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Grief


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*Musings: A period of reflection or thought.

I was never the kind to delete a phone number after someone close passed away. I would always hold onto it as if miraculously I’d realize it was just a terrible dream and my person was still there with me. Alive. Healthy. Never any better. That’s how I held onto mama two’s contact until I lost it when I changed phones. It was always like a souvenir where I’d open her contact details and just stare at them longingly. Grief does that to you sometimes. You ruminate on how she could have been now, what she’d be doing, how she’d react to your growth and achievements and what she’d have said on different occasions. You remember how she’d call when you were late home and lovingly say, ‘my baby’ whenever you picked up the phone. You’d remember how she’d fill your bedroom wall with hand-written motivational quotes for your studies. You’d remember how she’d sacrifice her sleep to wake you up to study late at night. You remember a lot of things…

However much time passes, her memory is always there. Like a stubborn stain on a cloth. And everything and everyone reminds me of her. I recently met mama two’s very old friend for the first time. She looked young and healthy and she was very bubbly mashallah. My first thought was, so this is how she’d looked (age-wise) had she been alive to date? She died so young, didn’t she? Is this how charming she would have been with my nieces and nephews had she met them? I bet she would have been so for she was the most loving and caring aunt ever.

The grief follows me around always but sometimes I dream of her. Once she was combing my hair like how she’d do when we were young, another time she was seated with me in the backseat of a car and she was holding me close; my head on her chest, another time she kissed me on my cheek. Whenever I’d have these seemingly very real dreams, I’d ask her, ‘But aren’t you dead?’ That’s always the question, but I never get a response. When I’d wake up from such dreams, I’d be emotional but also very happy because it feels like a gentle squeeze of my hand. Like a reassurance that she is okay (I pray she is). That she is with me even if far away.

I always regard these dreams as Allah’s mercy on me. That Allah knows how much I miss her so He brings her into my dreams so that it can comfort me. So that it can give me joy, even for a short moment. And it warms my heart that Allah keeps gifting me these beautiful dreams of her. The thought of it makes me wonder how much more Allah Subhanahu Wataala can be merciful to me? To us?

Many times we think of Allah’s mercy in terms of repentance and forgiveness such that sometimes we overlook these seemingly ‘small’ mercies of His. Like when you’re having a terrible day and a message pops us where a good friend is expressing gratitude and love to you. Or when you’re very broke and He brings forth someone to purchase your goods unexpectedly. Or when you’re ill and Allah gives you relief by allowing you to pray seated or even lying down. Or when someone speaks well about your deceased loved one and it warms your heart. Or when you’re sad and feeling low and Allah grants you a job opportunity that you’ve praying for. Subhanallah, when you think deeply about it, we’re always in Allah’s mercy-one way or another.

I started a gratitude journal on my phone early this year. There were days I could easily write what I was grateful for -like when I graduated, or when my article was published, or when my books were purchased. Yet there were some long days, some mundane days too that I had to think for a while on what I was grateful for. Days whereby nothing extraordinary happened. But this is when you get to realize the small ways Allah comes through for you. Like when I was having severe anxiety and I couldn’t point out where the issue was exactly but Allah guided me to realize it and deal with it. Or on a very normal day and I got to buy something I couldn’t afford before. Or when I was sad and I had a very beautiful conversation with my mother and sister about life, it uplifted me. Or when a dua I asked for, a very long time ago was finally answered even though I had forgotten about it. This is all by Allah’s mercy. The relief we get. The joy we get. The love and compassion that others give us. The beautiful bonds we have with our families and friends. The good people who volunteer to help us without expecting anything in return. The unexpected rizq that we get when we have no money at all. The opportunities that open up for us. It’s all by Allah’s mercy.

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Allah created one hundred units of mercy on the Day He created the heavens and the earth. Each one of them can contain all that is between the heaven and the earth. Of them, he put one on earth, through which a mother has compassion for her children and animals and birds have compassion for one another. On the Day of Resurrection, He will perfect and complete His Mercy”. (That is He will use all the hundred units of mercy for his slaves on that Day). [ Riyad as-Salihin 420]

Subhanallah, how amazing is our Lord? And if what we’re experiencing is just ONE UNIT of His mercy, how much more can we expect from Him on the Day of Judgment?

May Allah grant us His mercy and may we always be among those who identify it and appreciate it. May He enable us to be among His most Grateful servants.

