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Virtue Prevails

By:
Martyr Bint al Huda

FOREWARD
Dear readers,
I am not a professional storywriter. What I present herein are but a few of the many portraits of life in which Good confronts Evil and spiritual faith and belief confront an imperialist, dominating culture.
The apex of my hope is to produce a faithful image of the ideological call for virtue to prevail over vice.
Muslim men and women live contradictory existences of contemporary life as presented in the following fiction. I have tried to pave the way for the revival of one of the propagative apparatus, the story, which influences our lives at this juncture in Islamic history.

Bint al-Huda
CHAPTER I

On the spacious balcony of a home in the capital of an Islamic country, two young women sat nearby talking. Sumayah, the resident of the house, looks younger than her twenty years. She listens to her visitor with a disapproving look on her face. Fitnah, Sumayah's cousin, has recently returned from a European country, where she and her husband had lived for several years. Having heard of Sumayah's impending marriage, Fitnah hastened to visit her, with evil intentions. She spoke about European life and the advantages of western civilization. She also relates off-color jokes, but Sumayah does not join in her laughter.
Sumayah, a polite young woman, was raised in a religious family. Her future husband, Ahmad, has completed his education and is now managing a successful business. Ahmad and Sumayah are officially engaged, and he visits her home often.
Although Sumayah does not agree with her cousin's way of thinking, she doesn't want to insult her guest, who is saying, "The best place for your honeymoon is Europe."
"Europe!" replied Sumayah, "We won't go to any European country. We may visit another Islamic country."
Fitnah laughed and said, "Perhaps you intend to spend your honeymoon performing your pilgrimage in Mecca!"
Sumayah ignored her sarcasm, "No, we have decided to perform our hajj at a later time."
"Why don't you suggest to Ahmad that you visit Paris or London? Can't he afford it?"
"Oh, he can afford it, but neither one of us like the idea of spending our honeymoon in Europe."
Fitnah asked, "Is he afraid to travel by air? Then he can travel by car or by ship. By the way, has he a car?"
"Yes, he has. And he has never been afraid of flying! In fact, he is a good Muslim and does not want to have his honeymoon in Europe."
Fitnah exclaimed, "Oh, this is terrible! Is he a reactionary?"
"Absolutely not. He is a very enlightened and educated person", Sumayah replied.
"Is he a very religious man?" Fitnah asked.
Sumayah smiled, "Thank God, he is!"
"Oh, what a pity! You do not know what it means for a modern girl to marry a religious man! You don't know of the limits, chains and strict instructions that he will impose upon you."
Sumayah replied, "I am quite sure that you exaggerate. I am a Muslim believer and I know Islam has its own morals and value system."
Fitnah continued, "These so-called morals are nothing other than chains and rules; an abyss in which you will be kept away from society. You are at the threshold of life; don't allow reactionary ideas to disturb your happy future!"
"You are mistaken. There is nothing reactionary in religion. Ahmad is sure to make me happy. He is everything to me and I love him very much."
Fitnah told her, "Yet, you won't be everything to him. You will be just like any other thing in his life."
"Oh, no, I am aware of my status in his heart."
"Well, as long as you are engaged, he will display all his love and passion. But when you live together, you will find out what a Muslim man is really like!"
Losing patience, Sumayah asked, "Am I not a Muslim also?"
"Yes, you are a Muslim girl, but not of Ahmad's type! My point of view is that the woman should have complete freedom to enjoy all of life's pleasures. Ahmad will only control yours, as if you were his slave."
"This is strange," Sumayah commented. "Why do you hate and misrepresent Islam, although you are a Muslim woman? Has Europe corrupted you?"
Fitnah answered, "Oh, no. My affection for you has prompted me to speak frankly. Though I was happy when I heard the news of your engagement, I also felt sorrow, since I wished a better future for you."
"How can you be so sure that I won't have a good life?" Sumayah asked.
Fitnah said, "If your husband is of those few who boast of Islam and its ethics, he will never make you happy."
"What do you mean by 'few'? Can't you see there are millions of believers everywhere?"
"I mean those who have only recently adopted hollow ideals, which they use to dominate woman and control her by imposing limits and barriers on her under the cover of Islam."
"But a Muslim man also has limits", Sumayah replied.
"Well, they are free to do what they like. Hasn't Ahmad been to Europe several times?"
"He is going to Paris soon, as a matter of fact, in order to forward his thesis for his doctorate and to sign some business contracts."
"Then he has the right to go, but you have not! Can't you see? He is free to go wherever he wishes. As for you, Islamic limits hold you back."
"I don't agree with you. Ahmad and I share the same ideas. I am satisfied with Islamic limits."
"I am afraid you will wake up suddenly one day and it will be too late!" Fitnah predicted gloomily.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean to say that marriage won't be successful unless it is founded on progressive norms. A modern girl won't have a good marriage unless she is released from family pressure and is free to choose the man she wants to marry."
Sumayah said, "Family ties, which you call pressure, are for the benefit of the whole family. In any case, I have been free to choose Ahmad."
Fitnah then said, "You will be faithful to him, I'm sure. But men are unlike women. They cheat their wives by various methods. They exploit women by referring to religious instructions, which imprison women in their homes."
"Why do you consider a woman's own home to be a prison?" Sumayah asked.
Fitnah replied, "A woman cannot keep her eyes on her man unless she accompanies him on his trips and parties! A woman who sits in her house and leaves her husband free to enjoy himself cannot have a happy life."
"Oh, you don't know what a wonderful man Ahmad is. I wish you knew him."
Fitnah remained silent for a moment and, trying to sound normal, said, "I have never seen him."
"When you meet him, you will change your ideas about Muslim believers."
Fitnah suddenly stood up and said, "I must leave now. I am going to a party tonight."
Sumayah was surprised by her cousin's abrupt departure. She walked with her to the door and then returned to her mother, who asked, "Why have you been sitting on the balcony all alone?"
"I was not alone," Sumayah told her, "Fitnah has just left."
"What has she told you? I am sure she speaks about nothing but Europe and western so-called civilization."
"You are quite right, mama!"
"Woe to her! Has not it been enough for her to spoil her own nature? Can she not stop herself from pouring her poisonous words into your ears? She is afraid of talking in my presence; that is why she preferred to sit on the balcony! She is Satan himself."
Sumayah said, "Oh, mama! She is your niece. You shouldn't talk about her like that!"
"I don't like her manners and her deviated behaviour." Sumayah's mother told her. "She has caused her mother's death. My sister never condoned her daughter's bad behavior. Now tell me, what did she say to you?"
"Mother dear, forget it. She never has ill intentions."
"I wish you knew her real character so that you would not be tempted to listen to her."
"Oh mama, take it easy. I never agree with her ideas, but I do not agree with you in calling her a Satan. She is my cousin."
Sumayah went to her own room, trying to forget Fitnah’s words. She was sure of Ahmad's love and that he was an excellent person. She knew that her cousin was unhappy, and that all she had gotten out of life was an unemployed husband who was good for nothing. Due to a substantial inheritance, he is free to spend much on his pleasures without the least consideration of Allah's bounties in regard to gratitude and good works. Her cousin thinks of nothing but money. In fact, she lives for the sake of money. Sumayah decided to ask Ahmad about woman's status in Islam and his own viewpoint. She knew that he would no doubt explain everything to her and elaborate on the differences between the roles of men and women.

CHAPTER II
Fitnah got into her car and drove away quickly, as if she wanted to escape. She arrived at her house, parked the car and walked directly to her room without greeting her husband, although she knew he was at home. She sat down on a chair and murmured, 'Woe to her! How stubborn she is. Was it not enough for him to treat me so cruelly that he has proposed to my cousin and renewed my pain? He thinks Sumayah matches his ideals and morals, while she is only making a show of being virtuous. Years ago, I tried to make him love me, but he never cared for me. He said I was a fool and a deviated person. He will soon know that Sumayah is no better than I am. I know how to draw her to this corrupted life of mine.
'I married this playboy in order to get his wealth and enjoy life. I must tolerate living with him for the sake of his riches. Oh, I will deprive Sumayah of Ahmad as he deprived me of himself. I won't allow him to fulfill his dream of marrying a committed Muslim girl. I'll show him this is impossible and that Sumayah is just like me. Now Ahmad is getting his doctorate while my husband, Hamid, has not even managed to get any degree. I'll never let Sumayah get such a husband as Ahmad. I know he is bright, clever and has strong belief, yet he is also stubborn, reactionary and full of vanity.'
At that moment, the door opened and Hamid entered. A smile was on his face as he said, "I thought you were sick. May I enter?"
Fitnah tried to appear normal as she told him; "I have a headache, that is why I did not join you in the living room."
Hamid said, "You look quite well! Does it make you sick to see me?"
"Oh, Hamid, do not make me nervous. I didn't know you were at home!" she lied.
"But didn't you see my car? You are absent-minded today."
Fitnah said, "I told you, I have a headache! Please leave me alone now. Do not make me angry."
"Alas I am nothing but one of your many lovers and." he began.
"Oh, stop it. I know what you are going to say, so don't repeat it."
Hamid said, "You don't want to hear it! You are lucky to have a husband like me, otherwise you are good for no one.”
"What about you?" Fitnah asked. "Could any other woman tolerate life with you? You talk about me, but you forget all about yourself."
"Am I so bad?" Hamid asked her. Fitnah replied, "You should know. Had I not been a good wife, I would not have lived one day with you. There is nothing to benefit me in living with you!"
"Then why did you marry me? Why did you attract me to yourself?"
"Oh, what a rascal you are!" Fitnah exclaimed.
Hamid said, "Never mind! I know what attracted you to me! It is my wealth, which you adore. And you have beauty, which I love. I like to live free of limits and you do also, hence we match each other."
"Have you finished?" Fitnah sighed.
"No, I have not seen you for ages. At night you attend parties and during the day you visit friends and shops. You forget you have a house and a husband! Why don't we have a child?"
Fitnah became impatient and cried, "Please leave me alone. I am sick and tired. I must sleep!"
"Then you won't even have lunch with me?"
"No, go away", she said.
Hamid asked, "What if I go and never return to you?"
Fitnah was about to say: Go, I don't care, but she controlled her feelings. He is her golden goose! Can she give him up? She does not love him. She despises him and thinks of him as being a worthless creature, but for his wealth; even his indecency is nothing to her. In fact, she has encouraged him to adopt her loose way of living so that she can live free of restrictions.
His great wealth, luxurious house and magnificent car are too precious for her to risk losing. She smiled and said quietly "You know dear, life is dull without you, but I have this headache. Otherwise, I would have been happy to join you."
"I wish you were not so beautiful. Then you would see how I could treat you and make you feel less proud! Surely, you now think, 'I wish you were not so rich'. Had I been poor, I would not have been your prey!"
"Oh, Hamid, you do me an injustice by these words. I love no one but you.”
"Thanks a lot. Yet you insist on turning me out."
"I always love to have you near me, but now I need to rest." "This is your usual way," Hamid said, leaving the room. "Sweet words but stingy deeds. I am leaving you, so be at ease."
He left the room, displeased. Fitnah imagined for a moment that she might lose him, but she dismissed such an idea, since she was sure of her own beauty. She said to herself, 'Oh, it is nothing important. As soon as I smile at him, he will come quickly. Now I must think about Ahmad, who never cared for my beauty and called me a foolish, deviated girl.'
She lay on her bed, thinking of only one thing: revenge on Ahmad and his belief, which blocked her way to his heart. No, she must engineer a revenge through her cousin. She is determined to do her best to spoil this marriage, and lay thinking of the best way to achieve her aim.

