In the midst of the darkest nights there shines the heart of the brightest ornamental objects; so lovely and loving they shine for the entire universe, the moon and the stars. They have their own captivating personality, and each is “…calculated in its own fixed time.” Qur’an (13:02)
I was stuck in this predicament in approximately 12 hours, 50 minutes and about 30 seconds. Time, why does every thing require time! Why can’t I control my life like I would a tape recorder? Then I can rewind, forward and erase as many times as I want. Everything would be so convenient and easy. Life is so routine. My life is like a script from an authors play. I can easily predict everything that will happen tomorrow and it is driving me nuts. My brain was slowly growing numb and I didn’t know what to do anymore. I was momentarily stuck and I longed to scream, I was in pain. My clothes were tattered and my feet were numb from the collision. For some reason the CD player in my car was still working. I can hear the voice of Sheikh Sudais reciting Surah Yusuf. I tear as I listen to the verses of the Qur’an. How befitting that Almighty God had this amazing verse playing, whilst I was in this situation. Sheikh Sudais beckons the verse again, this time with emotion and at the top of his lungs.
“Patience is indeed befitting, patience is indeed befitting…” In between sobs he recites the verse over and over again. I felt like he was my brother and I was sitting right next to him and we were crying together. Could it be? Could he have been through some adversity or sadness to be feeling this way also? That’s when I realized I must be hallucinating. Of course! Every single human on this Earth has gone through tough times, but I didn’t know if it was as bad as what I have seen in my life.
I have been an orphan since I can remember. From house to house I went and I never had the opportunity to know the owners of each house I stayed in. As a child seeing another kid with his parents always made me want to hide away from the rest of the world.
I wasn’t loved in any way. I felt like a cast away and was in desperate need of someone who would hold me tight. My mother died, my father died and my dearest brother was on the verge of dying. I felt like my heart was carrying the mountains. How could this be? What did I deserve to have this happen to me?
Then I quickly ridiculed myself for asking such questions.
God Almighty named me Nasir, meaning Victory and the only friend I’ll ever have for the rest of my life will be Patience.
It was early in the morning when I heard knocking on my front door. I lived on my own deep within the rain forest. I left the city a long time ago to establish a different living for myself. Anyone can see that my living is quiet humble, but the mountains give it a different feel. Almost like a vacation spot. Nonetheless, a person must be careful in places like this. Growing up in the jungles of Brazil wasn’t easy. I can easily say the easiest thing in my life was memorizing the most amazing words of Almighty God. There my mind goes again! When you’re by yourself you tend to think a lot, and I have been endlessly thinking a lot these days.
Who could it be? I rarely had visitors and it felt good to have someone visit, I quickly ran along the terrace. The mountains, trees and atmosphere ahead looked somber today almost like they were begging me to stay inside.
That’s when it happened. That’s when my whole life changed. My heart was beating a million beats per second. My temperature arose and everything around me seemed to come to a halt. The world stopped revolving, the wind stopped blowing, birds stopped chirping and the stars in the entire universe seem to have dimmed. What am I seeing? Slowly but surely I start reading any verse from the Qur’an that can come to my head but my voice seems to be gone at the point where I need it most.
“Qul huwaa Allahu….” The air around me seems to be choking up the verses I attempt. All of a sudden I am being taking through the rain forest in a caravan that is headed south towards Río Paraná; the Paraná river of abundance.
“Ah….Ahad…” I try smiling but I can’t, reminiscing on the past when the Prophets companion Bilal was receiving the most reward.
“Allahu…..” Every part of my body is aching, almost like a tree was pinning me to the ground. Pain. Pain, can feel like eternity.
“Samad…..” Pain may feel like eternity but unto God is the real eternity.
