It was around 11:00 p.m. and she was running on the road in an unknown direction. The streets were covered with fog and there was complete silence, with the exception of her loud cries. She was screaming for help as if burning in scorching heat. People are always afraid of going near the fire but she was experiencing blaze with soaring intensity. Her heart was beating so fast that she felt it will burst out if she ran for another minute. Suddenly a car stopped on the adjacent lane and called her “Sara”. She turned back and recognized that it was Hannah. Out of exhaustion and fear she instantly fell on the ground and lost her consciousness. The last words on her mind were from the Quran:
“(Shaitan) said: Because You have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones.” (Al-Araf 7: 16-17)
Few Days Back . . .
Sara was late for the Islamic Conference and it was raining unexpectedly. “Can’t you wake up early? Is it necessary for you to always get late?” she said to herself and went out of the house. “Oh Allah (swt) help me in reaching safely there!”
While she was thinking her phone rang, “Sara where are you girl?” Nageen inquired.
“I am stuck in rain. Can you please send someone to come and pick me?” she said.
“Yeah sure I am sending Hannah, just wait there alright?” Nageen replied.
“Yep I am waiting.” said Sara.
She was now standing on the road corner under a shade when someone called her from backside,
“Hey Sara, what happened?” said Faraj. “Were you not supposed to be at the convention by now?” he inquired.
“Yeah I am waiting for Hannah.”
“Hmm, alright. But listen I am also going there so why don’t you join me?”
Sara waited for a second and realized that it was raining heavily. She was thinking what to say and just then someone whispered to her, “Sara you are already late and why disturbing Hannah? She will have to leave all her work to come and pick you. Faraj’s offer isn’t really bad. Come on it’s just a 15-fifteen minutes drive.”
“Hmm yeah right!” she thought and sat in Faraj’s car. Then she called Hannah and told her not to come.
Sara and Faraj were volunteers at a non-profit organization which arranges lectures of renowned Islamic scholars in USA. They met first time a month ago at the annual meeting of volunteers. Although there was complete segregation between men and women but in order to resolve some technical issues in the ladies’ hall, Sara had to call Faraj and then they both arranged another room for the girls. There they had very limited conversation regarding work. They next met at a shopping mall and again had some formal exchange of greetings. Now almost two weeks later she was sitting in his car “accidently”.
The convention proved to be very successful and audience immensely appreciated the managing team. When Sara reached home it was around 7:00 p.m. She prayed and then rested. Later in night, she woke up to check the convention response on their Facebook page. As soon as she logged in she saw a friend’s request. She opened the notification and to her surprise it was Faraj. She thought for a while and then someone whispered to her, “Yeah that’s really good that you avoid accepting friend requests from “brothers” but come on its Faraj! Remember he gave you lift today in the morning? It is inappropriate to reject his request. Don’t forget his favour…Yeah?” And she clicked “Accept”!
“And come not near to adultery. Verily, it is a Fahishah (i.e. anything that transgresses its limits (a great sin)) and an evil way (that leads one to Hell unless Allah forgives him).” (Al-Isra 17:32)
Few Days Later…
Sara was doing some of her college assignments late night. Her Facebook account was logged in and suddenly a conversation window popped up. It was Faraj.
“Oh lol Wa alaikum salaam.”
“So how you are doing?”
“I am good and how are you?”
“Yeah fine. Actually very tired just got back from a party :D”
“Ohk so you do party?”
“Lol yeah what’s so shocking about it?”
“Nahh I was just saying….”
Out of the blue, Sara realized that it was a useless conversation. She shut down the window and continued with her work. Faraj also did not say anything. But then after a while the window popped up again.
“Hey sorry I got a call. . . so how about Sunday?”
“Nahh next month’s fifth Sunday :P”
“Lol hmm nothing special . . . why?”
“I am having a party at my place . . . you know I have cleared my exams J”
“Congratulations . . . that’s good news. Which course?”
“Business Management. So are you coming?”
“Hmm I’ll tell you about it…”
“Don’t worry I’ll send you my car :P”
“Haha nah that’s not an issue. Actually that day my father left early and I could not bear the risk of driving in such an intense weather.”
“Yeah I can understand. Alright I gotta go now. Talk to you later and yes be there Sunday 8pm. I’ll text you my address send me your number. Okay bye.”
Sara did not know what trigged her and she just wrote her number in the conversation window.
Next day in the morning, Faraj called her and explained the address. Although she was still undecided whether to go or not, she noted down the address and promised him to be there.
