Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Nobody is perfect. We’re all trying to attain this thing… this thing called ‘perfection’. We live in a society that teaches us that our worth is based on how we look. On how attractive we can be. We strive for perfection. This unattainable state that we strive for … it has to be known that… its not natural.
I mean, why do you think lipo-suction was invented? Botox? Plastic surgery? This facade that runs in this world, like a 24-hour screenplay, is just that… Its not real. The pursuit of perfection limits our ability to be present and literally robs us of the vitality of life. It is unachievable, unimaginable, and frankly undesirable, so why pursue it? This idea that we are supposed to be perfect, is a huge lie. Because this world was not meant to be perfect. Everyone has flaws. Scars. Things that take away from that thing we call perfection.. and make it.. real.
And I think I need to emphasize it. Even when it comes to our character. Our deeds. Our misdeeds. What we achieve, and what we don’t achieve.
Yes, we strive for our best but being perfect does not mean that we are religious. Being on the perfect faith, despite its beauty, does not mean that we have to be perfect.
And this is the trap of Shaytaan. He tries convincing us that if we’re not worshipping Allah in a perfect way, then we might as well not bother trying at all. So if someone isn’t praying all thier prayers or isn’t praying at all, when they finally do stand up to offer a prayer, he will make them think, “Who am I kidding? Why should I even bother? Why would God accept my prayer now?”
Or if a woman is thinking of wearing the hijab but doesn’t cover up perfectly… or sins in certain ways, he will make her feel, “What’s the point in wearing it now?”
And it has to be said. We are not perfect. We make mistakes. A lot of them. Sometimes, we make the same ones, over and over. But this is, precisely, the characteristic that what makes become so beloved to our Creator. Allah does not say that His most beloved are those who don’t make any mistakes. The ones with that honor, are those who make the mistakes, and then turn to Allah in repentance.
Anas ibn Malik reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “All of the children of Adam are sinners, and the best sinners are those who repent.”
Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2499
And yeah, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes right? I mean, I’ve done some stupid things. I’ve made irresponsible choices. I let my heart rule my decisions. I’ve messed up some of my life because of it. But everyone makes mistakes. I just had a helluva lot to learn.
“Where are they?”
My mother stood in front of me with her hands on her hips and a look of annoyance on her flawless face. I put my phone down for a minute as I looked at her, knowing Shabeer’s new message could wait. The only thing was with my mother, mistakes were unacceptable.
“Mum, they’ll be here just now,” I said, in the calmest and most composed voice that I could.
Gosh, sometimes my mother was a living test of patience.
“How inconsiderate,” she said now, opening the pot to check on the curry that was simmering.
The smell of prawns was making me feel a bit queasy, but I breathed out and rolled my eyes, hoping my mother wouldn’t see me.
“Mum, they’re newly married,” I said slowly, hoping she would get it this time. “They need to spend time together too. Adam did say not to wait for him.”
I knew that Adam had left early the morning after the function for business, and having only returned earlier today, I could imagine he wanted to spend some time with his new wife. Obviously, I didn’t ask him any of the details but I knew that they had spent their first night apart and their little time that had together was interrupted by Hannah’s gatecrashing.. which I felt immensely guilty about.
I sighed as I noted my mothers pout.
”Mum,” I said, my patience dwindling. “Just dish out.”
”No,” she said stubbornly, pursing her lips in that irate way that she usually did. “We will eat together.”
I gave up. Like really. What else did she expect of me?
Instead of opening my mouth and causing a scene, I took a walk to the calendar on the fridge, with Zaydaan planted on my hip, because that was precisely his sole aim for the past few weeks, because even two meters distance from me was too much for him.
I didn’t understand it. Boys. The entire male species were so needy.
I ignored mother’a muttering from behind me, turning a deaf ear and counting the days on the calendar.
One… two…. three…
I paused, breathing in.
No. It couldn’t be right.
I sucked in my breath as I counted again. And again. And a fourth time too.
And oh my goodness, I was absolutely appalled .
Twelve days. I was a whole 12 days late and I didn’t even know. What on earth was going on…?
I sucked in my breath as I tried to drown out my mothers voice,that was still going on about children and how overrated they are. She was kind of adding fuel to the fire.
I was panicking. Really panicking. I felt like something toxic was was rising up my chest, and there was nothing I could do about it.
Again, I had forgotten my reminders to myself. Yes, I had slipped a bit. Yes, I had been a bit negligent. Obviously, letting Shabeer back into my home and life was probably not such a great idea after all.
Tawakkul, right? Or Was I just abusing the entire concept?
I sighed. And of course, I felt terrible.
I mean, there were people in the world who were struggling to fall pregnant, and here I was, on the brink of tears because I was almost certain that there was another baby on the way. How on earth was I going to manage? How could I be so stupid?
“Aaah,” my mother’s voice suddenly said as she glanced at the camera, and it was like I was hearing a completely different woman now. I actually had to turn and look, to see if it was really her speaking. “They’re here!”
I took a deep breath and exhaled, hoping that some of the anxiety would escape in the process. I honestly did not know how I was going to go through this. I felt like I was going to burst into tears at any second.
