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The Best Planner

by Muhammad Alshareef

As we look over the crowds at Hajj, we are overwhelmed by the number of people that come there to worship Allah. Throughout Hajj, we find ourselves similarly overwhelmed by the sheer number of lessons that we learn on our journey - lessons of patience, compassion, and humility. Every corner you turn, or any spot you can find to sit, has the potential to mold a Hajji for better or worse. Sharing our experiences with each other helps us reflect on what we have learned, and may also have the invaluable effect of encouraging our fellow Muslims to perform Hajj.

Here's a story from my Hajj, which truly showed me that Allah is the best of planners:

During one Hajj a man in our group became very ill while we were staying in the tent city of Mina. As we sat down to dinner he began shivering uncontrollably. We stopped our dinner and made du’a for him. Soon, paramedics were called and carried him to the hospital on a stretcher.

The morning after he returned from the hospital, I went to sit with him in the tent. He told me he was afraid he would be unable to perform his tawaf at the end of his Hajj, and asked my advice on what to do about that. I told him, “No problem; Allah does not place a burden upon you more then you can bear. However, you'll be required to sacrifice a sheep to be given to the poor, as a means of fulfilling that tawaf duty.”

He asked me to arrange the sacrifice and gave me the payment of $100 US and 400 Saudi riyals for him and his wife. I promised him I would take care of it. A few hours later, I checked my pocket to make sure the money was still safely there. It wasn't! I couldn't believe it - I lost the guy's money! Fiqh questions raced through my mind: Would I be islamically required to pay it myself? Should I tell the guy I lost his money, or just leave it up to Allah?

Hours passed and night fell. The money was really gone. The day was over and I had not been able to fulfill my obligation of purchasing the sheep for the man and his wife. I was so depressed.

After Fajr the next day, I came back to where my bags were located and found a brother sitting there. He said, “Oh sorry, is this your spot?”

When he moved out of the spot, I noticed a lump of cash underneath him. What? How? It was the money the guy had given me! I was so happy. Finally, I would be able to purchase the sheep for him today!

About 20 seconds later, the brother who gave me the money turned to me and said, “I was speaking with the shaykh and he said that I cannot pay a penalty for Tawaf Al-Ifaadah (I had thought he was asking about Tawaf Widaa' in which one could pay the penalty). The shaykh said that they have wheelchairs on the roof. So, uh, do you have my money…Listen, I understand if you already bought the sheep, don't worry about it.”

I looked down at his money that I had found just 20 seconds ago. Had it been with me the day before I would have surely purchased the sheep for him.

I put the money in his hand and told him the story of how Allah had saved his money for He is the best of planners.