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|a lonely heart: morals of the story|
|07/03/04 at 00:25:29|
a lonely heart: I
Sheida felt like giving herself the proverbial kick in the back.
It was the third weekend since Yusuf's last visit, and he hadn't turned up yet, whereas he was here every weekend to talk to her for hours.
"Is it because of what I said to him?", she winced as she remembered what she had said. But wasn't what she said quite reasonable? How else could she explore the possibility, she concluded, and Yusuf had given her reason to think he was interested in her! That did not take away the pain of uncertainty, and the growing possibility of losing a friend she had, quite foolishly, thought might make a life-partner.
She had been feeling like crying for a long time. Finally she gave way to her emotions and cried, giving vent to all the loneliness that she had buried in her heart for 12 years. For she hadn't cried since she was 10, when she had been separated from her family. Oh sure, there were occassional visits, she went back to Tehran where her father was a professor at the University, or someone, usually father, came for visit Britain, but that is not the same as living with your family.
Father had left her in a convent in Britain, so she would benefit from the British education system. She did; she became cool, calm, focussed and logical. Although she had become quite settled in non-muslim ways, like she ate pork, drank and went to the bar with her male friends, she had guarded her chastity. And even now, when she had no illusions about herself, she had made no effort to attract men, instead directing them to other girls she knew. Although she was only 22, she felt she was ugly, at least she wasn't attractive, unless someone was under the influence of alcohol. She knew she had brains, but muslim males marrying for brains? She hadn't heard a story like that ever, and she couldn't bring herself round to thinking of a non-muslim husband.
Weekends were the worst. One Saturday night, she was sitting with Joe in the flat kitchen, and Joe was moaning about being lonely. His funds were down, and gowing to the pubs was out for him that night. She mentioned that she felt lonely, too, and Joe retorted: "It is all right for you, you are a girl. All you have to do is walk to the bars, and someone will buy you drinks and pick you up". She didn' answer. Joe wouldn't have understood, anyway. One-night stands were not for her, and as a muslim, she could only go that far for company. Yusuf was sitting nearby, and he didn't comment either.
She was attracted to him, and found him quite fascinating. She had come to the Uni with a few of her classmates making the same choice, to do a master's in Operations Reseach from Britain's most famous school of Production Engineering. Joe was one of them. Soon after arrival, they had decided to go out for dinner, and she had invited Yusuf to accompany them, as this Chinese was very good and cheap. At other times, they went to a fish and chips dinner, and she foud Yusuf a good listener.
He was maddening at times. Like when she asked him to look at her cooking while she was gone. When she came back, it was all burnt out. She asked hadn't he been looking, and he had replied: "yes, I looked at it carefully. I can give a moment-to-moment description of how the smoke rose, and the shapes it made. Do you want a drawing". She stood speechless at this audacity, and then he had apologized, and offered his food, but she said thanks, and walked away hurt, very hurt.
She didn't ask him for a favor after that.
But she had tried to help Yusuf find female companionship. She had pointed them out, extolling their prettiness or their other virtues and once asked: "Why don't you do mut3a with one of these pretty girls around?", and Yusuf had opened his mouth to say something, then stopped and just smiled back at her. She had explained to the other girls why he did not take interest in them. He was a good catch. He would complete his doctorate that year, and go on to join a multi-national, where he was expected to rise to an important position, and all through the year they had lived in the flat, he hadn't once raised his voice, or be involved in a quarrel. The other girls had tried interesting him. One had baked biscuits and invited all the Asian boys over, for she had been told the Asians preferred girls who could feed them well; another had thrown a Chinese meal; one had bought ice-cream for all. But, while some boys had taken interest, this one wasn't moved.
Once he had taken out to dinner the prettiest girl around, the American Jewess, who was not only pretty, but also knew how to look it, and had made it known she was looking for a husband. Yusuf had on return said goodbye to her and gone to his room. The girls were puzzled. Why hadn't he taken her to bed? She was willing enough. That would have been the logical conclusion to an expensive dinner, especially when he had called a limousine to take her out, and not ridden in a bus, like most would do. and like when Christine had entered his room at night, dressed scantily, all invitation, and he had maneuvred her into leaving, without actually being disrespectful. Christine had asked her: I knew he was interested, but why hadn't he taken advantage of the situation. It wasn't that he was gay, that much was obvious. He did have an eye for girls, they knew, for he watched the beauty contests and the like, and he talked to the girls most courteously. And then she had explained: "He is a Muslim like me. Muslims guard their chastity, and they want to marry only chaste ones." She felt quite proud saying this.
Corrine reported that encouraged by this information, finding him alone in the kitchenette cum dining, she had told him she was a virgin, but he had only smiled, and lowered his gaze. Why hadn't he taken the hint, she had asked Sheida, am I ugly. And Sheida had re-assured her that on the contrary, Corrine was indeed pretty.
They had an argument about the Shah. There were demonstrations againts him throughout Britain. "Marg ber Shah Kha'in, Death to the corrupt Shah", were the slogans written all over, and he had spoken against the Shah, while she took to defending him. Her father was a big supporter of the Shah. That was the most passionate argument they had. But he continued to laugh and joke with her after that.
So when after joining his employers, he travelled all the way from the North to the Midlands every weekend, and came to see her, and talked to her, there had to be something to it. Once he had asked her about eating pork, and she had replied: "It is my father's fault. Why did he leave me here all alone when I was young." He replied back: "It was his fault to begin with. You are an adult. It is your decision now". Maybe he wanted a Muslim wife. That must be it.
That particular night, as he came to see her, she was in bed, and he had asked what is wrong, and she had told him her stomach was upset, and in fact she was in pain. She had been lonely all these years, never telling anyone about her suffering, but tonight she felt the need for someone, someone's shoulders to cry on, someone who would be hers for life, and Yusuf had been giving so much of his time to her, so she blurted it out. "I have never had a man, Yusuf", she said, with lowered eyes.
Yusuf did not reply to this. He bent his head. Then, after a while, which seemed ages, he said: "I must be going now, or I will miss the train"
She hadn't heard from him since then, for the last three weeks.
|07/30/04 at 09:37:00|
|Re: a lonely heart|
|07/03/04 at 14:18:10|
This guy is too easy to figure out, the idealized qualities he is seeking are too easy to fake. some day he's going to find he has been manipulated into marrying someone with none of the qualities he is seeking because it is just too easy to pretend to have all that for those short traditional meetings.
The girl has been raised away form islam and it probably doesnt help her understand things for him to run away the first time she crosses his line.
But I think we can all be like that, avoiding people rather than explaining things to them.
One of the reasons young men and young women arent supposed to hang out togeater is because they go through stupid phases and say things that are best lost in time and not heard by the opposite sex.
It sounds like the guy wants an islamic life, but he is in the middle of the road. He is dating, but he thinks he can set his own rules and how many girls have found out that is impossible? but like I said, If he swings to far the other way he may get duped.
|07/03/04 at 16:57:51|
|Re: a lonely heart - II, Yusuf's introspection|
|07/08/04 at 08:48:50|
|[slm] sister al-ajnabia, I had a word with the author :)|
he thinks that yours is a very good analysis. However, he doesn’t think it is accurate. Let us see what he has to say about Yusuf.
i would welcome more criticism, shortcomings, suggestions for improving this story, in public or private. Thanks
As the train sped forth, Yusuf settled in his seat, but that was only his body settling down. His mind and heart were in turmoil like Sheida’s he had left behind. The train would take many hours to reach the Industrial North, so he had enough time to reflect and possibly reach a decision.
“Why”, he asked himself, “why did I go on seeing Sheida. Now she is hurt, and it is all my fault”. He was depressed. When he had heard her say those words, he had understood how desperately she wanted her loneliness to end. He had seen that same longing in Corrine’s face, and it had touched his heart. He felt sorrow for all the victims of a civilization that forces young people out of their homes into temporary relationships, which pass for love, while those who wait patiently for a permanent hook-up are often left alone.
“You will stay on the shelf”, he had heard a 16-year old girl mock a 20-year old one. Wounding others with words comes easily to some people. His British acquaintances at University had been cruel to the girls, too. “I suppose there will be many third-year widows”, John had said to Pauline who had informed all that her boyfriend was going away to Manchester to join a firm. Pauline gave John a look full of hate, but had no answer to that callously true remark. Girlfriends were often left behind, and they were usually in their third year of a bachelor’s course. Those leaving did not have enough strength of attachment to spend money on travel. They would find other partners in their place of work, and the previous girlfriends would become “virtual” widows, unless they found new “husbands”.
So he understood Corrine and Sheida, and wanted to help.
He had the words on his lips for Corrine: “This speaks much for you moral values, Corrine. I admire you that although you are so attractive and many men must have been after you, yet you have managed to hold yourself for your future husband. And then he had wanted to offer to take her out for a day, perhaps to the city museum, so she would feel someone was paying attention to her.
But he had held his peace, for fear it might be misunderstood and raise expectations he could not fulfill.
And he had wanted to hold Sheida’s hands and tell her he would marry her and look after her and be with her always.
Saying that would have been a lie, although he was in love with her.
Eight years earlier, in his home country, he had been diagnosed with a rare disease that makes one age faster than normal.
“Your body may not show it for a long time, but its functions will be impaired progressively, and you will lose your ability to work.” The specialist had informed him in a matter-of-fact voice.
He got up calmly on hearing this, paid the consultation fee, took a few steps towards the door, and passed out, dropping to the floor.
When he came to, the consultant was explaining to someone in a shocked voice: “He collapsed just like that”, making a motion with his hands. Then he added plaintively: “It wasn’t my fault.”
Of course, it wasn’t. Yusuf had smiled on hearing this.
They had an auto-rickshaw waiting for him, and the doctor literally pushed him into it, asked his address, and told the rickshaw driver to take him there. The doc did not want any complications at his clinic. It might drive custom away, and although not the doc’s fault, who was going to explain it to a nervous clientele that depended on word of mouth for a doctor’s reputation, and his earnings?
