Not to be Okay

Bismihi Ta’ala

Zuleikha

Whether it be within our lives or within our families or within our marriages… sometimes it’s okay for things not to be okay. Everything doesn’t have to always be blooming. We don’t always have to be fine.

I realised a long time ago that not everyone has a beautiful life. Some people are lucky, but many are not destined to have that kind of love that changes your life. Some of us settle for much less. Sometimes it’s what we unknowingly choose for ourselves. Sometimes it happens by default. But at all times… it’s in the Great Plan that Allah has for us…

But sometimes there are people that we come across that just leave imprints in your heart. They come with an important lesson. There’s nothing weird or creepy about it. It’s just the way they are… their demeanor… their approach… the way they present themselves. The way they see life through such beautiful eyes that you can’t help but see it too.

They have something called beautiful character. Not just beautiful. The best of character. And more than money, than looks, than sultry phrases… that character trumps as their most amazing asset. It doesn’t waver because beautiful character is something that’s in-built. It solid. It’s set so deeply in them, that no matter what their situation or circumstance or state of mind… this type of character is what shines through even the darkest of hours.

And yes, through my journey there had been many people that had changed the route, but what I knew for sure was that the moment that my beautiful sister had found the love that had calmed her raging soul, it was like our entire household had calmed with it. Life seemed a little brighter. All the hope was magically restored. Things took a sudden turn for the better. Everyone seemed a little more at peace.

And then, like a bolt of lightning from the blue, came the moment when the news of Aadam’s sickness rocked our world… and one by one, it felt like things around us started to crumble. All I knew for sure was that even though no-one really expected it…  my heart had already sensed it….

“I’m scared.”

I looked at my sister, her brows furrowed as she packed her luggage bag, and I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes as I thought of what these moments were going to bring. I mean, when she had gotten married… I knew she would leave one day… but this time, it just felt so much sooner than what we had all planned.

I never thought I’d hear my fearless sister ever say those words, but right now, at this moment, this is where we were. Although she barely showed it, it had been a while that I could see it in her eyes. The  revelation itself just came as a shock.

”You don’t need to be scared,” I said, trying to steady my voice, despite my own fears. “It’s going to be okay.”

”How do you know that?” She said, pausing in mid-fold and looking up at me quizzically.

The truth was, I didn’t really know. I just had this feeling that even though everything was changing and going a little out of whack, Allah would pull us through.

”I just have a feeling,” I said softly, giving her a small smile.

She paused to take out a few of her toiletries from the cupboard behind her, before turning back to look at me, emotion flooding her dark eyes.

“Do you think Mama would have liked him?”

The sincerity in her simple question caught me off-guard.   I hadn’t thought of my mother in a long while and as her image flashed through my mind, I could feel a lump forming in my throat. Some days I still missed her the way I had when she had just left…

”She would have loved him,” I said, meaning it. I mean, what was not to love about a guy who made my sister as happy as he did?

”Do you know what he told me the other day?”

She looked at me and folded her arms across her chest discontentedly. I looked up at her with slightly narrowed eyes. From what I knew of Aadam, I could only expect something out of the ordinary.

“He said that even if he had  done nothing else in his temporary life,” she started softly. “That if nothing else… it would have been enough that he found me… because it was through this Nikah where he found everything that matters…”

My heart contracted as she said it. It was like poetry.

“My word, Khawlah,” I murmured. “Are you trying to make me jealous?”

If my husband told me that I would have been jumping over the moon. As for my sister, she looked like she was halfway into depression.

”Zuleikha, don’t you get it?” She wailed dismally. “How do you return a love like that? How do you ever reciprocate?”

I looked at her and shook my head, understanding that she had completely missed the point.

