Wa salla ALLAHU ala Habeebihi wa aalihi wa sallam I felt pains in me looking at the faces of my friend, thinking of leaving them for Mauritania. Shaam has been my home since I left my country home and Mauritania is another place I really consider my home. Last year, I left Shaam straight for Mauritania, spending some months with my teachers and visiting venerable scholars before returning straight to Shaam. For me, it was like pain leaving behind some beautiful and wonderful people for another sweet family.
Before my previous departure from Shaam to Mauritania, I contacted Shaykh Gibril Haddaad who in his email replied that; there must be a great Aalim taking you away from the company of Shaykhunaa Muhammad al Yaqubi but all the best, study hard and take much ilm from the Shuyukh with much emphasis on the arabic language.
No doubt, leaving the gatherings of Shaykhunaa for an eye blink is what I don't like to do. I really enjoy the Shaykh's company and love to be with him always which is impossible. He treats me like a son and student, with good words he uses to describe me even if I am not deserving of them.
AlhamduliLLAH, my first departure from Shaam to Mauritania was wonderful. I had the opportunity to study real texts with top scholars well bred in these beautiful sciences and made them my friends, fathers and teachers. I was given extra -treatment by the Shaykh of the school and was given special preference over other foreign students. This is not because I am deserving of the nice treaments or I am better than the other students but because ALLAH has blessed me to meet the right people who understand my mistakes and how they will be corrected.
I also had the privilege to meet amazing people one-on-one like Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Habib Ali, Shaykh bin Bayyah, Sidi Fuad Nahdi, etc. The later who always gave my friends and I tough time with beautiful jokes. Sidi Fuad has always been someone I appreciate because of my immense love and respect for his uncle Prof. Ali Mazrui. Mazrui who is indeed an eloquent speaker, an author, a political scientist, an orator of the highest calibre and a great thinker did really nail a positive impact in my life.
I had the time to joke with Shaykh Hamza over I email I sent to him that took three days to complete a year before he responded. We took pictures and I apologized over the way I approached him. My full love for him as ALLAH has used him to be a source of guidance for me and many others in following the footsteps of HIS most beloved (SAW).
My friend Abdul MalikFransi, Ibrahim Britaani, sidi Fuad, Sidi Yusuf Casewit amreeki and myself had nice time in Shaykh bin Bayyah's house having been hosted by Shaykhna the son of Bin Bayyah. Amazing carmel meat we ate until I had no space to fill in. My friend Abdul Malik will say, ya Akhi, grab the bones.
I also visited Shaykh Murabit alHajj and had the opportunity to read to the Shuyukh there and asked Murabit for his duas. I would sit with him and massage his legs and sometimes rub his beards. He would look at me and turn his face. Always on his back asking if it was time to pray.
My other great experience was sitting with Shaykh Muhammad Hasan al Khadim, the commentator of the translated book by Shaykh Hamza, Purification of the hearts. He is one of a kind, a master of the sciences who never gets tired teaching. After spending all this wonderful time in Mauritania, I thought it was high time I returned to Syria to meet my once left family and also to benefit from the gatherings of Shaykhunaa al Ya'qubi. Shaykh was already informed of my coming and was expecting to see this sinful slave. I couldn't imagine myself leaving these men here to Syria but it had to happen that way.
My return to Syria was welcomed by giving bribe at the airport and someone stealing my laptop the same day of my arrival with all the datas and information I brought from Mauritania leaving me. Was it a bad omen? ALLAH knows best. Shaykhunaa who received me well gave assurance that all was well. I had the opportunity to spend another year again in Syria, getting an advanced diploma from an arabic institute even if it wasn't necessary, read small books and also meeting more people. My major experience was my surgery I had shortly after Eid and my love and thanks to all those who shared with me in my times of pains, need, etc.
It was also a honour for me to receive my teacher from Mauritania Shaykh Muhammad Faal who I made to have a meeting with Shaykhunaa al Ya'qubi. Shaykhunaa having heard of the strength of my Mauritanian teacher in the science of hadith was happy to receive him. My friends visited him and took nasihas from him. My lovely friend sidi Waathiq was able to read the 40 hadith of Imaam Nawawi to him and his book was signed by the Shaykh.
After my stay here, I thought it was high time I made a choice of either staying in Syria or leaving for Mauritania. Thanks to Sidi Irfaan, my brother that has no equal who suggested this to me. AlhamduliLLAH, Shaykhunaa welcomed my intention and gave me permission to leave and also extend my salaams to my family especially my brother Abdul Qaadir who kept sending him text messages should incase I go visiting them three years after my leaving home.