I pulled myslef together as I heard the pitter patter of bare feet running from the porch, simply because my boys knew the sound of Adam’s sports car from roads away.
I heard Adam’s voice almost immediately as the door was yanked open by my older two. I forgot my own drama for a moment and made my way to the entrance hall as their voices rose. Of course, they were ecstatic.
“How are my two giant monkeys?”
The boys giggled as Adam placed the box he was carrying down with a huge grin, and they immediately attacked it, like wild animals. Oh my goodness, boys were so uncultured.
“Hey!” I couldn’t help but scream, as Khawlah came into view and greeted them affectionately, from somewhere behind Adam.
I smiled as I saw her, simply amazed at how beautiful she looked today.
Obviously, meeting my mother was not an event to be taken lightly, and I could see that she had made an extra effort. She wore slightly more attractive colours than usual, and the silk scarf draped around her head was gorgeous. With Khawlah though, as I could see was the case with the rest of her family, no matter what they wore, they always looked stunning. I wished I had met Khawlah’s mother though… All of her siblings had amazing genes… anf amazing qualities too. And yes, being superficial was a streak I got from my mother. Of course, it was a major downfall, but for my mother, I knew the whole striving to impress would be necessary.
The boys were excitedly obsessing over the toys that Adam and Khawlah had brought for them, and I went forward to greet them too, hoping to ease some of her nerves. Although it wasn’t the first time she was meeting my parents, I could immediately tell that Khawlah was anxious. Of course, I also still felt bad about letting Shabeer to her home and causing havoc… and I knew I needed to apologise to her in person as well.
“How are you?” I asked her, holding her hand tightly as I greeted. I could hear my father coming up behind us too, ad I moved aside as he nodded greeted the two of them affectionately and smiled at the kids.
Of course, my mother was no-where to be seen. All that ranting and raving and now… no sign at all. Typical.
“Howzit Rubes?” Adam said to me, and as he came forward, I almost wanted to cry on his shoulder. Adam just had that intimate way of asking a regular question, that made me want to pour my heart out.
Not now, I reminded myself, trying to keep it together. Don’t spoil today for them.
I had a feeling my mother was already onto the spoiling mission.
If only I had just listened. After all, besides his texts, I hadn’t heard seen in two days. He had made an appearance in the week, convincing me that things with Hannah will be sorted and settled once and for all… and then he disappeared again. I had a feeling she was milking him for cash. Money was always really important to her, and I was actually becoming really annoyed that she was not just backing off and leaving him alone. He had made it clear that it was over…
Stupid, I berated myself. Stupid, stupid girl.
I sighed. I didn’t understand why he was acting like such a doormat. I wasn’t even sure if he was telling me the truth when he said that Hannah’s baby wasn’t his. He had said it was a mistake. I actually didn’t even know what the truth was any more. I wasn’t even sure if I had cared… until about ten minutes ago. My heart thudded uncontrollably as I thought of it. I. Could. Not. Deal.
Adam’s voice cut through my panicky thoughts as they both looked at me expectantly.
I let out an exasperated sigh.
Now, since you do know a little about my mother already, let me tell you the rest. While my father was easy-going and mostly a pleasure being around, my mother… well, lets just say… wasn’t. She made things difficult. Incredibly difficult. If she didn’t like someone, she didn’t hide it. If she wasn’t happy with something, she’d make sure you know it. My mother, was, in short… an incredibly outspoken, short-fused and expressive person. In short, her staying away from them was already a signal that she wasn’t very happy.
“Err…” I said, scrunching my face slightly as I tried to explain.
“She’s upset, yeah?”
Adam was spot on. She was upset. About what exactly, I honestly didn’t know.
“Let me go and talk to her,” he said, turning to Khawlah and squeezing her shoulder assuringly, before he walked off. I could see that he had a small gift bag in his hand, and I was so glad that he did. A little bribery never hurt anyone.
Khawlah looked at me with a worried look on her face, and I smiled apologetically, asking her how her week was, hoping to kill the tension that was increasing as my mother failed to make an appearance. And then of course, at long last, I heard a shockingly perky voice from the dining hall, calling us to eat.
I seated the kids quickly on the kitchen table, grateful to have Khawlah’s help as they obliged with no fuss at all, loving that she was here. She read their Duaa’ for them, and as I watched her, honestly, I wasn’t sure how she had so much of patience with them. She had an amazing nature. Her ability to just cajole and console them was completely out of this world. Instead of screaming and going crazy on them, like I would never hesitate to do, she instantly turned the entire thing into a game that not only intrigued them, but also got them to eat their entire contents of their plate in no time at all. Maybe it was just easier when the kids weren’t your own.
We took a seat in the next room as my mother and Adam insisted we do so, because well, he needed to make up for being ‘late’. He also said that it was a an etiquette that he learnt from his Molvi for the people to be seated first, before the food was on the table. Despite my father saying he would help my mother, Adam insisted that he would be the one to bring the dishes to the table. That was my brother. Where I couldn’t care less if my mother was upset about stupid things, Adam had always gone out of his way to ensure that everyone was content. He had an amazing quality that obviously made him a favourite in everyone’s books. I had a lot to learn… a lot that I could rectify.
