Pamoja Milele (Together Forever). pt 2

 
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Throughout the rest of the journey I slept and by the time I woke we were already in Abuja. It was the voice of the pilot that woke me up. As soon as we got off the airplane, we went to the luggage carousel to pick up our bags and I was stylishly searching the area for the mysterious man on the plane but he was nowhere to be found. When we saw our bags, we picked them up from the belt and I saw my boss checking the name tags to avoid collecting the wrong luggage.

Outside the airport as we were waiting for an airport taxi to pull up to our side my boss said “I notice you were for your new boyfriend”

“I wasn’t searching for anybody and I don’t have a boyfriend” I replied trying to sound serious but failed.

“Okay o madam but incase you were, there he goes” she said laughing and directing my eyes with her head.

He was entering a black Toyota Camry. He has already changed his shirt to a black Long Sleeve Branded V-neck T Shirt with a matching jean trouser. Someone was putting his bag into the boot of the car while another was opening the back door for him. He looks important or maybe he is one of those spoilt brat that spend their parents money without thinking of making theirs.

By the time I finished analyzing him our taxi has pulled up and the driver helped us to put our luggage into the car.

It was on a Friday so the road was busy, those coming from mosque and those returning to or closing from work. Our driver was a cheerful little Igbo guy. You would know from his accent. My boss guy the driver our hotel address and he was on his way.

“Am sure you do have friends Abuja?” my boss asked

“Yes I have but didn’t tell them I’ll be coming to Abuja”

“Why? Do you want to spend your Friday night at the capital locked indoors like old women like me do? She asked removing her pairs of medicated glasses and continues “you better get your groove on dear” she said laughing.

“But ma’ we do have a serious meeting tomorrow”, I replied

“Are you the one presenting?

“No, but…” I was trying to explain but she cut me short

“Then its settle, call up your friends and take the night off, I brought you here to enjoy yourself and not to work”

“okay, thanks you ma”

The rest of the drive to the hotel was done in silence, everyone with her taught. Mine was back to incident on the plane. I was wondering how a guy can be that cool and calm, he didn’t even bother that people were watching him, all he was interested in was how I felt and to make sure I won’t feel bad. Even while I was in the rest room he has asked the airhostess to get me some water and panadol.

We got to the hotel and everybody went straight to their rooms even though it was opposite each other, we lodged in at the Weavers Hotel. After resting for and freshened up and I called up Tinu (Tinuke), Deborah and Pat (Patience), these were my only friends present in Abuja but only Tinu and Pat could meet for the hangout because Debby as we usually call her is having a dinner with her future in-laws, so we schedule to go to the movies. The arraignments were made and Pat was to pick Tinu then me up because I was closer to the cinema.

This wasn’t my first time in Abuja, while still an undergraduate I use to visit my aunt and her husband who works with NNPC as a consultant in Abuja. He later died and my aunt has to relocate to Lagos where most of her family members were.

Pat and Tinu came up to my room when they came to pick me up. We went to tell my boss that we are going out and chatted with my friends for a while and when we were going she gave us some extra cash in her words “Just in case you break a glass, this will take care of it”. We thanked her left not before warning me to try and return before midnight.

All the way from the hotel to the cinema it was talk nonstop. I have forgotten how well Tinu can talk, asking questions and answering them before anyone of us have an opportunity to respond or reply. While Patience was the laughing one, and her laugh is contagious. With her smiles and laughter she can make the angriest man forget about his problem even if it was for some minutes. We got there a bit early and decide to go through the Shoprite. We bought some drinks and snack and pulled up chairs and sat to chat.

We chatted for about two hours not knowing that time has gone. We talked about everything asking where this one or that one was, who has gotten married and who has not, who is working and who is not, who has travelled aboard and even told them of the story of the mysterious guy from the plane.

As we were standing up to go to the cinema, I half turned not knowing someone was coming behind me and I pour my drinks on him…..

