Mrs. Ishrat Abid Malik Pens down Memories of Maj Abid MAJEED MALIK Shaheed
“Love does not need a happy ending because it simply does not end.”
May 6, 2009 — “Hey motay! I feel like coming ALONE! Without kids. What do you think? For a week or so? Abid mera dil boht ghubra raha hai.”
This was my message to Abid, which led to our last time together. “Abid, did you read the message?" I asked, when he called at 5 a.m. in the morning. “No, I'll read it now,” he said. Then I heard his laughter. “But who will look after Yajooj Majooj?" he questioned, referring to our children. “Ammi Ji,” I replied. “Well in that case, you are coming today,” he said. I tried to convince him to give me a couple of days but he said, “Kal kis ne dekhna hai? You are coming today.” So that was it, he booked a seat and I was on the evening flight to Pakistan.
I can’t remember having spent a better time than that with Abid. Those few days were total bliss — an opportunity Allah gifted us to fulfil our last wishes together, things we thought we would do but never got around to doing, a time full of love and compassion, enjoyment and expression, happiness and contentment; I was on cloud nine. We were a blessed couple and we knew it. Perhaps that is why we never took each other for granted.
However, deep down I feared the evil eye and dreaded expressing how happy and content Abid made me feel. “Abid, apna khayal rakhna", I pleaded, knowing his careless and carefree nature when it came to himself. “Main kyun khayal rakhoon ga? Main tau samney ja ke khara ho jaoon ga ke aao, mujhe goli maro!" he teased me with knitted brows and a cheeky smile. Never had I seen Abid worry about the troubles of life. Everyone enjoyed his charismatic presence and felt at ease in his company. His witty sense of humour always left people smiling. His strong faith and immense tawakkul in Allah allowed him never to worry about the difficulties of this life. However, this time I felt a tinge of seriousness when he teased me.
There were concerns that were unspoken, which we both sensed at the time. The saying, “Samaan sau baras ka aur pal ki khabar nahi," was constantly running through my mind. “What if my Abid faces martyrdom? Wouldn’t that be the best thing for him?” I suppressed these unwanted thoughts, which crept into my mind as we were shopping together for the last time. I did not dare voice my concerns, in fear of them coming true.
May 9 — As we travelled back from Lahore to Abbottabad (from where he would set off to Swat) I finally lost my resolve. The tears I had fought back streamed down my cheeks. “I'm sorry Abid, I tried my best. I couldn't help it,” I said, trying my best to control my emotions. He squeezed my knee and tenderly looked at my tear-streaked face, with silent reassurance. We stopped to have my favourite corn-on-the-cob and ganay ka ras. Abid would always give the vendors a little extra. “Jo mehnat kartay hain, unn ko encourage karna chahiye,” was his motto. He then slipped money into the hands of a poor old man standing on the side of the road. “Baba ji izzat ke liye dua ki jiye ga," he whispered to him. “Ishi aap hamesha zindagi ke liye dua karti hain. Izzat ke liye dua kiya karein," he said to me.
Abid was called back three days after I arrived. When he was leaving for Swat, I remember being overwhelmed by an unusual feeling in my heart. He had left many times before, heading for dangerous missions but never had I felt this way before, never had I broken my resolve. This time I was lost; I remember asking everyone who crossed my path, whether they were shopkeepers or random people, to pray for Abid and Pakistan Army.
May 13 — I eventually returned to England, feeling very unsettled. I was restless, and in constant panic. The anxiety made me absent-minded to the point where my mother had to tell me off for not paying attention to the children.
May 16 — Unsurprisingly, I completely forgot about the hospital appointment for which I had returned to the UK. "Ishi aap England se check up karwa lain, mein tu waisay bhi hard area mein ja raha hon," Abid had advised.
I was an absolute mess when my daughter Eesha's schoolteacher inquired about my holiday to Pakistan, and burst out crying.
"I haven't heard from him for four days," I sobbed, trying to avoid Eesha at the same time so she wouldn't get worried by my state. "I don't know how he is.”