”You don’t get it, do you?” I muttered, smacking my palm to my forehead and shaking my head at her. “This kind of love… well, it’s not like that! It’s not a favor that you have to return. Its not palpable or negotiable. It’s a gift, Khawlah. A gift you haven’t seen yet because you’re too scared to. You just have to open your heart and accept it because that’s the beauty in it… when you truly love someone for Allah’s sake and that love changes you.. it doesn’t need to be recompensed, because the reward in the feeling, that love… and that change that comes with it… finding the Creator of it and seeing that beauty of the truth… well, that’s enough. That’s what’s he’s saying. Having that love is worth way more than ever getting it back.”

True love. Pure love. It was the love for Allah that matched no other.

”I don’t know ,” she moaned. “It’s not normal. He’s so amazing and strong and I have no idea how to deal with that.”

I wanted to laugh, as I watched my sister, looking like she was in utter despair. She said the oddest of things and I honestly could not even fathom how her mind worked.

“Sometimes,” she said, dropping her voice. “Sometimes I just wish that he’d show some weakness, you know? That he’d act like a regular patient whose not really okay and let me see him for how he really is…”

Right back at ya, I wanted to tell her.

”Sometimes it’s okay not to be okay,” I finished off for her, smiling and looking at her, just so she knew that I was talking to her too. Just so she knew that she didn’t have to be so strong all the time.

“You don’t always have to be so strong. Do you know Allah waits for us to show some weakness… He wants us to be dependent on Him?”

I smiled at my sister as I spoke, a little amused by her annoyance. She was really one of a kind. And yes, of course I didn’t wish that on anyone, but if Jameel was in the same situation I could already imagine how dismal he would be… I wouldn’t be able to handle the drama.

And as if on cue, it was precisely at that point that Muhammed ran into the room, signaling Jameels arrival, and Khawlah’s sulky face immediately turn to smiles. Muhammed, of course, was ecstatic. Giggling, squealing and the works. He loved both Aadam and Khawlah to bits and it was no wonder why. They were so easy-going and had so much of patience with kids that I really and truly wished that they would one day have their own… hopefully sooner than they had always thought.

Knock knock,” a voice from outside said, and as I turned my head to look, Ahmed was already standing at the door with Jameel in tow, and the older of my girl cousins, whose name was Shaakira, trying to find her way in behind them. I had been wondering where my cousin wandered off today. Sara was her baby sister who was named after my mother. She had the sweetest nature too, unlike Shaakira who I never admitted sometime got on my nerves.

They were  usually always around when they were here… but for the past few days, I had no idea why, but I felt like I had barely seen Shaakira.

”I hear that there’s been a bit of chaos in the household,” Jameel was saying as he stood at the door, to no-one in particular.

Of course he was talking about the recent dynamics between Ahmed and I, but with Khawlah having much else on her mind, I really didn’t want to get into it. Yes, I had every right to be angry after Ahmed changed his mind about his upcoming Nikah. I also had more right to be upset because he refused to tell us who his future now entailed, which I thought was really unfair. For some reason, it was a huge secret and I had decidedly that it was time that I dusted my hands off his issues. I actually didn’t want to even see Ahmed at all, but being at my fathers house left little choice.

”Come on,” Jameel urged, winking and looking at me. “Sort it out. You guys can’t carry on like this.”

I gave him a death look. I felt like telling Jameel to mind his own business as he looked at me, as if it edge me on, but I swallowed my words as I looked back at him, knowing that he had good intentions.

Ahmed and him always had a rocky relationship, and even though it was better than before, there was a lot of room for improvement.

And yes, though I loved my husband, I could hardly compare our relationship to what I often heard my sister say about hers. Fair enough, she hadn’t yet entered into her marital home.. but for Jameel and I, I could safely say that we had our fair share of ups and downs and though I tried to look back at them as lessons learnt, I knew that there were many times when I regretted choices I made or things that happened. And then, when I felt myself feeling down or losing hope, I reminded myself that every relationship had their own set of trials. That everything wasn’t always meant to be perfect. That even the companions and family of Nabi (SAW) had issues and sought advice and guidance for it.

