Jameela Part 82
He breaks you to build you. Deprives you to give you. The pain in your heart was created to make you learn less for this life.
And to yearn more for Jannah.
Jannah. The epitome of beauty. The greatest of gardens. The most sublime kind of bliss.
My eyes moved to the message next to the bed, my senses overwhelmed with a bright new perspective as I read the post it once again.
And yes, I felt so blessed. I couldn’t help myself. Reading that post-it now on Zubair’s pedestal gave me all the feels of early morning bliss. I breathed in deeply, taking in every scent, every sound, every movement surrounding me.
‘Ubaydullāh ibn Mihsan al-Ansāri al-Khatmi (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever among you wakes up in the morning secure in his dwelling, healthy in his body, and he has his food for the day, then it is as if the whole world has been given to him.”
I felt like Allah’s mercy was raining down on me, as I processed that I actually was here, married and a little (if not a lot) bit in love.
I knew that he didn’t usually sleep in after Fajr, but last night had been a late night and Papa had given him the day off his duties. He had even offered us one of the new glamping tents that had just been completed, but Zubair was insistent that we would stay nowhere but his humble littel bachelor-inspired abode. And I didn’t mind.
The flower pots by the window sill that Nusaybah had livened up with the most spectacular blooms were perched near the window, looking like they were giggling away at the sunlight streaming through. I could see that she had spent a lot of time livening up the pretty simple one bedroom cottage and I was so grateful to her, as I looked around me at the place Zubair called home for the past few months.
Despite the fact that it was so simple, it was homely and the personal touches added by Nusaybah them both made it feel exceptionally welcoming.
I couldn’t help my mind running away with itself as I processed this, turning to glance at Zubair again.
My gaze flickered to that mark again, and I studied it as I shifted up on the pillow, tracing the outline of what looked like a shape and some print on his upper arm.
This one was different. It wasn’t just another one of his numerous scars inflicted on his bronzed body. He had told me that he had been gifted with proof of his many different expeditions that he never wanted to talk to me about, unless I really wanted to know.
I didn’t mean to stare. An array of curved marks that tapered at the ends, elongated ones that looked like blade slashes, and then stunted scars that looked more like bullet holes.
Like a walking example, he reminded me of the conquests of the Sahabah Radiallahu Anhu that I would read about. The tales of valiant men who would take to the battle filed, leaving their brides or their children, with no fear whatsoever; sparring and fighting despite being injured and hurt, knowing that their end goal was nothing but Allah’s pleasure.
The tales of heroism were awe-inspiring.
And though Zubair denied that he’s ever had noble intentions, I knew that every scar had a tale of untold bravery but Zubair wasn’t eager to share any of his past. I understood why, knowing how much he had gone through, as I edged closer to get a waft of his spicy, pine-washed scent, inhaling him while I stared more closely at the mark below his bicep.
And before you think that I was obsessed, the actual reason why this particular mark had caught my eye was because of its specific shape. It was blurry and untidy looking, but my gut feeling was that once upon a time, there was a tragic story behind that very scar that I desperately wanted to know about.
Thinking that he wasn’t yet awake, I touched its slightly raised surface once again and then quickly pulled my hand away as he stirred in his sleep.
I glanced out the gap in the curtain, already certain that it was going to be a gorgeous day to be out in the garden for a bit, trying to divert my attention so I could stop obsessing over Zubair’s past life.
Stop obsessing over Zubair in general.
Zubair was such a character that I could barely stop myself from falling head over heels with his humility, sincerity and the way that he made me feel that I was the centre of his in universe, over and over again.
I wriggled my toes as I stretched my arms out, trying to silently shift away to head off to the bathroom and do the whole fluffing out my hair, looking normal and brushing my teeth thing when he suddenly shifted again next to me, already awake and turning to face me, and my heart felt like it was about to burst from happiness when he looked at me and smiled.
I honestly could not believe that this was all normal and halaal and I already felt that I was drifting on some kind of elevated cloud fifty-nine.
“Hey beautiful,” he murmured, touching my nose lightly with his index finger. “Assalamualaikum.”
I could barely breathe. I mean, I knew that he was my husband and I had to get over it at some point but the ease in which he embraced everything made him feel like a dream.
“Wa alaikum salaam,” I almost whispered, like a dork, staring into his mesmerising eyes as the morning light shone through the cotton curtains.
And then of course, I covered my mouth immediately because even though we weren’t so close together I knew that morning breath could be a knock out and I didn’t want to scare him away already.
