I would first want to say thank you to Allah that after a long time I am finally posting something on my blog. It is not that I have been lazy, but my schedule has not been friendly to me and I had to let go of some of the things that I enjoy doing, like writing for souls like you, who are nothing but pearls in my ocean. You give me hope and you inspire me to keep on writing, which is more than enough.
Yesterday, the 12th of November 2017, Mombasa was blessed. Blessed to host one of the 500 most influential Muslim scholars in the world, Mufti Ismail Musa Menk commonly known as Mufti Menk. Menk was born in Harare, Zimbabwe on the 27th of June, 1975. He obtained a degree in Islamic Shariah law from the Islamic University of Madinah and specialized in Islamic Jurisprudence in Gujarat, India. Menk’s uniqueness is portrayed in his ability to blend with people of all types, appreciating the diversity of creation and enjoying life within the boundaries set by the Lord of mankind.
He uses social media as a tool to propagate the word of Allah and his liveliness has made him more popular to the youth and the young generation. He has touched souls of not only people from Zimbabwe, but also people from all over the world with his humbleness, his cheerful nature, his non-judgmental attitude and his positive vibes.
It was 10:43 a.m. I was looking at my watch, and I was anxious and excited, it felt like I was at home, after a long time. My mind was calm, my heart was a train pounding down the tracks, it was like a competition between my face and my insides, and I could not contain my happiness. When he walked into the room, the ambiance changed, the 4,000 people were all embraced into that beauty, that light within him, that energy that Allah gives to those He guides.
And he started with a story of the creation. Have we ever wondered about other creatures other than mankind? Have we wondered why there are snakes and pigs and lions and trees and the moon and the sun, have we ever wondered why we are not alike, that even the identical twins are not really one? It was a beautiful start where we were tempted to look beyond what we see in our own perspective to go deeper and understand the why, and the why goes back to the beauty and wisdom of the Creator of all creatures, Allah.
His magnitude, His compassion and His mercy is beyond comparison and if we look at everything around us, every single little thing, if we listen more keenly, we will hear, we will hear and we will be absorbed into the signs of His power and might. He is Allah.
We always undergo challenges and differences amongst ourselves. But what do we do in such situations? Do we break bonds? Do we maintain the kinship? Do we tolerate or do we learn to respect the differences and build bridges?
How many times have people lowered our worth, stumbled upon our self-esteem, and made us feel that we are so difficult to love? How many times have we given people an opportunity to manipulate and play with our consciousness? How many times have we looked for meaning of who we are or what we look like or what we taste from the mouths of people who do not even love themselves enough to give us flowers? How many times have we been let down by those that we thought could be our pillars of strength and support?
We as human beings need to understand that we are all different. We are different in how we think and in how we perceive certain things, our differences are not supposed to break us but they should be a reason for us to be more united and if Allah did not create any of these other creatures, then life would not have been interesting, then maybe the true purpose of their existence would not have been met. We all have a purpose and we are not here on this world to collect wealth and die, we are here for the purpose of bagging crystals of deeds pleasant to Allah, we are here to get to our home, our eternal home where riverbanks are domes of pearls.
We need to identify our purpose and do everything we can for the sake of Allah. Satisfaction is something you cannot get from friends or family or even wealth and status. We all know of people who are so rich but are so stressed up, we also know of poor people who are contented. But true satisfaction is depending solely on Allah and attaching our minds and hearts to Allah. The moment we attach our happiness to that which is not Allah, we might end up being disappointed or our expectations hurt when things do not go as per our desires.
One beautiful thing about Allah is He tests us to grant us better. Allah says in the Holy Quran in chapter 94, verse 5, “Verily with hardship comes ease” He did not mean that ease comes after the hardship; He meant that ease comes at the same time with the hardships we undergo. We should therefore realize that Allah is the most merciful and the beauty of Islam is beyond measure.
Coming back to respecting our differences, there is the issue of ethnicity, pride and grouping of people in a way of showing that we are better than a certain group or people of a certain color. This is the message that I want to shout out to every single person out there. We are all from the soil and we will go back to the soil. There is no superiority over an Arab, over a non-Arab, over a black, over a white except in the fear of Allah. We have no right to judge people or to define or opinionate people according to our beliefs, misconceptions, stereotypes and pride.
We have this concern in our culture. Parents do not want their children to get married to people of other ethnic groups. Parents are not ready to let their children get married because of deen or good manners, they look out for materialistic things and features of the people that their children select and decide on behalf of them. If I am not wrong, Mombasa records divorce rates not less than 40% which is a very huge number. Our weddings are not only defying the rules set by Allah, but they are also highly extravagant and most a time, the people getting married are not even aware of their responsibilities or what marriage really entails. It is always about, “She is of age” or “He will become a good guy if he gets married to so and so. Mothers, if your sons could not be fixed by you for 25 years, we cannot fix them either. The plant was to be watered from the beginning.” Mufti Menk mentioned “You take a huge loan to organize a beautiful wedding; you divorce your wife after 6 months but still pay the loan for 2 years. The wedding was beautiful, but not the marriage.” Marriage entails appreciating differences, helping each other out, realizing that marriages are not always about who should do the cooking but about how can we come together to provide a good foundation for our little ones, how can we take each other to paradise? Wouldn’t our marriages be more interesting if our chauvinist tendencies went down? If we learnt to appreciate each other more and respect how different we all are? Let us not make our weddings grand, let us make our marriages last longer.
Have we thought about the trees? How they provide us with fruits and shade and flowers even when we violate their rights? We as human beings while learning how to respect our differences we will have to realize that we have to feel love for people. Open our hearts, fulfil our rights towards other people, be it muslims or non-muslims, let us accommodate people and Allah will accommodate us. Those negative vibes that haters pour onto us should not stop us from being who we are. We are here for a purpose and that purpose should be the only thing that we wake up so early to work for, day in and day out.