This piece is not an autobiographical 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.
(Author's Note: Earlier installments can be found by clicking on the 'Qalam's Crossing' column link on the left side of the HidayaOnline homepage.
“Well, aren’t you going to open it?”
Huda carefully opened the sealed envelope. She felt so blessed, so lucky at that moment. The entire world was bathed and shimmering in light and warmth. Everything in it felt and looked perfect. She felt so fortunate to have been given Muhsin, so incredibly, absolutely blessed. She could not have imagined a better life, a better ending for her story…alhamdulillah…all His rahmah…
Her mother started the car and looked over to her daughter seated besides her.
“Read it out loud beta. It has been so long since I have heard from my son.” Amma gave her an impatiently excited smile. With her daughter soon to be married, she had not only gained a son, but also a reconnection with the hopeful giddiness of youth.
“Jee Amma” Huda exclaimed while clearing her throat. Her stomach felt queasy. She unfolded the piece of paper. His small handwriting covered both sides.
It occurred to her that this was her first time seeing his handwriting. Funny how little things about him seemed worthy of notice and careful consideration. It was just handwriting. She almost felt embarrassed to be having these feelings—she was never the type to get worked up over a boy…she had spent her life inwardly pitying those mushy, easily swept away, emotionally flaky girls who lived an obsessed insecure existence focused on some guy or another…girls who lost touch with their own self-identity and goals and who began to define themselves based on who their current love-interest was. She had always prided herself on her ability to remain detached from people…of course there was that momentary infatuation with that bearded brother at that mehendi, but that was short-lived alhamdulillah and had taught her the importance of keeping herself detached. It was a lesson she hated to lose—even after marriage. Her current feelings for Muhsin awakened in her a fear…the fear of losing the lesson and of becoming attached to something that would inevitably be used to test her. But despite her warnings to herself and struggles with focus, she was undeniably fascinated by this creature; and what added to that fascination was the fact that he effortlessly caused her (through the gratefulness he inspired) to become more amazed by her Lord’s Bounty and generosity. He was at once both a distraction and a sign that pointed towards Him.
I pray this finds you, Amma, and Abba in the best of health and iman inshaAllah. Please convey my salaams to them and tell them that I miss them very much. If there is anything that I can bring for them from Pakistan please post a letter to this address. I am afraid the phone lines here aren’t too reliable and the only sure-fire way to communicate with anyone lying outside of shouting range is via old-school snail-mail.
I decided to write this letter to you because it occurred to me that we haven’t been in contact for many weeks now and that it would be wise of me to send word that we are all ok. You all have kind hearts mashaAllah and I wouldn’t want anyone to worry over us.
I don’t really know what else to say aside from everyone is ok alhamdulillah. We fell a little ill the first week we were here (blasted low-tolerance American immune systems) but we recovered alhamdulillah and have been enjoying time with my father’s family. My chaacha hasn’t been feeling too well and has been complaining of chest pains so my father and I convinced him (more like badgered him) to go to a doctor. He, the consummate desi, hates and distrusts ‘city’ doctors and hospitals, but inshaAllah we plan to take him in tomorrow morning. He is my father’s only brother, only a few years older, and we don’t want to take any chances with his health. I wanted to request that you and your family please make duas that he be ok inshaAllah. He sends his salaams to everyone and says that he can’t wait to meet you and your family. It will be his first trip on a ‘hawai jahaaz’. He was asking us yesterday if he needed to bring his ‘lota’ with him to the land of the ‘farangees’. We assured him that alhamdulillah we owned a few lotas :).
These comments might sound funny to us, but it’s amazing how innocent and pure the people are over here. Raised without television, movies, advertisements, their lives are simple and their wants are based on REAL needs and not on created ones that have been implanted in them by capitalist moguls. They are more in touch with human reality than anyone else I know. Do you remember that discussion that we once had on how ‘plastic’ one’s emotions/hopes/experience inevitably become when one is part of a complex commercialized society? These people have no desire for 90% of the things that we in America desire, covet, and waste away for. They also don’t worry about 90% of the things that we worry about. It’s amazing.
