I didn’t expect to get woken up that morning with a cup of my fave coffee next to me.
Seeing that Hamzah was already up and showered, I could hear him clearing the stuff in the kitchen almost as if he’d been cooking, made my heart sing.
I, on the other hand, felt like a slob.
I had been slacking. With everything. Housework. Cooking. Qur’ān. Even salaah had become rushed and inattentive.
But since Hamzah’s arrival, miraculously, somehow, everything had been in check. There he was, Mr Perfect, now perched on the couch next to the room, reciting Surah Yaseen softly but audibly, and I couldn’t help but feel that I needed to go to him with my Qur’ān so I could be his student and just soak up all that Barakah again. He just had that effect on me, and made me want to polish my soul.
After slipping into the pits I had been in, I knew that the only resolution was to focus on cleaning and dusting my souls.
Even though we had talked till I (mistakenly) crashed, Hamzah, like the charged proton he was, was all over everything already.
I stifled a yawn as he peeped his head around the corner of the room door, and I sat up consciously, pulling my hair into a quick pony tail.
“Assalamualaikum,” he said with a small smile. “I won’t ask if you had a good rest. You were lights out.”
I covered my face with my hands as I recalled how I had crashed on the couch. And now, I was on the bed, and I didn’t even think about how I had gotten there when I had woken up at fajr and crashed again.
”Did you have to carry me to the bed?”
It was mortifying. I couldn’t believe that I had passed our while we were in the middle of speaking. How tired was I?
“I managed,” he said cheerfully, and I pulled the covers over my head while I heard him chuckling, right around the same time that I heard my phone vibrate next to me. “Don’t worry, you weren’t drooling. Or snoring.”
”Gee thanks,” I murmured, peeping out and catching a glimpse of Hamzah’s retreating back as I grabbed my phone and sifted through it.
There were messages from my mother, Jameela and even Muhammad Husayn. I missed my brother so much, because now that Jameela was settled and he was growing up and I had so many of my own issues, I felt like I had completely neglected him during the past few months. Lastly, Nani had tried to call – three times, and I hadn’t heard a thing.
Her message came while I held the phone on my hand.
Mohsina. Aunty Khairoon wil fetch me early for taaleem. We will fetch u.
And just when I was getting used to everyone not bothering about me, today, of all days, when I was planning on ignoring them all and spending time trying to figure out my feelings about my marriage, my entire family was on my case.
“Why the frown?”
It was Hamzah’s voice that rang out as I looked up at him.
”Nani,” I said softly, sitting up against the headboard and pulling the blanket up to my chin. Johannesburg was getting super cold and I couldn’t function, even though I was in my fleecy pyjamas. “You know her and taaleem. She wants to fetch me. If I tell her you’re here, she will jump to conclusions and then everyone will know that you spent the night and it will probably be posted on her WhatsApp status.”
”She’ll be thrilled,” he said blandly. “You know how she loves me.”
I didn’t want to tell him that I didn’t want everyone to know that he was here, because they loved him too much to want him with me. Also, even though he had spent the night, he had slept on the couch.
Although I didn’t want to voice it, I was sure that he too didn’t want it to be public knowledge yet and that we should rather just keep it secret for now. We had established that there were people who weren’t thrilled for us and had made it clear that our reunion, when and if it happens, will all be under wraps.
I felt like one of those celebrity couples who the paparazzi were forever after and the strain would eventually get to their marriage. And that was exactly what happened already.
“Tell her you’re not feeling well and you’re going to the doctor-hopefully for a shot that will do some magic,” Hamzah said, stopping to pull on his jumper. “No lies there.”
I nodded and typed out a message, knowing that it may worry Nani but it was better than her turning up here and harassing me about being on top of things.
I ignored my mother’s and Jameela’s messages and snuck behind the other side of the bed to get to the bathroom, because I had actually gotten so used to being on my own that having Hamzah here was very strange indeed.
Speaking to him too, was really strange.
We spoke a lot about Rabia. About how she had gotten involved with this, and why she would do it.
And I was all for women supporting other women, but for Rabia, I just couldn’t seem to see why I should. She never had a good thing to say about people and the fact that she didn’t seem to care made me so mad.
