Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
The ties that bind us are impossible to explain. Some ties, were just meant to be. They defy time, space or logic. There’s no explaining it, until you understand the deeper meaning of faith.
Because amidst a world that was parallel to ours… there were some souls that were chosen. Chosen to be special. Chosen to exert change. Chosen to just stand out.
It wasn’t a foreign notion, neither was it unheard of.
Sometimes, a person happens to meet someone whom he or she immediately loves and spontaneously develops some sort of affinity with.
Basically, this means that Allah created souls and gave them their qualities. Those of similar qualities will easily be friends when they meet in this life, while those who have different natures are likely to be in conflict. This, in fact, accounts for endless cases of people getting along together when their apparent circumstances should have kept them well apart.
I smiled, thinking about my new friend as I switched the kettle on to make another bottle to feed my ever-hungry child.
”You’re looking better today,” Jameels voice said as he came into the kitchen, eyeing me out, just a little cynically.
I blinked, slightly surprised at his perception.
I didn’t think that Jameel was so tuned in to my feelings. Most of the time he seemed to focus on himself, and that’s what I had become accustomed to. I wasn’t used to him being all… considerate.
I merely nodded.
“You know I love you, right?”
Jameels voice was softer than usual as he sidled up to me. The sleeves of his shirt were folded up to his elbow and his hair was looking a little ruffled. I knew he had probably had a long day.
I nodded again, swallowing hard.
As one could imagine, things between us had become a little strained. I didn’t want to focus on it too much, and neither did I have the energy to. I kept my gaze on the markings on the bottle, making sure I was filling it right.
“Leikha?” He said, and I could tell that he wasn’t going to rest it until he got a response.
I turned slowly to face him, looking at my husband with an openness that I hadn’t attempted in months.
“Where’s my brother, Jameel?” I said blatantly, not wanting to beat around the bush, and knowing that I had to ask.
It was the one huge thing that stood between us, and I hadn’t stopped thinking of it since the day Ahmed had disappeared. I knew that Ahmed knew more than he was supposed to, and that, for Jameel was a major threat.
Jameel shifted uncomfortably, and then he frowned.
“I swear, Leikha” he said openly, shaking his head. “I don’t know! I don’t know where he went to.”
”So you haven’t seen him?!” I challenged, my voice rising. “You haven’t even tried to track him down since that day?!”
That day. That fateful day when everything just sort of crumbled.
Jameels expression hardened as he narrowed his eyes.
“The guy shot me,” he said, still sounding bitter. “He shot me, point blank. Of course I looked for him. I tried to track him down hundreds of times. I came so close, but he seems to be one up on me.”
Now it was my turn to narrow my eyes.
I wasn’t sure if I believed him.
“You don’t believe me?!” Jameel asked, raising his eyebrows. “Look here, let me show you.”
He was determined to get me on his side and I knew that he would go to great lengths to. He hastily opened the top button of his shirt, and subsequently, unbuttoned the next three. I wasn’t sure what it was about at that point, but as he slowly moved the shirt aside to reveal multiple red scalds right from his collar bone down to the bottom of his chest, I gasped. It looked pretty rough.
“That was him,” he said heatedly, his eyes flashing. “He’s an animal. Can you imagine? A hot iron rod. Crazy!”
I knew Ahmed. Of course I did. I never did approve of his constant fight for power in our old neighbourhood. He had somehow earned a reputation for himself, and it seemed like he actually really could fend for himself. Despite thinking that Jameel had maybe found him and sorted him out by now, I was now a bit worried about my husband.
Ahmed was definitely tougher than I had thought.
“Now do you believe me?!” He asked bluntly, watching me as I watched him.
I blinked up and looked at his face, whilst he buttoned his shirt up again. It explained the high collars and button down shirts. Loose so they wouldn’t rub against the wounds. I didn’t ask him when or why. I didn’t want to delve into in more. I know it was a little selfish, but I was just glad that Ahmed was okay.
“Are you still going to look for him?” I asked now, wanting to understand his reason for trying to find Ahmed. I wasn’t sure if it was for his own ego or not. Jameel didn’t often let people get away with things. He played hard.
Jameel shook his head.
