Journeying: Still Soldiering On: Umar Unarmed

بسم الله

It was an ambush. Something we didn’t see coming. Completely unexpected.

But once it was happening, there was no turning back. Once we were in the motion of attack, we couldn’t back down, unless we surrendered to defeat.

And when I sometimes found myself in the forefront, wanting to step back or back down, I would remember the words of the leader of the army of Islam at the Battle of Yarmouk.

 O men of Islam ! The time has come for steadfastness. Weakness and cowardice lead to disgrace; and he who is steadfast is more deserving of Allah’s help. He who stands bravely before the blade of the sword will be honored, and his labors rewarded, when he goes before Allah.

Lo ! Allah loves the steadfast. (Khalid Ibn Waleed (RA))

And I knew that now. There was no time to back down for the ones who knew where they fate would be.

When I returned home afterward, my mind was completely consumed. I so much wanted to be in that atmosphere again. I so much wanted to embrace the life that I had grown to love. But my place wasn’t there.

And even here, I knew I would place my trust in Him alone, although we felt ambushed again.

Indeed, Allah loves the steadfast. Amidst whatever challenges we faced, I had to hold onto my faith. Nobody could rescue a soul from hardship, except for Allah.

I looked at my perspiring wife that evening, as she tried with all her might to deliver my child.

Her fever was constantly rising. An infection had taken over her as she went into labour, and though the warnings about the baby were on my mind, my main concern was Haseena.

I needed her. It was as simple as that. Through my own inner battles, she was the one constant. She was always there. I felt horrible for thinking it, but if it meant choosing between my child and her, I knew I would want her.

The immense pain that she was going through made me physically cringe. I couldn’t imagine what it was like. A woman, even in her fragility, could bear such excruciating pain. It made me see my own mother in a whole new light.

“Ma’am, you need to push now. You need to stay awake,” the nurse said, looking sternly at Haseena.

Haseena shook her head, signalling to me that she couldn’t. I knew what her eyes were saying, although she didn’t speak. I could see the utter defeat that she felt, despite her not saying a word.

“Can’t you’ll do something…. Anything… A caesar? Something that will help with the pain?” I asked, panicking.

The nurse shook her head. Haseena’s eyes were closing, but another round of contractions immediately took it’s effect.

“It’s too late, sir. She needs to push. With no heartbeat-“

I cut her off there, not wanting her to continue. They said there was no heartbeat. How could they be so sure? Maybe I was in denial, but half their machines weren’t even in working order.

I bent down by Haseena’s side, holding her hand firmly. She barely had any strength in her to hold it back. I could feel a lump forming in my throat, but I couldn’t give up now. I had to be strong.

“Haseena, please,” I begged her. “Just try.. Try hard. I…”

My voice broke as I looked up at her face, but her eyes were focussing somewhere on the ceiling. She was barely alert. My heart literally ached for her.

“Has, I can’t lose you,” I whispered, hanging my head.

The truth of what I had said registered with me. The reality was now inevitable.

What hit me next was the total shock. I hadn’t ever expected to ever face this.

When I had been away, even my latest trip, I had always thought that I would be the one to go first. I had never imagined having to live without Haseena, but I saw it quite clearly now.

So even though I was so desperate to stay behind and do what I loved most, there was an invisible magnet pulling me back here.

As I waited for the inevitable, even at that moment, I found my mind drifting back in time… To when I had come back to her. How I had done it.

The mission of my last trip had been the most trying. It was a battle to get home, facing problems with security at the airport, having to take several detours, but they had finally let me go after three days of inconclusive questioning. They wouldn’t ever be able to get anything out of me.

The thing was, being the way I was, posed a threat to the world. To the west, embracing Sunnah libaas and the Islamic way of life was ‘extreme’. Seeing a bearded man clad in the Kurta gets people in a frenzy. When his women are veiled and protected, immediately, she becomes ‘oppressed’.

And for one, it explains why the Muslim and Arab world is in such upheaval. They were being killed by the masses or starving to death. Persecuted in their own lands. Seeing the basic challenges and the trials even in the African countries was an eye-opener for me.

The fact was that Muslims that were steadfast posed a threat. The west is more attuned to the ‘moderate’ Muslim. That’s the kind of Muslim they love. The one who goes with the flow, just accepting whatever they’re told. They don’t oppose the west, but are merely ‘Easy Muslims’.

They give in, without a fight, but as the Hadith predicted, there is no fear of that type of Muslim. They don’t stand as a threat.

The Messenger of Allah said: The nations are about to flock against you [the Muslims] from every horizon, just as hungry people flock to a kettle.

We said: O Messenger of God, will we be few on that day?

He said: No, you will be many in number, but you will be scum, like the scum of a flash-flood, without any weight, since fear will be removed from the hearts of your enemies, and weakness (wahn) will be placed in your hearts.

We said: O Messenger of God, what does the word wahn mean?

He said: Love of this world, and fear of death. (Abu Dawud & Ahmad)

They will be attacked from every angle, although their numbers were many. Despite being the ‘fastest growing religion’, our lives had taken a turn for the worst, deteriorating at the same rate.

After coming back, the lack of commitment to Deen shocked me more than ever. Hearing about war-stricken countries and their plights got people in a absolute state, but I didn’t see how their mere concern was beneficial.  The people who were dying as Shuhadaa are going straight to Jannah, yet our actions left us with no guarantee. With us breaking Allah’s commands over and over, there was little hope for us.

Our lives were consumed with what was temporary, with no concern for Deen. We were so far from Sunnah, it was like our hearts held no attachment to the Nabi of Allah (SAW). We didn’t realise that by reviving his Sunnah, we would be reviving a part of him, in some way.

It was really something to think about, and I pondered about it often, wondering if I would ever be able to reach that stage.

Going back was never an aspiration for me until now. Right now, I would have done  anything to make sure that Haseena just made it  through.

So I pledged to Him that I would, turning to the Almighty in utmost humility, praying for him to save my wife. I would have done anything for her to be okay, even put my own life on the line.  I wanted her to just make it through this, so I could remind her of how much she meant to me.

But despite what I wanted, I still had utmost trust in the plan of my Lord. I believed that whatever it was that was meant to happen would be for the best. I had full faith that His plan was the best, but I knew that if she would make it through, I could never be grateful enough.

I took a deep breath now, watching a new scenario unfolding before my eyes. I couldn’t look, though. I turned my face away, afraid of what would happen next. My heart was in my throat as the final few minutes seemed to take hours to pass.

It was like everything was in slow motion, and the expressions of every person in the room had  changed.

We weren’t expecting it, but the reality of it was a real shocker.

It was a deafening silence, and my heart felt like it was ripped out over and over, as I saw Haseena look at me with tears in her eyes. The flicker of hope that she had in her eyes seemed to have disappeared, just as the energy drained out of them.

The last few minutes seemed like eternity, but I grabbed her hand, and the final minutes were soon over. I left it for a minute to go to the back of the room, wanting to see the baby.

I didn’t know what to really expect, but my own eyes couldn’t really believe what I saw. Despite what I knew, he was absolutely perfect. He looked just like Haseena. They had him bundled up, in a blue hospital blanket.

I turned to look at the nurses who had rushed to Haseena’s side, trying to wake her up. I wanted her to see him, before they would probably take him away.

Though I had seen this before, the baby being my own was a completely unfamiliar feeling. I held him and kissed his motionless body, bonding as much as I could, for a few minutes before the reality hit me.

And then I put him gently in the basket, telling him I would be back for our final meeting, and walked away.

 

Author’s Note: Let us sincerely make an effort today to bring the Sunnah into our lives. Let us embrace our Deen with fervour, so we can rise to the challenges that face the Ummah today. At least one step towards Allah Ta’ala will earn great rewards, and create a strong and united Ummah.

A new one will be mentioned on Saturday Insha Allah.

Reminder for Mission Sunnah Revival. We hope that everyone is trying to implement, Insha Allah.

