Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Waseem: Heart of hearts...
Life is full of moments.
Happy moments. Defining moments. Legendary moments. Unnerving moments. Inspiring moments. Exciting moments.
And, of course, unforgettable ones.
Moments that, just for their presence, have changed our lives. Moments that we will probably remember, just because of that person who was there. Moments that we will never forget, because of what it brought with it.
And I’m sure that everyone has their own special moment. Like maybe that moment you are in that strange place, and through some awkward words, you land that friend for life, who is by your side through it all. Or the moment you hold your child that is so innocent and pure, that you feel you just want to live your own life all over again…. And then, of course, that moment when the whole world seems to stand still for a few minutes, and you realise that maybe… Just maybe… You’ve just fallen in love.
And of course, my wife never did know that moment that really defined it all for me. She never did know how I doted and waited on those three elusive words that seemed to never come out of her mouth. It was almost a month of being married, and there I was, wondering what I had been doing wrong all this time. I had basically surrendered my heart to her after a few days of Nikah, and I had no idea if I had earned that place in hers.
And then one day, almost out of the blue, as I sat next to her one weekday afternoon, she turned to me with her mouth half-full of Jelly Tots, and, in true Zaynah-style, simply said:
“You know that I do love you, right?”
And all I did was nod and smile, as I pecked her on her forehead, because I never did want her to know how desperate I was to hear it. Inside, of course, I was bubbling with euphoria, because my wildest desire had been fulfilled. The girl of my dreams, was actually in love with me. It felt like I was an adolescent idiot, all over again.
But despite that, it was the moment I gave my everything, and didn’t hold back. In retrospect, I realised that maybe I was giving away too much.
Of course, it was normal. Of course, I loved my wife. But I loved her with my entire being, and it was only when I felt her being snatched away from me, that I realised that maybe… Just maybe… I had given too much. Maybe I had loved too much. Too hard. Too deep.
Because in this world, the pious people say that you can hold many things in your heart. Many things may hold a special space in your inner being, but only one thing should hold that ultimate space. Only one thing can fill that empty space. Only one Love can fill your heart of hearts.
Only Allah can be held in that most intimate and unchanging spot. And I was going to find that out in one of the most difficult ways.
“How long will you’ll keep her on the ventilator?” I asked bluntly, finding the doctor after an hour of pacing the ward.
The doctor looked up uneasily.
“However long you’ll are prepared to,” he replied. “But if there’s no function in the brain, it might be best to cut it off.”
Cut it off? He made it sound like she was some kind of wire. Like my wife was just an object that was waiting to cease function.
“Can you even confirm that there’s no brain function?” I asked, getting slightly annoyed that I was getting no proper answers.
There were only assumptions. Assumptions that she would never come out of it. Assumptions that she was brain dead. Assumptions that I would actually never see my wife as I knew her, ever again.
In just a moment, everything had changed.
The doctor shook his head.
“We can’t confirm anything,” he said blandly. “We’ve had patients who’ve actually proved us wrong, and came around to live normal lives. There’s some things that even us doctors don’t know.”
He had hit it spot on.
Doctors. We rely on them, when in fact they are just the means. Of course, nothing was in his control. There was a Greater Power, above it all, that controlled every breath that every living creature could take. It was beyond our meagre comprehension.
We kept on questioning, when in actual fact, we would never truly understand until we have attained true Imaan.
I thought briefly about my parents who were in complete shock over the whole thing. I never expected Dad to take it so badly, but he seemed to be quite affected by the fact that Zaynah was just not around any more. My mother, on the other hand, kept on putting herself on guilt trips, thinking that she had been working Zaynah too hard, and expecting too much of my wife when she was staying there.
I silently agreed, but I knew Zaynah would have never complained, even if she felt that way. I just wished that my brothers had been a little more considerate all this while. I just wished we had taken more note of the signs she was obviously having. I just wished…
My thoughts halted, because I knew that wishing and hoping would get me nowhere right now.
I watched the doctor walk off, and sighed as I slumped on the plastic chair, rubbing my eyes from the tiredness. During the week I had thought about staying home for a few hours of sleep, but the thought that Zaynah would wake up in that time to find herself deserted, haunted me. What if I left and something happened?
I shook my head, not even realising that my faith in Allah (SWT) was completely faltering.
Morning was approaching, once again, and it marked the seventh day since Zaynah had fell. Since it was a weekend, I knew that many of her family members from out of town would probably be coming through, and I was expecting a lot of scrutiny and questioning. They might even think that it was my fault, since a lot of them were sceptical of me in the first place. I just wished that she would wake up so she could make everything all right again.
