Soul Mate

Oh how I love my wife. What a shame such sentiments hit with such force when she is so far away, when I am ill like this. In a moment of delirium wrought by the altercation between those biting shivers and the piercing sweaty heat late at night, I dispatched a message: ‘Come home early, if you can.’ Of course I know we cannot afford it — we have rescheduled the flights once already and paid a penalty for it — but it felt romantic and right, calling her back from her family afar.

When this fever leaves me, the shuddering thoughts will leave me too, if the Most Merciful wills. I will return to work, stand once more at the foot of that mountain of toil and begin to dig… to bring down the chaos of competing deadlines and tasks that intimidated me before this illness drove me away. The weeks will fly by with the workload that awaits me when I return.

But this love: as the Most Merciful wills, she is my companion, my soul mate, my truest friend. When beyond the realm of the video call, I resorted to raiding a box of photographs nearly forgotten in our digital age. I see her smile again and I feel relieved. We believe in the words of God without a doubt, for they came alive before our eyes:

“And among His Signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He put love and mercy between your hearts. Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” — Sûrah Rûm: 21

We were two strangers from different lands, different cultures, different tribes: and yet He brought us together and planted that seed in our hearts. Through marriage we have discovered worlds that neither of us knew existed. We have travelled far together, hand in hand, by each other’s side.

The years have changed us. I have lost my gaunt frame — thank God — my bony cheeks at last swathed in flab, my chin now disfigured by the sparse beard that continues to invite persistent ridicule. Standing before a mirror I no longer shy back repulsed, but look at myself reconciled to the decree of Allah. Life and experience shapes us, makes us what we are.

By the wonders of modern technology and the immense generosity of Allah, we set our eyes upon one another this afternoon — and I on two other gifts from God, our Ramadan babies, oh how I love them too. What a relief, what joy. May the Eternally Generous, the Most Merciful grant them all a long life, the best of this life and the Hereafter.

I don’t express my gratitude properly: to Allah or my soul mate. These brief lonely moments remind me of those years when I rejected God, stumbling between the certain belief in the pointlessness of existence and the awkward innate conviction that God was indeed real and true. Recalling the road behind me, should I then not be immensely grateful and obedient to His will, a true Servant of God? He shows us signs on the horizon and within ourselves.

I pray that Allah reunites me with my loved ones soon and that from hereon I may be a better husband, father, soul mate, companion and friend, but more than that, a better Servant of Allah.

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