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofAwakening

#RevivetheSunnahofEating

#ReciteQur’anDaily – at least a quarter

#BoycottSin

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Journeying: In the Clouds: Part Five

بسم الله

Zafer?! Wh- what are you doing here?” I stammered, wondering if I was seeing things.

Was he really here? At my house? He looked so casual there, dressed in jeans and a shirt, just standing there as if he belonged here.

“I just wanted to see you,” he said, still smiling. I spotted a set of car keys in his hand, and as I realised that I had been staring at him all this time, I immediately looked at the floor.

I really couldn’t understand the way I was feeling. I was nervous, but scared. I knew that he shouldn’t be here. I knew that nothing good could ever come from him being here. I took a step towards him, and another step back, battling with my conscience.

Why couldn’t I just tell him to leave? It was the right thing to do.

He spoke again, a little softer.

“Laila, I just want to talk to you,” he said. “Why don’t we go to the car?”

Alarm bells were going off in my head. I stood rooted to the spot for a few seconds, while Zafer walked ahead. My legs were slowly beginning to lift, before I heard someone calling for me.

“Laila!”

I turned to see Fareeha running up the driveway, panting in the process.

“Laila, I forgot to tell you!” She said, pausing to catch her breath. “We’re going for Umrah in two weeks time, so please come home next week for supper.”

I looked at Fareeha, then quickly turned to look at where Zafer was. I was hoping she wouldn’t make the connection, because just her being here made me feel embarrassed. After everything she had said, I didn’t want her to see him. I didn’t want her to see us. 

Supper? I nodded my head blindly. It would give me a chance to talk to her about everything.

I also wanted to speak to her about Yusuf. I didn’t want her to not even consider him. It would be selfish of me to not want to see my friend happy. I nodded my head, slightly ashamed, as she hopped into her fathers car as he sped off.

I was ashamed of Fareeha seeing me, but what about my Allah? I wasn’t even bothered with how much He would be displeased. I had been guided enough, through His mercy, to realise my wrong, but I was getting caught in the same trap.

I made up my mind. This was it. No more messing around. I wasn’t going to get caught in Shaytaan’s trap again. Talking was still Zinaa. Being alone together was still Haraam.

“Zafer, go home please,” I said to him, turning around from where I was, intent on ignoring him. He needed to leave.

“What? Laila, I just want to talk. That’s all.”

“I can’t talk,” I replied. “You know that.”

I walked away before I heard footsteps following me.

“Laila, come on,” he said, sounding annoyed. “Stop being so difficult. We’re practically proposed. Give it a break.”

Practically proposed? I almost wanted to laugh, had I not been so angry.

What did that even mean? He hadn’t even been home as yet.

I remained silent, turning to go down the driveway again. I wanted him to stop following me. I didn’t want Bilal to see him.

It was too late though. Zafer was on the verge of starting an argument when Bilal’s hooter sounded from the road. We both spun around to see him hastily park off and exit the car.

“I have to go,” I said to Zafer, trying to distract Bilal as I rushed to the car. He turned to look at Zafer cynically.

“Who the hell is that?!”

I ignored him as I opened the door and greeted Shazia.

“I asked you a question, Laila,” Bilal said, looking at me sternly.

Thankfully, Zafer was already getting into his car.

“Nobody,” I mumbled, getting a bit scared.

Nobody? Really?!” Bilal repeated after me. His voice was getting louder as he spoke.  “If you don’t know him, and he was speaking to you, I’ll break his legs! But if my sister doesn’t know how to behave, I can’t exactly blame the guy, can I?! So, choose your words carefully Laila. WHO IS HE?”

I looked at the floor, almost in tears. Why was he shouting at me?

“Bilal, come inside,” Shazia said softly from the front, turning to face us. “We don’t want to get late, you know-“

“Shaz, stay out of it,” Bilal cut her off rudely.

I felt sorry for her, but not as sorry as I felt for myself. I had to really be careful about what I said.

Bilal was about to snap. I was really scared that he might hit me.

“Dammit, Laila. Answer me!”

I knew I had to answer him. We were getting late, and Haseena’s condition was now also on my mind.

I looked up at Bilal’s furious face. His expression softened slightly as he saw my tears, but he didn’t budge.

“I know him,” I whispered, just loud enough for him to hear. I felt an instant regret as his face changed again. It was just pure shock. Disappointment.

Without another word, Bilal slammed the car door shut, and got into the drivers seat. Silently, he started the car and literally sped down our road. He was raging.

The tears cascaded freely down my face as I looked out the window. I didn’t even bother wiping them away.

Why did he have to see? Why did my brother have to be the one to see me? I couldn’t stand disappointing him.

But then I realised the truth of it all. It finally hit me.

That was His plan. After feeling bad after everything that I had done, and had almost done again, I needed a wake-up call.

Allah Ta’ala exposes certain sins and hides some. In His infinite wisdom, He knows which sins need to be exposed for our benefit. He helps us through these mishaps by making us see what was to our benefit. He guides us along the way, by revealing what was beneficial to our improvement.

I made intention to try and rectify myself. To never go back to that sin. To try and cover up all my sins with better deeds.

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“Have taqwa (fear) of Allah wherever you may be, and follow up a bad deed with a good deed which will wipe it out, and behave well towards the people.”(At-Tirmidhi)

I would have to do something to redeem myself again. I would attempt to rectify it all, now that I was given the opportunity.

I looked at Bilal as he parked the car off at the hospital, expecting him to say something, but he completely ignored me. I would have preferred if he had screamed at me, but he didn’t even acknowledge me. I kept silent, willing myself not to cry again.

“Don’t worry, Laila,” Shazia said softly, squeezing my arm as we followed him into the hospital. “He’ll come around.”

I gave her a small smile, appreciating her words. I knew that she was just trying to help, and I silently hoped that she would get Bilal to come around.

She followed Bilal in through to the labour ward, showing their identification at the door. I just hoped that they would come out soon so I could find out what was going on.

Daddy sat expressionless on a chair in the waiting room. I sat next to him silently, and gave him a small smile. He rubbed my back affectionately, and I thought about what he would say if Bilal told him. I really hoped he didn’t ever find out.

“Make du’aa for your sister, Laila,” he said. “She’s in labour, but the doctors are worried.”

He didn’t say anything more, but the feeling in my gut wasn’t good. I spotted Umar on the side of the room, engaged in Salaah.

I was truly amazed.

Despite everything that I had so easily judged about Umar and Haseena’s life, this was one thing that only hit me now.

Their life was completely focussed. With regard to Deen and it’s practise, from what I saw, they hardly faltered. In such adversity, Umar was completely absorbed in Salaah, knowing that the only way to go forward was with the help of Allah Ta’ala. As he spoke to his Creator, knew that his faith should be nowhere else but with His Lord.

And that was the essence of the life of our Nabi (SAW). Salaah was the coolness of his eyes.

Hadhrat Huzaifah (R.A) says, “Whenever the Holy Prophet (SAW) happened to face any difficulty, he would at once resort to Salaah.”

Unlike us, whenever he would find himself in difficulty, Salaah was the answer.

SubhanAllah.

It opened my eyes, once again, to the beauty of Deen, and having a pious spouse. It was so important to pick someone who was going to help you to earn you Jannah. 

I never thought I’d see so much of the Sunnah in one person, but Umar had wholeheartedly embraced it. The way their lifestyle was, was truly amazing.

He stood up after a long time and came toward my father.

He spoke about the lack of hospital facilities at the government hospital. Because of the emergency, they had brought Haseena to the nearest hospital, which was completely ill-equipped. They hadn’t been able to do a scan because there ultrasound machines were not working. The heartbeat was a bit evasive, but Umar remained optimistic.

“Make Du’aa,” he was saying. “I’m just going to check if we can get a scan before we go in… Just so Haseena can relax a bit.”

