Thursday, September 17, 2009

Special Iftaar moment with Shaykhuna Muhammad al Ya'qubi

Shaykhunaa and the brothers giving little lesson during Iftaar
Sidi Waathiq at the extreme left end and sidi Zaahir with the moroccan gown

The first gathering with Shaykhunaa where many attended.


Shaykh Ahmad Khateeb in front of Shaykhuna discussing.



Shaykhunaa by my right hand side.
BismiLLAH.
Wa salla ALLAHU 'ala sayyidinaa Muhammad wa aalihi wa sahbihi wa sallim

Many will agree with that spending the whole of Ramadhan without his/her family is something not hoped for because of its boringness. For me, it has almost become a part of me and an accepted state. For the last three Ramadhan, I have not had the opportunity of spending the wonderful nights, eating delicious iftaari with my family and sitting in my local masjid to observe the taraweeh solah which makes me feel nostalgic. This is because, I left my country to seek the knowledge that will make me understand more about the importance and position of Ramadhan in the lives of Muslims. AlhamduliLLAH, so far so good, it has given me different taste of culture during this month of spirituality from the desert of Mauritania down to the blessed city of Shaam.

After all said, it will be nice to mention that in Ramadhan, there are still some rarities that I cannot regret experiencing being away from my family and will wish for if I were to be with them. Among these rarities is spending a beautiful moment with the people of ALLAH, those who are recognized in the celestial realm, those whose presence only but reminds us of the Mightiness of ALLAH and the statues of HIS beloved Prophet (SAW).

As I start by sharing this beautiful experience that cannot really be put in words except by real experience, I wish and still hope that this same opportunity will come again.
I was duly informed by the Khaadim (sidi Hishaam) of our teacher that our Shaykh, the examplar of the Prophetic sunnah, the grand son of the best of mankind, As Sayyid Muhammad al Ya'qubi will be having Iftaar with the brothers in one of the old restaurants situated in the old Damascus city, I couldn't but wait anxiously to spend that moment with him. The day came and passed and how happy was I!

But it didn't end there when the second invitation reached me again that the Shaykh will be having another Iftaar gathering with the brothers in the same restaurant and this was the climax of it all. I will leave the first meeting untouched but write little about the second meeting that still rings a bell of memory in my head.

After taking a taxi that alighted me in the old city via the old hamidiyyah market, people were already getting into the restaurant while I saw Shaykh Ahmad Khateed a student of Shaykhuna who signaled to me to enter the restaurant. We entered and climbed up where the Shaykh was already seated. We went forward to give him salaams immediately we saw his ever illuminating face. As I went to give him salaams and kissed him, he called my name and asked me to sit on the chair beside him. I was shocked and left in confusion. Just like others heard the Shaykh saying that to me, I know they wished they had such request from the Shaykh.
Not knowing what to do, I tried to walked behind him to sit somewhere else while people were giving the Shaykh salaams but the Shaykh still motioned to me to sit on the sit beside him. He even went to the extent of pulling the chair out in his ever humble way. I wasn't worried or ungrateful to be offered the privilege to sit beside the Shaykh but was caught by surprise and shock as different thoughts came running on my mind.
If I sit by the Shaykh while the iftaar goes on, it means I have to eat like a true student of knowledge; with adab, little, no noise, no excessive movement and must not speak except when necessary. On the other hand, all my thoughts may not be correct so I decided to walk forward to sit on the seat already pulled out by Shaykhuna.

I sat on this chair like the most innocent student of knowledge on earth which is quite the opposite of me. While so many things busied my thoughts, the Shaykh then turned to me and said to me that he got my message. From then, he mentioned to me all I need to do and discussed with me the subject of the message I sent. How happy I was and started feeling a bit comfortable but the Nur in him was so strong that my small sinful body couldn't absorb it.
People came giving salaams, Shaykh responding and introducing me to some and mentioning me to some. Masha ALLAH, the first time I felt so special even if I am not.

The Athaan was read and Iftaar started, the Shaykh serve my glass with drinks, pushed the tray of dates to my front and we began the adventure of the most pleasant Iftaar ever spent. When I looked at the positions of other brothers, I saw my ever wonderful friends sidi Waathiq and Waseem at my opposite ends. The former was about to start filing his stomach after the whole day fast without food when the Shaykh motioned to him that we will continue after solah. Sidi Waathiq missed the last Iftaar before this because he was in UK having so much of his Mum's Biryanis, semosas and curries. Sidi Waseem and I had the last Iftaar organized by the Shaykh together where I had my best bites. He asked me to eat well since I won't have this at in my house because I have no wife. His word was so correct and I did fill in all the possible spaces available in my stomach.

After the maghrib solah led by the Shaykh in a small space made available in the restaurant for solah, we returned back to the tables where food was served. Take as much food as you like no one cares but I was still worried that sidi Waseem's last advice will not work this time around since I was sitting by the Shaykh.

On the contrary, the Shaykh was continuously serving my plate with different foods and I was eating without fears. It got to the brim when I tried to be a true student, I stopped having more food. Shaykhuna looked at me and called me by name asking me to have more, the little grin on my face showed that I was getting too satisfied but before I knew, Shaykhuna took out a big thigh of a chicken and placed it on my plate asking me to eat. Very nice when he said, " when I was at your age, I ate more than you but due to travels, I eat less and we now practice the life of zuhd". The two Shuyukh and those who heard what the Shaykh said smiled.

It didn't end there when the Shaykh started sharing some beautiful jokes that happened beautiful some of the grammarians and poets. That aided in digesting our foods and gave us opportunity to learn more.

Wonderful moment it was and came to an end when we all had to leave for the Eshaa and taraweeh solah. Shaykh Ahmad Khateed a student of Shaykhuna is an Imaam of a masjid neighboring the restaurant where Iftaar was held. Those who left for their favourite places for taraweeh left while others who wanted to enjoy the complete presence with the Shaykh remained. We entered the masjid prayed the eshaa and taraweeh and Shaykhuna ended it with a beautiful three rak'ah solah and duas.

When I was about leaving for my destination, the Shaykh called out at me again, hand on my back and discussed with me the subject of my message sent to him. He never leaves the students of knowledge wondering on how their problems could be solved but join in taking care of their affairs and well being.

What a day! Obviously a nice tahajjud and dream will sum it up. Will there be more of this before the ending of the blessed month? I hope and pray for one.

You reading, why not come to Shaam next year during ramadhan to experience this beautiful moment with Shaykhuna. Don't mind how much it will cost you for a flight even if the credit crunch has affected those it affected. It is worth a trip.

Your duas for this ill slave. I love you all.
Wa salaamULLAHI alaynaa ajma'een.