The Tip of the Iceberg

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 60

Hamzah

At some point, we all have to stop being consumed by moments.

In the understanding that nothing in this temporary world is limitless or perfect, we are somehow able to step outside the moments and see them for what they are. Sometimes what we can see, especially in this world of illusion we have come to live in, is not even the whole picture… but only the tip of the iceberg…

And it just so happened that it was only during that eventful weekend on the coast that the true meaning of contentment unfolded for me. No matter how much you fill your life with the best of this world, if Allah doesn’t feature, you will never feel complete. If Qur’ān, Salaah and Ibadat is lacking, we will never feel fulfilled. As we try filling the void with our virtual applications that take over our lives, we are always left feeling at a loss.

And though I usually looked forward to long drives and the peace it brought within me, while I was able to catch up with my Qur’ān and just chill out while doing dhor, if I heard that word Instagram one more time during the three hour drive down to  the coast, I was seriously thinking of opening the drivers door and just jumping off the moving vehicle.

And okay, I know I’m an idiot, but to tell the truth, I had been just a little preoccupied and I couldn’t help but overlook the fact that perhaps my wife wasn’t exactly thrilled about the sudden change of events either.

”You don’t mind if I give Hamzah company in the front, right Mos?” My sister said sweetly, pinching Zaid’s cheeks as he grabbed her head cover in a fist and then screamed at her bossily when she tried to pull away.

I tried to miss the part where Mohsina raised her eyebrows.

“Or you can give Zaid some company in the back,” Mohsina said in a casual fashion, trying my best to keep a straight face as I saw Mohsina narrow her eyes.

The truth was, I didn’t anticipate the dynamic between the two of them. I didn’t even think of these things because my week was a complete knock out.

On top of the financial concern over my wife and our ex-boss, moving money around from various accounts to make payments after I had forked out a sum for a surprise for Mohsina without knowing, was the worry that had consumed me from this morning. It was the previous night that I had found an e-mail from Hashim’s lawyer, for a hearing that entailed giving them rights to see Zaid, at the precise time that Rabia’s message about joining us had also come through.

The pressure was mounting as I thought of how Hashim had attempted in the past few weeks to threaten me multiple times, but I was barely fazed until the that mornings document came through. The nightmares I thought I had gotten rid of had returned, and as I awoke, I was literally shaking with anger as I gritted my teeth, trying to exceptionally hard to ignore the anger brewing within.

I honestly felt like escaping with Mohsin to wherever he was heading to next, just to get away from it all, but I knew that it wasn’t exactly the most mature thing to do. Besides, I couldn’t leave Mohsina and Zaid now. I didn’t want to.

Geez, you guys,” Rabia said excitedly, pushing up her sunglasses and adjusting her weird turban cap thing-um with a big knot on the top that she sometimes wore. “I’m so excited to be seeing the beach after ages. Like a real Jo’burg person. Mos, did you see that reel.. the guys going crazy as they saw the beach and doing all these crazy things?!”

Rabia had recovered quickly from having to sit in the back seat, but she was also pushing limits when she started the conversation either way. I had my pods in my ears and barely even caught onto what she was into.

”Mhhmmm,” Mohsina said, and I didn’t even register the note of disinterest in her voice. It was a default tone for her not wanting to fully engage in a conversation and I knew it extremely well.

I had glimpsed my wife’s stony expression in the rear view mirror that day and with Mohsina, it wasn’t all that difficult to tell. Her pretty face would get all flushed when you provoked her and her one talent was the ability to act as if nothing was wrong, when there clearly was something very wrong.

You okay?

The message I had just typed out to send her made a small ping in the back of the car, and as I glanced at my rear-view mirror, I couldn’t help but smirk as I saw the usual and intentional roll of her eyes and toss her phone aside.

Just a moment ago, she had picked it up to check something, but as soon as she saw my message, I already knew that there would be no easy way of dodging her bullets.

Oh yeah. She was annoyed. Though I didn’t entirely understand Instagram dramas and how they work, I knew that she had also been a little down because of some dodgy things that were going on there.

I pinched the bridge of my nose as I felt the urge to light a cigarette, knowing that it would only exacerbate things if I did.

I sighed, knowing that although I knew that she was seemingly upset and overreacting a little, the drama that now ensued was a welcome diversion from the the burden on my shoulders that had felt this morning, and as Rabia’s voice broke through my thoughts as I closed my Qur’ān application for a minute, I couldn’t help but find myself listening in on what they were saying once again, as much as I didn’t want to be…

”And oh my word, did you see those amazing places they visited in Dubai? You guys have to go there when you make a honeymoon trip!”

Honeymoon trip? Was it some unwritten rule that we had to go overseas?

“And I don’t know if you saw the other influencer,” she continued. “The one from Cape Town who did those ads for Adidas… she went all out with her trip, recording every little detail of it which was so helpful so you know exactly what to expect at every stop. From the business class lunges to the airports, food and edutainment… It’s makes it so simple when you’re travelling… I wonder if all her hotels were sponsored, gosh… don’t you miss those free trips Mohsina? I’m sure you used to get a helluva lot of freebies…”

I wasn’t sure what Rabia was getting at, and it was a seemingly innocent question, but I was already irritated at Rabia digging up social media dirt. I couldn’t help but hear a tone of accusation in her question, wondering if it was coincidental.

It tuned out at that point, not really wanting to listen, preferring to put my Qur’ān back on. Honestly, it was like Rabia now lived her own life through those moments of the instagram slaves she scrolled through as she spent time on her delusional application, filling some huge void for validation.

I frowned, wondering if this was going into dangerous territory. I could tell that Rabia watched people live seemingly cool and passionate lives online, judging herself against it, thinking it was real.

And I wanted to argue but with Rabia I knew there was no point as I plugged the pods back in my ears and we had just turned onto the coastal road which boasted the most stunning shoreline I had seen in months. All our eyes were already glued to the coastline, and the incredible Qur’ān recital playing in my ears heightened its appeal significantly.

The miracle of the Word of our Rabb was that no matter how many times we listened, we never tired of it…

And being here, with the salty air filling my nostrils as I opened the window, I already felt a huge relief within my chest. To top it off, Mohsina’s  mood no longer mattered because I already knew that once everything was settled and I took her out on the knockout lookout which used to be my favourite spot as a teenager, she would have no choice but to lighten up. I mean, there was no way she would see such beauty and not be moved by it.

I ignored Rabia as I caught her opening her phone, trying to focus on my intense relief as I finally reached the driveway of my grandparents place, because it meant that she was probably saved from me completely losing it. Thank goodness she would be getting off now, and I felt my stress levels immediately decline as I thought of it.

And as I drove up the slight incline, already pulling out my cigarettes because I knew that I would be craving after the long and tiresome drive, I couldn’t help but smile as I saw my grandparents coming out the front door, like they always would, ever since I was a kid.

And while many grandkids were close to their maternal grandparents, for me, it just so happened that I was the opposite way. For me, the coast had been my favorite getaway, a home away from home and the one place that I couldn’t cope without seeing for an entire month.

When I had learnt to drive, it was the first long distance trip I took out, and I truly believed that it was for that reason that my grandparents, even in their older age, never moved away from here, and I was honestly so glad.

And as I helped my wife out, already seeing Dada and Dadi making their way toward the car to receive us, I couldn’t help but feel elated that they could finally see me at this stage of my life, all grown up and together with my family. I knew that I was lucky to have them both with me, and many other guys my age didn’t get this.

And at the risk of sounding a little too emotional, the thing with Dada and Dadi was that there was a host of things that made me really attached to them. Life hadn’t been easy for them. My grandparents were always struggling to make ends meet. My father grew up in a poor home, and Dada had worked many different jobs to come out at the end of the month. It was him and seven other siblings, and even though Dadi had a small home business through which she subsidised their income, somehow it was still difficult. My father started working from a really young age, battling in many different ways before he finally found his feet in business when I was a kid and bought my grandparents this place which was close to my older uncle’s house, which they loved with all their heart.

And as I watched them, I realized that it had been over a month since I’d seen them and I had barely realized how much I really missed them.

In the bright afternoon sunshine, as they slowly approached us, it seemed like the first time that I’d noticed the little creased lines that became more prominent on their faces. My heart contracted slightly as I gazed at them up close, and as I sling my arm around Dada’s shoulders, I couldn’t help but be grateful that he was actually here to see this part of my life.

“Your Dadi couldn’t wait for you’ll to get here,” he said with a lobsided smile, patting my back affectionately. “She’s been in the kitchen from the minute she heard, making all your favourites.”

I instantly felt my heart swelling with love for her, at the same time as my stomach attempted to growl.

And as I glanced at her, with her hazel-brown eyes that still shone as brightly as they ever did, I knew that a simple greeting wouldn’t do, as I saw her smile at me with the same love she never failed to show since I was a kid, I knew I had no choice but to lean forward for a massive  hug, not expecting her voice to sound so emotional  as she spoke.

“Missed you, Hamzoo,” she said softly, using the nickname she always had as pecked her soft cheek, and I could feel the overwhelming emotion with which she meant her words.

Dadi was a woman of few words, but she was never the type to miss a thing. And as she hastily turned to meet my wife and Zaid, I wasn’t exactly sure what was happening to my heart at that point, because I barely realised how important this meeting was for me.

I briefly watched my two favourite people embrace for a minute, feeling a weird sensation in my heart as Dadi looked at me and then Zaid, almost as if she couldn’t believe how far I had come now, a family of my own with all these responsibilities…

I turned away as they spoke softly… intently…. And as Mohsina and Dadi walked along together a little, I already knew that I didn’t have anything to fear about them getting along, especially as I just finished pulling along the suitcases into the house and went back out to check on them, I was already feeling more settled.

“This place is amazing,” Mohsina was saying as I approached them, her mood already lifted as she gazed out to the stunningly blue seas that could be seen from wherever we stood. It was one of those days when the sky was achingly flawless, and the vastness of it simply took our breath away.

We hadn’t even entered the house yet, which boasted some of the most scenic views, and my wife was already completely mesmerized by the charm this amazing place held. Living on the coast was just a completely different experience altogether.

And I knew that I was jumping the gun, but seeing that Rabia had made herself useful and taken Zaid to Dada for a little walk around the yard, and knowing that there was still time for Asr Salaah, I knew that there was no better time that the present to get out there and be a little adventurous. As much as I wanted to tuck into Dadi’s famous cuisines, I really wanted to grab the last bits of sunlight before the day ended.

”Dee,” I said, calling my grandmother by her nickname as I placed my hand on her shoulders, feeling the frailness of her body as I held her, not really believing that my grandmother was already in her seventies.

They were sitting in the bench overlooking the ocean view, but seeing it all from this point wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to get closer already, to submerge myself in the beauty it boasted.

“Would you like to join us for a walk to the lookout?”

Dadi smiled and shook her head.

“Your Dada and I just went this morning,” she said with her usual lazy smile. “It’s such a beautiful day. Take Mohsina. Yesterday we spotted some dolphins, and you may get lucky again…”

I could see Mohsina’s eyes widening as I glanced at her and grinned, trying to figure out if she had forgiven me or not. Either way, at the mention of dolphins, it had the desired effect and I knew she couldn’t refuse joining me. At least I wouldn’t have to spend on hour grovelling and trying to make it up to her. I mean, who doesn’t love dolphins?

And as for me, I was hoping that the beauty and peace it brought would help her to forget all the drama of the past week.

And grabbing her by the wrist, without even giving her a chance to argue in my grandmothers presence, I had already pulled her toward the gate we usually used to get onto the beach path.

“Hey, what about Zaid?” She said seriously, looking back as she watched Dada entertaining him as he let out a few giggles.

He had settled so well in the past few weeks, and I was so glad that he was a friendly kid. Being out in the open now after that trip was all he needed right now.

”He’ll be fine,” I said softly, pulling her along despite her resistance. “He’s in good hands.”

She let out a frustrated sigh as she pulled her hand away from me, but went along with me anyway. I couldn’t help but smile as I glanced up at the skies, pulling on my cap and glancing at her stubborn expression.

And because the path to the beach was exceptionally close and as we walked down silently, falling into step with each other, I couldn’t help but find myself reaching out for her hand again. It had become such a natural thing that I barely even realised it, and as she allowed my fingers to grip hers, I couldn’t help but conceal a smile as I snuck a look at her stormy face. And even though she was annoyed with me, I couldn’t help but think of how gorgeous my wife looked right then, as she refused to meet my eye.

I cracked a smile as she scowled at me as we stopped to take off our shoes, knowing that I wasn’t completely off the hook for my last minute stunt anyway. Taking a step closer to her, I traced my thumb over the outline of her jaw, forcing her to look at me angrily while she lifted her hand to swat mine away.

She was so stubborn sometimes that she made me laugh.

”I didn’t mean to pounce on you,” I said softly, catching her eye as I watched look back at me. At that point, her eyes were filled with so much of honesty and sincerity that I didn’t quite have it in me to just ignore her little tantrum.

After that drive and all the social media obsession, I was actually really regretting letting Rabia come along with us.

Mohsina stayed silent as I watched her for a moment, when she was hastily started feeling her pockets, and I knew exactly what she was looking for.

“Oh gosh, I forgot my…”

I smiled as she trailed off, knowing exactly where I had left both our phones, and well aware that I had purposely intended to leave all technology behind today. I just wanted to sit there, under the streaky skies, watching the riders of the sea crashing against the waters, roaring away with every new wave…

And because I didn’t want to make a big deal of it, I turned my gaze to the view of that had already captivated her, watching her eyes fix on the tide that was endlessly ebbing and flowing, as we gazed at it together. The sound of the seaside captured us from every side, echoing off the rocks surrounding us.

For a moment there, the entire world melted away as the rhythmic sound of the ocean overcame my senses, and like an old friend, meeting once again at the shore… being out there had already calmed me and settled me incomparably. The oceans embrace had cleared my mind and already gave me a new perspective on what had been worrying me.

”How vast is this ocean?” Mohsina said softly, and I couldn’t help but swallow emotion as I gazed out at the limitless waters that seemed to go beyond eternity.

How vast is Allah Ta’alas Arsh? How vast was His creation?

Allah’s Messengerﷺ said,

“When Allah completed the creation, He wrote in His Book which is with Him on His Throne, “My Mercy overpowers My Anger.”

(Bukhari)

“Imagine how vast is His mercy,” I whispered as I let my eyes feast on my favorite refuge, unable to withhold my amazement for that minute.

We could barely understand it. What we could see was only the tip of the iceberg. What we understood was only a meagre and minimal part of what really existed. It truly boggles the mind. None can fathom the greatness of Allah, and as I looked out, I could only imagine the beautiful array of marine life and coral that lined the ocean floor like a limitless burst of magic beneath the surface. Who knew what splendour lay beyond those enticing waters?

The thing was that everything becomes a lesson for us, when we are in tune with Allah’s greatness. Every ebb, every ripple, every whiff of salty breeze… every tiny creature or little rustle in the trees behind us… all becomes a means of looking to Allāh’s greatness and magnificence.

And as we stepped over, along the little bridge that served as an entrancing lookout to the open seas, it was no secret that Mohsina was completely captivated by the beauty the was before us. Its infinite beauty just got more and more intense, with every step we took as the seas spread before us in all their glory, and being there again reminded me of how much I loved this place as a teenager.

And as the wind picked up slightly, I pulled off my puffer jacket to put around my wife’s shoulders, while she smiled gratefully and  I saw her then in a completely different light. I realised why I kept bringing her to my favourite places. I realised that I was letting her into more and more of my world, and as I saw her out here, in the open, or out in the wilderness, the affection of nature having its effect on her, it reminded me again if the girl I sometimes saw beyond that determined go-getter.

Beneath it all, there was a softness within her when she let herself give in to nature, when she embraced the free spirit within her, and for a minute, I glimpsed that vulnerability once again. It was the only reason why I kept taking her out to the places I loved. It was the one time I saw her letting go of the shackles that the world and social media had captured her with. It was the only time that I witnessed her as herself.

And while I thought of it, being here with my wife made me excited, and scared, all at the same time. She had come so far… conquered so much, but this past week had been difficult to deal with everything that had happened. She was all cut up about recent events and how that virtual life could suck you back in became a concern for me…

“Can you see that bird on the wave?” I said softly, pointing to a white seagull that was playing around in the choppy waters, my eyes not leaving it for all that time, as it swam on its appointed wave. An amazing thought struck me as I did…

Mohsina’s dark eyes turned to look at the seagull, and a small smile flashed on her face as she did.

She nodded as we both fixed our eyes on it, her hands now tighter around mine as she watched it fluttering around, riding the wave and balancing expertly as it rose and fell once again.

I took a deep breath, hoping to relate what I meant as best I could.

“I once heard an Aalim say that everything in nature has a lesson for us,” I said softly, my eyes not leaving the scene before us, as I spoke. “And I was thinking… You know… Life is so uncertain. Unpredictable. Difficult at times. We all face challenges, get hurt, fall to our knees… But like how the bird stays on its intended spot, not matter what the conditions… on the crest of the wave, battling to keep his momentum but still succeeding… We too should battle through the tests and the turbulence to keep ourselves on track, to always be struggling with our Nafs… no matter what challenges we face…”

It was normal to slip. To fall. To find ourselves flat out on our backs at times. But we keep getting up. Even after we fail, after we sin, after we find ourselves feeling like we’ve lost the battle completely… there’s always getting up again, and until we leave his world, it’s still never the end.

She looked at me, and I didn’t meet her eye as I said it.

The thing was, life was a constant battle. We always face challenges. Shaytaan is always out to trap us. And after the past week, I was scared of losing Mohsina to what she used to be. I was scared that with the influence around her and with so much that was threatening to destroy her, she was going to get lost in that world that she had once been submerged in once again. I was scared that my sister was having a bad influence of her too. I was so scared that she was going to start losing herself, and this time, I wouldn’t be able to save her. How do you save someone from their own self ?

I mean, I knew that the decision to marry her was because I could see something shifting within her. What I didn’t want was being back at that point where I felt like I was fighting a losing battle.

I was scared. And it wasn’t even about losing the battle anymore. I was more scared because from someone who was completely averse to emotion, I could actually feel something for Mohsina that I never felt before.

And I never believed in love, but if you ever had to ask me, this thing that was starting to take over my heart, was probably the closest thing to it that I ever felt.

I pushed away all stray thoughts as I shoved my hand into my pocket as I breathed out, pulling out the box that was in there for the past few days, knowing that I didn’t want to make a big deal out of this.

I had it with me since the previous week knowing that I was waiting for the right time to give it to her, and right then… well, it just felt right. Also, I knew that it would be a

“I’ve got something for you,” I said as I turned toward her, not knowing what else to say, as she finally turned to me, I could tell for a moment as that this was something she didn’t see coming.

She widened her eyes and swallowed silently, stunned as she stared at the diamond stone set in a band of white gold that I had purchased just a week ago. It was something that I knew we hadn’t done when we had gotten married because everything was so sudden and unconventional, and though it was seriously delayed, I always wanted her to wear a band like other married couples do. It was just something I felt passionate about. The whole ring exchange thing hadn’t happened for us, but I really wanted to give her one.

She was still staring for a minute as she looked as me and then at the ring, her eyes glistening as she met me eye. And I had purposely done this very casually and I had no idea what was so emotional for her, but I knew women were strange so I barely even thought much of it as she finally opened her mouth to speak.

And of all the things I had expected her to say, I never expected what she said next.

“Hamzah, no,” she said briefly, closing her eyes and shaking her head as she snapped the box shut. Of all the things, it was the furthest from what I expected.

I couldn’t help but frown as I watched her turn away, trying to figure out what on earth went on in this woman’s mind.

This wasn’t a proposal. It wasn’t like we weren’t already married. It was just that we hadn’t exactly done everything the right way around, and of all the things I really wanted.. well, this was one. To be an actual married couple with the formalities and the ornaments, even though it was a little extra, well.. it wasn’t like it was wrong.

“I can’t,” she stammered, her voice shaky and I couldn’t even understand why. “It’s too much, I’m costing you too much, Hamzah. I’m sure you didn’t intend on doing all this…”

The money. She was still worried about the money, when I told her she didn’t have to. It was true that this month had stretched me, but I had a plan for my finances.

And I knew that she still doubted me, but I really and truly believed that we could make this situation a perfect one. I just wished that she could too.

She was still shaking her head, as she turned away and faced the open seas, which seemed to be getting choppier with each passing moment. Their storminess was having an immense effect on my mood and I shoved the box back in my pocket, not knowing what else to do. I was angry and annoyed.

What was it with this woman? Why did she always challenge me? Every time I felt like we were getting one step closer, it seemed like it was two steps back. Here I was, slowly opening up to her more and more, and it seemed like all Mohsina was intent on doing was putting up wall after wall…

It was already a few moments of silence that had passed before I felt her hands snaking around my waist, and before I even knew it, she had already delved into my pocket.

The box was already opened and without another word, she already pulled the ring over her slender finger, gazing at it for a second as I looked at her and raised my eyebrows, wondering what it was that made her tick.

Truly, my wife was one of the most complicated conundrums for me, but as I looked at her, I couldn’t help but laugh at her ridiculous temperament. At that point, I was more vulnerable in her presence than I had ever been.

