Part One of Three…
Another four years later…
“Has, you think it’s time?” Laila asked, sounding just a little edgy.
“For what?” I asked absent-mindedly, tapping on my phone. I was just a little pre-occupied.
“To say goodbye,” she said, sounding defeated.
I looked up at her from my phone, realising how rude I was being. She was trying to talk to me, and I couldn’t even look at her. Fair enough, I had a bit on my mind right now, but it was no excuse.
“Do you ever stop with that thing?!” she suddenly asked, annoyed.
I shrugged guiltily, putting it away.
“What d’you expect me to do?” I said, feeling bad. “I can’t ignore him.”
“You guys are obsessed,” she complained, frowning. “You’ll are married for longer than us, and you’ll act like teenagers.”
I opened my mouth to defend myself, but realised that I had nothing to say. Maybe we do. I just never noticed.
I wasn’t sure if it was just in my head, but I was already beginning to feel slightly woozy as she spoke.
“So?” she said, looking at me expectantly.
I looked at my watch, realising how late it was. It was way past the kids usual bedtime, and I knew we had to head home soon too.
I smiled when I thought about our home, remembering the first time that we had gone there. It was the one Umar had bought before he left. I had spotted it once while we were together, completely taken in by the sanctity that surrounded it. It wasn’t huge or extravagant, but it was what I had always wanted in a home at that time.
Peace. A yard for our kids, if we would have any… And just the right amount of rooms we would need… Or so I had thought…
“I think so,” I finally said, nodding at her. My phoned buzzed again but I ignored it as Laila looked at me, slightly annoyed.
We walked out together, and I pulled her aside before she would go down, looking at her, realising the enormity of this journey she was taking. I was so happy that they were finally leaving for Hajj, I could barely contain my excitement. Despite the thrill I felt for them, a huge part of me so longed to go once again…. To experience the beautiful journey through a new perspective. It was like a familiar ache, somewhere deep inside. Seeing Laila get everything ready brought back memories that I would never forget.
“Don’t even waste a second of your time there,” I said to her as I hugged her tightly. “And don’t worry about Aa’isha and Ahmad. They’ll be fine.”
She nodded at me, tears welling up in her eyes. Her dainty features were distorted by her grief. Laila had really grown up beautifully in so many ways, and sometimes when I looked at her, I couldn’t believe that she was once my nerdy little sister.
“I really miss him today, Has,” she said, getting emotional.
I didn’t meet her eye, just held on to her as she wiped her eyes. We remembered Daddy often, but it was on occasions like this that we missed him the most. He always had a wise word or comforting gesture to offer, just to make everything okay again.
But as Allah Ta’ala had planned, our father wasn’t meant to share this occasion with us. As a reminder to us about the temporary nature of this world, and that we will ultimately be returned to our Creator, Allah Ta’ala sometimes wakes us up in ways that take us by surprise. A sudden heart attack was all it took, and Daddy was gone. Although we still felt the emptiness, he was always in our Du’aas and our thoughts.
We headed down the stairs as she went to greet Mummy, and say her final goodbyes. We passed our cousin Tasneem on the way, and I greeted her warmly as she said she was leaving, glad that she finally looked happy after her divorce from Sa’if.
Tasneem had actually married again after she came back, finally gaining the resolve to forget Sa’if, who was never around anyway.
Umar had made sure that justice was served as he was finally caught and arrested somewhere near the border for the murder of the security guard they had found dead at our old apartment block. Both of his brothers seemed to be responsible for some type of petty crimes, and the law was taking it’s course.
Umar had full faith that eventually, all would be set aright.
I was glad that Umar held nothing against my cousin, even after everything that had happened, and we had reached a stage now where we could actually be in the same house without any ill feelings.
As for Umar’s other incident, which he still regretted immensely, he had eventually paid off whatever was due to the guy he had injured at the service station, until he received news of his death. Although sad, it was a relief to know that it was due to natural causes, and not from sustained injuries from the shooting.
Amazingly, even the mistakes that we had made in the past get set right when you have faith in Allah (SWT).
Now, I followed Tasneem to see her out, but before I could get back to the lounge, I couldn’t help but hear a whisper from behind the room door where Sa’ad and his brothers were supposed to be sleeping. I sighed, immediately alerted that they were far from asleep. I always tried not to too hard on them, but with three boys, sometimes the less admirable side came out.
The thing was, with kids, you had to enforce rules from a young age, but more so, teach them about Deen as a priority. I tried, and with Umar’s help, it was an easier task, but I wasn’t sure if I always got it right. With everything opposing Deen surrounding us, it was hard work, but Umar made it a point of bringing his work home.
The work of Deen had an important place at home, and although the man can bring it to the doorstep, it was the woman who brought it into the home. This time, I had to take the disciplinary approach.
