Greener Pastures

Bismihi Ta’ala

Jameela

Part 50

No-one’s life is perfect.

There are days when you don’t fall in love with being alive. When you’re not high with happiness of infinite possibilities. When your heart gets irrevocably broken, into what feels like millions of pieces. There are days when the rain pours down as if it’s never going to cease. Days when you are convinced that you’ve never felt as terrible as you felt that very day, because nothing in your life has ever hurt the way you felt pain in that moment…

No-one’s life is perfect. But the thing with perfection in this day and age, is that it’s become the new trend in the digital world we live today, and it’s becoming increasingly hard to believe that everything is really not as perfect as it seems.

And that’s why there is so much of wisdom in being content with your lot. In lowering your gaze, even in the face of a digital image or materialistic things that may catch your fancy. In thinking that, every time we want to feel bad about something we don’t have, you wonder how it would feel to be someone who didn’t have all the blessings you had and how you would yearn to actually be in your position…. and then… like a divine inspiration… you can’t help but find yourself wanting to be right back where you’re at.

The thing is, sometimes we have to say ‘thank you’. Sometimes we have to spend our lives on awareness of our blessings. Sometimes we have to realise that not everyone’s lives are as perfect as they seem.

And as I looked out at the untainted view, the winter breeze a little icier than I preferred that day, I couldn’t help but feel that little ache in my gut that sometimes started when I thought a little too deeply about my sister, and I instantly grabbed my phone to message the one person who I really needed to check on.

Mosie. Miss you. When will you be heading to our humble pastures?

The sun was almost at its highest point now, and I breathed in as the air filled my lungs, completely and incandescently in love with the outdoors that day. Although I knew that it was time to head back in, before the sun did torture to my face, I was already dreading it being cooped up.

I instantly placed my phone against the skies, capturing what I thought was one of the most flattering pictures of our mini farm estate, and sending it just below the WhatsApp message to Mos with one of my favourite hashtags whenever I took nature pics.

#nofilterneeded

 

Beep.

Mohsina: Simply beautiful. But it depends what you got for me.

Of course, I knew just what to send her. I had taken a pic early this morning while I was out at the front.

Her response was as expected.

Mos: Aww man. The only animal I will ever truly love. *in love emoji* when did you fetch him?

I felt at peace with my favourite friend, although Cocoabean was my uncles stallion that we sometimes brought over.
Whilst I loved most animals, Mohsina had only ever had interest in one. Seeing that it was way too expensive for Papa to ever keep a horse, I never asked him to buy one, despite how much we loved him.

Whilst Muhammed Husayn did most of the hard work and rode him, I loved the feeling of being outdoors, of brushing his coat and just loving him to bits. Farm life had its perks, most definitely.

I looked back at my phone, typing back to Mos.

Needed advice. Cocoabean is not being very helpful. It’s time for intervention. *hint*

There was something comforting about talking to an animal that couldn’t exactly converse back. Besides, it was well needed because it had been a busy week… firstly, with all the things my mind had been overwhelmed with and also, as I got back into the coffee shop figures and marketing plans for the new Halaal Glamping Site project that Papa had given me permission to work on.

My brain had been buzzing with new ideas. It was such an exciting concept and though I loved what went into it regarding the design, the model desperately needed my sisters input on it all.

The horse was not actually giving me any solution.

Actually, to be frank, I just needed my sister. And Zaid. And I suppose if Hamzah came with the package, I could tolerate him too.

Beep.

Mohsina: I miss farm life. We’re coming to leave Zaid at his ma. I’ll see you guys later xx

I grinned widely as I shoved my phone back in my pocket. Nothing could deter my excitement. Not even the motorbike coming up the path or the fact that Zaid wouldn’t be here, or even Nani’s voice that could be heard from the kitchen, yelling for me to come inside quickly before that boy tried to trick me into talking to him.

I could hear her muttering to my mother, and I smiled; solely because Nani actually had no idea what he was really like, and my grandmother took great pleasure in thinking that I was the most beautiful creature that anyone could ever set their sights on or resist.

The thing was, I didn’t even understand what Nani formed her assumptions on because all Zubair ever did was zoom around the area on his bike, dutifully complete his tasks and follow instructions of my father, and then retire to his house at the front without even as much as a glance anywhere else. Why Nani would think such things of him, was beyond me. And why his indifference sometimes annoyed me, was also a little beyond me too.

