Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Waseem: One step at a time...
Ever heard the saying; ‘when it rains, it pours’?
People always say it when the going in life gets a notch or two tougher. It seems like when one thing happens, everything compounds until it becomes almost unbearable. It feels like there really isn’t much hope and all the odds are against you… And how do you beat the odds when it’s one against a billion?
So you weigh your options. Sometimes you stand strong, keep pushing yourself past all rational limits and never let yourself give up. Sometimes, though, the the truth of the matter is, despite how hard you try and fight to stay in control, when it’s all said and done, sometimes you’re just outnumbered.
I gazed almost subconsciously ahead of me as I watched the two business associates of my father’s approach the table I was at, stretching my hand out to greet the male CEO of the firm that my father had dealt with for umpteen years, and reclining my hand as the female associate tried to greet me too.
Among other things, like trying to lead even my business life by the Sunnah, this was something I had begin to implement recently, and more so when I changed my life. Noticing the weird look I got, I politely explained that my religion didn’t permit me to touch strange females. I momentarily thought to myself about telling Zaynah about it later, when I remembered… That probably wasn’t going to happen.
She was gone. It seemed like it was ages ago, but it was just that morning when I had left the hospital for the last time, with a huge hole in my gut.
When every odd was against me, my brother-in-law was the only one on my side who tried to stand up for me. Being the a nice guy that he was, I knew he meant well, but when Zaynah’s family decided that she should rather go to familiar surroundings, I knew there wasn’t much I could do. Maybe they had just expected me to give up by now, but I had just wanted to see her leave, as I waited at the hospital that morning.
Zaynah had been busy with her cousins who were getting her ready for the big move ‘home’ and my heart literally sunk to my feet when I thought of her not returning to our marital home and going somewhere completely foreign. Despite knowing her preferences, all I knew was that she needed to come back. She needed to give me a chance. She needed to get to know me again.
My thoughts went back to earlier that day, as I remembered the first time she actually spoke to me properly since she had woken up. When my parents had come in a few weeks ago with me, she had literally frozen, unable to deal with the stress of not knowing us at all. She was probably wondering how she had ended up marrying into this dysfunctional family in the first place. We were so different from what she had probably always imagined for herself. Even though I had tried to assure her that it was all okay, I could see how rigid she had become, because of her reservations.
“Zaynah,” I said, moving toward the bed and hoping to say something that would ignite her lost memory. Anything to get her to remember me. Remember us.
She just looked up at me nervously and slightly awkwardly as I edged forward, almost as if I would bite her. I felt like I was some kind of predator. I felt as if I was a complete stranger.
“I know that you have no idea about these few months that we spent together,” I said, a lump forming in my throat. I wasn’t sure why I was getting emotional, but all this time I hadn’t really expressed to her how hard it was for me. It was all about her, and her getting well again. The strain on me had been almost indescribable.
Her cousin looked at me sympathetically as I tried to continue, the words stuck in my throat. She had insisted that someone be there while I spoke to her, and though it hurt, I knew that I couldn’t blame Zaynah. She was, after all, different to the girl I had gotten to know since we had wed.
I wanted to reach out to my wife as I watched her fiddling with the bed sheet, almost as if she didn’t want to even look at me. Maybe to her it was awkward but to me, there was nothing more that I wanted. It was one of the greatest tests to restrain myself from touching her.
I wanted to tell her how much she had meant to me… How she had changed me… How much I loved her… But the last thing I wanted to do was overwhelm my beloved wife.
I would have sacrificed anything for her happiness, and I knew that being considerate of her condition was the best thing I could do for her.
She looked so delicate. Fragile. Vulnerable.
“Zaynah, I think that you should-”
My words were cut off as I started my suggestion of her coming home to me, and as the noise sounded, Zaynah looked behind me to the open door with a slightly relieved look on her face.
Physical pain actually shot through me as I registered who it was. Zaynah actually knew him better than she knew me at this point, and it made my heart sink to my gut.
I was coming close to hating the guy, and it scared me. I wasn’t sure if I could control myself very much longer around him.
“Mamoo is here,” he said, and I narrowed my eyes at Raees, wondering since when he thought it was okay to just enter the ward without permission.
He was addressing his statement at his sister, but I could see him looking at my wife. The guy had always made me feel uncomfortable and now with the recent changes to Zaynah’s condition, I could see him take advantage of the situation. I really wanted to tell him to back off, but I knew that it would lead to a fight, which I didn’t mind, but I didn’t want to upset Zaynah.
“How long will you’ll be?” He asked, looking from me to Zaynah, and then raising his eyebrows. “Are you okay?”
His last question was addressed to Zaynah, and I really wanted to punch his face for saying it.
The fact that he was so concerned about her around me really annoyed me. He seemed to forget that we were still married, despite him telling me outright that maybe I should give up on the thought of a future with my own wife. Despite him telling me that maybe I should leave her to start another life without me. My blood had literally boiled when he suggested it.
I clenched my jaw and fists simultaneously, reminding myself that I needed to contain myself for Zaynah’s sake.
I merely shook my head, staring him down until he finally left and then looked at Zaynah one last time, wondering if I would get any joy out of these last few moments before she left.
“I won’t push you,” I told her, not wanting her to get anxious around me. She looked visibly relieved as she finally met my eye and I and I tried to hold her gaze as I walked a little closer.
I swallowed nervously, giving her a small smile as we watched each other, almost like we both knew it would be the last time for a long while.
