I actually feel so pathetic that I am feeling sorry for myself, when there are people who would wish to be in my position right now.
You see people who have nothing uttering the word "Alhamdulilah" while I sit here feeling like my world has crashed around me.
I feel so ashamed, so I have decided to stop this nonsense, re-energize and be active.
I cannot sit on my bed every night, crying myself to sleep now can I? No. I have to focus on the blessings Allah has given me instead, and they are so many Ma Sha Allah.
I am done sulking and over-thinking about the whole issue. The only way is forward In Sha Allah.
There is still times when the dull ache hits me out of nowhere, and I try really hard not to dwell on it but I just cannot shake it off easily in those days.
I keep reliving the conversation over and over again, and I do not know how to deal with this heartache.
I cling onto Allah's words hoping and praying that the time comes when my heart fully recovers
"Mankind there has come to you a guidance from your Lord and a healing for (the diseases) in your hearts, and for those who believe a guidance and a mercy" (Yunus, 10:57)
No one really tells you how the journey to contentment can be so vast, long and tough. No one tells you that you need to take it one step at a time.
I will let this be a lesson for me to never rush things again. I know somewhere down the road someone's waiting for me, and it's OK to feel hopeful.
When or how is all in the hands of Allah. I will let Allah lead me to my future, and I will never ever forget to thank him when He gives me happiness.
But first I must finish this tub of chocolate ice-cream, topped with melted chocolate syrup. I said I am on the road to recovery, I am not superwoman!
Plus, ice-cream is a girl's best friend in times of heart ache. It is proven scientifically you know. Just saying.
A knock on the door startles me as I was eating my ice-cream! Also, who knocks in The Abdalla Family house??
"Who is it?" I ask.
"It's me Ahmed. Can I come in please?" Asks my big brother.
"Come in" I reply anxiously. Me and Ahmed's relationship has been awkward lately, after I accused him of wrecking my life and everything.
I did not mean anything by it, I was just being delusional and I wanted to lash out on someone__Anyone.
Ahmed takes things way too seriously, and I guess when I suggested that he kind of ruined my life he became crushed.
"Can I talk to you?" Ahmed asks nervously.
"Of course you can" I answer him with a smile to ease the tension.
"Asha, I cannot begin to explain how sorry I am for putting you in this mess. I should have known better than that, and I am truly sorry" Ahmed starts with a somber tone to his voice.
"Ahmed I am serious, I don't blame you for anything. Please stop stressing, I am actually quite alright I promise" I reply with a broader smile, just to emphasize my amazing well being.
"I have asked a Sheikh in several Masjids, and they all told me that any child that you may bear with Hamid will be legitimate In Sha Allah" He throws this information at me like I care about that.
I do not care about that information anymore to be quite honest, I so do not.
Our children will be legitimate? I mean, why should I care? I do not care AT ALL. Children? Whose children? See?
Do not care.
"Asha, did you hear me?" Ahmed waves his hand infront of my face. For the record, I HATE it when people do that.
Can people not randomly day dream in peace, without being rudely interrupted from their solitude?
"Yes I heard you Ahmed, but that subject is over for me" The subject is truly and utterly over for me you know.
Our kids will be legitimate? Really? I mean like I said__Well and truly and completely over mate.
"I do not want to push you like I did last time sis, but me and mum are going to Yemen and if you want to join us that would be amazing" He says it, looking at my face for any signs of Yes or No.
When I say nothing, he offers snippets of information about the date and the time that they are leaving and then he leaves the room.
Why would he even suggest that I might want to go? Like why?
I know a lot of you think that I am being mean about the whole "illegitimacy" issue, but that is not what is bothering me or hurting me. The fact that Hamid hid this piece of information, THAT IS my issue with Hamid.
The whole lying thing really got to me, and I do not know why. Maybe it is the fact that he did not trust me enough to share that part of his life.
That really hurts, and when I get married I would want my husband to share EVERYTHING with me. Well, not everything because I lived with 3 boys__Yes I know they are men now, but they will always be the annoying boys__My brothers__My rock___My I-cannot-believe-you-just-did-
So yeah, I do NOT want my future husband to share EVERYTHING with me, just the important issues that is all.
And that is WHY I am so not going to Yemen, not even to find out why he hid that information from me in the first place.
So not going.
The Sheikh said that our children will be legitimate you say?
I mean, I do not care whatsoever.
___Two months later___
Okay, maybe I wanted to find out a little bit. Just a tad. I will literally find out then head straight back to England.
