The Art of Waiting

Bismihi Ta’ala


It’s common knowledge about the human race, that when facts become a little illusive, people become damn inquisitive. Everyone wants the details. The low down. Wanting to know when and why and how it will all happen. Wanting to know, before hand, given advanced notice. Everyone wants to be one up in the game, so they won’t be caught off-guard, unprepared, on their back foot… when it all goes down.

But there are many things we are not given knowledge of in this world, simply because that’s the way it’s meant to be. Many instances when we have to wait… when we have no idea of whats in store for us in the future. And for one, when I delved into the dark, I had no idea what to expect or what would come out of my situation. And if I myself was a little confused and uncertain, well, how the hell was I going to give anyone else any answers?

But life is such that many things that Allah has kept hidden from us, and many things that only Allah has knowledge of. This world is such that we can plot and plan, but at the end of it, the final decision is in the hands of the one Maker, Breaker and Decision-Taker.

A man asked the Prophet (sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) about the Hour (i.e. Day of Judgment) saying, “When will the Hour be?”

The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said, “What have you prepared for it?”

The man said, “Nothing, except that I love Allah and His Apostle.”

The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said, “You will be with those whom you love.”

The Sahabah said: We had never been so glad as we were on hearing that saying of the Prophet (i.e., “You will be with those whom you love.”)

Therefore, I love the Prophet Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam, Abu Bakr (RA) and `Umar, (RA) and I hope that I will be with them because of my love for them though my deeds are not similar to theirs.

And yes, there were many things I didn’t know, like what date we were setting the wedding for or how many people I wanted to invite, but as I looked at my brother who was walking toward me with his Sunnah style beard and clothing, there was one thing that I did know.

And yes, even though I had many undesirable qualities in me, one thing that I did have in me was that I loved him for what he was. If I looked at my brother, or my father, or even Maulana Umar, who I saw more often now that Imraan was moving back to the farm, even though I myself had zero of his qualities, I had a deep-rooted admiration for them. For what their did. For how seriously they took Deen. For fighting (and at times, literally fighting) for what they believed in.

I was amazed by their perseverance in a western world, to be who they were and be consistent, even when there was so much against them.

I loved who they were, and through that love, I only hoped that we I could be united with them in the next world. That was all. But was it enough?

And as I cooled off on my parents lounger at our family home at a gated estate in the north of Johannesburg, shoes off and legs up as Imraan sat at the edge of my couch, I glanced at my phone and wondered how people did it. Like, with the click of a button, the whole world becomes your oyster. How do you even stay strong and hold yourself back? How did you control urges to do wrong and just be strong?

I watched my brother from the corner of my eye as he kicked his shoes off, knowing what he was itching to find out about.

And it was a welcome diversion. My mother had been hounding me about things I didn’t and couldn’t give her answers to. Like, what was Mohsina’s favourite colour? Would she prefer rose gold jewelry or white gold? Whether she was a chocolate or flowers kind of person.
Between her and my sister’s nagging, I had to make a u-turn every time I saw them. I could honestly do with some normal conversation. Details weren’t my thing, and frankly, I didn’t really care.

“So how did it go?” Imraan asked, his dark brows raised at me slightly as his one leg jiggled mindlessly. “The interview.”

I shrugged. I had told him last week that I was leaving Hammond’s to move to another company called TSW. It seemed like a good move to make and to tell the truth, I was feeling pretty excited about the change.

“They’re a big company too,” he said, watching me skeptically. “Big company with some big clients. May be a little bit of a jolt for you, especially since it will be the start of your career. Don’t you feel you may want to stick to who you know?”

”I like a challenge,” I said, running my hands through my growing beard roughly. “Change is good. Change is what helps me to grow.”

It was true. I thrived on change. There had been so many changes and I didn’t feel like I was lacking in any way because of it.

The interview with TWC had gone pretty well, by my standards. It was a slightly smaller company than Hammonds but they were desperately in need of a CA for their debtors department and I kind of got the feeling that I fitted the profile perfectly. Also, they had mostly men on the pay roll which I’m sure Imraan would be happy with.