And I recalled clearly reading that even Ali (RA) and Faatima (RA) had their own set of issues where he would walk out and Nabi (SAW), on various occasions would bring the two beloveds of his together again. To disagree and have problems were also part of marriage and love, but the most important part was to rise above it and forgive, because their love for each other was on a level that put everything else aside. Their characters exceeded all else.

And that’s what I was striving for. Despite  mishaps. Despite disagreeing. Despite the past. There were times when I got so angry and frustrated, and times when it was so easy to let my tongue slip and say something potentially hurtful.

It has been related on the authority of Sahl ibn Sa’d that the Prophet (SAW) said,
“Whoever can guarantee what is between his jaws and what is between
his legs, I guarantee him the Garden.”[9]

SubhaanAllah. What a great reward for a little restraint.

I kept silent as Ahmed tried to make small talk, giving Jameel a small smile instead for trying to make some effort. He stood at the door, calling Muhammed to come out to give us time to talk it out, and obviously hoping for some resolution to the current issue of Ahmed’s indecisive life that was really driving me mad.

I honestly felt that I couldn’t tell him without causing a huge argument… But I knew very well that my brother had serious commitment issues. The minute something got a little serious… he seemed to suddenly wall up and think nothing of just walking away. Obviously, it had a lot to do with our childhood and his dodgy past but he had to move past it at some point. I was still upset with him for making me cancel the reservations and plans that I had made for his Nikah, and I had made it known that I won’t be partaking in anything that he was planning for the future. I know that it was a tad bit harsh but I really thought that he would do well to learn some lessons…

“Can you guys leave us alone now so I can have some bonding time with my sister?” I said, knowing that today wasn’t going to be the day we would get any positive answers from him and not really wanting to pin my hopes on it.

Ahmed raised his eyebrows at me.

”She’s my sister too,” he said, his amber eyes narrowing. I could tell it was because he wanted to test the waters with me.

I ignored him whilst Shaakira and Khawlah spoke about the big move that I could see my sister was still mentally preparing  herself for. Of course, it didn’t help that this wasn’t the usual kind of ‘move-in-with-your-husband’ kind of shift. The fact that Aadam was not exactly in the most amazing state definitely dampened the spirit.

”So did he tell you where you’ll are staying?” Shaakira was asking, a little too excitedly, as she looked at Khawlah inquiringly. “I mean, like did he say it for sure? Will you guys be spending the night together?”

She giggled and looked as me and Ahmed as she said it, and I could help but get annoyed.

And of course, as she spoke, I couldn’t quite help but think of how friendly and open she was being with Ahmed. Like, what was even going on? How was Ahmed even entertaining this?

If Khawlah or I had to behave like their were no boundaries with our male cousin Faheem, Ahmed would probably murder us. This bizarre behavior from Shaakira barely fazed him.

I narrowed my eyes at her as I watched them talking, not being able to help thinking that she was being a little too chatty and nosy about my sister’s married life for my liking.

Khawlah was, as usual, evasive with her answers, obviously feeling the same way. I couldn’t help but think that even though my cousin was just a year younger than Khawlah, she was seriously so much less mature. It was evident from her silly remarks that were a little too daring. Khawlah and her were worlds apart.

I held my tongue again, biting back the urge to say something nasty. I did, however, shoot Ahmed a reproachful glance which sent him out of the room with his tail somewhere between his legs, but Shaakira still refused to stop with the questions about Aadam and what it was like to be a part time wife, and how Khawlah needed to get her hair and nails done before-hand so she could be presentable. Her blabbering just didn’t end… to the extent that it was actually getting exhausting.

Somehow with people who are familiar, it was just easier to lose it. I tried to focus on her good points even though she was seriously getting on my nerves…

And of course, I’m sure it was just as well that Jameel called for me from the kitchen, signaling that he was ready to leave. His sister had some plans for the night that Jameel had inadvertently got thrown into. Jameel was very much unlike Aadam. Whereas Aadam got along with everyone and loved being around our family,  because Jameel was the type that easily tired of people, I knew that when he was around I had to cut my time short here… and today, although it was my last chance to really have proper quality moments with my sister, I knew that this was for the better. I was really about to snap with my cousin.

