Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem
Peace and blessings and the Mercy of the one God Allah be upon all of you, from the tips of your toes to the heights of your soaring spirits!
I’ve been trying to write about other topics but my dear husband-to-be seems to pop up quite frequently in all of them. I figured that Insha Allah, I’d give you a tiny introduction, as all things considered, I think you and I both are going to get to know him very well over the years.
So let me tell you about him. The last one. The one and only Insha Allah.
Subhanallah, a couple of months ago (early September, to be quite exact), I was very much at my wits’ end when it came to the traditional arranged marriage process. Things between my mother and I had reached a head and we were screaming at each other almost daily, probably entertaining our neighbours a great deal. My mother’s illness had me suffering slightly from caregiver’s syndrome. I was fed up and ready to bail. Not really characteristic of me, but in this situation, I was bang out of resources, spiritual, moral and digital.
I literally had no one except Allah (SWT) to help me. So I had taken to praying a lot. Mashallah I woke up for Tahajjud frequently and made du’a a great deal. I was already knee deep in a proposal who seemed to like me but whose feeling I really didn’t reciprocate.
And then well, he came along. His proposal, that is. My mother told me his name and as usual, bugged me to Google him. I did and we found his LinkedIn page. “Oh,” I said. “He looks like a duck with ears.” (He does in pictures, though he’s dashed wonderful in person, bless him from head to toe. Most gentlemen don’t tend to be very photogenic. So I try not to take too much umbrage at their faces.)
And then I moved on. I had better things to worry about than something I thought would be a failure.
He wanted to meet at KFC to keep things casual. I agreed with the sentiment though not really with the choice of KFC as a venue. I would later find out that KFC is considered a middle-of-the-range family restaurant in Sri Lanka, somewhat like Chilli’s or Applebee’s.
So KFC and casual it was. I didn’t think much at first as he walked in. My stomach dropped out of nervousness a little. “Here we go again,” I thought.
Within the first few minutes of meeting a proposal, either online, on the phone or in person, my gut usually tells me whether or not this guy is a potential. Up until now, it has told me a decisive no. What happens next is simply a case of figuring out whether or not my gut was right.
With this guy, however, it said yes. As I watched him talk to my aunt and uncle and interact with his own family, I felt something else, a different kind of nerves. It was more like butterflies.
I wanted him to like me.
This was most embarrassing.
At some point, his mother hinted at him to talk to me in person. We walked away from the little group of elders and sat down to talk.
For the little while that I spoke with him, the world seemed to make sense. I felt calm. I also felt goofy, inebriated, yet as humble and clear as God-given mountain spring water. Truth be told, we both did everything wrong. I grinned like a fool and blurted out the most vulnerable parts of me – the previous engagement, the screenwriting, the comedy. I was my most volatile emotional self. When we spoke on the phone later, he was somewhat abrupt, business-like and slightly arrogant. While I was slightly surprised, I figured that either a) he really doesn’t know how to talk to girls or b) there’s something about phones that transforms him. Either way, I thought it was adorable.
We watched. We waited. We listened. I for one made a lot of dua.
“Rabbanā Hab Lanā Min ‘Azwājinā Wa Dhurrīyātinā Qurrata ‘A`yunin Wa Aj`alnā Lilmuttaqīna ‘Imāmāan. Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.”
One week after we met, he asked me what attracted me to a man. I said that while looks definitely sweeten the deal, the clincher was always the strong, true, intelligent, interesting Taqwacore inside.
He asked me how I thought we were faring so far. I said I wouldn’t tell him because that might put me in a vulnerable position.
He said that he liked me very much too.
Most men don’t understand jack. This one practically reads my mind Mashallah.
It hasn’t all been rainbows and skittles for sure. There have been moments of nerve-wracking doubt. Happiness, that insidious little animal, took up residence in my life and I didn’t recognize it. I got scared. I wondered whether this was indeed the right man. Giving your life entirely to someone is no small gift to give. I was going to leave everything and everyone I knew and come live with him – a stranger in a strange land i.e. Sri Lanka. I didn’t know the language. I knew only my relatives and the social code is very different to what I was used to. The things that I hate about myself – the low self-esteem, the sensitivity, the emotion – I assumed he would hate. If I didn’t have patience with myself, why would he?
But I hadn’t come this far to doubt Allah (SWT)’s plan now. I prayed my Istikhara many many times. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became by the possibilities. A whole new country for me to explore. I am a foreigner but really not foreign, because, whether anyone likes it or not, it is my country. A mother tongue Mashallah, that I finally have the chance to learn. A whole new family for me to get to know. People who love me in every nook and cranny. And there’s no one to whom I would rather give my life than him. All of the things I thought were rather irritating about myself, he thinks are wonderful. The cat’s whiskers. The bee’s knees. I kid you not.
Now happiness sits beside me purring like a contented cat. I’m not taking it back to the shelter; I’m keeping it. And I’m happy. Not thrilled. Not ecstatic. Not crazy. Just calm, loved and hopeful about the future. That’s all I’ve ever wanted really.
I don’t know much about my Deen and I’ve practised only what I can, though I try really hard to push my own boundaries.But Subhanallah and Alhamdulillah, Allah (SWT) has answered my prayers beyond my wildest dreams.
All’s well that ends well, Alhamdulillah.
The (very very very) Happy (and humbled) Muslimah.