Catastrophe

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Happy endings. I just loved ’em. I mean, who didn’t? Who doesn’t enjoy that ‘awwwww’ moment, at the end, when everything was just so damn peachy and yummy.

Well, yummy was an understatement. Aasiya’s welcome home dish was just superb. I grabbed a plate, not hesitating to load it with the creamy, cheesy pasta dish that was just going to go down the right alley. Perfection.

“Zi, do you ever stop eating, bru?” Waseem asked, literally coming out of nowhere. Or maybe I was just too absorbed in my food to notice him approaching the kitchen.

“You just had a full chow at that chic’s house, like, just over an hour ago,” he commented.

“This is dessert,” I replied, matter-of-fact.

“Boss, you just lucky you got a high metabolism,” he said, shaking his head.

I nodded and just kept on eating.

He narrowed his eyes at me.

“Did you even say Bismillah?”

I stopped chewing, just for about three seconds.

The phrase that is prescribed for mentioning Allah when eating is to say “Bismillah” (In the name of Allah), because of the report narrated by ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “When one of you eats some food, let him say Bismillah, and if he forgets to do so at the beginning, let him say Bismillah fi awwalihi wa aakhirihi (In the name of Allah at the beginning and end). Narrated by at-Tirmidhi, 1781; classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him). 

“Duh,” I said, quickly reading in my mind. Maybe that’s why I never got full.

Sometimes I just forgot. It was normal. I mean, I was human after all. Duh.

“I’m sure,” Waseem said, raising his eyebrows and glaring at me with his weird eyes.

“Spook,” I said, just because I was annoyed. I knew he was right, but I just didn’t like him reminding me of it. I had a lot to work on.

“So, what’s the latest with the ladies,” I asked, wondering where Waseem was headed to from here.

I also wanted an idea of how I would need to head if I was to go the same route. I wasn’t thinking of settling down yet, but the business with Farah and all the emotions it brought with it got me wondering whether I rather just call it a day and get hitched.

Waseem shrugged his shoulders, almost numbly.

“I dunno,” he said vaguely. “I think no more. I’m not quite getting what I need.”

“What do you need?” I asked curiously. I mean, who says that?

I didn’t even know what I needed.

“I need someone with the same focus as me,” he confessed, almost hopelessly. “It’s not just about the physical attraction any more, Zee. I’ve had enough of that. I needed something more…. Promising.”

Not about the physical attraction? I almost choked.

How could he say that? He was, like, defying natural laws with that one statement. As long as I knew it, guys always have, and always will care only about what they are going to get out of the whole deal. Of course, there was a yearning for something deeper, but the overriding power was always the most obvious thing. Ultimately, it was always about physical services.

“Don’t look at me like that,” I retorted, as he watched my expression.

“You are a typical chauvinist,” Waseem said, shaking his head. “Objectifying women is a sin. You need to look deeper, bru. It’s not all about what meets the eye. What lies deeper is what matters.”

“So,” I said, not getting it. “That means we can’t be attracted to chics?”

‘”It’s not that,” he said shaking his head. “Islam doesn’t forbid attraction. It’s natural. But how we act on what we feel, does matter. We have to discipline our desires in the right way, bru. And if you can’t, then our Deen always offers an alternate, like what Nabi (SAW) said about fasting.”

“We were with the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم while we were young and had no wealth whatsoever. So Allah’s Apostle صلي الله عليه و سلم said, “O young people! Whoever amongst you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty, and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting is a shield for him (from desires).”

“I don’t think I’ll manage,” I said hastily, already thinking about food withdrawal.

Yoh.

I was trying to stay away from chics, but man, it wasn’t easy. Staying away from food, though… It was another story.

“Then you better start looking for a wife,” Waseem grinned.

I pictured myself as a married man. Nah. Not yet.

“But,” Waseem continued. “If you are serious at some stage, you need to know the deal. Where to go. Who to look for. It’s not rocket science, but whatever you need is in the Qur’an and Sunnah. Like when Musaa (AS) found his wife, he didn’t go up to her and strike up a conversation like you would. Not at all. And she and her sister didn’t say, ‘aww, JazakAllah’, and bat their eyelids, when he assisted them. It was just pure. Modest. There’s nothing else that says piety like that.

