A kindness a day keeps the devil away

It was a normal week day and her husband was at work. After finishing her duties at home, Salma was busy as usual helping her neighbors, today washing their clothes. Her friends were surprised at her selfless kindness but she always told her friends: “A kindness a day keeps the devil away. I try to do one act of kindness everyday in hopes that it will eradicate a sin I may have unconsciously committed in the Book of Life”.

One Sunday Salma’s husband said, “May I ride with you today when you go to do the grocery shopping?”

Salma was obviously surprised, but she didn’t question his request and said, “Sure why not, then we can spend some time together as you are always busy.”

So Salma and her husband left and spent the whole day together. When they got home and put away the groceries, Salma thanked her husband for being so kind as to come with her.

He answered, “Salma, the real reason that I went with you is because you always tell people to do just one act of kindness, like eating an apple a day, keeps the Devil away, so I asked to ride with you to see just how kindly you act with people every day.”

Salma asked with astonishment: “Why?”. He replied, “Because I wanted to see how do you practice kindness, and I wanted to see if you practiced what you preach. And trust me, I will never doubt anything you say again.”

He continued and said to Salma:

(1) “When we got in the van, you let the car across from us go first while watching that no car was coming from behind and you signaled him to go.

(2) “When we reached the stop, you signaled for people to cross the street saying that this way you protect them at least when you are at the stop sign because most drivers don’t care about people, they just want to be on their way.

(3) “On the freeway you signaled the trailer trucks when you were letting them take the lane and slowed down to give them space to change lanes, saying that they had a delivery to make on time and that you had all the time in the world.

(4) “When we arrived in the store parking lot as you went to take a spot, someone else just swiped in front of you and we had to go all the way to the back. You never got angry. You said, “Well, maybe he has sore legs and needs to be closer,” and you laughed.

(5) “As we arrived at the entrance door, you opened the door and let an elderly couple in saying, “Beauty before age.”

“Well when I counted up 25 acts of kindness I stopped counting because your one act of kindness just rolls into many more. I couldn’t believe it; you are so kind that I am sure that in the Good Book it will outweigh whatever you do wrong. From now on I will also do one act of kindness a day, and I will never doubt anything you say you do ever again”.
Salma laughed and said, “Kindness is like a box of chocolates, when I open the box, I can never eat just one. I finish the box! And this is true, that is why I don’t buy a whole box; it doesn’t last the day. But I am so used to being kind that I don’t even notice I am doing it. It is just lovingmy fellow human beings. It is just following Bibi Fatima (as) who said: “(Help) the neighbor first, before your own self.”

Subhanallah, Salma was indeed a true follower of Bibi Fatima (as) who was so kind that:

(1) Bibi Fatima gave her new marriage dress to a poor person and wore her old dress instead, in the wedding. The next day when the Prophet (saww) asked why she was wearing an old dress, she replied that she gave the new dress to a poor person. Can we get such example of kindness anywhere?

The Prophet (saww) asked: “Why didn’t you give your old dress instead?”.

She replied: Because the Holy Quran says: “You will not achieve piety until you give out what you love the most.” (3:92)

(2) Bibi Fatima and her whole family remained hungry for three days but offered the evening meals after three long days’ fasting to the beggar, the orphan and the prisoner.

Holy Quran, praising this kind act, says: “And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive.” (76:8)

(3) Bibi Fatima was so kind to her servant Fizza, that Fizza worked one day and the other day Fatima (as) would work so that Fizza could rest. Such example of kindness can only be found in the family of the Prophet (saw).

Alas, such a kind and benevolent lady was so much terrorized after the death of her father that she had to say addressing her father, the Holy Prophet, standing before his grave: “Oh! Father dear! After you, fell on me such miseries that had they fallen on bright days, the bright days would have turned into darkest nights.”

Problem may not be with the others, as we always think

A man feared his wife wasn’t hearing as well as she used to and he thought she might need a hearing aid.

Not quite sure how to approach her, he called the family Doctor to discuss the problem. The Doctor told him there is a simple informal test the husband could perform to give the Doctor a better idea about her hearing loss.

Here’s what you do,” said the Doctor,

“stand about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal conversational speaking tone see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and s o on until you get a response.”

That evening, the wife is in the kitchen cooking dinner, and he was in the den. He says to himself, “I’m about 40 feet away, let’s see what happens.”

Then in a normal tone he asks, ‘Honey, what’s for dinner?” No response.

