Crossroads

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Three months later...

Life is really something else. ‘Strange’, some may say. One day we’re the happiest person in the world and the next… We’re the most lonely.

The thing is, humans are built to chase. To run after things. You would be surprised as to what is waiting to walk in to your life, once you learn to stop running. Because that’s what humans do; we run. We run from one thing to another. But once you stop, you begin to feel more. You begin to understand, what is meant to be and what is meant to run away.

Pain is part of life. Part of growing up.

Sometimes, you just have to let it take it’s course. Ride it out. And once it simmers down, you let life take over once again, and try and move forward. You try to pull through. Hope the wound that caused it heals. There are no solutions. No easy answers. You just breathe deep and wait for it to subside.

It wasn’t like my heart could be shattered much more. Though I didn’t harp on it, the initial rejection from Farah was a lot to bare, and when the accident happened, I supposed I just went into shock mode. My entire life was at a standstill for a few days, as I sat in a daze, wondering if all this was real or not.

It had been three months since that sordid day, and I kept my emotions in a place where they weren’t easily accessible. I tried to switch off most of the time, for fear of feeling too much… feeling too deep.

I remembered reading about Sabr at the time of grief. I also remembered Farah’s family and how distraught they had been when it happened. Things had calmed down a lot since then, but I knew that the test of Imaan was a at the first blow, not three days later or one week later. At the first news of the calamity… When it all goes down.  When it first happens.

Nabi sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Verily patience (is only sabr when practiced) at the first hit (of news).”

It was easier said than done. I couldn’t understand any of it at that point, but looking back , the test was clear. The test of how I managed the whole tragedy. How I dealt with the reactions from people. How I rose above the feelings that were fighting to bring me down.

Patience is hard. Definitely easier said than done. It’s really hard. Sometimes you feel like you can take no more. You think that you’ve broken and that’s it. You feel like you can’t be put tested any more, and then… miraculously… Then Allah suddenly grants you strength to endure every trial that comes your way.

Tawakkul.

Tawakkul is like a superpower; once you completely rely upon Allah to bring you through anything, to help you, to make you a way out and to heal you – you feel the calmness in the storm, the sweetness in your tears and the bitterness just seems to fade away.

Because I still felt it sometimes. In the end, it wasn’t like we were madly in love, so I didn’t really understand why I was so caught up in the whole thing. Nevertheless, I kept remembering the good times. The times when everything was okay. Even through her pregnancy, there were moments where my hopes for us sky rocketed, and I just had this unexplainable feeling that we would pull through.

As I entered the driveway of our home for the first time after her death, my eyes immediately fell on the open doorway that led to the foyer. I knew someone would be here.

My eyes fell on the framed rose which Farah had got from me the day of our Nikah, and at that moment when she brought the frame home, I distinctly remembered her gorgeous smile as she looked up at me with her slightly swollen cheeks and said: “For old time’s sake.”

It was such a heart warming memory, that the Zee was actually starting to get all emotional again.

Her face kept on coming up in my dreams, and couldn’t help but think that maybe I had failed her. Maybe I had let her down. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough.

I shook my head at myself as I jumped in my car, hoping that the feeling would subside. It was all beyond my control, and I knew that those thoughts of despondency were from Shaytaan. Being back here made me feel like she would pop out of somewhere at any minute, telling us this was all a big joke.

How I wished that it was, but reality was inescapable. I heard that they were selling the house.

“Ziyaad.”

Her voice was steady and clear, and it reminded me of Farah when I heard it. It was her mother, who was now a strange woman to me, and anyone  could see that Farah inherited her everything from her mother.

“I’m leaving now,” she said, as I stepped forward to show I was listening. I kept looking down.

I could hear her instructing the helper to fetch a few things, and I stepped back as they left, allowing them to pass.

Farah’s mother stopped momentarily, looking at me questioningly, as if she expected more of a response from me. Except for a cousin of Farah’s that I had been speaking to, I had basically gotten a cold shoulder from most members of the family, so I didn’t expect any different from her. I braced myself, but as she passed… My heart swelled as she literally broke down into tears, and she held her head in her hands, apologising profusely and trying to head out as fast as she could.

To say the situation was awkward is an understatement, and there was no way of comforting this woman except by verbally assuring her that she would be okay. That Farah was better off. That everything would ease with time. I mean, what else do you say when you were in a situation like that?

“I wish everything had worked out for you’ll,” she finally blurted,  before rushing off behind the helper, leaving me in a slightly confused state. It was a weird statement to make, because I mean, all along, it was Farah’s family who seemed to be pushing for a divorce, and now the entire story seemed to be changing. I couldn’t help but feel slightly irritated. Now that she was gone, everything was completely different. It was strange that when death featured, everyone changed their minds about me. Maybe I hadn’t been so terrible for Farah after all?

I packed my stuff quickly, anxious to get out of there. I sighed again, pressing my accelerator a little harder as I reached the main road, thinking about something other than what I knew would bring me down.

Happy thoughts, I urged myself, feeling like one of those floating characters once again. The reality of it all was settling once again.

I glanced at myself in the rear view mirror as I adjusted it, seeing this guy staring at me in a kind of surreal daze.

The same face of the person who had committed all those sins now bore a Sunnah beard. The same eyes that had seen so much of Haraam were now just staring back, full of empty hopefulness.

The least that all this had brought was my need for some direction. To stop being a lazy sod.

The thing was, though I despised it at the the time, with all Farah’s going on about how lazy and useless I had been in the past, I had realised that maybe she did have a point, after all. Maybe there was a good intention after all. She wanted to see me do something. To make something more of myslef. To use the wasted potential I had.

