Zubair Part 73
The overwhelming stench from the green garbage drum during late November of that year reminded me of the familiar smell of rotting flesh. It had been hot. Rainy with electric storms in the evenings, but hotter than I remembered it being the year before.
Often, on the farm where I worked, I would set ablaze the entire thing until it went up in flames, without even batting an eyelid, but today, nothing was coming easy.
Even setting the barrel alight was proving a task.
The stench was unbearable. Maybe I had left it a bit too long this week. With the windy conditions, I wasn’t prepared to light it until I was guaranteed smooth sailing, and today was the first calm day.
“Come now, Z,” I taunted myself, pulling my sleeves up to beyond the elbow, and steadying myself before the stench knocked me out. “Get with the drill.”
I ignored the images and emotions that poked at my conscience as I sniffed the air, knowing there was no way to stop them completely today. I just had to keep reminding myself:
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.
I had to keep reminding myself. I had to keep pushing myself. On days like this.. bad days… there was no other way than to channel every ounce of energy into the task at hand, blocking out everything that had ever broken me, and march forward to the ultimate destination. There was no place more beautiful than what lay beyond this.
I had pulled out the rod from the toolbox to hammer in a few more holes and already tossed a match into the drum, as I stepped back and watched the barrel go up in flames. It was soothing, to a degree, as I watched it burn. If made me feel as if I was, hopefully, burning the parts of me that had been destructive to my mind. It made me think of how I needed to burn those old bridges and build up new ones. The right ones.
About how I wanted to, so badly, make up for the things that I had done. About how badly I needed to.
I turned away from the smoking drum, already walking back to the room when I saw my phone flash in the corner of the little kitchenette. As predicted, the message from my sister was as curious as she was.
Is J back? She’s not replying to messages.
I slid open my phone and replied the obvious.
Probably jet lag.
Her next message was quick.
Are you sure that you’re okay? You don’t think you’re being a little… extra.
I sighed and unbuttoned the top of my overall, getting ready to change into something more comfortable. I was not getting into this argument with my sister again. It was probably going to put me in a worse mood if I did.
All I wanted to do was close my eyes and forget about the look in the girl in questions eyes when she saw me. It was as if I had broken a piece of her that she probably didn’t even realise was there. So much of hatred brewed in her eyes, and I simply couldn’t shake that feeling of guilt. I hated to do what I was doing, but there was no other way.
Z, don’t ignore me.
My sisters message came a few seconds later. She knew what I was doing. I did too.
You know that I love you and want the best for you. That’s all.
I knew that. And that’s precisely what killed me.
I typed fast and furiously, wanting to evade the feelings that were surfacing.
I don’t deserve anything even close.
Nusaybah was right. The girl that she wanted for me was the best, and I didn’t even deserve it. I didn’t deserve a girl who was so beautiful, so pure, but completely naive. Especially when it came to the likes of me.
Knowing about my life would unhinge the little perfect picture frame she had been living in her entire life, and throw her into the haze that I’ve been struggling to find my way out of for years. I couldn’t do that to her.
Think about how mummy would love her.
I swallowed. Hard. I couldn’t think of my mother now. It was irrelevant. My mother didn’t know what had happened to me these past few years. How I had spiralled. How I had let them both down.
She would probably be beyond disappointed with me too. The way my father didn’t even look at me, and refused to speak to me, was proof of how much I had failed them both.
I typed the next sentence without even thinking.
I would love her too.
<this message has been deleted>
I shook my head and tried to shake away the thoughts. Feelings. Feelings were by the way.
Maybe she would marry the guy who had come to see her earlier on that month. Not that he was bad, but the thought of it felt like a punch in the gut, and I deserved every discomfort that this situation had brought.
He was all the things that she needed and deserved. I had nothing at all to offer her.
The reply to nothing came five seconds later.
What did you delete? Sorry, pookie bear was trying to pull my eyebrows out of I didn’t slice her some cucumber.
The corners of my mouth turned up slowly as I read that.