Imraan went silent and I looked up as my sister-in-law, Saaliha came in with a plate of some sort of filled puri treat that I remembered. She probably remembered how I had devoured the whole tray and I thanked her and took one, munching noisily as she poured tea for Imraan and coffee for me.

Okay, I won’t lie. Now that I thought about it, I was a little spoilt. The thing was, I was the baby of the family and to tell the truth, till that point, I was ridiculously indulged by all the women that surrounded us. And now that I watched my sister in law, I wasn’t quite sure how Mohsina would adjust to that role. But it didn’t matter, did it? I had everyone else to do it for me, didn’t I?

”So you definitely moving ship,” Imraan said, taking a sip of his tea. “And your wife?”

He said wife like we were already married. I sat up and gulped half the mug of coffee.

“We haven’t discussed it yet,” I said nonchalantly.

And I was trying to play it cool and not think about next year too much. All I knew was that I had made it clear that Hammonds wasn’t an option for either of us. Faadil was another story altogether but what I did know was that there were some things that are better left unsaid. I had caught him more than once in some unfavourable situations and working under someone whose priorities were skewed was never going to do any good for anyone.

As for Mohsina, ideally I’d want her to be home. We didn’t need the extra income, so there was no need to really push ourselves to the limits when it came to building our careers.

“Really?” Imraan said, his eyebrows slightly raised. “Bru, you don’t think of will be a problem? I mean , for me, the woman is the Queen of the home. My wife knows that and she loves it. But you need to discuss it with her first, you can’t leave these things unsaid..”

I shrugged again. Okay, so let me just explain. Imraan and I were born a whole generation, if not two, apart, when he had gotten married, things were just a little different. Some things went without saying. Women I knew who were working back them may have had a little business on the side, just to keep them busy or earn additional income, but it wasn’t like how it is with my generation. We were just savage. Women had actual careers that they took really seriously. Women and men in the workplace were almost on equal wavelengths. They competed directly with each other. It was an idea that was never foreign to me because it’s what I had known all along, ever since I had entered the workplace.

To tell the truth, I knew that I had to clear some things up. There were a few things about my fiancé’s life that I wasn’t comfortable with and I had let her know some of it, in no uncertain terms. But it was one thing at time. Baby steps, right?

“It’s different now, Imo,” I said, placing my mugg down and sitting back and looking at my brother. “Chics are different. No one wants to sit at home.”

”What you mean no-one wants to stay home?” he said, looking confused. “It’s this feminism stuff isn’t it? Did she say that?”

“Not really,” I said, feeling a little defensive about it. I mean, how else was I supposed to feel, I know what I seemed like.

Feminism. Something that goes against the natural way of how the Almighty intended for the world to run.

Men and women are not created equal or there wouldn’t be any need for two genders for us to survive.

Women didn’t see the value in being home because to be out there, sacrificing their lives, their time and their marriages didn’t matter as much as proving that they were equal to men.

“Listen, bro,” he said, lowering his voice. “Your mother, Rabia and the wife are all going shopping for your proposal next week. What if she doesn’t think the way you do? You better sort your shit out before they waste all that stuff for nothing. Saaliha already bought a new cloak. Do you guys… meet.. ?”

”Not anymore,” I said confidently, glad that we had made the resolution to stay away until Nikah. And I had been doing so. So far.

He just shook his head.

“That means you’ll were involved right?” He said, his eyes slightly narrowed. My brother wasn’t stupid. He knows what happens to a boy and girl when they get together. Especially in a work environment where there are no boundaries.

“Not exactly,” I said carefully. I was still feeling awkward about discussing these things with my older brother. He was like 10 years older than I was. It almost felt like my father.

“Make Taubah,” said my brother-turned-nearly Maulana. “Like sincere repentance. You guys are making it all clean now, so try going in with a clean slate.”

He said Taubah like I needed to hang my head in shame.

“Don’t stress,” I said to him, waving my hand indifferently, not wanting to divulge further. “We just spoke.”