So the husband moves to closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet from his wife and repeats, “Honey, what’s for dinner?” Still no response.

Next he moves into the dining room where he is about 20 feet from his wife and asks, Honey, what’s for dinner?” Again he gets no response,

So He walks up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away. “Honey, what’s for dinner?” Again there is no response.

So he walks right up behind her. “Honey, what’s for dinner?”

.

.

.

“James, for the FIFTH time I’ve said,

CHICKEN!”

Moral of the story: The problem may not be with the other one as we always think, could be very much within us..!

What is Recession?

This Story is about a man who once upon a time was selling Hotdogs by the roadside.
He was illiterate, so he never read newspapers. He was hard of hearing, so he never listened to the radio..
His eyes were weak, so he never watched television. But enthusiastically, he sold lots of hotdogs.
He was smart enough to offer some attractive schemes to increase his sales. His sales and profit went up.
He ordered more a more raw material and buns and use to sale more. He recruited few more supporting staff to serve more customers.
He started offering home deliveries. Eventually he got himself a bigger and better stove.
As his business was growing, the son, who had recently graduated from College, joined his father.
Then something strange happened.
The son asked, “Dad, aren’t you aware of the great recession that is coming our way?” The father replied, “No, but tell me about it.” The son said, “The international situation is terrible. The domestic situation is even worse. We should be prepared for the coming bad times.”
The man thought that since his son had been to college, read the papers, listened to the radio and watched TV. He ought to know and his advice should not be taken lightly. So the next day onwards, the father cut down the his raw material order and buns, took down the colourful signboard, removed all the special schemes he was offering to the customers and was no longer as enthusiastic.
He reduced his staff strength by giving layoffs. Very soon, fewer and fewer people bothered to stop at his hotdog stand. And his sales started coming down rapidly, same is the profit.
The father said to his son, “Son, you were right”. “We are in the middle of a recession and crisis. I am glad you warned me ahead of time.”

Moral of The Story : Its all in your MIND! And we actually FUEL this recession much more than we think

The Secret Helper of the Poor

Imam Sajjad (A.S.): The Secret Helper of the Poor People


The view common people have towards one who isolates himself from society and devotes his life solely to performing his religious rituals, such as praying, ablution (Wudu), supplicating, Hajj, etc, is a stranger to the society. Such a person cares nothing about his materialistic and social life, and spends his life in worship. The life of Imam Ali ibn al Hussain, Sajjad ( A.S.) however, contradicts this view.

Despite his long unique prayers and supplications, Imam Sajjad (A.S.) was never ignorant of his society, its needs, and the realities of the time. In fact, in regards to interactions with society, he was a role model in the social and moral duties.

Muhammad Ishaq narrates: Many of the poor citizens of Madinah had experienced the generosity and kindness of Imam Ali ibn al-Hussain. Yet, they never found out it was the Imam as he would visit them during the nights, until Ali ibn al-Hussain ( A.S.) passed away, and that anonymous man never came to them any more. It was then that they found out that that anonymous helper was Imam Zein al-‘Abedin (A.S.).1

Abu Hamzah al-Thomali also narrates: During the night, Imam Zein al-‘Abedin (A.S.) would carry food on his shoulders for the poor and needy people. He would say, “Giving charity in secret will subside the anger of Allah.” 2

Ibn Sa’ad who died around 200 A.H. has narrated:
There were many poor people who would come to the Imam for help, and before they even asked for anything, the Imam would give them what they wanted. Imam Sajjad (A.S.) would then say, “Giving charity is received by Allah before it is received by the poor.”3

It was from the examples mentioned above that when the Imam was martyred, and some were helping in washing his body (giving him Ghusl), they noticed the wounds on his shoulder and back. They asked about it, and found out that the wounds were the result of carrying the food for the poor.4

(Taken from the book “Imam al-Sajjad (A.S.) the Beauty of Worshipers”, by Ahmad Torabi)

Reference :
1- Kashf al-Ghummah, vol. 2, p.266
2- Aghani vol. 14, p. 74; Hilyah al-Awlia’ vol.3, p. 135; Kashf al-Ghummah, vol.2, p.266; A’yan al-Shia vol.1, p. 633
3-Tabaqat ibn Sa’ad vol.5, p. 160
4- Aghani vol. 14, p. 74; Hilyah al-Awlia’ vol.3, p. 135; Kashf al-Ghummah, vol.2 p.266; A’yan al-Shia vol.1, p. 633

Martyrdom of Imam Sajjad (A.S.)


