When the light of Islam started spreading to people during the lifetime of our beloved Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), if there is one outstanding lesson that stayed with me… it is that every change, every stage where conditions are altered, has only benefit for the believer.
And that was why this particular Hadith rang so true:
“Amazing is the affair of the believer, verily all of his affair is good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something of good/happiness befalls him he is grateful and that is good for him. If something of harm befalls him he is patient and that is good for him”
(Saheeh Muslim #2999)
And as I glanced out at the beauty of the skies on that particular afternoon, nothing was clearer to me than the fact that like everything thing else, even the constant change of affairs for the believer, only comes with great goodness.
Because often we become blind to the fact, that if only we look at the life of our blessed Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam), even during the most turbulent times… there was so much to be learnt. So much to note… that when the elation of victory came to his ears, he taught us to smile with appreciation… and at the most gut-wrenching experiences, even he (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) didn’t hold back his tears. In every avenue, our beloved Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) taught us, through his life and his Seerah, that throughout every stage Allah puts us through, throughout every test, there is a beautiful result that not only moulds us, but polishes us to such an extent that we are the ones that shine eternally.
And in the books of Seerah, we understand the truth of these conditions that are so graciously taught. We are shown that after the tragic death of his beloveds, Allah Ta’ala brought our Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam)on a spectacular journey to the heavens. After the aching torture of Ta’if, awaited for him melodious songs of the joyous Ansaar as he entered their city. After the heart-wrenching brutality of Uhud and the heartbreaking loss of his beloved uncle, would be a glorious victory at the conquest of Makkah, that sent hearts soaring infinitely…
After every season, every drought, every difficulty… Allah Azza Wa Jal brings forth something so much more splendid… sometimes even beyond what one can ever encompass.
And I was all caught up in my amazement, revelling in the blooming beauties after the winter chills. Spotting the first rose bud of the new season through the front doorway had already brightened my entire day.
I could barely digest the sight of the gorgeously promising stems and shoots, which were boasting their fervour, full of purply-red potential, and as I breathed in the crisp air letting its freshness fill my lungs until I could breathe in no more, I couldn’t help but let my eyes devour their glorious beauty. I wasn’t even sure how we had gotten to this point.
Ah, life. Once again. After the crop has dried and reduced to something that seems irretrievable, Allah’s promise is that He puts His magic into it, and once again, it gets you inundated with splendour over it.
A new change. A new chance. For us, as human beings, it had become such a strange thing. As our lives morphed and changed into captures and content creation, I sometimes wondered if we were even living, or just pretending to.
Turning my face toward the sun, I wondered how humans had been so deluded. I wondered how we willingly traded those real moments for fake ones. How we traded the feeling of being in a moment, to just capturing it. How we compete, in every sense of the word, for virtual lives.
But now… as I savoured the feeling of wet soil, my hands giving into the sensorial experience, after what felt like months… I felt completely awakened. Inspired. Hopeful. The potential that new opportunities had brought… the medicine that nature had brought in its indulgence, well, I almost couldn’t believe that it was already a whole year since I started and all my plants were still pretty much surviving. Well, most of them anyway…
One, two, three…. well… all the way to sixteen, I had counted.
Though I loved the beauty and grandeur they brought, I wasn’t exactly the dedicated type. I often got caught up in parellel universes and forgot when next I was supposed to be planting but if I wasn’t completely deluded, it seemed like there were actually a few more rose plants than I original had.
I wasn’t sure how that had happened but I did know that Papa had seen to the garden once or twice or at least facilitated it. I just didn’t know who had manicured them so expertly that they looked like they were living an entirely new life.
They were extremely thirsty, but it had not gone without any noticeable advantages. The shoots had appeared almost overnight, with two tiny buds visible, and I knew that the efforts were surely not wasted.
The blazing sun had been tormenting me that day as I squatted next to the flower bed with my gardening set, feeling like I had probably gone fifty shades of sunburnt in that short space of time. Sweat trickled down my chest, but I really didn’t even bother.
