Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Waseem: Into the future
“Can I sit here?”
I looked up as I heard the slightly familiar voice, realizing that the person it belonged to was no stranger.
I squinted slightly, nodding slowly as Raees sat down, wondering what on earth this guy wanted.
“I’ve heard a lot of things about you.. But I didn’t know you smoke,” he said, pulling out his own box of cigarettes from his pocket, and eyeing me out as he lighted his.
I quickly stubbed mine, annoyed about his comment and annoyed that he had to see it. I wasn’t a regular smoker. Recently, I just needed something to keep me from going completely crazy, and cigarettes were the best and safest solution. I didn’t want to go back to where I came from.
I didn’t reply to him, as I looked ahead in silence at the cars coming in and out of the service station. It was late in the afternoon, and it was slowly filling up as people were stopping for supplies or a quick fill of petrol.
“I wanted to talk to you,” he said now, and I waited for him to expand. I wondered what he was doing in my part of the world on a weekday.
I looked at him sharply as he said her name, annoyed that he had the audacity to say it. My Zaynah. My wife. Who did this guy think he was?
“How is my wife?” I asked bluntly, looking him in the eye. He shrugged and took a pull of his cigarette.
“Same,” he said vaguely. “She still doesn’t know you.”
I took in a a sharp breath as my heart plummeted back to where it had been two weeks ago when I had went to see her, with no response. She spoke to me as if I was a stranger, and looked at me as if she was just waiting for me to leave. I hadn’t been back since, and it wasn’t because I didn’t want to. I just didn’t think I had the heart to.
“So what did you come here for?” I asked him, waiting for him to cut to the chase and leave. He was taking long purposefully as he pulled deeply on the last part of his cigarette, and I narrowed my eyes at him as he got up, as if ready to leave.
The guy just irked me. He had this expression on his face that I wanted to rearrange every time I saw him, but I held myself back. For Zaynah.
“I was just thinking,” he said, almost to himself. “How we all like to hang onto things… even though we know that we really have no chance with them…”
He let the phrase hang in the air, and I narrowed my eyes as he shrugged at me, almost tauntingly.
Was this guy for real?
“What’s your point, boss?” I snapped, standing up out of frustration. He was testing me and I knew that I would snap soon. It was just a matter of time.
“Cool off,” he said, now standing and flicking his cigarette away. “All I’m saying is the obvious. What Zaynah wants, and what she needs. Maybe you should consider.”
And with that, he walked away, leaving behind a single white piece of paper with my name on it. At first I was baffled, but as I picked up the envelope to realize who it was from, my hands immediately trembled from trepidation.
Zaynah. It was her writing.
I sucked in my breath and walked to my car, the contents of what lay within the letter sitting on my mind all the way through Salaah that day. I knew that it couldn’t be any good. I knew that Zaynah wouldn’t exactly be writing to me as a romantic notion. It was probably much more serious than that.
I greeted my mother normally that evening, and then visited my evasive father, to talk business talk, before heading upstairs to open the letter.
I tore the last piece of envelope from the top, hastily pulling out its contents. As I scanned the writing, it was like my life stood still before my eyes.
I know you have hope. I know you think that this will all work out. I think most people do… but while I am recovering, I have had a lot of time to think and figure out how to move forward from here.
Now that I’ve had all this time, I can’t help but feel guilty that I’m not fulfilling the role of a wife as I had definitely promised. It’s also not fair to you this way. I feel like the only way that it can fair to you is if we let go. It’s no longer a marriage…
I stopped reading as I stood there, with my legs trembling and my fingers shaking.
What was she saying? End it? Let her go, and never look back?
Divorce. The word itself made me cringe.
I had to sit. This was too much. Too much, all at once.
I closed my eyes and tried to picture her as if she was here. What would I say to her? This was so out of character for her. How can she even suggest that? How was I going to go on without even a hope of having her?
I steadied myself as I sat down, the thoughts whirling through my mind. I lay my head back, letting the tiredness from the past weeks take over as I closed by eyes and let the unfinished letter fall to the floor.
I wasn’t sure how long I slept… But before I knew it, my eyes shot open in the depth of that very night, as if something or someone had gently nudged me awake.
I looked around, my surroundings still strange as I processed where I was. My room. My father’s house.
Everything seemed like a blur. The past few months had been so erratic, that I wasn’t even sure if it was real.
