The flip side

The Flip Side- Story 5

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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.

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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.

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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.

 Allah says:

‘…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)

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#a fictional tale

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The flip side

The Flip Side- Story 4

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I am moving to Dubai! Alhamdulillah. This is perhaps one of the happiest days of my life. I re-read my transfer letter to affirm what I read. Really? Ever since I started working, I have forever been making dua for a way out of this office. No, it is not that I don’t like my work. This is perhaps the dream firm of so many architects. From a third person’s view, I seem to have everything- a dream job, great salary at a young age and caring parents. What more could a person ask for at 26?

But if the third person was a practising Muslim, he would see through the void in my life within a snap. Honestly, I struggle everyday. I struggle to run away from the fitnah of this world. I struggle to lower my gaze, I struggle to bear the scorns when I get up in between important meetings to make it on time for salah, I struggle on jummuah to walk out and join the jamaat, I struggle to ignore the glances I get due to my not-so-trimmed beard or due to my wierd-lengthed pants. The awkward moments I am taken aback when female colleagues unbashfully grab an arm, pat the back or extend hands for a shake. The numerous dinner parties I refuse due to involvement of alcohol, all sorts of fitnah or the times I had to attend and sat like a stork with my eyes pinned to the floor. This world is but a prison for a believer.

Truly, the life of this world is nothing but a (quick passing) enjoyment, and verily, the Hereafter that is the home that will remain forever.” [Qur’an 40:39]

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It shall not be the same anymore! I will be moving to a Muslim country. Everything will be halal. Work ethics, clothing, dinners, meetings, work schedule and every other thing will be in line with our deen. In-shaa-Allah.
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We were the happiest to arrive at our new home. My heart knew no bounds to know that I am going to officially have an off on Fridays! SubhanAllah. Things seemed amazing. Breaks were scheduled as per salah timings and Masjids at every nook and corner for you to fulfill your obligations. My heart truly knew no bounds. Though a majority in my office were not muslims, yet everyone seemed to be so cooperating.

My boss, Mr Khaled was the kindest man. On my first day he made all efforts to make me comfortable. I was given my cubicle and my colleagues were the warmest. SubhanAllah, I spotted some brothers with beard and sisters in hijab. I don’t get the awkward glances!

However, often things are not how they seem. When the clock struck 13:00 and adhaan was called, I excitedly got up to move to the masjid and looked around if anyone was joining. Nobody. I waited for a minute or so. Brother Hamza? I tapped on his table.

– ” masājid?”

He shrugged his shoulders.

-” I will read it in the prayer room here brother. Not too much time.”

Okay.

Brother Abdul?

Same answer.

Brother Rashid?

-“I pray qadhas at the end of the day man. Work load doesn’t permit all 5 times regularly.”

Brother Ahmed had a back pain, so would sit and pray in his cubicle today. Brother Farhan was surprised and exclaimed, “masajid? it is jumuah?”

Narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, I had thought of ordering that wood be gathered, then I would command the call to prayer to be given, and I would appoint a man to lead the people in prayer, then I would go to men [who do not attend the congregational prayer] and burn their houses down around them. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if anyone of you had known that he would receive a bone covered with meat or two (small) pieces of meat in a sheep’s foot, he would come for ‘Isha’ prayer.”   

[Al-Bukhaari, 7224; Muslim, 651]

With disappointment, I started my walk outside when Mr Khaled(my boss) caught me by surprise.

-“hey, Shahid, where are you going?”
-” the local mosque, Mr Khaled. It is time for salah”, I murmured looking at him expecting him to come along

There was a frown on his face. “We got less time my boy. Break is for 30mins of which 10 is already gone. Make it on time, lest you may pray in the prayer room. We got an important client meeting today at 1400hrs!”

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My throat got a lump. I slowly move towards the prayer room and found only 4 brothers besides me there. That was my first day.

 Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever hears the call to prayer and does not come, there is no prayer for him [i.e., his prayer is not valid], unless he has an excuse.” Narrated by Ibn Maajah, al-Daaraqutni, Ibn Hibbaan and al-Haakim with a saheeh isnaad. It was said to Ibn ‘Abbaas, what is an excuse? He said, Fear or sickness. 

As time passed, I realised it will always be the same everywhere. Allah should never be a back up or substituted, rather He is my priority. From day 2, I made sure that I hurry to the masajid as soon as the adhaan was called. Alhamdulillah, on most of the days I made it back on time. The few delays, were scorned and commented upon but they are humans. We can never please humans.

