Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Okay. I admit it.
Maybe I got a little carried away. Maybe I took it too far. Maybe, in my sleep-deprived and perplexed frame of mind, when all my hopes were being dashed, I had just been a little too hard… Too pushy… Too insistent.
But at the time, it didn’t feel like it was that bad. I just needed a break. To cool off.
When a woman is eating your brains, you can’t help but think: Like really, what is the big deal?
I could hear Farah calling for me, and I quickly straightened up on the patio couch, trying to appear normal. I rubbed my eyes. They were burning from lack of sleep.
I rubbed my head, just trying to get my thoughts together. The sleepless nights were really taking their toll. Memories of the past. Concerns about the future. I had been sitting in thoughtful isolation, and couldn’t help but shake the feeling of where I was going with my life… My marriage… My entire existence.
“Ziyaad!”‘she said again, and I could hear the irritation in her voice.
“Hmmmm,” I said, taking out my phone to view my Instagram feed, like for the tenth time that day. Maybe I really needed a job.
“Ziyaad, are you just going to sit here?” She asked, her hands on her hips, and a bitter look on her gorgeous face.
I grinned, winking at her as I showed her some papers I had lying around. With Waseem hectic, I had taken over some of the bookwork and I wanted to prove that I was doing something useful.
She didn’t seem impressed.
She rolled her excessively made-up eyes, leaning down to strap her the jelly sandal she had bought last week. I studied my wife, watching her closely.
Navy jeggings. Fitted lace top. The latest Ted Baker carrier bag. And of course, her all-new trademark ‘hijab’-style, with her neck stupidly exposed, styled so carefully.
I looked down at her exposed ankles, thinking if I was going mad or the whole world was just gone backwards. Nowadays I saw more Muslim girls with their ankles exposed, and less guys wearing their pants the right way.
“I need to buy some stuff,” she said, standing up again. “You coming?”
I raised my eyebrows at her.
Buy some stuff? If it was grocery stuff, I doubted we needed it, because no-one really ate at this house. It wasn’t like Farah even cooked. I wasn’t sure why she had a kitchen.
And if it was other stuff… Well, I knew that it was completely unnecessary. Farah just wasted money on stupid things for no reason. And maybe I was being mean, but her concept of a necessity was completely different to mine.
I didn’t say anything, just shrugged and reached for a cigarrette box that was lying on the outdoor table. I was hoping she’d go away when she saw it, but instead, she looked at me with a slight frown on her face.
“I can smell something weird,” she said, sniffing the air emphatically.
I moved my arm slightly to cover the burn on the new couch. If Farah had to see it, I knew I would probably get a tongue-lashing. Any mark or slight eyesore to her precious furniture usually got her in a rage. I swear if she was armed, I would have probably had to pay with my life.
“Zee, did you burn something?” She asked, frowning deeper. “What on earth is that smell?”
“Maybe the new ashtray you got,” I lied, shrugging at her. She had bought some new type of ashtray, and I just wanted to blame it on her.
I took out my Zippo lighter to ignite my cigarrette, clicked it open, but she still didn’t leave. She narrowed her eyes at me, not fully buying it. I could see her studying the rug. And then, after her scrutinising, just as she was turning to go, she spun around suddenly, her expression now a bit angry.
Crap. Now what?
“Oh,” she said indignantly, pursing her lips. “And thanks for telling me that Aasiya is back.”
I looked at her blankly, shrugging again. She fidgeted with the the top her scarf, waiting for my response, whilst looking at me expectantly.
Aasiya was back.
She was back, and I had actually missed the entire thing while I sat at the hospital vending machine, trying to get my packet of chips out. The girl in front of me had insisted that her change was stuck in the machine, so I had to end up sorting her stuff out too. Not to mention, the girl was definitely checking ne out.
I sighed, wondering why I craved that kind of attention. Missing the whole Aasiya drama served me right. All I knew was that Mo literally fell to his feet when he saw her, practically begging her to give him another chance. I wasn’t even sure how the whole thing ended off, but it was at least one positive thing that had found it’s way into our lives.
With my marriage feeling like it was on the rocks, I was at least glad that Mo seemed to be making progress with his. I just wasn’t sure if Aasiya would be that easily persuaded. Mo had said that she probably would make him work for it, and he’d do anything for her, but I wonder if he would feel the same when it actually came down to it. I also wondered if I would do the same if I were in his position.
I took a pull of my newly lit cigarrette, letting the effect calm me.
I was a dog. Of course I loved Farah. I mean, if I was being entirely superficial, there wasn’t much not to love, but I also knew that I would never love my wife the way she deserved to, and the guilt was killing me.
I just wasn’t sure how we had got to this point. When we couldn’t see eye-to-eye. When every conversation was like a battefield.
All I felt now, as she looked at me expectantly with her deep red lips pouted, was resentment. Resentment because of what she had made me feel for her. Resentment because of everything that had happened in the past. Resentment now, because there was no easy way out.
“I’m coming,” I said, getting up and stubbing my cigarette hastily.
I didn’t want her to go to a mall on her own looking like that.
But how did I tell my wife to cover up properly in a nice way?
I had tried doing it subtly on a few occassions… Well, I thought that I was pretty subtle. Maybe I was being too obvious and pushy by commenting on how awesome the traditional hijab looked, and how it made me feel like my wife was just a little safer from prying eyes… But now, it was like she had gone backwards. From determined hijabi, my wife was now just wearing it as a fashion item. I wasn’t sure exactly where she had lost the plot.
Farah turned from the mirror to briefly look at me.
“Great,” she said. “Because I wanted you to meet Rees and Jo.”
