“He of the High Desire”

The road shall go with me...

The road shall go with me…

By Maryam Sakeenah

“I will go where no road goes, and the road shall go with me.”

When I first came across this verse by Joscelyn Ortt, it occurred to me how remarkably it fitted in with the story of Ibrahim’s (as) struggle to surrender. Courageously, honest to the innate truth within the self, he sought out the truest ‘God’ – beginning with the negation of false pagan godhood, he ultimately found Allah (swt). It is fascinating to read the account of his search for the truth:

“When he (Ibrahim) saw the sun rising up, he said: ‘This is my lord. This is greater.’ But when it set, he said: ‘…Verily, I have turned my face towards Him Who has created the heavens and the earth Hanifa, and I am not of Al-Mushrikun…’ And that (faith) was Our Proof which We gave Ibrahim against his people. We raise whom We will in degrees. Certainly, Your Lord is All-Wise, All-Knowing.” (Al-Anam 6:78-83)

Ibrahim (as) brings together in his person honesty and courage to proclaim it loud and clear. He attained the truth through his lone, relentless struggle and rejected once and for all whatever impeded the way to his Lord. He fearlessly showed that truth to the world with all his passion. The Quran quotes Ibrahim (as), while addressing those who rejected the truth:

“Who has created me, and it is He Who guides me; and it is He Who feeds me and gives me to drink. And when I am ill, it is He Who cures me; and Who will cause me to die, and then will bring me to life (again); and Who, I hope will forgive my faults on the Day of Recompense.” (Ash-Shuara 26:78-82)

Taking the road less travelled demands strength, persistence and honesty. Only the Hanif (uni-focal) can triumphantly go through the trials it involves and ascend to a higher realm of the contented self (Nafs-e-Mutmainna). Ibrahim’s u struggle was a struggle to win Islam (peace through submission). This struggle began with the negation of false gods (La Ilaha) and led the soul on to a recognition and acceptance of the only truth that brought with it the peace of Ill Allah.

“When his Lord said to him: ‘Submit (i.e. be a Muslim!)’ He said: “I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of ‘Alamin (mankind, Jinns and all that exists).” (Al-Baqarah 2:131)

Having internalized this faith and lived it out with his person, Ibrahim (as) becomes the embodiment of Tauhid.

“Verily, Ibrahim was an Ummah’ (a leader having all the good righteous qualities) or a nation, obedient to Allah, Hanifa (i.e. to worship none but Allah), and he was not among those who were Al-Mushrikun (polytheists, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah, and those who joined partners with Allah). (He was) thankful for His (Allah’s) Graces. He (Allah) chose him (as an intimate friend) and guided him to the Straight Path (Islamic Monotheism, neither Judaism nor Christianity).” (An-Nahl 16:120-121)

For when the sweetness of Iman is tasted, nothing else satisfies, nothing else fulfills. Ibrahim (as) was possessed by this single idea, which gave meaning to his life and which enlightened, elevated, enriched and purified. Ibrahim’s u faith in and love for Allah (swt) rings through his beautiful prayers:

“My Lord! Bestow Hukman (religious knowledge, right judgement of the affairs and Prophethood) on me and join me with the righteous; and grant me an honourable mention in the later generations; and make me one of the inheritors of the Paradise of Delight.” (Ash-Shuara 26:83-85)

The achievement of the contented self brings out the soul in all the richness, beauty and grandeur that human nature is capable of, till the exclusive title Ahsan-i-Taqweem (the best of all creation) is earned and Allah (swt) Himself bears testimony of it:

“Salamun (peace) be upon Ibrahim (Abraham)! Thus indeed do We reward the Muhsinun (good-doers). Verily, he was one of Our believing slaves.” (As-Saffaat 37:109-111)

The faith of the contented self expresses itself in ways larger than life, much greater than what is humanly understandable. The patience of Ibrahim (as) in the trials he went through and his exemplary sacrifices were such an expression of the faith of the contented self, the intensity of which transcends the limitations of historical time. Ibrahim’s u faith broke free from the tethers that bind man to the pettiness of the minimal self (Nafs-e-Ammara) – from base desires and egoistic impulses.

Allah (swt) reciprocates, blesses and preserves the glorious deeds of His righteous slaves. Hence, Ibrahim (as), having triumphed over all of life’s trials, received the boundless love of His Lord. The mention of Ibrahim (as) in the Quran resonates with love of the Speaker, the Lord of Ibrahim (as).

