“About me?!” I asked him, completely confused.
“Well… It was because of you,” he replied, not meeting my eye. “I didn’t want to tell you because I hoped it would go away… But now I realise that I have to.”
He shook his head at himself, still looking like he had the world on his shoulders. He looked up at me, speaking softly.
“I suppose I should just start from the beginning of it all.”
I nodded, waiting for him to continue.
And he did. He started from the beginning… From where it all began to change. From when he started getting the letters for the court appeal, and purposefully ignored it. He didn’t tell me because he didn’t want to ‘worry’ me, but now it looked like his past was catching up again. The man that he had initially shot was appealing on the basis on recurring treatments from the wound he had sustained. Umar didn’t think it was a problem until the final letter came today.
“That’s not all, though,” he said, taking a deep breath.
I looked at him, waiting for the worst that was still to come.
“I got a phone call today,” he said, after a few seconds. “It wasn’t very clear. The line was terrible. But from what I could hear… It was Mahmoud.”
“Mahmoud?” I immediately repeated, trying to place the name. Mahmoud… The Mahmoud? From when Umar was away? Wasn’t he missing?
Umar nodded at me, watching my expression.
“All this time I thought he was gone, babe,” he said. “And now… Bam! A phone call from nowhere. Saying I have to come back.”
I looked back at Umar, immediately shaking my head at him. No! No ways.
“No… There’s no way you’re going back,” I said, reaching out for his hand. “And if you are for a short while, I’m coming. You’re not leaving me again. No.”
Umar immediately pulled his hand back, looking away.
“Haseena, you don’t understand,” he said simply. “I have to.”
“There’s no such thing!” I argued with him, feeling hurt. “I thought all of this was over! I thought we weren’t going to talk about this again!”
Umar immediately looked guilty, and I could see him softening. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.
“Haseena, there’s no other way,” he finally said. “I knew that I would have to tell you one day… But I just couldn’t. This is the time to say it, but please understand that I didn’t intend to hurt you…”
He trailed off, while I waited for him to continue. He wasn’t meeting my eye, but instead looked down, rubbing his forehead.
I instinctively leaned forward, waiting for the rest of his sentence. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to hear it.
“When you had gone into labour, I thought I was going to lose you,” he started saying, still not looking up. “So the thought crossed my mind… That if you were just to survive….”
His voice seemed to break and that point. He remained silent whilst I leaned forward, hanging onto his words.
He cleared his throat.
“If you were to survive it,” he said, sounding distant. “I said I would go back.”
I looked back at him blankly. He was going back for Jihaad?
“I wasn’t sure whether the opportunity would ever arise,” he said quickly. “And I had conveniently forgotten about it, as our life continued… And believe me, babe, it was so great, I never wanted to.”
He paused and glanced up.
“But the court case will be over next week, and then I leave. This is what I have to do, Has. I can’t go back on what I had intended.”
He finally looked up at me, his eyes pleading with me, as if begging me to understand.
I wouldn’t. I never would.
“I’m not asking your permission, Has,” he finally said, sensing my feelings. “I have to go.”
I looked up at him, completely shocked.
I felt as if he had just ripped out my heart with that statement.
He had to go. That was it? No negotiation?
The finality of it made my body quiver with a mixture of grief and fear. I covered my hands with my face, not wanting him to even see it.
Try as I did, I couldn’t hide the overwhelming emotions. As Umar always does, he immediately caught onto my concerns, trying to console me. I pulled away, not wanting his comfort.
I was angry and frustrated at how helpless I was in this situation. There was nothing that I could ever do or say to him that would make him change his mind. I wasn’t sure if anyone could understand how absolutely distraught I was at that moment.
I walked out of the room without another word, ignoring Umar’s calls behind me. I knew he wanted me to accept it, but how could I? How could I just accept that he was going to leave me, without even knowing if he would return?
I locked myself in our room, not concerned about how he would explain my disappearance to his parents. He didn’t deserve sympathy. He hadn’t even consulted with me about this decision, just went ahead and made it.
And though at that moment, I felt completely isolatesd, Allah is always there. The thought crossed my mind that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes, you may like a thing, but if will be detrimental to you. At times, you may resent a thing, but Allah knows, that thing will become good for you.
It was all in the plan of my Rabb, I convinced myself.
But this test was greater than any other one I had faced. Knowing that Umar was purposefully leaving me, and feeling so helpless, made me all the more unsettled. I paced the room, still upset, trying to come to terms with it.
This wasn’t the spirit that I had so much wanted to capture for myself. I lacked the faith that if Umar was to go, it would be for the best, and so would everything thereafter. I lacked the conviction that I had always fought so hard to attain. I was weak, and my emotions were consuming me.
And then I thought of the Women of Islam. The Sahabiyya, and their courage. The spirit that they had embraced. They had husbands too. They had sons as well, but their faith was so firm that they willingly gave them up, ready to sacrifice for Allah and His Nabi (SAW).
