Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Waseem: Capturing it in my mind...
Do you ever have those moments that just sweep you away?
You never see them coming or anticipate it… But when it happens, you can’t help but think to yourself…
It is only through the grace of my Rabb.
And of course, nothing in this world takes place without His knowledge or allowance. Nothing moves, nothing stands still, without the might and command of the Almighty.
Every bounty and special privilege that we are blessed with, is owed to none but Him. And when I looked at my wife, Wallahi, I could only imagine that Allah had made made her mine as some kind of Sadaqah to me. And of course, there is no generosity like that of my Lord. I could see it in each waking moment that she was by my side, and just by seeing her, it made me grateful. Wasn’t that in itself such a special bounty?
But among the bounties of our Lord, are many that we choose not to notice at all. We go through each passing day as if it is our right, somewhat oblivious to how privileged we have been all along. And that is precisely why so beautifully, we are reminded to look. To open our eyes and to see. And not just to look once… To look again, and take in our surroundings. To soak it up. To drink it in.
And in the Surah that is said to intercede for one in the depths of the darkness of the graves, Allah says to mankind:
You can see no fault in the creation of Ar-Rahmaan [the Most Merciful].
Then look again: Can you see any rifts?
Then look – again and yet again, your sight will return to you in a state of humiliation and worn out. [Qur’an Al-MuIk (67): 3-4].
And Allah urges with us to look… To check if there is any disorder… To see that there is no fault. And even though we look, and sometimes, we may look multiple times, if the Almighty has not enabled one to see, however much you may try to see it, you will never be awestruck. And then of course, there are the ones who, in every waking moment, and in every single thing, they only see Allah. They attribute the beauty to nothing else but Him… And that itself, is a spectacular mercy.
“What are you thinking, angel?” I murmured quietly, careful not to startle her. I was watching my wife as she gazed out along the coast overlooked Knysna.
I glimpsed the sunset in the distance, accelerating slightly, because I wanted to make it for Maghrib Salaah in time. I wasn’t sure if I would. Salaah at the roadside was looking like a safer option.
“I’m not even thinking, Waseem,” she said softly, glancing back at me for just a millisecond before her eyes fixated on the window once again. “I’m just taking this all in. It’s beautiful… SubhaanAllah.”
I smiled at her, but she didn’t see it because she couldn’t tear her eyes away. The sunset just above the towering mountain, and the reflective lake as the perfect backdrop created the most breathtaking view. It was a scene even I wanted to immerse myself in, but of course, I couldn’t risk the driving.
We had taken a two-day break and drive away on the scenic route, whilst Ziyaad, ignited with a sudden compassion after the big test he was facing, insisted that he would hold the show down at home.
I felt bad that he had so much on his plate, but I had a feeling that he was on a tiny guilt trip for not stepping up earlier. His wife was at her parents for some TLC, and he said that he would stay at the main house while she was there. It was some relief that my parents wouldn’t be completely alone.
Muhammed was slightly more present than usual, but I could see that there will still some issues him and his wife were working on. After ten years of marriage no-one would think that they were actually going through a rough patch, but from Mo’s moods, I knew exactly what was going down. There were some things that only a woman could do to a man.
“What are you thinking?”
Her voice cut through my thoughts, and I immediately glanced up, seeing her gazing at me questioningly.
“You looked so lost in thought,” she continued. “Are you finding it hard to ‘switch off’?”
I chuckled, reaching for Zaynah’s hand.
“I’m thinking about life,” I said vaguely, holding her relatively tiny hand in mine. “Everyone around us. Everyone has their own tests… Their own battles… I wonder sometimes…”
I trailed off, not wanting to continue.
“What?” She pressed, and I could hear the slight urgency in her voice.
I wanted to protect her from my morbid thoughts, but she was the only refuge I had.
