Saaliha Part 65
”How’s my baby doing?” Imraan whispered in my ear as he snuck up behind me, hands lightly resting on my tummy and I could already hear the excitement in his voice as he spoke.
It hadn’t changed. From the moment I told him, it hadn’t changed. He was still obsessed with the baby in my tummy and fixated on every little detail, even if there really wasn’t much to say.
Symptoms were minimal. Even morning sickness wasn’t that bad. I could still eat breakfast without puking at least, and that was a bit different from the pregnancy with Uthman.
Actually, way different. I even felt different this time around, and I knew that it could also be because I was that much older too. A whole 8 years does a lot to your body.
My body felt so very different to what I had felt when I was younger.
”Have you told your sisters yet?”
I knew why he was asking and I tut-tutted as I shook my head at him, giving him a warning in just a glance.
He was itching to tell his sister and I could see that the restraint of keeping the secret was killing him. Imraan never was one to keep things to himself. He was more the type to open his mouth when it was least appropriate and I just hoped that he could hold himself back for a week or two more, so I felt safer in the knowledge that the first trimester would be fully over.
“I’ll tell them in two weeks when I meet them at Fareeha’s,” I said conclusively, turning around and meeting his gaze. “It will just be a better time. I don’t want to let them know too early, and it will just make my mother way too excited…”
While my mother would be over the moon, Mehnaaz was always on her own buzz. She was very busy with her new admin job at the local pharmacy. It was probably my fault too that I saw her when I saw her and that wasn’t very often.
As for Fareeha, she had already invited me for her official very fancy ‘housewarming’ lunch that she was having. I wasn’t sure how Maulana Aadil felt about that but I did know that he pretty much let her do whatever she wanted to (hence the second wife planning that seemed to be on pause for now).
Even though… The thing was… I was extremely elated that she had been too preoccupied to think of it.
Come to think if it… After coming from Hajj she had been so busy with moving house and seeing to her kids that I barely even heard from her. And I completely understood her silence because after having them with me for over a week, I knew for sure that they were all consuming.
She was also very busy with her preparations because she was inviting our entire family, plus my cousins that I hadn’t seen in years, and I was actually quite looking forward to it.
During the past few years I had purposely stayed away from family gatherings because the questions from family members would always derail my emotions. People weren’t always sensitive. The questions about when the next baby was coming, and whether I felt motherhood was too hard, so I didn’t have a second one, always caught me off-guard. Maybe I was too sensitive. But it just made me feel inadequate.
Also, the fact that my cousin Shazia was a fertility specialist that every family member always referred me to made me feel insanely uncomfortable. I knew that she meant well too but I just didn’t have it in me to ask her for any advice.
Although I bore no grudges against her or Bilal, the situation was just strange for me. Now that I was expecting again, my mind was so much more at ease to see them and talk normally.
”Has it started moving?” Imraan asked, and I could hear the humour in his voice as he watched my tummy, almost as if he was as expecting it to start twitching under his watch.
He was being way too ambitious and he knew it.
”Imraan,” I whispered back. I didn’t even know why I was whispering. I just didn’t want anyone to know yet, “It’s too early. Can you let it grow a little at least?”
He grinned and stepped back as a sound behind us alerted us that we weren’t alone, and I sprang backward.
“Euwww,” Rabia squealed as she walked into the kitchen, her face flushed from her run and all scrunched up as if she had been eating something sour. “Can you guys stop?! Just. Euww.”
Imraan grinned and brushing my cheek lightly with his lips as he turned to face her.
“Assalamualaikum to you too Rabia,” he said cheerfully, not bothered in the slightest. “Did you have a good run?”
I shook my head as Imraan turned to her, getting on with my task and careful not to create any suspicion as I watched Rabia climb up onto the stool.
She was dressed in a sports tracksuit with a cap and running takkies. I noticed her face looking flawlessly made up, and I just knew that I was probably going to see a full documentary of her morning run later on that day on social media.
If wasn’t that I judged Rabia for her constant need to capture and document everything. It was just that when I watched her, I couldn’t help but think that it was such a waste of time.
“It was way better than being in here and seeing such immoral scenes,” she crowed with a disgusted face. “Luckily, I’m going back today. So glad that I’ll have Zaid back in my arms by tonight, all gurgling and cooing. I’m sure he’s missed me just as much as I missed him.”
She sighed and smiled dreamily as she pulled out a bowl from the cupboard, turning her back to us both for a moment.