My uncle and his family sleep when it becomes dark and wake up a little bit before fajr. They do their wudu out of a small basin and treat water with a kind of awe and reverence that I never saw, nor practiced, in America. They pray tahajjud in their rooms and then pray fajr in jamaah. They know what is bad and take care not to look at it, listen to it, walk to it, or talk needlessly about it. They work diligently during the day on their small farm and eat what they produce with their own honest sweat and patience. The fact that their food is so dependent upon the uncontrollable forces of nature, makes them all the more conscious of their dependence upon their Sustainer and Maintainer. They don’t have the piles of fiqh books that we own, but what they have learned they practice. It’s so simple for them. A total “I hear and obey” kind of response. Amazing.
I walked in on my uncle once while he was silently reading the Quran. He was weeping and his large tribal mustache was soaked. I quickly walked out. After he left the room I walked back in and opened the Quran to see what he had been reciting—Surah 57, verse 20. In English it translates to “Know ye (all) that the life of this world is but play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting and multiplying, (in rivalry) among yourselves, riches and children. Here is a similitude: how rain and the growth which it brings forth, delight (the hearts of) the tillers; soon it withers; you will see it grow yellow; then it becomes dry and crumbles away. But in the Hereafter is a severe Penalty (for the devotees of wrong). And Forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the devotees of Allah). And what is the life of this world, but goods and chattels of deception?” It was underlined—apparently an especially meaningful verse to him. I would later discover that he recited this same verse everyday.
I came here subconsciously thinking I knew more about the deen because I had read more books, had a long beard, and studied with more teachers than they have—but what I learned here was that Allah, Glorious and Exalted, had taught them the essence of surrender without the use of my beloved shelved books or esteemed teachers. Despite their lack of a beard, He had softened their hearts and given them a gut understanding and view towards this life that I can only envy. This place makes me realize how poor I am, and what riches my father left behind when he decided in his youth to move to the city, and then later to move abroad.
InshaAllah, one day, I would love to bring you here. I miss you because I know that you are one of the people who would inshaAllah derive much benefit from this place. You would find it liberating. There is a peace, a humility here in this dirt, which cleanses one’s mind. When you live in the dirt, eat from the dirt, and work in the dirt, you realize that, in the end, you too…are dirt…
Give my salaams to everyone and keep me in your duas. InshaAllah I look forward to spending a life full of experiences and reflections with you.
Huda rested the letter on her lap and she and her mother sat in silence for a few moments. The motor was still running.
“Hey Amma, how bout I just use the dressy shoes and purse I already have? I don’t really need new ones for the wedding do I?”
“Good idea honey-beta. Lets go inside.”
For Sr. 'New' and all the others who waited patiently for this piece. Thank you for your emails and encouragement. I apologize if I havent yet been able to reply to your email, inshaAllah I will soon.
Please keep me in your duas.on April 22, 2005 6:34 AM
wow. that was nice. and it fits in perfectly with my recent experiences..I, too, saw first hand the pure ibaadah and sincerity that people in 3rd world countries experience. one can easily taste the sweetness of imaan there, with the lack of distractions we have in places like america etc.
nice. keep it goin, sista.
Assalaamu Alaikum All:
******* J U M M A H - M U B A R I K *******
Regarding Muhsin, it would seem that Masha'Allah he has sound and religious relatives that live Islam day in day out. I think Huda and Muhsin will do just fine, Insha'Allah. There is not much left in Huda series (as far as her finding the right husband is concerned). By the Grace of Allah she has found Muhsin.
I would be more curious to know what happens (fast forward 6 months) after marriage. What are her experiences in relating to her husband and his family on a daily basis, and how does it make her a better muslimah or otherwise.
