Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Waseem: And so it begins...
Amidst a place filled with a countless array of blessings, resided the first man, when he was created…
Natural beauty and greenery are among Paradise’s wonderful blessings. Mansions built in gardens, right next to springs, are another beauty. Paradise, has such a pleasant climate, that no one is made uncomfortable, as it contains no exhausting sweaty heat or freezing cold. Amongst it’s splendour are rivers of water, milk and wine, the taste and smell of which are never changed.
It’s where beauty is spread out at your feet – the life of Paradise – where anything that you want is just a thought away.
And when Adam (AS) resided in beautiful Jannah, at times he talked to the angels, but they were mostly preoccupied with worshipping Almighty Allah. And so, he did yearn for something. Even in Jannah.
And Almighty Allah knew his desires… Of course. So, one day, after sleeping, he awoke to find near his head a woman gazing at his face with beautiful tender eyes.
It is reported that Ibn Abbas (RA) said, “Adam’s (AS) creation was on Friday in the afternoon.
Allah then created for him Eve, his wife, from one of his left ribs while he was asleep.
When he woke up and saw her, he felt at ease with her, and he stretched his hand out to her.
The angels said, ‘Stop, Adam.’
He said, ‘Why, didn’t Allah create her for me?’
They said, ‘Not until you pay her dowry.’
He asked, ‘What is her dowry?’
They answered, ‘To recite praises on Muhammad (SAW) three times.’” [and in another narration, twenty times].
Ibn Abbas and a group of companions of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam narrated that he asked her:
“Who are you?”
She replied, “A woman”
He asked: “Why have you been created?”
She said :”So that you could find tranquility in me.”
And tranquillity it was, because Jannah wasn’t at it’s peak until Adam (AS) had Hawa (AS).
It became complete, like the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle replaced. Allah favoured him by giving him someone to share his life with, as He (SWT) says:
It is He Who has created you from a single person (Adam), and (then) He created from him his wife (Eve), in order that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her. [Holy Qur’an: Surah 7: 189]
And it’s possible that sometimes, on the rare occasion, our humble expectations tend to sell us short. The expected, which keeps us grounded, often pales in comparison to the reality.
And I never expected Zaynah to accept me into her life, with no reservations. I was seriously still waiting for the phone call to say that she had changed her mind, right till the very end. It was one deal that I knew my business skills could never salvage for me. It was the one matter where smooth lines or a bunch of flowers wouldn’t do the trick.
I was internally on edge, even right until I said the words to seal the final deal, because I just expected it to all fall flat.
My mother had come to meet Zaynah after Salaah that night, and my mind was a little at ease. I wasn’t sure how they would hit it off, because our families were on different wavelengths, but Allah had already put the affection for each other in their hearts, despite my worry.
And so, basking in the glory of having the perfect wife was a sure reality… And of course, anyone could understand just why I couldn’t stop smiling on the day I met her, with a supply of Jelly Babies on my side.
And as an ice-breaker, I had nicknamed her Jelly Baby at the time, just because the whole incident made her beam so much that we both forgot to be nervous. I couldn’t be sure why I had brought the gummies with me when I met her, but it definitely wasn’t a coincidence…
I smiled again to myself as I remembered it… Hoping I would never forget the pureness that came with the Nikah. There was no tip-toeing around people’s emotions. It was different to any other encounter I had experienced, because Halaal love had nothing on the artificial type that I had always wasted my time chasing. Anything before that union that made everything pure and such a beauty, was definitely futile.
Being with my wife brought in an other element that I had never understood before. I was in awe of the fact that this woman, who had already caused such a change in my life, was to be my reason to leave this temporary world behind.
I already knew that whatever we would go through on our path to the Hereafter… Wherever the path would lead us… When it came to pleasing her, I would make sure that it would be through my Creator first, because it was He Who had made it possible for me to actually have her. It was only the Almighty that had given me so many bounties.
And I looked around now, admiring yet more of His infinite bounties as I gazed at the spectacular view beyond the mountainous exhibition below me. With my soft recitation of Qur’an to keep me company, I breathed in the crisp morning air, careful not to wake my sleeping wife.
I wouldn’t have expected less from Muhammed. The place that Mo had booked for us as a wedding gift to us was the most awesome place, and as I sat on the wooden balcony overlooking the scene of overlapping troughs and peaks among natural greenery, I was in awe of the beauty.
And yet, another picture of perfection appeared without an announcement as I sat, and I watched her sit down at the end of the daybed that I reclined on. At that moment, I honestly felt like life probably couldn’t get much better than this.
