BEYOND THE FAIRY TALES
It was a very cold afternoon. I was getting dressed to go to school after waiting endlessly for the arrival of our yearbooks when I heard a knock at my door. It was Brother AbdulLateef, my close friend and brother. I swiftly put on my khimar and rushed to answer him. He looked kind of worried as he held a long jotter, the pages of which were separated by his index finger. After exchanging pleasantries, He opened the demarcated page of the jotter which seemed to contain a short essay and asked me to read it privately in my room while he waited patiently outside for my feedback. As my eyes flipped through the words, I needed no soothsayer to tell me that it was a marriage proposal from a sister. I immediately decided not to ask him why he wore that look of anxiety because I already had the answers. After asking him a few questions about the sister in question, I discovered that He also had affection for her but didn’t know how to go about things, considering the fact that she proposed first. I felt like having this long discussion with him, but I had to hurry off to school. My major concern was not in his acceptance of this proposal but in establishing a successful relationship where he will be in perfect control even though the proposal was not from him. I then promised to send him an e – mail
I fulfilled this promise on 11th July when I forwarded the message below to him
First and foremost, let me confess something to you. I guess I’ve told you about Ibrahim and why we’re not getting married. He is the reason I’m still single and searching. You know what I mean. We were so close. Don’t mind my use of the word “were”. It simply means we’re still close but not like before. He is always very well groomed and styled to perfection. Godly, smart, funny, kind and his ways, gentle. He treated me like a queen. He would never allow me carry anything slightly heavy while we walked together. He would never allow me open the car door myself. He would never allow a long unresolved argument. He would never visit me empty – handed. All the times we hanged out, my hands were always filled with all sorts of sweets and chocolates. He would never allow me walk all by myself at night and he never left me alone in my difficult times. Most of all, I think he so much likes me – my pleasure comes first. He made me feel mature when I needed to and made me feel like a baby when I needed to.
Yes, Ibrahim. He’s my dream sweetheart. I look back on those days and think if only……., he would have made the perfect match for a fabulous Muslim sister. The question remains “What is it about Ibrahim that was so appealing?” Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a checklist and I’m not saying he’s the model husband. I’m just being careful about my future and I’m so positive it’s not just me (though I wish that was the case), it applies to his sisters and female family friends too. So, assuming you were in the shoes of a prospective suitor, what would you do in the following situations. Your answers to these questions will determine my comment about you.
- You notice that your potential spouse is too demanding and she can’t get her eyes off her favourite things. She wants to buy every lovely shoe and bag she sets her eyes on and you are beginning to get threatened by this attitude. What do you do?
- Your potential spouse is too short tempered. She screams at you at the slightest provocation and doesn’t calm down in time. What do you do?
- Your potential spouse gets angry the same time as you and you just can’t figure out who is wrong. She doesn’t make up with you in time. What do you do?
- Your potential spouse seems to succeed at a thing better than you and subsequently has more of everything than you do. In spite of this, she still expects you to buy, buy and buy her things as her maintainer. What do you do?
- Your potential spouse has many admirers and you feel insecure from time to time. What do you do?
- You want to win the heart of her family and friends? How do you go about it?
- Your potential spouse loves you more than you love her. You don’t ever want to take her for granted because of this. How do you go about this?
- You don’t want a boring relationship in your marriage. Your busy schedule is causing you to miss out on all the fun. How do you strike a balance?
- You pay your potential spouse a visit and meet her in the kitchen. It’s a big disaster in there as you discover she can hardly light a stove, yet alone prepare a good meal. What do you do?
- You pay an impromptu visit to your prospective spouse’s house. Her room is untidy and so unfeminine. What do you do?
- Your potential spouse misplaces almost every valuable thing she has and most of what you give her as gifts. Will you stop giving her valuable things? If not, what will you do?
- You go shopping with your potential spouse and you end up with a lot of heavy shopping bags. How do you share the burden?
- Your prospective spouse stays out late with you under an odd circumstance and she has to get home to her parents soonest. What will you do?