I could live with waking up to this every morning.
“You up early?” He said softly, still giving me that intense look as he spoke, half yawning it’s his own mouth covered, a slight frown forming on his face, almost as if he didn’t like the fact that I was up so early.
“I’m- err,” I started, because I didn’t want to give him the impression that I was a spoilt brat who couldn’t sleep without block-out blinds. “Just can’t sleep once I’m awake for the day. And Mohsina had messaged to let me know that she may not be contactable today. She and Hamzah are going somewhere out of range.”
Of course I couldn’t tell him that I was sitting and staring at him like a weirdo while he slept. And Mohsina had woken me up earlier with a text to say that she hoped I was okay. I wanted to ask her more about what they were up to but I also knew that things were a little fragile between her and Hamzah, and Mohsina wasn’t always eager to share feelings.
I finished my excuse weakly as he broke eye contact and turned on his back again to face the ceiling. I had a feeling he was thinking about Hamzah too. I knew that the two of them were close, and as he lifted his arm to type a quick message on his phone, the crooked mark on his arm was visible again and I instinctively touched it lightly, not expecting him to flinch as I did. He put his phone away and turned his face to look at me.
“Sorry,” I said, immediately retracting my hand as an unknown emotion suddenly flashed across his face.
It was a milliseconds before it faded, and then he suddenly smiled, as if to cover it up, reaching out for the hand that touched it, grasping it in his own, and shook his head.
His reaction was so confusing.
“No need to be sorry,” he said quietly, bringing my knuckles to his lips. “Was just sending a quick message. Scars really fascinate you, don’t they?”
I swallowed and nodded as he turned to me again, looking like he was contemplating deeply.
Yours do, I wanted to tell him, but I wisely kept silent, because I was feeling a little weird about what had just happened.
The cotton sheets were pulled up to my shoulders to cover the straps of my cute but slightly revealing pyjama set that Maahira had sent for me via express courier that week from London, and I felt weird to have them anywhere but up to my chin. The daylight was a stark contrast to the privacy that the night had presented, and I felt like we were starting all over again in some ways.
As morning came, all awkwardness was now in full force.
I was shy and conscious now, and I worried if I was being too forward and nosy by asking these questions. Zubair wasn’t an easy person to read.
Nani would probably scoff at me and say that I had no shame, asking the man about marks on his body. She was probably right, and I couldn’t believe I actually admitted that she was right about something. In actuality, she kind of redeemed herself when she behaved at the Niikah and reception, despite feeling disappointed about her darling doctorsaab.
The thing was, marrying Zubair it felt like I was unwrapping this huge present full of goodies and I didn’t want to stop until I revealed every one.
”You don’t have to tell me about it,” I added quickly, as he shook his head and sat up, placing his feet on the floor, his back to me as he pulled a blue t-shirt over his head, still not turning to face me.
”You have a right to know,” he said, not looking at me as he spoke. “But it’s nothing courageous like you think… or some mark of bravery. It was a reminder of who I was. A symbol that the people I worked for used to use when you pass your first test. It was a tattoo that I removed.“
it was the first time I’d ever heard of anyone I know having a tattoo.
I didn’t know what to say. I knew that tattoos were haraam, but I knew that it was also becoming some sort of trend for young people despite that.
“So you removed it when you realised that you needed to change your life?” I asked him.
He turned to me and shrugged.
“I removed it when I found out that all my ibaadat may have been completely futile since getting it. Years went by and to think that not a thing I did might have been accepted… I was devastated- having that reminder of the very thing that tainted me would have ruined me a li. I had to remove it. The scar is there for life.”
The scar. He said it with such venom, as if he hated everything it meant to him.
This man. This man. He just got me. Every time.
Zubair had changed his life, AFTER he got the ink. Many may argue that what is in the past, has past away.
There were far greater crimes that were committed in the times of ignorance, where they use to bury their little daughters alive out of feeling ashamed of having girl after girl and no sons.
They were forgiven for such a horrendous act, and yet, he took it on him to remove that evidence.
Despite the fact that the process of tattoo removal was probably torturous and expensive, he chose to remove it because he was so intent on changing everything about his life.
Despite that fact that our Creator knows everything, inside and out.
He didn’t wait for some loophole or favourable fatwa or take a chance. He wanted to erase every bit of his sordid past.
“Was it painful?” I asked softly, watching as he slipped on his shoes emotionlessly, already switching the kettle on for coffee. Sometimes I wondered if he truly let himself feel. It was like he was surviving on autopilot.
