The Assumption


The Routine Reminder

So this can be just another ‘Ramadan is here’ post. It can also be the same old ‘let us take advantage of this blessed month’ reminder. In fact, it could even be the same routine ‘leave ramadan better than when you started’ article.

This post could simply tell you of the rewards of this month, the fact that the doors of Jannah are open and that the devil is on lock-down. It could explain how everyone seems to take this time for granted and most people just fast and gain nothing but hunger and thirst. It can emphasize that good deeds are actually easier to complete and that the very nature of being part of the9ecc97e9fde01accd303e1e2c605e090_dfa collective community in a state of fast and worship makes it the best month to set goals in. That 30 days is enough time for anyone to break a bad habit or start up a good one. This blog post can give tips on how to make this Ramadan more fruitful, like making accountability sheets and having a buddy system to ensure that you are keeping up with your month long goals. It could remind you of the seriousness in which the companions of the prophet (S) dealt with this annual occurrence and how they begged for 11 months that Allah allow them to taste the sweetness of this time. It could point out that the angels are working overtime to record your actions and that the opportunities for self-improvement are endless.

This post could be about the Mercy, Forgiveness and Salvation that this month is all about. It could go in depth about how this fast seems like its all about refraining from actions (i.e. food, drink, sex) but to really attain complete benefit, the fast is really about actively using your mind to reflect. That this month is all really about deep, focused reflection. It can say that though the fast has a worldly, outwardly component, most of the benefit is expunged by the internal, self-critical and contemplative aspect of the fast.

This post could really be about all these things…

But it isn’t.

Instead it will be about the morning before the first night of Ramadan:

My eyes slowly opened, fighting against the weight of a night where sleep was a scarcity. My vision, blurred by the bright light of the morning of this past Friday, struggled to adjust through tear-filled eyes. The last morning before arocky21 month of fast. It was 7:40 AM and the alarm on my iPhone was blaring Survivor‘s ‘Eye of the Tiger.’  Normally, by the words ’took my time– too my chances’ I am up, preparing for another day of something I consider significant enough to pull myself out of bed for, but this morning I was exhausted.  I was supposed to meet Zaied at the Saddlebrook diner and meeting with a good friend is usually enough motivation to shock my body into a mode of appropriate consciousness. Not today.

You are probably saying to yourself: Yousaf, we don’t care about how lazy you are and your struggle against torpidity.  Well, stop complaining and keep reading silly… this will all make sense soon.

I was supposed to meet with Zaied to properly prepare for the introduction I was to give at the Thirty Nights Ramadan program. Instead, I slept until about 9AM, enjoying that really nice cozy feeling of being wrapped up in a warm blanket in a room in which the air conditioner is turned to the arctic setting.  I awoke refreshed. Took a long hot shower knowing that it was that time of the year.

‘Ramadan is here, son!’ I sometimes talk to myself in the large bathroom mirror in my parents room as I brush my teeth.  ‘Are you ready… Yes I am!’

Then came the difficult decision of breakfast. I decided on cereal, a choice that one never really regrets. Golden Crisp topped off with what was left over in the mostly empty box of Frosted Flakes. I savored every morsel as I tony_the_tiger_432watched Sportcenter with Tony the Tiger.  Brett Favre’s annoying return from retirement stirred debate in my fantasy league as to the ’first come first serve’ waiver policy and listening to sports analysts talk about him for a half hour made me slightly nauseated. But all feelings of aversion melted away at the reality of the coming of Ramadan.  That feeling. That aura. It was in the air.

I would soon see the same wonderful faces, make that drive to Isha prayer, eat my mothers amazing Ramadan food, get runny noses from the dust that has settled into the masjid carpets over the last year, reflect over hot tea and pita bread and ICPC suhur. My feet would again ache after long periods of standing in the night, I would again have to explain to co-workers that I don’t fast 30 days straight without food and water (but just from dawn till dusk) and hopefully I would have those private moments in some corner of some masjid, enveloped in the darkness of some blessed night where I felt close to my Creator again.brett-favre

Screw Jim Rome and Brett Favre. Ramadan was here.

As I daydreamed about the night that was to come  I got a phone call from Zaied.  We decided to meet up before Jumma to go over the introduction for the program. I jumped into a pair of jeans and t-shirt and stepped outside of my home. I was greeted by the heavy hand of humidity that grabbed me by the throat and made it difficult to breath. I waved to my neighbor as I swam to my car, hopped in and put the air conditioner on full blast.  I sat in the idle car for a few minutes looking though my phone to see if I had received any messages while listening to something or another on NPR.

Reversed out of my driveway. Turned right on to Forest Ave. Accelerated to a little beyond the speed limit and cruised. Air conditioner kissing my face, my eyes subconsciously on the road, ears semi attentive to the radio.  There was an SUV in front of me also cruising at about 45 mph.  I then had a self-conscious moment… Where is my wallet? Hmmm. I patted my side and butt pocket. Nothing.

