Through our giants in history, the stories of the courageous men of the past which shaped me into the person I’d become since I’d started treading on a better path, if there’s one thing I learnt, it’s that we should never let ourselves sink into the pits of hopelessness.
A Muslim should not sit and accept defeat, as long as we have a Rabb who is the source of hope. Like the lion of Allah, Hadhrat Hamzah RA, we put on our best shield of imaan, and build our faith to fight the odds.
The thing is, we must always have faith. When we ask Allah Ta’ala for aid, know that He will send it, one way or the other.
And yes, I know it was ironic, because right then, things weren’t looking good.
I had been fooled. Duped, in every possible way. Broken-hearted, in a way that felt like the organ in my chest was shattered.
Now, there was one more emotion I was dealing. I was so, so angry.
Rabia had overstepped. She had gone all out, broken rules, crossed boundaries too. She had befriended a man, and not just any man. Someone who I was sure had done this, had gotten close to her, just to make my life miserable.
And I knew how Faadil worked. Behind the scenes, in a way that could never be tracked, but he always worked with intent. And now, finally, it all made sense.
I knew what he was upset about. It had evaded me all this time… as I lived in the blissful ignorance that I was the only guy Mohsina had ever been committed enough to decide to marry. I knew that his coming to see her on our Nikah day was his sick way of trying to win the ‘prized goods’ back. I mean, there was no other reason.
After all, that’s all she was to him. Someone who would have pushed him to be better, earn better, and motivated for his position, who he could have kept as some kind of trophy.
Mohsina was determined and brilliant in her job, and he knew that her being able to back him was a sure way of moving even further up the corporate ladder, despite his lack of morals. I knew that the rejection that he’d probably suffered, whether her motivation was Zaid or not, probably hurt him deeper than he’d let on. Faadil didn’t take losing well, and experiencing that loss was something that he just could not digest.
I didn’t need Rabia to reply to me when I asked her if she’d seen Mohsina while I was away. I wanted her to be the one to show some remorse at least.
She looked me in the face and said that some things need to take its course. I didn’t know what she had told Faadil, but I knew that the fact that Faadil and her were speaking was right. I had given her a while to think about it, while I left for the ijtima, spent some time with Maulana Umar and came back with a clear head, knowing that I couldnt just let things hang in the air.
I knew what I needed to do. Maulana had encouraged me to try and patch things up, but the betrayal I still felt was unparalleled, and that’s why it took me so long.
Yes, it would take time to make things right, but the least I could do was speak to her in the meantime.
I needed to talk to my wife. She knew more than I did about what Rabia and Faadil actually were speaking about.
And so, knowing I had left it way too long, I decided to do it.
Despite all that was going on, standing under the threshold of the door of the flat I had shared with my wife, I was expecting to see Mos looking normal and unfazed when I knocked on the door.
Perhaps she would be standing there with a scowl on her face, spitting fire as she usually would, or just shooting daggers at me while offering the silent treatment… but nothing could prepared me for the guilt that hit like a punch in my stomach when I looked at my wife properly after all this time.
Yes, I had seen her on Eid day in passing when she came to leave Zaid, but now that I really looked at her, her face devoid of make up and her hair in a simple plait, I was literally taken aback.
Though still beautiful to me, Mos looked exhausted, and very un-Mohsina like. It wasn’t my guilt for not letting her explain, as I covertly scanned my wife’s form, her weight loss was evidently visible, that got me.
How was it even normal for people to visibly show weight loss in a month? And yea, I knew it was Ramadhaan, but how bad a toll did the last month take on her for that to happen? I won’t lie, I still blamed Mos for part of this mess.. but now that the blinding anger had worn off, and I realised that I may have also been wrong in what I had said, I could see the situation more rationally.
The thing is, as humans, we are very quick to hold others accountable, forgetting that we too are humans. People hurt us, even more so people we love, and even those of us with a forgiving nature have our limits. I never thought I’d ever be one of those people who could harbour a grudge, but here I was, standing at the door of my wife’s house, realising, that in nursing my grudge, I’d done an equal injustice to my wife leaving her to bear a burden alone that evidently wore even my unbeatable wife down.