“I wanted to find him,” he said, and he met my eye as he spoke. “I wanted to finish him. He got me down when I was at a low. But Leikha… you have to believe me. I don’t care anymore. I just care about you and my son. Really. I just want to make it all okay. I’m so sorry…”
His voice broke at that point, and I could feel myself losing my resolve. I didn’t want to stay angry. I didn’t want our marriage to have this huge rift that was becoming impossible to fill. I wanted to at least make it work. I wanted to try… and I wanted Jameel to try too. I wanted our lives to be different.
My thoughts instantly went back to earlier that day, remembering the new friend I had found. It was no coincidence. I mean, it isn’t often that you meet random people at random places and you just hit it off.
She had given me a brief run down on her past and then tut-tutted for boring me with her medical history, as she took out her tasbeeh. I wanted to giggle. I could have said the same thing. I felt like spilling out my entire history to her too. She was actually such a lovely personality. So real… and slightly comical too.
And goodness. Why did I get them feeling that I’d met her before when I knew I haven’t?
“It was so lovely to meet you,” she had said, and I could practically see the sincerity in her expression. People like that, I knew, I didn’t meet often on this side of the world. She obviously was not from here.
I was outside the practice, waiting for my car to arrive, and she was leaving too. There was a single car waiting in the parking lot and I’m sure it must have been hers.
I could see someone come up the steps, but they held back as she spoke to me. It was a simple case of pardah, that I knew he would never come forward.
She paused, and I smiled back at her. I couldn’t express to her how grateful I was that I met her too. I was just sad that she had to go so soon.
The person who had been waiting for her slowly came up as she moved along, taking her bags. He was dressed in Sunnah attire, and it was so long that I had seen that kind of dress, that it actually felt strange. I assumed it was her husband. They had a small exchange as he gently took the baby, and I turned my gaze away, not wanting to pry.
“Is everything okay?” I asked her, a bit concerned as I saw her hearing back my way.
“I’m fine,” she insisted. “I just…”
She trailed off as she looked at me with that openness that I had felt when I had just arrived. Like she knew me too.
“My husband keeps on saying that I shouldn’t do this,” she said, rolling her eyes, and I could see her smiling again. She shook her head, almost at herself. “And I know he’s right. I promise I don’t do this to everyone, but I would love to see you again and this is the perfect opportunity…”
I was curious. She continued.
“I know this is so random and it’s not everyone’s thing,” she started, somewhat hesitantly. “But since you do stay in this area… will you be open to attending the Taaleem?”
The last part she said in a crazy rush, and although she wanted me to, she didn’t really think I’d agree.
Taaleem. A gathering of peace where I knew I would probably benefit. It was foreign to me at this stage of my life. I wasn’t sure if I even remembered what it entailed.
I hadn’t been in years. Last was with Foi Nani, way before I got married. Mama used to go almost every week before she got sick. It was part of the reason her and Aunty Radiyyah were such good friends. That was where they first met.
The doubts were plaguing my mind.
I’m not that nearly that calibre. I wasn’t the Taaleem type. I’ve sinned so much. I can’t do that as yet. Maybe when my baby was a bit bigger…
Excuses. More and more excuses. I could think of so many. I was inspired with every type of motivation to not attend.
But there was something about the way she was looking at me, with so much of expectation. It was like she saw something in me that I didn’t.
And of course, I didn’t really think I was ready to take that step and start attending Taaleem. I mean, who does?
I didn’t know what I was even waiting for. I had a feeling that Zaynah probably had the amazing ability to make people agree to things that wouldn’t have dared to… in their wildest dreams. Some people were just from another dimension, that they planted themselves within your inner being and just became a part of your conscience.
And maybe she had a point. She didn’t know it, but maybe I just needed some weekly reminders to get my mind focused again. I wasn’t sure how she knew or what inspired her, but this was no coincidence.
I found myself nodding without even knowing it, and she hastily gave me an address that was her uncle’s house and said she would leave her contact number with Yusrah if I needed it. Yusrah, who worked at the practice.
The name sounded familiar but I didn’t dwell on it as turned my attention back to Zaynah as she clasped my hands in her one free one, saying again how glad she was that she had met me, and then, just as suddenly as I had seen her, she was gone. Like a refreshing summer breeze, it felt so stagnant without her. Some people just had that inherent ability to change everything around them.
I wanted that. I remembered her smile as she looked out and saw her husband waiting for her. She spoke with pure emotion. There were no reservations. No hidden feelings. Nothing that she kept bottled up, waiting to erupt.
