Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Faith, huh? It has a funny way of coming through for you when you least expected it. Faith, somehow, conquers all, even when you feel that maybe things have gotten a little out of control. At the end of the day, it’s a funny thing. It turns up when you don’t really expect it. Its like one day you realize that the fairy tale may be slightly different than you dreamed. See once in a while, once in a blue moon, people will surprise you , and once in a while…. people may even take your breath away…
Even if it’s by a punch in the stomach.
But, on the brighter side, to put it into perspective, this is where the state of a Mu’min comes in. The state of a believer is pretty unique. In essence, a believing servant is always in a state of hopefulness. And when faith reaches such an amazing height that there arises an inclination to change, then what other reason should there be to be hopeless?
And yes, we knew that history tells of various incidents of the awesome faith of the Sahaaba, but amidst their faith, they had a fear. A fear that maybe, despite their efforts, they just weren’t doing enough. A fear that maybe, despite their utter remorse and regret over their past sins, they would still not reach the height of Paradise.
And yes, we all should have a fear. But, the thing is, for us, as weak Insaan and shaky believers, to be hopeless can lead to ruin. Extreme fear, can kill our ambition. So instead of letting the odds weigh us down, we live between fear and hope, and let the longing for Paradise be our navigation. We let the hope shine through, and believe that by some small account of ours, we will attain Jannah. And so we try. So, we strive. We have faith. We believe. We transform. And within it all, we find the serenity that comes with finding our Creator.
And it must be known that we cannot ever reach Allah. But this feeling… the accomplishment of reaching that place where we can say we’ve connected… is not found in mundane things. I mean, you certainly don’t find the gold by digging in the sand. You have to make the effort. You have get right into it, deep down, and extract all that you can, because that toil must not go waste.
And the moment is unforgettable. A moment of change. Of free fall. Of pure serenity that you can only find when you reach Home.
I breathed in as I tied the piece of black cloth around my face again, as I dwelled in the feeling of contentment, tightening it at the back so it would sit better.
“A little higher,” Zaynah murmured, looking at me strangely as I adjusted the niqaab, almost as if she couldn’t quite believe what she was seeing. I knew exactly how she felt.
For the past few weeks I had dreamt about this. I had dreamt about wearing this. My heart was aching to make this all real. I could not even imagine a more beautiful moment, as I looked at myself, that the moment I would put this on and walk out, into the real world. I could not fathom the closeness I would feel to my Rabb at that very moment. It would simply be… sublime.
“You are stunning,” Zaynah murmured, and I instantly looked at myself in the mirror, wondering if I heard right.
Her solemn look quickly changed to a smile as she watched me, with a single tear at the corner of her eye. It was the most special moment. I wanted Zaynah to be there when I would finally do it for real, but I knew that I needed to talk to Jameel first.
“Just… remember…” she had said when I mentioned to her. “Your eyes.”
She didn’t say more but I knew what she meant. I also knew that how your eyes looked shouldn’t be too attractive. Having heavily made up eyes was not exactly the wisest thing when you were a niqaabi. The eyes were a window to the soul. Basically, the showing of eyes will not lead to any fitnah.
I smiled as I remembered Ahmed once say that he could tell if a girl was ‘hot’ from just her eyes. Why he was looking at women in niqab, I didn’t know, but I hoped that I could do this properly, and with the correct intentions. Wearing the niqaab was not an easy task.
Thinking about Ahmed, got me thinking about my family too. It wasn’t only Jameel I was worried about. Abba. Khawlah. Foi Nani. This whole step was going to be news for all of them. No one in our family wore niqaab after Mama had died.
I breathed out as I watched myself, trying to gather my thoughts. There were so many emotions that were running through my head. I wanted to just pause for a moment, and check in. I wanted to dwell in this excitement just a little longer because I knew it might be short-lived. The challenge of my entire transformation was yet to come.
”Why are you looking so worried?”