Plus I got a little bit frightened, because Mohamed and Khadija decided to join in! I felt quite lost to be honest with you, I mean where would I stay?
Ibrahim and Jawahir's place? No way man, there is a screaming baby that disrupts my beauty sleep.
Ma Sha Allah baby Maryam has got some lungs on her! The girl can scream for England!
As you can see, the reason was purely for my sake and nothing to do with Hamid. Not at all.
The Sheikh said that the children would be legitimate? I meant, look at those cute children walking down the streets of Sanaa! They sure are cute Ma Sha Allah.
We were greeted by one of our distant uncle from my mother's side at the airport, and he explained to us that the women need to wear the Niqab, because the place where Hamid lives is a village.
We head towards the village in our uncle's car and someone else's car who is a friend of our uncle. The journey lasts almost three hours, and I slept the whole way through.
I open my eyes to a beautiful scene of green fields placed on a series of hills. The scene is wonderful SubhanaAllah, almost breathtaking.
I was admiring the view, when I noticed that we are driving on a very narrow road that takes us up the hill to where our uncle lives.
Is everyone AWARE how scary this road is? Erm, there are no metal bars on either sides of the hill and we are driving ON IT.
I am just sending encouraging thoughts, because let us face it__We do not want to disturb the driver, who SHOULD be concentrating with all his concentration abilities NOT to fall off the hilly road.
I say my Shahada and hope for the best!
For what seemed like an eternity, we finally reach our distant uncle's house (Alhamdulilah)
The house is so simple, yet very elegant! I cannot explain it, except that it is made out of stone and it is really high. From where I am standing, it looks like a block of flats but it is not. It has several floors, and I cannot wait to explore it In Sha Allah.
This trip is already picking up. Do not get me wrong, that near death experience ride was no fun, but I have a feeling that things are about to look up In Sha Allah.
I cannot wait.
It has been four months since I left England, and life has been relatively calm. However, the pain of losing Asha forever has not subsided.
The only good thing that keeps me going, is the letter I found from my mum and dad. A neighbor and a friend of my father, held on to the letter who gave it to me as soon as I went to see him.
Nothing could have prepared me for the relief I felt as I read the letter. I just wished that I had read it earlier, and saved myself years of heartache and misery.
I felt elation and happiness for the first two months of my return, but then sadness settled in my heart. I spent the next two months wondering if this information could make Asha accept me, until I remembered how crushed she was when I told her that I was illegitimate.
I do not think this information or anything else could change her mind, I mean she did not say anything when I told her that I was leaving for Yemen.
I think the best thing I could do right now is to stay away, and that is why I got my old job back at the fish monger's place.
I forgot how hard it is to work here, but anything is better than nothing. Memories of Asha and her family haunt me day and night, but I have got to accept that I need to move on.
O Allah, please fix my broken heart. It is really hard to pretend that I am okay when I am not.
After staying in for a whole week, my family have decided that it is definitely time to go venture out and check the village. I must say, I was relieved. Staying indoors is no fun, you can only go to the roof so many times before you realize that it is NOTHING like being outside you know.
Everyone decided that we DEFINITELY need fish for dinner, so they MUST go this fish monger IMMEDIATELY.
What do they take me for ey? I KNOW that they must know this person who knows Hamid or something, no need for all the winking and dramatic emphasis on the need to get a fish!
Come on, give me some credit people!
We arrive an hour later, after going through the death trap road once again to this market. It is so basic compared to the markets in England, but that just adds to it is charm.
Watching hard working people at the market is truly charming. They way they just smile, even though you can see the struggle in their eyes makes you appreciate what you have got back in England.
We walked for about half an hour before we came to the fish monger's shop. My heart stopped when I spotted Hamid behind all the angry__I mean normal looking fishes!
He WORKS here? Oh no, this is so sudden! I do not want to face him right now, and how dare my family not tell me about this? And traditional Yemeni clothes really suit Hamid, and is that a dagger he is carrying? Why would he carry a dagger? Maybe he will use it as soon as he sees me! But then again, every single man is carrying a dagger so I guess we are safe. Oh dear, I am rambling again!
Why do men wear suits to weddings? They should totally wear their traditional clothes, they really should.
Hamid's eyes widen as he spots my family cramming themselves into the tiny shop.
"SubhanaAllah what a coincidence that we would run into HAMID in YEMEN!" Mohamed is terrible when it comes to lying.
"I know, WHAT ARE THE CHANCES??" Khadija is equally as bad, if not worse.
"So, you work here?" Okay I pick a winner, Ahmed is THE winner.