Rees and Jo?
I looked at her with a funny look on my face. She didn’t seem to notice that I was a little disturbed. She came a little closer instead, looking at me up and down like I was some sort of invalid.
“I hope you’re going to change.”
I looked down at my attire. I felt like telling her the same thing, as I looked back at her. I was wearing my cut denim three quarters and an older tucked-in kurtah over. There were one or two cigarrette burns on it but it was no big deal. My Reebok sandals were only a little outdated, but they were okay for the mall. I didn’t really care about people.
“I think I’m fine,” I said stubbornly, putting my iPhone into my pocket.
“Well,” she said carefully. “I think you should dress a little appropriately. Raeesa’s guy, Jo, is quite reputable in the Pretoria business world… Maybe you guys will hit it off.”
I squinted at her, now completely confused about where all this was going. From a simple trip to the mall, now she was talking about meeting a guy who I didn’t even understand how she knew. To top it all off, she was talking about him as if she knew them so well. It literally made me quite sick.
When did this all happen? Was I too indifferent to what my wife was up to? Did I not even bother to check where my wife had really been going to all this time?
When we had lost Hamza, it was the worst feeling of our lives, but at least it had brought us closer. The best part was that in bringing is closer, it was a means for Allah to become part of our lives.
Now that the pain was fading away, I could see the effect of it also fading. It was what I feared the most… But instead of progressing, we were now going backwards. Late afternoons out went to late nights. Phonecalls were always long and spent making more plans to go out. Friends were always popping over or interfering whenever we had some time alone. Instead of Farah coming to realise that we need to take another step in the right direction, her test had been a momentary one, and now she had just fallen back into her race for the world. Now she had just slumped back into the indulgent routine of our old life.
“Are you coming or what?” She said, tapping her foot impatiently at me.
I looked at frowned and looked at the time, now reconsidering. It was nearly Zohr, and I really wasn’t in the mood to fight. I also couldn’t let her go like this, without saying what I needed to.
“Babe,” I started, trying to keep cool and calm, despite my annoyance. “Firstly, I think that your outfit is inappropriate. I also don’t think it’s okay to be meeting with couples… Especially ones that aren’t married.”
Farah stopped tapping her foot, her expression changing from indifferent to annoyed.
“Third point, boss,” I continued, not fazed by her looks. “Some of us have to read Salaah just now, so if you still want to shop, maybe we can leave after?”
Her eyes immediately narrowed, and I could literally see the fury in them, amongst other things.
I had just stepped on territory that she didn’t like. She immediately looked uncomfortable, and I wanted to actually ask her why.
Maybe I could have phrased it better, but why was it that mention of Deen made people weird? Why, when you bring religious duties into the picture, people start getting all defensive?
One thing about Farah, was that I knew exactly where to knock her down. And yes, I felt like horrible Zee once again, but did she think I was immune to all her negative comments?
Instead of a response, all I got was a a typical female huff, as she spun around and stalked away.
I sighed, rubbing my eyes again as I tried to keep them open.
I was tired. So tired.
I never really pushed her, but it hurt me to see my spouse treating her religious duties so lightly. I remember the Molvi once saying that when Salaah is no in place, then the heart becomes hard and soiled, due to the impurities of sins. And then, when it is in place, we immediately see the service it does to our mind and bodies.
Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book, and establish the prayer, verily prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil, and certainly the remembrance of Allah is greater, and Allah knows what you do.” (Surah Ankabut: verse 45)
What we will be held accountable for first on Judgement day. The duty we owe to worship our Lord. And it’s not for anyone’s benefit but our own.
Just by offering our Salaat, Allah mentions that it becomes a barrier between us an immorality, and whenever I begin to take it lightly and miss a Salaah at the Mosque, I could immediately feel it’s effects.
I always regretted it, but I knew that I needed to make more effort. I knew that I needed to also work on getting us both back to being focussed, and on track once again.
I slumped back on the couch, not sure if I should go and find Farah or not. And because I really didn’t want to, because I knew it would entail a fight, I pulled another cigarrette from the box, and lit it up.
I really wanted to give it up, but in my state of mind, I knew that I would never survive without my hourly dose of nicotine. Maybe I just needed a change of lifestyle. Maybe I needed a little intevention. Maybe I just needed a chance to really find the gold.
I looked up to see Farah, her handbag attached to her arm, despite her slightly puffy eyes, looking even better than before.
I nodded, stubbing my half smoked cigarette once agian, not wanting to start an argument.
“I was actually thinking of leaving for good,” she said, as if an afterthought, cocking her head to one side.
I looked at her questioningly, sitting up and blinking my burning eyes to ensure that I was actually awake. Leaving for good?
“And then?” I couldn’t help but ask. Why would she be thinking of leaving? Was our marriage gone completely down the drain?
“Well,” she said vaguely. “Then I realised that this is my house.”
I shook my head, wondering why she was telling me all this. I never denied Farah anything that she wanted. My father had even offered us his Houghton apartment, but Farah wanted to be close to her parents. I was just going with the flow. Why throw it in my face?
“Anyway,” she said now, raising her eyebrows at me. “I’ll be back in two hours. I think you should pack up your stuff. I want you to leave.”
Please don’t forget our Super Sunnahs!
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“Nothing is worse than a person who fills his stomach. It should be enough for the son of Adam to have a few bites to satisfy his hunger. If he wishes more, it should be: One-third for his food, one-third for his liquids, and one-third for his breath.”
– Tirmidhi & Ibn Majah
We will be doing more eating and drinking Sunnahs Insha Allah.