Bismillar Rahmaanir Raheem
Waseem: Middle of nowhere...
Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere… And sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.
A motto of my past was heading back to provoke me. I knew how the game went.
Win, lose or draw. Whatever the outcome, the game is in progress, whether we want it to be or not. So I went ahead, argued with the refs and broke the rules… Cheated a little and took a break to mend some wounds.
But the crux of it for me was this: Play. Play hard. Play fast. Play free. Play as if there’s no tomorrow.
The thing was, I realised, as I went along, life wasn’t meant to be this penned out plan that we all follow blindly. Sometimes, when things don’t go the way you planned them to, you just have to do what your instinct tells you to. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start again.
Nothing can wait for us, because what’s meant to be, will be, whether we liked it or not. And there is goodness in it.
That was life… Compliments of the Greatest Planner. That was how it all went down at the end of the day. There was no way around it.
“Yo, Zee,” I said, catching my brother unawares as I stood in the doorway before we left, watching him take a selfie.
He took a step back, turning to look at me with a frown.
“That stuff’s not on, bru,” I said, pointing at his phone and frowning back.
“You can’t sport a beard and then become obsessed with your new look. It’s against Shariah.”
Photography was getting me in a way that it never had before, as I witnessed it’s effects all around me. There was a talk on it at the Madrassa the other day, and now that I was seeing the obsession with ourselves live in action, I was close to seeing red. The whole Muslims with cameras thing just looked awkward.
Ziyaad looked at me, shaking his head. He stroked his new beard complacently.
“It’s called a Halaal shot, bru,” he said seriously. “See, it’s digital.”
He thrust his phone at me, showing me various pictures of himself, some even with his full Friday garb on. I shook my head, not even entertaining it.
“Not allowed,” I said, not falling for the ‘digital’ story. It’s clearly stated. The Hadith didn’t say painted pictures or explicit photography. It, Taswir, referred to all images, and the crux of it invoked a certain fear in me.
The ruling is that it is forbidden on the basis of a number of reports, such as the following:
Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Those who will be most severely punished by Allaah on the Day of Resurrection will be the image-makers.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, see al-Fath, 10/382).
I trashed all the pictures I could before Ziyaad grabbed his phone back.
“Those are memories, bru,” he said placidly, narrowing his eyes at me.
“Well, how are you ever gonna enjoy the moment if you keep on wanting to capture it?” I asked him pointedly. “Kill the urge.”
“It’s history in the making, boss,” he was trying to convince me, switching off the light to leave.
“Who knows? It might be the last time you’re a single man.”
I ignored the comment, walking straight out of Muhammed’s house.
Another attempt at getting hitched. It was becoming a bit monotonous… Already.
I loved kids. Like, a lot. But I didn’t count on it becoming so heated when the little Hassan wouldn’t leave me.
And after the awkward moments and the second disaster with the first girl who had the honour of giving me a sleepless night, I had taken up Mo’s advice of there being plenty in the ocean, and decided to do some fishing myself.
The first attempt wasn’t awesome, so a contact of Mo had set another girl up for me to ‘see’.
I waited anxiously for my brothers, ready to leave and just get it over with. I wasn’t sure if that was how I was meant to feel about these things… But hey, I couldn’t shake it.
Mo jumped in, looking more like himself than I had seen in days after Aasiya had left. He had said that she had called saying she needed to ‘think’, and when he tried to trace her call, she had already left.
The whole ‘Aasiya hunt’ was sounding anything but fun for my poor brother, but he continued nonetheless, hoping that she would somehow surface of her own accord.
“Let’s go,” Ziyaad said, jumping in. He smelled like he was going for a proposal, with the amount of Oud he had loaded on.
I silently sat, hoping for the best. The thing was, though other guys had found this search entertaining… For me, it was becoming a long drawn quest in order to attain the final prize. I wasn’t interested in the process… In seeing what was on the market. I had knew what I wanted, and since I couldn’t get it, everything else paled in comparison to my original goals. I just couldn’t help myself from still wanting what I had originally set my sights on.
Mo finally pulled into a driveway, and I could immediately tell what kind of girl this was. Obviously, I knew the high maintenance type. I had seen and even been with many in my past. I knew what it entailed and what it all came down to. I wasn’t exactly wanting to go down that road again, but I knew that there was no pulling out now.
