Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
“Don’t go,” Yusuf was pleading with me, as I paced my room, grabbing things off the shelf that I might need.
Headphones. Eye drops. Hair straightener.
All basic necessities, of course.
“I’ll miss you,” he said in a quieter voice, and my heart literally skipped a beat.
I turned to look at his sorrowful face, feeling sorry for the brother that I loved so much. He was the only one who truly cared. Well, so I thought.
In later years, I would often think of him when I saw my youngest brother-in-law. His playfulness was just like Yusuf’s. I just never thought that my brother would grow up so fast and become someone so different to the kid I had once known.
I didn’t think about any of it, or of how I would regret leaving so soon, because I was so fixated on my own problems.
It was my second fight with Ummi that week, and I was so over it. I needed some space and I needed some freedom. I was going move in with my father. At least he had DsTV.
“I can’t believe you!” I had shouted at Ummi Jaan that morning. “Umar gets to go everywhere with his friends, and who knows who else he is with!”
It was true. I had even heard that Umar was interested in some girl, and I had a good mind to let the cat out of the bag and get him into trouble. I knew that his father would freak if he knew about it. To top it all off, he was in the middle of his Matric year.
“Aasiya,” Ummi had said calmly. “Understand, please, darling. You can’t compare yourself to Umar.”
“Exactly,” I scoffed. “Because Umar is your real child, and I’m not!”
Ummi Jaan took a step back, shaking her head. She looked stunned, like she was about to say something else, but I didn’t even give her a chance. I turned on my heel and stomped off, knowing that I had to leave to keep myself sane.
I was sick of being treated like some sort of invalid, just because I was a girl. I couldn’t stand the sexism in this household any longer. The battles were getting too much to handle.
Battles and battles.
I wasn’t even sure what I was fighting over, all those years, when I was caught up in my deluded world. I hated the world. I hated my life. And I hated my real mother for leaving me, because I didn’t understand. I thought that I was cursed.
As much as Ummi Jaan and Umar’s father had tried, I just never saw the bigger picture. I never understood that it was all Allah’s decree. I didn’t understand that He had a greater plan for me…
And I barely anticipated me saying the same words to my husband, as he came in late one night, and I knew that everything that I had put him through was taking it’s toll. I really didn’t realise how difficult I had been until I saw the effect on him.
“Are we married or just living together?” He asked suddenly, and I looked up at him sharply.
I was reading a novel that I had borrowed from a friend of mine, and I knew it was just a waste of time to be reading it, but it was just an excuse to stay up until Mo came home. I just couldn’t seem to sleep until he made his appearance. He seemed to be coming home later and later every night.
He shook his head at me, and I narrowed my eyes at him. He sat on the couch, and looked up at me again.
He had that look on his face again. Almost like he was going to cry.
“I love you,” he said softly, looking at me expectantly.
I didn’t say it back. I wasn’t sure why, but I just couldn’t. I could see that guilt was plaguing him, and I wasn’t going to let him feel better.
“What did you do?” I asked, expecting the worst.
His tired eyes looked back at me. He couldn’t lie. I knew him too well.
“I lost two hundred grand,” he said, shaking his head.
I wasn’t surprised. Back in the day, when I had first met Muhammed, I knew that he would often do small deals that took chances. I knew it was gambling, and I had an idea that today’s incident had to do with the same thing.
When would he ever learn? Making money through Haraam means was only a way to earn Allah’s wrath. That was where all the Barakah in our home was going to.
I was actually glad that he had lost today.
I sighed, shaking my head at him.
“When will you ever learn?!” I snapped at him. “You think that money is just to waste on stupid deals! And that you’ll just win it back in the next one. What is wrong with you?!”
Mo looked down, immediately regretful. He bit his lips nervously, not even daring to look up at me.
“It was just a poker game,” he said quietly, still not meeting my eye. “With the guys.”
Just a poker game? It made me more angry.
The last part was an afterthought, just in case I thought that there were any women involved. I didn’t put it past Muhammed, but he also knew that if I knew about any infidelity issue, I would probably leave.
I felt like I was always such a dragon with him… But I couldn’t help it. When I looked at couples around me, I realised that we needed to change something… But why did he make me so mad?
I was trying so hard to be better, and change our lives. I knew that we were so off-track and we had just started to get things right. But Mo just wasn’t seeing the bigger picture. It was like every time I made a little progress, he took two steps back. It was frustrating.
I gritted my teeth visibly, and then pursed my lips.
Don’t push him away, something was telling me. Win him over.
That was it. Itwas the solution to everything. When Muhammed and I were on good terms, everything was fine. He was even making an effort to go to Masjid, and I could see that he was being so much more particular about what I was nagging him about all this time. I mean, even his Mp3 in his car changed. For Mo, that was huge progress.
But the minute I started going all cold all him, he immediately turned away. He didn’t understand that it wasn’t to do with me. He needed to turn to His Lord.
Where did we go from here, though?
I knew what was driving him to this, and I also knew that I could set it right. I just had to make a little effort.
I slowly approached him, and he looked up at me, almost scared to react. Although nothing in me wanted to, I forced out the slightest of smiles as I sat next to me, wanting him to know that I meant well. He had to know that I wasn’t revving up for a fight again.
I sat right next to him, my hands on my lap and knees almost touching his. I didn’t look up at him, because what I needed to say next would be affected. I took a deep breath, preparing myself for the ultimate pride-breaker. It was something that I couldn’t say all this time, but I knew that I needed to do.
“I’m sorry,” I said to him, still not looking up. “I should have told you before. I should have just been honest.”
That’s all it took. I knew that it was all that we needed to be strong again. It didn’t require us moving mountains. It just meant being a little more considerate.
