THE SNAIL-LOVER {Episode Nine}

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As-salaamu’alykum warahmatullah wabarakaatuhu LOVERS. It’s been a while really and thank you for hanging in there. Jazaakumullah khairan. Also remember, the E-copy of MY HOME! MY CAREER!!! is out and still available for sale – here’s one of the ways you can show us your support. Either shop for it in here or send me a message via e-mail for your copy. May Allah increase us in steadfastness!

The Race Is To The Swift

On the same day, it was quarter to 9 in the evening, Sulaiman had just returned from the masjid. He couldn’t find the nightfall solace in his felt-heating bedroom which kept him tossing and turning in the bed, so he decided to visit the veranda to enjoy some moments with the God-made cool breezes since there was no electricity supply to power his electric fan. He couldn’t just sit alone so he brought along his usual love book with his seat and he sat, trying to immerse himself in some lessons. The first leave he turned had one of the sayings of Imam Ibn Hazm colourfully emboldened: Of Love – may God exalt you! – the first part is jesting, and the last part is right earnestness. So majestic are its diverse aspects, they are too subtle to be described; their reality can only be apprehended by personal experience. Love is neither disapproved by Religion, nor prohibited by the Law; for every heart is in God’s hands.
Amazement coloured his face as he read the last word of the sentences.
He soliloquized, “diverse aspects… too subtle to be described… reality can only be apprehended by personal experience… Why is love described as a kind of disease? Like you don’t know how I feel until you’re actually feeling what I’m feeling. Also, if every heart is in God’s hands, why do some people’s hearts incline at the wrong person?”
Opening more pages, his glimpse caught another of his quotes: Of Love-may God exalt you! – is in truth a baffling ailment, and its remedy is in strict accord with the degree to which it is treated; it is a delightful malady, a most desirable sickness. Whoever is free of it likes not to be immune, and whoever is struck down by it yearns not to recover. Love represents as glamorous that which a man formerly disdained, and renders easy for him that which he hitherto found hard; so that it even transforms established temperaments and inborn dispositions.
He burst into a peal of soft laughter and said to himself, “I said it! Love is an illness. It even makes one changes his natural disposition. Like saying the one in love could find him or herself in absolute transformation… but I think the obsession and whatever changes it brings should be reasonable and shouldn’t cause any kind of preposterous reasoning. Oh Maa’sha’Allah! Would I also feel this way if I’m really in love?”
Voluntarily, his neck turned and stared at the girls’ apartment, it was silent. He wondered if they’ve slept or still haven’t returned. He switched off his flashlight, the night looked brighter than usual which made him gazed up at the sky, he saw the moon was almost reaching its full shape. The yaomul bid (white days) were nigh, he tapped on his phone to check the date on the hijra calendar, it was on the 12th of Rajab. The Prophet, salallaahu alaehi wasalam, was reported to have said that fasting three days of each month is fasting a lifetime and the white days are 13th, 14th, 15th. Then he intended to fast on the days. Fasting had been an easier ibaadah for him and that which he wasn’t tired of doing regularly as the Best of Mankind said ‘…do (good) deeds which are within your capacity (without being overtaxed) as Allah does not get tired (of giving rewards) but (surely) you will get tired and the best deed (an act of Worship) in the sight of Allah is that which is done regularly.’
His gaze moved around the inactive compound while he started feeling the coolness of the breezes blowing to be beyond what his body could take, his teeth started to chatter. He saw only a boy, smoking at a corner of his apartment’s veranda. Loneliness suddenly arose in him and he wondered where his friend could be at the moment. Would he be in his house? Or would he had accepted the girl’s invitation once again? Why is it so difficult for some people to keep away from threading the path of sin?
He was about to return into his room when he saw Mar’yam coming from her apartment towards him. He almost shrank in fear as he thought of her boyfriend seeing her with him again. From what he had recently heard, her boyfriend Kaka was a very jealous and hot-tempered man who tend to chastise her for any fault or mistake she made and more severely if any stench of infidelity was perceived. Even though dating is prohibited in Islam, he wondered if what existed between them still could be called Love, because, to him, it was an unreasonable relationship. How could a girl glue herself to a man who made abusing her his hobby? And above all madness – a boyfriend, not a husband!…