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It was the same here. I was struggling again, but for different reasons. I was called a show off, indisciplined, as someone not serious about work etc. Somehow, very often my seniors wanted their work to be ‘urgently’ done by 2pm! Any extension or lack of quality would be blamed upon my 1hour break for salah. The smoke breaks that everyone took was ignored!

My heart pain when I overheard brother Abdul and Rashed speaking of how pretty a female colleague Sunayna was! and how it is no fun to even speak to girls Rubiyah, Ameena etc (colleagues and sisters). They mocked their hijab and modesty. They laughed at how stupid they were since their presence won’t even be noticed to make them eligible for promotions!

I saw so many hijabi sisters change as the year passed. The scarf went slightly behind, sleeves went just a little bit up, faces were adorned and abayas became flashy. I saw so many brothers discarding the cap and beard, I saw them getting into the latest fashionable attire and getting rid of those unshapely clothings. I could not even imagine the ache in their hearts when they gulped down the beer lest the client feels humiliated! I could only see in the eyes of those young souls. All I could do is make duaa for their heart’s ease for I knew, they are going through their ordeals too.

Yet again, I was back to square one. The only relief was perhaps halal meat in every restaurant and lots of meat! SubhanAllah.

I was mistaken to think that alcohol would be any less in parties here or music wouldn’t be loud. I was mistaken to think fitnah would be any less and perhaps it was even more. It was shameful to see people with beard acting completely opposite to sunnah and Qur’an. I wish they understood whose appearance they were imitating to keep that beard.

I know it is easy to judge and as a brother in deen, I must be a mirror. My attempts to serve a reminder were followed by comments like,

“Why you acting as a sahaba man?”
“You’re so on your way to sainthood”
“Why are you an architect? Do a maulana course”
“What’s with you? Stop judging me”
“Allah is in my heart. I don’t believe in 5 prayers.”
“Allah understands. I will seek forgiveness. He is the most forgiving.”
“Oh I am disobeying and you are sinless?”

Sigh. This is but the bitter truth. The world this side was no better. I still loved my work and my office but if I thought being a muslim would be any easier here, I sure was dreaming!

Abdullah Ibn Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “The life of this world is Paradise for a disbeliever and a prison for a believer. When a believer dies and departs from this world, he feels himself like a prisoner who was released to go freely on the spacious earth.”

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#a fictional tale

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The flip side

The Flip Side- Story 3

I have a bayan at Glasgow today. My  first there. There is this weight I feel on my chest. As I settle down in the flight, I fasten the seat belt and close my eyes. Life has brought me so far today.

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Our’s was a typical Asian household. My mother was very pious and by the will of Allah, I think she worked very hard to teach me about my deen in the early years. Dad was a scientist. He always called himself “a moderate muslim”. I don’t really remember when I was so drawn towards Islam. People ask me that what made me chose to work as a dayee (preacher), what made me give up the comforts and travel so far, study for so many years and merely become a maulana?

I still get confused with my answer because I really do not understand why I should choose these wordly comforts knowing that Allah (subhanah wa ta’ala) has made Jannah for us to live in eternally! I am yet to understand what was so strange about the choice I made? Alhamdulillah, I am grateful that Allah chose me to be His servant and all I ever ask for is to die as a true servant.

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The day I told my father that I wish to study fiqh, he was horrified. I was their son, he said. How would they get my sister married, he asked. All I had to say was why would they want my sister to marry someone who has a problem with studying fiqh? Why would we marry her in a way that was against theSunnah?

The words were ignored. It was assumed that I was too young to take such decisions at 13. They thought it was a phase and am having my whims. However, as time passed my love for Allah subhanah wa ta’ala only increased. My eagerness to meet Allah’s messenger (salallahu alayhi wasallam) grew. The more I read about him, the more I found myself in love with him.

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I did not wish to become a scientist or engineer. I wished to become an aalim. At 17, I told him again. I was tagged as an extremist. Relatives started pouring in, explaining how difficult life was, how we need money to survive. I was made to understand that there is a lifestyle I was used to and Allah understands. That Allah subhanah wa ta’ala does not want me to take extreme steps.

And lower unto them the wing of submission & humility through mercy and say: ‘My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was young.”[Qur’an 24:17]

Things got worse when my grades slipped.  From an ‘A+’ student,studentto I came down to B. Finally, one day he caught me taking online Islamic courses. My card statements reflected payments to Islamic Universities and a thorough check of my desktop revealed much more. I was ashamed but more than that I was scared. My father though enraged, got my name enrolled in a residential madressah. I don’t know whether I was happy or sad. I was finally getting to study and be what I wanted to but the cost was heavy. My parents seemed unconvinced.