Married life changes everyone, and will change each one of you (especially those who are not married yet). The real "fun" so to say, begins after the marriage.
and Lastly, the simple people in the villages (be they in Egypt, Pakistan or Indonesia) are more closer to nature then us Urbanites. There sense of reflection and relation to Allah is lot more wholesome then a lot of us. Allahu Aalim!
Ma'Assalaamaon April 22, 2005 7:58 AM
Wow I'm away from Hidaya for a couple of months and I've missed so much. This story brought tears to my eyes because I've seen it with my own eyes, whether it's in Pakistan or in Saudi. We don't have the iman, the courage or the strength that the inhabitants of the "Third World" countries do because we are too spoiled and caught up in our lives of working in an air-conditioned office from 9 to 5 and then coming home to an air-conditioned house.
Even in the Caribbean, where I'm presently in medical school, you see that day in and day out. Yes, the majority aren't Muslim but their struggles are there. Subhanallah just seeing the situation of the people makes you glorify and thank Allah that He has blessed us with so much. Yet, we are still so ungrateful and disobedient. I think and I pray that all of us get a chance one day to live in those conditions, so that we can be humbled because whether we admit it or not, we are all arrogant to some extent living in the 'West'.
May Allah bless you all and Justoju I expect nothing less from you.
Please keep me and my family in your prayers.
Oh and can someone give me the link to post an article...Little Reminders might be back for two weeks :).
'work in this life as if you'll live forever, prepare for the Hereafter as if you'll die tomorrow'
As salaamu alaikum
Just a point I'd like 2 mention that nobody seems 2 be raising here...It's amazing how shytaan plays with a muslim who is striving in Allah's path. Huda and Muhsin for example...
Did they strive sincerely in Allah's path, sacrificing their base desires for the Pleasure of Allah, only to cause Him displeasure NOW when they are ENGAGED?people who are ENGAGED are communicating in sin!Why not just make the nikaah now then so it becomes halaal? If it's the feeding of family and wedding ceremony that's the problem , surely that can be done later
We must remember that in Islam people who are engaged are still not tied up by the sacred bond of Nikaah and still have to obey the rules, with regards to modesty with their proposed spouses, that they followed before Nikaah.
Allah forbid, if something happens that they don't end up getting married? Even, as in Huda'a case, they discuss about Allah and Deen- this is still a deception of shaytaan. Coz think about it, is it allowed to speak to a gal/guy about Islam in private when ur not proposed? NO, so it's still the same now
Please Huda, Muhsin...think!
Yes your point is extremely valid and pertinent.
Ergo, lets assume (for everyone's sake)that they have done Nikah, then Muhsin can still relate his findings and observation back from his hometown to Huda. I think this is a technicality which the author can adjust in the coming posts.
As I said in my post earlier, that Muhsin and Huda are set as a "couple", but I am more interested in post-marital issues and interactions that may occur which will test both of them as sincere subjects of Allah.
Ukhti, once again thanks for reminding us.
I think only the brothers and sisters who are presently married should write about post marital interactions.
Sister Ibtisam, feel up to the challenge?
Wasalamon April 22, 2005 4:41 PM
I have intentions to relate exactly that, from a male's point of view....but I cant weave stories between characters like some sisters/brothers are able to do so beautifully.
SO it will be more like pointers...and some author can use their imagination and get creative with it. Allahu Aalim
on April 22, 2005 6:53 PM
Just an observation that I made today...what I am going to say is not meant to spark a frenzy of comments about what defines Hijaab in Shareeyah.
I personaly am of the opinion (not that it effects anyone other than myself) that when it comes to Hijaab of women it basically means covering all your body except your hand and face.
Niqaab on the other hand is optional/Mustahab and so on....Thats my opinion.
OK tonight we had a meeting (at the mosque) to discuss & coordinate Dawah programs at the mall. So all the volunteers were asked to attend this meeting and so I happen to crash the party as well...While we were having the meeting something struck me and I realized that Niqaab can be so useful or the preffered choice under certain circumstances.
We had about 10 brothers and 1 sister (who was wearing Niqaab) in the meeting. I believe one of the brother sitting next to her was her Mahrem. In any case, while we were discussing the agenda I realized that by having Niqab, the sister has helped all the brothers that much by concealing her face...vs if she had just done normal Hijaab. I think that was the preffered choice to make under such circumstances...Alhamdulillah!
By the way, I am really concerned by the young ladies (the kids in their teens years) of how they cover their head with scarf yet they wear these tight stupid jeans in the mosque/islamic Center. Cant their parents, especially the father, see it as an objectionable dress code? Allahu Aalim!
May Allah Give me Hidaya...cause I need it most...Ameenon April 23, 2005 2:12 AM
yes excellent point on niqaab bro asif, may Allah grant us all perfect inner and outer modesty , ameenon April 23, 2005 7:59 AM
"...While we were having the meeting something struck me and I realized that Niqaab can be so useful or the preffered choice under certain circumstances.
We had about 10 brothers and 1 sister (who was wearing Niqaab) in the meeting. I believe one of the brother sitting next to her was her Mahrem. In any case, while we were discussing the agenda I realized that by having Niqab, the sister has helped all the brothers that much by concealing her face...vs if she had just done normal Hijaab. I think that was the preffered choice to make under such circumstances...Alhamdulillah!"
"By the way, I am really concerned by the young ladies (the kids in their teens years) of how they cover their head with scarf yet they wear these tight stupid jeans in the mosque/islamic Center. Cant their parents, especially the father, see it as an objectionable dress code? Allahu Aalim!"
yeah...imposing an islamic dress code on rebellious american teenagers and expecting that to foster love for the sunnah...that'll workon April 23, 2005 9:29 AM
but it will fulfil the duties and responsibilites the father has towards those rebellious American teenagers,
and indeed if they are rebellious, take em back home
where they wont be.
Oh a reply to the request that I write a post marrige article, I am not qualified to as I am not living with my husband( he is overseas and has been for the past year) and so I have no experience in living and dealing with a spouse on a day to day basis, I am living 'single.'
on April 23, 2005 1:56 PM
The point about the post on niqaab and stuff is very interesting, may Allaah protect us from fitnah here and elsewhere, it is really hard when you are in a professional learning environment to dissociate yourself from males but niqaab should do that. Just remember, whenever you make a mistake in terms of gender relations, repent to Allaah Aza wa jal and pray two raka'ah. Also, avoid being alone in a room or lab or anyplace with a guy and you, because it can lead to alot of fitnah. May Allaah protect us.
"yeah...imposing an islamic dress code on rebellious american teenagers and expecting that to foster love for the sunnah...that'll work"
It should be the other way around...parents should practically display the Sunnah and foster love for it in their kids and themselves, insha Allah the love for the Sunnah will be inculcated amongst the entire family.
We need to continuously talk about our Beloved Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) , of his sacrifices, his teachings, his love for the Ummah, his character...otherwise, we will forget about him. And how can we claim to love and follow a man when we don't even think about him in our daily lives.
It is only when we value the greatness of a person and appreciate him/her, that we WANT to follow the person...Why do people emulate pop icons, sports stars and the like? They vale and appreciate the CONTRIBUTION that these people make...Which is so sad...Coz we value things that are value-less and the effort and sacrifice of the one whose sacrifices is IMMEASURABLE, this we don't value.
It all boils down to our value system- who we value, what we value, why we value.
Important to remember is that a thing that has value will remain valuable, even if a person doesn't realize the value.
A bedouin living in the desert who has never seen or has no knowledge of a huge, precious diamond, might dismiss it to be a mere rock.Does that mean that it it is no longer valuable.No!It's alue is UNDERMINED.Which is what's happening in today's time with the Sunnah of our Beloved Phrophet ( Peace Be Upon Him).
May Allah grant us the ability to appreciate,love, value and practise on the Sunnah on Our Beloved Nabi (Peace Be Upon Him).on April 23, 2005 2:44 PM
Ameen-Thumma-Ameen..to prayers of both the sisters...and Thank you for the reminder!
May all of us be among those on whom Allah's Mercy and Blessings showers in this life and in the hereafter...Ameenon April 23, 2005 5:50 PM
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
By no means shall ye attain righteousness unless ye give (freely) of that which ye love; and whatever ye give, of a truth Allah knoweth it well.
The Islamic Center at NYU is pleased to present:
Purification of the Heart
A Vehicle in the Sunnah on the Pathway to Allah
A Dinner and Lecture with Shaykh Mokhtar Maghraoui
"Truly he succeeds that purifies it [the heart] and he fails that corrupts it [the heart]" ~ Qur'an, Surah 91, Ayaat 9-10
Time and time again, Allah reminds us in the Qur'an that we need to purify ourselves in order to be successful.
But what exactly does this mean, how should we set about doing it and what are the ramifications
if we do / don't do it? Come listen to Shaykh Mokhtar expound on these questions and others,
as we each contemplate our individual sojourns on the pathway to Allah.
Thursday, April 28th from 6pm to 8pm
Kimmel! Center for University Life, Room 907
60 Washington Square South,
New York, NY 10012
Suggested donation - $10
Proceeds will be donated to Mission: Masjid - A Project Dedicated to Establishing a Permanent Prayer Space at NYU
For more information, please contact Rayad Khan
With the lease on the Islamic Center's current space ending in May, NOW is the time to donate to Mission: Masjid. The money raised will help us extend th! e lease on our current space for the short term while we work towards establishing a permanent prayer space on campus in the long term.
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The Islamic Center at NYU is a member of MSA National
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This would be a good lecture by Sheikh Mukhtar Maghroui, Insha'Allah. I encourage all the locals to join if they can....
Also, if I am in New York or New Jersey, whats the best way to get hold of you Hidayans...maybe we can hook up to go for some lunch/dinner...and I will pick up the Tab.on April 28, 2005 3:45 PM
Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,
"Also, if I am in New York or New Jersey, whats the best way to get hold of you Hidayans..."
Contact Talal and perhaps he can set up a huge Hidaya writers/commenters/contributers dinner at a Halal joint in Paterson. Sisters may eat at a separate joint and anonymous sisters can wear niqabs to seal their identity. Or if they choose to conceal their identity like superheroes do, just wear eyeglasses and change their hair-do/hijab-do.
"and I will pick up the Tab."
Jazzakum Allah Kull Khair brother, but it is only proper adab that the visiting brother be fed by the inhabitants of the town and/or the hosts to treat the guests.
"Then they proceeded: until, when they came to the inhabitants of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused them hospitality. They found there a wall on the point of falling down, but he set it up straight. (Moses) said: "If thou hadst wished, surely thou couldst have exacted some recompense for it!""
Wasalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatuon April 28, 2005 5:35 PM
"Or if they choose to conceal their identity like superheroes do, just wear eyeglasses and change their hair-do/hijab-do."
Been doing that for years...works great...also it helps to wear a business jilbab over the superhero jilbab.on April 28, 2005 6:56 PM
did you attend a madrasah in England or South Africa,
your website is great, I really really enjoyed viewing it, the poems, and the articles and the links that you have, keep up the good work. I really thought the 'chat'story of the girl was very thought provoking for everyone. And it makes sense what you wrote about engagement and stuff and rules and regulations during engagement period.
And about the dinner thing, sounds great, I for one would be curious to meet all the online people because after a while, it gets tiring to just be talking to people you dont know what they look like or even if they exist in real life like their online personalities.on April 28, 2005 7:09 PM
Dont you guys have finals for Spring semesters looming on your heads? If it wasn't the case, I could have come next weekend and made a trip just to meet you guys.
So, if most of the Hidayans are free on a particulr weekend I have no problem joining you guys, Insha'Allah.
Brother Talal: Are you gonna coordinate this...and let us all know what is a conveninet date/time/venue?
Hey is it still freezing in NorthEast and will it continue to be cold in the month of May?on April 28, 2005 7:53 PM
hmm... this is interesting... InshaAllah either post here or let me know that you're interested in doing this, because inshaAllah I've got a plan that could make this quite an event :)
Things will obviously be ccordinated so that sisters chill with sisters while brothers chill with brothers, inshaAllah.
so lemme know if this is something y'all wanna do.
A night when I have legitimate and legal reasons to wear a disguise and be uncharacteristically super-mysterious? I am in.
Just make sure this thing is totally halaal and the women are nowhere NEAR the men or their area. Someplace that has a separate entrance for the women would be nice...hey, dont masjids have separate women's entrances? :)on April 29, 2005 3:28 AM
how about the NJ Da'wah conference?
or is that far off like in May 27 or something right?
This sounds like a cool idea if I can make it to NJ that is. I dont do traveling and all.on April 29, 2005 8:56 AM
You can register now. Check it:
Sister Ibtisam hit it on the dot.
InshaAllah I'm thinking to put together something during NJ Da'wah.
It's $90 for three nights hotel stay from the 27-30th of May, plus a mashaAllah awesome Program lined up.
or $58 for the a no-hotel-all-programs type of pass.
InshaAllah I'll post more details on the mini-Hidaya conference soon :)on April 29, 2005 12:20 PM
It was taqdeer that brought me to hidayaonline.com
It was taqdeer that got me to MSA EZ when I thought I was not going to make it.
And it will be taqdeer if I do go to NJ Dawah conference on the 27th of may or not.
If I do, in shaa Allaah, I plan to introduce myself to the hidaya booth if you people set up one in the bazaar at the conference. I will say, " assalaamu alaikum, I am ibtisam from hidayaonline, thank you for letting me write for your newspaper" and I will also introduce my esteemed brother, in shaa Allaah.
Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,
"Just make sure this thing is totally halaal and the women are nowhere NEAR the men or their area."
The sisters and brothers could just eat at separarate establishments. But a pot-luck at the masjid would be even cooler.
on April 29, 2005 3:44 PM
Waslaaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu
Oh Man Potluck dinners...I miss them Sooo much!
I remember so clearly in my University days that I enjoyed going to Islamic center for Potluck dinners. Because we were students, we almost had an automatic invitation to any kind of activity in which food was involved...but potlucks were just amazing...You had like 3 types of rice cooked in three different pots and 2 types of vegetables and 3 types of meat dishes and so on...I dont know if you all can relate to this but most of us international students did not have any families here and such a selection of "free" food was something we can only conjure up in our dreams...
Hahahahaha...Once I and my friend were studying in the library on a particular sunday evening for a final on Monday. Amazingly, the same evening there was also a potluck dinner thingy going on at the mosque. After trying to concentrate on my studies for quiet sometime with no avail...I looked at my friend and said, what are we doing here, we should be at the mosque, stuffing our faces...eventually I convinced him of our priorities and ended up in the mosque. Alhamdulillah, I can still remember it was a nice dinner and we had a great time...However, I cant really recall how I did in my final next day :-)
Dahlia: " Amatullah,
did you attend a madrasah in England or South Africa,
your website is great, I really really enjoyed viewing it, the poems, and the articles and the links that you have, keep up the good work. I really thought the 'chat'story of the girl was very thought provoking for everyone. And it makes sense what you wrote about engagement and stuff and rules and regulations during engagement period. "
Jazakillah khair 4 the encouraging comments about the website, alhumdulillah.Yes i do attend madressa here in south africa, although not the normal uloom type. More of an 'islahi-naseeha' type.Plz remember us in ur Duas,