Friday, August 14, 2015

"One of my teachers,

Shaykh Abdul Wadod Shalabi (d.2008), was fearless in calling for justice in Egypt. As well as becoming Deputy Shaykh al-Azhar he was imprisoned for five years by the regime. Once he came to London for a conference. I went with him to a newsagent where he needed to buy something. He looked around, and saw the sights which make us flinch but which we are used to: the adult magazines, the bottles of Bacardi, the scratch cards. Behind the till sat a depressed-looking Asian woman. 
The shaykh was a man with firm views about what was right. He had gone to prison for them! But his response to this scene startled me. He said nothing about the horrors which were all around. Instead he kindly talked to the woman and asked what her name was. It sounded like a Muslim name, and he gently conversed with her, affirming her identity; and then he left. So simple an encounter, but so effective! Where scowling and blaming would have driven her further into her shell, he gave her a moment of peace and a happy reminder that she was Muslim. For her, briefly, the sun came out. If there was a door for her back to religion, he had opened it for her, with that compassionate smile.
-Abdal-Hakim Murad, "Clarification on the Boundaries of Da'wa," July 15, 2014.