The caravan I was shoved into seemed to be traveling the speed of light. Before I could figure out where I was headed everything around me blurred. It traveled so fast that the trees where a whirlwind of green zooming right past me. Moments later I was taken out of the caravan and taken to this dark and hollow chamber. In there three men were sitting criss-crossed staring straight at the floor. It was when I was thrown in front of them that I noticed I was shackled by my arms and feet. Clink. Clink. Clink. Wow, these people had the audacity to shackle me up! Do they not know that I fight lions in the jungle late at night, if they only knew! I had a smirk on my face when I realized that the men were all around my age. I noticed that they were still staring at the ground.
I kicked the dirt in front of me, “Hey, you! What do you want?”
“It seems that I am speaking to the wall, I had things to do today and you rascals came in the way of it!”
Instead I was picked up by one of them and thrown outside of the hut. Great. I sat there quietly wondering what I will do next. I looked back and I saw that they were all standing. They were very huge and by huge I mean tall and muscular. My mind couldn’t help but think that these men looked like they were Omar Ibn Al-Khattab on steroids.
Now how in the world would I ever find a way to escape from these men?! I never felt helpless like this. I am Nasir the lion fighter. I grasped the shackles and pulled with all my strength and what came out of it?
I whimper, my fingers were numb and I swear they could be compared to raisins. They were wrinkled like there was no tomorrow.
I looked up and realized the sun was setting. The jungle around me was becoming more and more frightening by the second. Every sound and every step I heard had me quietly alarmed and focused. This is what happens when a boy is forced to be a man in the jungles of Brazil. I was running out of time! Slowly my eyes began flickering up and down. I forced them to stay open for what seemed like decades. Fighting against my will they dimmed and my sight inevitably matched the darkness surrounding me.
I awoke in the morning to a river flowing near the chamber. I was still outside on the ground and my body was aching from all around. I wanted answers. I want to know why these men suddenly decided to hold me captive. What could they possibly gain from me?
The three of them well groomed, comfortable, well clothed and fed came strolling out. What was the status of my facial expression at the moment? Annoyed…
As they passed by me tending to their business I can smell the most beautiful scent I ever smelt on the face of this Earth. Something like sandalwood but even better. I quickly stopped my self from sniffing the air once one of them turned around. They faced one another and began murmuring. Fine, leave the cast away out.
“What do you want from me? I am dying over here, just let me go!” I bellow at the top of my lungs. I could have sworn one of them was smirking. They came towards me and my heart was galloping like a horse would in a battalion. Boy, were these men scary. They emitted some sort of courage, bravery and confidence. They looked highly noble and were the type of men you may see on planes, passing by you to head to first class. Yet, they carried themselves with humbleness and humility. I never knew one can be so frightened of a humble person, but these men did it well.
They sat around me.
One got up and brought in the food that somehow seemed to appear out of no where. After all of the food was set, they all began with “Bismillah”
Lord of the Heavens and the Earth. These. Men. Are. Muslim.
Shocked I said Bismillah under my breath and began eating. A little later they all went inside the chamber; the food was covered up and carried back. They appeared once more and this time came even closer to me.
I realized that each man had a different eye color. One was hazel, the color of honey; the other was cobalt blue, and shined like a crystal; and the other was a deep green, which reflected the colors of the tree making it appear even mossier.
“We seek to be friends with you.” The one with the cobalt eyes stated. The booming of his voice seemed to echo, his deep and husky voice was set so calmly and articulately. His voice was so stable that if he were hunting, a baby antelope wouldn’t have run away.
“M-m-m-mee?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“Yes you. Do you care to stay with us for an appointed time?”
I didn’t know how to reply, I was so dumbstruck that I quickly answered “Sure.”
They all stared at one another and smiled as if they heard what they wanted to hear all along.
“Okay, let us first introduce ourselves.” This time the hazel eyed one spoke. I shivered down my spine because it felt like I was hearing the voice of an arch-angel. I was so inspired yet shocked.
Honey nut hazel went first, “My name is Museeb and it means Adversity, you can call me Adversity if you like.”
Next was Cobalt Blue slash crystal guy, “My name is Hazn and I mean Sadness, you can also call me sadness if you like.”
