Venerating our Elders: Just one more moment with those who walked the path

Our elders. My grandmother was the most beloved person to me in this world. I remember all of the amazing experiences I had with her growing up, and how she would always remind me that she needed to be there for my graduations and degrees. She made it to my high school graduation but passed away before my university graduation. I didn’t bother attending my own university graduation because I only wanted to cross the stage to see her smile. She was important to me because when I was with her I felt like I was the most cherished person on the face of the planet. She showed me so much love. She worked as a nurse and when I was born the entire hospital staff knew it, she named me after my father, and every year until her death my every accomplishment was met with her warm hug and wide smile.

Uncle Saleem was an elder of the masjid I frequented when I became Muslim. There he was, this old man who called the adhan with a cracking voice every single day. I was annoyed and hated the sound. I remember sitting with other young people discussing how someone else should be allowed to call the adhan and how these old folks need to move over and make room for us. I sat there thinking I could do much better and arrogantly felt that I should be the one to take his place.

Sh. Murabit al-Hajj. The shaykh of the Malikis, the shaykh of Mauritania, the shaykh that through his love of the faith and ascetism would find dirt in the hearts of people and turn them into gold. The shaykh that if you didn’t know about him you probably have seen hundreds if not thousands of tributes to him online since his passing. A man who they said worshipped the Lord with so much fervor and passion that they said he had been preparing for the moment of his death forever. In fact, it was said by Sh. Salek bin Siddina
that had Sh. Murabit been told he would die the following day that he would not have been able to increase in any good deeds as he already worshipped as though everyday was his last.

What do these three people have in common? They have all passed away. Their legacy though has been left. My grandmother’s through her children and through the love I now hold within me. Uncle Saleem in that for almost 20 years he stood there calling the believers to prayer. And in Sh. Murabit Al-Hajj in that he guided the hearts of people who have now become our guides.

We are losing our elders. We are losing those who preceded us in good. However, many of them are still around us, still breathing, still giving us advice, and still giving us opportunities to serve them. Don’t be like myself who missed so many chances to be with my grandmother. Who arrogantly thought this old man should cease calling the adhan, and who never took the opportunity to sit in the tent of Sh. Murabit Al-Hajj. Find those whose hearts have already been polished, and pray that while you sit with them that God polishes your own. . . or end up sitting like I am now, lamenting over my lack of foresight, wishing I could hear his adhan once more, and knowing that a moment with people like the Shaykh could have transformed my entire life. May God help us to be in service of those who spent their entire lives serving us.

 

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