CHAPTER III
Sumayah was anxious to meet Ahmad to ask him about women's status in Islam. He usually called on her every day on his way home from work. That afternoon, she welcomed him with a lovely smile. He felt that she had something to say, so he encouraged her to speak her mind. She asked him if he was ready to listen to her.
Ahmad told her, "By all means, I always like listening to you."
"I would like to know the difference in rights between a male and a female in Islam."
"There is no difference", Ahmad replied. "They have equal rights. They are both created of the same clay."
"Why, then, are limits imposed on women rather than on men?" Sumayah asked him.
"No limits are imposed on women except that which is necessary in regard to their nature and biological structure. Islam does not put woman under any kind of pressure."
Sumayah persisted, "Doesn't hijab hinder her from enjoying life as she likes? Is it due to my hijab that I cannot travel with you to Europe?"
"Oh no, hijab cannot prevent woman from doing anything. I would take you with me to Europe, if it were a healthy, decent society. I oppose Muslim girls' travel to Europe for fear that they may become deviated. If it were a useful journey, I would surely take you with me."
Sumayah asked, "Don't you think that seeing western civilization can be useful?"
Ahmad said, "This is exactly the point which is the source of much trouble. We Muslims should not think that civilization is a western phenomena. In fact, if the matter is explored deeply, you will see that it is Islamic civilization that has brought to Europe its present scientific progress. European so-called civilization is nothing but an expression of the jahillia (Pre-Islamic Age of Ignorance), with regard to European women."
Sumayah then asked, "Well, does not the European woman have her rights in full, the same as man?"
Ahmad disagreed, "Absolutely not. Through recent European laws, the European woman has gained only a part of woman's rights that are already granted by Islamic laws. The European woman has lost her feminism. She has become a mere commodity and is a tool manipulated by men. Islam has granted woman her independent identity. She is free to handle her own financial affairs and personal life. European women have been trapped by the false, bright colours of life expoused by the so-called liberation of woman. Freedom is just a cover with which man hides his own exploitation of woman at all levels. Believe me, my dear, if Europe was a good place, I would encourage you to go."
"I am quite aware of this. I only wanted sound evidence to answer anyone who doubts our Islamic morals and beliefs," Sumayah replied.
Ahmad said, "You won't find a better, happier life except in Islam and when Islamic instructions are respected and applied. I wish you really knew about the great misery that engulfs families deviated from Islamic norms. A marriage based on Islamic foundations will be quite successful. Our future life will certainly be happy."
Sumayah smiled and said, "I know you will do your best to ensure such a happy life. By the way, have you decided when you will begin your trip?"
Ahmad said, "I am on my way to settle that. It is a matter of a few days. Then we will be able to plan living, together in our own home when I return."
At this point, he said good-bye to Sumayah and left for his home. He promised to return later for further discussion.
Sumayah was sure of her Islamic belief; she just wanted to know the best, answers to all the questions raised by her cousin and others.
On his way home, Ahmad thought about his fiancée. He was sad that some deviated girls were trying to confuse her thinking, He decided to explain any matters that were unclear for her. Above all, he wanted her to be in thorough harmony with him in his beliefs and ideals. What caused him to seek her hand in marriage was her good conduct and strong personality. Ahmad recalled an old incident when an unreligious girl used many tricks to try to tempt him and trap him. He wondered what had become of her. He couldn't even remember her name. He is quite happy with the choice he made in his future wife.

CHAPTER IV
A week passed by and Sumayah was about to forget everything her cousin Fitnah had said. She was quite happy and a bit anxious about her fiancé’s trip. One day, as Sumayah stood waiting for a bus, to go to her tailor, her cousin pulled up, stopped her car and offered her a ride. She got in and sat next to her cousin, who usually drove her own car.
Fitnah said, "I thought you said Ahmad has a car!"
"Yes, he has," Sumayah replied, "He is out of town on some business."
"One day I will come to know him, though I do somehow fear him," Fitnah said.
"You are mistaken. He is a kind and polite person."
"But you say he is strict."
Sumayah protested, "No, I never said that. He is very reasonable."
Fitnah told her cousin, "Perhaps to you he seems to be like that. He has managed to make you agree with all of his ideas."
"I do not agree with you! He never imposes his beliefs on me, but I do share these beliefs with him."
"Then you are truly happy?"
"We are", Sumayah stated.
Fitnah drove in silence for a moment and then said, "By the way, are you ever going to learn how to drive?" "No, it's not necessary. Ahmad can take me anywhere I wish to go."
"Of course!" Fitnah exclaimed. "He won't allow you to drive a car. This is a good way for him to know where you go. As for you, you cannot follow him, since you are a Muslim believer."
Sumayah asked, "Why should I follow him? Do you think I should sit next to him at his office? I'm not suspicious!"
"What about his parties and trips?"
"Women have their own parties and meetings."
Sumayah answered. "In any case, Ahmad does not attend parties of both sexes or night clubs."
Fitnah said, "You are being misled. All men are of one of two categories: some are nice and peaceful. They share all social activities with their wives. On the other hand, some are strict and prone to exploit their simple-minded wives and keep them at home."
Sumayah disagreed, "Well, I think a good man is a man who shares his ideals and beliefs with his wife."
"What a strange idea!" her cousin retorted.
"It is not. I have always believed this."
Fitnah continued, "Well, this was your idea when you were a child. Now that you are at the threshold of adulthood, you should have new ideas."
"No, I do not agree with your viewpoint."
"I am quite surprised at your behavior. I do not know how to keep you from destroying your future with such reactionary beliefs. You are an educated girl, yet you stick to these limits on the pretext of being a Muslim. We are all Muslims. Do you think these millions are wrong and only Ahmad is right? Think of yourself. By giving in to Ahmad, you are going to lose much."
Sumayah told her, "My submission is to Allah only. I have my own belief and I am quite happy with Ahmad and my future."
Fitnah asked her cousin, "Can you really be satisfied with this isolated, worthless life?"
Sumayah replied, "It is neither isolated nor worthless! It is what I long for and it is filled with pleasures!"
Fitnah argued, "You still don't know what real pleasure is. You are unaware of life, although you are over twenty years old. Ahmad has managed to mislead you."
"I am quite aware of life and of my right course in it. Anyway, I have never been interested in this corrupted social life of yours. My own girlfriends are all committed Muslims. I am neither ignorant, nor in need of your advice."
"Oh, I am very sorry. I didn't mean to anger you. I do not know why you are upset."
"I am not angry. But I do not like your words!"
Fitnah pretended to feel hurt, "I have alienated you. I feel like I am your older sister, and I am very concerned about your future. I am sure if I introduce you to my friends you will like them all and have great times. Now I have lost all hope. I have spoken frankly to you, and I apologize for this frankness."
Sumayah didn't want her cousin to be hurt, so she said, "That's okay. Please stop. The tailor's shop is right here."
"Sumayah, do you want me to wait for you?"
"No, thank you. I can manage by myself”, she replied.
"How can I let you return by bus? I'll pick you here in an hour", Fitnah told her.
Sumayah didn't answer her. She just got out of the car, thanked her cousin for the ride and waved good-bye.
Sumayah left the shop when her work was finished, without waiting for her cousin.
That afternoon, Fitnah visited her to apologize for being unable to take her back.
Sumayah told her that she didn't wait for her. Then Fitnah told her cousin about the party of the previous night and how the singers sang until daybreak. She spoke about films and western film stars, and mentioned the hunting parties that she often attended with her friends. She did not forget to also talk about swimming and the beautiful swimming pools she frequented. Finally Sumayah asked, "What about your husband? Why don't you mention him? Has he no place in your heart?"
Fitnah was vexed, but tried to sound calm. She thought the question was a challenge. Her husband's personality is the Achille's heel of her life. She forced a smile and said, "I am an independent wife. My life is not mixed up with his. I accompany him only to special parties. We both believe in our rights to live free."
"How strange it sounds to me!" Sumayah remarked. "You always say that a woman should follow her husband anywhere he goes. Now you say you are free and have the right to do as you like."
Fitnah told her, "You misunderstand me. I mean to say that I accompany him on some occasions, but I do not allow him to follow me anywhere I go. I am sure of myself, but I doubt my husband. A smart woman should never believe her husband and should never allow him to play his own way."
"Do you love your husband?"
Fitnah hesitated and said, "Of course I do. He is a wonderful man. I will introduce him to you. We may visit you soon." Sumayah shook her head, "I am sorry, but I won't meet him unless Ahmad is present."
"Oh, Ahmad again! I see he is an obstacle in your way."
Sumayah said, "Please be careful. He is to be my husband and I love him. I won't allow you to undermine his character."
"Had I been here before your engagement, I would have prevented it" Fitnah declared.
Surprised, Sumayah said, "You don't have the right to deprive me of a happy life!"
Fitnah told her, "You are being silly. How could you agree to such an engagement without knowing him first?"
"It makes no difference; I came to know him soon after our engagement. I am neither silly nor was he imposed on me. I have free will and I am sure I won't regret my choice in the future. You believe a couple should enjoy close friendship before engagement. Yet a boy or a girl can deceive each other. Things usually are uncovered in the long run during marriage."
"You are wrong. Society does not consider matters as you do. You are the only one with such old-fashioned ideas," Fitnah said.
"By society, you mean your own friends. As for me, I do not believe you. There are many like me."
"I have not seen any of them", her cousin retorted.
Sumayah continued, "Of course you cannot see things my way. Your way of living has blinded you and you won't believe what you see or hear! Just like those who live in utter darkness."
Fitnah said sarcastically, "Go on! I enjoy your fanatic ideas. You lack nothing but a sanctuary, where you can pray and recite sermons day and night!" "You are wrong. It makes no difference to me, whatever you say!"
"What a pity! you just repeat the words of ancient times. How quickly you have lost your liveliness. I feel sorry for you. How often I have told Hamid that you are a very beautiful girl. He is eager to meet you. Alas! You speak of nothing but advice and wise sayings."
Sumayah disagreed, "I speak of life without its false, decorative mask."
Fitnah then said, "Ahmad is clever to have taught you all this."
"Don't talk about him like that. I wish you knew him so you could know his real nature."
At these words, Fitnah became pale and said weakly, "Of course, one day I will meet him, but not now."
"Why not? I am sure that upon seeing him you will change your mind and you will admire him very much."
"I do not like men of his type, whoever it might be."
Sumayah pointed to a photograph on a table and said, "Here is his picture."
Fitnah did not want to look, for fear that her feelings would betray her. She no longer loved him. Her love had changed into hatred and devilish intention. She avoided looking at the picture.
"Please look at him. Can such a man deserve your unjust attacks?"
Fitnah had no other choice but to look at the photograph. She turned her head quickly, saying, "Perhaps I have seen him once or twice at night clubs."
Sumayah angrily said, "I do not believe you, Fitnah. I love and respect Ahmad. I am proud of him."
"Being a wife myself, I do appreciate a happy marriage. I hope you will have everlasting happiness." After an awkward moment of silence, Fitnah left and Sumayah joined her parents in having dinner. She felt uneasy and longed for Ahmad's imminent return. She wished Fitnah was not her cousin, in which case she would treat her quite differently. She wished she could reform her cousin, but she was at a loss as to how to do so.