I sat up against the wall behind the bed, knowing that I should probably stop being so lazy but still feeling like extremely self conscious about my strappy pyjamas. It wasn’t completely indecent but I wasn’t exactly ready to be so forthcoming either.
“It was more uncomfortable than painful,” he said, frowning slightly as he probably recalled the sensation of that on his skin. “But it needed to be done. And I stuck out the pain because I was stupid enough to get it.. I didn’t exactly have the guidance I needed in my teenage years to know that it wasn’t allowed. It was before Nusaybah left that my uncle started to contact me, and my father had already given up on parenting way before that. It all downhill from there. I was just sinking lower and lower and my uncle had no mercy for cowards, even though he was one himself.”
He said the last part with a certain edge to his voice, like he usually spoke about his uncle, and I desperately wanted to ask him more.
“Did he do anything bad to you?” I asked, softly, but loud enough for him to hear as he sat on the office chair and wheeled around to face me.
There was a mixture of pain and grief on his face as he looked at me, and I instantly regretted asking him. I so badly wanted to take all that pain and tuck it away; where he would never had to feel it again.
“He did enough,” he said bluntly, instantly closing up now completely, his face blank as I could see him putting up walls as I looked at him. It was like the mention of his uncle immediately shut him down. “My uncle is not a kind man.”
I noted how he spoke in present tense, sensing that emotions surged through him like never before.
I hated that I had said something that brought it back for him, and I hated that he still looked so vulnerable when I asked him. I didn’t care about slightly revealing pyjamas anymore.
Zubair had now morphed into a somewhat of a little child as he sat there, and all I wanted to do was go over and hug him fiercely, so he would know that he didn’t have to worry about his uncle and he was safe now.
Well, I hoped that was true, of course.
“I’m so sorry,” I mumbled, shoving off the covers as I got up and moved toward him, as the dazed look in his eyes lifted and he met my eye once again. “I’m sorry you didn’t have anyone who you could turn to, or who could protect you.”
He shook his head as I reached him, losing pluck to embrace him as I sat on the floor next to him, trying to stay as close to him as I possibly could, not knowing whether I could hols him or not.
It was weird, and Zubair wasn’t always someone who I knew how to read. Right now, he was all stiff and untouchable, and I could tell that emotion was hard for him. I instantly wondered whether not being able to touch him at times had to do with something that happened in his past.
Was it possible that this man was scarred more deeply from a pain that existed within? I didn’t want to even think of the possibilities. There was definitely a story that he didn’t want to tell.
“It’s not your fault,” he said stiffly, his body rigid now, as he pulled out two cups. “I didn’t have many people I trusted. I didn’t have the kind of upbringing where right and wrong was always clear cut. And yesterday, well, I felt like when Maulana spoke, he gave a bayaan just for me that I really wouldn’t ever forget because it really hit home.”
I looked at him as he said it, wondering what the Maulana had spoken about.
”What sterling marriage advice did Maulana give?” I asked with a smile, really curious now.
For him to remember that on his Nikah day, it must have been really quite something.
“He spoke about Tarbiyah of kids,” Zubair said simply, and my grin immediately turned into a flush that made me feel only slightly embarrassed as he said kids.
On his handsome face was a tiny smile that I could barely decipher. Kids. Okay. It’s a teeny bit too soon but I suppose it wasn’t completely off the charts to talk about.
“Don’t get alarmed,” he said, his greener eye darkening with the dry humour. “I know you guys have Zaid and it’s been a transition and to be honest, I don’t even know how I feel about kids. I just really felt it deeply when Maulana spoke about Tarbiyah, and how kids need nurturing. I know how much I lacked growing up. Now… its like as a new generation… we have so much to learn… with technology and always being so distracted, there’s so much we still need to master to ever be worthy of being parents. I know that I’m still young but it worries me that I’ve been so off track and that I’ll never reach that stage…”
His concerned expression caught me by surprise. It took me a few seconds to realise that he was scared, but not by some external factor. He was scared of himself.
“You’re not your father, Zubair,” I said softly, remembering him telling me that his father was too caught up in his own grief to really worry about Zubair after his mother passed away. Nusaybah was left as the one kid who raised the other. “Or your uncle.”
“It doesn’t matter,” he said roughly, running his hands through his hair and giving me a sideways glance. “I managed somehow. I eventually realised that I had destroyed the better part of my life with sins, and when I found Allah… I realised something else so valuable that it turned my entire life around.”
