Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
I didn’t always expect things to be awesome. In fact, most of the time, I didn’t really expect much. With my sometimes erratic behaviour, the outcome of most things couldn’t be determined until the (often prolonged) execution had been carried out.
I often got the slack for sometimes throwing a spanner in the works, but since I had embarked on a mission to change my life, the urge to do things that were uncalculated was slowly diminishing.
In a nutshell, one would say that maybe The Zee was actually becoming something of a man, rather than a boy. If you really scrutinised my lifestyle, anyone who knew me would think that I was growing up, and finally showing something of my brother’s calculated nature. Basically, I was on the way to being what people call ‘mature’.
But sometimes, the harder you try, the kick-back received gets even more tough. You don’t realise it’s all a test until you realise that you might have failed.
And I definitely didn’t realise it the day when I accompanied my brother for his proposal, and bumped into one of the main features of my past who I assumed was the girl’s cousin.
It was Farah. In the mix. Again.
But this time, Farah was very different to every other time that I had seen her. Outwardly. With a scarf draped on her head, she looked completely different.
Maybe that was the reason I didn’t realise it at first.
And the thing with bumping into the past is that, even when you’ve changed, every time you see that person, it’s like you are re-living that time thay they feautured in, once again. Whether you want to or not. And you can’t just fast forward, because there’s nowhere to move on to.
And by then, either way, it was too late to do any kind of mending.
I realised on that day that this was the first time I felt something close to human emotions.
Regret. Remorse. Resolve.
I couldn’t help but feel bad about my past with her. After sincerely repenting, I knew that an apology was probably due, but there was no way that I could do it without getting myself involved.
I held fast to the notion that a woman could make a man do anything… And I was particularly at risk. I knew my weakness.
And so, as far as I was concerned, I didn’t anticipate any hiccups until the actual eating events. It was only then that I realised what the reason was behind Waseem’s whole ‘rule of segregation’, as I often called it. I mean, till then, I had often scoffed at his ‘extremism’, thinking it just so unnecessary.
But if only I realised the wisdom behind it sooner.
Among the many proofs of prohibition of the meeting and mixing of men and women in the Qur’aan and Sunnah are:
Verse No. 53 of Surat al-Ahzab; “…for anything ye want, ask them from before a screen: that makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs…”
Yoh. Purity. It was the purer thing for our often tainted hearts.
And of course, it was spot on.
The thing was, when the temptation was there, and all was exposed, doing sin just became that much more accessible. Staying away from what had previously dragged me down just became more of a task.
And so, when the dude asked if we want to eat, And being The Zee, I quickly took up the offer, despite Waseem’s warning looks, I was merely looking for something to divert my attention. Something to kill the urge to address the girl who had once again re-appeared in my life.
Wrong move number one: I literally stuffed my face while Waseem went off. I indulged till I could eat no more, and then got up to search for the bathroom while Waseem and the other men spoke.
I then understood that eating too much also might lead you to indulge more… In sin.
Wrong move number two: Since I couldn’t find the much-needed bathroom and was slightly lost I eventually had to call for help, getting no response at first.
And then, out of nowhere, she appeared, all covered up, giving me a bit of a shock. And of course, my instinct was to look down, and just go where I needed to.
No smooth lines or funny stories, I agrued with my nafs, as much as I wanted to show her the old me. As much as I wanted to go back to where ‘we’ had been, I knew I couldn’t.
“You need something, Zee?” She asked, looking kind of displaced.
Why her? Why did it have to be her?
“Bathroom,” I said, briefly, just wanting some directions. I really didn’t have much time to waste.
“Ziyaad, I’ve been tryin’a get hold of you,” she said, taking a step closer.
Uh oh. The alarm bells were going off.
This is wrong, bru, I could hear my conscience saying.
But it’s just her and you alone, another voice was arguing. Go for it, boss.
I shook my head at myself, forcing my legs backward.
Nonetheless, she continued.
“I just thought we could talk…”
The words I was dreading. Because talking is never just talking. Even just a simple conversation can lead to something more…. Something serious. I had learnt that from experience.
