A musalli of a certain masjid, who had long been attending namaaz in congregation regularly, suddenly stopped coming. After a few weeks, the Imam decided to pay him a visit.
It was a chilly evening. The Imam found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for the Imam’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a large chair near the fireplace and waited.
The Imam made himself comfortable but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs.
After some minutes, the Imam took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet fascination.
As the one lone ember’s flame diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead as a doornail. Not a word had been spoken between host and guest since the initial greeting.
Just before the Imam was ready to leave, he picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.
As the Imam reached the door to leave, his host exclaimed, “May Allah reward you so much for your visit and especially for the ‘fiery’ sermon. I shall be back for fajr namaaz in the masjid before dawn.”
Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and reason with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for your Lord knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance. (Qur’an Surah An-Nahl: 125)
— the harbinger