Only Nusaybah would call my one year old niece a disturbing name like ‘Pookie Bear’. Weird name, considering that Safeeyah was named after my mother and surprisingly looked a lot like her too. She was a mixture between my brother-in-law Faheem and all the good and comforting things I remembered about my mother. Seeing her for the first time when Nusaybah was down had been the highlight of my year thus far, and I was actually really looking forward to them coming the following month.
I rolled onto my back and thought of her, tossing my phone across the bottom of the bed, realising that it was time to get out of the hellhole room and start with my weekky atonement.
And don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t that my room was an actual hellhole. The amazing family I worked for had given me a decent sized place, with a proper bathroom and good living conditions. It was just that the home I now had, had become what it was because of all the baggage I carried with me from when I was actually scum. I’d moved all weapons into my room after I figured that my teenybopper crush had mistakenly stumbled upon my make-shift arms room. There was no other choice but to drag every reminder of the past into where I struggled to sleep at night.
Mistake number one, and why I could never think of my infatuation as more than a phase.
And once again, I was reminded of the reason that I felt that I was in hiding, and the cringeworthy feeling overcame me because I knew that there was no escape.
Repentance. Atonement, and all the things that go with it.
My bold, unapologetic truth.
In Islam, it is the act of leaving what Allah has prohibited and returning to what He has commanded. The word denotes the act of being repentant for one’s misdeeds, atoning for those misdeeds, and having a strong determination to forsake those misdeeds (remorse, resolution, and repentance)
It was the ultimate solution. The reason I allowed myself to actually get up each day with a conscience that doesn’t kill me inside. And though part of my resolution was the inescapable nature to make it up to my father, without even seeing him, my atonement actually ventured into more complicated routes.
It started with small, consistent acts. Monthly, I would drop off a set amount of money at the wife of a man I was once paid to target, because I had found out that she was an orphan with no support system and had three small kids from him. And though her husband wasn’t the best of humans either, and had a reputation of supplying their neighbourhood youth with the most addictive crack, my conscience wouldn’t let me rest.
So each month, I would take a trip on my motor bike to leave a designated amount of money in her postbox so she wouldn’t have to worry about where her babies meals were going to come from. It was a small gesture. And if it meant I ate a little less for the day, so be it.
It was a small price I could pay for a bigger part I had played, but it was worth being able to sleep at night sometimes. There were, of course, times when I wished that I could give back more. When I wished that I could help more.
One day, when the money I earned was halaal and completely clean, I vowed to be more to the community. I hoped to always feel like I was helping someone out. But that was the thing with remorse.
Sometimes Tawbah is not enough for the soul. Sometimes we have to keep pushing ourselves with better deeds.
Right now, all I was doing was trying to undo a lot of the pain and hurt that I caused, and I knew that today I had to head closer to home.
And as I dragged myself out of the room and pulled the door behind me, making sure I latch it, I knew that as much as I didn’t want to, today was the day I had to go to my fathers place. Though he barely looked me in the eye as he watched me from the window, I knew that I would sometimes revel in the sight of him peeping behind the curtain to watch me weeding the grass or neatening up my mothers rose bush. It had been growing wild for some time, but a few months ago, I had pruned them down and to see them bloom again gave me a feeling that was close to redemption.
At least, that’s what I liked to think.
And as I pulled on my helmet, jumping onto the bike and turning it on with a roar, I knew that I had to get my mind into the game. I was doing this to right myself. To ease my reformation. To be the best that I could ever be, and I knew there was no other place to start from home.
And I knew that my father an I always had our issues. I blamed him for my mothers death and he blamed me for choosing a rotten sort of lifestyle that killed her, long after he had dusted his hands off it.
And the thing was, I barely knew her, but I knew from stories that I’d heard, that she was a special kind of lady. And despite everything I’d heard about her, then came the stories I remember Nusaybah telling me as kid.
