Juraij (rahimahullah) was a man from the Banu Israaeel who would exert himself in the ‘ibaadah (worship) of Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, he built himself a monastery in which he would reside (and devote himself to the worship of Allah Ta‘ala).
One day, his mother came to him while he was performing nafl salaah and called out to him, “O Juraij!” As he was engaged in performing salaah, Juraij thought to himself, “O Allah! My mother and my salaah! (i.e. which should I give preference to?)” Juraij (rahimahullah) decided to continue performing his salaah. Hence, not receiving a response from him, his mother turned and left.
The following day, the mother of Juraij (rahimahullah) again came to him while he was engaged in performing salaah and called out, “O Juraij!” Juraij (rahimahullah) again thought to himself, “O Allah! My mother and my salaah! (i.e. which should I give preference to?)” Juraij (rahimahullah) once again decided to continue performing his salaah. Hence, not receiving a response from him, his mother again turned and left.
On the third day, when the mother of Juraij (rahimahullah) came to him and called him while he was engaged in performing salaah, he again gave preference to his salaah and did not respond to his mother. Hence, she became disappointed and upset at the manner in which he had thrice failed to respond to her and made the following du‘aa, “O Allah! Do not allow Juraij to pass away until he looks into the faces of loose women.”
Some time thereafter, the Banu Israaeel were discussing Juraij (rahimahullah) and his devotion to ‘ibaadah. It so happened that a loose woman who was renowned for her proverbial beauty happened to be present. When she heard them speaking in praise of Juraij (rahimahullah), she said, “If you wish, I will seduce him for you (i.e. I will test him to prove that even a man of his piety cannot resist me).”
The people agreed, and hence she went to Juraij (rahimahullah) and attempted to seduce him. However, she completely failed, as Juraij (rahimahullah) did not even turn towards her or pay her any attention! After failing to seduce Juraij (rahimahullah), she found a shepherd who would frequent the monastery and seduced him instead. As a result of their encounter, she conceived.
Later on, when the baby was born, she presented it to the people and claimed that it was the baby of Juraij (rahimahullah), thus accusing Juraij (rahimahullah) of having an illicit relationship with her. The people believed her claim and set out for the monastery of Juraij (rahimahullah). When they reached the monastery, they asked Juraij (rahimahullah) to come out, after which they razed the monastery to the ground and began to beat him. Juraij (rahimahullah) was perplexed and asked in confusion, “What is the matter?” The people replied, “You committed zina (fornication) with this loose woman and she has borne your child!” Juraij (rahimahullah) asked them, “Where is the child?” In response, the people brought the child before him.
Juraij (rahimahullah) then said to them, “Allow me to perform salaah.” After performing salaah, he approached the child, prodded him in the belly, and said, “O child! Who is your father?” Miraculously, the new-born child spoke and said, “So-and-so shepherd is my father.” Witnessing this miraculous feat, the people began to kiss Juraij (rahimahullah) and pass their hands over him. They then said to him, “We will rebuild your monastery from gold!” Juraij (rahimahullah) replied, “No! Rebuild it from clay, as it was previously.” Hence, the people complied and rebuilt it from clay. (Saheeh Muslim #6509)
The essence of Islam is for one to completely submit and surrender before the command of Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, when one is at a crossroads in life, instead of behaving according to the dictates of his limited intelligence, he will conform to the dictates of Allah Ta‘ala.
Responding to the call of one’s mother is obligatory while performing nafl salaah is voluntary. Hence, Juraij (rahimahullah) should have immediately shortened his salaah and answered his mother’s call, as in this situation, responding to his mother was the priority. (Sharhun Nawawi – Saheeh Muslim vol. 2, pg. 313) Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has himself explained this mentioning, “If Juraij had been blessed with fiqh (thorough understanding of Deen) and the knowledge of Deen, he would have realized that responding to his mother was more rewarding (and important) than engaging in nafl worship.” (Shu‘abul Imaan #7496)
We should similarly strive to determine the priorities in our lives so that we can remain in the obedience and pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala. At times, a person wishes to travel for ‘umrah, but at the same time, his parents need his service and assistance at home, and there is nobody else to take care of them. For such a person, remaining at home to serve his parents is the priority.
In this regard, it is necessary for each and every person to continuously refer to the rightly-guided ‘Ulama so that they can guide him and assist him to determine exactly what Allah Ta‘ala wants from him at that moment.