I wanted to make it right, as I looked at Jameel. This new light that was shining from somewhere beyond the horizon was so bright that it illuminated my entire world.
And sometimes it just takes a smile. Sometimes, it just takes a little forgiveness. Sometimes, you have to just put your own selfish feelings aside and take that little step to mend it.
Everyone goes through tough times. Every marriage has its trials. Sometimes you feel like you are just going through the daily motions as a means to an end. Sometimes you are just waiting for your partner to pull the trigger and call it quits on the sacred bond.
But sometimes, you have to put your own issues and feelings aside and make it work.
So I took the first step to break those barriers that had so methodically found a way into our lives. I looked at him with sincerity, hoping my smile would do its magic and give us another chance. And of course, when he returned it, I just knew that there was still a little light that was battling to stay on, somewhere within the troughs of our strained relationship. I knew that there was still a little hope.
And of course, that wasn’t the end of the mission I had embarked on to change my li and work on my marriage. I wanted to do some introspection. To find myself. To seek Allah.
So I figured I’d attend the Taaleem, and that it would be okay to take the baby with. After convincing Jameel a few days later that its part of a recommendation I got at therapy (which wasn’t exactly a lie), my possessive husband agreed.
The drive to the place Zaynah had given me the address for was closer than I expected, and I gingerly got off the car with baby in hand, feeling strangely nervous.
I wasn’t sure why. Maybe it was meeting strange people. Maybe it was going back to the places where Mama’s presence always lingered. Maybe it was just hesitation.
I couldn’t place the feeling but I knew that there was no going back now. I didn’t want to feel awkward, so I adorned a plain black abaya set that I hadn’t worn in years, and I was glad I did. Simplicity was always the key.
I was glad that I wasn’t late, glad to have the chance to settle into a corner where Muhammed wouldn’t disturb anyone. I prayed silently that he wouldn’t have any outbursts from him, half-wishing that I had left him at home. I had just sat down in an invisible corner, when I felt a light hand on my shoulder, prompting me to turn around.
Of course, since I didn’t know anyone else here, the sweet little boy with his wide eyes was a dead give-away. His cute little gurgles today made me smile.
”You came,” Zaynah mouthed, because the first part of the Taaleem was already about to commence.
Zaynah was, in actual fact, lovelier than I had thought. I was seeing her for the first time, and I noted that she looked young. Maybe my age or just slightly older. She had beautiful features and a distinctive aura surrounded her. Peace. Peaceful peace.
Honestly, although I always felt weird around them with their air of aesthetic arrogance, I wasn’t sure if any of Jameel’s family members could even compare to her.
And of course, I realised the triumphing factor here. It wasn’t just about looks or how physically beautiful someone was. There was a certain depth that shone from within, and that was where the root of true beauty lay. The beauty that came with a clean heart and deep knowledge of Deen was unique. That’s precisely what I had never understood before. It was just… light. Beautiful and awesome light.
I listened in silence as she spoke, so relieved when Muhammed nodded off. I relaxed a bit and actually listened. I took the time to dissect every word that was said, because it felt like they were aimed exactly at me.
I honestly didn’t know that Zaynah was so knowledgeable. I had no idea that she spoke so beautifully. That was the thing about coming here when you had reached rock bottom, and I was so glad. The advices were golden and the Ahadith that were read were so apt. And it was like the other lady said. We didn’t understand the life of our Nabi SAW. We didn’t understand just how special his life was. We didn’t understand the sacrifice that the Sahabah made to bring Deen to us.
Because although they left their homes, families and everything they had know their entire lives to spread the Deen, they had made the ultimate sacrifice. I never thought of it this way until the lady mentioned it, so beautifully and with so much of love.
Imagine, after meeting and spending time with the last Prophet SAW, realizing his awesome worth and being in his glorious company, they then had to make the ultimate sacrifice. They than had to make a life-changing decision. To leave their life as they knew it and spread the one true Deen, or to be selfish and keep it to themselves. To stay in the Prophet SAW and enjoy his Mubarak company for as long as they could. As long as he was alive. They not only made the choice and left everything they knew, including their property and families… but they had to leave him. They had to leave Nabi SAW.
With heavy hearts, they had to walk away, with the sole ambition of spreading Islam, and bringing it to unworthy people like us. People like me.
I couldn’t imagine that. I couldn’t stomach that sacrifice. I made intention. I was going to try. What better way to recognize and pay tribute to Nabi SAW than to revive his Sunnah? I had to make an effort, even if its just on one.
