Living Islam Through Her Actions

Everyday, Mona walks out of her home early in the morning with a bag of food for the seven cats that anxiously wait for her in front of her home. Mona ignores the warnings of her neighbors not to feed the cats. She even sits on the sidewalk and lets a mother cat rub herself on her jilbab (a long, loose-fitting garment). She then gently removes the hair from her clothes and proceeds forward to the next street to take a taxi.

The taxi driver curses and cusses at every driver while he honks the horn and speeds as if he is rushing to the hospital a pregnant woman ready to give birth. The music is blasting her eardrums apart. She gently asks him if he can turn the radio off, which he does. She then reminds him that being so upset at everything may affect his nerves, his heart, and overall health. And she asks him to put a Qur’an tape on his nearly antique cassette deck, which he also does. Soon, he slows down the speed and puts on a smiling face.

Mona enters the university. There, a bunch of students are sitting on the stairs and many are smoking cigarettes, laughing loudly, and trying to be hip-hop with their latest fashion and styles of talking. “Come on Mona! Sit with us, we have a laughing contest,” shouts one of the girls. “Thanks for the invitation, but I have to study at the library now,” she says in a gentle but firm voice without laughing or leaning toward this crowd.

As Mona sits in the library reading and preparing for her exam, she notices a young student sitting nearby wiping her tears with her sleeves. Mona gently walks toward her and sits next to her like a gentle breeze. “As-salamu `alaykum, sister,” says Mona. Embarrassed for being noticed, the girl bashfully answers, “Wa `alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah.” Mona puts her arm on the girl’s back and asks if she would like to have a glass of water or would like to chat. The surprised look on the girl’s face soon turns into a gentle smile as she feels Mona’s hand gently tapping her back. Then, a warm talk begins between the two of them.

An hour later, Mona walks toward the elevator to go to the fifth floor. After a long wait, the elevator door opens. Mona is about to enter, but at the same time a male student enters the elevator. Upon this, Mona steps back. The male student holds the door open and invites her in. However, Mona gently asks him to proceed. “I am just curious why you won’t ride the elevator with me,” he asks. Mona reminds him of the hadith in which Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “If a man and…” Mona pauses. “Yes, if a man and a woman withdrew into solitude, their third is Satan,” the student completes. “I got it,” he says. “You are a good Muslim girl, ma sha’ Allah. Unfortunately, most of us have forgotten the teachings of our religion, and we do what we please,” he says as he walks out of the elevator and insists that she should go first.

Mona’s colleagues frequently see her stopping in the middle of activities to perform her Prayers on time. “Sometimes, I am embarrassed around Mona if I have not prayed on time,” said one of the students to the other. Soon, it becomes a habit for many to follow Mona to the Prayer area.

Not long after she returns home, Mona hosts three female visitors. Each has a problem and needs to consult with Mona, who is nearly the same age but with much wisdom. One is contemplating committing suicide, the other is unhappy about her weight, and the third wonders why she is not getting any marriage offers.

Mona does not point fingers at anyone. She only shares with them that since she began to truly understand and practice her religion, she has attained an incredible peace. Her concerns have been turned into trust and certainty; she eats, sleeps, studies, and lives only to please Almighty Allah. She, therefore, avoids anything that may harm her body, mind, or religious belief.

She carefully chooses her friends and allows sufficient time for the remembrance of Allah on a daily basis, even in the midst of her busy schedule. “I love life because I don’t live for myself but for the sake of pleasing Allah,” she says.

The faces of her friends were completely different from their faces when they entered the house. Peace shined through their hidden smiles and their tone of voice turned into comfort and assurance. “I told you we should have visited Mona earlier,” said one of the girls as they playfully pushed each other out of Mona’s front door.

Raya Shokatfard
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Raya Shokatfard

Founder/Adviser Islamic Center Langkawi at Islamic Center Langkawi
Raya Shokatfard holds an MA in Journalism/Mass Communications and an M.A.D. in TV journalism. BA in Communication and BA in Islamic Studies. She has been Islamic propagator in the U.S, Egypt and Malaysia for many years and academic lecturer, writer, international presenter, consultant, foreign correspondent, and former Editor in Chief for Reading Islam website.
Raya Shokatfard
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