Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
I turned my face to see my fairly estranged sister-in-law literally run out of the house as fast as she could, straight for the poor guy who was just climbing out of his car.
I hoped she wasn’t going to knock him over. In the short time I had spoken to him, the two of us actually might have hit it off, and my usually unemotional sister-in-law was strangely excited about her new visitor. Too excited.
My eldest brother followed behind shortly, looking slightly hesitant as he walked forward toward them, now chatting animatedly. He looked from me to them, and then frowned, raised his eyebrows and shook his head, in slight bemusement.
“So you met my bro in law before me, neh?”
Her brother. Ah. I could see the dials.
I looked at him with a sheepish smile, thinking it so coincidental that the guy had chosen me of all the people there to direct him. And not just direct him anywhere. To bring him straight to my own brother’s house, that I had been avoiding all this time. I felt the minutest bit of guilt, but my self-sympathy kind of overpowered it.
I turned to look as my sister-in-law ushered us both in insistently, and quickly turned away as I got a better view. I had never been awkward with Aasiya, but the whole pregnancy thing made me feel weird. Maybe because of what I had been through. Maybe pregnancy just reminded me of things that weren’t that awesome.
Life had gotten a little past what I had bargained for, and I didn’t expect it to affect me as much as I was feeling it. I trudged up the marble set of stairs that led to Mo’s entrance hall, following the voices to the lounge. I missed Waseem at times like this because recently I had always felt closer to him. He had been on a business trip and I hadn’t seen him for a while. I was well aware that he had been trying to contact me, but as usual, I chose to ignore his calls. I wasn’t sure exactly why, but I just needed some time alone.
So much for trying to be helpful. I was starting to feel slightly out of my comfort zone as I realised that I had set myself up for the exact opposite.
I sighed and trudged up the staircase, realizing that I might be overplaying the whole widower bit. Yeah, people felt sorry for me, but I knew that it was just a matter of time before they got fed up. I was kind of over-doing the whole role.
Aasiya was chattering away as she opened the fridge door and took out some stuff and my heart literally lifted when I noticed several dishes being placed on the nook.
I could already tell that it going to be amazing.
Food. I wasn’t sure when last I had enjoyed it. Aasiya’s signature dishes were the one thing I knew that would never fail to uplift my morbid mood.
“Wow, sis. All this for me,” Yusuf said, winking at us.
He had this light-hearted edge to his voice and I realized that even though he looked like Maulana Dude, he was very different to him. He looked cooler. Not as rough. I appreciated the change. Molvi Dude sometimes scared me.
As they all spoke I learnt that this guy was actually not just a Jamaat guy, but also an engineer by profession. He actually had a real job. Yeah, I was a superficial guy. It was amazing how our opinions of people changed when we realized that they had some title to their name. Here I was, thinking that they were all from some backward farm place, when I was the one who was probably the most out of tune.
“Muhammad, tell Ziyaad not to act like a visitor,” Aasiya said as she set down a pile of plates for us.
Mo gestured for me to help myself, and I nodded slowly, still digesting the whole thing as I grabbed a plate got ready for another load of digesting. For the first time in ages, I was getting excited.
I put a few of the yummy looking crumbed chicken stuff on my plate and took a seat near Mo and half-listened to their chatter from the lounge. Mo pitched in here and there, but I could see something different about him as he interacted. It just proved how long I hadn’t spent time with him.
He looked like he had grown a few years in the past months, and it wasn’t just the beard or grey hair. My brother looked like his entire mindset had been altered. He was still semi-obsessed with his wife, but I could tell that his obsession stemmed from something deeper now. The whole atmosphere in the house was just different. Serene. Calm.
It was amazing what changing your life can do. More amazing was the fact that not only you benefited, but even people around could feel the change. I mean, I never saw this coming, as I was stuck in my own problems and pursuits. Allah had guided him in a most unexpected way, and I hoped he would remain as determined to fix his life. I wished that I too had that drive, because right now, it felt like I was on the edge.
Feelings of discontentment and inadequacy were plaguing me now that I began to think of my life. The more I dwelled on the past as I sat there, the more my mind got warped. I hastily tuned out of my own thoughts, knowing that I either needed to leave or stop being such a sorry case.
Aasiya was talking to Yusuf behind me, and I could hear her mention something about Umar. She was the only one I knew where addressed him by his first name, and it was slightly weird for me. I mean, I always knew him as the Molvi.
“When’s he going to be around?” She asked.
“I’m not sure,” his brother said vaguely.
My ears perked up as I heard them speaking in lowered tones. It was sounding slightly shady, and I wondered what the big secrecy was all about.
“No!” Aasiya suddenly said, and Mo looked up from the property section of the paper in slight bemusement, wondering what the hubbub was about.
And of course, being Zee, I wondered too.
“He’s gone again?” She asked, and I wondered where she was talking about. “What did his wife say? I mean, he’s got four kids-”
I turned around to look at them, and I could see Aasiya’s eyes widening.
“What?!” She said incredulously, looking like she was completely shocked out of her mind.
Woman had a way of dramatizing simple things a little too much. Her brother nodded.
“Aasiya, it’s not that uncommon,” he said calmly. “People are going all the time…”
“It’s all this ISIS nonsense,” she retorted, sounding angry.
Despite that and their serious tones, I immediately started grinning to myself, knowing where this conversation was going.
Of course we weren’t terrorists. I didn’t think there were many people I had met who were that kind of material, except maybe for my used-to-be father-in-law. Okay. I’m.Just.Kidding.