The story was one I recalled vaguely, but Waseem refreshed my memory. I had actually forgotten that story, probably because at that stage of my life, it was anything but  important.

After fleeing the city of Pharoah, Musaa (AS) was at a place in his life when he had many needs. He rested, and while doing so, he caught sight of these two women who were waiting by a watering place for their turn. Being a Nabi, he could not see the injustice that the other people were subjecting them to, and immediately intervened to enable them to have their share of water quickly.

While he rested again, he turned to the One who has power over all affairs and beseeched for His help; he made a beautiful and sincere Du’aa saying:

Lord ! Truly I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me. [Sûrat Al-Qaṣaṣ, 28:24]

Their father was surprised when the girls came back so quickly because he knew the men near the well. When he asked them what had happened, they told him what Mûsa (AS) had done. So he sent one of the daughters to call the stranger to meet her father, who also happened to be a Nabi, Shuaib (AS).

Allah says: Then there came to him one of them, walking shyly, meaning, she was walking like a free woman, as it was narrated from the Commander of the Faithful, ¢Umar ibn Al-Khaṭṭâb: “She was covering herself with the folds of her garment.”

Ibn Abî Ḥâtim recorded that Amr ibn Maymûn said: “Umar said: ‘She came walking shyly, putting her garment over her face. She was not one of those audacious women who come and go as they please.’”

The Ayah goes on: She said: “Verily, my father calls you that he may reward you for having watered (our flocks) for us.”

Amazing. She did not invite him directly, lest he have some suspicious thoughts about her.

No dates, no coffee, no exchange of numbers… Nothing. Mûsaa (AS) accepted the invitation, but had a request.

Get this. She didn’t walk in front of him, due to it exposing herself, but threw pebbles at the required directions instead, with him at the back. This was exemplary modesty.

Imagine the scenario: He was a prince who must have had women throwing themselves at him, but we see him here ‘lowering his gaze’. There was nothing but lessons in it, especially for me.

It was just that, in this day and age, it was so rare to find that kind of modesty. It was like finding the rarest kind of diamond. And I knew that I didn’t deserve it, because I had probably been one of the biggest sinners in the town, but if I didn’t have aspirations, I knew I would never improve.

“You guys are looking very serious,” Muhammed’s voice said, as he stepped into the kitchen. He pulled in Aasiya from behind him, and she looked at us both eating. They were holding hands.

Ah, how sweet. Not.

Overly romantic people made me a bit annoyed. It was just not comfy, man. Didn’t people realise?

“This thing is tops,” I said, pointing to the food. I didn’t want to ask what happened with the two of them, because everything seemed quite peachy as it stood.

Of course, I still wondered. Aasiya’s whole life was a mystery, but I was sure that everything would soon unfold time went by. I was glad my brother was looking like his normal self again. I glanced toward at Waseem, only noticing now that he had moved to the dining table, probably wanting to give the two of them privacy.

The doorbell went as I got up, and since I was up, I decided to be a little considerate, since I was turning over onto the more ‘mature’ side of me, and actually answer. It was a bit strange, though, because as I went to press the intercom button to open, the gate was already closing. It seemed like whoever had come was already inside, and so I calmly looked at the camera and saw a very familiar car already parked off.

I glanced down the passage way at the already open door, and in stepped my father, with a slightly thunderous look on his face. I think I had foresight, at that moment. It was bound to be catastrophic.

I had to be honest. At that point, though I didn’t show it, I was fretting. I was close to turning around and running. At first I thought that I was in for it, because I hadn’t been home for almost a week, but my father’s next words settled my own worse fears.

I was indeed grateful. To say the least.

I was psyched that it wasn’t me. I knew he was in for it, just from the way my father spoke. There was no greeting or chit-chat. That was my Dad. Straight to the point.

“Ziyaad,” he said, in an extremely hostile tone. Sheesh. This was bad.

“Tell Waseem I want to see him. Now.”

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