I watched as my wife’s eyes widened, and then she closed the door. And then, with bated breath, I waited while I heard her unlatching the door, and I breathed out a sigh of relief. I could barely believe that I was actually holding my breath, after the way I had stormed out of our home those weeks ago.
She pulled the door open again and instantly moved further away, like she didn’t want to even stand in close proximity to me. Can’t say I blamed her. The words I said to her made me feel sick to my stomach.
“Let’s talk in the lounge.”
Her voice was cold and flat, and I went ahead of her to enter our open plan living area, looking around for any signs of what she had been up to these past weeks.
And what I saw, was a sure sign that Mohsina was very possibly mourning in her own way. She probably wasn’t even aware of it, but her new disregard for things to be on tip top condition was clearly evident.
Curtains were drawn, blankets were strewn over the couch, and in the middle of the coffee table was the only evidence of life, with multiple coffee mugs and popcorn bowls.
I knew I was being nosy and presumptuous, but my heart was already feeling like there was a huge void in it, since I knew nothing about her life anymore.
It was so unlike Mohsina, who always made sure she was tidy to a fault, and accessorised with the latest trends because that’s what she did,
I suppose it came with her passion for Instagram. The nature of social media was to get people on trends, and she had always lived for that. These platforms shape us in more ways than we know, and sometimes we’re not even aware of the worldly obsessed messages they were sending us.
To be so simplistic and unbothered was extremely welcomed to me, but under the circumstances, it also made me a bit worried.
Even her dressing had become simpler. No fusses and frills. Plain and simple, with no brands.
It was as if something within her had been altered.
I didn’t have want to make any assumptions but it definitely made me think… How true was it that when the valuable things in life are threatened, then everything else in life loses value? How much is everything else worth when we don’t have peace?
All the fancy cushions, trendy curtains, ornamental pieces and matching throws, meant nothing now that Mohsina had been thrown into a corner where no one was really there for her.
And the Hadith this world is like a woman who is extremely attractive but has no morals or ethics whatsoever, came to mind. It bluffs people with its lister and leads people toward destruction.
It was narrated that Isa AS saw a very old and ugly woman who was full of makeup and jewelry. He asked her: ‘How many times were you married?’
She replied ‘So many times that I can’t even remember.’
Isa AS said ‘What happened to your husbands, did they die or were you divorced?’
She replied ‘No, I killed them all.’
Isa AS stated ‘How unfortunate your current husband is, for he lives with you and is not cautious that you will do the same to him. (Fadhaail Sadaqaat)
This world. An empty promise, a great lie.
We think that the world can make us happy but when our world is rocked, we see the truth in what really matters.
I turned around as I reached the couch, watching her as she kept a careful distance behind me until I sat down, and then walked to the opposite side of the room, and perched herself on the barstool near the kitchen nook.
“How are you?”
It was all I could say to her, while she watched me back, a stoic expression on her face as she shrugged.
I waited a few minutes, for a response that never came.
“Can you talk to me, please?” I demanded, feeling edgy at how this whole day was turning out. “At least look at me.”
First Rabia and her tantrum about how I needed to be more of a man and stand up to my wife, just because she was feeling insecure about her lies, then the realisation that maybe Mohsina was right about Rabia and I needed to fix things.. and now the hard reality that it may all be harder than I thought.
“How do you think I am, Hamza?” The expression on her face was hard to decipher. A mixture of yearning, sadness, and anger. “Where’s my baby?”
If the guilt was packing a punch before this, now it was like a twisting a knife into my gut.
“I left him with my parents, so we could sort out this mess.”
The amount of responsiveness I was receiving was like I was talking to a wall.
I still couldn’t believe that we were at this place where we didn’t know how to be near each other without feeling angry.
Well, that’s what it looked like.
“I’ll bring him over as soon as we done talking if you want,” I added to soften her up, calming down and taking in a deep breath. “I’ll even grant you those overnight stays you wanted. I just want to talk.”
Her posture was firm and erect, as she sat in the stool, her hands placed on her lap.