He sought other opinions, and they confirmed the first one. Then he saw an advertisement for a scholarship in Britain and thought maybe there is a cure in the West. They are so advanced in medicine, he thought hopefully. So he applied, and won the scholarship.
After settling down at the British University, he went and consulted the doctors at the Health Centre. They referred him to the specialists/ consultants. There were tests, and the inevitable confirmation.
So accelerated aging and progressive debility formed the fate that was staring him in the face. No one knew except the doctors and himself. He had hidden the news even from the folks back home. They had high hopes of him, to pull them away from the abysmal poverty that threatened them every day, and from where no one who had fallen into had ever been able to climb out through moral means, unless they went abroad and earned in the West or the oil-rich Middle East. He did not want to shatter their dreams.
He did well in his studies and joined the Research Program of the Department. In those days, research at British universities was usually open-ended, so the researchers could go as fast or as slow as they wished. He took it easy, and if his disease started showing any effects, these weren’t noticed.
Near the end of his degree, he appeared for a couple of interviews, and was immediately selected in both. He chose the larger of the two firms. He hadn’t mentioned his disease. Asked by the interview board if there was any reason he shouldn’t be employed, he had answered confidently: “None”, then added as an after thought, “I do not like tight schedules”.
They still wanted him.
There was a routine medical examination, after which he joined the firm.
After a couple of months, he started taking formal driving lessons, and it was then his notice was drawn to his condition. His instructor had said with a laugh: “I call you the Happy Wanderer”. When he sought an explanation, he was told: “because you wander all over the road”. He checked for himself and was aghast. It was true. Although “all over” was an exaggeration, he did not have enough control over the car. What else is deteriorating, he asked himself”.
At another time he almost ran over a dog. The instructor was very cross: “Didn’t you see him?” Of course, he hadn’t, and that was a further cause of worry.
He tried making an appointment with a specialist through the National Health Service. No luck. There was a long wait. He gave up. He already knew what there was to know. No need really to waste the specialist’s time. He decided that if the deterioration in any of his faculties threatened someone’s life or could cause injury, he would reduce its use as far as possible. Like he decided not to drive.
At his job the time schedules felt tighter and tighter, and more difficult to adhere to. When he submitted his work, there were occasional lapses in accuracy. People noticed. Employees improve with time. His performance was erratic. The British are too nice a people to criticize openly. They used their experience and logic and concluded that the young man was lonely, and needed a wife. So he was invited to parties and outings, even Church events, where he found himself surrounded by attractive young ladies.
He felt like owning up and saying: “Look, I am bad news. I am not an eligible bachelor. I will soon lose my capacity to earn and support a family. So, leave me alone, please.”
This wasn’t done, though. The British keep a stiff upper lip, and bear it. In a foreigner they might tolerate (even expect) this broadcasting of one’s problems, but Yusuf was like them in some respects. This was one of them.
He had to try to survive as long he could. If the truth about his deteriorating health were known, he would be out of a job, and unemployable. Without a job he would have no income. He would not qualify even for unemployment benefits, because he had not been able to keep up the social security contributions when he was a student.
Overwhelmed, facing an eventual and fast-approaching loss of ability to earn, without anyone to confide in or seek advice from, without expectation of social security support to ease the inevitable unemployment days he saw coming, he remembered with longing the peace and tranquility he had enjoyed at his University. So, he went there every weekend, to roam its lawns and corridors, to look at its buildings, drinking in every detail, for it felt like mother. It was his alma mater, after all.
When he had his fill of the atmosphere and felt comforted enough, he would walk to Sheida’s flat, to talk but mostly to listen. Once in her company, he would forget everything. In fact, he was so happy in being with her that she often complimented him on the radiance in his face. He was impressed with her brains, and gradually, imperceptibly, without intending to, fell in love with her, although he hadn’t believed in love before marriage. And then, as the weekend would draw to a close, he would hurry to the railway station, for a train back to work.
How he wished that somehow his diagnosis would turn out to be false, if only someone discovered a cure before it was too late, he would certainly go up to Sheida and ask for her hand in marriage.
But if wishes were horses, beggars would ride them!
In all his reasoning and care to avoid a commitment he could not fulfill, he had not taken into account the effect his frequent visits would have on her, and that oversight had now blown up beyond repair.
The review of events over, Yusuf now thought over what to do. What would be less painful for Sheida? Should he come clean with her, and apologise. It was only fair that she should know why he couldn’t make her an offer of marriage. But wouldn’t it be painful for her to know his condition? Wouldn’t it be better that he just disappears for good. Sheida would consider him a coward, but wouldn’t have an inkling of the truth. What would be better, he thought and thought and thought, and couldn’t come to a conclusion.
1. Can the readers suggest what Yusuf should do?
In all his analyses the most important point is missing.
2. Can readers try to guess what it is?
|07/18/04 at 01:50:14|
|Re: a lonely heart, 2nd installment in :)|
|07/08/04 at 14:00:13|
well, I dont read any mention of dua.
I think he should tell the girl, and let her decide, he had upset her already anyway, so he might as well.
As far as his deterioration, there is no mention I dont think, unless I missed of the speed of it. Some people die all of a sudden inthe prime of health too for that matter.
Is he worrying to much about if she might have to marry again when or if the doctor's predictions do hold out. Wasnt it nine out of ten or ten out of eleven of the prophet's [saw] wives (raa) had been married and divorced and widdowed before (some several times) and he saw good in it to marry them? So he sould worry about living now, but informing people who need to know, maybe not his employer, but the girl, and his family.
And he might not die so young. His work may be eratic and he cant drive, (I'm in the same boat there) but a lot of people are like that for different reasons such as my aparently non fatal hole in my head.
Granted, as a woman, I may not HAve to contribut financially, so my completley ambiguous status regarding whether or not I could ever find an employer who can put up with my ocasional bursts of brillaince 8) but my more frequent utter dullness :( probably doesnt harm me as much, but he's not dead yet, and doctors arent Allah, even if people need to remind them that every once in a while.
|a lonely heart: comments and a poll|
|07/09/04 at 12:53:21|
|[slm] yes sister, you got the point. And you are right, there was no mention of the deteriorating condition of Yusuf. This author apparently likes to keep a few things up his sleeve.|
Other brothers and sisters: please give me your comments. Be ruthless; find faults with this story; rip it apart, if you like. I am trying to learn to be a writer. More than one person on this board has suggested this to me. I am certainly not in the category of sister Ayaatee, but I want to know if there is any chance of me making it in this field, and I do need all the help I can get. :)
If you don’t think this story should not be told here, even then say so.
Do you find the story plausible? How can the narration be improved? Is it interesting enough? Will this story sell? :)
Come on, let me know :)
brothers:- would you tell Sheida the truth, if you were Yusuf?
sisters:- what should Sheida do if Yusuf told her the truth? should she:
o ask him to get lost and not show his face again
o sympathize and say she would pray for him
o tell him she loves him, and will marry him no matter what?
Both Sheida and Yusuf are secular Muslims with varying degree of secularity. It is interesting that while they disobey Allah’s commands, they do not want to be considered as having left Islam, even though they live in a non-Muslim environment and have made no efforts to join others with a more Islamic way of life.
|Re: a lonely heart: comments and a poll|
|07/11/04 at 23:11:38|
It sounds like a romance novel to me and I don't like to read romance novels. However, this could become a "Love Story" movie (though I don't like watching those either) I guess it's because I don't believe in love. It's all infactuation in my opinion.
The story....most end like this:
His health soons deteriorate in a quick manner that he suddenly realizes it's been 3 years since he's seen Sheida. Sheida does not conatct him within those years for fear that she had scared him away and who wants to deal with that? From this sudden fact, he looks in the mirror and .....
Continue my criticism later. Got to go to Ta'leem.
|Re: a lonely heart: comments and a poll|
|07/12/04 at 13:39:32|
Ok. Sorry about that. I’ll give summary notes of what the Ta’leem was about in another thread. It was a really good one. The Imam talked about Al-Haseeb.
Back to the story:
So he looks in the mirror and notices that he doesn’t look much ill. Just some dark shadows around the eyes, but nothing that is too noticeable enough for Sheida to be concerned about and decides he must talk to her before it’s too late. He rides the train and thinks about all the wonderful chats they had and how sweet she used to look when she smiled and how it made his day when he heard her laugh. He thinks about how she used to cutely react when he playfully scolds her and then thinks about how not so cute she will be when she finds out that though he loves her, he will die soon. When he gets off the train, with tears in his eyes, he stands in line to get a return ticket when he notices a couple nearby saying good bye to each other. As the woman wipes the tear from her lover’s cheek, he too wished that Sheida was there to comfort him so and wipe his tears away.
He runs to catch the train that is now leaving the station. He makes a big jump that also takes a strain on his weak heart and falls on the train’s floor passed out. He awakens to find out that he has jumped on the wrong train and is off to a city further away from his beloved. Gets off the next stop and takes a few more trains back. When he finally finishes his ordeal, he reaches Sheida’s flat finding nothing but an empty room. He asks the flat’s manager about her and he says, she’s gone home to get married, but that was since last year. His heart breaks and is angered that she never told him about this. Then he remembered their last encounter and is saddened. He can’t blame her at all. He returns home.
Before Sheida marries, she wanted to go and reminisce about her single and lonely life. She wanted to make sure she wasn’t making a mistake or missing anything. But her final closure was with Yusuf. Before she goes and sees Yusuf, she returns to her old flat and as she looks at the empty room, she sees him sitting on the couch just listening to her whines about life. She looks at the door to his room and sees the many girls come out saddened because he rejected sleeping with them. She smiles. She remembers his crooked smile and how they used to laugh while watching the comedy shows together. His laugh always made her smile. She remembered it all, their political debates, their fights, and their last chat where she scared him away. She still wonders about him and how he is doing.
