Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Waseem: Crunch time...
I gazed at her, my mind boggled by the wisdom behind her words. She spoke way beyond her years, as if she had the knowledge of someone much older and world-wise.
But what beat me was… Why should she care? What did it matter to her if my family was messed up? We could just sweep it all under the rug.
But she wanted to make it right. She was adamant about it. And she was, of course, saying the right thing. Just the thing that I needed to hear.
“That’s your father,” she said to me, meeting my gaze. “No matter what, even if you don’t agree with him or his choices. Don’t give up on anyone. He must have something in him if he raised a son to be like you…”
I could easily say that her words just blew me away, but the truth was that what she said inspired a realisation that I had never come to before.
Its where I realised that this is where it begins. By compromising, the building of a life starts… The building of character, the building of sabr, patience, perseverance, and sacrifice. The building of selflessness. The building of love.
And the building of a path back to Him, because that was precisely what she was trying to make of me. To make me aspire to please my Lord in whatever actions I do. To try and regain whatever I might have lost. To get in tune to the thoughts that kept me grounded… What had lead me to her…
Because when it came to family and kinship.. We sometimes underestimate how much of Barakah is removed from our selfish actions. We have no idea how deep in we get ourselves if we don’t make effort on each other. Even for the tiniest of issues, we think nothing of just acting as if that person never existed. We will take any opporttunity to break off ties for sometimes petty reasons.
“The one who maintains a relationship with his relatives only because they maintain a relationship with him is not truly upholding the ties of kinship. The one who truly upholds those ties is the one who does so even if they break off the relationship.” (Reported by al-Bukhari).
And it was so true that it took no effort to do right to a person who you harboured no enmity towards… But when you had to be good to the one injured your ego, it took a real man… A real Muslim.
But for us, we use every excuse to continue to admonish people. We ignore them because of pride. We avoid them because we want to prove a point. Stupid quarrels and arguments over worldly things gets us all up in arms… But over what?
“You’re right,” I said finally, looking at her again.
It was time to actually do what I needed to. It was time to face me fear. I was never scared of confrontation, but something about what I knew lay ahead for me was a bit daunting.
I sat down next to Zaynah, attempting to comfort her, but knowing that nothing I could say would ever make it all okay.
It was too much. It was all too much.
Her eyes said it, even though she offered me a small smile.
I spent some time with her that day, even though I had lots of things to sort out. Being married brought a lot of other responsibilities, and I knew that I had to prove my worth… That she hadn’t made a mistake with me… That she didn’t choose wrong.
And then I had to step up, and sort out the dilemma that lay before me. I planned it in my mind, the the entire thing, plotting the conversation and hoping that it would all go according to expectation. It was a long shot.
Either way, I had to do it, so later that week, I headed off to Dad’s town offices, somewhat wary and uneasy. I tried to shake off the feeling that I might be doing the most uncalculated thing ever. It was the first time I would see Dad since the fateful day of my Nikah, and I wasn’t really anticipating a warm reception. I sat in my car for a few seconds, building up the courage to step out. I checked on my phone, looking for a reason to procrastinate.
And because I could no longer find a reason to wait, I opened my door slowly, getting ready to take a chance. I had to.
I climbed the stairs slowly to the foyer entrance, but as I reached the top, I realised that I wouldn’t have to go any further. My father was heading out, Ziyaad in tow, and they were coming straight to towards me.
I immediately stiffened, knowing that this could be disastrous. I froze… Caught completely unaware. I was almost immobile as I stood there, just watching them walk toward me and stop just about a metre away.
And then, I looked at Dad. And he looked at me. Ziyaad just looked at both of us, from Dad to me, and back at Dad.
I already realised that I had to play this carefully. We were still looking at each other, until I couldn’t take it any longer. Stepping on egg shells was like a foreign territory for me. I had to get over this awkwardness.
“Dad,” I said, taking a tiny step forward, looking at the floor.
There was a few moments of silence before I finally had the guts to look up again, but when I did, instead of seeing the thunderous face that I knew so well, Dad looked at me with something just a little different to enmity in his eyes.
He walked down the path way, gesturing for me to join him as he walked.
I was quite confused, I won’t lie. But the relief that wasn’t going to catch the worst of it quite yet was like a miraculous turn of events. I was completely taken aback.
“Let’s take a drive,” he said, and I knew that it was his way of saying, “Let’s talk.”
Of course, I needed the opportunity.
I jumped in the car and both of them followed me, as Dad directed me to where he wanted to go. Ziyaad was strangely silent, and I wasn’t really paying attention to where we were headed, because I was mostly focussed on what I was going to say. It was just that every time I tried to start a conversation, Dad either changed the topic, or got busy talking on his phone. And although Dad had lost a lot of my respect, the truth was… I didn’t hate him. I was still far from that. I still wanted him to accept me. I still craved his support.
And so I ignored the signs that we were heeded for somewhere deep beyond what I could handle. I ignored the candid remarks he made about making it big and letting everything else just slide under the rug. I even ignored it when he told me that I needed to just see this one house, and my whole outlook on life would change. And before anything else could digest, I realised we had pulled up outside a stainless steel gate that was the beginning of a huge driveway, and Dad was calling someone for access.
The gate was already opening as I made my way forward,
“This is the house I’m buying,” he said, glancing at me, and then looking out the window, forcing me to take in my surroundings.
Two huge spans of land were on either side, and as we reached a circular driveway with a fountain centrally situated, a massive house lay ahead.