“Wow, thanks, Hamzah, that’s so generous,” she said sarcastically, her gaze not wavering from me. “But I don’t see what there is to talk about a marriage that you only contracted out of a sense of duty anyway. Let’s face it, honey… We tried it out, realised we were a mistake, now you can rid yourself of me and my baggage.”
Her voice was dripping with venom, and I sucked my breath in because I knew that she was using my own words against me, and it sucked.
One time. The one time I’d let myself slip, I said something that broke us.
She had warned me. Told me I can’t take back the words, but I didn’t care.
I had messed up. Badly.
I remember hearing a lecture once where the shaykh said Shaytaan will use our good deeds to draw us to bad. Its such a strange statement, but then he went on to explain, the spouse who is tolerant to their respective other, or the daughter-in-law who tactfully deals with a critical mother-in-law, or a mother-in-law who patiently deals with a lazy daughter-in-law… all these people are following a path of goodness and gaining reward.
However, often, a day comes when something pushes you over your precipice, and in a moment of anger, you throw back your patience into that person’s face, or you express favour over them for you tolerance, or some words of gossip about how they’ve wronged you and how much you endure slips out and you badmouth the person… all those days and days of goodness and rewards can be wiped out by few moments of carelessness. This is Shaytaans ploy.
And damn, it was working well.
In anger, I had said things I never meant, but that’s the thing, we never do mean it. But words, once heard, cannot be erased, backspaced or deleted.
There’s a Ḥadīth Rabia had painted in really beautiful calligraphy before her first marriage, that truly deserved to be be written in gold, deserves to be written in gold.
Rasulullah ﷺ said, “Whoever stayed quiet, is saved.”
I wished that I had saved it myself as a daily reminder.
I got up, she following me with her eyes as I moved forward to a seat closer to her, because besides wanting to, it was ridiculous having a serious conversation from the opposite side of the room.
Immediately, her blank, flippant facade faded.
Instead, her entire expression morphed into some kind of aversive reaction.
“Just stay there, please,” she muttered, her voice sounding strained. “Don’t come closer to me.”
Really? Now she was going to punish me. Great.
“We’re still married Mos. Stop acting like we’re boardroom associates,” I rubbed my jaw in frustration, knowing that I’d hit a nerve with her by mentioning her second favourite place to be. At work. “If we’re going to solve anything, we need to have complete honesty, and we need to talk.”
“Fine,” she shot back, obviously not impressed by my references. “You want honesty? The truth is, I can’t stand you sitting nearer to me, because these past few weeks have seriously accelerated my anxiety level, and every time you come close to me, I can feel it shoot up even higher. Like literally. Right in my throat.”
“So now you’re using your anxiety levels as a hiding place?” I was holding back the urge to raise my voice, but I had forgotten how utterly frustrated an argument with my wife could make me. Mohsina had a way of pressing my most unfounded buttons.
“I’m serious, Hamzah,” she retorted, covering her mouth with her hand, almost as if that would shield her from me. “When you’re too close to me, I start feeling physically sick.. almost nauseous. Please. Just. Stop fighting with me on this.”
“Wha- Mos, what on earth are you even saying?”
No response. I moved to the chair closest to her and sat down. And much to my dismay, Mos jumped up and started walking away.
Feeling ridiculous, like some kind of puppy, I followed.
“Mos, can you be reasonable please?”
“STOP FOLLOWING ME.”
She wasn’t yelling, but she wasn’t far from it.
But my patience was dwindling. I had come here with a serious goal in mind. I didn’t expect to find the same grovelling Mohsina who I shut the door on, but this level of snubbing was just unreasonable.
We needed to talk.
I increased the lengths of my strides to catch up with her and grabbed her arm, just before she entered the bedroom.
“Let me go, Hamzah. Please, ” she begged, but I couldn’t.
“Mos, just listen, please.”
I was becoming desperate. The same way thaf she had become the day I had left her.
And while I was thinking of how ironic it was, nothing, absolutely nothing, could have prepared me for the succeeding response, as I spun her around to face me, and she immediately pushed me backwards with such a force that I was a little disoriented.
