The Journey-Part 3

Hariri woke up that morning feeling tired from last night’s extra long shift. He slowly trod downstairs to grab a bite, before setting off to work once again. It was the beginning of another long day...

Things had changed tremendously since the events last described. Hariri had transformed himself into a totally different person; he had made good on his promise to turn over a new leaf.

“Just two more weeks,” Hariri whispered to himself amidst the huge crowd people in the premises of the restaurant he was working in. He didn’t really need the money; it was more of a medium for him to gain experience as well as an outlook on the real world. A world he was shielded from during his high school years. It was a reality that he had learnt to embrace, and adapt to as much as he could.

Hariri was a unique breed among the workers of the Olive Restaurant. The staff all respected this 18 year old kid, who really stood from the rest of the Olive crew. His uncanny ability to charm the customers, as well as his trademark smile that would light up the day of anyone who’d cross his path, made him a favourite in the compounds of the Olive Restaurant. Hariri maintained a good relationship with everyone in the workforce, regardless of age, race or position.

Such was his presence, Hariri was held in high esteem even by the manager, whom thanked the lucky stars he had found such a hardworking and dedicated worker. He appreciated Hariri’s enthusiasm, and didn’t mind that Hariri made it a point to take extra long breaks to go to the prayer room. And on Fridays, Hariri would not blink an eyelid in asking for a break right in the middle of the crowded lunch hour, just to go and pray at the mosque. The manager, though initially reluctant, could not help but admire the guts of this relatively young kid. He decided to make an exception, for the sake of his favourite worker.

Despite not fully understanding Islam as a religion, the manager, Simon, was very impressed with Hariri’s ultimate consistency in fulfilling the obligations of his Islam. Even he himself seldom went to Sunday mass, despite having a religious background since he was young. He was also slightly puzzled by the fact that Hariri was the only Muslim in the restaurant who asked for prayer breaks, even though a majority of those working for him were in fact Muslims. Hariri was in fact doing da’wa, but little did he realize neither the significance nor the importance of his actions.

Simon was getting more and more curious about Islam by the day. He knew that if every muslim stuck adherently to Islam, the world would be a much better place. Islam is a religion of peace, encompassing every aspect of life, including work ethic, honesty in business practice, as well as a whole lot of other values which would benefit mankind. Simon wished that all his workers became practicing muslims, just like Hariri. But he also realized that he was in no position to preach to these misguided souls on the importance of religion. All Simon could do was hope...

Hariri wasn’t at all aware of the aura of impressiveness surrounding him. His main aim was to continue his ascendency in learning the deen of Allah, regardless of the obstacles faced. True to this fact, it had been reflected in his overall demeanour. Islam flowed through his veins, and was shining light toward others around him. People craved his attention, warmth and guidance despite his young age.

Hariri realized that he was changing, albeit at an extremely slow pace. He also knew that he had to be an ambassador for his religion, showing a good example to others, and trying his best to seek the pleasure of Allah swt in the process. His conscience was extremely sensitive to the sins of his past, as he made sure Shaitaan could never gain entry to his fragile heart. But cursed devil, had other ideas...
She wasn’t stunningly beautiful; one wouldn’t stop for a second glance at the sight of her. No, she wasn’t that type of girl. Maybe it was her eyes. Maybe it was her smile. No one could’ve known nor noticed. But Hariri did. He had took note of her ever since the first day he had laid eyes upon her. He knew there was something about this girl that made his heart flutter each time they met.

It probably was her smile. “That of an angel”, thought Hariri. She had an aura of pleasantness. And she always smelt like peaches and cream whenever she walked pass him. Hariri would go weak in the knees at her alluring scent. He would often stare at her from behind the counter he was stationed at. Observing. Longing. What he would do to get to know her better. Hariri was in love...

At the same time, Hariri was all too aware of the dangers of male female relationship. He was aware that Islam had rules to protect its followers from being lured into adultery. His faith toward Allah’s words was enough of a barrier for him to lower his gaze.

But, as all humans, Hariri had his moments of weakness. It was during these times that he started to make up excuses, creating justifications for the sins he was about to do. It was during these times that Shaitaan whispered beautiful thoughts in his ears.

“I’ll just ask for her phone number, just to get to know her a little bit better. That can’t be wrong can it? After all, it’s just a phone call...”
His conscience was severely battered from the amount of times he subjected it to furious debate. Slowly but surely, Hariri’s principles he worked so hard to uphold, were beginning to crumble.

Aisha was taken aback when first approached by her co-worker she had learned to respect over the months they got to know each other. She definitely felt some sort of attraction to this handsome young man; he was always calm and cool, yet reduced to stuttering when faced with her. At some point she realized that he was interested in her, and she did not mind one bit. She was flattered that the most eligible bachelor up for grabs had a crush on her. The scene was set. The devil had laid his trap.

Pretty soon, things between Hariri and Aisha got serious. They were caught in a superficial web of bliss, oblivious to all around them. They started going out together, spending long hours on the phone, pouring their hearts out till the wee hours of the morning. Hariri was blinded by it all, continually lulled into a false sense of security by the whisperings of the devil. They were very much in love with each other, and Hariri couldn’t feel any happier. Or so he thought.

Their relationship went on for over a year, up to a point where they vowed they would marry each other, albeit when the time was right. This was again society playing a role in making life difficult for teenagers exposed to the dangers of free-mixing. In an environment that promotes freedom of expression, it oozed with hypocrisy in its selection of acts deemed permissible more than others.

When man decides to impose his own brand of logic over what was prescribed in the Quran, trouble would ultimately ensue. Of the many cases of pre-marital sex, unwanted pregnancy, and even adultery, half of the statistics could’ve been avoided if the environment itself did not overflow with sexual innuendo from all aspects.

But as fate would interfere Hariri was offered a scholarship to study overseas. His many years of hard work had paid off. He was finally able to live his dreams of studying abroad. His scholarship required him to spend two years in a preparatory college, situated in the outskirts of Selangor. If he qualified with enough points, he would be eligible to apply for colleges around the UK and Ireland. It was a good deal. An offer too good to refuse.

But he also had to leave Aisha....

He had not prepared himself for this. His plans were severely disrupted with Aisha in the picture. No way could he let her go. He loved her too much. Aisha had suddenly become excess baggage. He knew it wouldn’t be fair to ask her to wait for him as she had her own life too.

He would dedicate the next 7 years of his life, in the prime of his youth, to study medicine. Hariri in retrospect was determined to make good on his ambitions to become a doctor. His ambitions, however, came at price. Being separated for 7 years was not something he thought that the relationship could stand. Hariri was caught in two minds. He wanted both. He did not want to lose her. He knew he couldn’t live without the love of his life.

Hariri had no other choice than to attempt a long-distance relationship with Aisha, despite being extremely pessimistic of his chances. But he had to try. She was the apple of his eye, and definitely worth the effort.

That night he decided that it was worth a shot. She would definitely be there when he had completed his studies. He willed it to happen. “Aisha oh Aisha...May fate be on our side,”


Ahmad Zulkifli said...

Hey...aisha dah ada orang amik...:P

missnurnadya said...

salam..i think i know hariri and aisha very well...very very very well..and i think u know who am i talking about right?? correct me if i'm wrong.just 4 u to know, i think aisha will wait for hariri.its juz d matter that she thought that hariri has totally left her behind and moved on with his own life..aisha needs to know d truth..u have to ask hariri to tell aisha the truth...(klau i tersalah org,maafkan la ye).. salam..

missnurnadya said...

she needs to know the truth...


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