Imam Ali ibn al-Husayn(A.S.) the Fourth Shia Holy Imam and the eldest son of Imam Husayn( A.S.) famous as Zayn al-Abidin and Sayyid-i Sajjad was martyred by poisoning on 25th Muharram in the year 95 A.H. at Madinah Munawwarah and is buried at Baqi cemetery near his uncle Imam Hasan (A.S.).

Imam Zayn al-Abidin(A.S.) after the tragic martyrdom of his holy father Imam Husayn(A.S.) propagated the message of the “Husaini Revolution” by his historical sermons and speeches delivered in Iraq, Syria and Hejaz.

The Duas(Supplications) taught by Imam Sajjad(A.S.) is recorded in the  sacred book, generally known as “Sahifah-i Sajjadiyah” and “Sahifah-i Kamilah”. 

THE DANGEROUS GAME

Asia sat waiting for her friend Baidah who was coming to visit her. She was surprised at her friend’s demand for a private meeting. Asia thought Baidah must have a serious problem, so she was anxious to see her friend, when she arrived a few minutes late. Asia waited for her to start talking while Baidah tried to appear composed.

Then she said, “Can I ask you a question!”

“Yes, with pleasure!” said Asia.

Baidah said, “I want you to answer frankly.”

“Now you know I am always frank!” Asia assured her.

“Why did you refuse Foad’s proposal of marriage!” burst out Baidah.

Asia was taken aback by the question. She was silent for a while, and said, “Can I also ask you a question!”

“Of course, you can,” said Baidah.

“Why do you ask me a question that might upset me? You know he is my relative and I have refused him for certain reasons.”

Hesitantly Baidah said, “Well, he has proposed to me. That’s why I want to know your reasons for refusing him.”

“Oh, I see!” said Asia, and went silent. Then Baidah began to plead with her saying, “I must know. I am your friend, am not I! Don’t you care for me?”

“Yes, you are my friend and I do care for you, so I will tell you the reason. But first of all, what do you know about him? ” Asia asked Baidah.

“I know that he is a handsome, gentleman, educated, and well mannered with a good social position.”

“That’s right,” said Asia. “He is also wealthy. But is that enough?”

Baidah, pale faced, murmured, “He is not a committed Muslim !”

“You know this and yet you still ask me my reason for refusing him?”

“I know that religion is very important, but he might change”, said Baidah.

“How?” asked Asia.

“Have you ever thought that he might be guided to the right path?” proffered Baidah.

“Is this what you think?” said Asia.

“I think,” began Baidah, “that refusing him is a kind of cowardice. I think we can bring Foad and the likes of him back to religion, and that we should strive for that.”

“O.K., but how are you going to do it?” Asia said.

“I have means” said Baidah. “Anyway why should I refuse him when he has all these good qualifications?

If I leave him, he may marry someone who will increase his disregard for religion. If I accept him, I may bring him back to faith.”

“That’s your opinion” said Asia. “I won’t impose mine on you. However, it is a very dangerous game, or marriage at risk.”

“Oh, please do not exaggerate so Asia. Marriage is an adventure. I feel I can tolerate the experience.”

“You are quite wrong! Experience does not make a fool wise. There is a great difference between marriage to a committed believer, who is careful of his religious duties which protect him from deviation, and a non-committed Muslim, who cares for nothing but earthly pleasures that change with the times.”

“It is a risk” said Baidah, “But if I succeed it would be in the best interests of religion.”

“You say: ‘If I succeed’, this ‘if’ indicates your doubts. Marriage should start on a firm foundation.” Asia told her.

Baidah looked down as if in inner conflict. Then she said, “What is your opinion?”

“I don’t know what to say” said Asia. “I am afraid you will suffer as a result of such an experience. It is a dangerous game. A husband does not usually accept his wife’s opinion and he may even make her accept his. Then the wife may find herself standing at a crossroad leading either to the failure of her marriage or the loss of her religion. You know both are terribly hard to tolerate.”

Asia stopped for a while and waited for Baidah to speak.

When she did it was in a choked voice, “What then?”

“I think you can spare yourself such trouble!” said Asia kindly.

“Suppose I am forced into doing it. What should I do then ? “

“That’s for you to decide Baidah. No one can impose their will on you, whoever they are!”