The last decided to stand. His mossy green eyes seemed to seep all that was around him. He exuded wisdom and confidence. The first step he took towards me, made me want to get up and announce to the world this man is my brother! Yet, I didn’t know him. He was nothing but a stranger to me. I quickly gained my composure and awaited his name patiently. He smiled as if he knew what I was thinking.
“My name is Sabr and I mean Patience, you can call me Patience, that is; if you want.”
I got up and wanted to sit back down. They were very tall and looked down on me intently. I stuck out my hands. They began shaking my hands one by one.
~Adversity and Sadness~
“No” I said. Tears were running down my eyes from the pain, “Please unshackle me, my brothers.”
They all seemed to have an amused face as one of them took the shackles off my hands and the other took the shackles off my legs. I can finally walk and boy did it feel good. They watched me fixedly as I took slow steps towards the chamber. Museeb zoomed past in a blink of an eye and stood in front of me blocking my way. I blinked, frightened but astonished by his speed.
“What is it?”
“You may not enter there,” He said.
“Why is that?”
“Because, we will be going on a trip through the jungle right now and we packed everything you need in a small duffle bag.”
“Well, my friend, I am about to faint right now and feel a headache coming on so I need to sleep somewhere for a little while before we leave.”
“Nope, you will come with us and you will not come with shoes. You won’t be allowed to eat until daybreak and you won’t sleep until I instruct you to.”
“I don’t understand why you told me we will be friends but are making me go through all of this! I said I want to sleep!”
“What do you not understand, you will come with me and Hazn whether you like it or not.” He seemed to be on edge and I stood there quietly for a moment, thinking.
Not finding the energy or the courage to speak I decided to silently follow. Shoe less. Dirty. And semi-hungry even though I just had a heavy meal. My tradition back in my side of the jungle was to sleep after I eat, but no, Museeb decides to be a hardheaded baby.
He looks at me intently and seriously as if he could see the depth of my mind. I turn around to bask my emotions and a shiver is sent from the God up above going down my delicate spine. Lord, please help me.
Patience didn’t want to come on the trip and he seemed to be ignoring me. I felt disconnected with him like he never agreed to me and him being friends. Whenever I looked at him he would turn away and whenever I came near he would distance himself. Surprised, I decided to leave him alone.
Hazn and Museeb kept insisting that they were my friends. How could they be my friends if they were making me go through all of this? When we finally began our travel, in the mornings I had nothing to eat but portions. Sometimes there was absolutely no food to find. My clothes were getting more and more shattered everyday. I felt vulnerable to the outside world, when my shirt finally became nothing but tatters. I threw it off and decided to walk shirtless. My feet were becoming swollen and were forming blisters from all corners.
One night while we were traveling deep into the rain forest Hazn, Museeb and I were having a discussion. Museeb asked a very tough question, one which may take anyone living a great life on this Earth a lifetime to answer. For me the answer seemed simple. I never had friends, so choosing would be easy because I had no one to choose from. However, this time I did so I decided against answering the question. He asked again,
“If you could choose one friend in the entire world who would it be, Nasir?”
“That is a very difficult question, perhaps I’ll answer it some other time”, I replied.
Hazn replied, “How is it a hard question, I would choose Patience.” I thought for a while about his answer. I turned around and Museeb had the same grin he always carried and he answered, “Same, I wouldn’t choose anyone else.” From each nobleman sitting next to me, I could sense adversity and sadness. I felt it in my heart. It was such a strong feeling. That same strange feeling was tugging me toward greatness; it was preparing me for something worthwhile. The air around us seemed to be clogging up and my mind was revolving at what I should say next.
“I think you both are great friends, I just wish you were easier.”
Museeb turned toward me quickly and said, “Easier? Easier? Nothing is easy in life and you will never feel ease until you have one thing.”
“And what is that one thing, I need in order to feel ease?”
“That was already answered for you in our earlier discussion, now lets go to sleep we have a long day ahead of us.”
