Saturday, December 4, 2010

Still in the Desert.

BismiLLAH,
Was Salaatu was Salaamu ‘alaa Nabiyyinaa al Mustaphaa.
It’s months since my last post on this blog and I have been sent several emails requesting me to post something new as some people enter the blog and find it the same way since their last entry. I love to post about new issues and experiences on the blog as much as possible but there are reasons why I can’t make it happen.
I live in the village in Nabbaghiyyah and only have access to the internet whenever I am in the city. More so, whenever I come to the city, I have so many things on my head and must attend to them before leaving for the village which gives me no time to write out something for this blog.
Apart from these, nothing really has been happening since my last post except the normal daily routine we go throw in the village. Although there have been some changes since my return to the village after my travel to my country home; changes like new structures, new faces, new way of thinking, etc.
When I arrived the village, I was informed by some of the students that before Ramadhan, there was a fight between the Wahhabi and Sufi brothers that led to some of the students being thrown out of the mahdharah. It is high time something of this nature happened. With due respect to my Wahhabi brothers, I think they have been doing more harm than good even if most of those thrown out were the less privilege tasawwuf brothers. The Wahhabis have succeeded in taking over the mahdharah’s mosque as Imaams and Muaththins, they have their weekly lecture activities where they do declare our sufi ways as bid’ah and kufr and insult our Shuyukh, they use their da’awah to recruit our tasawwuf brothers into Wahhabism, etc.
Unfortunately the Shaykh of the mahdharah knowing these issues have refused to react to these ugly insults and embarrassments some of us face. My cry is, why have the Wahhabis come to take ilm from our Sufi Shuyukh when they see them as Kuffaar and people of bid’ah? It is a question that I am yet to get a sound answer to. I have no problem with Wahhabis taking ilm from our Shuyukh but they should mind what they say about our Shuyukh when they are still in their premises.
It is so bad that when some problems happen between students in the mahdharah, we don’t get a just solution to them. For instance, if two people had a misunderstanding that led to a fight, the two will immediately be asked to leave the village without wanting to know the cause of the problem or what led to it. In some cases, it is judged on the bases of race, power and connection which give me pain in the heart.
I know for well that only few students have the kind of opportunities I have in the presence of the Shuyukh and if anything happens between me and other students, I think in most cases I will get away with it because of my connection and ground in the village except in rare cases like race. Does this mean well for me? Yes to an extent but no in light of the shari’ah. I am not saying that I do cause problems in the village and go scot free, but just citing instances.
When the problem between the Wahhabis and Sufi brothers happened, the less privilege brothers were hurriedly gotten cars and thrown out of the village without really checking the root cause of the problem. The hard core Wahhabi who instigated the problem was left alone....reason because of his race. This I don’t agree with and I was forced to speak to one of the Shuyukh about this and the excuse he gave me for them letting him be is not tenable.
So funny, in a mahdharah controlled by a Sufi Shaykh has half or above half of its students Wahhabis. Nabbaghiyyah is the biggest mahdharah in Mauritania having over 400 students from different parts of the world. I can count over 60 moroccan students, all are wahhabis, about 30-40 Algerian students only three are people of tasawwuf, Senegal having the largest number of students have mixed groups like the wahhabis and Sufis. Each day we record new students coming to register in the mahdharah and very few leave after months and years of stay. I know this since I take pictures of the newly registered students for the mahdharah’s record. There has been more pressure on the Shuyukh recently due to large number of students thereby changing the teaching system. Little or no accommodations for students, most poor students coming from countries like Senegal, Guinea and Gambia. Some of these students come with less than $50 to spend for a year....Don’t be surprised or think I am exaggerating...You may ask me, how do they feed and clothe themselves? WaLLAH it is indeed a big problem and pain but I will mention few.
These students don’t bother about getting themselves new clothes since it is the last thing on their list of preference and how do they buy detergents to wash their clothes? It is better he wears his gallabiyya for a full week, it gets completely dirty then sort out how to wash it. Why should he bother about hair cut when it is better for him to use that money to buy something for his stomach. You see him leave his hairs very bushy and untidy till he finds a way out. Some can’t even afford to buy a comb.
How does he feed? Some of them living in the mahdharah’s hostels wait for the lunch and dinner to come from the Shaykh’s house and they get it shared amongst themselves. Does this suffices and fills them? For me, I will say it is better not to even eat. The numbers of students are just too many to feed on the daily food coming from the Shaykh’s house.
For some living outside the hostel, like in the rented houses or tents cook for themselves. Others get out everyday scouting and begging for food from the people of the village during lunch and dinner hours. Can you imagine someone begging for food in the hot desert when the temperature degree is over 46? Walking under the hot sun, in the hot sands? AlhamduliLLAH, we have some caring people in the village giving to the students from their meals everyday without complaining.
Some students engage in menial jobs as labourers in building houses, washing clothes for the women, cleaning houses, washing of dishes, etc. For some of these students, they get little money they can use for the week or two depending on how much work they got and did in the weekends. Meaning, they have to be extremely economical with spending...Those who join in building houses get better pay but you can’t imagine how tiring and weakening that is if you can engage in such. You carry bags of cement, mix them with sand, get water, transfer them, under a very hot condition...Man, you need 20 paracetamol tablets and 12 ibuprofen capsules after such work.
Cleaning the houses and washing of dishes is not a bad idea but how much do you get? And if it happens that a student gets to wash the clothes of the women, then you must face the debasement of your lifetime. I am not saying I can’t wash the clothes of my mother, sisters, nieces or women in general but I have a reason for opposing this done in the village here.