On 8th November came the day I had to leave Syria for Mauritania. With no direct flight to Mauritania meaning a transit in Tunisia. Many of my friends in my house, four hours to my departure my bags are yet to be ready, so silly I was but my excuse was 50% acceptable. So many offered me lunch, dinner, etc but I had to accept some and disappoint others. Those who also disappointed me the day before my departure but what can a miskeen like me say.
Due to the small spaces in the car, only three of my friends had to follow me to the airport. Without asking, sidi Waathiq is ever there to see me through. We left for the airport as I was the last person to board the plane. Shaykhunaa al Ya'qubi was also behind me coming since he was traveling to Turkey for some lectures. It took me minutes before I went through the unecessary procedures and quarelling with the TunisAir officials who wouldn't succumb to a reasonable bargain over my extra luggage. Collecting from me over $500 was what they demanded and I was being good and nice enough to offer $300 but the old man who called himself a Shaykh refused. I had to be a man here even if I was still worried that I might lose the flight.
I begged this old man to assist me in lifting my bags up to the scale because I am not supposed to carry something heavy due to my surgery that I am still recuperating from but the oldman bluntly told me NO. Ajeeb! Then came the young lady weighing my bag with her shouting and complains that I couldnt understand. She accused me of not being able to speak arabic but on the contrary.
Well I managed to finish up with these people and move straight to the immigration desk. Do I have to tell lies that I came to syria for Tourism instead of studies. Well, I wont worry myself this time around because I am leaving. I happened to give him sweet words and there I go to join the rest in the plane.
I met another woman going to the same village in Mauritania where I will be staying and I was already informed by the Shaykh's son in-law to take care of her during our flight. I think she knew her ways better than me when we arrived the Tunisian airport. Been on my seat, I decided to speak to my friends and send text messages before taking off. Ofcourse, I called sidi Waathiq first who passed the phone to Shaykhunaa and I spoke to him asking for duas then he passed it to sidi Muhammad Omari who will always be joking with me. And to GOD be the glory, I said bye to Syria.
Arriving Tunisia airport was me and feverish feeling due to a bath a had in Syria before leaving. Now more signs were manifesting and I started feeling weak. My bag, big al Jilaani's tafsir and insect killer with me bearing a weird name "MUDAMMIR" meaning Destroyer. A young lady was scanning us to see those carriers of any sort of illness and I felt I may be asked to stand aside for HIN1 because of my strange feelings. Tunisia's government disallowed hajj this year because of this virus so I got worried as this lady was using a kind of machine. Not bad, I scaled through.
Immigration in Tunisia always known for notorious act and this will be my second time they will be stepping on my feet. The lady greeted me in french, I responded then changed to english and I reciprocated and later whispered to the man behind in the colloquial arabic form which I picked little. Accusing me of not wanting to speak or answer her question, from there I hit the nail on the head. I was asked to stay aside for further investigation. I wasn't worried as I was not entering Tunisia and besides, I have my Mauritanian visa with me. Anyway, we later became pals and chatted our areas of disagreement.
I remained at the airport for almost a day before departing for Mauritania. It was a nice flight as I was listening to a beautiful recitation from the Qur'aan from one of the Shuyukh of Zaytunah Mosque. We arrived Mauritania after an hour flight delay and it was, hmm, in the old and undescribable airport that looks like a slum dog pitch. Immigration was straight forward and time to get my bags but unfortunately, my bags didn't arrive.I had to register my yet to arrive bags at the lost and found office then get out of the airport. My Sudani friend studying in his master's degree at the Shinqiti university was there waiting for me. What a nice brother he is! I met him during my days in the village. He immediately took me to a restaurant to eat and from there, I left to change some money before rushing to a hotel. It was alomost mid-night but it looked like morning to me. I was feeling like being home again.
Straight to the hotel, I met the young receptionist who is a friend and he showed me straight to my bed. I prayed and had a good sleep with wonderful, sweet mosquito bites. In the morning, I looked at the mosquitoes in my net, singing their irritating music in their pregnant state, moving around with my sucked blood.
I took to the city to use the internet and pray in the saudi masjid. How nice it feels like to be back! Looking the streets, you see men and women urinating openly by the sides of cars, walls, etc, dirty streets, and in the mosques, hearing the Mauritanian style of loud Shouting of TAKBIR at the opening of Solah(not Maalilki style to shout too loud). From all of these, I said to myself, welcome back to Mauritania.
Still here waiting for my bags to arrive, I feel so anxious to leave for the village to meet my teachers who are already expecting me. I walk the whole streets, stay in the masjid and my hotel, go use the internet and get tired all in the name of waiting for my bags. I hope I don't miss anything from the bags if ALLAH brings them to me. I say alhamduliLLAH as I expect my friend tonight coming from france for the village as he joins me in the hotel.
As solaatu was Salaamu daa'imaini mutalaazimaini ilaa yaum ad deen. Wa alhamduliLLAHI Rabbil 'aalamin.