It was one week of agony, and not having a clue about what was going on. Not knowing how much longer I would wait, and not knowing if it would ever end. I hated it, but I couldn’t help the situation. There was only one thing I could do, and I made a silent Du’aa in my heart just for her to be okay. To come around. To be Zaynah, once again.
I took a slow walk to the ICU ward, and the guards let me in with no questions. They knew who I was by now. I mean, I came in at least 20 times a day.
I made my way through to the room she was at, nodding at the nurse who was there, and taking a seat next to my wife.
Zaynah’s sister had come a few days ago to see her, and had placed a neat burkah around her head, in case she had any foreign people coming into the ward. She knew what Zaynah was like, and I was glad that she actually thought about doing that for her, since my wife had no idea of her circumstances.
She was so still. Limp. Immobile.
It literally broke my heart in pieces to see it.
As I watched her silently, I wondered if she was really brain-dead. It was just so unfathomable for me, as I watched her. How she looked right then, Zaynah looked like she had just drifted off to sleep, although I knew that was far from true.
I reached up for her listless hand now, holding it gently in mine, just feeling the warmth exuding from it. I could almost still hear the soft murmurs of hers that was her habit before sleeping. I could literally imagine her mumbling something remotely funny about how grumpy I was today. I wondered, as a passing thought, of how long it would take before I completely forgot her voice. Before I forgot her smile. Before I forgot everything…
I smiled at the memories now, as they unfolded almost unwelcomingly in my mind. Memories of her laughing at me… Hugging me… Reaching for my hand… And all that time, my heart kept wishing with it’s every beat that I could just see something alive in her when I looked up.
Some sign to show that maybe she hadn’t completely left me. Some hope that maybe she would be okay.
And I suppose because wishing for the nearly unthinkable was so exhausting, without even realising it, sleep overcame me and I nodded off in the chair, still thinking about Zaynah and her consuming moments.
And then, as my eyes shot open in what felt like just a few minutes, I was sure that I was jolted awake by something more than just the deep voice that came from outside. I was almost positive that I had felt Zaynah’s hand move under mine, but I couldn’t be certain, because I wasn’t even fully alert.
I shook my head out of the slumber it was in, turning to see Zaynah’s uncle in the doorway. I quickly left Zaynah’s hand and got up, stretching my hand out to greet him for the second time this week. He reminded me so much of my father-in-law, and I couldn’t help but remember Zaynah’s father fondly as I looked at Saleem Khakha.
“You’re don’t go home, bha?” he asked, looking at me worriedly, after asking me about Zaynah’s progress.
I smiled, a bit touched by his concern. Maybe I was just looking like a wreck. I definitely felt like one. We walked out slowly after a few minutes, and I saw that he hadn’t come alone. His nephews had come with him, and one of them was Zaynah’s cousin Raees.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t dislike the guy. There was just something about him that made me edgy. He had this air of haughtiness, and it always seemed that the guy was looking down at me. And maybe I had my own insecurities, but from day one, something had told me to keep a distance.
I nodded at them, taking a seat on the plastic chair outside, while Saleem Khakha told me about some doctor he knows who had a patient who recovered from a same kind of condition that Zaynah was in. It gave me hope for a few minutes, and I hung onto that dream, wishing that everything could just be okay.
“While we are here, let us take over,” he urged, roughly squeezing my shoulder as if to edge me on. “Take it easy. You look like you need a rest.”
Raees looked at me expectantly from a distance, probably waiting for me to agree. I wasn’t sure if it was the best thing to go, but I knew that I needed to get a change of clothes and freshen up at least. Maybe I was looking bad. Maybe they thought I needed the break. Or maybe they thought that I needed a reason to run away.
I sighed inwardly, sitting down for a few minutes just so I could think straight.
Everything had been so crazy and unexpected the past couple of days, I wasn’t even sure what I was doing any more. Why werent there any obvious answers here? Why was everything so confusing? Why couldn’t there just be a clear-cut solution to this whole thing?
I craved ease and wished that the whole situation would just smooth itself over. I didn’t want to have to make a decision about my wife. I didn’t want it to even come to that. I didn’t want to even think about what everything could bring, but life’s obstacles were not always so easy to overcome.
“Don’t worry,” Saleem Khakha said, almost like he could read my mind. “We all have our tests.”
I looked at him, thinking for a minute if he even knew what he was saying.
And then I immediately regretted it. Astaghfirullah.