Seeing him preparing to enter his dwelling as he had picked up his seat, Mar’yam increased her pace and wore a smiling face, just to assure him that she had come for peace.
“As-salaamu’alykum Alfa.”
He waited and replied, “Wahlykum salam warahmatullah wabarakaatuhu.”
Now she had approached him, she rested her arms on the rail and grinned.
“Alfa, I’m sorry for disturbing you at this hour. I’ve been sitting at that corner, watching you and contemplating on if I should come up or not…”
Subhanallah! She must have seen him talking to himself or even probably heard him – the thought alone daunted him and he became disconcerted, dropping all his shoulder pads.
She continued in a pleading tone, “I just need to ask a question I’ve always wanted to ask someone knowledgeable… Please.”
He glanced around the compound once again and over her shoulder, at her apartment, wondering how his sight had missed her despite the brightness of the night. Then he resolved to assume she couldn’t have vividly seen his actions just as he also couldn’t catch the sight of her. He loosened up and replied to her to ask the question.
“I’m a Muslim. I think you’ve known that already…” She masked her face with a smile, “I always have this doubt of completion or maybe perfection whenever I try to perform janabah after my monthly period so, most time I wouldn’t even bother to perform it. And as a Muslim, I do feel guilty sometimes for not performing solats. I recently heard a sermon that solats would be our first deed to be checked in the hereafter. I just need more enlightenment on the jannabah bath.”
Again, he glanced at her apartment and Mar’yam seemed to understand his fear. She said, “don’t worry, Kaka isn’t home and even if he is, he won’t eat you. You should know you’re his favourite in this palace, he was given your name Sulaiman by his grandfather even though he isn’t really a Muslim.”
At her last comment, he raised an inquisitive gaze but fought off the temptation of asking questions. Only if she knew how he had threatened him last time, she wouldn’t have thought Kaka wouldn’t devour him alive, especially if he knew he was giving her a piece of religious advice. Suleiman wasn’t really a coward, he only did try his best to stay out of trouble because, in him, all he wanted people to see was a perfect Islam, albeit he had no stature for it.
After a moment of mind conflicts, he decided to reply.
“I’ll first like to correct your terminology of the spiritual baths which you’ve generally given jannabah. The spiritual bath itself is called ghusl while the monthly period bath you’re enquiring about is named ghusl haedoh. The term ghusl jannabah you used is for… for…” He skipped, thinking of a nonobscene word to use, “for the after-copulation bath and the likes. We also have the postnatal bath known as ghusl nifas, ghusl mayyit is the one for the dead and also among others are ghusl massi al-mayyit, ghusl jumuah and ghusl Eid. All these are bathed in similar ways but they differ in intention. There are two ways of performing ghusl, the first one is to make the intention and say ‘bismillah’, then wash every part of the body neatly in any way one deems fit including the mouth and the nose and the second which is the complete way is to perform it as reported that the Nabiyy, Salallahu alaehi wasallaam, performed his. That’s to make the intention, wash the hands thoroughly then the private part. Say ‘bismillah’ and perform ablution but suspend washing the legs till later if willed. When it gets to washing the hair, ensure water reaches the root of the hair by massaging the water into the hair with your hands especially during haedoh and nifaas bath and loosening your hair before having this two baths is preferable according to some scholars. But in Jannah bath, you don’t need to lose your hair, for three handfuls of water is enough. So after washing the hair, you pour water on your right side and wash thoroughly, on your left side and wash thoroughly too, removing every traces of dirt and impurities in every corner. Scholars also said the right and the left sides can be segmented into two each, from the waist upward and from the waist downward. Then one can move away from the very spot she has been bathing and washes her legs, right before left. Afterwards, the kalimatu as-sha’adah said after ablution is said. And the ablution is valid for solat provided one could avoid touching her private part during the bathing.”
She let out a breath, “Wooh! Really, I’m totally naive! Thanks very much for taking the time to explain this, I can’t believe I’ve been doing it wrong. Please, I need a favour. Can you write this procedure down for me including the intention and whatever Arabic to be said but In a transliterated form? I’m not good at Arabic, you know?” She giggled, “I quit Arabic classes when I was six. The flogging was too much. I had to cry to my mum so she wouldn’t force me to return there.”