I mean, who says no to a diamond ring?

“Right from the first day I met you at Hammonds,” I said, shaking my head and pulling her closer to me, trying to swallow the emotions that she had brought on in the last few minutes. “You annoyed me more than anyone in the world, Mos, but I still want to spend every irritating moment with you.”

It’s true that when I first met her, she was one of the people who I would try to avoid at work. I supposed it was because she was so focused and driven and trying so hard to be at the top. She always went all out for everything, even though I knew that for a woman, it was always much harder to get to where they wanted to be.

Women empowerment was her thing. Her passion. Her reason for pushing herself as far as she had and getting where she did in her career.
And though she kept proving to me, what she didn’t realise was that the minute she had put her own desires aside to tend to Zaid, and bring up our son, her status for me was already on Saint level. Thats all she had to do. I mean, women fought so hard in every avenue, but all Allah Ta’ala asks of them is to please their husband, and their Jannah is made.

Simple and so easy.

And that’s what made her all the more special for me. That’s what made even the things that never made sense to us, finally make sense.

She finally grinned as I watched her stick her tongue out at me, but there was a certain something brewing in her eyes as she did.

“You’re my happily ever after,” I said simply, hoping to make her smile but as I said it, it was as if something in her shifted and all of a sudden, she turned away, almost as if she was shying away from something that I had no idea about.

Did I say something wrong?

“Mohsina,” I said, frowning as I watched her, confusion creeping over me. “Is everything okay?”

”I’m sorry,” she said, pulling her hand as she tried to move away from me.

”What?” I asked, frustrated now, my eyes searching hers for answers.

Any answer. Any reason. Just something, dammit.

And unbeknownst to me, the whole trip here was turning out to be a bit more than I bargained for. I didn’t realise that Rabia being with us had brought on a whole lot more than what I anticipated, and that much more was said that I had no idea of. I wasn’t even aware that what Mohsina was about to say was only the tip of the iceberg, and within the crevices of her pained heart there was much that was still left unsaid.

She stepped back, leaning on the balustrade as she pulled my jacket tighter around her, almost as if she was harnessing some kind of turbulence that was wrecking havoc within.

And then she took a deep breath, and finally met my eye.

“I have something to tell you.”


Dearest readers…

A little bit of drama to unfold… but let’s see how Mohsina finds her way out of this one… Any pointers on whether she should reveal it all or not?

Request for Duaas

Much Love

A xx

Mission Sunnah Revival

Sunnah of Time Management:

We come into this world with an allocated amount of time. We should, ideally, spend this time to please Allah and strive toward our Aakhirah.

Among the harms of social media are the harms of time wasting.

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to be particular even about our digital time, and save us wasting our time on these frivolous activities.

Oh son of Adam. You are nothing but a number of days. Whenever a day passes, another day has gone. (Fadhaail e Sadaqaat)

Someone asked Ali (RA): “How much was the Sahaba’s love for the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam)”

He replied: “By Allah! To us The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) was dearer to us than our riches our children and our mothers, and was more cherishable than a drink of water at the time of severest thirst.”

SubhaanAllah… what perfect imaan they had… May Allah enable us to practise..💕

#RevivetheSunnah

#RevivetheSunnahofbeingGrateful

#RevivetheSunnahofQur’aanTilaawat

#ReviveSunnahofDuaa

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

A Dreaded Diversion

Bismihi Ta’ala

Mohsina

Part 59

Throughout history, it’s a well known fact that a fair percentage of women have always worked… whether as servants, housekeepers,  ladies’ maids, governesses, teachers, and tutors. Their children were never looked at as neglected, well… not anymore than the well bred housewives of the nineteenth century who rarely attended their children, surrendering the brunt of the child-rearing to the governesses.

And whether or not we like to admit it, with the shift in roles and the expectations of the twenty-first century, feminism has created a rather tricky backdrop to the mix.

And I knew I had once challenged this very notion, but one thing I’ve realised was:

The plain truth of the matter is that women were indeed, and still are in fact, more respected and cherished by men and other women when they keep their work to the confines of domestic endeavors.

The truth is that, no matter how hard women push or strive for acceptance in every single avenue, we have to, at some point, submit to the fact that everything in life has a purpose, and every creature has its sustenance already decreed.

“And there is no creature on earth but that upon Allah is its provision, and He knows its place of dwelling and place of storage. All is in a clear register.” Surah Hud: Ayah 6

The thing with rizq is that it’s not only about the ‘big bucks’.

Rizq too, as Allah sends it, comes in many different shapes and forms. It was a beautiful analogy that never struck me until a time of my life where I was forced to realise that whatever was meant for me, whatever reaches me, and whatever is destined, was never going to come only through my paycheque…

Often, I’ve heard people ask for Barakah in their provisions, but sometimes we fail to realise that it’s not only about our earnings.

Barakah can be a dealing with righteous people, that Allah sends as a blessing. Barakah can be an amazing family, with children who are passively contented with even the smallest of things. It can be your faithful spouse, who even when odds are against you, still comes through when you need it the most…

“I’m just finishing off with these messages,” I said, almost absent-mindedly, as Hamzah exited the bathroom, scrolling through as fast as I could and trying to distinguish the most hostile ones first.

It had been an hour after and though Maahira had helped me do some damage control and post a general story and post, there was stil so much to be sorted.

And though Maahi with her newly revamped Halaal account, had helped, I wished I could just throw in the towel and delete Instagram. I couldn’t help but be hooked on every little development. It was as if I was being sucked into the Bermuda Triangle of false delusion once again.

Also, Maahira’s efforts were pretty short-lived because it had just so happened that when she was leaving, she had happened to glimpse Hamzah’s friend outside, and on top of all the messages on Instagram, was her dozens of iMessages to do with her piqued curiosity about an eligible bachelor that she seemed to spot.

I didn’t even have the energy to explain to her that the Mohsin in question had a bit of a complicated family history and he wasn’t exactly looking to get hitched as yet.

I glanced over at Zaid who was sleeping soundly in the co-sleeper cot we had bought and as he shifted the duvet around, I didn’t even spare my husband a glance.

I barely even realised that Hamzah had already read his Qur’ān that he usually read aloud every night, because unlike every other night when I would wait to hear him, tonight I had barely even heard to his recitation that would dispel the evil and negativity that usually conflicted with my peace at this time of the day.

On that day, I was so focused and absorbed in my parallel world that I barely even let the effect of Qur’ān penetrate my heart…

And I knew that there was a reason he did this. The pious elders advise that this recitation of Qur’ān was meant to be a beautiful antidote for evil, for negativity and a remedy for every problem that we encounter as the darkness engulfs us. It’s just that, for me, besides losing myself to darkness completely, sometimes we don’t even know where’s the switch.

By the time I finally looked up and actually paid attention, he had already pulled off his kurta and slipped on a new pants as he got ready for bed. I was way too busy tapping away, trying to respond to each message individually, and uphold my virtual reputation, before everything went completely out of whack for me.

I just couldn’t figure out who hated me so much that they would be so intent on destroying my life.

And as my anxiety levels were reaching danger level, there was a single comment that caught my eye. A particular posted one by some random user without any real identity had literally floored me, and my heart flipped frightfully as I read it.

Theres a reason she is after everyone’s money. For the inside on how she lost her job, dm me

My word. What a huge scandal this was turning out to be.. To say I lost my job so confidently …  Could it possibly be Faadil or one of his right-hand guys who could have started this and blown it out of proportion for attention?

I mean, even for him… this was below the belt.

Apart from a few  emails that I had deleted without even reading, there had been no contact with him otherwise.

And as I looked up at the amazing guy I had wanted to change so much for at that time, because of his love for Qur’ān and my own yearning for it… I barely noticed him pulling out his miswaak like he usually did to keep on his bedside, next to his water bottle like he did every night. He had already set the alarm and switched off the bathroom lights. Hamzah was the closest thing to OCD without actually being OCD. It was weird, but in a completely unconventional way.

With all the emotions surging through me at that point, I could barely even focus on what he was doing and seeing, and I wasn’t even sure what was going on in my mind.

“Mos,” he murmured, as he set his phone down on charge on the pedestal in its usual place, pulled the covers over and edged closer. “It’s getting late.”

I could hear the insinuation about the phone in his voice as his hand came to rest on my shoulder, while I shifted away almost involuntarily. I knew that I was being a bit edgy but I wasn’t in the mood for any affection.

That last comment had been the final straw…  I was now anxious, highly strung and completely vexed about the social media events.

Of course, Hamzah’s frame of mind was also being tested and I didn’t want to be a catalyst.

“How long more?” He asked, noting my unresponsiveness as I tapped away, his tone colder now as I deleted the comments on my post and moved on to the next message. “Can’t you just give it a break for now?”

I shook my head vigorously.

“I just cant believe what these people think of me,” I said, feeling like I wanted to cry, not even taking my eyes off the screen. “It’s all fabricated…”

“But so what,” he said in a frustrated tone, propping his head up on his hand and staring at me while he narrowed his brown eyes. “Everyone is just pretending to be your friend on that thing anyway, so you think they like you. They don’t even like themselves, believe me.”

I had pulled off my hairband and hastily pushed the stray strands of hair back and looked back at him stonily.

“You are so cynical,” I retorted, sighing as Hamzah watched my reaction, and I swore I could see a smirk on his face. “So you’re just judging everyone on social media, saying they don’t like themselves, that’s why they’re there? What kind of dumb logic is that?”

I wasn’t even sure why I was having this conversation with him. It felt like we were back to all those months ago when he would purposely take the mickey out of me for having TikTok. The thing was, I wasn’t as crazy as I was about social media but hello… it was the way of the world and you really could not live under a rock in the twenty-first century. Like, can he be any more of a hater?

“All I’m saying is, do these people’s likes even matter?” he said with a confident and indifferent expression, his eyes having a hint of sarcasm. “People are fickle. They follow you today, tomorrow they’re gone. Their likes don’t pay bills, okay?”

Hamzah knew how to rub salt in the wound.

”Gosh Hamzah,” I snapped, glancing at him as he looked at me, my phone already shoved aside and forgotten for the moment. “Their likes and their follows actually do pay my bills. Stop being selfish. I don’t have a job. I don’t have any other income besides what social media ads or reviews that I do, and after Zaid came into the picture, I don’t even have much time to do them. I need to set things right before I lose all my followers, my profile and go completely broke with no one to even help me!”

Hamzah looked stunned for a second as I said it as he raised his eyebrows silently, and I watched him retract to his side of the bed, as if he had been physically assaulted.

My heart immediately contracted as I watched him swallow back what seemed like a huge fraction of frustration, and promptly tap the light switch off.

And then of course, as we were submerged in the darkness and silence ensued, the guilt started to creep in, and I couldn’t help but take another peek at the silhouette of his probable stony face and sigh in absolute resolve.

It wasn’t his fault that this had happened. There was also no need to bring Zaid into this. I felt indescribably guilty for pinning it on the child.

I was sorry. Sorry for snapping and being mean. Sorry for blaming our situation and making it seem as if it was all his fault…

“Hamzah…” I started, not exactly sure of how to say it. I was sorry for making Zaid an issue?

As much as I wanted to apologise, I couldn’t help but feel he was being a little emotional, especially after I’d been through so much that evening. Sensitive much?

I wanted to reach out and win some brownie points again but I wasn’t the type to swindle my way, so I waited a few seconds for him to respond, before I breathed in, and watched him turn around until he faced the ceiling.

I turned slightly as I watched him, a little fearful of what he was going to say. It wasn’t often that Hamzah got angry and it was obvious that my comment had provoked him.

His voice was icy as he spoke out in the dark.

”Do I look like the type of guy who would marry someone just because of circumstances?”

Okay. That was out of the blue.

“What do you mean?” I asked carefully, watching the rise and fall of his chest in the dark as he breathed.

His question was ambiguous.

I wasn’t quite sure what he was talking about. I put my phone on the pedestal anyway, knowing that there was only one way to salvage myslef.

“You seem to think that you can’t treat me as your husband,” he said briskly, answering my unsaid question. “Or maybe it’s just that women in our generation are too used to relying on themselves. Maybe you have too much of pride and independence that you can’t seem to get used to the idea of asking someone to actually help you when you have a financial problem. Why get married when you can do it all by yourselves?”

Ouch. That was a low blow. Even for Hamzah.

I lay very still as he spoke, barely even breathing. With the last sentence, he sounded like he was utterly exasperated by my continuous efforts to downplay his role as a husband. And maybe he was right.

The truth was, I didn’t want him to think that it was something I needed from him.
Money was an issue. It was no secret that it was the main downfall that caused us to break apart, and the main hindrance even when we wanted to get back together.

Money was the root of so many problems, and I could see it literally expanding as a huge boulder for us.

It was no wonder that Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said that the thing he feared most for the ummah was not poverty, but wealth. Money was the source of every evil and the root of every abominable act. It was the reason for divorce, the motive for so much of disunity and discontent ….

”Mos,” he said, his tone a little gentler now, as he noticed my silence. I wasn’t silent often. But what else did I say when he asked something like that.

“I can’t,” I said simply, knowing that he would get angry but needing to let him know it.

The thing was, if it was for me… I could do it. Maybe I could learn to. But the thing was…. how do I just ask him for money for my parents or my siblings or some mafia people who were harassing us? How do I ask him for money to pay back Faadil, who I deeply suspected was causing a problem for me because of it. I mean, I had asked him to take the money off my last salary but he didn’t.

Now he was probably thinking of other ways to get back at me. I had to pay him back as soon as possible…

“I’m used to earning my own money,” I said defiantly. “It’s not pride. I just… I don’t like to ask for something that I haven’t worked for…”

“But Mos,” he said, his voice sounding kinder now as he spoke. “This is where youre wrong. Your income is not only determined what you earn. It’s not even determined by these crazy sheep who can’t even use their brain to distinguish right from wrong. Allah Ta’ala has already decreed it, from the moment you came into this world. Whichever means, whatever way… even if it means me being a proper husband and providing for you, because I’m meant to be the source of your rizq… it is what it is. Never more. Never less. Dont you get it?”

It was such an amazing analogy that I couldn’t even fathom the magnitude Allah’s planning here. That before we were even born, our sustenance was already decreed. SubhaanAllah!

I was still silent, digesting all of this that Hamzah was drilling into me in a most diplomatic fashion.

“Mohsina, you’re my wife,” he said quietly, his voice so sincere and genuine as he said it. “You have to promise me, whatever you want, you need to ask, okay? Let me look after you, as much as you may hate the idea.”

My heart contracted as he said it. How could I promise him that? Did he even know what I would want money for?

“Hamzah,” I started, wanting to argue with him. He worked hard too. Knowing that my hard-earned money had gone to those ridiculous loan-sharks for disgusting use was enough to rid me of sleep at night. How would that make him feel?

”What’s so wrong with taking my money?” He pressed, turning to me and watching me in the dark.

It just didn’t feel right to take it. That was the problem. I couldn’t do this anymore. I had to tell him the real reason.

“I need to pay Faadil,” I said suddenly, almost as if it was something I just could not keep in any longer.

I looked up into the darkness, bracing myself for an explosion.

Instead, it seemed that now it was his time to be silent.

“Bossman?” He said, after almost a full minute, and I could hear the hostility in his voice as he said it. “You took money from him?”

”Mmmhm,” I murmured, closing my eyes as I imagined how he saw the entire situation. I knew that it was only a matter of time before he probably went crazy on me.

But as the silence ensued and I assumed I was getting the silent treatment instead, his voice suddenly spoke out again.

”How much do you owe him?”

His voice was hostile, especially as he said the last word. My heart was still beating rapidly as I was about to say it, but before I could, he hastily interrupted me.

”You know what,” he said, sounding a little less vexed than a few seconds ago. “It doesn’t matter how much. Allah Ta’ala is the One who opens doors. Every door that we thought couldn’t even open. He is Al Fattah… the Opener. He is Ever Powerful…. All Knowing… and He will sort it out. I don’t want you to stress about it again. Do you understand? Ever.”

He was so natural and casual in his words, that I didn’t even doubt them for a second. It was like saying all those praises and reminders had completely and instantly put his mind at ease. Miraculously, even my own heart felt so much more serene…

“I just feel like it’s going to be okay,” he said softly, sounding like he was completely at peace right then. “You know?”

It was our thing.

You know.

I know.

And I did.

”I know,” I replied softly, letting his words calm my heart and uplift my spirit. These heart-to-hearts did something for my soul. Truly, he had a natural talent with curing my crazy heart, even in the most unfavourable situations…

And just as I was, he seemed deep in thought for a while before I also drifted off, his hand somehow finding mine under the covers, almost subconsciously, giving me an aching hope that everything would be sorted out the next day.

And as the sun made its way about the next morning and I woke up to the sound of Hamzah exiting the bathroom, watching Zaid and I in bed, I was almost wondering if I had imagined last nights little exchange. I waited for a question or some kind of reaction from him, but much to my surprise, he didn’t even seem shocked or disgruntled about our conversation the night before.

Instead, after he left for work, a sum of money had already reflected in my account and though it was more than I needed right then, I was overwhelmed by how he had settled my worries.

This guy was proving his worth over and over, and I didn’t even have any other words to describe his generosity and amazement with dealing with me. More than that, Allah’s mercy raining down on me right then was more than I could encompass. Indeed, Allah had most definitely decreed my rizq in a way that I would have never thought.

The emotions within me were overwhelming for  minute, and that week came to a close and I tried to play my part too, while also continuing to fix as much as I could without going crazy, I couldn’t help but feel drained by the end of it. Once again, with me being on social media almost every second Hamzah wasn’t around, my nerves were wrecked, my chest was aching and Zaid literally refused to get off of me.

The breastfeeding had entered a painful transition and I found myself scrounging around for nipple shields and all sorts of things for some relief.

In short, it was a pretty bad time for me. And so, when Hamzah looked at my gloomy face on Friday morning, I supposed that I understood what he was saying when he voiced his thoughts.

“So I’m assuming you’re not up for any adventures this weekend?” He said, giving me a cheeky grin as he watched my expression.

I rolled my eyes. Adventures for Hamzah basically meant surrendering myself to the wild. I wasn’t sure if I had the energy for it.

“I’m not sure if I trust your version of adventures…” I said with a small but tired smile, not meeting his eye.

The waterfall had been something that I couldn’t simply forget, and after the initial moments of wanting to strangle my husband, with the isolation that part of the forest offered, Hamzah had convinced me to make the most of it. The beauty, the splendour and not only swayed my heart, but also created a foundation for us… a place where we had finally slipped into a comfort zone, and learnt that sometimes we needed each other to discover better parts of life too.

“I actually wanted to see my family for a bit,” I said quietly, knowing that I needed to talk to Jameela. Even though I had messaged her, I desperately needed to have a heart to heart with her… figure out what she was up to and if she really thought this guy was the best thing for her.

Secretly, I was really hoping that Nani found one Taaleem Aunty’s grandson and got her married as soon as possible. I was really quite missing Nani and my mother’s banter. It had been two weeks since I went home.

”I had an idea,” Hamzah said quietly, and I smiled as I looked at his excited face.

Weekends were his playtime, and his mind was already  working ahead to plan.

“Do I want to know it?” I asked with raised eyebrows.

“You may be interested since I’m the bonus,” he said with a smirk, “We can you go to your parents later or on Sunday? I want to see my grandparents on the South coast. It may be bit of a drive so we need a night there… But trust me… it’s going to be worth it.”

Why did I get the feeling he was planning something crazy and wild?

“Plus, no offense, but you look like you really need a break.”

I stuck out my tongue at him. In short, he was saying I looked like crap.

Okay, I know that I didn’t look great and I’d been slacking with my daily care routine, but I had literally been so drained. The social media front had died down, but somehow, I still got the feeling that it wasn’t over yet.

What I didn’t know it provided was an opportunity for nameless people on social media to discuss me within themselves. I didn’t know that the information that had come up due to this was a dangerous web of lies, embroiled with tiny truths, that could still ruin me…

I hastily looked in the mirror as I saw Hamzah watching me, seeing a flustered, tired looking girl with an untidy bun staring back at me. I instinctively massaged the area under my eyes, feeling as if my circles were becoming more pronounced with each passing day.

He said like I looked like I needed a break. That was a hint, and I knew I had to step up my game. Especially since we were going to meet his grandparents for like the first time ever, I knew that I had to make a good impression.

I had carefully picked out my outfit that I had bought on one of my recent breastfeeding-friendly online sprees from Shein, a button down Abaya style modest dress, coupled with a matching Sheila to go. Making sure my ankles were fully covered and no hair was exposed, the nude shoes I had chosen perfectly complimented  it. I felt something like an Instagram diva, minus all the selfies, and I was glad to keep it that way.

There was still a half hour before Hamzah wanted to leave and while he strapped Zaid in the car seat and went to buy a quick something that his Dadi had asked for,  so it was the perfect timing to grab my Sephora and Mac bits to ensure that I was going to look like a human today.

The black and sage dress was sitting beautifully since I had lost another kilogram (due to all the stress) that week and my nude-colour inspired make up (thanks to the latest MUA tutorial) was almost perfect. After the rough week I had, I really needed to treat myself to a good facial and makeover and I also knew that Hamzah might appreciate me looking unlike the haunted ghost figure I resembled for the past few days.