“Jameela,” Nani said emphatically, draping her dupatta again as she made her way to the front of the kitchen, me pulling off my cap and scarf as I walked in and she got ready for some rant. “Your mother said it’s time you learn to cook. Curry from step one. I will teach you.”

Random. Being as unassuming as I was, I didn’t think it possible that they were actually discussing my cooking skills (or lack thereof) just before I came.

“But Nani,” I said automatically. “I know how to cook.”

Nani looked at me for a minute, glanced at my mother, and then opened her mouth to give an evil laugh.

I was honestly peeved at her rudeness.

“What can cook?” She asked, still giggling to herslef as my mother tried to hide her own smile. “Cheese toast and frying polonies is not cooking. This new jaath, Bhengori, I tell you, think they know everything. That’s why Mohsina also say she didn’t cook yet. Too much motorbike food. Married for one week and she hasn’t yet chopped an onion.”

Motor-bike food. Guilty as charged.

”She’ll learn, mummy,” my mother was saying, looking a teeny bit ashamed. Maybe she was regretting telling Nani that Mohsina hasn’t cooked yet. Apparently her in laws had filled the fridge for her too.

The fact that they’ve been eating fridge food was like taboo for Nani.

“What fridge food?” She was saying, shaking her head as I went to the tap to wash up, since I could see Nani really getting the things ready for me to prep. “You young people only know phone, phone and phone. You’ll don’t understand to keep nice boy you must learn to give nice food.”

”But Nani,” I explained. “Everything is on our phone nowadays. Shopping, reading… everything. It’s unavoidable. We just have to use it in the right way. Even all the recipes we use-“

”What recipe, recipe?!” She said, looking appalled, tapping her head. “Here, you must keep it. In your head. You can’t look at recipe every time you cook. Now quickly, peel this potato and then I will tell you what to do. Your brother-in-law will be here just now. He must know at least one of you can make food. Mohsina must come watch and learn today. Why young girls these days act like they are big queens I don’t know. All these young girls eat from mothers house and then take. Or get take away. You know that Khairoon was telling me same thing at the waleemah.”

The waleemah. After hours in the splendid sunshine, the waleemah seemed eons ago. It had only been a week, and since the chaos and talks had died down, I think I kind of gathered from Nani’s conversation to my mother, as they went on about the alleged fanciness and how much it probably costed, I couldn’t help but figure where this sudden persistence stemmed from.

Either way, for me, the problem wasn’t really taking food from the mothers. I mean, that’s what mothers are there for, right? They had to help you out in the beginning, while you feel you way around and gets acquainted with married life. Really, my mothers food was the best. It was just constant take out issue, I supposed. Cost-wise, I mean, it wasn’t exactly effective… and also, well… who knows who was even cooking it. Sometimes it’s just the little knowledge that a single  Bismillah was recited that makes all the difference…

“Anyway, I met Khairoon’s other grandson.” Nani exclaimed, her eyes wide with excitement. “I didn’t know the other one was studying medicine overseas, and he is down for the month. Jameela, you won’t believe … soooo handsome he is.”

I smiled, unaffected. The thing was, as happens after every function normal for every eligible to female, older aunties and grandmothers in the family will possibly sit and dissect every eligible male who they had set their sights on.
It was strange, but in some way, through match-making, it was almost as if they enjoyed the same enjoyment (if not more) on seeing you settling and building a life… and I didn’t quite understand dedication they put into it.

I, for one, had no inclination to meet this boy. It’s not that I didn’t want to get married. It’s just that… well, this particular boy didn’t really tickle my fancy.

“Think of what kind of life you will have,” Nani said, cutting and simultaneously braising the onions on the stove, annoyed by my lack of interest. Only Nani could do these skilled cooking tasks. “Married to a doctor – you don’t have to worry about anything.”

”Mummy,” my mother reasoned, glancing at me a little worriedly. “Leave her alone. And nevermind what he is, or how much he earns, he must just be a good boy. We just finished with one wedding and I’m still recovering from it.”

”Rather have it and finish up with your girls, Bhengori,” Nani said, her eyes looking like they had stars in it. I like how she said ‘finish up with the girls’ as if we were some condiment. She didn’t understand that today, there were no guarantees either way. I had always been the optimistic type but I had been hearing so many strange stories lately that it made me extremely weary.

Plus, I knew that Nani was also looking for a reason to splash out… although we obviously couldn’t afford it. The waleemah had been quite the event for her and I could already tell that she was ina  competitive mood when she asked my mother how much they must have spent on the function.