“And who can be better in religion than one who submits his face (himself) to Allah (i.e. follows Allah’s Religion of Islamic Monotheism); and he is a Muhsin (a good-doer). And follows the religion of Ibrahim (Abraham) Hanifa (Islamic Monotheism – to worship none but Allah Alone). And Allah did take Ibrahim (Abraham) as a Khalil (an intimate friend).” (An-Nisa 4:125)

“Verily, Ibrahim (Abraham) was, without doubt, forbearing, used to invoke Allah with humility and was repentant (to Allah all the time, again and again).” (Hud 11:75)

Ibrahim (as) was blessed with leadership, honour and respect. He is revered as the patriarch of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim people, from whom all monotheistic faiths spring forth. And yet, the position of Ibrahim (as) in Islam is unique. The pristine Tauheed of Islam, which accepts no resemblance of Shirk in any manifestation, is the continuation of the mission of Ibrahim (as). Allah (swt) insists in the Quran to follow the religion of Ibrahim, the pure monotheistic tradition:

“… it is the religion of your father Ibrahim (Abraham) (Islamic Monotheism).” (Al-Hajj 22:78)

Even before Islam, the Arabs were conscious and proud of their Abrahamic ancestry. Despite the corruption of polytheism and many rampant social ills, the concept of the one God of Ibrahim (as) was part of Arab tradition in one form or another. Islam purified, reinstated and revived that Abrahamic faith with its simple declaration of La ilaha il Allah (no god but Allah) and, hence, has a legitimate claim of being a consummation of the Abrahamic mission.

It will not be an overstatement to say that the ritual of Hajj is in many ways a commemoration of the extraordinary life and struggle of Ibrahim (as) and his family. It celebrates the edifying legacy of Ibrahim (as), who had prayed:

“Our Lord! Make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You … send amongst them a Messenger of their own (and indeed Allah answered their invocation by sending Muhammad e, who shall recite unto them Your verses and instruct them in the Book (this Quran) and Al-Hikmah (full knowledge of the Islamic laws and jurisprudence or wisdom of Prophethood, etc.) and sanctify them.” (Al-Baqarah 2:128-129)

The rituals of Hajj immortalize Ibrahim’s u faith and privilege the believers to take of the immensity of that boundless treasure. The Kabah itself speaks of Ibrahim’s u faith and his belief in the oneness of God.

M. Asad writes: “Never had I felt so strongly as now, before the Kabah, that the hand of the builder (Ibrahim) had come so close to his religious conception. In the utter simplicity of a cube, in the complete renunciation of all beauty of line and form, spoke this thought: ‘Whatever beauty man may be able to create with his hands, it will be only conceit to deem it worthy of God; therefore, the simplest that man can conceive is the greatest that he can do to express the glory of God.’… Here, in the Kabah, even the size spoke of human renunciation and self-surrender; the proud modesty of this structure had no compare in the world.”

Each time the pilgrim performs a ritual, he experiences again for a blessed moment that edifying legacy and revives within him again – in a minuscule proportion – that spirit. When he prays at the Maqam-e-Ibrahim, he as a monotheist reaffirms his association with Ibrahim (as), the Haneef, and realizes how the passionate faith of “those of the high desire” is immortalized by the Immortal, how the footsteps in the sands of time remain, leading, guiding, enlightening and blessing – always showing the way, the Sirat-al-Mustaqeem; going where no road goes, taking the road with them.

Multitasking and the Sunnah

Multitasking and Sunnah

By Maryam Sakeenah

You have to be a multitasker, or you’re old fashioned. It is just so normal nowadays to have a conversation while SMSing a friend, listen to a song while typing an email, update your Facebook status while looking up a reference on Google, watch the television, while having dinner with family. This just goes to show the magnitude of the transformation the technological revolution has brought about in our social and personal lives. Multitasking is the way of life.

While the modern lifestyle almost dictates multitasking, is it really an efficient way to get things done and get them done well? Much has been written about it and concerns voiced about multitasking taking its toll on human relationships, work efficiency and quality, time management, mental concentration and human behaviour.

