Months down the road, I started attending Tajweed classes to perfect my recitation of the Quran. It should be noted that this is a subject of its own for not every average Arabic reader is capable of such. I learnt a lot and yet I still have a long way to go.
Anyways, that’s beside the point. For a while now, I’ve been pondering as to how exactly fiqh class entered my life only to conclude my Quran/tajweed teacher suggested it. And what a suggestion it was. No amounts of words can amount to how grateful I am.
The center I studied Quran and Tajweed at occasionally held Islam related classes. One of these classes was Fiqh and Explanation of the 40 hadiths of Imam Nawawi held by -I think the polite term is- Ustadh Ranya, once a week. I loved her. Still do. Upon joining the class, I was welcomed like never before.
Seeing as we had a lot to cover and four days a month weren’t enough and Ramadan was 8 classes away. So we put the 40 hadiths on hold and proceeded with completing Fiqh of Salat(Prayer), so we could start Saum(fasting) for there were great merits of studying such a topic before the month of Ramadan.
Every Saturday, I would attend Tajweed and Quran classes at 10am and Fiqh class at 12pm. So I’d have to leave the place I called home at 9:40, walk to the main road, catch a bus. Stop the bus in front of the building the Center was located in. By 11 I’d be done. So I’d have to wait a good hour before fiqh classes. In this hour, if I wasn’t napping, random people would approach me and we would converse; in Arabic. The people who often kept me company was a mother and her daughter(my age) who are from one of those countries that end with –stan. We’d talk about many things; well, they’d start the topics that I’d finish. I think there is no greater feeling than two somewhat broken speakers in a foreign language communicating successfully. So, before we knew it, they had Quran class and I had Fiqh class.
My teacher was great. -Come to think of it, I am deeply saddened for I didn’t call her to notify her that I was departing her homeland.- &The students were great. I would say the only person who was younger than me was one of the mother’s children. Not only was I the youngest* luckily for me knowledge has no age bracket. Hence, I felt at home. * but also the only student not from one those countries that end with –stan.
When I joined, they had already started this wonderful book. <—-My first official book in Arabic. On that day did we start Fiqh of Salat Jummah(Friday prayer). The Fasting chapter began with the following verse:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِيَ لِلصَّلَاةِ مِن يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
“Oh you who believe (Muslims)! When the call is proclaimed for the Salat (prayer) on the day of Friday (Jummah prayer), come to the remembrance of Allah (Jummah religious talk (Khutbah) and Salat (prayer)) and leave off business (and every other thing), that is better for you if you did but know!” 62:9
I learnt remarkable hadiths like,
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: He who performed ablution well, then came to Friday prayer, listened (to the sermon), kept silence all (his sins) between that time and the next Friday would be forgiven with three days extra, and he who touched pebbles caused an interruption.”- Muslim/1868
“Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: “Any person who takes a bath on Friday like the bath of Janaba and then goes for the prayer (in the first hour i.e. early), it is as if he had sacrificed a camel (in Allah’s cause); and whoever goes in the second hour it is as if he had sacrificed a cow; and whoever goes in the third hour, then it is as if he had sacrificed a horned ram; and if one goes in the fourth hour, then it is as if he had sacrificed a hen; and whoever goes in the fifth hour then it is as if he had offered an egg. When the Imam comes out (i.e. starts delivering the Khutba), the angels present themselves to listen to the Khutba.”- Sahih Bukhari Book 13. Friday Prayer
Instantly did i fall head over heels in love with Friday and the sermon and the prayer even though I knew Jummah wasn’t my obligation. But still took it upon me to implement the above hadiths.
The prophet said “لا تمنعوا إماء الل مساجد الل” “Do not stop Allah’s women-slave from going to Allah’s Mosques.”.
I literally lived in between two mosques; a big one and a small one. But for some reason I preferred the small one despite it being next door. So after learning the simplified Fiqh of Friday Prayers, 5 weeks before I departed Egypt, I started practicing what I learnt immediately. I followed most of the shurt(conditions) and ahkam(commandments)*like I couldn’t possible perfume myself *. And happily I would attend this prayer looking forward to what the sheikh had to share. Before my eyes, A new love was born. In the mosque I attended 5 weeks in a row, the Imam explained one hadith.
The following hadith will inshallah echo in my head in the Imam’s taqwa filled voice forever.
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ، قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صلى الل عليه وسلم:مَنْ يَأْخُذُ مِنْ أُمَّتِي خَمْسَ خِصَالٍ ، فَيَعْمَلُ بِهِنَّ ، أَوْ يُعَلِّمُهُنَّ مَنْ يَعْمَلُ بِهِنَّ ؟ قَالَ : قُلْتُ : أَنَا يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ ، قَالَ : فَأَخَذَ بِيَدِي فَعَدَّهُنَّ فِيهَا ، ثُمَّ قَالَ : اتَّقِ الْمَحَارِمَ تَكُنْ أَعْبَدَ النَّاسِ ، وَارْضَ بِمَا قَسَمَ اللهُ لَكَ تَكُنْ أَغْنَى النَّاسِ ، وَأَحْسِنْ إِلَى جَارِكَ تَكُنْ مُؤْمِنًا ، وَأَحِبَّ لِلنَّاسِ مَا تُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِكَ تَكُنْ مُسْلِمًا ، وَلاَ تُكْثِرِ الضَّحِكَ ، فَإِنَّ كَثْرَةَ الضَّحِكِ تُمِيتُ الْقَلْبَ.
“Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “Who will these words and act upon them or teach someone to act upon them?” I said, “I will, O Messenger of Allah.” So he taught me five sayings, “Beware of what is unlawful and you will be the best worshipper among the people; be satisfied with what Allah has given you and you will be the richest of the people; be kind to your neighbor and you will be a believer; love for the people what you love for yourself and you will be a Muslim; and do not laugh too often, for indeed, too much laughter will deaden the heart.”
For 5 weeks, he explained the last three points of this hadith. And through his sermons did I grasp a new understanding.
Personally, one of the main reasons I can’t wait to go back to Egypt is to start attending Friday prayers just around any corner, hoping the Imam doesn’t use too many words I don’t understand.
The end!! Thank you for bearing with me.