May Allah have mercy upon our loved ones who’ve passed away. May He elevate their status and make their graves to be gardens from the gardens of Jannah. May He make them among the dwellers of Jannatul Firdaus and may He reunite us with all our loved ones there, Ameen.

*

Ramadhan Mubarak good people! I pray that your Ramadhan started well in shaa Allah. Talking about gratitude, I challenge you to download a gratitude app (I am currently using ‘Presently’, it’s free and works well for me so far) or get a small notebook where you note down every day, the way Allah comes through for you by His mercy. You’ll be amazed!

Also, for those interested in participating in charity for the poor, orphans, widows, the sick, indebted, reverts etc, kindly contact me at 0704 731 560, in shaa Allah I’ll directly link you up with deserving families.

May Allah accept our good deeds and make us firm in His deen. May our duas be answered most beautifully that He knows best. May He grant us relief from all our worries and distress and may He grant us forgiveness for all our shortcomings. Ameen ameen. Please do remember me in your duas 🙂

To read part 2, kindly click here.

Losing of loved ones

I am very familiar with grief. With its smell that lingers and its sour taste on the lips kissing you with every remembrance and every memory. It is something inevitable that each one of us will experience; whether it is separation in this world because of conflict or changes beyond our control, or because of death.

When it comes to worldly separation, we’ve seen families separate, take each other to court and some even kill each other because of wealth or other kinds of fitna. Sometimes beloved companions become detested enemies because of betrayal, envy, or revealed ill intentions. It truly breaks the heart when family or friends who were once closest to you are now the ones against you.

Yet despite all that, the loss through death is the one that hurts the most. It is inevitable. It is permanent. And death- you never really get used to it. There is no point where you can say you have lost enough people that it doesn’t hurt anymore. It hurts. It always will. This is why Allah Subhanahu Wataala gives glad tidings to those who are patient with such tests; their reward is going to be enormous in the hereafter.

"We will certainly test you with a touch of fear and famine and loss of property, life, and crops. Give good news to those who patiently endure."

Surat Al Baqarah, Verse 155

Naturally then, the fear of losing loved ones is so vivid within me. Whenever death struck and depending on the dearness of the person to me, it would last me many months and even years before I could even say I am over it. Yet the worst fear of all is losing my beloved parents. The dearest people to my heart. The two individuals that I am absolutely terrified to lose.

I grew up witnessing my parents struggle with major health complications for a big part of their lives that had both of them take pills like sweets to be devoured morning, noon, and night alhamdulillah. Yet whenever either of them got more ill, I would always think, ‘Is this it? Is this goodbye now?’ And my heart would remain in distress until I could finally see them better.

I remember during the Corona period, my mother lost two of her siblings to Corona in less than a year; one of whom was my favourite uncle. This was in addition to several other relatives who had also contracted the virus and had been very ill from it.

Within the months that followed our entire home was affected with flu, sore throat, and several other symptoms of Corona. My mother was the worst for she was really struggling to breathe and her coughing would be heard throughout the day and night. The initial tests she did stated that she had pneumonia with an indication of Corona. This was exactly what had happened to my uncle. My fear tripled and I spent my days crying endlessly. I really thought this is it. My parents having Corona and major health conditions? It was only by Allah’s mercy that they would survive. My tears would flow effortlessly and with no warning but I tried to hide them as much as I could.

But then one day it became too overwhelming for me to keep it to myself. I remembered mama two during her last days; how I stayed away because it was too painful to see her waste away. How that haunted me for many years after, because I kept thinking did she really understand I stayed away and couldn’t meet her eye to eye because I never wanted to lose her? And that I felt so helpless for I couldn’t take away her pain? Did she really know how much I loved her?’ Questions questions…

I, therefore, decided to talk to my mother about it. But when I got to her, I was weeping and the first thing that came out of my mouth was, ‘What if you die?’ In retrospect, I now realize how wrong that question was for it to be directed to a sick person. But in moments of weakness, we rarely think clearly before speaking. Now my father- who is such a firm and brave man- awoke from his sleep from my crying, thinking that someone had literally died. When he was told I was crying because I was worried about them, he clicked his tongue and went back to sleep 😂 (I love my dad because he reminds me of Umar Ibn Khattab; tough people with unwavering strength and perseverance. It is he who has taught me to never fear anyone or accept any kind of injustice. Whether I implement that is another story 😂) And even though he knows when to be gentle and merciful, I could sense that he expected better from me.