Pamoja Milele (Together Forever). pt 1

“Together Forever”

As I flustered my eye lids opened I notice the room was too bright. It took me some few seconds to get focused on any object. The ceiling was all white with florescent tubes shinning everywhere. Tubes all around me, some going in and others coming out, a woman’s voice was coming from a small TV hanged at the corner of the room and I noticed that the room looks familiar. Yes, it looks almost like a scene from my favorite TV program Greys Anatomy. I tried moving my head sideways and noticed I couldn’t move it, there was something holding it in place. I could hear noises from within and outside the room, some I recognized and others I didn’t.

A rather fat woman came around my bed, she must be the matron judging from her white uniform and the way other nurses stayed behind her taking and smiling. she look to be in her early sixties, you would have imagine for a medical practitioner and a nurse at that she would take proper care of her body just standing there looking at me as if she just discovered the care to Ebola. This must be their own version of Dr. Bailey, although she doesn’t look too confident rather she looked  astounded that I opened my eyes, the nurses where whispering until finally the Dr. Bailey told someone to get the doctor.

I have always fantasized that if I ever landed in a hospital, I should be treated by Dr. Derek (Mc Dreamy) or Dr. Sloan (Mc steamy) but if none of them were available I would settle for Dr. Yang. I could hear footsteps but couldn’t turn to see who it was, then she came within my line of sight. It was my mum, I could see the tears streaming down her face as she looked at me, and choked with emotions she said my name softly as if saying it loud will hurt me. Then other faces came into view my sister, my brother and lovely sister in-law.

Suddenly I came to my senses. Why am I here? Where is my husband? Why aren’t we on our honeymoon? Where is he? I tired saying something but my voice refuses to cooperate. They could all see me struggling, my eyes popping, my body jerking then I heard the doctor ordering everybody out of the room. One of the nurses led my family members out of the room while another one was reading my chart and stat. I could see the doctor giving instructions to everybody and before I know it the matron stabbed me with a very full injection and slowly I began to drift into darkness, the last thing I saw was the face of the doctor and he wasn’t my McDreamy.

That was six month two weeks ago today. Standing in front of my husband’s grave, feeling shivery even though I was dressed for the weather. Staring at the headstone tears slowly dropped from my eyes as I fell on my knees and start reading the inscription on it,

“Oh Lord we put him in thy hands.

His mission on earth fulfilled.

No man is indispensable but some are irreplaceable.

Fond memories linger everyday. Remembrance keeps you near.

The world’s loss is Heaven’s gain.

A wonderful Son and a loving Husband.

Good night dear heart, good night”

“Good night dear” I said silently as I dabbed the tears from my eyes. Who told them his mission here on earth is complete? Although he would really have been a great husband if not for the accident that took him away from me just two days after our wedding.

Remembering that wet afternoon has been something I’ve been running from but for long? I tried blocking it out of my memory but it wouldn’t go. I tried replacing it with some other memory but it just wouldn’t leave.

We met by fate. I was traveling to Abuja for a project defense with my then boss. On the flight I became unwell and nauseous, as I was rushing to the rest room to throw up I bump into this man and due to the impact of the contact I threw up on him. I was totally ashamed of myself and couldn’t bring myself to look at him. The incident brought more than a few gaze and comment towards us as if they were excepting the man to slap me or insult me which in that moment I’ll gladly receive without fickle. My boss came to my rescue as she immediately start begging the man and promise to buy him a new pair of shirt and trousers to replace the one I’ve soiled. To everybody’s surprise the man merely wave away my boss request instead he knelt down in front of me and raise my chin to look directly into my eyes and simply said “My dear it’s okay, I don’t even like the shirt in the first place”. I couldn’t say anything instead I just opened my mouth like ‘Demba Ba’. His comment drew laughter and applause from the rest passenger.

My boss and I excused ourselves as my boss helped me to the rest room. I started crying immediately the door was closed shut..

