By: Mehmudah Rehman

 

The still night descended upon a pensive Fatima like a canopy of dark opportunity. She gazed blankly at the glass in front of her. The deep red wine caressed the contours of the glass, its soft bubbles leaving their trace on the goblet. She sighed and licked her lips as she held the glass up, staring into the ruby-red beverage. She brought the cup to her lips, but put it down again, not sipping the wine.

 

She wanted to get drunk; it was always a good escape. All she wanted was to soar far, far away into a place where she could be happy. Into a place where being the person she was didn't matter.

And what was so bad about this little pleasure anyway? It wasn't like her liver would curl up and die if she got tipsy every now and then. She smelled the wine — ah, how satisfying the smell was! Once again, she brought the glass to her lips only to put it down again, frustrated by her inability to drink.

Alcohol had been a very significant part of her life ever since she met Ali and his friends. The first time she had been drunk was divine, and from then on Fatima indulged herself with sweet ambrosia. Possibly no one but her roommate knew just how much liquor Fatima could consume in one night. But then Fatima stumbled across a YouTube lecture about drinking in Islam.

Not that she cared — she was as far off the path of Islam as a Muslim could be. She remembered praying many years ago alongside her mother, but now Fatima enjoyed herself by doing as she pleased. First there had been Ali, then a couple others, but thankfully, she'd never gotten pregnant. Drugs were crass, but she had tried them as well. Drinking was where Fatima really found her liberty. And yet she was plagued by the lecture that clearly forbid drinking in Islam. She slept with men for crying out loud! Why was drinking such a tempting glass of wine suddenly so difficult?

And then, for the first time in years, Fatima rose from her seat on the couch and purified herself by performing wudu. With every passing moment, she breathed better. With every movement of the water cleansing her body, she felt as though her heart cleansed itself. The wine still sat on the table, enticing her, and unable to take the sight of it any more, Fatima gathered her resolve and poured it down the sink. Peace filled her heart; a different peace than what the drink would have brought her. It was a sort of tranquility that she had never known.

But then she thought of herself and the way the past few years had been. What good was a single isolated incident in the eyes of God? Did it even matter? Looking for answers and assurances, Fatima searched the sayings of Prophet Muhammed (SAW). If she ever needed a sign that God was indeed with her, this was it.

 

“Allah says, take one step towards Me, I will take ten steps towards you. Walk towards me, I will run towards you.”

 

The words were magnanimous, simple yet powerful and suddenly, the tears fell. Fatima had never known how sincere tears of remorse could wash away the grime that encrusted a heart. She realized she had taken one meager step towards Allah, and, because of that, He, the Almighty had taken ten steps towards her.

Her effort was a drop of goodness in an ocean of darkness and sin, but the most respected Deity had taken ten steps towards her because of it. Tomorrow would be a new day, a new beginning. Who knew where one step in the right direction would lead her? Drunk with a feeling of contentment that she had scarcely ever experienced, Fatima settled into a satisfying slumber.

 

 

27 Responses

  1. Carlos

    Ah addiction, another favorite strawman opponent of religion. Of course, religion’s true nemesis is science, not addiction. Addiction is bad for you. You don’t need religion to tell you that.

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    • Rifaie

      Still at it Carlos? Another attempt to show us the light?
      One might have thought you know enough not to make such statements. Your blanket definition of religion and of science are both disagreeable. But then , that’s your dogma now isn’t it?

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    • saira

      Questioning is encouraged of course…but a scientist is no stranger to *informed* questioning, with the acknowledgment of holes in their knowledge (humility) being the impetus to pursue answers. Same is true with anyone pursuing any line of inquiry…you have to be something of a scientist to seek answers in religion.

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  2. Faisal

    Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,

    MashaAllah, this is a very well written piece of writing. I had to just say. May Allah reward you, and increase you in your goodness. I think you should continue the story in another article.

    Wallahu alim.

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    • Mehmudah

      Walaikumussalam wr. JazakAllah for the comment. I really would love to continue this story. Let’s see how fatima changes from a lost into a guided woman. Presently she is estranged from her parents whom she rarely ever talks with. The next part inshaAllah bi ithnillah will tell you what happens next.

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      • Mehmudah

        Whoops I meant what happens after she realizes how badly she’s ignored her mom and dad who live back home in Pakistan.