The day I left my home, nobody came to see me off. Things changed. My father and I barely spoke well. My experiences did not interest anyone. Alhamdulillah, it was still my duty to serve them and obey. I did it then and I still do it today. With a smile I try to put forth my best behavior. My sister also got married to a very noble man! SubhanAllah.

I won’t say that my course was over, because I still am and will forever remain a student learning mydeen, but soon after that I was assisting many scholars. I attended bayans, helped some in delivering anwers to fundamental questions and soon I was delivering khutbas and bayans in some masjids.

I feel happy to have submitted my life to Allah but that slight displeasure on my father’s face still gives me sleepless nights, it is still a cause of my tears insujood. Even today I search for one glance of happiness on his face, a forehead eased off the frown caused by me. Will that day ever come when my father will not regret over my choices? All I can do is make duaa.

“…And We have enjoined on man to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness & hardship upon weakness & hardship, and his weaning is in two years – give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination.” [Qur’an 31:14]

I will be going to meet them after the convention In Shaa Allah. I had sent an invite to this convention too, as before but I never saw them there. Indeed it is difficult to travel afar in oldage.

After we reach, we freshen up quickly and move towards the destination. Alhamdulillah there is a lot of crowd today. I thank Allah for again giving me a day to serve to please Him. I ask Him to guide me to the right path as I speak. As I stand against the mike, my eyes glance through the crowd searching for my father. Sigh. I lower my eyes in disappointment, make dua and speak to my brothers and sisters present there. Masha’allah, yet again I am with the finest ones amongst ummah- those striving for knowledge.

I am pleased and filled with gratitude in the end. My heart is immensely satiated after this interaction. I was speaking to a revert brother, when suddenly I felt a shaky hand on my shoulder. Before I even turned, I knew by the fragile touch that it was of someone very old.

-” I am so proud of you son.”, my father had tears as he said this.

Yes, it was my father. For a few moments I stood there merely staring at his face. Withered, old and glowing with noor . A warm smile gave way to fine wrinkles around his eyes. I saw the twinkle I have been awaiting for 20 odd years, I saw the smile and his words were dew drops in my ears.

He was right there- sitting all through the session. Behind him was my mother. There, in front of everyone my father hugged me. I was once again the 13 year old, seeking one approving glance of his father. The boy who awaited one pat of pride on his back. My father was happy with me. I don’t know what everyone around thought of me as I sobbed hugging my father. It was a moment where my duas were accepted.

That day for the first time we were laughing and chatting as a happy family. Everyone was interested in what I learnt, what I did and my experiences. Even though with meagre resources, that day we truly were content. Indeed, Allah alone is the controller of hearts. It was a long wait but hasn’t Allah given us the solution even before putting us in  hardships?  sabrand prayer my brothers.. sabr and prayer.

“How strange is the matter of a believer, there is good in all his affairs, and this is only for the believer. If something good happens to him and he is grateful, then this is good for him, and if a calamity befalls him and he is patient, then this is also good for him.” (Muslim, 27)

#a fictional tale

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The flip side

The Flip Side- Story 2

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “O young people! Let those of you who afford marriage get married as it will help them lower their gaze and protect their chastity. And for those who don’t afford it, they may fast for it will curb the sexual desire.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn Mas’ud)

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My wife and I always thought that we were immensely lucky to have Mahad as our child. Obedient, sincere, loving, and kind. Alhamdulillah, we really don’t know what we did different from other parents. Yes, our son is very different. The coolness of our eyes.

After his birth, there’s not been a day that we haven’t lived for him. What clothes he would wear, which school he would go to, which friends and family he would hang around with, the co-curriculum that he would take up, it would all have to be the best. Alhamdulillah and we indeed gave him the best. He also never failed us. As he grew, our wall shelves started expanding to accommodate his trophies and certificates. He gave us all reasons to expand our chest and walk proudly.