"Long time no see son, Ma Sha Allah it is very nice to have run into you like this" See people, that's how you do it.
Mama show them.
"What a delightful surprise indeed. Let me go get seats for you all" Before mum or the rest could protest, he dashes off to the back of the shop to get us some seats.
He fusses over us, and by the time we leave the shop we have fish to last us for the next five years! Oh, and Hamid is so invited over for dinner the next day__What a surprise, oh wow never seen that one coming.
I say one sentence as we make our ride home, and I say nothing else throughout the whole way back.
"All of you terrible people do not speak to me, except you mum because paradise lies under your feet" And I turn my head away from all of them, except my mama because I really DO want to go to heaven so I smile at her from time to time.
I hate the fact that I am feeling happy, and as much as I try not to smile__An annoying side grin keeps making it's way to my lips.
Maybe it's because my window is open, let me shut it to see if it cures my side grin sickness.
Nope, still there.
____The next day____
The smell of fish fills the whole house, and I am getting excited already.
I am getting excited because I want to eat the fish, not because Hamid is coming today__Oh no, that is so not the reason.
Who is coming? See? I do not know who is coming, do you? Thought so too.
I was really lost in my thoughts when a familiar voice brought me down to earth__Or should I say voices?
"PHOOONEEEEEE" Amira and Halima (Khadija's twins) make a run for my mobile phone.
"Oh no you won't! Not this time, this is an IPHONE" I make a run for my mobile.
It is an intense moment when time stops. It feels like a matrix slow motion moment when all three of us reach for the mobile phone.
Who will get it, that is the question.
OH MAN, THEY GOT MY PHONE!!
"Give me back my mobile you little monsters" Seriously I love them, except when they steal my mobile.
I run after them to save my phone. Not this time, oh no. I lost far too many mobile phone to these monsters.
Alhamdulilah I had my Hijab on, because Hamid just witnessed this not so maternal side of me. I did not even know he arrived! He is chatting to my brother Ahmed and mum, and instantly see that as my cue to make my escape.
I quickly slip back into my room minus my mobile! Oh man! Great, there goes another mobile!
When I regain my composure, I make my way to the kitchen. I have to at least PRETEND that I know how to cook! One must pretend does one not?
I help the ladies to bring the food upstairs where the men will be having their lunch, and then we head back to the ladies section.
The food looks so delicious, but I cannot manage to bring myself to eat that much. I just keep thinking about how I will ask Hamid about why he lied to me.
I need to find out once and for all. Whatever happens, I just want to know.
I cannot believe the sudden turn of events! My love for this family grows each day, and I really want to join them now. Surely, after they find out about the new information they would forgive me In Sha Allah.
To be honest I am not really worried about Asha's mum or Ahmed. They obviously wanted to run into me, AND they invited me over for lunch. That means they want me to ask for their daughter's hand in marriage, right?
RIGHT? What if they came here JUST for a visit, and they really DID run into me by accident?
There is only one way to find out In Sha Allah. I will open the subject with Ahmed and see what he says. This way I can close this chapter once and for all, or it could a new beginning.
After the lovely meal, I am finally able to open the subject with Ahmed.
We talk for ages, and I show him the letter from my father and mother. He says that the reason they visited was to find me, and get me back together with Asha whether I showed him the letter or not! I feel so overwhelmed, and my love and yearn to join this beautiful family grows each second I spend with them.
Only one person to convince, and all my dreams will come true In Sha Allah.
My brother comes to me and asks if I want to speak to Hamid, and I hesitantly agree. Do I really want to go through with this heartache again? It took me such a long time to begin to feel normal, am I ready to put myself through that again?
I decide that knowing the answers to my questions is far better than not knowing. It could be a closure, or the beginning of something wonderful.
I go to talk to Hamid, and I am pretty sure that my whole family will be glued eavesdropping on us!
After a very long awkward silence, I ask the question that has been bothering me ever since he told me about his illegitimacy.
"Why did you lie to me?" I ask.
"I know you don't believe me and you might never believe me, but I never meant to actually lie to you Asha" He replies calmly.
"What if you lied to me again? I hope you understand that my problem with you isn't the fact that you are illegitimate, I do not care about that. It's the lying that gets to me" I try to explain it better than I did back in London.
"Asha, you have no idea how people like myself feel or how we are treated. You have a lovely family Ma Sha Allah, and you live a life of luxury. You cannot begin to understand how tough it is for people like myself" He tells me in a soft tone, filled with pain.
