Truthful Encounters

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Waseem: Reality Check

“Must I come with?”

The words sounded so familiar, and it made me think back to the first day she had said them.

It didn’t hit me then. I was still on cloud nine. I was still basking in the realisation that I’d found love to be so beautiful… That I’d found my reason to smile each day. I thought about the days when marriage was never an option for me, and how I’d always purposefully deprived myself of the blessing that Nikah had brought. Halaal love beat any kind of emotion I’d experienced in my previous life.

And now, as she spoke, the voice that had become so familiar to me during the past few days made me realise that I was no longer a single, lone soul in this delusional world. I was now completely connected to someone else, by the grace of the Almighty, whether I realised it or not. Whether I had anticipated it or not, I had to understand my responsibility.

I cracked a small smile, trying to kill the uneasiness.

“I know you want to come,” I said, knowing that she had a right to also be a part of my family life. “But right now might not be the best time.”

She looked slightly relieved, and I immediately felt spared of the guilt I had felt.

I wasn’t sure what the situation would be. And I definitely didn’t want it to get ugly between Dad and I. Not with Zaynah around.

“Tomorrow I’m all yours,” I promised her, making my way towards the door.

I glimpsed the shadow of her smile as she got up to let me out. I could feel her hesitation. She was holding back, and I didn’t like it.

Tomorrow, I promised myself. Tomorrow it would all be okay.

I rushed to my car with the thoughts in mind, feeling isolated whilst I drove to my parents’ place. I had no idea what to expect when I reached, and because I passed the through security check point of the gated community easily, I anticipated no issues when I got to the house. I couldn’t have been more off-base in my thinking.

I pressed my car-hooter down for the third time, waiting for the guard to give me access. I finally rolled down my window as he came to it, scrutinizing me.

I knew him, but I wasn’t sure if he recognised me.

“Sorry man,” he started. “Big boss says you can’t enter.”

“What?” I said, in shock. Anger was rising up inside of me.

Really? Was this how we were doing things these days? 

“You’re not allowed.”

I wasn’t sure if I was just really on edge that night or if I was just having an impulsive moment, but all I knew was that I needed to get in. I knew that I would have to be really forceful or he wouldn’t budge.

Although it wasn’t his fault, I had to show them that I wasn’t going to just let them take control. I got out of the car to try and make my own way in, by nook or by crook.

I was overcome with negative emotion as I made my way to the guards house, despite his protests, determined to find a way. I fought him off, ready to do just about anything until I heard a car behind me. Muhammed had pulled up, looking at me questioningly.

“Open the gate,” I commanded the guy, feeling like I was almost losing it.

He was now beginning to look scared, because he could see that I was ready to even draw out weapons if needed. With a revolver on hand, the old me was starting to resurface. The attitude and game that I had in the past was all part of who I was. It got me who I wanted, and sealed the deals that I needed. To tell the truth… Right now, it just scared me. It made me feel like I was becoming just like my father.

I stashed my fire-arm away quickly before Mo could see, feeling slightly ashamed. The gate swung open and we both drove through, pulling up in front of the entrance.

“What’s going on?” I asked Mo, getting off the car with a slight vengeance. I was still pumping with adrenalin.

Actually, I felt like I was slowly losing the plot. There was no need to get aggressive. For all the speeches I’d been giving ny brothers about getting on the right side of life, I felt like I was a pure hypocrite.

“Calm down, bru,” Mo said, eyeing me out. He sensed my mood, and he knew where I was going. I was just glad that he had pitched up.

All I could think about was how frustratin this whole thing was for me. The anger was slowly subsiding, but the chip on my shoulder seemed to be taking a knock a lot. From cutting off my finances, upsetting Zaynah and now restricting access to my family… My father was really testing me. It made me think about my past… About where I had resorted to every time I had a problem. Drugs, women and alcohol had nothing on my feelings now. What I felt now… Anger and pride… Those were probably the worst vices anyone could ever have.

“Sorry,” I said to Mo sheepishly, realising that the politics in this family really brought out the worst in me.

Sometimes I forgot the truth. I had to stop thinking I was better than everyone by trying to fix everyone else. In fact, it was me who was the one most in need of a severe reformation, and I had to remember the best advice that was ever given, because that was precisely the reason I had got caught up.

Abû Hurayrah (RA) rselates that a man said to the Prophet (SAW): “Counsel me.”

The Prophet (SAW) said: “Do not get angry.” The man repeated his request many times, but the Prophet (SAW) kept saying: “Do not get angry.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî ]

And I had to take it easy, because I now knew that with anger, came every other type of negative action. It was a powerful emotion. It rages through a person, creating that desire for revenge. It inspires action, and the action that it inspires is one of injury. The emotion invokes within a person the very opposition of mercy, compassion, self-restraint, and kindness.

But when we stop the anger in the initial stages, we forbid ourselves from acting according to the dictates of it.

I didn’t want it to control me. I sat down on the edge of my seat, thinking carefully about what my next move should be.

Mo and I were standing outside like idiots, and we really had no idea what to do from here. We both had no keys to the house, and no matter how much or how hard we tried to enter, the security was too tight. Even screaming for Ziyaad was worthless. We had no idea what had gone down, but all we knew that my father had it out with Ziyaad for some reason and he messaged Mo for help.

And so we stood there, a little idiotically, pacing the yard. And I realised that I had been a bit impulsive. Maybe we should cool off, and come back tomorrow.

But just as we were losing hope in ever seeing Zee, the sound of the garage-door motor raised our hopes.

