13. Unexpected News

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Narrated Abu Hurairah (may Allaah be pleased with him): Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “A matron cannot be given in marriage until she is consulted and a virgin cannot be given in marriage until her permission is sought.” The people said, “What is her permission Oh Messenger of Allaah?” He replied, “Her silence (is her permission).”

–Saheeh Bukhari

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Withdrawing her keys from the keyhole of her Scooty, she felt a strange sort of tension building inside her at a steady pace. Her palms felt clammy. She clenched her hands into fists tightly to be rid of the anxiety coursing through her veins. Her breathing grew ragged. She wet her lips, then swallowed, thinking of the situation at hand.

Beyond a wall, Tanvir’s mom awaited her. She was physically present—sitting in her drawing room, waiting to talk to her, waiting to ask her consent, and that thought alone was enough to set her heart racing and trying to jump out of her ribs.

Although it had been a while since her family formally met his and a few days since the topic was broached, the girl did not give her consent yet. She had not yet worded out an answer, much to her own dismay.

It was true that when they had come to see her a few days ago, she felt all her defences crumble. All sorts of plausible excuses seemed lame. There was absolutely not a single flaw she could use to her advantage and stall the groom hunt. There was not even one factor that put her off, much to her own delight. They were such a cheerful lot that she often caught herself wishing to be one among them—wanting to be a member of their family that was practicing and cool at the same time. Sometimes, a longing so strong had assailed her that it left her momentarily paralysed. Other times, her mind had visualized images she dare not vocalize.

Eshaal understood that there could be no greater blessing than a family that stood for the same cause and helped you in doing what you really wanted to do. It was truly a blessing to be surrounded by people who didn’t indulge in the many things that Muslims these days had fallen prey to.

From whatever she had heard, seen, and felt, she figured that Tanvir’s family did not muddle with their faith. They had not been confused by it—had not confused with it. The boundaries laid by their Lord had clearly not been breached by them. They were not of the apparently misguided lot either but seemed to fit perfectly in the mould she wanted in a family. That was definitely a plus. Eshaal couldn’t deny that.

When they had left after their visit, day after day she found herself performing Istikhara dutifully in hopes of finding out what was right for her; and, day after day, she was still struggling to gather the courage to walk up to her parents and tell them that it was a yes from her side.            

Now, there were too many misconstrued notions about Istikhara that was widespread among the masses. People often associated it with situations where they had two or more options and cannot decide on one. They were of the belief that it would help them in making their choice by guiding them through some divinely inspired dream. If Eshaal didn’t know better, she might have probably thought the same; but, by the grace of the Almighty, the knowledge she had of her religion cannot be swayed.

 She was not idling away, waiting for a dream that may or may not occur. Neither was she confusing herself with the case. She had gone about the process the way it worked best—her family had asked around about the guy for her benefit, checked on his Aqeedah, she had then met him in person to add on to the image in her head; and, when she had been content with what she had decided at the end of it all, putting her complete trust in Him, she had prayed, knowing that if there was some khair in it for her, He would make it happen. If not, issues might materialize in the process, warning her that this was not meant for her.

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