“Sa’ad, this is the last time I’m going to tell you’ll,” I started, putting on a stern voice as I pushed open the door. “It is way past your bedtime! If I catch you-”
I stopped in mid-sentence as I saw who the main culprit was. Sure enough, five-year old Sa’ad was up, but right next to him was no-one else but his father, looking extremely guilty.
“Go back to sleep,” Umar whispered quickly to a Sa’ad, as Sa’ad crawled back into bed with Hamza and Abdur-Rahmaan.
Bilal’s daughter, Asmaa, slept on the bed next to them, and Laila’s twins were peacefully asleep in the camp-cot.
Umar looked at me guiltily as he exited the room, pulling me behind him.
I shook my head at him, wondering what the two of them were up to. Sometimes Umar acted like a kid.
“Maulana!” I scolded lightly, my voice slightly raised. I didn’t have to say much else.
“I just wanted him to call you,” he finally admitted, looking down. “You weren’t replying to me.”
I put my hands on my hips, trying to look serious, but I couldn’t help but laugh at him.
“I wanted to check that you didn’t forget me as yet,” he joked, grinning slightly.
I shook my head at him, already losing my resolve.
It had become a joke of sorts now, but when Umar had first returned to find me in hospital, I hadn’t been in a state to recognise him. It was a side-effect of the medication that I had been given, and although he was glad that I was okay as I slowly realised what had happened, till now, he had made it a habit of checking if I still remembered him.
Despite the joke he often made about it, the thing was, when he returned, Umar had expected our life to pick up where it had left off when he got back. However, when everything was such a blur to me, and Sa’ad a constant in our lives, we found it harder than ever to get back to normal.
Of course, I was extremely relieved that my husband was back, but adjusting to him, once again, was difficult. He had changed in many ways after every experience he had undergone, and so had I.
But amazingly, instead of hanging onto the past, we moved to our new home with the hope of starting over, and something in me was revived, once again.
Once again, I fell in love with his efforts in reminding me to always be the best that I could be. His steadfastness and passion for preserving Deen was what captured my heart. His constant efforts in instilling in me the love for our beautiful Deen were a driving force to building our relationship, once again.
Through Allah Ta’ala’s mercy, I felt like there was a new hope for us, and a new bond developed between us as we grew together and as a family. Our family was the one thing that he came home to every day, but it never diverted him from what he knew his purpose was in this world.
As Insaan, we sometimes say that the world means nothing to us, but when we do some real introspection and we lose something of some ‘value’, we truly see how much we are taken in by it’s ornaments. We get carried away when our eyes stray and start admiring what others are blessed with. We don’t find contentment in everything that we have been so mercifully given.
For Umar, somehow, the small bounties were his solace, but they didn’t ever cause him to stray.
Luqman Alaihissalaam said, in his advice to his son: “Barter this world for your ‘Deen’, you will reap the benefits (of the bargain) both in this world and the Hereafter; but do not barter away your ‘Deen’ for the sake of of this world, or else you will suffer the loss in this world and the next.”
And that was the essence of preserving this Deen.
Umar had somehow been able to master it. While I sometimes got carried away with the finer things, my husband was my motivation to become the best that I could always be. He was never diverted, because he realised that being enamoured by this world was a vain pursuit that he reminded me about often.
He had stood boldly before the most fearsome things one could think of, and for that, I knew he would be compensated. Umar was always focussed, and that was the one thing I loved him for, unreservedly. And though he knew that, he often reminded me.
“Keep everyone else you love in your heart, Has… But in your heart of hearts… Keep only Allah Ta’ala. Let Him rule your love.”
And from that, I understood how real love worked.
Umar’s love for Allah (SWT) was what made him who he was, and through everything, I continued to love him with all my heart, for Allah’s (SWT) pleasure. I realised that though he meant the world to me, I didn’t expect it out of him… All I needed was for him to help me to earn a place in Jannah.
“Let’s go home, Has,” he said softly now, pulling me gently towards him as we heard the noise in the lounge escalate. “We’ll see then in the morning before they leave…”
I nodded as he finished speaking and headed to the lounge, needing to tell Laila that we were off. I walked out, barely hearing the footsteps going back down the passage…
Author’s Note: Next part of finale will be posted by Sunday, and the final part by Monday, Insha Allah.
I am trying hard to tie up loose ends, but please do pose any questions and I will try and answer if possible. Just to make it clear for the ‘critics’, please realise that the plot was evolving and merely a means of sending my message across. The blog was always informal, and was just meant to serve as light reading with good lessons. To make it Halaal and entertaining, some unnecessary plot twists were added, so please forgive this writer for the drama and mishaps!
Just a friendly reminder to please lower expectations if anyone feels disappointed. JazakAllah Khair to all those who motivate, as this kind of blog, though not perfect, is difficult to pen.
Please don’t forget our Mission Sunnah Revival!
#Revive the SunnahofSleeping
#ReciteQur’anDaily – at least a quarter
May Allah Ta’ala help us to bring the Sunnah and lessons into our life. Aameen.