I let out the breath I had been holding as the last part of the Taaleem concluded, and the hustle and bustle started. I took a few moments to collect my thoughts, trying to understand how this gathering should impact on my life , and reflect on what I can change. It was simple. I just needed to take small steps. I just needed to show Allāh that I really wanted to change.
And then there was the beautiful part which Zaynah took on to speak , and honestly, it just hit home for me. It was so simple, but honestly, I felt like it was meant just for me. I wanted to ask her … how did she know?
I mean, I knew all of it. I knew the beauty that Allah promised. I knew what Allāh was. I knew what HE offered. He owns the entire universe…. The heavens and the earth. Everything between the heavens and the earth. Everything beneath the heavens and the earth. Every cell in our body.
Everything belongs to Allah. Everything, Allāh brought into existence. It is existing, solely on His orders. Once it is in existence, it cannot be more than what HE wills. When it is still, it cannot move. When it is moving, it cannot be still.
And we know everything is in the hands of Allah… But do we recognise it? Allah guide whom He wills, and Allah deviates whom He wills. Everything is in His power… despite intelligence, despite affluence…. Despite wealth and despite power. There’s just One Controller.
The thoughts were bewildering to my own mind. I was inundated with the amazement of it all.
Allah guides whom He wills. Allah guides who HE wills. Guidance has no other condition. No preference to wealth. No priority to status. No other controller, besides Him.
One Controller. One Maker. One Breaker. One Power. And He brought me here, right now. Right now, He chose me to be here, and He brought me to this gathering of nobility so I may find Him.
I could not swallow it. I could not even fathom it. The feeling was so euphoric that I could feel my palms getting clammy and my heart beating like never before.
Zaynah was busy offering kajoor (dates) to the ladies who had come, before they left, and I too got up as Muhammed starting wiggling, trying to control my own emotions as I moved away from the crowd.
I hastily started making my way to the door, hoping not to catch Zaynah’s eye as I left. I wanted to leave unnoticed. I wanted to just take it all in. To let it settle, and get it further under my skin. How did I explain to her what kind of life I was coming from? How was I going to make it right?
And just like that, when I felt that inclination to change my life and set everything right again, I knew that my Duaas would already come true. I knew that my wishes would be answered.
Because as I moved away from the crowd of ladies to gather my things and take a breath before I moved on, I didn’t expect what awaited me. I knew that I had to first take the step to change,and everything else would follow suit.
I just didn’t expect it all to start so soon.. I just didn’t expect the surprise that was waiting for me as I literally stepped out the door.
Right there, as I finally lifted my gaze to search for the car that was going to take me home, stood the person who I had been aching to see for the past few months. The guilt had been torturing me since he had gone. The emptiness in that corner of my bruised heart was still palpable.
I sucked in my breath, as my gaze steadily settled on my this soldier who I never thought I’d see again. Although he looked like a different man, and his entire appearance had changed, drastically, I would have recognized him from miles away….
After all this time… there were so many questions that needed to be asked, and so many answers we needed to know.
The pieces of the puzzle were coming together, and although we still had a long way to go, somehow…
I had a feeling that it might actually all turn out okay.
A little bit of a reminder for us all, especially myself. Whilst writing this post, I couldn’t help but remember the Sunnah revival Mission that was part of the past blogs. It definitely impacted my life, and I had an idea that it may not be completely futile to start it off again. With Ramadhaan around the corner, may be beneficial as a reminder. Any thoughts?!
Always appreciate the feedback.
Wow ! Really enjoyed this post. Loving this story
Jazakallah so much for the post 💕
Can’t wait for the next 😌
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JazakAllah for reading sis ❤️
Alhamdulillah always so inspiring and reminding to us of our Deen .
Looking forward to reading what happens next.
Shukran for sharing this amazing blog with us ❤
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Shukran sis, appreciate all the feedback 🌸
It would be amazing to have mission Sunnah revival back. Its a great reminder
Also…i think these written reminders benefit no one as much as they do the people writing them… It’s seriously amazing what great motivation it is to be firm on a’maal, simply because you’re preaching it in your post, and now you HAVE to practice too, even if you’re feeling ridiculously lazy…
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You are so right, sis. Definitely, it truly benefited and inspired me to practice on the Sunnah i was writing about.
Shukran sister 💙
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