In the name of God, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
Ye who believe!
Liquor and gambling; idols and raffles,
are only a filthy work of Satan;
avoid them so that you may prosper. (Maidah 5:91)
PRIOR to this, the writer narrated his experience while doing the ‘iktikaf’ (staying and doing good things such as reading the Qur’an) in several masjids in his hometown, Malacca.
At the end of the story he quoted a hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas: Allah’s Apostle s.a.w. said: “Take benefit of ‘five’ before ‘five’: your youth before your old age, you health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free-time before your preoccupation and your life before you’re your death.” This is final part of the story.
After leaving ‘Rumah Penghulu’ Abdul Ghani (Chieftain House) in Merlimau, I headed for Masjid Al-Azim (Malacca state mosque) in Bukit Palah. I arrived at the masjid at about 6.45 pm. As at the other masjids, I placed about 30 copies of my books (Bunga Jatuh Ke Dalam Telapak Tangan di Raudhah – Flowers Fell into the Palms in the Raudhah) on its donation box at the entrance, hoping congregators would buy it and placed their payment inside the box.
After saying the ‘Tahiyatul Masjid’ prayers, I went to the left wing of the masjid where food was being served for breaking of fast. On the veranda I saw two rows of men (about 40 people) sitting on mats, facing their share of food – each with a packet of rice and a glass of syrup drink. There were also plates containing cakes and dates on the mats, between the two rows, to be shared among them.
At the women’s section, there were only less than 10 persons but the food provided was the same as the men’s area, thus many seats were vacant. A few men were seen seated in the women’s section.
I took a place at the men’s section, squeezing myself among some Bangladeshis. I noticed almost 90 percent of the men present were Bangladeshis. Later, a veteran Malay man who frequented ‘iftar’ (breaking of fast) at Masjid Al-Azim told me that the majority of the Bangladeshis were contract cleaners from the nearby Malacca Hospital.
Since I was late, I only had the packet of rice, minus the glass of syrup drink. When the call of prayers was on air, I took out a bottle of plain water from my plastic bag and drank the water to break my fast. To my surprise, one on the Bangladeshis pushed his glass of syrup drink to me and held up a plate containing dates for me to pick up a piece. I smiled and he smiled back. Ooh, what a feeling I had on that evening!
I took a date and ate it before opening my share of food. Other then rice, what was the dish inside the food packet? It only contained a small piece of chicken cooked in curry, a little portion of ‘sambal’ (hot gravy) and a small heap of vegetables. Even though the food was too simple, it tasted good (perhaps I was too hungry or the atmosphere enjoyable), and I managed to finish it fast.
On that evening, it was the first time for years I broke fast on free food provided in masjids. So I must thank the Lord for all the goods things He had provided me such as having a good wife and family and wealth that I could break fast in comfort of my house including having varieties of food and drinks. It was in contradiction to what we have in the masjid - a very simple meal!
While waiting for the ‘maghrib’ prayers, I strike conversations with some of the Bangladeshis. Many of them had wives and children in Bangladesh; they told me they had to sacrifice leaving them for years in order to earn a living. If the Bangladeshi workers had enough food here, what about their families back home?
We often hear that citizens of this country and some other Muslims countries such as Pakistan and Palestine and Muslim minorities such as in India, Myanmar, and the Philippines had to face hardship looking for food, what’s more earning a living.
Some of them in those lands die because lack of food, but we here were subjected to disease related to food such as obesity, diabetics, high blood pressure and heart attacks that sped our death.
Getting to know the hardship faced by the Bangladeshis made me realize to make full use of the opportunities given by Allah the Almighty, not to waste them. We should appreciate what we have especially the ‘five’ mention in the hadith - youth, health, wealth, free-time, and life.
Regarding the full usage of free-time, I received this interesting story e-mailed by my friend in Kuwait that might be helpful and resourceful to readers:
“Since last night my young son has been unwell. When I got back from work this evening I decided to take him to hospital despite my exhaustion.
There were many waiting; perhaps we will be delayed by more than an hour. I took my number and sat down in the waiting room. There were many faces, young and old, but all silent. Some brothers made use of the many booklets available in the waiting room.
Some of those waiting had their eyes closed, while others were looking around. Most were bored. Once in a while the long silence was broken by a nurse calling out a number. Happiness appears on the one whose turn it is, and he gets up quickly; then silence returns.
A young man grabbed my attention. He was reading a pocket-sized Qur’an continuously; not raising his head even once. At first I did not think much about him. However, after one hour of waiting my casual glances turned into a deep reflection about his lifestyle and how he utilizes his time. One hour of life wasted! Instead of making benefit of that hour, it was just a boring wait. Then the call for prayer was made. We went to prayer in the hospital's masjid. I tried to pray close to the man who was reading the Qur'an earlier in the waiting room.
After the prayer I walked with him. I informed him of how impressed I was of him and how he tries to benefit from his time. He told me that most of our time is wasted without any benefit. These are days that go from our lives without being conscious of them or regretting their waste. He said that he started carrying the pocket-sized Qur’an around when a friend encouraged him to make full use of his time. He told me that in the time other people waste he gets to read much more of the Qur’an than he gets to read either at home or in the masjid. Moreover, besides the reward of reading the Qur’an, this habit saves him from boredom and stress.
He added that he has now been waiting for one and a half hours. Then he asked; when will you find one and a half hours to read the Qur’an? I reflected; How much time do we waste? How many moments of our lives pass by, and yet we do not account for how they passed by? Indeed, how many months pass by and we do not read the Qur’an? I came to respect my companion, and I discovered that I am to stand for account and that time is not in my hand; so what am I waiting for?
My thoughts were interrupted by the nurse calling out my number; I went to the doctor. But I want to achieve something now. After I left the hospital I quickly went to the bookshop and bought a pocket-sized Qur’an. I decided to be mindful of how I spend the time. If this information is beneficial to you, then please do forward it to your friends and relatives.
Our Prophet s.a.w. said; “Whoever guides or directs to good, then he gets the same amount of blessing (reward) as the one who does it.”
The Prophet s.a.w. also said, “Pass on knowledge from me even if it is only one verse.”