A simple gesture or furtive glance is all it takes to send the wrong signal. And though Western people will argue that interaction with the opposite gender doesn’t always have to have that underlying connotation, in truth, that is precisely what leads regular people and married couples to ruin.
Under the pretext of ‘simple conversation’, man often falls into an open trap, only to be devoured by the unknown predator. Lust just waits for it’s chance to take over.
Because Allah Ta’ala doesn’t just say; “Stay away from Zinaa”, but rather, He advises us what is purer… What cannot even lead to the ultimate acts.
We are advised to not even come near to Zinaa.
And do not come near to adultery, it is a shameful deed and an evil, and opening the road to other evils. (17:32)
And so, I did what I thought was wise. I just continued walking forward, trying to go into a room that I thought was probably the bathroom. Assumption.
And that was probably the third wrong move, literally.
The minute I avoided the situation, I could immediately sense her hostility. I didn’t blame her, but the truth was, with my history, what else could I do? Staying away from temptation was a tough thing, but it had to be done.
Her next words were practically spat out. In the time that I had known her, I never saw this side of her. It was just a teeny bit scary.
“After everything,” she started, her voice raised now and completely different. “Now you can’t even speak to me?! Honestly Ziyaad, you think that you’re too good now??”
Sheesh. Now she was on a roll. I closed my eyes, waiting for the worst. I knew she was on her way to cutting me down to size.
“All I want is to get closure!”
Closure? She was getting hitched. Haibo.
The onslaught was still in procession.
“But now you think that you can just continue to treat me the way you always had?! Guys like you mess around with girls… And then you’ll expect to get a good girl when you decide you ready! You’ll see, Ziyaad. Just wait! That thing on your face means nothing… To me you’ll still just be that drunk guy at the club!”
And with that, she stormed up behind me, slammed the door, leaving me in oblivioun.
The words burnt my ears, but I stood my ground. She was wrong. She was so wrong.
The thing was, though the outward attire might be the thing that was visible, even when I had no idea of my spiritual progress, I was taught by my brother that that no matter what, if you exhibited it on the outside, Allah will make it such that it comes inside. So whenever anyone gave me their two-cent ‘don’t judge me’ comments, I always stood firm. When a simple Sunnah is not shown on the outside, there’s little chance that it can ever exist beneath.
I knew I still had a lot to achieve, but I was trying. Maybe not that much, but I had started making some effort.
But I couldn’t tell her that, because the door behind me was already slammed and locked. The only way out of this intermediate room was the door on the otherside that I discovered was leading outside.
I opened it, at first relieved that I wasn’t locked inside, but also a bit panicked as I realised that I was now locked out. Like completely.
I frantically and unsuccessfully looked for an exit, finally realising that there was no way out.
And so, that was the long-story-short of how I interrupted Waseem’s conversation, but as he said later that day in the car, it was probably for the best.
Rescued and safely in the car, Mo, Waseem and I drove out of the driveway, all a bit contemplative, to say the least.
“Why’s everyone so quiet?” Muhammed asked, frowning as he glanced back at me in the rear view mirror.
Waseem shrugged, and I shook my head, wondering what exactly was owing to my silence.
The words were still ringing in my ears.
… You’ll still just be that drunk guy at the club!
“Women problems,” I finally said, resting my eyes and leaning back on the head rest.
“And I thought I had problems,” Mo said, chuckling in what seemed like ages.
It really was no fun to be in this position. I completely understood how Farah probably felt about me just going AWOL on her, but in all fairness, she had broken free. She decided to move on. So why keep digging up dust from the past?
I wasn’t sure how I was going to move forward fron here, but I knew that I would probably have to do some thinking… Maybe talk to Waseem. Whatever I decided, I knew it would have to be the right way. No uncalculated business. I would have to wait it out.
We finally reached Mo’s house, and we were all in for a bit of a surprise as Mo opened his garage door to see an SUV parked in there already.
Just what I needed. The bitterness of the confrontation was quickly overcome by what I knew awaited. I knew I would be rewarded for trying to be better in some way, and some more good food to drown my troubles was the perfect antidote.
I think there was no-one that could have been happier than me at that point. Even Mo’s elated face was no match for mine. It was just an awesome moment.
Aasiya was back.