12.The Cellphone

Eight year old Zubair stepped out of the toilet in his parents’s bedroom, with his right foot. As he recited the dua for leaving the toilet, he spied his dad’s cellphone on the dresser. He lifted it to his ear, pretending to speak. His lips moved and he paced and gestured with his hands, just as his father often did. Looking in the mirror, he thought to himself, WOW, I LOOK JUST LIKE DAD. Checking the phone, he found it was on ‘silent’ mode. His father had probably put it on ‘silent’ before Asr salaah and hadn’t used it since.

Zubair changed the mode and began experimenting with the different ringtones. He often played with the phone, when his father wasn’t around. He paused to hear a bit more of a musical tone, out of curiosity. He then felt a pang of guilt in his heart, as he had learnt that listening to music was haraam. His parents often taught him that MUSIC BREEDS HYPOCRICY IN THE HEART, JUST AS WATER CAUSES PLANTS TO GROW. As he was about to change the tone, his mother called out: “Zubair, come quickly. Your father has returned with a guest. Please move your bicycle from the pathway.”

Zubair quickly put down the phone and hurried off to move the bicycle. He intended to return shortly to sort out the phone. After leaving the bicycle in the garage, he went into the kitchen. His mother stalled him by asking him to carry the juice she had poured out, to the lounge. He was to offer it to his father and the guest. He balanced the glasses carefully on a tray and took it to them, without spilling a drop. When Zubair returned, his mother poured out some juice for him. He sat down to drink his juice and forgot all about the phone.

The azaan for Maghrib salaah was then heard. His mother reminded him to repeat the words of the azaan, after the muazzin. But whereupon the muazzin said, “Hayya alas salaah” and “Hayya alal falaah,” she taught him to say, “La hawla wa la quwatta illa billah.” After the azaan they recited durood and the dua after azaan. Zubair’s father left for the musjid with his guest and Zubair remained behind. He had misbehaved in the musjid the day before and had to perform his salaah at home, until his behaviour improved. Zubair performed salaah alongside his mother and then went to change into pyjamas.

A short while thereafter he heard his father return and shout out, “Zubair you rascal, get here this instant!” He remembered about the phone and knew he was in big trouble. He was filled with fear and thought of hiding but knew it would be futile. He had to now face the MUSIC. He walked towards the kitchen, dragging his steps. His father would be livid. Not only had he changed the phone from silent mode, he had also changed his father’s usual beep to a musical tone.

He heard his mother enquire, “What has he done this time, Abu Zubair?” His father replied, “He interfered with my phone and switched it on. It rang during salaah and caused a commotion. Besides, it didn’t only ring but it also played out a musical tone. It was so embarrassing.” Zubair walked in at that moment and saw the look of shock on his mother’s face. “Oh no! How awful and what a disgrace for us,” his mother exclaimed.

His father continued, “If I hadn’t managed to switch it off with a single movement, using one hand, I would have had to break my salaah and restart. I couldn’t just allow it to ring and play music in the musjid. Besides, it would have affected the concentration of all those performing salaah.” At that moment Zubair’s father noticed him and turned to glare at him. “Did you interfere with my phone, son?”

Zubair quickly apologized, “I’m sorry dad. Honestly, it wasn’t done on purpose. I was playing with it when mum called me. I meant to sort it out but forgot all about it. Please forgive me.” His father examined his face to see if he was sincere, and said, “Do you know what an embarrassment you caused me? Do you know what a great sin it is to make noise in the musjid, and what an even greater sin it is to play music in the musjid?”

Zubair was filled with shame and remorse. He immediately apologized again and asked his father what he could do, to rectify the situation. His father’s anger had cooled by now and seeing the look of remorse on his son’s face, he accepted the apology. He advised Zubair to make taubah and recite istigfaar (beg forgiveness of Allah). He also took out some money from his wallet, which he handed to Zubair saying, “Come, lets go and give it in charity.” Zubair’s father later made Zubair promise he would never interfere with his ringtone again. He was not allowed to touch the phone again in future, without first asking permission.

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