”She really loved that necklace,” Hamzah said, remembering how it ended up at our door. There was a spare key to our apartment block at his parents house and it was obvious that she was involved. “I just don’t know what she got out of this…”
”She separated a married couple,” I said heatedly, watching Hamzah as he fiddled with the threads on the rug. “I can’t believe she would sabotage us like this. That’s so evil. She probably brought the package here after knowing thag he bought it. How she found it, I don’t know. Even if he gave it to her, why would she do this to us, knowing how much it meant to us when we were proposed?”
A lot of pieces weren’t quite fitting together but I had figured out that much. Rabia wanted us apart and would stop at nothing to have it. The fact that my son was there with her in the same house made my blood boil. I had made Hamzah call his parents to make sure that he was with them and no-one else but them. I had reached the point when I couldn’t bare the thought of her toxicity touching him.
”I think she’s really in a bad space,” Hamzah had said, and I looked at him and frowned, because it sounded like he was making excuses for her again.
The thing is, I knew that happened too. People get into bad spaces. But it wasn’t just now that it started. From inception, Rabia never made an effort to be kind.
She never made an effort to even be pleasant with me. And I know akhlaaq was when you are able to overcome those feelings and be good to that person, regardless of how the other person made you feel, but with Rabia, did she really deserve forgiveness?
“I don’t know, Hamzah,” I had said with a yawn, my eyelids feeling heavy already. “It’s hard to just forget this.”
”I know, but I’m working on forgiving her,” he said softly. “I’m angry, but I know that deep down, she’s feeling bad. I know that much and if she has to say sorry, we need to try and mend things.”
Oh my word, the man was blind.
I knew that I should have put up a fight, but I didn’t even want to start an argument. I never thought I’d say this but I just didn’t have the fight in me anymore. I was so tired.
Also, telling him about work after he left and Faadil, the confusion and heartache I felt, and watching the stony look on his face as he digested that, was really hard and exhausting.
And then when he asked me if I’d considered it, I didn’t say anything. After all, it was Hamzah who had made it clear that our marriage was one of convenience for him. We both didn’t expect to fall in love. Feelings were by the way, if he had ever felt anything he said.
And of course, he partly blamed me, for entertaining Faadil all those months, for being with him and for giving him expectations… but where I was at at that time, was somewhere he couldn’t understand. I was grieving in ways that he wouldn’t understand. I needed support and I felt that Faadil was the only one who was willing to give it to me.
I had felt deserted and abandoned in every way possible… because I had forgotten that there was a loving and caring Rabb who was always looking out for me.
And then I lost Layyanah and somehow, it returned me to Him in so many ways.
There were still many things that were left between us. We still had things to talk about. To clarify. I wasn’t sure when we would get the chance but for now I would go with him to the doctor so he could at least leave me alone to think about everything we had talked about. Nothing was happening overnight.
We still had things to speak about. He still had things he had to explain too. But the night was over and in the daytime, reality hit that much harder.
I had just stepped pulled on my fancy pants, so I speedily changed and tried to ignore the unsettling in my tummy as I gulped down the rest of the coffee that Hamzah had brought me. I had lost so much of weight that most of my normal clothes didn’t even fit me. I knew that I would have been more worried if I didn’t have so much to worry about. In a way, I was glad Hamzah was forcing me into this.
I just hoped that the doctors rooms weren’t full so I wouldn’t have to wait too long there.
”Let’s get this show on the road,” I said, walking out the room after applying a tinge of make up.
And yes, I had dressed up – just a tad bit more than usual. I wanted to make Hamzah’s eyes pop slightly, the way they did when I walked past him to get my abaya. Yesterday, I may have been a frumpster, but today, I was wearing my most flattering jeans and a black top that tied up just above the buckle.
I knew that I looked good. Even slightly skinny, after losing all that weight.
By the time I pulled my cloak over and turned to look at him, I could see him deliberately turn away, and I could already feel a triumphant smile spread over my face as he did.
“Everything okay?” I asked sweetly, binning the empty coffee cup that he had brought me, and turning to the door.
Served him right for saying that we were just filling gaps with each other because we missed our best friends. Looked like he was eating his words already.
”Fine,” he said, his voice sounding slightly squeaky, as he held the door open and locked it after me. He still had his key, and I watched him put it in his pocket and avoid my gaze before he followed me to the parking lot.