One minute I was speaking, hoping she could see sense and treat me like a human at least, and the very next, I was looking at my wife burst into tears, hold her mouth as she had done those weeks before, storm to her bedroom and lock the door, while I stood in shock in the passageway, wondering what on earth that was all about.
And that’s when I saw the trail of something that resembled… vomit on the floor.
“Mohsina,” I called, my voice a little less aggressive now because seeing her like this, unwell and in tears, was something I couldn’t take.
I could hear her coughing, gagging, and after some silence, soft sobs could heard from behind the door. I wanted to break that door down, take her in my arms, and tell her that I never wanted her to hurt again.
But I couldn’t. Not when I was the source of all her pain.
So instead, I grabbed some paper towels, cleaned up what I could and asked her if she wanted me to help her out.
There was still no reply.
“Mohsina,” I almost whispered, my head against the door when everything had become a little quieter. “Please. Open the door.”
Her response was unwavering, despite her probable state.
“I’ll do anything,” I begged, my voice even more gentle. “I just need to talk.”
”Take off your kurta if you want me to come out of here.”
Her voice was stiff and completely formal, despite the connotation of the statement. I felt my ears redden slightly because I really didn’t expect that.
“Mohsina, I-” I started, but she didn’t let me finish.
“And your t-shirt,” her voice cut out again. “Actually, just have a shower. I’ll pass you some clothes. I can’t take that… whatever you’re wearing. That Oud scent you like so much.”
Now, it made sense.
Well, kind of. But it never bothered her before.
“I’m taking you to the doctor early tomorrow,” I said, not believing that she was unwell for so long and she actually never did a thing about it.
”You’re not,” she said, still from behind the door. “I’m perfectly fine. It’s only when I’m around you that I feel like this. Now are you going to scrub off that stench or not?”
She said it like I was stinking.
I couldn’t help but chuckle. At least Mohsina and her attitude was still intact.
”I will, but I want some time with you,” I said strategically. “And I am taking you to the doctor in the morning. Or I’ll call Nani and tell her exactly what’s going on with you. Including the Netflix.”
It was no secret. My wife had her weaknesses. Now and then, when I’d check her phone, I would see the app there. We all have our things that we do. We have to make tawbah, and ask for a way to pull ourselves out of our sins before then take over our hearts.
I could feel her shifting around behind the door, before she settled down again.
I figured that she was probably sitting against it.
And there was nothing else I could do besides slide down with my own back to the door as well, wishing I could see her face as I spoke.
“Rabia and I had a fight,” I said quietly, knowing that she could hear me, and needing to let her know why I was here. “A big one. She is speaking to Faadil. I don’t believe that they are just friends who met randomly and neither do I believe that she never shared things about you with him. I think she’s been very open with him for reasons unknown to me and you know how that makes me angry. I don’t trust him one bit. I don’t trust anything he says. I’m hoping you don’t either.”
There was silence from the other side of the door, but I knew she was listening because of the slight shuffling I could hear.
I wanted an answer but I wasn’t sure if I was ready for it. Maybe I didn’t deserve it.
”I feel like I don’t know who to trust,” I said, hanging my head and closing my eyes. “Every way I turn, there’s been some kind of obstacle. I do know that I owe you an apology for not believing you. I have to be honest. I was shocked and upset, but I know that I crossed a line.”
”Hamzah,” her voice sounded strained. “You don’t owe me anything. I understand that you were just doing what you needed to do, because Liyaket and you were best friends, I understand that you felt indebted to him because Zaid is his child and I was part of the package-“
My voice dipped low as I warned her, hoping she would stop saying all those things that I had said to make me feel like we were nothing.
The thing is, she didn’t understand. We were anything but nothing. We were everything. But so much had happened and now the lines were just so blurry.
“You don’t owe me anything.”
It was all she said, and I didn’t know what else to tell her. My heart was aching for her, with her, but I couldn’t tell her everything on my mind because her and Faadil still happened and I still felt that betrayal. It was just that, right then, knowing that she was here with me now, and not with him… I didn’t feel it so much.
