Last year my son, then 2 years old, joined me for a congregational prayer at our local mosque in Markham, Canada. We arrived a little late and I noticed the back of a very familiar head in one the rows ahead of us. Not thinking much of it, we joined the prayer right away.
From the second cycle onward something very unusual happened. My normally quiet son started crying loudly and continued to do so for the remainder of the prayer. He was so loud that I was sure he had disturbed everyone around us. The prayer finished and the familiar head of the person ahead turned out to be the famous nasheed artist and preacher from Pakistan, Junaid Jamshed.
I was a really embarrassed that I was the father of the child who created such a disturbance, particularly when a global personality like Jamshed was in attendance. To my surprise, Jamshed came to us a few moments after we finished and said something to the effect of ‘Alhamdulillah…inshah’Allah the crying of this child has facilitated the acceptance of everyone’s prayer in this congregation’, patting my son on his head.
I was taken aback. Many people I know, including myself, would potentially be annoyed at a child disturbing everyone’s prayer like that, or at the very least be annoyed with the parents who allowed it. Instead Jamshed totally put me at ease. It was beautiful to see someone dealing with a child with such love and prophetic mercy.
Jamshed’s life journey makes me reflect on how someone can turn his life around and how we musn’t ever assume that people cannot change for the better. Jamshed left his pop singing career at its peak and turned towards Islam in the last 15 years. He inspired millions in Pakistan, and beyond, as he was not only singing devotional songs but was also regularly preached on television, while running a successful modest clothing brand.
Hear him speak about about his change here (in English). His good character and concern for the global Muslim community was witnessed by many and it’s no wonder that since his sudden death, tributes have poured in from leading religious figures in Pakistan, including Mawlana Tariq Jameel and Mufti Taqi Usmani.
In the last Friday Prayer he led on December 2, 2016, the verses he recited in both cycles of the prayer were related to death and included the following verse from Surah Baqarah:
As random as it may have been, Allah blessed me to see his character first hand and I will carry this small incident in my heart for the rest of my life. May Allah grant him the highest of stations in Paradise. Ameen.
In closing, his death has made me reflect and ponder on the following line which he sings in a naat:
Duniya ke aay musafir manzil teri qabar hai, Tai kar raha hai jo tu do din ka yeh safar hai
Oh Traveller of this world, (know that) your grave is your final destination, This journey of yours (of this life) lasts a mere two days.
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