Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
”Roses are black, violets are blue,” started Dayyaan, in a sing song voice, for the fiftieth time that day. “How does it feel, when no- one loves you?”
I cringed every time I heard the last line. I mean, why would anyone teach a kid something so… evil?
“Roses aren’t black,” argued Danyaal, yet again.
“Yeah, but that’s what Hannah says,” retorted Dayyaan stubbornly.
“Hannah’s stupid,” Danyaal said, without missing a beat.
I knew I should have reprimanded him, but I just didn’t have the energy.
“Too-Put,” Zaydaan mimicked, thrilled at learning a new word. “Toopad.”
I closed my eyes and rubbed my temples. They were going on about Hannah. Hannah. Hannah hadn’t been back in two weeks either. Then Danyaal would start about when Khawlah’s coming back. This was just too much.
This day… this week… this month.
This entire year. It was just. Too. Much. Too much.
I had forgotten my reminders to myself. I had already forgotten.
Enough of the frustration.
Tawakkul. For someone who had been completely lost most of her life, the true essence of Tawakkul came at a time that I least expected it.
Everything that could go wrong, seemed to be going wrong. My husband was absent. Probably unfaithful too. My helper had left. My roof was leaking. And of course, in all their instability and annoyance at my own incompetence, my kids were driving me crazy. I was literally in over my head when I got home that day, to find the door to my home broken down and my house in a royal shambles.
Tawakkul. A Muslim is told to leave home in the Tawakkul of Allah. To say those words, in the name of Allah, and in Him alone we trust. But it wasn’t just about leaving home. It was the whole idea of believing that no matter who or what comes your way, in the midst of whatever may be, there is always a Greater Power. There are times when we feel we have lost everything, or things look broken and nothing like how we wished they would be. At times we even feel as though we’ve been abandoned and nothing is working out the way we planned.
But just like a newborn child who is screaming in the fear that his life and all nutritional sources have been depleted, things are often not what they seem. Tawakkul (trusting and relying on Allah) is realizing that our Protector has a plan for us. Tawakkul is having complete trust that Allah’s plan is the best plan.
And then there’s the part when you have to tie your camel.
Trust in Allah, but tie your camel. (Tirmidhi)
And I love that saying of the Prophet (SAW). I love it’s practicality. I’ve always been a practical person. But, in all fairness, this was the part that confused me, because I lacked that knowledge that I needed.
The question was never about tying the camel, but for me, was figuring out which proverbial camel of mines needed to be tied? And where is the limit? When do I stop the metaphorical tying and double knotting the ropes and just let go?
I had seen the result of true Tawakkul. I mean, I had met people who had never taken a birth control pill, but yet, their children have been born with perfect spacing and exactly as they had ‘planned’. I had seen people who would refuse to update security systems, in the complete knowledge and conviction that Allah was the sole Protector.
And then I asked myself, was it their plan that had turned out so perfectly, with the will of Allah? Or was it that Allah had made His plan seem perfect to them? Or maybe… it was just the extent of their Tawakkul, that had made the difference, when mines was so weak?
Yes, you tie your camel where you can, but you also understand that your camel may find a way to still wander. The post may not be strong enough. The camel may be too insistent. And when that happens, you still have the Tawakkul in Allah, that it was His plan.
And despite coming so far spiritually, somehow, when tragedy hits and you are all taken aback, you can’t help but think to yourself…
I mean really, what more could ever go wrong?
And of course, that’s exactly where I was on that day, two weeks after my husband had announced he was leaving our marital home. Without even thinking, I dialed Shabeer, because there was no-one else that I thought that would be more appropriate.
I mean, he was my husband right? No matter what, he was the father of my kids. In this case, when the panic was overtaking my every limb, I could not even think of who else to call.
Of course, hearing my anxious voice, he arrived in a matter of minutes. I didn’t want to think of where he had been. I didn’t want to think about what he had been doing. Looking at him, even, was so unsettling, but I sucked it up and swallowed my pride, because I didn’t want to be alone.
”How did this happen?”
