(Barbados Travelogue)

By Shaykh Tameem Ahmadi

23rd Sha’bān 1438 / May 20th, 2017


As we drove through Barbados, I noticed that there was a church in almost every single neighborhood. Seeing the abundant churches made it clear that we were in a country where people take their faith seriously, and I was wondering what the masjid would look like in the midst of this Christian dominance. Would it even be possible that Muslims and Christians could live alongside one-another in harmony without conflict or hate? Well, as we approached the huge beautiful masjid with copper-colored domes, I got the answer to my question. I later learned that there is a lot of religious tolerance and respect for faith in Barbados.
The Hafiz Sahib who was driving us told us that one time his father happened to be at the marketplace when the time of prayer came in. When he spread out his shawl and prayed, a store owner asked him what he was doing. The Muslim uncle replied that he was praying to which the store owner retorted, “Well why didn’t you say so in the first place? Why did you do prayer in the street? I would’ve let you pray in my home so that I could get some of your blessings as well…”
As we drove up to the front of the masjid there was a handsome young Imam standing by the doors waiting for us, dressed in all white from head to toe, with a beautifully trimmed full-thick beard. It was Mawlana ‘Āqil who eagerly received us with the utmost love and respect and asked us what we wanted to do; rest at his house or go directly to see Hazrat. I said that we shall pray, and I’ll change my clothes and immediately go to attain what we had come here for. We can take rest later. I needed to just get one glance of my Shaykh before doing anything else. He was completely fine with that and after we completed the Zuhr prayer and changed, we headed towards brother Ayub Ekhalwaya’s house where Hazrat was staying.

As we drove to the house, we walked up and the door was open. The living room was packed with visitors. People from far and wide had come for Hazrat’s suhbat. May Allah reward brother Ayub for making his home accessible and available for all the sincere visitors. As we took permission and entered the house, the people received us with a lot of respect and Mawlana ‘Āqil introduced us to the host and then requested for us to see Hazrat. They ushered us into the room where he was resting. I was nervous. And I felt the same way as when I had seen my Shaykh e Awwal… My ears were still buzzing from the effects of the two flights we had just come from. My head was heavy from lack of sleep. My body was wary and my stomach was churning. My soul however was the amīr on this journey so the body had no say in what had to be done.

When they opened the door, there were about 7 people in the room. Hazrat was laying on the bed and two people were making his khidmat.  He must have been extremely exhausted from the long and arduous journey in the UK. I’m young, and I came from only seven hours away and I was famished. When they told him that I had come, he told the people around him, “Pick me up… sit me up so that I may meet Mawlana, he has come from very far…”

The whole room was in silence and it was as an unexplainable feeling as I laid my eyes upon Hazrat Mawlana Qamaruz-Zaman Sahib, because when I saw him, it felt as if my Hazrat had come to life again. It was as if Hazratwala had never passed away. Anwārāt and tajalliyyāt shined from his blessed face. And the light of taqwa and dhikr emanated from his entire being. He sat up and as I embraced him and kissed his hand he received me with such love, reverence and respect that I felt that he was the one who was honored by meeting me and not the other way around.

The reality of the matter was that I was the conceited, undeserving wretch, full of faults and drowned in sin, not fit to be anywhere close in the vicinity where these blessed souls reside. However, as I sat before him, he exuded such a humbleness that it did not have an iota of pretense or fake-ness to it. He was the embodiment of humility. He sat there with honor and dignity but his face had this constant sadness upon it; the sadness that you see on the face of someone who considers themselves unworthy, as if they have done something wrong. The reality of the matter is that the Ahlullah, have such a realization of Allah’s grandeur and majesty in front of their eyes that they completely lose sight of their own status or maqam.

As he speaks to me I think to myself, that every word, every gesture, and every motion is drenched in humbleness. Even more astonishing to me was that his gestures, movements and habits were almost identical to my Shaykh e Awwal….

He says, “Molvi Sab, masha Allah, you have all come with so much talab…” He looks to everyone around the room and chuckles, saying, “Hazrat Mawlana Siddiq Sahib had told me fifteen years ago that I should stop traveling – but look around now. We have brothers who have joined us from England, Zambia and now America. It’s hard for certain people to come all the way to India. This traveling proved to be beneficial after all.”

I said to Hazrat, “People go to the well when they need water, but the rain clouds are sent by Allah to bring the dead earth back to life. May Allah reward you and grand you a long life Hazrat, you are our rain cloud…”

When I said this, he stared at me and then looked down as if he is not the one who would be worthy of such a statement. I felt kind of foolish for opening my mouth. The true people of Allah are those who are indifferent to people not honoring or “recognizing their status”, and they become disturbed by their praises and flattery. To such an extent, that you can see the pain on their faces when they are praised.

I was noticing more and more the maqām of humility and annihilation of the nafs in which Hazrat was at. And we hope that if Allah bestows upon us even a small portion of that sincere humility, that we will be successful.

To be continued…..