Bismilllahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Time. Time flies. Time heals all wounds. Time waits for no man.
We all know. We’ve heard it all. We know all the proverbs, heard the theologians theorising and heard the elder people warning us about wasting time.
Sometimes, though, we’re too busy hanging onto something that we don’t really have, to move forward and grasp what’s really there. To let go and make way for what can be fully ours.
We still want to see for ourselves. We have to make our own mistakes. We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep our fears under the rug, and move forward into the ambush of life, whether we’re ready or not.
“Come on, bru,” I said, moving toward the edge of the bank we were standing on. It looked quite scary from up here. “Have some faith.”
It was one of those outdoorsy days, and we were encompassing natural beauty in the way we liked to do best. It had been a few months since we had come to the hunting grounds, and I enjoyed the feeling of being here. And no, I wasn’t becoming some crazy hunter guy. I just enjoyed the chase. Not to mention, I was all fired up.
I glimpsed the impala that was standing below us, and Junaid was eyeing me out sceptically, completely convinced that I couldn’t get it.
I was, of course, trying to convince him that I had definitely improved since the last time at the hunting grounds, but he wasn’t buying it.
“It’s not that I don’t have faith,” he said, taking a few steps closer for a better view. “It’s just that the last time… Well…”
He trailed off, and I knew the guy was mocking my big mess-up on our previous trip there.
But, I mean, c’mon, cut me some slack, okay? It was my first time. That chic was probably doing this hunting animals thing for years. You can’t possibly compare.
I kept a straight face and tried to look hurt.
“That’s not fair, bru,” I said, dropping my tone. “You shouldn’t judge people like that. You could see that chic was probably a Mujaahidah in training.”
Junaid grinned and shook his head.
“What are your you guys talking about?”
The voice came from behind, and I turned back and grinned. Trust Waseem’s ears to turn into satellites the minute he heard anything to do with Jihaad. I thought he had got left behind somewhere in the bushes behind us.
“I’m talking about the last time, when Zee let a chic beat him to the hunt,” Junaid said smoothly, shaking his head.
Waseem grinned, but his smile had an edge to it. It was like his heart just wasn’t in it. It just didn’t seem like it was real.
When he had come back, it was awesome, of course, because we had all honestly thought that my brother was gone. Like, for good.
And of course I was happy that he had returned, but I guess I was a bit ambitious in my expectations. I maybe wanted him to be just as he had always been, and expected everything to go back to normal, but I was let down.
Waseem had changed and a lot of stuff had changed because of him. He had focused wholeheartedly on his work and Hifdh, and I was proud that my brother was nearly done with it. With the upcoming Ramadhaan, I could tell that he was excited to perform taraweeh as well, but it seemed like he was immersing himself in it so he wouldn’t feel anymore. I hoped that his wife would return so he would snap back, but he always had the most profound things to say when I asked him about her. Of course, Waseem always did have a tendency to be mysterious, but he took it to another level that day.
“I’m letting destiny take it’s course,” he had said, sounding like a wise old man who had seen too much in life.
“But we have no idea what’s going on!” I said, thinking it was so weird that everything was just at a stand still. “We’re all in the dark here.”
I knew that I was taking his life a bit too personally, but it did affect us all. And besides, I was tired of all the secretive behavior. I needed to know what he was thinking.
“In the dark there may be fear. But there’s still hope.”
I looked at Waseem, wondering where on earth he got these things from. Like, who on earth says things like that?!
“That’s deep, boet,” I said, raising my eyebrows at him.
“Whatever is meant to be, will be,” he added, making me wonder why he wasn’t trying harder.
It was obvious that the guy was having major trouble with withdrawal since his wife had gone, but Waseem remained as cool as ever.
And though it was killing me, doing what he was doing required great strength and I knew that I wouldn’t have half the amount of courage that he did. Of course I had great ambitions for the month that lay ahead, and I even made an intention to sit in Ithikaaf, but Waseem was different. I mean, to just sit back and let whatever was meant to happen, happen, was all well and good, but not exactly something that I could commit to. I was slowly making other changes as the month drew closer. I had even fasted a few days during Shabaan, with intention of Sunnah, and for me, it was a big deal. Staying away from food was huge for the Zee.
Now, as I watched Waseem, I just hoped he wasn’t channeling all his worries into a place where it had no outlet. Maybe coming here to the hunting grounds to let off some steam today would actually be good for my brother.
“Woah, look,” Junaid said suddenly, as he peeped through a shrub and I saw another animal come into view.
I assumed it was some kind of deer, but I couldn’t be sure. I wasn’t that clued up on the hunting thing yet.
“If you miss this one,” he muttered, putting his own rifle down. “I will probably kill you.”
I gave him a sly smile and pulled up my rifle, trying to aim the way that Junaid had taught me earlier that month while we were practicing at the shooting range,
Focus, Zee, I urged myself, determined to get it right this time. It should take a little more effort. A little more perseverance.
“Five,” Junaid said into my ear, counting down for me, so I could work focus on the prey. It was a difficult job to do both at once.
