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.
#ReciteQur’anDaily – at least a quarter