Co-Wife Club- Surah Yasin

Co-Wife Club- Surah Yasin

“Be mindful of what lies ahead”….. Maryam pondered these words and considered what she had sent forward by way of deeds.  She thought of those things she had left behind.  By “things” she meant feelings that were hurt, people who were disappointed, friends who were let down.  One in particular was Tahira.

Maryam should have seen it coming, but as their relationship just happened, she “rolled with the flow”.  It was becoming more and more apparent that her husband, Habib,  was growing restless. He began hinting about taking another wife.  At the same time she met a sister, Tahira, who had just moved to the area and complained that she did not have any friends.  Being the outgoing person that she was, it was easy for Maryam to invite Tahira over regularly.  For the next two months Tahira spent most weekends at their home, and became very comfortable with them as a family.  Maryam could not deny the feeling of friendship that was growing between herself and Tahira.

Okay, so they were getting married, fine.  How did they all end up in the same house?! Maryam saw it coming, but it was never discussed outright. Right before Tahira and Habib left town to get married, Maryam was moving to another house just because their lease was over, and Maryam wanted more space than they had in the little apartment.

When Tahira and Habib returned from their honeymoon to Maryam’s house, Tahira was not just a visitor. Tahira would STAY there in her own room!  It was not too much of an adjustment, since they had been constant companions prior to the marriage.  But now that Tahira was a wife, she took more control over the running of the house.  She claimed the kitchen, which came with no opposition from Maryam, who was more comfortable with the “wardrobe management”.  (She made their clothes) Also Maryam did the food shopping.

Every morning after fajr salah the two sisters sat down to read surah Yasin. Each one took half and read in Arabic.  It seemed no matter how difficult the living situation became, praying and reading made the discomfort easier to bear.  Maryam did not dislike her sister Tahira, but she felt over time that each of their marriages did not have the full potential because of the lack of privacy.  Tahira, on the other hand depended on Maryam for support in how to deal with their husband.  Her insistence that everything in the home be “in its place” made the husband feel like he lived in a museum.  Although he liked the idea that Tahira cooked delicious meals he still sometimes wanted Maryam’s basic spaghetti.

The two sisters were seen in public at events like weddings and sister gatherings and classes.  Their beautiful garments were made with the same style, but different colors. They shopped together and went to classes and became known as the “twins”. They even had sisters come to the house for girl parties. It was a special time for the both of them.  Other women looked at them either with admiration or disdain. How they could cope with living in the same house seemed amazing to those looking on.  And since Maryam feared Allah, her family would not be the subject of conversation with other people. Any problem she had would have to be worked out among the three of them.

Maryam was such a helper to Tahira that when Tahira studied for her drivers license, Tahira asked Maryam for help because she was a more patient teacher than their husband.  For all that she did, though Tahira could not understand why sometimes Maryam had a mean face on the mornings that she and Habib decided to sleep in.  And if she had the nerve to show up (come downstairs) in one of his shirts that would just twist the knife!  Tahira reacted to Maryam’s face with stern questioning, which made Maryam guilty and even more sad at the entire situation.

Habib decided to let Tahira go, but Maryam begged him not to let it go that far.  She really did feel like she needed to take care of Tahira, who was 6 years her junior.  What a dilemma. Two sisters who need each other but not having a true sense of what would best allow each to blossom.  Maryam thought that by moving into her own house Tahira would have a chance at a relationship with their husband that was sincere, and not governed by what was acceptable to the whole. She  for one was ready to take up her relationship where it left off before they shared one house.

She did see her husband every day, but it was a lukewarm sight.  She dared not to run and hug him, because then Tahira would feel it necessary to do the same, and then she may even hug for longer.  Rather than have to face that, Maryam would choose to do nothing, but remember the days of happy home comings. If the two sisters were out together and the husband called Maryam, she felt it necessary to give the phone to Tahira. She would then say the required salaam and yes, we’re fine.  How awkward…

Maryam was wrong about many things.  She did not understand that Tahira needed to live as a group to feel validated and necessary.  She liked being part of a family. She liked telling Maryam and Habib how to dress and eat and just everything to do. It did not occur to her that her insistence that Maryam be happy with everything that came with sharing a husband made an unbearable burden on her sister. Tahira did not understand that when she complained about her husband that she was also complaining about Maryam’s husband, and therefore Maryam had to put a correction on it.  It was not taking sides as Tahira would accuse her of doing.  Maryam’s role as a Muslimah was obedience to Allah, which meant obedience to her husband and guarding his back.

Yes, Maryam did appreciate the kindnesses that were given like the dua that Tahira insisted that they read together after fajr to help Maryam cope, and the fact that they read Sura Yasin every day together. She appreciated the cup of tea that was offered as she sat at the sewing machine to make their next outfit for the upcoming event. She appreciated the companion in travel to visit non-Muslim family.  She did like having her around.  Why couldn’t they just get some space?  Apparently with Tahira and their friendship it was all or nothing at all.  Maryam did not get that memo.

Maryam did eventually move to her own house and even though the two sisters made a try at contacting each other, it became very clear after a month that things had changed completely. Maryam got the privacy she so wanted, but suddenly it felt like excommunication. There was no turning back.

