By Um Ibrahim
Too many projects, work piling up, I decided to pray Juma offered by the MSA of the university I work at instead of taking Friday afternoon off to attend the juma prayer at my local masjid twenty miles away.
The university has dedicated a beautiful room for use by people of various faiths where Friday sermons are held. The university has even built a separate wudu room for brothers and sisters with compartments for shoes and backpacks. As I entered the room, I had to carefully walk over shoes and backpacks that were in the walkway.
The khatib, a young student, greeted all. He then apologized for the way he was dressed. He explained that in preparation for delivering the sermon, he had actually planned to dress up, but instead ended up burning his shirt as he attempted to use the iron for the first time. So instead he decided to just wear his regular t-shirt and jeans, which is pretty much the attire of most students and faculty anyway.
As I listened to the rest of the khutba, I could not help myself but glance at the audience to observe how everyone else was dressed. Of course most were wearing t-shirts and jeans. My eyes glimpsed at a young lad entering late, wearing his baseball cap backwards, and moving his legs as if he was entering a musical in Harlem. The young ladies were all seated in the back, some resting their backs comfortably against the wall and stretching their feet in front of them. Few sisters walked in the room throwing a pashmina over their heads as they entered and sat along. Many had their heads down trying to take advantage of the time and napped along to make up for the sleep they were so deprived of.
I imagined what the room may have looked like and how the same audience would have dressed and behaved if instead they were an interview with a prospective employer or better yet attending their own weddings or the wedding of a best friend. Would they have showed up wearing the same attire? Would they have sat in the same way? Would they be dosing off?
I was suddenly reminded of the Hadith Qudsi that when people are gathered in praise of Allah(SWT), the angels will sit with them and fold their wings around each other.
On the authority of Abu Harayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (PBUH), who said:
“Allah (glorified and exalted be He) has supernumerary angels who rove about seeking out gatherings in which Allah’s name is being invoked: they sit with them and fold their wings round each other, filling that which is between them and between the lowest heaven.
When [the people in the gathering] depart, [the angels] ascend and rise up to heaven. He (the Prophet p.b.u.h.) said: Then Allah (mighty and sublime be He) asks them – [though] He is most knowing about them: From where have you come? And they say: We have come from some servants of Yours on Earth: they were glorifying You (Subhana llah), exalting you (Allahu akbar), witnessing that there is no god but You (La ilaha illa llah), praising You (Al-Hamdu lillah), and asking [favours] of You.
He says: And what do they ask of Me? They say: They ask of You Your Paradise. He says: And have they seen My Paradise? They say: No, O Lord. He says: And how would it be were they to have seen My Paradise! They say: And they ask protection of You. He says: From what do they ask protection of Me? They say: From Your Hell-fire, O Lord. He says: And have they seen My Hell-fire? They say: No. He says: And how would it be were they to have seen My Hell-fire: They say: And they ask for Your forgiveness.
He (the Prophet p.b.u.h) said: Then He says: I have forgiven them and I have bestowed upon them what they have asked for, and I have granted them sanctuary from that from which they asked protection. He (the Prophet p.b.u.h) said: They say: O Lord, among them is So-and-so, a much sinning servant, who was merely passing by and sat down with them. He (the Prophet p.b.u.h) said: And He says: And to him [too] I have given forgiveness: he who sits with such people shall not suffer.
I wonder, how would the audience look if they realized they were in the company of Allah’s Angels?
Oh, ya Allah, please forgive us for our shortcomings and make us among the wise and those whose hearts are close to You, and please make us among those whom are favored by You, those who dress their hearts and bodies with Taqwa, and those who are continually accompanied by the Angels because they are continuously remembering You and are loved by You.