Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
My father was the type of man who never backed down from an argument. I supposed that’s why he had always perservered in his field of business… Probably because he treated his professional pursuits in the same way. For him, there were no strings attached. Business or family… It was all the same to him.
Muhammed had inherited that quality, but he always diluted it with doses of good humour, to soften the blow. With my father, it was all just raw. Concentrated, you could say. The bitterness was always very obvious.
There was no avoiding the situation. Waseem was probably in for it. I was glad that I didn’t have to call my brother, because, thankfully, I supposed he had already heard the small exchange from where he sat. The dining room wasn’t that far off.
“Dad?” Waseem asked, looking surprised. He came forward whilst wiping his mouth with a paper towel. He must have just finished eating.
“Waseem,” my father’s gaze quickly shifted from me to him. It was still penetrating.
“Can you tell me what exactly is going on?” He asked candidly, looking at Waseem expectantly.
“About what, Dad?” Waseem asked, acting nonchalant.
My father narrowed his eyes, stepping forward. It was like he was noticing Waseem for the first time.
“What is all this?!” He snapped, pointing accusingly at Waseem’s hat. He scrutinised his entire garb, shaking his head.
“You gone tabliqi or something?” he asked rudely.
I wanted to crawl away, and just remove myself from his ugliness. It was just so… Unnecessary.
I didn’t know why my Dad had to say it so loathingly. Like it was a disease.
Waseem didn’t bat an eye.
It was strange how people like us liked to pick on the tabs. Like tabliqi people who went in Jamaat were the only people who wore full Sunnah garb.
“So what if I was, Dad? What would that mean to you?!” Waseem’s voice was getting louder. “Would it really taint your ‘reputation’ that much if your son had to actually take a different path to your high-flying lifestyle?!”
It was someone’s turn to step in, because I knew if this carried on, it wasn’t going to end well. At all.
I was surprised at my father, though. His come-back to Waseem’s statements weren’t coming fast enough. He actually seemed to be thinking about his next words, which was pretty strange.
“Well, Waseem,” he said, a bit too calmly. “It doesn’t look like I’m the one who has to worry about reputation anymore. Yours is already gone out the window. It looks like your everything has caught up with you, son.”
I was confused. And from the looks of it, so was Waseem. He shook his head, looking at my father once again.
“What are you saying?” Waseem pressed, unsure of what to make of the whole situation. “Dad. What did you do?”
For the first time since he entered, I caught the glimpse of a smirk on my father’s face. It just looked kind of evil. Ugly evil.
“I just sorted out a few things,” Dad said contemptuously.
“Things? What d’you mean?”
His tone was desperate now, and he followed my father as he began to walk out.
“Let me just tell you this,” Dad said, spinning around and looking Waseem in the eye. “I’ve already got plans approved for that property and I’m going ahead with what I need to. So if you’re not going to get your girlfriend’s family out, son, my guys are already on the way. You wanted to play hard, my man… Well, you got it.”
And with that, Dad continued walking, leaving a completely disorientated Waseem hanging around, trying to figure out his next move. It was absolutely unsettling.
Girlfriend? I didn’t get what Dad was talking about. Was it someone in Waseem’s past? The pieces weren’t yet fitting together.
Waseem moved back into the vicinity, muttering something to himself. It looked like he was on his way to look for Mo. Muhammed could sort out almost anything.
I caught up with him just in time. This whole thing was getting too deep. I wasn’t sure if I should escape now, or stick around to watch the the rest of the drama unfold. There was sure to be a forthcomong attraction.
I didn’t have much else to do, so I decided to wait it out.
“Did you hear what he was on about?” Waseem was asking Mo, in disbleief.
“I didn’t want to know,” Mo replied casually. “We don’t talk anymore.”
They don’t talk? I mean, I knew my father and Mo had issues, but I really didn’t know it was so bad. The true reality of my family life was hitting me. It was traumatic.
Stupid arguments and useless pursuits. And it all ended in severing ties and silent treatment… Just over money and temporary worldly things. Was this really how screwed up my family was?
I was slowly beginning to hate the very things that I had loved so much… The things that were causing all this unnecessary conflict.
“I just don’t get it, bru!” Waseem was outraged, following Muhammed into the lounge. “He’s just so caught up in his stupid world… He can’t even see what’s right or wrong anymore…”
Waseem stopped in mid-sentence, his eyes suddenly widening.
“Shit!” He said emphatically.
“It’s that house,” Mo said, nodding. “So?”
“I have to do something, Mo,” Waseem was saying, sitting down on the leather couch.
