Drawn by the enchanting aura of the circles of knowledge and driven by his need to breath in this world, he wove through the ancient market as a man on a mission. Nothing distracted him from the haste he now made – not the flutter of colourful silk fabrics, nor the sweet smells of jasmine, brewing coffee, and succulent cuisines.
With a book under his arm wrapped in muslin, he rushed like a madman in a desert; thirst threatened to kill him and so he rushed towards what his father used to describe only as ‘springs of water’ and ‘a fountain of life.’ How he wished he had listened then.
At a wooden door, he knocked and waited.
“Enter in peace!’ someone cried from behind. He pushed open the gate and humbled his head, ‘As-salamu `alaykum’ he greeted. A chorus came back, ‘Wa ‘alaykum salam’ and he breathed in the atmosphere. He used to hear that Angels roamed these places, but a life of reckless and wretched disregard made him dismiss anything and everything that he didn’t see with his eyes or didn’t land a coin in his pocket. But the stories must’ve been true because though he did not see an Angel, he stood gazing at angelic souls from the entrance of a wooden gate that was closed to a bustling world and open to a soulful one. “And a wall will be placed between them with a door, its interior containing mercy, but on the outside of it is doom.” [al-Hadid: 13]
He took his place in this sea of faithful believers and passionate hearts, and began to open his book in haste when he felt the gaze of someone on him. He looked up to see his Qur’an teacher wearing a warm smile that said only one thing: ‘Open your heart first, dear son. Always open the heart before the Book, and the Book will be opened to you.’
He took a moment and breathed at last, before hearing the turn of a thousand pages and the voice of a single scholar.