I mean, the feeling was so unbelievable that it made me check myself.
Like really, boss, I told myself. Just imagine Jannah.
And then she smiled, looking just slightly displaced. She really didn’t look like she had just woken up. A few stray curls framed her gorgeous face, and I watched her self-consciously put them behind her ears.
I leant forward to stop her, holding her hand in my own and moving it away. I didn’t want her to feel uncomfortable with me.
“I like it,” I said, and immediately I saw her cheeks flush. To me, she was a picture of perfection.
She looked away. I knew that she would be feeling awkward. I didn’t want her to, but I loved her apprehensive smile.
Honestly, I was already crazy about her.
“Angel,” I said, lowering my voice and reaching for her fingers.
It was adorable how she just couldn’t meet my eye this morning, but I knew that I had to stop teasing her if I wanted a response.
“What about some breakfast?” I said finally, standing up.
The flush on her face slowly faded as she looked up and nodded, and I then realised that we would have to leave the room to look for some food.
The day before was spent surviving on what Aasiya and Zaynah’s sister had packed for us, but now we had to try and source some fresh food. I had a strong feeling that it might be something of a mission in the depths of Magaliesburg. Halaal food wasn’t always easy to come by, and I knew that we had to be fussy.
“Must I come?” she asked sweetly, but didn’t get up.
We hadn’t been apart for nearly 36 hours, and from her body language, I decided that maybe she might need a break from me. I instantly felt guilty for not allowing her even a chance to call her family or have some private time. I handed her my phone in case she wanted to call someone, realising that I’d have to get her one when we get back home.
“You stay,” I said, pulling on my Kurtah. “I’ll go see if they have a store.”
Zaynah didn’t protest, so I left, determined to return quickly with success. Although that had been my life prior to marriage, it was feeling odd to be alone again.
Food on business trips had always been easy for me, because room service at the hotels I stayed at was just a phone call away. At this place, I was dealing with a ball game that I had never yet explored as I stepped out into the wilderness, looking for the path that lead to the reception.
It was early the previous morning that we had reached here, and things looked completely different in daylight. I eventually found myself at some place that looked like a breakfast kitchen where a few people were already eating. I spoke to the lady briefly and returned to the room, determined to go back with my wife. I treaded the path quickly till I reached the unlatched door.
I couldn’t see her, so I stayed by the entrance.
“Where are you, gorgeous?” I called. “We’ll have to go to reception… There’s a breakfast buffet…”
Their kitchen was ‘Halaal friendly’. I wasn’t sure what that meant, exactly, but it still sounded dodgy. I wasn’t sure how much we would be able to eat.
I looked around the room to see Zaynah emerge from the bathroom, her hair wet.
At least she didn’t spend hours getting dressed, like other chics. I could see she was almost ready, but she had a frown on her face as she looked at me, her mouth moving slightly.
“You already eating?” I asked, trying to conceal my disappointment.
She swallowed quickly, looking guilty and shaking her head.
Ah. The jelly babies. I smiled.
She was still frowning.
“We can’t eat there,” she said, licking her lips and looking upset.
I looked at her strangely.
“They’re not Halaal. I didn’t see any Muslim people,” she said, matter-of-fact.
“They said they’re Halaal friendly,” I admitted, knowing it sounded dumb. “We can eat the vegetarian?”
She nodded, then shook her head, sitting down and cocking her head. I could see she was thinking very hard. I took the bait and sat down next to her, watching her. It was a bit amusing.
“Let’s not,” she said finally, getting up to go to the tiny kitchenette in the corner of the room.
She opened a few cupboards and took out some dishes, starting to wash them. She placed a pan on the stove, put her hands on her hips and looked at me.
“I’m going to tell them to send us some eggs, bread, butter… And stuff,” she said. “I’m cooking breakfast.”
She was going to cook? Now?
She went to the phone and spoke to someone who agreed to her request.
I must admit, I was impressed at her insistence, even when they offered to bring the cooked food to the room. Having got what she wanted finally, she gave me a satisfied smile and then started to prepare.
I watched her, offering to help, but she shooed me away.
“I’m not just a spoilt rich guy,” I said, pretending to be offended. ” I can work.”
She smiled, looking at me sideways.
“Really?” She replies, sounding like she didn’t believe me.
I grinned, and she gestured for me to sit. I obeyed orders and she placed three dishes on a cloth on the floor, sitting next to me as I started to dish.
To be honest, the meal was probably the best that I’d had in ages, and it wasn’t only because the food was really good. The company and atmosphere in the room was just amazing. And the fact that I knew the exact source of the food was the best food.
