As Salaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh. May Allah have mercy upon me, you and all of the Muslims. Ameen.
(This happened some years back but I decided to share it).
I hope and pray that all is well with each and everyone of you. A some time ago I had the opportunity to have lunch with our father, our Shaykh, Hasan Abdul-Wahhaab Marzouq Al-Bannaa, may Allah preserve him. His wife invited my wife and myself to eat with them and their family at their home. Maa Shaa Allah. When we arrived at the the home of the Shaykh (actually its his son’s home, but the Shaykh and his wife stay there, its easier for them), which is on the 5th floor, I thought about how he gets up and down these stairs. Mind you the Shaykh is 85 (88 now) years young, may Allah preserve him.
When we finally made it up the stairs and knocked on the door, the Shaykh opened the door and greeted us with a smile and kind welcoming words, the Shaykh hugged me and I kissed his forehead. My wife went to an area where his wife and daughter in-law were waiting for her. I went into another room with the Shaykh, who already had 2 visitors. Mind you that this was after Salaatul-Jumu’ah. I greeted the visitors and they returned their greetings. I sat on the side of the Shaykh and I never took my eyes off of him. I watched how he listened attentively to his guests and how he wouldnt interrupt them while they were speaking. He would quietly sit and wait until they were finished, before he would speak. I asked him some questions about becoming a man in Islaam and being a better husband to my wife. He encouraged me to read the Qur’aan and to read about the life of the Messenger, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him. He told me to read Saheehul-Bukhaaree, often.
When it was time to eat. I watched this 85 (88 now) year old “inheritor of the Prophet(s)”, serve his guests with the vigor and energy of a young man. I watched him bring in trays of food from his wife and refuse anyones help. All the while his lips never stopped praising Allah. I noticed that whenever the Shaykh was silent in speech, his lips would be moving in the remembrance of Allah. Glorifying Him, Praising Him, Extolling Him, Honoring Him. He was always reminding himself of his Lord. I watched all of this.
I watched how he didnt touch his food until after we began to eat. I watched as he would feed his two small grand-daughters, with his hands. He would always remember to put food in their mouths when he would feed himself. I watched how he would pick up any morsel of food which fell to the floor and eat it. When the guest finished eating, I was still working. So the Shaykh took the food and put it in-front of me and told me to eat. I didnt disappoint him (how could I, he’s a Shaykh. I gotta listen). When I finally finished, he took my plates and ate whatever was left within them. I watched him cleaning the plates with his fingers and licking his fingers after that (I thought of a brother named
Abdur-Rahmaan Yoosuf after seeing this, knowing that I learned of this sunnah from him during one Ramadhaan night back in Kentucky, in the basement of the 4th. Street Masjid. May Allah reward him with good and greet him). I watched him not leave any food for the shaytawn. I watched him wipe his grand-daughters hands with the peel/skin of an orange. He told me that the acid in the skin would kill germs on their hands, Allah knows best. He said you can do this if no water is present. Just a little tip. Maa Shaa Allah.
When the call of prayer was heard, I watched how the Shaykh prepared himself to go to the masjid. He didnt sit around like we do, and continue to talk or waste time. He made it clear that we are leaving now, and are heading for masjid. The Mother of the Believers, Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her said, “when the Messenger heard the Adhaan, he leave from whatever he was doing with us, as if he didnt know us and prepare himself to go to the masjid for prayer”. We Gloryfied Allah as we made our way down the five flights of stairs. I held the Shaykh’s hand going to the masjid, as well as when we returned. Upon returning, I was taught a lesson in patience. Now as I told you the Shaykh is 85 (88 now) years young and he lives on the 5th floor. We all walked behind the Shaykh as we walked up each stair, one at a time. Al-Hamdulillah. The Shaykh told me that he has had this apartment for at least 60 years. He said, when he was a young man, he would run up the stairs, after saying that we both laughed.
Back in the house, I watched the Shaykh continue to be in the service of his family. Never complaining like we do. When the guests had left. I felt like the Shaykh was tired and I told him that my wife and I were leaving. The Shaykh’s wife wanted us to stay longer. But he looked like he needed rest and I didnt want to oppress him (plus I want to return). The Shaykh said, may Allah bless me for this. Ameen. Upon leaving I gave the Shaykh a gift we had purchased for him, my wife presented his wife with a gift as well. The Shaykh once again hugged me and I kissed his forehead again.
Then the Shaykh reminded me of somethig I had told him, over 3 1/2 (almost 8 years now) years ago. I told him that I had a dream that I visited a shaykh in his home and I ate with him. I didnt know who he was, but I knew that he was a shaykh, Allah knows best. The Shaykh reminded me that I told him this over 3 1/2 (almost 8 years now) years ago. Then he tells me, see Abdur-Raqeeb, dreams do come true. Dont disbelieve in dreams. That was the end of my visit. I called the Shaykh a few days ago, and he was sick with a minor, small cold. So make du’aa that Allah cures him and returns him to a better condition. May Allah preserve him and greet him and us all. Ameen.
Aboo Abdur-Rahmaan Abdur-Raqeeb
I love each and eveyone of you in the path of Allah.