I had pulled the bucket out once again with the wheel barrow, making my way to the front of the garden to fill up for the third time now, not realizing what a racquet I was making in the process until I heard the voice of the outdoor worker that Papa used.
“He is asking if we must do it for you?” A voice called out from behind me, in his Zimbabwean accent. “We will water here later.”
I turned slightly, feeling a little awkward.
Firstly, who was the he in question? And secondly, well, how did they even know I was here.
Being a Monday afternoon, when the coffee shop closed, I really expected I had no idea that the noisy wheelbarrow that was passing by the front house every ten minutes had caused a little more of a stir than intended.
“Sorry,” I called, looking at the guy briefly, trying to see if the ‘he’ in question was really him, and wondering if he was watching me. I mean, was dressed decently but I looked like a hobo, but that was the least of my worries right then. “Who will water them?”
“Zubair say it is better to water them later.”
I nodded. So it was him.
Zubair says. I glanced backwards, glimpsing only the shadow of a figure in the window of the front house. How long he may have been standing there, I wasn’t sure.
But anyway. He was right. I had forgotten. And I was busy with them so I thought I might as well do it. I was lazy to come back later when the sun was a little less severe, and I had no idea he did it personally every day. In fact, I had a strong feeling that he was probably responsible for its survival.
“Okay,” I said bluntly, closing the water and hoping he would go back inside. “Later is fine.”
After all, it was my home. I just didn’t realise that Zubair had no life outside work and that he did nothing on his day off but watch all the crazy things I got up to. I mean, where was his family? I was itching to ask Papa why he never visited them. It was just so strange.
And as I lowered my head and moved toward the house, taking my personal tools with me, I couldn’t help but feel a little inadequate.
He probably thought I was this silly airhead just interfering with the roses. It was obvious that he had probably been taking care of them all this time, but it didn’t mean that I couldn’t play my part.
And that too, I knew I had to avoid trying to see him now, because well, I knew I had to watch myself. Lower my gaze. Lower my gaze. Lower my gaze.
I mean, I couldn’t stop reminding myself enough but it was really hard. Plus, I wasn’t there for any sinister intentions so I would make more effort to prove my dedication, and ask Papa to drop me off at the nursery that week where I had bought the potted roses from.
Although it wasn’t a fully fledged nursery, I loved what they had done with the place and every time I went there, I just couldn’t help but feel so much at ease.
The thing was, The Rose Lady with the cute little girl, whose name I had come to learn to learn was Khawlah, actually owned the entire place and opened her wonderful garden up to disadvantaged children. She had the most amazing plants and set-up, and the tree! There was nothing more I wanted to do than just sit there with a book and dose off while I listened to the sound of birds teetering above me. And not only did she open it up as a play area… but she had also mentioned that her husband also did Hifdh classes there… which made the place even more amazing.
And of course, my heart was completely melted because the last time I went, there were a whole bus of underprivileged smaller kids who had come to make use of the facilities, while she taught them how to plant seedlings, and they were just so amazing to watch.
I wasn’t sure what her story was, but I remembered her daughter telling me once that her Abba had passed away before she was born and he had cancer. I wanted to cry when she had said it, ok such a indifferent way, almost as if it was a very natural thing to happen. And though I didn’t know any more than that, every time I met the lady, she was so sincere in whatever she did and always gave me extra seedlings to plant and so much of advice, that I kept wanting to go back to support her…
And as I entered the house, still lost in my thoughts, I sincerely hoped that one day,l I could hear and learn from her story. My mind was still stuck on that gorgeous garden, when my sisters voice rang out next to me, making me jump with shock.
“There you are!”
I looked up as I heard her voice, a smile creeping on my face because this was one of the best surprises today. I didn’t even know that Mohsina was back from the farm and the fact that she was here was an immediate anti-depressant.