CHAPTER V
Fitnah felt quite worn out as she entered her room and thought over what had passed between her and her cousin. She was afraid that Sumayah noticed her hesitation and saw the confusion on her face when she glanced at Ahmad's picture. She stretched out on her bed and released the reins of her thoughts. She realized the risk of visiting Sumayah's house. What if Ahmad had seen her there? Her designs would have been in vain.
Fitnah decided it was best to remain on friendly terms with Sumayah in order to carry out her revenge. Her aim was to spoil her cousin's future. Fitnah was well aware of her own corrupted conduct, therefore, she wanted to drag Sumayah into the same swamp. That night, she slept fitfully.
The next morning, Fitnah bathed, dressed and called Nadia, her maid. Nadia, a young, pretty girl in her twenties, entered her mistress's room and greeted her.
Fitnah cast a long look at her, then asked: "Has anyone phoned me?"
Nadia replied, "The master is at home. He answers all calls."
Then Fitnah asked, "What about yesterday afternoon when I was out?"
"He was at home at that time as well."
"Was he at home last night?" Her maid answered, "Yes. He did not leave his room."
"Is he sick?" Fitnah inquired.
Nadia told her, "I don't know."
"Has anyone visited him?"
"Not that I know of. In any case, I am not a spy, paid to keep an eye on him!"
"Have I asked you to do such a thing? Get out, you impudent girl!"
Nadia turned to leave the room, but Fitnah told her to stop.
"Look, Nadia", she said, "I don't like your make-up and how your hair is done. One would think you are on your way out to a party. Wear a simple hair-style and do not use heavy make-up."
"But why, my lady? Am I not free to dress, as I like?”
Fitnah replied, "Well, have you ever seen anyone with such make-up and hair at such an early hour of the day?"
Nadia answered, "You, my lady, usually do such a thing."
"I am a married woman and society expects me to dress so. In any case, what business is it of yours? You are only a servant, and I can dismiss you any time I please."
Nadia replied, "Can you really?"
"Yes, I can!"
"Why don't you do it now?"
Fitnah looked sharply at her, "You make me angry. That's enough nonsense and impoliteness. Go, I cannot tolerate seeing you!"
"It makes no difference to me," Nadia shrugged, leaving the room.
Fitnah was quite upset. She controlled the urge to slap Nadia in the face. She knew Nadia was quite aware of all her secrets, so she thought it best to control her feelings.
Fitnah told herself, 'What a poisonous serpent she is! She blackmails me with what she knows about me. I am a coward! Why should I fear her? What can she say?
Men and women have the same rights. Why should I fear a scandal? Everyone around me lives scandalous lives. Yet I do fear one thing, my husband, Hamid, who is unaware of the extent of my mischief. He is the only source I have of wealth and riches...Money dominates everything and can overcome all obstacles. Hence, I must tolerate Nadia's devilish challenge. I know what her looks mean. Hamid stays at home for her own sake! I
should have fired her long ago, before it became too late. Anyway, she is my maid and it is my own mistake. Now I will go to Hamid's room.'
Fitnah put on an expensive silk robe and entered her husband's room without knocking on the door, in order to catch him by surprise. She found him relaxing in a comfortable chair. Soft music was playing.
"Oh, what a surprise to see you! I thought you were ill", Fitnah exclaimed.
Smiling, Hamid asked, "What makes you think so? I am quite well."
"But you have not left the house for two days. This is not like you."
"How can you say that? You are always the first to leave and the last to come home," Hamid told his wife.
Fitnah then asked, "Is it possible that you spend all the time in the house?"
Hamid replied, "Well, nights are enough for me!"
"Oh, Hamid, you irritate me by your indifference!"
"Do I? Anyway, lately I have found that I prefer to stay at home."
"How do you spend your time?"
"Reading books and listening to the news."
Fitnah laughed, "That is wonderful! Since when do you read books and listen to the news?"
"Oh, you do me a great wrong. Am I so stupid and uninformed?"
"Now, be frank and tell me why you are really staying at home more often than usual."
"I told you, I have always done that."
"But why?"
Hamid said, "I have some important matters to take care of here."
Fitnah said, "Now, speak out; do not make me nervous. What are these important matters?"
Hamid asked, "Why should you be upset about them?"
Fitnah replied, "Of course, I know what you are talking about, but I want you be honest with me."
"Have you been frank with me? "Hamid asked his wife. "When I recently asked you to come on a trip with me, did you give a good reason for declining to accompany me?" Fitnah paced back and forth, "So, you are trying to get back at me."
"Does your behavior call for revenge? You know me quite well, I am free to have my own way. Keep in mind, this is my house!"
Getting to the point, Fitnah said, "But Nadia is my own maid!"
"Yet I pay her salary and I am her master."
"Well, I can send her away whenever I like", she told him.
Hamid stated, "You won't do it!"
"What do you mean?"
Hamid, "I mean, we should not quarrel. Let us have a truce!"
"Why are you bargaining?" Fitnah asked.
"Call it whatever you like."
Fitnah said, "Oh, you get on my nerves!"
"What about mine? Am I made of stone? Have I no feelings?"
"Your nerves are made of iron," Fitnah told him.
"But you can crush iron"
"Really, am I such a strong person? Then we are equal."
Hamid disagreed, "Oh, no, you are ahead of me."
"I am proud of that!" Fitnah smiled.
Hamid said, "Then enjoy your pride. Now what good fortune has sent you to my room? I don't believe love has brought you here. You have not entered my room for ages. Surely you are in need of money."
"You don't want to see me!" Fitnah pouted.
"Oh, no, I always long for a visit from you. Be sure of that. My love for you has taught me patience. To speak honestly, I am quite miserable with your love. But there is no way out; I do love you."
Fitnah tried to respond to his words although she despised him and felt no love for him. She wanted to dominate him for the sake of his wealth. She even felt no humiliation knowing that her maid was her husband's mistress. The false civilization she lived in had stripped her of all dignity and female pride. All she cared for was money, so she smiled and spoke passionately to her husband.
Fitnah moved close to her husband and whispered, "Oh, Hamid, you have no idea how much I love you. But believe me, it is life's concerns that keep me away from you." Her sweet words made Hamid forget her indecent conduct, his girl friends and his mistress, Nadia.
“I am your slave. I cant live without you”, Hamid assured her.
Fitnah found it hard to exchange words of love with him, but for the sake of money she carried on the role of a loving wife.

