Mustaqeem Hussain entered the newly built café in Lahore and was captivated by the aromatic, energizing and pungent smell of coffee beans. The fingers in his two hands were enough to count the people sitting in the made in wood café. He stood there inhaling, and relaxing before finding his way towards Salman Mansoor, sitting in the gloomy corner of the café.
“How are you?” he said and waited for Salman’s response as he sat down on the wooden chair. “Salman, —how are you?” he asked again.
Salman looked away from the windows and asked with furrowed brows, “What happened?”
“Well… you tell me why this scrunched up nose and who were you looking at form the windows?” Mustaqeen said.
“I hate all those people who say that love is the only thing that keeps you alive… all the love stories that shows it as a cake walk. I hate…I cannot take this stupidity any more” Salman said.
“Oh! I see its Mahjabeen Bukhari again.”
“Can you take it seriously for a while?”
“I am all ears, shoot.”
“It is killing me from inside. I cannot concentrate on anything, it has made my life a living hell.”
“Who told you that love is a bed of roses? It is a rocky road and river of fire.”
“I know Professor of love, I know but for how long can I continue burning and bleeding?”
“It depends on you.”
“I am sick of her attitude, the way she ignores me. How can someone remain so oblivious of a person’s presence? I feel as if I don’t exist in her eyes.”
“May be she doesn’t love you at all.”
“Tell me what should I do?”
“Keep trying, if you truly love her. I wrote a poem yesterday that perfectly fits your situation.”
Its wrong to hate all roses
because you got scratched by one.
To give up all your dreams,
because one didn’t come true.
To lose faith in prayers,
because a few didn’t get answered.
To give up on efforts to live,
because some failed.
To condemn all friends and people,
because a few betrayed you.
Not to believe in love,
because one was unfaithful.
Remember that you will get another chance,
a new friend, a new love, and a new life!
Never give up because life is indeed beautiful.
“One year…for one year I have been patiently waiting for her turn of heart but it is only getting worse. I don’t know what does she think of herself?”
“Looking at your situation, she is definitely not an ordinary girl.”
“But what should I do? Jump from the rooftop, drown in the sea, write her name with my blood.”
“Only a loser can think and act in such a manner.”
“How much more, Mustaqeem, how much more?”
“The best part of loving is, not hoping that a person will love you as much as you do or not love you at all.”
“I disagree. The best part is when you know the person you love the most loves you far more than you do. Otherwise you will suffer just like me.”
“And if this does not happen, then stop loving the person. Right?”
“You are losing the spirit of love, my friend.”
“I don’t care; I have given it my best shot. It’s time to change now.”
“What was the point of calling me here, when you had already decided what you wanted to do? I don’t know any magic which will make Mahjabeen feel the way you do.”
“You don’t know how it feels when you stand before her, praying and wishing, and all she gives is a piercing look.”
“Maybe I don’t, but I still think you should not give up on her. You never know when she will have a change of heart. Let me tell you a story.”
“Leave it; I don’t want to hear any tales of Laila Majnu, Heer Ranjha or Romeo & Juliet.”
“Ha-ha this one is different and most probably the one you have not heard before.”
“Enlighten me with this honour.”
Prophet Yousaf (A.S) was the second youngest child from Prophet Yaqoob’s (A.S) fourth wife and was bestowed with very fine features and was very wise. His brothers envied Yousaf for the closeness he enjoyed with their father. Yahooda, the eldest brother, was desirous to be enjoying the same nearness with his father as Yousaf enjoyed, thinking that as he was the eldest and also the inheritor.
Prophet Yaqoob was very protective of Yousaf and hardly ever allowed him to go out with his brothers. One day, the brothers successfully persuaded their father to allow Yousaf to go out with them. Yahooda had already plotted a mischief and now with Yousaf coming along, he successfully implemented it and pushed Yousaf in to the well and started wailing after returning home. He made up a story and told his father, “They were hunting and the young Yousaf, unable to match pace with us, was walking behind them. When they turned around to see him, a wolf had already killed and eaten him.”
Yousaf was saved by the Blessings of Allah from drowning in the well and some natural factors contributed and he got sold as a slave. The buyer was wife of the king, whose name was Zulaikha. In those times, buying and selling of slaves was common and whoever was bought as a slave, had to obey the master for every imaginable work asked. The salve had no right of refusal. Yousaf was bought in accordance with this concept of slavery and was taken to the palace of the king of Egypt. Zulaikha was so mesmerized by the captivating attractiveness and charm of Yousaf that she decided to raise and nurture him. She didn’t have a child and some historians have mentioned that the king of Egypt was impotent. So, even though she was the wife of the king but in truth, she had not really seen and felt a man. She planned that when he will grow up, she will experience the particular relationship of a male and female with him, which she has not felt till now.
When Yousaf grew up, Zulaikha closed seven doors behind her and expressed her intentions. He was shocked. He said, “What are you talking about madam, have some fear of Allah; you have nurtured me like a mother and had kept me in your hands like a child.”
“Forget everything, and come here. I had bought you as a slave and you cannot say no and have to obey what I am saying” Zulaikha replied in a threatening tone.
Hearing this, Yousaf ran away from there opening one door after the other. Zulaikha followed him. By the time he reached the seventh door, she had closed down the distance on him and tried to grab him by force. In the process his shirt got tattered from the back. Yousaf still managed to go out of the door but was seen by the house keepers and servants. As soon as the queen realized that things have got out of her hand, she shouted “catch him, catch him, he has tried to lay hands on me.” Hearing this all the wardens assembled and he got caught.