As she returns the keys to the flat to the manager, he mentions that Yusuf was here to look at the flat and looking for her also, but that was a month ago. Her heart starts to race and she quickly gets on the train to find him. She looks for him at his old firm and they tell her that he quite a year and half ago. She goes to the address that they gave her and finds someone else living there. She inquires about his whereabouts, but they do not know. She calls her friend to find out if she knew where he lived. Her friend calls Corrine who then asks her husband who has a number to where he’s staying. She uses that number to get the address from the operator. When she arrives at the address, she looks at the sign “Institution for Progeria.” She walks inside and inquires about Yusuf whereabouts. They tell her he’s in the courtyard and point to his direction. She reaches the courtyard and slowly walks to a person sitting in a wheelchair. She touches his shoulder and turns around to find an older looking Yusuf. He is shocked to see her, she falls to her knees and starts to weep at his lap. He then tears and when she hears his whimper, she looks up and says “No. Don’t. Please.” as she wipes his tears of his cheeks. Her hand still on his face, she asks, “Why? How long have you kept this from me? Why Yusuf? Why? Am I not your best friend? I came as quickly as I heard. But why? Do you not love me?”
Yes. I do love you Sheida. I love you so much. I’ve loved for the longest time. And I wanted to tell you, but I just didn’t have the heart to leave you a widow. Instead, “You came alone?”
“He…We…I…I couldn’t marry him. It wouldn’t have been fair to him to marry on compromise. I loved someone else. I love you.”
He stands up and takes her in his arms tightly, “Oh Sheida. Please don’t love me. It wouldn’t be fair to you to love me.”
She looks at him, “And who are you to decide…”
“I only have 3 more months to live.”
She is silenced. She looks down so that he does not see the tear running down her cheek. “3 months.” She repeats under her breath.
“I’m sorry.” He picks up her chin and wipes the tear off her face. “I’m so sorry. Forgive me.” Then he whispers in her ear unknowingly, “I love you.”
She gazes into his eyes. He gazes into her eyes. She gazes back. And then wouldn’t you know it, she’s running down an open grassy field with a change of outfit at every chorus line into Yusuf’s arms and they start singing about love.
And on his death bed, shivering cold, he fights to say, “Promise me, no matter what happens, you’ll move on with your life cause I’ll always be with you.” He points to her heart, “Here.” As his eyes close for the last time she says, “I won’t let go Jack. I won’t let go. I promise.” She let’s go of his hand and is picked up by the rescue boat.
OH WAIT. That’s Titanic. Told you I’m not a love story chic. Fell for it when I was way younger. Read a lot of love stories and watched many chic flicks and then I got older and more wiser. Love only exists in fantasies. My philosophy on love is: “He that lives upon love will die fasting.”
If I was Sheida, I would want Yusuf to tell me. But I’m very particular about stuff like that. I’d rather hear it from the source then find out from someone else.
So how was it going to end? Was I close? Hope I didn’t ruin anything.
|07/12/04 at 21:06:36|
|Re: a lonely heart: love story???|
|07/13/04 at 09:00:38|
|[slm] Thanks for the criticism and suggestions. I would have liked to have input from others as well, so as to formulate how to write the next episodes. I was joking about the marketability of this story - no illusions about myself :). The effort it will take to be an acceptable writer is perhaps too much, and I write with a purpose of understanding social problems and generating thinking of solutions. In that sense, market considerations of appealing to the target readership do apply. You can generally take my stories to be true to a large extent, because these are written either from personal experience, or from observation.|
Now, sister al-ajnabia, regarding the [u]power of prayer[/u]: Indeed it has not been invoked so far in this story, because the characters as I observed them, did not do so up to this stage. They are more or less secular, but insist on their Muslim identity.
Do the readers recognize these traits in people they have come across?
Sister Trustworthy: Your contribution is amazing. Not what I had in mind, but far better. I will not need to modify my thoughts, but it was a pleasure to see how you would have taken the story forward.
This is not a novel, although it could be expanded into one, if I weren’t so lazy. In fact, I think everyone’s life can be written out in a novel. I didn’t see this story as primarily a love one, but now that you said it, I can see my original fears being true. The intention was to write a socio-moral story, whatever that animal is. I was hesitant to put it here because I thought the members of the Jannah Board might object to the “love” content of the story. In fact I posted it twice earlier, but deleted it out of that fear. Only two members have commented on this story, and that too after a little prodding. This goes to show that this subject is considered a “taboo” subject. But then this thread has a fair number of reads. So, I would still want more opinions and suggestions, if only to set my mind at rest that this is not a taboo.
This story is true, but not accurate in its entirety. It is set in the mid nineteen-seventy onwards. What I am trying to do here is to highlight some of the problems of Muslims:
1. Secularization: as they turn away from their religious obligations, and towards enjoyment in this world.
2. Delays in marriage because of the need to go for higher education.
3. Increase in the number of single women for this and a number of reasons.
4. Increase in the number of pre-marital relationships, and accompanying problems
5. increasing promiscuity
These are problems not just for minority Muslims, but also for Muslim majority countries.
Another problem I haven’t touched is what Nomi and hyper have often mentioned – Muslims turning away from Islam. I still do not get it, and would like input and links on that, real stories, real links, as I want to understand this phenomenon.
Is it that the non-observance of Salah, and the partaking of alcohol, or going to dance parties or even having pre-marital relationships is being considered as taking a Muslim out of Islam? This is what I would like explained, perhaps in a new thread. Are those leaving Muslims becoming Christians, or atheists, or agnostics?
In my days, the time of this story, a Muslim would break all rules, but still insist that he was within Islam. There were very few conversions to Christianity; in fact I never came across one, and the only case I heard a few years ago was of a Kenyan whose family is of Pakistani origin. Those who claimed to have ventured out of Islam became atheists or agnostics.
Sister Trustworthy, if your community has discovered a way of preserving itself and raises its children in Islam, it is wonderful. However, ignoring what goes on around the rest of the world cannot do it, and the second danger is one of ethnic groupings being more important than the concept of Ummah or Millah. I would much prefer that while staying connected to the roots, a community develop the spirit of belonging to the Ummah. On this board a sister mentioned she wanted to marry a Muslim from another ethnic background, and was facing resistance from her family. Others, including reverts, have reported similar problems too.
[u]about love or infatuation[/u]: A post from IoL would illustrate my point, if I could find it. It is about a young couple in Egypt. The man was arrested just after marriage and thrown into prison for belonging to the Ikhwan. For thirty years he stayed there. The struggles of his wife, and her spending the entire life making small handkerchiefs for a living, and the highlight of her life being the weekly or monthy (I forget) travel by bus to the faraway prison.
So the difference is that love involves selfless sacrifice. I have seen examples of selfless love, so I do not discount it.
Isn’t there love between parents and children
As for love in which sexual attraction is involved - the type in this story, it is perfectly valid and exists for spouses. I am not ashamed to admit that I love my wife. Muslim females brought up traditionally do have a difficulty admitting that in words. I have never been able to get an admission from my wife to that. At best, she refers obliquely to it: “Who else do I love, then”. :)
One could object to love (or sexual attraction) before marriage. In an Islamic society, it would indeed be rare, and is to be discouraged, but we have an increasingly secular world which invades our privacy at home, too. How many parents can or do monitor their children’s behaviour on the net, or when physically out of their sight?
|07/13/04 at 11:25:24|
|Re: a lonely heart: a love story?|
|07/13/04 at 10:43:11|
"One could object to love (or sexual attraction) before marriage. In an Islamic society, it would indeed be rare, and is to be discouraged, but we have an increasingly secular world which invades our privacy at home, too. How many parents can or do monitor their children’s behaviour on the net, or when physically out of their sight? "
yeh, thats kinda a pipe dream here in the us. even attempting it leads to serious instability, sort of indicates that the clock is ticking towards time to leave.
oh, and for the sake of insight, those of us who have been exposed to both the traditional mind set and the other one, livein a constant state of "oh my God my thoughts must be so obvious" and "ug, now when will the other shoe drop?"
we often havent the slightest clue that we can actually pull it off.
|07/13/04 at 10:45:46|
|Re: a lonely heart: comments and a poll|
|07/13/04 at 14:57:43|
|[quote author=Trustworthy link=board=library;num=1088825130;start=0#6 date=07/12/04 at 13:39:32] |
And then wouldn’t you know it, she’s running down an open grassy field with a change of outfit at every chorus line into Yusuf’s arms and they start singing about love.
Oh sis Trustworthy, this is hilarious. ;)
Br.timbuktu, I think this is a good story. what happens next??
Yusuf should tell her the truth. I mean running away from it doesn't do any good.
He should tell her and see how she reacts.
|07/13/04 at 15:00:30|
|Re: a lonely heart: a love story???|
|07/13/04 at 17:24:50|
and would like input and links on that, real stories, real links, as I want to understand this phenomenon.
Is it that the non-observance of Salah, and the partaking of alcohol, or going to dance parties or even having pre-marital relationships is being considered as taking a Muslim out of Islam?
I consider them as believers but not Muslims. However, I’m not allowed to think that because no matter what, if a person claims to be Muslim then it is not for me to judge them and tell people I don’t think they are. That is forbidden. What they do is between them and Allah (SWT) if my input does not help any. All I can do is remind them of Allah (SWT).
I have a few true unfortunate stories, one I’ve mentioned before about this Muslim guy I meet at school, became his friend until I found out that he did not know how to pray correctly (prayed in his mind), drank when only his friends are around, and did not believe in saddaquh (not sure about zakat), and he proposed to my married cousin knowing she was already married. However proud he was to be Muslim, he did not practice our beliefs. So I guess you can call those people “non-practicing” Muslims. Unfortunately there are many.