Saddlebrook was only five minutes away. I’ll just drive carefully, plus I know every cop in Paramus and have an impressive amount of PBA cards.  It would be pretty annoying if I had to turn around and get my wallet from my side dresser and Zaied was waiting at the diner already. I passed my fathers office on Forest Ave on the right and crossed over the Spring Valley intersection. I wondered what Ammar was going to do  that night… Just came back from his honeymoon and we hadn’t hung out yet… Punk.  I was in the left lane. I mulled over the words that I was to say to the group… I really wanted to pump people up; get them in that mood.  I thought to myself that I should probably drink some coffee at the diner to keep me awake and excited for the  coming night, especially if I plan to…

The blue SUV in front of me swerved right.
Directly in front of a him sit a black sedan at full stop.
I’m still not married.
I was going 50 MPH.
I had 40 feet… maybe.
My neck muscles tensed, my back straightened.
I leaned back as to avoid the ton of metal coming towards me through me windshield. Like a 3D movie.
My right foot slammed down on the brakes.
Coffee, two sugars… okay, one sugar.
The brakes grinded against the momentum of my potential metal casket.
My car lurched forward. My arms steered the vehicle slightly left. Slightly towards oncoming traffic.
I was so far back in my chair I was practically standing on the brakes with two feet.
Are you wearing your seat belt?
My tires wailed but their cries fell on deaf ears… No stopping this now.
There was one guy in the black car.
At least it would be just him and me.
I wonder what Ammar was going to do tonight?
It was 11:24AM.
The day before Ramadan, the month that was going to make me a good person again.
I smelled burnt rubber.
I have two more years of medical school left.
Time slowed. I could hear my heart beat.
My life did NOT flash before my eyes.
Rather, what I had not yet done became crystal clear.

I have lived 728611200 seconds of life. This one second, maybe the most significant yet……I held my breath. Eyes open. Jaw closed tight.
Crack. My right front bumper into his left rear tail light.
That crunching noise, reminding me of the Frosted Flakes being mashed by my molars.
Probably hit him at 25 M.P.H.
Pieces of my car made airborne.
The black car careened right… mine left.
I was now perpendicular to oncoming traffic.
My head hurts.  Hope it’s not bleeding.
Zaied is waiting at the diner. I think I am going to be a little late.
My eyes bulged out of my skull.
My muscles rigid, flexed.
My breathing slow and deep.
What just happened?
Ramadan was going to start tonight.
Sweat crawled down my face. Both of my hands remained on the steering wheel.
10 and 2.
I hope that guy in the other car is alive.
Where the hell is my wallet?
My airbags didn’t deploy.
What do I do now? Who do I call first? Who comes to mind?  What would a Muslim do?
Knock. Knock.
The man from the other vehicle now stood outside the driver side window. He mouthed the words ‘Are you okay?’


Hmmm. Was this a philosophical question about the state of my soul, the affairs of my fate with my Lord, my relationship with family, my marital status, my general state of health?  Was this man behind the glass like the oracle from the Matrix with questions that lead me to the answers? Only I wasn’t Neo, I wasn’t the one and I surely had none of the answers.

I nodded… Whispered, ‘Alhamdulilah.’

Here is the part where I should probably expound upon the meaning of life, fate, the unknown future, death, procrastination, heedlessness and other deep topics that one discovers when getting a whiff of one’s own mortality.  But I won’t. Not to say that I haven’t personally reflected upon the transience of this world, the nature of man, and the frailty of life itself… I have.

Instead, I will live this Ramadan like it almost never came because it really almost didn’t, and I will leave you with a verse and a quote that you can hopefully reflect upon.

“Say: Verily, the death from which you flee will surely meet you, then you will be sent back to (Allah), the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen, and He will tell you what you used to do.
Surah Al-Jumuah, Ayah 8

“If the first inward thought is not warded off, it will generate a desire, then the desire will generate a wish, and the wish will generate an intention, and the intention will generate the action, and the action will result in ruin and divine wrath. So evil must be cut off at its root, which is when it is simply a thought that crosses the mind, from which all the other things follow on.
– Imam abu Hamid al-Ghazali



~ by Yousaf on August 25, 2009.

4 Responses to “The Assumption”

  1. Alhamdulillah you are ok
    There is a hikmah behind everything, I bet your ramadan is so much better after the accident than it would have been without it.

    See you soon isa
    Love ya


  2. I can’t believe you called me a punk in front of millions of your blog followers x-( . Well at least this punk reminds you to put your seat belt on every single time he rides with you. I hope you don’t roll your eyes at me next I tell you to put it on.

  3. wow, very powerful. what did you do when the police arrived and you had no wallet?

    but alhamdulillah you’re ok… and you need to get married bro lol.

  4. I couldn’t help but notice a bit of foreshadowing in this story…I think Survivor was trying to speak out to you in the first half. If you hadn’t “taken your time” rising up in the morning, you wouldn’t have “Taken your chances” so to speak. Subhannallah, If you woke up at 7 instead of 9am you would not have been hit at the exact time you did. You were also supposed to be sharper behind the wheel, considering you had breakfast with the tiger, and woke up listening to his theme song (that was your first blue’s clue steve, whom btw wears stripes) 🙂 Now you are a man with a will to survive, Alhamdulilah. May Allah guard us from all harm, and may we gain strength from the things that do harm us, ameen.

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