“Why are you crying Kate?”

“I have embarrassed you and disgrace myself not to talk of the gentleman I just threw up on”

“Come on dear don’t beat yourself up, it could happen to anyone of us” my boss said helping me clan my face with water. “and moreover I think he likes you”, she said laughing after finally helping me out.

That’s my boss Dr. (Mrs.) Jemila Johnsons. She might be 61years old and some 30 something years older than me but she treats me like her daughter. People even assume we are related because of the way we relate. We eat together in office, infact whenever she goes to buy cloth or something for her daughter she will get mine too.

Status of Mothers in Islam

What does Islam say about “mothers”?

Ansar Al-‘Adl

This is one of the most convincing things about Islam – the treatment of women in general and especially the high position mothers hold in Islam.

Amongst the clearest examples of Islam’s honoring women is the great status of the mother in Islam. Islam commands kindness, respect and obedience to parents and specifically emphasizes and gives preference to the mother as shall be shown in this article.
Islam raises parents to a status greater than that found in any other religion or ideology.

The command to be good to one’s parents begins right from the Qur’an. Allah says:

“Worship God and join not any partners with Him; and be kind to your parents…” [Noble Quran 4:36]

The mention of servitude to parents follows immediately after servitude to God. This is repeated throughout the Qur’an.

“Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. And out of kindness, lower to
them the wing of humility and say, “My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood.” [Noble Quran 17:23-24]

The great scholar, Abu al-Faraj Ibn Al-Jawzî (d. 1201CE) explained:

To be kind to one’s parents is: to obey them when they order you to do something, unless it is something which Allah has forbidden; to give priority to their orders over voluntary acts of worship; to abstain from that which they forbid you to do; to provide for them; to serve them; to approach them with gentle humility and mercy;
not to raise your voice in front of them; nor to fix your glance on them; nor to call them by their names; and to be patient with them. (Ibn al-Jawzî, Birr al-Wâlidayn)

The Qur’an emphasizes the great struggles the mother goes through for her child, to highlight the need for one to reciprocate their parents sacrifice for them:

“And We have enjoined on man [to be good] to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him and his weaning was over two years. Be thankful to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination.” [Noble Quran 31:14]

The renowned exegete, Shaykh Abdur-Rahman As-Sa’di (d. 1956), says about this verse:

{And to your parents} meaning, be kind to your parents, shower on them love, affection and piety, both in words and deeds, treat them with tender humility, provide for them and never harm them
verbally nor physically. […] Then, Allah mentions the reason why we should be kind to our parents, when He says {His mother bore him in travail upon travail}, that is, the mother bore constant
suffering; in pain and hardship from the first moment she felt the child moving in her womb to the worst pangs during the time of delivery. And {his weaning is for two years}, that is, during these two years the mother breast-feeds her child and looks after him/her. So after all the years of suffering, hardship, love and care, could we not, at least, compensate our mothers for what they have done for us and pay them back their rights? (Taysîr al-Karîm ar- Rahmân fî Tafsîr al-Kalâm al-Manân)

The Qur’an repeats its mention of the struggles of the mother in yet another passage:

“And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age
of] forty years, he says, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to
You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims.” [Noble Quran 46:15]

In connection to this passage, the late Grand Mufti of Pakistan, Shaykh Muhammad Shafy (d. 1976) wrote:

Mother has more rights than father
Although the first part of this verse is a command to do good to both the parents, the second sentence refers only to the hardships suffered by the mother, because they are unavoidable, and no child can be born without them. Every mother has to go through the
problems of pregnancy and severe pains of delivery. As against this, it is not necessary for a father that he suffers any hardship in bringing up and educating the child, if he can afford to pay somebody else for these services. This is why the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has given more rights to the mother than anybody else. According to a hadîth he has said,

“Do good to and serve your mother, then your mother, then your mother, then your father, then the near relatives and then those who come after them.” [Mazhari]