My mother on the other hand hugged me and she said, ‘Then we’d be dead. You must prepare yourself for it because it is inevitable. We’re all going to experience it sooner or later. You have to be strong.’ Then to comfort me, she went on to mention people we know who were (previously) critically ill yet still made it through and others who died for no other reason than that their time had arrived. She wanted me to be more hopeful of Allah’s mercy and keep making dua for them.

My elder sister, whom I consider the epitome of patience (Allah ybarik feeha) said, “It is like we’re all on a journey on a train. And at some point, different people will have to alight at different stages because their journey has come to an end. Yet that doesn’t mean the rest of us will come to a halt because someone alighted from the train. We go on with our journey regardless, because we haven’t yet reached our destination. We have no choice but to move on.”

I still marvel at their words because despite knowing the reality of death and what our Deen requires from us, I am in awe of their firm faith. With their strength. With their good expectations on acquiring better with Allah in the next life. Most times I wish I was as strong as they are.

I am still trying, and mostly failing at being that strong. My mother says she is most worried about me among her children (despite being a middle child) after they’re gone because of my fragility. And of course, it is something I will perhaps have to work on throughout my life yet I realize I should always seek Allah’s help through it all.

“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although both are good. Strive for that which will benefit you, seek the help of Allah, and do not feel helpless. If anything befalls you, do not say, “if only I had done such and such” rather say “Qaddara Allahu wa ma sha’a fa’ala (Allah has decreed and whatever he wills, He does).” For (saying) ‘If’ opens (the door) to the deeds of Satan.'” (Sunan Ibn Majah 79)

I strive to be stronger with firmer faith. This is why I bring those fears to Allah Subhanahu Wataala. The only One with answers. The only One with relief. The only One who can really strengthen me.

For those who’ve died…

Ya Allah, Ya Rahman, Ya Rahim…there are people in the graves; people who loved us dearly and we loved them just as much. People who we continue to miss even years after their demise…Ya Allah, please forgive them. Please have mercy on them and make their graves to be beautiful gardens from the gardens of Paradise that are filled with wonderful scents never smelled before. Ya Allah please elevate their status, make them among those who will enter Jannah without accountability, and most importantly Ya Allah, reunite us with them beautifully in the highest level of Jannah, Ameen.

For our loved ones in this life…

Ya Allah, please protect our loved ones from all harm and evil of this world. Protect our bonds with them from betrayal, ill intentions, misguidance, envy, and any kind of fitna. Enrich our relationships with your love and nurture within us sincerity and compassion towards one another. Ya Allah, allow us to stay in good relations with them till our death and reunite us thereafter in your eternal paradise.

Ya Allah, when it is time for us or our loved ones to depart from this world, grant us (and them) the strength and patience to bear the loss. Grant us firm faith and comfort in the belief that we shall meet once again at a better place with better lives in your Jannah Ya Rab.

And Ya Allah, if anyone pretends to love us while they backbite/slander/envy/have ill intentions towards us, we seek your protection from them, Ya Allah. Grant us insight in recognizing them for who they really are and as early as possible, ameen.

For our parents…

Ya Rab, before you take away our parents grant us an opportunity to serve them, assist them, make them happy and make their dreams come true. Ya Allah, please grant them long, healthy lives filled with your love, mercy, and peace. Allow them to witness and be part of our success and prosperity in this life while in a good state of health and mind. Allow them to be present during milestones of our lives; career advancements, marriage, parenthood, and the growth of our connection with you. Guide us to serve them without any hesitation or complaints or exhaustion. Ya Rab, please bless us with an opportunity to visit your Holy Lands Makkah and Madina with them and all our siblings, while in good health and make us among those whose ibadat will be accepted. Ya Allah, protect us from being among those who neglect their parents during old age.

Ya Allah, when it is their time to depart from this world, please take them without testing them with illnesses that will humiliate or shame them before other people. Ya Allah, make them die gracefully without suffering or needing anyone but You. Only take them when they are very pleased with us and you are very pleased with them. Ya Allah, grant them and us, beautiful endings.

Oh Lord, for any good that we do, let them have a share of it for they have nurtured us in the best manner as you required of them. And when you do take them, grant us the strength, patience, and comfort to bear their loss. Guide us to remember them with dua and sadaqat after their departure and reunite us thereafter in your Jannah, in the most beautiful way. Ameen Ya Rabbal Alaameen!