Now here is a new unfortunately true story, she is a distant cousin of mine. We were FOB together and she is probably 6-7 years older then me. Her mom re-married and she did not get a long with her step dad. Considering she is distant, in our culture because her first dad was related to my father somehow, though he was considered dead, it was still our obligation to care for her being an orphan and her mom being a widow. We still consider her close family. Anyways, she didn’t really grow up with us since she lived a driving distance away, but her new family (mom included of course) did visit us often. She sometimes came, sometimes did not. When she did come, she was all made up in make up and her hair done and dressed “Westernly”. Whatever the latest fashion was, so was she. My cousin and I thought she was so cool until one day, we went to visit her and we were in her room watching TV. Her mom came up and told her something, and she rolled her eyes and screamed JESUS and did the crucifix on her head and chest.
Both my cousin and I were like What the Hell? So asked her, “What was that?”
And she said nonchalantly, “Oh it’s nothing.”
“What are you Christian now?”
“So what was that?”
“So yelling at your mom and doing the crucifix is nothing?”
“It’s just that Islam is so strict.”
“Islam is strict for a reason and a GOOD reason. It’s to save you from the Hellfire amongst other bad things that goes around in the world.”
“But don’t you want to do all those things?”
“You know, look beautiful, be popular, have a boyfriend? Islam does not allow that. Christianity does.”
“First of all, Christianity does not allow that. It’s that they think that since Christ died for them for all their sins, they don’t understand what that really means. And you being Muslim should understand that no matter who you are, you will be accounted for all your sins. No one can save you but God himself, not Christ.”
And we started to debate. My cousin did a little scolding. Then…
“Don’t lecture me. This is my house.”
So we left her room to be with the adults. I still talked to her from the request of her mother and mine in hoping that she’d return to Islam. I haven’t heard from her for about a year now. She keeps her private life private and only shows up when she misses family life which is maybe once a year if we’re lucky. Even when we found that her bio father was alive, we tracked her down and told her. She went to visit him and I’d rather not mention the rest. I know she is just wanting to be so Western that Islam does not allow it and so….you know the story. There is, however, a LOT to the story that I’m not going to mention, I’d rather not mention. She is still family and we still have hope. It’s that she wants the desires of this world and really does not understand the Final Destiny concept. That’s my excuse for her.
if your community has discovered a way of preserving itself and raises its children in Islam, it is wonderful
We do try. But even with a Muslim community, you still find parents more lenient then others and will allow this and that as long as…..then there are parents like myself, that follow strict guidelines and have difficulty explaining why this Muslimah can wear make up and she can’t. Why she can go to birthday parties and she can’t. The there is the older generation that knows they can’t control their teenagers and allow dating as long as it’s with another Muslim (try to make sense of that one) which happens a great deal. But with all this, all of our children did always come back to somewhat practicing Islam, whatever that means. The Imam can talk til he’s blue, but free will is really powerful.
Isn’t there love between parents and children
I’d like to think so. I love my girls, but that’s a different kind of love then the fantasy one which really does not exist. Really! Speaking from experience that is I’ve never experienced it so it is hard for me to believe in such a thing. The story above does not reflect reality. In real life, Islamically, they keep their silence and live their own lives. It’s not til years later she finds out he dies from that illness from an old friend of theirs.
Mom raises us girls that love comes after marriage. That is Islam. Before marriage, is considered Zina and that is eternal Flames.
Here’s a true love story from back home:
A father is getting ready to go make Hajj but would like to see his youngest daughter, 14 yrs, be married before he leaves just in case he does not return. He starts to look for suitable bachelors, one well respected, educated, and is financially secure. He does not find one good enough despite the numerous proposals.
One day this 19-20 yr old boy is walking in the market and notices this beautiful girl walking with her mom. He purposely bumps into her as to get a closer look and she shys away smiling. Soon enough she would receive flowers on her school books and catch the same market boy lurking from behind trees. One evening, while in her bedroom, she hears someone singing out her window. She looks and it was that same boy. He asks for her hand in marriage which she replies, “Talk to my father.” Bravely, the next day, he did just that. He explained to her father that he would be the best husband ever. He will love her, care for her, and treat her like the princess she should be. He explained his future business plans and how they would be financially secure. Grand dad liked it and accepted. They were married and grand dad went to Hajj peacefully. Dad kept his promise. Mom lived like a princess even after she had us kids. They lived happily for 25 years even through the Vietnam War. When Dad died, she couldn’t get herself to remarry. That was 29 years ago.
It’s the only love story I know. Every other so called love story really isn’t a love story in my opinion. I don’t know. I don’t understand it. Oh well.
“He who lives on love will die fasting.” And “He who lives on Islam will die peacefully.”
So I’ll be awaiting the end to your story Bro since it’s based on a true story. I love those stories more than any fantasy story.
|Re: a lonely heart: a love story???|
|07/13/04 at 18:27:59|
First let me just say .... Wow!
I hardly ever come into this section of Madina, but if this thread is indicative of the posts in "Shahada Masjid" then I shall have to come here more often! :)
Secondly, mashallah at your hand at literary endeavours, brother Timbuktu. It is quite an interesting story, indeed. Well done, and congratulations on your beginnings as a writer ;-)
Okay now to move onto to the story itself...
I think that the story had good solid underlying concepts. Its seems you were trying to convey the angst felt by young British Muslims who are struggling to reconcile their Muslim-ness against the reality of their lives as Britons. It was appropriately wrapped up in a kind of love-story, although as you admit yourself, this was not your primary message.
This may have not been your intended outcome, but the line about the "British stiff upper lip" made me smile. :D It is so true! I think although as the children and grandchildren of immigrants to England we share many cultural characteristics of our ancestoral countries, at the same time many of our mannerisms are very British. :P
I'm guessing the logical conclusion and possible moral of the story might perhaps be along the lines of the two central characters finding their Islam again, and working through their everyday life and death problems and issues as Muslims who have become practicing again?
Sister Trustworthy's take up of Yusuf's story was enjoyable to read, and shows a fluid literary style... although the ending of running through fields sounds more like 2004 Bollywood than 1970s North England! :D
I thought the love story of sister Trustworthy's parents was heart warming. :)
With regards to Muslims who have turned away from Islam, I make the following observations. Vast majority of people who turn away just stop practicing, but on forms and when people ask they say they are Muslims. They may not practice ISlam fully, but they still belive in Allah and are on the most part just lazy or distracted by worldly affairs.
I guess some of them become agnostics, although they probably wouldn't identify themselves as such. They bear no great ill will towards Islam or Muslims, they just dont want it interfering in their lives.
Some people become atheists and these seem to be the people who become vehemently anti-Islam. They may attack Muslim scriptures and ideology, perhaps due to bad experiences they may have had during their time as Muslims. Islam is a barbaric 7th century cult which bears no relevance in the modern secular world, is the mainstay of their belief system.
Then there is the people who actively convert to another religion, the cases I have heard of have been mostly to Christianity. This is often, it seems, a source of great pride for missionaries, not least because Muslims are acknowledged by missionaries to be the most notoriously difficult people to convert. The mainstay of their arguments, seems to be to present Islam as the violent angry religion, with Allah as a wrathful and vengeful god as compared to the peace and love of the Lord Jesus Christ. For me personally this is a incorrect and distorted understanding of both Islam and Christianity if these particular views are taken, as is often the case.
I would like to write more, but this is getting long so I shall leave it for the time being.
Good thread! :)
|Re: a lonely heart, III - Sheida’s progress, modified|
|07/14/04 at 08:30:21|
|[slm] a lonely heart, III - Sheida’s progress, modified|
Yusuf and Sheida were secular, or non-practicing or semi-practicing Muslims, whatever you want to call them.
Sheida at least had an excuse: she hadn’t been exposed to Islam much, and her father was a liberal, almost anti-religion individual. Yusuf had no excuse at all. He had received enough instruction, and had lived in a practicing environment, as you could see when talking with him, but he said his Salah only when asked to do so, as if he had no obligations. His Islam was more of an abstaining kind, but as we will see, he even took to drinking a little, which demonstrates the danger of falling farther away from Islam, if one does not fight to improve oneself.
It is not surprising that so far they hadn’t invoked Allah (swt).
So we return to Sheida, who had found she couldn’t bear it any more, and had started to cry.
[i]the modified part begins here:[/i]
It was the end of March 1975, when Yusuf had left her without an answer to the query hidden in her statement. Every weekend she waited in her room, or sometimes in the flat’s living room, to listen to that ring of hearty laughter that was so unique to him, and that was heard a mile away, and that announced to the world that its owner was a happy-go-lucky man. She waited in vain to hear the door open, and then to hear the voice of the man she loved. But it never happened. She stayed awake at nights, turning over in her mind all that had happened in the last 18 months that had elapsed since she had first set her eyes on him - if only that had not happened, if only she had stayed a sister to him, and not fallen in love. She couldn’t figure out what she could have done to avoid this misery – except perhaps, could she ………, could she possibly have avoided falling in love? No, she couldn’t, love is not by design or intention. Cupid had aimed at her heart, and aimed well, although Cupid is blind, and perhaps that is the reason Cupid had not taken into consideration the fact that she was not a suitable candidate to be his victim.
She had a plain face, dark, and without the glow that is associated with youth, almost as dry as ash. She was thin, not much curves on her; how could she have hoped that Yusuf would reciprocate her love. Yet, he had come to see her every weekend for six months now, and hadn’t talked to her about any other girl. What were these visits for, if not for love?
Why, oh why had he stolen her heart? Why had she been so stupid as to fall in love with him, when she had long ago decided romance was not for her? She found herself playing the silly games teenagers play when they think they are in love, and when they want to see if their beloved loves them. She picked up a flower and tore off a petal.
“He loves me”, she said to herself.
“He loves me not” another petal was torn off.