Also, we desperately did need the couple time. A diversion from the toxicity of social media. Out in the sun, water on my skin, with the waves crashing in the background. I was very much looking forward to getting sand in my nose and toes and who knew where else… for me, it was going to be salty feels all the way.

And as I grabbed my matching handbag and the famous mini salted caramel cheesecakes I had made to take with, meeting Hamzah at the door, I couldn’t help but notice  him raise his eyebrows.

“Excuse me, but who are you again?!” he asked with an exaggerated stare, as Zaid gurgled and I grinned while I passed them.

And yes, though I had made an intention to dress up for my husband, I knew that I had to look good for his grandparents too. With all due respect to us both, they can’t be thinking their grandson married a jungalee.

I winked as he widened his eyes at me, pushing my fashion sunglasses up to the bridge of my nose and keeping up my poker face as I walked past him. I ignored him, putting on a full dramatization as I walked to the car, barely even looking up as I balanced the tray of cheesecakes expertly, my mood all in full swing for a most amazing weekend ahead.

This time, I wasn’t going to be a wet blanket. I could be pretty fun too, if given some time. I just needed to be in the right zone with the beach vibes, and with my new outfit, I was completely in it. I was all psyched up.

Hamzah had already locked up and I had just popped the tray into the boot and got into the car, checking on Zaid who was still happily gurgling as he was restrapped in his car seat for now. He probably wouldn’t last long there anyway. He also barely recognised the civilised looking woman who was here, but it probably didn’t matter to him anyway, as long as his food supply was still intact.

And as I took a seat, watching Hamzah leaning against the back of the car with his phone and cigarette, puffing away calmly, I was kind of wondering why he was taking so long. Maybe he was so shocked that I could actually look normal, that he had to recover.

Hehe, I grinned to myself. After all, it was good to impress your husband now and again.

And while I sat patiently for a few minutes, it was only a matter of time before I pushed open the door, turned my head back and looked at him questioningly.

I was anxious to start this road trip. I was also really nervous about meeting his grandparents. Would they like me? Think I’m too educated? Would they have this whole impression that their son needed someone more simple? I knew how people in Hamzah’s family looked at me sometimes. Maybe I should have worn plain black. Was I being too fancy?

It would only be the second time to see them… but the first time was at our Nikah and you could barely count that.

I sighed, twisting my fingers nervously.

“You ready?” I asked, still on edge, not being able to resist looking at his cigarette with disdain as he puffed away.

Eugh. He was going to be honking by the time he came in the car.

He nodded silently, releasing a cloud of smoke before throwing the butt down and squishing it under his grey casual takkie.

”I am,” he said, his gaze fixed on me as I waited for his answer. For some reason, he was just looking at me silently, but not even getting into the car.

“So now?” I couldn’t help but say, raising my eyebrows at him.

“You look nice when you’re annoyed,” he said with a stupid grin, and I wanted to smack him. What was going on? 

“Hamzah,” I said frustratedly, now full-on irritated. “Are we going or not?”

”Oh, that,” he said casually, coming around and opening the car door in a most relaxed fashion, while he took a seat next to me instead of the driver’s seat. He was so calm at times, he actually made me anxious. “Didn’t I mention? We’ll leave in a few minutes. My parents and Rabia are nearly here. She’ll be joining us for the weekend.”

What?!


Mission Sunnah Revival

Sunnah of Time Management:

We come into this world with an allocated amount of time. We should, ideally, spend this time to please Allah and strive toward our Aakhirah.

Among the harms of social media are the harms of time wasting.

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to be particular even about our digital time, and save us wasting our time on these frivolous activities.

Oh son of Adam. You are nothing but a number of days. Whenever a day passes, another day has gone. (Fadhaail e Sadaqaat)

Someone asked Ali (RA): “How much was the Sahaba’s love for the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam)”

He replied: “By Allah! To us The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) was dearer to us than our riches our children and our mothers, and was more cherishable than a drink of water at the time of severest thirst.”

SubhaanAllah… what perfect imaan they had… May Allah enable us to practise..💕

#RevivetheSunnah

#RevivetheSunnahofbeingGrateful

#RevivetheSunnahofQur’aanTilaawat

#ReviveSunnahofDuaa

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

Damage Control

Bismihi Ta’ala

Mohsina

Part 58

I blinked as I glanced at my phone, scrunching my nose up and narrowing my eyes slightly as I saw the notification that came in just a few seconds ago, not fully comprehending why I felt so uneasy about it.

It had been a while since I had changed the settings on my phone. All notifications and alerts had been silenced and I was trying my best not to get distracted by it.

And I had made a habit of keeping my phone away from me, especially in company, but as I saw it, I couldn’t help but feel that this was a matter of urgency.

Gosh. I could not believe my parents. I sighed audibly as Maahira suddenly stopped talking, and watched my expression.

“Somethings happened,” she said, without missing a heartbeat, as she shifted her gaze from the enticing waters to me. “Shoot.”

The city lights were twinkling in the distance, as  we sat on the patio of Hamzah’s parents house in Johannesburg, enjoying the evening breeze. Maahira and I were sitting on the edge of the pool, dipping our legs in.
Despite the soothing sound of the water and the rustling of the leaves in the near distance, I couldn’t help but still feel a little unsettled. After being back from the farm, with the serenity I felt there, I couldn’t help but feel as if everything else paled in comparison…

Also, with my mother’s constant messaging, there really was no peace at all.

Beep!

She is a very nyc girl.

My mother was describing the girl who Jameela had apparently befriended a few weeks ago.

Frankly, I didn’t care if she was a nice girl. She was way older than my sister and I couldn’t possibly think of anything good that would come out of this, and I sincerely hoped that I wouldn’t have to do damage control to fix it after.

Your uncle is makin a trip 2 London next month and Jameela wants 2go. I think it wil be nyc for her.

My word. Since when did my mother become so liberal? 

“Sorry,” I said to Maahira, realising that I hadn’t heard a word of what she’d said in the last minute. “My mother. She wants to send Jameela to London! Can you believe it?

Maahiras’s eyes immediately lit up.

“That will be awesome!” She said with a smile. “Who will she go with?”

”Its not awesome!” I said, shaking my head. “It’s just… Firstly, I can’t believe how my mother is allowing Jameela to go for this rose whatever class with this girl she literally just met. Like, can’t she go and study something more beneficial? And now she wants to send her to London where this girl lives. What is she trying to do? I just know that this is trouble.”

I didn’t mention to Maahira that this girl was actually the sister of the guy that was involved with the loan shark Mafia. That Zubair character. She had vaguely told me that the girl had come home, looking for her own brother, and that already spelled trouble.

“Jameela can look out for herself, don’t you think?” Maahira said obviously. “She’s mature enough for her age and she seems to have her head screwed on the right way.”

”You don’t understand,” I said pointedly, ignoring the niggling feeling that I may have been too hasty in judging. But she obviously did not know my sister when her head was in the clouds. Jameela thought with her heart, not her head.

“I have a feeling that this thing is going to blow completely out of proportion. My parents are getting old, Maahi. They can’t parent anymore.”

“Mos,” she said, raising her eyebrows at me. “What’s so bad about it?”

“I just think she should at least do something beneficial,” I said heatedly. “Instead of pottering around in the garden and thinking of coffee shop and glamping ideas-“

”Mos, I think you’re being a bit harsh in her,” she said, cocking her head slightly and then studying my expression. “The coffee shop helped your father’s financial situation too. And so will the new project. Jameela has business sense and amazing ideas. But it’s not that, is it? I  think that something else may be bothering you…”

I looked away, not meeting my friend’s penetrating gaze for a while, as the breeze caressed my open neck.

For a night in the city, the skies were particularly breathtaking. Last night, after Zaid had fallen asleep, Hamzah and I had come out to admire them, and it was quite surprising how the twinkling night skies had soothed my constantly frazzled nerves….

“It’s this guy,” I said finally, relenting with my friends penetrating gaze. “This girl’s brother. He’s completely unsuitable and my sister is obviously smitten with him. My mother is completely oblivious, but neither does she care either.”

I sighed emphatically, while Maahira narrowed her eyes at me.

“What’s unsuitable about him?” She said with a questioning look. “Is he abusing drugs? Has a drinking problem? Going around with women?”

I looked at her, pursing my lips slightly as I answered.

“Well, no,” I said indignantly. I couldn’t exactly say something that wasn’t true. “But he’s just not the type of guy I want for my innocent sister. And he could very well be into that stuff. She’s not like me, Maahi. She’s not streetwise. You know Jameela. She’s so unassuming and sweet. How can she ever be thought suitable for a guy who has connections like that?”

Maahira looked at me, and I could see a hint of confusion in her eyes.

“So you have nothing against the guy in particular?” She said, now raising her eyebrows. “Just his uncle, who he doesn’t have contact with anymore?”

I know it sounded a little immature, but also, Jameela needed someone who could look after her. This guy had absolutely nothing. Nothing.

”Mos, do you know how hard it is to find good guys these days?” She said, shaking her head at me disappointedly. “Like, if the guy is not clubbing and drinking and just making the most out of his single life, then he is seeing dozens of women and just being an obnoxious mess-around.”

I shrugged, immediately thinking of Hamzah. Yes, there was a time when he was probably an obnoxious mess-around, but how things had turned around in the last few months for him was something of a miracle.

Alhamdulillah, I didn’t have to worry about that. At that moment, he was gone out to meet some Jamaat friends that he had met when he went to Yemen. It was a comfort and a relief not to have to stress about the company he kept. And though I would never compliemt him directly, I knew for sure that Hamzah had the greatest quality to look for in a future partner, which is Taqwa.

‘The person who does not have religion, does not have anything.’

The truth was, with all the stuff happening out there and the Fitan that is so rife… If your guy is aware of his actions and has piety, if he has faith, he will be aware of how he behaves and treats you as a wife. The thing was, I wasn’t even thinking of that aspect for Jameela. I was blinded by the fact that the guy was basically non-existent, in the eyes of ‘educated professionals’ like myself.

”Is it so bad out there?” I asked with a small smile.

“Oh my word, Mos,” Maahira was saying, rolling her eyes as she recalled it. “You have no idea! Thank Allah that you are saved from these ridiculous guys. You would not believe what the one guy told me… Samoosa run number two. He actually asked me if I would be okay with him going out with his friends every second weekend. Like a boys night out. He said I can also do girls nights, and we can meet up from time to time. Like, what on earth is that even? Sounded pretty disgusting to me. Can you even stomach it?!”

“Nightmare,” I said, widening my eyes and shaking my head. “You would think that at some stage they actually grow up and want to have normal, healthy relationships.”

Once again, I felt an amazing spurt of gratitude for my own husband.

”Not a chance,” she retorted miserably. “Some of them just never stop. And then they get married and have kids and make their parents grey with their nonsense. I mean, look at Hashim. Still messing around and out partying every weekend. A friend of a friend confirmed it. I actually do feel sorry for his wife…”

It was achingly true. So many guys were still up to nonsense they did in their ‘experimental days’.

”And lucky you didn’t end up being the second one,” I said, giving her a reproachful look. She just looked grateful while she shook her head disdainfully.

”One of the guys that wanted to come home was apparently looking for one,” she said with a cheeky smile.

“Well?” I asked with a grin. “Would you ever consider?”

She laughed. I knew it happened, of course. At least they were doing it the Halaal way.

“I said I might consider him in five years time,” she said with a mischievous grin. “If I’m getting older and there are no hopeful prospects, there may be hope in the ones that have already been tested and approved.”

I burst out laughing.

Tested and approved indeed. 

I wasn’t quite sure how I would feel about it if Hamzah had to be the tested and approved version. I was quite the jealous type.

“The only thing there is,” she continued, not even fazed by my laughter. “Kids become an issue, man. Some of them don’t want kids because they’ve already been through all the nappies and tantrums and child rearing. I really, really want kids. Especially after meeting Zaidoo. He’s the sweetest little guy in the world. And I love that you’re feeding him. My sister in law breastfed all three of her kids till two and I plan on doing the same.“

I smiled. I never thought I would say it, but I also wanted babies.

“Besides, everyone is having babies now,” she said with a longing look in her eyes. “Remember Tauhida from school? She just had a baby girl last week. I’m actually so happy for her… after everything she went through in her previous marriage…”

I was silent for a few seconds, recalling the girl Maahira was speaking of, before talking again. I had seen a WhatsApp status and sent a congratulatory message, but I had actually forgotten what the poor girl had gone through after school when she mad gotten proposed to a guy her parents wanted for her.

”Can you imagine what she must have gone through?” I said softly, as Maahira shook her head. “The guy didn’t touch her for the entire year they were married. Can you even begin to think what her self-confidence must have been depleted to? ”

I honestly felt so terrible when I heard the story. It did remind me a bit about what I’d heard from Saaliha about Rabia, only her husband just had another woman that he was apparently involved with even before they were married. It was still disgusting.

”I wonder why they would make a girls life miserable like that,” she said, looking a little angry about it. “He turned out to be… well, we all know how the story went. If he had feelings for boys, they shouldn’t have forced him…”

Euw.

It made me cringe. Honestly, it was a sickness spreading over the Muslim youth and it scared me witless. LGBTQ and it’s acceptance was something that was becoming a norm.

And the fact is, as kids and even adults in this era, we have to explain to your children that this is haraam, drill it in them, instill it in them, make them hate the act for it to have an effect.

I remember as a kid, my mother would drill the fact that alcohol and pork was Haraam in us to the extent that we even visiting stores and restaurants that they were kept was Haraam and completely awkward. And though my mother was a bit of a dragon, its important for a kids tarbiyyah, because thats the effect drilling can have.

And its not always parents fault, but this isn’t something that only exists on social media. It exists in schools too and if we don’t speak out, if this is normalised… it will have a drastic effect, if not today then tomorrow. We had to take a stand and forcefully forbid the evil that this movement was bringing…
I mean, just thinking about what this girl went through made my heart contract painfully…

“A whole year,” Maahira said, still not able to get over it. “Imagine… who could be married and do a whole year and nothing …”

I smiled meekly. Indeed. It defeated the whole purpose of marriage.

“Perhaps the second wife option sounds more appealing then?” I said, nudging Maahira. “Rabia had one of those proposals. Apparently she was pretty close to accepting it.”

Maahira grinned.

”She’s brave,” Maahi said admiringly. “How is our dear Rabia anyway? Still stalking you and Hamzah?”

I sighed, rubbing my temples to ease the headache all this was giving me.

”If I’m not worrying myself sick about Jamz, I’m losing my mind with Rabia. Will it ever end?”

And of course, it was a rhetorical question but I couldn’t help but feel completely conflicted inside as I thought of her. The girl had been testing me endlessly and there were times when I wanted to literally punch her in the face. It was a shame that Hamzah was completely oblivious to it.

“I’m sorry Mos,” she said apologetically. “What is the deal with her anyway though?”

I shrugged.

“She’s just always giving me these weird looks and pushing my buttons. Lucky she’s not here this week and the farm is huge so I don’t have to spend too much of time in her face when we’re there…”

I rolled my eyes while Maahira smiled. I didn’t want to talk too soon.

We had one week left before we would move into the flat Hamzah had rented and I didn’t want to count my chickens. Rabia could pitch up at any time. Only, when we left yesterday, she didnt seem very impressed with Hamzah or I. I knew that I was being mean but I was secretly hoping ignoring her would keep her away.

The thing was, seeing how obsessed Rabia was with social media was also a reminder of what I once used to be. She wasted hours just scrolling through feeds, with no regard whatsoever for all the time that was going to waste.

Before I found the peace and contentment that Qur’ān had brought into my life, I was exactly the same. A bit like a headless chicken, running around in circles, looking for recognition from everyone else. I wished that I never saw days like that ever again…

“Well, I hope you guys still had really good couple time though?” she said, giving me a smile and watching my expression. “I heard Jameela say that it’s so beautiful there. I hope you guys took full advantages of the beautiful, open spaces…”

“We had a good time,” I said vaguely, not entertaining her insinuations, while she narrowed her eye at me and then winked.

“Stop looking at me like that!” I said, and I could feel my cheeks flushing.

Hamzah had really earned the trophy in terms of being the most amazing nature enthusiast and guide. Even though I wanted to kill him at times, exploring the farm and greenery with him had turned out to be absolutely rejuvenating…

“Has Mr Phantom Husband who barely exists, turned into Mr Romantic?” She asked with a smirk, and I avoided eye contact as I rolled my eyes at her.

And I never thought I’d say it, but the time away from the city was absolutely incredible. Beautiful. Refreshing. Completely idyllic.

Even the air felt different, and as I had gazed out into the never-ending fields beyond, my heart had already felt things that I had never felt before. Even though it was a day after we had been back, I still felt.

For the first time in years, Hamzah had made me feel completely at ease outdoors. He knew exactly how to make me switch off and take it all in…

And of course, why wouldn’t anyone feel that way there, in those completely gorgeous surroundings, where the smell of nature filled your nostrils and it’s sounds were like music to my ears? My heart felt so much more soothed there, surrounded by green, consumed by oak trees and gorgeous creepers with the most unusually patterned flowers.

The thing was, in a world full of streaming technology I had actually found solace in a place where a tree just remains a tree. What Hamzah had done, as we made the most of he surroundings was make me realize that life was passing me by, as I stayed hooked on my delusional devices. He was so driven and full of energy, and I couldn’t help but feel alive when he showed me some new discovery, or explained to me the most interesting scientific facts in nature, that were surprisingly right up my alley.

I couldn’t even remember when was the last time I had felt such serenity and take so much of comfort from it. I no longer felt the need to keep picking up my phone, everywhere I went. Besides the fact that Hamzah would probably throw me into the next waterfall if I did… well, I had successfully killed the urge to let life engage me with no other distractions.

”Come on, Mos,” she said pleadingly, not even noticing how she was eyeing me out. “Tell me. I can see you’re blushing. I never thought I’d see the day. Can we make the announcement. Are you actually in lurrrvv?!”

Maahira’s eyes were wide with excitement and I rolled my eyes at her as she made smooch noises and weird romantic sounds.

Oh goodness. She was the absolute pits.

“Come on,” she said, wiggling her eyebrows weirdly. “Admit it or I won’t stop!”

I was so consumed by her annoying sounds and trying to stop her from being the annoying BFF that she always was, that I didn’t even hear the voice call out from the passage until he had to literally scream from where he was.

And as we heard him, I could see the embarrassment creep onto Maahira’s face while I quickly got up to see what he wanted, whacking my friend on the back of the head as I passed.

She was so annoying. Not to mention, completely tactless.

I rounded the corner to see Zaid was perched on Hamzah’s hip and he had already let out a gurgle as he saw me.

“Sorry to disturb,” Hamzah said as I appeared in the doorway, and from the look on his face I could tell that he was concealing a smile. I was extremely embarrassed at Maahira’s behaviour but I tried my best to hide it. “I can see you guys having fun there, but this guy’s awake and I  need some help with some coffee. I kind of forgot where the coffee beans stay.”

Typical male. But shame. 

Nevermind Hamzah had lived here for a larger part of his life and I was only here a little bit more than a month. Hamzah was clueless where things stayed in the kitchen.

”Sure,” I said, grabbing Zaidoo from him and giving him a slobbering kiss, not meeting his eye on account of Maahira’s stupid behaviour. “I’ll just leave him with Maahi. You have company?”

I was still in hearing range as he replied in the affirmative, dumping Zaid with Maahira and giving her a smoldering glare as I glimpsed her cheeks turned crimson while she giggled away at her ridiculous behavior.

She was so immature. I ignored her as I turned back to the kitchen where Hamzah was, talking very professionally while I briskly opened the cupboards and pulling out the coffee beans tin, before filling it in the machine.

I had just topped up the milk when I heard my phone on the counter buzz, but fighting the urge to pick it up straight away, I placed the coffee cups on the tray for Hamzah and whoever his company was, and took out another tray for Maahira and I.

The men were in the front lounge and as I called out for him through the passage, I thought it would be a good time to check on those notifications before I headed back to Maahira and Zaid.

I mean, it would only take two seconds to check and get back to them.

My hand was already sliding upward on the screen, before I saw the crux of what the message from Jameela was about.

Mos. When last did you check Insta? People are going crazy on you.  

I blinked, staring at the message again as I processed. My fingers were already opening the app as Hamzah came in, saying something about some cookies I had made the other day but I was barely even processing. My mind was only on the hundreds of direct messages and requests that were staring at me in my inbox.

Oh my word. I was in such kak.

I wasn’t even sure when this had happened but @mostlymohsina was in a dilemma and I wasn’t even sure how it had happened. My notifications were up to 800 and as I scrolled thorough, I could see that most of them were angry followers who were demanding an explanation for something that I had no clue about. As far as I could see, it was about three unnamed users who had started this all off… claiming I had taken money and not gone through with what I had promised… and it had spiralled into a whole huge controversy which made me seem like the wickedest and most narcissistic content creator in the world.

Oh. Crap. 

I’ve always followed you and admired your page. I thought that you were one of those honest and unfiltered kind of influencers. It’s obvious that I was wrong. 