Honestly, the place was awesome. It had the best of both. Contemporary living combined with a dose of natural scenery. A huge dose. It was also in one of the most sought-after suburbs. I just wasn’t sure why Dad was buying another house. He had just spent a ton of money on his current one.
The chase for the world would never end.
Nevertheless, I got off the car, slightly apprehensive because I didn’t want to get caught up in any of Dad’s deals again. The fact that he was just entertaining me with no questions, was already getting my guard up. I knew business and I knew how he operated. I knew he always had some plan for anything that he did, and right now, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to know what that plan entailed. Right now, I wasn’t even certain about where this would land up… But I was already into the crux of it.
Ziyaad seemed like he was back to his normal self as he took his own tour, raising his eyebrows where required.
“Boss,” he said quietly, looking impressed, as Dad walked ahead to another area. “This place is to-opsss!”
I shook my head at him, knowing he was getting carried away. That’s what Dad wanted for me. I knew that. But I couldn’t let myself feel it.
The guided tour that my father was putting us through seemed to never end, and although we all agreed that the place was awesome, I really just wanted to move on. I wanted it to get to the point where I could actually talk about what had become the big problem between us. What was this whole thing about anyway? And why was my father acting so strangely normal?
“And this is the entertainment area,” my father said finally, as the guy who was showing him around opened yet another door. It was the hugest room yet, with laminated flooring and and aluminium and glass finish all around, to give it that perfect indoor-outdoor look.
No matter how amazing it was, I was now tired. I needed to know what the point of this show was. I wasn’t part of Dad’s business any more.
I just needed to know where I stood. Fine, he was buying the place. But why show me?
“Dad, what did you bring me here for?” I asked candidly, stopping him in his tracks as he scrutinised the wallpaper.
He turned around, looking me in the eye.
“I’m doing a deal with the owner… A friend of mine you know,” he said, watching me carefully.
“And… I’m buying it for you.”
What? He looked like he was quite sure about what he was saying.
I frowned at him, shaking my head. Why on earth would Dad want to buy me a house? After threatening me, sabotaging my finances and literally cutting me off from my entire family, now he was being Father Christmas? It was just damn suspicious. Not to mention, over-generous. There had to be a catch. This wasn’t my father’s style.
I didn’t want to ask what the punch-line was, but as fate would have it, an older man who had to be my father’s friend walked in, and a girl’s slightly piercing voice from behind him caught all of our attention. Actually, there were two. Two girls… Well, ladies.
“Uncle Cass!” One almost screeched, although she would have been perfectly audible had she just spoken normally.
The older man looked vaguely familiar, and it was a while before I realised who he was. He had emigrated a few years back, but it seemed like he was back in town.
Ziyaad, of course, was still gawking as I turned to see his expression, and curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to know who the voice belonged to.
She was walking slowly towards Dad, and he smiled at her as she embraced him with one arm, as if she knew him really well. My eyes lingered just a few seconds longer as I watched the other extremely souped-up hijaabi chic turn around to look at Ziyaad and I.
“Are these the boys?” she asked, scrutinising us, and not in the least feeling awkward about it.
The boys? It was only then that I remembered to look down.
I berated myself because I had got carried away, but I had promised myself that it wouldn’t happen again. It was so unlike me. I shouldn’t be here… I didn’t know these people. Or did I?
“Waseem and Ziyaad,” Dad replied, since both Ziyaad and I were looking around, just slightly out of place. What else, exactly, could we do?
My father had no idea that this was all wrong. How could he understand?
“He must have something in him if he raised a son to be like you…”
Zaynah’s words came back to me as I remembered her advice. To never give up. Could I ever make him see the light?
“I’m sure you’ll remember Rubeena and Radiyya?” Dad was saying, and I knew he was talking to us.
Somehow, the memories etched somewhere in the back of mind seemed to resurface as I delved in… Trying to make sense of it all. These people. A lifetime that I’d shoved behind me, determined to move forward with my life, doing it the right way.
But it came to me, like an epiphany, whether I liked it or not… It was what came with how we had lived. So normal, even today. Aimless evenings that went well past midnight, playing silly games and watching movies on DStv, as we grew up together. Our parents would expect us to entertain ourselves at social functions they had at home or evenings out.
It was no big deal. Really. We were kids, until we got just a little older, and we realised that we were growing up. You could say that we had really got to know each other then…
But now… We were entirely different people. They were strangers to me, and I had no inclination whatsoever to change that. It was no stress. Past was past.
I knew the plan now, but I also knew that this wasn’t fair to anyone. And not to Zaynah. I had to think fast, and change the idea my father had about this huge reunion.
And then… It hit me. Right now, was crunch time.
I could either go with the flow, and act like it was all cool…
Or I could do what I knew was right… And just get out of here.
Author’s Note: Dearest Muslimahs and readers. Assalaamu Alaikum.
This is just to inform everyone that I will not be posting during Ramadhaan. May Allah enable us to make the most of this month ahead. I also intend on starting Revive a Sunnah again, so Insha Allah, let’s make an effort to start with our first one, which is the Sunnah of Miswaak. It has multiple benefits that we can never imagine.
May Allah enable us to implement into our lives. JazakAllah to all for the tremendous support and comments.. Sometimes I have no idea why anyone even reads what I write, but may Allah enable it to be a guidance for us. Let us try and prepare ourselves to be the best Muslims for the sacred month ahead. Much love, Ma’asalaam!