- Your Prospective spouse complains about quite a number of things about you on a regular basis. You are getting pissed off at this. What do you do?
I am asking you these questions to know how big you are planning to build a castle for you potential spouse. One thing is sure; You want to be in control even though she made the first move. You want your spouse to be an angel; you should build her a paradise. You want her to be a queen, then you build her a castle; one that will be more magnificent in Jannah. How do you go about it. I don’t want just answers. I want sincere answers. Search your mind thoroughly. I’ll be expecting your reply.
I expected him to forward his reply sooner than he did but at the most unexpected time, at about 7: 43 pm on 15th July; I got a mail from him. This was what he had to say:
Honestly, I am yet to fathom why it took me this long to reply. Maybe it’s due to the heaviness of the sigh I had after reading it all. Maybe it’s the surprise of how little I would like to say I imagined or maybe it is the feeling of wanting it all, not being able answer most questions or perhaps because you practically made it hard by saying my answers must be genuine … the truth is I don’t know.
I told myself I would only reply when my mind had travelled far from the mail you sent; when I would be able to reply spontaneously, give answers that are not pre-meditated and provide something that could be close to the real me. And now that I have been able to get that time, I search for the impulse but the truth is that I am still without answers.
Could it be that your questions are difficult? Could it be that I don’t understand or that I have not gotten the clear message?
No! It’s just the demand that it secretly carries along with it, the knack to be myself and the zeal to answer them not for the sake of answering and….
Hmnnn… this is what I think…
Many times I see two people who love each other, in all fairness, they truly do but then I still continue to ask “does loving someone make the person one’s match?” Having the case of my parents in mind…
What do they truly want?
What is their love based on? Materiality? Personality? Or something the lovers don’t even know?
How much sacrifice are they ready to offer?
How much happiness do they want together, how much of it do they want to leave for their fantasy?
I know I am supposed to be answering…my questions are sort of my answers.
I think I’m experiencing this heavy pour of emotion called love, I believe in it with all my heart, I dream of it and continually pray I experience it just the way I dream of it but then Wardah!
Love is beyond one person trying to make it work,
One person trying to be on top notwithstanding who made the first move,
One person wanting it all,
One person always ready to play the dumb,
One person searching for the perfect one,
One person trying to make false true,
One person’s fairytale reality
or one person getting worked up.
The supposed guy portrayed in the questions is not what I want to be. I know I can’t be the Mr. Fix-it-all.
I believe love is meant to complement the good in you, and not to burn you all up, I hate when I keep on struggling to make it work, and finally I believe when people are meant for each other there would always be a defined path for them to drive past and make things work together with ease. It’s not to say that I hope to ease past love affairs but then with the right one my way, we just get it, may be one step at a time, I don’t know, but with or without a laid down formula, we would make it work and the language to achieve that is “we can do it together, if we want”.
I really appreciate your show of concern but I want you to trust me. I’m not going to mess things up InshaAllah.
Your Dear Brother, AbdulLateef.
As my eyes travelled down the stream of his letters and words again and again, a strong realization dawned on me, waking me up from my long snore. My idea of a perfect husband is truly the fairytale I have always wanted to bring into reality. His words were true. Love is beyond all these. It’s not just about one person wanting it all. It’s about two people coming together to make sacrifices in order to live in tranquility and harmony. This was the case with Khadijah (RA) and majority of the wives of the companions of the Prophet (SAW). Now I know that no matter how hard it may seem, making it work remains the ultimate option for the sake of Allah. There is no Mr. Fix – it – all anywhere and Ibrahim is not an exception to this rule. If only we all knew this, maybe there would be no ridiculous checklists anywhere and everyone will concentrate on just one thing, “MAKING IT WORK”. This is all that matters because Love is far beyond the fairy tales.
Wardah Abbas is a graduate of law from the University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria. She is a great lover of Islam, a passionate Muslimah and writer who believes in intellectualism as a prerequisite to change. You can read more of her writings on therosespen.wordpress.com
8th Ramadan 1434/17th July 2013