Mummy had just shrugged. It wasn’t her habit to talk about what people spent and earned. And although, by any standards, the function could not have been cheap to have, I think what Nani meant was that it was way more fancy than our simple, home-cooked meal, paper plate function held in the marquee in our garden. What Nani was missing was that by far, the simplicity had been more beloved to Allah.

Simplicity had been the only key in mummy’s plan, and Mohsina was happy with it. What was the need to please anyone else, if Allah was happy?

“We must rather look at the good they did,” Ma said unwaveringly, and I immediately admired the fact that she didn’t point out their flaws. “They were such good hosts. They fed so many poor people, and it wasn’t over the top.”

She had a point there.

Also, I had understood a while back that Allah blesses people in different ways, and allows people to serve through different means.

Yes, they had money and had spent it a generously on this function, but it was by no means what I would call extravagant. I mean, the things I had seen on Instagram were much more crazy.

Besides, I had once heard that in our quest of life, that Allah has been so merciful to accept such varying forms of worship, that it just so happens that it is  almost natural to possess at least one. And how merciful is Allah that he allows us to earn our Jannah, even through those qualities that come easily to us…

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The generous one is near to Allah, near to Paradise, near to the people, and far from the Hellfire. The miserly one is far from Allah, far from Paradise, far from the people, and near to the Hellfire. An ignorant generous person is more beloved to Allah Almighty than a stingy scholar.”

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1961

I guess what I’m saying is that while generosity may come easy to some, prayer may be natural for others. While some people may possess an innate quality of sublime character, others may be granted Jannah just because they forgive any fault against them almost immediately. Some people are most loving and easy to please, whilst others have the beautiful quality of wanting to serve others.

It were these beautiful traits that somehow attain Allah pleasure, and there was no doubt that Hamzah’s family had some amazing traits of generosity too. Their hearts were like gold, and we had heard that Hamzah’s father was a main pillar in supporting most of their poor relatives, and never being able to say no to anything that anyone asked of him. To know that my sister had married into a family so open-hearted was a relief, because Mohsina herself was someone who didn’t stop at anything to make people happy either.

“True,” Nani said with a nod, looking like she was actually regretting her previous words. “At least it wasn’t as bad as that one I went for last year and that beeeg big hall. The lights were so bright, they were hurting my eyes. Everything was that thing… what you call… personalise? Menus, tissues, chocolate even, that string they tie on the chairs… Jameela, you know even that small thing they throw sometimes on the bride and groom… had names on it!”

“Personalised confetti?” I asked candidly. I raised my eyebrows

Shame, why would people waste their money on such things?

“That’s a waste,” Ma was saying. “Hamzah’s parents are not like that. Hawa is very simple. But I heard the daughter planned most of the function?”

”Yes, Rabia,” I said, affirming what she had said, and remembering Mohsina telling me that.

In fact, Mohsina and I had had a good chat on the phone the day after, whilst she relayed to me how her heart almost stopped beating when she saw Layyanah’s sister, and I could, of course, completely understand.

I also had the pleasure of seeing the strange girl who had freaked me out at Liyaket and Layyanah’s wedding. She had spoken to me a bit more normally this time, asked questions about Zaid, before I quickly hurried off as I saw Mohsina frantically signalling to me, as if she was in a panic.

And if I had seen her first, I know I would have probably frozen on the spot too, but as I processed who it was, as Mohsina introduced us, I couldn’t help but think what she was doing there. Of all people, I had barely expected to see her, but when Mohsina had found out from Hamzah that the family had received an invitation for two from his brother, it kind of eased all the questions.
Still though, I could not believe how alike she looked to Layyanah, and seeing her must have been something completely unnerving for Mohsina.

What worried me is what they would want to do about Zaid, and that was Dahlia’s main reason for coming up to greet my sister.

And of course, I was worried, but my thoughts were already averted and gaze had already shifted outside as I looked out from where I went up to read Zohr Salaah, already hearing the familiar sounds of car doors opening and coming up the path, listening for sounds of Mohsina’s voice as she entered, really immensely excited about her being here.

And of course, even though Zaid was absent for now, I was ecstatic. Muhammed Husayn had already seen Hamzah’s car and rushed down through the kitchen as I eagerly pinned my hijab and pulled open the front door, watching them get off the car and smiling widely as they entered.

