Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
“Why did you tell them?” I asked, my voice riddled with cooped up frustration that I couldn’t fully explain.
“Aasiya!” Muhammed said, his face immediately changing from expressionless to slightly embarrassed.
I could understand. To him, Umar was this ‘Maulana’ that everyone admired and respected, and to me…. Well, to me, he was just ‘Umar’. The brother I’d known so well, that I actually couldn’t fully process who he’d become.
“It’s okay,” Umar said, putting his hand up to Muhammed. He turned to me, fiddling with his beard, as if contemplating what to say next.
I looked straight at him, not even daring to blink. He needed to know that I wasn’t going to back down here.
“Would you believe me,” he started saying, shoving his hands in his kurath pockets. “If I said that I didn’t tell them?”
“No,” I said, clenching my jaw stubbornly. “It could’ve only been you or…”
I trailed off, not wanting to mention his wife.
Haseena was one of the most genuine people I had ever met in my slightly misguided life, and I really didn’t want to bring her into this. But then again, if I had to… I knew that I would say whatever needed to be said.
“Haseena?” Umar said, as if testing the waters. “You think it was her?”
I immediately looked away, shaking my head almost begrudgingly.
“I didn’t say that,” I spat. “I just meant that no-one else knew. I didn’t want them to find out like that… I didn’t want them to just pitch up here and feel like I had been hiding my life away from them all this time.”
I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it, but a tiny smirk was starting to show on Umar’s face, and it made me even more angry. But instead of saying what he wanted to, he just shook his head, stretching out his hand to greet Muhammed.
“I’ll see you, Aasiya,” he said, turning to me with a small nod. “Take it easy. And I’ll check with Haseena… Maybe she said something without realising. She does that sometimes.”
He smiled now, and I immediately felt that familiar sinking feeling in my gut, coupled with something a little more foreign.
The green monster. Jealousy.
It was something I never thought I could feel, but when Umar spoke of his wife, I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing something. When I had met her, it was like there was no-one else that she admired more than my annoying brother, and I just couldn’t understand what it was that put him on such a pedestal for her.
I suppose it was the inferiority complex that I always had as a kid, and now, as I grew older, now with my failing marriage, I kind of envied what they had. It was just so… Rare.
With Muhammed and I… Why did I feel like I was completely missing the plot? Why did I not understand that contentment was something so far from what I had thought all this time? Was my focus completely off base?
Umar was getting ready to leave again, and I knew that I couldn’t let him go like this. There was something else I wanted to ask. Something that had been on my mind, and I never wanted to delve into.
“Umar,” I said, just before he could exit, hoping to redeem myself.
“Jhee,” he said as he turned slightly, waiting for me to speak.
“Yusuf,” I said softly, hesitating for just a moment. “Does he know?”
I waited in anticipation, but Umar shook his head slowly after a few seconds, glancing at me just in time to catch my forlorn expression.
“You just have to give him a call and he’ll be here,” Umar said now, sounding like it was the simplest solution ever. “He still talks about you.”
I swallowed, saying nothing as I watched Umar go. I turned back to what I was doing, but after a few seconds, I heard the door open again, and felt the familiar feeling of someone watching me from behind.
I didn’t have to even check. I already knew it was Muhammed.
“Say what you need to,” I said, preparing myself for the worst onslaught. I knew that Mo had thought I was behaving badly, but I really didn’t want him to say it.
“I’m not saying anything,” Mo said wisely, knowing what he would get himself into if he did.
I spun around, narrowing my eyes at him slightly. How did I attain my dignity once again?
“You think I’m wrong, right?” I asked candidly, trying to redeem myself. “I shouldn’t have hid myself all these years. I should have just been upfront from day one. Is that what you think?”
Mo smiled slightly, and shook his head as he sat down on the couch. I sighed audibly, leaving my organising for later, and joined him on the couch.
He was being odd today. Actually, he was being odd for a few days now,and I knew exactly what it was that was getting to him. I mean, it was affecting me way more than him, but somehow, I just couldn’t bring myself to say the words.
“Is that really what’s bothering you?’ Mo asked after a few seconds, his voice actually sounding more tender than it had for months.
I immediately looked up cynically. Mo knew me too well. I wasn’t sure if it was the worst or best part about him… But he was the only one who could tell my true feelings, just by glancing at my face. He knew that something was bothering me, and I knew that if was the same issue that consumed him as well.