Being around each other was feeling strange again, and I just wanted to get this morning over with so I could get to Zaid again. I was already thinking about the night and what it would bring, and whether he would want to talk some more, although i tried my best to stop myself from overthinking.
Instead, I knew the best thing would be to move onto neutral topics and hope that normality would shift in soon enough.
”Is Zaid still calling you ‘Hah’,” I asked with a grin, eager for news about my baby as I watched Hamzah silently reverse out the parking. He had not looked at me, or even said a word since we left the flat.
I wished I could read his thoughts.
”Yup,” he said with a shake of his head, glancing at me quickly. “And he calls my mother ‘Da’. ‘s he still calling you nothing?”
He had a small grin on his face and I whacked him on the shoulder, pouting as I remembered how Zaid refused to even acknowledge that I had a name.
At all. Zilch.
And I knew that I wasn’t his real mother, but I took comfort in the fact that at least we had got one thing right. Hamzah was hammering him with it from the time we got him.
And though I was always picked on by Nani about nurturing my phone and not my child, in those initial days of marriage and parenthood, I knew for a fact that I had tried my utmost with being a good mother. I was with Zaid every moment, went all out, breastfed and broke my sleep patterns for him. Hamzah loved him unreservedly, made sure he recited Qur’ān for him every night, and it was no wonder that at eight months, his first proper word was ‘Allah’.
And I knew that Hamzah took the credit because he had started repeating that every morning, as his morning routine when he would wake up, and Hamzah would take him to the lounge after Fajr so I could at least get a little sleep, but what mattered was that it worked.
And since then, he had said everything else beside what I was to him.
I had tried for ‘Mos’, and then for ‘Mo’ and then for ‘Na’ but he was as stubborn as Hamzah. He just looked at me blankly and pointed to everything else besides what I was asking.
Now that I was away from him, it seemed like it was going to be even harder. I didn’t need a reminder of how much of his life I was missing.
“Thanks for rubbing it in. Did you mean it when you said I can have him for a night a week?” I asked, glancing at Hamzah as he drove.
He nodded, but he was back to not meeting my eye.
I suppose being away from Zaid was hard on Hamzah too. The only solution here was if we reconciled but he didn’t bring up the topic and neither did I.
Not yet. Safer topics were best for now.
”If I say something, I usually mean it,” he said, glancing at me before turning into the parking lot for the medical centre.
I was glad that we were there because I didn’t have a pleasant retort for that. He won’t say something unless he meant it. That meant that whatever he had said in the past too, was what he meant. Or did it mean that his apology was also something that he meant more?
We were at a place where things were not yet sorted, and I felt somewhere in between with my feelings. I was recovering from a dark place, and it was scary to have to acknowledge all the work that Hamzah and I still had to in order to get better.
And I was glad that we had just reached the rooms because I didn’t want to dwell on it any more. Right then, I was just glad that Hamzah had brought me here, and even though I didn’t want to come, having some sort of reason or diagnosis to these symptoms would be a relief.
And though I was way to proud to admit it, I would have never have come on my own because I knew that doctors costed an arm and a leg. If j had to be referred to a special, I knew that I would never be able to afford the fees on my humble home industry business earnings. That was why I desperately needed the job Lesley had set up for me. Truthfully, life was damn expensive, and with every passing month, it was getting more.
But that was the grind of reality. And until we saw the way the world was, until we saw the desperation in the eyes of common folk, and realised the real trials that people go through, we never appreciate how blessed we are. Life had been easy recently, but being back in the shoes I was years ago was good for me to realise how much Allah had blessed me.
The thing is, social media tricked us into believing that everyone else’s grass is greener. That the world is beautiful and fair and affordable. There aren’t many instances we see on the gram where we are actually forced to stop and reflect on how much we actually have, because it always leaves us wanting.
And the thing is, there are are often times in our life when we prayed for, visualised, and hoped to be where we currently at. But still, it wasn’t enough.
Once we’ve received our blessings, we often get too worried about the next thing to notice it.
The cycle of chasing the next high never ends. We refuse to be grateful for the moment and stop stressing and overthinking about what’s coming next.
The Hadith speaks about the importance of being satisfied with what we have.
If there was one valley full of gold for the son of Adam, he would long for a second valley, and nothing would fill the stomach/mouth of the son of Adam but sand (of the grave).
