On the way to the mosque
“I’m going. Do you want anything from the supermarket?”
“No, darling. Take care”
I left the house making my way to the mosque for the usual weekly Friday preaches and prayers. On my way, I was confused about a ‘fatwa’ I read the other day. Opposite to what I used to think long time ago, it said it is not a problem, although not preferable, if you arrive late to the mosque on Friday. Today, I am going late without the feeling of guilt for arriving late. However, what was confusing me is that I always wanted myself to be an example for others. I wanted myself to be among the first to come, the last to leave the mosque so that others would feel they should stay a little bit longer for performing the sunnah prayers instead of leaving quickly.
But, what I was most obsessed with in my way was something else. I really wanted her to know but I don’t know how.
“I’ve been working here for four years, but you don’t see me frequently because I usually work at the other branch”, he said. The barber was a young man, who seems to have understood from the expressions on my face that I thought he was a trainer or a piece of amateur and that my hair was passing into the danger of being miscut. I told him that “this is a place I trust for my hair cut”.
“I didn’t have much luck with barbers. This shop is, by and large, one of the fewest ones that appreciated my style of hair cut. It is a problem for a university teacher, you know, to have his hair badly cut. Students would never miss that. It would be the joke of the day.”
He assured me again that he was experienced enough to know how to do with my hair and kept asking me how I like my hair to be cut, but with my hair hardly surviving terrible hair-cuts in the past, I felt it wouldn’t be a big deal if my hair was half cut, and one side of my face were full of cotton. I had to say it’s “ok, just do it as you like and then you’ll have my remarks.” It seemed however that he needed once again to “make me rest-assured” so he brought me a cup of coffee and we both had a break before he proceeded with my hair.
The coffee didn’t taste bad. In fact it was good, and it was important to accept his invitation lest he think I wasn’t happy. The shop was a bit changed since my last visit to it about three or four months ago. There were empty tubes of shampoo, shaving foams and gels put all together in one line on the shelf in front of me. The coconut cream boxes disappeared, or may have been replaced. On the other shelf was the huge cassette player playing that sort of songs suitable for your night travel on the road. The song anyway fit perfectly in that night at the barber’s. There were a number of cassettes piled up or cascaded. My eyes suddenly fell on one of these cassettes. The photo of the singer on it attracted me and took me back twenty years ago.
“Reading is my favorite hobby. And you can make sure your dream will be correctly interpreted. Ibin Sireen and other dream interpreters I read thoroughly.” What I didn’t mention, or perhaps didn’t really know that I was born to a sufist family, which might account in part for the thousands of books available then in my father’s library.
My ten-year-old dearest peer used to look at me with admiration especially when I mentioned the achievements of my father in mathematics and when I mentioned unusual religious stories that my father used to narrate to me and to my brother.
“I dreamt of something last night”
“Don’t say ‘dreamt’ because dream is from the Shaytan, say ‘I had a vision’ because the vision is from Allah”
“Ok. I had a vision, let it be so”, he agreed.
“I had a very strange vision in which I saw angels. They were ordered to take Warda the Algerian to Heavens and to drive Um-Kulthoom to the hell fire”
“Very strange indeed!”, I exclaimed
“The opposite should have happened”, both he and I shouted.
We were then children, not having yet passed the golden gate of innocence into the sinful world of experience. A vision, it was. A revelation unto a pure human. That’s it: the deceased Um Kulthom was a celebrated singer and was widely respected especially by the old but it doesn’t guarantee her passing to paradise. This is what children at my age at that time could never understand. It is also a fact that Warda the Algerian is still alive and is still able to revert unto God and leave that destructive thing called ‘art’. She should realize that her songs have contributed to the state of chaos and loss besetting the youth nowadays; the youth now are aimless chasing just superstar songs, new fashions; throwing themselves off inhibitions, leading a life of spiritual dearth, waiting for new songs to spring out and new fashions to replace old ones until they become old and die aimlessly. She should remember, when hearing her audience’s acclamation, how lost these desperate souls in front of her are; she should remember that God in the Holy Quran stated clearly that
“إن الذين فتنوا المؤمنين والمؤمنات ثم لم يتوبوا فلهم عذاب جهنم ولهم عذاب الحريق (البروج 10)”
The vision is surprising, for what deed could this woman have done or what will she do to make God the Merciful forgive her sins, she the one who spent most of her life in profligacy called ‘art’?
I believe in Ahmad Al-Aas’s ru’aya and wish the singer concerned to know it and to do something to save her soul, but how?
“Alahu Akbar, Alahu Akbar, la ilaha illa Allah”.