”Just spoke?” He pressed, completely oblivious to my awkwardness and obviously not believing me. He ran a real no-bullshit regime. “Either way…You know speaking is Zinaa too, don’t you?”

And okay, so maybe we had done it all wrong. I mean, I spoke to chics all the time and I never hid it from anyone. There was no use acting all holier-than-thou and going behind peoples backs and meeting up. For me, what you saw was what you got, and I wasn’t about to hide my sins. I knew it didn’t validate it, but my mindset was a little skewed and I knew it. I just couldn’t stop myself.

And that’s why, when things first started with Mohsina, I actually had no idea what was going to happen. I was taking it as it comes, like I usually did. And coincidentally, it was around that time when I was kind of sneaking around, not because I wanted to but for her sake, that Liyaket pulled me aside one day.

And I knew that Liyaket knew, because he helped to set it all up, but what he didn’t know was that I probably wasn’t as serious as he wanted me to be. What he said though, was what made me think:

If you not willing to change for anyone, don’t expect anyone to change for you.”

Liyaket always had these deep lines that came out of nowhere. And I supposed it kind of went with our conversation before he got married of settling down and getting out of all my previous immature habits. Liyaket wanted to me to settle down, and all I knew was that there wasn’t anyone worth settling down with. His point was that I probably wasn’t a person anyone took seriously about settling down with either. And of course it stung, but I supposed it was true.

And at that point, until then, I wasn’t serious. I didn’t understand boundaries. I didn’t have any. I had become so used to doing as I pleased. The thing was, when I saw Mohsina that Nikah day, looking unlike the career-inspired girl I knew from work, I kind of got the feeling that she was stressed about something out of her control. And I was just asking out of concern.

And she was looking just a little distressed and unlike herself, so I had to ask.

“I can’t find my brother,” she said, looking defeated and exhausted. “And we need to leave, like, right now. Have you seen him by any miracle?”

And of course I saw her brother. I remembered meeting him earlier that day. He was awkward, like most teenagers, he looked very much like he was still trying to figure himself out. And when Sa’ad got talking to him about something, I remembered him telling his father that they were headed to the front shed. Sa’ad was Maulana Umar’s son and I had introduced her brother to him, knowing he was a good guy, but not knowing that the two of them will go off and go awol in the bushes. And that was precisely where I was taking her to. No funny business was intended at that point. I just felt responsible.

“How do you like the farm?” I asked, just making conversation as I showed her the way. I wasn’t going to act like a cake now that we were out of work territory.

And as we walked across the meadow where two horses stood, almost submerged in the greenery, I was so used to it, that I didnt notice her staring at the plot in awe. And as I followed her gaze, I knind of guessed  it seemed like we were in a completely different world.

Nothing else did it justice. No words. No pictures. I didn’t even bother with raising my phone because this moment… well, it was everything. It was more than snaps or captions or posts. It was more than just living in virtual reality, blinded to the real life that was so brutal and consuming and kept her away from this kind of sincere beauty.

“Do you ever wonder about life beyond there?”  I said, looking out into the open, unable to digest that this place was really quite enchanting. It seemed like another world.

I looked at her for a minute, and at first I thought that she didn’t hear me. She didn’t meet my eye.

And then, as I averted my gaze and we trudged into the thicket, the easiest path to the mentioned shed, her voice sounded like a different person.

“I feel like I haven’t been living all this time,” she said, , sounding completely different to the self-centered career girl I knew all along. “Like we’ve been missing out on all of this for so long and everything else is just one big lie. Can you imagine waking up to this every day? Can you even imagine just leaving the whole world and it’s illusions, and just putting it all behind, because this … well, this is so much more real than you’ve ever felt in your life.”

I looked at her, silent because I was a little shocked, but she didn’t really notice. Instead, she just laughed.

Almost as if she realised something humorous.

“Oh yes,” she grinned, walking along. “You don’t have to imagine. You guys probably do it all the time.”

The next words I said without even thinking. And there were some alarm bells ringing but I was completely oblivious to it as I said them.