“Tell me Zaid is here?” I said, hugging her tightly and looking hopeful, but also knowing that he sometimes went to Liyakets mother when they were
Mohsina’s bright smile was even more promising.
”He is,” she said, as my mother came in with my little sweetheart, and honestly, seeing him made me feel as if my heart was going to burst. I had missed him so, so much.
”Did you tell Nani you are coming?” I said, taking Zaid from my mother whilst she dialled someone on the landline and went out again.
“Ma just did,” she said with a sheepish grin. “And Maahira is also popping in. She’s going back next week after the last Samoosa run. Really waiting to hear about that one! Anyway, I desperately needed to get away from the house. Rabia is driving me bonkers and Hamzah is completely oblivious. He’s not even in a rush to move. I feel like I need to run away.”
Uh oh. I knew that Mohsina’s sister-in-law was a bit of a nosy one, but I didn’t quite understand that she could be so manipulative. At least it was a temporary arrangement that they were all together till their place was ready. But if Hamzah wasn’t ready to move, well….
“Soon you’ll have your space,” I said soothingly, as she rolled her eyes, looking outside as the men left for salaah and Zaid gurgled into my neck.
“If she doesn’t decide she’s moving in with us,” Mohsina retorted, making her way to the three seater couch in the interleading room, and plugged something into the wall. She looked exhausted as she rolled her eyes.
I looked at it, a little confused at first as I saw her opening her cloak, when realisation dawned. I could not believe that I had forgotten!
“Oh my word, Mos,” I squealed, widening my eyes and looking at her as she narrowed her eyes at me. “I completely forgot. How’s the whole dudu-thing going?”
She flushed slightly as she fiddled with her shawl, trying to adjust herslef so she didn’t expose anything unsightly, and then smiled. It really was a tricky thing, this breastfeeding thing, wasn’t it?
“The Dudu thing is making me feel like a cow,” she said, not looking impressed.
I tried not to pay too much attention as the low hum of the pump sounded; playing with Zaid as he cooed and blubbered obliviously.
”Sorry about the noise,” she said, rolling her eyes in exasperation. “Trying to increase supply. It’s like a mission to pump, and you don’t understand how sore it is. It’s just as well that Zaid doesn’t have teeth.”
Now, that, would definitely be funny.
“Hey,” she squealed, not impressed by my concealed giggles as I turned my face away. “Not you too. Hamzah finds the entire thing very amusing. Calls me Cow in the City. Just rude, if you ask me. You guys don’t understand how much of pressure it is. Wanting to succeed. Why don’t you guys try and see how this feels?”
”No way!” I said, looking at her squarely, and then cracking a smile. “Did you offer Hamzah to try too?”
I laughed at the thought while Mohsina just shook her head and gave a small smile as Zaid rolled over and got into crawling position on the carpet. I couldn’t believe he was already so big. It was only a few weeks and he was already like a little man.
“Hamzah just has a big mouth,” she said after a few seconds, rolling her eyes again. “But shame, he helps a lot. I’m quite surprised. Although he is regretting being my Hifdh teacher. It’s the only time I actually see him looking like he may lose his cool. He says he needs more cheesecake supply as payment…”
Mohsina was grinning as she said it, but I was honestly so happy that she actually started with this part of her journey. I knew that she really wanted to start with classes or something else worthwhile.
Honestly, it was the most romantic that the Qur’ān had actually brought them together…
That was like Muslim couple goals.
“You’re lucky he has the patience for it,” I said, thinking how sweet it was. I mean, that was what I wanted. The romantic kind of Muslim love story that couples used each other to get to Jannah together with…
She shrugged, obviously not realising how lucky she really was to find such a good guy after everything, as we heard voices entering the entrance hall. I realised that Maahira or Nani had probably arrived, and Mohsina looked at me, as she answered.