“You didn’t have to cook,” I said, feeling bad that I had made my wife cook on ‘honeymoon’. My mother would have been disgusted at me.
She looked up at me, her dark eyes serious.
“And risk you eating doubtful food?” She asked candidly.
I knew the reason. I just had to ask. And of course I understood, better than I ever had before.
Before, I just never cared. A stamp or even the owners word that the meat was okay for me. But what got me now was, how can one expect them to worry about our Imaan when they don’t even have any? It meant nothing to people who had no idea about Islam. It served no importance at all.
I never realised the consequences earlier… A person who falls into doubtful over and over is sure to fall into Haraam. And when that Haraam food enters one’s body, it exposes the heart to moral disease.
When a Muslim avoids what is unlawful, abstains from doubtful matters, and busies himself with what is clearly permissible and wholesome, his heart becomes strong. By contrast, if he engages in activities in doubtful, his heart grows weak and he becomes more likely to fall into sin.
More importantly, his Ibaadat is not accepted, and it serves as a barrier between him and His Lord. Consumption of Haraam food was the main reason that the Muslim world was in such turmoil and our repentance and Du’aas were not being answered. It was a really serious thing.
On the authority of Abi Ab’dillahi al-Nu’man ibn Basheer (RA) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) say: “That which is lawful is clear and that which is unlawful is clear and between the two of them are doubtful [or ambiguous] matters about which not many people are knowledgeable. Thus, he who avoids these doubtful matters certainly clears himself in regard to his religion and his honor. But he who falls into the doubtful matters falls into that which is unlawful like the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary, all but grazing therein. Verily every king has a sanctuary and Allah’s sanctuary is His prohibition. In the body there is a morsel of flesh which, if it be sound, all the body is sound and which, if it be diseased, all the body is diseased. This part of the body is the heart”.
I constantly prayed for Allah to never let me come close to Haraam, and I knew my Du’aas were being answered. The answer to my Du’aa was going to be through her.
I looked at my wife, knowing that she even when I was weak, she would make us stronger. Two people together were always stronger. When it came to food, I was definitely easily influenced. A man needed his food.
“I’m lucky to have you,” I said, meaning it in entirety.
She smiled, pausing slightly before speaking again.
“It’s our duty to each other, Waseem,” she said, shrugging off the praise.
“But as much as we would persevere and go to such lengths to be with each other in this life… Shouldn’t we be just as determined to go to extremes to ensure each other’s Jannah? And wouldn’t you do the same for me?”
I was taken aback by the question.
I nodded slowly, watching her serious expression, and I suddenly felt like I was levitating somewhere above the floor, just because I was completely swept off my feet.
That was something else. This woman, with her passion and determination, had completely and irrevocably stolen my heart.
And it wasn’t the single incident that had driven me to that conclusion. It wasn’t the first time she had shown me her true zeal for pleasing her Rabb. Even when she thought I had no idea… I knew every detail of these 36 hours.
The silhouette of her prostration in the depths of the night was like that single star that lights up the whole sky.
The perfume of her constant state of Whudhu was like a breeze of Paradise.
She took any opportunity to adorn the fashion of Sunnah, and that just never ceased to amaze me.
And I knew that she would always have my loyalties in mind. I trusted her to be by my side in good and bad times.
I knew that when the world exhausts me, tires me, and leaves me weary, the knowledge that she is in it with me is sufficient for me.
She had, so quickly, become a part of me, that I not only felt like she was my other half… In essence… She was, I felt, like my other entirety.
And I had to tell her.
“That’s why I love you,” I said, knowing that I had really delved deep in this time.
It was the first time that those words had ever escaped my mouth, and though I hated to think of my past relationships, I was glad that my wife was the only woman who was granted the honour.
Those three words that were so recklessly thrown around, at least that, I had always been careful with.
Never say it unless you mean it. Only mean it when you know it’s true.
And truthfully, much to my amazement… I was falling hopelessly.
And it gave me the greatest of spiritual highs because I knew that this love was only for the pleasure of the One Who created it.
Not for my Nafs. Everything was through Him and for Him. It was only from the Purest source of Love. Not for my Nafs.
She looked up at me in the eye, smiling slightly. She didn’t have to say it back. I wasn’t going anywhere.
Just as I thought that my spirits couldn’t soar any higher, her next words were to send them plummeting down.
“There’s something I wanted from you when we get home.”
I looked back at her, prepared to accede to whatever her request was. Anything was possible, right?
“I’d like to….”
I looked at her, and she didn’t meet my eye. She hesitated, then spoke again, a little quieter.
“Can we meet your father?”