Aqwab’s Faith – The story about a Muslim convert
Islam in itself is a precious gift and a special privilege given to us (mankind) by Allah (swt).If the acceptance is from the heart and not from the lips, then it is a great favour done to the one who accepts it from the heart. The merciful light of Allah (swt) will enter into their hearts and they will be able to receive true guidance. Sometimes the guidance comes in the form of a misfortune, calamity, in one’s career etc.
Brother Aqwab who was a convert to Islam overheard a brother reciting the Holy Qur’an and he went up to him and asked him to explain what he was reciting. The brother told him that he was reciting Chapter 8-Verse 22: and he began to explain the verse to him:
For the worst of beasts in the sight of Allah (swt) are the deaf and the dumb, those who understand not.
Brother Aqwab immediately raised his hands in supplication to Allah (swt) and he prayed, “O! Allah (swt) please do not make my heart deviate now since Thou have guided me on the straight path. Please unite me with the sincere followers who are truly the Umma of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (owbp), and grant me a double portion of wisdom, knowledge and the understanding to grasp the full meaning of your Holy Qur’an and to act accordingly. Provide for me and my family the light by which we should always walk straight in your path.” Ameen.
Aqwab was so afraid after he learned this ayah from the Holy Qur’an (For the worst of beasts in the sight of Allah (swt) are the deaf and the dumb, those who understand not), that he didn’t want to hurt a fly.
He had a very good friend named Feequm who used to take him around to religious functions, to the Mosque, and got him involved in gatherings of Zikr (remembrance of Allah (swt), in which he started to find satisfaction of the heart through his sincere prayers and his service to Allah (swt).
Aqwab had one son named Naseer and his friend Feequm had three sons, Ashhad, Hadeed, Haazal and one daughter named Aseela. One day Feequm went to his friend Aqwab and asked him to accompany him to cut down a tree. As they approached the tree, they saw an old man reciting Salaam (Standing in respect of Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (owbp) under the tree. They decided to wait until the man was finished, but Feequm grew impatient and eventually he was more than eager to cut down the tree. Aqwab said to him, “O! My friend, I beg of you, please don’t interrupt this old man from what he is doing. I am enjoying his recitation, he has such a melodious voice, I have never heard such a remarkable rendition and have never felt this great pleasure of happiness before. I am astonished to see so many beautiful birds singing along with the old man, and how the butterflies are all around him; it is an amazing sight so let’s wait until he is finished.” Aqwab stood and listened and to his amazement the birds started to hover over him as well, while Feequm stood restless, oblivious to everything around him. Aqwab said, “Maybe you should reconsider cutting down this tree, it seems as a blessed tree. It also seems to be very comforting for this old man, the birds and the butterflies seem very happy, so we should just go home.” Feequm replied, “Presently I am too upset to listen to you or to explain to you what the old man is reciting, you are new to Islam so you don’t have a clue what he is doing, I promise you that I will explain to you as soon as I cut down the tree.” Feequm started to rush over to the tree, but in his haste he tripped and fell, hitting his head on a rock which caused him to become deaf, dumb and even blind, the very things that Aqwab was afraid of. Aqwab became very distressed over his friend’s injury, he then raised his hands in supplication saying, “O! My Lord, I am grateful to you for the favours which Thou have bestowed upon me through my friend who inspired me to accept Islam, for which I have no regrets. Today I fear for my friend Feequm for I know everything happens by your command and I believe that this is a sign of some sort, but cannot figure out what it is, so I am pleading with you to please enlighten me with guidance to acknowledge the mistakes of my friend Feequm.” Aqwab took his friend home and then he was taken to the hospital.
After several tests, the doctors could not find the reason as to why he became deaf, dumb and blind, and they were unable to find a cure. A day later Aqwab prepared himself for Morning Prayer. After he finished praying, still concerned about his friend Feequm he pleaded with Almighty Allah (swt) to guide him from His Glorious Qur’an, for an explanation that would enable him to understand the mistakes of his friend Feequm. He closed his eyes and randomly opened his Qur’an, and with his eyes still closed he used his finger to choose a verse. Upon opening his eyes, his finger was pointing to the following verse:
Allah (swt) and His Angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him and salute him with all respect. (Chapter 33 Verse 56).
Aqwab repeated the same routine again and this time he was pointing to the following verse:
Say to them: If you do love Allah (swt), follow me, and Allah (swt) will love you, and forgive you your sins, for Allah (swt) is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. 003:031.
Aqwab did not have time to ponder upon its meaning as he had to accompany Feequm to court. His son Haazal was charged with fraud and Feequm wanted to go the trial. They were in courtroom and the clerk announced for all to rise for the entry of the Judge, (it was the first time Feequm was in a courtroom, he did not know you had to stand up when the Judge entered in the court room). Everyone but Feequm rose, for he was unaware of the instructions of the clerk. The Judge ordered him out of the court, for he viewed it as a form of disrespect. Aqwab tried to explain to the Judge but he was also told to leave, so he took Feequm home without hearing the trial of his son.
