Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
As you tread the path of life, unavoidably, your outlook on life gets altered. You sometimes get acquainted with the lull of life, and sometimes, you come face-to-face with reality. Most importantly, though, you learn a few things about yourself… About the limits you can go to, before it comes crashing down.
And, of course, through the ups and downs, peaks and troughs, you begin to notice that not all injuries can be seen from the outside.
You come to realise that not all wounds are superficial.
Most run deeper than we can see, beneath the surface, somewhere beyond the place that’s visible with the naked eye.
The thing is, with those type of injuries, no matter how hard we work at it, some wounds might never fully heal. You might have to change your whole life… Adjust to a whole new way of living…
What matters though, is to accept that things may start to change. That life would be different and might never be the same again. And the more we’re willing to give up what we know and accept what things have become, we’ll understand that we can finally reach that place that we’ve been striving to all this time. A place where we can be a little more at peace… A little more content with Divine decree. A place where we truly belong.
“It’s where I need to be right now,” Waseem was saying now, as he stepped out to leave, and I completely understood what he was saying.
“I know,” My voice said, looking into his determined eyes and remembering that fervour that I had once had.
I was like that too. Anything for the sake of Deen. And I wanted to be easy, and just be selfless, but my heart was on a completely different wavelength.
Don’t be that wife, I was telling myself. Don’t be the type of woman who can’t even let go… Who can’t even make a simple sacrifice.
“You keep this,” he said, taking out his phone and handing it to me. “I won’t need it.”
I looked at him, already panicking. How will I contact him? What if I needed him?
Stop it, I berated myself.
I was being ridiculous. I mean, I had literally just met someone, a young woman who I admired so much, who had let go of so much and for so long, just for the sake of her and her husband’s passion for Deen. And I couldn’t even say goodbye for two weeks.
I was acting so… Needy. I hated it.
I nodded slowly, but my initial reaction was too obvious for him to miss.
“Zaynah,” he said softly, and I knew I would give in. My heart just dissolved into something beyond putty as he came towards me, his arms already outstretched.
I could already feel the tears welling up, and his arms grasped me tightly as I breathed him in, trying to capture that moment, so that it could last me for the next two weeks or so.
My tough girl act didn’t work in these kind of situations. He let go and leaned back while he looked at me, now smiling his usual mysterious smile. He was probably thrilled that I was actually showing some human emotion.
“Love you,” he said, planting a kiss on my cheek as he let go.
I grinned back , through glistening tears, as he turned to leave, my eyes not daring to leave him as he got into the car and sped off, already feeling the very palpable hole in my gut. I was stuck in my world of emotional anxiety, wondering when I would see his face again, when a voice from behind me broke my thoughts.
“Is he gone?”
I didn’t reply.
Wasn’t it obvious?
I hated it when people asked questions that were almost rhetorical. And right now, beside the fact that I wasn’t in the best of moods, I just didn’t feel like speaking to Nabeela again. Not yet.
“Zay, really?!” She was saying. “You’re still angry at me? Come on!”
I ignored her and walked to the kitchen, going to make Abbi’s morning tea. I wasn’t even sure why Nabeela was awake at this hour.
“I’m sorry, okay?” She said, sitting down on a wooden stool, cuffing her chin in her hands. “I was just telling you what I heard. I didn’t mean to cause any problems.”
That was probably a lie. In my opinion, Nabeela and her friends probably had nothing better to do than investigate silly stories that were being spread in the community. The accusation that Waseem was with one of the her friends 45th cousins, last weekend at some house, was the latest rumour that had reached me through Nabeela. And it wasn’t the first time I had heard that sort of junk.
Besides all of that, I needed to start preparing myself for Ramadhaan that was just about two weeks away. I didn’t want to get caught up in all the unnecessary talks and stories that I knew had little basis. I needed to shift my focus to more important things, and Nabeela needed to do the same. I realised how important it was to watch the way we spoke.
Often, people just spoke for the sake of it… Or because there was some juicy story to relate. We needed to learn to control the weapon in our mouths that caused the most destruction.
“Let’s just forget about it, okay?” I said finally, looking at her morbid expression. She nodded and lightened up instantly.
I was still shocked about her telling me outright that she thought Waseem was ‘messing around’. It wasn’t really her place to say, and you just can’t make accusations like that.
And although I was pretty sure that Waseem wouldn’t hurt me like that, if the opportunity was there, it just made me feel a tiny bit insecure. And that’s what made letting go of him just a little more of a test.
I brushed away the negative feelings, determined to get through these two weeks with no silly thoughts playing on my mind.
The Ramadhaan atmosphere was a much needed diversion from the lull that had become my life. I had lost focus.. And I had lost my drive. I need to start to put some real effort into what I needed to achieve, and start preparing myself spiritually for the blessed month.
As I sat with my list of goals and aspirations, I realised why Waseem had left his phone behind. He had said that Maulana had advised them to do so, for obvious reasons.