Baidah was silent, then said challengingly, “I shall take the risk. I hope that I will be successful.”

Asia looked at her and said coldly, “You are free to do what you like. I hope you won’t be sorry afterwards.” Baidah got up saying, “I apologize for having taking up your time.”

Asia, “Nothing to apologize for, I feel sorry for you! “

They shook hands and Baidah left the house. Asia felt she had just lost a friend.

 

A few weeks later, Baidah sat, waiting anxiously for her husband. It was nearly 11 p.m. and she was very worried. She looked at the clock every other minute, and at half past eleven she heard the door open and close softly. She got up and saw her husband enter. Her face became bright with happiness. She said, “Oh Foad, you are late!” She was scared when she saw he looked disappointed. He said, “Why haven’t you gone to bed yet?”

“How can I sleep when you are still out? ” asked Baidah.

While he was taking off his suit and putting on his pajama, he murmured, “That will cause you a lot of worry.”

“How? ” asked Baidah.

“Because I shall often be late. There is no need for you to stay awake and alone.”

She was disturbed at his answer and could not believe her ears. So instead she said, “Your supper is ready.” Smiling he said,

 “I ate out. Some friends invited me to a club. They held a party in my honour.”

“I hope you enjoyed it. But why didn’t you tell me about it before?” asked Baidah.

“There was no need to tell you, as you won’t go with me to such places,” said Foad.

“Well, at least I wouldn’t have got so worried.”

Foad said, “You should have known that I was at a social engagement. I live amongst educated liberals, and cannot be isolated at home with a woman…” he uttered the last words in a sharp tone and then said, “Now, go and have your supper.”

With tears in her eyes, she sadly said, “I am not hungry.”

Foad said, “Then let’s go to bed.”

Baidah said, “I expect you’ve already done your prayer?”

Coldly, Foad said, “It is after mid-night. Prayer time is over.”

“No”, said Baidah, “It is not yet mid-night. Anyway it must be done even if it is late.”

“You don’t know how tired and sleepy I am!” said Foad.

“Fatigue doesn’t exempt one from one’s religious duty.”

Mockingly he said, “Allah will accept my excuse.”

“No matter-if you love me you must do your prayer.” Angrily, Foad got up saying, “Please do not mix up my love with praying and fasting. Let me love you in my way not yours. Anyway, I will not allow you to call me to account about my prayer every night!”

He threw himself on the bed and fell asleep leaving Baidah shocked at his words. She recalled Asia’s words which had apparently come true.

She hurried to the Holy Qur’an to seek comfort and refuge. She opened it at random and read the first verse of the page which said: …We did them no injustice, but they were unjust to themselves. (al-Nahal, 118)

 

**********

 

Days and weeks passed. Baidah could find no way of getting Foad to come to her way of thinking. Whenever she talked about religion, he either mocked her or turned a deaf ear. She tried her best to give him comfort and happiness at home, but she found him more and more interested in spending his time outside. One night she waited long time for him to come home, and when he did he seemed happy, so she thought it would be a good time for her to talk to him.

She said gently, “Don’t you see that I am unhappy?”

Foad surprised said, “You are unhappy? Why? Haven’t I provided you with all the means for your comfort?”

“Yes, I must admit you have! Anyway, happiness is what matters; without it, there is no comfort.”

“Why aren’t you happy then ? ” asked Foad.

Baidah said, “How can I be happy when you are so physically, spiritually and emotionally far away from me?”

“That’s partly true,” conceded Foad, “but I love you so I do not completely agree with what you say.”

“If you loved me you would please me. You know I am not happy about your behaviour.”

“Have I hurt you in any way?” asked Foad, much surprised.

“You have not hurt me physically, but you have hurt me mentally by your disregard for the belief that you promised to respect. You are not careful enough about religion, to bring us closer to each other.”

“Well, I am afraid I cannot change my life style. I cannot give up my friends or my social life. I cannot be cut off from others just to spend my life behind these walls. I cannot perform my prayer in a mosque just to please you. Faith stems from personal satisfaction. It would be nothing but hypocrisy if I worshipped Allah just for you. You know that I am an honest, straightforward person, both in my personal and business dealings. What more do you want? “

Baidah listened, while her heart sank. She said in broken voice, “What about me? Have I no place at all in your life?”

“You are my beloved wife. I love no one but you. Come closer to my heart and you will know real happiness.”

“What do you mean?” said Baidah.

