Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
First impressions. They never fail. For me, it’s what makes or breaks, and what decides or forsakes. We can’t rely on what we hear, or even what we remember. But what we see first hand… is never a lie.
And of course, when I first met the guy who I didn’t know about at the time, I already had a tingly feeling at the back of my neck that something wasn’t completely right with him. I’m not sure if you’ve ever met people like him, but he just had this kind of vibe that made people want to keep a distance. Especially people like me. I really had no time for guys who were prickly around the edges.
“Muhammed,” the slightly conspicuous guy looked at me and said, extending his hand to shake mine.
Average looking. Sparse beard. No topee. His arm was firm and slightly toned, and I could tell that he was probably one of those bicep-training guys that who worked only on their upper body to appear macho. I knew I was judging the guy as I sized him up, but he had already annoyed me with his assumption. He could have introduced himself like a normal person, instead of guessing who I was.
I shook my head at him.
“That’s Mo,” I said, pointing to my brother who was getting off the car. I mean, did I really look that old?
“Oh,” the guy said, and I could immediately see him looking at me sympathetically, because he knew exactly who I was. The widower. The one who had a messed up past. The brother who was fairly irresponsible
It was a good thing that an older person that I recognized vaguely came forward and ushered me inside, before I could say or see any more. The only bummer was that I was slightly disappointed that I didn’t catch sight of any of the other household members. I remembered that my sister-in-law had some female members of the family that were quite pleasant to gawk at, but I realised that now just wouldn’t be an appropriate time. I shook my head at myself, because Waseem wasn’t around to do it. I had to kill my urges.
The uncle who brought us in reminded me of Zaynah’s father. I had barely known anything about them when I first met him, but now I could see why Waseem had always held them in such high regard. Why he said that they were the reason that there was still a little hope in our misguided town.
They weren’t exactly prepared for the visit, because everything that seemed to be happening lately was so spontaneous. Farah had died. Waseem had disappeared. Our family was a mess. No-one really had any direction here anymore, and we hoped that at least they could give us some positive news about our brother’s wife. Maybe if she could remember, it might change a lot. Maybe if she came back, there might be a chance that everything will fall back into place. They might even know where Waseem had disappeared to… or he might decide to come back if she could somehow let him know that there was still hope.
I sighed dramatically and sat down as my family came in, Mo and my hobbling father in one room, and Mum and Aasiya guided to another. I never really did understand the whole separate thing until I realised that it was a means to keep away from sin. No chics meant no staring. There was an obvious reason why Waseem was always so strict, and it made me really envy the turn he had taken in his life. It made me miss him all the more now.
Right now, as I looked around, I wished that he could have been here the first time that Dad had ever been to any of his in-laws places. It was quite a thing to see my father with his stern face, polished attire and unchanging demeanor looking somewhat uncomfortable.
Yeah, Dad had changed a lot in his approach to business and life, but he just wasn’t used to this kind of simplicity. It was probably a wake up call for all of us to realise that people could be content with much less of luxury than we were used to.
“This is my nephew, Raees,” Zaynah’s uncle and the owner of the house cut through my thoughts, pointing to the strange guy who greeted me at the beginning.
Raees. Why did he sound familiar?
He had this odd look on his face as we all conversed, as if we were completely foreign to his world. He was actually kind of rude about our whole visit, but Mo knew how to handle him. Mo turned his attention to his uncle asked him about his farm and general things. Looked like this uncle didn’t have kids, and Zaynah had stayed with him a lot as a child. I hoped, for our sake too, that she hadn’t got too comfortable here. It would probably mean that she had given up on Waseem like we all suspected. The reason for his disappearance two weeks ago.
Dammit, I still couldn’t believe that the guy was gone.
“The ladies wanted to see Zaynah,” explained Mo, trying to reason our visit. “And we wanted to try and make the best arrangements for when she comes back.”
When she comes back? I thought it was supposed to be ‘if she ever comes back’.
