Zaynab was woken up softly by her husband, Hassan, excitedly telling her to come downstairs where he would be waiting for her. She said alhamdulillahil-lathee ‘ahyana ba’da ma ‘amatana wa’ilayhin-nushoor (Praise is to Allah Who gives us life after He has caused us to die and to Him is the return). She thanked Allah for a new day, rubbed sleep out of her eyes and got dressed.
She walked past the spare room on her way downstairs. Everyday she walked past it she would pause at the doorway and look in, praying that this spare room would have a purpose one day. She longed for it to be filled with life and youth, joyfully bouncing around. She longed for a child with every breath she inhaled. She longed for her arms to be holding a baby who she could love and nurture with all the warmth she held inside her.
She made du’a, as she always did, while she gazed into the barren room. Rabbi hab lee min ladunka thurriyyatan tayyibatan innaka samia’audu’a (My Lord! Grant me from Thee offspring; surely Thou art the hearer of prayer). This was her favourite du’a to make regarding this trial she was suffering. The supplication of Prophet Zakariyya (AS), found in the Qur’an: Surah Al-Imran, verse 38. She made this du’a everyday from the depths of her heart and she knew that Allah heard her and felt her longing; only He could understand how much she yearned for a child. Not even Hassan could truly understand how it broke her heart everyday she lived without being a mother.
She pulled herself away from the spare room and made her way downstairs into the kitchen where Hassan was waiting for her.
“Happy anniversary habibti!” Hassan cried as soon as Zaynab entered the room.
Zaynab broke into a grin and walked into her husband’s arms, embracing him as she said, “happy anniversary to you too, habibi!”
There was a huge bouquet of red roses sitting magnificently in a vase on the dining table. Every year the bouquet got bigger. Today was their ten year anniversary and the roses were smiling at Zaynab with their beauty and with the love Hassan devoted to her.
Ten years of marriage. Ten years of trying for a baby. Ten years with no sign of an answer to their prayers. After three years of trying, Zaynab had found herself in a dark and wretched state. She was desolate and lost within the intensity of her own sorrow. Her faith had faltered. She found herself questioning what she had done to deserve this absence of fulfilment while she saw others ungrateful for the blessing of the children they were given. She became bitter and hateful in her heart. She found herself on the verge of losing all sense of purpose in this life. She blamed herself, she blamed her husband. She blamed her sins. She forgot; forgot that Allah does not withhold blessings as a punishment but as a test.
After a long, bleak year in this state, she met a sister who shared her story with Zaynab. A story which thawed her heart and banished the bitterness and ungraciousness within her. The seeds of hope were planted, causing her faith and soul to flourish from that moment. This sister told Zaynab of her years and years of trying for a baby; the doctors told her it was impossible. She adopted a child but never gave up hope that Allah would grant her a baby of her own as well. The doctors continuously said she could not conceive but she told Zaynab, nothing is impossible with Allah. She told Zaynab how she continued to pray and trust in Allah and a year later she fell pregnant, to the astonishment of every doctor. She gave the baby to Zaynab to hold and she felt the reality of this woman’s journey. Of her relentless faith and hope. She felt ashamed of the last year of her life and from that moment her previous faith was renewed.
Six years later and Zaynab still thought about this woman and thanked Allah that their paths had crossed. Six years later and she still made du’a everyday, asking Allah to grant her and her husband a baby. More importantly, she didn’t lose confidence that Allah would answer her prayers.
She had come to accept that this was one of her trials in this dunya. If Allah didn’t want her to conceive a baby then she knew that it is what is best for her. She never stopped praying and hoping, though. She knew the power of du’a and that it is the only thing which can change the Qadr of Allah.
So, on the ten year wedding anniversary to her beloved Hassan, Zaynab smiled as she reflected. They had both developed such patience and gratitude. If Allah had not given them this trial, they would be completely different people.
If you were to visit Zaynab and Hassan today, on their thirteenth wedding anniversary, you would find them still with a beautiful patience. Only on this day, their patience is required for another reason. Their twins in their terrible twos wreaking havoc, knocking over the vase of abundant red roses, causing their father to laugh while their mother smiled at them lovingly; thanking Allah every second for granting them such a wondrous blessing.