The thing is, ISIS was one of Waseem’s favorite topics to argue about. He insisted that it was just a ploy to get the west to hate Muslims, and it wasn’t even something that Muslims backed. There are two sides of the fence you can take, and the right one is the mechanism that all Muslims from the beginning of time have deployed. More of a much needed defence, than a form of terrorism. They weren’t terrorists or extremists. The real Mujaahideen were men who Nabi SAW truly loved and had spoke about for their spirit and enthusiasm for their genuine upliftment of Deen. They were men who truly went out in the path of Allah, to fight oppression for His pleasure, and to die for His cause. I mean, I knew that people were dying all the time in the East and other parts of Africa, but I had no idea that people like that existed in our community.
“But that’s just crazy,” Aasiya was saying, as I looked away, pretending to ignore them. She was adamant. Mo’s face was expressionless, but he raised his eyebrows as the siblings conversed, knowing that this was probably going to lead to something he didn’t favour.
“I mean, we don’t have to go to these places and do all that stuff,” Aasiya insisted.'”We’re not living in Syria. No-one is forcing us to go out and-”
“Aasiya, we can’t all live in a little bubble,” Mo piped up from where he sat , out of the blue.
He immediately looked sorry he said that, as Aasiya glared at him, expecting him to take her side. It was obvious that Mo wasn’t of the same opinion. Yusuf nodded in agreement.
“You can say that,” he said to Aasiya. “But we’ll all have to knock ourselves out of our comfort zone soon, and fight for our Deen. As it is… It’s quality is deteriorating. Nabi (SAW) predicted that there would come a time like this… When there are so many Muslims… but our hearts will be so weak. It’s exactly what Molvi speaks about all the time. We got no substance.”
He shrugged, and I remembered the Hadith, and the momentary fear I had felt when I first heard it. We think that we have yet to come to that time, but it wasn’t the case.
Thawban (RA) related that the Nabi of Allah (SAW) said: “The nations are about to call each other and set upon you, just as diners set upon food.” It was said: “Will it be because of our small number that day?”
He (SAW) said: “Rather, on that day you will be many, but you will be like foam, like the foam on the river. And Allah will remove the fear of you from the hearts of your enemies and will throw wahn (weakness) into your hearts.” Someone said: “O Messenger of Allah! What is wahn?” He said: “Love of the world and the hatred for death.”
It was so true of us, as we sat in luxury and made the most of every worldly benefit.
I nodded to myself silently, knowing that Yusuf was right. I mean, even our spirit was lacking.
During the times of the Sahabah, they would wait for the call for Jihaad to come. Even the younger boys used to puff out their chests to appear broader and older when Nabi (SAW) was in their midst to pick his Mujaahideen, ready to go out and fight for Islam. And it wasn’t just novelty or some kind of fantasy. They did it because they understood what really awaited them. They truly believed that they would emit the fragrance of musk as their blood fell. They truly relished the thought of meeting their hoors in the gardens of Paradise. They anticipated the heights they would reach in Jannah, because they knew that this world was completely overrated.
What lay ahead was far more worthy for them, that they were prepared to sacrifice anything to get it. They were ready to do away with all of their comfort.
And we, on the other hand, sit back and say it’s not our place to do all that ‘stuff’, because it will make us some kid of radical extremists. To go out for Islam was completely unnecessary in our misguided minds.
I wanted to voice my concerns and check what was being said, because I knew that it wasn’t worth us living in this delusional world. But Yusuf was already a step ahead of me.
What he said, I never realized before. The truth of it sent shivers down my spine.
“The time will come… When we all will have to fight. Every single one us.”
I swallowed as he glanced at Mo and I as he spoke, and I realised that he wasn’t just talking. He was serious. We lived in our comfort zones, caught up in our own world and petty problems, when there were real and heart breaking thing happening out there. Yeah, before I was indifferent. I didn’t care what happened in remote corners of the world. I didn’t give a damn about how people were being tortured and arrested, for no real reason.
I shook my head now, realizing what it was that made people actually leave the comfort they had here and gone away to these places to aid the Muslims there. It was this desire to do something. Anything. A desire to reach the heights that we could never compare to, while we sat here in luxury. And no, I wasn’t sure if I was going to run away to Al Sham as yet, but the restlessness I felt couldn’t be ignored as I sat there doing nothing. Maybe I needed this to realize that my life wasn’t so terrible after all. It’s only when we compare our lives to those worse off do we get an idea of how blessed we are. How easy we have it.
“I’ll see you,” I said to Mo, getting up to go. I knew where I needed to go. Seeing Waseem always made me feel a little closer to where I needed to. He was probably back home by now, since it was weekend, and I really needed to speak to him.
“You going home?” He asked, looking concerned about me.
I nodded, telling him that I needed to see Waseem.
He frowned slightly, looking at me with slight confusion.
“He’s not around,” he said obviously.
I frowned back, wondering if why he still wasn’t back.
“Didn’t you know?” He asked, shaking his head at me. “Bru, where’re you living at?”
I shrugged, knowing that I had been slightly out of touch recently. I just wasn’t sure what he was going on about.
“Waseem’s gone,” he said bluntly, shrugging back at me. “Not sure where. He phoned me the other day to say his vrou requested a divorce…”
I sucked in my breath. A divorce. It wasn’t just uncomfortable to speak about. That word made me sick to my stomach.
Yoh. That was bad. Bad.
“And I haven’t heard from him since.”
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.