I breathed out, trying to gather my thoughts.
“Zaynah, I don’t know why I’m heading for here,” I confessed, trying to make her understand. “My in-laws… my life… I had gone so far away. I didn’t know how to find my way back… and now…”
Now, I was just at a loss for words. How did I even find my path again? How could I tell her that I had left the shelter of Allah completely? How could I explain to her that I had attended parties, I had indulged in sin, that my husband was involved in a cocaine addition? How did I ever tell her?
“Tell me your thoughts, Zuleikha,” she said, as she propped her head up on her hands and looked at me with so much of conviction that I couldn’t help but let it out.
”I’m scared,” I finally said, looking her in the eye, and letting my own emotions sink in. “I’m scared that I don’t deserve this second chance. I’m scared that my husband won’t accept it. I’m scared that he will never change…”
I trailed off because I knew that I had gotten carried away with my emotions. I didn’t mean to bring Jameel into this. It was supposed to be about me. But how could I exclude him, when he was a part of my every day? He held a piece of me. I did love him, despite what we had been through. Despite everything I knew.
“But doesn’t Allah say that we must never despair of His mercy?” She said softly, as she looked at me from where she sat.
She was looking at me in such a way that I immediately knew exactly what she was saying.
One thing I now knew from the few times I had met my friend was that Zaynah was no ordinary woman. She had achieved the seemingly unachievabl… she was someone who had taken on something that she never thought she could. She was like a breath of fresh air. She had that amazing ability to see the best in people, even when it wasn’t their most obvious trait. She had, in a brief recount, told me once about how her husband had changed his life.
And she didn’t have to say it, but I knew it. I knew it was through her, and I knew that their love, because it was based on something so amazing and pure, was unmatched.
And I knew what she had meant. Of course. Of course I knew. How could I forget? After all, I was lost and now I had found Him. I was messed up and now He had somehow, fixed it.
It was from Surah az-Zumar Ayah 53. It said:
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
Say: ‘O My worshipers, who have sinned excessively against themselves, DESPAIR NOT of the Mercy of Allah! Verily, Allah forgives all sins. He is the Forgiver, the Most Merciful.”
And at that moment, I felt as if this was the most beautiful ayah ever, because in my hopeless state of mind, I could not understand that I was even worthy of forgiveness. But the beautiful part here was that Allah didn’t hold my sins against me. He didn’t consider it a betrayal or breeches of true. All He considered it as was a wrong unto myself. All He called it was a transgression to me. It wasn’t beyond His utter mercy. Nothing was.
I have my friend a tight hug as I left, not forgetting to drop a tiny kiss on the cheek of her beautiful baby boy, because I wasn’t sure when I would see them again. The spaces between her visit were far and I missed this woman so dearly that I couldn’t actually understand how I done without her before. It was just that unexplainable kind of love that got me.
Jameel would understand, right? He loved me too. Things may be a bit different when we went out, but it didn’t have to change everything. Baby steps. We could still see his family. I just had to be a little more careful. I had to let Jameel know that even his cousins weren’t mahrams. Knowing how uncomfortably close Jameel was to his cousins got me on another train of thought altogether, but I controlled my rapidly beating heart as we approached the house.
And of course, as we drove home with Muhammed also drifting off into slumber, I could feel myself calming down and preparing myself for Jameel’s acquaintance.
Of course, he’d be tired. He’d be a little frazzled, after the long day at work. I just had to play it a bit safe.
I walked to the entrance of my house with Muhammed now asleep. He was growing so fast, and those days of colic and fussiness had disappeared just as the ante- natal depression had taken its leave.
I was quite exhausted too, and I was already planning a little nap, knowing that I had enough time before Jameel usually got home. Pulling off my shoes, I had literally just closed my eyes when I heard the front door slam. I sat up, a bit wide-eyed with worry, as Jameel came in a bit earlier than usual, looking like his usual souped-up self. Of course he looked like he usually did. Approachable, overly charming and always on top of things. I watched him tap on his phone for a few seconds before he caught my eye and smiled.
