Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
I shuffled on my feet, obviously feeling awkward to say the least. I mean. It wasn’t only her that was watching me… It was the four or five people in the queue behind me too that were practically ogling me. I stepped back, trying to give a cool and collected kind of smirk, only slightly missing the desired effect.
Look down, Zee, I reminded myself. Just keep cool.
Now, the old Zee would have loved all this, and would have probably even played up the whole scene, basking in undeserved glory… But tonight, there was just something different in me. Something was telling me: Do this one thing, and you’ll see how it all gets sorted out.
And so I did it. I looked down, hand in pocket, nodded a greeting, and turned to walk out. I didn’t even look at her gorgeous face again, as much as I wanted to, because something inside of me was telling me to just restrain myself for once. Just this one time, do things differently.
“The furtive glance is one of the poisoned arrows of Shaytan, on him be God’s curse. Whoever forsakes it for the fear of Allah, will receive from Him (Great and Gracious is He) a faith, the sweetness of which he will find within his heart.” (al-Haakim.)
The sweetness of Imaan.
And really, honestly speaking, it costed me nothing. I was actually feeling better about myself as I opened my car door. But as fate would have it, when you try to stay away from what drags you down, somehow, it finds it’s way back to you.
“Ziyaad,” the voice said, halting me in my tracks.
I knew whose it was. By far, this night was one of the most eventful one after a long time, and I could feel myself taking the toll. I felt even more worn out than I did after a night of hardcore partying. Ironic.
“Yes?” I said, barely turning around.
“Why did you ignore me?” Farah asked, sounding hurt.
Women. They had this way of making everything seem like it was your own fault. I wasn’t even sure what I did here. I was just trying to avoid problems. I didn’t even want to dwell on why she was here and what she was asking. I just needed to leave.
I went crouched slightly to get into my car, but just as fast, I felt a hand on my shoulder.
I literally shrugged her off, feeling so awkward. I turned my face now to look back at her accusingly.
Like, why did she touch me?
Jasses, Ziyaad, I though. You’re getting worse than Waseem.
After a few months, I couldn’t even stand a girl touching my shoulder. Now that was ‘hectic’.
I tried to calm myself down, but everything about Zinaa and my past kept coming back into my racing mind. What was going on?
“Zee, what’s wrong?” She started, evidently bringing on the water-works.
Now, I knew that she was looking for pity, but at that moment, it was the last thing I was feeling. I was angry. Confused.
She was getting married.
Basically, I was wondering: What.The.Hell?
But, fortunately for me, I didn’t have to say any of it, because as soon as she stepped back to let me enter my car, someone came to tell her the boss is back, and she rushed off. I was secretly glad, but couldn’t help wondering what she was doing there. It only hit me afterwards that ‘the boss’ was probably the guy that she was marrying.
I hit my hand in steering, not believing how dumb I was being. Idiot.
I was just so glad I didn’t play up to anything that Farah was trying to communicate. Something was definitely on my side tonight when I made the choice to keep cool. I knew I was definitely inspired by something bigger than my own desires. If her fiance had seen any of it, I knew I would have probably been in trouble.
And although I knew that I did the better thing, the nagging feeling in my mind was consuming me, like so many other thoughts that night. With little else to do, I went home and forced myself to sleep, just to keep cravings and other negative feelings at bay.
I woke for Fajr and then went back to sleep, just drowning out all my thoughts with slumber. I woke just before Zohr, feeling slightly rejuvenated and decided to pay my brother a visit after Salaah.
With all my contradicting feelings and reservations, I needed to talk it out with someone.
If I had done everything in my power to do ‘the right thing’, why were my thoughts still turning back to the past? Was it just a weapon being used to get me back into the lifestyle I never wanted to resort back to?
I pulled up outside Muhammed’s house, only to realise that Waseem wasn’t there. I had honestly thought that Waseem was staying there, but as Muhammed came out, still in his boxers and T-shirt, looking completely confused by my presence, I realised that he had probably being stating somewhere else all this time.