The game continued, and if it ended in “he loves me not”, then another flower was destined for destruction.
But such games are not spells to bring the beloved back, and if they were, they did not work in this instance, for Yusuf was still not to be seen, nor a word from him. Games do not bring peace of mind, either. Her grades were being affected. Her teachers and classmates noticed this - particularly her flat mates were more aware of this than the others, for they knew Yusuf no longer came to the flat, and they could put two and two together. The girls were so ruthless in their teasing.
Sheida had been brought up in the British tradition, she couldn’t tell anyone. She had to pull herself up and try to go about her daily business as usual. But one night, all this tension, all this teasing, having to live a double life looking calm while one is shattered inside, not able to stand the loss of her love, feeling intensely the loneliness she had lived with since the age of ten - a loneliness to which she was destined for the rest of her life, she gave vent to her feelings, crying her heart out, but the pain just wouldn’t subside.
[i][modified part ends[/i]
She just wasn’t able to live with it. Eventually, she found herself doubled up, almost in prostration, and she cried out, repeating: “Oh Allah! Help me overcome this pain, please remove it.”
And quite suddenly, just as she had repeated this three times, the pain was gone!
She couldn’t believe it – one moment her heart felt like it was on fire, and the pain was unbearable, and the mind was unsettled, and the next moment, all was cool and calm.
[u]To the readers[/u]: yes, miracles like these do happen. It is not a made-up twist to the story.
Sheida searched her heart carefully, in fear of starting the unbearable pain again, yet curious to see what had happened. She found a tiny dot of attachment to Yusuf, which still felt tender. She turned away from that spot in her heart. It might flare up again. She waited a while. Then, finding the peace still in her heart, she returned to explore the tender spot again. So Allah has left that in her heart, this must be for a purpose, she thought. She prostrated again before Allah: and remembered what Muslims say: “alHamdulillah, alHamdulillah”. There was so little of the Islamic way she remembered, but at least this was something!
Over the next two days she thought over her problems, and what had happened to her and what it meant. Being logical and practical, she came to some decisions. She was sure that Yusuf had left her because he was more attached to Islam than she was. Perhaps if he had known that she had given up pork on his pointing out, he would have understood how much she was trying to fit in with him!
Allah had given her a miraculous recovery from her pain, but left a little flame burning in her heart. That surely was also a sign. It was clear Yusuf will not come back to her, unless Allah (swt) performs a miracle for her. And a miracle had been performed when she had asked Allah to remove her pain. Why couldn’t it be performed again? But she had to bow to Allah now. When Yusuf had talked to her about Islam, it was about believing in Allah (swt) without any partner, and about abstaining from pork. But it was Allah who had taken away the pain, and Him she must obey. She would complete her studies and stay in Britain and work here. She would not go back to Iran. Her father would approve of her not returning to Iran, she was sure, but her father’s opinions did not matter to her any more, anyway. She would study Islam and become a better Muslim, to please Allah.
The next day, after her classes, when her classmates met for the usual gossip, she excused herself and went to the Student Union. There she looked for the local Students’ Islamic Society. She found a notice board, giving some phone numbers, addresses and events, including Sunday school. She rang up a number and then told the brother she was born a Muslim, but had not had much contact with Islam, and she wanted to study it.
She got help – a copy of the Quran with a translation of the meanings, and was told she could borrow tafsir volumes, as she needed. She went to the Sunday school at times, which although for the under 16’s, helped her understand some basic concepts. Soon she was saying the obligatory Salah. She was soon invited to join Quran, Hadith and tafsir study circles. Tafaseer from various scholars were discussed there, and being bright, she caught on quite fast. As she participated in the activities of the Society, she learnt of FOSIS (Federation of Students’ Islamic Societies in the UK and Ireland), but before she could take part in that, her student days were over.
She was exceptionally gifted, and her educational pursuits had sharpened her mind. She was diligent, focused and logical, as such she did well in her exams and her project. As OR was a relatively new field for the British, indeed for the whole of Europe, and UK companies were modernizing, she had good offers of employment. She chose a progressive, forward-looking company, which had its eyes on the Continental market. She rose fast in the company, being made responsible for revamping its European (Continental) operations. She went beyond that and cultivated such dynamism in her branch that her Company overtook its competitors by a wide margin. She thus became known as a miracle-working whiz kid on the Boards of European companies.
She had fantastic offers from other firms, but her own employers offered her a directorship, seven years after she had joined. She had put on a scarf two years into her employment when she had been offered the Continental responsibility, and now she put on the complete niqab. The Board was perturbed, but she was like Midas, turning whatever she touched into gold. The Iranian revolution had been three years into existence, and the West was still fumbling nervously with the outward signs of Islamic identity. Her case was complicated by the fact that her father had been arrested by the Iranian government in the early stages of the reform of education, had been tried for “spreading corruption on Earth” for his liberal outlook and preaching at Tehran University during the days of the Shah. It was feared he would be summarily executed, but he received a relatively lighter sentence of ten years in prison. The daughter of such a person putting on a niqab was disturbing. However, the APC Board was satisfied that she was no revolutionary or terrorist, and profits weigh against all else. She created profits!
She became the first person to become a Director of APC plc at the tender age of 29, a feat hitherto reserved in Britain only for those born with a silver spoon, or into Royalty. She was the talk of the City, which monitored the performance of Companies and invested in them. Within three years she had quadrupled the Continental turnover for her Company, an incredible accomplishment rarely, if ever, replicated. This was due to several factors, including an unprecedented explosion in business opportunities due to the formation of the European Union and the euphoria and government support associated with it. It must be appreciated, though, that she was responsible for recognizing the opportunities, for exploiting them, for arranging the manpower and the logistics to deliver the completed projects, organising her subordinates and instilling in them that competitive spirit which made it possible for her branch and her company to outstrip others. It must also be remembered that there were hurdles too, in the shape of national misconceptions and suspicions, the bureaucratic hurdles Europe is so famous for, and the proverbial anti-employer bias of the socialist-leaning trade unions under which almost all of the European work force was then organised. So the credit went to her, and rightly so. It was now widely understood, even by her previous detractors within the Company, that before she turned 40, she would be entrusted with the Managing Directorship of APC, a Company where half of its turnover was now coming from the Company’s Continental operations, thanks to Sheida. The Continent was where the growth potential was still enormous, and Sheida had also hinted at the future potential of the Far East and China - not now, but to watch and jump in at the right time. She was to be given the charge for these as well. Hence you find that the owners of tongues that had hinted darkly at terrorism and political Islam associated with the niqab, nay that had wagged eloquently at this, now danced attendance to her tunes, for her empire was growing, and in a few years she will be the decision taker for the whole Company. No one wanted to get on the wrong side of the future Managing Director.
All this time, she had not neglected her Islamic studies, but she was not satisfied with her progress in this. Just as she was still rising in her company, and had more accomplishments in store for her, she announced her intention to leave, and go for full-time Islamic learning. The Company tried to retain her with very lucrative inducements, but her mind was made up. She had already made her millions, as her Directorship profit-sharing and stock options allowed her to, so she was then retired with substantial benefits, with an offer of accommodating her in a Board position at least where she left off, should she want to return.
She had talked her change with her Sheikh, who not only approved of it but actually it was he who had put the idea in her head when he had lamented the dearth of female scholars. She was ranked as one of the Sheikh’s brightest students, and got into serious Islamic scholarship. She was also in demand everywhere, discussing issues in modern society from an Islamic perspective, giving dawah, debating with secularists and competing religions and –isms.
The Sheikh suggested she get married, and that he had a brother in mind if she would agree – the Sheikh’s favorite student and likely successor. She had inquired if it was compulsory for the deen, and the Sheikh had replied no, it was his recommendation. She preferred then to live the deen and serve Allah (saw) while staying single, she said.
Her mother escaped Iran and came to live with her in Britain. Her father was released five years into his sentence, in a Presidential pardon, and also sought asylum in Britain. He was a skeleton of his former self, but after a period of recuperation, tried to pick himself up, and was able to barely do just that.
That little tender dot in her heart had not gone away, and she would love Yusuf always, although she had little time now to recall the memories.
|07/20/04 at 11:10:10|
|Re: a lonely heart: Sheida's progress|
|07/14/04 at 14:10:43|
there's an old mountain story about how the devil comes in the form of man and steals the heart of the best and brightest girl in the little home town and then he leaves and she pines away until she dies and then she becomes a ghost in the howling wind.
I like this story better.
|Re: a lonely heart: Sheida's progress|
|07/14/04 at 20:04:15|
| [slm] and thanks:|
as you can see the promised installment has been posted.
sisters al-ajnabia, Trustworthy and nida
and brother Nadeem
There is much you have written that needs acknowledgement and a discussion, and I will think about whether to do so in this thread after completing this story, or start that discussion in a new thread.
|Re: a lonely heart: Sheida's progress|
|07/14/04 at 21:01:46|
OHHHHHH….why did you leave me hanging like that. I love this story. It’s really great to see how a Muslimah can really come back to Islam even after having been far from it for a while. It gives me hope. It also proves the power of courage and devotion knowing that everything is from Allah (SWT). So how many years has it been since Sheida and Yusuf talk to each other?
|Re: a lonely heart: Sheida's progress|
|07/15/04 at 00:24:52|
so Sheida applies her skills in business development to the dawah and the devil hasnt stolen a soul in months. Sheida should be high as a kite but shes mopey.
Shes sittin around just her and her head and shes just staring at that little flame sitting there always sitting there and she wonders about it. Allah is great he can do anything, so he has a plan or purpose for that little flame but what? Oh well, she says, Allah knows, and she heads back to the trenches, wondering.
|Re: a lonely heart: Sheida's progress|
|07/17/04 at 09:20:31|
okay here's my criticism- the first and second installments of the story were great, but the third went off on a tangent, way too fast and became more and more unrealistic with every line...were you in a rush to end the story?