“I wonder when is my turn,” I finally spilt out. “When will it be my turn? Everything’s been so easy since I met you…”
It was true. When it came to Zaynah, she just made things… Easy. Possible. There was always a solution. She was so warm and accommodating, that I couldn’t help but feel that she was giving more than she was supposed to.
“Don’t say that,” she scolded, with a slightly cross face. “Say Alhumdulillah. Everything’s been easy, yes, but you’ve come a long way, Waseem. You’ve changed so much… You’re memorising the Qur’an… Don’t think that you did nothing good.”
I shook my head, but remained silent. If only she knew how messed up I was before I found her. If only she knew how off-track my entire life had been, before I finally got some navigation.
“I feel like I’ve sinned so much in my past,” I continued quietly. “There has to be something huge and dark waiting for me… And I’d rather have it happen now than later.”
I knew I was getting too deep into this, because I could see Zaynah’s frown deepening, and I knew she was getting upset.
“I can’t believe you’re talking like that,” she said angrily. “Allah can choose to forgive anything! You need to stop worrying, and get over it. Whatever it is that you face, you know I’ll be here… And if not, Allah is always there. Don’t forget. He remains.”
I blinked, stunned by her words. The words that literally plagued me since I had heard them.
He remains. He always remains.
I knew that. Of course.
And she didn’t have to say it, but Allah knew that there was a reason why she said exactly what I need to hear. I just couldn’t help but feel unsettled about what she had said before that. If she’s not here….
If she’s not here… What would I do?
I would soon come to know, even though in my blissful oblivion, I was completely unaware.
“I need you here,” I said stubbornly, sounding like that annoying and obsessed type. “And if you leave me, I will stalk you till I die.”
I put on a serious face, to show I meant business.
“And if I die first?” Zaynah said, and I could hear a slight amusement in her voice.
I refused to give in. I was actually a bit upset that she was taking this so lightly.
“Then I won’t marry again,” I said seriously. “So I can stalk you in Jannah. If I make it.”
Zaynah burst out laughing, and it was only after a few seconds that I realised how stupid I sounded. I mean, who stalks in the place where our every desire and hope will be fulfilled?
It was insane.
A grin slowly crept begrudgingly on my face, and Zaynah still giggled to herself as we drove along.
“This reminds me,” she said quietly, stifling her giggles. “About the most amazing story.”
“Tell me,” I urged her, checking my watch and realising that we would have to stop soon. A few minutes were to spare, and I waited anxiously for Zaynah to tell me what was on her mind.
“The story of Umm Salamah,” she said mysteriously. I looked at her sideways, thinking that I knew the story.
But, of course, Zaynah always had something special up her sleeve. If I thought that my love was fierce, what she told me next brought on another dimension. The story of Abu and Umm Salamah Radiyallahu Anhum was nothing short of amazing.
And though it was a beautiful tale that many know, of how true love can come twice, the real romance here was that it came twice, because of the immense love that this couple had for each other.
Her real name was Hind bint Abu Umayyah, who became famous by the name Umm Salamah. She was noble by birth, intelligent, learned, wise and skillful. She was first married to ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abdul Asad Makhzumi, known as Abu Salamah. He was the son of the Prophet’s paternal aunt Barrah bint Abdul Muttalib. He too, belonged to the select band of people who were the first to accept Islam. He was known for his integrity, valour, generosity, tolerance and patience. He was the eleventh person to come into the fold of Islam. He was also the foster brother of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) through the ties of breast-feeding.
This family and couple faced many trials since their acceptance of Islam, but this only strengthened their love and attachment to each other. After a fierce battle, a wounded Abu Salamah lay on his deathbed.
Umm Salamah (RA) tearfully told her husband, “If the husband of a woman dies and he is of the people of Paradise, and his wife dies after him without having remarried, Allah will bring them back together in Jannah. Let us pledge that neither of us will remarry!”
SubhaanAllah. It was unfathomable to imagine… The man was on his deathbed, but the fact here was that the concern of this woman was not who was going to provide for her after her husbands death, or what will be the condition of her and her family. It was only their Aakhirah that they were immersed in.