*

Whenever calamity strikes and we lose one of our loved ones, may we always remember this hadith and may we be among those believing slaves, Ameen!

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Allah, the Exalted, says: ‘I have no reward except Jannah for a believing slave of Mine who shows patience and anticipates My reward when I take away his favourite one from the inhabitants of the world.”‘ (Riyad as-Salihin 923)

***

P.S: Alhamdulilah my parents and family survived the Corona virus. Alhamdulilah. Please keep them in your duas.

That said, I am also kindly requesting that you make dua for one of my loved ones who’s been critically ill, admitted to the ICU for a couple of days now. I will realllyyy appreciate your duas.

Thank you so much for your time! May Allah accept our good deeds, strengthen our imaan and make us among His most beloved servants, ameen!

Kindly subscribe below to stay tuned with part 4 of this series: Broken Homes in Shaa Allah 🙂

Photo Courtesy: ‘Soul of Palestine’ on Facebook/Instagram

Whenever the sun sets and the thoughts set in, I ration my emotions into four

like the long-awaited hours of electricity.

180 megawatts of madness,

angst,

despair,

and frustration.

 Madness.

Sweat trickles down my back like the weak, slow drops of water from our shower. It reminds me of the last time I had a good bath. Proper bath. Clean bath. It was in a dream I had at 13 years old after hearing one of the American journalists who had come to our school answer curious Maryam’s question on whether they REALLY have electricity and water 24/7 in America.

All the light switches around the house are on as we wait for thee moment of truth. The moment we press ‘continue’ on our paused lives.

In my room, I sit and wait. Sit and wait. Sit and wait.

Half asleep. Half weighing my will to live.

And before my eyes adjust to the new light, a young boy shouts across the street in joy, “It is LIT! OUR HOUSE IS LIT! Is it lit at your home?!” Another happy voice shouts back, “IT IS!”

In less than a minute, the water pump is on.  

The oven is on.

The fridge is on.

The blender is on.

I put all the phones and laptop at their respective chargers.

My brother irons his school clothes.

My baby sister rushes to complete her university project.

Abu Eyad, my neighbour with an amputated leg, calls out to his son to charge his electric scooter after being stuck at home for an entire day.

I think of Sameera’s mother at the hospital who’s been waiting for electricity to get dialysis.

The entire street is busy. This is the only time we are over-joyed at any kind of commotion. This is the only time we don’t really mind the madness.

Angst.

My mother tells me of her brother who left home and never returned.

And of her uncle who returned and found no one left.

I imagine I will be martyred before I turn 30 because only the lucky live this long.  

At night, we huddle together in the darkness of the night; the shahada on our tongues and hijabs on our heads. Airstrikes showering the clouds, our emergency bags close to the door.

Rahaf’s smile still haunts me; delicate like her name, bright like the future she deserved. She was the kid next door until she wasn’t.

She really loved her hair; long like the history of Palestine, beautiful, like its people. Sometimes, she comes to my dreams the same way she came to me to comb her hair the morning of her death.

Who knew that her school was going to be her war field?

Frustration.

My other neighbour’s son, Shaker, has a daily morning routine to get angry at something, anything or everything at once and shout: “What kind of life is this?!”

And his mother, in a helpless state to make anything better for him, would always respond:
“أفلا تكون عبداً شكورا؟”
(“Wouldn’t you be a grateful servant?”)

He would then walk away; his tiny fist still clenched, his eyes still weeping, and his heart still heavy.

Like many other Palestinian children, Shaker has become the embodiment of trauma; broken limbs and broken hearts.

Despair.

After 2 years, 7 months, 11 days, and 696 minutes of waiting to get married to the love of her life, my cousin Ahlam arrived home from abroad to the news of the killing of her fiancé.

All dreams of 2 years, shattered within 2 seconds of utter brutality. In total silence, she stares at her red and silver wedding gown like the monument of her despair. In over 48 hours, her lips have not moved an inch.

I guess the Zionists have stolen her speech too.

***

Soon enough, darkness takes over, and the nakba that is our life continues.
Silence occupies the rubbles of our hearts and everything slows down.

Whenever the sun sets and the thoughts set in, I ration my emotions into four; plus one.

Faith.

