Weekends in Madressah are different. My Father made arrangements with his cousin for me to go and spend the weekend there but once Uncle X could not make it back before Maghrib to drop me off one of the weekends so,for the first time I parked at Madressah.(We used to get in major trouble if we were not back in time without a solid reason.
Many guys don’t have family or guardians to go to or even sometimes enough money to make a call home. Only now do I fully appreciate the access to all that. Whoever increases his shukar(gratitude) to Allah. Allah increases his ni’mat(favours) on him.
Saturday night at the boarding– The good guys were engrossed in muta’lah. Some went to sleep after Esha. (as was the practice of our beloved Nabi SAW and something that we should aspire to so we can wake up for Tahajjud or earlier for Fajr,inshaAllah).Some had a tasbih in their hands or silently relaxing. Some trying to whip up a snack and failing but eating the mess anyways! Some unzipping their bags and pulling out their stashes of crisps and chocs.
Tariq was heading out of the room and asked me if I’m coming. I followed. There was another room packed with guys eating and sipping on warm cooldrink. On top of the bunk Ziad was sitting with a tasbih around his neck.(No doubt irking the hell out of Nu’maan who sat there like a sadistic looking statue.) Ziad was pretending to give the introduction to a bayaan in full throttle( all Darul Uloom students make sure they try this out at least once in their student lives,don’t you?) and then burst into a song in urdu which sounded quite dodgy.
Later I came to know it was a perfectly fine song but since he was a bit of a character,he was singing in qawaali style (which I had never encountered before!) the guys were tearing up pieces of paper and throwing at him and saying wah wah! do baara! do baara! then they would pull the next guy up onto the bunk and the next guy would start.Crazy! Then one guy came on,he was a good guy and I always noticed that he’d have fun with us as long as we didn’t exceed but he’d always try to turn our attention Back to Allah Ta’aala. He started reading the 99 Names of Allah with such beauty that the room hushed.Then he started a zikr and the guys all joined in. Until then, I never knew you could have fun the halaal way. Without forgetting Allah and Nabi SAW.
The next guy up started singing in Arabic and some other guys joined the chorus.Then Ziad decided to “host” and international Nasheed contest where one guy from a different country had to sing in his home language. SubhaanAllah,how we all pray in a different tongue and our Rabb hears each call clearly.
So anyways, Hisham from Guyana won. After Ziad gave him a packet of gum, he said he was actually swearing us in Guyanese. Ziad said nevermind, he had a good tune, next time he must just change the words. I asked him to teach me some foreign swear word.
( I must make it clear that qawaali, adulation during it etc, is NOT permissible. We were just mad)
Later after laughing and talking late into the night, I stumbled into bed. 3 of my roomates pulled out their Qur’ans to read Tabarak before bed. I felt a bit bad for not following but I was so tired. If only I chose to, that Surah protects us from the punishment of the grave.Oh my laziness, how often do you lead me to decline.
Sunday late morning- We were at the mall. It was the first time that I had been in a taxi. I couldn’t bear to be stuck at Madressah while some of the guys were out. We’re in a restaurant in a mall. The waiter,Mahir Ali who would become my good friend over the years comes over and asks
“What will you have?”
“Chicken looks good” I say
“Which the part? ” He asks “the part ,the leg?”
“what?” I say
“ohkay ohkay, how about you order nice one? the combo the seven?good and cheap price for all you students?”
The guys fried him and kept asking for stupid things just to make him speak in broken English, as if our grammer was that hot.He took it all his stride that Mahir.
And that folks is how the chapters in this blog got it’s name. Inside joke.
“Don’t look!” Ziad exclaimed as we tucked into our the combo,the seven.
“at what?” I asked ,obviously turning to look in the direction he was trying not to.
‘Idioot’ Said Zahir. “You must be subtle bro,subtle”
I was lost till I found what their eyes were trying not to track.
“Do you think they’re Arab? Should I invoke my grandmother’s arab blood?” Ziad asked
“They look like wannabe arabs with that big loaf on their heads’ Zahir said ‘they even walk like camels’
‘Well now I feel bad for not paying extra attention in class or when my azeezti spoke arabic,dammit” Ziad said. “i’ll just have to wing it”
And he goes up to them and asks in a french/arab accent. ” Sorry but can youu tell me where izz the musalla? Min fadhlik?’