And of course, the most awesome reply to her, when Abu Salamah (RA) asked her, “Will you obey me in whatever I request of you?”
Fervently, Umm Salamah (RA) replied, “Of course!”
Abu Salamah (RA) gazed at her, his heart overflowing with love for her, and told her, “If I die, swear to me that you will remarry!”
While Umm Salamah (RA) looked on in shock, he supplicated to Allah: “O Allah! Provide for Umm Salamah a man who is better than me!”
And because his love for her was so much, he wanted her to be taken care of.
Umm Salamah (RA) had spent her ‘iddah grieving for her deceased husband, her heart breaking every time she thought of his gentleness, his kindness, his courage, and his patience. As she cradled her newborn daughter, she wept at the thought that Abu Salamah would never see his daughter, and that there might be no man who would be willing to raise another man’s children as his own.
She thought back often on his words and wondered, in anguish, “Who could be better than Abu Salamah?”
And of course, the conclusion of the story, everyone knows…. When her ‘iddah ended at the birth of her daughter, Zaynab, RasulAllah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked for her hand in marriage.
Abu Salamah’s (RA) Du’a had been answered, and once again, Umm Salamah (RA) experienced the wonder and beauty of true love.
SubhaanAllah. The Sahaba RA were just awesome. There was no other word for it. When I heard about them, it shook me to the core because I knew that we could never compare.
“Let’s read,” Zaynah said, reaching for the door handle as I finally stopped the car on a roadside picnic spot overlooking the gorge below. She followed me as I placed the Musalla down, taking position.
Now, if you’ve never prayed Salaah outdoors before, it definitely is something that needs to be on that bucket list. And no, it’s not about chasing a ‘feeling’, but sometimes, a feeling is just what we need for that flame within us to be ignited once again. I raised my hands to put the world behind me for the Takbeer, and I couldn’t help but shiver with emotion as I felt the moving breeze gust around us and the coolness beneath my feet. The feeling that Allah was always above and beyond everything, no matter how high we felt we were at that moment, was just brilliant. Praying outside, amidst the never-ending Cape Mountains and it’s spectacular view, together with my wife, was a moment I knew I would never forget. A moment that I didn’t know I would cling onto, in years to come.
I sucked in my breath as I ended with Salaam, glancing at my wife before I raised my hands for Du’aa.
I had to check, even though I knew what to expect. I just knew that I would see tears in her eyes. Only the selected few hearts were truly moved by the beauty of Allah’s creation. Only the true lovers can see the perfection in His creation.
Then look again. Can you see any rifts? (Surah Mulk: 4)
Of course, there was nothing out of synch in what He created. Everything was in perfection. The greatest artist, that we never pay any credit to. The one who creates a different picture in every moment. It was magnificent. It was just so… Serene.
“Ready to go, love?” I asked softly, after allowing her some time to make the most of this.
We could never give it the justice it deserved, but as darkness overcame the daylight, I knew we needed to leave. We got up, finally entering our car again, silenced by the peace that surrounded us all that time. We didn’t need to talk. We knew exactly what it was that was on each of our minds, as I started the car, still lost in thought.
And then , of course, just as the darkness overcame the beauty of the sunset we had just admired, the shrill ring of my phone conquered the quiet peace that prevailed, and brought us right back to the present.
Ziyaad’s number displayed on the screen, and we both already knew what it meant.
It was time to check in with reality once again.
Our Beloved NAbi (SAW) has mentioned: “Whoever revives my Sunnah then he has loved me. And whoever loved me, he shall be with me in Paradise.” [Tirmidhi]
Please don’t forget our Super Sunnahs!
It was narrated from Anas : “The Prophet prohibited that a man should drink while standing.” (Qatadah said) So it was said: “And eating?” He (Anas) said: “That is worse.” [Tirmidhi]
We will be doing more eating and drinking Sunnahs Insha Allah.