By NASEEM GHAZI FALAHI
I had to travel to Rampur from Lucknow. When I reached the station, only few minutes were left for the train to depart and there was no time to get the ticket. I boarded the train without a ticket, hoping to pay the fare to the TTE on the way. But it so happened that no TTE came to our compartment and the train reached Rampur. It was 2.30 in the morning and being the month of January, severe cold winds were blowing. The station was deserted and the few passengers who had alighted from the train had already departed. I proceeded to the outer gate so that I could make a ticket from the Ticket Collector but it was unmanned. Due to the severe cold they had perhaps taken shelter in some corner. Outside the railway station some rickshaw pullers were eagerly waiting to pick up some passengers.
I wanted to pay for the ticket before going out of the station so that my conscience is clear. When I could find no one, I went to the ticket counter so that I could buy a ticket to Lucknow and thus pay the railways for the journey. But the window was also closed. Finally, I went to the office of the Station Master. He was bracing the cold by lighting a fire in an urn.
I explained to him in detail that I had travelled ticketless from Lucknow to Rampur as was hardly any time for me to purchase the ticket. I did not come across any TTE on the way and here at Rampur station also there is no Ticket Collector at the gates and the ticket counter is also closed. I requested him to make a ticket for me from Lucknow to Rampur so that I can pay back my debt to the Railways. The station master looked puzzled. He did not believe his ears and looked at me with disbelief but offered a chair for me to sit. He then called for the other employees and in a few moments three or four people gathered in the room. He then asked me to repeat what I had just told him, to others.
They were eager to know why the station master had summoned them and what I had to say. Politely, I told the station master not to embarrass me before others and to make a ticket for me so that I could pay for it and leave. He narrated the whole story to his staff and they were surprised to know that I was insisting to pay for the journey. They looked at me as if I were from another planet. The station master then turned towards me and inquired if no one had asked for the ticket on the way and at the gate in the station, why didn’t I just leave and go my way? I smiled and said, “I could not have done that since I am a follower of the religion of Islam which has been sent down by our Creator. It teaches us that our Creator is watching us and nothing is hidden from Him. It also warns us that we are answerable for our deeds on the Day of judgement. In several places in the Qur’ān, which is the Book of Allah, it has been mentioned that whatever we do in this world will be placed before us in the Hereafter. Whatever good we do we will see it and whatever evil we do will be presented to us. Nothing is concealed from Allah who is all-knowing and the angels keep record of our lives.
Islam also warns us that if we usurp the right of someone, it will be returned to the rightful on the Day of Judgement and we will stand humiliated. We will be raised again after death and dealt with according to our deeds. If we spend our life according to the tenets of Islam, Allah will grant us Paradise and if we transgress, hell will be our permanent abode.
I also told them that I study in a religious school and there we are taught how to live a pious life and the rewards we will get in the Life Hereafter. I concluded my talk by saying that I had travelled by the train and therefore I owed the fare to the Railways. I requested them to let me pay for the ticket so that my burden is lightened.
There was a profound silence in the room. Everyone was listening to me in rapt attention. The station master broke the silence and said that it was for the first time that they had ever listened to the holy teachings of the Qur’ān and Islam. If all the citizens and the leaders obey these teachings, our country will no doubt be a Paradise, he noted. They expressed their wish to read Islamic literature in Hindi and I gave them addresses of some institutions in Rampur.
Though unwillingly, the station master made the ticket just to satisfy me and I paid for it. I was offered tea and snacks and when I wanted to leave, he advised me against venturing out into the cold night. The station was far from the city and it was not safe to travel at night. I was offered to stay in the railway guest house for the night and I gratefully accepted it. The station master directed the attendant to make arrangements for my stay in the guest house. I spent the night there and started in the morning.
There can be no doubt that Islam is the biggest blessing to this country. Its teachings have a magical effect once they are presented. History bears witness to the fact that whenever followers of Islam presented themselves as truly practising Muslims, people came forward and embraced Islam. Action speaks louder than words. Neither a speech nor a writing can achieve what practice can.
[Translated from Urdu by MOHAMED HANEEF KATIB]