Part 61 Jameela
I truly believe that there’s no better place to spend the springtime than outside, with the grass beneath your toes, sun shining hot, wind blowing cold, sitting under the towering jacaranda trees, letting violet-tipped blossoms fall all around you.
And as my morning dwindled away in that very nature and I finally decided that it was time to find my way back inside, savouring the feeling of morning air that draped itself around me like a new dress, I couldn’t help but soak it all in.
Green upon green… beauty upon beauty… met my hungry eyes as I glanced back, feasting on the glorious colours that springtime had brought. Untying my soiled gardening attire and flinging it on a low bush beside the kitchen entrance, i couldn’t help but smile as I heard Nani’s voice, picking flowers and making a bouquet to post next to the kitchen counter when I stepped back inside.
It was just one of those days that I felt direly in need of having springtime sprinkled over everything.
As much as we appreciate the beauty of Spring, as we witness the splendour of the seemingly dead being revived, as colours spring from nowhere, and possibilities are abundant… when sweetness blooms… we tend to forget that our lives and our hearts need a season of blooming too.
The truth is that the true nature of the human heart is as whimsical as spring weather.
And to aid the heart, the Qurʾān and the Sunnah are two flowers whose fragrances are only smelt after they are watered. They are the spring of our life that revives our lost soul, waters our parched hearts and plant seeds of hope once again. They are a mercy to mankind, reminding us that our hearts can still bloom with love and gratitude, in appreciation of the gift that Allah sent to restore our brokenness once again.
I would never forget the first colour of spring bloom that year, and the point in time which I spotted it just before the kitchen window as Nani spoke nineteen-to-the-dozen in the backdrop. It had started off with an amazingly unique, peachy colour, as it opened into a bronzey orange that twinkled in the sunlight and that I found simply enchanting.
”I heard our Mosee is gone to the stay at Hamzah’s Dadi,” Nani was saying, her eyes looking even more serious than ever as she glanced at me coming in, her hands busy with chopping the coriander for her next batch of samoosas. “I hope she is behaving properly and not being lazy, like how she acts here. Won’t even lift a spoon and act like she is so busy with the baby. I won’t be surprised if her mother-in-law and sister-in-law are watching her every move and complaining.”
”I don’t think that her mother-in-law is with them,” I said innocently, purposely not divulging Mohsina’s annoyance about the fact that her sister-in-law was constantly in her face.
That was marriage though. There’s always someone who will annoy or irritate you and you have to just keep having Sabr and be the best kind of person you can to them.
Often in our journey in life, we forget that everything about our purpose in life should be channeled toward getting closer to our creator.
And of the most sublime characters of the propagations of Islam, is the quality that trumps all other. Good character. How we treat others.
“Also,” I piped up, remembering that she had actually been trying to create a good impression. “She took some cheesecakes with.”
”Chi,” Nani said, shaking her head, not looking impressed in the least. “One tray of cheesecakes? Whose nose that will go into? When I got married we cook big, beeeeg pots of food and roll 5 kilo flour of rotis every Saturday. No one to even help until Nanas brother got married. If I had baby, I would put baby on top of counter and do work.”
Eish. Nani and her competitiveness. Honestly, it was like the people were made different back then. How they managed, I don’t know.
“But mummy, she’s improved a lot,” Ma said, sticking up for Mohsina. “From not even making a breakfast now she even fries an egg for Hamzah every day. At least she is giving him something.”
”Bhengori, you always defend her,” Nani said stubbornly, raising her finger as she pushed her scarf back. “From day one, Mohsina never learn to cook. Only one thing you and Iqbal taught her: study, study and study. Big big accounting books and no Indian delights. Jameela, you don’t get all these funny ideas. You can only study best BSc. Baking, sewing and cooking. That’s how you will keep your husband happy.”
I smiled, not trusting myself to say anything else. From my friends who were married, I knew that cooking was something that they all struggled with at first. Our generation was just a teeny bit spoilt. Our mothers did everything for us. But as I saw Mohsina growing and learning in marriage, I knew that there was hope for me too.
Besides, I knew that men weren’t only worried about stuffing their faces, right? What about love? I was a sucker for love. Feelings. Emotion. That was important too, right?
“You will have no troubles if you can keep husband happy,” Nani was going on as she cleaned the dhaniya. “And that other doctor I was talking about, Jameela, I think we must go and meet Khairoon and he can see you-“
”Mummy, I’m not sending my daughter like that so one boy can see her,” Ma said stubbornly, raising her eyebrows as she sipped her cup of tea. “If he wants to see her we need to ask Jameela if she is okay with it and then he can come home properly.”
