This story didn’t happen in KL but was told to me while having teh tarik somewhere in KL. This is a true story, names has been changed to protect the people’s privacy. This story is not related to Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.
The couple came to meet Mak Cu Besah a few weeks after first of Syawal. It was still Raya mood and Mak Cu Besah was hoping to get a new tenant soon. The house at the far end of the row has been empty for a few months. She would not charge them a bomb for the two-bedroom-plus-one-bath house. RM150 should be enough for her to maintain the house as well as covering her own expenses.
The woman looked nice and friendly while the guy didn’t talk much. Both looked in their late 20s. Ramlah, the nice looking woman explained that they’re recently married with no kids and was hoping to get a cheaper rent as the husband was an odd job worker while she’s just a housewife. They finally got the house for RM120 per month.
Mak De Ani has been Mak Cu Besah’s neighbour for 36 years. She knew every tenant that has ever lived in every house owned by Mak Cu Besah. Most tenants would visit Mak De Ani sometimes as her house was just behind their kitchen. They usually became immediate friends.
Mak De Ani thought the new couple were friendly and fit in well with the rest of the neighbours. A few days in a week Ramlah was seen going to the nearest mosque. She visited Mak De Ani a few days after they moved in. Ramlah told her that she was looking for an adopted mother as her own was miles away. She thought Mak De Ani fit the bill and would love to call her mom soon. Though thrilled by the idea, Mak De Ani hid her excitement and told Ramlah that she was just another old lady spending her days doing nothing. Ramlah thought she was really humble and the couple became even closer with Mak De Ani.
A few weeks later Mak De Ani’s son started hearing rumours that Ramlah actually had a few children staying with her ex-husband. By then it was news to everybody as Ramlah never revealed that she was once married to another guy. Kamil, her current husband didn’t talk much when asked about it, he just nodded. It seemed to everybody that he loved Ramlah too much, nobody dared to ask further fearing it might hurt his feelings.
Ramlah then told Mak De Ani that she visited her children once in a while as they lived about 30 KM from that place. Kamil would bring her to her ex-husband’s house on her motorcycle and would patiently wait for her while she spent some quality time with the children.
Everybody thought that it was just another normal broken family situation until one dark and drizzly night. Ramlah went to the mosque for Maghrib and Isya prayers leaving Kamil alone in the house. Mak De Ani was about to have dinner when Kamil knocked on her door. She ushered him in and invited him to join her for dinner but he refused. He just sat on one of the old rattan chair at Mak De Ani’s living room. He looked worried and uncomfortable.
The old lady asked what was wrong with him, to which he answered with a nervous shrug. He left while Mak De Ani was having dinner.
About 15 minutes later he came knocking again. The same look on his face and the old lady repeated the same question. Again, she received no answer. Kamil left her at the door step.
Mak De Ani was preparing for bed when Kamil came again for the third time that night. He rushed into the house after Mak De Ani opened the door. Before the lady could even start asking what was happening, Kamil poured out everything to her. Mak De Ani thanked God profusely for giving her the health and no heart problem for the stories she heard from Kamil that night was such a great shock. She couldn’t utter any word other than ‘istighfar’.
It turned out Kamil and Ramlah are a couple of living together lovers – not married to each other. That night Kamil had an uneasy feeling, he had the urge to tell somebody about it. It’s a secret that has turned into a burden to him. At times he’d realize all the sins they’ve committed and having to lie to the warm hearted neighbours made him feel even more guilty.
That was not all. Ramlah was still very much married to her husband who was taking care of their children. Kamil couldn’t explain why the husband didn’t divorce her. At times Kamil thought everything was going so well- so right, but sometimes his inner voice just screamed, telling him that it was a sinful way of life.
When she finally found her voice, Mak De Ani asked about Ramlah’s legal husband. Didn’t he mind everytime Kamil went to the house accompanying Ramlah? It seemed quite strange if he approved the path chosen by Ramlah. Kamil was also not very sure on how the husband really felt, but he seemed okay with the current arrangement. He never showed any disapproval or hatred towards him or Ramlah. He seemed to be just going with the flow, oblivious to the fact that Ramlah and he were still legally married.
Mak De Ani ‘istighfar’ again. The world was coming to an end sooner than she ever thought. There was nothing much she could do to make things right. She just advised Kamil to go back and think things through. Think of the mortal sin; think about Allah’s wrath and the possibilities that people around him might have to pay for what they’ve done.
Three days later, Mak De Ani paid Mak Cu Besah a visit. If she kept things to herself for a few more days, she knew she’d burst. She told the landlord everything – exactly as what Kamil has told her that night.
Mak Cu Besah had to grab the nearest chair to support her unstable feet when she heard it. She’s 78 and not in the pink of health. The news was like a thunder slicing her weak heart. Her brother, Pak Lang Bakar, who was visiting her that day decided to give a call to his old friend – Ustaz Zul.
That night Ustaz Zul and a few officers knocked the front door of Ramlah and Kamil’s rented house. They knocked and gave ‘salam’ for more than 15 minutes but nobody opened the door. The house was dark and there was no sound of movement or human voice coming from inside. After waiting for more than 30 minutes, Ustaz Zul’s team decided to leave. They came again the following night but still, nobody answered the door. The same thing happened on the third night. Mak Cu Besah knew they were there because she saw Ramlah doing her laundry in the morning.
A few days later Ustaz Zul’s team changed their strategy. They surprised the couple in the middle of a hot sunny afternoon. Ramlah and Kamil were caught off guard, they didn’t even have a chance to shut the front door when Ustaz Zul’s entourage arrived with a police car.
That afternoon, Mak De Ani and Mak Cu Besah felt the heavy burden lifted from their shoulders. They silently begged for Ally’s mercy to spare them from any punishment as they watched the couple driven away in the police car.