The next message was a little more sentimental:

I started following you after I went through a bad patch in my marriage. Your quotes and daily inspiration was something I would look forward to every day. I don’t want to believe that you are that kind of person but unfortunately actions say much more than words.

The last one was repeated in a few different variations:

Unfollowed and reported. I wish I could get your profile banned. 

And as I skimmed through all the messages, my heart was hammering crazily in my chest. I didn’t even know what to do. I had no idea where to start.

And I know it sounded dumb that people were so invested in my online life, but that was precisely what social media was about.

People get attached. They loved the drama. Any little development was as if their own lives were taking that very same turn. To be told that any of it didn’t really happen, or wasn’t as it seemed, felt as if you were being cheated.

That was the game, and I was just a player.

I was so consumed in the messages that I barely even heard Hamzah talking to me, until he was right in my face, his eyes boring into me in frustration.

“Mohsina!” He said emphatically, his hand grasping my shoulder whilst looking at me like I was some kind of crazy women. “I’ve asked you five times! What’s so important on your phone?!”

”S-sorry,” I said, literally shaking with fear and anxiety and I wasn’t even sure what else. I knew he hated me being distracted by the phone. “There’s just… I don’t even know how the hell this happened and -“

”What?!” He said, his expression quickly changing from vexation to concern, as his brown eyes scanned my face. “Is everything okay? Is it your father?”

His intense gaze was increasingly concerned as he watched me, and then averted to glance to my open screen, and his brow furrowed slightly with worry.

And while I appreciated his concern for my father, right then, this seemed so much bigger than anything else. The name I had made for myself had become a business and a source of income for me, and if that was spoilt…

How could I make him understand?

It sounded so dumb to him. He didn’t understand the weight of losing my dignity through this stupid medium. What I didn’t know was that maybe being free of the validation of people was actually the best thing that could ever happen to me…

I too, didn’t quite understand how this could have gone so far, but I also knew that I couldn’t let myself be portrayed as the person they were painting me as.

”Hamzah,” I said softly, while he stared at from me to the phone in worry. He didn’t know how much I relied on this. “My father is fine. It’s.. someone has… gosh, Hamzah… someone has done something with my profile… its my reputation, my business and I don’t know what on earth they would get out of this, but it’s absolutely out of control…”

For a second there, he frowned even more intensely and then as his face relaxed and he looked at me, I could see that he was a little less stressed than before. In contrast, I was feeling more unsettled with every passing second.

“Listen,” he said kindly, grabbing the tray with his coffee cups and turning to leave. “It’s only Instagram, okay? Breathe. Just put the phone away and get back to your life. You have so much going for you. No-one in real life really cares.”

“You’re wrong!” I almost shouted, anger flooding through me. It was easy for him to say! “This is my name. My reputation. It’s still me they are talking about!  People are saying I stole their money, calling me a thief and even saying I may even have addictive habits, since I went awol… Oh my word, Hamzah, what the hell must I do?!”

He had put the tray down and was still standing there, looking at me, as if he was wondering if I was serious. It took him a few seconds before he mentally relented, finally understanding the severity of the situation and how important this was to me.

“Babe,” he said softly, looking just a tad bit sympathetic, as he bit his lower lip thoughtfully and shrugged. “I’m sorry. I wish I could help you, but I don’t even know how all this stuff works. Plus, Mohsin is waiting for me. In the meantime though… I’m just thinking aloud… but have you heard of damage control?”

Damage control? 

Yes, I sometimes hated Hamzah’s driven, black or white outlook to life… but sometimes, his perspective really came into handy. Now I knew why he was always the best at problem solving at Hammond’s. While I was busy panicking, he always had the right answers at the right time.

“Alright,” I said, picking my phone up again, and giving him a small smile, as he squeezed my hand comfortingly, and then quickly hurried back out.

Damage Control.

Where on earth do I even start?


Mission Sunnah Revival

Sunnah of Time Management:

We come into this world with an allocated amount of time. We should, ideally, spend this time to please Allah and strive toward our Aakhirah.

Among the harms of social media are the harms of time wasting.

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to be particular even about our digital time, and save us wasting our time on these frivolous activities.

Oh son of Adam. You are nothing but a number of days. Whenever a day passes, another day has gone. (Fadhaail e Sadaqaat)

Someone asked Ali (RA): “How much was the Sahaba’s love for the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam)”

He replied: “By Allah! To us The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) was dearer to us than our riches our children and our mothers, and was more cherishable than a drink of water at the time of severest thirst.”

SubhaanAllah… what perfect imaan they had… May Allah enable us to practise..💕

#RevivetheSunnah

#RevivetheSunnahofbeingGrateful

#RevivetheSunnahofQur’aanTilaawat

#ReviveSunnahofDuaa

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

Ominous Obsessions

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 57
Rabia

Old habits die hard.

And in actuality, the fact of the matter was that for this habit… well, I wasn’t exactly putting in the effort to even try kill it.

And with the risk of it sounding like addictive behaviour, as I scrolled mindlessly through the application that had pretty much taken over my life… I didn’t realise that it was precisely that addiction that was deterring the positive impact on my mental health and well-being, giving rise to cynicism at even the slightest of remarks…

“She’s such a lovely, simple girl,” I caught Bibi Masie murmuring to my mother as they emptied the pot of pasta into the Pyrex on the kitchen counter, and my eyes were already narrowing. “They make such a beautiful couple.”

The sun was shining brightly through the kitchen windows, not even doing a thing for my peace of mind as I squinted at them, while I sat on the bar stool, without them even registering my bemused expression. Mohsina had walked by and offered to help but they had shooed her away while they got lunch ready before the ‘city people’ headed back home. I didn’t even bother myself, as I tapped on my phone. They would sort it out.

But as she made the comment about Mohsina, I had managed a fake cough and a roll of the eyes as I forced myself to switch apps and scrolled through some WhatsApp statuses on my phone instead, still unable to believe that I had actually heard what she had said right then.

Lovely, simple girl? I mean, have they even seen her Instagram profile?

The girl was anything but simple. From swanky handbags to flashy cars, she had always been obsessed with flashing all her best, expensive bits, and now my brother would probably have to foot the bill for it.

And okay, maybe I was a little crazy at times but it just happened to be that I was famous for calling a spade, a spade and I couldn’t help the shock I felt when I heard the words that literally made me do a double take.

Okay, so maybe I should put my phone down.

You see, I had gone through a bad patch when I was going through a bit of heartbreak. The thing was, any experience of seeing my ex’s name on Instagram or any social media platform killed me. I was pretty down and found myself using Instagram to either ‘punish’ myself by looking at his profile and spying on him, or using the browse feature to distract me.

And as I went through the daily motions of cyber-stalking, checking my feed and not even succeeding in stopping myself there, I could feel the need to put my phone down before I slipped into dangerous territory, but I never did.

Back to Mohsina though. Although she had somehow changed a little of what she used to be, they made Mohsina sound like some kind of homely, perfect housewife, when she was the complete opposite of it.

“The farm is good for them,” I caught Mummy nodding and enjoying the compliments of her daughter-in-law as she retied her apron, not even noticing the hostile look on my face. “Zaid loves it… and I think Hamzah is surprised at how much Mohsina is actually taking to being outdoors here. It so peaceful, Alhumdulillah. You know these young people nowadays. Too used to their home and office routines. He kept telling me that they are city people, and it was too far to come, but look at them now…”

Hah.

Too far. What bullshit. Mohsina had probably been spewing venom into my brother’s ears about spending time with his family, which made him not want to come out here. Girls were never happy about doing in-law time these days.

And ever since their constant disappearing stints that seemed be happening more often, I couldn’t help but find myself getting all the more frustrated at the new couple and their annoying tendencies. The fact that they had basically deprived me of being with my nephew and hadn’t even asked me to babysit ever since the day I took him out, was the absolute limit.

And okay, I know that I made Mohsina get a little more aggro than her usual and it had made Hamzah angry but those two really needed to grow up and learn to deal with stuff. A little argument here and there never hurt anyone.

I had even tried to swindle Saaliha and make her hand him over while they were gone, but apparently Mohsina had given her explicit instructions and being the goodie-two-shoes she was, there was no way she would ever go against what Mohsina had said.

Messaging Hamzah that morning with my rants had fallen on deaf ears, and it peeved me even more when he replied in two short sentences:

You’re overreacting. Will chat later.

And for me, this was the ultimate betrayal. It was one thing that Mohsina completely disregarded my abilities take care of Zaid, but the more disturbing fact was that my own brother took his wife’s side, time and time again. 

It was all he said and there was nothing else I could do but dig my fingernails into my palms and grit my teeth, as they both passed through the kitchen again to reach the patio, before I said something that would ruthlessly expose Mohsina for the cow that she really was.

And because I knew that my brother was anything but the sweet and doting type, I couldn’t help but feel even more aggravated as I watched him obsess over his wife relentlessly for the most part of the weekend they were there. Currently, he had just stubbed his cigarette and came inside to fetch them something to drink. To tell the truth, the way they had both been acting, especially since Mohsina had started feeding Zaid, was actually making me feel a bit sick.

I mean, no one was forcing her to be this model mother and breastfeed Zaid. Personally, I just felt like she was doing it so she could hang onto him more. Hamzah made it seem as if she was doing some huge kind of great sacrifice, just because she was breastfeeding. I mean, people did it in their sleep… So what on earth was the big deal even?

“Hamzah is like a different person today,” Ma, my mother’s mother, murmured as she watched Hamzah closely, who was completely unaware of the eyes on them as he sat next to my new sister-in-law, head bent as he opened the two bottles of Coke he had brought out and engaged with her on the bench just outside.

They were so close together that I could think of nothing more than going over there and banging their heads together.

“Ma, Hamzah’s in love,” my Aunty said with a admiring smile on her face, and I honestly felt like I wanted to barf. “Of course he is different to what he used to be. He’s no more that little boy you used to scold for chasing the sheep.”

And though I wanted to laugh at the memory of little Hamzah being the horrific nuisance he had always been as a kid on Eid day, I was seriously too caught up in my own demonic thoughts to even humour myself.

Just like Imraan had always been Ma’s favourite, Hamzah had always been my Bibi Masie’s favourite and she never even had the decency to deny it. It was obvious that the two of them had probably had a heart-to-heart earlier, from the way she said it so confidently.

I was actually dying to know what else he had said to her, and with all the extra hands around today, being the day after we had Eid here, the newlyweds had plenty of alone time to be all icky and romantic.

It was just as well that no other men were around then. Couples who were in love made me feel irked. It wasn’t that I was jealous or anything, but well… I suppose you could call it an aversion, because the entire love thing had just gave me chills.

And okay.. having to abandon a marriage because the man who you loved was in love with someone else could have been part of the reason for me, but never mind that. I’m not here to vent about my own misfortunes. I just silently wished that they would stop being all over each other because every time I cast my gaze toward them, it was making me increasingly vexed…

And I knew I was being a little bitter but I couldn’t but feel that way. The fact that I wasn’t getting my dose of Zaid while he was being spoilt by everyone else was unsettling me even further.

Plus, it didn’t help that that Ma actually seemed to have warmed to the whole concept and even encouraged their despicable mushy behaviour.

Considering that, I couldn’t quite believe how she was acting now. In fact, at the time before their Nikah, Ma and I were the only people who weren’t keen on them getting married so fast, but for different reasons. For Ma, from the onset, she had always pictured Hamzah with someone a little different. More homely. I supposed being old-fashioned, when she heard that Mohsina and Hamzah had worked together, it didn’t really sit well with her that little Zaid would be such a deciding factor for them. Ma felt that just because there was a baby involved, it would really make things harder for them instead.

And I do admit that Ma’s reason made sense. It was the glaringly obvious hang-ups. No one liked over-educated girls. I knew that she felt that maybe Mohsina wasn’t cut out for being a wife. She had commented that Hamzah was used to being spoilt and she had her doubts about him having to adjust to the situation between them, and I completely agreed.

As for me… well, I would never say it aloud… but my reason had always been that I just didn’t want Mohsina as part of my family. Period.

And let me just be honest. I’m not really the interfering type. Okay. So now and then, when I tend to get a bit peeved, then I may stick my nose in where it doesn’t belong. But all in all, I’m not really that horrible.

And let me just make it clear again,. I wasn’t exactly sure what happened that weekend and neither was I quite sure of when exactly things spiralled out of control. The thing was, I fully believed that all I was doing, was trying to be helpful and keep myself busy without getting in anyone’s way. Well, for the most part.

And that’s what bugged me about Mohsina. Even when I tried to be helpful, well… she never acknowledged it. And it was no secret that from the first time I had met her, things weren’t exactly starting off on the most amazing note, and I could tell that the feelings were reciprocated.

Seeing Mohsina for the first time at the farm all those months ago, her particularly fetching features slightly enhanced by the glaring light of the sun that day, while I watched her from afar, was something I never forgot.

The domineering streak she had in her eye was already causing alarm bells to ring, and it was etched in my memory since.

I had just completed my iddat two weeks before that, and Liyakets wedding was supposed to be the event whereafter everything was just falling into place. The debut. My life was supposed go from zero to ten and Mohsina’s unyielding attitude that day had put me completely off base.

And I should have just blamed Hamzah, because it really was his fault from the beginning. My idiot brother. Maybe he was avoiding getting involved. Maybe he didn’t want to cross boundaries. But it was because of my annoying brother that I had to go up to her myself, trying to be as polite as I can, but still firmly trying to ascertain what exactly was going on when an unexpected guest arrived on the scene.

I still remembered the words clearly, as she looked at me, her eyes boring into mine, almost as if she was challenging me, when I asked if she knew who that horrible girl was, who was causing a huge ruckus.

I mean, the entire function was just being ruined with this turn of events and I desperately needed it under control.

She had cocked her prettily made-up head slightly and narrowed her eyes to slits, and her ‘office girls’ remark had immediately made me see red.

And I didn’t think I was wrong, for wanting them both out after that. The girl was already attracting bad attention and we couldn’t risk this sort of thing here, plus Mohsina was just being plain down rude about it.

And of course, her outburst was completely out of line, as far as I was concerned. She was getting in my way. It was my duty to make sure everything was smooth. My property and my rules. How dare she be so rude and indignant when I was trying to help maintain a peaceful atmosphere?

Besides that, the fact that she had so proudly stated that she was an office girl was completely unnecessary. It had been a pretty touchy subject for me and her rubbing in the part of my marriage that had gone seriously wrong was something that was obviously intentional.

I figured out that she had her sights on my brother and it only made sense that she had probably checked on me as well. It was the very obvious explanation that my brother never agreed with, but I firmly believed. From the start, Mohsina was out to get me, and I was going to make sure that I wouldn’t let her.

But incidentally, emotion is emotion. You can’t just switch them off, and as far as emotions go… well, recently, mine had been a little out of whack and I didn’t exactly think that they could be anything but justified.

And so, first impressions aside, I had tried to let bygones be bygones and realised that maybe I had to just try to divert my train of emotion and make the most of the situation when after months of uncertainty and Liyaket’s death, everything had finally come together for them.

And the death has shaken us all up. For a while, it was like a complete change of mindset for us all. But slowly, as we forget, we slip into old habits, and after Ramadhaan was over, I had basically found myself grappling even more desperately to stay on track.

And though I didn’t exactly want her as a sister-in-law, I knew that I wouldn’t have much of a say, so I had to cut my losses and move forward. Zaid was the ultimate catch. After all, he had become one of my favourites and spending more time with him now that Hamzah had married Mohsina trumped everything. And at that time when I had hoped that my brothers only reason for marrying Mohsina was Zaid, I didn’t exactly expect the entire thing to poke me in the behind and them to actually romancing each other at inappropriate times.

And of course, I couldn’t help but wonder again, what about everything that had happened in between? What about the proposal breaking on a whim, and then going all out on social media… living the life of an instagram diva?

Man, it was wild.

It had been post after post, reel after reel. She had done selfies and TikTok’s and some of them had really cracked me up.

It seemed as if every ounce of her was being channeled into the most awesome and gripping content, and during that time, I had become obsessed with following her, those few months, waiting to see how amazing her next expedition of adventure would be. What would happen next in her high flying life.

I had to admit… the girl had a knack with her stuff. She was so onto the trends. All of my instagram friends followed her and her pursuits, and I had even seen her at one of their Instafam meet ups. The pictures she posted were goals and her entire feed was amazing enough to think that it was absolutely real.

And then of course, because I followed her closely, were the mysterious pictures of an odd bunch of roses or a new perfume she was gifted, that would make her followers go wild in wonder. The picture of an un-tagged male silhouette that sparked some suspenseful interest was remembered too…

I wished that I had screen-grabbed those stories as evidence, but I had been so taken aback by the hype at the time, that I didn’t even think to. It was all very innocuous and private, but everyone knew that there was a special someone… until all of a sudden… the car accident happened and she had posted that there was a pressing emergency matter and though she would miss her loyal followers, she needed time away from social media to cope.

And bam. Just like that, that was that.

Her profile went semi-dead after, and though I constantly went back to check on her, I could see that slowly, all the incriminating evidence was probably archived or deleted and instead of the alluringly enviable life she had lead, was now a stagnant page with hardly any mind-blowing content.

The Nikah announcement post when she and Hamzah had gotten married was a generic picture and after that, I could see that @mostlymohsina and her fame was something of the past. I knew my brother wanted it that way too, and although it seemed like such a loss, there was not much I could do about it.

But I couldn’t stop checking, even if it wasn’t only her. To tell the truth, I had become a little obsessed. Often times, i had become accustomed to doing nothing of note – except sitting on Instagram. Every time I opened the app, I was presented with an endless feed of friends and family doing incredible things, having a wonderful time, without me.

And that’s the crux of the game, isn’t it? I mean, last week, there was the school friend whose wedding I wasn’t invited to; having found out about it through the gram. Then there was the family friend’s daughter who looks like the bomb after every workout and stops at nothing to let us know that we simply couldn’t touch her. And there’s the old bff who lives in Europe with her husband and is apparently back home for the summer holidays without even letting me know.

Social media was a grind. Fomo was real and damaging.

And though I knew that it was moulding me into a dissatisfied and ungrateful sort of person, I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t stop wasting time. From starting off with purer intentions, the profiles I now frequented had no link with Allah because often these profiles are made in such a way that they automatically beam a lot of negativity and immodesty. And this, of course, did nothing for my inner peace and reflection. I was increasingly on edge. The mental health took a turn for the worst, making me unproductive, distracted, and increasingly unmotivated. It was a horrible and vicious cycle that continued endlessly, and time was becoming more and more dispensable as I kept on wasting it on screen time…

There are two blessings which many people waste: health and free time.
Sahih Bukhari, 6049

And as my free time dwindled away, the feelings of inadequacy and discontent were mounting and when I eventually checked back into reality, everything else seemed so much more bleaker than ever, and just made me all the more frustrated.

With my mind in a constant huff in person, I couldn’t help but notice more flaws with everyone else. Come when the newlyweds visited the farm, with all the available hands to take care of Zaid, the two lovebirds were obviously on honeymoon island and I still wasn’t good enough to look after Zaid. I just knew that Mohsina had told Saaliha that with the intention of completely hating on me.

And of course, as I scrolled through Instagram later that day, really not feeling like socialising while everyone sat for lunch, double tapping mindlessly as I saw pics of friends with their families and babies, loving how glamorous and blissful the life looked, I couldn’t help but narrow my eyes as I thought about what a sneaky cow my new sister-in-law was. If only everyone knew what she was really about. Wouldn’t that be a complete shock? 

“Rabia, please come and eat,” Saaliha said sweetly as she adjusted her niqab, and I shook my head stubbornly, not wanting to join in at the table. “We’re waiting for you.”

”I’m not hungry,” I said bluntly, ignoring my mothers peeved looks from where she sat.

I could see Mohsina eyeing me out too, but she said nothing, and I didn’t even offer her a glance.

I knew it was bad manners to sit with my phone at meal times but I wasn’t in the mood to hear lectures. Zaid was also taking a nap after all the  attention he had gotten, so there I was, feeling as dejected and sorry for myself than ever. Caught up in my online identity, I had actually forgotten that I had a real identity, off the net.

All I could think of was why everyone else’s lives worked out perfectly and I was still stuck on some kind of unlucky train.

How come nothing ever worked out for me or no one ever came through the way I wanted? It was often that I wondered… what did I really do wrong to deserve the kind of life I had? How did I even deserve this stigma that felt like I was paying for something I did wrong, every single day…

And now, as I felt myself comparing my life to everyone else’s, and Mohsina talked and laughed and basically acted as if nothing had happened when she had completely sidelined me… I  could feel my anger heightening.

Without even realising it, I was back in Instagram and on her profile, searching through for something… anything… I could fuel my anger with.

Every influential profile has those. A negative comment or hostile response.The people who are out to get you, or make you lose a following.

And of course, like any influencer, I could see below a few of her posts that there was a fair share of mild negativity.

All I wanted to do was get under her skin the way she had gotten under mine.

I wasn’t quite prepared for the consequences or what would happen after. What I did know was that I wanted to get back at her, and cause her as much trouble as she had caused me.

It took me a while to hatch a plan. I knew that’s Mohsina’s instagram account was paramount in her life, even if she wasn’t that active. I figured that doing some small damage in the form of a peeved follower might teach her a small lesson, but I wasn’t completely certain about how to go about it.