“And his carrying and his weaning is in thirty months” [Noble Quran 46:15]

This sentence too describes the hardships suffered by the mother for her baby. It points out that even after suffering hardships during pregnancy and the severe labor pains, the mother does not get respite from toils, because the natural food of the infants is in her
breasts, and she has to suckle them. (Shafy, Ma’âriful Qur’ân [Eng. trans.], vol. 7, pp. 795-796)

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) continually used to remind his followers of the status of the mother and the obligation of being good to one’s parents. The following narration is a beautiful example of the noble position of the
mother:

A man came to the Prophet and said: O Messenger of Allah! Who from amongst mankind warrants the best companionship from me? He replied: “Your mother.” The man asked: Then who? So he replied: “Your mother.” The man then asked: Then who? So the
Prophet replied again: “Your mother.” The man then asked: Then who? So he replied: “Then your father.” (Sahîh Bukhârî 5971 and Sahîh Muslim 7/2)

Commenting on this hadith, Shaykh Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi notes:

This hadith confirms that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gave precedence to kind treatment of one’s mother over kind treatment of one’s father (Al-Hashimi, The Ideal Muslimah, IIPH 2005, p. 165)

Likewise, the late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Abdul-Azîz Ibn Bâz (d. 1999) comments on this hadith saying:

So this necessitates that the mother is given three times the like of kindness and good treatment than the father. (Majmoo’ Fataawaa wa Maqalat Mutanawwi’ah)

He also writes:

The secret of her importance lies in the tremendous burden and responsibility that is placed upon her, and the difficulties that she has to shoulder – responsibilities and difficulties some of which not even a man bears. This is why from the most important obligations upon a person is to show gratitude to the mother, and kindness and good companionship with her. And in this matter, she is to be given
precedence over and above the father. And I have no doubt that my mother – may Allah shower His mercy upon her – had a tremendous effect upon me, in encouraging me to study; and she
assisted me in it. May Allah greatly increase her reward and reward
her with the best of rewards for what she did for me. (Majmoo’ Fatawa wa Maqalat Mutanawwi’ah)

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) also said in a famous narration:

‘Paradise lies at the feet of your mother’ [Musnad Ahmad, Sunan An-Nasâ’i, Sunan Ibn Mâjah]

What can be greater evidence of honoring women than this? Islam has effectively placed the ultimate reward for human beings in their devotion to their mothers. Shaykh Ibrahîm Ibn Sâlih Al-Mahmud writes:

Treat your mother with the best companionship, then your father;
because paradise is under the mother’s feet. Never disobey your parents, nor make them angry, otherwise you will live a miserable life in this world and the hereafter, and your children will treat you likewise. Ask your parents gently if you need something. Always
thank them if they give it to you, and excuse them if they do not, and never insist on a matter if they refuse to give you something. (Al-Mahmoud, How to be kind to your Parents, p.40)

It is related from Talhah ibn Mu’âwiyah as-Salamî who said:

I came to the Prophet and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I want to perform Jihad in the way of Allah. He asked, “Is your mother alive?” I replied, “Yes.” The Prophet then said: “Cling to her feet, because paradise is there.” (at-Tabarânî).

Shaykh Nidhaam Sakkijihaa comments:
Cling to her feet means to submit yourself to her, be close to her, protect her, serve her because in this is Paradise and with her satisfaction you will enjoy the good blessings of Allah. (Sakkijihaa, Honoring the Parents, p. 52)

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) showed us the importance of serving one’s parents in the following narration reported by Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud:

I asked the Prophet, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is the best deed?’ He replied ‘Prayer offered on time.’ I asked, ‘What is next in goodness?’ He replied, ‘To be dutiful and kind to one’s parents.’ I
further asked, ‘What is next in goodness?’ He replied, ‘Jihad in the
Allah’s cause. [Sahîh Bukhârî, Sahîh Muslim]