"I know how tough life can be Hamid. My family went through a lot and if it wasn't for Allah, my mum and Ahmed's hard work, we would have been stuck in a room back in Kenya struggling to make ends meet" I recall my time in Kenya when we lived with our uncle (My mother's only brother) and how hard it was for us.
"I'm sorry, I didn't know that" He says, somewhat feeling embarrassed.
"I just hate it when people think that my family were born with gold spoons in our mouths" I really do you know.
"I want you to read this letter, before you accept me as a husband Asha" He hands me a very old letter in Arabic, as if I can read Arabic!
"Ahem, I do not speak or read Arabic" I've GOT to read and speak Arabic soon wouldn't I!
He takes the letter and he reads it for me.
"Dear Hamid our beloved son, Words cannot explain how sorry we are for making your life a living misery while you were here. Son, yes we committed a mistake but your father married me as soon as he found out I was pregnant with you. He defied all his family and married me while I was two months pregnant. I gave birth to you at seven months from when the time we announced that I was pregnant. As much as we tried to contain the rumors and the back biting, things spiraled out of control and before anyone could object, you were cast as an illegitimate child. The fact that no one stood up for us made it ten times harder to fight those people back. We just let them carry on with their back biting and slander, hoping that by time, they will move onto someone else. It never occurred to us to go to a Sheikh and get his opinion on the matter. It was only by the grace of Allah that your father's friend opened our eyes about this, because we were trying to write a will. Son, the Sheikh told us that you are legitimate because your father married me when I was two months gone with my pregnancy. If he had had left it till I gave birth to you or more than three months pregnant, then you would have been illegitimate. Son, I do not care what anyone says, you are our legitimate child. Please get in touch, we asked the Sheikh to write it down and we have also consulted with more than one Sheikh, and they verified that this information is in fact true. I know it has been tough for you, and I would have given anything in the world to not see you suffer like that but it happened. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive us son. Love from your mother and father"
Tears stream down my face in a very unladylike manner, and I am sure I heard a sniff coming from outside the living room.
Oh poor Hamid, the misery he must have endured as a child.
"I will marry you, but you need to know that this wouldn't have made a difference and also, I cannot cook to save my life" I sniff louder when I confess about the not knowing how to cook part, and I am pretty sure I heard my mum's hand slap her forehead___In fact, I am 100% sure.
"You will make me the happiest man alive, and I don't care whether you can cook or not. I'm just happy that you accepted me Asha" He says the one thing I wanted to hear from my future husband___I don't care if you can cook or not___So sweet and utterly___
"Actually I do, but that's okay because your mum is an amazing cook so you can learn from her" SO close, so close my friend.
__On the flight to England___
"Oh come Ahmed, let Hamid sit next to Asha, they are engaged!" Pleads mum with Ahmed to let Hamid sit next to me on the flight home.
With everyone on the plane looking at Ahmed, he reluctantly agrees to go sit next to my mum and allow Hamid to sit next to me.
Applause and congratulations echoes throughout. Hamid was about to sit on the seat next to me, when Ahmed materializes infront of him suddenly!
"I'm sorry, I can't! You are still not my sister's husband, and therefore you should really go and sit next to my mum" Ahmed pretty much orders Hamid out of the seat.
A chorus of BOOS replaces the applause when Ahmed takes Hamid's place. I cannot help myself and I laugh.
"Sorry about that, but I'm very particular about these things" Ahmed explains, looking at the angry crowd defiantly.
"Don't worry about them, they don't know what an amazing brother you really are" I try to make amends with him. I know the "You ruined my life" comment really left a scar with him.
"Really?" He asks vulnerably.
"Really" I answer him, while resting my head on his shoulders.
"SubhanaAllah those allergies follow me everywhere, where is my allergy tablets when I need them" He wipes off his "allergy" tears off his face.
Meanwhile in a house not faraway from The Abdalla Family's house, a girl opens her laptop__
Stretches her arms for a couple of minutes, then she opens her Facebook fan page that she created five years ago__
The fan page dedicated to the Abdalla brothers___
Everytime she tries to talk about how happy she is that Asha has finally got married, she stops and___
Starts writing about Ahmed__
Actually, she stops writing altogether and she closes down her laptop instead.
It is finally time to go after the one man she truly and utterly loves. She decides that it is time to go and make Ahmed fall in love with her.
Do not forget to tune in for Ahmed's story (Forever Fasting) soon In Sha Allah.
The fatwa regarding Hamid legitimacy was obtained from Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK
Allah knows best.