I knew that his past was filled with things he wasn’t proud of. But being an orphan, and feeling like you were all alone was something that made me feel so sorry for the littel boy that he was once.
“And what was that?”
I almost whispered it as I watched him pour water from the boiled kettle, while his pretty eyes stayed fixed on the cups in front of him.
And then, he looked at me, his brown eye twinkling ever so slightly as he spoke.
أَلَيْسَ اللَّهُ بِكَافٍ عَبْدَهُ
(Surah al-Zumar, Ch.39, V. 37)
“Is Allah not sufficient for His Slave?” He said quietly, his voice so passionate when he spoke, and I realised, not for the first time, how much Zubair had taken upon himself. How much he had dealt with, all these years, on his own. How much he had truly believed and felt that verse that he had just uttered.
“And what am I, if not His ‘abd?” he continued, his gorgeous teeth now visible as he gave a small smile. “Whatever Allah wills for His slave, whatever trial He brings my way… for all the darkness within me, all those wasted years…. how can I not reform myself if Allah has said that He is enough to be by my side?”
I breathed out as he said it, tears flooding me eyes and my heart not able to hold all the emotion that seemed like his realisation was choking me with.
He was hurting in so many ways. Over his past. Over his father. Over his uncle.
I desperately wanted him to be free of if all, but I knew that I could never help him unless he let me. And I had to try.
“Zubair, you’re not who you think you are,” I said softly, touching his arm. “Maybe your father was too caught up in his grief and disappointment to know better. He should be honoured to have you as a son. He would be if he saw you now. You’ve change so much. Allah is so happy with you, you have no idea.”
”He knows the real me, Jameela,” Zubair said curtly, obviously not believing a word I had said. “And my father sees me for who I am. There’s nothing to be proud of.”
He said it as if it was common knowledge and I refused to accept it, as he promptly added a jar of sugar to the coffee tray.
”You deserve to be happy, Zubair,” I argued with him, frowning as I watched him carry the tray to the table near the window.
“And I don’t deserve you. I’m not just a black heart, Jameela. I am darkness. Disgraced by my sins and scars. You… on the other hand… are nothing but light and hope, and I still don’t deserve you.”
I couldn’t help but feel my heart clenching at his words that he was and never will be good enough. His feelings about me did nothing to douse the rising anger at his constant self-bashing.
He had settled the tray near the window and I couldn’t help but think that it was the perfect spot to sit and enjoy the scenery that the outdoors offered.
Now I know why Zubair loved this little house. Why he also holed himself up here and never came out, to grace others with his presence.
I wanted to shout to him, to let him know that he was wrong. He thought so little of himself. He didn’t realise who he was. How much he had to offer. All he saw was blackness and jagged scars deep beneath the surface, that were still bleeding in ways he didn’t know.
He was drowning in self-doubt and denial that he was worthy of so much more. Carrying on like this was not a way to live. It was difficult and hurtful, causing him so much more than was necessary.
He was convinced that he deserved no good in his life, and I had already made up my mind that I was going to save him from himself, whether he wanted me to or not.
Mission Sunnah Revival: Thinking well of others
Especially as these blessed months dawn upon us, we make extra effort to think good of others and make excuses for them. It’s easier said than done but we make Duaa that in this way, people will also think well of us.
Nabi Muhammad (Sallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said, “Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the worst of false tales; and do not look for the others’ faults and do not spy, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert (cut your relation with) one another, and do not hate one another; and O Allah’s worshipers! Be brothers (as Allah has ordered you!”) (Bukhari)
To put it briefly, having good opinion of people implies:
- Thinking positive of others
- Avoiding suspicion and wrong assumptions of others
- Giving others the benefit of the doubt
Sunnah of the month of Rajab
Sayyiduna Anas Ibn Malik (radiyallahu’anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would recite the following supplication when the Month of Rajab would commence:
اَللّٰهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَناَ فِيْ رَجَبٍ وَشَعْبانَ وَبَلّغْنَا رَمَضَانْ
Allahumma baarik lana fi Rajaba wa Sha’bana wa balligh-na Ramadan
Translation: Oh Allah! Grant us Barakah (Blessing) during (the months of) Rajab and Sha’ban, and allow us to reach Ramadan.
(Shu’abul-Iman, Hadith: 3534, Ibnu Sunni, Hadith: 660, Mukhtasar Zawaid Bazzar, Hadith: 662, also see Al-Adhkar, Hadith: 549)
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..💕