I smiled shyly, not really feeling this whole proposal thing. They just made it sound so unromantic. Meet the boy. See if you click. And then… it’s the waiting game.
But also, maybe I needed to wake up and say goodbye to the dream of being swept away by my Prince Charming and stop saying no to every guy that everyone suggested.
For Mohsina to actually encourage me to get married before twenty was a big thing.
“Bhengori, how can she not be okay with it?” Nani said in gujarati. “Don’t give them so many choices, you must decide and let her meet him at least.”
Goodness, I must just meet all these random men. My nerves will be frazzled. The situation would be so awkward. What if I hated him?
To me, she turned and said:
”Jameela, he is sooo fair and handsome, like one white man he is,” she said dreamily, and I couldn’t help but giggle.
For Nani, fairness was gold. Why were Indian people so shallow?
What about his akhlaaq? His Deen? His attachment to the masjid? What about how he deals with people.. and how much of the Sunnah he has in his life.
Either way, Nani was going on about him like he was some kind of faultless being that fell from Jannah and also, well… if he was so nice, why didn’t she marry him?
“But Nani, I don’t think white men are my type,” I said meekly, trying to crack a joke.
“But he is a doctor,” Nani said excitedly, as if that was the be all and end all of life. “Khairoon already said he wants to come and all you have to say is yes and they will come tomorrow.”
No. She cannot be serious. This was pressure. I could feel my cheeks flaming up as Nani and my mother looked at me expectantly.
”Er, okay,” I found myself saying weakly, knowing that I was going to regret it.
The look on Nani’s face was priceless though, and I supposed it was worth her excitement if I had to sacrifice my own comfort for a little while.
And as I left the kitchen, leaving my mother and Nani to make their plans for tomorrow, I couldn’t help but feel an odd sinking kind of sensation in my gut.
And as my eyes fell on the dusty peachy orange colour of the rose as I stepped out into the afternoon sunshine, my hand automatically stretched out to enjoy the natural feel of it’s silky petals and I couldn’t help but feel my heart lifting. No matter what happened… what my heart endured… Nature just brought something out in me that I couldn’t even describe.
I would purposely go out there and read my Qur’ān and soak in all the goodness that it’s words had to offer me in this surreal setting.
I had purposely escaped Nani because I knew that spending more time around her was going to give me nerves, and as I heard someone come from behind me, I couldn’t help but smile as I glimpsed my father coming down the stairs after me.
I knew that he had been busy lately with the shop and trying to think of new ideas to keep things going. From time to time, I assisted and I knew a little about the worries he faced and him hoping not to fall back into the hands of loan sharks and people who would threaten his peace of mind.
“Salaam Papa,” I said softly as he approached me, stretching out his arm to squeeze my shoulder affectionately. I leaned in for a short embrace, realising how much I’d missed my father the past few days while I had been avoiding the coffee shop.
My father’s arms, for me, had always been a safe and comforting place. I knew that for Mohsina, being as independent as she was, she didn’t see him quite the same way. For her, Papa was the one who needed the protection. Papa was the one who would turn to Mohsina for guidance and if there was ever a problem, she always knew exactly what to say. How she took on so much was beyond me…
“I hear they’re planning your marriage,” my father said, grinning as he saw me roll my eyes. I wasn’t surprised to hear that Nani would probably even start shopping for her outfit tomorrow.
“You coming to the shop?” he said, looking at me with a smile. It was a Saturday and one of the busier days of the week.
“Are you alone there today?” I asked, not revealing anything in my expression.
He simply nodded and then looked at me again. I didn’t know that Papa was alone.
But as he said it, I vaguely remembered Nusaybah mentioning something about her and Zubair going to see a grandparent that weekend, which was something that her brother has asked for time off for.
And I couldn’t help but remember the day before when I was out there, thinking anout what a wonderful person Nusaybah was. When I first met her, I never thought that she would turn out to such an amazing character.
Meeting her was like a gust of fresh air that came with so much of amazement and splendour. Not only did I learn about the beautiful character of the Nusaybah bint Ka’b who her mother named her after, but I learnt so much more.
Nusaybah bin Ka’b (RA) was a well-known ‘sheroe’ of the time and gained a reputation as the most distinguished woman who took part in the Battle of Uhud. She was one of two women who expressed an interest in swearing their Bayah or allegiance to the Prophet (Sallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) in the second pledge at Aqaba. She believed that a woman had the same duty in defending the new religion as a man.