CHAPTER VI
Upon Ahmad's return from his business trip, he hastened to his fiancée’s home.
"How happy I am with you", he told Sumayah.
Sumayah replied, "I fear something may spoil our happiness. I wish it could last forever. Ahmad assured her, "Real happiness can overcome anything. Neither the passage of time nor any incident can harm true love. The angelic brightness of your face overwhelms me. Love that changes like the weather is not real love. It is only an illusion, which vanishes in the end.
Happiness that stems from materialistic pleasures is sure to disappear. It is just a dream, after which one awakes to reality".
"Be sure, my dear, that our marriage will be wonderful. Our souls are mingled and our hearts are close. Our ideas and beliefs are in harmony. Nothing can spoil our relationship."
After Ahmad left her, Sumayah felt comforted by his words and dreamt of a joyful future.
Meanwhile, Fitnah's house was ablaze with colored lights. She had invited a special group of close friends to celebrate her husband's birthday. She dressed carefully, in the latest fashion, and precious stones encircled her neck and wrists. Fitnah looked quite beautiful as she smiled and welcomed her guests, who arrived one after the other.
Salah, a young photographer, was one of her guests and was in love with her. Fitnah had given up all other lovers for his sake. He tried to keep as near as possible to her throughout the evening, however, among the guests there was a new face who was attracted to the beautiful hostess, but was too embarrassed to begin a conversation with her. A friend of Fitnah joked, "Imagine Fitnah, my friend was reluctant to come to your party." Fitnah asked, "Really? Why?"
The friend said, "He feared you might ignore him!" Fitnah, in order to arouse her lover's jeolousy, said flirtingly, "Oh, how could I ignore such a well-known engineer?"
Sami, the new friend, expressed words of thanks and Fitnah found it easy to make him attracted to her. She decided to use him as a threat if her lover, Salah, even threatened to leave her. She continued to chat with the young man until she was certain of his interest in her. Then she left Sami and went in search of Salah, who had left the group.
Fitnah knew he was annoyed by her conduct. She looked everywhere, and finally discovered him in the arms of one of her close friends in a secluded corner of the garden. She was quite upset at having lost him so quickly. She came near the couple and exclaimed,
"How wonderful! You have left the party to hide here and enjoy yourselves."
Salah was taken by surprise and the girl was very embarrassed.
Fitnah remarked, "I knew that you were occasionally unfaithful to me, but not to such a degree in my own home!"
"Fitnah please...” Salah began to say.
"Stop your nonsense, you, who change your partners like you change clothes."
Salah said, "But, it is you who..."
"I know what you want to say, so don't bother to explain yourself," Fitnah told him angrily. "It is my own mistake. I trusted you. Now I see you are no better than any other playboy."
Salah pleaded, "Oh, Fitnah, you never thought about my feelings. You lavished all your attention on that engineer."
Fitnah said, "What has that to do with you? Have you ever tried to behave, at least in my house? Go, you mean nothing to me!"
"Please, be fair to me, let me..." She turned away before he could finish his sentence. Salah was very unhappy, although his companion tried to cheer him up. He rejoined the party and begged for Fitnah's forgiveness.
In fact, Fitnah had planned to enjoy the evening with her lover, but she found that her husband was missing.
She went to his room and saw him sprawled on his bed, quite drunk. Her maid was sitting near the bed.
Fitnah asked, "Why has he come here?" Nadia told her, "I brought him."
"How could you have dragged him along?"
Nadia replied, "He was not drunk at that time."
Fitnah exclaimed, "You gave him too much to drink. How dare you? You tricky..."
Nadia interrupted, "Please, my lady, I am not a tricky person. I am the same as you are, not less, not more. At least I am satisfied with one, while you..."
Fitnah began, "Shut your mouth you stupid little..."
"I am not as stupid as you think I am," Nadia defiantly said, standing up.
Fearing that her guests would notice her absence, Fitnah ordered Nadia to wake up Hamid, since it was a matter of politeness to say good-bye to his guests. Feeling hatred and disgrace, she joined the others: Her lover tried to speak to her, but she gave him no chance.
Hamid was too intoxicated to wake up, so the guests left with only Fitnah to bid them good night. Salah alone remained. He knelt in front of Fitnah and swore that he didn't care for anyone but her. He was clever enough to articulate words of love and she finally forgave him. After he left, she went to her husband's room to find him in a deep sleep, so she went to her own room.
Fitnah could not sleep, and thought of Ahmad, and how she would get her revenge. She again thought of how to drag her cousin into her corrupt way of life. She felt sure that many men would be attracted to Sumayah's beauty and reasoned that no woman can resist temptation. She finally fell asleep, and awoke to see the sun high in the sky. She did not call her maid to assist her in having a bath. Fitnah bathed, dressed and tried to leave her home without attracting the attention of Nadia, but the maid surprised her by saying, "What? are you leaving without breakfast?"
Fitnah did not answer, while Nadia continued, "Why haven't you called me to assist you this morning? Are you still angry with me?"
Fitnah replied, "Oh, no, I am not."
Nadia then said, "Have you seen my master?"
"No, how is he?"
"He is not feeling well, and plans to stay at home," her maid replied.
Fitnah felt a surge of jealousy, but managed to control herself. "Take care of him," she told Nadia. "I have an important appointment and I must leave now."
Fitnah hurried out and drew a deep breath, as if she had escaped from a prison. Her house was like a hateful cage of trouble and pain.

CHAPTER VII
Three weeks later, speaking over the telephone, Fitnah told her cousin, "I have missed you, Sumayah. Are we not cousins? Why haven't you called?"
Sumayah replied, "I am sorry. I have been busy with my fiancé, who is about to leave. In any case, I hope you are well."
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. I'll try to visit you soon. Why not now?" Fitnah asked.
Sumayah replied, "Oh, no. I cannot."
"Then I will come to see you this afternoon."
When Fitnah arrived, Sumayah greeted her warmly and apologized for not visiting her. Fitnah began talking about her life, "I have mentioned you to my husband, He is anxious to meet you. I also told him about Ahmad. He could not believe his ears. He wondered if such men still existed in this modern age. I also told him you are happy with your future husband."
Sumayah remained silent. She felt that it was better not to discuss personal matters with her cousin.
"Does Ahmad allow you to attend parties?" her cousin asked.
"Yes, of course. But only decent ones."
"Then will you come to my birthday party next month?" Sumayah replied, "Yes, with pleasure."
"You will see scores of men round you." Sumayah became angry, "Oh, then I won't come. I had forgotten that you invite both sexes. You want to make a show of me. How dare you say such a thing?"
"I never meant that, I just want you to stop sanctuary. I feel sorry for you and I want you to have a good time!"
"I am quite happy, so don't take the trouble", Sumayah answered.
Fitnah remarked, "Strange! Are you really happy to remain within these four walls?"
Sumayah told her cousin, "I am happy whether I go out or stay home."
Fitnah argued, "Your freedom is limited. What is this scarf around your head and neck? What is this black loose coat that hides your beautiful figure? You look like a shapeless sack. It is a crime that you wear old women 's clothes. Why should Ahmad wear the latest fashion while you are deprived of that pleasure? It is a real injustice and a crime that a modern girl like you should obey a man; any man. What kind of a religion is it that makes a woman subservient to a man?"
Sumayah disagreed, "Islam does not make a man exploit a woman. This is a groundless claim. Muslim women, in fact, have privileges that no other women in other religions have. Muslim women's rights are protected in Islam."
"What are these privileges? Are they nothing more than cooking, cleaning and serving a husband and kids?" Fitnah asked.
"Islam does not impose these forms of work on a woman, but Islamic concepts do illustrate the benefits and blessings of caring for her husband and children. She has the choice of doing these services. She is never forced to do them. As for hijab, it is a decent dress that can protect a woman from devilish desires. I am proud to observe my hijab and I will always stick to it. Anyway you should admit that I am much happier than you are,"
Sumayah concluded.
"Well, I don't mean you only. Perhaps Ahmad has made you close your eyes to reality. I am against any ideas which are reactionary and which control the future of young girls. It is like destroying their best years of life."
"What you brand reactionary is a concept concerning social reform, with which women acquire a respectable status. In fact, nakedness is actually a reactionary idea, since it moves woman backward, back to the Age of Ignorance."
Fitnah replied, "You are misled. You have merely learnt a few words and phrases from Ahmad. If you think carefully, you will realize the truth. This is a modern age and modern society is all around us."
Sumayah protested, "I don't agree with you at all. I have great faith in Islam. I don't repeat Ahmad's words, but Islamic norms and ethics."
Fitnah realized it was useless to continue. She talked of other things and soon left her cousin. Sumayah decided to tell her fiancé about their disagreement.