Hadhrat Umm ‘Umara (RA) set out to the battle with her husband, Ghaziya, and her two sons. Her task had been to give water to the wounded, but Allah Ta’ala had planned for her a more rewarding role.
Hadhrat Umm ‘Umara (RA) had herself gone out into the field, defending my Nabi (SAW). At one stage, the Prophet (SAW) was left alone, so taking the opportunity, the enemy Ibn Qumaya’a charged at the Prophet (SAW).
Umm ‘Umara (RA) was among the companions who rushed to the side of the Nabi of Allah (SAW), and began fiercely striking at the enemy of Allah (SWT), even though he was wearing double armour.
And then, my Nabi (SAW) simply enquired of her, what it was that she desired?
Umm ‘Umara (RA), seeing the Prophet’s pleasure on her determination and valour, earnestly requested, “Ask Allah to make us your companions in the Garden!”
So he said, “O Allah, make them my companions in the Garden.”
And this was the desire of Umm ‘Umara, to which she replied, “I do not care what afflicts me in this world!”
And, they were true to what they said. She really didn’t bother about the Duniyaa, because her Imaan was of such calibre.
All this, because of her faith. The Du’aa of my Nabi (SAW).
Where was my faith?
Yes, it was difficult, but I had to gain the strength. I eventually unlocked the door, and read my Salaah. I sat in Du’aa for a long while afterwards, asking Allah Ta’ala to change the condition of my heart. I didn’t want to feel so resentful about it, but I couldn’t help it at that moment. I couldn’t help the feelings that were overtaking me.
I heard Umar come into the room shortly afterwards, but I remained sitting down, not trusting myself to speak. There was so much going through my mind at that moment, I could barely make sense if it.
It was multiple waves of conflicting emotion.
“Haseena, please look at me,” Umar said, coming to sit down near me on the floor. I glanced at him and then turned away, still uneasy.
I shook my head, telling him to just give me some time. He nodded, and went to the dressing room, where I heard him unzipping a bag.
I had almost forgotten that he was leaving for Jamaat tomorrow, but with the new turn of events, I thought he would spend a little more time at home. I reminded myself about the sacrifice for Deen, pushing away my silly insecurities.
I had to come around sooner or later. I stood up and silently went to help him pack, whilst we both remained silent. We silently worked together until I finally zipped the bag, and he put it on the floor.
Without a word, he guided me to the couch, embracing me fiercely, with no reservations. He assured me that he would be back earlier than expected, so we could have some time together before he left.
I nodded, but didn’t say much else. Umar had brought some food up for me, since I had missed supper. Although I had no real appetite, I ate a little to make him happy, and then enjoyed one of the last nights I would have in my husbands company.
I tried to stay awake, afraid of what the next day would bring, but sleep finally overtook us and the next morning came with no warning. Umar left early the next day, and I felt an empty space where something had once been. I knew he would be back later that week, but his next impending departure made me all the more anxious.
Since Laila insisted, I stayed at my parents house for a two nights, intending to go back before Umar arrived. I was glad because it helped to take my mind off things, even if it was just for a little while.
Laila had tons of news for me. Fareeha was pregnant, and Laila seemed more excited than Fareeha herself. I was glad that she was spending time with Fareeha. Since her father had passed away, she had been down a bit mire often. It looked like she was a good influence on Laila. I felt slightly jealous of their friendship, intending to catch up with one or two of my friends whilst Umar was away.
I smiled, immediately remembering how there can always be goodness out of every thing. I convinced myself that the time would fly by, and soon Umar would be back again. I assured myself that everything would be okay, even if my gut was telling me that it might not.
But time was a funny thing. Looking back, everything seemed to be in slow motion, adjusting to the rhythm of life. In retrospect, it seemed to have flown by, with even the most heart-felt emotions completely forgotten.
The thing was, when it came to time, everyone knew the deal. It doesn’t wait. Allah Ta’ala takes an oath by it in Surah Asr, describing who the successful ones will be regarding it.
But as it went by, and time caught up, and everything seemed to be happening at once. Laila’s big news came as Bilal’s hopes went into slight disarray, and my own life seemed to take a slight twist in terms of everything I had been planning.
It was a constant stirring of activities, and a mixture of sweet and sour, bringing each moment with a new flavour. And as time would have it, the days again passed me by as my Umar came back, just momentarily. Everything had just begun to unfold, as I bid farewell to him again on that last day, trying to control the emotions that were at bay.
It was the day that he had left, but that day was, and always will be, in my memory, the day that I had let Umar go.
Author’s Note: Dearest Readers… Just a heads-up… I’m sure that most people have caught on to the fact that we are slowly approaching the initial post of season two.
We will take a break once we get there, and all the questions are answered, and then post the final few episodes to conclude the blog, Insha Allah. JazakAllah to all for the constant support.
Reminder for Mission Sunnah Revival
#ReciteQur’anDaily – at least a quarter
P.S. Insha Allah next post by Saturday.