As He stood upon the newly built house in the vastness of the desert, he began calling the emptiness to the House of God.
To an observer, his actions seem worthless; what good will his calls do amidst the immensity of the desert? How will it reach the millions of people around the world to bring them to the House of God? Shouldn’t he have built it somewhere people were already, rather than expecting them to come to God? Who would traverse the difficult terrain of Arabia to come to this house?
For Prophet Ibrahim (as), the command of God was absolute and His promise certain. His job was to make the call; it was God’s promise to bring the people.
Today, millions of people around the world travel each day to visit Mecca to fulfil the pilgrimage; a worship first established that day by our Prophet Ibrahim and continued every day since. What was once a barren desert is now a global metropolis, bringing people together from across the world.
It’s easy now to see the promise of God come true, but for Prophet Ibrahim (as), he witnessed this the moment the command of God came to him all those years ago.
Today, I heed the call of Prophet Ibrahim and travel on the minor pilgrimage to Mecca. The booking was unexpected (we were meant to go skiing!), but his call rung strong as we found ourselves booking tickets to Mecca instead. As I’ve been telling people, the “boss” has called!
This pilgrimage comes at a crucial juncture in my life and the Quran Club. With Ramadan around the corner, we need people to download and use the app to make it a success, otherwise years of work may not be able to continue. This journey will be a time for deep prayer and reflection; a moments solace before the hard work up to Ramadan.
The verse above was another sign amongst many about the pilgrimage tomorrow. As I began to feel overwhelmed at the task ahead for our app, I went to teach my weekly Quran class to 60+ teenagers. This week, I asked them each to prepare a verse to discuss. Every student in every one of the 3 classes I taught on Sunday “randomly” selected this passage to reflect on, not knowing I was going to umrah next week.
As I heard student after student share their reflections, I was struck by the parallels between this story and what I am doing with the Quran Club:
Prophet Ibrahim’s call seemed futile. Who would hear him in the middle of the desert? But to Him, the command of God was absolute and His promise certain. His job was to fulfil the order, and God will do the rest. Similarly, the task for the Quran Club seems insurmountable; how do we convince millions of Muslims around the world to read Quran every day together on our app? But the command is God’s; it is He who said “Read”, not us. It is His book, not ours. It is He who promised to guide people, not us. Our job is simply to call them.
God choose for the house to be built in the barren desert so people come to Him. He could have built it in a city already accessible to people, but He chose the harsh deserts of Arabia to build His house. Similarly, the Quran Club has chosen to build the first platform for Muslims on our own terms; connecting us together and to God through our faith. We may have chosen a difficult and unchartered path by placing faith at the centre of our community, but we know from God it is the best way to build our community
The deserts of Arabia were unappealing, even to the great Byzantine and Persia empires at the time. So why build a place of great importance within a land of immense hardship? Because the journey to that place forges a bond of faith greater than any other relation can. Those who travel to Makkah speak of the immense brotherhood they feel with the millions of pilgrims, each wearing the same clothes, sharing the same food and performing the same rituals as one another. The Quran Club may not have the appeal or entertainment factor other apps do, but the community it builds is one greater than anything else could do.
The foresight Prophet Ibrahim had to see the truth in Allah’s words is incredible. Who could have imagined the barren desert he stood on would become the metropolis it is today. It took thousands of years, but God’s promise is always certain. We carry that certainty with us going forward, knowing it is a question of when, not if, the Quran Club is successful. Perhaps that seems unreal or even impossible, but to me it’s already happened, Insha’Allah.
But just like Prophet Ibrahim, the tests will be frequent and difficult, perhaps even unbearable to most. I pray Allah grants us the strength and patience to see through them, and the sincerity to stay true to our goal throughout.
I have made a list of all those who hav supported me in this journey to pray for on my trip. If you have any specific requests, please send me a message and I will try and include them insha’allah.
For now, God Bless!