“Salaam,” He said softly, bending down to give Muhammed a kiss, and then lightly pecking me on my forehead.
“Hey Gorgeous,” he said in a low voice, sitting at the edge of the bed just as I started to get off. “Missed you.”
I raised my eyebrows at him, and cocked my head to the side whilst he smiled and looked at me.
That was out of character for him. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t that Jameel was unfeeling. He just wasn’t always in check with people around him. After my encounter with post-natal depression, I had to hand it to him though.
Sometimes, you just need to give someone a chance for them to come through. And even if you don’t expect it, being surprised was the most brilliant feeling ever.For starters, my husband had the hugest of hearts. I was assured that when it came to giving of himself or even his money, Jameel never held back. He hadn’t always been honest and neither was he a saint, but Jameel never said no to anyone in need. To anyone who had a reason to ask. It was a quality that I sincerely admired, and it took a while to come around and notice his strengths, when all I had searched for before were his most obvious faults.
And through my roughest patch, he was always the one to take over when I felt like it was all too much. He was my calm to the storm. The cool in my fire. Jameel never missed an opportunity to show me how sorry he was for messing up. It was just what we needed, and the perfect fix that would pave the way to a better beginning.
Yes, things were better. Things had improved drastically, but I still didn’t know whether I could trust him completely. To get over the things that had come so close to ruining us took some time.
“I’m serious,” he said coolly, running his hands through his hair roughly. “Its been crazy today. I just wanted to come home.”
I noted the frown on his face, even though his mood was quite tepid.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, knowing that something was definitely up.
“Hectic day,” he said, rubbing his forehead.
He paused, and then shook his head. I looked at him questioningly, waiting for him to spill the beans.
“There’s a guy who just doesn’t want to play the game. He’s just not interested and it’s killing us. He’s the only thing standing in the way of the biggest deal ever. The most sought-after software developer and he’s like a ton of useless talent.”
Business deals. I looked at him with interest now, despite his annoyance. Software developer? Why did that sound familiar?
On the contrary, maybe this deal was a good thing. I had been existing in my own little space when all Jameel would talk about was the usual Mafia business that went on. All it meant was more women and drugs. I didn’t even want to hear about them anymore. Maybe this was a good thing. Maybe my husband wasn’t into those dodgy deals that he used to do before. This seemed like it might actually be clean.
My hopes soared.
Faith, huh? It had a funny way of coming through for you when you least expected it. And no, I didn’t expect him to grow a beard or become pious overnight. I just needed a sign that we weren’t headed for doom. Maybe Jameel really was changing. Maybe there was hope for us. Was it the right time to tell him my hearts desires, though?
I could already feel the incessant thudding in my chest, urging me to give it a shot. I had to tell him. I needed to.
My heart was in my mouth as I opened it, ready to delve into the topic that I couldn’t stop thinking about. I could literally see the mercy that Zaynah had spoken about, pouring down at that very moment, and I wanted to seize it. I wanted to capture it and pour my heart out to my husband, hoping that this time, he would hear my plea.
And of course, it was that very moment when the shrill ringing of the phone next to me made me jump, and maybe impulsively, but also without a second thought, I hastily picked up the receiver, hoping to put it back just as fast. I wanted to talk to Jameel and I didn’t want to lose that moment. I wanted to get it back, just as fleetingly as it had presented itself to me.
But the voice on the phone immediately alerted my senses, and my heart did that thud-thudding thing that it often did when I could not even bear to breathe.
Khawlah’s voice was soft, but highly panicked. She needed my help. She was in a catastrophic panic.
