A Flower in the Desert

Haven’t we heard, you and I, of the numerous incidents from the life of our Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم when while praying for his Ummah his beard would be soaked with tears.

Haven’t we all heard this so many times? Gone through it, skipped it.

What was it that moved him to tears? Why did he care for us like this?

And why, above all, do we feel unaffected by it?

I want you to come with me now.

Let us go back in time. It is the noon hour. Scorching desert Sun is on the head. There is a small locality amidst the dry desert. Small mud houses constructed in a cluster around it. Very few people step out of their houses at this hour. Very few voices make their way out.

Yet, the streets are filled with a beautiful voice. A voice that makes the traveler forget his thirst and run to it. Being travelers ourselves, we too are moved by the enchanting voice that blooms like a flower in the desert. It comes from a place of gathering.

As we move closer to it, we notice that the gathering is filled with people of all kinds. Women sit with their children at one side. Men, rich and poor alike sit, side by side. On moving further, we reach nearer to the source of that beautiful voice that sends shiver down the spine.

The words are clear and separated from one another like beads of a pearly necklace. A pause follows after every sentence. There is no interruption. No disturbance. Just this beautiful voice echoing in the ears. There, right there in the front, sits the man.
His hairs are long and jet black. His eyes are inexpressibly mesmerizing. His complexion is very fair. And drops of sweat collect on his forehead like stars.
If you were to compare his handsome face to that of the desert moon when it is in its full splendor, you would find that his handsome face will make the moon shy away behind the clouds.

Talking of beauty, you are the one that comes to the mind
For there’s not been a single soul more pleasant than you are
You are cleansed of all imperfection
You are one of a kind in all creation.
(Hassan b. Thabit)

Dignity and honor flow through his handsome countenance as he sits in front of his companions. Every now and then, they wish to look at his beautiful face but as they lift up their eyes, his glory silences their desire. They surrender to his overpowering honor and lower their gaze out of humility and respect. They listen to each and every word he speaks, memorizing them effortlessly. When they sit with him, a strange sense of peace surrounds them and they are lost in his talks. They fear the ending of the sermon.

Those who are with him, love him more than they love themselves. They would do anything in their power to please him. If he were to ask for anything, all would rush to get it for him first. If he smiled at one, his day would be made and he would lie sleepless on his bed that night. When he gets emotional, they all cry with him. And when they see him sad, their hearts leave their body. They are struck with grief and get restless. Nothing, nothing in this world could match the fondness they have for him.

They love him dearly.

Yet, when this noble man gets up in the middle of the night, and stands up to worship, tears running down that handsome face, overtaken by the fear of his Majestic Lord. He raises up his hands and asks for the mercy of his Lord upon his Ummah. His brothers. His people.

We haven’t seen him. We haven’t been with him. Yet he cried for us, prayed for us even at the time of his death.

Our loss of connection with his life and ways are the reason we feel unaffected by the strength of emotion he expressed in our love and concern. To be like him, you must know him. And as you get to know him, you will start loving him.

Imagine the day when the scales will be raised. Imagine that day, having led a life of Sunnah, having remembered him and loved him dearly you find him in front of you. You find Rasool Allah right in front of you.

And in that instant, he turns. He sees you and a beaming smile spreads across his radiant face.

Barak Allahu Feekum
Wa Assalamu Alykum

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