Technology was the first distraction that I needed to get rid off, and I made that my first intention. I would divorce any form of technology in this month. If I felt a need to take a ‘break’ from ibaadat, the ideal thing would be to read a beneficial kitaab or rather, just go to sleep.
As I looked over my list, determined to make Qur’an my first priority in the blessed month, I wished that I could actually do justice to my goals. They say if our hearts were clean we wouldn’t ever tire of reading Allah’s beautiful words, and I really wanted to make the most of this Ramadaan, and not just starve my body for the sake of it. I wanted to actually nourish my soul in the process.
There was so much more to Ramadaan that just fasting during the days. We forget that Allah does not need anyone’s fast if it only means us staying away from food.
Allah does not need the fast of one who does not abandon false speech or acting according to his false speech [Bukhari and others]]
And by just fasting, and then continuing to abuse my mouth and push sins to the limit, I will be gaining nothing. But when it came to the purpose of the month, we had to realise why it was given to us.
To attain taqwa. So that we may begin to know Allah. To feel Him. To truly gain the awareness that we are supposed to feel, regarding our Rabb, Lord of the Worlds.
And Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an [in meaning]:
“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so perchance you may attain Taqwa.”
And the ‘prescription’, like a doctor will order, is meant to heal and improve. Such as the days of fasting will be for me, to heal my soul, and I started gaining the momentum that I felt was so important. The excitement and atmosphere in the community itself could be felt.
It was just… Different. Even the roads seemed that much calmer, even though the hustle and bustle was a little more serious as everyone prepared for Ramadaan. And it was amazing how everyone, even the people who I so judgementally called ‘part-time Muslims’, made this month their month, like they were claiming it completely, as if it was going to be the great opportunity to do some rejuvination. This Ramadaan was meant just for them. A chance to make their own reformation… Maybe to even change their life and direction.
And I too, needed to work on so much. I patched things up with Nabeela, realising that squabbling was so silly. I spoke to my mother-in-law, because I knew it would do me good, and put all my ill feelings about people somewhere where I was certain I couldn’t retrieve them.
It was time for the grand opening… The main event. Ramadaan was already a few days away and my heart was literally thudding in anticipation as I made sure everything in the house was prepared for the month. I was sure that Waseem was due to be back soon (I hoped), and I looked forward to our Ramadaan more than ever, because it would be the first together.
I sniffed the air as the Adhaan sounded at Maghrib on that last day, convinced that it was going to be the night that the moon would be sighted. I was certain that the air was already feeling different as I pushed opened the window a little more, glimpsing the winter sunset at it’s best, as a single blue bird flew across the colourful horizon.
I was struck with awe as I witnessed the obvious beauty.
Sweet Ramadaan. I could already feel it. When all the Masaajid came alive. When charity was in abundance. When people vied with each other to perform the most ibaadat.
But, most importantly, the birthday of the Qur’an. The one celebration that we can really give recognition to, because this birthday is no ordinary one. It requires utmost preparation. It awaits premium recitation. The taraweehs and Qiyaam-al-Layl are buzzing as the men aspire to complete multiple Juz in just a few Raka’a. Really, it was amazing, and even in our new house and neighbourhood, I could feel the weight of love of Duniyaa slowly lifting off.
Ramadaan was on the doorstep, and as I realised it, I couldn’t help but think about loved ones who won’t be seeing this one.
I thought of Mummy, and other family members, and it seemed like the season of losses was coming to it’s close. As Ramadaan was drawing in, I knew that all who were lost will be remembered.
Spouses will recall sweet moments spent making Suhoor and Du’aa together, and children will wish their parent was there just this one more Ramadaan, so they could nag them about all the extra things they needed to achieve. Brothers will long for their sisters, and sisters will yearn for their brothers. Sweet memories of Ramadaans previously spent will be etched in their memories, as they remembered every detail of what they would be missing as the days would progress… And of course, they would move on.
Because life did go on, and though memories of them talking and laughing will be so clear, now, the reality was that they were now lifeless, shrouded in white, also already moved on.
My mind was occupied with these thoughts as I went around the house closing curtains after Salaah, and I could feel the anticipation as everyone prepared for Taraweeh that night. The appetite of Ibaadat was like a fever, and I couldn’t help myself from wanting to just do as much as I could, knowing that the rewards were greater in this blessed month. And as I finally almost fell off to sleep whilst trying to complete yet another para of Qur’an, I crawled into bed, too tired and forgetting to set my alarm, as habitual practise, for the next morning.
I woke up with a shock as Nabeela hovered over me with a panicked look the next morning, repeating to me like I was some invalid that there were only 15 minutes left till Sehri expired. Fifteen minutes!
I jumped up, wondering how Abbi had overslept. It was always his habit to wake up extra early. Especially since it was the first fast and since he was always awake, he took it upon himself to rise the whole household. I was just glad that Nabeela was here for the first few fasts this year, because an extra person was just a comfort to have around.
I hurriedly switched on the stove and kettle, and then rushed off to Abbi’s room to wake him. The whole thing was just so out of character for Abbi, but I didn’t even process the signs. I didn’t even acknowledge the obvious.