Just as the Prophet said that kindness to one’s parents was of the best deeds, he also said that disobedience to them was amongst the major sins:

“The greatest sins are to associate partners in worship with Allah, to be undutiful or unkind to one’s parents, to kill a soul forbidden by Allah and to bear false witness.” [Sahîh Bukhârî]

Even after the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him),

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the Muslim scholars continued to stress the importance of being dutiful to one’s mother. By examining the conduct and
teachings of the early Muslim scholars, one may see how the direct recipients of the Islamic message understood the command to be dutiful to one’s parents. Their behavior towards their parents shows Muslims how one is to implement the teachings of the Prophet on honoring parents.

Abdullah Ibn Abbâs (d. 687CE), a companions of the Prophet and a great scholar of Islam, considered kind treatment of one’s mother to be the best deed for strengthening or rectifying one’s relation with God. He said:

I know of no other deed that brings people closer to Allah than kind
treatment and respect towards one’s mother. [Al-Adab al-Mufrad Bukhârî 1/45]

An even more powerful example is found in the statement of another one of the Prophet’s companions, Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (d. 692CE), who was also a great scholar of Islam. It has been related that:

Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar saw a Yemeni man performing Tawâf (circumambulating the Ka’bah) while carrying his mother on his back. This man said to Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar, “I am like a tame camel for her! I have carried her more than she carried me. Do you think I have paid her back, O Ibn ‘Umar?” Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar replied, “No, not even one contraction!!” [Al-Adab al-Mufrad Bukhârî 1/62]

SubhânAllah (Glory be to God)! The efforts of a man who carries his mother on his back while performing tawâf cannot even repay his mother for a single contraction that she went through for him. Wise indeed was Ibn ‘Umar’s reply to this man to show him how massively indebted he was to his mother. This is the tremendous value and prestigious position of mothers in Islam!
Yet another example is found in the following prophecy of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him):

There will come to you with reinforcements from Yemen a man
called Uways ibn ‘Âmir of the clan of Murâd from the tribe of Qaran. He had leprosy but has been cured of it except for a spot the size of a coin. He has a mother and he has always treated her
with kindness and respect. If he prays to Allah, Allah will fulfill his wish. If you can ask him to pray for forgiveness for you, then do so. [Sahîh Muslim 16/95]

Indeed, later on ‘Umar ibn al-Khattâb met Uways who was exactly as the Prophet described, and upon ‘Umar’s request Uways prayed for him. Commenting on this narration, Shaykh Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimî writes:

What a high status Uways reached by virtue of his kindness and respect towards his mother, so that the Prophet recommended his Sahabah [companions] to seek him out and ask him to pray for them!

All of this indicates the high status to which Islam has raised the position of motherhood, and given the mother precedence over the father. At the same time, Islam has given importance to both parents, and has enjoined kindness and respect to both. (Al-
Hashimi, The Ideal Muslimah, IIPH 2005, p. 167)

So great was the Islamic emphasis on parents, that the Muslims considered a great opportunity to attain paradise in service to one’s mother. Iyâs Ibn Mu’âwiyah was a famous Islamic scholar from the second generation of Muslims. When his mother died, Iyâs Ibn Mu’âwiyah cried. He was asked, “Why do you cry?” He said, “I used
to have two gates open to Paradise, now one of them is closed.”