It was the first thing he asked when he saw the door, shaking his head in irritation.
No greeting. No question as to how I was doing. He barely even spoke to the kids.
“Did you lock up properly before you left?”
I looked at him in annoyance.
“Of course I locked up, Shabeer,” I said through gritted teeth.
The kids were surprisingly quiet as we spoke. Thankfully they were all with me as I went to fetch another helper that afternoon, so it was just ya matter of fifteen minutes that I was gone. I was certain I had locked the Trellidoor. Or did I?
I fought back tears as Shabeer narrowed his eyes at me.
He was so… rude. Obnoxious. So…Male. Ugh.
Why didn’t I see all of this before? And it was amazing, but as my Tawakkul had increased, as each day passed, I found myself missing him a little less. I found more peace. I had reached such a place where I was so comfortable, that I wasn’t sure how I’d ease back into his erratic routine. And now, looking at him again, after just two weeks, it was like I barely recognized this man who I had known most of my adult life.
What did I see in him again? I was taken aback at my own cynicism.
I blinked as I watched him assess the damage on the door, and then look at his watch, as if he needed to be somewhere. Where was he rushing off to? Was he going to meet her?
I couldn’t help but feel a pang if overwhelming jealousy… and then… it was gone.
He looked at me now properly, blinking as if seeing me for he first time.
“Looking good, Ruby,” he said, raising his eyebrows and looking at me up and down. I pursed my lips, to stop myself from giving a response.
He wasn’t looking too bad himself, but I knew it wasn’t on account of me. Shabeer was the typical type that got most people’s attention. The one thing that Danyaal had inherited, was his father’s hair. Shabeer’s tawny hair was now greying at the front, and I could see it clearer now in the hallway light. I had barely noticed it before. His face was clean, as if he had shaved this morning. His shirt was new and crisp… Almost as if it was just ironed. His wrist, of course, was wrapped in a new Rolex that I probably costed another fortune. Looked like Shabeer had been living high the life while he was absent from home.
I scowled. The least he could have done was bring something for the damn kids.
“You coming from a funeral or something?” He continued, now with a frown on his face as he looked at my head.
I forgot about being annoyed and instinctively put my hand to my head as he said it, realizing what he was talking about immediately. Adorning a scarf was anything else besides just being respectful at a funeral house. It wasn’t that I had embraced it completely… I had been so two-minded. But now… the more I wore it , the more it grew on me… and I quite liked the feel. Besides that… I had been scarf shopping and I had found the most beautiful prints that I couldn’t help but buy.
“No,” I said to him, unnerved. “I’m trying something new.”
I honestly wondered what he was questioning me for when I was sure that he knew.
And of course, because of that one person that I was almost certain that had marked a presence in our lives, I was so sure that I’d actually see some sign in Shabeer as well. It was just that, what confused me was that when I looked at him… I saw nothing. He was as empty as a darkened pit.
The kids were starting to get restless, so I started to clean up what I could, and see how far the damage had gone. I sent them off to play, hoping they would be okay. I had a feeling that Shabeer had more to say, but I was at a point where I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to hear it.
The thing was with Shabeer, no-one really knew him. He was a deep and complicated mystery to everybody… but me. It was just unfortunate that he had somehow managed to lure a young and innocent girl into his warped world. One thing I knew was that when Shabeer set his sights on something, he didn’t back down. What I didn’t understand was what she saw in him. Even I was struggling to gather…
And though I Khawlah had tried to contact me the previous week, at the time, I just wasn’t ready to speak to her. I wasn’t ready to be selfless as yet. I didn’t want to hear her side of the story… or whatever it was.
All I could think of was my hurt, and rightfully so. All I could think of was how I was fooled, because it was never something I expected.
As for my brother, I could only imagine his anguish when he discovered what he did. He never did tell me exactly what he saw on Shabeers MacBook. It wasn’t about not having what he wanted. Adam knew for months what the reality was, and he wasn’t fickle like that. All this while, he still had hope, but with this, it was the betrayal that was eating him from inside, and I could see him crumbling.
