Chapter Five: The Preparation
The day had finally arrived. For Afsana it came too quick. She was not sure what to expect and was nervous with butterflies in her tummy. It was a clear November morning, crisp but cold. The early morning sun shone through the window and reflected upon the wardrobe mirror. Afasana sat on her bed engrossed in her thoughts. “Afsana, come down my dear, breakfast is ready.” That was her mother calling from the kitchen. Afsana went downstairs and joined the rest of the family for breakfast.
Meanwhile Amjad was still in his PJs sitting in the living room watching telly and eating cereal like a 12 year old. He was very excited about the meeting so much so that he had a constant smile upon his face. He had got his hair cut the night before and had already arranged the suit, shirt and tie that he was going to wear. The grey suit with a finely pressed white shirt and a thin grey tie were hanging neatly on the door of his cupboard waiting to be worn.
After breakfast Afsana went back upstairs. She was still undecided about what to wear but what she did know was that it was going to be something plain and simple. She had a series of black Burkhas in her wardrobe that had a hint of diamond stud borders around the waist and arms and it was one these Burkhas that she would wear with a silvery coloured scarf to match her shoes and hand bag. The Burkha that she had in mind was a gift from her mother who had bought it from Saudi Arabia following a recent Umrah trip that she took with Afsana’s father.
It was coming up to mid day almost and Afsana decided that she would pray her prayers first before getting ready to go out to the cafe. She made Wudu (ritual purification) and prayed her Zuhr prayers. Following this she prayed the two Rak’ah Salatul Hajah (the Prayer of Need) followed by the supplication:
“There is no god but Allah the Clement and Wise. There is no god but Allah the High and Mighty. Glory be to Allah, Lord of the Tremendous Throne. All praise is to Allah, Lord of the worlds. I ask you (O Allah) everything that leads to your mercy, and your tremendous forgiveness, enrichment in all good, and freedom from all sin. Do not leave a sin of mine (O Allah), except that you forgive it, nor any concern except that you create for it an opening, nor any need in which there is your good pleasure except that you fulfill it, O Most Merciful!”
Afsana asked Allah to help and guide her on her path to finding a spouse. She completed the prayer and sat on the prayer rug contemplating the meeting ahead. The prayer had helped relieve some of the stress that had built up inside her and she felt much more relaxed and much calmer after the prayers. She sat down and made a list of some of the things that she wanted to ask her potential husband. She felt much better and was now ready for the encounter, or so she thought she was.
Amjad sat around downstairs until 1pm in the afternoon. The family had an early lunch pending the meeting at 3pm. Amjad then strolled upstairs, took a shower and got dressed and ready. He took his time and made sure he was looking fine and dandy for the occasion.
It was coming to 2:30pm and Amjad’s parents and his sister Samira were waiting downstairs for him to come down so that they can make their way. Amjad looked in the mirror one final time. “I don’t look bad at all, even if I do say so myself” thought Amjad as he ran down the stairs to meet his parents who had already opened the front door and were walking out.
Afsana was ready. She looked like a black beauty in her shiny black Burkha with the diamond studs glittering in the afternoon sun as it gleamed through her window. Her scarf was tied tightly around her heard, with the front and back of the scarf draping almost down to her waist level. She had a shiny black shoe with silver studs patterned around it.
Afsana was to be accompanied by her parents, her sisters and one of her brothers. She took a deep breath as she shut the bedroom door behind her. She walked slowly down to the bottom of the steps and into the living room where her family were expecting her. “You look beautiful my dear” said her mum as she entered. “You sure do sis” winked one of her sisters. Afsana went pink in the face and was glad to have the cold wind blow upon her as they opened the front door to exit the house.