Someone was ringing on the door. Rusydi stood up, and exited the room. The three of us were in his room (Me, Isa and Rusydi).
Ahlan, ta’al, ta’al (welcome, come here). Rusydi greeted the guest.
Rusydi reentered the room and said to us, “there’s someone special I want you to meet.”
Isa and I had just come from Cairo. Isa wanted to visit Rusydi before he went home to Malaysia for his holidays and asked me to accompany him.
I did have second thoughts on this trip. Especially because it was the holy month of Ramadhan and I wanted to concentrate on my ibadah. Plus, the trip would be quite tiring and traveling while fasting isn’t the best thing in the world.
However, a part of me was really eager to get out of overcrowded, dusty and busy Cairo into the more relaxing, peaceful villages (even though the smell of manure may not be too inviting). This is also, after knowing him for around three years, would be the first time that I’d be visiting Rusydi at his house. And so I decided to accompany Isa on his two days one night trip to Tanta.
A small boy wearing a white robe (jubah), and matching cap (kopiah) came in. It was obvious that he was ready for the Terawih Prayers. Rusydi introduced us,
“This is Muadz”, while ushering him to us.
“Muadz, this is ammu Isa and ammu Amin from Cairo”
(the word ammu which means uncle is used to address older, respected people, equivalent to mister or in this situation, brother)
We shook hands and started talking.
Muadz is a very special kid. Having memorized the Quran at eight years of age, now at fourteen, he has given countless preaches (khutbah) at his local mosque. Most of his khutbas have been recorded and uploaded onto the internet (search معاذ طارق at ikhwantube.com). Rusydi showed us some of them. This was also the reason for Muadz’s visit. He wanted Rusydi to record his speech (tazkirah) tonight. We agreed to meet him at the mosque. Before leaving, I offered him some food. He just smiled and politely refused. It was Rusydi who explained;
“He doesn’t accept any gives, food or anything else. He said his father has taught him that the hand which gives is better than that which receives”
“the hand which gives is better than that which receives”
During our stay at Tanta, we managed to get quite a story from Rusydi about Muadz. Muadz was the eldest of three. They lived nearby, with their parents. His father sold birds in the night and has another job in the day, receiving a meager wage of two hundred Egyptian Pounds a month, which is considered small even compared to Egyptian standards. Just for the record, the JPA student studying in Egypt receives an average LE 2300 per month. Even so, Muadz’s father managed to bring up his three sons well.
Muadz and his brothers were brought up in an Islamic environment, where they learned and memorized the Quran and the Prophet’s Hadiths. They were also trained to give speeches. Muadz and his brothers are also karate practitioners, with Muadz being a black belt.
I was thoroughly amazed by this story. How a father managed to teach his sons so well, with the most humble of beginnings. One would just have to hear the powerful and enthusiastic speeches of this little kid to know how well he has been taught.
But what really amazed me was when Rusydi told us about his first meeting with Muadz. They first met at the mosque, and Rusydi asked him about his ambition.
“My ambition is for Palestine to become free in my hands,” was Muadz’s answer.
“My ambition is for Palestine to become free in my hands”
Hearing these words from a small kid brought chills to my spine. Here is this small boy from a remote village in Egypt saying that one day he will liberate Palestine. The liberation of Palestine is the dream of every Muslim. Many are eager to participate in the process of achieving this goal. Participating in the boycotting campaign, help in spreading the word, or even take part in the military campaign. But not many, I dare say, have the ambition to be the one to lead the Muslims to victory, and to be in the same ranks as Umar Al-Khattab and Salahuddin Al-Ayubi.
To have such an ambition, Muadz is truly a special boy with a big heart.
1. A Muslim must have big ambitions.
Not just ambitions for oneself, but more importantly ambitions for Islam. Have you ever asked yourself, ‘what can I contribute to Islam?’
And the ambition must be big. As the saying goes, ‘Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars’
2. The bigger the heart, the bigger the ambition.
3. The importance of a proper upbringing.
Salahuddin Al-Ayubi and Muhammad Al-Fateh are the best examples here. Being the sons of noblemen didn’t spoil them. Instead they were brought up thoroughly to become great men, and achieve victory for Islam.
4. Age doesn’t count when it comes to deeds and maturity.
‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’
How old am I? What have I achieved in my life? What have I done for my religion?
It could be that a fourteen year old has done better than you.
The reason I’m writing this story is not to show how awesome somebody is, or how cool a place Tanta could be, but rather to share what I got from my trip there. I am very thankful to God who has given me a reminder from the least expected place, person, and circumstances. This experience has left me pondering on my life, my age, and what I’ve achieved throughout the years. Hopefully it will do the same to you.