“There is no intention to be said. The intention is only formed by your mind whenever you intend to have any particular bath. Like having it in mind that you want to have haedoh bath before you eventually bath. All those intentions written in some books are just formulated, they aren’t from the basis and anything innovated in our deen should greatly be avoided. In’sha’Allah, I will write it for you.”
She nodded her head continuously, “Thanks very much… Can I shake you… Just to show my gratitude and happiness? Since I can’t hug you because you’re Alfa.”
She extended her hand over the rail. Sulaiman looked at her and smile, shook his head.
“I do not shake women. You’re welcome.”
She rolled her eyes, “seriously Alfa! Just assume I’m your little sister. I know you’ll be older than me.”
“I don’t have a little sister and I can’t assume you to be because you aren’t. I don’t touch women who aren’t closely bloodily related to me. The Prophet, salallahu alaehi wasalam, said it’s better to hold hot charcoal or get a nail driven on one’s forehead than touch a non-related woman. It’s haram in Islam.”
“Wow! That’s a good thing to know. But I’m very sure if I’m one of those hajias,” she pointed at the girls’ apartment and sneered, “you’ll accept my handshake at least.”
“No, I won’t. It’s prohibited.”
“You will! I know you have your eyes on one of them.” She grinned and winked.
Subhanallah! How had she got to know that? He became embarrassed and looked around to see if no one had heard what she just said. She had talked loud enough and the night echoed.
“Don’t be ashamed Alfa. The weather is cold, we’re the only ones outside except that weed smoker and he’s too occupied to mind us… You know, I just happened to watch you relating with them a couple of times and the look on your face does say it all! It’s usually written all over you.” She giggled.
“You must have been mistaken… They’re only my neighbours and they won’t even offer me their hands to shake because they also understand its prohibition. I was only being nice to my neighbours. It’s one of my duty to them.”
“Yes, you are! But I know you want more of them than being…”
Ambivalence arose in him suddenly as he saw the two girls entering the gate – he wanted to either sprint inside or chase Mar’yam away to avoid them seeing him with her again but he could do none so he stood so confused, and couldn’t listen to any more of her word. The girls walked hand in hand, one giving the other walking support. Perceiving the situation, Mar’yam also stopped talking and they both watched them with curiosity as they passed. What could have happened? – they both wanted to ask but all they could do was to respond to their tasleem.
Finally, Suleiman was saved by the entrance of Toohir and Mar’yam excused herself after giving him a teasing smile.
“I can see you’re having fun. Did I interrupt something?” Asked Toohir as he approached his bewildered friend.
“I think you just saved me from shayton but that won’t stop you from receiving your query. Where are you coming from and where are you going to?”
“To sleep with my friend of course. Common man! I didn’t do what you’re thinking I did. I managed to escape the temptation and almost fell into another one. So you should congratulate me. Although had I had a fine apartment as yours, it wouldn’t have been easy… I’m famished please, where’s my eba?”
“Hope you were able to pray?”
Here came the question he wanted to avoid at all cost and wittily, he found a good topic and derailed.
“Bàbá mi (My man), you can’t believe what I just saw!” Then he lowered his voice, “one 2019 Toyota Venza came to drop these your girls and one seems sick. What do you think happened?”
Sulaiman tried to think about it and replied, “stop having a random thought. They might be helped by the person, seeing their condition.”
“Oh! That’s really possible but what happened to them?”
“I don’t know. I think the only way to know is to ask.”
Toohir gave him a silly smile and they both proceeded to their entrance – Toohir trailing behind him. It took a few minutes before the door was opened by Mutmainah. Only confronted by Sulaiman who hadn’t realized his friend had stayed away from him leaving him only to deal with it while he sat on the rail and brought out his smartphone, Mutmainah greeted them with tasleem and waved at Toohir. Dawned on him that he had to face her alone, he felt betrayed. An awkward moment of silence followed after answering her tasleem as he knew not what else to say. Then Mutmainah aided him by starting the conversation.
“I think you’re here to ask after us.”
“Yeah…yes! I want to fulfil my right…please… What happened?”
“Maymunah just had a peptic ulcer attack and now it’s accompanied by her monthly pain. We’ve gone to the hospital. She just needs to rest.”
“I pray Allah grant her shifa. Hope she’ll be fine?”
“Of course. She will!”
Another wave of silence set in and Mutmainah broke it again.
“Saw you busy with that girl. I even thought you didn’t really see us.” She shrugged and smiled.
“No…no… I saw you… Even right when you were entering the gate. And I wasn’t busy with her. She just came to ask me a question and I just answered her… She’s a Muslim. She just came to ask about something… Something about ghusl…” He picked every word that came to his mind, just to explicitly clarify himself from any misconception.
