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December 23, 2004
Hanging On A Glance - Part I

by Justoju

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Disclaimer:
This piece is not an auto-biographical story about ME or my experiences. I am not Huda. Huda's personality and strengths are not mine. Huda is a fictitious character, much too perfect to be real, and if her account seems credible it is because that is how many 'religiously motivated' girls feel when they are in the situation described in the story. Whatever the reader's personal feelings towards Huda (regarding her expectations, reactions, etc) please note that they should not be extended to this novice writer who is, ultimately, simply experimenting with fiction.

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(Author's Note: This is a continuation of the 'Marriage Considerations' series and is the fourth installment. Earlier installments of the series can be found by clicking on the 'Qalam's Crossing' column link on the left side of the Hidaya homepage.)

(December 23rd entry from Huda’s journal)

I am too damn religious for this to be happening to me!
I am NOT the type to obsess over a guy or even think twice about him.
I am NOT the type to waste my time weaving hopelessly corny fantasies around his person.
I am NOT the type to lie around thinking about the slight possibility that he felt the same thing I felt.
I am NOT the type to let some guy destruct my focus during my ibadah.
I am NOT the type to care about what some guy thinks about me.
I am NOT the type to believe in ‘love at first sight’.
I am NOT the type to be like this!

THIS IS NOT ME!!
I MOCK PEOPLE LIKE THIS!
I KNOW BETTER THAN THIS!

But…if I am not the type to be like this…then why is this happening to me?

Because, child, you underestimated shaitan and overestimated your discipline.

And all it took was one moment, one short, painfully sweet glance, to destroy my peace of mind…


***How it began***

(One Week Ago)

I sat, watching the women on stage sing one marriage song after another. Some uncle got up and started dancing. Another joined him. I stared at the ground. I wondered how many weeks it would take to get the songs out of my head and out of my memory. The way the aunties were going at it, it seemed as if they wanted me to memorize every song that was every written in Urdu or Punjabi regarding love or marriage. I tried to concentrate on my purpose. I hated going to these things so why, OH WHY, was I there?

Well, it was my cousin’s mehendi party. If my family and I hadn’t gone a whole wing of the extended family would have been deeply insulted and our family relations would have suffered. My parents, who understood my views, had very apologetically asked me to go with them for the sake of avoiding hurt feelings. “I am here only for the sake of family relations”, I kept telling myself. “I am not here because I have any desire to listen to these songs or to watch those people dance. I am not here because I enjoy, appreciate, or encourage these Hindu marriage rituals. That is not my purpose. That is not my intention.”

I looked around, hoping to find someone who could talk to me about the deen, about the Creator. Hoping to find someone who felt as out of place as I did. We could help each other spiritually survive the night. I desperately looked around, hoping to find someone who understood.

But everyone seemed to be having too much fun. Everyone was too caught up in the whirlwind of desi entertainment. There was no one to turn to.

“But there is always Allah” I reminded myself. “I must keep my mind on Him, or I too will join the others in heedlessness.” I resolved to outwardly smile and look social, but to inwardly keep my mind and heart on Allah, Glorious and Exalted.

Just when the women started to get tired of singing, a DJ appeared and put a song on. It was a romantic melody from my early teens that I faintly remembered. I had stopped listening to music that was accompanied by unlawful instruments years ago, but, somehow, I still remembered the lyrics, the reasons, the moods. I recalled how I used to listen to it over and over again while day-dreaming about my first crush…My first crush…how different my tastes were now. How different my standards and expectations. How difficult it was now to capture my attention—99% of the men I encountered were unable to gain neither second glance, nor second thought from me. I sat, amazed by the changes in my life and personality. Amazed by the transformation that was purely the work of Allah, Glorious and Exalted. SubhanAllah.

Suddenly my mind wondered, “wait a minute, WHY IS the DJ playing that song all of a sudden?” It occurred to me that it must mean that the groom-to-be was about to come in with his family. The second half of the evening was about to begin.

I saw the groom and his entourage come in. The men and women were dressed in coordinated clothing. They all looked the same. At this point in the evening, everyone (including the girl’s side of the family) looked the same to me. They were all like one heedlessly joyous person, and I felt completely alone. The groom’s family continued to pour in through the doors and disperse throughout the hall.

I stared at the ornate woodwork of the heavy doors, wanting to be on the other side of them. I longed to feel the cool air on my face and walk in the silence of the night, away, far away from the hall and the sins it called me to. I wanted an escape.

All of a sudden, something caught my eye. I saw something that did not seem to belong. Something that stood out. Something that was entirely different from everything and everyone in the hall, and that looked as out of place there as I felt.


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To be continued...


of and relating to...
asif said

Salaam:

Man I dont like susupense!
Who or what caught this person's eye???
Just add the rest of the story at the end and repost, Please...dont want to wait 1 week for this to be complete!

on December 23, 2004 9:19 AM
Amani said

Sr. Justoju: I agree with Asif on this one...it's too cruel! (I mean, I know it's a guy but come on, you can't leave us hangin' like that!) :P

on December 23, 2004 11:07 AM
Justoju said

She saw a pink elephant.

on December 23, 2004 11:19 AM
asif said

hahahahaa....with a blue trunk?

on December 23, 2004 11:20 AM
Justoju said

no, that would be silly.

on December 23, 2004 11:24 AM
Justoju said

If Shabiha ever reads this story I have two words for her:

West Coast.

on December 23, 2004 11:56 AM
Bint Abdul Khaliq said

As Salaamu Alaikum

"And all it took was one moment, one short, painfully sweet glance, to destroy my peace of mind…"

SubhanALLAH! too true...

May ALLAH save us all.Ameen

Was Salaam

on December 23, 2004 2:35 PM
gillette said

"And all it took was one moment, one short, painfully sweet glance, to destroy my peace of mind…"

i second that "subhanallah."

on December 23, 2004 6:10 PM
Mohammed Irfan Shariff said

True I agree the suspense is a killer. Props to the author. I had an exam at 8 am on the 23rd and last night i was in Manhattan at a wedding. Kinda fealt a little Huda in me as well.
Fantastic entry
JazakumAllahchar

on December 23, 2004 6:34 PM
Justoju said

the second part of this will be up tommorrow inshaAllah...so you only need to make it through the night.

on December 23, 2004 6:49 PM
asif said

Salaam A quick question:

Does anyone knows about Asma Barlas? A political professor from Ithaca college, originally from Pakistan.

on December 23, 2004 10:31 PM
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