My father nodded as Umar retreated back to the ward, looking a bit worried.

It seemed like hours before Mummy finally came out, and I stood up as she sat where I had been seated. She looked tired and worried.

“News, Mum?” I asked, expecting her to fill us in.

She didn’t look up at us, just shook her head, speaking in a monotone.

“They’re worried about Haseena, Laila,” she said to me. “She might not make it through the birth.”

 

Author’s Note: Reminder for Mission Sunnah Revival. We hope that everyone is trying to implement, Insha Allah.

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofAwakening

#RevivetheSunnahofEating

#ReciteQur’anDaily – at least a quarter

#BoycottSin

Tweet @ajourneyjournal

 

Journeying: In the Clouds: Part Four

بسم الله

I immediately rushed down the stairs to look for Umar, but he seemed to have disappeared from where he had been standing earlier.

A quick scan around the yard enabled me to spot who else but Yusuf, helping to pack away the tables. I inwardly braced myself to approach him, not knowing exactly what to say. I didn’t want to be rude, but I knew there was no reason to make unnecessary chit-chat. I knew exactly where that had gotten me on previous events.

“Err… Yusuf?”

My voice was soft, but loud enough for him to hear me. He spun around suddenly, looking at me, a bit shocked at my addressing him.

He turned his gaze away again, and although silent, by his gesture I could see that he was listening.

“Where’s Umar?”

He didn’t even look at me as he answered me, and it could have been my imagination, but he sounded completely off-hand. Annoyed.

“He’s gone to fetch something.”

He turned to walk away immediately, leaving me standing there stupidly. He was being rude purposely, but I couldn’t exactly be upset about it. The only problem was that Haseena was waiting. This was an emergency.

Idiot. He could have at least offered to phone him!

I immediately went to look for my father, so he could take Haseena to hospital, but ended up finding Mummy instead. She quickly went to see what was happening while I spotted Umar entering the house. I rushed to tell him what was happening, watching as he sped up the stairs with a look of anxiety in his eyes. My heart went out to them.

I really hoped that everything would be okay. I really wanted things to be okay, so badly. I sat down for a few seconds before Fareeha came in to check where I was. I quickly filled her in on the details and we sat there, just a little nervously, until Umar slowly brought Haseena down.

They were going to go to the hospital to check what was going on.

“We’ll phone to let you’ll know what’s happening,” Umar said to Mummy. He was trying to be strong, but he was beyond worry.

“I’ll meet you’ll there,” Mummy insisted, not wanting to leave Haseena. Haseena wasn’t looking well at all.

I listened in a daze while Mummy gave me quick instructions on what to sort out. I nodded my head, unconsciously, trying to control my own emotions. I was so worried for them.

“Don’t worry, Aunty F,” Fareeha piped up. “We’ll sort it out.”

I breathed out a sigh of relief while they left, glad that my friend was there so she could remember my mother’s instructions.

Fareeha and I hastened to finish of all the final clearing, and I explained to my aunties about Haseena. They were all convinced that she had gone into early labour.

Fareeha and I finally finished off with the last bit of clearing, taking a breather for a second before we went inside again. An hour had already passed, and I was a bit anxious to phone Daddy and see how Haseena was doing. I let out a long sigh as I took off the shoes that I had been wearing. Haseena had lent me a pair to match with my new cloak, but my feet were aching.

“You okay, Lails?” Fareeha asked, taking a sear next to me. “You seem… Different.”

I didn’t meet her eye, but I knew Fareeha could sense something was up.

“Just worried about Haseena,” I said, not exactly lying. I didn’t want to bring up the other topic that I had shoved to the back of my mind.

“Laila,” Fareeha said, her tone changing. “I know you. Something was bothering you from earlier… From when you told me about Yusuf. Are you sure there’s nothing going on there?”

I felt embarrased just thinking about what I had told Fareeha about Yusuf. I was out of line.

“Far,” I started, not knowing where to begin.”I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything. I got a lot on my mind… I just… I don’t know…”

“Tell me,” she said, turning to look at me. “I promise I won’t judge.”

And that was all I needed to let it out. I told her everything, even the innermost secrets that I had tried to forget about. I let her into the ugly reality of who I had become during the past months.

“I was stupid, I know,” I confessed. “And you may think I’m silly for wanting it, but Far, I think he’s the one. Even if he wasn’t, right now, after everything, there’s no turning back. The whole thing has gone too far.”

Fareeha’s eyebrows were slightly furrowed as she sat there thinking. She finally spoke.

“It’s never too late, Laila,” she said softly. She looked away now, thinking deeply. “But please, just be careful of who you choose to spend your life with, you never know what a guy is really like until after marriage. Before you do any of that though, please, put your life right. Don’t go back to that sin. Turn to Allah so you can clear your records.. He is so Merciful… Don’t lose hope.”

Her advice to me was spot on. I felt a bit hopeless, a bit beyond rectification. I felt that my repentance could never be sincere enough, and that I would never be able to make up for it.

“Laila, our sins can never exceed the mercy of Allah. Remember that.”

She said it so simply. She had absolute conviction.

Was this the same Fareeha I had been consoling just about two years ago?

I couldn’t believe how far she’d come. Yes, she was still my friend, but her maturity was now beyond mine. The simple fact was that what the only thing that had brought her to where she was, was her bond with her Creator.

Indeed, I could see it. When Allah Ta’ala brings someone to Him, He does it in such a beautiful way. He becomes theirs completely.

“In Madrassa,” Fareeha continued, looking at me. “We were doing our kitaab-reading, and we came across a hadith on Allah’s forgiveness. Appa had explained so beautifully that when we sin, Allah Ta’ala still doesn’t stop loving us. Allah has blessed you to give you that feeling of remorse, so you can make tawbah. He can completely wipe it off your record, if you repent sincerely… Certain Tawbah is enough to grant forgiveness from the sin, but some tawbah will completely wipe it off the record. The limbs and angels won’t even remember it! Imagine, you won’t have to answer for it at all, such is Allah’s mercy!”

SubhanAllah. I had no idea. Fareeha continued talking, and I forgot about everything else whilst I sat there and listened.

Masha Allah. She was born to inspire.

“You know, a man at the time of one of the Bani Israel, was a great sinner. He would continue to sin, without asking for forgiveness. He was so bad that the entire city turned against him and banished him, they kicked him out of the city… Alone, with no food… He finally passes away.”

“But the Prophet at the time got a revelation to make Janazah for this man. When they went to him they found that he was the same evil man that had been banished. They wondered what he had done to even deserve a burial. So Allah had sent revelation to explain his state.”

“He was alone, humiliated, insignificant. He saw his insignificance all by himself. He had no friend no relative as he got weaker and weaker. He couldn’t turn to anyone else, no other door to knock on, no one else to ask for help. In this moment of utter weakness and desolation he turned to Allah(Azza Wajal) and he said:

Oh Allah, if I knew that by punishing me Your greatness will increase and by forgiving me Your greatness will decrease I wouldn’t ask You to forgive me, but oh Allah, knowing that by forgiving me Your greatness will not decrease and by punishing me Your greatness will not increase, then oh Allah I have no one else to turn to, no other hope but You, no other direction to turn to but You, so forgive me.”

“In this condition he passes away… And you know what Allah Ta’ala had said? Allahu Akbar.”

“Allah had said to his Prophet at the time that his repentance was so great and so sincere.

‘The man was so narrow-minded in asking forgiveness for himself only, but if he had asked forgiveness for the entire mankind, I swear by My might and My majesty, I would have forgiven all of mankind.'”

SubhanAllah, our Allah was so great.

Knowing that the man had nothing else to turn to but Allah, our Lord still accepted his repentance. Just the fact that he had turned to Allah Ta’ala was enough for him, and for the entire mankind.

Sometimes Allah Ta’ala pulls us out of our comfort zone so we are finally able to see our errors. So we can finally turn to Him.