I entered the room, and not seeing Abbi in bed, immediately glanced towards the end of the room. Abbi’s Musallah was out and I just guessed that he was making the most of the last third of the night, which was so Mubarak.
Maybe he had woken up late too… Or maybe he had got side-tracked… Or maybe… Maybe he had just lost track of time.
I went forward, watching him lean against the cold white wall behind his Musalla.
“Abbi,” I said softly, stepping forward and watching him carefully, my hands already beginning to tremble.
It was only then, that reality hit me. Instead of seeing his fingers moving on the familiar wooden Tasbeeh that was just near his hand, his fingers were stagnant. The rhythmic heaving of his chest was not even remotely visible as he sat, almost upright, his shoulder propped against two pillows placed in the corner. In a daze, I immediately looked up at his face, noticing his eyes tightly shut as his head leaned to one side, as if he was asleep.
Fear gripped my very soul as I leant down, almost breaking down at that very moment. I shouted for Nabeela, completely aware of everything that had already happened.
I didn’t cry. I didn’t even go into a panic. Through Allah’s grace, shock didn’t take over. I merely leant down to confirm the truth, so I knew it was real.
My hands were damp as I bent down to verify. And yes… Though his hands were still warm, the pulse was gone. Like it had just stopped… All of a sudden. And as I watched his expression, I felt as if his soul was just eased out of his body, so peaceful was his entire lifeless presence.
Not all wounds are superficial. Most wounds run deeper than we can see, beneath the surface, somewhere beyond the place that’s visible with the naked eye. And some, just take us completely by surprise.
The cards were laid on the table, and death was trumps.
The biggest reality, to nullify every other worldly factor that had creeped into our unmindful existence. It’s always difficult, but it hits you hardest when it’s someone who is so beloved to you… Someone so close. Like the punch in the stomach… Blurring your vision for a short time, and then bringing us back to focus on reality. The reality after this life…
That death didn’t look at your wealth, status or your dependants. Death didn’t look at your beauty, expectant daughters or wives, or wait for you to meet your grandchild. Death didn’t even care about whether you had prepared for it’s coming or not.
I looked at Abbi’s face one last time. He had barely hit his late forties…. He had only a few strands of grey in his beard. Death, in it’s ferocity, didn’t even look at your age.
And yes, it breaks homes, and yes, it destroys souls. It is awful and painful, yet only a reality that we have to face. As if it was ripped out, your heart will never be the same again. And my heart broke a little more, knowing that this Ramadaan will be the hardest I will ever face without my parents, but also, the most real that I’d ever felt.
Because the realisation then hit me: This was only meant as a reminder… To remind us that indeed, each and every one of us belong to our Creator only.
Allah sends us these sudden reminders that jolts us… That get us to see the bigger picture…
That my loved one, yours, or whoever else’s, are merely loans to us, who will have to be returned.
For those who have passed on, they souls have returned, because Allah Almighty has called them back home.
In turn, we remember, for us who are still alive, that we too should return, as Ramadaan comes, with our bodies and hearts. We return to Him, and turn to Him for our solace, peace and comfort, because it is never too late to do so. We never know when our time will be up, and when Allah will, as HE feels fit, will take back what belongs to Him.
We return to Him… Rujoo’ Illalah… In both life and in death.
Author’s Note: Assalamualaikum dear readers. Ramadaan kareem to one and all.
This is the last post before Ramadaan, and InshaAllah, I will only post again after Ramadaan. It just takes too much of precious time, and in this month, let us make extra effort to engage in extra Ibaadat. Let us try and leave our phones aside, and do some kitaab reading or Dhikrullah. Let us also try to revive our Sunnahs once again. Let us try and research all the Sunnah Du’aas this month and practise them. Let’s make it a challenge to try and read as many Sunnah Du’aas a day so it can become habitual. Eating, sleeping, toilet, drinking water, and even dressing up. Everything can become an Ibaadat if we make Niyyah, InshaAllah. I will try and post some Du’aas in Ramadaan, InshaAllah.
Also, as a reminder: I received this a few weeks ago with regard to a death in the community, and wanted to share.
‘Every year before Ramadaan, Allah sends us these sudden reminders that jolts us out of our slumber. It’s so important for us to take lesson. We just go on with our day to day lives and we forget the bigger picture and that is to become close to Allah and to prepare for meeting Him and the everlasting life of the hereafter. We feel like we will live long… We will see our children grow up.. We will live to see our grandchildren…
We feel as though we still have time and we will change… But does that day come? We have to make a concerted effort to change our lives and make deen the focus of our own lives and the lives of our children… Life is indeed too short for silly quarrels and killing ourselves for material gain.
Allah tested this family enormously and they have glad tidings as Allah promises glad tidings for those who have sabr. Allah promises a palace in Jannah for passing this type of test.
Mothers and sisters…
Let’s soul search.. Let’s check our own lives for reformation and let’s use this eye opener as the day when we ourselves changed our direction in life towards Allah’s pleasure and obedience…’
May Allah give is the tawfeeq. Please… Always in need of Du’aas.