My eldest son. Second born. The apple of my eye.
It’s your Nikah day and I’m sure you are on cloud nine right now. As I sit here on the rocker overlooking the window, I’m picturing it in my mind and I wish I could see your joy. The twinkle in your serious eyes. Maybe you’d give us a smile as you walked out the door. Maybe you’d smirk knowingly as you left home to begin your new life. Maybe just for a moment of unguarded freedom… you’d actually put your iron shield down…
It’s your moment of glory now now, and soon you’ll be embarking on a journey of your own. A journey unlike all you’ve known. A journey of life and love. A journey that will make you stronger in so many ways, yet will simmer you down in so many too.
Ahmedoo. You’ve always been my soldier. Unwavering. Unchanging. I love that most about you. Throughout my sickness I think it’s you that I’ve drawn the most strength from. You never showed me once how much it hurt.
But today, when I saw you sitting in your room, slumped over your books in grief… I wanted to tell you that I never knew that the pain was buried so deep. I never realized that even strong people could break. That even they have a empty gaps to fill. That sometimes, it’s okay to open up your heart too.
As I pen this, with much on my mind and hope in my heart… knowing that you will read this on a day that love and joy will be overflowing… it gives me a great sense of relief. I know that this is a step you would never take until you were completely sure. I know already that there is no doubt in your mind that this is the right thing to do.
I really hope that you have found the one. The one who leads you to the Eternal One. I hope you’ve found someone who breaks your armour. Who opens your heart. Who makes you dig to the darkest depths to explore the avenues of your soul that lead you to the Ultimate Love. I hope that, through this union, you’ve found Allah.
There are many distractions along the way, but do remember that if we keep our focus on what’s everlasting, we can never go wrong. Remember that Allah doesn’t look at money or cars or houses. Remember that Allah looks only at one thing, and that’s a contented heart. A heart that is with Him. A heart that is at peace. Qalbun-Saleem.
Remember that we grow through what we go though. We make mistakes. We learn our lessons, and then we find ourselves. All we need is a little patience… and lots of trust in Allah.
After everything, my son, whatever you’ve gone though… I truly hope that your heart is at rest. That you’ve found your peace.
Please remember to make Du’aa in every moment that brings you joy. In any moment you may feel pain. Please make a little Du’aa with your better half for me. Tell her that I would have been so thrilled that you’ve finally found her…
Love you from the depths of my soul…
Much, much love,
A certain tranquility had overcome me as I watched my wife hold tightly onto the letter as I drove ahead… trying to relive those moments when everything felt okay. When all the pain was miles away. I was trying to transport my mind back to then. Back to when we were all thrilled and at ease with each other as we sat and spoke… really spoke… for the first time. As I got to know this woman who had become my new wife.
Till then, everything was perfect.
”Mummy, was that Khawlah’s mother?”
I turned slightly towards Rubeena, tightening my grip on the steering as Dayyaan said it. She had her Tasbeeh counter in her hand and I could see her recording her Friday Durood as she tried hard not to say anything. I knew why.
I will still angry. So angry.
”Not her mother,” Danyaal said, and I could see him rolling his eyes in the rear view mirror. “Her stepmother. Remember her mother passed away when she was six.”
It felt like a tiny stab in my chest as he said it. That was my mother too. I was ten years old…
”Like me!” Dayyaan said, sounding a big too thrilled about it for my liking.
I knew that I was being grumpy.
I couldn’t blame the child but my mood had become dampened due to recent events.
Aunty Nas had made an appearance and I knew exactly why she had come today.
I felt a warm hand on mine as I roughly changed the gears, forgetting for a moment that I had four kids in the car with me.
”Sorry,” I mumbled, glancing at Rubeena briefly and looking ahead. I had slowed down as we entered our first destination road.
“It’s okay,” she said softly, squeezing my hand comfortingly. “I’m sure you must be upset…”
Upset was an understatement. I was furious.
