Womenfolk reading this blog may not be too thrilled about the subject matter, perchance. To them, my apologies and a sincere plea to please read this piece in the tongue-in-cheek manner intended?
My late Mama, may Allah bless her soul, was usually, uncannily, spot-on at dreams fruition, good or bad. She got into an embarrassing predicament one time, she told me once, after she related to her madressa teacher, a dream of his mother passing away, only a few days before the lady did actually die. He never did look at Mama ‘normally’ after that incident, treating her with utmost care. This teacher, or maa’lim as Mama called him, was to later caution her not to peak of the dreams loosely, as she, Mama, might have a special ability in this area. So Mama was very selective in talking about her dreams openly and related only the good ones to me.
They say you never realize how much someone means to you until they are not around anymore. How true. Not that Mama was an interpreter of dreams, but I am certain she would have helped ease my current predicament; devilish dreams tormenting my mind, like the stomping of amateur Whirling Dervishes on my nerves. Let me tell you about a gory nightmare I had last week.
I am outside my own body witnessing my decapitation by a Bin Laden looking type of man (he is dead, yes?). After the beheading, (which is strangely pain free), my head is carried on a tray by my nephew Mohammed Hemraj to a room full of relatives and friends who are (strangely, distressingly) unemotional; it would have been nice to see a tear or two, Bwana. Mohammed places the tray with the bloodless head on a table and everybody gathers around to examine me, including myself, and we all remark how serene and peaceful I look.
This nightmare is interrupted by fajr prayer alarm going off; I am up in an instant, heart thumping and mind dumbfounded. After the initial shock from the traumatic reverie, I settle down and dismiss it to a routine nightmare. Not so, for I have the exact repeat dream this morning – in precisely the same detail, cutoff again by the salaat alarm. Coincidence? Premonition? I am off to Afghanistan next week, thus the disquiet in my mind and a yearning for Mama’s comfort and counsel.
Sheikh Nooruddeen is a fine preacher that HIC here in Sanford, FL invites for a lecture whenever required. He is a convert to Islam and educated in Qum with a remarkable grasp of Islamic history. His lecture on eve of Meraaj is predictably excellent, inspiring, reveling and thoroughly enjoyable. He gives a detailed account of the events of Meraaj, some which were quite, for me, new. He then digresses somewhat and drops a bombshell.
Death, to me at least, holds promises, promises of bountiful rewards, as a recompense for goodness on earth and a determined attempt at obeying Allah, His messenger, (natural) leaders from his progeny and other companions; those that matter. My very vivid imagination conjures up these rewards strikingly; gardens under which rivers flow, abundance of fruits and flesh of fowl of every kind, unlimited, as much as the heart desires, and virtuous intoxicating wine, and peace, only peace… Hearty steaks, hamburgers and hotdogs would be nice as well but I haven’t, so far, found any references to animal meat served in haven. And the plum, rajah, apex of all rewards? Why, attentive, obedient maidens with eyes cast down, off course! I don’t need all 72, a handful of these tending to my every need and desires suit me just fine.
Not so, perhaps, according to Sheikh Nooruddeen! Eh? Say what? New research, says Sheikh Nooruddeen, may suggest references to these maidens are something other than attentive, obedient maidens with eyes cast down. What a letdown! I feel betrayed, like someone has smacked me with a sucker punch! You mean I have tried to behave all these years and no attentive, obedient maidens with eyes cast down as dessert?
Can we please stop this new research? I (and absolutely all reasonable men, I am sure) am very comfortable with the initial, literal meaning. We cannot dampen fourteen centuries of yearning, blissful dreams and hope, yes? Can I do rujuh to another aalim if this research is valid but ambiguous? I beg, I plead…I, I, I demand a stop to ijtihaad in this matter! Pretty please?