And with everything that was happening right now, it was more clear to me than ever. I was finally out of my fantasy world, down from cloud nine, to see the reality. Fareeha’s mother had called her to leave, and I gave her a quick hug, planning to meet again soon.

I instantly remembered Haseena again, wondering if anyone had tried phoning. I strained my ears to see if I could hear the phone from inside, but couldn’t. I needed to know what was going on.

One of my aunties was gesturing to me from the kitchen, and I rushed into see her waving to me with a phone in her hand.

“It’s Bilal,” she said, rushing around. “He wants to talk to you.”

Bilal? I wondered if they had come back. They were supposed to be going away for a few days. He probably just wanted to know what was going on.

“Hello?

“Salaam, Laila?” He said. “Get ready. We’re going to hospital and Mummy said we must fetch you.”

“Why? Is everything okay?” I asked, worried.

“Not sure, but Shaz and I are going to go see what we can do. I think Haseena is in labour.”

 The baby was coming? It was a bit early.

“Just wait outside, we’re in a rush,” he said, before cutting the call.

I quickly shouted to my aunty that I was leaving and grabbed my bag that had a few essentials in it,going to wait outside. Most of the house people had even left, so I was completely unaware of who was still around.

I sat down for a few seconds, before I heard a voice from behind me, greeting.

I replied and turned to look before it registered with me. I had initially thought it was Bilal, but it definitely wasn’t him.

My tongue seemed to have frozen as I swallowed and looked at him, wiping my sweaty hands on my abaya. He made me so nervous.

“Laila,” Zafer said, grinning at me. “How’s it goin’?”

Author’s Note: Alhumdulillah, many readers have been able to relate to Laila and her inner battles.

The most important lesson here is to remember that it is never too late. Leave the sin completely. Do a good deed to cover up a bad one. There’s always time to turn it around. Let’s hope that Laila can do it soon enough.

(Story narrated was from notes of Ustaadh) 

Reminder for Mission Sunnah Revival. We hope that everyone is trying to implement, Insha Allah. 

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofAwakening

#RevivetheSunnahofEating

#ReciteQur’anDaily – at least a quarter

#BoycottSin

Tweet @ajourneyjournal

Journeying: In the Clouds: Part Three

بسم الله

“Laila? Are you okay?” Fareeha asked, waving her hand in front of my face. “Laila?!”

Fareeha had her head tilted to one side, and I could see her frowning.

I was literally staring at her, my mouth agape.

I couldn’t believe it. I just couldn’t believe it. Like… Who does that?

He literally just proposed for me, and now he goes for my best friend. Well, my used-to-be best friend. Whatever. It didn’t matter. It was against the rules. I had to say something.

“Fareeha,” I finally said. “Don’t be so taken in by him. He’s not what you think.”

She looked a bit startled. We still hadn’t entered the marquee as yet.

“What d’you mean, Lails?” Sheasked, concerned.

Don’t say it Laila, something was begging me. Just don’t say it.

I couldn’t listen to my conscience. I don’t know what was wrong with me.

“He’s ridiculous, Far!” I exclaimed. “I mean, he should know better than that… Knowing we’re friends.”

I widened my eyes whilst Fareeha looked at me strangely, before it clicked with her.

“Oh my!” She looked surprised, but I could see something else flicker in her eyes. It didn’t stop me.

“I know, right?” I said, pushing it a bit. “He had asked Haseena to ask me, but no ways… He’s not my type.”

I thought of Zafer again now, but my focus was Yusuf. I couldn’t believe he would do that.

“But Far, it’s up to you,” I said quickly, trying to act indifferent. “If you like him, go for it.”

I could see by her face that she wouldn’t. I had gone too far this time. Too far.

What the hell was wrong with me?

Fareeha shook her head, and theb quickly changed the topic as we walked into the hall. I immediately felt remorse. I had done a dirty thing. There was no reason to tell her about Yusuf proposing.  In my warped mind, it made sense.

The ladies section was brightly lit and the noise levels were now on the minimum as the Qiraat reading progressed. Fareeha and I took a quick seat near Haseena as I looked around me.

It was actually a beautiful setting that Mummy had arranged. The function was nothing fancy, but elegant. Shazia and Mummy sat in the front, while I scrutinised my new sister-in-law.

She looked stunning. Almost perfect. She had a firm smile planted on her face, and with Mummy next to her, I could tell she felt a bit more at ease.

I wondered how she would manage with married life. How she would be when the novelty and fantasy wears off… Would she manage without her family? Would Bilal be enough for her, knowing that her family would never accept him as a son-in-law? Will ‘love’ be enough for the two of them?

Sometimes, when I thought about other people, even to myself, my thinking seemed so.. Grown-up. But when it came to myself, it seemed that my ideas were completely irrational.

Because as I started to feel guilty about what I had told Fareeha, slowly but surely, every other sin I had done started to rise up again. I had done things that I had never thought I would. I had contradicted my words with my very own actions. I had lost my connection with my Lord in the process, unable to find my way back. And when I stumbled and finally came to terms with my reality, I had no choice but  to finally accept it. I felt defeated. I felt hopeless and helpless. Like I was completely beyond any help.

But as the short speech commenced that day at my brother’s Walimah, my thoughts seemed to finally come together.

A story about the Hadhrat Umar (RA) came to mind. When he was the Khalif, he had been asked a question about the state of two people. He received a letter from a man about two scenarios, the man who is fighting his desire to sin and the one who does not even have the urge to sin.

When he was asked as to who the better of the two was, our feeble minds would probably think that the more pious one would probably be the one who doesn’t even feel the need to sin. But Hadrat Umar (RA), in his own piety, had a simple answer. The one who fights his desires is better than the one who has none at all. The sacrifice that is made in an attempt to please Allah Ta’ala and refrain from sin, can never be matched. Your reward is based on your sacrifice.

But what sacrifice was I making?

I was a terrible person. I hurt people intentionally, for no reason at all. I had broken the laws of Allah Ta’ala, just because it seemed ‘okay’ at the time. Most of all, I had hurt myself, because I had lost the fear of Allah. I had forgotten about what I would suffer because of it.

I didn’t want to be the way I was, but I had still chosen to. It was my choice. I had let Shaytaan and my Nafs get the better of me, prompting me to do what was detrimental to me. And now, I finally realised that this was not the end of it all. It didn’t mean that my journey was over, and I had to accept my fate.

I had to try and fight it. I had to feel remorse, in order to redeem myself. Despite knowing how far off-track I had gone, my sins were never too much for Allah Ta’ala to forgive. Despite every sin I had committed, whilst I was in my illusion of deception, I had to come to terms with it all.

Yes, Insaan is weak, and we sin, but the best sinner was the one who repents sincerely. We make excuses and fight the feeling of regret, not realising that it was never too late. Our Allah is Ar-Rahmaan… We have to believe that He is Most Merciful.

The Prophet (SAW) said: “Allah, Blessed and Exalted is He, says, ‘O son of Adam, as long as you call on Me, I shall forgive you of what you have done, and think nothing of it. O son of Adam, even if your sins were to reach up to the clouds in the sky, and then you were to ask for My forgiveness, I would forgive you and think nothing of it. O son of Adam, even if you were to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, and then you were to meet Me after death, not worshipping anything besides Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as the earth.’” [Tirmidhi]

SubhanAllah.

That was our Lord. I still had hope… There was still something that I could do.

As I raised my hands for the final Du’aa that day, I felt a deep sense of regret about everything. I had been so absorbed in the mundane things that had consumed me, that I didn’t worry about the wrong I had done. I was too ignorant, caught up in my fantasy world,  to take heed of the advices I was getting, thinking that I was above it all.

I was wrong. I knew it now.

I sighed as I listened to Fareeha talking about Madrassa and general things. She was so good. The topic of Yusuf didn’t come up again, but I was kind of hoping that she would bring it up, just so I could try and justify myself and my big mouth. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to tell her, but I know that I needed to tell her something. I just didn’t know how to go about it.