When I met Nusaybah, her character was so similar to the war attendant she was named after, that every time I looked at her, all I could see was this amazing and determined young lady who wanted to help the world. She was so quirky and animated, but at the same them, so focused on Deen and just trying her best to be the best.
Most of all, I could see she had this deep-rooted concern for her brother, and having no mother, had stepped into that role from ages back. She often spoke about how Zubair was so young when he lost his mother, and how she always tried to toughen him up before she died. And though she didn’t go into much detail about her brother due to obvious reasons that she probably did not want to divulge… I figured that she really loved her brother and just wanted the best for him…
“Jameela,” my father said, jolting me back to reality, and there was a flicker of concern in his dark brown eyes as he looked at me. “Are you happy with meeting this doctor boy?”
I looked at my father, not meeting his eye as he said it.
I stayed silent and looked down, feeling too shy to say anything more, as he ruffled my hair, noted my silence, and then walked along again without saying a word more.
There were times when I felt that maybe Papa knew more than he let on. After all, it was Papa who was always around when I tried so hard to mask my feelings and disappointment when Zubair would barely even acknowledge that I existed. And I knew it was wrong and that I had to fight my feelings, and this was precisely why I had been making myself even more scarce, and I think Papa knew it.
But how did I even explain that to my father?
I caught myself in the nick of time, before my little train of thought ran into a full daydream, because I knew very well that even thinking of the possibilities was steering my thoughts into dangerous territory.
As much as I tried to stop myself from forming any sort of attachment, there were some things I couldn’t control… like the severity of my beating heart when he came into the vicinity, or the fifty shades of pink I would turn if anyone mentioned his name. It was like long before we even knew of each other, something within me already had an inkling that at this point of my life, this guy would appear and take over all my sanity.
Stop, I warned myself, trying with all my might to control my nafs. My sister had warned me way too many times about him.
He wasn’t good enough. Not rich enough. Not educated enough.
He was far from suitable and I couldn’t even think about a future with someone who had no proper form of income. My father himself was still finding his footing, and to depend on him to support us was quite ridiculous. Right?
And as I walked along, with no real purpose, with the thought of everything had happened and the mention of Mohsina as well, I knew that it may be about time to check in on her. I suppose I better tell her that Nani was quite intent on calling Doctorsaab home, and that would probably be something she might want to be back home for the following day.
I recalled that she had a hectic week with people going crazy on her on Instagram after someone falsely accused her of some sinister intentions, and I hadn’t spoken to her much about it. How people could just divulge and share things with no verification was beyond me. I knew that it was a lesson to take. Social media was such a horrible platform because with the click of a button, someone’s izzat can be completely ruined.
Feeling for my phone, which I could never seem to hold onto for very long, I found myself heading back inside, purposely ignoring Nani’s voice from the kitchen.
I couldn’t deal with her excitement right then, and as I reached the lounge, the buzzing of my phone was coincidental as I grabbed it and scanned the screen, immediately seeing Mohsina’s name.
Jamz, I need to know something.
It was a simple question but I wasn’t sure what it was about the message that got me on edge.
My reply was casual and simple but I was dying to know what she was asking.
Was there anyone else who saw Faadil the day he came home?
That was random. Why on earth was she revisiting the past like that? Unless Hamzah…
Oh no, I was already getting nervous for her.
Me: Did Hamzah find out ??!
Mos: Just answer the question. I can’t call right now, but…
My heart was beating steadily in my chest, as I tried to think back to that day. I was in the coffee shop, pulling out the sack of flour when I saw him in his formal attire, and as I spoke to him briefly… it was clear to me then.
Clear as day.
Me: Zubair saw him from a distance. Is everything okay?
I was well aware that she didn’t like Zubair and I truly hoped that she was not going to pin anything on him.
Mos: I told Hamzah about Faadil.
Oh my word. My heart thudded in my chest as I read the message again.
Me: Mos. Is he okay?
It was a dumb question. Of course he wasn’t okay. I couldn’t imagine how that must feel. I didn’t ask her how much she said. I just hope she told him enough to clear the air.
Mos: You know Hamzah. He hasn’t said much but I can tell he’s upset. Probably hurt. We can’t talk much… we’re not home, and his sister is hovering over us like a sniper. I didn’t tell him about the day of the Nikah.
Me: You didn’t?
I was incredulous. Why was my sister like this? Why?
Mos: He will never believe that Faadil came of his own accord, and that will break him, Jameela.