And I wasn’t exactly certain about what I would find. I wasn’t even sure if there was anything to find. I was basically taking shots in the dark, when I put the comment out there, from one of my unknown accounts.

And having so many accounts that I used for different purposes, well, there was no risk of her finding out it was me. All I wanted to do was create a little stir, and get people to talk a bit. I had full intention of trampling the rumours about her ominous activities after a few days and letting people know that the @mostlymohsina controversy I had sparked was really not true at all. I had full intention of squashing the whole thing, not even realising how my obsession with social media was getting completely out of control.

What I didn’t know was that through my ominous intentions, there was something very incriminating that would come to my knowledge and the forefront… and would threaten to topple everything else too…


A little bit of a different perspective as the plot thickens. It’s been a bit quiet and I always love to hear the readers comments on this development.
JazakAllah to all for the likes and for reading… may we benefit from the lessons ❤️

Mission Sunnah Revival

Sunnah of (Digital) Company:

We live in a world where digital media surrounds us. We mindlessly forget that we are what we feed, and these WhatsApp, instagram and twitter feeds have an effect on us.

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to be particular even about our digital company, and save us from falling into bad companionship.

Abu Musa reported: The Prophet, (Sallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said, “Verily, the parable of good company and a bad company is only that of a seller of musk and a blacksmith. The seller of musk will give you some perfume, you will buy some, or you will notice a good smell. As for the blacksmith, he will burn your clothes or you will notice a bad smell.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5534,

Someone asked Ali (RA): “How much was the Sahaba’s love for the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam)”

He replied: “By Allah! To us The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) was dearer to us than our riches our children and our mothers, and was more cherishable than a drink of water at the time of severest thirst.”

SubhaanAllah… what perfect imaan they had… May Allah enable us to practise..💕

#RevivetheSunnah

#RevivetheSunnahofbeingGrateful

#RevivetheSunnahofQur’aanTilaawat

#ReviveSunnahofDuaa

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

Wistful Waterfalls

 

Bismihi Ta’ala

Mohsina

Part 56

When Hamzah had mentioned the word adventure…. Well, let me just tell you, I wasn’t quite prepared for the kind that he had in mind.

It was the barely even what a sane person would call ‘morning’, of the day we were scheduled to leave the farm, when he had woken me up at an insanely early part, and actually expected me to get out of bed.

And of course, I had pulled Zaid off of me, squinted at him like he was crazy, and rolled over again. But that was the thing with Hamzah. He was so good at convincing me that it was going to be worth it, that I could do nothing more than pull on some lazy track pants and a long sleeve modest top.

“No need for the Abaya,” he said with a wink, after I’d prayed my Fajr Salaah, and I narrowed my eyes at him, wondering where we were going. “It’s just going to be us. You and me. Young, wild and free.”

Euw. Cheesy was not the word. I was so perturbed that I didn’t even take the hint that was being offered.

I made a puke face and pulled on a sports hijab, because I could already see him tying his laces and I kind of figured this was going to be some sort of wilderness expedition. Not that I was the sporty type, but I mean; sportswear was still trendy and I was just happy that I had brought my brand new modest activewear set with me.

And I wasn’t even sure how it happened but somehow, an hour later, there I was, the usually city-inclined  @mostlymohsina, at an unmentionable time of the morning, trudging through the thicket behind Hamzah through some random bush, with really no true sense of direction or information of what was to come.

The thing was, this wasn’t on the itinerary. I wasn’t really prepared for actual trekking through hiking trails and unstable grounds. I wasn’t even mentally prepped for creepy crawlies and weird spikey-like caterpillar thingums that we saw on bushes. I had already shocked Hamzah senseless with a few high pitched screams, to the point where he probably was tirelessly immune to the drama.

Besides that, I was literally just trying to maneuver myself through carnivore-territory without trying to freak out to much about getting murdered or killed, while I avoided cliff like edges that I could fall off and tried to just focus once again on Hamzah’s retreating back, that was now about a metre ahead of me.

“Where are we even going?” I nagged impatiently, poking him in the spot behind his shoulder blades with a stick that I had picked up along the way. It was the third time I had asked and it wasn’t as if I was the easiest person to deal with otherwise, pokes and all. “And how much longer?”

“Stop being such a control freak,” he muttered now, shaking his head at my impatience. I honestly could not stand suspense. It was the worst part of this whole trip.

I mean, it wasn’t all bad. The smell of nature had actually become strangely pleasant to me, and the sound of nothing but my rapid breathing was unusually calming. The intensity of the suns rays had been brazenly shining down on me for about half an hour now, and as the thickness of the greenery lifted, I shielded my eyes as I watched how focused Hamzah was.

And okay… maybe I was being a bit of a grouch, but gosh, he seemed to love this kind of stuff.

And as we found ourselves on a slightly more elevated point, when the sound of flowing water awakened my senses with the parting of the thicket, the sight below us revealed a most breathtaking lush valley that literally made me stop in my tracks. It was beauty upon beauty and beyond that all… all we could witness was the unveiling of the extraordinary mountainous skies that Allah Ta’ala had once again brought alive through every beginning of day. And as I gazed downwards, the untainted vision of blue waters in the sunken valley was a soothing salve to my senses…

My word, it was enchanting.

The gorgeous stream below us was slowly revealing itself through the thicket, and as I peeped through to get a better view, Hamzah had paused for a minute, almost as if he was recalling something, when I heard his phone ring in his pocket.

Signal! Oh my goodness. It was a miracle!

And there was nothing quite like it to defer my attention. Finally, I could check on Zaid. And messages. And life, as I knew it. Civilians were accessible! Also, though Saaliha was very confident that Zaid would be perfectly fine, my own heart had been so uncertain about leaving him for the entire three hours Hamzah had predicted we would take…

My aspirational husband had already taken out his iPhone, glanced at it with a certain flicker of emotion on his eye, and then put it back in his pocket. It was almost as if he don’t want to bother with the matter that was at hand then, and instinctively, my hand delved into my own pocket, but before I could even slide it upwards to unlock, Hamzah’s hand had already grabbed my phone, hastily tossing it onto the thickened floor of a nearby bush .

”Oh no, you didn’t,” I muttered, narrowing my eyes and looking at Hamzah as a sly smile crept onto his face.

He was smirking at me, as the filtered sun shone on his brown hair, with not an ounce of remorse on his striking face.

“No technology,” he said blandly, looking at me, his eyes stagnant, as if to challenge me.

Damn. I was itching to to take some pictures too. This spot was simply spectacular. It had been an hour of intense hiking to get to this point. I had to have something to show for it.

“But I need to take some snaps!” I whined, looking absolutely distraught as he threw his own phone into the another cushioned part of the bush.

He was pulling off his backpack and his cap, and a little Elfbar gadget he used to smoke when lighting a cigarette became too tedious. He had pulled out some snacks that we had packed, tossing a packet to where I was, before he sat down, facing the other way and puffed away.

“To hell with snaps,” he said smoothly, sitting closer to the edge as I took a step back while smoke clouded the air. “You took enough. And I’m warning you… Reach for it, and there will be consequences.”

And of course, I was barely the type to care about consequences. Especially from Hamzah. I mean, honestly, what could he really do?

I needed those pictures. It was like something was summoning me. All that effort. How could I not have something to show for it?

And as I stepped backward again, turning around exceptionally slowly while creeping silently toward the corner where my phone had been stashed, as Hamzah puffed away incessantly, I barely even heard a single scrunch of leaves behind me. In an instant, hands had already grasped me by the waist as I let out a startled shriek, as Hamzah literally air-lifted me off the ground to drag me back to where we had just been.

”Hey, man!” I yelled at him, struggling vehemently while trying to ease his unyielding grip on me.

“I told you there would be consequences, woman,” he warned aptly as I squealed again, but I could hear the humour in his voice as I wiggled around, now feeling just a little intimidated by his threats.

My wiggling was all in vain, due to his steely grip. He was barely even budging.

And okay. Maybe he was serious. Maybe I should just apologise.

”I’m sorry,” I said, putting on a pleading voice and hoping with every ounce within me that he wasn’t going to do what I thought he was.

No. Of course he wouldn’t throw me into the lurking waters below. He would never.

We were only standing at the edge of the bank of one of the most intimidatingly lakes I had ever seen. As I yanked myself backwards to try and escape him, his grip on my hand had tightened even more, while he stepped forward, toward the edge, and gave me a cheeky grin.

”You’re insane!” I almost shouted, struggling even more as I recognized that defiant look in his eye that signaled that he was about to do something crazy.

I did not know that I married a complete psychopath.

And okay, I wouldn’t have minded if he fulfilled his own deranged ideas, but why on Earth was he dragging me into it?!

I still couldn’t believe that he was actually thinking of that, but from the way he was focusing on it, I knew that he was absolutely serious. I wasn’t even sure if the water was deep enough for the height we were at, or if he had done this before…

”Hamzah, no!” I cried, honestly terrified, looking down at the torrents of water and pulling back with all the might I could muster, but he was too strong for me. “This is not funny anymore! Stop messing around!”

“Messing around?!” He said with a smirk. “Come on, City Girl from the Farm. Learn to live.”

No no no!” I screeched, knowing what was going to happen but trying to stall him. “Not now!”

”If not now, then when?!”

It was all he said, and with that and a massive tug of strength that felt like my knees being buckled from behind me, a few milliseconds of gut-wrenching free fall ensued just before foamy, icy waters surrounded and drenched me to the bone.

For a minute, the air was completely knocked out of me as I pushed my head above the current, barely able to formulate a response for what he had just done.

Oh my goodness. He had actually done it. We had actually fell into the bloody water. What was wrong with him?!

I literally wanted to kill him. Right here in these waters, and leave him here to get devoured by the crocodiles.

And as I gasped for air, spluttering and spitting incoherent venom at him in an attempt to reprimand him, his expression was completely unbothered as he continued wading through the waters expertly against the current to the middle of the lake.

Somehow, he had known exactly where we had to jump, to get the perfect landing… and the thought that this was all planned made me even more infuriated.

I was already out of breath and focusing on keeping myself anchored, and as he surfaced again, his face glimmering irritatingly with water droplets, I lunged forward to attack him. Hamzah, obviously exceptionally more capable in the water than I ever imagined, dodged me effortlessly.

“I c-can’t believe you!” I screamed, my face right in front of his now, still in shock as I flailed my one free hand around in the water. “Let go of me! I want to g-get out!”

I was livid. Raging with anger and completely unimpressed. I could see a mocking humour in his eyes, and it just infuriated me more.

“Relax,” he said calmly, but still not letting go. “Stop acting like such a girl. Why do you always have to be in control?”

“C-Control?!” I said incredulously, still slightly shivery although I was trying to warm myself up. “This is n-not about control! It’s about c-crazy men who throw women off cliffs!”

He laughed, finding the entire thing extremely amusing. I still wanted to hurt him.

I was still struggling to get my other hand free, but his grip was way too tight to even try. I was angry and frustrated and now irrevocably soaked. I honestly wanted to cry.

”I can’t believe that you did that!” I shrieked, hating every second. I hated swimming. I hated water. I hated feeling cold.

I still could not believe that Hamzah was such an obnoxious piece of crap.

“Can you just stop screaming?” He said, his eyes darkening now as he pulled me towards the centre of the lake. “People will think I’m murdering you.”

”You probably are, you psychopath,” I shot back, still angry and but feeling myself calming down, without even realising.

“Why would I even want to kill you,” he said abruptly, as if it was self-explanatory. “I don’t even have a motive. It’s not like you have any money I can even-“

He was cut off by the proximity of my hand to his face as he said it, but he was so good in the water that he had now grasped both my hands by the wrists to annoy me further.

He thought he was funny. This man had a cheek.

“You’re evil!” I screeched, my face thunderous now as he gave me a smirk. “How do you know I can even swim?”

“That’s why I’m here, Instagram diva,” he said obviously, not even turning to look at me as he floated along now, me in tow.

“Just trust me, and relax, aight?” He replied, squeezing my shoulder in an attempt to comfort me.

”You must be kidding me,” I said with a fake laugh, shaking my head at the idea of even trusting him after this.

And although I was fighting it, against my will, the cool waters were doing their thing with me. I attempted to ease myself through them with Hamzah’s guidance, and I couldn’t help but feel soothed by the white noise as the water current crashed against me as we moved along, and for a moment, I began to enjoy the feeling of water surrounding me.

There was no way I would admit it. I continued to struggle but it was to no avail. I still wanted a way out, but instead, we were just moving deeper and deeper in.

And just as I was about to ask Hamzah where on Earth he was going, all of a sudden, we stopped, and as I turned,  the cascading sound of a waterfall filled my ears, as I turned to look. Torrents of water were just ahead of us, falling from a height of about fifty meters, and sight of it – like a hue of paradise- immediately made me freeze in awe. I didn’t even struggle anymore, as we edged closer, my gaze fixed on the spectacular view ahead, as Hamzah also looked almost longingly at the glorious drop of water that towered ahead of us.

It was something like I had never set my sights on before. For a minute… just a crazy minute… I wondered how it would feel to be underneath there. For a crazy minute, I actually wished that Hamzah had pulled me right under, to feel the weight of that pounding water from the top of my head.

Goodness. Hamzah’s wild streak was rubbing off on me.

And then, just as quick as the thought entered, I berated myself for thinking of such insane things because there was no doubt that he would probably just do that…

I glanced at Hamza, knowing that was exactly on his mind when I saw the raw emotion in his eyes… but it was only when he spoke, that I knew exactly why.

”I was only ten when I came here for the first time,” his voice said in my ear, as I pulled myself far enough to create a distance between us, and close enough to feel safe.

Ten years old? Seems like the guy was always crazy.

The sound of the waterfall was now even louder than before as we approached it.

“It was with Liyaket,” he continued, and I looked at him as he said it, and my heart softened. “After Hifdh class one day, we stood there, where we were, and jumped in for the first time. Imraan warned us not to. He told my parents after and my mother almost killed us both. No regrets, though. It’s the best feeling in the world… and since then, well… every year it was our thing…  and we would make this our trademark.”

“Once crazy, always crazy,” I said, shaking my head as I glanced at him.

He smiled faintly, but continued.

“Want to know something?” He said, still now, as he watched the pounding of water ahead of us. “The last time we came was… well… we came just before Zaid was born. It was like two weeks before he passed away… that he told me he wanted to come back here…”

I was quiet now, as I heard Hamzah, not even daring to look at him. I was still a tad bit angry at him, but also… well… I was kind of touched that he had brought me here.

And why wouldn’t I be?

The beauty before me was absolutely breathtaking. There were no words I could use to describe a wonder so magnificent. I had never been to a place like this before. I always shied away from nature, engaging myself in worlds that were so far from real… when it had so much to offer me. I could not believe that I had lived my whole life without seeing this before.

There were no phones, no Instagram posts and no means for diversions, but for the first time in years, I felt inspired and awakened by the setting before me, with no need to filter or replay… and I could not attribute its greatness to anything but Allah Ta’alas magnificence.

“He told me that he had a dream,” he said quietly, as he inched a little closer. “And I didn’t even think anything of it. He had seen in it that he was swimming in blue waters and there were unusual white birds flying above him. I laughed it off, you know. Told him that the only birds we’ll get flying above him here were Mynahs and they would probably give him some blessings on his head…”

I swallowed, surprised at how emotional I was getting while he said it. What an awesome dream…

“You know what I imagine him doing right now?” He said quietly, coming a little closer and for the first time in the waters, I felt completely at ease. Even though I was holding on for dear life due to the strong current, at that moment, nothing felt more safe than being right there.

I turned to look at him, because the sound of the waterfall was getting even louder now. We were approaching it from the side and he paused for a moment, droplets of water glistening on his beard, before he spoke again.

“Every time I read that ayah, it’s only he who comes to mind:

…As for those who believe and do good, We certainly never deny the reward of those who are best in deeds.

أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ لَهُمْ جَنَّـٰتُ عَدْنٍۢ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهِمُ ٱلْأَنْهَـٰرُ يُحَلَّوْنَ فِيهَا مِنْ أَسَاوِرَ مِن ذَهَبٍۢ وَيَلْبَسُونَ ثِيَابًا خُضْرًۭا مِّن سُندُسٍۢ وَإِسْتَبْرَقٍۢ مُّتَّكِـِٔينَ فِيهَا عَلَى ٱلْأَرَآئِكِ ۚ نِعْمَ ٱلثَّوَابُ وَحَسُنَتْ مُرْتَفَقًۭا
It is they who will have the Gardens of Eternity, with rivers flowing under their feet .They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and will wear green garments of fine silk and brocade, reclining therein on adorned couches. Excellent is the reward, and good is the resting place.

(Al-Kahf 30-31)

It was a beautiful ayah, SubhaanAllah… that so astoundingly described the most unfiltered parts of Jannah…

“And I can almost still picture him right there,” Hamzah murmured as he moved forward, pointing toward the drop of water that was plummeting down, his chest now against my back and I could see the smile on his face while he probably held the vision in his mind. “And I only hope that he will get the most amazing kinds of waterfalls… In rivers of eternal bliss… with the most unusual birds of Jannah really flying above him… Having the time of his eternal life.
Imagine what types of rivers and falls are there, Mos… and he’s just free, in a place where there is no pain and no grief. He had so much that tied him up, so many difficulties… and yet he never complained. On the other hand, I had so much of opportunity and so much of ease… and I had gone so off track. How does it always happen that way? And after he changed his life, you know, he always said that he didn’t know how he would make up for it… but yet he did so much to fix himself. His Salaah was paramount in his life. His Dhor was flawless. He took everything to extreme levels. Lived a pure, honest life. No nonsense. No interest. No loans. He was such an example and I don’t even know how I was blessed with his friendship…”

Hamzah sighed and I didn’t even know what to say to that. I had just silent, listening in total awe…

”The thing is,” he said, glancing at me momentarily. “I think Liyaket would have liked that I brought you here. To our spot.

Their spot. I could literally see Hamzah’s mind recalling the vivid memories.

“I think he would have liked that.”

By then, my anger had already dissipated. And that was a sweet thing to say. I was already fully drenched, so why shouldn’t I just let myself enjoy the moment?

“It was the only time I saw Liyaket with no other care in the world. Free. Completely at ease,” he said softly. “I just want you to share that too, you know?”

“I know,” I said quietly, feeling exactly like Hamzah had described. Free. Not a care in this earthly existence.

“But man, Mos,” he said, almost as if it was a second thought, his honey-brown eyes twinkling even more in the sunlight as he gazed at me. “You’re a fighter.”

“No,” I said, with a wistful smile. “I’m a whole army.”

He grinned and even though I absolutely hated him just a few minutes ago, he was such a con-artist at swindling my heart, and as he came forward, his nose against my forehead as he pecked my nose gently, I knew that I couldn’t bail out now.

I mean; a few months ago, well… I would have never imagined this. In my heart… I was always a city girl. I would have never, in my wildest dreams, imagined Hamzah and I ever being out in the wildest of wilderness… in the depths of silent beauty that spoke right to my soul… having a heartfelt conversation about rivers and waterfalls of ethereal beauty, gardens of eternal bliss, unlike any others in our wildest dreams… And it was such a profound moment, in the most extraordinary setting that had awoken me, inspired me and made me see things in a completely new light…

And oh yes, the kind of world that was Hamzah’s was something like I’d never known before.

And that is when I truly realised the meaning of:

Death is a gift for a believer (Bayhaqi). 

Because for the one who truly believes, it is through the gateway of death that he finds the door to eternal contentment and happiness…

And because of Liyaket, being here was something that was really important to him, and I had understood that. All these months… so much had pained him and grieved him and just being here for now had already brought him so much of joy… the thoughts of Jannah and the Aakhirah and everything that was still to come had evidently already lifted our spirits… 

And though it didn’t lessen the heartache in any way, and the pain of loss was all fresh and devastating once again, all I could think of was how all this had come to show me a completely different sort of life… how it got us to focus on a different path and how our entire perspective had changed through the tragedy had  we both felt so deeply.

It made me ponder. I mean, we all wanted Jannah. The amazement and the splendor … the milky rivers and the most sublime kind of gifts…we all wanted that kind of abode where the purest of Malaaikah would greet us … where there is nothing but ultimate perfection to encompass for eternity…

But the thing is, were we really earning it? What was I really going to secure my final abode?

I had been so caught up in the world and it’s ornaments… so consumed by everything it had to offer… that very often, we even forget our ultimate destination.

And that’s when it came to me, and I realised that even the most trying situations come with their own goodness. That though there was much pain and strife, through Hamzah coming into my life, a whole new world had suddenly opened for me. Perhaps the sole purpose of this entire thing was not for Zaid at all. Perhaps everything that had happened till then has no relation to what it’s true purpose was. Perhaps Allah Ta’ala, through his mercy, had wanted me to come to a realisation of Him, that would change my entire world.

All my life, all I ever worried about was me. My career. My job. My life. My problems. And then this happened, and everything changed.

