Eternal Success Syllabus

The rope and the map

A story for Palestine

The Zoom screen stayed empty. Umar was still the only participant. It had been 12  minutes already, but he stayed glued to his seat, waiting, whispering duaa under his  breath. “Please let me speak to him, Allah let me speak to him.” 

His sister Lubnaa stood in the kitchen drying the dishes from breakfast. Dishes she  had emptied and returned the food to the fridge as no one had felt like eating.  Suddenly, she heard a sound from the laptop and she ran into the room, a dripping  bowl in one hand and a tea towel in the other.  

“Assalaamo’alaikum Umar,” said the voice from the laptop. “How are you?” 

“Wa alaikumAssalaam warahmatullah,” Umar replied hurriedly. “Where are you  Awais? Are you alright? My mama said there is lots going on in Palestine.” 

“Alhammdulillah there is Umar, but we will be patient with what Allah plans. We don’t  fear these people because Jannah awaits the oppressed. We know liberation is  promised to the Palestinians we just need a brave ummah to stand together and a  leader upon Islam who fears Allah more than the people.  

But Umar, can I ask something from you?” 

“Yes!” replied Umar eagerly. Anything he could do for his brothers and sisters, he  would rush to do.  

“Hold tight to the rope and follow the map.” 

“Hold tight to what rope? And follow what map? Awais? Awais?” 

“He’s gone,” said Lubnaa gently. She put the bowl and tea towel down and came to  put her arm around Umar. 

“What rope Lubnaa? What map? I want to help so much but I don’t know what he  means.” 

“I’m sure if it really will help then Allah will help you figure it out,” replied Lubnaa with  a soft smile.  

“Now you need to get your coat and shoes on. It’s time to go to the hospital.” 

Umar stared at the laptop one last time, hoping the familiar voice of his dear friend  would be heard again, before finally shutting it with a sigh. As he got up to leave the  room he saw the book he had been reading about Palestine and hurriedly scribbled  inside the front cover, “rope and map,” before tucking it inside his coat.  

They stepped outside into the refreshing Rochdale rain. The sky was filled with murky  grey clouds and the streets were quiet. They kept their heads down as they ran  carefully to the bus stop. It was a short wait before the bus arrived and they gratefully 

stepped into its warmth. The ground was covered with the dirty footprints of the  passengers who had walked to and from their seats before them.  

Umar ran up the stairs as usual and was pleased to see the seats at the front were  empty. As he jumped onto his seat, Lubnaa slowly rested on the edge of the one  next to him. She stared silently out of the windows as the bus set off and Umar pulled  out his book and began reading. He kept sharing what he was learning with his  sister.  

“Did you know that Jerusalem is one of the oldest and most sacred cities in the whole  world? So it’s like a treasure for all of humanity that Allah has kept for us. And of  course it’s the third holiest city for us as Muslims after Makkah and Madina.” 

“If it’s so old, I wonder when Masjid Al Aqsa was built?” asked Lubnaa curiously.  

Just then a group of children got onto the bus and ran up the stairs talking excitedly.  They looked across at Umar and Lubnaa before racing to the back of the bus. 

“It’s the second masjid ever built in the world,” Umar told his sister. “In fact the  Prophet salliAllahu alayhi wassallam and the sahabah radiAllahu anhum used to pray  towards Al Aqsa before Allah told them to pray towards the Ka’bah in Makkah.” 

One of the children at the back of the bus began to play something loudly on his  phone. Umar couldn’t understand what it said as he looked back to see the group  crowded together.  

A few minutes later they saw the signs for the hospital and Lubnaa pressed the stop  button as they both stood up to go downstairs. As they reached the top of the stairs  they could hear clearly what the children at the back of the bus were listening to.  “Palestine, Palestine, Palestine will be free.” Umar smiled back at the them and one of  them gave him salaam as he noticed him looking. He returned his salaam and  hurried down the stairs.  

They were relieved to find the rain had slowed down as they stepped off the bus and  crossed the road towards the hospital. As always the car park was full, although there  were very few people walking around. They walked into the familiar main entrance  before turning right and climbing two flights of stairs up to the Dialysis Ward. They  knocked on the solid green door for Room 4 and waited for the invitation to enter.  

The name plate on the door read “Dr Salaam.” Inside, a frail elderly man lay on a bed  with several wires protruding from him. A machine next the bed whirred noisily. Dr  Salaam, Umar’s grandfather, who had once worked in this hospital as a doctor,  smiled briefly as the children give their salaams and sat down next to him. His eyes  stayed shut as the machine continued to whir and pump. As they waited quietly for  him to finish his treatment, Umar pulled out his book as Lubnaa wondered around  tidying the room and folding his clothes which were at the end of his bed. 

“So the area of Aqsa, the Aqsa compound actually contains two mosques. The Dome  of the Rock with the golden dome and Masjid Al Aqsa with the silver dome.” 

“Oh subhanAllah! I thought the gold one was Masjid al Aqsa. That shows how much  we don’t know!” 

Just then the machine next to Dr Salaam clicked and let out a long high pitched  alarm. The children stood to the side as a nurse rushed in, turned off the machine  and disconnected a needle from Dr Salaam’s arm, placing a plaster on the area. She  then smiled at the children before pushing a trolley with the machine on out of the  room.  

Dr Salaam slowly opened his eyes, looked at the children and open his hands for  them to place their own hands in. Umar and his sister sat on either side of him,  holding a hand each. He closed his eyes again, falling asleep for around half an hour  before walking up fully. The children helped him sit up on the bed before giving him  a sip of water to drink.  

He took several breaths, gaining his strength, before finally saying “Wa alaikum  Assalaam warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu, how are you children?” 

“Alhammdulillah, we are good thank you dear Grandad.”  