Sometimes I want to mourn;

For my father who was shot 5 times at the back of his head in front of my mother

For my best friend who was found under her demolished home three days after a bomb blast,

For my classmate whose entire family of 14 people has been wiped out of this earth and the registry

For the teenage boy that I saw get arrested with his entire face full of bruises from beatings

For the young man whose extremely beautiful and dream photography studio got bombed 2 days before the official opening

For the young boy running to say goodbye to his father’s dead body during his funeral while crying out, ‘may Allah make it easy for you baba.’

For all the Palestinians still carrying keys of their stolen, occupied houses

For the 1000s of olive trees burnt down to ashes

Sometimes I want to weep;

For the constant grieving of martyrs that has literally become part of our cultural traditions. Deeply saddened by the loss of innocent souls to the oppressors, yet happy for the shuhadaa who’ve been promised Jannah by our Lord, we sing:

“Oh mother of Muhammad! Oh mother of Muhammad! Indeed you are blessed. Indeed you are blessed! I wish it was my mother in your place. I wish it was my mother in your place!”

Sometimes I want to cry;

For all the shattered dreams and tattered souls

For the millions and millions of us displaced, distressed and dispossessed

I want to cry for all those who lost their lives

But then I remember the words of Mustafa’s widow:
“We sacrifice ourselves for Al Aqsa. We sacrifice ourselves for you Ya Allah. We accept your decree, Oh Allah so be pleased with us. Take from our blood and wealth, until you are pleased.” 

So I swallow a bitter lump, raise my head to the sky, and mutter: “Indeed, sufficient for us is Allah. Indeed, sufficient for us is none but Allah!”

***

Please take a minute:

اللهُمَّ أَصْلِحْ أَحْوَالَ الفلسطينيين ، اللهُمَّ أَصْلِحْ أَحْوَالَ المُسْلِمِِينَ فِي فِلِسطِينَ وفي كُلِّ مَكَانٍ، يَا ذَا الجَلالِ وَالإِكْرِامِ

Allahumma aslih ahwaalal-filisteeniyin, Allahumma aslih ahwaalal-muslimeena fi filisteena wa fi kulli makaanin ya dhul-jalali wal-ikraam.

O Allah! Rectify the affairs of the Palestinians. O Allah! Rectify the affairs of the Muslims in Palestine and in every place, O Lord of Majesty and Bounty.

اللهُمَّ إِنَّهُمْ مَغْلُوبُونَ فَانْتَصِرْ لَهُمْ

Allahumma innahum maghloobuna fantasir lahum.

O Allah! They are helpless, so help them.

رَبَّنَا أَفْرِغْ عَلَيْهِمْ صَبْراً وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ وَانْصُرْهُمْ عَلَى القَوْمِ الكَافِرِينَ

Rabbana afrigh ‘alayhim sabran wa thabbit aqdamahum wansurhum ‘alal-qawmil- kafireen.

Our Lord! Pour upon them patience, make them steadfast, and grant them victory over the Disbelivers.

اللهُمَّ مَكِّرْ لَهُمْ، وَاكْفِهِمْ بِمَا شِئْتَ إِنْ تَنْصُرْهُمْ فَلا غَالِبَ لَهُمْ، وَإِنْتَخْذُلْهُمْ فَمَنْ ذَا الَّذي يَنْصُرهُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِكَ

Allahumma makkir lahum, wakfihim bimaa shi’t. In tansurhum falaa ghaliba lahum, wa in takhdhulhum fa man dhal-ladh’ yansurhum min ba’dika.

O Allah! Plot for them, and suffice them with what You please, if You support them then nobody can overpower them, and if You forsake them, then who will be able to support them after You?

لا إِلاَ إِلا اللهُ العَظيمُ الحَليم، لا إِلهَ إِلا اللهُ رَبَّ العَرْشِ العَظِيمِ، لاإلهَ إِلا اللهُ رَبُّ السَّمَاوَتِ وَرَبُّ الأَرْضِ وَرَبُّ العَرْشِ الكَرِيمِ

La ilaha illAllahul adhimul-haleem. La ilaha illAllahu, rabbul-arshil- adheem. La ilaha illAllahu rabbus-samawaati wa rabbul-ardi wa rabbul-arshil- kareem.