What in the old-fashioned eighties would be considered rude manners, disrespect, attention deficit or disinterest is now the way to go about things. In a comedy show, Jerry Seinfeld explains his reasons for not possessing a Blackberry Smartphone: “Blackberry people… their pupils do not focus. They’re not really there. They hold the Blackberry in their hands all the time, because this is what it commands them to do. And they listen to what you are saying and compare it to what is on the Blackberry, and which one is really more interesting…”

It is interesting to note that the term multitasking is derived from computer multitasking. It is a basic computer function. But while machines are built to multitask, can we apply it to human lives as well? The modern way of life demands just that, but it is common observation that it leads to attention deficit, poor time management and poor efficiency. Psychological studies have disclosed that people show severe interference, when even very simple tasks are performed at the same time, if both tasks require selecting and producing action. Many suggest that the human brain can only perform one task at a time. (“Is Multitasking a Myth?” BBC News, August 20, 2010). Researchers examined, how multitasking affects academic success, and found that students who engaged in more multitasking reported more problems with their academic work. (Junco, R. & Cotten, ‘Perceived Academic Effects of Instant Messaging Use.’)

Inability to manage time is a frequent complaint one gets to hear so often. We are by far busier today than ever before, we have more things to do today than ever before, our lives are faster and our tasks speedier than ever before, but we get to accomplish little, if not nothing. Multitasking achieves little. With our uninsightful and rather thoughtless embrace of technology, the Barakah has fled from our lives, as we race against time and breathlessly chase deadlines, doing nothing to the heart’s content. We remain perpetual underachievers, perpetually dissatisfied.

As Muslims, the inspiration and guidance always comes from the life of the Prophet (sa). While we all know that the Prophet (sa) possessed a multi-dimensional personality and lived out many roles that inspire all sorts of people, he also did justice to each of these roles, lived each aspect perfectly well, and accomplished all of his diverse range of duties remarkably. Whether it be his family life, his political life, his social sphere or his spiritual life, Muhammad (sa) did it all to perfection. So then, dispensing so many tasks altogether, fulfilling so many of his duties that his position demanded, did the Prophet (sa) multitask?

Here are some insights from his life that give us clarity in this regard. For one, the Prophet (sa) was a beloved husband and spent quality time with his wives and children. To his friends, he was a mentor and a loveable companion. As a military strategist and soldier, a jurist and lawmaker, a head of state, leader and statesman, a teacher and guide, the Prophet (sa) was the paragon par excellence. Ayesha (rta) narrates: “The Messenger of Allah talked to us and we talked to him. However, he was as if he had not recognized us, when it was time for prayer, and he turned to Allah with his all existence.” This shows that the Prophet (sa) would give his best to each task, one at a time. While at home, he would be fully involved in domestic affairs, spending time with the people of his household, listening to them, talking to them and attending to their needs. And when it was time for other duties, such as the duty of prayer to his Lord, he would stop everything else and turn towards his Lord (swt) with heart and soul, with complete submission and thorough involvement. This is also why he managed family matters exceedingly well, and all his wives loved his noble companionship thoroughly.

It is also interesting to note the Prophet’s (sa) manners of conversing with others. It is said he would speak little, but with gravity, precision, balance and wisdom. More than that, he was an intent listener and would listen to others patiently with complete attention till they had finished. In fact, when spoken to, he would turn himself with full involvement and interest towards the speaker, making him feel thoroughly understood and given importance. It worked wonders in gluing together a closely knit and firmly bonded community of companions, disciples, associates and devotees, who later became integral to the spread of the Islamic mission.

In matters of the state or of military planning, the Prophet (sa) applied himself fully and achieved astounding results. The fact that the Prophet (sa) is universally acknowledged by all as, perhaps, the most successful figure in human history, must make us analyze his approach and methods with some seriousness. The way of the Prophet (sa) was clearly what may be called ‘uni-tasking’ – taking one thing at a time, performing it to the best of his ability till its conclusion without interruption, distraction or interference. It is only when one allows oneself to be possessed by a single idea and executes it to its successful end does one become an achiever with a deep sense of satisfaction. This deep contentment for having attained your target, after successfully finishing a task you devoted yourself wholly to, is an unparalleled feeling that is the privilege of the Sunnah-abiding Muslim to relish. Muslims are essentially uni-taskers.

