Musleh Shanboor (on behalf of his brother Mamoon Shanboor, Palestine)
Because of their scarcity against the ever-increasing global demand, Palestinian Almonds are a cherished commodity and an equally tough business. But because of the sheer promise of this Middle Eastern delicacy from nature, Mamoon Shanboor, a Palestinian local, decided to go for it – he would start a new business farming the precious seeds. Starting a new business without any real guidance is ill-advised to say the least, particularly for a freshly budding entrepreneur.
An Ahmadi Muslim, Mamoon decided that the very first thing he would do was to write to the worldwide Head and Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), for prayers and guidance about his ambitious decision. After some time, he received a response from the Caliph himself, saying that his decision to start an almond business would require many prostrations and prayers.
As soon as he began on the first steps, he was faced with two compelling roadblocks which immediately threatened to extinguish his hopes. On one hand, the land he had acquired for the farm was so far-removed from the city that when he requested the government to lay down water piping, he received a definitive response from the state and a decisive blow to his dreams:
‘This request will cost the state 2 million dollars which we cannot approve at this time and it would take no less than 5 years to complete.’
But that was only one side of the disappointing coin. Adding insult to injury, Mamoon also learned that there was only a single almond extracting machine in the entire area, and that it was already occupied elsewhere.
‘This began to weigh heavily on my heart.’ writes Mamoon.
‘Eventually, a point came where I began to question whether it was even worth trying to lug the seemingly hopeless business forward at all.’ It was then that he remembered the words of the Caliph, that this would require special prayers and prostrations.
Where all his best efforts had failed him, and material means showed nothing but dead ends, he decided to put the matter before a Higher Power.
‘And so,’ explains Mamoon, ‘I started praying fervently to God Almighty for Him to make a way for me despite the apparent circumstances.’
Soon after he began supplicating, he received a message from the government which shook him to his core. Not only had his request status changed to approved, but the government also explained that it would complete the piping work within two years instead of five.
Slowly, he began farming the field, knowing full well that he still had none of the machinery required to harvest it. And so, again he turned to God, praying incessantly for His mercy and help. But before he knew it, the season for harvest had arrived, and he was utterly helpless to harvest his toiling efforts. With only one machine in the region busy at work on another property, he once again turned to God, this time increasing his supplications. Without any equipment, it would be a crushing loss.
It was in these days that a man came to Mamoon asking him for work. Before Mamoon could say no, the man explained,
‘Sir, I´ve brought with me my own harvesting machinery, so if you will just give me a chance.’
That’s all Mamoon needed to hear.
Like the miracle of a full harvest after a harsh season, the acceptance of his prayers had literally walked through his door in time for the picking.
We are all farmers in our own way, whether we bow toward the earth to plant the seeds of a hopeful harvest, or to supplicate and beseech something Higher.