Muslim Matrimonials and More's Egyptian Tales, by Youssuf El-Kalay

Wednesday, December 27, 2000 - E id al-Fitr 1421 A.H.

Rumble in the Masjid

(This is no rumble in the masjid, but it is a rumble!)

by Youssuf El-Kalay

Asalamu Aliakom Wa Rahmat Allahu Wa Barakatu.

Welcome to a special edition of Egyptian Tales. For this Eid Al Fitr, I've decided to share my thoughts on the concept of forgiveness with you, my fellow readers. Instead of diving headlong into the issue, I want to relate to you an incident in my travels around the world. As I mentioned in my previous story "The Red Oranges", one of the noble characteristics of a believing Muslim that unfortunately is often lacking in our ummah, is forgiveness. I myself find it difficult sometimes to forgive the person(s) in question especially when I feel that I've been really hurt. I think (and Allah knows best) that to truly forgive someone is a form of jihad in itself. I've received some emails requesting that I write more about my stories outside of Egypt, so Insha Allah I hope this week's story satisfies this request.

It was the summer of '94, and I was visiting our close family friends in Scotland (my country of birth). In the winter the weather in Scotland is usually very dreary. It rains a lot, and often times the Scots will go weeks without any sunshine. In the summer though, a sunny day combined with the right temperature can be very beautiful. It really is something else being up in the Highlands. Just the right combination of tall trees, and acres of wild grass can be breathtaking.

Buachaille Mountain
Buachaille Mountain in the Scottish Highlands

By the grace of Allah one of those types of days happened to fall on a Friday. Yet as you'll see the events that came overshadowed this cheery day. We had just finished praying Salat al-Jumua at a masjid in Glasgow and were standing outside figuring out how we were going to spend the rest of the day. Suddenly directly outside the masjid, a fight broke out between two Muslims. It was an all out brawl. SMACK! The fists flew back and forth. BAM! Then came the bone shattering kicks: CRACK! To make matters worse, three men came running out of the masjid and started pounding on the two men until they were all on the ground fighting for their lives. This was unbelievable. As I helplessly watched, I noticed that there was an elderly man on the ground. Why were they beating up an old man? And why was this being done outside of a masjid?

Frozen, I watched a pile of Muslims hammer at each other. A minute later the fight ended when one of the men yelled a nasty curse word, and ran back inside the masjid. There on the ground was the old man, with blood all over his face. He was clearly unconscious. I remember him being carried away from the masjid and a brother telling people to clear out of the way. I walked towards the car in shock, and asked my Uncle Shaheen, "What just happened?" He simply said, "Family problems, it happens all the time."

I still remember that incident as if it happened yesterday. The really sad thing is that people got hurt for no good reason. I have no doubt in my mind that the Shaitan was gloating as this horrible event took place outside a house of Allah. La Hawla Wa laa Qowwata Il-la Bil-lah. Looking back to that sad day, I remember the words of my Uncle Shaheen: "Family problems," he said. All of us have family problems. But is it worth resorting to physical violence to resolve family problems? I don't know why that family was fighting, but I do know that perhaps if each person had tried to forgive one another, then maybe the fight would have been avoided. Especially after Salat al-Jumua, when we should all come out of the masjid better reminded of our duties as Muslims.

Family ties are very important in Islam, and if they are broken then how can there be an ummah? If we cannot resolve our family problems peacefully and with love and forgiveness, how can we possibly resolve the problems within our suffering ummah? It is critical that each and every one of us make an effort to forgive our brothers and sisters and put away our differences this Eid. I know many of you might think that sometimes it is impossible to put away our differences, but this is where the struggle (jihad) comes in. I leave you with this hadith of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. He said, "The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim. He does not wrong him, does not forsake him, and does not betray him."

Jazakom Allahu Khairan for reading, and Eid Mubarak.

Until next time, Insha'Allah...

Youssuf El-Kalay has lived in Scotland, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United States, and currently resides in Southern California. It is his hope that through his stories, you the reader will be able to experience some of his adventures and the lessons he has learned from them.

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