Mountain Beauties ...cont'd


A continuation...

Quite naturally, the women smiled in amusement at the bride-to-be’s shyness. My other friends, sisters of the bride-to-be, re-entered the room. With a few more light-hearted remarks, the doctor’s mother (the bride-to-be’s mother-in-law-to-be) suggested that my friend wear the fancy dress that was given to her for the occasion. My friend left the room to change and soon returned to her seat on the floor next to me, a lot more shy now than a few minutes earlier.

It was an interesting scene. Mother-in-law-to-be was getting frustrated with the shyness of daughter-in-law-to-be, and daughter-in-law-to-be seemed very much out of her element, with her grinning sisters (one with merciless teasing) looking on. Attention moved away from my friend for a short while. After some time, she was told to wear her ‘abaya again. I didn’t know why.

It wasn’t long after that, with her ‘abaya in hand, that my friend started crying. She crouched down near the edge of the bed as she faced the wall succumbing to her tears. Qumi! Qumi ya Aishah! – Get up! Get up Aishah! the ladies called out. They tried to pull her up, but she didn’t budge. Her tears flowing more profusely now than before.

I didn’t like it one bit. I waited to see how the others would react to her. There was some level of amusement in the air, something I couldn’t appreciate at the time (and I still fail to appreciate). I crouched next to her, put my arm around her shoulders, and told her to not to worry. Behind us, voices sang again, Yalla, qumi! My heart was with her. I turned around to tell the others to leave her alone for a while and to give her some time. I returned my attention to my friend, offering meager words of comfort with my limited knowledge of Arabic. Quli bismiLlah wa la takhaafi habibti..quli bismiLlah. – Say bismiLlah and don’t worry my dear, say bismiLlah. I held her tight, hating that while she was so emotionally distraught, she was being pressured to do something that she clearly wasn’t ready to do.

The bride-to-be’s mother entered the room. After taking a few moments to survey the scene, she asked her daughter to get up and get dressed, her empathy evident in her tone. I stepped away, knowing that a mother has more compassion for her child than I could have for her. I looked on as my friend stood up, put her black ‘abaya over her clothes, and wore her hijab and khimar. She left the room.

I didn’t know what she went to do. My heart was still with her. A little while later, she returned, this time with more composure. I still didn’t understand what it was that made her cry her heart out. Her shyness? I wasn’t sure.

The day after I asked the doctor’s wife why the young lady had cried with as much intensity as she did. She explained that it was normal for most girls given that it’s the first time a strange man sees her. Interesting.

I visited my friend not-too-long afterwards and naturally asked how she was doing. She seemed a lot better, though a little heavy-hearted. She told me that she was distressed that night because she had to meet her father-in-law-to-be, without niqab, and she didn’t want to. She wasn’t married yet, and her father-in-law-to-be had no need to see her face nor shake her hand as he wanted. She said that in her effort to reconcile her heart slightly she shook his hand with the fabric of her khimar between their two hands.

She had every right to feel violated. It is not the right (haq) of a father-in-law-to-be (a non-mahram) to request that of her. She had every right to be upset.


You might be wondering why I’ve related the above story to you. SubhanAllah. I don’t think my narration does justice to the experience, but I hope that insha’Allah I can bring it all together by sharing my reflections with you in my next entry (that’s if I can find my words *ahem*).

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"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]



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"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]