There is no God but Allah, the Mighty the Forbearing, there is no God but Allah, Lord of the Mighty Throne, There is no God but Allah, Lord of the Heavens and Lord of the Earth and Lord of the Noble Throne

اللهُمَّ مََنْ أَرادَنَا وَبِلادَنَا وَالمُسْلِمِينَ بِسُوءٍ فَأَشْغِلْهُ فِي نَفْسِهِ، وَاجْعَلْ كَيْدَهُ فِي نَحْرِهِ، وَاجْعَلْ تَدْبِيرَهُ تَدْمِيرَه

Allahumma man aradana wa biladina bi su’in fash-ghilhu fi nafsih, waj’al kaydahu fi nahrih, waj’al tadbirahu tadmeerah.

O Allah! Whoever wants to harm us and our lands and the Muslims, then keep them busy with their own troubles, and return their plots to their own necks, and make their plans the cause of their own destruction.

Ameen thumma Ameen.

Please never stop praying for the Palestinians and for all other countries that are facing war, oppression, and injustices. May Allah save them all, ameen.

2020 hit me like a train. From the word go, from the very beginning of the year, even before Corona, everything seemed to be falling apart. I have a feeling it has been like that for most people, and on my side, I was holding by the thread. I remember when I was young, my mother would often tell me ‘don’t carry those mountains on your shoulders’. I was the cesspit of every worry. Every sadness. Every wound. I would carry it all, the scars evident all over my soul. Sometimes I look at my nephew (my happy place 1, remember?) and I see how intense his emotions are. As a highly sensitive child, he cries too passionately, you can literally feel the sob come from the deepest part of his soul, and my heart breaks a little, or maybe a lot. I want to tell him, ‘oh baby, this world is cruel, it will ruin you’ and I want to hug him so tight. I want to protect him from the world. And God, it worries me a lot. But then I do know that I have to let him have his journey like I’m having mine. Let him live, do mistakes, fall, stand up again, perhaps get his heart broken,feel all the emotions in his heart and live with it. Such is life I guess.

Then amidst all the Corona chaos, several family members got affected. Not the first time when Mombasa was allegedly a hotspot for the virus. During that period almost none of the Mombasa residents knew anyone who’d been affected. It is now that we are seeing people dying right, left and center, and everyday, more people are succumbing to the virus. And you know, with these things, even when you are taking precautions with the virus, you never really realize how bad it is until it hits directly home.

One of my favourite humans died then. Just three days after he informed us that he was ill, he was gone. At first I seemed okay. I cried as any bereaved would but I was mostly okay. I talked to my friends about his death. I prayed for him. I remembered him. But grief for me, comes like a trickle of blood. Thick, heavy and very slow. A week after his death, we were remniscing about good memories of him, and we laughed and smiled and joked about him. Then that night, it all came down with a thud. Curling up in bed, I cried and cried and cried. I couldn’t stop. I was trying really hard to suppress my weeping so no one would hear me. But it was too much. I was crumbling and I felt like I was falling apart. I desperately needed someone to hold me. To just hug me tight. To hold my pieces together. So I went to my mother and cried to her. She and my elder sister talked to me for a while before my mother led me to her bed to sleep with her. For hours, she held me in her arms, patting my hair, encouraging me to sleep yet all my eyes could do was wander around the room. I had lost someone so important to me. We all did. But no one prepares you for such a sudden death.

A day before he died, he called me, and funny enough, he was the one asking me how I was. It was such a short conversation. He seemed to be struggling to talk, so I made a dua for him and that was it. I wish I had told him I loved him. I think he knew, but I wished I had said it. I can barely even remember the last time seeing him or what we talked about that time when he was healthy. But I have all these many memories of his inspirational advice, his oozing, extremely sweet kindness, his laughter, oh his laughter! When I was a teenager, he would do this loud, funky laughter that I just found to be too hilarious so sometimes I would try to imitate it and my family would burst into laughter too. He had this good sense of humour that I will forever miss, his magical, mind-blowing, creative ideas, his beautiful smile, his many many jokes, his pride of me-and us all-I can still see him in front of me. His voice still rings in my head. More than once I have dreamt of him and sometimes,thoughts of him keep me awake at night. Out of blue, I’d notice tears coming down my cheeks, so randomly, so easily, I can literally feel the emptiness in my heart.