CHAPTER VIII
The next day, Sumayah told Ahmad about her relatives and mentioned Fitnah, saying, "She is my cousin. She is very beautiful; but I don't like her life- style."
Ahmad was surprised, since he knew that his fiancée’s relatives were believers with good reputations.
Sumayah explained, "She grew up an orphan. Her father died when she was a child and my aunt spoiled her. She is carefree and careless. Fitnah married at a young age and went to Europe with her husband. They stayed there for three years and then returned home. Her husband failed to get his degree, but he is quite rich and can afford a luxurious life. My cousin has been misled by Western values and European civilization."
"Who is her husband?" Ahmad asked.
Sumayah replied, "I don't know him, but they say he is very rich."
"Wealth, ignorance and idleness are all dangerous factors, which can destroy a person" Ahmad said. Sumayah agreed, and added, "Beauty too. My cousin is very beautiful. I will show you her picture."
Sumayah brought out her photo album and selected one of the pictures. "This is Fitnah before she traveled to Europe." Sumayah did not look at Ahmad's face, so she did not notice his surprise and dismay as he recognized the playgirl who, years ago, had tried to trap him. He wondered how such a girl could be in contact with, much less related to, his fiancée. He reflected that Fitnah probably remembered her failure and might harbour feelings of resentment. Ahmad was about to warn Sumayah to avoid her, but he hesitated, since Fitnah was now a married woman and was possibly leading a decent life. He did not comment on the picture, and gave it back to Sumayah, who said, "See how attractive she is? I wish she had better morals."
Ahmad said, "She is beautiful. But I don't like such artificial beauty under which lies devilish motivations. Real beauty is pure and natural; not a beauty which is created by cosmetics."
"You are right", his future bride agreed.

CHAPTER IX
Meanwhile, Fitnah was still scheming about how to get revenge. She felt that her husband did not deeply care for her, but just enjoys himself, yet she knew that she could handle him when she decided what role he would play in her little drama. Finally Fitnah devised a plan in which Hamid could help her achieve her aim. She slept soundly that night and woke up feeling quite happy. She rang the bell to summon her maid, who helped her to bath and dress. Fitnah put on her best silk robe, perfumed herself and walked out of her room. Her maid was surprised, "Are you expecting visitors, mistress?"
Fitnah replied, "Oh, no. How could I greet anyone while I'm wearing these house garments?"
Nadia then asked, "Where are you going?"
Fitnah answered, "To see my husband".
The maid was vexed and Fitnah felt great humiliation when she reflected that her rival was her maid. Yet she considered the great wealth of her husband and knew it was best for her to endure the odd situation.
She knocked at Hamid's door and entered, saying, "May I come in?"
Hamid was just about to leave the home, but he changed his mind upon seeing Fitnah.
"Am I disturbing you?" Fitnah smiled.
Hamid replied, "Not at all. You are always welcome."
"It looks as if you have an important engagement", she told him.
"You are more important than anyone else", Hamid said, embracing her.
"Oh, thank you! You are such a good-hearted man", Fitnah flattered her husband.
In fact, Fitnah was well-aware of his good nature and that she could easily influence him.
They sat down and she began talking about some friends. She was saying, "There is a great struggle going on between the rich man and the artist. Both are determined to get a beautiful girl that I know. Yet I think neither of them will succeed."
"Why not?" Hamid asked.
Fitnah explained, "Years ago there was a similar situation, and she chose someone else."
"Then she is married."
"Oh, no" Fitnah said. "He was her boyfriend for some time, and she gave him up a few months ago."
His curiosity aroused, Hamid asked why.
Fitnah surmised, "Perhaps she is looking for someone more rich, even richer than her present suitor."
"Where do they meet her?", her husband asked.
"Well, at several places. She is clever enough at attracting men to her. Sometimes she claims she is married or engaged. She also often pretends to be a decent girl and a pious Muslim."
Hamid was intrigued by the description of this girl.
Fitnah left his room without saying anything more about her. She returned to her room and thought to herself, 'I can lose nothing in this game. It makes no difference to me whom Hamid has affairs with. In any case, his other mistresses are of no use to me, while this one will help me achieve my revenge. Yes, I will get back at Ahmad, his belief and his morals. This proud beauty, my cousin, can be trapped by Hamid's immense wealth and charm. All women adore money. Since I cannot bring Sumayah to my group, I'll at least show Hamid the way to her. I don't care whether Sumayah or Nadia is his lover. As long as his wealth is under my control, I won't feel jealous. Hamid is nothing to me.’
'Sumayah is a simple-hearted girl, and she has never heard words of love from a stranger. It will be very flattering to her and surely she will soon give in to Hamid's declarations of love. I think she may soon regret her engagement. The last time I spoke with her, she was very quiet. My words have affected her. I'll go on talking until I take off the mask that Ahmad has covered her with. Now I must know where she spends her free time. It's best that I wait until Ahmad leaves again for Europe. If he is nearby, he will spoil my plans.'

CHAPTER X
Ahmad's next trip was drawing near. He enjoyed the few days that remained with his fiancée. He took her to a public park near a mosque. They sat and watched the people walking by and were pleased to see several worshippers enter the mosque.
"How wonderful Islamic prayer is," Sumayah said. It causes one to feel security and happiness."
Ahmad agreed, "That is quite true. Mosques are the best places for Muslims to meet and to manage the affairs of an Islamic state, as it was at the advent of Islam. Decisions were reached in the mosque and the laws were created which ruled half of this globe. The eternal call of Allahu Akhar to prayer echoed throughout dozens of Islamic countries."
Sumayah mused, "How wonderful those days must have been."
"Yes, and it is useful to study them. Since we are committed Muslims, and we live according to Islamic instructions, we are happy. Our happiness is to be derived from our firm stand against all deviated ideologies. It means a lot when we defeat the evil intentions of the self.” The Prophet (S.A.W.) says, 'Whoever adheres to my Sunnah when the ummah is corrupted, has the reward of a hundred martyrs.' "
"The early Muslims were the masters of the world", Sumayah remarked.
Ahmad corrected her, "Actually they were leaders, since Islam considers all people as free human beings. There are no masters or slaves in Islam. A Muslim is evaluated only with regard to his piety and righteousness. The early Muslims did not want to dominate and exploit others. They wanted to guide people to the right path, to purify their thinking. Islam is a universal doctrine, and is beneficial for all ages and all countries.”
"Dominating or enslaving others cannot result in a nation's progress. With such ideas, the Muslims reached the Persian Court and the Roman Imperial fortresses."
"Did any women play significant roles in the early days of Islam?" Sumayah inquired.
Ahmad told her, "Of course they did. Woman participated in shaping Islamic history. She proved her ability and personality as a human being entrusted with a mission. She was never less active or less brave than a man."
"What is the difference between the Muslim woman of those days and the Muslim woman of our time?" Sumayah asked.
Ahamd said, "Woman today is misled. Man has fooled her and deprived her of all her innate dignity. She has been pulled down to the bottom of society. Our duty is to awaken her from her slumber. We should save her from this pitiful situation into which she has fallen."
"I am afraid it is difficult to reform the Muslim women who have decided to follow Western ways," she said, thinking about her cousin.
Ahmad said, "A real Muslim woman cannot be fooled easily. She knows the true nature of her religion and is secure in the knowledge that Islam has given her all her rights. Anyway, it is not too late to reform the misled ones. Even a misguided Muslim woman still has good qualities within herself, which can remove her blindness one day."
"When and how?" Sumayah asked.
Ahmad said, "1 think the time is drawing near. Women who imitate the West suffer terribly in the end. The breaking up of Muslim marriages has increased due to this blind imitation. Such marriages, if they are unIslamic, cannot be happy ones, or survive for long."
Sumayah said, "Some of the misled women claim that hijab is imposed on woman by man and it undermines her status."
Her fiancé replied, "This is mere nonsense and an echo of foreign propaganda. The obligation to dress modestly is not confined to women only. However women are more attractive and can have a stronger influence than men; therefore, her hijab is more significance. Hijab acts as a sort of protection for women. Islam wants women to cover the source of their beauty, as a means of increasing their dignity. Muslim women at the advent of Islam participated in battles, attended the wounded and encouraged the Muslim combatants. The Islamic modest dress they wore did not hinder them from having an effective role in their society."
Sumayah sighed, "How I wish we were like them."
Ahmad told her, "Every woman can be like them."
Sumayah asked, "How?"
Ahmad said, "Struggling for the sake of a belief has many degrees. A Muslim woman can achieve this any time. The struggle against temptation and corruption and enjoining the good and forbidding the evil can all be forms of struggle for belief. In tact, the struggle against selfish desires is of more use than all other struggles. Imam Ali (A.S.) said, 'To purify the self of corruption is more difficult than any actual struggle'."
The call to prayer could be heard, so Sumayah and Ahmad arose and entered the mosque to perform their prayers.

CHAPTER XI
Fitnah fond out the exact day and time that Ahmad was leaving for Europe, and she was ready to put her plan into action. She began a conversation with her husband, saying, "Do, you remember that beautiful girl I told you about?” It seems she has found a new lover, an older, rich man,"
"How do you know this?" asked Hamid.
"I haven't seen such a girl in the clubs we frequent or at any of the parties of our friends," Fitnah quickly told him, "Oh, you wouldn't recognize her. Sometimes she covers herself completely in a large black coat and scarf. On other occasion she looks like a model from the cover of Vogue magazine. She's unpredictable."
Fitnah hoped that such a description would intrigue and interest her husband. She continued, "This young woman is seeing a friend off at the airport tomorrow morning. I might go to the airport myself to see her and introduce myself."
"How will you find her? The airport will be filled with young women", Hamid asked.
His wife said, "Well, I know she is fair-skinned, has large brown eyes and is slender. Her clothing will guide me to her."
Fitnah returned to her bedroom. She thought to herself, 'I'll pretend to feel unwell tomorrow. Knowing Hamid and his interest in mysteries, I will stir him to go instead of me. He will see Sumayah and be captivated by her beautiful face.'
The next morning, Fitnah's plan succeeded, as she complained of a severe headache and she soon saw Hamid backing his car out of the driveway.
Meanwhile, Sumayah, her father and Ahmad waited in the airport lounge for his flight to be announced. Sumayah was saddened by her fiancé’s imminent departure, and Ahmad told her, "It's difficult to leave you, my dear. I shall return as soon as possible. It's only a matter of a few months' separation. Be strong in faith."
Ahmad's flight was called and they bid each other farewell. Sumayah was almost overcome by tears, an she leaned on her father's arm for support as they walked back to their car.
Sumayah's father tried to distract his daughter's attention, telling her, "There was a strange man who jus stood and stared at you in the airport."
She replied, "The world is filled with people like that. Don't let it bother you. We should feel sorry for hose who waste their time and energy."
They reached their car and soon arrived at their home.