“But,” I said, and she widened her eyes slightly, as if waiting for me to offer the final blow. “If you ever need me, or want to come home…”
I trailed off, not completing my sentence, because even now, Zaynah knew exactly what I meant. My spirits rose momentarily when she nodded, and I gave her a last smile before I took a step back and left the room, feeling a tiny spark of hope amidst the sorrow deep down.
I rubbed my burning eyes as I went to sit on the edge of the outside bench, thinking that I would watch her go and then check on my younger brother after. It had been three days since the funeral and I could see him slowly regaining his former spirit, although it was taking a long while for him to digest that everything in his life had again completely changed. His married life was completely over.
Riyaad sat next to me as I waited there for those few minutes, just letting us dwell in companionable silence for that little while, understanding that I really didn’t want to talk.
All I could think of then was how unfair it all was. How I had been robbed of my marriage. There had been a point when all I wanted was for Zaynah to just be alive… to just be okay. Now that she had woken up and was actually well enough to leave the dreaded hospital, my heart yearned for more. I wanted her back, not just the way she was, but the way I knew her. I wanted more out of her… I wanted more out of the entire deal.
Of course, I knew that I was being ungrateful.
I didn’t think of all the simple bounties we had been granted, through it all. I didn’t think that at least my wife had been given a second chance at life, or show any gratitude that she had at least come out of the unconscious state she was in. All I wanted was more… because I felt robbed of my time with her. I felt that I deserved more out of the marriage. I felt that I wanted more than her to just be okay. I wanted us to be okay. I wanted more from what we had.
Yes, it was a test… and yes, it was hard… even harder than I thought to watch her go home happily with her family, without any clue of the outcome of our marriage.
And almost as if coming to save me from myself, as I got off the bench when the car exited, it was almost as if someone whispered, beautifully, straight into my soul:
“Indeed, with every difficulty, there is relief.” (Surah Inshirah)
And it was so apt as the words caught me, because I had forgotten. It set my soul alight because throughout the ordeal in hospital, and almost losing Zaynah, it was what kept me going. It was what comforted my deranged spirit when I felt like I had lost everything. At that stage, all I wanted was for her to just be okay. All I wanted was for her to just survive.
Because even though we are tested with hardship, Allah Ta’ah reminds us not once, but twice, that within that hardship, there are so many eases that we are given. Whether the ease comes now or later, the promise that we are given is a true one. So instead of dwelling over the loss of a wife, I knew that, unlike Zee, my wife was still here. I could still try, though it might look like I had no chance. I could still try and earn the greater rewards that will be in store for me, through my patience.
All I needed to for now was let go, and have faith that even though it may not be right now, a some point in the future, everything will be okay again.
Once in a while, along the bitter sweet journey of life, people enter your life for reasons that are far beyond any explanation. They find their way in and they inspire such change, that you can no longer imagine your life before they came along. That’s how much they mean to you, and you can’t help but feel that there’s nowhere else that they belong except right where you need them to be.
Zaynah had come into my life in such a way that she had changed the direction of our lives completely and for eternity. She had shown me that Deen wasn’t only about sitting at the Masjid or growing a beard. It was not isolated. It was a way of life, and what she showed me was greater than any material or worldly perk. It was more important than any gift that anyone could give me. The privilege of finding Deen withing the darkness of Duniyaa was something than was far beyond any worldly value.
It wasn’t about the happy ending here. It was about the entire journey… and about the eternal future she had made me see. It was so much more than the temporary life I had lived, and I couldn’t help but see how far I had come from that place where I really had no idea of where I was headed.
And now, of course, that was something that I knew for sure. Where I was headed wasn’t just to the coffee shop across the road from my office, for my caffeine fix, just so I could get through my day. Where I was headed was not only about the meeting I had next on my schedule with bank managers, to see that my father’s finances were all in order. It wasn’t only about my busy schedule, that make ends meet for this temporary world.
Yes, life had to go on, but that wasn’t where it all ended. There was so much more than I had known all this time. It was so much more than just chasing the world.
The message that I had taken was deep and clear.
Chase what’s greater. Chase freedom. Chase emancipation.
And when you reach it, don’t let it dwindle away like that illusive hope you’ve always watched from afar.
Enter. Emerge. Encompass.
But, remember the heart, by definition, is that which turns. It will turn in whatever direction it is steered, should one wish. All we have to do is keep bringing the heart back to focus… back to it’s centre… back to Him. Back to that calm, perfect, fireless world, where only He remains.
Take the plunge. Make the change. Shift the focus. Once you are at peace with whatever is dealt to you —a calm, serene world—can exist inside. Your sanctuary that you have built throughout your journey is within yourself, and how you face every test.
Once you have it, and you’ve earned that, you can go ahead. You can move forward.
No matter who or what leaves your life… Know that your eternity… Your priceless Jannah… Can never be taken away.
Don’t forget our Super Sunnahs!
Eating a piece of food that falls on the floor. If a piece of food falls on the floor, then the person eating should remove any dirt that gets onto it and eat it; because he does not know where the blessing is in his food. It may be in the piece that fell, and leaving it makes a person miss out on the blessing of the food.
Anas ibn Maalik narrated that when Nabi (SAW) ate, he would lick his three fingers. Anas said: “And he said, ‘If any one of you drops a piece of food, let him remove any dirt from it and eat it, and not leave it for the Shaytaan.’ And he commanded us to clean the plate, and said, ‘For you do not know where in your food the blessing is.’” (Narrated by Muslim, 2034).
There are many bodily benefits to all Sunnah as well. Let’s try and practise regularly!
We will be doing more eating and drinking Sunnahs Insha Allah.