There is a brother living next to me in Cairo. Mashallah, he is a great student of knowledge, inshallah, and studies very hard. I decided to take him to meet one of our Azhari Sheikhs here and I knew, inshallah, that we would learn more from him than just today’s lesson.
But I could have never imagined the lessons we took tonight*. We arrived at the masjid just after the first Tasleem. The Masjid was beautiful with its tall minarets and lighted courtyard. The weather was nice the wind was sweet and pleasant. We entered the Masjid, prayed and waited for the Sheikh.
Suddenly the Sheikh arrived with a bag and we greeted him. I informed the Sheikh about our guest and the Sheikh’s face lit like the morning sun and a smile spread across his face. Then it was my turn to introduce the sheikh to the brother. The hard part is that this sheikh has me between a rock and a hard place.
He seriously does not like to be called sheikh or even ustadh! So, I was like, “This is is is is is is ……………….is ………sheeeek….” He looked at me like, “Boy if you do it!”…..”is is is is uh is”, then he interrupted me, “I’m your brother ****** (if I write his name it would be going against his wishes). I turned, looked at the brother who was with me and saw an awe in his face. A short time latter the Imam of the Masjid, recognizing the Sheikh, came and begged him to lead the prayer. The Sheikh said to him, “Please excuse me. I can’t.” The brother was shocked. After our lesson, the sheikh demanded that he walk us home (We live around 20 minutes from the Masjid) . We begged him and begged him, however, to no avail. As we were walking I decided to buy the Sheikh some sweets. I asked him and the other student with us to please excuse me as I needed to get something. The Sheikh began to follow me and I told him, “Sheikh the brother has some questions for you.” Thus, seeing an opportunity to spread the ilm, the sheikh stopped in his tracks and turned to the wide eyed American. I dashed into the store and purchased some sweets for the Sheikh on behalf of us. When I exited out of the store, the Sheikh was taken aback and said, “What is this?” I said, “This is a gift from us to you.” He said no and politely said he couldn’t accept it. I stated to him, “Please sheikh accepting a gift is from the Sunna.” I continued, “Please Sheikh! Please! It will make us happy!” He grabbed me and said (in Ammiyah Masriyaah so the student wouldn’t understand him), “Suhaib, I don’t have a refrigerator. I eat what I buy and store nothing!”
Enough said. May Allah bless Al-Azhar, protect the Ulema there and increase its bounties.
Oh! and by the way that sack that the Sheikh was carrying were sweets he brought for us to eat.
* This piece was written a while ago.
--From Sh. Suhaib's blog