I held my piece for a minute as the kids jumped off as their grandparents house, waving at us as we said we’d see them later.
Although Rubeena had insisted they would be fine with their grandparents for the night, I didn’t want to send them away, and I wanted her to understand. I wanted to set the tone from now. The children weren’t a burden. There was no reason to send them off just because I was there. I knew what it felt like when stepparents were shoving their step kids off and I never wanted these kids to feel that.
”Will they be okay?” I asked my wife, gesturing to the kids who were climbing up the stairs to the front door. “Must I go and see them in?”
She smiled as the door opened and they all waved, and I shifted into reverse once again.
”They’ll be okay,” she said. “They’re growing up now. Becoming so independent. Are you okay?”
I fixed my gaze ahead and shrugged as I reversed out, glancing in the rear view mirror to check for any cars.
“I understand if you don’t want to talk about it,” she said softly. “So much has happened today… that letter though. It just made my day. Your mother must have been amazing… beautiful too I’m sure…”
My heart contracted slightly as she said it and immediately remembered my mother.
”Khawlah looks exactly like her,” I said, thinking of how Zuleikha and I fell on Abba’s side, with the olive skin tone and identical eye colour… and somehow Khawlah had nothing of Abba at all. Yunus too had his own unique look, that resembled my mother, but was somehow different to Khawlah. It was weird how genetics worked sometimes.
I glanced at my wife, noticing her eyes filled with tears for the umpteenth time that day and I couldn’t help but grin. She was really something. Different to girls in my family. I had never experienced this before, but I found it quite amusing. I couldn’t believe that she had actually bawled when I showed her the letter. I found it strangely touching, even for a tough guy like me.
And yes, I had almost forgotten about the letter. Almost. Thinking about it again now calmed me down. How Dada, in his old age had remembered to hand it to me today was beyond me. My mother obviously had a reason that she entrusted him with them. And then of course, Aunty Nas had barged in on us to dampen everyone’s spirits.
If she wasn’t strutting around looking for attention, she was screaming her head off at something that had disgruntled her. I actually couldn’t believe that Abba had put up with her as long as he did. I couldn’t believe that we all did. I couldn’t believe that I did. I shuddered slightly as I remembered her eery voice. Somehow, in retrospect it was even scarier than it was at the time…
“Ahmed.” She had took me aside one day and looked me in the eye. Her tone was kinder than usual. I narrowed my eyes at her, skeptical of her intentions. “I can read your eyes…. You have a lot of anger….”
I looked at her as if she was crazy. She was crazy. There was no doubt about it. Evil too. Of course I was angry. But what did she know about my anger? What did she know about me?
“There’s something I learnt in class today that I know will help you,” she said convincingly. “It’s good. Really good.”
I shook my head and shrugged her off, her determined not to get involved in her crazy ambitions. I didn’t know that she had been attending those arb ‘emotional healing classes’ and I wasn’t sure where she was coming from. When I looked back, it was when I realized that this was the precise time when Aunty Nas was starting to change.
And I got why she targeted me. I was a rough kid. Troubled. I knew I gave Abba a hard time. Everyone had said that I needed therapy. I was a problem. Eventually, I gave in. I had little choice. I thought if she focused on me she’d leave my sisters alone. She wanted to teach me about her new techniques. She said I could be her assistant, and earn money. Money had always been a draw-card for me.
Yes, and I didn’t realize what I was getting into. She asked me things that no-one had ventured into. She had a way of making it seem like meager small talk, as she spoke. She delved into the past and said it will heal me. She had done various physical adjustments on my body, but right then, I knew nothing about boundaries. As a young kid who was on the brink of adolescence, what Abba didn’t realize was that Aunty Nas was a bit crazier than he had perceived.