I was already watching them both as they moved toward the entrance, immediately noticing the ease with which they walked together for a bit up the path as Hamzah fell back to walk with Muhammed Husayn, and me lunging forward to throw my hands around my sister with all the strength I could muster as she stepped inside, Hamzah and Muhammed Husayn a good few steps behind.

“I missed you so much,” I whispered to her, taking in her familar scent as she hugged me back. We had gotten so close during the two months before the Nikah, and I sometiems felt as if a piece of my heart had been wrenched out when she left.

“Is everyone okay?” She asked, noticing her eyes slightly tear as we walked toward the kitchen, me eager to ask her about how marriage was treating her and all the rest.

I nodded silently as we entered the kitchen, already expecting Ma’s and Nani’s fussing over how she was looking so lovely and she was probably not even eating properly because she was already looking so thin. I could tell what Nani was getting at and I just hoped that she wouldn’t embarrass my sister in front of her new husband.

Thankfully, her and Ma were talking about something food related as we made ourselves comfortable on the nook, taking in her new cream Hijab and ivory modest blouse that she had paired with loose jeans. I loved the turn her wardrobe was taking. Her outfits were getting looser and her open abaya was always slipped over whatever she wore. Today she wore one with ivory trimming to match.

Hamzah wore kurta on most days now, and I loved that they had both changed their lives so much during the past few weeks, bringing in the Sunnah in even their dress.

”How was your week?” I asked, knowing that she was staying at her in laws house in the north before they moved to the place Hamzah was renting.

My sister smiled, looking genuinely happy.

”It’s been good,” she said with a nod, looking like she was visibly relaxing now after a week. “Gosh, it’s been hectic, though, Jamz.”

“What’s going on?”

I had already put on the kettle to make her a cup of coffee. I could see she needed it and I wanted to dissect how she had fared during her past week.

“A few new developments,” she said, pulling at her scarf and loosening it, as she lowered her voice. “My darling sister-in-law is with us from last night, but nevermind that. Will tell you about it later. We’re trying to get the new place ready, so that’s been madness. Layyanah’s sisters been in contact. I didn’t know that she tried to get into contact a few weeks back. Apparently everyone in her family told her to stay away. But the interesting part is this… Did you know that she met Zaid when he was just born?”

I shook my head, but the thought made my heart warm. Gave me some comfort. Perhaps she had really grown to love him.

”I’m not sure though,” my sister said, shaking her head. “You think it’s true? No one would have known besides Liyaket and Layy.”

I couldn’t believe that she would lie about that. She looked so much like Layyanah that it was impossible to think that their characters were much different.

She paused as Muhammed Husain and Hamzah walked into the kitchen, watching Nani immediately rushed to his service. I had honestly not seen my grandmother so obsessed with someone as she was with Hamzah. everything in our kitchen was literally coming out, onto the nook, as she forced him to sit down.

“If she said so,” I said, catching Mohsina’s attention again. “Then it’s probably true.”

Mohsina’s eyes switched from Nani to me, and she instantly rolled her eyes and then smiled.

“Oh Jameela, you’re such a dreamer,” she said good-humouredly. “Always have your heads in the clouds… think the best of people.”

”At least it’s not always in the iClouds like you,” Muhammed Husayn piped up, grinning mischievously as he passed our table to get himself a cup for tea.

Now that Hamzah was here, there was no chance he was getting all that attention he had become so accustomed to. I was just a little speechless at this transfer of emotion, that would have usually been my brothers honour. Hamzah was Nani’s absolute fav.

“Hey, I’ve improved,” Mohsina said pointedly, showing him her hands that were free from technology.

Mohsina whacked him playfully on his arm, waiting for him to go back to the where Hamzah was seated, on the other side of the kitchen, as he playfully pulled her pony tail and headed back.

“The weird thing is,” she said after a few seconds, keeping her voice low. “Apparently she told Hashim to get in contact months back. Why did he choose the day after our Nikah to call and upset us? I feel as if there’s something that I’m missing here… don’t you?”

”Maybe his feelings just changed?” I asked innocently whilst Mohsina shrugged.

”I might have believed you but… From what Hamzah told me, he was the one who spoke to the CEO of Hammonds to get Liyaket out of the company, based on nothing at all. I smell something fishy.”

I raised my eyebrows. I remembered Mos telling me about that a while back, before Layy and Liy got married. and it made sense. It did sound pretty dodgy. But now that Mohsina had mentioned Hammonds, I had to ask.

”Does Hamzah know about Faadil?” I said, dropping my voice, as she watched Hamzah refuse the millions of things.