As for Haseena, she barely looked at me that day, and I felt myself feeling indebted to her. She was just trying to advise me, and I was completely unconcerned. I had to explain to her.

The function was really lovely, and the guests seemed satisfied as they greeted us and thanked us for the afternoon. I was glad that it went off well, despite the tremendous rush that we had during the week.

The guests had mostly left, as a few of my cousins were still around as we started clearing up.

Tasneem was also around, but I had made a concerted effort to stay away from her, especially after what Haseena had said. After all, Haseena knew her better than me. Next time, I knew I would be more careful when choosing the company to keep.

Bilal had snuck into the hall shortly afterwards to sit with his bride, and I envied them as they sat facing each other, sharing a silent conversation. They looked happy… Finally glad to be together. I was truly feeling happy for them. They made the cutest couple. Maybe everything would be okay for them after all.

Right now though, at that moment, I had to apologise to Haseena. I wanted her support in the big step that I was going to take in my life. I knew that I had gone about it the wrong way, but I just hoped that it wasn’t too late too fix it. I scanned the hall to look for her, but she wasn’t around.

I quickly went into the house to check the kitchen, but she wasn’t even in there. I ran up the stairs, thinking I could speak to her alone, but the rooms were empty. I had spotted Umar standing outside, so where was she?

I knocked on the bathroom door quickly before turning to go down, when I heard someone in the bathroom.

“Haseena?” I called. No-one else would be using the bathroom upstairs.

She opened the door a teeny bit, peeping out. I could barely see her.

“Laila, is that you?”

“Yup, it’s me,” I said, relieved. “Has, I need to talk to you-“

“Listen, Laila,” her voice was sounding different. She sounded upset. “I can’t right now. Can you call Umar?”

I was getting a bit worried with the was she was behaving.

“Haseena, is everything okay?” I asked tentatively.

“Laila, please, just call him,” she said, getting annoyed at me. She sounded slightly teary. “I need to go to the hospital. I don’t know what’s happening…”

 

Author’s Note: Reminder for Mission Sunnah Revival. We hope that everyone is trying to implement, Insha Allah. 

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofAwakening

#RevivetheSunnahofEating

#ReciteQur’anDaily – at least a quarter

#BoycottSin

Tweet @ajourneyjournal

 

Journeying: In the Clouds: Part Two

بسم الله

Haseena stood motionless for a few seconds, just staring at me.

Then she spoke.

“What?!” She started. “Nikah..? When? Laila… When…?! When did all of this happen?!”

I breathed out now, with complete mixed emotions. Half of it was relieved that I finally told her, and the other half was filled with fear. Fear about what she would say… How much she would ask.

I looked down now, embarrassed. She was already judging me in her head, I could just feel it.

“Haseena, I wanted to tell you-“

“So then why on earth didn’t you?!” She stepped forward, speaking through gritted teeth. “Who is he, and when did this all happen?”

I was silent. I couldn’t say it.

“Laila, you better open your mouth or I promise, I will-“

“It wasn’t planned, Has!” I exclaimed. “I met him at the beginning of the year when I went somewhere with Tas, and he contacted me afterwards-“

“With Tasneem?!” She gasped, her eyes wide. “You were going around with her?”

“She’s not so bad, Has. It’s actually my fault-“

“Of course it’s your bloody fault!” She spat at me. Haseena’s eyes were filled with fury, but she blinked furiously so she could contain it. She lowered her voice a bit.

“It’s your fault because you got yourself involved with her! And then with some idiot! I thought you knew better than that, Laila.”

I did. I knew better than that. But sometimes what you know and what you actually do are two different things.

I had disappointed her. I could see it.

“Haseena, I never meant to-“

“Who is he?” She interrupted again, clearly not wanting to hear any of my apologies.

“His name is Zafer,” I mumbled, almost hoping she didn’t hear.

“Zafer?” She asked, looking confused. “Who is…?”

She pause for a minute before realisation dawned.

“Oh my word. Laila. No,” she said adamantly, shaking her head blindly. “No ways. Not Tasneem’s brother-in-law? No. No no no.”

She looked like she was trying to convince herself, as she sat down and put her head in her hands. I didn’t get it. What was the big deal? Not like she was that innocent. She had known Umar from school. Who knows what they had gotten up to? I didn’t want to even think about it, considering what she was like then.

And if it was the guy she had a problem with, I knew Asad and Yusuf had history, but his brother wasn’t even here until recently. He was a good guy.

“Laila, please,” she said with pleading eyes. ” Do you even know what you’re doing to yourself? This is not you. You’re can’t get caught up in this.  Please break it off. It’s not a good idea.”

I couldn’t believe she was even asking me to do that. We were going to make Nikaah. It wasn’t just a silly childhood romance.

I shook my head stubbornly, speaking again.

“I spoke to Mummy and she’s fine about him. They want to come next week.”

“What? Are you mad?” She asked. She looked at me now, realising the truth. “Oh my word, Mummy probably has no idea about who he… Laila, why are you so determined for this to work?! What is this Zafer even telling you? He’s probably brainwashing you with all his disgusting ideas.”

“Just leave me alone!” I said, raging. How dare she?  “I’m old enough to make my own decisions, and Zafer is not like that!”

She looked at me angrily. I didn’t tell her that they were supposed to have come two months ago. I didn’t tell her about how many times he had put it off for silly reasons. Eventually, I had told him that I couldn’t speak to him unless they came home first.

And yes, I comforted myself in the knowledge that I didn’t ‘do’ anything. I caught myself on several occassions, thinking that I’m not ‘as bad’ as some of the other girls my age. I didn’t exactly ‘go out’ with Zafer, but the very fact that I spoke to him, on more than one occassion, made me just as bad.

I still had a bit of pride in me because I hadn’t committed the ‘physical’ Zinaa. He hadn’t exactly touched me.

But my thoughts were tuned out to the very fact that my mind was sometimes consumed by him, being a fantasy that just felt wrong. The suggestive talking that I had once been a part of was a poor excuse for restraint. The thoughts that went through my head at times, was clear Zinaa of the mind. It was a blatant sin.

I was being purposefully ignorant. When some people commit sins, and realise their folly, they are able to make Tawbah afterward. Because of the knowledge of what they had done, the regret reaches a stage where repentance is inevitable. Eventually, they realise that the feeling afterwards was much worse than the pleasure of the sin.

Unfortunately, the remorse wasn’t there yet for me. The repentance that I had so casually made was barely sufficient or even worthy of acceptance.

Because a fact about the repentance that we offer, as a great saint had once said, is that even our repentance is worthy of tawbah. Our istighfaar is is need of istighfaar, such is the lowly state of it.

According to a narration, our Nabi (SAW) was once told that there would be a particular section of Jahannam for the Muslims.

When he had asked Jibraeel (AS) as to what the reason was, he was told that this level will be filled with believers who did not repent from their sins. Those Muslims who did not seek Tawbah from their Lord, out of their ignorance.

And I didn’t fully understand how deep I was, because at that stage, for me, there was no turning back. I had felt like the only way out was for me to continue as I was. I had sometimes underestimated the punishment that came with disobedience.

We basically think, “What’s the harm in just talking? I’m only making conversation.” Or, we say, “I’m only looking at the guy, it’s nothing much.”

But Allah’s laws are there for a reason. We console ourself in the knowledge that it is somewhat necessary for us to behave in a manner that Allah Ta’ala clearly forbids. We make ourselves comfortable with the sin, just because it seems minor to us.

But we don’t stop to think… Are we just regular violators and kaafir, or or are we the humble, sinful servants of our Lord?

Because the difference is, for the believer, our sins should not be treated as major or minor. They should all be looked at alike, as defiance of Allah’s commands. And that is a major violation.

