Focussing on the Shift

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


You know how every girl has that idea of a perfect love…

The consuming, hopeless and far-fetched kind…. The one that’s meant to completely blow her away?

And most of the time, it happens, but it’s never how it was all envisioned.

I mean, because we are engineered to expect it, she has this superb expectation of him seeing her from across the room… And their eyes lock, as if there is not a single other being in proximity. He’s meant to slowly walk up to her, and literally knock her off her feet in just about… Say, three words.

And so, with not meeting expectation, the appeal is radically down-sized, in most cases, because the initial meeting is always never that awesome.

But that’s the thing with emotion. It still feels that way. At that time, in my ignorance, it was the most empowering and uplifting thing. Mo was unbelievably sharp, popular, smooth… And the most amazing thing was… He wanted me.

And, just for the record, I never felt anything for him, until we were bound by the sacred union that I knew I could never get peace without. My conscience would have eaten me alive, had I not done what I needed to, just to make it all okay in the eyes of Allah. Even though I had gone off-track in my adolescence, I would have never been able to lose myself the way that ‘love’ promised, had I not done it this way.

There was really no mysterious story behind how it all happened. I mean, it wasn’t expected at all, but somehow, it all just happened, with no major set-backs.

Muhammed was a friend of Aayisha’s brother.

Aayisha. The sister who was from another wife of my father, with whom things never worked out. Aayisha was less than a year younger than me, and not surprisingly, no-one had told me about her… If anyone had known.

Seeing her for the first time was a shock to my senses… She was almost exactly like me in appearance.

Her personality, however, was less dominating. She was softer, more obliging… A dreamer, in some ways. Finding me was one of her greatest achievements, she had said, but obviously, she had needed help to do so.

And that’s where Muhammed had come in. He was the one who had helped them to find me… He had given her tips on how to locate me.

And maybe I had been too trusting.. Or maybe I was just naìve, in my youth, but Muhammed, being who he was, even at that age, was always a step ahead. The thing was, to be smart, you didn’t have to have the best of qualifications or degrees. It came from experience, which Muhammed had plenty of… In all fields.

And that’s exactly how I had fell into what was setting me up for… How I eventually fell in love with his world.

I wanted to be ‘free’… To live with no limitations. I craved comfort and security, more than anything, and he knew that. He offered it all to me, on a golden platter, just by being who he was. I didn’t realise that being free meant being lifted from the shackles of luxury, and having the ability to trust only in Allah’s plan.

And though I may have been somewhat mislead, there was one thing I had promised myself never to do. I had never, till that stage, got involved in anything, most of the time, due to the fact that I was never given opportunity. But, of course, when opportunity was there, it was a whole different appeal.

I wanted to explore that side of life. I could have easily given in, and been another girl that he never took seriously, but I wouldn’t let myself go there.

And I supposed that’s how I ended up being ‘the wife’. Just like that.

Mo had promised me the world and more, at the moment when I needed it the most. I was lost and confused, having left home, and having just learnt that my new-found sister had passed away in a car accident that was supposed to be my ride back home. It was devastation, hopelessness and desperation, all uniting to steer me in that one direction.

And, at first, I never regretted it.

He had loved, comforted and nurtured me to the best of his ability. He cared for and consoled me, when I felt alone and down. He never missed and opportunity to make me feel as special as I had never felt all those years growing up in a house that I thought I was a default. And the cherry on the top was that he defended me relentlessly, if anything ever came up about my past, he would use whatever means he could to brush it under the rug, and give me a fresh start.

With him by my side, I felt no fear, because whatever it was, Mo would sort it out and make it all go away. And the thing was, I had become so used to it, lost in his world, that I just expected him to keep on doing it.

So when Umar had cropped up at my home, exposing skeletons in the closet that I thought were long gone, my senses went into arrest.

I blamed Muhammed because pride and ignorance had taken over. I couldn’t blame anyone else, even though in my heart of hearts, I had only myself to look into.

The truth was staring back at me: I knew that this was a way of getting me back on track again. I had just started realising how off-track my life had been, and Allah knew that I needed a reason to change.

To change my life, to alter my perspective. To shift the focus, once again, and go back to my roots. To go back to where I had come from, despite everything that surrounded me now.

And so, back in the present, I shifted my gaze, as my husband entered his own home,  hesitant to come toward me.

Muhammed stood there now, a week after I had left him, watching me almost as if he was afraid of me.

Tears welled up immediately, as I felt remorse. After everything. There was nothing that this man didn’t do for me. He was an amazing guy… SubhaanAllah.

Allah had made him such that he was the one to bring me through the worst of my past… He had provided for me unconditionally, and I had thrown it back in his face.

I was sorry. I knew it, but he didn’t. All he knew was that he was just glad that I was back.

“I’m sorry,” he said, before I could bring myself to say it.

He closed the door after his brothers and walked up to me, almost as if he was afraid I was going to leave again. Afraid that I would dessert him if I was given half an opportunity.

“I never meant to take you away from your family,” he continued, making me feel even worse about my outburst the previous week.

I was riddled with guilt but I had to let him know what I had decided.

I had to invite him to the world that I had been completely and selfishly concealing him from, because of my silly insecurities. At the time we had married, I didn’t want him to know where I had come from, thinking that he wouldn’t want me… Based on the fact that our life was so much absorbed in pursuit of the world.

