We are all vulnerable. Particularly in these times. This is an age of forgetfulness and sadness, and we need remembrance and joy. Wa-man a‘rada an dhikri fa-inna lahu ma‘ishatan danka, the Qur’an says: ‘whoever turns aside from remembering Me, he shall have a miserable life’. The modern world claims to progress: but people have longer faces than ever before. Antidepressant drugs have never been more widely prescribed. 17 percent of British women attempt suicide by the age of 25. We work longer hours than ever before; and our home lives and our marriages have never been under such pressure.
A man was walking through the marketplace one afternoon when, just as the muezzin began the call to prayer, his eye fell on a woman’s back. She was strangely attractive, though dressed in fulsome black, a veil over head and face, and she now turned to him as if somehow conscious of his over-lingering regard, and gave him a slight but meaningful nod before she rounded the corner into the lane of silk sellers. As if struck by a bolt from heaven, the man was at once drawn, his heart a prisoner of that look, forever. In vain he struggled with his heart, offering it one sound reason after another to go his way—wasn’t it time to pray?—but it was finished: there was nothing but to follow.