And yes, I was all for giving people a chance and believing they could change, but to prove she hadn’t, she had barged into the house that evening, demanding to know why Khawlah had interfered in her daughters life, and promising to get her back for it. I knew why she had come here today. I knew that she wanted to stir things up… maybe even spoil my day. But was more confusing was her obsession with my new mother-in-law that no-one could figure out. The two seemed have some recent clashes, but never in a good way.
”Ahmed, are you listening?”
I blinked and looked at Rubeena, realizing that I had zoned out. I nodded guiltily. I was still lost in the past. I wanted to open up to her about everything. To tell her that I was messed up and abused and sometimes a little too intense, but after everything, it was so hard to speak about feelings.
”Really?!” She said, putting her hands on her hips as she stood outside the car. We had just reached her house and were venturing up the steps that lead to the door. “What did I say?”
”Err,” I attempted, wanting to laugh at her directness but feeling bad that I wasn’t listening. It wasn’t on purpose though. There were just so many things on my mind. Today was supposed to be one of the most important days of my life, but the unexpected visit had kind of rocked the boat. Plus my mind was troubled by Adam and his wavering health. I knew I needed to focus on my wife and being with her unreservedly, but I was mentally drained.
”Ahmed, you can’t let this spoil your day,” she said, her expression softening. “I know there are things we are both worried about but let’s just be present, okay? I’ve been trying to explain this to you but I rather just hand it over now…”
She paused and watched me as I looked at her curiously, and then calmly handed me the keys to the house. I looked at them and then looked back at her a little hesitantly, not sure what she wanted me to do.
“I want you to be the one to open it,” she said simply. “It’s your house too. I don’t want you to feel awkward or out of place. You’re my husband. The man of the house. From today… well… this is our home.”
I took a step backwards as I fiddled with the keys, knowing that this was something we never spoke about. It was strange. My wife giving me a house. I didn’t even have the means to buy her a house. I felt like an invalid. I knew we would be living here but I didn’t realize how it would feel. I didn’t think that far ahead, but now I know that maybe I should have…
”Can we talk about this?” I asked, rubbing my temples and handing her back her keys. I couldn’t do it. I had to talk this out first.
Money. I knew there’d come a time when we’d have to delve into this. I wasn’t rich like her previous husband. I didn’t have the means to give her whatever she desired. After Aunty Nas’s barging in today, the emotions were stronger than ever. The insecurities were overwhelming.
After all… that’s what all the fights were about. That’s how it spiraled out of control. Money. In her skewed mindset, she said she was doing it for money. The first time Abba had found out about Aunty Nas’s business, there was a big fight. He had took most of it out on me because Aunty Nas wasn’t the type you could reason with. It was the catalyst to something that was long coming, so I left them alone. After her coaxing and convincing… I had been somewhat damaged. Something had been altered inside of me but I wanted to forget it.
To tell the truth, I was getting older and Abba was getting scared of me. I was becoming wild. That’s when our relationship died. He couldn’t talk to me. No one could. With Abba no longer able to get through to me, they started fighting about it. About us kids. About the house. About money. About her ‘business’. Aunty Nas left me alone. I would escape to catch up with the neighborhood guys. I got caught up. Everything was about money. It could kill the pain. At home. In the street. Guns, mafia and armour. Drug trades and small deals. I turned to vices to kill the demons. Money was always the draw card. I let it control my life because I thought that I had no other escape…
Then I met Ziyaad at the airport that day and my entire life changed.
”Ahmed,” Rubeena said softly, as she looked at me expectantly. She was waiting for me to continue. I gazed at her, not really believing that this amazing woman had somehow become mine. I had been dreaming of this and now it was happening. She was right here.
I met her gaze steadily as she came towards me, catching me slightly off guard as she came closer, feeling myself automatically stiffen at her proximity. That was just me. Like a reflex, I closed up when I felt emotion. I felt my heart beat escalate in terrified anticipation, but all she did at that point was lean in to embrace me comfortingly, allowing the pain of the day to completely dissipate as found my arms around her and numbly held her back. Her slim body fitted perfectly. I was still scared to feel anything. I was still afraid to let go. Despite the letter and what my mother had said… loving someone unreservedly might be harder than I thought..
