The Gold Ring
Years ago, I attended a sheikh’s house every Friday night to learn more about Islam. The scent of musk permeated the room we sat in. Sounds pretty cool, but everyone who attended had different tastes in their oils. Let’s just say I would exit the premises pretty light-headed at the end of the night.
The sheikh was really cool. He was down-to-earth, logical, and practical. The one thing that always stood out to me was his big smile. He was slow in speech; methodical in his approach and in his choice of words. I always dig that kind of sheikh.
One night stood out to me. I’ll never forget it.
There’s nothing more dangerous than an eager student who knows the rules, but has no clue how to apply those rules using wisdom.
Let me set this up.
It was a Friday evening. Me and a bunch of brothers packed into a car and headed towards the sheikh’s house. We had heard there was going to be a conversion. We were all very excited. We arrived at the home in droves. The sheikh’s home was standing room only. We all knew why. The sheikh smiled and began his lecture. I was all ears, mainly because I have big ears, but you know what I mean.
Everyone listened to the sheikh attentively, with brothers periodically glancing to the side of the room where the soon-to-be Muslim (let’s just call him Adam) was seated. Many of the brothers in attendance were converts, themselves, so they were extra hype. They know all too well, the feeling of life’s burdens suddenly being lifted with a single utterance. They sat patiently.
Two hours later, the lecture ended. The sheikh called Adam to the front of the room. Adam walked up ever so politely, making his way to the sheikh. Smiles all around until I heard one brother say, “AstaghferAllah“. I was like, well, there’s nothing wrong with seeking forgiveness, so didn’t really think about it much, but it caught my attention.
And then again, “AstaghferAllah“. Ok, now things were getting a little weird. Brothers were squirming around. I didn’t get it. What was going on?
So, picture this. The sheikh is seated in front of a room full of young men. Adam is standing beside him. The sheikh asks Adam some questions to ensure he wasn’t converting for the wrong reasons. Adam took his shahada.
That’s when it happened.
“Sheikh, AstaghferAllah!” Wait, what? I looked at the brother in the crowd. The sheikh looked at him and frowned. The sheikh rarely does that. The brother in the crowd pointed to his ring finger, indicating that Adam was wearing a gold ring. Men are not permitted to wear gold in Islam.
Adam looked a little confused. After all, he literally just converted.
I’ll never forget it, the sheikh completely shunned the anxious brother in the crowd. He turned to Adam, welcomed him to Islam and gave him a bear hug. The sheikh said nothing about the ring. He didn’t correct him. He didn’t even tell Adam that Muslim men are not allowed to wear gold. I know, sounds pretty dramatic, but young men are.
After Adam left, some brothers stayed behind to confront the sheikh. The sheikh listened quietly to their concerns, and then dropped some logic on them. The sheikh said, “Brothers, Adam just took his shahada. Be the reason people embrace Islam, not the reason people reject it. He needs to learn to pray before anything else. Priorities. Things will come naturally. Give him his space and give him time.”
Loving the sheikh’s response, in my head I was like
Everyone in attendance learned a lesson that night. Give people a chance to grow and learn. How you apply the knowledge you attain is just as important as the knowledge, itself. A seemingly small lesson can have a very big impact. I learned more that night than I did any other night attending the lectures.
By: Nader (MW Admin)