“Where’s Waseem? ” I asked, ignoring the pre-occupied look that he had on his face.
I didn’t ask him what was going on, and he didn’t ask me.
We both had our own concerns on our mind. It made me realise how selfish we had become… When it came to things that concerned us, we only had one-track minds.
“Huh?” he replied, still rubbing his eyes. “Mosque.”
Mosque? I didn’t get a chance to ask him any more, because he was already turning to go back inside. Instead, I drove back to my neighbourhood, and to the building that Waseem had taken me, just a few months ago.
I climbed up the stairs, immediately surprised by how many people were there even though there was still time for the next Salaah. I scanned the room and noticed Waseem with a crowd of other guys, and watched him from afar.
He was reading Qur’an, but I could tell from how he was concentrating that he was probably getting tested, and it opened my mind immediately to the miracle of the Qur’an. What a great thing.
I mean, like I never even thought it possible to memorise one page of literature properly, but people all over the world are able to memorise this book, word-for-word, that was hundreds of pages long. How profoundly amazing.
I watched them in awe, feeling out of place. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to approach him, because Waseem spotted me, and came over.
“Salaam,” I said, greeting him.
He looked concerned that I was there, asking me what was up. At first, I didn’t know how to explain myself, but as I started talking, the words found their way out, voicing my greatest fears.
How was I going to move past everything I had done? Why did I still feel the urge to sin when I knew the consequences? The most important question was… With the brewing emotions I still felt within me, was that a sign that I should try to somehow make everything with Farah right?
“What d’you mean?” Waseem asked, looking confused. “Make it right? Bru, the only way you can make it right is by turning to Allah. Not by getting carried away by this chic under all the wrong circumstances. I mean, If it’s meant for you, it has to come in the right way.”
He made sense. I knew he did. He wasn’t writing it off… He was just explaining the sense behind it.
But I couldn’t understand myself… Why did I still even want it? Just when I had thought that I had found the gold yesterday, something was still steering me in the other direction. Was it all just attachment and emotions?
“When you change you life, Zee, your whole perspective changes. What you love, becomes what He loves. You don’t meet Allah only half-way… You go the entire distance. In this case, you have to get carried away. For the one who sustains your every breath, you go all out.”
Wow. That was deep. I mean, I never thought about it that way.
Then he told me something I never though existed. The truth about real love. How it starts, and where it all makes a difference. The love that we give our whole lives to find, is not really a love at all. In every western story or book, the ending is where the union occurs. It all ends at the point where the love is found, and where the joining of two souls take place.
But, ironically, the path is not meant to end there, at the place where you meet your soul mate or your other half— It is only found when you find your Lord. That is the only place that you can find any bliss in this temporary life. Because you won’t only begin to love Him, you’ll start to love BECAUSE of Him. He will become you reason for loving… The reason to do it the right way. For Him.
Ah, it was all just so… Sweet. So real.
“Not for your Nafs,” he reminded me. “For Him.”
Nafs. A new concept that I was just getting the hang of. Beginning to recognise as I battled with them on a daily basis now. I had to step up in terms of myself.
From thinking Waseem was getting too hectic, now I was in awe of my brother, who made it so far, just because he knew he wanted his life to be different. All this, I knew, was inspired by a Greater Power, who most definitely chose who He wanted to guide, and through what means.
“Anyway, I offered to take Molvi to the airport at three,” he said, getting up to go.
Maulana Dude. I had forgotten about him. And Aasiya. I wondered what had happened after I had left last night.
I didn’t have to ask though, because Waseem was already a step ahead of me.
“You heard, right?” He asked, his brows slightly furrowed.
“What?” I asked, getting anxious. Like, really, no-one in my family ever told me anything. How was I supposed to hear whatever the news was?
“Aasiya,” he replied, sounding like it was so obvious. “She’s gone.”