The Second of Two . . . Their Third

27 07 2011

Lately it’s been one sleepless night after another. Surprisingly, I haven’t been as irritated about it as I would typically be. The thing is I find myself involuntarily yet consciously repeating certain phrases at night, which my obsessive mind (aka my clever mind) is known to do often, only it happens in my waking hours and I would know the source of these repeated phrases: I would be aware of having read or heard them here or there. It’s how my mind works: it picks up words and phrases from here and there that just “stick” and repeats them endlessly until they are replaced with newer ones. Only this time I didn’t know where these phrases were coming from.

Two nights ago, in my half-sleep half-awake state, I found myself repeating Thaneya Ethnayn, and Thaleth-homa, which are Arabic phrases meaning “the second of two” and “their third,” respectively.

In my half-half state, I was wondering, “Who are the two? And who’s the second of the two? Who’s the third? Why? What does it mean?”

Yes, I wondered how far away I was from the sanity borderline.

I went about my day (yesterday), ran my errands, met those I was supposed to meet and did everything else I was supposed to do with these phrases at the back of my mind. What did they mean? I was almost sure these were parts of verses of the Quran, but why? What did they mean? Why were they on my mind?

Then came yesterday evening, which was rather emotionally loaded. I met with my friend who finally came back from her holiday. We talked and talked about our current situations and where we were heading. She’s barely out of a relationship gone sour and I was trying to give her a pep talk as she’s expecting her ex to come back from a long trip abroad and force himself on her after he had ignored her badly at her hour of need. I tried to remind her to stay strong and not let herself be manipulated. I tried to make her feel strong, that she can take him on, that she doesn’t have to give in to his abusiveness of her loneliness. I tried to take the focus off her loneliness and need for him and put it on her strength and potential. I tried . . .

She: I am going to be alone for the first time in a long time. My son is going to be with his father for a couple of days. I am not sleeping much either. Why don’t you come spend Ramadan with me? Seriously, this is going to be my first Ramadan alone.

Me: I wish I could.

She: It’s very difficult for me to be alone.

Me: . . . . (Sigh).

After I dropped her off, I thought, “Phew! Relief! I am almost home after a long battle with traffic. I get to go home and be alone and relax.” But those weren’t my actual thoughts; they were more like the old line of thinking. I found myself actually saying, “Now I get to go home and deal with another long cold night sleep-barren night. It’s difficult to be alone.”

Whereas I used to cherish these quiet hours alone, I am now haunted by them. At night, my pills make me drowsy but don’t exactly put me to sleep. So I am left in a state where I am too numb and mindless to be able to read yet too alert to sleep. I am also left in a state where I constantly need to talk, talk, talk (??? I mean I don’t even like talking that much).

Before I got into bed, reluctantly, I decided to try and look up these words and find out where they came from. I mean I was mentally and emotionally exhausted and I wasn’t at all up to doing any heavy research, studying, or even reading. After 5 minutes of research, I was able to locate them: Surat at-Tawbah (9) verse 40:

If you help him (Muhammad PBUH) not (it does not matter), for Allah did indeed help him when the disbelievers drove him out, the second of two, when they (Muhammad PBUH and Abu Bakr) were in the cave, and he (Muhammad) said to his companion (Abu Bakr): “Be not sad (or afraid), surely Allah is with us.” Then Allah sent down His Sakinah (calmness, tranquility, peace, etc.) upon him, and strengthened him with forces (angels) which you saw not, and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowermost, while it was the Word of Allah that became the uppermost, and Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.

Then as I got into bed, I got my Quran interpretation books and decided to read more into this verse. Prophet Muhammad and Abu Bakr (the Prophet’s closest companion) when they were leaving Mekka and hiding in a cave. The disbelievers were searching for them. Abu Bakr was afraid and he said to the Prophet, “If they just look below their feet, they will definitely see us.” So the Prophet said, “Do not be sad (afraid). Allah is surely with us.” He also said, (and this is the part that completely shook me up), “Abu Bakr, what do you think can happen to two people whose third is Allah?”

“Don’t be sad. Allah is surely with us.”

No words.

No thoughts.


Allah, You are with me every second, every breath.

Allah, let me taste the sweetness of Your Companionship.

Allah, send down Your Sakinah on me.




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