“Wait,” Imraan said as I silently cut a slice of farmstyle bread loaf, looking confused. “How will you go back? Aren’t you only supposed to be going next week?”
Rabia’s smile was disconcerting.
”Dear brother,” she said sarcastically, pouring her muesli into the bowl, and settling into a stool. “Haven’t you spoken to Hamzah? He’s on his way here. I’ve been messaging them every day since the weekend.”
Oh shame. My poor brother-in-law.
”I don’t know where’s my phone,” Imraan said, rubbing his temples and immediately looking stressed as he went to retrieve it from the lounge.
Rabia was sitting with her phone in her hand and scrolling through what I assumed was TikTok while she ate her muesli with yoghurt.
I watched her with curiosity, wondering what had inspired her sudden change in diet. Rabia was never really overweight, but she had suddenly become very healthy recently.
Even though she was only here for the week, she had filled the fridge up with a host of vegetables and protein drinks and stuff that I wasn’t even sure she as actually going to eat.
The thing was, I knew that it was all Instagram-inspired. We are social animals that are wired to mimic and emulate others. The social-contagion effect has been used to shape society for hundreds of years, from fashion trends to smoking cigarettes.
And when I looked at Rabia posing and lapping up all the attention she was probably getting for her early-morning selfie, I couldn’t help but feel a surge of despair as I watched her.
It was so sad… The need to look good and feel good was a trendy thing and although I got it, I didn’t understand why everything had to be done to meet the standards of people who mean nothing to you… and when I thought about it, what it really was, was more and more attachment to superficiality and worldly ambitions. If only we truly understood how insignificant this world was. How little it is, and how big the rest of creation is compared to everything we attest to.
Jābir (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) passed through the market with people around him. He came across a dead goat with its ears cut off.
He held it by (the remaining part of) one ear and said: “Who of you would like to have this for one dirham?” They said: “We do not like to have it for anything whatsoever. What shall we do with it?” Then he said: “Would you like to have it anyway?” They said: “By Allah, had it been alive, it would be of little value because of its cut ears. How could it be worth anything when it is dead?”
Thereupon he said: “This world is more contemptible in the sight of Allah Ta’ala and of far less value than this dead kid to his master. If the world was equal in vale to a gnats wing in the estimation of Allah Ta’ala, He would not give a non-believer draught of water out of it’s resources.”
SubhaanAllah. It was certainly a wake up call.
“So Mohsina’s starting her cheesecake making again,” Rabia piped up, cutting through my thoughts and putting a spoon of muesli into her mouth, still looking at her phone with interest. “Two months of marriage and she’s already changing her profession. Doesn’t she know that she shouldn’t make all her plans revolve around a man?”
I had seen an advert that Mohsina had put up and I was already volunteering to do some baking orders if she had any queries from my side of the world. It was such an exciting concept and I could see that Mohsina had a real passion for it. I was also absolutely in love with her stuff. As for Rabia…
Well, I couldn’t say the same.
”Rabia,” I sighed, feeling a twinge of sadness for her. “You know your brother isn’t like that…”
She raised her eyebrows and placed her phone down as she met my eye. I could see Imraan pacing around our the patio on his phone, looking quite serious about something as he spoke.
”Hamzah?” She said with a tilt of her head and a condescending smirk. “Sawls, do you live under a rock?! Do you know how many girlfriends he’s had… if you could even call them that. He went through them so fast that there were more like just flashes of whatever he got out of them.”
I cringed as she said it, not liking how she was painting her brother.
Yes, my brother-in-law did have a bit of a rough patch and he wasn’t a saint but it didn’t mean she had to be bitter about it.
“But he changed,” I said pointedly.
He did. I know he did.
”Hah,” she scoffed, looking amused as she scooped out more yoghurt into the bowl. “How do you know that for sure? Can a man really change? I thought they could but I don’t know anymore. Everyone says he’s in love but what is love anyway, but just another emotion?”
I sighed, knowing that she was talking from experience and I really didn’t want to argue with her.
”Anyway, it doesn’t matter… Whatever Mostly Mos finds out, it’s far worse what she’s done so there’s no way she can ever make it an issue.”
Rabia’s words rolled off her tongue so easily as she looked back at her phone, that the sheer indifference of her statement immediately made something in my chest catch.
Wait, what? It scared me, the way she said these things.
Now, I wasnt exactly clued up on how Rabia’s mind worked but I did know that she never just made statements like that with no basis.
