Wednesday, December 27, 2000 - E
id al-Fitr 1421 A.H.
Rumble in the Masjid
(This is no rumble in the masjid, but
it is a rumble!)
by Youssuf El-Kalay
Asalamu Aliakom Wa Rahmat Allahu Wa Barakatu.
Welcome to a special edition of Egyptian Tales. For this Eid
Al Fitr, I've decided to share my thoughts on the concept of
forgiveness with you, my fellow readers. Instead of diving headlong
into the issue, I want to relate to you an incident in my travels
around the world. As I mentioned in my previous story "The
Red Oranges", one of the noble characteristics of a
believing Muslim that unfortunately is often lacking in our ummah,
is forgiveness. I myself find it difficult sometimes to forgive
the person(s) in question especially when I feel that I've been
really hurt. I think (and Allah knows best) that to truly forgive
someone is a form of jihad in itself. I've received some emails
requesting that I write more about my stories outside of Egypt,
so Insha Allah I hope this week's story satisfies this request.
It was the summer of '94, and I was visiting our close family
friends in Scotland (my country of birth). In the winter the
weather in Scotland is usually very dreary. It rains a lot, and
often times the Scots will go weeks without any sunshine. In
the summer though, a sunny day combined with the right temperature
can be very beautiful. It really is something else being up in
the Highlands. Just the right combination of tall trees, and
acres of wild grass can be breathtaking.
Buachaille Mountain in the Scottish Highlands
By the grace of Allah one of those types of days happened
to fall on a Friday. Yet as you'll see the events that came overshadowed
this cheery day. We had just finished praying Salat al-Jumua
at a masjid in Glasgow and were standing outside figuring out
how we were going to spend the rest of the day. Suddenly directly
outside the masjid, a fight broke out between two Muslims. It
was an all out brawl. SMACK! The fists flew back
and forth. BAM! Then came the bone shattering kicks:
CRACK! To make matters worse, three men came running
out of the masjid and started pounding on the two men until they
were all on the ground fighting for their lives. This was unbelievable.
As I helplessly watched, I noticed that there was an elderly
man on the ground. Why were they beating up an old man? And why
was this being done outside of a masjid?
Frozen, I watched a pile of Muslims hammer at each other.
A minute later the fight ended when one of the men yelled a nasty
curse word, and ran back inside the masjid. There on the ground
was the old man, with blood all over his face. He was clearly
unconscious. I remember him being carried away from the masjid
and a brother telling people to clear out of the way. I walked
towards the car in shock, and asked my Uncle Shaheen, "What
just happened?" He simply said, "Family problems, it
happens all the time."
I still remember that incident as if it happened yesterday.
The really sad thing is that people got hurt for no good reason.
I have no doubt in my mind that the Shaitan was gloating as this
horrible event took place outside a house of Allah. La Hawla
Wa laa Qowwata Il-la Bil-lah. Looking back to that sad day,
I remember the words of my Uncle Shaheen: "Family problems,"
he said. All of us have family problems. But is it worth resorting
to physical violence to resolve family problems? I don't know
why that family was fighting, but I do know that perhaps if each
person had tried to forgive one another, then maybe the fight
would have been avoided. Especially after Salat al-Jumua, when
we should all come out of the masjid better reminded of our duties
Family ties are very important in Islam, and if they are broken
then how can there be an ummah? If we cannot resolve our family
problems peacefully and with love and forgiveness, how can we
possibly resolve the problems within our suffering ummah? It
is critical that each and every one of us make an effort to forgive
our brothers and sisters and put away our differences this Eid.
I know many of you might think that sometimes it is impossible
to put away our differences, but this is where the struggle (jihad)
comes in. I leave you with this hadith of the Prophet Muhammad,
peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. He said, "The
Muslim is the brother of the Muslim. He does not wrong him, does
not forsake him, and does not betray him."
Jazakom Allahu Khairan for reading, and Eid Mubarak.
Until next time, Insha'Allah...
Youssuf El-Kalay has lived in Scotland,
Egypt, Bahrain, and the United States, and currently resides
in Southern California. It is his hope that through his stories,
you the reader will be able to experience some of his adventures
and the lessons he has learned from them.
If you enjoy these stories, let us know. Your
feedback is important and is always appreciated.