“Tell My slaves: that I am very Forgiving, very Kind,” (Al-Hijr: 49),

“But My chastisement is a severe chastisement indeed.” (Al-Hijr: 50)

Indeed, it was true. The punishment of Allah was severe, and that was slowly becoming a fear. Through all my knowledge, I had been a hypocrite and a sinner.

In my faithless mindset, through it slowly becoming clear for me, I had assumed that I was too far gone.

Haseena’s penetrating gaze just confirmed it for me.

And after an unsuccessful argumentative rally, she finally left me in the lounge and went out to the marquee in a huff. She was upset. She couldn’t believe I would turn down Yusuf for Zafer.

But I knew what I wanted. I sat on the couch, alone, and just a little disappointed in the outcome.

She didn’t know him. She didn’t know what he was really like. He wasn’t like Asad, who seemed a bit too rough on the edges for me. He didn’t have the same vengeful qualities as Yusuf, that they had told me about. Zafer was perfect.

I sat in thought for a long time, my mind slowly closing in on the reality of what I had done. I spoke about this guy like I knew him. I had looked at him as if he was already bound with me in the union of Nikah. I admired his qualities as if I had no concept of pardah whatsoever.

The tears were now on the verge of escaping freely.

What had I done?

“Laila, are you okay?”

A voice broke my thoughts as I spotted Fareeha walk into the lounge, a worried look on her face.

“Guests have arrived, function’s started… Everyone’s looking for you.”

I quickly stood up and gave Fareeha a small smile. I couldn’t tell her. Not after everything I had admonished her about previously. Not now, anyway.

“How’s everything going?” I asked her, gesturing outside.

“They’re just starting the Du’aa,” she said. “Shame, Shazia seems really out of place. I feel sorry for her. Haseena asked Mummy to sit with her for a while. We’re like the only family she has here!”

I was so caught up in my own drama, I didn’t even think about that. I couldn’t imagine not knowing anyone at my own Walimah. I actually felt sorry for her. I had been a bit selfish recently, only worrying about myself.

“You know, Lails,” she continued, as we walked out. “Despite what happened with Saaleha and Bilal, I’m happy for them. From what I know about Bilal, I think Saaleha was never the right one for him.”

I nodded my head vaguely, not really listening. I suppose what was meant to be had had happened.

It was Yusuf coming toward the house now, looking like he was searching for something. He must have seen us, but walked past completely ignoring us.

“Idiot,” I muttered under my breath, annoyed for no reason.

“Aah, he’s not so bad,” Fareeha said, a little too quickly.

I turned to look at her, surprised by her remark. What did she know about Yusuf anyway?

“You like him or something?” I asked her, a bit shocked.

“Not exactly,” she mumbled. I could barely hear her, because the noise from the marquee was quite loud.

“So then?” I probed, frowning at her. She was hiding something.

She looked at me and pulled me to one side, away from the entrance to the marquee.

“Lails, this is top secret,” she almost whispered. I strained my ears to hear above the noise, looking at her questioningly.

Fareeha always got too excited about silly things.

“They phoned the other day,” she said, her eyes filled with excitement. “He wants to come home to ‘see’ me!”

Author’s Note: A specific narration I had heard in a bayaan states something to the effect that when Zinaa becomes a norm within the Ummah, being committed openly as if there is nothing wrong with it, we should know Qiyaamah is close.

This is happening in almost every destination one goes to. An appeal to the younger, unmarried  youth to try and get onto what is straight and right, even when it’s become the norm not to. Insha Allah.

May Allah guide our youth and us in this time of great Fitnah. Aameen.

Just a reminder to continue with our Mission Sunnah Revival.

A small change. A dear sister had let us know that the first one previously mentioned was actually an Adaab, since the hadith mentioned as a Sunnah is classified as a weak one. Below I have re-listed.

1. Eating from what is near to you.

Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), said to me, “Mention Allah’s Name (i.e., say Bismillah before starting eating), eat with your right hand, and eat from what is near you.”

2. Recite Bismillah For Blessing
Wahshi bin Harmat (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates from the Messenger of Allah (SAW) that, ‘Eat together and recite ‘Bismillah’, there will be blessings for you in this.’

3. Eat together (with company or as a family)

4. Eating Whilst Seated On The Floor Is Sunnah
Qataada (may Allah be pleased with him) states that, ‘The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would eat his food from a mat (laid out on the floor).’

(How To Sit- The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to often squat down on his knees and sit on his heels for the meal. At other times he would raise this right leg and sit on his left. He used to say, ‘I do not eat when reclining ‘ for I am but a slave, I eat as a slave eats and sit as a slave sits.’)

Let us try and bring in the Sunnah of eating on the floor as well, even with some of our spoilt South African lifestyles, so hopefully we can practise on all four by tomorrow, Insha Allah!

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofAwakening

#RevivetheSunnahofEating

#ReciteQur’anDaily – at least a quarter

#BoycottSin

Tweet @ajourneyjournal

Journeying: In the Clouds: Part One

بسم الله

I just couldn’t believe it was happening. I mean, I had anticipated it… But it was just too quick for me. It had taken Bilal all of three days to make the final decision to marry Shazia. Three days. I mean, who does that?

I did the whole smiling and welcoming thing as the guests left after Jumuah lunch that day. Bilal and Shazia were married. They were husband and wife, and I couldn’t believe it.

In all honesty, I didn’t resent the fact that he had finally gotten what he wanted. Who he wanted. It might have clashed with certain things in my life, but I just hoped that he wouldn’t eventually lose all of his morals because of it.

The brutal fact was that our families were extremely different. Shazia was from a different kind of life, a different mindset. Bilal’s life was pretty much on the other side of things, until he met her. What he had seen in her, besides what she looked like, was a complete mystery to me.

As the Walima day dawned on us, and Haseena wobbled into my room that morning to tell me to come help, I just felt irritated at the whole prospect of it. It was such a rush that week, trying to get all the food arrangements sorted out for the big day. There was no reception because Shazia’s family probably didn’t even know about the Nikah, so all the arrangements were left to us. Thankfully, our family didn’t do big functions.

The morning went by in a flash, and soon Bilal and Shazia arrived from their ‘secret getaway’ for the night. I had no idea what it was with newlyweds and the big secret. No-one was really going to come raid their room on their big night, so I just found the whole thing ridiculous.

I greeted them warmly as they entered before lunch, although I felt a bit awkward. Haseena, as usual, was the epitome of grace. She had even arranged for someone to come and help Shazia get ready before the Walima, and she was rushed upstairs to start the final touches so she could emerge looking like a real bride.

It was quite something to watch her get ready. She wanted everything to be perfect, and it was never really something that I had understood until it was my turn to be the bride. I judged her in my head relentlessly, although I knew it was wrong.

But then I spotted my brother sneaking into the room where Shazia was, and I saw the way their faces lit up when they saw each other. He looked around before rushing to her side, leaning close to her, as if telling her some secret that no-one else could ever know. Shazia actually blushed as he gave her a quick peck on the cheek, and I looked away. It was really a stolen moment, and as Haseena spotted him and chased him out, I couldn’t help but notice Shazia’s contentment.

And I suppose that’s what did it for me. Maybe, just through the fact that they made each other so happy, their love would prosper. Allah Ta’ala had brought the two hearts together, and I knew their was definitely a reason for that. It was all predetermined.

I had millions of doubts about how they would fare when the novelty and infatuation was over, but I knew that Bilal would never mess this up. He had fought to do things the right way. I was so afraid that he would eventually slip up, like we all did, and just be with her by any means, but he didn’t.

I was hesitant about telling him about Shazia at first, because I knew he would try contacting her. I didn’t want them to build anything on a sin, because the consequences were far greater than the pleasure thereafter. Though I didn’t exactly approve of Shazia as a sister-in-law, at least he had he had taken Mummy with him to find Shazia, and get the low-down on what exactly was going on. Mummy had located Shazia at the hospital one night, and took control of the situation so that the two of them could finally figure out exactly what it was they had to do from there.