”What?” I said, a prickly feeling at the back of the neck.
When were we talking about anyone finding anything out. That was barely even the topic. Bringing up the past and what happened… well, it was all completely missing the point.
I looked at her, hoping she was just being cynical and careless in here statements.
”Just saying,” she said flippantly, as if she don’t just make a ground-breaking statement.
“You know what I think?” I said, knowing that I wouldn’t get an answer from her and thinking of a way to remedy her thoughts as I frowned at her.
It takes skill to weave your words in a way that hit right where you needed them to. It wasn’t an easy task to do, especially with Rabia, who seldom listened to anyone but herself. I didn’t exactly have the skill that some people had of tricking people to think that my ideas were their own, but I knew that I had to try at least.
“What?” she said, glancing at her as she licked her spoon and placed it back in the bowl.
“I think love does exist,” I said simply, pulling a chair to sit opposite her, hoping to grab her full attention.
I didn’t want to forget her earlier statement. It was dangerously taunting.
“But there’s something else that’s more important,” I said, hoping it would make her see the bigger picture here.
After all, there was always a bigger picture.
“What’s that?” she asked, cocking her head to the side.
“Taqwa,” I said simply, shrugging my shoulders. “The truth is… there will always be temptation… there will always be something that seems better or greener… but Taqwa is the only thing that stops you from doing something that will ruin you.”
I was hoping that it would stop her from opening her mouth and blabbering about everything and anything she heard. Taqwa was the only thing that pulls your dignity through at the end of the day. When you remember that Allah is always watching you, and that nothing is worth the pain sin will bring, you will automatically reroute.
“What if you’re already ruined?” she said with an evil smirk, as if nothing mattered to her anymore, but the pain in her eyes was evident.
“No one is beyond repair,” I said firmly, holding her gaze for a minute before she looked away. “Everyone is just chasing a feeling after all. But I think it helps to remember that whatever you’re chasing… it can never more beautiful than Allah… and whatever sin you want to do can never be worth risking your relationship with Allah… so you just have to keep asking yourself… is it worth risking everything just for a few moments of pleasure?”
She looked at me again as I said the last part, almost as if what I said to her was some kind of epiphany.
The thing is, Shaytaan will try anything and everything to avert us from the right track. After all, that is his sole promise… and what he vowed to do. Taqwa was the only weapon that can assist. When you are conscious of Allah and you aim to please Him, then He will protect you even from that.
“Find me a man with Taqwa and I’ll marry him today,” she said, a smirk on her face and not missing a beat.
“But then, you have to be a woman of Taqwa,” Imraan’s voice said, before I could even respond as he came in, and I glanced up at him as Rabia narrowed her eyes.
Uh-oh. I wasn’t sure if that was the best thing to say to his sister. Especially right then.
“What are you trying to say?” she asked as her expression darkened.
“Nothing,” Imraan said, his tone light but the frown on his forehead giving away something about his state of mind.
Shooh. That was a close one.
Something was worrying him, and I was sure that it had to do with the phonecall he had receieved.
“It better be nothing!” Rabia scoffed as she pushed her chair back, huffing away as she grabbed her phone and left the room, obviously far from impressed with her brothers words.
I could tell she was annoyed and Imraan sometimes lacked a filter.
Also, he didn’t quite care about her tantrums. I was just glad he didn’t pursue the conversation else I know that there would have been problems.
I turned to look at my husband, but he barely even noticed Rabia leaving, and neither did he feel it was an issue. He was absorbed in his phone and as he typed, I could tell that he was consumed by whatever was at hand.
Perhaps the fact that Hamzah was coming today, when it was supposed to be a working day, was a teeny problem…
“Is Hamzah really on his way?” I asked, as Imraan looked up at me and then realised Rabia was gone.
His eyes met mine worriedly as he sat down. He sighed and rubbed his forehead, looking troubled.
“He’s coming here to try and settle a custody agreement,” he said simply, but I could hear the worry in his voice. “Hashim is meeting us and they want me to mediate. It’s a complicated matter. Hashim is a client. Hamzah is my brother. It’s going to be a tough one to keep peace. Obviously Hamzah comes first, he’s my brother after all… but Hashim trusts me and he’s not the easiest guy to deal with either…”
He looked so troubled that I couldn’t help but go forward and squeeze his hand, hoping that it would ease his mind.
