Just about when I was taking my place in the airplane, I saw that man … he was busy talking and explaining things to the passengers… and did not miss a chance to assist anyone, despite his thin body and short height. He was more active than many of the passengers. He proceeded towards me and said: “it seems that you are my companion during the journey and neighbor with respect to seating”. I replied: “it seems like that”.
He seated in the adjoining seat and sighed then said: “How long before it is time for Maghrib?”
“Quarter of an hour”
“O my Lord, make it easy and do not make it hard. The weather was certainly pleasant today. Praise be to You, O Bestower of blessings”. He recited the supplication of traveling then turned to me saying: “Do you know that I learnt this supplication from the announcement system in planes. May Allah reward with good those who started its announcement and broadcast.”
“It seems that you travel a lot?”
“Yes.. every two weeks.. every half month, I travel for “Chemo”.
“Treatment: I am being tested by a terminal illness … See!” He showed me signs from many past surgeries….”They took out a tumor from my stomach, but it spread to the rest of the body after two years of surgery. It was destined! Praise be to Allah in all situations.”
I changed the subject of conversation and learnt that he was a simple employee and that he was a father of seven children, the elder of whom was eight and the rest of his children were girls. Then he continued: “Do you know, O my brother, the blessings of our Protector are many and by Allah they for good. I feel that I am blessed all the time I remain walking on the earth, and my mind is with me, and my tongue moves with praise of the Mighty, the Owner.
I asked him while I was hesitant due to his weak condition: “Do you own a house for yourself or your children?”
“O Shaykh, the happy person is one who owns a house there in
Paradise... as for here, the house is
When it was announced that it was time for iftaar (breaking the fast), he went around the plane saying: “take this fresh date and leave the stale ones!”
“Both are good”
“Yes, but promise me that you will eat mine”
I thanked him and ate from his plate
“Pronounce the name of Allah and eat, O Shaykh”
“May Allah reward you with good”
“Two are never enough. I always offer the person in my neighboring seat futoor (breakfast)… Do you know the reward for him who breaks the fast of the fasting person.. Definitely you know, O Shaykh”
He invited me and insisted that I eat, and spoke about his family and past problems and their complete dependence (on Allah) in facing them.
“I do not own a house but I am satisfied…completely satisfied if He orders what is destined for me shortly”
“How is this? Do you have relatives who will look after your family?”
“O Shaykh, I thought you will know and see who feeds the bird in its nest, and feeds the fetus in the womb… their Lord never forgets them. I have left them with a condition better than mine, when my father left me an orphan… Leave them a future and insurance… No one can insure anything except the Provider of all Creation!!”
“That’s true but all means should be taken”
“Allah knows that I did not fall short… Did I end my trips for treatment and there was my family requesting me to reduce the stress because of the disease… I work as a server of coffee during wedding parties… and that is enough… it is enough as halal provision and work does not diminish (a person) … and I am well.”
I continued the conversation until the plane’s tyres touched the earth… I did not know why I felt a connection with this simple man. I had learnt from him a great lesson that everyone knows, but they do not implement it or practice with such sufficiency as like when birds are fed when they depart hungry (every day). How many see this and then suggest knowledge of choices and causes? How many are convinced while living this theory and practice without contradiction? How many were generous while they were poor? Brave while weak? Upright while hard working and self assured in nervous times?
I saw him off and I say as one of the scholars said: “O my Lord, give me faith like the faith of old people”. He left me when I insisted that he accept my offer to take him to the hospital and he replied in a strict tone:
“The taxi driver is waiting for me … I know him, and I help him when I pay him and he has a family (to support)… don’t make yourself the cause of Allah’s restricting provision for the needy!!!”
Truly, how many are as great in this religion. He puts these personalities into trials as to be good examples of wholesome nature and deep faith in times of difficulty and distance from Allah.
(From: Al Bayan Magazine; translated from Arabic to English by Abu Abdullah)