~Victory and Patience~
After moments of silence, and the darkness stilled around us Museeb said, “We will only have ten minutes of sleep and I will wake you up two minutes early, remember when you wake up you aren’t allowed to speak at all.”
Confused, I went to sleep and quickly awoke in what seemed like a few seconds. The clattering noise above my ears was two iron rods being smacked together, my ears felt numb from the noise and my eyes were blurry from my momentary sleep.
We traveled a long way until I heard sniffing and short heaves of breath behind us. It was Hazn and he was crying! I never knew such a great man, a strong man at the most can cry to such a degree. His sadness was so heavy it enveloped my heart. I couldn’t take it; I almost wanted to run away. I walked slowly so he would catch up but he seemed to be going slower than I each time. Perhaps, he wanted me to stay away. I quickly came to a stop and turned around. He saw me approaching and looked at me with his clear cobalt crystal eyes that were mirroring the sky.
I asked, “Why are you crying Hazn?”
“I feel so sad, this life is nothing but a test and you are in a test right now.”
“Why feel sad, and what test am I in?”
“Look at who you’re with, you’re with Adversity and Sadness. I wonder why you didn’t run away a long time ago. We tried this with many people before and they never made it this far. What have you gone through in your life to make you so strong?”
“I don’t understand why I should run away when you two are my brothers of faith. If you are sad then I am sad. If you go through adversity then I will be with you and will peacefully and patiently pray for you. Never will I let you two suffer while I run after comfort.”
At that a sudden transformation was made. Light was everywhere and Adversity and Sadness suddenly surged toward me with their faces full of happiness. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Adversity no longer had shattered clothes and Sadness no longer had tears in his eyes. Their visage was full of radiance and brilliance. Their clothes were like before; intact and in place. All of a sudden I felt some sort of surge trigger within me and I felt brand new again.
I looked down and I saw that I was clad in the whitest robe I have ever seen. Every step I made the robe seemed to be floating above the ground, protecting itself from dirt and grime. The scent it carried was unbelievably beautiful. Then I looked around and we were at the chamber. Patience waited there for us smiling so brilliantly that my heart felt the utmost happiness. I don’t know what was happening but I liked it.
Adversity was usually troubled and always went through every situation the hard way. This time he looked my way with delight and optimism. He slowly came near and said, “Nasir, you went through hardships with us any man would have run away from. We unshackled you into adversity and chained you to sadness, yet you patiently suffered along our side. You had a chance to run while we slept, however you forbearingly awaited every trial that was thrown your way.”
Sadness came toward me with his eyes sparkling like a river on a sunny day. He wasn’t slumping like he always did rather he was standing straight and an aligned position. His voice was projected and higher than before as he said to me, “Nasir, you didn’t let emotional burden come your way. Every sharp object known to man was thrown your way. Nonetheless you endured and stayed strong. You are a true brother.”
Suddenly the two men came around me hoisting me up and they recited the following from the Qur’an in the most beautiful and heart trembling voice:
“Those who patiently persevere, seeking the countenance of their Lord; Establish regular prayers; spend, out of the gifts We have bestowed for their sustenance, secretly and openly; and turn off evil with good: for such there is the final attainment of the (eternal) home. Gardens of perpetual bliss: they shall enter there, as well as the righteous among their fathers, their spouses, and their offspring: and angels shall enter unto them from every gate with the salutation.” Qur’an (13:22-23)
Adversity was the last to finish reciting and he recited the last verse in the loudest most sincere and humbling tone:
“Peace unto you for that ye persevered in patience! Now how excellent and victorious is the final home!” Qur’an (13:24)
Patience walked slowly toward me and said, “Will you care to be my best friend?”
Considering all the times I had nothing to do, all the times I was awaiting for something good to finally happen, all the times I was intently staring at the clock waiting for my life to drastically change, and all those times I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs for a family to love me? I wasn’t named Victory for any reason, Nasir is my name and through endurance I knew I would have conquered.
“Yes, Patience would indeed be befitting.”