“And what of our children in Palestine? What is the latest?” 

Umar and Lubnaa exchanged a brief look before Lubnaa spoke slowly. 

“Grandad we spoke to Awais this morning. Not for long. But he is ok. The injustice  continues but they are patient and strong.” 

Their grandfather nodded slowly.  

“Erm grandad?” Umar began quickly, ignoring the warning look from his sister. 

“What is the rope and the map? Awais said I need to hold onto the rope and follow  the map. What does that mean?”  

“That is everything Umar. Allah has given us a solution for everything. The rope and  the map are everything. But we talk after, I am tired now.” He took a deep breath, put  his head back and fell asleep again. The children kissed his forehead as their uncle  came in, handing them both a mejdool date each. They sat down together around  the bed for a few minutes in silence, looking at the sleeping man who had once  strode confidently down these hospital aisles tending to his own patients.  

Umar placed his date in his mouth and allowed it to melt on his tongue. It was sweet  and warming. 

“Jazahkallahu kheiran for the date Uncle,” he said.  

“BarakAllahu feek. It is from Uncle Raheem’s date trees in Palestine. Have you guys  eaten lunch? Your aunty said she is cooking now so please stop at our house to eat  on your way home.” 

“That’s very thoughtful of you thank you so much,” said Lubnaa. “How are Faaris and  Ayman?” 

“They are good alhammdulillah, they’re in London for the protest calling for the  liberation of Palestine. InshaAllah they will be home after ‘Isha.” 

A nurse knocked on the door before entering. “Sorry guys,” she said apologetically,  “it’s a two visitor ward so I’m going to have to ask some of you to leave.” “We’re going now anyway,” said Lubnaa, standing up. They gave salaams to their  Uncle before leaving the room.  

The rain had stopped completely and there was a fresh crispness to the air around  them as the sun shone down evaporating the puddles at their feet.  

“Shall we walk there?” asked Lubnaa. “We can get something for Aunty Nasreen on  the way?  

Umar nodded as they walked down the pavement together. He waited outside the  grocers as Lubnaa went in to buy some fruit. As he waited, he looked up at the sky. A  brilliant rainbow had appeared amongst the houses. He gasped in amazement as a  man came and stood next to him.  

“Hope,” said the man pointing up at the rainbow. “Allah tells us to always have hope  in Him and expect the best from Him. When we know the rope and the map we know  hope.” 

Umar jumped excitedly upon hearing these words, ready to flood the man with  questions, but he had already walked across the car park and was putting his helmet  on as he mounted his blue motorbike. 

“Sadaqah for Palestine, Sadaqah for Palestine,” said a girl walking past him, shaking a  red bucket. Umar dug his hands into his pockets and emptied the money he was  carrying into the bucket. 

“Jazahkallahu kheiran,” said the girl with a smile. “We feel so helpless, but we can all  do our bit giving what we can.” 

“Alhammdulillah,” responded Umar. “We should continue to share what we can with  them but Allah has given us an actual solution and there is much more we can do  than just giving charity while this injustice continues.” 

“Like what?” asked the girl confused.  

“Coming together as Muslims to understand our religion, our history and call for the  truth and the liberation of Palestine.” replied Umar, before walking to meet his sister.  

As they arrived at their auntie’s house they could hear the recitation of the Qur’an  through the window.  

And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And  remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your  hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a  pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses  that you may be guided. 

Umar jumped up and down excitedly, giving his aunty a shock as she opened the  door.  

“The rope, the rope, the rope!” he cried. “The rope is the Qur’an. So if we hold tight  to the Qur’an we can find the solution Allah has provided for us as we follow the  map. But what is the map?” 

As they sat and ate the delicious rice and chicken she had made, Umar was silent as  his head was still full of unanswered questions. As they stood up to clear the plates  away, they could hear the adhaan from the nearby masjid. Umar and Lubnaa washed 

the plates and cleared up before making their aunty a cup of tea. Then Umar went to  make wudhu before leaving to meet his father and uncle in the masjid for Maghrib  salaah.  

As they stood in the prayer he heard the imam recite.  

And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And  remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your  hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a  pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses  that you may be guided. 

Something about hearing the verse again made Umar’s skin tingle and as he left the  masjid with his uncle and father he was still wondering what the map could be.  

His mother, sister and aunty were sat in the living room talking together as they  entered. As his father gave salaams, his uncle pulled him to one side.  

“Umar, there is a green bag on your grandfather’s desk. He told me to give it to you,  he said it is the map you are looking for.” 

Umar leapt up the stairs taking two at a time and rushed into his grandfather’s room.  There on the table was a green bag. As he picked it up he heard his father calling  him downstairs as they were leaving. He ran down the stairs gripping the bag tightly  against his chest. It wasn’t until he arrived home that he peeked inside the bag and  was confused by what he saw. 

“What is it?” asked Lubnaa. 

“It’s a book. A thick book. It must be a huge map!” 

Together they sat on his bed as he took the book out of the bag hesitantly.  The front cover read in Arabic, “As Seeratun Nabi, salliAllahu alayhis wassallam.” 

Lubnaa quickly typed the Arabic into google translate and smiled widely as she  turned the screen for Umar to see the translation. 

“This is it!” cried Umar. “The solution is not fast and easy, it will require patience and  perseverance. Something the Palestinians already have. “ 

Lubnaa nodded before adding, “We need to know this map as we hold onto the  rope and by following the life and example of our beloved Messenger, salliAllahu  alayhi wassallam we can help all the oppressed in the way that is pleasing to Allah  and the only way that He will give us victory with. May Allah swt liberate the  Palestinians and all the oppressed and unite the Ummah upon Laa illaaha Il Allah.” 

According to hadith, the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم (says: 

“The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion, and sympathy are just like one  body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness  and fever.”