But now that everything was finally in place, I still couldn’t help but think that their journey wasn’t over. As I went down to finish with the table settings, I prayed that Shazia’s family would accept it, for my brother’s sake.

“Need help, Lails?”

I looked up to see someone walking into the marquee, as I put a serviette in it’s place. It took me a minute to realise that it was Fareeha behind the pardah, and I immediately went forward to greet her.

I had really missed my friend, and although I knew that it was my fault that we had drifted apart, I felt a sense of nostalgia, thinking about how close we used to be. She used to know every single thing that went on in my life, but as I looked at her now, I felt like I was a stranger to her. I felt like we had lost something along the way. I felt like I wanted to erase everything that I had done that ever made me become the way I was.

I wanted to become like her, but as I saw her changing, and other things had slowly crept into my life, something was pulling me away. Instead of going toward what I knew was good for me, I felt myself being steered towards what was bringing my downfall. The worst part was that I didn’t stop it. I let it be.

I spent more time with Tasneem, even after the first outing, thinking that I wouldn’t do any harm to myself for it. That is the problem with Insaan, in general. We live with the attitude that we can control ourselves, that we are able to hold ourselves back.

But the fact was, Shaytaan was so extremely conniving and convincing. He made the bad seem good. He made what was detrimental to us seem like it was to our advantage. And through different resources, he plays on the mind, making us think that we are not ‘that bad’.

But in definite truth, we are as bad as we think, and probably worse than that. Through the mistakes I had made, I realised the importance of the company that one keeps. Choosing the right companions is a means of preserving Deen. When you surround yourself by the ones that are friends with Allah, it is only natural that some of their goodness would rub off onto you.

But I didn’t realise… It was unbelievable the kind of effect that people you spend time with can have, and as I looked at Fareeha that day, I realised how far off-track I had gone from when she was the most important friend in my life. I had lost focus, not realising what I should be looking for.

The Prophet ﷺ said: “A person is on the religion of his companions. Therefore let every one of you carefully consider the company he keeps.” [Tirmidhi]

And that was what one needed to seek. When I looked at Fareeha and witnessed her massive transformation, I remembered Allah. When I hugged her, and felt her return the warm embrace, I remembered our purpose in life. I remembered that the kind of company that I should have been seeking was hers, not the kind of company that led me off-track.

Because although not everyone was privileged to have a friend like that in their midst, I was. I had Fareeha at my disposal, but in my ignorance, I lost focus. I gave in to what I was being called to by my Nafs, and let myself go.

And I felt guilty afterwards. I not only felt guilty because I had betrayed my Lord, but I regretted what I had done because of the hurt that it would probably cause my friend.

I didn’t make eye contact with her as she asked me about what was going on in my life. I could tell she also had loads to tell me, but as the guests started arriving and we welcomed them in, we became pre-occupied with other pursuits. I made a mental note to catch up with her later on, needing to speak to her… To seek some counsel.

I spotted Haseena gesturing to me from the other side of the marquee to go inside, so I quickly followed her in to see what it was she wanted. Being on her feet had probably got her more tired than usual, and as she sat down and instructed me about what else to take out, I spotted a few of the family men walk through the passage passed us.

Haseena quickly put her pardah down and I looked up for a few seconds, just in time to spot Yusuf entering behind Umar and my father.

I quickly looked away. I just couldn’t help the reaction that I had to him. After his alleged proposal for me, he just made me feel… Awkward.

I looked up at Haseena to see her eyeing me out.

“Laila, if you’re really aren’t interested in Yusuf, why do you always act like that when you see him?”

I shrugged my shoulders, not wanting to answer her. Next time, I would make sure I don’t look at Yusuf.

I spotted Bilal, dressed in his favourite off-white kurta, coming down the stairs to go to the men’s section. There was no time now anyway to go into it.

The truth was though, I felt really guilty. I felt guilty about Yusuf, partly because I had turned him down, and the real reason why. I just couldn’t understand why he was so driven by things that I couldn’t stand. His obsession with the type of  life he wanted to lead for himself was the final clincher for me. And after what I had heard about him, my decision was made.

But I knew if I told Haseena, she would kill me. If I told her what I really wanted, and who I had already made my mind up about, I didn’t want to think of her reaction. I knew she would eventually accept it, but probably kill me because of how stupidly I had gone about it.

Now that I had told Mummy about him coming for a proposal, I knew I would have to tell Haseena soon. I was just waiting for the right opportunity.

“Anyway,” she continued. “At least now I can relax after the wedding. This pregnancy has been good, Alhumdulillah, but now… Now I’m getting just a little tired.”

She stretched her legs out before lifting herself off the chair to grab one of the plates of biscuits for the tea. This was it. I had to tell her.

“Err, Has,” I started saying, not meeting her eye.

“Hmmm?”

I took a deep breath, preparing for the revelation of a lifetime.

“Haseena, just so you know,” I said, finally looking up. “There’s something I needed to tell you… For a while now.”

She turned to look at me, a bit worried.

“What?”

“There’s someone I like… and I want you to meet,” I said quietly, watching her expression change. “We want to make Nikah… Soon.”

 

Author’s Note: The effect of good company can never be emphasised enough. Through Laila losing that in her life, looks like she got herself involved in a little more than she bargained for.

Let us always try and seek the company of the pious, and stick with those who are good, practising Muslims. Insha Allah.

A reminder for us to remember our Mission Sunnah Revival. Insha Allah, we hope everyone is remembering both our previously mentioned Sunnahs.

Today we will introduce the third. A dear sister had generously gave the idea of the fourth one mentioned, and I think that if we can make the small sacrifice, the rewards will be great, Insha Allah. Four are mentioned below.

1. Eating from what is near to you.

Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), said to me, “Mention Allah’s Name (i.e., say Bismillah before starting eating), eat with your right hand, and eat from what is near you.”

2. Recite Bismillah For Blessing
Wahshi bin Harmat (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates from the Messenger of Allah (SAW) that, ‘Eat together and recite ‘Bismillah’, there will be blessings for you in this.’

3. Eat together (with company or as a family)

4. Eating Whilst Seated On The Floor Is Sunnah
Qataada (may Allah be pleased with him) states that, ‘The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would eat his food from a mat (laid out on the floor).’

(How To Sit- The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to often squat down on his knees and sit on his heels for the meal. At other times he would raise this right leg and sit on his left. He used to say, ‘I do not eat when reclining ‘ for I am but a slave, I eat as a slave eats and sit as a slave sits.’)

May Allah make it easy for us to implement. For starters, let us start with two of the four today, and improve as the week progresses. Insha Allah! 

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofAwakening

#RevivetheSunnahofEating

#ReciteQur’anDaily – at least a quarter

#BoycottSin

Tweet @ajourneyjournal

 

Journeying: Bilal’s New Beginning

بسم الله

“All sorted?”

Umar said as he entered the room, followed by one of my old school friends, Jameel. I suppose it was just so they could make sure I was still in there. It was a big day for me. One of the biggest of my life. I wasn’t going to mess anything up. Not this time.

“You sure ’bout this, huh? No turning back this time?”

His question was phrased with the best intentions, but I couldn’t help feel just a tinge of guilt. Nothing I could do about it now. I had to move forward

It was a humid Jumuah morning in early March, and my spirits were high. This was the way I was supposed to be feeling about marriage. Excited. Triumphant. Extremely favoured.

But the road wasn’t an easy one for me. In all fairness, a lot of the stuff I had gone through were things that I had afflicted on myself. Nothing in life was unfair. Allah Ta’ala’s plan was in complete order.

I checked my watch to see how we were going with time. There was still half an hour to go before the lecture would begin, so I sat next to Umar, just so I could catch my breath for a minute.

I was amazed at how things had so easily unfolded for this day to finally take place. In the ultimate aim of accepting what Allah had decreed, and placing my trust in Him alone, I was rewarded in a way I couldn’t believe.

