As she lay in sweet, fulfilled contentment, Omoyiza cast her mind back down memory lane. Yumaina was tall, graceful, kind hearted, hardworking and so much more. Their childhood was simply exhilarating. Envisioned, it was like a liquid-clear aquarium filled with golden fish and other kinds of exquisite fish. Adventures? Yes! They had fascinating, astounding, loads of them. Some planned and some unravelled organically: mountain-top spring washes, gathering of fruits and herbs, memorable hilltop picnics with family.
It was colourful, fun filled, all that is sweet – it was quite memorable.
Yumaina was the first of four sisters, with Omoyiza following closely behind, then Nuwaira and Khansa coming respectively after her. As they flowered into teenagers, Yumaina and Omoyiza became inseparable. They were always in each other’s company. Friends referred to them as twin sisters. While Omoyiza was the daring one and fun seeker, Yumaina was calmer and simple. Something else that was second nature to them – and I guess it could be traced back to family roots – was humour.
But of all that they shared the greatest thing was this trait of being true to each other’s face no matter what.
Yumaina was four years ahead in age which was a plus for Omoyiza and the others (Nuwaira and Khansa). She would always beautifully share an experience she preceded them in, so they could benefit from it and understand the intrigues when they eventually got to a similar experience themselves. Life moved by so fast. They had gotten to the end of their university days and suddenly Yumaina was getting married to the ameer of her faculty in school, Hamdan. There couldn’t have been a better match really. He was a practical Muslim in almost everything he did. He was respectful, of excellent manners, devoted and exceptionally good-natured. Yumaina’s family were all taken in by Hamdan’s qualities. Amazingly, their father, a strict, hard-to-please, though devoted, Muslim wasn’t difficult for Hamdan to win over too. In fact, he was proud of Hamdan and even made mention of him every now and then.
Theirs was a family that was blessed with the guidance of Islam. It was always their parents’ joy to have their children flourishing in the deen. Thus, sticking closely to the Sunnah of the beloved Prophet (SAW) was always their maxim.
The beautiful wedding took place. Then came Yumaina’s first child, Mamoon. He was just like his parents; comely in looks and manners. And how wonderful a family theirs was. Mamoon was Omoyiza’s favourite and she never missed an opportunity to be at their home, for it was sweet, warm, welcoming, practically overflowing with Sunnah; just like home.
For some days, Yumaina had not shown up with Mamoon as was a routine on weekends. A quick call revealed the cause; Yumaina was down with a fever. Omoyiza went over to see her and help with the housework which made her stay over for almost a week. The doctor confirmed it was just malaria which should subside within a week. Though subside it did, Yumaina lost her appetite for food and there was a continuity to it that they couldn’t understand.
Hamdan was always concerned, kept fretting over her every move and helped out as much as he could. He would buy any and everything he felt she would care to eat and took Mamoon out whenever he could just so he wouldn’t be a handful at home.
On the fateful day, Yumaina had woken up more radiant than ever. After observing her Subh prayer, she proceeded to finish her daily adhkar and afterwards took a bath. She performed ablution as she was preparing to do her tilawat ul-Qur’an, then while seated to commence recitation she suddenly began to gasp for breath. Omoyiza rushed to her side, confused and frantic.
Then, trying not to panic, she mustered enough strength to encourage her to recite the shahadah after her which Yumaina slowly and silently did and then all was still.
Omoyiza was too overwhelmed to speak. She just held Yumaina to her breast silently crying and rocking her cooling frame. It felt like an eternity, but she was quickly brought back to reality and rushed to call Hamdan to return home urgently.
The mourning period that followed was quite difficult for everyone, but seemed more so for Hamdan. Yumaina was his world. They were greatly grieved by her death. As for Omoyiza, she felt like a feather caught by the wind. She greatly missed Yumaina’s companionship and what she had come to mean to her and the other sisters (Nuwaira, Khansa).
Father called a family meeting with Hamdan in attendance and, after praising Allah (SWT) much for His immeasurable favours, he admonished them all to patiently accept His decree, to be strong for each other, never giving in to their weaknesses. Hamdan had a tough battle with reality, though he struggled to be himself; he was often overcome with bouts of grief. They all felt immense pity for him and felt responsible for him as he had suddenly become an inseparable part of their family unit; a brother, a son.
About two years after Yumaina’s death, Father gently walked into Omoyiza’s room after requesting to see her and she was quite unprepared for what he said next.
In his usual manner, he stressed the importance of piety, reviving and purifying the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW). Then he went on to say how much a part of the Sunnah it was to be each other’s brother’s keeper. Finally, he said how fulfilled and happy the family would all be if Omoyiza could take Yumaina’s place in Hamdan’s home; citing the story of ‘Uthman Ibn ‘Affan (RA) and how he came to be known as ‘He of the two lights – Dhu Nurain’. But it was her choice and consent that was vital, he made her understand. She was free to refuse as she was free to accept. At first she felt blank. Even though the story of ‘Uthman Ibn ‘Affan (RA) was all too familiar, it suddenly sounded new to her.
She thought over it, prayed over it and was suddenly lost.
‘But wait! This is what I had always wanted to do – revive the Sunnah – wasn’t it?’ She asked her inner herself. And after neutralising her mind to submit to Allah’s will; for the revival of the resplendent Sunnah of our beloved Rasool (SAW) and for the love of an earthly sibling, it all began to fall in place harmoniously as though it had always been her idea from the very start!
Now Omoyiza has three kids of her own: Hauwa, Bilal and Raeesa. Mamoon regards her (Omoyiza) as his beloved mother and in the same vein she regards him as close to her heart because they had been close right from the start. And he has a beautiful relationship with the rest of his siblings-cum-cousins. Ten years down the line, she has come to appreciate and thank Allah (SWT) immensely for granting her the sheer will to make the right decision and also for the favours that accompanied this beautiful choice of hers.
And each time they have any little argument, Hamdan flashes a knowing smile – a remembrance of what they have come to represent – a beloved companion of Muhammad (SAW) and a beloved daughter of his; then they would amicably reach a resolution. As for Hamdan, Allah (SWT) has indeed been quite benevolent to him in ways that still amaze him. Wa kafa billahi wakila – and Allah is certainly enough as a Protector.
Aisha Sadiq (Umm Imran) is a sister, wife, mother of two LoVeS and a pretty sweet RoSe. She is an ESL teacher and indulges in diverse life enhancing activities. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.