“I mean give up ideas that keep you from enjoying life’s pleasures. Turn to me whole-heartedly, and I will make you taste a life that you are still unaware of. You are at cross-roads, either you put your hand in mine and I’ll take you into a world of happiness, or you stay a prisoner in your house, content with it.”

“Isn’t there a third choice?” she asked. Foad was silent for a while and then said, “Yes, there is. We can separate; and though it would be hard for me, it would be less harmful than if you decided to refuse my suggestion.”

Baidah was silent. She wanted to scream and run away, but she was helpless. She spent a long sleepless night, feeling as if she was between two fires both of which could burn her. She was about to choose a divorce, but then thought of the tiny creature moving in her womb.

This innocent creature tied her both to the house and her husband. She was soon to be a mother. She felt dizzy with thinking and, throwing her head on to her hand, she went into a dreamless sleep. When she woke up her husband said, “Baidah, why didn’t you sleep in your bed?”

She opened her eyes to see him standing near her with a cheerful face as if he was ignorant of the reason why she hadn’t gone to bed. She looked at him silently.

Anxiously, he said, “Why are you pale? Are you sick?” He put his hand round her and sat nearby.

She said, “Do you really not know why I am sad?”

He laughed gently saying, “Even if I know, what can I do about it? I have offered you my heart, so is it my fault if you reject it? By the way, today I have some visitors, so be ready for the occasion.”

“Who are they?” said Baidah.

“Just some friends with their wives.” He was silent waiting for his wife’s reaction.

She said, “Will it be a mixed meeting for men and women ?”

“Of course, you do not really expect me to stick to the old tradition of having a separate room for women, do you?”

“What about me then?” asked Baidah.

“You are free to do what you like,” said Foad.

She was silent for a while; then, wishing to compromise and thus show some understanding, she said, “O.K, I shall be present.”

Her husband was happy-he kissed her warmly saying, “Do you mean it? How happy I am. I shall be the happiest husband. I shall be so proud of your beauty. You are the sun that will outshine their dim lights.”

“What has my beauty to do with anything? To please you, I have decided to be present but I will wear hijab.”

Foad drew back in disgust, “In decent hijab? No! I do not want you to be mocked. Just prepare dinner and leave the house. That will be better. I can find some excuse to explain your absence.”

Baidah could not tolerate such an insult. She got up saying, “It is better if I leave the house at once.”

“What about the guests?” asked Foad.

“You can take them to a club”.

“When will you come back?” asked Foad.

“I may never come back!” retorted Baidah.

“What about my child?” asked Foad, calmly and deliberately. Those words were strong enough to remind her of the bitter reality, the great dilemma she was in.

She despairingly murmured, “Oh, what a fool I was! How right Asia was!”

When he heard Asia’s name, he said laughingly, “Oh, that snob! I proposed to her just to crush her pride and religious vanity. Now you remember her; what has she or her advice ever done for you? You are on the verge of destroying your marriage and your family life is about to fail because of this backward Asia!”

Baidah angrily said, “No, I won’t allow you to speak ill of her. Had I listened to her advice I would have spared myself such an experience. Anyway, it is my own fault. I must bear the consequences.”

 

**********

 

Two years later, Asia sat thinking of her friend Baidah. She had heard a lot about her that she found difficult to believe. She could not believe that after a bitter struggle Baidah had given in to her husband. She had heard she no longer cared for Islamic hijab but accompanied her husband to parties and nightclubs. She had given birth to a boy, Farid and they said she was always sad and hardly ever smiled. Asia heard such rumours and wished she could see Baidah and learn the truth from her.

 

That morning the doorbell rang and Asia hurried to open it. She was surprised to see Baidah herself standing in front of her. She was pale and unhappy. Asia welcomed her and led her into the living room. Baidah sat silently, not knowing what to say.

Asia said “Oh, Baidah, how I hoped I’d see you; I’ve heard so much about you, but I was anxious to hear from you yourself.”

 

Baidah cried bitterly saying, “I have no news except of disgrace and shame! I have been the victim of foolishness and self-deceit. Anyway I am not worthy of your friendship. I have fallen to the bottom of the abyss and am hopeless, may Allah forgive me!”

Asia felt great pity for her and kindly said, “You are still my sister and I must help you, to overcome this awful experience. Now, please tell me everything frankly as you did in the past.”