The Difference between Deen and Madhab

Jan 11 - Difference bw Deen and Madhab

By Dr. Israr Ahmad

The words Deen and Madhab are entirely different from each other with regard to their underlying concepts. Although in our part of the world we generally refer to Islam as Madhab (religion), yet what is interesting indeed is the fact that the word Madhab has never once been used in the entire treasury of the Quranic text and Ahadeeth literature! Instead, the word that has almost always been used for Islam in the original sources is Deen.

The fundamental difference between the two terms must be understood. Madhab, or religion, is a term used for a set of beliefs and rituals of worship. On the other hand, Deen refers to an entire way of life that pervades all aspects of life. In other words, as compared to Madhab, Deen is a far more comprehensive, all-encompassing reality. With this backdrop, it will perhaps not be entirely correct to say that Islam is not a Madhab (religion), because all of the elements of a Madhab are certainly part and parcel of Islam – it includes the articles of belief, spirituality, and the etiquettes of worship (Salah, Saum, Zakah and Hajj). Hence, it would be more accurate to say that Islam is not merely a Madhab, but an entire code of life (Deen). It not only offers whatever constitutes religion, but is endowed with the elements of a complete way of life. Hence, Islam is, essentially, Deen.

In this context, it must also be understood that while several religions can co-exist at a time in a particular region of the world, there can only be a single Deen (way of life). It is not possible, for instance, for capitalism and communism to coexist in a country at the same time. Only one will be dominant and prevail over others. Similarly, monarchy and democracy cannot simultaneously be established in a country. A system can either be based on the law of Allah (swt), or it will be against the law of Allah (swt). There cannot be two parallel systems, although there can be several religions co-existing at a time in a certain place. The only exception can be made in the case of a single dominant system ascendant above all, subservient to which, all shrunken up and sidelined, may exist other systems. Allama Iqbal said: “In a state of enslavement, it is reduced to a single, small droplet / The very same life which, when freed, becomes a ceaseless, shoreless torrent!”

When Deen is subjugated, it is reduced to mere religion. At the high point of Islamic history, Islam was the single dominant system, under which existed Christianity, Judaism, Magianism and other creeds as religions. They were given this allowance on the clearly laid out condition to pay a nominal tax (Jizya) and accept their subservience to the ascendant system, as said in Surah At-Taubah: “Fight… until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (At-Taubah 9:29)

The law of the land shall be Allah’s (swt), and the dominant system will be Islam, but as far as personal law and private life was concerned, they were free to live according to their own beliefs and practices. However, during the period of the decline and downfall of the Islamic state, the situation was entirely reversed. It will not be wrong to say that in the Indian subcontinent, the dominant system of life belonged to the British. Hence, Islam in the subcontinent was reduced to mere religion – Muslims could pray as they wished, and the British never objected to that; they could declare the call for prayer from the mosques, and they could marry and inherit according to their religious laws, but the state law had to be none other than British, according to the dictates of the British Crown, without interference from the local people. This is exactly what Iqbal expressed in his verse: “Since the Mullah (cleric) in India is allowed to prostrate in prayer / He foolishly thinks it implies his freedom.”

In other words, Islam was not free, but had shrivelled up and been reduced to the level of a mere religion among many.

Deen is essentially that which dominates and pervades. If it is subjugated, it will no longer remain Deen, but will be reduced to Madhab. Its true character will be distorted. If studied from this angle, it becomes clear that no matter how great a system, if it is presented merely as a vision and idea, or presented in the form of a written treatise, it can at best be an idealistic utopia, but can never truly be a criterion, a standard, or a benchmark. It can become a decisive criterion for the whole of mankind to judge and live by only when it is brought into practice, established and fully implemented.

Translated and transcribed for “Hiba” by Maryam Sakeenah.

Musings on the Flood

Pakistan Floods

By Maryam Sakeenah

One stands the risk of being dubbed illiberal and unenlightened, if one sees in the deluge that has drowned one-fifths of the country the hand of Allah. The floods have, among other things, again brought to the fore the gaping ideological split that cuts across Pakistani society, making it deeply fractured and polarised. The flood and the way we choose to look at it raises some fundamental questions that strike at the heart of our very self-definition and our worldview – in fact, our very identity.

Pakistan’s clique of English writers flaunting liberal credentials are clearly irked by those, who insist on seeing the flood as Allah’s handiwork, and emphatically stress on the fact that inanimate nature and its ‘inhumane’ forces act mechanically and indiscriminately.