CHAPTER XII
Two days later, Fitnah visited Sumayah and they sat in the garden talking. Fitnah told her cousin, "I usually have a walk in the morning. Does Ahmad allow you to do such a thing?"
Sumayah was annoyed by the question, but she acted indifferently, replying, "Sometimes I take walks in the public park near the mosque."
"You do not go to other places?" Fitnah inquired.
"No."
"Do you go alone?" she then asked.
"Usually, but sometimes I go with my father."
Sumayah said, wondering why Fitnah was asking her. "I thought you didn't go to public places due to religious traditions", Fitnah told her.
"Religious traditions do not contradict polite behaviour. Any action or practice should be in conformity with Islamic ethics," Sumayah replied.
Fitnah sighed, "Oh, what an injustice. How can a pretty girl like you have such a meaningless role in life?
Your beauty is hidden under this long coat and scarf.
Your ideas are buried in the pages of books. You are worthy of the title "Miss Universe", but you do not know your real importance. A teenager cannot understand the influence of her beauty on others until someone whispers words of love to her. Then she will see love all around her.
"Why should you spend all of your time alone while Ahmad enjoys himself in Europe? You avoid the friendship of men in your homeland while he enjoys his time with European girls."
"Fitnah, be serious! What sort of life can a girl have when she becomes the object of men's desires? Most men think that the physical beauty of a girl is the most important aspect, whereas it is only temporary and superficial. Hence a girl's role is determined by men and her development is limited as a result. A girl with sound thinking and wisdom can develop without the influence of men. Religion guides girls and teaches them the meaning of life. A Muslim girl is not deprived of her freedom and she submits to Allah only. A girl who does not respect her feminism and who has no dignity becomes a mere commodity."
She continued, "As a matter of fact, I pity you for having such a life. I think you are a slave to fashion and cosmetic sellers. I don't know how to reform you; perhaps my mother can influence you. I shall call her to come talk with you."
Fitnah stood up, saying, "Oh, no. I am leaving now. I expect some guests tonight."
Sumayah also stood up and walked her cousin to her car, glad that their conversation had ended. Fitnah went straight home and told Hamid he could sometimes find Sumayah at the park. As she had predicted, Hamid thought her cousin was very beautiful, and he assumed that the man who had been with her at the airport was her boyfriend.

CHAPTER XIII
Sumayah and Ahmad exchanged letters regularly throughout their separation. He wrote of his love for her and his longing to see her. She wrote to him about how she spent her time reading or taking walks.
One day Sumayah went to the public park and sat on a bench in a quiet corner. As she was reading a book, she felt that someone was standing near her, but she paid no attention. A stranger sat next to her on the bench and said, "Good afternoon."
Sumayah frowned and did not reply. She resumed her reading.
"What book are you reading?" asked Hamid.
Not wishing to be rude, Sumayah told him, "A novel"
Hamid remarked, "I'm certain it is a love story. Love is the most wonderful and sacred thing in life."
"I do not agree. Religion and faith are the sacred things in life," Sumayah said.
Hamid disagreed, smiling, "Love and wealth are essential elements. Love without money is tragic, and money without love has no value."
Sumayah decided to find another bench to sit on, but first she told the stranger, "You are quite mistaken. Money, which you consider to be so important, misleads people and causes regret in the end. Human dignity cannot be found with wealth and a person without dignity is deprived of all things."
ce I saw you last, I have not stopped thinking of you. An of my wealth, which is in the millions, is at your service."
Sumayah looked at him and said indifferently, "Oh, yes. Now I do remember you! You are the man who lives for money."
Hamid replied, "That's correct. Wealth, as you know, brands the fortunate."
"It is a pity that such men lack any other significant qualifications," she remarked.
"Money can bring other qualifications," said Hamid.
Sumayah said, "None but of fashion, which is very unimportant for a man." Then Hamid said, "Your style is strange compared to your personality."
Surprised, Sumayah said, "What do you know of my personality?! My style, as you call it, is not strange. I don't know why should I answer you. In any case, I have tried to advise you. You may realize one day that money is not everything. If you think that with money you will succeed in life, you are quite wrong."
Sumayah was annoyed to have seen the young man again, and she left as soon as she finished speaking without the least intention of waiting to hear his reply.

CHAPTER XV
Fitnah was eager to know how well Hamid had succeeded in his efforts to attract Sumayah, yet she was afraid to ask him lest he should suspect her game. Hamid spent most of his time outside the
Fitnah decided to visit Sumayah in the hope that her cousin would talk to her about Hamid. Sumayah and Fitnah once again sat in the garden. Fitnah noticed that her cousin was not at ease and she accounted for it according to her imagination. She was certain that her husband had managed to contact Sumayah. Fitnah spoke again about men in general and how they love beautiful ladies. Sumayah remained silent, thinking that there was no use in advising her cousin.
At home, Fitnah noticed that her maid was out and she thought that Nadia might have gone out to look for Hamid. In fact, Nadia had seen Hamid talking with Sumayah at the park, but she was sure that their meeting had been by chance. She continued to spy on him.

CHAPTER XVI
Sumayah decided to stop going to that particular park for some time and visited other public gardens instead. As she was strolling through a garden one day, she saw a woman begging for money and Sumayah gave her a substantial amount of money. The woman was quite happy and uttered words of gratitude as she walked away. At that moment
Sumayah heard someone say, "How generous you are, Miss...? You should not have given the beggar that much money."
Sumayah was shocked and dismayed to see the same man who had spoken to her on previous occasions standing nearby. She became pale and looked around. On seeing lot of people nearby, she felt safe and said in a loud voice, "How dare you speak to me? Why are you following me?"
Hamid stuttered, "In fact, I ..."
Sumayah told him, "You are a stranger to me, and I don't even know your name. You are very impolite to address me."
The woman beggar was standing nearby and Hamid found it difficult to explain his behaviour. Sumayah's anger confounded him, and he didn't reply.
"Why don't you answer?" Sumayah asked. I swear by Allah I would have called the police, had not it been for this wedding ring on your finger. I pity your wife."
Sumayah left the park, and Hamid saw the woman beggar pick something up off the ground. He grabbed her hand and shouted, "Thief!" Then he quickly asked the waiter to follow Sumayah, since the beggar had picked up a gold coin near where she had been sitting. Sumayah returned and confirmed in front of everyone that she herself had given the coin to the destitute woman.
Hamid was very embarrassed and surprised by Sumayah's behaviour. He thought deeply about her and said to himself, 'In fact, I am not a good person. How worthy it is to do good for others! I never thought such virtuous girls existed.''

CHAPTER XVII
Sumayah returned home and wrote along letter to her fiancé. A few days later Sumayah and her father went to the public park where her father met some of his friends. Not long after Sumayah sat down, she was addressed by Hamid, who quickly said, "Please Miss, may I speak with you?" Sumayah tried to discourage him with a look of annoyance and disapproval, but he persisted saying, "You are like an angel; you have done me a lot of good. Please do not hold back this light that has removed the darkness around me."
Surprised by his words, Sumayah asked, "What has made you speak like this?"
"I have behaved badly towards you. I ask your forgiveness for my rudeness."
Sumayah was aware of the changed tone of his voice. She looked at him for a moment and felt that he was being honest. She said, "I do forgive you. Actually, I feel sorry for men like you."

CHAPTER XVIII
Hamid returned home feeling the joy of an awakened conscience. He felt deep regret for all his past actions regarding Sumayah. In the past three weeks Hamid ceased all his indecent behaviour. It seemed as if he had awakened from a deep sleep. He kept thinking about the things Sumayah had said. He felt he owed her a lot. She had inspired him. Hamid asked himself if he was in love with her, but he was not. His feelings were based on respect and high esteem. He wished he could see her often in order to learn from her strength and good will. He decided to continue visiting the public park in order to see her again.
The next morning, Hamid stayed in his room. He did not allow anyone to disturb him. As he recalled his past life, he was shocked to realize that he had gained nothing from life but the wealth he inherited from his father. He had wasted nearly half of his fortune. What would happen to him in the next ten years, when his money came to an end? He thought about how important it was for a person to have a decent life and a faithful wife. He knew his friends would give him up as soon as his money was exhausted. Even his wife would leave him if he was not rich. He knew Fitnah loved his wealth and never valued his love. Hamid wished he could escape from his corrupt life and go back ten years in time to when he was quite innocent and pure.
Sumayah's ideas dominated his thinking. He never thought he would meet such an ideal girl who would bring him to such a reality. Since he had met her, he looked with open eyes and realized much more than before. In fact, he had recovered from blindness.
He turned his thoughts to his wife and wondered why she had misled him. He could not justify her behaviour. Could it be from malice? But Sumayah was not her type. In any case, there must be a reason, He was sure she longed to hear from him about his adventures, but he would never satisfy her curiosity. He was sure she would not ask him herself. Fitnah tried often to begin a conversation to make him mention Sumayah, but he was clever enough to disappoint her. In fact, he was surprised at his firm stand. He used to think he would never have enough courage to resist his wife.