I couldn’t help but feel remorse, because the truth was that no-one knows the true reality of another person until they are walking in their shoes. He was right. We all have our tests. And I knew he had lost his son a while ago, so he knew what he was saying.
But at that weak moment when you are facing a hardship, you feel that there’s no-one in the world who can comprehend your suffering right then. You feel that talk is cheap, and people don’t really know what they are saying when they claim to understand what you are going through. You just want it all to go away and become something of the past. You want it to be easy, even though we know the road is meant to be bumpy. Even when we know that the most beloved of Allah were tested and went through the worst of trials, as Insaan, we want our Jannah to be paved without tests.
But of course, Allah Ta’ala reminds in Surah Nisaa. Verse 4:
“Paradise is not [obtained] by your wishful thinking…”
And yes, it is not obtained by us merely thinking and desiring. We feel that we are entitled to it, and deserve to be given that ultimate reward, when in actual fact, through our daily activities, we haven’t really earned it. And so, of course, Most Merciful Allah makes a plan for us. He helps us out. He places a test on our path, in order for us to earn that sought-after prize. He, (SWT), wants us to attain it, and assists us in doing so by making us exercise Taqwa, Imaan and Sabr, so that we can eventually become worthy of that Paradise that we are all striving for.
As narrated by Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah : Nabi (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘The greater reward is with the greater trial or the greater the trial or difficulty of test or hardship is then the greater the reward. And when Allah loves a person He will test them. The people as long as they are in good health, good shape, good condition they are covered. You don’t know their true character because they are in good situation, they are in good circumstance. As long as they are in a good circumstances they are covered. But if a trial or difficulty or a hardship comes upon them, then you will see their reality. They will go to their reality. The Mu’min will run to his Imaan, the hypocrite will run to his hypocrisy.”
And I had to keep wondering where my heart was running to. Although I knew exactly what it was, I was so afraid of failing this test, that I had to keep checking myself so I could remind myself of my purpose.
Why am I here? What am I doing? Where exactly was I going?
Indeed, all these situations that we find ourselves in are meant to serve as just that. A reminder and a reckoning with ourselves. An opportunity to re-focus and re-assign priorities. A reason and motivation to re-explore the purpose of our lives, and keep checking what it is that has caused us to go off-track.
I walked outside slowly, just wanting some air. At that moment, I actually wished that I was a smoker, because I just needed something to divert my thoughts. I leaned back on the cement wall, even leaving my phone aside to save myself from more pitiful messages. I just watched people walk in and out of the automatic doors, all on their own missions and tasks, and all with their own worries on their shoulders.
“You don’t have to worry.”
I looked up, seeing Raees standing a few feet from me, with a cigarette in his hand. I wasn’t sure how long he was even there.
I honestly felt like bumping one from him, but I knew that I wouldn’t even be able to enjoy it. I used to do it as a casual thing, but I never did enjoy smoking. Besides, Zaynah wouldn’t have approved.
I looked at Raees, still slightly sceptical of what seemed like a a few comforting words. Besides, his designer stubble was annoying me. I was trying not to judge the guy, but his whole presentation was just unnerving.
“Why?” I asked him bluntly, wondering if he knew more than I did. I mean, any person in my situation would be worried, right?
“I meant,” he said, taking a pull of his cigarette and looking at me. “You don’t have to stress about being here. We’re here now, so we’ll take over.”
I narrowed my eyes at him, hoping this guy was just being considerate. I was about to talk, but he already had his whole speech planned out.
“Listen,” he said, lowering his voice and taking a step toward me. “Zaynah needs her family around, and I think you should let us do what we need to. You’ll only know each other for a few months. We have a lifetime behind us.”
I looked at him blankly and shook my head, wondering what he was thinking. A few months or a few years wouldn’t make a difference to me. I felt like Zaynah was my other entirety.
We were bound by Nikah. How could this guy even think like that?
“You’re not getting it,” he said now, throwing his cigarette on the floor and squishing it with the tip of his Converse takkie. “Back off. Or else.”
And with that, in a moment, he turned around, and swiftly walked away.
Please don’t forget our Super Sunnahs!
Beautiful Sunnah 👐🏻 Wash both hands up to the wrist just before eating.
Hadhrat Salmaan Farsi (Radhiallahu Anhu) narrates: “I read in the Taurah that the blessings of food lie in washing the hands after meals. I mentioned this to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied: “The blessings of food lies in washing the hands before eating and after eating.”
We will be doing more eating and drinking Sunnahs Insha Allah.