She stared at the screen trying to make out what the teacher was saying in class. Eyes stinging with sleep, she kept dragging the recording bar back to listen to it over and over again, in the hope that things might start making some sense eventually. After a few minutes, a sharp pain in the leg brought her back to the reality of her dark room, and the awkward position that she was sitting in.
Every night when the world goes into a deep slumber, this is what she does. Cramped in between a wall and the bed, she is ready to roll underneath the sheets any time the door opens. She hasn’t told anyone that she has been taking some classes online, fearing family’s opposition. She doesn’t have books yet she is thankful that she has a device, an internet connection and a pair of headphones. She cannot make notes in the dark, but she is grateful to hear her Ustadha’s beautiful voice – a voice that touches the strings of her heart.
As she entered the conference room, laughter suddenly subsided indicating that her presence wasn’t welcomed there. No sooner had she taken a seat that the conversation took a sharp turn to Islam.
“As always”, she thought.
It was just an everyday thing now: her colleagues would condemn certain actions of certain ‘extremists’, mostly a product of their own imagination rather than reality. And some of them would smirk in her direction every time the word ‘extremist’ would come up. All this because they did not approve of a piece of cloth on her face.
Little did they know that that every time they called her an extremist, directly or indirectly, she would hide a smile underneath her niqaab, for that word reminded her of only one thing:
‘And those who believe are extreme in their Love for Allah swt.’ (2:165)
“Ya Allah! I took this niqaab out of love for You. Now the world has started calling me extreme.
Ya Allah! I beg You to make me more extreme in Your Love.”
It was a wedding day, but the bride was still glued to the laptop, absorbed in her evening classes. Her wedding ceremony was due in 2 hours but she was logged on to her WizIQ account, unwilling to miss even a minute of the lesson. Some of her classmates, who lived in the same city and were also invited to the ceremony, kept scrolling the participants list in the WizIQ classroom and wondered why the bride was still online.
Finally, when her mother’s patience ran out, she typed in seeking permission to leave to attend her own wedding. She left with an apology, leaving the teacher and her classmates awe-struck.
It was 12 am and she was worried about how she was going to wake up at 3 AM to take her live class. It was winter season in US and most of her classmates and teachers were in Pakistan. The class timings did not suit her at all.
Yes, she had the option of going permanently on recordings, especially since her baby was due in a month and the doctor had told her not to sit for long hours. But her heart did not want to lose the Barakah of live class. Nor was she ready to bring herself one notch down in adab and take classes while lying down.
So she fought the winters and the pain. When she could no longer bear the pain, she wrote in the chatbox on WizIQ:
‘Aapa, can I take class while walking?’
She is in her forties (or perhaps much older) and waiting at the hospital with a drip in her hand. While the hospital staff is preparing her for her operation, she is preparing herself for her skype session. Muttering girdaans and Arabic tables under the breath, she is oblivious to what the hospital staff might be thinking of her.
She finally gets her turn with the course TA, and due to the commotion happening around, makes a small mistake in her recitation. The TA corrects her slightly, to which she says, ‘Beta, actually right now I’m in a hospital. Soon I am going to have an operation, therefore I got a little distracted and made the mistake…’
These are not some stories off the internet or some novel. These are real stories. Moreover, they are your stories…They are our stories. Each person above is currently a part of Zaynab Academy Online.
I know you all have your own story; that one incident (or perhaps many) when Allah swt gave you the strength to take a strong step towards Him, to obey Him and defeat Shaytan, Nafs and worldly desires; that one incident when you were willing to push yourself further, and harder, to exert more for the sake of pleasing Allah swt.
I want you think about that incident. Cling to it. Replicate it every time you fall. Now is not the time to give up. Now is the time to pick yourself up and walk – even if shattered, broken and stumbling – howsoever, just walk towards Allah swt and dive deep in His Mercy.
Binte Masood, Karachi, UCIL Year 04