CHAPTER XIX
Sumayah felt satisfied by the thought that she had done her best to guide Hamid. Ahmad approved of her efforts. He wrote to her, "...remember that struggle does not only mean war. You have managed to guide a deviated person."
One day, Sumayah visited Ahmad's mother and Hamid happened to see her enter the house. He waited at the roadside until she came out, and he said, "Excuse me. I don't want to annoy you, but I must talk with you."
"What do you want to talk about and why do you follow me?", demanded Sumayah.
Hamid said, "In fact, I would like you to talk and I will listen to you. I have found great comfort in your previous words."
Sumayah then asked, "What does your conscience tell you?"
"It tells me to reform; to give up vices and stick to the right path," was Hamid's reply.
"That is what I had expected would happen. Your inner goodness has been awakened", Sumayah confirmed.
Hamid complained, "Yet, I still feel as if I am lost."
Sumayah answered, "Why do you have such doubt?
You based your worth on money. Now your money can serve you. It won't control your life." She then suggested him to read few books. The bus arrived and Sumayah began to board it.
Hamid begged her to stay a bit longer to talk more.
Sumayah shook her head saying, "You should keep on reading those books, and you will learn a lot."
"Can I have your address to contact you when I face a difficulty?", Hamid asked.
"Oh no. That's not possible," she replied.
"But I feel as if you are my saviour. You are the light that illuminated my inner soul. I have much to tell you." Hamid pleaded.
Sumayah looked at him questioningly, "Such as... ?"
"Well, private matters that I can't speak about at the roadside", Hamid said.
Sumayah boarded the bus and advised him, "I suggest you keep on reading worthy books. I am sure you shall learn a great deal."
Hamid stood at the bus stop for a moment, deep in thought. He wondered why he didn't follow her in order to learn where her house was. Was it dignity or honesty that stopped him? He went into a nearby bookshop, bought some books and returned home.
Looking through the window, Fitnah saw Hamid enter carrying a package. She thought the parcel was clothing. She never imagined that her husband would buy books one day. In the past few weeks Fitnah had noticed a change in her husband's behaviour. He stayed alone in his room more often than usual and seemed to have given up attending clubs, parties and theaters. She was at a loss to explain his new conduct. Fitnah reasoned that even his failure to get Sumayah, could not have caused such a change.
Fitnah also noticed that her maid, Nadia, had become pale and quiet. She was glad to see Nadia suffering from jealousy. She called her to get some information.
"Now Nadia, I want you to be frank. Tell me what are you hiding from me?" Nadia looked surprised but said nothing. "I have noticed that Hamid has been acting strangely recently," Fitnah remarked.
"What do you mean?" asked Nadia.
Fitnah said, "Oh don't play the fool. I know about the affair between you two. You know that I want to know everything about my husband. Now tell me what is the matter with him." Nadia remained silent.
Fitnah persisted, "I won't tell him anything. I won't tell him you spy on him because it is in my interests that you do so."
Nadia began, "I only saw him by chance..."
Fitnah interrupted, "I know it was not by chance. Now tell me what you have seen."
"Well, I saw him in a park with a young lady. I could not believe my eyes. She looked decent and respectable, but...", Nadia hesitated.
"But what," Fitnah said with excitement.
Nadia told her, "I saw them again and he was listening to her talk."
Fitnah demanded to know, "What did they say?"
"How do I know," Nadia replied, "I was outside the park. Then I saw him once again with her at a bus stop."
"Did he give her a lift?", Fitnah questioned.
Nadia replied, "I didn't see since I left for fear he might see me."
"Thank you Nadia. Go now, and tell me everything about him that you learn in the future."
Fitnah was pleased at the news. She imagined that her revenge plan had succeeded. She anxiously awaited Ahmad's return so that she could congratulate him on his choice. She decided to leave her husband unquestioned until Ahmad returned. She then turned her thoughts to her new lover, the young engineer.

CHAPTER XX
Hamid continued to read the books he had bought. Slowly he acquired spiritual and religious knowledge. He enjoyed reading the books Sumayah had recommended, and he hoped to meet her again. Wherever Hamid went, he took a book along with him.
The next time he visited the park he saw Sumayah again and greeted her politely. Hamid asked her to allow him to sit next to her and she did not object. Hamid began the conversation by saying, "I have read the books you advised me to read. They have given me much to think about."
"That is wonderful," Sumayah replied, "How do you feel now?"
"I feel as if I were newly born. All my ideals have changed," he said with feeling.
Sumayah nodded approvingly, "That is good. Forget your past and think of the future."
"I am trying to rid myself of the past, but...", Hamid looked down.
"What is it?", Sumayah asked.
"My wife, whose ring saved me from a scandal when you refused to call the police. Her lifestyle reflects my past.", Hamid replied slowly.
Sumayah inquired, "Can't you reform her?"
Hamid sighed, "I can hardly do that. She is quite deviated. She...".
Sumayah guessed, "Is she an unfaithful wife?"
"Yes. She is like a butterfly, always chasing her wishes and desires," Hamid confessed.
Sumayah thought for a moment and said, "An unfaithful wife is harmful for you. Why don't you give her up?"
Hamid said, "As a matter of fact. I love her."
Sumayah disagreed, "You are mistaken. If you truly loved her, you would not let her behave in such a way. You only feel the powerful influence of her physical beauty. You love your house, yet do you allow strangers access to it? You love your money, do you allow other to share it with you? This feeling towards her is not of love. Love is something sacred that overwhelms a pure, innocent soul. If you think carefully you will find that you actually dislike her because of how she is."
Hamid confessed, "I fear her."
Sumayah explained, "That means you do not love her. A lover does not fear his beloved. The weak fear the strong. Now you are no longer weak, because faith and virtue are stronger than vice and indecency. You are now a believer. Try to free yourself of her influence."
Hamid said, "As long as I am with her, I can't get rid of my past. I must leave her."
"I advise you to try to reform her," Sumayah said.
Hamid replied mournfully, "It is impossible."
Hamid changed the subject, "Can I ask who the old man was who was with you in the airport?"
"You saw me there?" Sumayah was surprised, "That was my father. We had gone to see off Ahmad."
"Who is this Ahmad you have just mentioned?", Hamid inquired.
"He is my fiancé. We are engaged," she answered.
Hamid was very amazed by this information and he had much to think about as he slowly drove home.

