(This story is one of the entries received as part of the story writing competition 2014)
“Mariaaam,” bellowed my mother-in-law from the lounge. Wiping off my tears, I folded the prayer mat, preparing myself for another exhausting session of criticism, wondering about my recent mistakes and asking Allah’s (swt) help, as I left for another spiteful session.
Past two years were no less than a dreadful nightmare for me. Back in Karachi, I belonged to a well known family and had completed my studies at a reputable university. I would never have imagined the acute misery and anguish that was coming my way.
In the elite society, to which I belonged, I was known for my elegance, intelligence and sense of style. There were many high class proposals awaiting my approval, but I chose my former college fellow Sufiyan.
My post marital life was going quite smoothly, until the day, when I received the news from Sufiyan’s office that he was stuck with a paralysis attack; I felt my whole world falling apart. None of the expensive medications and supremely qualified doctors would offer a cure for this disease.
My in-laws forced us both to live with them, which became the beginning of my torment.
Entire responsibility of Sufiyan’s personal care was now lying on my shoulders. He was in a state, where he could perceive all that went on around him, but could not speak. All his limbs became immobile. I could not bear my once dominating husband being utterly indigent. It was breaking me apart from within.
This strain was further accompanied by vicious treatment from my in-laws. My mother and sisters in-law burdened me with the responsibilities of house-cleaning and cooking. I sometimes speculated over the sudden transformation of my lifestyle: from a woman, who never stepped a foot into the kitchen, I had turned into a nurse and maid, also, being accused callously for her shortcomings.
My circumstances denied me from escaping this locality, as I could not return to my parents for Sufiyan’s sake. The walls of darkness were closing in on me, until one day in the hospital’s waiting area I heard a beautiful recitation and translation of the Quran being played on the television: “Is not He Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generation after generation. Is there any god with Allah? Little is that you remember.” (An-Naml 27:62)
These verses immediately grasped my attention and I reflected upon my current state. Speculation upon my destitution and contrasting that with the motivated effect of this verse brought tears into my eyes. I had never been close to the basic requirements of Islam, let alone ever become a staunch Muslimah. I had spent my entire life according to my own will and sternly followed the norms of the society.
However, after hearing this, feelings of repentance suffocated my heart for days. The love and mercy my Allah (swt) had always had for me never meant anything to me – I kept steadfast on my distorted way of life. I knew that it was me, who was responsible for all this mess, and then I prayed to Him to let me out of this. I started offering five daily prayers, which was a rare routine for me before. I began exploring the Quranic messages, and I firmly believed then that only Allah (swt) could grab me out of this situation. The verses like below kept me hopeful.
“And (remember) Ayub (Job), when he cried to his Lord: Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy. So We answered his call, and We removed the distress that was on him, and We restored his family to him (that he had lost), and the like thereof along with them, as a mercy from Ourselves and a Reminder for all who worship Us.” (Al-Anbiya 21:83-84)
Although all potential solutions offered by the doctors showed no progress, I prayed with conviction in Allah’s (swt) power that He could seize me out of this ordeal. The words of the Quran changed me from within. I promised my Lord I will only keep moving forward in His path and my faith won’t waiver. I was optimistic and kept on calling for His assistance. I knew He was listening to me, and sooner or later His “Amr-e-Kunn” would arrive.
My life was based upon tending to my husband, his family and seeking for Allah’s (swt) help. I conversed with my Lord in loneliness and complained to Him about my exhaustion. I knew He was close to my jugular vein and He was listening to my whispers.
A ray of hope arose when one day I received a call from Sufiyan’s doctor – they were conducting a series of trial experiments and were willing to include him in the experiment. The doctors assured me that there was an 80% chance for this drug to work well.
After a thorough discussion with his family and with the doctors, it was decided that he will participate in this trial. I prayed to Allah (swt) that everything goes right. I called on Him in my sleepless nights. The trial lasted for about two months. My mind went crazy with distress during this period and I begged to my Allah (swt) for His help every second.
During these two years, my husbad’s limbs slowly began to move, and he progressed to a stage, where he could walk himself to bed. I believed that Dua could do miracles, and I was not wrong.
Allah (swt) helped me and my husband, and the day came, when he could speak and walk around with no difficulty. All his limbs started working as they used to. I used to thank my Lord with each step of progress Sufiyan made. But I could not thank Him enough.
He showed me the purpose of my life, and I developed complete faith in His supremacy. He is our Sustainer and He ought to be given His designated value in our lives. I understood His working and I vowed to be a parable of His favourite slaves. I know He is always listening to our calls, and He has a right time for everything.