x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Figuring out what I might say if I met the Prophet Mohammed

For the first time, two Arabic television series have travelled through time and posed a question to the nation, becoming the talking point of the year.

For the first time, two Arabic television series have travelled through time and posed a question to the nation, becoming the talking point of the year that will certainly be one of the main subjects of conversation this Ramadan. Both shows discuss a similar theme in different ways: what would you do if you were told you could be in the presence of the Prophet Mohammed Bin Abdullah? The series have put us face to face with (in my view) the greatest man ever born and confirmed what we always suspected. That he isn't only a religious figure found in books, but that his love is within us. If He Were Among Us is the MBC series by Ahmed al Shugairi.

The second series is a "Hayatuna" programme: Would Have Loved You, If He Saw You, with Al Habib Ali Aljifri and shown on Dream Channel Two. This question made some people cry and made others speechless. I remember being at my grandmother's house when I first saw one of al Shugairi's shows. I called my mother at once and suggested she watch it. A couple of months later she sent me a message to switch the television on. She was watching Habib Ali's programme at her friend's house. My mother and I have always imagined meeting the Prophet on Judgment Day. In our mind we have an idea of where he will be and what he will be doing. My mother and I, and most of the people I know, have never wished for anything more than to see him; whether in a dream, in life or thereafter. But the idea of meeting him now, in this life, is fraught with emotion.

This was the topic of discussion at one of our recent gatherings with my cousins and friends. A friend had tears in her eyes. She thought of all the moral shortcomings in her life and how these might upset the Prophet. She also thought of the things that she should have done to truly follow in his steps. "I know I am not a good example of a perfect Muslim, but I will rush to him and hold his hands," she said tearfully. She was sure his kindness would overwhelm her. She was sure of his love. The Prophet Mohammed once said: "How I miss my brothers!" The companions beside him said, "O Messenger of God, are we not your brothers?" to which the Prophet replied, "My brothers are those who haven't seen me and yet follow and believe in me, who would give away their family and property in exchange for seeing me."

Thinking of what we might say to him confused us all. Would we tell him about the troubles in our lives, ask him to pray for us, ask for advice for the future, or maybe ask him to tell us more of one of the stories we read about him? One friend thoughtfully said: "I think I would sit quietly in front of him in tears, my emotions would be beyond my words. I am sitting in front of an extraordinary man, the last prophet sent to mankind. And I am sure that he would know everything about my life, about me and how much I love him. He would tell me exactly what is missing. Just as he used to give each of his companions different advice."

Another friend agreed; "The exact advice that the particular person needed." We can think as much as we want about how to act or what to say. But, in my cousin's opinion, "It will feel like being a lost young girl who just found her father". If the series were to come true, the whole world might be shocked into silence, and wonder how such a great Prophet who sacrificed his life and his family to bring the world from dark to light and towards tolerance and civility would react if he were to see what we have done after him.

Fatima al Shamsi is away