It was a beautiful morning. My three year old, Fur’qān, was playing in the yard. I was making his favourite strawberry smoothie. His cackle never fails to mesmerize me. Every time I hear him laugh, I burst into laughter myself. Alhamdulillah. The coolness of my eyes.
And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.” Those will be awarded the Chamber for what they patiently endured, and they will be received therein with greetings and [words of] peace. [Al Qur’an 25:74, 75]
I heard my phone ringing. I guessed it must be mummy (my mother in law). It must be 8am in India and this is when we usually call each other everyday. My mobile screen shows India code but it isn’t mummy’s number. I wonder for a while. It has been quite sometime that I got a call from anyone else in India.
– “Hello?”, it was more of an inquisition than a greet
The response swept the floor off my feet
-“Mairah, is that you? Please, please respond… it’s me, Kabir”
I kept mum. I didn’t know what to say. The same voice, but softer and lot more humble.
– ” Mairah, Aafiyah- my wife. Aafiyah and I, lost our baby…”, his voiced choked. Did I hear him sob?, “..and she is counting her last minutes. She wants to meet you Mairah. That’s the last thing she asked from me. I know you’re in Singapore, I got your number from Shruthi and I know it is not easy to come over but please …please if you could.. We’re in Sanjeevani hospital.”
There was a long pause. I could still hear sobs, some other words and murmurs. As for me, I was still. Emotionless. The silence was interrupted by Fur’qān’s laughter. I disconnected the call and rushed to him. Carried my baby, held him close to me. It took a while to sink in what just happened. Was I dreaming?
The phone rang again. Same number. It wasn’t a dream. I disconnected the call and turned off my phone.
It’s been 8 years and now she wants to meet me? Of course I would never go. My heart feels this overwhelming pain..
And surely We shall try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and crops; but give glad tidings to the patient, Who says, when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return”: They are those on whom (descend) Blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance. (Al-Baqarah 2:155-157)
I remember the Mairah, who was… the 24year old young divorcee. A revert to Islam. Disowned by parents, shunned by her husband for another woman. As I close my eyes, those moments flash as a nightmare. Crystal clear.
8 YEARS AGO…….
It was my birthday the next day. Kabir had been coming home late since the last month. Too much work load I guessed. Year after year, for the last 8 years he had always planned the best surprises on this day. I couldn’t wait to know what awaited this year! I considered myself so lucky to be married to him. We would celebrate our 7th anniversary this September. I smiled remembering how beautiful these years had been.
I was 16 when I met him. My best friend, Sarah, had called me over for lunch. It was not uncommon for me to visit her place for meals but what I didn’t know was that her brother had returned from the UK. It was love at first sight he says! Not for me…
Sarah sure had introduced Islam to me. Over the next year, I went even deeper and Alhamdulillah perhaps he was sent to me to turn me towards Allah subhanah wa ta’ala. I don’t know what I did to deserve this life and to deserve this deen. Life swirled as a whirlwind in this year. As anyone would, my parents believed I have been brainwashed. They refused to see me ever again. However, life had plans for me! Kabir asked me to get married and l leapt to say yes! I was a 17year old bride, beaming with joy and glee.
That was then and it is beyond 7 years now! Alhamdulillah. I startle as the doorbell rings. Ah! It’s 11:45pm. It’s late but still on time to celebrate my birthday at 12:00am! I open the door smiling from ear to ear. He looked tired and disinterested. Perhaps acting! I give him water and sit next to him waiting for the next 15 minutes to pass.
– “Mairah… I have something to tell you”
I stare at him wide eyed. Holiday? New dress? Long drive? Gift?
-” Mairah, I love someone else”
Uhhh, the same old joke. I love my work. I love Mumbai. I love mumma. I love our future baby. He really thought this would panic me? It made me chuckle!
-” I wish to divorce you Mairah.”, his gaze lowered. The clock struck 12:00. My phone started ringing vehemently.
To be continued. . .