On the road to Dubai, my husband stopped at a small mosque to offer the Asr prayer. As I sat in the car, I saw a figure approaching from the direction of a small group of houses. It took some time before I realised it was a man, crawling towards the mosque. He wore rubber sandals on his hands. His lower body dragged on the hard, rocky ground. The sweltering heat was beating down hard on his body. By the time he reached the courtyard of the mosque, I could see he was soaked and his face was flushed. Many men passed him on their way to the prayer, perhaps accustomed to seeing him everyday. One man came out of a shop and watched him for a while. He went back into the shop and came out with a cold drink. He opened it for the crawling man and they sat together for a minute. I heard them talking as the man who offered him the cold drink requested that he would help the crawling man to make it up the stairs to the mosque. He was concerned about making it on time, so he excused himself and continued his slow, laboured journey to the prayer.
I did not watch him as he mounted the stairs. I could not imagine how to help him. I was crying by then, remembering the Hadith of the Prophet (pbuh): "The hypocrites find the Fajr and Isha prayers in congregation very oppressive. If they could know the virtues of these two prayers, they would certainly join them, even if they had to go crawling." (Bukhari, Muslim)
This man, who literally did crawl even in the heat of the day, did not find the congregational prayer oppressive at all. May Allah reward all who struggle to please Him and may He always remind us of our own weaknesses through such people.
By: Um Yaqoob