And I’m not saying that this thing with Hamzah was always mind blowing and mesmerising… but what I did know was that somehow, the office-loving Chartered Accountant was slowly but surely morphing into an unyielding, adventure-seeking cow-girl, and I wasn’t even resisting it. Such beauty and splendour could not possibly fall on a heart and bring forth no effect…

It was a mixture of ultimate surrender, as I felt myself lose the desire to be in control, just for that moment. It was an acceptance of such grandeur and amazement and as we both stood there, for the first time in years for me, I could barely believe how absolutely unlike anything else in the world this feeling felt.

Everyone needs a spot sometimes, a place where the world grows quiet and solace can be found in the fact that a tree is just… well, a tree. Everyone needs a moment to breathe in the magnificence of the natural beauty that was before us, gifted by the Lord of the Worlds. Sometimes it’s only in the stillness of nature, combined with the soothing scent of towering trees and wistful waterfalls, one finds a purifying bliss… and being with Hamzah, well, I hadn’t realised it before but this is what it took for me to understand who was the centre of the ultimate kind of wealth…

And that was the thing with life, in this day and age, isn’t it? We are so caught up in  emails and WhatsApp messages that we forget that there are meant to be real things that we also take much joy in. We forget those moments we could spend obsessing over the perfection of Allah in the curves of a tree’s branches, or watching a spider gracefully spin it’s web. We are blind to the beauty of a blue-bird taking flight or the crusted colours of the leaves in autumn, as they begin to morph. We forget the little things like cascading waterfalls and gorgeously bloody sunsets, capturing the heart of the one you love. We are unaware of the feeling of falling, completely and effortlessly, as those explosions that crackle away like fireworks explode within our souls, allowing ourselves a chance to love so wholeheartedly that we lose the desire to always want to be in control.

And that was just one minuscule part of it… but among the other lessons we may learn along this path— after a long road of falling, tripping, losing, failure, winning and so many mistakes—is that there will be some people you love because of what they give you and the way they make you feel. It will be for it your Nafs, and it will always be about how you feel. So if you’re chasing a feeling, you’ll always be chasing.

But, once in a while, there is another love that can exist.

This love… is not a selfish love and is the rarest type. And if it is pure, and not competing with, the love of Allah Ta’ala Himself, it will also bring about the most joy. To love in any other way is to be needy, to be dependent, to have expectations—all the ingredients for misery and disappointment.

And this is a love that you will give to the creation—not for what you can get in return from them. You will love and you will give, but you will be sufficed from Him. And the one who is sufficed by the Rabb Himself, is the richest and most generous of all lovers.

Your love will be by Him, for Him, and because of Him. That is the liberation of the self from serving any encapsulated thing. And that is freedom. That is happiness.

That is love.


Dearest Readers 

Sincerely hope everyone is well. Abit of a longer nature-inspired post that I did quite enjoy writing…

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to truly appreciate his magnificence when we see it… 

Please take note of our very important Sunnah reminders. 

much love
A xx


Sunnah of (Digital) Company:

We live in a world where digital media surrounds us. We mindlessly forget that we are what we feed, and these WhatsApp, instagram and twitter feeds have an effect on us.

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to be particular even about our digital company, and save us from falling into bad companionship.

Abu Musa reported: The Prophet, (Sallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said, “Verily, the parable of good company and a bad company is only that of a seller of musk and a blacksmith. The seller of musk will give you some perfume, you will buy some, or you will notice a good smell. As for the blacksmith, he will burn your clothes or you will notice a bad smell.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5534,

Someone asked Ali (RA): “How much was the Sahaba’s love for the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam)”

He replied: “By Allah! To us The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) was dearer to us than our riches our children and our mothers, and was more cherishable than a drink of water at the time of severest thirst.”

SubhaanAllah… what perfect imaan they had… May Allah enable us to practise..💕

#RevivetheSunnah

#RevivetheSunnahofbeingGrateful

#RevivetheSunnahofQur’aanTilaawat

#ReviveSunnahofDuaa

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

When Doorways are Brightened

Bismihi Ta’ala

Jameela
Part 55

When the light of Islam started spreading to people during the lifetime of our beloved Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), if there is one outstanding lesson that stayed with me… it is that every change, every stage where conditions are altered, has only benefit for the believer.

And that was why this particular Hadith rang so true:

“Amazing is the affair of the believer, verily all of his affair is good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something of good/happiness befalls him he is grateful and that is good for him. If something of harm befalls him he is patient and that is good for him”

(Saheeh Muslim #2999)

And as I glanced out at the beauty of the skies on that particular afternoon, nothing was clearer to me than the fact that like everything thing else, even the constant change of affairs for the believer, only comes with great goodness.

Because often we become blind to the fact, that if only we look at the life of our blessed Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam), even during the most turbulent times… there was so much to be learnt. So much to note… that when the elation of victory came to his ears, he taught us to smile with appreciation… and at the most gut-wrenching experiences, even he (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) didn’t hold back his tears. In every avenue, our beloved Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) taught us, through his life and his Seerah, that throughout every stage Allah puts us through, throughout every test, there is a beautiful result that not only moulds us, but polishes us to such an extent that we are the ones that shine eternally.

And in the books of Seerah, we understand the truth of these conditions that are so graciously taught. We are shown that after the tragic death of his beloveds, Allah Ta’ala brought our Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam)on a spectacular journey to the heavens. After the aching torture of Ta’if, awaited for him melodious songs of the joyous Ansaar as he entered their city. After the heart-wrenching brutality of Uhud and the heartbreaking loss of his beloved uncle, would be a glorious victory at the conquest of Makkah, that sent hearts soaring infinitely…

After every season, every drought, every difficulty… Allah Azza Wa Jal brings forth something so much more splendid… sometimes even beyond what one can ever encompass.

And I was all caught up in my amazement, revelling in the blooming beauties after the winter chills. Spotting the first rose bud of the new season through the front doorway had already brightened my entire day.

I could barely digest the sight of the gorgeously promising stems and shoots, which were boasting their fervour, full of purply-red potential, and as I breathed in the crisp air letting its freshness fill my lungs until I could breathe in no more, I couldn’t help but let my eyes devour their glorious beauty. I wasn’t even sure how we had gotten to this point.

Ah, life. Once again. After the crop has dried and reduced to something that seems irretrievable, Allah’s promise is that He puts His magic into it, and once again, it gets you inundated with splendour over it.

A new change. A new chance. For us, as human beings, it had become such a strange thing. As our lives morphed and changed into captures and content creation, I sometimes wondered if we were even living, or just pretending to.

Turning my face toward the sun, I wondered how humans had been so deluded. I wondered how we willingly traded those real moments for fake ones. How we traded the feeling of being in a moment, to just capturing it. How we compete, in every sense of the word, for virtual lives.

But now… as I savoured the feeling of wet soil, my hands giving into the sensorial experience, after what felt like months…  I felt completely awakened. Inspired. Hopeful. The potential that new opportunities had brought… the medicine that nature had brought in its indulgence, well, I almost couldn’t believe that it was already a whole year since I started and all my plants were still pretty much surviving. Well, most of them anyway…

One, two, three…. well… all the way to sixteen, I had counted.

Though I loved the beauty and grandeur they brought, I wasn’t exactly the dedicated type. I often got caught up in parellel universes and forgot when next I was supposed to be planting but if I wasn’t completely deluded, it seemed like there were actually a few more rose plants than I original had.

I wasn’t sure how that had happened but I did know that Papa had seen to the garden once or twice or at least facilitated it. I just didn’t know who had manicured them so expertly that they looked like they were living an entirely new life.

They were extremely thirsty, but it had not gone without any noticeable advantages. The shoots had appeared almost overnight, with two tiny buds visible, and I knew that the efforts were surely not wasted.

The blazing sun had been tormenting me that day as I squatted next to the flower bed with my gardening set, feeling like I had probably gone fifty shades of sunburnt in that short space of time. Sweat trickled down my chest, but I really didn’t even bother.
I had pulled the bucket out once again with the wheel barrow, making my way to the front of the garden to fill up for the third time now, not realizing what a racquet I was making in the process until I heard the voice of the outdoor worker that Papa used.

“He is asking if we must do it for you?” A voice called out from behind me, in his Zimbabwean accent. “We will water here later.”

I turned slightly, feeling a little awkward.

Firstly, who was the he in question? And secondly, well, how did they even know I was here.

Being a Monday afternoon, when the coffee shop closed, I really expected I had no idea that the noisy wheelbarrow that was passing by the front house every ten minutes had caused a little more of a stir than intended.

“Sorry,” I called, looking at the guy briefly, trying to see if the ‘he’ in question was really him, and wondering if he was watching me.  I mean, was dressed decently but I looked like a hobo, but that was the least of my worries right then. “Who will water them?”

“Zubair say it is better to water them later.”

I nodded. So it was him.

Zubair says. I glanced backwards, glimpsing only the shadow of a figure in the window of the front house. How long he may have been standing there, I wasn’t sure.

But anyway. He was right. I had forgotten. And I was busy with them so I thought I might as well do it. I was lazy to come back later when the sun was a little less severe, and I had no idea he did it personally  every day. In fact, I had a strong feeling that he was probably responsible for its survival.

“Okay,” I said bluntly, closing the water and hoping he would go back inside. “Later is fine.”

After all, it was my home. I just didn’t realise that Zubair had no life outside work and that he did nothing on his day off but watch all the crazy things I got up to. I mean, where was his family? I was itching to ask Papa why he never visited them. It was just so strange.

And as I lowered my head and moved toward the house, taking my personal tools with me, I couldn’t help but feel a little inadequate.

He probably thought I was this silly airhead just interfering with the roses. It was obvious that he had probably been taking care of them all this time, but it didn’t mean that I couldn’t play my part.

And that too, I knew I had to avoid trying to see him now, because well, I knew I had to watch myself. Lower my gaze. Lower my gaze. Lower my gaze.

I mean, I couldn’t stop reminding myself enough but it was really hard. Plus, I wasn’t there for any sinister intentions so I would make more effort to prove my dedication, and ask Papa to drop me off at the nursery that week where I had bought the potted roses from.

Although it wasn’t a fully fledged nursery, I loved what they had done with the place and every time I went there, I just couldn’t help but feel so much at ease.

The thing was, The Rose Lady with the cute little girl, whose name I had come to learn to learn was Khawlah, actually owned the entire place and opened her wonderful garden up to disadvantaged children. She had the most amazing plants and set-up, and the tree! There was nothing more I wanted to do than just sit there with a book and dose off while I listened to the sound of birds teetering above me. And not only did she open it up as a play area… but she had also mentioned that her husband also did Hifdh classes there… which made the place even more amazing.

And of course, my heart was completely melted because the last time I went, there were a whole bus of underprivileged smaller kids who had come to make use of the facilities, while she taught them how to plant seedlings, and they were just so amazing to watch.

I wasn’t sure what her story was, but I remembered her daughter telling me once that her Abba had passed away before she was born and he had cancer. I wanted to cry when she had said it, ok such a indifferent way, almost as if it was a very natural thing to happen. And though I didn’t know any more than that, every time I met the lady, she was so sincere in whatever she did and always gave me extra seedlings to plant and so much of advice, that I kept wanting to go back to support her…

And as I entered the house, still lost in my thoughts, I sincerely hoped that one day,l I could hear and learn from her story. My mind was still stuck on that gorgeous garden, when my sisters voice rang out next to me, making me jump with shock.

“There you are!”

I looked up as I heard her voice, a smile creeping on my face because this was one of the best surprises today. I didn’t even know that Mohsina was back from the farm and the fact that she was here was an immediate anti-depressant.

“Tell me Zaid is here?” I said, hugging her tightly and  looking hopeful, but also knowing that he sometimes went to Liyakets mother when they were

Mohsina’s bright smile was even more promising.

”He is,” she said, as my mother came in with my little sweetheart, and honestly, seeing him made me feel as if my heart was going to burst. I had missed him so, so much.

”Did you tell Nani you are coming?” I said, taking Zaid from my mother whilst she dialled someone on the landline and went out again.

“Ma just did,” she said with a sheepish grin. “And Maahira is also popping in. She’s going back next week after the last Samoosa run. Really waiting to hear about that one! Anyway, I desperately needed to get away from the house. Rabia is driving me bonkers and Hamzah is completely oblivious. He’s not even in a rush to move. I feel like I need to run away.”

Uh oh. I knew that Mohsina’s sister-in-law was a bit of a nosy one, but I didn’t quite understand that she could be so manipulative. At least it was a temporary arrangement that they were all together till their place was ready. But if Hamzah wasn’t ready to move, well….

“Soon you’ll have your space,” I said soothingly, as she rolled her eyes, looking outside as the men left for salaah and Zaid gurgled into my neck.

“If she doesn’t decide she’s moving in with us,” Mohsina retorted, making her way to the three seater couch in the interleading room, and plugged something into the wall. She looked exhausted as she rolled her eyes.

I looked at it, a little confused at first as I saw her opening her cloak, when realisation dawned. I could not believe that I had forgotten!

“Oh my word, Mos,” I squealed, widening my eyes and looking at her as she narrowed her eyes at me. “I completely forgot. How’s the whole dudu-thing going?”

She flushed slightly as she fiddled with her shawl, trying to adjust herslef so she didn’t expose anything unsightly, and then smiled. It really was a tricky thing, this breastfeeding thing, wasn’t it?

“The Dudu thing is making me feel like a cow,” she said, not looking impressed.

I tried not to pay too much attention as the low hum of the pump sounded; playing with Zaid as he cooed and blubbered obliviously.

”Sorry about the noise,” she said, rolling her eyes in exasperation. “Trying to increase supply. It’s like a mission to pump, and you don’t understand how sore it is. It’s just as well that Zaid doesn’t have teeth.”

I grinned.

Now, that, would definitely be funny.

“Hey,” she squealed, not impressed by my concealed giggles as I turned my face away. “Not you too. Hamzah finds the entire thing very amusing. Calls me Cow in the City. Just rude, if you ask me. You guys don’t understand how much of pressure it is. Wanting to succeed. Why don’t you guys try and see how this feels?”

”No way!” I said, looking at her squarely, and then cracking a smile. “Did you offer Hamzah to try too?”

I laughed at the thought while Mohsina just shook her head and gave a small smile as Zaid rolled over and got into crawling position on the carpet. I couldn’t believe he was already so big. It was only a few weeks and he was already like a little man.

“Hamzah just has a big mouth,” she said after a few seconds, rolling her eyes again. “But shame, he helps a lot. I’m quite surprised. Although he is regretting being my Hifdh teacher. It’s the only time I actually see him looking like he may lose his cool. He says he needs more cheesecake supply as payment…”

Mohsina was grinning as she said it, but I was honestly so happy that she actually started with this part of her journey. I knew that she really wanted to start with classes or something else worthwhile.

Honestly, it was the most romantic that the Qur’ān had actually brought them together…

That was like Muslim couple goals.

“You’re lucky he has the patience for it,” I said, thinking how sweet it was. I mean, that was what I wanted. The romantic kind of Muslim love story that couples used each other to get to Jannah together with…

She shrugged, obviously not realising how lucky she really was to find such a good guy after everything, as we heard voices entering the entrance hall. I realised that Maahira or Nani had probably arrived, and Mohsina looked at me, as she answered.

“I know,” she said solemnly, almost as if she read my mind, with a small smile, as Maahira entered. “He’s a great teacher.”

Maahira had literally entered the room, looking af Mohsina with a sly smile as she heard what she just said.

”Who’s a good teacher, eh?” She said with a smirk. “And what exactly is he teaching?”

Mohsina laughed and got up to hug her friend, eager to catch up with all the lost time in between the wedding and Maahira leaving for London again. Since Maahira had been down, it had only been a few times that they had seen each other before Mos made Nikah and then everything just got even more crazy after.

I sat quietly in the corner with Zaid, while I listened to  her talking about the Samoosa run escapades that made her lose hope in ever being married. Now she was ready to go back and hope for better luck next time.

“Or you might find someone in London?” I piped up hopefully, seeing how much Maahira wanted to settle down. And I got it. She wasn’t getting younger. But also, I knew Allah would reveal the right person to get at the right time…

“Yup, but in my circles they won’t exactly do the Samoosa run Halaal kind of way,” she said simply, looking deflated.

“I got a plan though,” Mohsina said, looking at Maahira with a cheeky grin. “Maybe Hamzah and I can come visit and we can make our own kind of Samoosa runs. You know? Hamzah can pick a guy from one of those Turkish places and bam. Why can’t the guys family do all the Samoosa frying for a change?”

Maahira laughed, while they chatted about what the outcomes there would be, while I found my mind actually musing over it too. I mean, okay, maybe not exactly the Samoosa thing, but if a women had to put forward proposals more often and it was actually not looked down as being immodest or forward….

“But why not?” I said, just voicing my thoughts and shrugging just shoulders. “After all, Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) accepted a proposal from Khadijah (RA) and it wasn’t frowned upon at all. She saw him, she admired him, and she put forward her proposal. She was wealthier and shared everything with him thereafter.. What’s wrong with it?”

Maahira agreed, and winked at me.

“You’re right, Jamz,” she said with a grin. “The next guy that I fancy, I’m definitely going to talk to his mother. And you should do it too.”

And while she laughed it off, I couldn’t help but notice Mohsina sneak a sideways glance at me, while I remained silent. For a moment, I was sure that there was a flicker of something in Mohsina’s eye but she didn’t say anything, until Maahira left the seating area to take Zaid to look out the window, while he cooed noisily.

”Jameela,” she said quietly, her brown eyes narrowing slightly as she watched me. “Are you still entertaining thoughts about that guy?”

Oh gosh. Why did I have to put my foot in it.

“What guy?” I said innocently, pulling at a thread on the carpet. I didn’t meet her eye.

“You know who I’m talking about,” she muttered quietly. “You’re still young for marriage. Why don’t you study or something? Get something to secure you. Anything.”

I shrugged. I wasn’t interested in studying, especially not as a security. While Mohsina still believed that a degree was essential, I was pretty content doing a small business or something creative if ever I needed to. I loved to draw, had learned to sew that year … and I really enjoyed designing things too.

After all, I had designed the rooms that were being put up for the glamping site. I was sewing the aprons that the cashier and coffee shop workers used too. I loved using my hands and working with them. It was a constant thing that kept me busy.

The corporate world though, was most definitely not for me, because I had seen first hand how it sucked every ounce out of my sister. I had hated it. If I had to study, an Islamic course, or something at the local madrassa would be better for me. Just not right then.

“I’m happy where I am,” I said. “I help daddy with the coffee shop and the new project. I can bake. Sew. Or do other stuff to earn money. Whatever. And I’m going to be 19 soon…”

Mohsina wasn’t quite impressed though.

”Still too young,” she snapped. “And you know you shouldn’t even think of him. He’s not  an option. He’s got no proper job. No money. No degree. He’s dangerous, in every sense of the word, and I don’t want to see my sister getting hurt.”

Dangerous.

Was he really? I mean, I had believed he was but for the past few months, there was nothing further from danger that I saw. He was kind and polite, went to the mosque for every salaah, plus he was modest and extremely well- mannered. Everyone who met him spoke well of his demeanor. I’d never spoken to him unnecessarily or directly, but everything I saw about him wasn’t what she made it out to be.

Mohsina was just forming her own invalid opinions in her head and I didn’t think it was fair. Not fair at all actually.

“I’m not going to get hurt,” I said, shaking my head. “It’s not like that.”

I wasn’t sure how to tell her. Like when you like someone, well… why couldn’t I ask my father for advice? Papa seemed to love him to bits. Maybe he didn’t have money or status, but all that wasn’t important to me. All I wanted was someone who was good and kind and looked after me.

“Just stay away from him,” Mohsina whispered, as Ma and Nani walked into the room now. “Else you know what will happen.”

I sighed, looking at my sister, feeling a little down as I watched Nani go all gaga over her and Zaid, before Hamzah made his appearance after Salaah, and the attention would probably be diverted. I couldn’t even argue my point with her now. Since Mos had mentioned it, I really wondered if she was right. Perhaps I was being a bit too hasty.

And as the rest of them got busy yapping about nothing in particular, and Hamzah and my brother entered on the other side of the lounge, the noise levels were just a little overbearing. And I knew I was being a little grumpy because of what Mohsina had just told me, but I couldn’t help how I felt.

I had made my way to the kitchen to grab a few drinks and clear my head, and just as I opened the fridge, the sound of our house bell had already sounded. And of course, with me being closest to the door, it only made sense that I should be the one to get it. With all the excitement (mostly Nani’s, when she saw Hamzah), who knew if they even heard the bell?

And so, tucking three drinks under my arm, and two in my one hand, so I could free up the other hand to answer the door, I peeped through the window to the right of the door, seeing a Muslim girl at the front patio.

And yes, I was a little paranoid since the last time when our doorway was darkened by Zubair and his uncle, but looking out to see a hijaabi girl with a pretty smile on her face… my heart was already settled.

Pulling the door open, I had plastered a pleasant smile on my face. I had assumed that maybe it was someone who just came to the house instead of the coffee shop, or someone who probably needed directions…

And as I greeted, she hastily replied to my greeting, and while doing so, something in her expression just made me feel at ease with her. For some reason, it felt like I met her before, but I knew I didn’t…

”I’m so sorry,” she breathed, her face all exasperated and full of expression, as she spoke again. “You must be wondering who I am and why on Earth I’m here… my name is Nusaybah…”

”It’s okay,” I said, wanting to explain that we were used to it. But she was already explaining.

