It is Jumaa………….The Musallah is crowded, with more women than there have been for the past several days. It is going to be a challenge to focus my concentration on the khutba I think to myself. Yet by keeping my focus on a point on the carpet, I realize that I can shut out the hum of life around me:
The children running around, the fidgeting sisters next to me, the swish of sliding dupattas and the hurried movement by the owner of the dupatta to readjust a dupatta smaller than she expected it to be, and the latecomers are all phased out as the words of the Khateeb rise into the atmosphere and sink into me.
Why am I more keenly aware today of every word of the khutba? Perhaps Allah SWT wants me to listen and listen carefully.
The imam is talking about the 15th of Shabaan… he says “ beginning on Friday night (the 15th of Shabaan) the angels are stacking His (SWT) s desk with our files”
I see mine in them, my name in bold letters, He (SWT) is handed the file to review my deeds of the past year……….I freeze……..as my mind feverishly searches for all the bad things I may have done which cannot be forgiven or that I forgot to seek Istighfaar for or those that I was heedless of and did not ever register as a rancor in my heart.
My brain is now whirling, scanning my file, word by word, act by act………..…but the Imam does not pause and goes on to say “ He SWT forgives all our bad deeds except for two: Those who have done Shirk and those who are …………and the Arabic word escapes me, he proceeds to explain….those who hold rancor or ill will towards their brother or sister or friend or acquaintance”.
Again my head is spinning, and in the confusion of data overload I cannot sort out my feelings for each and every person I have met in the last year and what I have held about them in my heart and mind?
The most obvious one in the one brother of mine with whom I have a lot of history when my mother was alive ……….but I have visited him and made my peace at the level that he allowed…….what about my Aunt who I have not been able to contact as her daughter does not want her to be disturbed by her sisters family…….I do not hold any rancor against her but does she?
Meanwhile on the conscious level the Imam goes on………”those who have committed shirk and those who have harbored ill feeling against a brother or a sister or parent, Allah SWT will tell the angels to put aside the files of those people, they will not be granted forgiveness………..at least for now” He pauses and when he continues his voice is gruff with tears withheld as he says “ after I finish this Khutba I am going to call all my friends and relatives and ask them to forgive me”
That is what I must do………I think to myself as the iqama is called.
I return home, dig out my Aunts number and call her and as I finish dialing the number there is a pause and instead of the ring tone there is a beep……………… “We are sorry you have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service, if you feel you have reached this recording in error, please hang up and try your call again”
As I sit with the phone in my hand, I am stumped, and wondering, even though I have not offended her in any manner as far as I am aware, I do know that she is upset with my side of the family, and thus as Shabaan the 15 approaches, I wonder what will happen to my file?
I sense the clock ticking and inertia overcomes me as I await the review of my file…………..
HAVE YOU SOUGHT FORGIVENESS FROM YOUR FRIENDS AND KIN?