“Ma, I have become a muslim”.
I said it. I didn’t have the courage to look at her. My gaze remained low as my mother expressed her anger, anxiety, fears and sorrow. I knew she is in pain but it was a part of me that I had to tell her. She deserved to know it.
There were desires I carried. Desire to pray all five times, to wear a hijab, to learn arabic, to marry a practising muslim and of all to be what I want in front of the world. Today was my first step towards it. I know she is hurt, I know she is sad and I know that this anger is merely a cloak over her worry of her daughter being in the ‘tabooed community’. Despite all that, it is my faith and she deserves to know it.
Days passed, I kept making duaa and she kept watching me. Indeed Allah is the source of peace, He only is As Salam. As days passed her heart eased but the fear remained. The fear that her daughter might land amongst the wrong people. Sigh. Patience and prayer, I remembered.
Amidst all this, I had my friend Habeeba with me. We clicked like bomb from the day we met. Knowledgeable, pious and practising , Alhamdulillah. In spite of being 5 years younger than me, she was my companion for Allah’s pleasure. Not a day went by when we didn’t meet. Quietly after her school would be over, we would sit by the creek and speak for hours! We shared love for our deen and in very less time we knew everything about each other- about our families, hobbies, love, habits, routines etc etc. The day Habeeba would be late in arriving from school, I would worry whether she was alright and Alhamdulillah the relief when I saw her hopping to reach here!
One of the sweetest things that she did for me was to leave a small note every morning on my window sil en route her walk to school. The note had beautiful messages about Islam. Everyday when I woke up, I rushed to find the note and cherished the message always.
Things were fine and at home we were at ease until one day my mother came to me and lovingly held my hands.
– “My baby Monica, you must know that I care for you and no matter what you choose to be, I will always love you the most. I understand that you have chosen Islam for yourself and we cannot take it out from your heart. Monica, I have no problem if you wish to pray, wear hijab or read to gain Islamic knowledge but you have to be careful honey. We cannot trust strangers.”
– “baby, I am speaking of your new friend. Your father and I see you with her all day. The entire afternoon you are with her and all evening you are with her. We don’t know who she is, her background and how her family is.
Have you noticed that you have not spoken to your own cousins since 8months! Also the time you promised to meet your childhood friends -Sheetal and Ashna- at home, Habeeba turned up at home because you didn’t go to meet her! You kept your friends waiting in the hall for 2hours whilst you went to ‘attend her for a while’.
You wish to learn about Islam, we will provide you all books that you want but you must stop speaking to her. Excess of anything is not good.”
Saying this, my mother left the room. I realised that my response was not awaited. A part of me was happy that my mother has accepted me as a muslim but on the other side, I imagined how I would tell Habeeba about it. Our hearts had connected and it would be heartbreaking for her. But alas! It was my mother’s command. I was a muslim now and a muslim must obey every command of his mother (except that which is shirk).
I wanted to meet her one last time. To ensure a proper closure to our friendship. Tears dripped down our lids as I narrated the incident. I was sure Habeeba would help me obey my mother and of course she would be even happier to know that mother was slowly accepted my deen. Alhamdulillah, such a beautiful opportunity to introduce my deen to her by showing obedience. Maybe it was a golden opportunity by Allah azza wajal.
Habeeba gave me a last hug and we both made dua to meet in jannat-ul-firdous, in-shaa-Allah.
The next few days things got better between mother and me. My mother got some Islamic books for me and to my surprise even asked me about Islam. What our Prophet salallahu alayhi wasallam taught and what does the Qur’an say! Those were beautiful days. I would not get tired telling her alhamdulillah. Slowly my mother and I started bonding over religion. My hopes grew that in shaa Allah one day my mother would enter the folds of Islam.
A week or so later, when I woke up I saw the same small note on my window. Apprehensively I pulled it and started reading.
“Monica habibty, I miss you so much. I am afraid you might loose Islam and leave it. I need to meet you. Please tell me when you can meet.”
I felt sad for Habeeba. I know she had other muslim friends, I know she had a muslim mother who loved her so much but I know she loved me too and we spent a lot of time together everyday for a year! I understood it will take time for her to accept this change but I was bound by my promise to my mother. My mother might not know but Allah azza wajal is watching and it is my test whether I disobey my mother or not.