There was just silence. I could hear his shallow breathing, and I finally dared myself to look up at him, only to see him watching me back all this time.
“I’m sorry too,” he said, a tiny smile forming on his face. “I know you hate poker. I just needed a diversion.”
I nodded. I could understand. But he also needed to know that there was a better way to deal with things. Haraam amusement would do no good.
But this was how Muhammed dealt with things. With Ziyaad’s wedding, his father’s accident and the news I had waited so long to reveal, I knew that Muhammed had a whole lot on his plate right now. It was a really long two weeks, and I just wished I could say something that would ease his fears, or alleviate his burden, but I wasn’t that type who was all caring and comforting. I just couldn’t seem to find the words.
“Why?” He asked now, studying me with a frown on his face.
I shrugged, not trusting myself to say anything yet. He shook his head at me, and his voice changed. He was getting frustrated again, and I couldn’t help him.
I flinched slightly, expecting the explosion at any minute. Muhammed was random in his outbursts, and I always expected the worst.
“Ten years, Aasiya! ” He shouted now, getting up, his hands flailing in the air. “And now you tell me what you knew all this time. Over an SMS! OVER A DAMN SMS, Aasiya!”
He paused, and I watched his forlorn expression.
I wanted to tell him it was an iMessage, but I didn’t think it was a good idea. He was either psyching himself up for more, or he was mellowing down. I wasn’t sure which as yet.
“I feel so…. Tricked!” he finally spat, his voice changing again.
Bitter. That’s what he was.
I breathed in. Then out. Deep breaths. This was why I didn’t tell him. At whatever point, I knew he would have felt the same way about it
The storm was over. He looked like he was ready to calm down again. I was just… Numb.
“Are you sure, Siya?” He said now softly, tenderness in his voice as he sat down and looked at me carefully. “We can’t ever have kids?”
“It’s not that simple,” I said to him bluntly. “There are lots of complications. I always had an ovarian disorder. And now, in ten years, if it still hasn’t happened…”
I trailed off, not completing the sentence.
“It’s either yes or no,” Mo snapped now, getting annoyed. “You keep putting my questions off! You don’t understand how stupid it makes me feel!”
I think I did know. And maybe I did it on purpose, but sometimes I didn’t know how to answer my husband.
This was the sore truth: In ten years, with no other intervention, it just never happened. Doctors say the beginnings of Endometriosis were visible and they weren’t sure how much longer I would have a chance.
“Some things are not black or white,” I said firmly, looking at Muhammed in the eye for the first time in two weeks.
It was time for honesty. Pure honesty.
“It’s not a business deal, Muhammed. This is life. There’s only one Greater Power here, who is in charge of everything. He knows why He puts us in the situation we are in, and He will take us out. Only He knows the truth of it. This is how we build ourselves, and learn to trust in Him. Not only because we need Him, but because we want Him, and we want to please Him. ”
It was what I had come to realise, and what had hit me now after so many years of fighting to come to terms with the truth. After so many years of battling with the demons of the past.
It is of Allah’s infinite mercy that some of the believers who have been tried greatly in this world and have remained patient will meet Him without any sins in their records at all. I couldn’t imagine being of that calibre, but I made an intention to place my trust in Him.
To wake up and do what needs to be done. To take care of myself and my husband. To pray, to work, to live… But all that while, remembering to trust Him. To never say that except which pleases Allah.
The human heart is just a little, fragile piece of muscle, but with true patience, it is able to carry the kind of pain that would cause a mountain to crumble.
Like when Yacoob (AS) lost his beloved son Yusuf to the ‘wolf’, he didn’t complain and make it known how distraught he was. He didn’t employ a third party to ensure that all was as it was said. He trusted in his Lord and endured it patiently… He lived the grief and he experienced great difficulty. But he did it beautifully. And so, he was rewarded for his patience, like his son was too.
And yes, sometimes the rewards are not immediate. Sometimes it takes years and years of enduring the worst kind of pain you thought you could ever go through. Like stepping onto razor thin segments of glass and muffling your screams, the tears stinging at your eyes from the pain, you smile and do not say a word.
You learn to truly live in Sabr, because that is what will determine your ultimate reward. The beauty that you desire.
“Say, ‘O My servants who have believed, fear your Lord. For those who do good in this world is good, and the earth of Allah is spacious. Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account'” (39:10).
There is no power or might except that of Allah. HE is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs for us.
With Sabr, the storm will cease, the burdens will ease and we’ll eventually find refuge under the shelter of our Lord. Allah’s promise is always true.
With difficulty, there is always ease.
Muhammed swallowed and looked away, and I could see him thinking hard, because he was fiddling with his fingers. It was a habit of his when he was deep in thought.
“Okay, so we can still try?” He eventually said, looking hopeful.
I smiled at him now, amused by his persistence.
“Let’s work on other things first,” I said, avoiding his question.
I knew I had things to work on and so did he. Mo still had some childish habits, and I had some issues that I needed to deal with. I knew it would probably take me delving into my past and reliving a bit of it, but if it meant it would help my marriage and my entire frame of mind, I knew it had to be done.
And as we sat there smiling at each for those few moments that seemed like they were lasting forever, the sounding of intercom literally made me jump.
At this hour, who would be coming to visit?
Muhammed looked at me, slightly confused, and then went off to check the CCTV. I could hear him talking from the hallway, but all I caught onto was a few words of his that made me even more confused.
“Siya,” he said, coming into the room, looking a bit worried. “There’s a lady outside with her husband. She says she’s your mother.”
The Prophet said:
“He who believes in Allah and the Hereafter, if he witnesses any matter he should talk in good terms about it or keep quiet.” [Muslim]