Monday, October 15, 2007

The Youth Volunteer

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- We do not know when is our end and let this story inspire others to take action. This is a letter from a good friend of mine whom is actively involve in mosque activities and he himself is a part time Bilal.

By Abu Sufian ( NUS - Arts and Social Sciences Yr 3 )

i dedicate this to the people i know, who constantly worry about, and try to help our youths; who spend days and nights at our mosques; whom i know strive for, and look forward to the pleasure of meeting their Creator.

a few months ago, i made a new friend at the mosque. that first time when i met him, he was wearing a turban, and i thought, how interesting for such a young man, to be dressed this way, on a rather ordinary day. he had arranged to meet me.

he was a student in syria, and had come back for his holidays, planning to go back there after a few months. in the meantime, he was posted to a mosque here, and thus introduced to me as the youth executive officer at that mosque.

i didn't want to take him seriously too soon, because sometimes after you invest too much time in a cause, the attrition rate gets to you - off he goes and another one comes, the story has to be repeated again.

this friend, however, had other ideas. one of his favourite movies was 300, and he carefully laid out his plan for me that cold saturday morning. excusing his rather military imagery, he wanted to create his band of 300 youths, who would then help to attract other youths to the mosque's youths activities.

i had tried, with other volunteers and personnel, for months to achieve something close to that, and wanted to tell him that it was difficult. i wanted to give him many reasons to try keep his ideas rooted to the ground, but before i could, he showed me some papers, and there were names of youths whom he had already managed to convince to sign up with the youth wing. that was fast. this guy must be something different, i thought.

sometime in ramadhan, i dropped by the mosque to meet old friends, and was pleasantly surprised to see new faces.. ahh, these must be the new boys who have been roped in by so-and-so. this friend, was walking the talk.

we met behind the scenes, at the library, the coffeeshop... updating each other, we would face stumbling blocks, but he would always follow up the next sentence with, "ok, takpe... kita buat macam gini.." what we couldnt do before in half-a-year, he did in one month with minimal support..

along the way, i found out we had common friends, and they told of how he'd come a long way, from days at fmsa, to going to the raffles equivalent of the pondok pesantrens in indonesia, to where he was today in syria. when he himself spoke of syria, it was with much fondness, and a longing to go back there... and to stay there. he also spoke of time spent teaching the religion in london, where he said that people were seeking knowledge. but for the meantime, his mission was here, he knew about the state of youth in his home country, and he had to play his part.

along the way too, i left, confident that the mosque youth was in good hands, and that this was the person to lead the way.

recently in Ramadhan, on the day of the mosque's youth-in-charge programme, some things didn't go as smoothly as planned. i could see him, with the others, trying their best.

last thursday, he was to call me, to apologise for some mismanagement during the event, but we both agreed that it was a good learning point, particularly for the new youths, some of whom were helping out at a mosque for the first time. on the phone, he spoke lovingly and forgivingly of those youths, just being glad that they had turned up to support the event.

on friday afternoon, he called to apologise again. he wanted to meet me to pass some cash from the mosque, and said it was his responsibility to ensure i got it if i needed it before hari raya. i lost count the number of times he apologised.

our differences, if any, were out of irritation. i loved the fact that he would know something was troubling me, and he would just offer his apologies anyway. because its probably something i wished i cld do sometimes.

i remember that smile, that husky voice, that laugh. that tired face which would brighten up once i looked upon it. that black songkok tilted handsomely, and the baggy pants made up of quirky-patterned cloth.

i met him less than ten times in the space of 3, 4 months, but it was always long. we spoke on the phone a lot. to me, seeing him was like seeing any living companion of the prophet.. i could just imagine. never dogmatic, moderate, never gave up, extremely accomodating, warm, able to dig in with the boys, always said what was just, able to adjust and adapt to his environment. that is the friend i met.

on friday night, the eve of eid, on the way back from the mosque, near his home, outside another mosque, or so i heard, he met with an accident. i heard that perhaps, he was tired. the next day, he was supposed to have been helping to coordinate eid prayers. but now he couldnt.he never got up.

saw him on the first day of eid. a muscular and able young man normally full of spirit, unconscious in ICU. saw his family, friends, fiancee.

i wanted to cry on the first day, but didnt cos we all had to hope for the best.
i had joked the week before with another friend.. eid's on saturday... would u rather go on friday cos its ur last chance in ramadhan, or would you rather live and meet eid on saturday?

on the second day of Eid, Mohammad Rafiq bin Yahya, passed away, unconscious since his accident on friday night. just like how he popped up into my life, and called me for a meeting that rainy saturday morning, he left.

just after ramadhan, on a night when Allah's name was being glorified, probably in quick, instantenous pain, on the way back from the mosque.

can we all wish for a better end? for all the mudslinging about what jihad is, my friend died in His Path, right there. Probably, God didnt even want him to say goodbye to us. Probably, both of them couldn't wait to see each other.

4 months, in loving memory of a man who served God till his last. we are all for the poorer now.

"we all walk the long road, there's no need to say goodbye"
~ eddie veder

Mohammad Rafiq bin Yahya, Ustaz


* Let's learn from this story and ask ourself how we can make a difference. Life is short, money is not everything. We tend to waste our time doing trivial things like watching TV and so on but we could have done more to make a difference in others.. What's yours!!

My Life Mission: I enable others to discover purpose in their lives and empower them to pursue their dreams and live life to the fullest with God's blessing.

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  • fadz..
    i am very touched with the post..
    i read this morning and learn about him..
    semoga ALLAH akan membukakan pintu syurga kepadanya..

    sedih sungguh..

    By Blogger azie, at 10:05 AM  

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