Smooth. One thing about Mo, was he knew what to say. He wanted to prepare them for what he knew would be the best outcome. In my own mind, I thought that Waseem’s marriage was more or less over when she didn’t want to return home, but Mo never did strike it off.
The older man looked a bit taken aback by the statement, but didn’t say anything. Well, nothing concrete.
“She’s recovering well here,” he said vaguely, after ushering us to the table for some eats that had been prepared.
Food. It was back on the list of favourite things to do for me, and I tucked in as they insisted on
It was all simple stuff, but really quite awesome. I tried to block out the conversation as I indulged, just wanting to enjoy my food for the first time in ages. There was just something about this place that made me want to kick back, chill out and drink it in. I even forgot about my worries and past as I sat there, looking out into the green of the farm yard that seemed to go on forever. I supposed it was just the country atmosphere. Just looking at the beauty of it was awesome, SubhaanAllah.
And of course, as the Adhaan sounded in the distance, an even more amazing feeling descended.
It reminded me of the first time when I had actually sat and paid to heed to the beauty of the call for prayer.
“Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding.
Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.”
[Al-Qur’an – Surat ‘Āli `Imrān: 190-191]
Here, instead of ignoring it’s calling, the entire household stopped for Salaah, as they all rushed off for whudhu and prepared for the prayer.
It was really quite amazing, and a long time since I had seen that kind of sprit for Salaah, and I knew that I too needed to work on my own. It reminded me of the house I had visited when Waseem first met Zaynah, and I felt nostalgic as I recalled the moments of glory I had felt as I found what I had been missing all that time. It was the beginning of the better part of my life. The moment I had found the gold. And of course, set eyes on the bombshell girls.
I was quite the idiot back then.
Thinking that contentment was something that only happened when you were close to kicking the bucket was such a dumb theory. I didn’t realize that it was right in front of my eyes, as I sneaked up on Zaynah and her cousin that day, with no idea of what I was getting myself into it.
I grinned to myself as I recalled it, helping my father back up the stairs after Salaah, not even noticing the someone behind nearby window, sussing out my every move. My focus was completely changed, and for once in my life, I had decided to stop being selfish and do something other than what fed my nafs.
We all settled back in once again, allowing the ladies a little more time to round off, knowing that we needed to leave soon because of Dad. He was looking tired and there was still a long trip back home.
And of course, just as the whole atmosphere seemed to be getting a little hopeless, and my previous hopes for Waseem were diminished, I noticed the guy who had greeted us first looking slightly uncomfortable by Mo’s pursuing the whole issue. His whole expression was like someone had kind of punched him, and I got the idea that he probably wasn’t very thrilled with us anyway. I couldn’t understand why he was so against our being here on Waseem’s behalf, but his obvious looks were hard to miss. The guy honestly looked like he wanted to shove us out of the front door.
“It’s no use,” I said to Mo quietly on my way out, feeling despondent. We were up against the odds. Sometimes things take a turn in life, and when that happens, we know that there was no going back. There was no rewind.
Everything that had happened was for sure, a means to the end of what we had known all this time.
Sometimes the past is something you just can’t let go of, and sometimes the past is something we’ll do anything to forget. But then, now and again, sometimes we learn something ‘new’ about the past that changes everything we know about the present.
As I slid into the back seat of the car, despondency set in as my eyes now fixed on the house we were about to drive away from what I assumed would be forever. And then, of course, like Divine intervention, a gleaming face appeared in the window just as the car rode away, giving me a new hope for what may soon come.
Someone from the better part of the past had appeared right there as we headed off, and little did I know that this very person would be the means to a complete change that was soon to come. No matter how hopeless things had seemed, sometimes it just took one positive encounter to add some light to the imminent darkness.
Sometimes you just can’t give up. You have to be willing to keep looking for light in the darkest of places, without giving in. Even when it seems impossible… even when you think you will never succeed… no matter how dim, that flickering light was still burning, even in the blackest of moonless nights.
I didn’t know it when I had first seen it, but much to my surprise, that little light was soon going to be a part of my unlit world.
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.