Qur'an Reflections With the Divine

Are You Like Her?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/letsbook/3929648246/in/photostream/As I stood amongst millions of pilgrims from across the globe, I noticed a girl walk up to two elderly women sitting in front of Masjid al-Haraam.

After greeting them both, I noticed her asking if the women may be interested in a bag. One of the two women accepted it eagerly, excitedly pulling out one item after another. “A toothbrush!” she exclaimed with such delight. I realized these women might be amongst the very poor who traveled to Makkah with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.

As I watched the young girl and the two women, I saw the elderly woman pull out a small box with the widest grin on her face. As she held the box and fumbled to open it, she exclaimed with pure joy, “A mushaf (copy of the Qur’an)!”

The girl was taken aback. “No…no,” she stammered to correct the elderly woman. “It’s just a small box with things for…” The woman could not hear the girl beyond her enthrallment as she continued to try to get it open. She kept exclaiming her joy for the mushaf while the other elderly woman across from her grinned. Finally, she got the box opened and stared at it blankly. The girl sadly repeated what she had been trying to share, what she now knew the elder woman had unfortunately discovered. The girl mumbled with embarrassment, “It’s not a mushaf…it’s a sewing kit.”

The elder woman looked up from the box and peered into the girl’s face. The woman’s excitement re-appeared in her eyes, her smile lighting up her face full of soft wrinkles. She exuded with passion, “Please, give me a mushaf. Please, get a mushaf for me!”

Watching this, I was absolutely floored. This was a woman whose face, body and clothing were marked with signs of age, difficulty and poverty. And while many may not have looked twice at her because of her appearance, because of her sincere love and excitement for the Qur’an, she may have had a greater station with Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) than all the rest of us combined.

Many of us consider great individuals in our communities to be those whose names are celebrated; some of us judge a person’s worth by the number of subscribers, comments or likes on their Facebook. Some of us consider those with hoards of followers on Twitter as those who are superior. Some of us look to Imams (religious leaders), scholars or pious individuals in our mosques as those who have a special place with Allah. But the reality is that we have no idea whom amongst us are the inhabitants of Paradise and who may be closest to Him to Whom we will all return. And perhaps those who are truly special with Him are those who are unknown to us. Perhaps it is because of them that Allah (swt) sends angels of mercy and protection to surround them and in turn, envelop us because of our proximity to such special people.

Some of us in the West are being tried with one of the greatest forms of tests in this life, and that is the test of luxury and ease. Will we continue to remember Allah, love His Book and cling to His path even amidst our comfort? How will we work to be of those whose hearts soar and eyes light up at the possibility of holding His Book and hearing His words?

For many of us living in lands of wealth and ease, accessing the Qur’an is as simple as clicking on an app, going to a website or taking it off our home’s bookshelf. Yet how many of us make a point to do so? How many of us put in the effort? How many of us, like this incredible woman who did not even have a mushaf, choose to have the Qur’an embellished in our lives?

About the author

Maryam Amirebrahimi

Maryam Amirebrahimi

Maryam Amirebrahimi received her master’s in Education from UCLA, where her research focused on the effects of mentorship rooted in Critical Race Theory for urban high school students of color. She holds a bachelor’s in Child and Adolescent Development from San Jose State University, where she served as the President of the Muslim Student Association for two consecutive years. Currently, she is pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in Islamic Studies through Al Azhar University’s distance learning program. Maryam spent a year studying the Arabic language and Qur’an in Cairo, Egypt, and has memorized the Qur’an. She has been presented the Student of the Year award by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and holds a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Maryam frequently travels to work with different communities to address a variety of social issues and writes about topics related to social realities, women’s studies and spiritual connections on www.virtualmosque.com.


  • This is what it’s going to come down to. What we do with this responsibility.
    “Some of us in the West are being tried with one of the greatest forms of tests in this life, and that is the test of luxury and ease.”

  • Jazzakallah khair. I would agree that life in the west is hard indeed and the best of peoples may be those that are unknown to us like that elderly lady. May she be a reminder to all those that abide in luxury!

  • “But the reality is that we have no idea whom amongst us are the inhabitants of Paradise and who may be closest to Him to Whom we will all return.”

    So, so true.

    Jazak Allahu Khayran for the reminder sister.

  • MashaAllah.What an excellent article.Last year when I was doing tawaf ,a man passed infront of me and he just took out some money and kept in the hands of a old man and the old man [who was wearing ihram] thanked him.It happened so fast.Alhamdulillah I learned so much from it- some don’t ask but some recognize them.It reminded me of ayah from Baqarah.In this type of sadqa there was no riya..done for the sake of Allah.May Allah give us hidayath and hikmath.ameen.

  • Jazakallah khair this is a very deep reminder. Its true that a life of ease is a trial for us; it is taking away our Imaan slowly.. May Allah make us steadfast in our Imaan and sincerity and make us amongst the inhabitants of Paradise.. Ameen.

  • Our life are so full of struggles but with patience and iman Allah promise us paradise. In the west we strive harder to be Muslim..but the real test are with our brothers in so call Muslim countries.

  • SubhanaAllah. The last few sentences had me speechless. Jazakallahu khayr for this reminder. and May Allah make us among those who pass this test.Ameen

  • JazakAllahu khairan!

    What a powerful reminder. I pray we all realise that truly Imaan and Allah are more than sufficient and these worldly goods which we are so used do not even compare!


  • I thought its history wat we have to look to find such inspirational incidents…bt u made me wrng..I fnd many such post in this site ..may allah bless u for sharn it n all the ppl associated with this site.

  • Had this article bookmarked for a while and only just got to reading it now! Humbling, mashallah hope to read more articles like this

  • SubhaanAllah ! The last few sentences humbled me. We have easy access to the Quran still we don’t appreciate it or put it full use.

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