The stories of the Sahabah entailed the story of Zubair bin Awaam (RA) mother who someone so awe inspiring that it made me wonder how humans like this even existed…
Safeeyah (RA) was the mother the full sister of Hamza ibn Abdul Muttalib. It was said that she was the Prophet’s only paternal aunt who actually embraced Islam and migrated.
She had a strong personality and was therefore inclined towards sternness and harshness.
Her first marriage was to Al-Harith ibn Umayyah, who was Abu Sufyaan’s brother. He then died before they had had any children together. She was then married to Al-‘Awwam ibn Khuwaylid, who was our Mother Khadijah’s (may Allah be pleased with her) brother. She gave birth to two of his children: As-Sa’ib and Az-Zubayr. When he passed away, Safeeyah RA devoted all her attention to her two orphaned sons, especially the younger one. Whenever he came home complaining of being bullied by children of his age, she would sternly rebuke him, tie him and beat him up so as to make him strong and firm.
When one of the members of her husband’s family once passed by her while she was treating her son in this way, he requested her to be kind to the poor orphan. She replied that she wants to make a man out of her son; a man that would be undefeatable and insuppressible, a man that would never surrender to any of Allah’s creatures.
It was reported that Zubair RA engaged in a duel with someone who slandered him and was so strong, that he broke the hand of the slanderer and severely beat him up. This man, with his pains was brought to Safeeyah and she asked him what had happened to him, to which was told:
“He fought with Az-Zubayr and he [Az-Zubayr] did to him that which you can see.”
All in all… Safeeyah (RA) achieved what she wanted; Az-Zubayr RA grew strong in body and soul.
Ans yes; these were some of the most amazing personalities. We could only dream to be like them. In our broken way, we try and aspire to emulate them.
It was just that… I wasn’t quite sure if I what I could say about myself. There were times when I felt strong. Stronger than the world and everything that had happened to me… everything that I’d brought upon myself. And then there were times when it felt like the entire world was on my shoulders, weakened by the burden of it, and I couldn’t shrug it off.
And I supposed that circumstances were what they were, and there wasn’t much else to be said. The thing is, Allah takes us through stages that polish us, and eventually makes us shine because of it…
There were so many trials that we had encountered along the way, but the most noteworthy event was the one that hit the hardest.
It was a horrible, guttural kind of pain that ate me from the inside every day until I realised that my mother being killed by a stray bullet that was meant for my father, was really not my father’s fault. I couldn’t blame her death on anyone. It was determined long before and nothing he could have done that day would have saved her.
And yes, it was a loss that was felt unanimously and it hurt like hell. It was the reason my father never married again. But that wasn’t why I was trying to set things right again.
Why I needed to make it up to my father was because I had learnt that when you do something for Allah Ta’ala’s sake… when you help with the intention of setting right the affairs of the world that have gone so wrong… you are rewarded in ways you can never even imagine.
And that was my only consolation. Even though my father barely spoke to me. Even though he couldn’t look at me after knowing what I had become. Even though he would never forgive me, I knew that I had to keep trying.
And I knew that as long as I lived, I would keep paying the price for my sins. I would keep up with the atonement, keep seeking repentance and keep trying to be better.
That was the least I could do.
And so I did it.
And later that very day, as I sped through the rained out city streets on my way home, again I wanted to make up for my wrongs. I had stopped at my sister’s friends nursery to get another rose plant, because my entire life was going to be spent trying to make up for all the pain I had caused people. That day was no exception.
As much as I wanted to undo it, I knew that I couldn’t. Everything that I had come came with a price. My entire life, the company I had kept, the enemies I had earned along the way… was the price I paid. I knew that there was no way that I could drag a girl into the dirt everyone had on me.
And so it went, the story of my life.
I knew that I had to silently bear the brunt of my mistakes. For me, there would be no point in believing in fairy tales of note. For me, there would be a greater purpose in life, than just marriage and what would come after.
For me, I strongly believed, that maybe there was something greater than love.
They say the mind cannot comprehend what awaits us, that sadness will be forgotten.
