“The believers, men and women, are awliya (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another, they enjoin (on the people) al-ma’ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbid (people) from al-munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds and all that Islam has forbidden); they perform as-salah (iqamat as-salah) and give the zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have His Mercy on them. Surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise. (At-Tawbah 71)
“How true these words are!” I thought as I looked at the creation of Allah (SWT) bathed in the early morning rays of the sun. Subhan Allah! I took a deep breath filling my lungs with the pure, blessed morning air before I closed the door behind me.
My husband and I had just returned from the mosque after offering Fajr salah.
It has become a routine with us now. We never miss it. These are also the last moments of peace before our five children wake up and the day begins. Each day I thank Allah for this supreme blessing and for blessing me with a friend like Zenia. The journey here would have been very tough without her.
Zenia and I became friends at the queue for airport security as we were both boarding a flight to San Antonio in USA. Hearts beating fast, brimming with excitement, anxiety, hope and dreams we saw each other and smiled as we recognised the familiar Muslim dress in an ocean of strangers. Quickly, we were drawn towards each other and were amazed to realise that not only were we headed for the same place but also our husbands were from the same university and we had both just got married. The long flight flew by and our first steps towards our new husbands were a little more confident, as we knew somehow we had each other. Time whirled past us as we had kids and then we settled in the regular routine of play dates and picnics and dinner parties.
And then tragedy struck.
My husband lost his job. We were forced to relocate to New Jersey and my husband opened a gas station with his brother in order to support us.
The business didn’t make a lot of money at first and they decided to open a pizzeria along with it. As that also didn’t pick up any business initially, my husband and his brother decided to start selling pork pepperoni pizzas and beer to draw in more crowds. And it worked.
Each day I fought and lost a battle with my conscience as I used his earnings since I knew that the money was not halal. We were selling what was forbidden! All my pleas and arguments were falling on deaf ears. My husband, pressured by the need of money to feed us here in the States and his parents in our home country, didn’t want to listen to me.
I started despairing and losing hope.
And then one day I got a call from Zenia. My heart filled with happiness at her voice. It had been quite some time since we had last talked.
“How are you, Sarah?”she asked me softly.
“I am ok, Zenia,” I replied as tears silently slid down my face.
“No, you are not,” she insisted. “Tell me what’s wrong,” she demanded.
“Really Zenia! Why would you say such a thing?” I replied with forced gaiety, wiping away my tears.
“Well, because I know you and I can feel the pain in your voice and, most importantly, because I am your friend.”
And then I told her everything.
After I finished there was a silence on the phone. My heart started beating fast, fearful that she might condemn me and leave me like some of my other friends had when they found out about what we were selling in our shop.
I prayed to Allah, “Not her… please Allah… not her too!!”
Tentatively I asked, “are you there”?
She said “Of course. Where else I would be, sweetheart?”
A surge of pure relief swept through me and a smile crept across my face for the first time in many days.
“So, what are you thinking?” I asked her as I wiped my sweaty hands on my dress.
“I am making du’a to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and thinking about a solution before I tell you, so keep quiet for a minute,” she replied seriously.
I smiled. She had always been like that. That’s why I had liked her so much. Grounded and rooted deep in the love of Allah and having complete, absolute faith in Him.
She said.” Ok here goes. Do as I say, ok? Pray Tahajjud every night. Don’t miss it and make du’a to Allah. Weep, beg, cry, wet your dupatta and ask Him. He will answer. This is a test, pass it with sabr and don’t fight with your husband. I am sure he also doesn’t really want to do it. Insha Allah, everything will work out.”
I did as she advised. I had already been praying my Tahajjud salah but the way she said it made me pray it with increased faith and I indeed did cry and weep and wet my dupatta every night.
And then the miracle happened.
One day, as I was passing by a strip mall, I saw a sign on the window of a shop. It was for sale. I told my husband about it that night after dinner, but he didn’t pay any attention to it. I returned to my prayer mat with a renewed vigour. A few days later, as we both passed the same place again, I saw the sign and told my husband again and alhamdulillah he agreed to have a look.
With the grace of Allah (SWT) he bought the shop. Closed the pizzeria and opened a fix-it-all electronics shop and Allah blessed us with success.
The shop started doing really good business. I was very content as finally halal income was coming into our house. It brought barakah (blessings) and peace to our family.
Alhamdulillah, Allah (SWT) drew us closer to Him as there was a mosque right behind the new shop and, slowly, the call of Allah (SWT) drew my husband towards the mosque and he started going to pray. In fact he became so regular that he started closing his shop upon hearing the adhan and going to pray. Allah (SWT) blessed us more in terms of dunya (world) and drew us closer to Him.
Each day as I thank Allah (SWT) for His numerous blessings, I thank Him from the depth of my heart for a friend like Zenia who encouraged me and made it a little easier for me to pass my test.
Subhan Allah! May Allah (SWT) give us all the opportunity to be true believers and awliya (close protecting friends) to each other. Ameen.
This is a true story. Names and facts have been changed to protect the identity of the subjects.
Sana Gul Waseem is a mother of two, currently studying tafsir, tajwid and translation of the Holy Quran at Al Huda International Taleem ul Quran Online Course.