No, that is not a rhetorical question. There was once a group of Kuwaiti students studying in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. (Why on earth would anyone choose this place to study? It sounds so unusual, but Allah has a plan for everyone in everything they do.) During their school breaks, these students used to travel through the countryside and go hiking and backpacking and what-not–doing the things that travellers in strange lands like to do. As they were hitch-hiking through one village, there was an elderly lady in her eighties hanging out her laundry. She waved to them, and they greeted her, and they got to talking (difficult to do with the language barrier between them) and this lady invited them to have lunch with her. She fed them, and towards the end of their stay, she mentioned that there is only one thing missing from her entire life: she has never seen a Qur’an, and one day, before she dies, she would like to see one. These young men went on with their vacation, went back to school, and went on with their lives.
Until the next vacation came along, and they were deciding which part of the country they should visit this time. And while they were trying to decide, they remembered this old lady, and decided “you know what, she was so passionate and serious about wanting a Qur’an, we should probably just go and take one to her, and inshaAllah she is still alive.” So, they packed themselves up, and headed out to this old lady’s village. They found her house, and she was happy to welcome them back. They then presented the Qur’an to her, and she was so enraptured with it, she could not stop kissing it and hugging it out of such tremendous joy that she finally got to have and hold a Qur’an. She eventually told them to wait for a bit, while she went into her bedroom. She returned with a large trunk, which she presented to these young men, saying “take this, this is yours.” They were quite puzzled by her actions and they opened this trove…and saw jewelery. Lots of jewelery. And they told her that of course they could not take this from her, and they had no need for it anyway. She told them, no, now I have this Qur’an, and I can’t read it, but at least I can look at it till the day I die. And she told them that she comes from a family that had many Sheikh-al-Hadiths and Muftis and scholars, who had written and done so much for Islam…but now, they were reduced to such a state, due to Communism, that she had never even seen a Qur’an in her entire lifetime. She said that she made duaa to Allah that whoever shows her a Qur’an, she will give them her wealth. And I suppose she was the reason these young men chose, by the will of Allah, to study in a country that would be the last on my list.
I have not one, but two, Qur’ans sitting on my bookshelf. Are there days upon days wherein it goes unopened? Yes, may Allah forgive me. Can I honestly say that my Qur’an, which Allaah has never deprived me of, is worth to me my entire collection of gold and gems? Perhaps not…I guess one does not really know until they are tested, so I hope I am never tested. May Allaah guide me to make better use of the real treasure He has given me. Ameen.
Story #2: I can’t remember it for the life of me. InshaAllah, I will remember it by the time tomorrow rolls around!