Maybe she saw beyond the lax attitude I had always portrayed, and realised that her constant wrecking my brains might have an effect. I actually smiled at the memory of her frustration with me, remembering her as she would tut and shake her head at me, when I refused to wake up before noon. It was an awesome life, but I knew that it was way too much. I had to wake my case up, and now, at least I had found some purpose to persevere.

It had been part of my goals for a new beginning, and a start to a better beginning. I often got calls and visits from old friends, convincing me to get out there and meet some women, but I knew I was passed all that rubbish. I knew that we had a greater purpose than messing around, and that’s why I put my energy into an effort to help people who were like me. Starting with a cousin of Farah’s who I knew she had grown up with and had been worried about, having a person who depended on me kept me busy and stopped me from getting diverted. It was my project for now to keep him from going off track, and I knew Farah would have appreciated it.

As for my brothers… I knew that they were always there. I just needed to take some time away those few months while I sorted myself out. Though I was really happy for Mo, being with made me remember what I was trying to forget. The joy. The happy parts. The hope.

With a baby on the way, it made me remember my past all the more, and I wished I could bury the memories somewhere deep below the surface of my mind.

Any slight mention of anything to do with Farah had sent me into either an emotional roller coaster or a state of fury.

I pulled into the garage to stop for my daily box of cigarettes, feeling a strange sense of contentment as I pulled the handbrake button up, realising that maybe I had finally found what I had been looking for, since I had gone on the chase. The chase for something that I had missing. The chase for what was more than just so temporary. The chase to find the gold.

I had been so focused on something that wasn’t really there. Sometimes I wondered if I would really be able to help someone else when I myself was so in need of assistance. When I had been just like him.

I looked around me as I sat, watching a few guys who were seated at the back, remembering them as part of a crew I had seen moving around when I had still been focused on the wrong stuff. I remembered even having a fight over some chic with the one guy. How pointless and futile were those days where we would just hang around like that, with no real reason to live. Just for the next night out. Just for a quick fix. Just for the girl who we hoped we’d score with.

A black car was pulling in behind us, and as I turned slightly, a guy in the crowd waved at me from afar, gesturing for me to come and join them.

I looked at him for a few seconds, considering the offer for a while. He probably just wanted to have some small talk while we smoked, and I didn’t think he really meant any harm. I had been avoiding that type of crowd for a bit too long. Maybe I needed to cool off for a bit. Stop taking everything so seriously.

I grabbed a cigarette from my pack and started to make my way through, not even noticing the guy from a black VW golf get off and approach me from behind.

“Assalaamu Alaykum.”

Crossroads. One more of the many I’ve had to face throughout my life. I was literally torn between enjoying my cigarette with the guy from my past life, or giving this holy-looking guy the time of day.

I turned and  looked up, already thinking that this guy was coming to give me some kind of Bayaan or gasht. I mean, I wasn’t even hanging out with those guys, and I was already feeling like someone was keeping tabs on me. I should have been grateful, but I was slightly annoyed that my chill-out time was getting disturbed. I looked up and greeted back, nonetheless, while he hastily asked if I could help him with some directions.

I could easily act like I too wasn’t from around here, and I looked at him blankly, knowing that I had to make a decision. Now.

Tomorrow was too far away. Later on, was even further.

Today. Today I had to make the choice  between what seemed to be the more appealing thing to do, and what was obviously the sounder and better thing to do.

Sometimes the lines are very fine. Sometimes you don’t know what you can get yourself into when you get too caught up in the pursuit. Sometimes you have to take the plunge, and be a little wiser as you grow up.

So I decided. I waved at guy from the past and turned my body now fully, giving guy from the black golf my full attention.

He was well-dressed in a simple white Kurtah. Handsome. Sunnah beard.

This guy didn’t look like he was from around here. He actually still looked slightly familiar… As if he had seen him before.

I frowned as I hastily put out my cigarette, whilst he followed me as I went to my car and asked him which area he was looking for. Although there were plenty Muslims around, I supposed that I was the only Muslim-looking guy and maybe he just felt comfortable to ask me. I supposed he thought I was a ‘reliable’ type. I suppose that some people are just meant to meet in random ways.

I offered him to show him the way after he gave me the address and he looked so grateful that I thought he would probably shake my hand off in gratitude. It didn’t click, when he gave me the road name. After meeting Zaynah’s family over a year ago, it just felt good to see people like them really existed. People whose characters are like shining lights in this dark world. Like gold in the mine. I wondered if I could ever become like that.

Maybe that should be my goal.

“By the way,” he said, just as I was about to get into my car again. He stretched out his hands, grasping mine firmly, Sunnah style.

“Good to meet you, bru… I’m Yusuf.”


Don’t forget our Super Sunnahs!

Beautiful Sunnah!!

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.

#RevivetheSunnahofEating

#RevivetheSunnahofDrinking

#Revive theSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofSmiling

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofDu’aas

Tweet: @ajourneyjournal

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16 thoughts on “Crossroads

  1. Slms…

    This extract was just so beautiful Tawakkul is like a superpower; once you completely rely upon Allah to bring you through anything, to help you, to make you a way out and to heal you – you feel the calmness in the storm, the sweetness in your tears and the bitterness just seems to fade away.

    This part hit my heart. I make shukr of all good and bad.. there’s reason behind the good and the bad.

    Jazakallah for this reminder!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know I haven’t commented in AGES …….
    Its only my laziness … I just read the post off the email ..
    But I’m really enjoying ur story – ما شاء الله …
    Its wonderful how u joining the characters from both ur stories ..
    And also teaching us soo many lessons ..

    May اللَّهُ continue to use u for the service of Deen n may we take benefit and inculcate it into our lives !! آمين

    جَزَاكَ اللهُ خَيْرًا

    Like

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