Shireen Husain takes us to a wedding hall for a heart-warming experience.
The occasion was the Valima. The function was held in a grand banquet hall of a local five-stars hotel. The “stage” for the Dhulah and Dhulan was decorated with seasonal flowers and the lighting was especially arranged to enhance the photography session soon to take place. The hall itself was beautifully decorated with huge chandeliers and gracefully draped curtains in soothing colours. A soft scent of fresh flowers floated in the air, due to the abundance of fresh floral arrangements on each table. Shining crockery and cutlery laid on crisp, clean tablecloths awaiting the guests.
As the guests began to arrive, the soft background music was overpowered by conversations, people greeting each other, the ladies commenting on each other’s clothes and the children running around. Soon, the bride and the groom arrived, becoming the focus of attention for quite some time. Naturally, the ladies wanted a closer look at the Dhulan, her Jora and jewellery.
My stomach was growling with hunger, as I had skipped lunch, due to a hectic schedule. However, when dinner was served, I found myself deeply engrossed in a conversation with a friend, whom I had not seen for ten years. When I finally did move towards the food, there was the usual “get some before it finishes” rush, which made me wait for my turn. While I was waiting, I happened to see a slender woman, clad in a black Abaya with full Niqab. In the small space between the tables and the wall, she was standing and eating with her face to the wall. She was facing the wall, because she had removed her Niqab, so that she could eat.
The fact that she was obeying her Creator instilled her with a level of faith and dignity that only the believers and close slaves of Allah (swt) recognize and delight in.
Suddenly, all the guests faded into oblivion, and all I could see was the lady in the abaya. Even my hunger seemed to subside. Although I could not see her face, but I was not able to take my eyes off her. Among the 800 guests, she was the only woman in an Abaya. With a slight moistening of my eyes, I felt I could almost see Allah’s (swt) Noor surrounding her, blotting out all other light in the hall. Because for His sake, she had chosen to be a stranger among the people – she had chosen to go against the tide. She had chosen not to conform or yield to the pressure of society.
To me, she represented someone, who truly had the courage to stand up for her convictions. She had made a choice – and that choice was to please her Creator, even though it meant being different from everyone else. It did not seem to bother her in the least that people might hold her in contempt for being different, call her ‘backward’ and Jahil or shun her because of her ‘extremist’ stance. She knew whom and why she wanted to please, and this firmness of faith allowed her to be completely at peace with herself. The fact that she was obeying her Creator instilled her with a level of faith and dignity that only the believers and close slaves of Allah (swt) recognize and delight in. To her, her Hijab was much more than a covering, a piece of cloth – to her, it represented her total obedience to the Creator. Subhan’Allah! Subhan’Allah!