And of course, it was nothing short of a miracle that I had pulled through so easily. After a few days of dwelling in my own self- pity, and neglecting my kids, I realized that I couldn’t carry on like this. So I picked myself up.
I got off my trembling knees, and I forced myself to pray. In those moments that I would have defined as making history, I strongly believed that it was only that plunge, that brought me through. It didn’t mean that just because I felt really hurt and betrayed, I stop worshipping my Lord. What defined me here was my response to the test… how I sought help, through prayer, and that was precisely what elevated me again.
Shabeer had just finished on the phone with a guy called Shaun who did all his handy work. It didn’t look like the thieves had gotten past the first bedroom. The security in the estate was tight but these things happened. Shabeer obviously, didn’t see it this way. He was bringing the roof down whilst he screamed at someone, assuring them that he wasnt going to back down. He cut the call in a huff, and looked at me with a frown.
“Idiots,” he muttered. “Think they can talk themselves out of a lawsuit. They need to update their system. This is bloody ridiculous.”
“It’s okay,” I said instinctively. “It was meant to happen. Do you want something to drink?”
I wasn’t sure why I asked him that. Maybe I didn’t want him to leave. Maybe I wanted to buy more time… to get some closure.
”Listen Ruby,” he said, ignoring my question. He was looking at me pitifully, as if he was embarrassed. Did he think I was suggesting something else?
I closed my eyes, reeling in the momentary shock. He was my husband after all. I could offer him a cup of coffee, right? What the hell was his problem?
How dare he feel sorry for me? How dare he look at me like I was a failed and desperate wife, when he was the one who had messed up? I really wanted to punch him in the face.
“I have a meeting,” he said, just a little nervously. “But I wanted to tell you.., before you find out from someone else.”
I kept silent as he continued.
“I know you’ve been busy, and it’s been hectic for me too,” he started, and I could just hear his charm switch on. He was going to sweet-talk through this and I really wasn’t interested.
“And I love the fact that you care about yourself and want to look good, sweets. You’re looking like a million bucks, and I’m like… blown away, babe.”
He smiled and I looked back at him blankly. After all these years, Shabeers throw ups were lost on me.
“It’s just that we need to sort out some stuff before we get back to where we were. I still love you… but so much has happened. While you were busy with your routine… I felt lonely. Sometimes you’d leave me alone till late at night, and I missed you. And of course… sometimes, things just happen. I met someone.
He shrugged nonchalantly and stuffed his hands in his pockets. My heart thudded methodically in my chest.
“Things just happen?!” I retorted, now just plain angry.
The audacity! He was blaming me. Me! And he was so brazen about it too.
So this was all my fault? Yes, I know I was busy. I was trying to get back in to shape. To look good. For him. I had left my husband longer than I intended to, but was it really an excuse? Was it?
Maybe I had been too naive. Maybe I had trusted too much. I never imagined that this would happen. Not to me.
I never realized the harms of intermingling before now. Leaving my husband with young girls in the house was probably on the top ten list of ‘Stupidest things you could ever do’. Sometimes, it just took a glance, and Shaytaan seized you. I didn’t realize that it was so easy to fall into the trap that lead us to ruin.
Shabeer shrugged again.
“I’m sorry Rubes, but I love her too,” he said, finally meeting my eye. “We’re making Nikah.”
And honestly, as he said the words, I felt like the wind was instantly knocked out of me. It was like I was gasping for some oxygen… and there was no way of getting it, because I was way in outer space.
I wasn’t sure which part hurt more. They fact that he said he loved her… or…
Nikah. He was making Nikah?
Of course. He had to make it right. Halaal. I wouldn’t have expected it to continue as anything else. I wasn’t that woman who would prefer my husband to have an affair, than to take on a second wife. Not now, in this game of mind. I had met so many like that… some of them my friends. They brushed infidelity under the carpet, because it meant they wouldn’t hav to share their inheritance with a mistress. It was disgusting. Maybe he had actually seen some sense.