“Why don’t you stay over and you can see for yourself?”

And of course, I didn’t even realise what I was saying until I finished say it. Of course, I meant that she could stay with my sister – there were so many rooms there-  we each had our own allocated houses on the plot and my sisters was pretty much free.

She gave me a weird look and then all I could think was, oh shit. I really put my foot in it, didn’t I?

And she didn’t get a chance to respond because we had already reached the shed and her brother and Sa’ad were already in view with a few different farm knives in front of them. All my fathers tools and slaughtering knives were here and it seemed like Sa’ad had been introduced to them before. I just didn’t know that Mohsina’s brother was into all that stuff, but teenagers were weird like that. I could already see Sa’ad giving me weird looks, and I knew that being Maulana’s son, he was probably wondering what I was doing with a girl, but for me and my mindset- well, I didn’t owe him any explanation. I was too busy fretting about the stupid thing I had said a few moments back. I didn’t want her to get the wrong idea.

“My parents will be waiting for us,” was all she said as she left, pulling her brother with her as I nodded, feeling a little awkward now.

She was going to be travelling home alone, and i knew I should have offered  to follow them or something but at that point I was already feeling that I had crossed way too many boundaries. And I was right. But see, this is what happens when boundaries are crossed. It doesn’t end there, because once a spark is ignited, it’s kind of hard to put it off.

But that was all history, and I knew that Imraan had a point.

Yes, there was a shame in sin, but the bigger shame was when you don’t repent for it.

And after Imraan’s chat, and him explaining way more to me, I pulled myself together. I really did want to be better. A better Muslim. A better person. Besides Jumuah, I barely even made it for Salaah to the mosque in years and I knew that something had to change.

I left home after greeting my mother, responding to her questions after she showed me the fifteen choices of jewellery and asking me to choose which one to take for the proposal which was getting everyone all in a frenzy. Of course, she was only planning ahead, and though it made me only a little unsettled, after chatting to Imraan, I kind of got why.

I felt like I needed to work on so much, before I took that step. But given time… Well, who knew what time could bring? There’s something amazing that I learnt about waiting. There is a beauty in waiting, sometimes, for something that you really want.

Once you slow down, then you see it. Once you slow down long enough from overanalysing, overthinking and unraveling the past. Sometimes we have to shelve the fear, abandon the hesitancy, and then just take the bait, like a fish in icy waters, looking for its prey.

And there’s a beauty… a certain art in waiting for something you really want. There’s an appreciation in not having what you want right then, just because you want it. It’s the training. The suppressing. The knowledge that not everything in this Duniyaa is for us to use and abuse as we want. The art of waiting is that it gives us time… Time to take those baby steps. Time to find that comfort that we need to.

As I stepped outside, instead of heading to play cards like I usually would, I knew that maybe it was time to do some true introspection. It was time to use the time I had for the better, not for the worse.

And maybe waiting would be easier if you knew something would definitely be a part of your story, but sometimes when you focus on that, you may be depriving yourself of all the other amazing things that are waiting for you on the path you’re meant to take.

Sometimes all those wrong chapters of your life need to be left behind. Let them serve as lessons and move on to better things.

Maybe it was an epiphany, but I knew that this was coming and right now, was the time. It was time to follow the footsteps of those that I wanted to be with, not now, but forever.

Mission Sunnah Revival: Sunnah of Lowering/Guarding the Gaze 

It is in this instance and era, surrounded by half-naked people, that we must have the courage to follow the command of Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (Sallalahu alaihi wa Sallam) and lower our gazes.

Despite what anyone may say, looking upon that which one is not supposed to is going near adultery, for an illicit affair begins with a lustful glance.

Allah wishes for us not to commit this ugly sin, and thus He commands us to lower our gazes:

Tell the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.

And tell the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty…” (Quran 24:30-31).

The Sunnah of lowering the gaze even on social media is also important and detrimental to our imaan if not done, a stepping stone to greater sins.






FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

6 thoughts on “The Art of Waiting

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