Feequm was someone who always was in a haste to run from the second part of a function, and because he failed to sit in many assemblies where Darood and Salaam was recited, Almighty Allah (swt) caused him to be removed from the assembly in the courtroom. Let’s consider the Qur’anic verse below:
O ye who believe! When you are told to make room in the assemblies (spread out and) make room: (ample) room will Allah (swt) provide for you, And when ye are told to rise up, rise up Allah (swt) will rise up, to (suitable) ranks (and degrees), those of you who believe and who have been granted (mystic) Knowledge. And Allah (swt) is well acquainted with all ye do). Chapter 58-Verse 11.
As they were heading home, they ran into the Imam (Spiritual Leader of Masjid) who was on his way to a religious function, and he invited them to join him, which they accepted. After the Qur’anic recitation was finished, Aqwab helped Feequm up and was about to leave. The Imam asked, “Why are you leaving?” Aqwab explained, “My friend has never stayed for the second part of a program, he always avoids it, now that he is deaf, dumb and blind I have to take him home.” The Imam asked, “Don’t you want to know what the other half of the program is about?” Aqwab answered, “Of course I would surely like to know”.
The Imam told him, “Then you should sit down and listen”, Aqwab said to the Imam, “I will first take Feequm home and then come back, for it’s only a few minutes to his home.” So Aqwab took his friend home and then returned to the program. It was the first time he heard the rendition of Naats, which touched him immensely. There was also much said about our Holy Prophet Muhammad (owbp), about his life, his miracles, his birth, his manners, his faith, his worship, his seclusions etc. Aqwab found this all to be very fascinating and it filled his heart with peace and happiness. At the conclusion of the program, as everyone stood up for Salaam he recognized the rendition, he reflected back to the old man under the tree.
After the function he hurried home and opened his Qur’an to the two verses which he found earlier, he sat down and pondered on those two verses. After a while he proclaimed, “Alhamdu-Lillah” (all praises are for Allah swt), indeed Allah (swt) is most Merciful for He has answered my prayers, I now understand the mistakes of Feequm. He went back to the Imam for more explanation on the two verses, and they sat in discussion. The Imam explained, “The second part of the program is called Meelad Shareef which is in fact an occasion of happiness, celebrating the Mawlid of the Prophet (owbp) by making gatherings for the hearing of his Sira (Life) and listening to Madh (Praises) that has been written for him is acceptable, and that sharing food to people and bringing happiness to the Umma on that occasion is acceptable, and to send Darood and Salaams on our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (owbp) is also acceptable. It is neither obligatory nor forbidden. Unfortunately, we are living in a time when the enemies of Islam are destroying the Umma of the Prophet (owbp) from within and are doing so without mercy. We are in a time where we hear too much complaining about the remembrance of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (owbp). Truth has become a commodity and falsehood has become the norm, even though Allah (swt) has ordered us to, “Hold fast to the Rope of Allah (swt) and be not divided among yourselves,”(3-103), yet we are finding that the attacks of our enemies are not the only cause of our suffering, but from within our own homes as well. Our own are not happy to fight the enemies of Islam but instead find it necessary to fight Muslims and the community of believers throughout the Muslim world. Our fellow Muslims brothers are judging our intentions. “My advice to you Aqwab, celebrate your Prophet (owbp) with great pride and joy, do not go into dispute about matters that create fitna and confusion. Do not prevent others from celebrating, leave everyone to their heart’s satisfaction and let us unify ourselves by praying for heavenly support especially against our enemies. This is indeed better than getting into disputes and arguments. We are all entitled to our own opinions on this matter; respect for the choices of others must also be regarded. Therefore if you are in an assembly that is choosing to stand to send Darood and Salaam on the Holy Prophet (owbp) and you choose not to participate that way, you should sit quietly and respectfully wait until they are finished. It is considered disrespectful to get up and leave. Allah (swt) knows best, He guides whomever He will; leave the judgments to Him alone.