Just two years ago, it used to be the four of us around the small dining. There were two phenomenal women; the storyteller, the heart of the family and several times, whenever he was free, he would join us too; the tree lover. I was there frequently; in between meetings, waiting for someone, resting before going for another errand, a place to pray, or eat, sometimes with my friends…I got too comfortable I even started taking naps in the bedroom when I was tired. It felt like home. Sometimes I was there as early as for breakfast meal or brunch or lunch, on lazy afternoons, sometimes even dinner. 2018, the story teller left us. Then last year, the heart did. This year it was him. And now, whenever I think of that table, my heart sinks. Their faces still so vivid in my memory, and our conversations, moments, jokes, the meals we shared, still so fresh. There are people who die and we mourn them and we move on, and there are people who leave this earth and the world shifts a bit. It will never be the same. Never.

My favourite human was very passionate about trees. He was extra-ordinary and phenomenal and no words could ever suffice to describe him. I pray that his grave is a garden from the most beautiful gardens of Jannah, with trees and flowers so beautiful he has never seen, and that we get to meet again, the four of us, and all our loved ones in a bigger table, with more laughter, zero worries and absolute bliss. Ameen.

I won’t curse the year. After all, whatever Allah wills for us is the best for us. This year has been life-changing for me and so many of us. I pray for ease, patience and better days for us all. Ameen.

Please do take care of yourself. You have the information on Corona please act responsibly. As the prophet said: ‘Tie your camel then pray to Allah’ So do the necessary to protect yourself and your families. I met a friend who told me they buried four people from their family and friends within a week and on the day we talked, there was one more, all Corona deaths. Doctors keep sharing even worse news on Twitter that they have run out of beds and there are many Corona patients walking around. Please take care. May Allah protect us all. Ameen.

P.S: Please do remember to make a dua for my person. Thank you 🙂

***

As you might have realized, I haven’t written in a long while. I have probably lost my ‘mojo’ but please bear with me.

Thank you for taking the time with my blog. I appreciate it 🙂

Image Courtesy: https://weheartit.com/entry/334051433

Whenever I miss you,
which is as often
as the sun rising from the East,
the dawn of your thoughts
take possession
of my brittle mind
penetrating through the cracked, glass window
of my soul
like the early sun rays
ready to conquer my heart
yet one more time.
The adhan is but a symbol
of the timelessness
of my love
waking me up from
the depths of my fantasy
The wudhu’s cold touch
hauls me back to reality
washing off me
the residues
of yesterday’s ache.

Whenever I remember you,
a strong tide
of sorrow
takes over the
ocean of emotions
within my soul
pulling me further out
into the embrace of distance.
In absolute agony,
I lay down my mswallah
that you once gave me
and make i’tikaf on it
talking to My Most Beloved
of you,
my beloved.
There is only one pure way
to love
so I raise my hands
to the Almighty
and place you
in His loving hands.
A testament of love
that none can dare
come between.

My tongue is wet,
heavy on the
Allahu Must3an
because God knows
only He can extinguish
the turmoil engulfing the
heart of a lover
with flames
of grief.
I call on the Lord of Ibrahim
to save me
from the blaze set on my being
I call on the Lord of Ayub, and the Lord of Ya’qub
to grant me
a beautiful patience
I call on the Lord of Yunus
to rescue me from
the hollowness of the darkness.

The hadith says,
‘The guider towards good
is like the doer’
so I recite every letter of the Qur’an
with reflection
with deliberation
hoping that for every 10 rewards,
you get a share of it.
With every mention and longing,
during the wee hours of the night
you are raised in status
With every dua
that I beg Allah
to grant you,
the angels can say
‘And for you is the same’.

If we’re not meant to be
in this world
then I am content
cherishing your very existence
in the same universe as I do
loving you at a distance,
through my prolonged sujood.
Let the ground that I prostrate on
be a witness
of all the times
I ask Allah
of His Mercy
Upon you.

***

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There are five stages of grief; Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. You know this because you heard a widow talk about it. But that is not exactly the whole story. You are immersed in your own grief, maybe not that of widowhood but the intense grief is definitely there.

You have been married to the same man for twelve long years. It was a love marriage, or so you thought. Five months into the marriage you realize you are married to a narcissist who doesn’t really care about you. You are his victim. He is emotionally abusing you but that is something no one talks about right? People talk of infidelity in marriage, physical abuse, sexual abuse, negligence…but who talks about being emotionally abused? You know what people will say. They will say you are ungrateful. You have a husband who pays the bills and feeds you, what more do you want? So you are patient with him. Maybe he will change. Maybe he will see that he is mistreating you and change for the better.

