Tell me, what did you think of Ronaldo's performance in the match against France? I was heartbroken by it. Imagine my boys (boys indeed!) being beaten by that France, and there zero for that matter, Oh well, there's no point in crying over split milk, is there? On my way to Grandpa's the day after the match I saw him from afar, standing by the road. He looked pleased as usual to see me and said: "Omo mi!! What a fine man you are with your head clean-shaven.
Did you know that Anabi (PBUH) encouraged men to keep clean-shaven heads?" I felt good being referred to as a man. On getting close to him, he asked" And who is that you are carrying around on your stomach?" I immediately launched into the story of my star, Ronaldo de Lima, a 2I-year old Brazilian who plays for Inter-Milan wearing the jersey 9, how he loves to wear a clean-shaven look, how he played for his country at the 16th mundial, how he is the world's best footballer, how he is .....
"Hold on" Grandpa said, cutting me short. He added, "It seems as if you hero-worship the man." I replied that I did, even though his team had let me down and I would have gone further if he had not caught my attention with his quiet wise words. "To hero-worship any but, Allah is Shirk (associating partners with Allah), you do a disservice to the man and an even greater one to yourself. To make matters worse, you are wearing his portrait on your chest.
Are you not aware of the saying of the Prophet (PBUH) that:
"Angels do not enter a house in a which there is a dog or a picture" (Muslim);
here you are wearing this young man's picture everywhere you go. Take note that you should not honour those who do not honour Allah," he concluded. I was shocked as we had a lot of family paintings and portraits hanging at home. It took some time for it to dawn on me that I had never seen any picture hanging in Grandpa's home and also in the different mosques I have attended and a lot of things fitted into place.
One day, I will come back to the issue of photographs, but right then, I was shocked that Grandpa took a disliking to my hero -Ronaldo. "Don't look so shocked, Omo mi" Grandpa said. "We all learn more and more every day. How is your Qur'anic reading corning? You still need to learn a lot more: the sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) (ahadith) and the stories of the companions of Anobi (PBUH) etc.
There you will find worthy examples of heroes that you should emulate. Now that your holidays are here, you should go to the Islamic Vacation College to learn noble things, but I'm sure your father would and you to summer classes. And all you will do there will be arts and crafts, music, jimmnastic (that is how he pronounces gymnastics!) and many other things which if not haram (forbidden), are makhruuh (frowned upon)."
I tried to explain to him that I still had time to learn all these things later in my life afterall I'm still young; but he responded: "Ah! Omomi. Why keep till tomorrow what you can do today? Particularly as nobody knows tomorrow, you do not even know if I will live to see tomorrow." I really do not like it when he talks like this but he did not give me a chance to say so. He continued: "Moreover, what better time to learn the Qur'an and sunnah than in your childhood? Did your teachers at school not tell you that the memory is at its best then?
And that all things memorised at this time are done faster and are seldom forgotten? Look at the example of Abdullah-ibn-Abbas (RA) who, by age ten had completely memorised the Qur‘an, he was accepted as an Imam in Tafsir and subsequently best commentator of the Qur'an. Zayd bin-Thabit (RA) was also one who, at age eleven had also memorised the entire Qur'an and later became an expert in the regulations regarding inheritance such that he was among the top ranking judges of his time. He also mastered Hebrew in fifteen days and Syriac (a Syrian language) in seventeen days just because Anobi (PBUH) requested it.
He continued; "Aishah (RA) was only eighteen at the time of Anobi (PBUH)'s death, but she had memorised innumerable ahadith. She was also very punctual in fasting and performed hajj several times and even covered the distance on foot. The youngsters of then not only excelled in all the pillars of Islam (iman, salaat, sawm, zakah, hajj) and memorised the ahadith, they were also able to put all they learnt to practice. Some of them Umayr, Mu'adh bin-Amr bin-Jamnh (RA) and Mu'adh bin Affan (RA) even participated in the different wars just to please Allah and His Rasul (PBUH). How many youngsters of today have been taught to do things for the sake of Allah? And how many of you can even begin to undergo such hardships as your counterparts in the time of the Prophet (PBUH) did simply for the sake of Allah?"
Hearing all these was a rude awak80ina because I had always thought we kids still had a lot of time ahead of us to learn all those things which we fondly refer to as "adult things." These stories have opened my eyes and made me resolve to put in my best and learn as much as I can in the little time left of my childhood But! It’s amazing, you know, that the boys and I always felt and tried to behave like the big boys on the wrong issue. Now, I know who my true distinguished heroes should be. Sorry Ronaldo, I’d rather emulate the noble examples of the young Sahabahs (companions of the Prophet (PBUH). I intend to excel too. See you on the rebound then. Very Soon!
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited