(Jamaal and Ameerah)
Ameerah stared blankly at the untouched cup of milk resting on the bed side stool in their massive bedroom, as if it could proffer solutions to her trembling heart.
Outside, the steady sheet of rainfall teased their rocky world. Though her khimaar was drenched from the family meeting, her fine yellow dress remained dry, displaying a figure nurtured to a good trim.
But she was freezing…
She tried to lift her gaze, at least stare him in the eye, to tell him his family was wrong, that she would have her own kids by the Rahmah of Allah, but she couldn’t seem to gather the last shred of dignity needed to defend herself.
She shivered, aware of his condemning look from across the bed where he sat rigidly. How hurt he must be, how bewildered he must feel. She should say something. Anything…
Tentatively she lifted her gaze and swallowed hard against the look of raw pain she saw there. She knew it mirrored hers. Quickly, she looked away, to the drips of water that still ran down the side of his face, through his neck and disappeared through the wet shirt that clung tightly to his chest; how desperately she fought the need to get close!
“Ameerah…” His voice, though choked, had a rough edge to it that made her cling tightly to the bedspread beneath her. She recognised the tone; a warning of impending danger – the danger of losing his composure.
“I…” She cleared her throat and tried again, now fidgeting. “I think we should consider talaq(divorce)” she repeated, this time even less confident.
He stood and moved to stand before her, towering over her in his over-the-average height of almost 6fts. She scurried through the right corner of their large bed, afraid to get close.
“Subhanallah, Ameerah, are you now scared of me? Have I turned into a monster?” His broken words tormented her and she shook her head vehemently in denial. How could she tell him that she feared that getting close to him would kill her resolve? “Then why won’t you look at me? Why won’t you let me hold you when…when you are so cold?”
“Because, Jamal, I can’t bear to lose you or be the source of rift between you and your family!” but her screamed confession was only in her head.
As though he heard them, he said, “I know their words hurt you a lot, Meerah, but we came this far facing all of these together, bi-idhniLlah, why won’t you bear sabr (patience) till the end?”
Ameera broke into a sob. She rose her tear-filled eyes to his, trembling. “Subhanallah Meerah, you drive me to near-insanity!” He crossed the distance and drew her to him.
“O Jamal, what do we do?” She sobbed noisily “your mom has threatened not to eat until you allow for a new bride! Why would you not listen to me? Have you forgotten the story of prophet Ibrahim ‘Alaihis-salaam? Perhaps Allah will make her coming into the family an opening for my womb”.
He drew her closer, “shh… You know I would do that if I think it would solve our problems but I fear it would only generate more. I fear that I would tend towards you and Husna would suffer. Do you want such an unjust husband? Can I meet Allah then hoping He would be pleased with me?”
“What do we do then; I fear for ummuk? (Your mom)” She asked weakly.
He lifted her face and so tenderly kissed her tear-stained brows. With voice thick with emotions he answered, “We seek Allah’s help through patience and perseverance as He has ordered us to.” He held her hands and turned them towards the dressing mirror “When I see us, do you know what I see?”
“What do you see?”
“The first three verses of surah al-Ankabut where Allah said, ‘do the believers think that just because they say that they believe, they will not be tested?…’ I want you to look at us deeply and commit these verses to memory because this is probably just one of more tests to come.”
She did as he instructed, looking into his eyes and smiling. “I love you for the sake of Allah.”
He turned her to face him once again, “so you won’t ever bring up the issue of talaq?” She sniffed and bounced her head up and down. “And you will hold my hands with the patience of prophet Ayyub ‘alaihis-salaam?” Again, she bounced her head in agreement. He sighed and drew her close again, “If only mother knew the treasure she so easily discarded… If only she knew how much you mean to my dunya and my akhirah…”
He bent his head towards her…
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Author: Umm Naml