Did I create my wife with my very own delusional mind? Did I possibly imagine her entire existence? Was she maybe only just a dream?
For a moment, I was so disorientated, that I barely remembered the past year.
And then, all at once, it all came flooding back, as if my life was flashing just before my eyes.
My father. Ziyaad’s baby. My past. My life. The divorce. And then… The tragedy I had to come to terms with… Letting go of Zaynah.
Just the thought of what lay ahead was torturous and horrifying, but it was what I could never escape. It was, by far, the worst thing that had ever happened to me. Yes, Zaynah hadn’t been here all this time, but I had always lived with the hope that she would return. I always held onto the notion that she would be back.
Now, I was in a rut. I didn’t want to get up. I didn’t want to wake up to what lay ahead today. I didn’t want to face the world without her there with me.
I breathed in, slowly letting my breath out, steadying my emotions. I glanced around, and half expected her to be sitting there on the Musallah, as was her usual spot when I would get up at this hour.
I could never beat her. Somehow, she was always the one who would wake up first, and I knew I could never even try to compete. I knew she would never let me win.
“How did you do it?” I said aloud.
I could picture myself shaking my head at her. No matter what time I set my alarm for, she would always be out of bed before me. It was a no-win situation.
“My Allah shook me up,” I could almost here her say. “How can I ignore it?”
I would usually be squinting at my phone, wondering how it had suddenly fast-forwarded to an hour after the alarm was originally set. I was usually angry.
“Pious people don’t need alarm clocks,” I would mutter, to both myself and her, berating myself for being so far behind, spiritually.
And then she would shake her head at me, pursing her lips with that smile that said that she was wiser way beyond her years.
“Waking up for Tahajjud doesn’t make you pious,” her sweet voice would say defiantly, trying hard to sound cross, as if she was ready to start a fight.
I knew what she was saying. But I also knew the woman I had married.
She was determined and passionate, and she left nothing to be criticised.
When I looked at her, it was no wonder that she reminded me of the Sahabah and their perseverance. Their Imaan was unmatched.
That was the crux of it, even for me, right now. I knew that one of the main factors that would bring me through this was my stength of Imaan.
“Leave it to Allah,” Zaynah would say. It was her famous words, and unlike her, who it came naturally to, I had to dig deep and manifest every inch of it into the belief that everything will work out in the end. It was like I had to dig deep and search into the depths of my soul and knowledge, to try and assure myself that things were not as bad as it seemed. That after it all, there was still hope for something better.
And that’s precisely when I remembered Zaynah so passionately conveying to me a story of a woman having so much of faith that Allah would sort her problem out, that she thought nothing of turning her full trust to Him, when everyone else, including the beloved Nabi (SAW) couldn’t redeem her.
Khawla bint Tha’labah (RA) was a great woman who enjoyed very high standing among the companions of Nabi (SAW), who were her contemporaries and knew her virtues. It was about her that Qur’an was revealed, and Allah alleviated her burden.
Khawla (RA) exemplified patience while standing firm in her beliefs. She persevered until she got the truth. She wanted to stand up for her rights and rights of women, while maintaining her love for her husband.
The story of Khawla bint Tha’labah (RA) and her husband Aws ibn al-Samit is narrated by Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud and quoted by Ibn Kathir in his tafsir at the beginning of Surat al-Mujadilah.
Khawla (RA) is reported to have said:
“By Allah, concerning me and Aws ibn al-Samit, Allah revealed the beginning of Surat al-Mujadilah. I was married to him, and he was an old man who was bad-tempered. One day, he came in and I raised a particular issue with him again. He became angry and said, ‘You are to me as the back of my mother.’ Then he went out and sat for a while in the meeting-place of his people. Then he came back, and wanted to resume marital relations with me. I said, ‘No way! By the hand of the One in Whose hand is the soul of Khuwayla (i.e., Khawla), you will never get what you want from me after saying what you said, until Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) decide between us.’ He tried to force himself on me, but I was able to resist because I was a young woman and he was a weak old man. I pushed him away. Then I went to one of my (female) neighbors and borrowed a cloak from her and went to Nabi (SAW). I sat before him, told him what my husband had done to me, and began to complain to him about my sufferings because of my husband’s bad temper. Nabi (SAW) said, ‘O Khuwayla, your cousin is an old man, so fear Allah with regard to him.’ I did not leave him until Qur’an was revealed concerning me. He was overcome as he usually was when Qur’an was revealed to him, and when it was over, he said: ‘O Khuwayla, Allah has revealed Qur’an concerning you and your husband.’
