I hastily placed the vase of roses on my sideboard, anxious to open the card. It wasn’t uncharacteristic of Umar to send me flowers, but I still wondered what the occasion was. Nevertheless, they were absolutely beautiful.
I flipped open the card, grinning to myself as I read it.
Unbelievable. He had already answered my question.
It was almost as if Umar could read my mind at times. He knew I’d be wondering why he had sent them today.
I sat on the couch, getting myself comfortable before I opened the card again to read the other side.
‘Because our days are numbered in this world, I wanted to take the time to tell you that I’m glad that I chose to spend mine with you. Thank you for being my light through every dark tunnel. I just want you to know how much you mean to me, every day.
Through everything we’ve been through, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
I smiled as I closed the card, putting it in a box in my top cupboard. Umar got slightly romantic at times, but I couldn’t help but feel elated by Umar’s impromptu gift. It was hard to believe that even after being married for a few years, Umar still took the time out for these small gestures. After all, I reminded myself, our Nabi (SAW) was the most romantic one to his wives, despite his great status and responsibilities.
When the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) would have a meal with Aisha (RA), they would both eat from the same plate and drink from the same cup as each other.
What the Prophet (SAW) would do is, turn the cup where Aishas lip marks were left and would drink from that side of the cup. He would also make eye contact with her and then drink. [Sahîh al-Bukhârî ]
And as I thought of that, I recalled how my husband would also try to bring in that spark again. I knew that Umar still made an effort, and I appreciated it.
It was nearly time for him to come home though, and I neatened up and then busied myself in the kitchen whilst I waited for him. I always made a small effort to look a little more presentable when my husband came in, knowing that it was important.
Umar was now teaching at the local Madrassa that had recently opened. It was part of his initiative, and with the help of a few other Aalims and donors, they had managed to run a successful Madrassa for a few months now.
After moving in with Umar’s parents, it was a little bit more difficult to have ‘alone’ time. But, with Yusuf gone now for over a year, they had broken down the wall between his and Umar’s room, and made a larger suite for us. Since they weren’t around today, I appreciated the privacy of the extended house.
The key turned in the lock, and Umar emerged from outside, a big grin on his face. It was one of those days when the rain was pouring down, and I rushed to Umar to give him a towel. I grinned back at him whilst he embraced me, and looked up at my husband lovingly. Being alone tonight meant we didn’t have to worry about being affectionate in the outer house.
“You’re getting very romantic these days, Maulana!” I said to him, noticing him smiling again, whilst he took the towel to wipe his face and beard. He took off his jacket, hanging it up on the coat stand.
“Did you like them?!” He asked, feigning anxiety. He knew I loved flowers, so I didn’t reply, just smiled back to let him know.
“See, even after nearly four years, I still got the touch!” Umar said, winking at me.
I laughed at him and turned away, dishing out the food and placing it on the cloth I had lain out on the floor. We ate and chatted about general things, until Umar mentioned that he had met someone from Hajj. I smiled as I recalled the couple, remembering how close I had been to his wife for those few weeks.
“Did you invite them home?” I asked him.
He nodded in the affirmative whilst I thought of Hajj again. Though it had been over a year ago, some memories still stuck with me until now. The whole journey had been such a wake up call for me, and I realised how ungrateful I had been for the little things I had.
“I invited them for the following weekend, because I won’t be here next week, Insha Allah,” he said.
I nodded, and though I felt slightly saddened, I knew that these sacrifices were of the greatest kind. Umar went away on local Jamaat every few weeks, but I didn’t feel so bad about him leaving me anymore. Going for Hajj had put all that into perspective for me, as I had been forced to attain the qualities that would gear me for life. It was really an experience that built your character, and reformed you completely.
Because through the tying of Ihraam and it’s limited period, it symbolises the short span of this life. It reinforced for me the true purpose of us being here. The gathering of Arafaat was a sure representation of the gathering of Qiyaamah, where all will be assembled together, on the Day when everyone will be only concerned with themselves. And the offering of Qurbaani, whichever sacrifice, and whatever way, brings closeness to our Rabb. Through giving of ourselves and what we love, will we only gain piety.