I was quite a mess after the initial proposal for Shazia, and could barely understand it. Her grandfather had pulled me aside that day after I spoke to her, basically telling me that it would never work. He told me that I wasn’t cut out for their family. They had convinced me that Shazia had a change of heart, and I backed down, even though I could barely believe it.

But for then, it was the best thing for me, so I could do justice to what lay ahead for me.

As Ramadhaan brought with it it’s light and guidance, my heart became submerged. I searched for what I had always felt I was missing. I tried to acquire the purpose of the month, to attain taqwa. To gain piety.

Because what would be the purpose of the month if I did not acquire it? It would mean that the efforts I had made were completely useless. It would mean that had lost the whole point.

So through my first-time Ithikaaf, I rediscovered my whole purpose of life. To find Allah. To search for him, so that I could feel His presence, and beg of Him.

I felt in complete submission as I had sat in seclusion for the last ten days. I shut myself off from everything, asking for forgiveness, praying for what was best for me. I knew that I would only achieve it if I were to ask of the Almighty.

The remembrance of Him, knowing that He was the only One who controlled everything, gave me a certain comfort. As I devoted myself to my task for those last ten days, I knew that there was only one way of escaping from anything else that was on my mind, when I found contentment in Him.

I made Du’aa with absolute conviction, believing that the Du’aas that I had to ask would be fully answered. I had complete faith in Allah, as I asked for the best. In that time, I was intent in finding solace in Him only, hardly taking notice of anything else around me. I found refuge in the fact that whatever He had planned for me would be in my best interest.

Because when you obey Allah, and trust in Him, He makes sure that everything falls into place. With Him in the centre your life, nothing is a calamity, everything is a blessing which can make you His beloved.

And even as Ramadhaan ended and I was once again in the path of obstacles that faced me, I knew that I would be protected through the help of my Lord.

Because a simple solution, when faced with every trial that surrounded ourselves, was to completely engage yourself in the trust and care of the Lord of the Worlds.

Because during the time of Nuh (AS), during the construction of his ship, an old woman approached Hadrat Nuh (AS) and asked him, “Why are you building this?”

He informed her of the major flood that was to come, but unlike the others, this woman didn’t refute it, but instead replied, “Let me know when it’s about to happen so that I may also climb onboard.”

She then retreated to her cottage (which stood separate from the rest of the city).

Hadrat Nuh (AS) was understandably busy leading up to the event, and when the punishment of Allah finally arrived, he could only watch as the entire Earth was overtaken with water – a flood that engulfed every disbeliever that previously didn’t believe in it.

When the water later receded and Hadrat Nuh Alaihis salam exited the ship to stand on land once more, he was surprised to see the same lady approach him once again and ask, “So, when’s the flood going to come?”

Hadrat Nuh (AS) replied, “Lady, the flood is over! How could you have survived it?!”

The woman then said, “I must be fortunate then, that the One Who saved your ship also chose to save me.”

SubhanAllah.

It was that simple. When you put your belief in Him, and submit to Him, even when it’s against the norm and the odds, He will ensure that you are always in comfort. He will keep you completely sheltered from the world.

Whoever surrenders to Allah will never be deserted by Him

It was amazing that not only did Allah save this believing woman from the floods, but He also completely shielded her from the knowledge and effects of it. He completely protected her, just because she was His servant. What promises our Allah makes to us, when we only choose to put Him above anything else?

And I tried. I tried, and I cried like a baby, at times, inconsolable… But what was the point if I went home and continued to sin? Ramadhaan was my shield… My fort. The test was how I was faring afterwards.

But as I went through the motions of my everyday life thereafter, though I tried to keep my efforts in place,  I felt like something wasn’t right. Whether it was a car following me on my way home, or footsteps behind me as I would leave the local hospital at night, I was somehow  vaguely aware of a lurking danger. For some reason,I had been protected from whatever it was.

It prompted me to place my trust in Allah Ta’ala and continue. I put it down to paranoia, until the day Laila told me about Shazia being sick.

I tried to contact her countless times, but just as well, there was no luck. I tried her grandfather, thinking he could at least tell me what had happened, but to no avail.

It was like her whole family had just disappeared off the face of the earth. I even went to the house, but no-one was there. It was the strangest thing, but I didn’t push it. I left it and went on with life.

Mummy pushed me to see other girls, but I was still a bit preoccupied. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get involved in that again. I just had a habit of messing up lives.

But when worry consumed me, I finally called Reza to ask him if he knew what was going on. I hadn’t seen him in ages, but I had to find out. He said he would get back to me, and finally did, when his wife located Shazia. He let me in on what was really going on.

What we discovered afterwards had consumed me with rage. Her family had literally blocked me out of her life. They had sent people to tarck me down, and keep me away. They had blocked our cellphone numbers from their phone, not allowing any contact. They had moved homes, in an attempt to completely keep us at bay. They controlled her every move, holding her like a hostage. It was unbelievable.

After much contemplation, I finally convinced Mummy to come with me to Jo’burg. I had to find out the truth. I located the hospital that she was at, and tracked her down over a few days. I didn’t want to scare her, but I knew if anyone found out I was around, it would probably be a mission to ever see her again.

But I got there just in time. I got there in time to find out how much they had done to keep me away. The real story of how everything had gone so far off for us. And though it was an effort to move past the obstacles that made me so enraged, I put it behind us so we could move forward.

Shazia managed to come to stay with her sister with the pretence that she was away on work, and so here I was, three days later, the day of our Nikah.

I leaned back on the seat next to Umar and Jameel now, just taking a breather for a second. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. I couldn’t believe that the day had actually come.

I cracked my knuckles forcefully, a habit I had developed whenever I felt a little nervous. Right now, more than ever, the nerves were overtaking. I made a silent Du’aa that everything would go well today, and put my trust in Him. I wanted to do this the right way, but sometimes, things just had a way of backfiring.

“Let’s go bru, we don’t want to be late,” Jameel said to me, getting up.

We got into the car, and as we reached the Masjid, Umar had a small smirk on his face as he watched me getting off. He had given me plenty of marriage advices, but I couldn’t help but still feel the magnanimity of the step I was taking. Outwardly, as I greeted the few people I knew, I was cool.

Inwardly, I was in a bit of a situation.

The lecture seemed to take forever to end that day, but as Maulana concluded,  before I knew it, I was called to the front where Reza, Umar and Shazia’s father stood. He was the only member of her family that knew what was going on, and though I didn’t trust him completely, at that moment, I had no choice.

Maulana proceeded with the Nikaah and when I finally uttered the words that would bind us for life, relief flooded through me.

This was it. The papers were signed, everything was set. I was a married man.

The meeting and greeting seemed to take forever, but I finally broke away from the crowds, ready to leave.

I was finally going to meet my bride.

Author’s Note: As a reminder to us all, and today’s lesson, let us remember that when we make Allah Ta’ala the centre of our lives and worlds, it can only be Him who can protect us from whatever Fitnahs we find in our midst.

Allah will not ever place us in a difficulty that is too great, if we are in complete submission to Him. Wherever we are in the world, with the intense trials that the Ummah faces, and the continuous struggles, we only make Du’aa that Allah Ta’ala can save us from it all. Like the old woman who was a believer, she was completely sheltered from the floods only because of her belief and her faith. 
(Source of Story: Roohul-Bayaan, Vol. 2, Pg. 85)

Let us also attempt to acquire that same belief, so that Allah can be our sole Protector too.  

When we make Him ours, He will see that we are always in the best of states. Everything in the world can be in disarray, but we can be saved from it all when we are His wali, and have Yaqeen in Him. Insha Allah. Without Him, we are truly nothing.

Please remember our Mission Sunnah Revival. Next Sunnah will be mentioned tomorrow, Insha Allah. 

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofAwakening

#ReciteQur’anDaily – at least a quarter

#BoycottSin

Tweet @ajourneyjournal