On the other end of the divide are the ‘punishment theorists’, whose understanding that the floods are Allah’s anger unleashed on a sinful people does not really sit well. It is both arrogant and ignorant to brand everyone with the same iron. There is a certain unease and discomfort for a thinking mind to buy the theory. The problem with the punishment theory arises, when it leads one to indiscriminate judgement rather than self-reflection; and when it deflects emphasis from the actual, material factors and ground realities directly responsible for wreaking a tragedy of these dizzying proportions: that no dams have been built in the country for years, that in a routinely flood-prone country there is no proper flood management system in place, and that we have not been sufficiently alerted to the very real effects of the global climate change.

Both perspectives are reductionist and lop-sided. The liberal view can be blamed for ignoring the normative dimension and failing to appreciate the worth of the realization of one’s powerlessness and the humbling it brings. It ignores the understanding central to the Muslim worldview that everything that happens must be seen as a piece in the divinely-laid scheme of things. Every occurrence fits into the mural of Allah’s plan; that there are no random accidents, no meaningless chaos or anarchy in nature. Nature is Allah’s (swt) manifestation, and its processes are by His design.

The punishment theorists, on the other hand, oversimplify a complex, multi-faceted reality in order to make sense of an inordinate phenomenon.

What is ignored in the process is the insight offered by some basic religious texts that deal with the subject. For one, the Quran talks at great length of natural calamity and cites historical instances of punishment through natural disasters to rebellious peoples. However, it has to be understood that within the framework of Allah’s (swt) absolute justice, punishment becomes justified only when the truth has been clearly established and vindicated, and falsehood exposed for all to see; and when the choice between truth and falsehood has been made in complete earnest by all. This criterion was fulfilled in the lifetimes of prophets. Hence, the utter rejection and hostility after full knowledge of a prophet’s message warranted divine punishment. With the ending of the line of prophethood, this is no longer the case. Hence, it is erroneous to see a natural calamity in this day and age as wholesale, all-out, indiscriminate punishment to its victims of the kind the scriptures talk about.

Natural calamity after the time of prophets functions as a reminder to the mankind of their vulnerability, as opposed to the power of the universal Sovereign and of the transience of life; it serves to revive in the hearts of people that Allah-consciousness, awe and fear so necessary to cut them down to size when they tend to get out of their boots. It functions as a test of faith, of patience and of human capacity to heal, help and alleviate the suffering of the fellow humans.

Another dimension that needs to be brought into focus is that Allah, in His infinite mercy, recompenses every iota of suffering borne by His slaves, and that people of faith, who lose their lives in accidents, disasters and calamities, are blessed with the ranks of martyrdom. Clearly, being struck by a calamity does not make one less fortunate or more deserving of Allah’s wrath. This understanding infuses in the Muslim’s heart compassion towards the sufferers.

A tradition attributed to Aisha (rta) sheds light on the matter with amazing precision. When asked, how natural calamities were to be interpreted, she said: “(It is) A punishment for the disbelievers and a reminder to the believers.” (From the audio “Natural Disasters” by Shaikh Faisal Abdullah)

What this makes clear is that there can be no generalizations and no judgement, for the knowledge of the state of belief in people’s hearts lies with Allah (swt) alone, and whether a calamity becomes a punishment or a test for those affected by it and those witnessing it depends on every individual’s inner state, which is impossible to judge by any outsider. It is our attitude towards a calamity (whether we respond to it with patience and learn from it the right lessons, or whether our hearts remain hard and unyielding) that makes it either a punishment or a reminder for us. If we humble ourselves and acquire the courage and faith to say: “…To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return” (Al-Baqarah 2:156), we will emerge triumphant out of every calamity. Such an indomitable spirit cannot be crushed by any calamity of whatever magnitude.

