I don’t know what was written in my Qadr. I boarded a bus to Hyderabad and visited Alima Shehnaz. My friend, Shruthi, had mentioned about how Alima Shehnaz provided shelter to muslimahs in need. Masha’allah. I made a call and immediately she sent help. I remember stepping into the shelter home for the first time. I was overwhelmed. Fourteen women. These were women who had no shelter elsewhere on earth yet there was so much joy and positivity. They lived on bare necessities, yet they did went a step ahead to help their sisters around them. Did I think my life was better?
Their stories would bring tears to my eyes. Yet, they laughed, smiled and loved each others like sisters. Every few days there would be a new sister who would enter the home and would become a part of our lives forever. Wallahi, and the glee when anyone would get married and leave! Tears of happiness would swell and we would spring with joy and hopes!
These were the best amongst the ummah. Some of them were young alimas and some were studying to become one. Every weekend we would have classes from ulemas and we were made to get involved in dawah work. Giving dawah was an obligation.
“Invite to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided.” (Quran, an-Nahl: 125)
Alhamdulillah, how at nights we would stand up for tahajjud and you could hear sobs. In dim lights, some would sit and complete their madressah lessons. At fajr we would push and shake each other. A few would often need a splash of water! Then we would stand in the peace of dawn as the adhaan from multiple mosques would fill the room calling us towards success.
We slept on floors. Sometimes when the number of girls became more than number of mattresses that we had, we would sleep two on a mattress! We took turns to sleep under the fan everyday. Alhamdulillah, every new girl was treated as a baby! Perhaps because we knew that feeling one goes through on the first day here.
I was the same when I came there. In true sense I felt what it meant to be someone’s sister in Islam. For the first time I learnt how important hijab was. Something within me changed as I wore the hijab. For the first time I learnt how important it was to live on the path of sunnah. For the first time I learnt to live for the pleasure of Allah alone.
Say: Truly my prayer, and my actions, and my life, and my death are all for God, the Cherisher of the Universe”. (Qur’an, Chapter 6; Verse 162)
As I read more, I wondered why was I so away from practising my deen. I was a muslim, yes, but why was ‘complete submission’ absent? Why in spite of being married into a family that was always a muslim, we stopped doing anything beyond fardh? I witnessed a different meaning of “striving for Allah”. Every woman there amazed me everyday! Masha’allah.
“Friends on that Day will be enemies one to another, except al-Muttaqoon (i.e. those who have Taqwah).” [Qur’an 43:67]
That was my life for three years. Three very short years. Alhamdulillah, I was blessed. Alima Shehnaz always took very good care of us and was our motherly figure. I met people for Allah’s pleasure and loved them for the same. I witnessed Allah’s miracles when someone was given hidayah and returned to Islam. It was one such other day when Alima Shehnaz asked me to visit her.
-“there’s something important to discuss.”, she said
It must be about expanding our madressah I guessed. We have been working on it.
I went to her place that evening. As warm as she always was, she got tea for us. I was giving her all the updates about our home, when she interrupted me.
-” Have you thought about marriage Aairah?”
I was stunned for a few seconds. Marriage? Yes, I missed the comfort and completeness of marriage but I had found my family. I felt the warmth of love here. There was a void deep within but I had accepted my life as it was.
Perhaps….i was scared.
Marriage? Again?… no..
I chose to stay mum.
-“my sister is looking for a pious girl for her son. I don’t know, but I think you are going to be the best match for him Mairah. I have seen you all these years and I think it is time for you to get married. You cannot be here forever. You must complete half our deen.”
Pious girl… these words kept echoing. I? Pious?
-” Saaiq is a very good person Masha’allah. Very serious about deen. A wise and responsible man. Most importantly, a practicing muslim. So is the family. They are well read about the deen and alhamdulillah they will care for you. ”
Women impure are for men impure, and men impure for women impure and women of purity are for men of purity, and men of purity are for women of purity: these are not affected by what people say: for them there is forgiveness and a provision honorable.
To be continued. . .