But I had to remember, I thought to myself, as I tightened my arms around her. We grow through what we go through. We learn from our mistakes. We let go of the past. Now it was different. Now I knew better. Now I understood that I couldn’t let my past control the future.
I pulled back to look at the beautiful and kind-hearted woman who stood before me, waiting for me to open up to her. This was my wife. With her there were no more barriers.
”Ruby,” I started, because I knew we had little time before the function and I needed at least some of what was on my mind…
She looked at me, her brow slightly furrowed.
I had things that I wanted to assure her of. Insecurities that I needed to address.
”Im happy where we are,” I said quietly. “But I don’t think that this situation is ideal. We can’t be living here indefinitely. It’s not my home. I don’t want us to have fights about money or the kids or what you do. I don’t want you to have to earn for yourself. Your family is my family. I want us to make our own memories. I want to live a different kind of life. Maybe even go abroad. Even though I can’t afford it right now, I have a plan to move to our own home and to support you and our family fully. I want those boys to grow up as mine and I want you to know that you can trust me, whenever you need to… and I’ll never let you-“
”Ahmed,” Rubeena said, cutting me off. “You don’t need to say all this. I know you’ll be a great husband and father but all this money stuff, it’s not about that…”
”You’re wrong Rubeena,” I said heatedly. We were still standing outside, and the keys had landed up somewhere on the bench. “You may say it’s not about that but I worry. I worry that I won’t be able to provide for you. I worry that I might let you down. I worry that we’ll fight over money and become enemies. I know you haven’t had to worry about money your whole life… but I’m not a millionaire or a business whizz. I’m a simple guy who’s trying to earn his living… and to put it simply… what if I’m just not enough?”
”I don’t care about money!” She said, stepping back. Her brown eyes appeared darker as she glared at me. “Don’t you get it, Ahmed?! That’s exactly what your mother was saying. It’s about the heart. My heart is so happy… contented… She knew you so well… and I can’t believe she hit it on the head!”
“You said no once Rubeena,” I said quietly, shaking my head at her. It still hurt. “My mother was right but I felt like I lost the game with you. If I don’t step up… what if I lose you again… I don’t know -“
“That’s not what I married you for, silly,” she retorted angrily. “It’s never been about security! I was worried about other things. About my kids. About your age. About what everyone will say. Stupid things that don’t make sense but I worried about it because that’s how crazy I am. I’m sorry that you married a bit of a lunatic but you’ve met my mother and unfortunately it’s hereditary so there’s not much I can do about it!”
I looked at my wife through new lenses, fighting the urge to smile as she got up and paced in front of me, pausing suddenly and looking me in the eye. Her abaya was flowing behind her as she walked speedily, looking like a woman with a mission…
“It’s easy to talk,” she said, her tone lowering as she spoke. Her breathing was slightly heavy because she was worked up. “It’s easy to be all noble and say we do this for this reason and that for that reason. But we have a greater purpose here. Why we did this. We could have easily carried on with the Haraam. It would have been so much easier but we both knew it was wrong so we stopped. We could have been talking and developing deeper feelings for each other… getting into something that neither of us would have benefited from… but we made a choice for a deeper reason. Yes. We love Him, but we have to ponder and wonder and remind ourselves of what’s in our hearts. How are we going to maintain this relationship with Allah? Are our hearts filled with the reality of Allah? Is it completely trusting in Him? Yes, I’m scared. I have fears too. I worry too. I’m scared that I’ll mess up. I’m scared about my brother. I’m scared about my kids growing up and changing. But I don’t care where we live. I don’t care what we have. We can sell the house. We can live in a one-bedroom apartment. We can do whatever you’re happy with because I don’t care about any of it now. If there’s one thing I realized now after everything… after the hell with Shabeer and now Adam’s sickness… We hold onto this life and money and cars so tightly even when there’s really no point to it….”