But, the truth was, when you truly love someone, you have to love for them what you love for you. You have to be able to offer them whatever is best for them, despite what it may do to you. No matter where it leads you, you let them free, because, in the event that they find what they need, ultimately, it will free you.

And so I put it forward to him. Despite loving the life that I had, I knew that staying right where we were was not benefiting either of us. I looked up at Muhammed, noticing his D&G Sunglasses perched on his head.

I finally understood that feeling… The one that had been eating me up, since that day I had feared the worst… Like I had predicted what was going to come.

The feeling that, in my heart of hearts, something had to let. Something had to change here.

It was like how I had learnt.. When we had done our daily Taaleem, Ummi Jaan would stress on disregard for worldly things… And I remembered how we had read of the Sahabah’s fear for themselves, even though they had endured such hardship. Their focus was so pure, that even when they were given so much of wealth after their suffering, they would still use their wealth in Allah’s path. They would use every opportunity to spend, only for Allah’s sake.

And the likes of Abdul Rahmaan Ibn Auf (RA) always held my thoughts. When they made Hijrah to Madinah, Abdul-Rahman (RA) was paired up with Sa’ad Ibn Ar-Rabi’ah (RA) who was one of the wealthiest men of Madinah. On that occasion, it was Sa’ad (RA), out of generosity and kindness to his new brother, who offered wealth and even his wife to Abdul Rahmaan bi Auf (RA).

But instead, Abdul Rahmaan bin Auf (RA) then said the famous words.

May Allah bless you in your family and wealth. But show me where the market-place is.”

It was “The market of Qainuqa” he was asking about. It was here where he started off, making a fortune in just days.

And Aaisha (RA) narrated that years later, when he caused the city of Madinah to tremble with his flock of 700 camels, she began to recall Nabi’s (SAW) words.

Aishah shook her head and gazed in the distance as if she was trying to recall some scene or utterance of the past, and then she said:

“I have heard the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, say: I have seen Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf entering Paradise creeping.”

Why creeping? Why should he not enter Paradise leaping and at a quick pace with the early companions of the Prophet (SAW)?

When the news of the Hadith Aishah (RA) had mentioned reached Abdur-Rahman (RA), he remembered that he had heard the hadith himself from the Prophet (PBUH) and he ran to the house of Aishah and said to her:

“Yaa Ammah! Have you heard that from the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace?”

“Yes,” she replied.

She said to him, “Do you remember what the Prophet (SAW) told you?”

The Prophet (SAW) was once giving the good news of Paradise – he was congratulating the Jannati Sahabi, telling them, “You’re gonna go to Paradise. And YOU are going to Paradise.”
When the Prophet (SAW) reached Abdul Rahman bin Awf (RA), he said, “Abdul, you are going to Paradise, but you’re going to get left behind.”

Abdul Rahman bin Awf (RA) asks, “Why, O Rasullullah (SAW)?”

Prophet (SAW) replied: “Because all the accounting of your wealth is going to lag you behind.”

Hearing this, Abdul Rahman bin Awf (RA) became very teary-eyed. He was hit by her question.

“You have reminded me of a hadith which I have never forgotten,” he is also reported to have said.

He was so over-joyed and added: “If I could I would certainly like to enter Paradise standing. I swear to you, yaa Ammah, that this entire caravan with all its merchandise, I will give in Sabilillah.”

Immediately, he tells the people working for him to take all of his goods and give them to the Bayt al-Mal as Sadaqah.

And so he did. In a great festival of charity and righteousness, he distributed all that massive caravan he had brought in the name of Allah.

It was just one incident of many that proved him to be on of the greatet Sahabah. This is what you call a perfect example of charity. It’s what we were supposed to compete for, in attaining Allah’s pleasure.

This world we live in, is full of materialistic wants and the desire to look wealthy. Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’s (RA) qualities are too many to list, or even know them all, but here is another one to ponder over.

He had thousands of people who worked for him, when he was among his workers, people could not distinguish him from them. One day food was brought to him with which to end a fast.

He looked at the food and said:

“Mus’ab ibn Umayr (RA) has been killed. He was better than me. We did not find anything of his to shroud him with except what covered his head but left his legs uncovered. Then God endowed us with the (bounties of) the world…I really fear that our reward has been bestowed on us early (in this world).”

SubhaanAllah. And they still worried about thier hereafter, after the hardship they had endured. They feared they were getting compensated here instead of the Aakhirah.

We compete for everything of this world but forget what we supposed to be competing for. We sometimes don’t even care if we ever will win that competition, when it so clearly unveiled. Were our hearts completely sealed?

But now, I had made a choice. I didn’t want it to be that way.

“Muhammed,” I said finally, moving out of the proximity of the lounge, away from Waseem and Ziyaad. I needed him to answer this one on his own. With no ulterior motive. “I wanted to ask… If you would give this a chance. I want to change, but I can’t do it without your support…”

It was a long road for me… I was at a place where I could never imagine I would ever be at. I had gone against the odds, against the norm. I had told myself that ‘people like me’ don’t ever do this. People like me, coming from the place that I’ve come from, after giving it up, don’t get a second chance.

But here it was… And I needed to know where I stood. That second chance was staring at me, waiting for me to grab it.

My eyes had finally opened to the reality. It was the chance to change my life.