 

Baidah said, “Well, you know that I never listened to your advice. I believed in a dream and ran to get it; I tried hard to get Foad to come round to my way of thinking but ailed. He never accepted my religious commitment, and treated me cruelly, humiliating me often. Sometimes, he was gentle and kind and sometimes he was frightening. I thought about divorce, but my son caused me to give up that idea, so I gave in, and obeyed him meekly. He exploited my weakness and increased his domination over me, drawing me ever deeper into disgrace. I accepted everything just as a prisoner accepts his sentence. Now, you see me here!”

Asia could not blame her seeing her as she did and asked, “What’s the problem now then?”

“He divorced me a week ago, because he blamed me for the death of our son”, said Baidah. “Why?” asked Asia incredulously.

“Because I fasted in the month of Ramadhan.”

Asia asked, “Did your son die of hunger?”

Baidah replied, “Of course not. He was both breast-fed as well bottle-fed. He died after an illness.” Asia was greatly moved and felt sorry for the bereaved mother who had suffered humiliation and disgrace. So you see, I have lost everything,” continued Baidah.

Asia hugged her warmly and said, “You have not lost everything. You still have your religion calling you back through repentance, and I am still your loving friend.

You still have the broad road of the future ahead of you. Perhaps this experience will help you to make a new righteous start; a future that is built on firm foundations. Don’t despair, “…surely none despair of Allah’s mercy except the unbelieving people.” (Yousef, 87)

A BAD BARGAIN

Early on in their engagement, he sat near his fiancée saying, “Oh, how I love you…in fact I adore you, you are my life…” He uttered words of love that she vainly enjoyed listening to. He told her that he could hardly wait for their wedding day, as life away from her was meaningless to him. He wondered how he had managed to live before knowing her. He assured her that she was the source of happiness in his life. He was sure to rent a great house that would match his feelings. They would spend their honeymoon abroad, in one of the western capitals.

 

He carried on talking, repeating words of love, while his girl was lost in her daydreams, which had at last come true. Suddenly she was aware of her hair dropping across her forehead. She raised her hand to put it in place and said flirtatiously, “You were in such a hurry that you did not even give me time to have my hair done.”

He said, “Your hair is lovely anyway, and you are quite beautiful.”

She smiled, proudly encouraging him to praise her still more. She said, “You did not even wait for me to get my new dress from the tailor.”

He said, “Have not I said that this does not matter. I never worry about such things as my real aim has been reached.”

She eagerly said, “Are you quite sure?” He said,

“Yes. I swear by my love, that I mean every word.”

She said, “I am very happy. I have always hoped to get a husband who does not care for material things…”

He said, “I am just like that, you can be sure.”

She went on, “You know that money is something that comes and goes. I don’t care much for it. In fact, I give all of my salary to my father who suffers financial difficulties.”

At first he did not answer, then he said: “It is nice that you help your father. Financial problems cannot be tolerated. Then I suppose we can’t rent a big house!”

She said, “Whether big or small, it does not matter .It should at least be comfortable.”

He said, “Yes, there should be all the necessary amenities: a refrigerator, a cooler, a washing machine…”

She interrupted him saying, “Such items can be bought one by one. At first we can start a simple life. You know that at present my father cannot help us.”

He was silent again. He looked at his watch and then said, “Simplicity is nice. I think we should not go abroad! “

She answered, “Yes, that is much better. You know I must pay back my debts!”

No longer he could conceal his disappointment, so he said sharply, “Then, your salary is already spent in advance!”

She said, “Nearly!”

He moved in discomfort saying, “I, myself am in debt, so, I’d better not marry at present.”

Standing up he said, “We may not meet again. I wish you good luck!”

He left quickly as if running away from a monster! Only few minutes before he had spoken words of love and claimed that he could not live without her. The waiter came to her with the bill that the young man had not paid.

Amused she said to herself, “I guessed right! I was right to lie about my wealth. How stupid he is! He never thought I was testing him. My bank balance is good and I am not in debt to anyone! Anyway, it was a good experience for me, even if it was a bad bargain.”

By: Martyr Bintul Huda

THE RED ALERT

When Ahmad returned home, his wife Maryam was still out. He sat down next to his children and joined them in their game. Afterwards, he picked up a book and passed the time reading. Finally at 10 o’clock that evening his wife returned home. She did not even allow Ahmad to greet her, but quickly rushed passed him to her room and took off the mask that transfigured her natural form. She looked less beautiful but more gentle. From her behavior, Ahmad knew that she had something to tell him.

