This story is fictional, based on ture events. It is a prelude to the “the student & the shaykh”.
There was not long left until the gathering was to begin. The boy being the youngest out of the other two siblings of his, was always inquisitive of where his elders, that being, the two older brothers, would go. The common trend with his brothers was that whereever there was an islamic event happening they would the the first few attendees there. From the length and the breath of the country, the islamic events were at their highest in the summer. Organisations sought to seek to display a plethora of events for the young, who were in their summer holidays. With schools, colleges, and the like out for another six weeks, it was tantamount that halal events and outings were avaliable for them. Inorder to curve the growing tides of unislamic events avaliable over the summer holidays.
The boy, having grown up in a practicing islamic family had the good fortune to be always around his elder siblings who were like him, eager to attend any islamic event. Be that on ben navies, the highest point in UK to Holme fen, the lowest point in UK. It was this constant want to find out and learn more about Islam. Inspried by the inspirational speakers of shaykh hamza yusuf and imam shiraj wahaj. The hunger for ilm (knowledge) within the boy was never satiated. This hunger and the thirst to learn more, whould one day propel him into meeting his shaykh. Who would thereafter be his sole source for gaining islamic knowledge and the knowledge which are not mentioned in the books; Knowledge that is only avaliable to the choosen few.
The clock in the living room struck 7pm, on a winters night.
Usually, 7pm in summer would see the children playing outside, with shouts, laughters, and sometimes the sound of cries bouncing through the streets. People hustling and bustling to and from work. On the way only stopping brieftly, to meet neighbours, exhanging a few words before carrying on with their destined chores. Whilst on the horizon, the sun beginning to embrace the blanket of darkness and tuck in for the night ahead. This was not the case in winter. As 7pm struck on this particular winter’s night, the silence of the streets would signify the beginning of a cold biting night. Darkness, the dominent force at play by 7pm. The struggling street lamps trying best to keep the night’s dark and gloomy appearence at bay. It was a common sight, unlike in summer, the streets would become deserted by 7pm, only the winds whistling past the warmly lit houses could be heard. Inside small families relishing the warmth and the confort of the inside home. With a few night crawlers, mousing to and from houses to houses, affraid the cold would bite at their exposed parts of flesh . Hunched and clasping the clothes around their bodies, as if the dark would swallow them up.
Winter, compared to the more colder countries like canada, and northern russia. Was not the picturesque white, snowy winter as you’d expect. The snow, like a typical hot summer, with the sun blazing its rays, on the people and earthlings below, being merciless, was a rarity in the United Kingdom. The winter here is a cold, biting one. Where the wind was the most devestating feature of the british winter. Occasionally, the cold would reach a point at which the white snow flakes would float down to the wet ground below. only to brieftly, whitening the surface of the ground.
As, his elder brothers were ready and about to leave for the gathering. The boy, as he would do every so often, asked his brothers “where are you going?” “To a special gathering”, he was told. “Can i come along aswell?” A categorical “No”! was the strong repsonce, from both of the borhters simoltanously. The second eldest brother then said “this is a gathering only for older people, over 18s, noone younger”. Having heard this reply, it somewhat disturbed the boy. His mind was more inquisitve now than before, “what sort of ‘islamic’ gahtering is it, that younder people are not allowed to attend?” what a strange thing!. Being determinded not to be shoved to the side, as it was the case, usually.
The boy then started to cry, he ran to his mother, “mother, mother, why cant i go with them? ITS NOT FAIR, why can they go to this gathering, and i cant?” his mother seeing the determination in the boys face. Persuaded his brothers, on behalf of her youngest son, to take him along. “why dont you take him with you this time. Maybe when he goes he will not like it, and next time he wont ask to go”. Seeing the truth of her argument, his brothers then considered the option and decided to take him along. Entering the the car, which would take them to the gathering. The boy’s mind began to race, how would the gathering be? who attends this “over 18″ gathering. Why is it so exclusive?. He hadn’t noticed how he managed to enter the car before his brothers. Or, the fact that the wind was whispering past his ears, adding to his suspence already building within him. Once in, he began to come back to reality. He pressed his second eldest brother on the details of the gathering, only to recieve a yes and no reply. After a while, somewhat into the last part of the journey. The boy remembered a dream he had, had last night. The dream was a strange and muddled one. He saw, a ghostly figure, all dressed in white, with a white turban, white beard – the length which was according to the sunnah, (one fist length). Suddenly appeared through his bedroom window. Being sacred, the boy prenteded to be still asleep, occaisionaly peeping through to his blanket. The figure, who was in striking white clothes, floated across the room towards the fireplace. And on top of the mantle piece a black board appeared. With a chalk in his hand, the ghostly figure then drew the letter ‘meem’ of the arabic alphabet. Then without any notice, the figure fully turned his body towards the boy and came across floating through the room. It seemed as though the figure noticed the boy peeping though the blanket. Shaken to his bones, the boy still (now fully awake) saw what happened next! The figure simply stared and looked at him. Standing still at the top of his bedstand. After a while just as he appeared, suddenly he disappeaded again through the bedroom window!
The journey to the gathering came to a close, with adreline running through his entire body, only one thing was racing thorugh the boy’s mind, heart and soul. what is the gathering? who is the teacher? why is it so exclusive?… these questions and the events in the gahtering that was to follow, would the change the life of the 15 year old, Muhammad Azeez Ahmad for good!
(to be continued)