And although Khawlah was probably going to be back home intermittently, I couldn’t help but feel a heavy weight settle on my heart as I hugged her goodbye that day, knowing that she was entering a new stage of her life that was probably going to take a lot from her too. Emotionally. Physically.  Mentally too. And yes, I had accepted that everyone doesn’t have that great and amazing love that’s waiting for them, but I was certain that from what I had seen about these two lovebirds… and all the amazing things she had told me… I truly believed that with Aadam, she had got more than the bargain…

And my mind was kind of consumed in the moment as I thought about life and love and everything that the year had brought for us. I couldn’t believe that there was just a few months till the end of it. It meant that it was now over a year for Foi Nani and going onto eleven years for my mother. There were times like these, when the family was together and events that were momentary that made us miss them all the more.

And as I turned to go down the passage, deep in thought, pausing at the kitchen, and hearing my uncles voice in there, I couldn’t help but pop my head around to greet him. I like my uncle. Despite the issues in the past, he was one of the few family members we had

It was just that, as I saw him sitting at the table with his firmly set jawline and an unimpressed expression on his face, I already sensed that things were not okay. I supposed that kind of explained why Ahmed had come to the room in the midst of our tension… probably trying to avoid a bigger tension that was waiting to erupt. There was an entire romantic escapade that was going on right under our noses, and I couldn’t believe that it had gone unnoticed till now.

And yes, I couldn’t quite believe that I had missed this most important … the answer to Ahmed’s evasive revelation about Nikah.. but the fact that he was now in hot water with our once evasive uncle was definitely going to stir up a little more drama than I thought.

Facing my uncle was the one thing that my fearless brother was actually wary of.  This time Ahmed’s risky choices had really put a foot in it… and the result wasn’t going to be fun…


Don’t forget our Sunnah this holiday! 

Umar ibn Abi Salamah said: I was a young boy in the care of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and my hand used to wander all over the platter (of food). The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me, “O young boy, say Bismillaah, eat with your right hand, and eat from what is directly in front of you.” 

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5376; Muslim, 2022).

Drink water while taking three breathing pauses. It is prohibited to drink water in a single gulp as our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Do not drink water only in one breath, but drink it in two or three breaths.”

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Twitter: @ajourneyjournal

11 thoughts on “Not to be Okay

  1. Heya slmz.
    I look forward to every post of this blog.
    It’s motivated and inspired me beyond.
    Jazakallahu khayran for the lovely contribution it has made to my many days 😂
    Keep up the fab work !👌
    May Allah use you to spread love for His deen. 💖

    Wassalaam.❤

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Asalamualaykum. Yoh what’s going on!!!! Ahmed what’s your issue!!!! I think you need a heart to heart with someone. With ml or Adam. Open up a bit..get your troubles of your chest🤔Even machos need advice 😋
    Jazakallah for the lessons…. ❤️
    Loving and awaiting each post 🤗

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wslm. ❤️ lol, exactly, Ahmed definitely seems to have lost the plot somewhere along the line..
      Hey. That’s actually a really good idea. He needs to speak out
      But the only problem is if he says something that might put him in the deep end..
      Next post out tmrw InshaAllah 💕

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Sometimes we enjoy the story and most times the lessons hit home…
    Sometimes it’s okay not to be Okay
    Subhanallah..
    In a world of everyone broadcasting their happy moments and everyone else seemingly enjoying life to the fullest this post really is the most realistic ..Sometimes life will be good and sometimes it’s okay not to be Okay.
    May Allah continue to bless you with the best inspiration to motivate us on this short journey of ours

    Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly. Sometimes it is okay not to be okay. Unlike Khawlah, Zuleikha’s life didn’t always turn out the way she wanted. But the trick is to understand that Allah has a plan and has never forgotten about us… even when we’re not okay.

      Shukran dear sister ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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