So I hopped out of the car, greeting the male family members that I knew vaguely.
As we sat and spoke, of course, business kind of talk, the man wanted to know where my father was. I couldn’t exactly tell him that we weren’t on talking terms, so Mo, being super-cool, evaded the question, moving on to more interesting topics.
The difference was, the last two girls I had gone to see, there was no chit-chat about these mundane things. I honestly didn’t feel like talking about money or anything that didn’t concern me. My prerogative here was to see the girl, decide if we were compatible, and then carry on from there.
“Anyway,” said the brother, probably noticing my expression. “Come have a meal with us and then we can… Err… See how it goes.”
“I’m not really-” I started, not really feeling like eating.
“Sharp,” Ziyaad interrupted me, already half way to the table.
I honestly wanted to klap him at that point, but I gritted my teeth and kept cool.
He was already whacking it, Zee-style. I wasn’t sure if he wanted to be there because of a particular female in the vicinity that kept coming to set new dishes on the table, or whether he genuinely was hungry.
I gave him the benefit of the doubt and I put it down to him being hungry. Since Aasiya had left we all felt the effect on our stomachs.
I bore it out patiently, and finally, I was guided to a room where the girl was waiting.
I greeted as I entered, announcing my arrival.
You know how they say that first impressions are lasting impressions… Well, it was so true.
I was quite ‘taken back’ by this girl, just based on the fact that she seemed extremely ‘hospitable’. And looked good.
She wasn’t awkward and shy, like the last girl that I had seen, and I forgot my guard for a minute as we greeted, and I watched her faff with her bumped up scarf. It was a priceless moment. Unfortunately, it caused the streak of male chauvinist in me to take the rein, until I was brought back down to earth.
“Did you eat?” She asked, sounding super-sweet.
She sounded slightly in awe of me as she spoke, and I wondered if she knew who I really was. The thought made me a bit uncomfortable.
Now most people seem to think that the only thing that we look for in a girl is looks. It’s kind of a no-brainer… Make or break, some would say. And yeah, I cared about them, but I really did look past the obvious. There is always more to what meets the eye.
It was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah may Allah be pleased with him that the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention ) said: “A woman is married for four (reasons): her wealth, noble ancestry, beauty and religion. Choose the religious woman lest your hand is stuck to dust (because of destitution).” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The thing was, within the first few minutes, a guy knows if this is her. If she is the one that he can decide on or not. He knows what criteria need to be fulfilled in order to tick all the appropriate boxes that can influence his decision, and one of those things for a Muslim was Taqwa.
Along with getting blown away, I had forgotten what I had been searching for all this time. Modesty had always been a deciding factor.
I had gotten hints of what I would be heading for as the conversation actually evolved into a proper one, where we could actually get an idea of what we needed to. A good conversation lasted at least 10 minutes, else, it was probably not even worth going for. And when a girl kept asking about your past, it was definitely a hint that she probably knew more than she was letting on.
I ignored her venturing within my life, focussing on the most valid points she made. I knew she was probably a ‘good’ girl, but at the same time, being too intent on my life was getting me to think again.
Besides that, I realised that this girl was not going to be prepared to change her current lifestyle that her father had provided for.
Out of my parents home, I wasn’t sure what my status would be until I established myself… So I would either have to step up, or step down. I had to let her know where I stood, either way.
I cleared my throat, aiming for the execution of the ultimate question.
“The thing is, Rabia,” I started, addressing her and looking down as I always had. “I plan to start off on my own… Away from my parents. I will eventually go into business, but my focus is a bit different right now. In that case, will you stand by me?”
There was a long silence, so much so that I could hear tit-bits of the conversation happening in the lounge.
I had a feeling that she was just about to give me an answer, but as luck would have it, with my ever-entertaining family, a knock at the window leading outside got us both diverted.
I immediately got up and looked out, only to realise that my poor sod of a younger brother was somehow now trapped outside, looking panicked in true Zee-style.
I shook my head, embarrassingly putting my head in my hands and sitting down again. Awkward.
Why did this guy always cause it everywhere we go?