CHAPTER XXI
Hamid felt a great struggle taking place within himself. He thought about how to free himself of his wife's domination and start a new, clean life. He reasoned that he wouldn't succeed until he was free of Fitnah's influence.
Hamid had previously believed that all people were corrupt to some extent until he saw the goodness embodied in Sumayah. The experience had started as a failure, but it led him to ultimate success. He felt very hurt by his wife's behaviour, and he wondered if he really could still love her. Could he go on living with her while she had no concern for morals?
A few days later, Hamid decided to visit his grandmother, who lived in a nearby village. Fitnah saw him packing a suitcase and getting ready for a trip. She asked, "Where are you going, Hamid?"
Hamid told his wife, "I'm going to pay Grandma a visit. She has been seriously ill recently and has asked for me."
Fitnah asked sarcastically, "Are you a doctor who can cure the aged?"
Hamid answered, "I am not a doctor, but I am all that she has. I'll get her a good doctor."
Fitnah continued in her sarcastic tone, "Since when do you think of others with such concern?"
Hamid stated, "Since I recovered from my blindness."
Fitnah didn't understand what her husband meant, but she thought he was joking. "How long will you stay?" she asked.
"As long as she needs me," he replied. "I may stay longer than a week if necessary. I haven't seen Grandma for ages," Hamid said as he carried his bags to the car. He got in and sped away.
Fitnah said to herself, "I know that you are not really going to your grandmother. Enjoy your week with Sumayah. Let this be a farewell week. Ahmad is coming back soon."
Hamid was truly concerned about his grandmother's health. He drove at a high speed to reach her before it was too late. He hoped to be able to ask her for her forgiveness. At last he arrived at her home and knocked on the door.
A servant opened he door. "How is she?", Hamid asked as he brushed past the maid. She told him that the old woman was dying. Hamid explained that he was her grandson and the servant said, "Oh you are Hamid! She has been asking for you often." The maid led him to a door, Hamid entered and found an old friend of his grandmother's at her bedside.
She recognized him and said, “At last you have come. This will mean a lot to her."
Hamid asked, "Has a doctor seen her?"
"Oh yes," answered the maid, "but he cannot help her."
Hamid bent over his grandma and kissed her hand.
He cried, and the sick woman moaned. He called her gently, "Dear Grandma, it's me, Hamid. I have come to see you." With great difficulty, the old woman opened her eyes and a smile appeared on her face.
"Grandma dear, I am very sorry that I did not come sooner. Would you forgive me?" Hamid said as he held her hand gently.
The old woman nodded her head slowly and seemed to be whispering a prayer. Hamid held her hand until it became cold. At last she died and Hamid was grieved. He attended to her funeral ceremonies the following day and returned home at a late hour.
The house was engulfed in darkness, except for Nadia's room. Fitnah's room was empty and he was sure that Fitnah had gone out. He tried to sleep but uneasy thoughts kept him awake. He went to his wife's room to see if she had come. It was after midnight. Hamid called for Nadia to ask about his wife.
“Where is your mistress," Hamid questioned her. Nadia did not reply and he repeated his question.
Nadia decided to get revenge. She was no longer interested in staying in that house since she had lost Hamid's love. She told him, “Fitnah left the house yesterday evening."
Then Hamid asked, "Do you know where she has gone?"
Nadia answered, “No, she told me nothing."
"Be frank. Don't you know where she is?" Hamid persisted.
"She went to the theatre," Nadia said.
Hamid asked, “Alone?"
Nadia answered, "No. With Salah."
"How do you know this?" demanded Hamid.
Nadia admitted, "I followed her and learned everything."
Hamid asked the maid why she spied on his wife.
"She has destroyed my life. She made you leave me."
Nadia told him with tears in her eyes.
Hamid replied, "Oh no. You are mistaken. She had nothing to do with that. Now tell me, did Fitnah spend the night in Salah's house?"
"Yes. I saw them both. They were drunk.” the maid said.
"Do you swear to that?" Hamid asked.
Nadia said, "I swear by God that I have seen them. You can go now to his house and make sure for yourself.,"
Hamid was very angry. Although his wife had flirted with many men in the past, she had never been so openly disrespectful and careless enough to do what she had done that night. Hamid decided to dismiss Nadia, and to make up for the wrong he had done her. He said, "Nadia, you are clever and young. I'll help you find a suitable job.
Tomorrow I'll give you two week's pay and you may leave."
Nadia thanked him and went back to her room.
Hamid waited anxiously for his wife to return. He felt he should try to advise her as Sumayah had suggested, even if his wife was unlikely to change. At last he heard Fitnah's car enter the garage. As soon as she entered her room, Hamid knocked on her door and entered. Fitnah was surprised to see her husband standing in front of her. She murmured, "Hamid."
"Yes, Hamid the cheated husband." Hamid said.
Fitnah tried to control her feelings and spoke calmly, "Oh, you are back soon. How was your trip?"
Hamid ignored her question and said, "Yes, I have come back soon, to find that you spent the night in your lover's house. You have lost all your pride and self-dignity for the sake of your desires."
Fitnah asked, "What is the matter with you? Are you drunk'? Do you talk about pride because you failed?"
"I am not drunk, rather, I am more aware than I. I have ever been before. I am trying now to advise you," Hamid told his wife.
Fitnah said with contempt, "Keep your advice for your own self."
Hamid asked, "Where were you last night? When did you leave your boyfriend?"
"What has that to do with you'? I am free to do what I like," she retorted.
Hamid spoke, "Freedom does not mean cheating or deviation."
Fitnah laughed, "The cheating one claims he has been cheated. Why don't you tell me where you were last night?"
"I have nothing to be ashamed of," Hamid stated. Fitnah tried to change the subject. She asked, "Why have you come back so soon? Have you quarreled or has the traveler returned?"
Hamid said, "I don't understand what you are talking about. I am back, and that is enough. I can't tolerate your behaviour any longer."
Fitnah sneered, "Why are you so angry? Is it because of your failure in your love affair with Sumayah?”
Hamid was shocked, "What love affair!? What failure'? Who is this Sumayah you have just mentioned?” Anyway, I have decided to rid myself of you, and the disgrace and shame I feel due to you."
Fitnah continued, "How soon you forget her name?”
"I don't know a name to forget. Now I want you to justify your indecency and give up your disgraceful behaviour." Hamid said.
His wife exclaimed, "You are indeed crazy! Do you think a young, beautiful woman like me can be content to live with you and stay at home, to spend her life serving you? I am free and have the right to enjoy myself! I won’t waste my life for a husband like you."
Hamid became angry, "Instead of apologizing, you speak like this to me!?"
Fitnah shouted, "I won't apologize! What are you going to do? We both have affairs and all of a sudden you sit in judgement against me!?"
Hamid was more calm now, "I am your husband. I'll make my decision now unless..."
"Yes'? Unless what? I won't change. We are both free to go where we please. I'll see Salah whenever I choose," Fitnah said defiantly.
Hamid asked, "Do you know what that means? Are you aware of the consequences of what you are doing?"
"You're sounding like an old man who repeats out-of-date expressions. Have you learned them from your girlfriend, Sumayah? She is Ahmad's fiancée", Fitnah said angrily.
Hamid finally realized whom she was referring to. He shouted, "How dare you talk of her!"
Fitnah glared at Hamid, "Now you confess that you know her."
Hamid said, "I didn't know that was her name until now, since you mentioned Ahmad's name. She is an angel in human shape. She is truly an example of virtue and goodness.
Fitnah was taken aback, "What do you mean?"
Hamid said, "You wouldn't understand. How can someone like you know such a virtuous girl?"
Fitnah asked, "Isn't she now your mistress?"
Hamid exclaimed, "I seek refuge in Allah. She doesn't even know who I am. She is a pure, chaste girl and she has her own man, who is no doubt worthy of her .You have tried to lead me along a deviated path. I was in darkness and now I am no long lost. This girl whom you falsely portrayed as being a corrupt person like yourself, is an angel. God has purified my soul. I am no longer a deviated, sinful person."
"You never tempted her?" Fitnah laughed.
Hamid insisted, "I am not her lover. I only respect her. She is a torch guiding my lost soul. At first, I was foolish enough to believe you. I tried to tempt her and failed. She could have called a policeman, but she tried to guide me. She felt pity for you when she saw the wedding ring on my finger."
"Does she know of me?" Fitnah asked, frightened.
Hamid replied, "How could she know you? She only knows I am a married man. As 1 told you, she does not even know my name."
Fitnah, greatly disappointed at this turn of events, remarked, "So you couldn't seduce her."
He replied, "Can the devil mislead the righteous? I have decided to divorce you. I have always been wrong. I have never loved you and I won't love you in the future. I am tired of living as an animal, with animal desires. Now you are nothing to me. I'll give you your dowry, which can help you find another fool. I have tried to help you but you have rejected my attempts. You are still following your deviated ideas."
Hamid left Fitnah alone. She understood that her wicked plan had backfired, destroying her life. She had lost everything.

CHAPTER XXII
Sumayah was expecting Ahmad within a few days.
As she finished shopping one day and was waiting for a bus, Hamid stopped nearby and walked up to her. He greeted her saying, "I have been looking for you, sister."
"What for'? Have you read the books?" she asked.
"Yes, I have and I have bought new ones. I spend much of my time reading," Hamid said.
"Then you'll learn a lot," Sumayah commented.
"I have something to tell you. I have freed myself of all my hateful past." Hamid said.
"God bless you, but how?" Sumayah looked surprised. At that moment her bus arrived and she said she'd be at the park the afternoon if Hamid had something to say.
In the afternoon, Sumayah went to the park. On seeing her, Hamid came and sat near her. He began, "I have left my wife. I tried to guide her, but it was in vain."
"How I pity her!" Sumayah remarked.
"Oh sister Sumayah, do not say that. She is not worth feeling sorry for." Hamid said.
Sumayah was surprised to hear him say her name.
"How do you know my name?" she asked, "I don't remember having mentioned it to you."
Hamid said, "That's right. You never did. It is Fitnah who mentioned it to me." Sumayah became confused, "Who is Fitnah?"
"My ex-wife. The one I have told you about." Hamid explained.
Sumayah thought deeply. Could this possibly be her cousin? She asked, "How long have you been married?"
Hamid told her, "Four years. We spent three years in Europe and we have returned only recently."
"Oh, I see," Sumayah could hardly speak.
Hamid asked, "What is the matter? You look pale. Have I annoyed you?"
"Oh no," Sumayah assured him, "What has Fitnah told you about me'?"
"In fact, I haven't been very honest with you. Fitnah herself pushed me into following you. She gave me a very different impression about you. She lied, as a matter of fact. I was quite naive to have believed her. You know the rest of the story," Hamid said.
"Has she really done that?" Sumayah could not believe her ears.
"Yes. I swear by Allah she has done it. She described you for me so that I could recognize you that day at the airport." Hamid confessed.
"What a woman! I never thought she was so wicked," Sumayah exclaimed.
It was Hamid's turn to be surprised, "Do you know her?"
"She is my cousin." Sumayah told him.
Hamid said, "Oh, then you are the cousin she used to talk about!"
"About my old-fashioned ways and out-of-date ideas?" Sumayah asked.
Hamid replied, "Exactly."
"Why?" Sumayah asked.
Hamid explained, "That’s just how she is.”
Sumayah said, "Please stop talking about her. She is suffering terribly now." Sumayah was quite amazed by her cousin. She wondered why Fitnah hated her so much. She had never hurt her. She stood up saying, "I must leave now."
"Can I ask when your fiancé is coming home?", he asked.
Sumayah said, "He is returning next Monday, God willing."
Hamid asked shyly, "May I be with you to welcome him at the airport?"
Sumayah answered, "Yes you can. I have told him about you."
Hamid smiled, "Thank you and good-bye for now."
On the following Monday morning, Hamid was at the airport with Sumayah and her family. "Do you think he will mind that I've come?" Hamid asked.
Sumayah assured him, "He will think of you as a brother."
Ahmad arrived and Sumayah introduced Hamid.
Hamid offered them a lift in his car. Along the way, Hamid praised Sumayah's efforts for his guidance. He mentioned his ex-wife's name and wondered what motivated her to act in such a way against Sumayah. Ahmad reasoned that she meant to have revenge and destroy his life. She never imagined that true faith and belief could protect believers. At last virtue prevails while devilish plans come to nothing.
Sumayah asked, "But why would she plan to get revenge on you?"
Ahmad explained, "She knew me years ago. I had forgotten about her, but I know it's the same Fitnah. She tried to trap me but she failed."
"Oh what a wicked woman," Hamid cried, "It's difficult to believe she's Sumayah's cousin!"
Sumayah said, "Yet she is. I really do pity her. It is not her fault. It is the deviated society that has misled her. Had she been in contact with Islamic ideals, she would not have fallen prey to any corrupted society. There are many people! like her. Let us strive for their guidance and hope that Allah may help us."
Ahmad and Sumayah married soon after and Hamid became a good Muslim believer.
THE END

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