They say that the eye has yet to see
and the ear has yet to hear the beauties that await us in our new home.
They say rivers of honey.
They say rivers of milk, they say rivers of wine.
They say if you give your life, then all eternity will be yours.
Maybe for me, there would be the sweetness of another dimension. Maybe for me would be the scent of musk as my blood spills on the ground. Maybe for me, green birds would await me. What could be more valuable that a greeting with the angels who promise eternal bliss…
I sighed as I placated myself, reaching home only after Esha salaah, pulling off my riding jacket and changing my soaked pants hurriedly, before getting ready for bed. The last thing I expected at that moment was a pounding on the front door of the little house I stayed in, which caught me just a little bit unaware.
And of course, with my history, senses were at once heightened as I grabbed a weapon, and moved toward the door.
I knew that in all likelihood, a killer probably wouldn’t be knocking on the door, but it could also be a trap. Fear wasnt in my nature, but curiosity was.
Although I could just ignore them, I knew that whoever it was, was probably someone who had some business with me. I had already unlatched the two latches, and stuffed the firearm under my arm, before yanking open the door.
I found myself blinking as I looked into the eyes of the guy I had seen just the week before. A easy-going guy I had surprisingly come to like, despite the fact that he looked at me as if I came from another universe.
I greeted him back with a quick handshake, my weapon now safely tucked away under my arm.
I nodded and stepped back. It was pouring outside. He came in without hesitation, shaking off the rain from his jacket and smoothing it down.
”Sorry to barge in like this.”
I shrugged, moving over to the kettle to switch it on. I figured it probably had to do with that idiot, Hashim, who thought that he was invincible. The guy made my skin crawl with irritation.
“Tea?” I asked, knowing that it was the only thing I really kept here. My meals would usually come from the coffee shop kitchen.
He looked around awkwardly while I popped the firearm into the top drawer, and pulled out two mugs.
All my shiny toys were probably giving him the heebi jeebis, but I pretended like they weren’t there.
”I need your help,” he said quietly as I turned to him, looking like he was mentally carrying way more than he could handle. “Actually, my wife does. I think you may know a little about the money she borrowed… from the guy with the Porsche.”
So it wasn’t about Hashim. The guy with the Porsche. Of course I couldn’t forget.
I didn’t want to say that the Porsche guy had come back here, the day of the wedding, to see Mohsina just before she got married. Of course, I couldn’t say that… unless it was vital to whatever he needed.
He was the reason why I’d ever gotten involved with this family in the first place. The reason why I came back for atonement. Why I’d made it incumbent on myself to be here and protect this family that we’d harassed and caused so much of trouble to. Also the reason why I couldn’t seem to pull myself together and be the man I wanted to.
There was way too much at risk here to do what I wanted to do. Any move I made would land me in trouble.
“Yup,” I said blandly, not offering any further information. “My uncle’s client.”
All I knew was that I hadn’t seen him since then… since I’d left my uncle… and that meant that all ties with my uncle were also cut in the process.
I really intended to keep it that way, but Hamzah had other plans.
“I need you to dig up some info for me,” he said roughly, looking like his life depended on it.
I didn’t know that it did. What I also didn’t know was that what he needed from me was to once again build all those bridges that I’d worked so hard at burning.
“I need to know as much as you can get about every transaction he had with you guys. However much it costs, I need every dirty detail. They’re trying to lay it all on Mohsina. Whether it’s on his name or Hammonds, I need to know. There’s something fishy going on with him and the money and we’re going to get to the bottom of it. I need your help.”
The much awaited Zubair POV. Oops. Got a bit serious, didn’t even realise. Well, let’s see what unfolds…
May Allah Ta’ala make us all true mujaahideen on this Deen… fighting our nafs and shaytaan with the same kind of determination…
Mission Sunnah Revival:
Sunnah of Noble Character:
Nabi (SAW) gave attention, spoke and showed love to even the worst person of a nation until the person felt that he is being given special attention.
May Allah make us of those who uphold the Sunnah of character always.
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..💕