DAY 13. COVID-19 LOCKDOWN.
The Lion King and me until I found the KING OF THE LION.
Hugged by the embrace of the lion whose roar echoed the world and they knew I am now in the safest hands of my best friend. Little does he understand of my speech but, great is his love for me. Huge is his chest for my little arms but gentle is his feeling for me and shakes his majestic mane for my little hands gives him tickles. Upward looking is his glorious eyes and my little brown eyes closed for I know he looks out for me. Oh! my Lion King.
The picture grabbed my attention and gave me the most wonderful thought of the King of the lion – Allah. Indulge yourself in a paraphrased version of a story of the venerable Imam al-Jazuli and the sight of lions. In IRSHAD, WISDOM OF THE SUFI MASTER (page 152-154) the detail is there for the discerning reader. (Note: I have kept the exact words of the esteemed characters as how the author did)
Imam al-Jazuli was once spellbound, intrigued and humbled by a girl’s prayer that got water from the well to brim the top in the absence of a rope and bucket begged her answers as to how she managed such a miracle. The girl replied: “By often reciting blessings and peace upon the holy Messenger; by constantly pronouncing the noble benedictions.” Startled, humbled, mesmerised and deeply invoked with spiritual desire to reach such a station he went home with his mind so wake that it would keep him awake in restless to know.
In his bed he lay wondering at the little girl’s invocation when he witnessed in the stillness of the night his wife get out of bed, adorn herself with fine garments in all her lady pride and leave the home. Pierced with the heartless arrow of jealously, he followed her stealthily. He was greeted with an astounding sight that would bewilder man to this day, save that his spiritual station strengthened his pure illustrious heart. What did he see?
A pride of lions in a protective cordon walked with his chaste wife to the water’s edge of the beach. Fearful, perplexed and horrified he followed like her like a lion in stealth for a kill. Unnoticed! He too, found himself at the water’s edge only to witness her ‘putting out to sea on her prayer rug, she headed for a lonely island lying just offshore.’ The lions lay in wait at the water’s edge like a battalion in readiness warding off any harm. What did she do on that lonely island?
She reached the lonely island with ease and no waves tossing her like a cork on the seas. Nay! with peace did she get to the land piece amidst the oceans of water. There she took ablution and performed the prayer of night vigil. One could only imagine the spiritual loftiness of that vigil because on land there still awaited the lions for her safe return. Her vigil was a sublime, spiritually intoxicating connection with the Lord of the worlds invoking HIS greatness. She then concluded her vigil and I imagined it in the century as her exiting a pod whose door swooshed open and only brightness covered the horizon and her silhouetted figure emerged from it. In the way she went to lonely island, she returned, reached the beach, marched off in security by the pride of lions and walked home. The Imam was already in bed laying awake and further perplexed. His honourable wife returned, donned her nightdress and retired to bed. Imam al-Juzli followed her each night like a lion in a stealthy hunt and observed the same phenomenal mesmerising event. On the third morning the Imam could not hold it anymore and asked his blessed wife to explain her secret. She replied: “So now you know about it.”
She said to him that this was her practice for many years ever since Allah granted her this miraculous gift. The Imam asked her how she got this miraculous gift and she replied with spiritual affinity: “Because of my affection for the esteemed and blessed Prophet, and my constant repetition of the noble benedictions.” The Imam felt the same, I imagined when he saw what the little girl did at the well, and asked with great yearning, “Which noble benedictions do you invoke?” In true spirit of submission to Allah, she replied: “Tonight I shall submit the question to Allah. Then if I receive permission, I shall give you the answer.” In anticipation of the answer, imagined the night very long but worthy in devotion – his wife on the island, the lions in wait and him, secluded in his prayer niche entreating the Lord of the Worlds. The next morning his wife said: “I am not permitted to tell you explicitly, but collect all the noble benedictions you can find; if it is among them, I shall tell you so.” Imam al-Jazuli set to work on this task and it was a tremendous effort that made him meet sages, Sheikhs, authoritative books, saints, scholars and sheikhs in their litanies. He then presented the book to his honourable wife. “It occurs there in several places.” she assured.
“His full name was Abu Abdullah Muhammad, son of Suleiman, son of Abi Bakr Al-Jazuli Al-Simlali and was a descendant of Prophet Muhammad, praise and veneration be upon him, via his grandson Hasan, son of Ali, may Allah be pleased with them. Al Jazuli belonged to the Berber tribe of Jazula that settled in the Sus area of Morocco which lies between the Atlantic ocean and the Atlas mountains.
The date of his death is uncertain, however it occurred between the years 869-873 AH as he offered an obligatory prayer. In the Encyclopedia of Islam, 1957 Leiden, it is reported that seventy-seven years after his death his body was exhumed for reburial in Marrakesh and that his body had not decomposed.”
I was enthralled by this anecdote because many would dismiss it as fantasy and fable but, I could not because; the sublime character of Nabi Muhammad (s) and his (s) fulfilled mission is a blessing on the world and; during his life time clouds would move to give him shade, a tree uprooted itself to greet him, stones greeted him, Jibraeel Ameen met with him and transmitted the Holy Quran to him, he alone crossed the boundary beyond the Lote Tree and he alone will glorify Allah, the High the Great by inspiration in ways like never before to start the Day of Reckoning in light of the utter anguish the whole of creation will be facing. Therefore, when benedictions (durood, salaat and salaam) is made and it pleases Allah how then can the reciter not attain stations of lofty spiritual ascendence.
Allah who is the Creator of all creation is the Creator of the king of the jungle; the lion. Like that girl in the picture who is in a magnificent embrace safe from all enemies how much more grandiose would our embrace be in the hands of Allah. The thought alone is mind boggling but the reality is there. The King of the lion provides us with meeting HIM five times a day and HIS words are not the roar but, the blessed recitation of the Holy Quran. How blessed is that HE allows you to recite HIS words in your own voice and rewards you for it. The king of the jungle will leave you for the hunt but, the King of the lion will never leave you.
Today, this hopeful feeling eclipsed everything in light of how I felt yesterday on the news on how thousands are buried daily without ritual and ceremony. In light of the night of 15 Sha’baan this message is even more significant and wholesome. The hadith below is apt to conclude the article because we all seem to have lost some degree of hope in this time of the COVID-19 PANDEMIC.
Allah created mercy in one hundred parts and sent down to earth only one part. Because of this one part, there is mutual love amongst creation, so much so that an animal will lift up its hoof from its young one, fearing that it might harm it. Allah has reserved the remaining ninety-nine parts of this mercy to favor His believing servants on the Day of Judgment.
Saying of Prophet Muhammad as recorded in Bukhari and Muslim, Book #037, Hadith #6631
Ponder on this ayah as you carry on the night and day knowing that the King of the lion never sleeps.
Say: “My servants, you who have transgressed against yourselves, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Truly Allah forgives all wrong actions. He is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.”