Things weren’t exactly explained on the phone but by what it sounded like in the few minutes she had spoken, Foi Nani’s memory had ceased her at a most vital moment, and she had no idea of what she had done. I raced to the car in a frenzy, pulling on a cloak and forgetting everything else. I wasn’t even able to tell Jameel what exactly was going on. I couldn’t even speak. All I could think about was the outcome of all of this and how it could affect our lives.
I was frantic as we drove at record speed, and as we finally reached, I couldn’t help but jump off in utter despair. It was only a few minutes but it felt like much longer. I just kept praying and hoping that this wouldn’t bring anything more than a little turbulence and as I stepped over the broken glass in the hallway, I was already losing hope. I couldn’t help but think the worst of the entire situation that was completely out of my control.
My heart contracted as I thought of what could be. It ached fot the past. I wanted to push it all away, but there were some things that were beyond repair. Some people who leave a scar in your heart. Its a mark so deep, that as much as you try to erase it, its shadow still remains.
These were definitely no ordinary acquaintances, and this visit was certainly not the usual. I stared into those deathly eyes just as they stared back at me. After all these years, I thought that something might have changed, but all I saw was that same empty soul that reflected right back at me.
And then there was my sister Khawlah, who, even in her darkest hour, looked like the most spelling vision. I could just see my mother in her today, as she stood at a distance and watched them, with a fiery expression. I could just tell from her body language that her powerful warrior mode was on. I would have hated to see what had to happen next as her nemesis looked at her with an equal ferocity, that I was certain that would prove to be our greatest hurdle.
Hannah was pregnant.
It was none other than Aunty Nas who was here, and her dear daughter. I wasn’t sure what she wanted but from what I could see, this was definitely going to cause a stir.
We had no idea at the time, but this stunt was going to cost us a lot more than we would ever know. Even as we saw it, we completely underestimated the damage that this would all bring… to us, to our lives and to our entire family.
After all, when Aunty Nas was around, there was never a peaceful moment in our house.
And al I could do was watch the pictures of this imminent screening roll, as it all spiralled out of control….
A little but of a twist in the story, but never without a lesson.
Note: Fornication is Zinaa committed by an unmarried person, and adultery is Zinaa by married people. Both forbidden and punishable in Islam. This is due to it being such a betrayal of trust, the hurt and the lengthy problems that these deeds cause.
As addressed in ajourneyinajoural, pre-marital pregnancy may seem like a far-fetched occurence for some, but it is a very real issue and does exist in some Muslim communities. Sometimes it is just swept under the rug or ignored when the pregnancy is aborted. It is because of this that I decided to tackle this issue and emphasise the evils of Zinaa in the process.
Please forgive me for any shortcomings, and make Du’aa for the youth.
In preparation for Ramadhaan, last week we were working on Reviving the Sunnah of Miswaak. 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🌸
Do not criticize food
Abu Huraira narrates that:
“The Prophet ﷺ did not criticise any food ever. If he desired the food, he would eat it and if he disliked it, he would leave it.”
Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim
How easy to practise!
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So glad you are tackling these taboo topics. . These are all very present in our Muslim community. . It is so sad. . Lot of people are in denial or don’t believe it. . But this should be an eye opener for the youth. . Many venture into these things due to lack of parental guidance as well as deeni knowledge. . May الله تعالى save our youth experiencing these things & protect the innocent as well. آمـيـن
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So true. I think we need to open our minds and really digest that this is a part of our society and these things do happen. With as much tact and Hayaa as possible, I will try and also tackle the issues that lead to this because we need to also be aware of what the remedy may be for these issues.
Aameen, shukran sis, great hearing from you again 💐
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I can’t get enough of this !!!
Loving everybit especially all the lessons to take from it.
Jazakallah Khair for the post ❤️
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Aameen, shukran so much, sis. ❤️
Wow, mashaAllah. ..love ur writing. The way u put in the lessons into the story. The suspence. …kept thinking, who Is it? The storyline…mashaAllah. always look forward to your writing. Allah bless u ….Jazakillah khair
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