Ziyaad emerged, hands in his pocket as he stepped out, slightly shivering in the cold night air.

I scrutinised him.

He looked pretty normal. He even had a small smile on his face, but it was as if it was pasted there. He gave me and Mo a fist bump, and then shoved his hands back in his pockets.

I couldn’t stand the suspense.

“Zee, what the hell?” Mo finally said, looking perplexed. I was just as confused.

He grinned, but there was something not right with his smile. There was something missing… Something about his energy was lacking.

“I didn’t know you’ll were here. Don’t stress. Everything’s okay,” he said, nodding at us and rubbing his eyes. “I need to dos… I’ll catch you guys tomorrow.”

He turned to go back, but I held him by the shoulder, turning him around to face me again.

“I don’t believe you,” I said, looking him in the eye. “Where’s Mummy?”

“She’s asleep,” he said, as if it was so obvious.

“You’re talking crap,” Mo said, narrowing his eyes, and trying to shove past Ziyaad to the house. Ziyaad stopped him, shaking his head. Were they hiding something?

“Not a good idea, boss,” he said, shrugging his shoulders.

We both hadn’t been inside the house for a few months. There was no reason to, and Dad didn’t seem to want us there. I wondered how long this stupid pride would continue. Would Dad ever step down from his mighty throne and come back down to earth?

“You said you’re in trouble,” Mo said, pressing on. I had got the call from Mo, so I had no idea exactly what was going on.

“Just listen and go,” Ziyaad said, getting forceful. “I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”

“This is messed up,” I said, turning to go back to my car. I didn’t want to waste any more time here. I knew we were going nowhere.

Seeing Ziyaad was a small relief, but I knew I would have to wait till tomorrow to find out the real story. The concern about my mother was on my mind, but with Ziyaad there, it was an assurance.

Ziyaad stood in front of the garage door like a guard, watching us go. I shook my head as I left, already making my mind up as to what I needed to do.

Knowing that it was too late to go back to Zaynah, I tried to get some sleep at my place, even though it felt so strange to be alone. I tossed and turned, my mind in overdrive about what I needed to do. I knew that things couldn’t go on the way that it was with my family. I had to either sort it all out, or find a way to remove myself from everything that was playing on my mind. These issues were probably never going to end.

I sat up from the early hours of the morning, till the day starting to break in, knowing that there was no-one else I could turn to and ask for help. My only refuge was with the Almighty, who had rescued me from where I had come from. After dragging me out from the wreck I was in, I had no doubt that He would bring me to a place where I knew exactly where to go from there.

And as morning broke, and I drove around after Fajr Salaah, my mind was already made up. I felt like I was divinely inspired. I wanted to change my life for the better, which meant that I didn’t want anything from my past to come back to haunt me. And I had a plan that could make sure of it.

I pulled up outside Zaynah’s house, eager to see my wife again. Of course I had missed her, but more than anything, I wanted to tell her about my decisions… About where we were headed… How we were going to move forward from now onwards.

The house was already alive because my favourite guy, little Hassan, was still around from yesterday. I knelt down to tickle him playfully, and since everything was just looking a little brighter this morning, his giggles were sounding like the best thing on earth. I grinned back as I watched him, and then looked up to see my wife watching me as she leaned against the doorway, smiling at us both.

Seeing her just made everything okay again, even if it was for that brief moment. The sun shone a little brighter already, and I glimpsed a light ahead in the dark tunnel I had been finding myself in all this while.

I got up and greeted her, knowing that I had a huge task ahead of me. I lead her to the privacy of her room, sitting us both down, finally preparing myself for telling her everything that she needed to know.

I told her about my past and my family, knowing that I might be risking a lot, but also knowing that my conscience would never be clear if I didn’t. I told her about my father and how world-driven he was, not even sparing her the details of how completely appalled he was at my choice of lifestyle and marriage. She nodded, and though it killed me to see her eyes filled with tears that she hastily wiped away, I continued, right till what happened yesterday when I received the phonecall about Ziyaad.

“And now,” I said finally, stuffing my hand in my pocket, relieved that it was all out. “Seems like he’s probably blackmailing Ziyaad with something. My family is messed up, Zay. It’s hectic. But I don’t want us to have to worry about it. That’s why I’ve been thinking about it… About us. About how I need to let go of all the ugliness. About how I want to just get out of here.”

She looked at me, seeming startled by my last statement. Maybe she didn’t think I would want to take it so far. Maybe she didn’t want me to think that way.

I continued, going for the kill.

“Will you come with me?” I asked, hopeful.

I met her gaze, and she looked back at me, her teary eyes, once again, bright.

And then she shook her head, biting her lip slightly, as if she was thinking carefully about her next words. And it was precisely those words that made me understand the wisdom behind choosing a wife who had Deen. It was precisely what she said that brought me back down to reality, because I knew she was worried about where this would put us in the eyes of Allah.

In this day and age, where people were generally so selfish, it was rare to find someone who truly did care about you. It was the perfect opportunity for her to agree, and let us go on with our life as a couple and family, without worrying about my family and leaving the whole world behind. But a wife who swept her own desires aside to make sure that she did what was best for you and your Aakhirah was priceless.

“It doesn’t work that way,” she said softly, shaking her head. “You… We… We can’t just run away. We have to make it right, Waseem.”

I looked at her, confused. It didn’t hit me. I didn’t know why she didn’t want what I wanted. And how did I make it right?

Like she knew what was on my mind, she answered my question before I could even ask.

“You have to speak to your father.”

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