بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
About five months back “Honey bee” expressed her desire to publish a story in my blog. I asked her what is it about? “Mango.” Mango by Honeybee! Combination of my friend’s pen name and the story title made me laugh. I knew she would write something amazing. She sent me the storyline a few days later. She didn’t live long enough to express it better. Please take time to read about my friend’s ‘Hajjin Nani’: –
“We used to call her Hajjin Nani. During those days, not many people were able to do Hajj from Indian villages. She had Alhamdulillah done her Hajj and hence she was called Hajjin Nani by all the children. She did not have any children of her own. In such a situation we normally start worrying as to who will make dua for her after she dies. Pious children are a Sadaqa-e-jariah for their parents, but what about her? My mother was her favorite among the children of that generation. We used to visit her once in a year during the summer vacations.
I was very small during those years and do not remember anything about her except one scene.
It was post maghrib time when she came home from the fields. She was hiding something in her hands. We were only three people on the terrace. She told my mother that she luckily found one mango and brought it for me. “For me”! I have not forgotten those words till date, now that I am forty plus. As a result, I never forget to make dua for her whenever I do so for my mother, my grannies and others. What became the reason, just one mango!
Hence, we should not underestimate any good deed. Pure intention can make it very heavy on the scales. Allah did not give her children but put it in my heart to make dua for her for years and years. Subhan Allah!” -HONEYBEE
I have no idea what more she wanted to add to the story. Did any particular hadith or verse from the Quran remind her of her Nani (granny)? We will never know. When I read it after her death, I just couldn’t hold back my tears. Honeybee sent me this story as she was fighting cancer. I guess she was worried about her Hereafter and how she could make most of her days. I failed to see it earlier.
I first met “Honey bee” nearly thirteen years back. We were studying Quran tafsir together. Back then, we were both childless. Like me, she should have wondered, “Will I ever have children to pray for me?” This made me focus on other women who faced a similar fate. How did they lead their life? Are there other means to obtain good deeds? Maybe my friend’s Hajjin Nani served as an inspiration for her.
The story, Mango, is all about small deeds which win one’s heart. These are seemingly insignificant actions which would earn us supplications (dua) from others! My friend’s life was full of such deeds.
When my friend died, I found many people shaken by the news. I received random calls and messages from people whom I hardly knew. They were all heartbroken. Some of them had just known her for a few days or hours. Yet, they were sincerely praying for her to attain high ranks of Jannah. Why?
As we grow, we learn to lower our expectations. My friend mastered the art of surpassing ones’ expectations! She was always eager to help. Years back, we were walking together in a park. We saw a lady carrying a heavy picnic basket. She rushed to help her with the burden. The lady smiled back with relief as she uttered “Shukran”. ‘Honey bee’ was a tarbiya teacher who would cook meals and take them to the sick student’s home when the child was absent. She demonstrated what she taught! She was in touch with teachers who taught us the Quran. She will always be remembered by my tafsir teacher for the way she respected and cared for her.
She was eager to do things for an Islamic cause. She helped in compiling several Islamic books for children. (You may download some of them at her site Rainbow of Islam.) She was particularly interested in proper Islamic upbringing of the children. She would also involve in relief work. While learning tafsir we learned that the root word of righteousness ( ب رر ) refers to the forest; There in grow all types of plants and trees. Likewise, we should do different kinds of deeds to please Allah. ‘Honey bee’ grabbed every opportunity. She didn’t underestimate any deed. Ever since I saw how she rushed to help the lady in the park, the word “bir” reminded me of her.
Some of the deeds she did may not sound so great. But can you recollect someone help you when you least expected? Her selflessness combined with her kind nature earned her a place in other’s heart within minutes. As we mature, we learn to lower our expectations to save our heart from disappointments. Honey bee would do things which surpasses one’s expectation without expecting anything in return. I felt comfortable and special around her. I felt loved.
I wondered, why I didn’t go with my friend to help the lady in the park. Well, I simply chose to ignore. Till then I never bothered to check if the strangers around me needed any help. That day my friend didn’t just help a stranger, she also showed me how to be a better human. She inspired me to care for those around me. She rushed to help the lady with the burden as though, “I better earn good deeds before someone else grabs this opportunity!”
We don’t need to be a billionaire or know many languages or acquire any special degree to do such simple deeds. Yet why do we choose to ignore?
- Why should I do this?
- What is in it for me?
- Will I be taken for granted if I do this?
- Shouldn’t he/she be asking for help?
Such whispers from Shaitan, prevent us from doing good. When Allah’s pleasure is all that we seek, these questions shouldn’t matter. We should race forward to do good without waiting for an invitation. Only when we truly love one another for the sake of Allah, we would be able to make most of such insignificant moments. Love of Allah brings more love into our lives!
Even when Honeybee was perfectly healthy, she lived her life as though death would knock at her door any day. I never heard her complain as she fought cancer. May Allah reward her for her patience. I hope with death her sufferings have ended. May Allah forgive her and unite her with her loved ones in Jannah. Ameen.
We never know when, how or where we will meet our end. Every day and every second is an irreplaceable asset more valuable than gold and other possessions. What did we do today to enrich our plantation of good deeds? Did we manage to make someone feel special with a small gift or action? In order to please Allah, may we learn to care for others by looking beyond our own needs. Ameen.
Honeybee just lived for forty years or so. She faced many trials in her life. She always trusted Allah and sought help from Him. Don’t we wonder, what good is this temporary life? It is absolutely worthless if we fail to please our Creator. What kind of life would you like to have?
Life! It is shaped by how we live and not by how long we live. Ya Allah, help us make most of our life! Ameen.
There is so much more that I learnt from Honey bee. Insha Allah, I’ll soon post about it.