“What are you gonna do?” Mo said, matter-of-fact. “You really want to get involved with that chic’s family again? After they turned you down twice?! Wipe your hands off it, Boss. It’s not your indaba.”
“I don’t know, bru, but everything happens for a reason,” Waseem replied, with that oh-so-determined look on his face.
He got up and went to the room, coming back with a holster that he tied to his thigh, and strapping a revolver into it.
Now, I knew that both my brothers had licensed firearms, but I rarely saw them carry it. Mo’s often stayed locked in the safe, and living in a gated community, Waseem rarely had a reason to take it out. He got up now, pulling his kurta down, and I wasn’t sure if it was mind over matter, but he just seemed that much more fierce now than ever before. His icey eyes seem to scruitinise his surroundings, and with a no-nonsense attitude, he pulled out his car-keys and headed for the doorway.
It was the perfect opportunity to hit an ISIS line, but I wasn’t sure how well that would go down. I’d probably be in for a speech from Waseem about how ISIS is not even backed by Muslims, which probably was the truth.
Well, the next best thing, obviously, was to follow. I mean, especially if it was something involving the bombshell chics, I knew I’d have to go along, even if it was just for the ride.
Mo was trying to convince Waseem to cool off a bit, but he seemed overly hyped up. It was extremely infectious. Adrenalin pumped through my own veins, and excitement for whatever was to come began to mount. This was no ball-game. Whatever Waseem was going to do, had to be chaperoned.
I jumped into the passenger seat, witnessing Waseem in action after ages, really pushing his new car to the limits with speeding. It heightened the whole anticipation, even though it was just a little bit crazy. It was just as well that there were no cops around at that time.
Waseem yielded slightly at a stop street, braking almost half heartedly before he literally spun into the parking lot outside the house that I now knew quite well. The one over the berry bush that I had seen into, wondering who it was that was taking over my Dad’s property. I remembered the first time that I had come here, probably not even completely in my senses, looking with hungry and immodest eyes, relentlessly robbing these people of dignity, just with my mind. Little did I realise, that by being who I was, no-one but myself was undignified.
Since then, I had grown so much. I now looked, not with greed and inferiority, but with a heart filled with remorse. A heart that had previously been filled with the filth and love of this world that my father treasured so much, had been purified to allow some empathy and care. Emotions. The Zee was actually letting emotions take control.
I watched, with my heart bleeding.
A truck full of people were basically invading these people’s home, removing bits of furniture, and basically, whatever they could get their hands on before the final evacuation. I knew where this was headed. It was a scene that had played in my mind as a child, when I remembered my father taking me to one of these sites before, and I remebered the little kids’ toys strewn around in the yard. I was probably around 10 years old at the time.
It was a vivid memory that was now suddenly so clear.
“Where are they going, Dad?” I had asked, hoping for some consolation. “Are they moving?”
Dad had just shrugged, saying that they needed to go.
They weren’t paying rent. I supposed he needed the money at the time… Maybe.
This time, though… I wasn’t sure.
Rebelliousness. Greed. It was just an issue of wanting more and more. And in all honesty, I knew it wouldn’t end.
Everytime I thought of my father, I would reflect once again on the verses I had learnt about just the week before in the class Waseem had took me for. It was like a reality check everytime it hit home.
1. The mutual increase (for worldly wealth) diverts you,
2. Until you visit the graves.
3. Nay! You shall come to know!
And it was amazing how this one short Surah summed up so much of what needed to work on in this world… How our focus was just so off base. We forget how the greed completely diverts us of the reality… When we know that we will surely be questioned, and reach that final destination underground, that we completely lose sight of in this wretched world.
Had my father completely forgotten his purpose here, whilst on his pursuits of this temporary world? Did he understand that all his wealth, his riches, and the buildings he continuously constructed will not accompany him to his final destinantion?
Was this really an issue of money or was there some deeper-lying problem here that he wasn’t revealing?
Waseem was watching the very scene before my own eyes, looking like he wanted to explode.
He shook his head to himself, incessantly murmuring someting that sounded vaguely spiritual, and finally opened the door.
Run, Waseem, I wanted to shout, kind of stuck to the seat.
I wanted to tell him to just stop the onslaught. End this chase of the world. Kill the greed. Do something.
He closed the door behind him, breaking into a sprint, looking like he was ready to take on the world.
Well, despite him looking like the protaginist in a Batman sequel, only bearded and clad in full white, my heart felt unbelievably freed.
Right now, despite the cliché… There was a longing for this kind of twist in the whole drama.
Whatever it took, right now, we needed a damn super-hero.