Growing up in a western society, tho not in the 70s and not in the UK, I could relate to the experiences. I would have enjoyed reading more on the battles within Yusuf as to whether he should tell her or not... in the end, if I were in his place, I would have. But then again, I'm not Yusuf and perhaps the self control within the character is such that he'd hold it inside and from within tear his own heart apart. Maybe he'd want to run away from reality and seek artificial means to do so... I dunno, it's such an intriguing story!
As for Sheida, I'd say she'd be questioning herself to no end.. on the edge of depression, she recognises the danger signs and knows that the only way out is to seek help. So perhaps she seeks counselling and also counsels herself.. writing her thoughts and finding quiet, empty places and talking to herself. Perhaps she will recognise and emptyness within herself, that is not because of Yusuf, but something greater, something she cannot fathom...
Love is an emotion, but do people overcomplicate it and make it a substitute to try to fill the hole in the hearts that is in reality a longing for Allah? Do people chase love, thinking it is the only thing that will bring them happiness?
Great stories timbuktu- keep it up!
|Re: a lonely heart: III explanation|
|07/18/04 at 00:20:22|
|[slm] Sheida's progress - an explanation|
great analyses and criticism, this is what I wanted.
bro Nadeem, why did you stop putting in words what you thought. Nothing can be too long, for the reader. Your guesses seem to be right so far.
sister al--ajnabia: you summed it up so well.
sister Trustworthy, I am glad you can see that not all love stories involve dancing and innumerable songs, and accompanying changes of dresses.
and siter nida. sorry the installment gets late. I have these written up, but I wanted some feedback, and I am glad I waited, because each feedback reveals something new to me.
bro flyboy_nz, I love the criticism you made. Here are my thoughts on this:
Yes, the story sometimes races too fast, and it is largely due to my realizing that I have taken on more than I intended to write. I try to summarize things at times. I have not given you the rundown on everything. You see, I did not want to write a novel, and the story sometimes looks to me that it will expand into one.
However, going back a little, let us see how much time Sheida and Yusuf have had to understand themselves and each other. They had been in the same flat as 16 other students of mixed gender, two of whom were a married couple. Since they shared a kitchenette and a dining room, plus an amenities room, they saw and spoke to each other almost on a daily basis for a year, before Yusuf went to his job. That would have been in October 1974. At that time, Sheida’s attempts to hook Yusuf up with some pretty girls had not borne fruit. Up to that time and shortly afterwards, she probably thought of him as a sort of brother, not for marriage, because she had considered herself unattractive, and hence unmarriageable. However when, after starting a job, he began visiting the flat on a weekly basis, and met only her and stayed with her a long time, she started realizing that perhaps Yusuf had an ye for her. Plus the other girls would have teased her about him, and reinforced (or even planted) this idea in her head. She had had plenty of time to try to figure out what brought him to see her so often. She was the only Muslim girl in that flat. In fact, Muslim female graduates were rare in those days. So she was not far off in thinking that her being an educated Muslimah (albeit not a practicing one, but then he wasn’t much of a Muslim either) was the attraction for him. And he had tried for her to give up pork. All in all, the linkage between them being Islam was the logical conclusion
I mentioned that she was Iranian. I also mentioned that she wasn’t attractive, face wise. Perhaps I should have clarified further that her complexion was on the dark side, no “glow”, and this was unusual, because the Iranians were considered “honorary whites” in Apartheid South Africa. This was probably the reason her father had left her in Britain, because he knew she had no future in Iran without prettiness. The going beauty standards did not include her possessions at all.
Next the sudden disappearance of the pain on praying to Allah (swt): It may sound unrealistic, but this is one of the bits that are true.
As for Sheida’s meteoric rise in her Company: Again it was a combination of hard work and opportunity. As I mentioned this was a time of profound changes in European work culture and business methods. Most did not understand it. I doubt if Sheida also understood the underlying reasons for the changes that were taking place. She probably did not have the time or the experience to know this. But at least she knew what is to be done. In fact, many a company would come to grief over not knowing what to do, and many a career would be destroyed. That the APC Board saw her worth, and gave her free rein, is an outcome of the “forward-looking, progressive company with an eye to Europe”, that I mentioned. Perhaps the Americans on this board would understand. If I were to describe the boardroom battles, the negotiations she held with the unions, the incentives for output she fought for, and the 18 hour a day, seven days a week that she put in, this would become clearer. There was a wave of Americanization taking place. But of course you have to deduct her Islamic studies time from the 18 hour a day.
|07/18/04 at 05:41:44|
|Re: a lonely heart: Yusuf’s niche|
|07/18/04 at 04:09:03|
|[slm] Yusuf’s niche|
Yusuf reached a decision.
He would not let people suffer because of him, no matter how much they cared for him. So keeping his family and Sheida in the dark was necessary. His family could do nothing, except waste whatever they earn on his medical bills, while they needed the money themselves, while Sheida would, at her age, be stupid enough to want to share the miserable life ahead of him.
He was not able to think so straight about his job. The North of England is a very cold and damp place and cloudy most of the time. If you are in health, and if you like the stark unfriendly nature of this sparsely inhabited land with cold wind-swept hills, the Yorkshire Moors would be lovely, but Yusuf was not in health, and he lived and worked near the coast where industry was concentrated and pollution was rife. The external atmosphere compounded his problems of internal deterioration, and the strain was visible to all.
Go look “Yorkshire Moors” in MSN search. Also try “Yorkshire Dales”
Here is a link:
On a side-track, the Lake District in the West of Northern England, and the Yorkshire Dales in the East, are simply breathtaking. Here is a link to the Dales.
The management knew something was wrong. They transferred him to another section, but his illness was interpreted as aloofness, and lack of enthusiasm. This was not at all understandable to the management. He had been chosen after careful scrutiny with a three-tier interview process, in all of which he had come on top. The candidates for the jobs had been invited for a full week’s stay at the Company Headquarters, during which time every move of theirs was monitored: how they dressed, how they talked, what they ordered for dinner, what wines they ordered with what meats, how they ate, how they greeted each other and strangers, in short everything to make sure the people being hired would eventually and quickly rise to top management positions. And he had surprised them with his knowledge and manners – someone at home with the intricacies of living a higher social life! They knew that he had spent a year at the Manor House, where he must have picked up these manners. He was to be their poster boy – a brown immigrant making it to the top of this multinational would be good advertisement and public relations. But this guy was making all their selection procedures untrustworthy.
What was the matter? They had tried everything in the book to find out, but to no avail.
Finally, his Company also came to a decision. His manager called him one Friday afternoon, and told him he had not fitted in. He had been given chances, and different environment, but he had not shown signs of settling down with the Company, so the Company had no choice but to ask him to seek his future elsewhere. A three-month notice was what his contract specified, but the Company felt it was in some way responsible, so it wanted to give him time to find alternative employment. He would, therefore, be given three extra months, after which if he were still around, he would be given a three-month notice.
He smiled a smile of resignation to fate, said OK, and left the Manager’s office.
He went to his office and wrote out his resignation, in which he left all choices to the Company. If the Company wanted a three-month notice, he would serve that period. If the Company wanted him to leave immediately, he was ready to oblige. He had no preference in any way. He left this resignation in his out tray.
Next Tuesday, he was called again by the manager and asked if he had a job waiting for him. He replied in the negative. “Then why are you submitting your resignation?” the manager asked. After a few sentences of conversation, the manager understood something was even more wrong than anyone had imagined. So he called the personnel manager, and together they asked Yusuf to tell them what was the matter. At their continued insistence, he weakened, but extracted a promise they wouldn’t tell anyone. Then he told them about his condition.
They were taken aback: “We are sorry, really sorry. Please do not do anything hastily. We will come back to you.”
Three days later he received a letter from the Company. His resignation had been accepted, but he was being given leave for twelve months, at the end of which he would qualify for social security benefits. “Please get in touch with personnel, they will guide and help you through any difficulty”. The letter beseeched: “You don’t need to anything in a hurry”. The Company was ready to help in any manner. If he wanted to start a business, or whatever he wanted to do, the Company would help. As a first, they had arranged for him to visit and be interviewed by the top human resources company in the country. He obliged by meeting the human resources consultant, but he had made up his mind not to seek employment.
He looked at his possessions. He didn’t need all that. He kept the essential ones, and collected the rest, and went to the local masjid. This was the first time he was there, and he just gave away his extra possessions to the Imam, and went back to his flat.
He will now have enough time to think straight. He loved children and children loved him. He moved to a big city where working people would have difficulty in day-care for their children. With the refunds of his deductions that the Company had made from his pay, he hired a place as a day-care centre, hired some help, and soon he had a steady income. The economy in Britain was changing, and while old style jobs and workers were disappearing, new entrants with new skills were taking their place. Among these were parents who wanted to leave their children to be cared for until their return from work. At first he would take only children over five, who were brought to his centre from school in the afternoon, and were collected by their parents in the evening on their return from work. With the insistence of his clientele, and with some help, he expanded this care to the young ones, who would be left with him in the morning.
He was a natural with children. When the parents arrived at the day care, the children would run to him, for he told them stories, sang with them, played with them, and told them to keep a secret, as their parents didn’t know it. The secret was that he was also a child, only his misfortune was that his body was old. The children kept his secret. The demand for his centre kept increasing, but he only took in a number he could handle easily and personally. He knew he couldn’t overburden himself. He was now pleased with himself. He was still useful to society and he was earning his keep. Even as his faculties deteriorated, he had found work that did not demand much from him, and paid him enough to live on. But he too, had a tender spot in his heart that he had buried and not dared look at.
One day while visiting a friend, he was watching TV, which he had given up, and on it he heard the name of Sheida being mentioned. This was such an unusual name that he sat up. The presenter introduced Sheida, mentioning her educational and work background, accomplishments, her present dawah work, having given up everything and staying single for dawah, and the program went on.