But what inspired Khawlah to even incline to this man who I was beginning to see the truth in… I don’t know….
The emotions were overwhelming.
“But you don’t even know her!” I cried, fighting back the tears. “You know nothing! I can’t believe that she’d even agree! You! Khawlah… she’s a breath of fresh air, and you’re like… like… rotten eggs..!”
Oh Gosh. I said her name. Rotten eggs?! Really? Why couldn’t I even have a proper fight? Shabeer looked at me weirdly.
“She’s so easy… calm… obsessed with nature… kind to kids… like, what on earth does she see in you??!”
I couldn’t even believe that I was saying that, but I was. I couldn’t even believe I was talking about it. As much as I tried to hate Khawlah, I just couldn’t. I couldn’t even do that properly.
“Well, her mother is kind of putting pressure,” he started, sounding stressed. “And Ruby, I’m sorry to delve into this, but really- she hates nature. I mean the only flowers she likes are black roses.”
Her mother? Why would her mother put pressure?
It took me a few moments to process what he had just said. Her mother?
Despite the pain. Despite the betrayal. Despite feeling like I was buried under a ton of bricks… something in my brain triggered a switch.
Khawlah didn’t have a mother. She had a mother-figure… but I wasn’t sure that she was really in the right frame of mind to understand what was going on. I remembered Khawlah saying that she wasn’t well and was having a problem with making sense of things. And then, of course…
Oh. My. Word. My stomach clenched in that detested way that it usually did, when I realized that I had made a really huge mistake.
“Roses are black, violets are blue…”
The kids were just singing it this morning. What were the odds? Of course, this meant something. Of course, this was no coincidence. It was a huge revelation.
“So you mean,” I said, suddenly alert and now thinking straight again. “Khawlah with the curly hair? She wears a thin bracelet on her wrist… her mother’s?”
I had only seen Khawlah without her Hijaab a few times. But I remembered her gorgeous locks.
Shabeer looked confused.
“No,” he said, all matter-of-fact. “And Khawlah’s got straight hair. The kids call her Hannah Montana. ‘Coz I suppose… she looks the part.. anyway, I-“
He looked awkward as he spoke. Spoke to me. His wife. About his other woman. Girl. Really? What was this world coming to?
Indeed, what a warped world we lived in. So many trials. So much of corruption. Why was it that I never noticed it before? Was I too caught up in the mix to even see the truth?
I sought refuge for all the wrong I had done I the past. I had also hugged men. Kissed their cheeks. Spoke flirtatiously. How warped was I?
What was the saying? It takes two hands to clap, right.
I just never thought it was wrong because it didn’t become more. But it was.
Shabeer was talking but I wasn’t listening. I wasn’t even in the now. All I could do was think about how I cut the call the other day, when Khawlah had phoned. All I could do was think of all the hurt this had caused. A little betrayal. A little lie.
Sometimes the ‘little’ things we do, are really not so little.
I thought of Adam. I knew that he knew Khawlah’s brother. I just hoped that my brother hadn’t disclosed what he knew.
I told Shabeer to stay with the kids. He could leave his stupid meeting for once and be a real father. I had some work to do.
I could think of nothing more than inflicting pain.
Hannah was the main candidate. This little lie was going to cost something really big.
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As per request, I will finish off this part of the story before Ramadhaan though… Insha Allah. Shukran to all the readers ❤️
In preparation for Ramadhaan, this week, Insha Allah, let’s try and bring in a little about the Sunnah of eating, as touched on in the previous posts. I will try to keep it short, simple and effective.🌸
Rinsing the mouth after eating.
It is mustahabb to rinse the mouth after eating, because Basheer ibn Yassaar narrated that Suwayd ibn al-Nu’maan told him that they were with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in al-Sahba’ – which is some distance from Khaybar – and the time for prayer came. He called for food, but he did not find anything but some saweeq (barley mush). So he ate some and we all ate with him. Then he called for water and rinsed out his mouth, and then he prayed, and we prayed, and he did not do wudoo’.
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5390).
How easy to practise!
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