Awaiting Answers

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It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "There are three who are promised the help of Allah: The Mukatab* who wants to buy his freedom, the one who gets married seeking to keep himself chaste, and the Mujahid* who fights in the cause of Allah." (Sunan an-Nasa'i, 3218)

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SAN DIEGO

"Alright, In Shaa Allah, I'll see you next time," Ahmad said to his brother-in-law as he shut the car door. "As-Salaam 'Alaikum." He waved to Nafisah in the driver's seat as she began to pull out of the driveway of their mother's home.

Heading back inside, Ahmad checked the time on his phone. It was five after nine, and already the guests had left. He shook his head; back before he went to Madinah, family visits lasted at least until midnight, sometimes even later. This visit seemed to have been over before it even started.

Ahmad had only been back for a few days but the excitement was already dying down, perhaps faster than he'd anticipated. Though his mother, and to some extent his youngest sister, seemed welcoming and happy to have him in the home, everyone else seemed so busy in their own lives. After the party on the first day, he'd only heard from Abdul-Malik once, and only Nafisah and her husband had stopped by to see him again.

He knew better than to expect everything to be exactly the same as when he'd left. His siblings had all moved on in life. Nafisah had gotten married, Abdul-Malik opened his own dental practice, and Uzayr had had three more children. Even Amatul-Kareem and Mustafa were about to graduate from high school.

Still, as he made his way up the stairs, walking through the hall and passing by his sister's bedroom, Ahmad couldn't help but feel a little distant and removed from them all. From their lives. With the guests gone, Amatul-Kareem was already in her room with the door closed. And when Nafisah was present, visiting with her and her husband felt like sitting with work acquaintances or classmates at best.

For the time being, Ahmad had chosen to blame the experience on Yahya's presence; in the past he'd known Nafisah only as his sister, but now she was someone's wife. Understandably, people had minor differences in behavior when around different people and playing different roles. Life was different.

With a sigh, Ahmad sat down on his bed. He almost longed for the days back in Madinah, the life of a student being all that he knew day in and day out. At least it had become familiar to him. But no, that wasn't what he wanted. He wanted to settle in. To fit back into place. And if that wasn't what was there for him at the moment, then he wanted to change his own life like everyone else had done.

He just didn't know where to begin. Graduating from the university was supposed to be the start of a new stage in his life, but it didn't feel like it. He was happy and grateful to have succeeded in that, and prayed for further success in his pursuit of Islamic knowledge, but it wasn't the big, life-changing event that would kick him into the next phase. No, what Ahmad looked to as his next major milestone was something he'd thought about many times before, but never as seriously as in recent times.

Marriage.

Without even thinking about it, he drew out his phone again and his fingers instinctively scrolled to the email. His eyes read over every word with the same breathlessness as the first time he'd seen it.

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From: Ahlaam Majdi

Subject: URGENT

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