This was his Sheida, he knew. He could tell from her eyes and her voice, and of course when they had mentioned where she had obtained her Masters. She hadn’t married. That must be because of him, but this Sheida was talking of Islam with an ease and flow of a true 3alimah. What a transformation! He sat transfixed, taking in every word. A strange feeling, long suppressed, rose in his heart. He longed to go and meet her. He heard her talk of beliefs, about why beliefs weren’t enough, of the Hereafter, of the fire which is ready for those who have forgotten Allah, and the rewards for those who remember Him, of repentance, and of Allah’s Mercy. It was as if she was talking to him, because he had spoken to her only about beliefs, or at best of avoiding pork. He knew now he had little time left, and he must repent. He went to the Masjid, and talked to the Imam in almost the same way Sheida had talked to the brother in the University’s Islamic Society. He started attending the Masjid regularly and the duroos. It was difficult for him, as his memory was now failing him, and his body was getting frail, but he persevered.
As his health deteriorated further, his younger employees and his friends again made aggressive demands to expand his operations to other cities. The requests for this had been coming in for a long time, for although others had tried to cash in on his innovative work, his love for, and ease of working with, children could not be replicated.
He was advised to form a Trust, so he would be looked after as by now everyone knew he had gotten very old. The business would then be run as usual. He was examining this proposal when an idea came to him.
|07/20/04 at 11:13:07|
|Re: a lonely heart: IV - Yusuf’s niche|
|07/18/04 at 11:55:50|
I think this story would be very different if in the first chapter some mutual friend ahd just gone out and lit a small fire under our Yusuf's back end.
|Re: a lonely heart: IV - Yusuf’s niche|
|07/19/04 at 07:56:30|
This story is taking on a nice life of its own. I agree with another person's comments that the third installment (with Sheida's almost dream-like rise to the top of the corporate ladder) felt rushed, with too much information in a short space. I imagine this would have been during the '80s by now, when the economy was buoyant and everyone wore shoulder pads in their jackets, and drove Porsches and had yachts! So in that respect perhaps it wasn't too unrealistic :D
However, would it have been realistic for a niqabi, or to be honest, even a hijabi to attain such a high position within a British company. I would have thought that the prejudice and discrimination would have been too much to allow this to happen?
I enjoyed reading Yusuf's recent installment. It was well written, not as ruched as the third episode, and as a reader you were able to savour the emotions in the events more. It is really nice that his company were so supportive of him. Although not as severe as Yusuf, I know from personal experience what it feels like to not want to be a burden on others due to bad health, and the whole experience with Yusuf's company. So I thought you told that part very well. :)
|07/19/04 at 07:57:05|
|Re: a lonely heart: V - meet after 14 years|
|07/22/04 at 08:31:23|
I liked the criticism, and I agree with it, both about the 3rd installment, and the rage at Yusuf expressed by sister al-ajnabia. I have modified part of the third installment (Reply 12) to expand on the emotions of Sheida; as for Yusuf, let us see what happens next.
I have missed comments from some brothers and sisters whose opinion I value greatly. Wondered if they have considered this story here as not suitable. Anyway, if any of my writings are found objectionable, please do not hesitate to say so, openly or in private.
a meet after 14 years
A week after Yusuf had conceived of that brilliant idea we talked about in the previous post, Sheida was reading a letter from him. After Salaam, he had asked to be forgiven for his not making contact earlier, but there was an urgent matter he now wanted to discuss with her or her attorneys. He then introduced the work he had done, and his desire that now it be taken over in a Trust by some worthy organization, and he thought her dawah organization would be quite suited to do that.
Sheida told her secretary to find out all about Yusuf and his work. A few days later, as she studied the dossier her detectives had compiled on Yusuf, she became aware of why he had run away from her that fateful evening.
Yusuf was invited to her dawah headquarters for a two day visit during which he would be shown the work done by her organization, and any points of mutual interest could be discussed.
He was shown into her office, which was fairly large with an eight-seater sofa set with accompanying coffee tables in a corner. Two walls of the office were of double glazed glass, one overlooking the lawn and the hills beyond, he other was normally covered with a heavy curtain for privacy, but today the curtains were drawn and a two way visual was established between her office and her secretariat. This was normal when a non-mehram visited her.
As he entered with salaam and was replied to and asked to sit down, Sheida noticed how frail he had become. Any fat he might once have had under his skin had dissolved, and there were wrinkles on his hands and face, although the latter was not so visible because a beard covered most of the wrinkled skin. He walked slowly, and as it transpired, he talked slowly, too.
After asking after each others’ health and thanking Allah (swt), Yusuf wanted to get down to business. He explained his idea, his work, took out a folder detailing the modest assets he had built up, plans for expansion, draft of a proposed Trust document, and a proposal that this work could be expanded to include other welfare cum income projects – taking from those who can pay and extending services to those who are in need. He talked, interrupted only by the serving of coffee and biscuits.
She listened to him patiently without interruption, but at the end her question was” “How long have you known your condition was this bad?”
He told her the truth, and she said nothing.
They were silent for a while, then he asked: “What do you think of this proposal?” She replied: “Don’t worry about it. This will be taken care of. I will send it to the lawyers and the evaluators, and something will be done to your satisfaction.” He fell silent again, while she watched his face, as if to decipher something.
Then he made an attempt to rise: “Thanks, I guess I must leave now.”
“Wait”, she said, “aren’t you forgetting something?”
He was lost for a while. Then realization dawned upon him and he said: “I am sorry, Sheida.”
“Is saying sorry enough?” she asked
He did not know what to say.
After a while she continued: “One must make amends for apologies to be meaningful, Yusuf.”
More silence, then more dawning: “But Sheida, I am dying.” He stammered.
She had tried to contain her rage for so long, and still she tried to control it, but it showed through her voice: “How many years have you thought you have been dying, Yusuf – twenty, or more? Did you give up breathing, eating, reading, working or sleeping when you came to know of your condition?” Then in a softer, much softer tone: “You know you need me.”
He couldn’t argue with that: “Yes, I do need you”. Then, hesitatingly: “Will you marry me?”
Under the niqab, a smile played on her lips. She swiveled her chair away to the side, and said: “I have a wali, you know, my father. Such questions are directed to the wali.” Then she slid him a card: “Here, this is my father’s card. Why don’t you meet him for dinner tonight at eight, and discuss whatever is on your mind with him.”
“OK”, he said.
Her smile turned into an invisible grin. It hadn’t been too difficult. “Must be his health, he hasn’t resisted much”, she thought with concern. Then she rang a bell, whereby a young man appeared. She gave him instructions to see to the comfort of the guest, and to make sure a car was at his disposal, and to take him to her father’s house by 8:00 pm sharp. With that she asked Yusuf to go with the young man.
After he had left, she picked up the phone and talked excitedly to her mother.
|Re: a lonely heart: VI - .... till death us do par|
|07/24/04 at 00:16:23|
|[slm] .…… for better or for worse, till death us do part|
They were married the following Friday in a simple nikah ceremony held in the Dawah Centre Mosque after asr prayers. Sheida was 37, Yusuf 41 but you would have placed him at double that age.
Following Monday they went to the Registry, and another ceremony was held at the Registrar’s office. This was at the insistence of her parents.
Sheida arranged to have her dawah and management responsibilities delegated while she looked into Yusuf’s affairs, keeping only the very important decisions of the dawah with her. Naturally, as a bride she settled at Yusuf’s place after marriage, and that consisted of a two-room apartment attached to his day-care facility. She had taken stock of Yusuf’s establishment. She liked the informal and personalized working of the day-care, and she understood it to be comfortable to Yusuf. But that way it would not stay profitable for long, so she transformed it by making it work efficiently behind the scenes, while maintaining a visibly cozy and friendly atmosphere on the surface. In all these considerations her instructions to the employees were to make sure that Yusuf does not feel out of place and his routine or his wishes are not disturbed. Those instructions were obeyed in letter and spirit. She opened branches in other cities, delegating responsibility, but making sure it was not misused, by frequent checks.
Sheida did not let the staff forget that Yusuf was the master there, but Yusuf knew and felt better after the responsibility was lifted from his shoulders. His health improved.
She asked him: “are you happy with me?” He beamed with pleasure: “I love you, Sheida, and”, he added with a twinkle in his eye: “are [you happy with me? She slid her palm underneath his. There was no need to say anything.
They looked at each other with love and contentment.
Once a shadow suddenly appeared over his face, as if something bothered him. She asked him what was troubling him, and he said: “You know Sheida, we are happy together, but what will happen in the Hereafter. Will we be united?”
And suddenly she laughed: “Silly! Look, we are inshaAllah going to end up in Jannah”.
“But there is so much difference between your level and mine. You are so much ahead in everything, while I have wasted all my life away. I am afraid we may be separated there”.
Then she laughed at his childlike worry again. “No need to worry about that. Just make sure you are nice to me and when I get to be in Firdawse 3alaa, I will drag you there, insha`Allah”.
They never talked about having children. She would have loved to have them, but they had married too late, and she was satisfied with what Allah (SubHana Wa Ta`ala) had given her.
When she was around him, she did not let him use the walking stick. Instead she let him walk with his arm on her shoulder. Not only was the fat under his skin gone, his blood circulation was also poor. All this is to be expected in an old body. She would often rub his hands and feet to improve the circulation, and he would beam with pleasure at this warmth. She would beam back.
There is nothing more heavenly in this world’s pleasures than being in love with your spouse, and to be loved back.
There were occasional clouds in marriage, though. Once Yusuf looked very dejected, and on her insistence told her he was very sorry. “I left you alone when you needed me and I still had some life in me, and now I have come back to you when I am not of much use.”