And of course, the chatter continued as Adam spoke about his trip to a company in Mozambique that he was doing work for, and though I could see that Khawlah and my mother didn’t speak much, it didn’t strike a chord with me. To be honest, even I barely spoke to my mother… so, to put it lightly, it didn’t faze me at all.
Maybe I should have took her prior annoyance as a sign of possible break-down. I don’t know. My mother was usually so “together”. Besides, I was, understandably, a little bit too caught up in my own thoughts to actually pay attention to anything, leave alone the socialising, and leaving my mother’s helper to see to the kids for a bit, I concentrated on trying to put as many nutrients down my throat as possible. I silently willed for it to stay down. I’ve always heard that eating prawns in early pregnancy was not a wise idea… I just didn’t realise exactly why. The fishy smell was unsettling my already queasy tummy.
“So where’s next?” My father asked, always interested in Adam’s visits to especially the more rural countries. It was such an eye-opener when I heard of how basic things were. We were so accustomed to luxury, that we forgot how lucky we were. I wasn’t sure if my mother even listened, because for her, no luxury she had was enough.
Although Adam often went for business only, I know that he recently also hooked up with some people that his Molvi knew, that did work in those countries, and went out for distribution of packages as well. I admired the fact that he took out time to do it himself. To help people in need. I knew many people who sent money for charitable aid, but to do it yourself was so much more effective. I could only imagine how it changed your heart… made you see things in a completely different light.
“I hope you taking Khawlah with next,” I piped up, and almost wished that I had just sat in my little corner of nausea and just shut my big mouth, because my mother gave me such a death stare that I swallowed my next words.
I inhaled deeply, fighting the urge to explode on her.
“Well, actually,” Adam said, thankfully not noticing my mothers glare and glancing at me as he spoke. “I have some big news.”
“News?” my mother said, looking from Adam to my father, with a distinct look of unhappiness on her face.
I too, was curious.
“Well, I just got the text when I came back,” he said, his facing kind of glowing. “I’ve told Khawlah that it’s something I’ve really wanted to do and I’d really -”
“You told her?” My mother said, cutting him off and glancing at Khawlah with such venom that I literally wanted to crawl under the table.
“Yeah, mum,” Adam said steadily as he continued. “She’s my wife.”
I was glad that Adam had made it clear but my mother was hearing none of it. There was pin-drop silence before my mother spoke again. Even my father didn’t dare say a word.
“You told her before you told me?”
Okay, this was getting embarrassing. Maybe even a little worse than when Hannah had turned up at the wedding house.
My father had kind of zoned out, in shock. I closed my eyes, wondering if this was actually real. I didn’t even want to look at Khawlah. I almost had to pinch myslef, to check if I was dreaming. Well, rather, nightmare-ing.
Adam spoke to my mother steadily.
“Yes, I did,” he said, obviously wondering what the big deal was. “And now, I’d love to tell you, Mum.”
I opened one eye. Now you have to understand, for my mother to appear even in a slight state of discomposure, was a really huge deal. You had to be perfect. On your best behaviour. Right now, my mother’s face looked like she had bitten into a sour lemon.
“Well,” she said in an acid voice, not even giving him a chance to continue. “It’s obvious whose most important now. You can tell your father. I don’t want to know!”
And with that she pushed her chair back with a noisy screech, tossed her hair back as she got up, and simply walked out.
Uh-oh. I cringed, knowing that we’d all have a lot of clearing up to do… and it wasn’t just about the table.
To start off on the wrong footing with my mother was like a death sentence.
Adam had made the hugest mistake ever.
Despite the reality of what happens sometimes when a couple is married.. and the issues that can arise with controlling and difficult mothers, I know everyone is probably wondering whats Adam’s big news.. Any ideas?!
Please note that posts may be a bit slower as we approach the days of Dhul Hijjah. Allah has created some months and days and nights better than others, when rewards are multiplied many times, as a mercy towards His slaves. This encourages them to do more righteous deeds and makes them more eager to worship Him. We make special Du’aa for our Haajis and try to spend these days effectively.
Allah Swears an oath by 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah, and swearing an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefit. Allah says (what means): “By the dawn and by the 10 nights (i.e. the first 10 days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah)…” [Qur’an 89: 1-2]
Ibn ‘Abbaas, Ibn Az-Zubayr, Mujaahid and others of the earlier and later generations, may Allah have mercy upon them, said that this refers to the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah. Ibn Katheer, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “This is the correct opinion.” [Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 8/413]
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, encouraged people to do righteous deeds because of the virtue of this season for people throughout the world, and also because of the virtue of the place – for the pilgrims to the Sacred House of Allah.
May Allah make it easy for us to benefit! Do remember me in your Du’aas!
“He used to sleep early at night, and get up in its last part to pray, and then return to his bed.”
When we have a million things to do, it is easy to fall into a horrible cycle of sleeping late and waking up late.
Break that cycle today! Wake up early and sleep early to be the strong, successful and all that you want to be, In sha Allah.
Let’s revive this Sunnah InshaAllah!
How easy to practise!