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  3. Halima

    Nice story. Good writing too. I liked how the story dealt with a topic not too many cover. Especially since she was a sister not brother. More short stories like this one would be cool.

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  4. Infidelicious

    touching story… I have been battling addictions of my own, and I can relate to handing it over to the Most High. You don’t even have to be a believer for the Most High to take ten steps towards you.
    Salaam

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  5. Amjad

    Assalamu Alaikum,
    May Allah protect all the Fatima’s and Aisha’s and Zainub’s and Mohammad’s and Ahmad’s…………………….
    This reminder is good that Allah is there to forgive only if we are willing to take the first step.
    Wassalam
    Amjad

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  6. Safyah

    Wooooowww!!! Totally touched the chords of my heart. The shining ray of hope and light that it brings could change lives forever. Well done!!

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  7. Adeel

    Love the spirituality and serenity of this. Addiction is a reality j many of us face.

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  8. Aziza

    MashaAllah, what a beautiful story!!
    I could really feel Fatima’s utter joy and contentment at the end.

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  9. Halima

    @ Carlos..I seen your comments from time to time..you seem to be an atheist? Well believe what you like but can you stop commenting on a predominantly Muslim blog. Don’t you have anything better to do. Like seriously speaking. Because it seems like something you put lots of effort into, reading and commenting something odd. Just wondering if this is like a hobby for you or just something you do to kill time when you’re bored..???

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  10. June

    Assalamu alaykum,
    This hits a chord with me. I remember when I first started learning about Islam and started to feel a pull towards it. I poured a liter and a half bottle of high quality Japanese sake and three import beers down the drain. And I remember the wonderful feeling of relief I got from doing it. I’m at a low point of iman right now but it’s good to know the small things I am doing to bring myself back up are bringing me that much closer to Allah.

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    • Mehmudah

      Thats wonderful June, I am glad you were able to pour it down the drain. Islam really is all about submission. Remember when alcohol was made haram the streets of Medina were full of alcohol. Same’na wa ata’na – we hear and we obey.

      Sometimes the low periods come to take us higher than before… Keep the faith.

      Mehmudah

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  11. Carlos

    Dear Sister Halima,

    I like to think I am contributing to the improvement of humanity. There are many ways to do that. One of my ways is to present a counterpoint to those who are devoutly religious. I find Muslims particularly fascinating, because often their way of thinking is so different from my way of thinking. I write the things that people who come to this site probably rarely read. I give the opinions that most users of this site rarely hear. I let you know there are other sides to all the issues and opinions raised on this site. There are alternative ways of thinking. I question where others refuse or fail to question. I take the unpopular stance. I break the stereotypes. I challenge assumptions. I question ideas. I call bluffs. I defend those who are absent. I let those who disagree with the majority opinion know they are not alone.

    Yes, it’s a hobby too, and sometimes I am just bored, and looking for ways to pass the time. Sometimes I am just having fun, but I try not to get too silly. I still want to be taken seriously. I don’t want to be censored. Some of my best comments did not make it past the MM censors. Sometimes I know one of my posts will probably be censored, but I try anyway. My intention is not to alienate or hurt. I am trying to tear down walls and build bridges. I do not hate Muslims or religious people. I see all humans as having inate value and potential, including those with whom I strongly disagree. I used to have some religious belief myself, because, when I was a child, I was told that was what was good and right and true, and I believed it for a while, even into young adulthood. My disagreement is with religion (ideas) not religious people (human beings).

    Every once in a while, I am told I do not belong here, and that I should go talk to other atheists. I have said this before and I will say it again. What is the point in that?! Why would I talk only to people who agree with me? What does that accomplish? How does that change the world? How does that improve me? How does that improve anyone? I do not seek to reinforce my beliefs, I seek to spread my beliefs, and welcome challenges to my beliefs so that I can improve my own beliefs.

    Halima, even if you and I lived in the same city, I would probably never meet you or talk to you in person. I could not go to your mosque and discuss my opposition to religion with you. If you were a co-worker or a classmate, you probably would never speak with me or even look me in the eyes unless you absolutely must. This online site is my only forum and way to communicate with Muslims like you. This is my only way of making a human connection with a fellow human who is separated by an iron wall, a wall that, since 9/11/01, appears to have gotten thicker. Separation and isolation breed misunderstanding, stereotypes, mistrust, hatred, fear, inequality, injustice, inhumanity and sometimes even war. In reaching through a small crack in the iron wall, this wonderful open forum, I can work against all of these evils.