“My friend Khawlah… you know… she sells all the amazing garden stuff a few roads away. She says that my brother once had some rose plants delivered to your address. I figured that maybe he may know you guys… Or you may know him?”

And I was a little stunned as I began to process it, because without even knowing, someone had obviously been adding to my rose garden.

“I’m sorry,” I said shaking my head, still a bit confused. “Who is your brother?”

She immediately slapped her palm in her forehead comically, looking ridiculously humoured by her own demeanour. I didn’t realise that just like our doorway was darkened with her brother a few months back, after the doom that came with that… now, with her eccentrically bubbly approach, it was to be most certainly brightened by this very boisterous character…

“I’m sorry,” she blubbered apologetically, her mouth opening comically and her eyes still wide. “Silly me! His name is Zubair. Tall, dark and handsome, you know?! My father is being stubborn, and refuses to even check on him or track him down. I’m only down for one week more and I had to literally do an investigation to find this address. This is my absolute last resort. Please, please, tell me… Do you have any idea where he is?”


Sunnah of Forgiveness:

With the New Islamic Year already here, and these auspicious days, one of the lessons from the Seerah is how Nabi (SAW) forgave his oppressors, and let go of old whims.

A sublime quality that Nabi (SAW) inculcated into his life on various occasions, and especially on the occasion of Hijrah.

May Allah Almighty give us all the ability to forgive others for the wrong they do to us and make us more productive Muslims through this and may Allah forgive us all for our sins, ameen.
O Allah, purify our hearts from grudges, envy, and cheating. O Allah, amend our relations with our relatives. O Allah, amend our relations with our loved ones. O Allah, make life an increase for us in every good and make death a relief for us from every evil with Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful.
Aaameen.

Someone asked Ali (RA): “How much was the Sahaba’s love for the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam)”

He replied: “By Allah! To us The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) was dearer to us than our riches our children and our mothers, and was more cherishable than a drink of water at the time of severest thirst.”

SubhaanAllah… what perfect imaan they had… May Allah enable us to practise..💕

#RevivetheSunnahofbeingGrateful

#RevivetheSunnahofQur’aanTilaawat

#ReviveSunnahofDuaa

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

When Spring Comes

Bismihi Ta’ala

Saaliha
Part 54

I once heard a beautiful saying that went something like:

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.

And I suppose it really hit home for me because as humans, we are always ready to fall into the trap of complacency.

Ghaflat. We forget our bounties. We take our gifts for granted. When we don’t taste the bitterness of trials, even the good times become unexceptional. We forget that even though winter can be so bitterly cold, the beauty of spring can never be hindered….

And indeed, Allah Ta’ala sends the trials, whereby we may be purified, strengthened and returned to Him. Allah sends the trials because we have to know for sure that with that hunger, thirst and cold, Allah can also relieve us with abundant food, the water and the shelter. Allah placed the test in our midst, but with it, He beautifully placed within our breast the ṣabr (patience), and even the riḍā (contentment) to withstand it.

Yes, Allah (SWT) sent Adam (AS) down to this world where he would have to struggle and face trials… But with that forgiveness of the first prophet, he also gave us a hope of His Divine help.

…if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome…

And as I looked out that morning, smiling at the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine… I couldn’t help but feel my heart lift slightly at the sight.

And the thing is … the amazing thing is that when we begin to appreciate even the little things, it opens up much more than we thought we would ever see. There are always flowers for those who want to see them, even when it’s not the season. There is always beauty, in even the most trying situations.

A new season would be coming, and as winter made its way out that year, after we had enjoyed the long nights and fireplace evenings, I couldn’t help but but wonder what the next season would bring.

And little did I know what a host of emotions were in store that very weekend. Some may call them interventions. Some call them coincidental. Whatever the term, it’s true that there are some things in life that happen the way we don’t quite expect it to…

“Mummy,” Uthman called, running into the kitchen with a look on his face that signified that he was pretty amazed. “Guess who’s here?!”

When I pulled out a spatula from the kitchen drawer, I couldn’t help feel the gust of hot air from the oven throw me off-balance, as I flashed a grin at my child. The feeling of being slightly out of sorts was a little unfamiliar. The weather had been warming up too, and it was a complete blessing, especially in this part of the world, where temperatures went under zero degrees Celsius in the midst of winter. The way the sunshine filtered through the window was one of the most comforting feelings.

“Hmmmm,” I said, smiling at Uthman, and rubbing my temple. “Is it the president?”

”No!” Uthman said, smiling at me like I was crazy.

Uthman was always excited to have visitors. The following week was going to be one of the best ones for him because Fareeha’s kids would be coming, when she left for Hajj. To tell the truth, I was a bit nervous for my crazy sisters kids to be in my zone, but I knew that if I prepared myself in advance and overdosed on rescue remedy, I’d be just fine.

There was really no need to stress.

“Oh wait,” I said, scratching my head thoughtfully. “Maybe it’s someone else famous?”

”Not exactly,” he replied, still finding it hilarious that I couldn’t figure out who was there. The truth was, I did know, but of course, my son keeping me in suspense was the most entertaining thing for him.

“Well, whoever the superstar is,” I said triumphantly with a grin, as I watched Imraan come in. “Please tell me them to join us for lunch. I’m already well-prepared..”

”Mummy!” Uthman said, jumping on the spot and shaking his head at the same time. Where did he get so much of energy from?! “Come and see!”

I laughed as Uthman ran outside again, his excitement mounting as I watched Hamzah get off the car, greet Imraan and pop open the boot. In the past, Hamzah had always brought something small, even if it was a box of smarties for Uthman when he would come, and Uthman always looked forward to it. The fact that he actually hadn’t come here in months made it all the more exciting and I was quite aware that after Liyaket passed away, my brother-in-law had way too much on his plate to even think of it .

Imraan had already helped Hamzah take some of his bags through to the house next door, and catching him on his way back, I couldn’t help but ask.

”Is everything okay?” I asked softly, wiping my hands on a dish cloth in my hand so I could venture to the car  and greet them. “They came so suddenly…”

”Hamzah thought it was best to be out of town for a while,” he said quietly. “Don’t mention it though. He hasn’t told her.”

”Why not?” I asked, not thinking that this was a good idea. “If Zaid is at risk then he should..”

It was true. Anything that could potentially be a risk should be assessed and eliminated. The truth was, from the time that I heard that Layyanah’s brother had called Hamzah, I had been on edge and it definitely seemed like a risky thing.

”Don’t stress about it, love,” he said, with a small smile. “Allah will take care of it.”

”Insha Allah,” I said quietly as I followed him to the door, still not convinced.

And as the morning sun streamed in, I could not quite believe how beautiful the hilly farmlands appeared this morning. As spring approached, and with the onset of rain that had also brought much hope and potential… I felt as if I was looking at a completely new place.

I gazed out, the morning sun doing its thing over the grassy landscape, while I watched it slowly illuminate the stretches before me. I couldn’t help but feel a little nostalgic. Like nostalgia in reverse, the longing for yet another hope and experience grew especially strong as winter started to wilt…

My eyes moved as I watched Hamzah already heading to the house that he usually used when he came, looking for Mohsina. It was about 200m away and Uthman was already excitedly chatting to him about the plans to do some exploring later in the day.

It was going to be a full house. My in-laws had also arrived the day before and having Zaid here was going to be the highlight of the weekend. I couldn’t wait to lay on the grass with him and blow raspberries on his chubby tummy. He was definitely going to bring the silly out of us that weekend, and I couldn’t wait to indulge myself to my hearts content.

“Assalamualaikum,” I called out, moving forward and helping Mohsina with her nappy bag and then reaching out to give her a hug as she jumped off the car with little Zaid. It had just been a few weeks and Zaid was looking like a little man already. I could not stop swooning over how cute he looked and I literally wanted to bite his cheeks off.

And I was literally about to take him into my arms when out of the blue, Rabia had already wedged herself in between Mohsina and I, swiftly snatching Zaid away before I even realised what was going on. I blinked, for a few minutes, looking at Mohsina in confusion, wondering what exactly had happened and where Zaid had gone to.

Rabia was already two meters away, grinning like the cat that caught the mouse.

”Sorry Sawls,” Rabia said, not looking sorry at all as she snuggled Zaid to her. “It’s my turn first. But don’t worry, you’re next. Mohsina, you and Hamzah can have some couple time. Take some snaps. I already told him that this weekend you aren’t going to have Zaid at all!”

She gave an evil laugh, walking away triumphantly as she gave him more cuddles. My sister-in-law was really something else. I looked at Mohsina, who was a little expressionless as she watched her, but skilfully recovering as she she smiled at me apologetically.

She looked like she was already well-equipped to handle Rabia.

”Sorry,” she said apologetically. “You know Rabia…

”Dont worry,” I said, waving my hand nonchalantly. “That’s Rabia, and we’re used to her. We’ll see you guys in a bit?”

Mohsina nodded, looking grateful that lunch was sorted. Each house was separate and had their own provisions, but there was no need for them to prepare if we already had more than enough.

I had already sorted my favourite salads because for me, a braai was all about the salads, and Imraan had already set up the stand for an old-fashioned charcoal barbecue. We kept it simple most times, but with everyone here, as always, my mother-in-law had really gone out of her way to prepare a bit more than necessary.

And as I got busy with taking out the lunch items, and setting the tables, I barely even have thought to what happened to Zaid thereafter. My mind was already working on overdrive, hoping that I wouldn’t forget to take out everything that we had made.

And after Rabia had forcefully removed him out of my arms, I had assumed that she had probably forgotten that I wanted to spend some time with Zaid too. I shrugged off the feeling of irritation as I heard the door opening, seeing Hamzah making his way in, with a disgruntled expression on his face as he looked around, greeting my mother-in-law who was seated in the lounge affectionately, and after a few seconds, looking even more frustrated than him, came Mohsina.

And it didn’t even click with me that Zaid wasn’t with either of them, until Mohsina came up to me, and said in a low voice:

”Have you seen Rabia?”

Mohsina was wearing a pretty but modest black dress with a sage coloured scarf. She looked particularly lovely and the colour really suited her, but as I looked at her troubled expression, it was only at that moment that I’d figured that the couple must have had a small tiff and it was very obvious that it was because of Rabia.

I shook my head, a little worried but not sure if I should do something. After all, Rabia was a law unto herself and she couldn’t have gone that far anyway.

”I’m sure she will bring back him soon,” I said, trying to assure her. “Must I call her? She probably took him for a walk.”

”Sorry,” Mohsina mumbled, looking at me gratefully now, slightly embarrassed. “Hamzah’s calling her for a while now. No answer. Anyways, I was so worried about him that I didn’t even ask if I can help with anything. Can I butter the rolls?”

I got it. She was worried about Zaid. How could she not be?

“Relax,” I insisted, smiling at her. “Everything is done. I’m sure Zaid is just fine and used to her. They must have had plenty of bonding time last week.”

I didn’t want to tell her how Rabia literally forced my in-laws to let her go to the house while Hamzah and Mohsina were supposed to be there alone. Their couple time must have been completely sabotaged.

Before she could say anything in reply though, I could see Hamzah making his way toward us, positioning himself just behind her while he leant on the counter.

”She’s on her way back with him,” he said, and I couldn’t help but hear that he sounded a little annoyed, but I wasn’t sure with who. “He fell asleep. Can you stop stressing yourself out now?”

Whether Rabia had meant to or not, I could see that she had succeeded in causing a row between the two of them. Hamzah was probably torn between his wife and his sister, probably wondering why Mohsina was so upset and thinking what the big deal was… but honestly, the brothers just didn’t quite see how manipulative Rabia could really be.

Mohsina just nodded briefly while Hamzah went back inside, and then turned to me, looking a little more settled, while she shrugged.

“Rabia is a little possessive over Zaid,” she said, her voice dropping. “Also, TMI… I know, but she saw the pill bottles the doctor gave me for induced lactation. I think she is worried she won’t get to spend enough time with him, but now she is really taking it a bit far.”

I didn’t want to tell her that Rabia just had a habit of going to extremes. Sometimes I wasn’t sure if she did it on purpose…

I didn’t comment on Rabia because I knew that nothing good could come out of it. I had learnt to keep silent at times like that, but the first part… well, that really interested, me.

“Wow… you’re really going to feed him?” I said, really feeling so excited for her, but not quite believing that she would actually do it.

She nodded, and her eyes were really shining with enthusiasm. I was just really quite surprised by the fact that she would be so willing.

”I’ve heard so many amazing experiences of bonding and how amazing it is to feed your baby,” she said quietly. “And you know… I was so fascinated to discover breastfeeding is mentioned in the Qur’an. I also read that the mother receives the reward of a good deed for every single drop she gives her child… did you know that?”

I was honestly amazed. How merciful is Allah Ta’ala that something which is so natural is rewarded in such great proximity. If only I knew that all those years ago, when I had fed Uthman for two full years, even though it was one of the most challenging things to do. Breastfeeding hadn’t been easy for me. I had suffered with the worst of issues during it, but I persisted because I wanted to do it.

“The baby doesn’t need anything besides the mothers milk for the first six months of their life,” I said ruefully while Mohsina smiled and nodded. That fact still amazed me, and she seemed amazed too.

“A huge saving, if only I’d known earlier,” she said light-heartedly. And of course she wasn’t serious, because how could anyone have ever known that she would be plunged into this kind of situation…

I smiled, although the entire situation still made me feel slightly heartbroken as I remembered how Layyanah had been so committed to exclusively breastfeeding.

“The price of formula has become crazy….”

I breathed in, trying to settle my emotions. I didn’t even realise that I was tearing. Gosh, it was her best friend, and I was going all emo on her…

Back to what she was saying…

“You’re right,” I said softly, swallowing and blinking hard to stop the tears. “It’s not only formula though. I actually got a shock when I went to the supermarket last week with Imraan and we cashed up. Everything is just gone so expensive…”

I mean, there was nothing like the price of commodities to bring you back to reality.. Everything was getting more and more pricey, and the cost of living globally was almost unmanageable for the majority of the world.

But all of that… the way we found ourselves in this predicament is something that is mentioned that on one occasion that Musaa (Alaihi Salam) once asked Allah (SWT), something to the effect of:

What is a sign of your happiness?

Allah Ta’ala, in reply, said to him that’s when He is happy… then the worlds processes take place in great harmony. This will mean that at the time of sowing the seeds into the ground, Allah Ta’ala sends his rain… and then, at the time of harvesting, Allah Ta’ala holds back His rain. Everything happens at the right time, in a methodical process. A sign of Allah’s happiness is that He puts the administrative and financial affairs of the people in the hands of people who are righteous and generous. That the events of happenings of the world occur in harmony…

Musaa (AS) then asked, Ya Allah, what then, will be the sign of Your unhappiness?

So Allah Ta’ala replied to say that the opposite is done. That in this case, when the people are sinful, the rain is not sent when it is needed. When the world is commuting evil, the rulers of the people are corrupt and incompetent. When everything is in havoc…  the price of consumables and life becomes almost unbearable.

And there is no other reason but our own sins. Our bad deeds and disregard for Allah’s laws is what brings the inflation, the corruption and the predicament we find ourselves in today…

I sighed, feeling a bit deflated about the situation, knowing that we could only start with ourselves. My mother-in-law had come to the kitchen already, talking jovially to Mohsina about Zaid now, as Mohsina made his bottle and they ventured into the feeding topic again.

It was baby talk all over again and it was cute, but I was never really ready to engage in it completely. And it wasn’t that I was jealous. I had passed that point a long time ago. I was really happy that Zaid now had a family that loved him so much, and a mother figure like Mohsina, who took him as her real son.

It was just that I wasn’t always sure how to react. I wasn’t even sure if I had a place in Zaid’s life, although I loved him to bits. Now, as Mohsina asked my mother-in-law her own advice about breastfeeding, I could see that she was extremely thrilled about the prospect, and the two of them were already speaking about how the hormones also change your body, moods and emotions.

It seemed to be scaring Mohsina a bit, because my mother-in-law had already told her that she would have to start trying to latch him soon if she really wanted to go through with this. That part had caught her off guard.

And as they spoke, I couldn’t help but feel like pregnancy and breastfeeding was so far off for me. Every month had been a waiting game, and it had come to the point when I didn’t even track my cycle anymore, because it would just leave more room for more grief and disappointment… disappointment which I just could not handle anymore.

Sometimes you just had to learn a little more about gratitude. I had learn to live in the moment. To be happy with what Allah had given me. I had learnt to look at those who couldn’t have kids at all, and be grateful for the fact that Alhumdulillah… Allah had given me one beautiful child at least.

And for starters… well, I wasn’t even dreading the onset of my menstrual cycle that month. It usually left an aching hole in my gut, for the first two days, until the feelings of inadequacy and brokenness had faded. And this month… well, I was due for it…

I paused with drizzling chocolate over the pavlova casings as I caught a snippet of what my mother-in-law and Mohsina were chatting about, while my mind tried to figure out dates. Uthman and the men were well out earshot and they were already having a full on coversation of pregnancy woes and breastfeeding problems.

”With Hamzah and Rabia I was just big all over,” my mother-in-law was saying, smiling fondly as she recalled. After ten years, she had the twins, but it must have been memorable in a way that she couldn’t forget. I just couldn’t imagine.
Carrying twins must have been something else completely.

“I had to be on her rest from 20 weeks,” she continued. “It was the longest 12 weeks ever, but Allah made it all work out perfectly in the end. They both came home after a week and the moment I saw them, I had already forgotten about the pregnancy…”

How beautifully Allah plans it. The minute we lay our eyes on that beautiful bundle, everything discomfort seems like nothing at all. I suppose that’s why Jannah was so beautiful. When we glimpse that beautiful abode, well… everything will make sense…

“Layyanah was all tummy,” Mohsina was saying, smiling notalgically. “All I remember her saying was that she just felt bloated at the beginning, and she did a test and it was positive…”

My mother-in-law smiled and I looked at her with interest, almost as if she had said something majorly significant.

Did she just say bloated? 

The calculations in my mind were still going on as I tried to figure out if I was right. According to that… I was already 4 days late. I mean, it wasn’t groundbreaking, but 4 days was 4 days, right? I mean, I did usually get a bit tired and bloated… but the thing is, now that Mohsina mentioned the bloating, welll… I knew I was definitely feeling it.

But no. It could not be. I was getting my hopes up for nothing.
Pregnancy is just one of many things that can cause bloating. It could be anything else. Anything else at all.

And of course, there was no need to think otherwise. In my head at that point, I was still telling myself that I would just wait for the usual thing to happen, as it had, almost every month for seven years, and deal with it when it does.

And as Rabia came back with Zaid at that very moment, all in high spirits with not even a consideration for Mohsina’s worry, I immediately took the bottle from her and asked her if I could feed him, before placing him on the carpet with little play gym I kept there for him. I wanted to forget my recent discovery, and losing myself in his gurgles and giggles was an amazing feeling.

I was literally obsessed with his double dimpled smile and his tiny fingers and toes. I really wished that they would stay longer than just the two days, and I knew that if I asked Imraan to talk to Hamzah, he may agree. It would be the perfect distraction for me, and I knew I needed it right then.

And despite the slight drama between Mohsina and Rabia that had ensued, the rest of the evening had been beautifully smooth. I was trying very hard not to focus on how many days late I was. Instead, I had turned my attention to the weather, noting that it was one of those amazing days that were mild and cool, but as the sun started to set, I could see Imraan already getting the fireplace ready for the chill that would take over soon.

Zaid was stationed permanently next to Rabia now, who was keeping them both warm while Mohsina and Hamzah had headed off for a little walk while there was still light outside.

And knew that I was being a little obsessive, but as I visited the bathroom to make whudhu (ablution), I couldn’t help but pop my head into the second drawer, wondering if I would be completely bonkers if I actually used a test right then. There were still two brand new ones, and as I glanced at them, something in me was creating an overwhelming desire to just check.

As much as I was trying to avoid it, I was one of those people who just couldn’t switch off my crazy. When something was gnawing at me, any slightly lenient situation would put me in a fix. After all, there was still some time before Maghrib salaah and I was already in my bathroom. The night would be busy and then if he too tired to check later.

Why not? My mind was saying. You’re already late.

And of course, the sensible part of my mind begged to differ.

So what if I was late? Four days wasn’t even a record.

You rather just check. You won’t be disappointed after. Whatever happens is Allah’s will.

That was true as well. But what about the disappointment after? 

I couldn’t stop myself. Despite the doubt and uncertainty, I had to know. I just couldn’t wait any longer.

I literally wanted to block my eyes after, not knowing how to bring myself to look.

I knew it took up to two minutes sometimes, but I also knew that when something was cooking then the result came quicker, and as I washed my hands and summoned every bit of courage I had within me to make its show… well, I finally allowed my eyes to stray to the stick that was lying next to the sink…

And when I say my heart skipped a beat, it was no exaggeration. Right there, were two dark pink lines staring at me… and I had to literally pinch myself to check if I wasn’t dreaming.