 

As soon as the children went to bed, she said to her husband, “Oh, Ahmad, you have not asked me about my visiting today.”

Ahmad smiled and said, “I hope you have enjoyed yourself.”

Maryam said, “…I had a wonderful time! The house and the garden were magnificent, and their table was rich with delicious foods. My friend, Hana, had the most beautiful wig. Dr. Iram’s wife wore an expensive suit. It was quite beautiful.”

Her husband smiled ironically and asked, “The suit or the Dr.’s wife?”

“Oh, the suit was wonderful! But I was too embarrassed to enjoy the visit,” she added. Ahmad silently beseeched Allah to give him patience and said to himself,” This is just the beginning; Allah will help me in the end.” He did not answer his wife’s remarks. She continued, “It seems as if you do not care for me. Am I nothing to you? You do not ask the reason for my uneasiness. You regard me as if I were a stranger.”

Maryam seemed truly upset, so her husband said to himself, “I place my affairs before Allah. If I do not ask her the reason, she will cry.”

 

He gently asked her, “Why do you think such a thing? You are my dear wife and the mother of my children. Why are you upset? Were you embarrassed by your clothing?”

“Oh no, although it was not as beautiful as the Dr.’s wife’s suit. I can buy a better one in the future. The source of my uneasiness has been in my failing to ask my friends to visit me. It has been a long time since I last invited them to my home. How would they account for such delay? Surely they will think it is due to some financial hardship, or that you are a miser or ignorant of social formalities. Such ideas hurt me, since I know you are an excellent husband and a good father.”

“Thank you for the compliment. Now what exactly do you want?”

Maryam replied, “Today is the fifth of the month. I can fix a day for their visit as long as we can afford to spend some money.”

“You talk as if the event is a victorious battle in need of great preparation,” Ahmad said. His wife laughed, “No. it is not like that, but it doest cost….”

Ahmad said, “But how can we manage until the end of the month if your party will be expensive? We are already in debt. Now you want to make matters worse.” “You can borrow some money from your friends,” his wife suggested. “You know I have borrowed from many of them. How can I ask for more?”

“Oh, how miserable I am! I was brought up in a rich family and lived a luxurious life. Now I cannot even afford to invite my friends over for an afternoon. Oh, what a shame! How am I to face them? Can I show myself in society? This means I must isolate myself and give up all of my friends.” Maryam started crying, while her husband tried to convince her of his viewpoint. She never listened to him, but said, “Oh, surely I shall suffer from sickness. If I stay two days at home, I shall suffer a nervous breakdown and lose my appetite.”

 

Finally, Ahmad gave in and agreed to his wife’s demand. His wife arranged everything for the special day. She asked her sisters to help her arrange the rooms for the occasion. She would have never imagined that the outcome of her party could be the destruction of her family life. On the day of the party, Maryam asked her husband to stay out until a late hour and she sent her children to her mother’s house. She got herself ready for her guests, who arrived shortly before sunset. They were all dressed in the latest fashion and with full makeup. The home was soon filled, and gossip and idle speculation dominated the conversation. Each was criticized by the other. One’s dress was not to the taste of the other; and this hairdo was not nice as another’s. Silly talk and jokes filled the air.

At 8 o’clock, Maryam called her guests to dinner. Suddenly the phone rang and one of the guests was called. As soon as this lady put down the phone, she came to Maryam and apologized for having to leave at once. Her husband had warned of a red alert and she had to reach home before the lights went out. Upon hearing this news, the other guests rushed towards the door. They left without even a good-bye. Maryam emerged from the kitchen to see that her guests had all disappeared. She was shocked and dismayed to see her party come to such an end, especially when she thought about all the trouble she had gone to and the dispute with her husband about the matter. She had hoped to make a good impression on her friends. She sat down and wept bitterly. She wished her husband would come home early, before the red alert sounded. She waited to hear its wailing but there was none.

 

At 10 o’clock Ahmad came and was surprised to see the house empty. His wife told him the whole story. She feared that he would be angry, but he was quite at ease. He said, “It may be a lie. There is no need for an alert since there are no impending raids. Anyway, I hope you have learned a lesson.”

The wife said, “Indeed, I have. I won’t undergo such an experience again.”

The next day, Maryam’s friend phoned and apologized for the previous evening. Her husband had lied to her in order to get her home early since her child had been crying for his mother.

Maryam told her friend that it had been a silly joke, but a good lesson too.

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