My daughter graduates today. It takes a while to accept the fact that my little Ahana is 21 now! Her father and I sit there watching with pride as she collects her degree on the stage. I won’t say years flew by and I did not realise how fast she grew, but I know I am blessed. Like every believer, I had my hardships and afterwards, I found ease.
I was widowed at 30. Ahana’s father, had a fatal accident, leaving me and my daughter of 6 behind. It was a time which makes my hair stand even today. I was hysterical, directionless and scared. Death, though the biggest truth, still remains the most ignored aspect of our lives.
Alhamdulillah, for the support from my parents in law. My iddat served as a phase to compose myself- to accumulate my shattered self. Things started falling in place. I found myself a decent job to make my ends meet, my daughter was doing well in academics and co-curriculums, friends and neighbours dropped a kind word here and there, and in all this I felt the mercy of Allah subhanah wa ta’ala Who soothed our hearts in despair. Even in the hardest times, I never lost hope completely. Even in the shallowest moments, I had jannat-ul-firdous to aim for.
My life became a humdrum affair. However, six years down the line, things changed. I disclosed my wish to get married. Within a snap, my well wishers and sympathizers became my greatest critics. The kind words turned into scornful remarks and awful stares. What wrong did I want? Was it not a sunnah? What were they disapproving? My wish or the Prophet’s path (salallahu alayhi wasallam)?
Narrated `Abdullah bin `Umar:
“When Hafsa became a widow,” `Umar said, “I met Abu Bakr and said to him, ‘If you wish I will marry Hafsa bint `Umar to you.’ I waited for a few days then Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) asked for her hand. Later Abu Bakr met me and said, ‘Nothing stopped me from returning to you concerning your offer except that I knew that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) had mentioned (his wish to marry) her, and I could never let out the secret of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) . If he had left her, I would have accepted her.’ “ [Sahih al Bukhari 5145]
What did they know about living alone? I was tired. I was tired of being both the man and woman of the house. I was tired of coming back home and staring at the emptiness. I was tired of missing Abdul’s companionship. I was devoid of the warmth I once shared with my beloved.
What did they want? That I grieve all life and one day when my daughter moves on to have a life of her own, I sit alone and die in an empty house all alone? Is this what widows are entitled to? My Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) did not leave behind this line of thinking. Which culture are they the following whilst adhering to muslim names?
Narrated Zainab bint Um Salama:
When Um Habiba bint Abi Sufyan was informed of her father’s death, she asked for perfume and rubbed it over her arms and said, “I am not in need of perfume, but I have heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying, “It is not lawful for a lady who believes in Allah and the Last Day to mourn for more than three days except for her husband for whom the (mourning) period is four months and ten days.” [Sahih al Bukhari 5345]
Amidst all this, when I was getting all sorts of bitter calls and messages from the closest relatives of how I am shaming them, I had my kind parents in law. The one time they called, they expressed their happiness at my decision. They offered help and assured complete support from their end. My daughter understood me. At 12, all she asked was whether it would make her mother stop crying and I said In-shaa-Allah.
Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam): ‘Trials will continue to befall the believing man and woman, with regard to themselves, their children and their wealth, until they meet Allah with no sin on them.’ (Tirmidhi– saheeh by al-Albaani)
I put up my profile in matrimony and sought help from close friends. Pious, kind, responsible, wise and good character- were the things I needed. All I wanted was good companionship from my future spouse. Time and again I would read how Umm Salama (radiallahu anha) thought she could never get a better husband after her widowhood but Allah is the best disposer of affairs. Alhamdulillah, she got a proposal from the best man who walked on the face of earth- Our Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam). SubhanAllah.
Abdul was everything I had wanted in my spouse. The kindest and the most loving man to me. Yes, I did fear whether my future spouse would be able to take his place but then, I realised that I was not looking for a replacement. I would be married to a different person in shaa Allah and like any marriage, it would be a new start for us and new struggles to make it work by the will of Allah.
It was only after I got a few proposals that I realised, our society is going towards the worse. It was going to be a long drawn affair! Sigh. Perhaps there is no ‘right man’ who would accept a widow just like that. There were demands for dowry, offers for temporary marriage in exchange for lifetime maintenance, suggestions to send my daughter to her grandparents, conditions to carry on my job and give money to the man, offers of house-husbands and alcoholics, requests to give up the hijab etc. I despaired. Was a widow meant to compromise? Was there no pious man out there who would marry for Allah’s pleasure?
I know there were many making genuine duaas for me. I was blessed to be in this trial for I extracted the gems from amongst my people- a handful whom I hold close to my heart. SubhanAllah, indeed he hears all duaas. Months later, I got a mail from Basheer. A mail which contained exactly the words I wanted to read. He was 41 and seeking alliances. From a humble background, worked hard to establish himself and before he could realise he was 41! A sinner but a repenter at the same time. Establishes all 5 pillars of Islam, keeps away from all haram and was looking for someone who would help him increase his imaan. Was ready to care for my daughter and was seeking my approval.
I responded and we arranged a meeting in presence of my father in law. Within the first meet, I realised that he indeed was very well learnt about deen. My father in law was happy with him too. We did our istikharas, sought guidance from Allah subhanah wa ta’ala and as a result he has been the coolness of my eyes for 9 years now.
Yes, we are married. He is the best I could ask from Allah. Compassionate and loving. An amazing father to my daughter and most importantly, a humble servant to Allah. He has taught me a lot about deen and with him, I have only become a better person and a better muslim.
Those who disliked my decision, still don’t like it much. They are ignorant, we forgave them long back. To a few Basheer gifted a book on The Prophet’s wives.
I am still amazed the way my life has spun. I am thankful, yet eager to experience more. I look up and make dua to be ordained with the best that Allah has destined for me. Indeed, He is the All Knowing, All Seeing and All Hearing.
‘…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.’ (Qur’an 2: 216)
#a fictional tale