She understood: “Isn’t the fear that you won’t be able to provide for me the reason why you ran away? And who says you are not of much use.” She got up and brought a folder. It contained the accounts of his day-care centre for the last six months. “Look at these”, she said: “Your enterprise is earning enough to pay the bills and keep us going and some profits left, too. And as for leaving when we were younger, who knows what would have happened. Maybe we wouldn’t have found real Islam, and spent our lives in pursuit of this world’s pleasures. Whatever happens is for the best. That is what I believe, and I think that is the correct position to take.”
She had known that this topic would crop up some time, and had prepared for it. Men invariably want to feel that they are the breadwinners, and she smiled to herself as she thought of it. But had he accepted her argument, would he be comfortable if his earnings were not enough for their needs, and would he accept a “subsidy” from her should that happen?
ashes to ashes, dust to dust
His health gradually gave way, and one evening, just after Maghrib, he breathed his last. Sheida called the imam of the mosque, and her Dawah people, and let them take over the rest of the arrangements. She was a reasonably important and well-known person. The death of her husband would have been newsworthy itself, and was carried over the international media. Someone working in the media probably had benefited from Yusuf’s day-care Centre as well. The story of Yusuf’s death was released to the national press as a national loss since Yusuf had pioneered day-care as a necessary adjunct to parental love. As soon as the news spread on the local TV and FM radio, hundreds of calls came in from the local boys and girls and their parents: “When and where is the funeral? Oh, I am not Muslim, but please may I attend it? I won’t be in the way, I promise.”
The funeral was a strange sight. In addition to the Muslims related to or covering the Dawah or day care Centres, it was swollen by hundreds of non-muslim boys and young men and their fathers who walked with the procession, to pay homage to a man who had given them love and care and companionship when they needed it most, at a time when their own parents had to go to work for a living.
And hundreds of girls and their mothers descended on the day-care centre to offer condolences to the widow of that remarkable man who was their friend – who was, as he told them, a child in the body of an old man, and who had given them a golden rule: “Don’t worry too much about the body, look at the heart and mind and soul of a person. Maybe he is a child like yourself.”
After the Iddah, she started taking back her dawah engagements from those she had delegated it to, as she now had more time on her hands.
This is the end of the story. Now I invite comments once again. There may be technical faults and specific suggestions for improvement in that would be welcome. Also, if you think parts of the story clash with acceptable behavior, or are grossly unlikely, please point those out.
I have loved the criticism so far, and have incorporated some of it by modifying the posts.
Thanks for the patience to go through it.
|07/24/04 at 00:56:52|
|Re: a lonely heart: VI - .... till death us do par|
|07/24/04 at 18:24:38|
Masha-Allah, wow, what a story. Sad yet it brings a smile to your face knowing that it was some kind of happy ending. Reading it through, I felt that there was something missing from the story. Like I've missed something. :( I still feel that it's missing something though I can't put my finger on it.
All in all, it's a nice and pleasant story. Are you like their autobiographer or what made you decide to write their story?
|Re: a lonely heart: VI - .... till death us do par|
|07/24/04 at 19:55:40|
I think the ending seemed a little rushed but life is hurry up and wait sometimes.
I think there are lots of ways for Allah to help people come to a more practicing way of Islam. the quesion came up in the story if they had got togeather earlier would they have gotten to their levels maybe or maybe not or maybe they would have reached a different level. i dont know, sometimes I think allah chooses our destinations but we get some wiggle room about whether we will take the bus or the concord, with little wiggle places that lead to wheter we find His plan A or his plan B each having an impact on even if we can aford the concord or if we reach the airport before it goes out of comission.
|Re: a lonely heart: VI - .... till death us do par|
|07/25/04 at 01:47:00|
Good story..sorry I havent read or replied earlier Bro.
A few comments. Perhaps why some feel something is missing:
1. I think the story needs to expand on why they love one another so much...even after fourteen years. I never quite got how Yusuf fell for her..
2. Yeh, that one part was rushed about her moving up in career; confusion about her father ..that was a bit much dont you think?
3. the niqab part is quite ideal..but does seem a bit unrealistic..but it is a story and a nice one at it.. and who says it is impossible :)
Otherwise great story and as always I'm a sucker for happy endings..although he died, its still a love story with a happy ending.
|a lonely heart: Q & A session, & draw lessons|
|07/26/04 at 09:26:57|
|[slm] Well, some well-deserved questions and criticisms here :)|
1. Why did I write this story:
It is a very pertinent question. This story is based on some reality, so I had to consider if this invades someone’s privacy. I have lost contact with the characters, so I could not seek their permission. However, I have changed enough in this story for that not to be a matter of concern. Now the reasons:
1. a) I have always fancied myself as a storyteller, and my previous stories on this forum were rather well received. In fact Jannah went so far as to say if I kept trying, I might become a great writer :)
I don’t know whether jannah’s comment was said in jest or in seriousness, though :)
I guess that was a compliment, although the British might mean it otherwise.
I do know that a great deal of hard work still needs to go into my story telling.
1. b) There were references here to some stories in muslimwakeup.com or elsewhere. So I thought of telling a love-story, to test myself in that type of literature, and also to see how well it is received here.
1. c) I want to highlight some social problems, and would like [u]the readers[/u] here to draw some morals from this story.
1. d) So apart from the obvious one, that the world would be better off without me dabbling in this non-sense, what other morals can you draw?
1. e) I would like to write and to publish a best seller before it is too late, and this is to gauge whether I should make an attempt.
Is this too high an ambition :)
2. The ending is rushed.
Yes, it is, as well as the third installment. Not now, but some day insha`Allah I will sit down and expand the places where it seems like I am in a hurry.
3.a) the story needs to expand on why they love one another so much …... I never quite got how Yusuf fell for her..
Well, actually these questions cannot be answered with any certainty, because we cannot be sure. If I remember my mythology correctly, Cupid is blind :) He doesn’t know or care who he is wounding with his arrows. But, that joke apart, we can discern some reasons:
i) Both were non-practicing Muslims, still with a sense of belonging to Islam. Both were lonely. This drew them together.
ii) Both had decided for various reasons that they shouldn’t marry, so shouldn’t get entangled in love. Hence having successfully resisted any temptation from the opposite sex, they thought they were immune, and that let them put their guard down with each other. . In view of ii) above, they did not feel frequent meetings would create problems for them. Do you see the danger here?
iii) Sheida was the only graduate Muslimah Yusuf knew, and he found her company intellectually stimulating
3.b) Why did they love each other even after 14 years.
How does one answer that one ???
Love should ideally be for our Creator and Sustainer, but we do not behave ideally, although this is not to say we shouldn’t strive for it. Our love for the prophet [saw], should be less than that for Allah (swt), and then with further decrease in intensity and magnitude come our loves for the Ummah, for our parents and children and spouses and friends.
All these latter should also be for the sake of Allah. But falling in love is the greatest mysteries of life. I have no idea why people fall in love, and why do they stay in love even when they are old or haven’t met in years. Perhaps, once one has fallen in love, true love doesn’t die. It may be replaced with love of a higher status, like love for Allah (swt) or the prophet [saw]. Its intensity can go down, and its pain may become tolerable, or it may even be ignored by us by burying it deep in the heart; but die it does not.
4. confusion about her father ..that was a bit much don’t you think?
I don’t quite understand this question. What confusion? Are you saying that a father would not leave his daughter alone in Britain like that? But believe me, a great deal of this story is true. I knew the majority of characters in this story in person, and I have tried to keep to the truth as much as possible. This part of Sheida’s story is true as well. Those were the days of the Shah, and the elite (and the educated) thought their children could be better brought up in the West, even if they had to put them in boarding schools at an early age. It surprises us that girls would be so abandoned, but it happened.
In fact, I know an Arab Muslimah whose father did just that, leaving his daughter in the care of the British educational system. Only when she came to see him after her ‘O’ levels, he talked to his daughter patiently and softly about Islam, and she has truly become one of the treasures of the Ummah. I don’t know if she will ever tell her story, but if she does, it will be a wonderful one.
5. The niqabi success story is too much to digest.
:) I guess that is right, but I would rather have a vote on this: Who wants this bit changed so that hijabi Sheida does not graduate to a niqabi one, before she leaves her firm. She has to don it before she starts giving dawah though.
|07/27/04 at 10:56:36|
|Re: a lonely heart: Q & A session, & draw lessons|
|07/26/04 at 11:48:49|
even though i dont think shaida would have been accepted in the business world in a niqab I think it sould remain in the story becuse there is no reason why it would negatively effect her work. Actually I think i do better work in niqab, since there are a lot of things I dont have to worry about. People dont have to be told I'm only there for business but when I wore only hijab and jilbab I still had to remind people sometimes. And besided I stay cooler overall if I can make faces at people whever I feel the need. People tend to down play the being ones self element ofthe niqab, and forcus on the blessings in jannah, but I think we get those blessings because the niqab allows us to express our real thoughts a lot more freely and when Allah sees that our faces are marked with the residue or honesty he will be very pleased. I think people whose faces are visible just dont realize how much they have to restrain their expressions, and you dont realize until it is no longer neccessary how much that effort takes away from your life and level of comfort.
|Re: a lonely heart: morals of the story|
|07/30/04 at 08:58:12|
well, no one bothered to draw the morals :)
1. The first one is very important. A sister asked today if she is a munafiq because she does not wear the hijab.
She is not, and we have to understand, for ourselves and for others, that committing sins (of commission or omission), does not let us out of Islam. It is disbelief that does.
2. The second one is related to this, and should be soothing to all who are worried about their dear ones straying away from Islam. I have observed that people invariably come to Islam at some time or the other. But for it to continue in the future, dawah is very important.
3. The third one is about the power of praying to Allah (swt). WHat is miraculous can sometimes happen.
4. and the fourth one is that the sooner we get on the right path (siraate mustaqeem) the better it will be for us.
wa ma alaena illal balaghul mubeen
and pray for me too.
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