Out of an instinctive aversion to a ‘not-so-liberal’ worldview, the ‘liberal Fatwa’ on the flood by our dogmatic liberals misses the essential point. It fails to appreciate the value of understanding ourselves as underlings to a Greater Power – an understanding that humbles and imbues us with a sense of responsibility, as we conduct ourselves in life, and a Allah-consciousness that makes us constantly strive to better ourselves; that gives us resilience and stoicism in the face of trial as well as compassion towards fellow human beings; that makes us conscious of our greater purpose and that at the end of the day we all are to stand in the court of the ultimate Sovereign with nothing but ourselves; that “…His Grasp is over all vision… and He is… Well Acquainted with all things.” (Al-Anam 6:103)

“How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” (Muslim)

Swept Away

  • The number of people affected by the floods exceeds 20 million.
  • 1500 people lost their lives, along with millions of animals and livestock.
  • Roughly 160,000 square kilometres of area has been affected by the floods.
  • Structural damages are estimated to exceed $4 billion.
  • Damages to the wheat crop are estimated to be over $500 million.

(Source: http://www.pakistanpaedia.com)

The Wayfarer

Jul 10 - The Wayfarer

Maryam Sakeenah pays a humble tribute to Dr. Israr Ahmed.

As I walked through the dust and heat, threading my way through the throng of unfamiliar faces, I felt an indescribable kinship, an invisible bond that linked me to the faces I walked among. We were drawn towards the same – a personage, a symbol, a phenomenon, an institution, an era and a life larger than life. I was a nobody among the crowd, one among many – and yet I felt I needed to be there, to draw in the moment, to feel the meaning in the cool shade of the towering white minaret and the gentle wind’s whisper, to see it writ large, to savour blessedness and to understand what it meant to truly live, and to live well. That was one of the many realizations the departure of Dr. Israr Ahmed brought home to me. As I looked around at the silent, sombre crowd I felt we were all suddenly bereft, forlorn and derelict. There was a huge, gaping void that would take decades, perhaps centuries to fill.

He was rare – not just as a scholar, but as a person too. A family member tearfully confided in me how he had been the unifying factor, helping resolve differences, sorting things out, solving problems and strengthening ties; how he had been the advisor, guide, patron, father figure, guardian, comforter and confidante.

There were tearful eyes; one of them a friend’s, who reminisced of her time at the Quran Academy as a student. She said it had only struck her now that the personal revolution that had given her an entirely new orientation had been just one of the many, many transforming experiences thousands like her had undergone, made possible by the conviction and endeavour of a single ‘possessed’ man – a man obsessed with a Single Idea. I had never before understood with such crystal clarity the meaning of ‘Sadaqah-e-Jariya.’

In one of his interviews, Dr. Israr Ahmed, in his candid demeanour, had said he didn’t think he had been successful in any significant measure, except perhaps that his work had helped create religious awareness and inclination among the country’s educated middle class.

Understated indeed, considering the enormity and significance of the task. His tireless mission spanned decades, and his tenacity in pursuing the goal he believed in with all his soul was commendable. The depth of his knowledge and insight had been garnered over years of painstaking, unaided personal effort. The maturity of his seasoned vision, the sense of balance and the conviction in the face of formidable odds were a rare combination. His passion for the cause he held dear and strove tirelessly for was powerful and moving. He dreamt alone, and dared to act it out. He was thoroughly immersed in the Quran, thoroughly in love with it. You couldn’t doubt the love, it was so there. He had its glow on his face, its brilliance in his eyes, and its ring in his voice.

As I stepped into the place where he had lived for years, I was instantly struck by the simplicity, as it was so utterly shorn of any semblance of comfort and luxury. ‘Live in this world as a stranger or a wayfarer.’ The Wayfarer had lived it out, eyes firmly fixed on the greater beyond, and moved on.

His last Friday lecture, barely days before his passing away, was about the meaning of Shukr – gratitude to Allah I – for being chosen to discover and share and disseminate; for the man that he was, and for the legacy he left. In this last lecture, he mentioned at length the blessings awaiting the believers in Al-Firdous. Only on receiving that true and lasting reward would the actual meaning of ‘Alhumdulillah’ be experienced in its totality.

Alhumdulillah for your being there. Alhumdulillah for passing it on.

In class, when I shared the news with the students, I could not at first explain to myself the calm that suddenly overwhelmed me, perhaps out of a sense of comfort in the hope that he would be in that Happier Place. A student wrote of him, “I would go to Jannah and meet him there Insha’Allah. I would shake hands with him. I always wanted to do that but he has died, you know, so I can’t. But in Jannah, I shall shake his hands and he will smile and say, ‘My son, I am so proud of you.'”

The Dream lives on, beckoning us.