An Evening with UstadhHisham Mahmoud
B y Tahir Ali
Worcester: ShazadSadozai, Abdullah Kazi, Noman Khanani - community youth activists - along with their friends have been rather busy chalking up a schedule for Ustadh Hisham Mahmoud, a theologist, teacher and scholar.
Ustadh Mahmoud hails from Egypt and was raised in the United States - by virtue of which he is able to combine the culture from both countries and cater to the needs of young people. His contribution includes several scholarly works dealing with issues pertaining to theology, hadith, jurisprudence, and ethics. He has lectured at famous Universities, such as Princeton and Yale, and is currently teaching at Harvard University.
In the last week of September 2016, HishamMehmood had a tight schedule to follow. On Friday, September 23 rd, he was to deliver the JummaKhutba, followed by a night gathering (halaqa) at the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester(ISGW). On Sunday, at the Helping Hand (HHRD) office in Westborough, he was conducting a four-hour class on "Exploring the Divine Rhetoric". The young organizers summed up the course in a few sentence: 'An introduction to drawing meaning from the Qur'an through its coherence, script, language and the etiquette of approaching the Revealed Book.' The class was full and very well attended. The attendees were very satisfied and took home a great learning experience stemming from a scholarly discourse.
At the Friday halaqa at ISGW, HishamMehmoud chose a lively topic: 'Our Smiling Prophet(SAW)' - Noman Khanani, a teacher in Islamic studies on one hand, and an elected national democratic delegate for Bernie Sanders on the other hand, introduced the guest speaker and moderated the entire event.
HishamMehmoud called for "re-establishing brotherhood among the community," and he went on to break the sentence into: 'Common Unity.' Hisham added, "If you love a person(s) you want to see signs of happiness in their face - with that smile comes the inner-contentment (saroor). The charismatic power of the smile cannot be underestimated, even in Islam a smile is a charity. Smiling is contagious and produces good feelings. It shows love, care and respect on both - the receiving end and the giving end. The Prophet Mohammad (SAW) always carried a pleasant smile on his face. "The companions nick-named him 'Mubtasim' - one who is constantly smiling." Abdullah ibn-ul-Haarith ibn Hazim said: I never saw anyone smile more than the Prophet (SAW).
Hisham pointed out that although the Prophet Mohammed's (SAW) grief was also constant but he still managed to keep a smile on his face. "You gravitate towards the person who smiles." In a gathering where Amr bin Al-As was sitting along with the Prophet and his companions, "the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) with a smile on his face glanced at Amr bin Al-As." Hisham added further, "Amr was convinced that he was most beloved in the eyes of the Prophet even though Hazrat Ali was sitting next to Amr." Hisham characterized this moment as "the miracle of the glance the power of the smile." He recited a Hadith which was narrated by Amr bin Al-As: The Prophet deputed me to lead the Army of Dhat-as-Salasil. I came to him and said, "Who is the most beloved person to you?" He said, Aisha." I asked, "Among the men?" He said, "Her father." I said, "Who then?" He said, "Then 'Umar bin Al-Khattab." And Amr bin Al-As kept asking, "Who then?", and the Prophet kept naming other men, until Amr decided to stop asking because he was afraid that his name may appear at the end of the long list.
HishamMehmoud wanted to leave a sound advice to the married couples in the audience of about 100 people or so: "Restore freshness into marriage," he said. Aisha fondly recalls memories of racing with the Prophet and even winning the race when she was young and fit (Ibn Al Jawzi, 68). Years later, HishamMehmoud added, when Hazrat Aisha was heavier and not young, the Prophet raced her again and won. She said the Prophet laughed and said now we are even. Good Advice: Restore freshness into your marriage.
Amjad Bhatti, President of ISGW, thanked the guest speaker and especially the youth who organized and put the event together on their own. He encouraged them not to rest upon but to build upon.
Acknowledgements are due to DrSaleemKhanani for his timely comments.