In retrospect it had been a rather uneventful day. Jamal was terribly tired, beat, he felt like a dishcloth completely wrung out of all his energies. He would have wanted to feel a sense of accomplishment but he didn’t, considering that he had beaten all deadlines and made good money out of his endeavours. All he felt was anger, rancour, failure and emptiness, like there was something really vital that was missing from his life.
He had an inkling what this ‘something’ was but he was too afraid to point a finger at it and say, ‘this is it’!
He trudged on to his apartment, taking each stair case as if he had no energy or will power to take the next. His eyes were all droopy and red and tired. Just as he was taking the last flight of stairs next to Hussein’s door, he found the answer to all his troubles in form of a recitation:
Nay, you prefer the life of this world………..” [Quran 87:16]
He held on to the railing as the verse hit his soul with astounding clarity like a lightning bolt on a stormy night. He stopped, gripping the stair rail as if his life depended on it.
A quick peek through the half open door revealed a silhouette of a man seated with an open book. His long beard moved up and down as he continued the recitation in the sweetest voice Jamal had ever heard
He looked again; now he was quite certain it was Hussein reading Quran. It felt so good and at the same time overwhelming to just stand there and let the Mighty words of The Quran permeate his heart……
Felt like his heart was a dry land which was getting its life back as the rain drops moistened it. He closed his eyes and let the words form tributaries in his dry heart, he just let it be…….
Tears welled in his eyes blurring his vision. He couldn’t even remember the last time he cried as a result of listening to Quran…….
Listen? He could not recall the last time he even opened the Quran which was now gathering dust in his house…
He had preferred the life of this world, that much he was willing to admit; always in a rush to make a cent and an extra one. He never had enough, every minute of his life was invested in making money, deals, negotiating contracts, more money…..even if he got a Million, he would have wanted to make it two the following day.
The life of this world which he had become so submerged in that he had completely forgotten how it felt like to cease everything and head to the masjid for salaah, how it felt to make Sujuud to Allah, Creator and Sustainer of all that is….to cry for his sins, to remember death…..and the grave.
“While the Hereafter is better and more enduring…….” [Quran 87:17].
Jamal recalled all the salaahs he had missed with the excuse of being busy. He remembered the brothers and sisters who had tried to guide him with reminders about praying and doing good deeds. Oh how he had loathed them, how he had looked down on them with contempt, how he had taken to ducking behind pillars just to avoid meeting with them…….
The tears rolled like rivulets along his face all the way down to the collar of his shirt. He didn’t even wipe them away, why wipe away the regrets and burdens of failed obligations exiting the body?
He stood at Hussein’s door and cried, wished he could turn back the hands of time, make taubah and start all over again..
Could he? Will he? The heaps of sin he had upon him, would they ever be wiped away? He cried some more and leaned against the wall……..
The repentance accepted by Allah is only for those who do wrong in ignorance (or carelessness) and then repent soon (after). It is those whom Allah will turn in forgiveness, and Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. [ Quran 4: 17]
On the authority of Anas (RA) who said: i heard the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) say:
Allah the Almighty has said: …….O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. Oh son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it. [Related by at-Tirmidhi]