Three, two, one, and….
The piercing echo of the gunshot rung through the air, and as I slid off my ear muffs, I could see that something was definitely lying on the floor ahead of us, somewhere near where I had aimed.
It was the red deer, and though I was confused at first, because I was sure I had aimed for the impala, things got cleared up to pretty quickly as I turned to look at Junaid. At that point, he had a blank look on his face as I grinned at him, and it felt like dejavu.
My smile didn’t take long to fade. He was shaking his head, and looking at me hopelessly.
“I’m the man?!” I asked him, still hopeful.
And of course, I honestly could not believe it when a crowd of people appeared, once again, this time, much bigger than the last time. I could hear their excitement as they moved forward, and I stared at the chic clad, now clad in black as they moved ahead.
The ISIS chic. Even though her face was covered, I could tell that she was the exact same one.
Like, really? A girl can shoot like that?! Twice?!
My mouth literally hung open as I watched them, because I really could not believe what had just happened. Again.
Juniad literally covered his eyes and hung his head as they all oohed and aahed over the kill. I obviously had no idea where to put my red face. And of course it was an eyeball, because even Waseem looked completely bewildered at the turn this had taken.
And then, of course, my mind couldn’t help but wonder why. How? I mean, what was the odds of this kind of thing happening not once… But twice? It was either some kind of weird coincidence, a huge joke, or the unfolding of fate that was happening right at that moment.
“I cannot believe this,” Junaid said, voicing my very own thoughts. “Waseem, isn’t that your connections? Again.”
Waseem nodded numbly, looking ahead as he walked toward them to greet.
I could see him stretching out his hand and greeting the older man who was talking animatedly as they walked further on. And then, of course, as they walked, the girl in question came into view once again, and this time, instead of staring as I usually would, I looked down, knowing exactly what all this meant. Knowing exactly who she was.
Time. All it took was time. Time to realize how important time is. Time to focus on what really counts. Time to see that whatever is wasted on Duniya, is always lost.
It had been a long haul- an era of broken hearts, getting it back together and fitting in the puzzle pieces once again. Through shifting my focus, it worked. Through halting the chase of the world, a bigger picture came into view.
It was then when everything seemed to come together. When I saw the truth of the temporary world, and when reality became truth for me. And then, when I understood how valuable the time that we have here is, and that we can never win unless we are of the few that Allah (SWT) mentions in Surah Asr.
إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَـتِ وَتَوَاصَوْاْ بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْاْ بِالصَّبْرِ
“Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and enjoin each other to the truth and enjoin each other to the patience.”
And unless I made myself of those few who had Taqwa, I knew I would be the ultimate loser. I may not have been the best, but I had tried to do what I could. I had taken the step in the right direction, and had been Divinely inspired to take the opportunity to change my life. And it wasn’t always easy. Through the journey of discovery, there were moments in deep valleys of despair, moments spent on mountaintops of triumph… And of course, then, finally, came the moment I had to see for myself, and take the plunge to make myself the best version that I could ever be.
And before I knew it, I realised that what’s broken… can be fixed. What’s hurt… can be healed. After it all… and after the darkness, the sun has got to rise again. The brightness will find it’s way through, once again. I saw the light, because when I looked back, it was easy to see when a mistake had been made. When I made the wrong choice, and took the wrong path. When I stumbled and fell, bringing down not only me… but people around me too.
But the important thing was the regret. Oh, the regret.
I regretted so many choices, yet they seemed like decent ideas at the time.
If only I had used my best judgement and listened to my what was within… to that inner voice… to the hold over my heart that was urging me to do the right thing… I knew I would have chosen different. I would have chosen better. And to make it right, I just hoped that this choice, I would choose wisely. With this choice… I would avoid the deepest and most painful regret of them all; the regret that comes with letting something amazing pass you by.
Sometimes you have to act on impulse to do what’s right. Sometimes you have to just take a plunge. Not everything in life can be intricately planned and penned out. Sometimes it may be erratic. Spontaneous. In the moment.
And this, I had to do right now. I was all fired up.
“Jun,” I said boldly, turning to my friend. I wasn’t sure how I would explain, but I just needed him to be there. “I need you to come with me. I’m about to do something crazy.”
Please remember this humble writer in your Duaas as these Mubarak days dawn upon us. We are coming to the end of the story, and I am trying to round off this blog by Ramadhaan, InshaAllah.
May Allah make it easy to practice whatever we may have learnt from here.
ONE STEP CLOSER TO JANNAH, InshaAllah!
Let’s practice our SUNNAH InshaAllah! More Sunnah of eating:
*Eating with three fingers.*
The Sunnah is to eat with three fingers;
eating with more than three fingers is a sign of greed and is bad manners,
there is no need for more than three in order to gather up a morsel.
If it is necessary to use more than three,
the food is light and cannot be gathered in three fingers, then he may use the fourth or fifth.
*See Fath al-Baari, 9/578*
Practice, share and earn multiple rewards in shaa Allah.
SubhaanAllah. Let’s try and observe the Sunnah Duaas of eating InshaAllah.