Oh hell. Now I knew why she was asking. She was intending on keeping that a secret.
But was it wise?
I typed quickly, hoping to reassure her.
Mos, I don’t think that Zubair will ever say anything.
She took a few moments to reply this time, but I could see that she was typing.
I hope so, Jameela. I’m worried. My sister-in-law knows something and is causing problems for me and if this ever comes up, I don’t think Hamzah will ever believe that I wasn’t involved with him at that time. It just looked so bad…
She’s right. It looked really bad. It was as if she was stringing Faadil along all that time, when she was supposed to have ended things with him and decided to marry Hamzah. What was going through Faadil’s head at that time, I couldn’t understand either…
But the truth was completely different.
Let me think.
I sent those three words, hoping that it would settle her mind and make her stress less. Zubair was just a worker here. I doubted that he would get involved in things that didn’t concern him. i knew that there was no way.
I sighed, feeling a headache come on at the mere thought of all the admin this would entail.
Even the soothing scent of roses as I walked back to the house did nothing for my peace of mind, as a trudged along this time, wondering how on earth my sister got herself involved with a character like Faadil in the first place. Something that started with sin could never end in peace…
Now, there was this whole secret and Zubair was in the middle of it.
I felt as if she wanted me to tell him to be quiet.
I took a deep breath as I headed out, knowing that a small walk would help to settle my thoughts.
Maybe I could talk to Nusaybah or leave some kind of anonymous note. I wasn’t sure how exactly I was going to get the message across but I was quite worried for Mohsina and concerned about what this could bring.
Taking a walk around the yard as the sun made its way out for the day, I didn’t even realise that I was heading to the front of the property where the little houses and empty stable was.
With the sun blazing now in full force, I found myself trudging along thread the semi-dilapidated building that hosted a few different rooms, and two separate bathrooms for staff. I didn’t often come out there because there really was no need.
I knew that Zubair stayed around the front of the building and I purposely steered clear of that section, not wanting to intrude and intending on passing by without even giving it a second glance. Knowing that he wasn’t around today also made me a little braver, as I found myself looking around a little more intentionally, wondering which room exactly belonged to him.
And as I purposely killed the curiosity and went around the back, despite the little yellow flowers that were blooming on the sides of the hedge, noticing that the part of the grounds were quite neglected, I couldn’t help but wander up the back pathway was looking like it needed a serious clean up. It was dreary and sandy and in dire need of some pressure hosing, and as I walked up to the little door that was once a store room for the horses equipment, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of eeriness as I approached… despite the scent of spring blooms in the air.
The cobbled pathway right there looked as if it was completely neglected, and for some reason, I was extremely wary about what may lie beyond the closed wooden doors that were now straight ahead of me. They were the typical old, oak farm style doors that were surprisingly heavy to shift, despite them being quite worn out, and as I found myself right in front of them, I couldn’t help but try and do just that.
And as I knocked on the door, just to be safe that no one was around, I couldn’t help shift myself around as I pulled up my dress slightly and used all my lower body force to attempt the door to budge.
Using my entire body weight now, it felt almost as if something was pushing against the door, stopping it from opening for some odd reason. As hard as I tried to dislodge it, it only budged like two centimetres, before getting stuck agaIn. And the more resistance it gave, the more determined to get in there I was, for some reason. I pushed and huffed a few times, putting all my effort into it, until something behind finally relented and it swung open to a certain point, giving me a tiny space just to move into and enter.
And as my eyes adjusted to the mild lighting and my eyes caught sight of what was ahead, I had to literally stop my legs from buckling underneath me, as I gazed in absolute shock.
All I knew right then was that everything that I had thought about Zubair… every little idea or inkling that we had ever assumed was true… was nothing further than the truth.
What was in front of me was the most unassuming thing that I could have ever imagined. All I knew right then was that this dark secret that had been revealed to me in this unexpected way was no coincidence, and in the depths of my heart…
I knew that there was no saving anyone from what would unfold from here.
Mission Revive a Sunnah: Avoiding Suspicion
Many times, messages, post and videos go viral on social media. It creates a frenzy of discussion and debates and often leads us to jump to untrue conclusions.
Giving people the benefit of the doubt is part of the Sunnah. We should also avoid reposting anything that we don’t know the source of or which we cannot verify.
Abu Hurairah (Radiallaho Anho) reported that Nabi (Sallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said something to the effect: “Be aware of suspicion for suspicion is the worst of lies.”
May Allah Ta’ala save us from being suspicious and harbouring ill thoughts of others.
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..💕