You can’t imagine a student, who will be a Shaykh or a person of guidance in the future, a seeker of the path, wash the clothes and under wears of a no-woman, with her menstrual blood all over them just because he needs a dollar to survive in his pursuit of the aakhirah? What an insult to seeking knowledge! I am not saying this is particular to the whole women of Mauritania or in Nabbaghiyyah but wanting some of us to know what some students of knowledge pass through before becoming what they are. Then you hear a stupid young Muslim boy or girl, not understanding anything on the ahkaam of the shari’ah or opinions of scholars in different issues, just because he or she has managed to attend a lecture or read a small translated book into English refuting a Shaykh who spent many years seeking knowledge with difficulties, no sleep, stress, memorization, etc.
What is the end result of such a student in the sight of these women and people of the village? It results to racism, debasement, abuse and any negative thing you can think of. If a student does such work, every other student from his country are looked in this way.
Just recently, two days to EID, there are two little boys who I always enjoy chatting with came to let me know of their pains. They left their country Senegal since the last three years when they were nine to memorize the Qur’an and ever since, they have been in Mauritania. They complained to me that EID was in two days and they had no money to buy potatoes, onions, etc in order to join others to celebrate. I won’t tell you what happened after that but will only let you know they had a good EID like other children as well, alhamduliLLAH.
Two days to EID was the arrival of Nusuky, Indonesian-Australian...an old student of Nabbaghiyyah. I never met him in his days of studying in Nabbaghiyyah but we have both been contacting each other when he first read from this blog. He stayed with us in our house, took part in the very beautiful EID, eating of meat and what we alone understand as DIPLOMACY.
On the day of EID, the feeling in Nabbaghiyyah was a bit different. It was a day with mixed feelings. After we observed the EID prayer and returned home, it was announced to us the passing away of the father of a friend of ours in the village. He was the director of the mahdharah before he took ill and had remained bedridden till his death.
A day before his death (before the day of EID) when I went to the house of one of the Algerian students that I revise my grammar lessons with, we both talked about the man and he asked me if he had passed away. The weather of the village changed, people were crying and there wasn’t much celebration for some of the people in the village.
In the evening when we were planning to go to the house of the decease to sympathise with the family, especially his son who is a friend of ours, we saw him walking down the lane to his house in a normal mood, LIKE NOTHING EVER HAPPENED. We hugged him, kissed him and tried to console him, but his feeling was the opposite of ours. Masha ALLAH, he is indeed a strong believer in “to ALLAH we belong, and to HIM we return”.
A week before EID, a break was declared in the mahdharah, my friends and I had to run to Nouakchott (Nouakchinton) for some needs before returning for EID. We spent two beautiful days there before returning. On our arrival, we found out that our house was burgled by an unknown person. I quickly rushed into my room in surprise and found all my books scattered, bags here and there and when I opened the inner section of my bag where I left my money, I found it empty. Don’t ask if they also steal in Mauritania...Not all Mauritanians are saint they were people think. Masha ALLAH, that was my everything, my whole me in the village. I was now left with nothing except for the few change left from my Nouakchott spending. I was dumbfounded, I couldn’t cry nor smile, but asking the question why me and why now?
Nothing was taken from my friend’s room except recently he discovered that his watch has been missing ever since the incidence. I went straight to the Shaykh’s house to lay down my complain. Maybe the burglar thought he was going to hit millions since I usually get charity from people to the village especially during celebrations like EID. His guess was correct because I majorly travelled to Nouakchott to receive a western union transfer to buy some Rams for the students and needies in the village for Eid. Anyway, he made away with my money and left me stranded but never thought of the consequences.
AlhamduliLLAH, ALLAH blessed me with a better replacement. Two days later, I was given money from the Shaykh’s house which was given to them by someone who heard of what happened to me. I became again another news in the village.
The EID break is now over, studies have started fully except that some of us taking lessons from Shaykh Mukhtaar are yet to have him with us. AlhamduliLLAH, ALLAH blessed him with the opportunity to take part in this year’s hajj, a cry that ALLAH has answered for me. I can’t wait to have him share with us his experiences in comparison to what he teaches in the chapter of hajj in fiqh...I mean the chances in Makkah unlike what you get in fiqh books, etc. He arrived yesterday before Jumu’ah and I was too happy and gave him a big warm hug and kisses. While I was walking him down to his house, he told me that when he was in Jeddah, he saw some group of people in a bus, they stopped then alighted a lady amongst them who looked like me. He asked her which country was she from and it happened that she came from the same country with me. He further asked, do you know Abu bakr...It sound stupid him asking right? No I don’t think so. He only asked because I informed me that I would love my sister to see him since she also went for hajj this year.
Now going back to my name...Abu bakr, Masha ALLAH a name I love so much. I was thinking recently that it’s high time I got a nickname. Nicknaming is permissible in Islam as long as the meaning is good. The Prophet had, so many companions had, the salafs as well and many others after them. People sometimes think my name Abu Bakr Siddiq is a nick name especially when they think of the first khalifah of Islam or for those who have studied bit of Arabic grammar. So if I got a nickname, no one will get confused any more. I thought of names of great scholars bearing Abu Bakr and about three came to mind...Abu Bakr al Baqillaani, Abu Bakr al Tartushi and Qadi Abu bakr al Arabi...the two later Malikis.
If I choose the last then people have to call me Qadi even if I am yet to become a Mufti...and the first two mean, you either call me Baqillani or Tartushi....Allahu akbar.
I have been feeling somehow weak since my arrival. The himmah to study well has been lost. Do include me in your daily duas for ALLAH’s guidance, ikhlaas in my studies and strength to achieve my goals.
Was salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatULLAHI.