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Written By: Hafsa Bint Yar Muhammad Nizamani

Today, it was an important day for all four of them. Perhaps, it was more important for Maria. Maria, Zoya, Rakshanda and Shami were class mates. They lived in the same village. They were friends but each of them had different thoughts. Maria was Islamic minded. But the others liked to be called liberal.
Once, when they were in Matric, they were discussing their ideal life partners. "Dear Maria, we are amazed at your old thoughts in this modern era. Your parents will certainly hand over you to someone who looks like a goat and you will calmly run after him. We shall never do so. I shall myself find my ideal life partner," said Rakshanda. Zoya said, "If I can't find my ideal, I shall never marry. Shami, what about you?" 
"I am no different. People will be amazed to see my ideal." 
"For instance?" asked Rakshanda, laughing. 
"For instance, he will be like my favourite hero Salman Khan," said Shami. 
"Shame, shame, shame. All of you should be ashamed of yourself. I never thought that you could say such things. This is not our task or responsibility, it is our parents'. We should pay heed only to our studies and our household chores," said Maria. 
"You, do your household chores, we shall have servants. They will do all the work. We shall only rest." They made fun of Maria. 
"We should do our work with our own hands. We can keep assistants but we should not look down upon them. It is the sunnat of our prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم . Anyway no one can be like my ideal. My ideal is our beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم. Therefore, anyone who is a devotee and loves him and strictly follows his sunnat will be my ideal." 
"Oh! It means you will marry a bearded mulla," all the three friends laughed at Maria.
Years later, they were remembering this discussion as they planned a get together. They decided to meet in Qasim College. All the three friends had reached Qasim College and were waiting for Maria when a red car drew up. They saw a handsome bearded young man, clad in completely Shar'ee dress get out of the car. A woman in complete shar'ee parda got out from the other side. They recognized her at once. She was certainly Maria. They recognized her from her walking style. She was walking slowly with her eyes on the ground. All the three friends said with one voice, "Subhan Allah." Maria's husband left her and went back. 
"Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh," Maria greeted them. 
"Walaikum Assalamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh," her friends replied. They hugged each other, asked each other about their well being. When they had settled down, they  came to the original topic.
Maria said, "Now, we should tell each other about our life partners, I mean about our ideals. To which extent have we succeeded in searching for them?" 
Her friends couldn’t control their tears. "What happened? Have I said something wrong?" All three shook their heads. 
"So why are you crying?" 
"Maria, we have failed. You have really succeeded. We have lost, you have won. Congratulations. Your ideal is a hundred times better than our ideal. We have seen that your life partner is religious just like you. He is modest, he did not look at us, he had a cap on his head and he had a beard too. You are really very lucky."
"I shall tell you my story first," said Zoya. "I searched my ideal from Facebook. First we became friends. Then friendship changed into love and he became my ideal from friend. Because of my parents' strict prohibition, we got married in court. Later I found out that he was already married and had five children. He divorced me within six months. Then I came back to my parents' home. My parents were so shocked and heartbroken that they left this mortal world one after the other. Now I am at the mercy of my brothers' wives. They taunt me, more than ten times a day and I have to bear it with patience. This is my story."
All were silent and then Rakshanda said, "Now listen to my story. I was betrothed to my cousin since my childhood. He was a gentle man and had his own business. But I refused to marry him. I made my university classmate my ideal and he said I was his  ideal. And in this way I forced my parents to let me marry him. They gave in at last but after marriage, my husband won a scholarship for Ph.d in America. He married an American over there and settled down. I have a son from him but he has left us. Now we don't have any contact with him. Now I am living with my parents. This is my story."  "My story is not very different from yours," Shami began. My ideal told me that he was a very rich man. He had his own bungalow, his own business. My father received many good proposal for me but I had already given my heart to someone else." Shami looked at Zoya and Rakshanda and then continued, "As you all know my mother died a long time ago and my father became helpless and his consent with a heavy heart. After marriage, my ideal took me to a small rented house. He did not have his own house. He told me the truth at last that he was nothing but a taxi driver. He provided me nothing. I started teaching in a private school to meet my needs but he snatched all the money which I earned for drugs. He beat me daily without any reason. At last, I left him. As my father had my brother did not let me come inside his home. I requested my sister to let me live in her home. I promised to do all her household chores. Now I am living as a servant in my sister's home. I do all her housework and she gives me three meals daily and three suits a year. This is my tale." 
Maria could not control herself and started sobbing loudly, "I’m so sorry for all of you. My aim was not to hurt you by askling you about your lives."  Maria was feeling dizzy. Her friends made her drink water. In the meantime, her husband came and took her away. When she sat in the car, all the three friends waved their hands to say her good bye. She also waved to them. Maria wanted to talk a lot but due to extreme grief she could not utter a word to her ideal, her husband. 
Unnoticed by these four girls, a fifth girl had been listening to their tales. She had left her parents' home and was waiting for her ideal to meet her in the college. Overcome by the enormity of what she was about to do, she turned back to go to her parents' home. Just at that moment, her ideal reached her and said, "Sorry for being late. Have you come with full preparations?" The girl, whose name was Dil Jaan, did not answer. She just covered her face and started walking quickly towards her home, her paradise. Reaching home, she thanked Allah سبحانہ وتعالی, "O my Allah! The four girls were like angels for me. You guided me through them. O my Allah! Guide all the girls and protect their honours just like you did mine. Aameen."