“Just do the right thing,” I said softly, hoping that it would settle his mind. “Mohsina will come with?”
Imraan looked at me, and shook his head.
“He’s coming alone,” he said quietly, almost as if it was self-explanatory, and I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of discomfort about that. The thought was already sinking in before I realised what it meant.
Mohsina still had no idea.
”You mean he didn’t tell her,” I said angrily as I looked at him, shaking my head disappointedly.
Imraan was still sitting there, and I could see that was the last of his concerns.
“Imraan, you need to talk to him,” I pressed, not liking that they both had secrets they kept from each other. “Tell him that he needs to speak to her. How does he explain what’s going on?”
“I can’t get involved in their marriage,” he said simply. “Hamzah needs to make that decision and speak to her. Their secrets have nothing to do with me.”
I looked at him with narrowed eyes, not liking the way that he said. As if he knew more than he was letting on. As if Mohsina also kept secrets from Hamzah and Imraan knew it.
I knew that the brothers spoke often every day, and I had no doubt that Hamzah probably confided in Imraan about his marriage too.
And of course I was curious. But I didn’t want to pry. It was just that spouses were supposed to share each other, and protect each other. They were meant to be a covering for each other, like is mentioned in the Qur’ān.
There was nothing more complicated than keeping secrets when there were lives and people at stake. Those very secrets can turn out to be the most dangerous of weapons.
I sighed as he got up again, knowing that even if I had to tell him anything further, it probably wouldn’t make a difference anyway.
And I know I shouldn’t interfere. After all, it wasn’t my business. It wasn’t my child. But the love that I felt in my heart for the little guy was so intense, that I couldn’t bear the thought of Hamzah having to fight this battle about him alone. With Mohsina by his side, wouldn’t he be stronger? Wouldn’t they fare better, together against the odds that were slamming up against them?
And as Imraan went upstairs to shower and get ready, ignoring my sullen mood, my mind just wouldn’t rest.
Uthman had woken up and waltzed chirpily into the kitchen with a big salaam, happy it was his day off tutoring, saying something about astronauts and planets and for the life of me, I could barely even listen to what my son was trying to tell me right then.
“Hmmmm,” I said absentmindedly as I put some milk onto boil for his Milo, my mind barely on what I was doing. I was packing away the leftover boiled eggs while Imraan rushed down, getting ready to open the gate, and I turned away from the window on purpose as the car came into view, not wanting to increase my already heightened anxiety levels.
I was still annoyed about the meeting. Should I message Mohsina? Should I say something? I was so confused about what the right thing to do was.
Uthman, however, his tousled hair standing up in all directions, was already over at the window, his bowl in his hand while he stood chomping on his cereal, and I could already feel myself become agitated.
“Uthman, sit and eat!” I scolded him, wondering at what age kids learn that it’s not okay to wander around and eat like an animal. I knew I was super stressed but my son really did test my patience.
“Mummy I think-“
”No stories,” I said firmly, flashing my eyes at him, wanting to deal with my brewing thoughts in silence. I knew it wasn’t his fault but my moods this pregnancy had been a little severe.
He hastily went to the kitchen chair, plopping himself down, and immediately opened his cereal-filled mouth again.
Honestly, all I needed right then was to think in silence…
I turned to him with a frown, already ready to scold him for talking with his mouth full.
”Swallow your food before you talk,” I said sharply, shaking my head as I watched him, his eyes wider than normal as he looked at me, when I realised that something was wrong.
“You okay?” I said, my voice soft as I watched him look at me, almost as if he was unsure of how to say what he wanted to say.
And though he had no idea if what the impact of his next words would be, as he said it, it felt a bit like a rug being pulled out from under me.
”Mummy, did daddy call those guys over to shoot?” He said with a little concern, as my heart hammered within my rib cage.
I knew why he was asking and the next words he said as he sat up a bit straighter just confirmed my worst fears.
“Because all of them had guns.”
Mission Sunnah Revival:
Being able to view the lives of others as if they are our own in the main building block to social media life.
It is only human to begin to think that the lives of strangers appear to be so perfect, as opposed to reality. Little do we notice that their content is carefully crafted to do this very thing, making us discontent with our lives.
To combat this, we should look to those inferior to us, so we do not become envious and begin to realise the bounty Allah Ta’ala has gifted us with.
Keep in mind:
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Wealth is not in having many possessions. Rather, true wealth is the richness of the soul.”
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6446, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1051
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..💕