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Do you ever get that feeling of a memory being stuck with you for years – not a memory of an event, or a betrayal, but a memory of a story you once heard about? I don’t know if you fully grasp what I am saying, but…

Okay, let me just explain;

When I was a kid, the most enjoyable thing to me in Islamiyyah was listening to stories of Anbiyah and Yaumul Qiyamah. Then this particular day, mallam was explaining a hadith on righteousness and the reward for it in Jannah.

I remember being half-asleep in class, waiting eagerly for Islamiyah to be over, so all I wanted to do was just to go home by even though I was very exhausted and sleepy, I was also engrossed in what he was saying, and this has stuck with in my memory for 10 years…

I have always wondered why, out of all the things mallam had said, I can vividly remember these words;

“Very few people will go to Jannah. Let’s assume that there are 1000 people lined up to be judged, out of these 1000 people, not more than 10 people will make it to Jannah.”

As a child, his words hadn’t really made much sense to me. Even if they did, I had been too tired to make sense out of them, but today, I wear them like a badge.

I remember being really fascinated. I couldn’t fathom how only 10 out of 1000 people would go to Jannah (even though it was just an assumption). I mean, even in Islamiyah, there were more than 1000 Muslims who will go to Jannah. And also, we had several Islamiyahs with thousands of Muslims who will go to Jannah. So how can 10 out of 1000 people in the world go to Jannah?

That was what I thought when I was much younger. So I came to a conclusion, “Mallam was just trying to scare us. What he said cannot be realistic.”

Now ten years later, I can fully understand what he said. As a child, I innocently thought that every Muslim who prays and goes to Islamiyah would automatically go to Jannah. After growing up and meeting many Muslims, I became frightened of what he said – 10 out 0f 1000. I began to feel as though I wouldn’t even be among these 10 people. Stricken by the fear of not making it to Jannah, I became conscious…

According to a study in 2015, there are approximately 1.8 billion Muslims around the world (I am sure by now we would be more than 3 billion). So now, here comes the thought-provoking question; out of 1.8 billion Muslims, how many Muslims would go to Jannah?

Again, here comes the reason why his words stuck in my memory. Every time I walk pass a group of Muslims boys smoking, I am reminded of his words. Anytime I see any Muslimah dressed indecently, I am reminded of his words. Anytime I hear stories of Muslims dying while partying or committing sins, I am reminded of his words. Anytime I commit a sin, my mind automatically remembers what he said,

“Only a few people would be admitted to Jannah”

So every time I remember this I ask myself, “Salimah, what have you done to be among the few?”

So today, I ask you, “Are you among the few spoken about in the tale of my mallam?”

Author: Salimah Bakare

Editor: Umm Naml

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