Mohsina swallowed as I said it, silently watching Hamzah humour Nani, the question I had just asked hung in the air, as she fixed her gaze on him.

And of course I understood that she was probably swooning over her new husband, maybe a little obsessed, but even as I looked at her… I couldn’t provoke a reaction out of her, it wasn’t exactly appropriate because as Hamzah looked at her and smiled at the kind of reception Nani was intent on giving him, Ma had also just approached us, and there was no way I could get a word in further.

That was my sister. Private and unobliging. For her sake, I did hope that she had told him at least the basic truth about their involvement together. Although past was past, I knew that something that came so close to ruining her marriage shouldn’t just be swept under the rug.

And as my mother asked her the twenty-one post marriage questions that really ensued, hinting here and there about her being serious about cooking. I couldn’t help but force my mind to be rested, as they finished their tea.

And as I watched Mohsina head get up and head outside, me running upstairs to grab a sun hat so I could join them in the sunshine, whilst pausing at the bay window to watch her and Hamzah walking hand in hand, toward the sunflower field ahead… I couldn’t help but feel my heart swell with gratitude for how everything had panned out. And yes, she had stumbled, staggered and even been brought down to her knees, but amidst it all, she had gotten one thing right.

She had taken the plunge. She had put her trust in Allah, and went all in. She had surrendered her soul and come out on the other side with a heart brimming with gratitude and someone who could always bring out the best in her.

Things are not always clear cut. Yes, I was always a dreamer. Looking for the best parts of a bad situation. Hoping the good things will conquer the bad. Having my head in the clouds was always the solution for a stormy day.

The thing was, I think most people would drive themselves crazy if they had to keep on worrying about the future. Some things just require patience. Faith. A phenomenal amount of perseverance. If only we could glimpse that little flicker of light in the distance, no matter how dull it is.

And sometimes Allah lifts the veils, and we are able to glimpse the pure reality that any plan we have will never be as splendid as the ones that Allah has for us, and if only we could see how He does for His slave… if only we can see His hand in every little sign… our hearts would truly melt out of love for our glorious Rabb.

No-one’s life is perfect. Sometimes we have learn to ride the wave, to weather the storm or to face up to the battles that we are presented with, to get through it all. If you don’t stop to look for hope where you thought there was none, to see the sun that comes, even when you can’t believe how dark it was. if we knew what Allah had prepared for us… we would be much less complacent in giving up that lesser thing we so treasured…

I knew, I had sensational hopes. A constant yearning for greener pastures, no matter what the season had brought.

But some of us were dreamers. Some of us find clarity and then forget where we put it down. I just had it. We live in parallel universes where the grass is always being watered, and the sun always shines, even behind the clouds. Some of us need the relish the feeling of being on the ground, and some of us soar way too close to the sun…

And from where I stood, where everything I saw around me was evergreen… I had no idea what could ever come in between…


Mission Sunnah Revival

Sunnah of being thankful

From the very beginning of Man’s creation, the issue of gratefulness and thankfulness to Allah has been debated. After refusing to bow to ‘Adam, Iblis (Satan) said:

“Then I will certainly come to them from before them and from behind them, and from the right-hand side and from the left-hand side, and Thou (Allah) shall not find most of them thankful.” [Al-Qur’an7:17]

Allah also says that only few of His servants thank Him. Let us then strive to be among these few by keeping our tongues wet with His remembrance and our hearts soft with His praise.

Someone asked Ali (RA): 

“How much was the Sahaba’s love for the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam)”

He replied: “By Allah! To us The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) was dearer to us than our riches our children and our mothers, and was more cherishable than a drink of water at the time of severest thirst.”

SubhaanAllah… what perfect imaan they had… May Allah enable us to practise..💕

#RevivetheSunnahofQur’aanTilaawat

#ReviveSunnahofDuaa

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

 

7 thoughts on “Greener Pastures

  1. Are we heading for a storm out there.. I love love love Nani’s lovely banter.. haha makes me think about my grandma all the time..

    There was once we told me we don’t do any work except pushing buttons on and off on the machines..

    That’ was 10 years ago but I still remember her all the time

    I hope this beautiful couple is safe from harm

    Liked by 2 people

    • Maybe a small one. *hides*
      But then again, maybe they are stronger than that even… let’s see how good they are at manoeuvring around the little humps and bumps.
      I wish I had a Nani at that age to banter with too… I find old people and their obsession with marriage very cute 💖

      Liked by 1 person

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