“I know,” she said solemnly, almost as if she read my mind, with a small smile, as Maahira entered. “He’s a great teacher.”
Maahira had literally entered the room, looking af Mohsina with a sly smile as she heard what she just said.
”Who’s a good teacher, eh?” She said with a smirk. “And what exactly is he teaching?”
Mohsina laughed and got up to hug her friend, eager to catch up with all the lost time in between the wedding and Maahira leaving for London again. Since Maahira had been down, it had only been a few times that they had seen each other before Mos made Nikah and then everything just got even more crazy after.
I sat quietly in the corner with Zaid, while I listened to her talking about the Samoosa run escapades that made her lose hope in ever being married. Now she was ready to go back and hope for better luck next time.
“Or you might find someone in London?” I piped up hopefully, seeing how much Maahira wanted to settle down. And I got it. She wasn’t getting younger. But also, I knew Allah would reveal the right person to get at the right time…
“Yup, but in my circles they won’t exactly do the Samoosa run Halaal kind of way,” she said simply, looking deflated.
“I got a plan though,” Mohsina said, looking at Maahira with a cheeky grin. “Maybe Hamzah and I can come visit and we can make our own kind of Samoosa runs. You know? Hamzah can pick a guy from one of those Turkish places and bam. Why can’t the guys family do all the Samoosa frying for a change?”
Maahira laughed, while they chatted about what the outcomes there would be, while I found my mind actually musing over it too. I mean, okay, maybe not exactly the Samoosa thing, but if a women had to put forward proposals more often and it was actually not looked down as being immodest or forward….
“But why not?” I said, just voicing my thoughts and shrugging just shoulders. “After all, Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) accepted a proposal from Khadijah (RA) and it wasn’t frowned upon at all. She saw him, she admired him, and she put forward her proposal. She was wealthier and shared everything with him thereafter.. What’s wrong with it?”
Maahira agreed, and winked at me.
“You’re right, Jamz,” she said with a grin. “The next guy that I fancy, I’m definitely going to talk to his mother. And you should do it too.”
And while she laughed it off, I couldn’t help but notice Mohsina sneak a sideways glance at me, while I remained silent. For a moment, I was sure that there was a flicker of something in Mohsina’s eye but she didn’t say anything, until Maahira left the seating area to take Zaid to look out the window, while he cooed noisily.
”Jameela,” she said quietly, her brown eyes narrowing slightly as she watched me. “Are you still entertaining thoughts about that guy?”
Oh gosh. Why did I have to put my foot in it.
“What guy?” I said innocently, pulling at a thread on the carpet. I didn’t meet her eye.
“You know who I’m talking about,” she muttered quietly. “You’re still young for marriage. Why don’t you study or something? Get something to secure you. Anything.”
I shrugged. I wasn’t interested in studying, especially not as a security. While Mohsina still believed that a degree was essential, I was pretty content doing a small business or something creative if ever I needed to. I loved to draw, had learned to sew that year … and I really enjoyed designing things too.
After all, I had designed the rooms that were being put up for the glamping site. I was sewing the aprons that the cashier and coffee shop workers used too. I loved using my hands and working with them. It was a constant thing that kept me busy.
The corporate world though, was most definitely not for me, because I had seen first hand how it sucked every ounce out of my sister. I had hated it. If I had to study, an Islamic course, or something at the local madrassa would be better for me. Just not right then.
“I’m happy where I am,” I said. “I help daddy with the coffee shop and the new project. I can bake. Sew. Or do other stuff to earn money. Whatever. And I’m going to be 19 soon…”
Mohsina wasn’t quite impressed though.
”Still too young,” she snapped. “And you know you shouldn’t even think of him. He’s not an option. He’s got no proper job. No money. No degree. He’s dangerous, in every sense of the word, and I don’t want to see my sister getting hurt.”
