Monday, April 28, 2014

Once, They Were Lovers

His dark eyes watched her from afar as she walked through the date orchard, his eyes shining with ardour, memorising every move. A small sigh escaped his lips, his beard rustling, a murmur of adoration. His heart ached, full and fierce, and he felt almost overpowered by his love for his wife.

He loved her.

She could feel his gaze on her, could feel the tug of his love for her; she lifted a shoulder in irritation, as though to shrug off the weight of his devotion the way she would brush off a fly.

She did not love him.

He could feel her shudder of distaste when he brushed his fingertips along her skin, knew that she endured his embrace only out of dutifulness, but he couldn’t stop loving her.

He loved her.

She had once loved him, long ago, but she didn’t know when it had faded to tolerance, then irritation, then something akin to hatred. His tenderness grated at her nerves; every glance, every caress, every word of love was a chain of slavery.

She did not love him.

He clung to the long-ago memories of reciprocated love, of sweetness shared, of blissful moments. The words she spoke now, the disinterest of her gaze, the forced obedience of her actions, did not matter. All that mattered was that, once upon a time, she had loved him.

He loved her.

She did not loathe him; she pitied him for the helplessness of his love. She wished that his gaze would stray, that some other woman would snare his affection, be his wife in the way that he deserved.

She did not love him.

Freedom. Finally. She rejoiced, rushing towards it with fervour and gratitude, without a moment’s backward glance at the man who adored her more than any other man could or ever would. She
didn’t care.

She was free.

His heart was broken, destroyed. His feet followed only her footsteps; his eyes saw only the woman who had been his wife, his beloved, even as she forsook him joyfully.

He still loved her.

Ibn ‘Abbas narrated:
Barirah's husband was a slave, who was known as Mughith. I can almost see him, running after her and weeping, with tears running down onto his beard. The Prophet said to `Abbas: `O `Abbas, do you not find it strange, how much Mugith loves Barirah and how much Barirah hates Mughith?'
The Prophet said (to Barirah), `Why do you not go back to him?'
She said, `O Messenger of Allah, are you commanding me to do so?'
He said, `I am merely trying to intervene on his behalf.'
She said, `I have no need of him.'" 

(Sahih Bukhari)

Zainab bint Younus (AnonyMouse) is a hopeless romantic who, ironically enough, knows how Barirah must have felt like. When not brooding over the meaning of love and reading tragic romances of the historical kind, Zainab blogs at


Anonymous said...

Hm. It's nicely written, but this makes Barirah's husband look like a victim, since it's written from his point of view. Society already castigates women for rejecting men (at all), and I don't think we should romanticize slavery or the results of slavery. I think I would have appreciated more an ode to Aisha written from Barirah's point of view, if anything, but there isn't really a hero here.

Talha said...

Salam Alaikum Anonymous, I'm not the author but the piece is written from the points of view of both Mughith and Barirah.

AnonyMouse said...

Anonymous - This piece doesn't intend to touch on slavery at all, but rather, the emotional turmoil of both Barirah and Mughith. There is no 'hero' because it's about love and heartbreak... and there are no heroes in heartberak.

There will also be a follow-up piece to this inshaAllah.

Anonymous said...

You have no clue that this is what Barira RA was feeling......there are far, far better ways to part with one's husband. It does not need to be done in a cruel manner. May Allah reward Mughith with a woman from the best of woman in Jannah. Please don't infer feelings from a male or female Sahabi you cannot possibly infer.

umm ess said...

Lol of course mughith was a "victim", a victim of unreciprocated love and the breakdown of his marriage as a result. Sheesh not every man is a bad guy and every woman a victim! As for inferring of feelings, it is pretty clear from the above quoted hadith that mughith was hopelessly in love with his wife and continued to pine after her following their divorce despite her indifference (and the translation even uses the word hatred) towards him.

Anonymous said...

great post

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written mashaAllah