To keep Habeeba’s heart however I kept a small note .
-“dear Habeeba, please help me obey my mother. She might not like it if I communicate with you. Don’t make it difficult for me. I shall not reply after this since such notes are also a part of communication and my mother doesn’t want me to speak to you. My imaan is strong dearest, I won’t leave Islam ever in-shaa-Allah. It is difficult but we must strive and expect rewards from Allah alone.”
I don’t know how her innocent heart absorbed that message. A few weeks later I again found a note saying she is missing me and wants to meet. My heart clumped and I hid her note under my mattress. The next day too I found a similar note. I asked Allah to ease her heart, I asked Allah to remove the loneliness that she felt with her friends in school and I asked Allah to guide me to the right only, and I asked Him to soothe the fear of my mother.
The days that followed, I found a small note everyday but this time they were not personal messages, rather only messages of Islam. Sometimes duaas, sometimes sunnah, sometimes cuttings of islamic articles. It felt even worse to know that Habeeba still isn’t over me. Worse even, that months after months she has so many sisters around to share her deen, yet her heart was with me. I couldn’t understand how I must tell her to stop putting the notes for I feared that it is disobedience. Everyday in the morning I would rush out of fear to take the note and hide it hurriedly.
This continued for two months. How I wish Habeeba and I could control our nafs. I was alone but I was striving to please my family. She was alone but I couldn’t help her except to make duaa.
Yesterday when I went to look for the note it wasn’t there. For a moment I felt happy for Habeeba. Perhaps she is trying to get over me. Perhaps she is understanding that we must not attach our hearts so much to anything in this dunya. Perhaps she is consoling herself that sometimes Allah takes away the things we love to give us better. Maybe a good sister she is with now.
– “are you looking for this Monica?”. I turned and was horrified to find her holding the note.
SUNNAHS….., it read
-“love, from Habeeba Khan”, my mother read aloud. Saying this my mother shifted my mattress to reveal a pile of notes. She was not angry, she was hurt. Her eyes had tears and she seemed very disappointed. My eyes couldn’t meet hers. Worse, that she left me without saying a word.
I followed my mother, hoping to get one more chance but trust one broken is lost forever. I found her sobbing.
-“mother.. I am sorry.”
-“for the first time I saw you lying. All these months when you told me about Islam I really trusted you. I believed you when you said that people might be wrong but Islam is not. Today, my daughter who never lied to me, has lied after she became a muslim. Were we not peaceful with you? Did we not let you be a muslim or did we make it too hard for you to practise Islam that you had to lie to me to speak to Habeeba. Monica, I was worried for you. I saw you speaking to strangers just to speak about Islam and so I used to come to you to share your thoughts but I think you value her too much. You didn’t value the faith I had on you.”
I kept staring aghast. The pain in my mother’s eyes could not be compensated for with the world. How a small, innocent gesture of love led to my mother mis-trusting the muslim in me. I was caught disobeying her. I was ashamed.
Yesterday, I did something I should have done long back. Indeed excess of anything is not good and today I realised it applies to friendship too. It was my fault too that I did not give Habeeba space and time to make new friends. Just as I had distanced from my friends and family. A bond which when twitched, stopped us from ibadah, because all we did was to miss each other and think of how to stay in touch.
I remembered the verses where hazrat Sulaiman(as) turned away from his horses when the love for them distracted him from his salah.
My love for Habeeba made me hurt my mother, it shattered the faith a mother had on her daughter and above all it shattered the belief a non-believer had on a believer. As of now, perhaps this small innocent act distanced my mother from Islam. Not one happy glance has she bestowed on me since yesterday. Oh mother! how I want you back. Will my mother ever trust my words when I speak to her about Islam? Will she place her faith on me again? Will my mother ever accept Islam? Allah only knows. Some things are best left on Qadr.
I closed the window that day. Forever.
#an inspired tale
I wish to thank sister fatmawaty who has selected me to participate in this “Five Days Challenge”. I’m supposed to post a picture each for five days and write a story keeping the picture as the theme. It may be a fiction or non fiction of any length. Each day I also have to nominate a fellow blogger to participate in this 5 days challenge.
My nominee for today is Shaqeena Raheem. There is no compulsion for you to accept it but it is a fun activity and will get your brains racking! So go for it :-*