Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Expectations. We all have them. We all cling onto them.
We all think that everything will be okay, get better, or even be amazing. And of course, with expectation, we feel a little bit robbed when our expectations aren’t met. We feel like we were cheated when it all falls short of what we wanted.
The expected is what we live for, and what we sometimes never think beyond. It moulds us and shapes us. The expected is just what keeps us steady… standing… still.
But with expectation, also comes hope. And with hope, is desire. Desire for what we want, and desire for what we feel we need. And desire is what can drive us, but a desire can also destroy us. It can slowly kill every ounce of what is within us, even when we think that we are immune to the effects.
Only then, do we come to realised the reality of it all. That life is really not about who’s who, and what they can get you. That the best things are really not the most expensive ones. And that money, really and truly, cannot buy happiness.
I had seen it time and time again, in my journey, despite what I had been brought up to believe.
By having everything of the best as we grew up, Dad had always taught me that I could fill any gap in my life, with a click of a button or swipe of a card. He had made me believe that life was only about what you get… And seldom about what you make of it. But now, while he lay in his bed, his legs refusing to work despite doctors from all over the world trying to figure it out, I think he had finally seen the truth.
And of course, while I sat, wondering what had gone wrong in my life, I realised that this life really wasn’t about stuff.
And eventually, when I got serious about turning my life around, and focussed on the right ‘stuff’, then I could understand.
As it came to the ‘silly season’ once again, I remembered where I had been a year ago, and I couldn’t help but feel eternally grateful that I had been removed from that dark place. That the temporary, out-of-synch feeling had been eradicated. That I had taken the ‘world’ partially out of my life. That I had amended my focus for this journey. That I had gained a little bit of intelligence as I grew through my probably failed marriage.
The advices from the previous Friday’s bayaan came back to me, reminding me of what I needed to focus on for the next few weeks. To kill the urge to get out there with the gang. To keep to myself even when I felt like a complete alien in my friend group. To attain the true salvation that our beloved Nabi (SAW) had told us about.
We looked for it all over, but the simple recipe was right within our reach, yet we do everything not to abide. I hoped that I could reach that stage. I first needed to put Salaah back as the priority—before smoking, work, fun and ball games.
I also knew I needed to work on my tongue, and sincerely make some thorough tawbah… But staying indoors might actually hit the spot for me. Maybe I might actually get some sleep.
“Do you ever sleep?”
What a question.
I turned to see Waseem staring at me. I had missed him at Fajr Salaah, leaving quickly after the Jamaat was over. He was now looking at me like I was some kind of alien being.
Well, I didn’t blame him. I was in the kind of exact position that I had been in last night, reclining on the chair on my balcony, now watching the sun slowly try and find it’s way out again.
“I can ask you the same question,” I said blandly.
Waseem looked like he barely slept either, and when he was here, I could hear him shuffling around the house the entire night. Lucky the section that my parents were in was completely isolated, else they would probably get freaked out by our nocturnal activities.
“Habit I got into,” he said, shaking his head. “And just as my body gets tired… My mind can’t stop thinking about how Zaynah was always adamant about never sleeping through Tahajjud. She was like a rebel to sleep at those times.”
Tahajjud. It was like a foreign concept to me. I probably had read it once or twice on the odd occasion, but even with my insomnia, and worries consuming my mind, I had actually forgotten that at that part of the night, when it unveils it’s curtains, the connection between a worshipper and his Lord is sublime.
Besides the fact that the Du’aa at Tahajjud time is like an arrow that never misses it’s target, even as I lay in my bed in an attempt to catch a few winks of sleep, I knew that even simple Dhikr at that time was like gold. I just hadn’t fully realised the benefit of that time until Waseem brought it to my attention once again.
And of course, even from Fajr, to stay awake till after Ishraaq (sunrise) and offer the two rakaats Nafl is like attaining the reward of Hajj.
Stupid, I berated myself, shaking my head.
All this time I was busy mourning Farah’s loss, and thinking about her last words to me, when I should have been focussing my thoughts elsewhere. Like her drunk guy at the club line, Farah’s words had a way of sticking with me, and I couldn’t help but feel like a fool when I remembered how she had literally baled on us last week.
“I don’t need this,” she had said, when I had asked her what she was going on about. It was like I was begging her to stay in the marriage. “I’n a grown woman. My life is my life. All this stuff about following Deen and that… We can’t be so hectic, Zee! I need a break.”
She looked at me with hostility, and I could see tears in her eyes again.
What the hell was with her? She was kicking me out.
“I just can’t take this pressure,” she finally said, looking up at me again, sniffling away dramatically. Her eye make-up was smudging and I was so glad. “I want to go out. I enjoy people’s company. It’s not like I get much conversation at home, so why can’t I have friends? You have no idea what it’s like to be in a marriage that feels like a prison.”
Sheesh. Guilt trips, anyone?
A prison? Is that what our marriage was for her?
I knew that I was letting up too soon, despite promising myself that I would fight for us, but I didn’t need to be made to feel like I was some kind of ward. I wasn’t her care taker or some kind of security guard, and I hated to feel like that. I mean, I had some dignity at least.
I shook my head, completely speechless. I had no idea that she even had such strong feelings about us. I had no idea that she was close to writing us off. From the inception of the entire Haraam relationship, I wished that I could just re-do it. The illicit intimacy. The obvious Haraam at our reception. The battles we fought just trying to stay afloat.