On Sunday evening, she received a text message while sleeping. “Hey I’ll be waiting for you . . . do comeJ”
Someone whispered to her “Oh he is being so nice and look how rude you are. Can’t you attend a simple party in return of his favour? Now don’t come up with a lame excuse that it’s not good. Just don’t drink and dance there. Attend the party for him and come back!”
“Yeah . . . it’s just a party! What’s the big deal?” she talked to herself. “Yes I will come.” she replied.
This became a regular pattern. Sara was amazed as to how in a few days she had come so close to Faraj. Initially she was just trying to return his favour which gradually turned into friendship. She was always attracted to Muslims and tried to make friends in her community only. Therefore she had very few friends, but they were all trustworthy. However, Faraj was slightly different. She knew that he was gaining more importance than just a friend. Sara felt something in her heart “Maybe its love…” someone whispered. She smiled to herself and then went to sleep.
Sara belonged to a family where parents used to communicate all the religious obligations while leaving rest on the experiences of their children. She was brought up with Islamic values while also enjoying the freedom of choice. From day one, she knew that her relationship with Faraj was highly inappropriate in the religious context but she was continuing it, assuming that it was no big thing. On the other end, Faraj was an Asian, pursing professional education in America. His family was by-the-way Muslim and had a huge architecture business in their hometown. Belonging to such a background, money and values were never his problems. He was actually very “different”’ in his routine life and he joined the conventions only on the emphasis of some fellows belonging to his district back home. He was not at all religious and that was pretty evident from his ways and attitude. But at the same time he knew that living alone in USA can be very challenging if he does not have good terms with the Muslim community. Hence he chose to volunteer for the Islamic organization.
Days turned into months and now it was the best time for Faraj to extend his relationship with Sara. By now he had gained her confidence and knew that she was blindly in love with him. When he finally proposed to her, she was overwhelmed with happiness and instantly accepted him as her future husband.
One day Faraj called her in the morning:
“Yes what’s the plan?”
“That’s a surprise! Get ready at 9:00 am sharp. And yeah dress your best; you are going to remember this night forever.”
“And O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in Paradise, and eat thereof as you both wish, but approach not this tree otherwise you both will be of the Zalimun (unjust and wrong-doers).
Then Shaitan (Satan) whispered suggestions to them both in order to uncover that which was hidden from them of their private parts (before); he said: Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save you should become angels or become of the immortals.” (Al-Araf 7:19-20)
Sara listened to the whispers of Shaitan and came nearer to the greatest sin with every coming day she was spending with Faraj. She knew that even coming near to adultery was strictly forbidden by Allah (swt) but Shaitan told her that it was no big deal and that she will end up with a caring and loving husband. Doesn’t she already want that?
Clock hits 9:00 p.m. and Faraj was standing outside her home. She came out telling her mom that she is going with a friend of Hannah to attend a party.
They drove over to Salman’s house, who was Faraj’s best friend. In the midst of dance and music, Salman came and informed Sara that Faraj isn’t feeling well.
“He is having a severe headache; please just go and check him.” Sara got quite alarmed. She immediately went upstairs into Salman’s room where Faraj was standing near the window. One can only imagine what might have happened next… It’s only important to know that Sara managed to run out in the nick of time.
Hannah saw her running on the road. She called her name but Sara fell on the ground unconscious. Hannah took her to the hospital where doctors examined her and concluded that she has just experienced a great shock. Hannah felt relaxed to know that she will be fine by the next morning. She dropped Sara at her home.
“And We send down from the Quran that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism and act on it) and it increases the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers) nothing but loss. And when We bestow Our Grace on man (the disbeliever), he turns away and becomes arrogant, far away from the Right Path. And when evil touches him he is in great despair.” (Al-Isra 17:82-83)
Next day when Hannah went to see Sara, she came to know the entire story. Sara told her how she met Faraj and how slowly and gradually she started loving him. Hannah was stunned to find out that so much was happening in her friend’s life and she knew nothing. After listening to Sara, she tried to console her and said: “Do you know why Allah (swt) has asked us to not even go near these relationships? Why has he forbidden unnecessary conversations between men and women? Simply because they hurt a lot and leave an everlasting scar on our lives. It seems something very attractive and begins with innocence, giggles and loving emotions but ends on heart breaks and severe sins. Allah (swt) wants to save us from the extreme humiliation that human beings suffer as a result of shamelessness. Salat and Hijab aren’t enough to protect ourselves from Fitnah these days. We actually need to take extra precautions to avoid falling prey to the Shaitan. So now repent from the depth of your heart and believe that Allah (swt) is Ar-Rahman. He will surely forgive you”.
“They said: Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.” (Al-Araf 7:23)