I was a little speechless as I digested her rant. Of course, because it was Rubeena, she obviously wasn’t done yet.
“Yes, we have to plan,” she continued, her voice a little softer. “But we have to plan for what’s eternal. We have to build our hopes and dreams but not for now. We have to focus on what’s coming after. Now can we just go inside and start our life together because I really can’t wait to see what this chapter has in store for us… ”
I stared at my new wife, a little taken aback by her impeccable faith. I’d never met anyone like her before.
I’d never heard anyone talk so trustingly, with conviction… and really mean it. I wanted to leave everything behind me right then and start again. I wanted to live a life of amazing Tawakkul that she had, because she had somehow mastered it. I wanted to give her more than she had given me. She had opened her heart and her home to me, but for her, it was clear than it was no great sacrifice. It wasn’t about the tangible things. It wasn’t about the temporary perks. She only cared about what was to come. How we would grow. How we would learn to love each other. How we would worship Allah through every moment that we would hopefully earn our Jannah.
She was all pretty and flushed and wide-eyed as she went on, and I couldn’t help but grab the keys and open the door speedily, knowing that there was no other way she would stop talking.
I had dreamt of traveling the world with her, of seeing Deen through a different eye. I wanted to spread love together. Like the Sahaba had left their comfort, I had hopes of continuing my passions. Of going out for greater causes. Of embarking on trips that would be filled with adventure and hope and guidance for others. Of offering her a different life to what she had known. I had so many ambitions that I wished I could make her a part of but I knew it would all happen in due time.
Maybe the kids would get a bit bigger first. Maybe our family would grow a little more. Maybe eventually, we’d settle down and then think about it properly, before we made any hasty decision. Maybe we didn’t need to have it all penned out… maybe it was better to just take it as it comes.
Yes, we had worries and trials. We had many things that were in the pipeline that could throw us off track, but that’s the thing with patience.
There was no rush. Maybe it won’t be happily ever after. Maybe it will just be happily right now, but that was enough. Until tomorrow… even if it was just for now…. everything was going to be okay.
Just on the topic… (I’m sorry if I offend anyone who does this so please don’t hound me 🙈…)
With regard to emotional therapy, there was a recent talk by Ml Ridwana Kajee on how certain therapies like body talk and ‘journey’ have links with books that are completely against Islamic teaching. Many parents take their kids for these kind of healing if they experience any difficulty in school or otherwise.
The fact that it can allow one to see into another’s life and past is clear that their is association with Jinn and Shaytaan. Let us just be wary of ever consulting with any emotional therapies if this sort. Allah Ta’ala promises us the best of cures in the Hadith and Quran. Just focusing on these can cure depression and many other emotional ailments InshaAllah
Allah save us,
Sunnah Duaa for Month of Rajab
Allahuma baarik lana fi Rajaba wa Sha’bana wa balligh-na Ramadan
Oh Allah! Grant us Barakah (Blessing) during (the months of) Rajab and Sha’ban, and allow us to reach Ramadan.
Dua on the first night of Rajab is readily accepted by Allah.
Imam Shafi’i RA has stated: “I have heard that duaas are accepted
￼by Almighty Allah on five nights:
The night of Jumu’ah
The nights of the two ‘Eids
The first night of Rajab
The middle (15th) night of Sha’ban
Allah accept our efforts and Duaas.
A forgotten Sunnah. Eaten fallen particles… Sometimes we forget the Barakah that can be in even a grain of food. To eat what has fallen on the cloth or even the floor… SubhaanAllah.
Anas ibn Maalik narrated that when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) ate, he would lick his three fingers. Anas said: “And he said, ‘If any one of you drops a piece of food, let him remove any dirt from it and eat it, and not leave it for the Shaytaan.’ And he commanded us to clean the plate, and said, ‘For you do not know where in your food the blessing is.’” (Narrated by Muslim, 2034).