I watched my husband, as if I was looking at him properly after weeks, studying his every detail carefully. His face was drawn and I could visibly see the furrows on his brow deepening. The hair on his face was quite evident now, and although I wasn’t sure if it was neglect or intentional, I couldn’t help but think that my husband actually looked quite good with a beard.
As I looked longer, the few grey strands in his hair caught me completely unaware now, when I noticed them. As each moment passed us by, were we actually getting old? Was all the petty arguing and fighting really worth it in the end?
I shook my head, not sure of how to say what I needed to. Even though he slept in another room, I could tell that he barely was sleeping lately. I could even sometimes him speaking vividly in his sleep, probably consumed by fears that haunted him.
“It’s the baby, isn’t it?” I said, delving into the most heart-breaking thing I had ever mentioned in weeks. That’s what was killing me, and I knew it was doing the same to him.
We never did speak about it, but since the day he was born, I could tell that Mo was already a changed man. It was like Muhammed had himself become the father the day that Hamza was born. It was a whole different dimension to my husband that I had never experienced before.
The whole thing had just caught us in a way we didn’t ever expect. It had somehow found an avenue straight to the depths of our heart and soul, and even though I had only seen him from a window outside due to the strict protocol, the image of his helpless little body connected to countless tubes and contraptions was like an unforgettable illusion in my mind.
And of course… When we lost him, though he thought that no-one knew, while I sat and bawled out my eyes in the privacy of my bedroom, Muhammed sat for hours in his own lower-level section, completely absorbed in a loss that only he and I could understand. Just knowing that he might never have a child was probably the biggest trigger here, and realising that he would probably resent me for the rest of my life was what scared me the most.
I had tried to do as I knew was required, and after agreeing to separate our rooms a few weeks back to give some time apart, the rifts between us were still palpable. At that point, I still felt as though we were just hanging on by a thread.
“And if you fear a separation between the two of them, appoint an arbitrator from his family and an arbitrator from her family. If they desire reconciliation, Allah will bring them into agreement. Verily Allah is Knowing, Knowledgeable.” [Noble Quran 4:35]
And of course, though I incorrectly blamed Umar for telling them about me, I knew that Ummi Jaan had come into my life for a reason.
And yes, I had never been the perfect kind of wife, and I sometimes gave Mo only a small fraction of the respect he deserved, but from the day Ummi Jaan re-entered my life, I really had been making an effort.
I had started the daily Taaleem, and I was constantly trying to improve my own temperament. Although I often failed, I still persisted, but I wasn’t sure how long we could go on with this underlying issue of kids. Allah was making our every effort easy, but however we progressed, I knew that it would always come back to the sore point of not having children. And now, seeing the exhaustion on his face after the loss of Hamza, I knew what I had to do.
I just didn’t know how I could ever break it to Mo… And completely set aside my every fear I had when it came to this final blow. After everything we had been through… And all that this had brought, I knew that I had to do something completely selfless to redeem myself. I had made countless Du’aa to be guided in this matter, and finally had gathered the guts to do it.
I looked up at Muhammed once again, reaching slowly for his hand.
He looked expectantly surprised by my action, and he frowned slightly as if wondering what it was that made me reach out to him.
I could practically see him mentally bracing himself, because he knew that any affection from me was not without some kind of catch. I felt bad that I had always been so cold, but in certain situations, I knew that it was the only way to deal with reality.
Right now was one of those times, and though my mouth was dry and I could barely understand why I was even doing this… I forced the words out as I looked up into those caring eyes that I knew so well, holding onto him just a little tighter to soften the blow of what this all might bring both of us.
“Muhammed,” I said softly, licking my lips nervously, anxious to say what I needed to. “It’s because I love you that I need you to do this…”
His frown deepened once again, and he shook his head slightly and blinked, a bit confused about what I was starting to say. I hadn’t said those three words in so long, that he was probably in shock that I actually still felt them.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a few days,” I said, trying to kill the last bit of dwindling emotions that were stopping me from saying it.
I had to just force it out.
“Muhammed,” I said again, inhaling steadily. The words were on the tip of my tongue, and I finally mustered the strength to let them out.
“I think….” I said, clearing my throat.
Say it, I said to myself, battling mercilessly with every opposing urge within me.
Just say it.
“I think that you should marry someone else.”
Don’t forget our Super Sunnahs!
And ‘Umar ibn Abi Salamah said: I was a young boy in the care of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and my hand used to wander all over the platter (of food). The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me, “O young boy, say Bismillaah, eat with your right hand, and eat from what is directly in front of you.”
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3576; Muslim, 2022).