The case was tried in the Royal court and the queen pleaded, “I had bought this slave and raised him but when he got mature, he tried to lay hands on me.” The king was about to announce punishment for Yousaf, when a one year old child surprised everyone by saying, “Honourable king, before you make the decision please see whether the shirt got ripped from the front or from the back. If it got ripped off from the front then, Yousaf attacked her and the shirt of queen torn while saving herself from him. But if the shirt was ripped off from the back side then, the queen was after him and his shirt got torn as he was trying to save himself.”
The king acknowledged the explanation of the child and ordered the shirt of Yousaf to be analyzed. The facts came out; the shirt was torn from the back, and proved Yousaf’s innocence. But still Zulaikha managed to get Yousaf in jail. She feared the king might order Yousaf to leave the palace, meaning no access to him and which she did not want to happen. She thought while he would be in jail at least she will know where he was.
She would go bare footed just to see him in jail, make excuses to meet him and to just get a sight of him. Zulaikha was burning in the love of Yousaf. One day when the jailors asked her, “Honourable queen you are not wearing shoes.”
“I came in a hurry just to see if he was still there or you people have released him” she replied angrily.
The word spread around and all the women of Egypt joined together and said to her, “It is a shame that being a queen you tried to do such a thing with your slave.”
“Hold on, I will explain it to all of you.” Zulaikha said and invited them to her house in order to dispel their doubts.
When all the women finished eating food, she called Yousaf and asked him to stand behind the curtain. She then served the women knives to eat fruit and raised the curtain. All these women accidentally cut their hands instead of the fruit at the sight of Yousaf. When the curtain closed, they came back to their senses and saw blood all over them. “How it had happened” they asked.
“You all were taunting me on daily basis. Now what had happened to you after seeing him for one time only? And I am the one who has raised him. Do you still think that it was my fault?” Zulaikha asked and they all said “No.”
With the course of time Zulaikha grew old and lost her husband, the king of Egypt. The circumstances became such that Yousaf was crowned as the King of Egypt. Zulaikha vanished as she was unable to relinquish her love.
Zulaikha along with her love went to some unknown jungle and ultimately lost her sight due to the warmth of love or probably she was unable to resist the glow of the Unique Beauty. Although she got old but her love remained alive and vibrant. A person managed to find her in the jungle she was hiding in. He asked her, “You have been saying ‘Yousaf, Yousaf’ for a long time; have you achieved any station in his love?”
“Do you have anything in your hand?” Zulaikha asked.
“Yes, I have a stick”
“Give it to me”
Surprised by her demand, he handed over the stick. It is said that she heaved a sigh and breathed it out and the stick got burned from top to bottom.
“The whole world cannot bear my sigh; I have reached this state in the love of Yousaf.”
Aghast, he rushed to the king, after returning, and told him the incident, “There is a woman in the jungle continuously calling your name, her name is Zulaikha and she has become aged and blind. When I asked her to what extent you have gone in the love of Yousaf, she blew off my stick to ashes.” Yousaf was taken aback after hearing that the old woman has reached this far. He went after her, and at that time the Divine Nature once again granted youth to Zulaikha for Yousaf (A.S).
When she got the blissful news through Divine Voice that, “we acknowledge your love and bestow you back everything”, she requested, “My Lord neither I am capable of speaking in Your Will nor I have the ability to bring Your Will to halt. But my Lord there was a time, when I was about to attack Yousaf, I put up a veil on the idol I used to worship. Yousaf asked me what I was doing. I told him that since I worship this idol and I have great regard for him so, I don’t want him to see me when I get close to you. So my Lord, if You please agree with what I have to say. Now that You are arranging our reunion and it is a fact that I cannot put cover on you, therefore grant me a favour; give me everything but please do not return my sight. In this way at least, I will be able to cover myself.” Her prayer was accepted and amendments were made in the Will to give her back the youth and hold back the eyes to be returned back but at some later stage.
Zulaikha got back everything with the exception of her eyes. And when Yousaf brought her to his own house, she said to him, “I am all yours. I have got back all of this because of you. Now I want to thank Him who has endowed me the youth again. Since I cannot see, please put down the holy carpet on the floor, in the direction you think your True Lord resides then, help me stand on this holy carpet and set my direction straight.”
Yousaf placed the holy carpet on the floor and made her stand on it. She started offering supplementary prayers and got up after a fairly long prostration. When she finished offering the prayer, she could not resist herself and stood up again. When she stood up again, Yousaf pulled her towards him from the shirt and in the process her shirt got ripped from the back. She turned around to see what has transpired with her today. At that time the Divine Nature annulled the amendment done earlier and she got her sight back.
Look at the state of Zulaikha’s love, she was unable to bear that one spectacle she had seen and then preserved it in her heart; and said, “I have gone from one place to other burning in love and have been able to reach at this point. All of this is granted by You, and now You want to give me reward, it is Your Will, but please do not return me my eyes because it will refresh the yearning and glow of that love.” And the Divine Nature acknowledged her request and presented tribute to her love; “We have never done anything beyond our Will but as your wish was based on purity, sincerity and it was made from the highest point of love so, We have made this amendment for you.”
“So, Salman Mansoor, the moral of the story is that if you want Mahjabeen then you must put up with all your frusration and go the extent Zulaikha went” Mustakeem said.
“I am not Zulaikha and I cannot go to the jungle,” Salman replied.
“I know, but you can at least try reaching the level of her patience and sincerity and burn as she burned in love.”
“This is such a moving and inspiring tale of love. I should stop complaining.”
“Let us go now, I am afraid, if we stay here any longer they will not have any cups to serve coffee in.”
Grant stability to my restlessness,
Embellish my days and nights,
Bestow blessings and mercy,
Mend my path,
The direction your beloved likes,
Makes its impression in my heart,
I keep praising and mentioning,
That you have recognised my ignorance,
I was blessed with a direct road,
when the direction of my heart changed.
– Mustaqeem Hussain