And I had realised that through sacrifice, this was the only way to gain Allah Ta’ala’s closeness. Qurbani, came from the word “Qur”- which meant closeness. So to attain Allah Ta’ala, and His love, it wasn’t always easy. The more you give up for His sake, the greater your status is with Him. And if you are great in His eyes, what does anything else matter?
So, I had learnt to sacrifice for Allah’s sake, and though it was difficult a lot of the time, I assured myself that the rewards would be plentiful. Through Allah’s mercy, I had been able to practise a few of those qualities even till now.
So despite the slight despondency, I didn’t mind Umar going away, even for extended periods of time. He had been recently to see Yusuf, who had been on Jamaat for quite some time now. It looked like he had settled down now, and was intending to study in India after his degree. I wondered how he would manage alone, but Umar had said that he would probably find a wife here at some point and then go back.
“Where are you’ll going?” I asked Umar after we ate, starting to clear up. Umar picked up the remaining dishes whilst he told me about a location they were going to visit. They needed a few members of the Ulema to go out, and he wanted to join them.
I nodded and listened, wondering whether I should go to my parents or stay here. I sometimes stayed, since I wasn’t alone in the house anymore, but some time with Laila would be nice too. The last time I had spoken to Mummy, she was convinced that there was something wrong with Laila because she wasn’t married yet. I knew that people in the town sometimes talked, but there was no reason for her to be worried.
“But she’s getting so old,” Mummy had complained. “All of you young girls are too fussy! I told your father not to let her work at the office, but now it’s too late!”
I giggled to myself as I remembered the days of Mummy complaining about me getting old. Maybe if I was younger then things might have been different now, but I was happy where I was. Umar and I had grown together, through everything, and like him, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
But thankfully, Alhumdulillah, Mummy’s fears were put slightly to rest the following week. Laila phoned me to ask me a few weird questions, before I realised what she was getting at.
“So how did you know with Umar? After Istikhaarah and that?” she asked me bluntly. “Like how did you make sure that you weren’t going to regret it?”
I thought to myself for a few seconds. There was no way to be sure. You had to place your trust in Allah Ta’ala, and trust in His plan, whatever it was. I was quite sure that Umar was the one, but I knew that whatever was meant to happen, would happen.
“Laila, just tell me,” I said after telling her my own experiences. “Who is he?”
She was silent for a while before spilling the beans. I listened whilst she told me about one of Bilal’s friends who had been home the previous week when we were there. I made a mental note to ask Umar about him properly, realising that I wasn’t really listening when he was telling me. Umar seemed to have gotten along with him quite well.
“So, did they phone?” I asked, wondering if Laila was just counting her chickens. Worse still, I worried about her getting involved in something again.
She sighed audibly, admitting that she had just ‘seen’ him, and was wondering. I felt slightly sorry for her as she spoke, hoping that this wasn’t a one-sided thing. I knew how it was to be sitting around and waiting for someone, and I didn’t want her to do that.
I got off the phone, intending to ask Umar as soon as he got home. If Laila was finally interested in someone, it would be a real let-down if he didn’t come home.
Umar walked in surprisingly late that day, although he was due to leave the following day. Instead of his usual broad smile, I felt myself immediately getting panicked as I noticed his sullen mood. He greeted his mother before pulling me into another room. He gave me a quick peck, looking at me seriously before he spoke.
“Has,” he started saying, gesturing for me to sit down next to him. “I have a small problem.”
I turned my knees towards him, waiting for him to continue.
He was silent for a while, then sighed audibly, rubbing his forehead.
“I know that you never wanted me to speak about this again,” he finally said. I looked at him, wondering what it was that he was talking about. “But there’s something that I haven’t told you about. It’s something to do with you…”
Author’s Note: Reminder for Mission Sunnah Revival
#ReciteQur’anDaily – at least a quarter
P.S. Insha Allah next post by Wednesday.