Now here she sits years later with Sura Yasin open to this ayat. “Beware of what is before you and what is past so that you may be treated with kindness.” She can only beg Allah to forgive her past petty jealousies and times of impatience.   Maryam also made a dua that Allah forgive their short comings, accept their best intentions, and grant them reward for each letter they read together despite their differences, ameen.



My Girl Snow White

My Girl Snow White


This story has been haunting me since the first one written about Cinderella, and I struggle to write to the audience what makes sense, and to give a lesson.  My personal “captive” audience is my three girls 5, 7 and 9.

I would tell the Snow White story to them like this:

There was once this girl Raquel who thought she was beautiful.  Every day she looked in her mirror and asked the mirror who was the most beautiful girl in the land.  The mirror was her friend, so she told her that she was the most beautiful. Actually, the mirror was the only friend that Raquel had. When she was a little girl the other girls would not play with her because she was  very selfish. Her mother gave her the mirror to keep her company.  Her mother warned her to listen to the advice the mirror would give, and not to let her outward beauty keep her from doing good. She also said that everyone is beautiful in their own way. But Raquel did not care about everyone else.

Raquel  married a  handsome king who had a daughter, so Raquel became a queen and a step mother. And she was a mean step mother. The princess’ name was Diamond. (My kids love the name Diamond) She was very little when her mother died so all she knew about her was what her dad would tell her.  He told Diamond that she looked just like her mother, and that her mother had been very kind to everyone, and that everyone loved her mother. Diamond wanted to be just like her mother, and so she made it her business to be as nice as she could to everyone.  Diamond especially loved her dad and wanted to make him happy.  She knew by her being good she would make him very happy.

The Queen Raquel was not concerned with what made the king happy.  She could not wait until Diamond was old enough to get married and move out so she could live alone with the king.  (Knowing that my girls are very close to their dad, I would have to include the part that said Diamond would always live very close to the king, so the mean step-mother the queen would just have to get over it. And since the queen did have some fear of Allah, she would not try to kill Diamond, so the forest and seven dwarfs scene is not necessary.)

The mirror was tired of hearing Queen Raquel talking every day about how she looked and moaning about wanting all of the king’s attention. One day she said “Raquel, I hear you talk about looks and attention.  If you insist on action,  there is someone very lovable that the princess  Diamond may love enough to marry.” The selfish queen got very quiet and paid attention to someone else for the first time. The mirror continued, “They may then move far away. You would be taking a chance, as we have no control over matters of the heart.” The Queen did not care about the chances. She just wanted to do something to get the king’s attention to herself.

Queen Raquel became very excited about this idea and begged the mirror to bring this man to her. The mirror said “He is someone who is very very nice, but he does come with a very dear price.”  “Bring him here now!” said the Queen. Again the mirror warned “You are asking something that could be nice, but the feeling may end up cold as ice.”  “No more riddles!” shouted the queen. “I want him here now!” “You are so on my nerves!” said the mirror, but she did as the queen demanded.

Suddenly there appeared before Queen Raquel a handsome prince.  She asked his name and understood why he was called Yusuf. She could hardly take her eyes off him as she sent for Diamond. This mean woman was finally very happy. She could see clearly that Diamond was truly in love at first sight of the handsome and well mannered Prince Yusuf. (She was not happy that this beautiful and very kind princess would be happy, but she was glad to have a way to get rid of  her.)

Prince Yusuf was also in love with this princess who was everything he wanted.  She was beautiful outside and very kindhearted inside just like his mother. He was polite to the king, who gladly gave his blessing to their marriage. The wedding was set for the following month.  All through the preparations for Princess Diamond’s wedding  the queen also planned her own vacation, as she was looking forward to finally having all of the king’s attention.

Every day she asked her friend the mirror “How do I look now, am I not the finest in the land?” Her friend agreed, but warned “Fear Allah, my friend, you better think twice. What you are planning may not feel so nice.”

Finally the day of the wedding came, and the Queen was hardly able to hold onto her composure.  The many guests started to arrive, but the queen asked her mirror one last time “How do I look now, am I not the finest in the land?” to which the mirror replied “Fear Allah, my friend. There is much more than meets the eye.”  The Queen was not in a mood for riddles, so she just rushed out of her room without saying a word. She was late getting to her place to greet the many beautiful guests, and to meet her husband who was especially handsome that day. “What a handsome king for me” she thought to herself as she took her place at his side.

The Prince entered the main hall and was holding a most beautiful woman on his arm.  “This lady must be his twin sister” thought the Queen.  She had not met her, although  she did visit the palace during the wedding planning period, but the Queen was too busy with her own plans to notice the family of the groom.  She did not see how the king, her husband had taken notice of the kindness of the prince’s mother, and how she reminded him of his own former wife, Diamond’s mother. The Queen did not notice the gifts that had been exchanged between the two of them,  and how the king had proposed to her!

After all, he was allowed to be married to this new queen, and he married her that very same day.  Now the Queen Raquel not only had to share her king with Diamond, but also with the new queen as well.  At last she understood the advice of her mirror when she told her to be mindful of what she asks for, and that there really is much more that meets the eye.

Diamond on the other hand, was the happiest princess ever, and lived right there in the palace with her husband, her father, and her two very nice step-mothers. (Yes, the Queen Raquel finally got over it. That’s my nice ending for tender hearts.  I want them to believe in happy endings. )


Thank you for reading