Faiza’s thoughts were consumed by the prospect of being alone with Taahir, so much so that she barely barely managed to pay attention as they were greeted by all of the guests.
She peeked at Taahir from the corner of her eye, trying to find a hint of nerves in him as well but there was none to be found. He looked completely at ease.
Contrary to Faiza’s belief, however, Taahir was just as nervous as she. He was simply better at keeping his emotions from showing on his face.
Taahir was an incredibly private person and the thought of sharing his sanctuary was not a very comforting one. He had managed to avoid thinking about it up until now but worry over it consumed him as he sat.
‘What if she doesn’t like it,’ he thought to himself worriedly. ‘I don’t want her to be uncomfortable there but… changing things now will be hard. I’m so used to home, it will be hard to get used to changes.’ He sighed softly, once again regretting the hotheadedness which had led to his nikaah.
Faiza heard Taahir’s sigh and turned to him, “Tired already?” she asked lightly.
“Jee, a bit,” Taahir admitted. “It’s been a hectic day.”
“It will be over soon,” Faiza said. “Almost everyone has left.”
She was distracted from Taahir’s reply by the approach of a well-dressed and made up woman who immediately reached out to hug her. Taahir found himself smiling at her exuberance when speaking with her friend. She was bubblier in those few minutes than he’d ever seen her. He found that he liked it.
Faiza turned to him after a few moments, “Maaf, I didn’t even introduce you,” she said guiltily. “This is Saeedah, she’s one of my best friends.”
“Only one of?” Saeedah asked, feigning offence. “I’m just teasing,” she added quickly.
“It’s nice to meet you, Taahir. Take care of my friend, she’s precious and delicate.” Saeedah fixed Taahir with a serious look.
Taahir had the uncomfortable feeling that Saeedah somehow knew Faiza had been upset earlier. Clearly, the two women were very close.
“I will,” he promised, startled to realize how much he meant it. He did want to take care of Faiza. He wanted to make sure that she was happy living with him.
Saeedah left quickly, after exchanging a few more words with Faiza. And then, it was time for the last farewell.
Faiza’s parents had waited to be the last to greet her, wanting to say goodbye with a little bit of privacy.
As they hugged and kissed her, she found that she did not want to let go. She was afraid, she realized distantly. That irritated her. She hated being afraid of anything.
Have faith in Allah (SWT) she reminded herself. Allah (SWT) had chosen for her to marry Taahir. She had allowed her doubts to creep in and shake her faith and confidence that everything happened for the best, but no more.
She let go of her mother and smiled, speaking: “I love you, Mummy. Jazakallah khair for taking care of me and teaching me. I love you, Daddy. Jazakallah khair for protecting me and sheltering me.” With that, she stepped back, allowing her parents to leave, having found the comfort and peace of mind from remembering that Allah (SWT) was always with her and would take care of her.
Taahir had stepped back to let Faiza and her parents have a moment. He’d felt uncomfortable as she clung to her parents but looked at her admiringly when she calmed herself down and made sure her parents’ last sight of her was a happy one.
The greeting they gave his parents was far shorter and there were no tears to speak of. He hadn’t lived with them for four years now and so the separation was less painful.
He noticed his mother taking Faiza aside curiously but was distracted by his father before he could pay it too much attention.
“So, are you still unhappy?” Mr. Mahomed asked.
Taahir hesitated. Was he?
He did regret the way the nikaah had happened. But did he regret the nikaah itself? Did he regret Faiza?
“No, Papa. I’m not. I still wish that things could have happened differently but I’m not unhappy anymore.”
Mr. Mahomed smiled in relief. “Alhamdulilah.”
“I was shocked when I saw Faiza. I’d never assumed you would pick me a wife who wore niqaab.”
“Oh? And why not?” Mr. Mahomed asked.
“Papa… I’m not like that. I’m not a holy person. I would have thought you’d pick out someone who was more similar to me. You always say that spouses need to have things in common.”
“But I do think you and Faiza have things in common,” Mr. Mahomed replied. “Far more than you may realize. Taahir, remember not to judge a book by its cover. Faiza is more than simply the way she dresses. Do not reduce her to this one aspect of herself and assume that there’s nothing more to her.”
Taahir nodded. “I’ll try, Papa.”
“Oh, and remember your Mum wants you and Faiza to come here for lunch tomorrow.”
“Jee, we’ll be here.”
Faiza and Muneerah re-entered the room and Muneerah immediately caught him in a hug. “Mubarak, my son.” she said. “You’ve been blessed with a lovely wife.”
Taahir grinned and returned the hug happily. It pleased him to know that his mother liked Faiza.
They left, getting into Taahir’s BMW. Faiza found that her hanbag had been placed on the passenger seat and smiled at the thoughtful gesture.
They drove in silence for a while, neither one knowing how to begin a conversation. Finally, Faiza broke the silence.
“Everything was decorated beautifully today,” she said.
“Jee,” Taahir agreed.
“All in blue, was there a reason for that?”
“It’s my favourite colour.”
“Oh,” Faiza said. “Mine is grey,” she volunteered.
Taahir nodded silently.
There was no more chance for small talk for they had arrived at Taahir’s apartment. Faiza gazed up at the tall building in delight. “It’s so high!” she said happily.
“We’re on the top floor,” Taahir told her. “I love heights.”
“So do I. The view must be beautiful! I can’t wait to see it.”
True to her word, Faiza rushed to a window as soon as they got into the apartment. It really was a beautiful view – a clear, cloudless sky.
“Oh!” she gasped, suddenly realizing how late it was. “I haven’t read Asr yet.”
Taahir showed her the musallah that was in his bedroom and left her to pray in peace.
She sat quietly once she was done, enjoying the tranquil feeling that came with salaah.
Then, she got up and went in search of her new husband.