you, were it not for this ayah coming to me, the understanding dawning that yes, i’m shattered, but this tired body isn’t really mine, except by bestowal from Allah, and that if He’s permitted it to toil this much today, then He will carry it through the rest of the day – especially if my endeavour is for His sake. Were it not for this realization, I wouldn’t have gone. But I understood then that Allah wanted me there, i felt as though i would be called to account for failing in this deed.
And so with that in mind i set off, only to reach my destination and find that the elderly lady was more in need of me this week than she had ever been thus far. So praise is to Allah, for He guided me to the better action, and we turn to Him humbly, in penitence and seek His mercy, for He has only shown you what appears as goodness from us, and conceals our many faults. Praise is to Allah, always.
Jazaakmullahu khairan for taking the time to read this.
Allah be well-pleased with you, always. Hasten to the good deed inshaAllah, perhaps this will be the deed that leads us to Paradise..
Allah is a witness over us, and Allah [swt] knows best.
In the care of Allah,
Wassalaamu’alaikum wa rahmatullah
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