The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “O young people! Let those of you who afford marriage get married as it will help them lower their gaze and protect their chastity. And for those who don’t afford it, they may fast for it will curb the sexual desire.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn Mas’ud)
My wife and I always thought that we were immensely lucky to have Mahad as our child. Obedient, sincere, loving, and kind. Alhamdulillah, we really don’t know what we did different from other parents. Yes, our son is very different. The coolness of our eyes.
After his birth, there’s not been a day that we haven’t lived for him. What clothes he would wear, which school he would go to, which friends and family he would hang around with, the co-curriculum that he would take up, it would all have to be the best. Alhamdulillah and we indeed gave him the best. He also never failed us. As he grew, our wall shelves started expanding to accommodate his trophies and certificates. He gave us all reasons to expand our chest and walk proudly.
Of course, every child has his days of disobedience. During college days, Mahad became very fast friends with one Junaid. A good lad Junaid was but was not focused about life at all. How could he be focused when all he would do was to spend hours in masjid with clerics and spend time in these matters. Of course I know it is important to be in deen and learn but what would a person feed himself if not work hard to earn? Somehow, he influenced Mahad a lot. At one point Mahad started ignoring his education completely to be with him and would nonchalantly speak, read and think about Islam. Every alternate weekend he would go out for dawah activity and the most embarrassing moments would be when he would start speaking of Islam before our friends! He wouldn’t realise that he was getting too extreme. He started wearing Sunnah clothing, grew beard, barely managed to secure a first class and worse was he gave up the lucrative job in bank! AllahuAkbar. All these years we educated him was a waste!
We started feeling apprehensive that he was getting in touch with the wrong sort of people. We were hoping that he is away from extremists and terrorist organizations. His activities seemed completely dubious. No matter how much we explained, he wouldn’t listen. He turned a deaf ear to our warnings, consoling, threats or pleadings.
– “Allah chose me to be a muslim”, he said, “I have to perform my obligations.”
Our child was brainwashed into believing that this is Islam! There was a society we had to live in and it demands certain etiquettes. Sure Islam doesn’t ask you to live against the society and abandon it! Are his mother and I not muslims? Or is he into the wrong notion that all this makes him a better muslim us! Allah knows what is in our hearts and our struggles.
He started a small business in textiles and soon after that he came to me one day saying, “Dad I want to get married.”
Marriage! Was he kidding me? He was barely 24. He had a long way to go.
-“you’re too young to marry Mahad. Concentrate on your career now.”
– “but dad, I am ready to get married and Islam permits me to. Rather it encourages me to. “, Mahad snapped back
It was getting on my nerves. I had borne his stubbornness for too long now. He was ruining his life! Why was he not getting it?
-“Mahad, how will you feed your family? You barely earn enough to sustain for yourself. Look at your friends, they are all working and rising in their respective fields. Build your career now son. There’s a time for everything. Go have fun, make money and enjoy life a little. This is all fanatism. Please stop it.”
Alhamdulillah, he did not argue any further. Had he ignored me then, he wouldn’t be what he is today. He worked hard and his business flourished. If he works a little harder he will sure make even more. Of course marriage will come after that. Alhamdulillah, business and work also kept him busy enough to improve him. Now he is much better. Doesn’t get time to visit masjid all the time. Tries to make it for Jumu’ah prayer with me. I am sure Allah understands, He is the Most Kind and Benevolent.
He travels a lot these days, meets people of all cultures for work purposes. I feel so proud to see him participating in programs and parties. Initially he used to crib about music, alcohol and haram conversation but it is okay when you yourself don’t drink! Thankfully, he is getting comfortable with his female colleagues too and is responding kindly unlike his earlier awkwardness! Islam is meant to be easy, not to burden you after all. Alhamdulillah, he is where he deserves to be. A boy of such intelligence quotient deserves to be even better placed. Being moderate muslim is the key. It is impossible to live as an extremist.
Alhamdulillah, we will start seeing girls for him soon. An old colleague had once sent proposal for his daughter. Masha’allah, what a beautiful girl. Air Hostess in a top airlines, earns well and is very humble too. Family is well to do and famous in our locality. I tried speaking to Mahad about her but he denied. Says he wants someone pious. In shaa Allah he will agree soon for her. They have their entire life to improve upon deen.
I see Junaid once in a while outside the masjid and pity him. Heard he is a Deputy Manager in a Government Office. Often on weekends I still see him distributing pamphlets and knocking door to door to give dawah! His face has become absolutely dry and tanned, the charm is lost. Looks sleep deprived and skinny. Got married 7 years back at 24 and already has 2 kids! AllahuAkbar, I wonder how he feeds them with his meagre Government employment salary. I once saw him with his family sitting by the creek and playing with kids. Alhamdulillah, Allah grants these merciful moments to them also. I know it is short lived happiness. I see his wife clad in a plain abaya and hijab; his kids having the most basic brand of toys and wonder what will he do when she will demand that pretty jewellery or the kids will require better bats!
I wish Junaid had used the time of his youth for something better than wasting it learning about deen. Youth is for earning and settling yourself, of course you have the rest of your life to learn and spread deen! Isn’t it? I thank Allah for saving my son. Alhamdulillah.
The Prophet (saw) advised to: “Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death”
(Narrated by Ibn Abbas and reported by Al Hakim)
# A Fictional Tale