Monday, 14 July 2008

Day 17: Locked Out

We got locked out of the house today at noon, when the sun was at its peak.

Yesterday, we had an optional Q & A session with Shaykh Omar, our fiqh teacher. I was really thinking of skipping it, but eventually decided to go. I left early but ended up walking for half an hour in the heat from Dar al-Zahra to Habib Umar's house to the men's house (where the class was held) and back home before I realized the class was cancelled.

Truly, I felt that that was a sign from Allah—kind of like: you were going to the class but weren't approaching it like a true student of knowledge should, so it got cancelled and you ended up walking in the heat.

Well, the session was rescheduled to today, and today I and three others decided to miss the class—the very first time I've skipped a class, even one of the optional ones other than the one about raising your children in the west. And the result? I ended up boiling outside the house.

Truly, it was a test in patience and 'holding our tongue'—what we've been studying in the Beginning of Guidance class for over a week—and I think all four of us failed miserably. I had asked my supervisor for the key before we made our way back home, and she had told me that there were two supervisors in the house. So I spent my time complaining that she had told me there were people in there when there weren't. It was so hot my leather shoes were literally cooking my feet and none of us could even gather the energy to even think about walking back to Dar al-Zahra to find our supervisor and ask her for the key. We just kept ringing and ringing the bell, fanning each other with my pitiful mulan-style fan and complaining and complaining. The heat definitely brings out the worst in people.

Directly in our line of sight were men toiling in the earth, lifting heavy sacks and rocks and digging. And instead of looking at them and thinking how lucky we were to be currently sitting in the shade and soon to be sitting in an air conditioned room, we just kept right on moaning.

Eventually, we remembered that instead of complaining, we should say elhamdulela, and I remembered the story we were told just recently about the one-eyed man. So we said elhamdulela, and I told them I hadn't done my wird al-latif today-since I was revising my Qur'an verses in the morning before class-so I got my mp3 out of my bag, pressed play, and literally all I heard was "besm Allah al-rahman al-rahim" and the door opened.

A lesson well learnt!

Thought: My Qur'an teacher came to me today and out of the blue asked me if I'd like to memorize surat yaseen instead. Initially I was like 'phew, now I only need to learn one and a half pages a week instead of three,' but then I thought that no, I'd decided to learn surat alkahf so I was going to stick with that, even though it's a bigger challenge.

Today's Quote: It's ok to sometimes meander from the spiritual path. As long as you have a goal in mind, you can always get back to it, just like a car can get back on the road if it takes a right or left. Habib Umar

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