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The Story of Zahwa – Part I

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She reached out to her phone and scrolled down the contact list. She couldn’t go on anymore. Nothing seemed to be left in her life. She had destroyed it herself. She had treaded on a path very well knowing its consequences but her desires overtook every reasoning and understanding. She felt ashamed of herself. The aching in her heart seemed to rip her apart.

“Will Allah (Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala) forgive me?” she asked herself repeatedly.

Zahwa was desperately in need of help. She needed someone to set her mind straight, to ease and comfort her and that someone was Sarah.

Zahwa was desperately in need of help. She needed someone to set her mind straight, to ease and comfort her and that someone was Sarah.It had been so long since she had spoken to her. With trembling hands, Zahwa dialled Sarah’s number not knowing how she would react.

“Assalamualaikum.”

“Walaikumsalaam. Who is this?”

“It’s me, Zahwa……”

Silence.

“Sarah, are you there?”

“Yes, I am here. It has been a long time, Zahwa. How are you?”

“I am fine. Can I meet you? It is urgent.”

“Yes, sure.”

Sarah was a devout Muslimah, practicing her deen as much as possible. Zahwa had never felt comfortable with her because she felt Sarah was too ‘religious’. But, now, at this point of her life, Zahwa did not know what made her approach Sarah.

Sarah stared at her phone. She knew something was not right. Zahwa glanced through the crowds searching for Sarah. She was nervous. She hoped that Sarah would not let her expectations down. Zahwa drifted away into her good times with Sarah. She realized that she was solely responsible for ruining her relation with Sarah because this fleeting dunya seemed more pleasant to her than what Sarah was calling to. Sarah’s world seemed boring and monotonous to her. How Zahwa wished she had paid heed to her!

‘Assalamualaikum Zahwa!’

Zahwa’s train of thought was interrupted by Sarah. Zahwa’s heart melted into bits upon seeing her. She held Sarah and cried incessantly for a long time.

Sarah held her tight.

‘I am sorry. This is not the welcome I had in mind for you.’, Zahwa said through her tears.

‘Seeing you is the best welcome you could give me.’ Sarah said.

Zahwa did not waste time in formalities. Nothing else seemed worth discussing. She plunged into her story immediately.

Sarah fell into a deafening silence. Zahwa couldn’t bear it and got up to leave.

‘Sit!’ Sarah commanded.

Zahwa sat down quietly.

Sarah was torn. Zahwa had slowly but steadily detached herself from Sarah but at this moment, Sarah was angry at herself for allowing Zahwa to get away from her life. Her heart cried listening to Zahwa’s story. She realized that Zahwa was to blame because she allowed herself to ruin her life. Zahwa was not a child who would not understand right from wrong.

‘Zahwa, I will ask you only one question. Answer me with the truth only.’

‘Go ahead Sarah.’

‘Do you blame yourself for the way your life has turned out or do you hold Allah responsible for giving you such a life?’

‘No, I am solely responsible for this. All along, I knew that Allah(Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala) is watching me, I knew that He has forbidden us from these deeds, but I continued sinning. I wanted to get away from all of it, but did not find myself strong enough to do so. The feeling of remorse and shame began to grow slowly, so much so that I have finally broken myself free from it, unconcerned of the consequences.’

Sarah was elated. Zahwa had realized her mistake. This is what she wanted to know.

‘You may or may not like what I am going to say. It rips my heart to see you like this. What you have done is not acceptable in any sense. But the silver lining is that you have realized your mistake. Allah(Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala) has blessed you with this realization and you should be thankful to Him for it. Having said that, you must know that Allah’s mercy is far more than anyone of us can imagine. Repentance has 3 conditions for it to be accepted by Allah(Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala):

  1. Leaving the sin;
  2. Remorse over having committed the sin;
  3. Resolve never to return to the sin;
    (If it relates to the rights of another person, then to return the rights or property one wrongly took.) [ Al-Bariqa fi Sharh al-Tariqa; Riyad al-Salihin] 

Once you realize that you sincerely have fulfilled these 3 conditions, then remember that Allah(Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala) never forsakes the one who turn towards Him. Our Prophet(SAW) has said that Allah(Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala) is more delighted with the repentance of His slave than a person who lost his camel in a desert land and then finds it (unexpectedly). [Bukharee and Muslim] 

Your feeling of regret is a mercy from Him. Allah(Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala) asks us not to despair of His Mercy [Surat Az-Zumar(39):53], but the condition remains: we need to repent. If you truly want to change, turn to Allah(Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala). If you want to lift this cloud of sadness and remorse that has engulfed you, His remembrance is your solution. Turn to Him and you will never be disappointed.’

Zahwa’s eyes sparkled. Something had clicked within her.

To be continued…….

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