The dialogue is still open

Since 2012-11-29

Allah has bestowed beauty and intelligence upon me and I was brought up in a rich family. My family provided me with everything I need to the extent that I imagined that I am the one who owns everything. My father used to motivate me to study in order to get a high certificate so that he can be proud of that. However, he could not create in me the desire of studying.

All the praises and thanks be to Allâh, the Lord of the ‘Alamîn (mankind, jinn and all that exists), and prayers and peace of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, and upon all his family and companions.

Allah has bestowed beauty and intelligence upon me and I was brought up in a rich family. My family provided me with everything I need to the extent that I imagined that I am the one who owns everything. My father used to motivate me to study in order to get a high certificate so that he can be proud of that. However, he could not create in me the desire of studying.
While being in the secondary school, I was introduced to some colleagues who shared with me the same desire, which is having no interest in studying or exerting any hard effort for the sake of studying. Negligence became our main trait and exchanging fashion news and getting dresses became our hobby. I hardly passed the third year and I stopped studying for a long time. Then, my father urged me to continue my academic study. I was hardly admitted to the university as I had poor grades. This was no surprise as it is natural for a girl such as myself.
It was my first day at college. Exactly in the third lecture, I was shocked by the outstanding surprise, which totally changed my state, paralyzed my reasons, and scattered my papers. I could not believe my eyes. So I stared at her wondering, “Is it possible that she is the same girl? No, no it is not her. My thoughts were cut by her calm voice which I still remember. She introduced herself saying, “I am your sister Ruqayyah. I have a master degree in the Islamic law.” I lost consciousness and remembered that day when we were at the secondary stage. She was the only serious and hard-working girl in the classes. We used to scorn her, arrogantly and foolishly, because of her poverty. She had never changed her school uniform or bag during the year. However, she never paid any attention to us. I remember, too, that I have learned a severe lesson from her. A lesson that I can never forget as it is carved in my mind. One day, I -with my arrogance- wanted to put her in an embarrassing situation. I suddenly asked her without any prior speech, “Are you happy?”
She quietly replied, “And what is the criterion of happiness according to your point of view?”
I confidently answered her, “Everyone understands happiness according to his desire and disposition.”
She said, “Can you make it clearer?”
I replied with great confidence, “If the desires of the soul are achieved, happiness will be found.”
She shocked me by asking, “What are the desires of the soul?”
I answered, while trying to hide my confusion, “Eating, drinking, money and enjoying life. These are the supposed aspects of happiness.”
She sat straight and said, “How many people are there who eat, drink, enjoy life and have a lot of money but they are unhappy?”
I said with much more confusion, “I do not know as they are a lot of them.”
She smiled while saying, “That is why happiness lies in another direction.”
I said while taking a deep breath, “You are right. Happiness is not in that direction.”
As a result of being in such embarrassing situation, I tried to save myself. I changed the subject of talking.
I said, “Do you come to school by bus every day?”
She gazed at me as if she understood what I mean and confidently replied, “And you come with your own the foreign chauffeur, right?”
I evasively continued talking about the bus saying, “Do you not feel annoyed because of the crowdedness?” She smilingly said, “What about you, do you not feel annoyed because of the glances of the driver?” Then, she went on saying, “On the bus, I enjoy feeling the suffering of others.”
Her calmness was provoking me. I changed the subject matter again by saying, “Are you still living in the countryside?”
She said, “In the countryside, we live away from curiosity and noise. In addition, we enjoy pure air.”
I continued my question quickly, “I think your house is still made from mud. Is not it?”
She smiled and said, “Our house is our independence and no one shares us in it. It hides us from the eyes of strangers. For your information, houses have changed nowadays.”
I tried to show her that I am joking, so, I held her bag and said, “How beautiful your bag is! That is why you have not changed it for such a long time!”
She took it and pressed it to her chest while saying, “It is my fellow in my academic way. It is enough for me that it is not fed up with me. It bears my books without weariness or boredom unlike the case with some bags.”
I felt annoyed because of her coolness. I looked at the features of her face then I said, “Do you not feel annoyed because of your name, Ruqayyah?”
She replied with confidence that made me confused, “No one chooses his/her name and this name did not annoy Ruqayyah the daughter of Muhammad, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, and the wife of ‘Uthmân, may Allah be pleased with him.
I became sure that I will not be able to shake her steadfastness and her self-confidence. So, I changed the subject of talking saying, “Are there any recreational means at your home?”
She replied with another smile, “Sometimes, I wish I have some time for such things. The soul is like the child; it grows up on what it was accustomed to.”
I quickly said, “Does fashion have its share too?”
She confidently replied, “I deal with everything new and covering.”
I suddenly asked her, “When do you use make-up, Ruqayyah?”
She put her chin on the palm of her hand and said, “Look at my face. Do you see any defects?”
“No”, I said while grabbing a magazine from my bag to pretend that I am not embarrassed because of her answer. Then I asked, “Do you read magazines?”
She said, “Why do you read magazines?” I pretended that I am searching for something in the magazine and said, “I read them for culture and knowledge.” She was about to stand up as if she wanted to shock me with a surprise. She said, “I do not see that culture has changed something about you!” I was embarrassed and became on pins and needles as I could not find anything to say as an answer. She added, after standing up, “Do you read anything of the Qur’an in your free time?”
It was a shocking question which I have never taken into consideration. It totally shattered my papers. At this moment, I was saved by the bell from the answer.
I held my expensive bag and went away quickly. Her voice and her question were echoing in my ears. “Do you read anything of the Qur’an?!”
I regained my consciousness and I closed my eyes after a tear flowed on my cheeks. At that moment, she put her warm hand on my shoulder. She asked me, “Are you so and so?” I hesitated before I answered and I said to myself, “O how ambitious and patient you are! And I have not benefitted from anything of what I owned.”
At that moment, the call for Noon Prayer broke through the silence. I ran away while hiding my embarrassment. I asked myself, “Does ambition belong to anyone? Can it be sold and bought? Finally, the question is still posed and the dialogue is still open, does ambition have an identity? Can anyone answer the question?”
Abdullah ibn Abdul-Rahman Al-’Iyâdah
Ibn Khuzaymah House
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