And it was so true, because man stopped at nothing when it came to attaining worldly attractions.
And as I thought of the reality, gratitude filled my chest as I thought of how lucky I was that I had the opportunity to come to a private doctor, when others didn’t. We didn’t often think of these things as blessings, but imagining the alternative was something that called for true reflection.
Seeing the rooms weren’t that busy yet was also a huge relief. I took a seat while Hamzah went forward for me, grateful that he wasn’t that macho male type who forced me to do things for myself, trying to avoid contact with anyone who may know me.
And I knew that I was being rude, but I was really in no mood to entertain small talk. I kept my head down and minded my own business and Hamzah came to sit next to me, and when the doctor eventually called my name, I quickly got up to go in.
Hamzah remained sitting on the couch, and for some reason, I couldn’t see myself going in there without him. I looked at him, my entire stance so desperate that the receptionist turned to him and almost demanded him to go in with me.
I gave her a grateful smile, and we had moved toward the door, suddenly extremely wary about what this would all bring.
It was Hamzah asking me but before I even had a chance to answer, the doctor who we had come to see was already in view so I swallowed my excuses and looked at her and smiled.
She was a middle-aged GP who I had been to once before, and as we took a seat and exchanged pleasantries, I was reminded of the last time Hamzah and I were on a doctors room together and how awkward it had been.
I didn’t know that this was going to be even more awkward, as I told her how I was feeling lately. And yes, I know it sounded dumb, but when she looked at me after the basic questions and asked me if Hamzah and I were married, I may have looked at her a bit funny.
What on earth did that matter?
”Have you done a pregnancy test?”
”Err, no,” I said, shaking my head. “I just started a new cycle, and I’ve been on the new pill since, like, 6 weeks ago. That’s probably why I had nausea. Before that I was breastfeeding and it was the mini pills so pregancy- erm, not possible.”
I said it with great confidence and the doctor was looking at me like I was deranged, but she said nothing as she got up, handed me a paper thingum and a cup to pee in and told me that she would see me in three minutes.
I was almost laughing as I thought of how ridiculous this was, and because I knew that this was probably just a waste of time. My cycle had been normal. Almost. Maybe a bit different but not entirely absent.
“But why?” I asked, looking from her to Hamzah, who was looking ten times more awkward than the last time, and I didn’t exactly blame him.
“Let’s just rule one thing out at a time, okay?” She said with a smile, as she opened the bathroom door and ushered me in.
And of course, I was thinking of just dipping the thing in water to prove to her this was ridiculous, but she would probably be able to tell and I didn’t want to waste Hamzah’s money either.
And then, the doubts started entering my mind.
People did fall pregnant on the pill right? It wasn’t like it was unheard of. I hadn’t stopped taking it, but I knew that I hadn’t always been diligent to remember every day at the same time.
I breathed out as I put the stick in the cup, washing my hands and already feeling a little more nauseous as I handed the stick to the nurse in gloved hands, and went out to where the doctor was sitting.
And it may have been my imagination, but as I looked at Hamzah with contempt, pretty sure that I had proven my point, I was certain that he was completely avoiding eye contact.
And just as I was about to ask him if he was okay, I barely expected the doctor to come in and hand me a sheet for bloods, almost as if she already had come to a conclusion and needed a confirmed diagnosis.
“What’s this?” I asked, taking it from her as I watched Hamzah’s face change to a peculiar sort of expression. He wasn’t looking awkward anymore. Nope. Now he was just looking petrified.
Terrified and worried and whatever other complicated and awkward emotion came with all of those.
”Congratulations,” Doctor said with a smile, looking from Hamzah to me. “The result is positive. We need to do some bloods…”
I didn’t even hear the rest. I could barely believe it.
The news had barely even digested before I felt it all consuming me, my body already reacting to the emotions that were building up, probably over all these months.
I may have expected some kind of weird reaction to something I ate. Maybe a bug that was going around and refused to leave. Maybe even malnutrition, because of the way I’d been neglecting myself and my health the past two months.
But this. This was way beyond my wildest expectations.
And because there wasn’t much else I could do, I blinked three times as she continued to speak, almost in a daze, shook my head in absolute bewilderment, and promptly burst into tears.
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..💕