Of course, every child has his days of disobedience. During college days, Mahad became very fast friends with one Junaid. A good lad Junaid was but was not focused about life at all. How could he be focused when all he would do was to spend hours in masjid with clerics and spend time in these matters. Of course I know it is important to be in deen and learn but what would a person feed himself if not work hard to earn? Somehow, he influenced Mahad a lot. At one point Mahad started ignoring his education completely to be with him and would nonchalantly speak, read and think about Islam. Every alternate weekend he would go out for dawah activity and the most embarrassing moments would be when he would start speaking of Islam before our friends! He wouldn’t realise that he was getting too extreme. He started wearing Sunnah clothing, grew beard, barely managed to secure a first class and worse was he gave up the lucrative job in bank! AllahuAkbar. All these years we educated him was a waste!

We started feeling apprehensive that he was getting in touch with the wrong sort of people. We were hoping that he is away from extremists and terrorist organizations. His activities seemed completely dubious. No matter how much we explained, he wouldn’t listen. He turned a deaf ear to our warnings, consoling, threats or pleadings.

– “Allah chose me to be a muslim”, he said, “I have to perform my obligations.”

Our child was brainwashed into believing that this is Islam! There was a society we had to live in and it demands certain etiquettes. Sure Islam doesn’t ask you to live against the society and abandon it! Are his mother and I not muslims? Or is he into the wrong notion that all this makes him a better muslim us! Allah knows what is in our hearts and our struggles.

He started a small business in textiles and soon after that he came to me one day saying, “Dad I want to get married.”

Marriage! Was he kidding me? He was barely 24. He had a long way to go.

-“you’re too young to marry Mahad. Concentrate on your career now.”

– “but dad, I am ready to get married and Islam permits me to. Rather it encourages me to. “, Mahad snapped back

It was getting on my nerves. I had borne his stubbornness for too long now. He was ruining his life! Why was he not getting it?

-“Mahad, how will you feed your family? You barely earn enough to sustain for yourself. Look at your friends, they are all working and rising in their respective fields. Build your career now son. There’s a time for everything. Go have fun, make money and enjoy life a little. This is all fanatism. Please stop it.”

Alhamdulillah, he did not argue any further. Had he ignored me then, he wouldn’t be what he is today. He worked hard and his business flourished. If he works a little harder he will sure make even more. Of course marriage will come after that. Alhamdulillah, business and work also kept him busy enough to improve him. Now he is much better. Doesn’t get time to visit masjid all the time. Tries to make it for Jumu’ah prayer with me. I am sure Allah understands, He is the Most Kind and Benevolent.

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He travels a lot these days, meets people of all cultures for work purposes. I feel so proud to see him participating in programs and parties. Initially he used to crib about music, alcohol and haram conversation but it is okay when you yourself don’t drink! Thankfully, he is getting comfortable with his female colleagues too and is responding kindly unlike his earlier awkwardness! Islam is meant to be easy, not to burden you after all. Alhamdulillah, he is where he deserves to be. A boy of such intelligence quotient deserves to be even better placed. Being moderate muslim is the key. It is impossible to live as an extremist.

Alhamdulillah, we will start seeing girls for him soon. An old colleague had once sent proposal for his daughter. Masha’allah, what a beautiful girl. Air Hostess in a top airlines, earns well and is very humble too. Family is well to do and famous in our locality. I tried speaking to Mahad about her but he denied. Says he wants someone pious. In shaa Allah he will agree soon for her. They have their entire life to improve upon deen.

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I see Junaid once in a while outside the masjid and pity him. Heard he is a Deputy Manager in a Government Office. Often on weekends I still see him distributing pamphlets and knocking door to door to give dawah! His face has become absolutely dry and tanned, the charm is lost. Looks sleep deprived and skinny. Got married 7 years back at 24 and already has 2 kids! AllahuAkbar, I wonder how he feeds them with his meagre Government employment salary. I once saw him with his family sitting by the creek and playing with kids. Alhamdulillah, Allah grants these merciful moments to them also. I know it is short lived happiness. I see his wife clad in a plain abaya and hijab; his kids having the most basic brand of toys and wonder what will he do when she will demand that pretty jewellery or the kids will require better bats!

I wish Junaid had used the time of his youth for something better than wasting it learning about deen. Youth is for earning and settling yourself, of course you have the rest of your life to learn and spread deen! Isn’t it? I thank Allah for saving my son. Alhamdulillah.

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The Prophet (saw) advised to: “Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death
(Narrated by Ibn Abbas and reported by Al Hakim)

# A Fictional Tale

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The flip side

The Flip Side: Story 1

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Our Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم saidEach of you is the mirror of his brother, so if he sees any fault in him he should wipe it away.” –

[Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1286]
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My WhatsApp has been buzzing since two hours. I try ignoring it at first, reading a message or two once in a while and then flinging the phone on the other side of the bed. I toss and turn to make vain attempts to fall asleep but how could I? Those vibrations felt like loud knocks. Loud knocks of reminders on my heart’s door. Knocks that I could not ignore.