May 17 — the day when I spoke to Abid for the last time. What is to be noted here is Allah's rehmat, how He blesses us and paves way when He desires. There were no other means of contact and the unit CO called Abid to make a call to me. Then there was this journalist waiting for his helicopter and he had a couple of dollars to spare on his satellite phone. I am thankful that Allah gave us a chance to speak for the last time even if it was just for six minutes. Abid asked me to make dua and to give sadqa. I inquired, “Abid aap ne Husn-ul-Muslim parhi hai jo maine di thi?” He reassured me and said, “Aaj zaroor parhoon ga.” I could not believe I was hearing his voice after four stressful days, which felt like a lifetime. Before disconnecting the call, we gave eachother our last messages; both adamant that their love was stronger than the other’s.
May 18 — Abid rescued two of his subordinates, who were badly injured. He managed to bandage them and give them water. During this act of bravery, he was shot in the shoulder, but continued to pull his subordinates to safety. He then received four bullets, which left him immobile. He mustered his remaining energy to make a final call on his walkie-talkie, to his brother Major Khalid, who was only a short distance away. “Khalid take care of the family and Ammi Ji. Pay so and so, I owe them some money.” He then managed to pull out the dua book — Husn-ul-Muslim — from his pocket and started reciting. I still have the bloodstained copy. Sepoy Nosherwan and Tariq witnessed him recite the Kalimah, Subhan’Allah. What a blessed shahadat he received, Alhumdulillah.
I was driving to pick up Eesha from her Qur'an class, when I received a call from my sister-in-law in Pakistan. She asked to pass the phone to my mother. “What happened to Abid, Nigghi?" I asked firmly. “Please give the phone to your mother,” she requested. “No! Just tell me what happened to Abid. Just tell me,” I insisted. “Ishi, Abid shaheed ho geya hai.” The words, the place, the traffic, are fresh in my mind to this day. I looked around and nothing stopped. The sky did not collapse; the traffic did not stop. To my surprise, even my heart did not stop. “Abid main marr jaoon gi agar aap ko kuch hua,” I had told him once. “Begum, koi nahin marta, zindagi nahin rukti,” he replied. “Lekin Abid, Allah ko ilm hai main aap ke baghair nahin reh sakti. Woh aap ko mujh se pehle nahin le ke jayengey.”
But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners. (Quran, 08:30)
I put the phone down on the passenger seat. The first thought that crossed my mind was: “Am I a widow now?” I immediately wanted to deny the news. I wanted it to be a misunderstanding of some sort. I started to speak to He who is always there.
I remember praying, “Ya Allah you know I cannot live without him. Ya Allah please, you know how close I am to him. Ya Allah please ...”
By the time, I got back home, I had come to terms with the news! The last couple of weeks replayed in my mind like a movie. My Allah had been preparing me for this. It all made sense now: my rushed visit, the final call and feeling panicked. The pain was strong, but what made it bearable was my faith in Allah (SWT) and that He was with me. I thought I was a weakling, who would never be able to manage alone but I felt an inner strength immediately begin to surface. Allah took Abid away after putting my heart at ease and filling it with gratitude. Reassuring myself that I need not to worry, as my Rab will always be there for me. I became someone I was not familiar with because I had to, I needed to be strong for my family, for my children. I had to be happy for Abid.
Today, eleven and a half years later, I have witnessed our children grow into wonderful teenagers and I see so much resemblance of Abid in them. How can I complain? Allah blessed me with the perfect soulmate and He called Abid back to him in a manner that the companions of Prophet (SAW), such as Khalid bin Waleed (who happened to be Abid’s role model) craved. I have wonderful memories to cherish, memories that always put a smile on my face. I am told at times that I talk too much about Abid. How can I not? He is my “other half” after all. It makes me happy to talk about him, to relive each moment I spent with him. How can I complain when I was blessed to experience true love.
Yes, there is a void. A void nothing in the world can fill. The loneliness, the emptiness, and the pangs of pain you feel when you wish your children’s father was with you through struggle and triumph, when you have to be a mother and a father, and feel lost and unsure when making difficult decisions. Sometimes you feel that you will burn under the scorching sun because your shade, your mustaar (fort) is no longer there to protect you, when you have to protect your dignity and modesty every step of the way, when you are tired and exhausted, but you know you just have to go on.
This is when you focus on the reality of things and remind yourself, it is all well worth it. An atom’s weight of pain in this duniya will be rewarded by Allah (SWT). Allah is what you perceive of Him. I look forward to the time when we will be reunited in the best of His gardens, Insha’ Allah. I pray to my Rab e Zul Jalal e wal Ikram to bless me with wings so I may soar through His Jannah with Abid. Ameen. HH
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