Zayn al-‘Abidîn (d. 713CE) was the great grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and also a renowned scholar. He used to treat his mother with so much
kindness and love as seen in the following narration:

Once he was asked, ‘You are the most kind person to his mother, yet we have never seen you eating with her from a single dish.’ He replied, ‘I fear that my hand would take the what her eyes have
already seen in the dish, and then I would be disobeying her’. [At- Tartushi, Birr al-Wâlidayn]

In other words, he was so careful not to disobey his mother that he would even avoid eating out of the same plate as her; He thought that she would see a morsel and intend to take it, but before she did he might unknowingly take that same morsel and eat it. This is how careful he was to obey his mother in the most minute details.
Another early Islamic scholar, Sa’îd Ibn Al-Musayyib (d. 709CE), was asked about the meaning of the verse “but address them in terms of honor” (17:23) . Sa’îd Ibn Al-Musayyib replied:

It means that you should address them as a servant addresses his master.
Muhammad Ibn Sirîn (d. 729CE) used to speak to his mother in a very soft voice, out of respect for her. He was also often seen inBthe company of his mother and looking after her. (Ibn al-Jawzî, Birr
al-Wâlidayn).

All that has preceded shows how the status of mothers – and consequently that of women – is elevated to the highest position in Islam. The honor Islam has given to mothers is beyond that found in any other religion, ideology or culture. This is clear proof of the
lofty status of Muslim Women.

Love: An Islamic Perspective

Love is one of the most central attributes of God.

God is described in the Quran as “Wadood”, a superlative term for love which has been translated as “The Affectionate” or “One who is full of loving kindness”.

In one verse: {And ask forgiveness of your Lord, then repent to Him. Truly my Lord is Merciful, Affectionate.} (Hud 11: 90), this divine attribute is connected with mercy and in the other: {and He is the Forgiving, the Loving,} (Al-Buruj 85:14), it is connected with forgiveness. This appears to show the inter-connectedness and interdependence of the attributes of love, mercy and forgiveness. Verses on these attributes appear in the Quran hundreds of times.

The centrality of God’s love is not only measured by the frequency of occurrence in the Quran, but also in the manifestations of His love by creating the human in the best mould, commanding the angels to bow down to Adam, ennobling the human and appointing him/her as trustee on earth, creating all that is on earth and in heavens for human benefit, granting humans the freedom to believe in God and obey Him or to reject belief and defy God’s commands. Even for the sinful, the door of repentance is wide-open at any time prior to the time of death.

 
Love, however is a two-way street. The Quran speaks also about the human duty to reciprocate God’s love by loving God as well and to manifest the seriousness of that love in the form of willing and trusting submission to His will. Such submission is an act of gratefulness; “Shukr”: {And verily We gave Luqman wisdom: ‘Give thanks to God. Whoever gives thanks only for his own sake and whoever is ungrateful, then surely God is Independent, Praised’.} (Luqman 31:12)

There are two elements of God’s love for humanity. The first element is all-embracive and unrestricted even for those who defy God and commit sins. Such love and care is seen in how God still provides them with all their needs and in His acceptance of them with even greater affection when they repent to Him and re-connect with Him. The second element of God’s love is the bliss of greater love resulting from pursuing a virtuous life.

As God loves virtue, His Holiness means that He does not love vice. But both virtue and vice are not abstract concepts that are floating in the air. They acquire their concrete meaning only as they are embodied in the actions of a human being. When the human acts virtuously, he/she enjoys the bliss of additional love, hence the Quranic expressions such as Allah loves the righteous, the just, the doers of good. Likewise, when the human acts in a brutal, unjust and evil manner, he/she still enjoys God’s all-encompassing love and care. However, when the Quran states that Allah “does not love” evil doers, the real object of “not loving” is not the sinful person but the negative character or traits of that person. Such traits are not necessarily inescapable and irreversibly tied to the sinful person. Once that person decides to deal with his/her negative trait (s), he/she can immediately enjoy the additional bliss of even greater love.

The mutuality of love between God and the human is the source of many other derived forms of love; of prophets, family, friends, neighbors, nation, humanity at large and all of God????s creation including animals, vegetation even inanimate objects such as rivers, trees and mountains.

In conclusion, the real acid test of true love is not simply to talk about it but to practice it in our relation with God and His creation, irrespective of differing theologies. Shall we all compete in that?

Source: Onislam.net
By Dr. Jamal Badawi