By Musa Cerantonio
Last year I visited Italy in order to interact with and support the Muslim community there. I spent a few months visiting different cities in order to make links with various groups, imams and individuals. The trip had its ups and downs and I had many instances where I had to be patient for Allah’s sake, but as well I had some great times and also some unexpected experiences. I cannot refer these unexpected experiences as mere coincidences, nor can I go to the extreme of calling them miracles as this is something beyond our knowledge, however they were great events that caused me to be thankful to Allah and to place my trust in Him alone and to understand that whatever Allah has written for you shall surely come to pass.
One of the events which occurred was while I was travelling from Torino (Turin) to Milan. I had planned my journey around Italy hoping to meet a number of Imams in order to know them personally and to build a relationship in order to work together on some projects. I had met with all of those who I had wished to meet except for one Imam who was from the South of Italy. I knew that at that point I would not have time to make it to his city as I had been delayed in some of my trips and therefore would not get a chance to meet him, especially as I was in the North of Italy and a train journey to his city would take at least 15-20 hours. I was wondering about the best way to communicate with him without meeting with him face to face, as I had not spoken with him up until that point, since I had planned to meet him in his city of residence.
I boarded my train and prepared from another long journey back to Milan. I looked at my allocated seat number, and though the train was almost empty I still made sure to find the seat number that was on my ticket. I headed to the carriage, put my bags down and seated myself and began to read the du’a of travel (duʿā’ ar-rukūb). Once I finished I looked around and I saw that seated parallel to me only a few seats away was the very Imam I was thinking of! I greeted him with a big smile and told him of what just occurred and he smiled back and said to me “This is the Qadr of Allah, He had willed that we would meet and so nothing in the universe could prevent it from happening.” Al-Hamdulillah we spoke for many hours throughout the trip and I felt a tranquility and calmness at that time which I cannot describe, but it occurs when a person feels the Power and Mercy of Allah and is reminded that Allah is Powerful over all things.
I have had many similar experiences, some of which are even more amazing and more powerful, however this one experience came into my mind and I thought it would not be suitable that I keep it to myself, but rather I should share it hoping to strengthen the hearts of those who believe and to remind ourselves that our Lord is our Provider and our Protector, and that He will surely not allow us to become lost after He has guided us.
There these times when Allah allows us to meet those whom we had hoped to encounter for His sake, or there are times when 2 believers love one another for His sake and they wish to meet for His sake yet Allah has decreed that they would not meet in this world, and so we look forward to reuniting with those believers whom we loved for Allah’s sake in the Paradise that He has prepared for the Righteous.
One such meeting that I pray Allah will allow to occur is that of my brother in Islam Ahmad, the Mujāhid and the Shahīd God willing. The first time that I was blessed to visit the House of Allah and to perform the Ḥajj I had hoped to meet with approximately 10 brothers during my time there. All of the brothers were from Australia however we went with different Ḥajj groups and so we were placed in different parts and it was not easy to find each other especially as we were not using our mobile phones at the time. Despite the crowd of 5 million people I met 9 of them. One of them I saw in Masjid An-Nabawī after Jumuʿah prayer, another I saw when making wuḍū’ on the Day of ʿArafah, another I saw while we were making ṭawāf around the Kaʿbah. Each meeting was one that we had not planned, yet Allah had willed would occur.
I did not meet Ahmad however. He was the 10th person that I wished to meet, and though we had planned to meet at Ḥajj we did not get the chance. What I did not know at the time is that I would never again see Ahmad on this Earth. Our brother, may Allah have Mercy on him, had gone to Somalia to fight against the Ethiopian Crusaders who had just invaded. He did not say a word to us about it, this is why we were expecting to meet him in Makkah during the Ḥajj. He went and fought in the Path of Allah and died while fighting the enemy. As his soul was about to leave his body those who were present informed us that he looked up above him and said “I can see my place in Jannah”, and then he returned to the Mercy of Allah. May Allah accept him and enter him into His Jannah.
And so while Allah decreed for me to meet many through ways which I could never imagine, He had decreed that the meeting which I had planned with Ahmad would not occur in this world, and I hope and pray that He in His Wisdom has decreed that we would meet in a better place, raised upon pillars of Light in the company of those that we love and those who love Allah. I pray that if we meet that we will not be alone, but we will be with all of those who love us and we love them for the sake of the Almighty. I pray that Allah joins all of those that I love for His sake with the Prophets, and the Righteous and the Martyrs in the best of destinations, and with this I wish to let you all know that I love you all for the sake of Allah and that there are many of you who I wish to meet in this life, and I pray that if we do not get that chance that it is because Allah has saved for us a meeting in His Paradise.