    If I sound like someone with delusions of grandeur, there might be some truth to that. I apologize for my occasional arrogance and vanity. I am not a genius, but I am smart. I am educated but not a scholar. I am not overwhelmingly successful in life, but I am above average in the ways most people define success. I am not close to being morally pure, but I respect everyone, obey laws and ethical rules, treat people fairly, keep my promises, try to be helpful to others and try not to hurt anyone. I am friendly, but not terribly popular. I am not fearless, but I am not a pansy. I have worthwhile things to say, but I cannot write a great book like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris, because I don’t have the time, and nobody would pay to read it. My only way to change the world is by blogging, this site being my usual forum. I’m just Carlos, MM’s friendly resident atheist for as long as MM stays true to its commitment to providing a truly open forum.

    Happy New Year.

    Yours truly,

    Carlos

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    • maryam

      Hi Carlos,
      What about poor illiterate people who cannot read/have access to Richard Dawkins books or internet atheists blogs/forums?

      To convince illiterate people that there is no god one needs to provide the luxury of education. Religion on the other hand has open doors be it a church/mosque/temple and doesnt require a high IQ to make sense. Just because religious understanding doesn’t require a high IQ, it doesnt make it inferior. Afterall religion needs to be accessed by all, since God needs to be accessed by all.

      To prove atheism one needs to be provide the education of science. So that means atheism can only be the”privilege” of the educated?
      Plz comment.
      ps:“Dear sister Halima”…looks like you are catching on the religious method of addressing.

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      • Infidelicious

        “Afterall religion needs to be accessed by all, since God needs to be accessed by all.”

        A matter of semantices here: Every day I pray “Lord , give me faith don’t give me convictions”
        religion seems to make people enemies.
        Some Muslims hate me for being non-Muslim. Some atheists hate me for being to understanding of People of Faith. Couldn’t we just believe what we want to and not let it come between us as humans ?

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      • maryam

        Well, thats how everyone functions anyways; keeping belief aside, collaborating, treading along the days tasks.

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    • June

      I’m on your side as far as Halima shouldn’t have asked you to stop commenting. You have your right to comment here and ask questions. You seem just as convinced of your opinion as most of us are of ours, so I simply see the debates that come about from your comments as exchange of information more than a pressing need to convince someone of one thing or another. Your analyses can be insightful and by asking questions some of us may not have thought to ask you help others gain more knowledge as they seek the answers for you (and themselves) and post them here for all to benefit from.

      I simply want to bring up that I disagree with you on one point: “This is my only way of making a human connection with a fellow human who is separated by an iron wall, a wall that, since 9/11/01, appears to have gotten thicker. Separation and isolation breed misunderstanding, stereotypes, mistrust, hatred, fear, inequality, injustice, inhumanity and sometimes even war.”

      I disagree that this “iron wall” has gotten thicker. Muslims are more than ever blogging, writing articles for their local newspapers, speaking to people, etc. about what Islam is. Muslims are out there as much as they can be to break down the stereotypes and correct misunderstandings, build trust with the community, and improve the quality of life for everyone (in religious and non-religious ways.) Yes, there are some (sometimes entire communities) who do isolate themselves. However, while you have likely heard this defense before, these are the faulty actions of people and not an accurate representation of Islam. And sometimes the mistrust and hatred comes from the non-Muslim community towards the Muslims because they are in plain view and not conveniently tucked away and isolated (out of sight; out of mind.)

      The “iron wall,” if not thinner, is at least only as thick as it was before. You’re right that it should be broken down, that this wall shouldn’t even exist. Ideally it wouldn’t exist but we are always going to be tested with these walls. Honestly, I don’t want these walls either and I’m always trying to help harmonize relationships. But there are always just as many people on either side willing to talk and listen as there are people putting their fingers in their ears and going “LA LA LA! I can’t hear you!”

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    • Infidelicious

      “My disagreement is with religion (ideas) not religious people (human beings).” hear hear.

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