“Go and shower,” her voice said through the door. “I’m going to the lounge. I’ll leave your clothes on the bed. We can talk after.”
Her voice had lost its fire, and I got up slowly, peeling off my kurta and hanging it up in the front while I made my way to the bathroom.
I wasn’t sure what was up with Mohsina, but I made up my mind that I was going to get to the bottom of this. She wasn’t the type who was supposed to be so cut up and broken over a situation. Mohsina was an army. She was strong and feisty. Fierce and determined.
I missed that part of her.
I changed quickly, eager to get back to her and continue our conversation. Coming back to the lounge, I was surprised to see two toasted sandwiches on a plate, waiting for me.
A peace offering? I hoped so.
Maybe not the best outcome here. But it was progress. It was most certainly progress.
I had returned from the ijtima trip that same day, but was forced to storm off the table and come here when Rabia’s comments had become too much for me. In short, I was starving.
I took a seat and watched my wife come closer, half expecting her to retreat, but was pleasantly surprised when she didn’t.
“Cheese and tomato,” she said as she poured us both a glass of water, and I recited Bismillah before taking a sip. “Simple, but my new fave.”
I smiled as I tucked in, enjoying the chillies she had put into it as I ate, stealing glances at her as she nibbled on half a slice.
Something was definitely amiss, and I needed to get to the bottom of it, but I had full faith that it was still going to be okay.
“Sometimes the simple things are the best,” I commented, thinking of how we sometimes aim for big gestures and expensive gifts when peace was priceless. I watched her as she frowned slightly, almost as if she wanted to ask something, but decided to be quiet again.
For a moment, as we sat there, it felt as if no one could touch us. I didn’t want to think of what happened or what was to come. I just wanted to be there, with her, and enjoy the moment.
I didn’t know what was going to happen after.
“We have a lot to talk about,” I said, watching as a strand of hair fell over her face, and I was tempted to reach out and tuck it away. But I didn’t. “Can I bring Zaid tomorrow? He can be here for the night. I’m just hesitant to leave here until we talk this through.”
It was true. I felt that if I had to leave for Zaid, this entire thing would just get postponed. Something would happen that would prevent us from figuring things out. We needed to talk about what happened between us. About how she felt. About whether there was ever a possibility of us reconciling. About what we needed to do from here.
Even if it took the whole night.
Mohsina looked at me, and nodded slowly. She looked slightly deflated, but at least she wasn’t putting a fight up about this.
I already had the plan in my mind. I was going to somehow get us to have a normal grown up conversation. Figure out some things at least.
I was already planning to talk, stay there till the morning, even if it was on the couch, and then take her to the doctor to figure out exactly what was going on with her.
Tomorrow seemed worlds away. As much I wanted to speak about anything and everything, I knew that if we had to start arguing, I would have to leave, and that was the last thing I wanted.
I couldn’t even think about aborting this mission without feeling like scum.
From the blurry lines… now, everything was suddenly looking so much clearer. And maybe I was being overly optimistic, but I was quite certain that tomorrow everything would make sense. That the hope I had invested in us was not completely unfounded.
I reached out as Mohsina watched me, touching the top of her hand with mine, watching her look at me, as if she was startled.
Hold on, my eyes were telling hers.
I don’t know how to, hers were saying back.
I didn’t have to say it. My eyes were full of it.
A beautiful analogy.
And it did end. Well, at least for now, it did. I held on to a sliver of hope, and my heart was already so much fuller.
Nothing was certain in this life, but all I knew was that for tonight, the pain had dulled, and it was going to be okay.
Tomorrow would be another day, and I was just ‘hoping’ that we would have enough hope to pull us through.
Sunnah of Entertaining guests
Hosting and entertaining guests is indeed a significant deed in Islam. The first man to entertain a guest was Nabi Ibrahim (‘alayhis salam).
This quality is directly linked to the level of one’s Iman.
As seen in the above narration, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) coupled honouring the guest with Belief in Allah and the Day of Qiyamah, which are two fundamental aspects of our Din.
Someone asked Ali (RA): “How much was the Sahaba’s love for the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam)”
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..💕