After this discussion with the Imam, Aqwab felt very happy and peaceful. He rushed home and called out to his son Naseer to tell him what he just learned about Islam, the great love and respect that Allah (swt) and His Angels have for our Holy Prophet Muhammad (owbp), and that Allah (swt) ordered us (mankind) to salute him with all respect. If we claim to love Allah (swt) then we must first love our Holy Prophet Muhammad (owbp) even more than ourselves, our children, our parents and all people. After hearing what his father had learned, Naseer said, “O my father today Allah (swt) has indeed answered my prayers. I always wanted you to join with me in sending Darood and Salaams to our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (owbp) but I was too afraid to ask you, since I knew you were friends with Feequm and he did not agree with it. I was not aware that you had no idea what you were avoiding. I was the one who told Feequm about the old man under the tree.” Aqwab said, “My son! I am the most fortunate father on earth, I am so proud of you; I wish you had told me earlier about this extraordinary and exceptional order that Allah (swt) commands us to do regarding our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (owbp), but please tell me why you went to Feequm about the tree?” Naseer said, “I was hoping that if he heard the old man reciting Naats and Salaam, and if he saw Allah’s (swt) mercies of the tree bowing down, the birds signing Allah’s (swt) praises and sending Darood and Salaam on our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (owbp) and the butterflies around the old man, he would change his ignorant belief and you would follow.” Naseer continued, “When I heard the old man’s voice the first time, I got a wonderful feeling, it was like no other feeling I had ever experienced. I felt as though I was entering a beautiful palace, so loving and peaceful and this caused me to join with the old man. I even took lessons from him, he was so blessed with spiritual insight, that he knew I told your friend about him and the tree even though I never mentioned it to him, he also knew that you and Feequm were going to come so he asked me to stay home that day.” Aqwab kissed his son and he thanked Allah (swt) for this great reward. He then went to see the old man under the tree, he greeted the old man with “Assalaamu-Alaikum” and the old man replied “Wa-lai kum Assalaam” He then told the old man how honored he was to be in his company, and that he is here to request of him to plead with Allah (swt) to restore his friend’s hearing, voice and eyesight, for if it wasn’t for him he wouldn’t know of this blessed religion of Islam.
The old man said, “Grieve not over your friend’s sufferings, he made a mockery of Allah’s (swt) commands, when Allah (swt) put clear signs for him in the form of his children’s careers. The old man continued, “His sons Ashhad and Hadeed salute mankind and their country as one is a soldier and the other a police officer, yet they run away from saluting our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (owbp). His daughter Aseela who is a teacher stands to sing the national anthem, and Haazal who is an accountant was charged with fraud and had to go to Court and stand up before the Judge. Because of Feequm’s ignorance towards all of these clear signs Allah (swt) made him the worst of beasts in His (Allah swt) sight. “It is indeed sad for him but now it’s too late, he cannot hear, speak or see who will show him the way. It is up to Allah (swt) who is the only one who can help him.” Aqwab thanked the old man for his advice and he lifted his hands in supplication, “O! Allah (swt) my old friend and I believe in your commands, but help others whose faith is weak, like my friend Feequm. Please grant me this miracle of returning my friend’s hearing, voice and eyesight, by him realizing the importance in sending Darood and Salaam on our Beloved Prophet Muhammad. After Aqwab finished praying he looked around for the old man but he was no where to be found, so he headed for home.
When he was almost home he saw his friend running towards him shouting, “O my dear friend Aqwab, truly you are the best friend a man could ever have. I just had a visitor who Allah (swt) sent to cure me of my ailments through your prayers and now I can hear, speak and see again.
Praises and Thanks be to Allah (swt), I love you with all my heart my friend, I have repented for my wrong doings once the old man explained everything to me.” Aqwab stood in amazement as to the wonders of Allah (swt), and asked him, “Did he mention who he was?” Feequm replied, “No, but I recognize him, he was the same old man who was reciting Salaam under the tree that I wanted to cut down, and there is no doubt in my mind that he was one of Allah’ (swt) Angels.” With Feequm’s new found understanding of Allah (swt) commands, he decided that he did not want others to befall the same misfortune as him. So the two friends set out to spread their knowledge of Darood and Salaam to those who were in the same position Feequm once was, and through the grace of Allah (swt), their message did not fall on deaf ears, dumb tongues or blind eyes. Ameen.
Some points from Aqwab and Feequm story that we should ponder upon.
- Allah’s (swt) signs were in Feequm’s children’s careers but he was too blind (spiritually) to see it.
- Feequm became deaf, dumb and blind for he was too arrogant and objected to Allah’s (swt) commands.
- Aqwab’s faith in Allah (swt) and his love for our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (owbp), was much stronger than Feequm’s even though he was a convert to Islam.
- Feequm failed to sit in an assembly where Darood and Salaam were reciting on our Beloved Prophet Muhammad, (owbp),so Allah (swt) caused him to be removed from the courtroom.
- We should put fear in our hearts for Allah’s (swt) punishment. If we disobey the Law of the land and we are being punished for it in this world, then imagine what will happen to us if we are disobedient to Allah’s (swt) laws.
- Converts to Islam need to be very careful as to whom their friends and advisers are.
- The old man was an Angel acting on Allah (swt) commands.
- Feequm wanted to cut down the tree out of spite.
- It is important for us to always adhere to Allah’s commands and to love and respect the Holy Prophet Muhammad (owbp).