I wished that we hadn’t been so misguided in the past. I wished that I wouldn’t have to see the ugly consequences of my thoughtless actions now.
Damn adolescent hormones. Who knew that it was so overrated?
“Last week, I thought that you were finished,” Waseem said now, breaking through my thoughts as he spoke. “I thought you had drug issues again. I didn’t realise that your married life was messed up. I wish I could have helped. Maaf, bru.”
I turned to Waseem and smiled meekly, shaking my head.
“No stress,” I said to him, still half smirking. “The thought crossed my mind a lot. Boet, I even almost dialled the dealer a few times. But something always stopped me.”
“Taqwa,” Waseem said simply, as if he knew exactly what my battles were.
I shook my head. I wished I was on that level that I could actually be recognised as even remotely pious.
I mean, my brother had probably been in the same position once or twice. I wondered if he ever looked back? If he ever battled with the cravings that I did.
He had gotten lucky when he got a wife who kept him on track, and I wondered if I would ever score the same way. Or did I give up on Farah too soon?
“You think you’ll get married again?” I asked, not even thinking properly about what I was asking Waseem.
He looked like I had struck him, as he swallowed, and processed what I said.
I mean, I didn’t want to be the one to say it, but my big mouth was a bit of an over-kill.
I had to work on the guarding my tongue issue.
“I dunno about you, bru,” I said, quickly trying to lighten the mood. “But I need a vrou. I can’t keep eye-balling the chics like this… It’s just not healthy.”
Waseem displayed a shadow of a smile, and I looked at him, raising my eyebrows.
“You think I’m a good catch?” I asked seriously, and I could hear him chuckling to himself.
Dammit, it was good to see the owe laugh. Even if it was for a few seconds. He badly needed to cool off, and stop stressing. I wondered if he ever stopped thinking.
“I miss her,” he said softly, after a few minutes, his smile fading again. “Like all the time.”
I looked at him, wondering what he really was going through all this time. I knew I had always been the selfish type, but it shocked me to think that for the past week I had been living in the same house with him, but I had been so self-absorbed to even ask if he was cool. I was actually a little sickening.
My problems were nothing compared to his. What I saw in Waseem’s eyes were completely foreign to me.
Yeah, I was hurt by everything that had happened, and I really felt battered around… But what I saw in him was pure… Pure loss.
“I feel like I’m floating,” he said. “Until this ends. And then I’ll know what to do. If she wakes up, I know that at least life can get back to normal, and I’ll be completely over the moon. But if she doesn’t…”
He trailed off, and I couldn’t look at his face.
If she had to die, I knew it would be like Waseem’s world was crashing. His love was a different kind. I wasn’t sure if I would ever know how that felt, because love and Deen had always been separate entities for me. I had never learnt about loving someone purely for the sake of Allah, but I knew that he had. I knew that his wife had made him the best kind of person that he could be. If he had never seen her from over the fence, he would have probably been aimlessly scoring chics, with no conscience at all. Hell, if he hadn’t seen Zaynah, we probably would have all been even more messed up than we were.
He paced his own balcony as he ran his hand through his hair unconsciously, eyeing the horizon as the sun shone on us. I watched my brother carefully. No matter what, he was always on top of the game, and it was only due to the fact that he probably had great genes. On the other hand, I knew that any crap I went through made me look like some kind of war-torn victim. It was actually slightly unfair, because now I knew that he wasn’t even interested in scoring another wife.
I shook my head to myself, smirking slightly as I watched him pace. He finally settled, and we sat in silence on our separate ends of our neighbouring balconies, just watching the buzz of traffic beginning in the gated community.
Who knew how long we would have sat there, if it wasn’t for the vibration of Waseem’s phone laying on the table. He picked up the phone and scanned it, frowning slightly as he studied the ID, almost looking hesitant about answering.
“Hello,” he said, almost nervously, running his hands through his beard, and watching me with a certain fear in his icy eyes. I frowned at him, wondering why he was so on edge.
“Yes,” he said expectantly into his phone, biting his lips nervously. I leaned forward, trying to catch an idea of who was at the other end.
His eyes suddenly widened, but he didn’t say anything. He silently slid the phone down to his lap, and looked up at me, almost like he was seeing an alien once again. Actually, this time it was a bit freakier. Now he actually looked like he had seen a ghost.
“What?” I had to ask, now frightfully curious about what was going on.
He shook his head at me, raising his eyebrows slightly, blinking at me blindly.
“Zee,” he almost whispered.
I think his voice was caught somewhere between his oesophagus and tongue.
He cleared his throat, still looking baffled and slightly freaked out.
Expectations. We all have them. We all cling onto them.
We all think that everything will be okay, get better, or even be amazing. We all think we’re going to be great.
And of course, with expectation, we feel a little bit robbed when our expectations aren’t met. We feel like we were cheated when it all falls short of what we wanted.
But, sometimes, our expectations sell us short. Sometimes, the expected simply pales in comparison to the unexpected.
The unexpected… Is what changes our lives.
“That was someone from the hospital,” Waseem said simply, looking like he finally grew the guts to get up. He grabbed his phone, stuffing it into his kurtah pocket.
“They say that Zaynah’s woken up.”
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.