The girl smiled, “I don’t need the explanation brother. I just think she could be your friend.”
“No, she isn’t. I just knew her here… And about the other day when sister Maymunah said something…”
“That you should lower your gaze.” She intercepted and laughed, “you didn’t really take that serious, did you? Maymunah is just someone that wouldn’t mind her business whenever she sees any man gawking at any girl. She even always says she does feel like pulling their eyes out of their sockets with a knife.”
He blushed, “I wasn’t looking at her. I was just curious about what happened to her…”
“I know you aren’t that kind of person and she knows that too. So don’t take it serious brother.”
He smiled and felt tranquil. “Thanks sister.”
Perceiving the speechless moment setting in again, she quickly thought of ending the conversation so she could quickly find repose in her room. For her, it had been a long day so far!
“I think you’ve fulfilled your obligation akhy. Don’t worry, we’ll be fine and I’ll definitely inform my friend about your kind gesture. Help us thank brother Abdulwaris too whenever you see him, he was of a great deal of help to us when we were at the hospital… Oh SubhanAllah!” A reminder struck her, “oh I’m very sorry. My thoughts have been clouded by today’s ordeal that I nearly forgot what happened in the morning. Thanks very much, akhy. Brother Abdulwaris told us about how things went in the morning. It was your perseverance that saved us, thanks to you guys. We’re very grateful. Jazaakumullah khairan.”
“It’s nothing ukhty.” He grinned, “wa antum fajazaakumullah khairan. We just did what needed to be done.”
Toohir who had pretended not to mind them raised his attention at the mention of Abdulwaris. He only knew him during his encounter with Yusuf at the masjid and had once seen him staring at the girls while they walked past him. Now, he wanted to come into their conversation but the girl had hurriedly said her goodbye after hearing her smartphone rang from the room.
Sulaiman rubbed his hairy head and turned to his friend who had already jumped to his feet, expecting his remark but the response he got was the question about who Abdulwaris was and how he got involved with him. While walking to his room, he took his time to explicit on what transpired in the morning before he joined him in the class.
“Oh shit! I think Abdulwaris now has the upper hand! He has helped them out in two very critical situations though the first problem was completely solved by you, I bet the girls would never get to know that. Also, he’s a final year student…” He seriously paced up and down the room, explaining his theory. “I now clearly know that he’s interested in one of them and who knows, he might have even proposed. Are you aware of this Meet A Sister or Meet A Brother program organized by the MSSN where you obtain a form, fill in your details and the name of person you want his or her hand in marriage? I once got that in my ND days but I was disqualified. You know, I just wanted to fool around and I was caught. I think it still exists. Why didn’t I remember that? Shit! Shit mehn!” He hit the table.
Now the pieces started to gather in his mind and easily, the puzzle was solved and he finally caught on but being an optimist, he still thought all that has been said and brooded upon could only be conjectures. Although his hope still exists, he couldn’t catch the z’s easily without dwelling on the thoughts of hopelessness. For once, he never thought he would ever found himself competing for love.

About Post Author

Ummu Abdillah

Jayeoba Kafayat Modupeoluwa, mostly known as Ummu Abdillah is a Technologist in Electronics and Telecommunication engineering but presently only active as an Islamic writer - so do not bother to ask her about diodes and electromagnetic waves 🤗. Happily married and recently gifted a princess. She is a lover of teenagers and marriage and does make it her occupation to study them. Also, she's a knowledge seeker who loves to learn new things every second and teaches them as well to whoever cares to learn.
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7 thoughts on “THE SNAIL-LOVER {Episode Nine}

  1. Masha Allah… BarakAllahu Fihi
    Not long ago did i come across your write up (My Home, My Career), then this one (The Snail-Lover).
    Kudos to you sister, because your writtings is not only interesting but educative in all remifications on our social, spiritual, religious and psychological day to day activities.
    I’m always anxiously anticipating your next post, may Allah increase you in knowledge and make you among our top indigenous writers bi’iznillah. Ameen.

  2. Barakallahu feeh dear sis,so educative, I beseech Allah to increase you I beneficial knowledge and answer you beneficial prayers
    When are will reading the next episode.

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