I block her. Silence. Peace. Finally she shut up. She is Asma- a revert to Islam. Asma, my friend and now, also my sister in Islam. I don’t wish to see her anymore, I don’t wish to hear a word from her. Why you ask? because she doesn’t understand me. Yes, I took my hijab off. But does she really believe it has been an easy decision for me? I fought. I fought really hard for five long years, against my mother, against my family and the entire society.

It is a happy sad feeling to see Asma. I was around when she was new to Islam. I taught her how to wear the hijab and gifted her some too. Today she is at home, striving to convince her parents about her reversion. It is a rough ride she says, and that won’t make her disobey Allah subhanah wa ta’ala ever in-shaa-Allah. Amidst all this, relatives have slowly abandoned her. Her parents are adjusting to this decision of hers. Some think that she is mad, some say that she has terrorist connections and to some she needs counselling. Indeed it is very painful to see yourself gradually being left out, but the only consolation is that one expects to be rewarded in the end.

Her messages hurt me. I know it is her right as a muslim.

– ” I feel bad for you Aabidah. Please don’t do this. Wear your hijab. I won’t ask you why you took it off because no reason is sufficient to disobey Allah.”

Asma, you saw me struggle when you were with me. My mother was never happy with my hijab. You are strong Asma, to stand against your family and I am weak. Everytime I wore the hijab, my mother would scorn. For five years there was constant nagging, yelling and wailing at my home. Every time there was a marriage invitation, my own mother and aunts would taunt me that I PRETEND to be pious, that I am a show off. Who will marry a girl like me, they said! Show a little hair , wear a little make up!

The pious brother that I wanted to marry, they refused to let me marry him! Why? Because he was of a different sect. “Sect”! Does our Noble Qur’an even mention which sect Islam is for? This is how humans have made Islam today. Now my mother gets proposals from all rich men, clean shaven, in suits and some even don’t know how to pray or read arabic. Oh yes, they are from the same sect!

I was fighting alone here. Nobody was ever happy with me. My mother showed me what a bad muslim I was everytime I disobeyed her. Yes, I knew from within that Allah subhanah wa ta’ala is whom we must obey first but it is easier said than done. At one point the road travelled came to a dead end. My mother was always angry and unhappy, my aunts were always taunting, relatives kept inviting marriage proposals from non practising brothers.

You know my dreams of a sunnah wedding but here I am awaiting a grand Indian wedding very soon. There will be music, expensive jewellery, dance, inter mixing of sexes and lot of pomp-n-show. Amongst all this I will stand there, drifting away from Allah azza wajal.

– “you must be feeling happy and proud when people admire your beautiful hair and compliment you for how beautiful you look.”

It pierces my heart. Every compliment makes me feel naked. Everytime I am presented before a family, I feel like a mannequin exhibit in a shop to flaunt beauty, clothes and money. I am reduced to a woman this society expects me to be. I am no longer the woman Islam wanted to protect and nurture.

I wailed. I was crying in my salah. For hours in my sujood I begged for mercy, I begged for ease. I tried till I choked. I gave up Asma. I fell weak. I know I have disappointed you but I have disappointed myself too. I disobeyed our Creator. It was not an overnight decision. It was a five year long struggle. I was drained emotionally. You don’t understand Asma and you never will. I still love you and will always make duaa for you as you face your jihad for your hijab. I hope you never fall weak as me.

I do fear the Day of Resurrection. The day Allah subhanah wa ta’ala will ask me and I shall but be a loser that day. My nights are sleepless thinking what if I don’t wake up. My mother smiles, my mother loves me… Amongst all this she is the only one who is happy.

– ” …and that day nobody will be faithful to you except your deeds for Allah subhanah wa ta’ala. They are your key to Jannah. Your mother also will abandon you Aabidah. It will be only you and Allah..

Shiver runs down my spine. I close my eyes to your reminders. My heart still carries guilt. Allah still is there in my heart. I laugh at myself when I give this excuse. I am ashamed.

-“… I love my family enough to bear all this just hoping to bring them on this path too. Love is not when you disobey Allah for them Aabidah. Walk the path of jannah my sister.. please..”

That was your last message.

Are you sure you want to block Asma, my phone asks.

Yes.

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#an inspired tale

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