And of course, many know about the verses that were revealed. Besides alleviating the women of the time from the outdated laws of Jahelia, Allah revealed to her that He had heard. He heard and recognized. He heard and responded… And what more could a Mu’min ask for?
[Allah has indeed heard (and accepted) the statement of the woman who pleads with you concerning her husband and carries her complaint (in prayer) to Allah: and Allah (always) hears the arguments between both sides among you: for Allah hears and sees (all things). If any men among you divorce their wives by zihar (calling them their ‘mothers’), they cannot be their mothers. None can be their mothers except those who gave them birth. And in fact they use words (both) iniquitous and false: but truly Allah is One that blots out (sins), and forgives (again and again). But those who divorce their wives by zihar, then wish to go back on the words they uttered – it is ordained that such a one should free a slave before they touch each other: this are you admonished to perform. And Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that you do. And if any has not the wherewithal, he should fast for two months consecutively before they touch each other. But if any is unable to do so, he should feed sixty indigent ones. This, that you may show your faith in Allah and His Messenger, those are limits (set by) Allah. For those who reject (Him), there is a grievous Penalty.] (Qur’an 58:1-4)
This woman was so perseverent, and had so much of faith that her Allah would sort her problem out, that she was not let down. It was solely her imaan that pulled her through, and got her this high standing. It was solely her hope in her Allah that He would come through for her, that sent down the Ayaat that comforted her.
Ibn Kathir mentions in his tafsir that a man said to ‘Umar (RA), when he saw him welcoming her warmly and listening to her;
“You left a man of Quraish to come to this old woman?” ‘Umar (RA) said, “Woe to you! Do you not know who this is?” The man said, “No.” ‘Umar said, “This is a woman whose complaint Allah listened to from above the seven heavens: this is Khawla bint Tha’labah (RA). By Allah , if she did not leave me until night fell, I would not tell her to leave until she had got what she came for, unless the time for prayer came, in which case I would pray, and then come back to her until she had got what she came for.”
And what status she got for her determination. The test of Imaan was never an easy one. Yes, sometimes people let you down, but whatever had to happen, I had to remember that my Allah would always be there.
I had been completely side-tracked. This was not meant to be something that I should dwell on… Something that I could allow to consume me. Indeed, even our beloveds are tests for us… They were also temporary… Also a part of Duniyaa.
And this was only a test that would bring me closer to my Creator. After this, it would only serve me to keep on trying. If the one person who had become so much to me had to be lost completely, it didn’t mean that I would stop living… Through it all, I couldn’t forget what was always there.
The words came back to me, as they often did, reminding me of what I had been forgetting.
Never forget what He saved you from. That moment when you swore you couldn’t fix it, He did it for you. Never forget Who put you back together. When everyone pulled out, and you had to face it all alone, don’t forget Who pulled you through. Never forget who carried you, when the storm pushed you to your knees and there was no one else left. No matter who or what is beside you now, never forget the moments when it was only Him. Don’t forget Who remained.
He remained. He always remains.
A moment, yet again, when everything I had thought I didn’t understand seemed to come into perspective. When the confusion disintegrated and the darkness lifted. And as I sat there, on the Musallah that stayed in the corner near the window, I raised my hands to ask of the only One Who could fix what was broken inside.
The loud knock on my door was a diversion that got me slightly panicked, but I composed my thoughts, knowing that I shouldn’t get anxious. At this hour of the morning, I wasn’t sure who or what it would be, but I had to remain calm.
The future was not set in stone. This wasn’t the end. Whatever I would face, whenever it is, I knew that this could never break me completely. The past didn’t make me, and the present wasn’t a deal-breaker.
I opened the door slowly, seeing my mother rubbing her eyes, telling me that I need to go downstairs to open up. I hadn’t even heard the intercoms. I had a visitor at this part of the morning, and she wasn’t sure what it was all about.
I glanced at the cameras as I reached the landing, seeing a figure in white, and recognising the sturdy build with a certain hesitation, unsure of what this all would bring. I knew that this was an intervention I couldn’t ignore.
What lay ahead, ultimately, would determine everything that I would become. All I had to do was dust myself off, step out, and jump into it.
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.