Was he really? I mean, I had believed he was but for the past few months, there was nothing further from danger that I saw. He was kind and polite, went to the mosque for every salaah, plus he was modest and extremely well- mannered. Everyone who met him spoke well of his demeanor. I’d never spoken to him unnecessarily or directly, but everything I saw about him wasn’t what she made it out to be.
Mohsina was just forming her own invalid opinions in her head and I didn’t think it was fair. Not fair at all actually.
“I’m not going to get hurt,” I said, shaking my head. “It’s not like that.”
I wasn’t sure how to tell her. Like when you like someone, well… why couldn’t I ask my father for advice? Papa seemed to love him to bits. Maybe he didn’t have money or status, but all that wasn’t important to me. All I wanted was someone who was good and kind and looked after me.
“Just stay away from him,” Mohsina whispered, as Ma and Nani walked into the room now. “Else you know what will happen.”
I sighed, looking at my sister, feeling a little down as I watched Nani go all gaga over her and Zaid, before Hamzah made his appearance after Salaah, and the attention would probably be diverted. I couldn’t even argue my point with her now. Since Mos had mentioned it, I really wondered if she was right. Perhaps I was being a bit too hasty.
And as the rest of them got busy yapping about nothing in particular, and Hamzah and my brother entered on the other side of the lounge, the noise levels were just a little overbearing. And I knew I was being a little grumpy because of what Mohsina had just told me, but I couldn’t help how I felt.
I had made my way to the kitchen to grab a few drinks and clear my head, and just as I opened the fridge, the sound of our house bell had already sounded. And of course, with me being closest to the door, it only made sense that I should be the one to get it. With all the excitement (mostly Nani’s, when she saw Hamzah), who knew if they even heard the bell?
And so, tucking three drinks under my arm, and two in my one hand, so I could free up the other hand to answer the door, I peeped through the window to the right of the door, seeing a Muslim girl at the front patio.
And yes, I was a little paranoid since the last time when our doorway was darkened by Zubair and his uncle, but looking out to see a hijaabi girl with a pretty smile on her face… my heart was already settled.
Pulling the door open, I had plastered a pleasant smile on my face. I had assumed that maybe it was someone who just came to the house instead of the coffee shop, or someone who probably needed directions…
And as I greeted, she hastily replied to my greeting, and while doing so, something in her expression just made me feel at ease with her. For some reason, it felt like I met her before, but I knew I didn’t…
”I’m so sorry,” she breathed, her face all exasperated and full of expression, as she spoke again. “You must be wondering who I am and why on Earth I’m here… my name is Nusaybah…”
”It’s okay,” I said, wanting to explain that we were used to it. But she was already explaining.
“My friend Khawlah… you know… she sells all the amazing garden stuff a few roads away. She says that my brother once had some rose plants delivered to your address. I figured that maybe he may know you guys… Or you may know him?”
And I was a little stunned as I began to process it, because without even knowing, someone had obviously been adding to my rose garden.
“I’m sorry,” I said shaking my head, still a bit confused. “Who is your brother?”
She immediately slapped her palm in her forehead comically, looking ridiculously humoured by her own demeanour. I didn’t realise that just like our doorway was darkened with her brother a few months back, after the doom that came with that… now, with her eccentrically bubbly approach, it was to be most certainly brightened by this very boisterous character…
“I’m sorry,” she blubbered apologetically, her mouth opening comically and her eyes still wide. “Silly me! His name is Zubair. Tall, dark and handsome, you know?! My father is being stubborn, and refuses to even check on him or track him down. I’m only down for one week more and I had to literally do an investigation to find this address. This is my absolute last resort. Please, please, tell me… Do you have any idea where he is?”
Sunnah of Forgiveness:
With the New Islamic Year already here, and these auspicious days, one of the lessons from the Seerah is how Nabi (SAW) forgave his oppressors, and let go of old whims.
A sublime quality that Nabi (SAW) inculcated into his life on various occasions, and especially on the occasion of Hijrah.
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..💕