A year goes by, but he is still cold, rude and arrogant. He dismisses your existence the way a patient dismisses they are about to die. They ignore it. That’s what he does to you. He ignores you. He makes you feel small. He makes you feel unloved. You feel like a ghost. You wonder why. You question a lot of things. What happened to the love he claimed to have for you? What changed? Is it that he realized you are less beautiful than he actually thought? Is he dissatisfied with what you bring to the marriage table?

Soon enough, the first baby comes, and he is an excited dad for a minute. Then the rejoicing is all gone. It is all about duties once again. Buying pampers and cerelac. Then the second baby comes along. Then the third. Then the fourth. Before you know it, it has been twelve years already. You have withered like a flower. You have lost weight and your will to live life as it should be.

When you had the first baby, you thought, ‘maybe this is it. Maybe he will now be more emotionally available for us’ but he didn’t. You thought of giving it time. You have hope. You have faith that things will get better. But four children later, your husband is still like a dead man walking. No emotions. No intimacy. No proper communication. All along, people could see your misery behind your forced smile. You never had to say anything, they just knew by how each one of you would take a different lane while walking at the road. Or how he would go to the farthest section from you in the supermarket. Or how he would quickly let his hand slip when you try to hold his hand in front of your family. People knew. You knew. But you just had a lot more to be grateful for. So you swallowed the bitter pill for years.

On your bedroom wall is a beautiful painting of the serenity prayer used in recovery programs. It says,
‘God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference’

You stare at it every single morning, like it would give you answers.
‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change’ and you wonder, is your marriage and the misery within it something you cannot change? Is it something you should have given up on a long time ago? Is this simply how it was meant to be?

Several friends suggested that you pick your children and walk away. But you always had this anticipation that things will eventually change. You thought, ‘But how can I walk away now when my children are young and need more parents?’ so you postponed it. When they became teenagers, life became even tougher because now, your children are all moody, stubborn and aggressive. You think, ‘This is the worst time to make children go through a divorce’ so you wait until they become adults. But deep down your heart you know it, it wasn’t just about the children. It is also about you. You not accepting that you are caged in an unhappy marriage that is not fulfilling in any way.

You stare at the serenity prayer. ‘Very powerful,’ you think. But do you have courage to change the things you can? Take life into your own hands. Be realistic on where your marriage is headed to? Is it something that can be salvaged? Changed? Saved? Or are you just seeking a mirage. An illusion?

It is like what happens when you are a child and can’t wait to be a teenager because at that age and time, you think being a teenager is the coolest thing. Then the teenage years are as chaotic as humanly possible and you look up to the young adults and you think, ‘these lads have exciting lives. Once I get there, it will be exciting too’ but you get to your twenties and realize there is so much confusion than excitement. Then you anticipate being like the real grown ups with careers and families and friends. But you get there and it strikes you, ‘NO ONE HAS IT FIGURED OUT.’ No one can actually, in full certainty, tell you what they are doing with their lives or where they are headed to. A mirage. You too have been seeking a mirage in your marriage, always anticipating certain incidents to turn around your life. Only, life doesn’t happen like that.

Whenever you think of divorce, you think of your reasons to walk away. How long is it considerable enough to have hope but also not to allow yourself drown in the sea of emptiness? How many months or years should one be in a marriage before they walk away? One year? Two? Five? When is the safest time to walk away without having blame and guilt on you? Its been twelve years and you still haven’t figured this out.

You know the stages of grief because you have been living in grief.

Denial: It is not that he doesn’t love me. He is just not an expressive person. He doesn’t know how to show me that he loves me.

Anger: Why are you doing this to me?! Why did you marry me if you had no interest in valuing me as your wife?! I don’t deserve this! I hate you! I hate that I ever met you!

Bargaining: Please love me.
Please love me.
Please love me.
Please love me.
Please love me.

Depression: I am so so tired. I just don’t want to live anymore. I just don’t want to live anymore!

Acceptance: ….

You are stuck here. In depression. You are yet to decide what really matters to you. You are yet to take action in either freeing yourself or saving your marriage at any cost. You are yet to decide whether an unhappy marriage is a reason good enough to walk away or patience is key here. Miracles do happen. Prayers do get answered. People do turn around and change completely. Question is, is your husband that kind of person? No one is going to decide it for you. No one knows your husband, your marriage, your children more than yourself. No one knows YOU than you. You know you need to face reality now.

You need to decide whether you want to die grieving of lost love or move to the next step of acceptance and take necessary action.

You know the five stages of grief so well, it is heartbreaking.