I was just reading a book of Hanafi fiqh, which I have been putting off for awhile. I didn’t want to revisit the old issues, but rather I wanted to feel like I was moving forward to bigger and better things. But I got the feeling tonight like, “It’s time.” Gotta review some stuff and clarify a number of matters. So as I made my way through the chapter on purification, I was drawn back to the early days of my journey in Islam. Specifically, I was brought back to the winter of ’98-’99, when we were in love with the deen.
We used to sit and talk about the deen all night. We used to talk about fiqh and aqeeda and akhlaq and so on, ready to encourage each other to ever higher heights. We used to talk about the state of the Ummah, and what we needed to do to improve it. We used to roll out together, to the masjid, to the halal restaurant, to the Islamic bookstore – a crew in search of Allah’s pleasure. I miss those days.
I miss the idealism. I miss the passion. I miss the willingness to implement new sunnahs at the drop of the hat for the sake of Allah. We’re supposed to wear our pants above our ankles? Sure…done, even though my Dad looked at me like I’m crazy when I left the house. We should cover our heads? No problem, pass the kufi. Istinja? Well, that’s going to take some getting used to, but hey, it’s the sunnah. Gotta make it happen.
Perhaps our priorities weren’t right. Perhaps we were a little over zealous at times. But one thing we had which I wish I could get back was that willingness to do what it took to be a good Muslim, even if it seemed difficult or weird.
Alhamdulillah, moving to Boston has brought me into contact with people who I feel love the deen like we used to love it back then. And it is inspiring. It’s like the good old days all over again. Conversations about talab al-‘ilm with a good brother over halal cheesburgers. Hitting up the masjid for Maghrib with some friends. What a blessed Thursday. Good company, salah, love for the community, discussion about the deen – man, I missed this.
The fact of the matter is that after all these years, it is often the same simple things that bring joy to my heart. I love my brothers with beards and sisters with hijabs. I love the masajid and praying next to some uncle I don’t even know. I love our imams and their challenge to us to more fully embody the teachings of Allah and His Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). I love being psyched to go to a halal restaurant and saying salaams to the people who run it.
Unfortunately, I have seen so many people get disillusioned with Islam over the years, or go through a process of reinterpreting it that, in my opinion, eviscerates its beauty. Every time I encounter it, it tears me up, but I know that ultimately, we each have to choose our own path. But on a night like tonight, when I am reminded of my love for this deen, and the passion I once had for it, I am just so thankful that Allah has preserved that feeling in my heart, and given me people to share it with. It’s like finding a spiritual oasis in this desert of the dunya. The good old days are back. Can I get a takbir? ALLAHU AKBAR!!!