I hadn’t even realised that my heart was hammering noisily in my chest, and everything else had just taken a backseat for those few moments…

The winter was bitter… but the results of spring were oh-so-sweet…

I could barely believe that within my heart, as hope blossomed with no reservation, like the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…

My entire heart was bursting, as I realised that even when you cut off all the flowers in the winter…

You can never stop Spring from coming once again…


Sunnah of Forgiveness:

With the New Islamic Year already here, and these auspicious days, one of the lessons from the Seerah is how Nabi (SAW) forgave his oppressors, and let go of old whims.

A sublime quality that Nabi (SAW) inculcated into his life on various occasions, and especially on the occasion of Hijrah.

May Allah Almighty give us all the ability to forgive others for the wrong they do to us and make us more productive Muslims through this and may Allah forgive us all for our sins, ameen.
O Allah, purify our hearts from grudges, envy, and cheating. O Allah, amend our relations with our relatives. O Allah, amend our relations with our loved ones. O Allah, make life an increase for us in every good and make death a relief for us from every evil with Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful.
Aaameen.

Someone asked Ali (RA): “How much was the Sahaba’s love for the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam)”

He replied: “By Allah! To us The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) was dearer to us than our riches our children and our mothers, and was more cherishable than a drink of water at the time of severest thirst.”

SubhaanAllah… what perfect imaan they had… May Allah enable us to practise..💕

#RevivetheSunnahofbeingGrateful

#RevivetheSunnahofQur’aanTilaawat

#ReviveSunnahofDuaa

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

When Adventures Begin

Bismihi Ta’ala

Mohsina
Part 53

There are moments in your life when you realise that time is divided into two parts- that’s there’s a before and there’s an after, and you realize that nothing will ever be the same again.

Okay I’m just kidding. But honestly, I could not believe this was happening to me. The first day I decided to use a stove and load shedding gets right in the middle of my good house-wife plans. No electricity from 6AM that morning was really a pain in the most inconvenient places.

You see, when Hamzah told me that the stove was gas, I figured it would be no issue. I didn’t know that you literally had to burn your fingers off before getting a decent flame to cook with. And after striking the match about a hundred times, I had finally got somewhere, before I managed to crack an egg in the stainless steel bowl I had found in the third drawer. I had attempted what I would have found impossible at any other point in my life.

I was just as bad as figuring the kitchen utensils but I knew that today, more than any other day, when Zaid was busy gurgling away in his bouncer and feeling like a king, and Rabia wasn’t around, would be a good day to start learning. At least it meant that I  could have the kitchen to myself and not have to worry about her watching me like the incapable chef that I was.

“Are you using the stove yet?” Hamzah called in a concerned tone, from the top of the stairs. “Are you sure you okay?”

”Im fine!” I said bluntly.

Gosh, how rude. It was his code for saying: “Please don’t burn the house down.”

He was worse than Nani.

“Hamzah seems to think we can’t cook,” I said quietly to Zaid, who was smiling at me adorably. “Let’s give him the shock of his life, okay?”

Zaid gurgled happily, looking exceptionally pleased with the idea. I wished I could knock him for a six with a 5 course breakfast but it was a tall order. Eggs and baked beans were all I could manage for now.

Yes, I was a bit insulted but I sucked it up and poured the egg into the hot pan with oil , watching it splutter with glee as I took a step back, a little concerned for my face. Like, what if the gas exploded and hit me? It was the first time I had used a gas stove and I didn’t have a death wish.

Also, I was super annoyed because I couldn’t even send Jameela and Nani a picture of my cooking accomplishments right then, because signal was as crappy as ever. Nani had already sent me some easy recipes and a request for pictures and I had gotten the hint that cooking for Hamzah was an essential.  She was convinced that Hamzah’s sole purpose in life was to be fed three full meals a day, and he wasn’t exactly self sufficient. The most he could do was boil kettle water and burn toast.

Right now though, I couldn’t even pacify her with evidence of anything worthy.

With the lack of basic privileges we become accustomed to, it sometimes felt as if I lived on an entirely different planet.

And I hadn’t realized it yet, but I ought to have understood by then that gratitude is magic. That electricity, water, WiFi and even petrol or all bounties of Allah Ta’ala and the thing is we have done nothing to earn our bounties, yet, regardless, we’ve been blessed with it.

What we didn’t realise was that sometimes Allah was saving us from other harms, in the process of not having that signal to message and call someone. Perhaps we were getting saved from some gossip, or argument, when that call couldn’t be made. Perhaps we are getting relieved of some Haraam in the fact that WiFi wasn’t always at our disposal. The thing was, all these favours were gifts from Allah Ta’ala that we take for granted.

And as the egg blubbered all happily and so did Zaid, I felt amazingly accomplished as I tossed around, feeling a bit more optimistic about the way things were heading.

I just hoped that the food would be edible and Hamzah would live to tell the tale. Also, well, this was way too early in the morning for me to even start with kitchen shenanigans, but it was just as well that I had already woken up to the sound of the shower water running, and there was barely even a sliver of daylight in the sky.

I had no idea that Hamzah was such an aspiring early bird. His waking up routine was a little bit too much for my own laid-back one, but I knew that marriage was a ball game that I’d have to start playing properly at some time. I wasn’t even sure where he had gone to before the crack of dawn, but he took a while to come back after Fajr and I was glad that I had a little bit of time before making my way down.

The thing was, my in-laws would all be back tomorrow and I knew that I had to at least be competent at some cooking. Hamzah could not survive on cheesecakes and pastries for the rest of our lives.

Also, well, the point of immersing myself in my cooking  task was due to me trying to get my mind off yesterday’s horrifying images as fast as I could. There was so much that had happened in such a short space of time, and I couldn’t hell but feel a little overwhelmed by the events.

Somehow, I just felt more responsible. I wanted to prove more, that I was doing a good job, before anything else stood in our way.

And the thing was, yesterday, we barely had any time to discuss it any of the issues that were lurking.  Hamzah had been rushing for Esha salaah, and I had let him focus on driving because I knew very well how he hated to miss Salaah in Jamaat. The only concern was that the traffic was appearing to intensify as we moved along the main highway.

I wanted to know his real thoughts on the doctors advice but as the traffic doubled up and we moved at a snails pace along the main freeway, my thoughts were halted as sirens from behind us started blaring, and I literally went cold as the scene ahead of us already came into view.

Naturally, all other thoughts were shelved as I looked out now, into the stack of cars that were ahead. Hamzah’s window was slightly open due to the cigarette he had been smoking earlier, and I could already hear people in the next car talking, their phones out their window, trying to capture the graphic scene ahead, as the chaos around us ensued.

And as much as I wanted to block my ears as they started talking, their voices were still as clear as day.

Ya Allah, there’s a baby in that car,” someone was almost screaming. “Put the phones away, its not right!”

The person had a point. This was someone’s worst nightmare. A horrible tragedy that could be fatal. Capturing it on camera seemed so heartless, but who cares these days?

My heart pounded in my chest, as I closed my eyes, knowing that we were nearly at the scene. It seemed like it had just happened and I couldn’t bear it…

For a minute, as I held my breath, I was almost hesitant to look, for fear of what I would see.

”There’s a small child in the car!” Someone screamed again, and without even casting a sideways glance, Hamzah’s finger pressed down on the button, eager to shut out all the sounds, my mind going into overdrive as I processed what this meant.

I couldn’t even look at him at that point. All I could think of was how Hamzah was still going to move past this devastating collision, the part where two cars were already overturned and the truck was on its side. The part where all I could think of was our dearest friends who had just passed on. I wasn’t sure how we were going to keep ourselves together as we egged on, but all I knew right then was that I couldn’t  bare to cast my gaze anywhere on the road.

And of course, I could barely do anything else beside hastily turned my face away as we got closer, not wanting to even process the condition of the truck on the side of the road and unsightly smashed cars.

I didn’t even realised that I was holding my breath as I kept my eyes shut, hearing Hamzah’s breath quicken and clutching Zaid a little tighter as we by passed the main point of congestion, already aware that Hamzah was purposely going a little faster than the other drivers. While other cars were slowing down to get a good look at the accident scene,  Hamzah sped up, trying his best to move past it all, without having to directly process it, and I knew exactly why.

My heart was already contracting painfully, as I remembered that fateful night.

The baby. There’s a baby. There’s a baby in the car.

The car was a crumpled mess and the words were still echoing in my ears. The emotions that had pulsated through me then were still wrecking havoc within. The whole scenario was something that I could barely, for the life of me, come to terms with.

And it was undeniable that everywhere we turned, there was a reminder about our friends that we just didn’t have the heart to deal with as yet.  I heard that there had been pictures of Liyaket’s car, but I knew that I couldn’t dare to look at them.

This was close. Too close for comfort. Seeing the accident scene was something that had caught us both completely off guard, and as my heart pounded in my chest, nervous about the outcome of what exactly was going to happen here, I couldn’t help but feel myself shudder at the possibilities.

Riveted by what we had just been faced with, even after passing the worst of it, I could sense the obvious trauma and discomfort.

And like it had never happened at all, the car was silent again, except for Zaid’s breathing. Both Hamzah and I were too shaken to even talk. I looked out the window, tears streaming down my face, as I tried to keep it together. Internally, I could tell that Hamzah felt exactly the same way, but he expertly held himself back.

It didn’t take long to get home after he stopped for Salaah at a mosque on the way. We had entered the silent house, walking up to our room, placing Zaid down in the cot Hamzah had bought for him, still reeling from the shock of what we had just witnessed. The house seemed almost lonely without Rabia’s noise there. Rabia had gone to her cousin ten minutes away, on account of us coming home so late.

And of course, a half hour after we had seen it, I could not stop thinking about it. For a while, I wished that I did look. At least then, I would have known what had really happened, instead of tormenting myself and thinking of the worst possible scenario.

And I wanted to ask Hamzah about it… to talk about the accident and to touch base with how we all felt, but I couldn’t bring myself to. I didn’t want to bring it up, to revisit that place, to go back to the place where I was on that fateful night, while I sat in my upmarket Hammond’s apartment up to no good, before my life had changed so suddenly.

For a few minutes, I couldn’t meet his eye.

I kept myself busy, as he hung up his kurta and I took off my abaya. My scarf was unpinned and placed over the chair. My motions were purposely slow as I did it, feeling the intensity of his gaze on me, as I finally met his it…

I hadn’t trusted myself to say anything. The room sounded almost eerily quiet, and there was not even a sound that was coming from outside. For the first time that week, we were completely alone and we could barely even think of words to say to each other.

But I knew I had to, as he came closer, almost as if he didn’t quite understand how to deal with this… we didn’t know how to seek comfort after this.

It felt like just yesterday, when that sting of loss had sunk us to the depths of grief. It felt like hours ago when I had first gotten the call, telling me that my friend had lost her life, much earlier than I would have ever imagined.

Everything was coming at us like never before, and though it had nearly broken us inside, we knew that we had to accept it. We knew that the reminder was just what was needed for us to seek the truth of what we knew.

Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Qur’an:

And say to them, Oh Muhammed (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam), the things of this world are few (temporary), the things of the Aakhirah is better for him who fears Allah; you shall not be wronged (even the amount of) a single date fibre. Wherever you are, death will reach you, even if you’re in strong and high towers.” (An Nisah 77-78)

And now, as I stirred the baked beans and heard Hamzah making his way downstairs, I couldn’t help but think of how much Hamzah had matured over these months. All I could think of was that a helluva lot more than what I knew must have happened for him to have become the man he had. One day, I hoped that his experiences and thoughts would be narrated to me, and I could get a glimpse into what was really on his mind…

“Zaidoo!”

I turned to look at him as Hamzah’s voice cut into my thoughts now, as I buttered the toast, placing it on the side plate as he picked Zaid out of the bouncer. I mean, I wouldn’t usually butter someone’s toast but I’d always seen my mother do it for my father and it just seemed like a cute thing for couples to do for each other.

And naturally, as I caught the scent of his familiar oud, whilst I just smelt of onion and oil, the awkwardness was unparalleled. And though I had actually made an effort to look as good as I could early on a Saturday morning, I was still wearing my bunny slippers and I just felt a little ridiculous as I snuck a glance at him, dressed in a fitted sage t-shirt with a white three-quarter pants, all ready for the day. Also, it was super nerve-wrecking because he was looking at the food a little reservedly, almost as if he wasn’t quite sure whether he should tuck into it or not, and I wasn’t even sure whether to invite him to.

”This looks good,” he said optimistically, giving me a thumbs up. I didn’t want to tell him that looks could be deceiving and he should taste it first, so I just smiled back nervously.

And of course, if he was wary, he hid it well. He had already headed the safe route by taking a toast from the plate and biting into it. I was scrutinising his every move and I knew I was acting crazy but I couldn’t help feel excessively nervous.

And of course, I was extremely relieved that the toast wasn’t burnt, and his hand slowly ventured towards the baked beans spoon, as I simultaneously tried very hard to distract myself and bring some tea cups to the table.

This was very awkward but I knew that I had to act natural. Like I cooked for my new husband every day.

”It’s good, Mos,” Hamzah finally said with a smile, and even if it was forced, I didn’t care.  I did appreciate the compliment, but as I was about to dish out too, Hamzah’s phone from behind me just started ringing and I hastily got up to bring it to him.

And I didn’t even notice Hamzah’s slightly panicked look as he saw me reach for it, and I was hardly the sneakish type, but I couldn’t help but notice the caller ID that had popped up on the screen a few minutes before.

For a minute, I was just stumped. It had jolted me a bit, but not in an entirely bad way, as I processed exactly what it said, and passed it to him, not able to really comprehend what it meant.

Your Jannah is Calling.

Like, my heart was literally endowed with amazement for this man by now.

It was like an awakening for my dormant soul became I could not really process what a unique thing Hamzah had saved his mother as, and how that made me feel right then.

I mean, imagine if I were the reason for someone’s Jannah? Imagine if I appeared in that way on someone’s caller ID. What an honour that was… to be the reason for their Jannah.

As much as I wanted to have my own kids at some point, the fact was, I hadn’t thought about it recently. I had been so consumed by Zaid and then by marriage with Zaid, that my own needs had been completely sidelined.

“Mummy,” Hamzah said instantly as he answered, glancing at me a little weirdly and then turning away. “Wa alaykum Salaam.”

I could hear my mother-in-laws voice on the other side, and as he answered I could see that she was asking after Zaid and how he was feeling.

“Sure, I’ll call you back, Mums,” he said quietly, after he answered the first three questions. “Just having some breakfast. Mohsina went all out this morning.”

I flushed because he couldn’t have been farther than the truth. But shame, it was sweet of him to make me seem like I was being a good wife. Also, he barely even acknowledged his compliment as he cut the call, looking at me, and then frowning slighy as if he was deliberating if he should really say what he wanted to.

“So you’re really going to do it?” He asked finally, looking at me questioningly.

I was a bit confused as I munched on my toast and looked back at him, I hadn’t even realised that I had been fiddling with the bottles that the doctor had prescribed for me the day before.

“Do what?” I asked, and he gestured to the them. And it seemed coincidental and maybe even subconsciously…. because I had just been thinking of that very amazing thing…

”The feeding thing,” he said with a slight smile, sitting back and pouring water into his cup for tea. I could see him looking inside to check if the teabag was there, and of course, if wasn’t.

I passed him one from the counter top, trying hard to keep a straight face. I had no idea that Hamzah was so pampered.

”I don’t know,” I said, to answer him.

Which was true. The feeding thing. I liked what he called it, and it was an awkward topic. And of course, I wanted to have this full on discussion, to weigh the pros and the cons and talk about the doctors advice as a couple doing this but there was one thing that was holding me back.

“I’m still so two-minded,” I said, pulling a slight face. “I don’t know which side of the fence I fall on. I mean, I don’t even know if I would have breastfed my own kids and I’ve been hearing so much about how it can change your body and stuff…”

Oh gosh, now I just sounded shallow and forward too. Hamzah and I hadn’t even discussed having our own kids, but Maahira had been telling me stuff that had been making me hesitant and I couldn’t seem to stop the worry. Hamzah didn’t meet my eye.

“I just feel like I’m stepping over the limit here,” I said quickly, before he got any odd idea, knowing that it was my main reason for holding back.

I was stepping over the limit. But where were the limits even? What Hamzah and I were in… well, I wasn’t even sure.

And I was feeling all flustered because the crux of it was that I almost felt as if I was taking Layyanah’s place. The feeling had been coming at me, from the week before, when I met Layyanahs sister, but it was now as clear as ever, as I wondered what exactly to do.

It took him a few seconds before Hamzah spoke.

“Mos… I think we need to face up to what’s happened,” he said quietly, his gaze not meeting mine, as he put some sugar in his tea.

I nodded, looking at him questioningly, before he started talking again.

“I’ve been living as if I’m waiting for Liyaket to come back and tell me what to do. Im so used to him giving me advice. Asking him where to go from here. Living as if life is on pause, until that happens. I’ve been living as if I can’t live… you know? But that’s not what death is supposed to be. It’s not supposed to be so hard on us, that we lose hope in life.”

I nodded, swallowing hard, feeling like I wanted to cry again. As if yesterday wasn’t enough for us.

I couldn’t think of what to say. I felt like a traitor. Like we were living the life that they were supposed to be living sometimes.

“I went to the graveyard today,” he said softly, glancing at me. “For the first time since Liyaket passed.”

My heart kind of plummeted in my chest as he said it. For the first time?

“I know I’m terrible… and it’s my fault,” Hamzah said quietly, his voice dropping even more. “We need to stop tiptoeing around Liyaket and Layyanah’s life. We need to go back to their home. We need to visit the places we used to meet them. Do the things we used to do with them. We need to show Zaid more of what his parents were.”

I sat there silently, not even touching my food, my heart bursting with emotion, but knowing that he was undeniably right. We were behaving as if they were going to come back and question us, or reclaim what was theirs. We were living our lives in their shadow. Afraid to accept the reality.

“You’re right,” I said, my voice not quite coming out the way I wanted it to, as I glanced at Zaid who was rubbing his eyes now, and looking quite tired. I needed to snap back to reality. Stop waiting for Layyanah. Stop feeling guilty.

“So I’ve been doing some research,” I said, looking at him as I spoke. “About all the things that can happen… the fatwas there are out there and-“

“Listen, Missus Google, let’s forget about all of the virtual stuff,” Hamzah said, winking at me and I rolled my eyes at him.

“Can I tell you what I want to do?” He said, stirring his tea as I watched him. “I just want to live. Do you know what that means? To shut off everyone else and just live for now? Stop worrying about the world and statistics and everything else. Just stop, Mos. There’s so much more that life has to offer you, if you just let everything else go.. you’ll see. See the beauty in everything. Stop worrying. Stop assessing. Stop being such a genius at things that don’t matter…”

He was right. He was so right. I had lived in virtual worlds and in parallel universes and none of it was ever real. Everything had been about illusions and filters and most of the time, everything in my life had been channeled toward the next Instagram post and how I was going to make the world swoon.

I closed my eyes for a moment, shutting out all thoughts and reservations and knowing that although I had things to say, it wasn’t the wisest thing to do. It just felt so right to be in the moment.

And it was. Hamzah was right.

Sometimes being in the moment was a hundred times more amazing than any virtual experience. And maybe once upon a time, when I was silly and deluded, I didn’t think so. Maybe once before. I had been enamored by the reels and taken in by a filtered world, but now that Hamzah had come into my life, I knew that there had to be a purpose for it.

It wasn’t only about Zaid. It wasn’t about this situation. Right then, it wasn’t just about circumstances.

“I should do it, right?” I said with a cock of my head. “It’s going to be something of an adventure for us all, don’t you think.”

“I’ve got bigger things planned, pookie,” he said, grinning like a nutcase. “Real adventures. Choose adventure.. choose excitement. Stop with the virtuality. Let’s just live, okay?”

Lets just live. He was right. Maybe I analysed things too much. Got too caught up in my virtual worlds.

“And how do you suppose we do that?” I said, leaning forward and looking at him with narrowed eyes, as he gave me his one dimpled smile.

“I know just the place to take you to.”


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله رب العالمين

On the Day Of Ashura

The Prophet ﷺ was asked about fasting the day of Ashura and he said, “It will expiate the sins of the past year.”

The hardships we face are paths leading us to ALLAH, to build our reliance on ALLAH alone. The story of Moosa AS is one of perseverance. He knew the situations were from ALLAH and the outcome will come from ALLAH. He showed us a path of gratefulness, by fasting on the day that ALLAH had saved him.
How many oceans has ALLAH opened for us and not caused us to be swallowed into the darkness!
The Rabb of Moosa AS and your Rabb is the same, so let your faith overpower your fear, for your Rabb has not abandoned you nor forsaken you.

May Allah make it easy for us to keep these fasts ❤️

Sunnah of Forgiveness:

With the New Islamic Year already here, and these auspicious days, one of the lessons from the Seerah is how Nabi (SAW) forgave his oppressors, and let go of old whims.

A sublime quality that Nabi (SAW) inculcated into his life on various occasions, and especially on the occasion of Hijrah.

May Allah Almighty give us all the ability to forgive others for the wrong they do to us and make us more productive Muslims through this and may Allah forgive us all for our sins, ameen.
O Allah, purify our hearts from grudges, envy, and cheating. O Allah, amend our relations with our relatives. O Allah, amend our relations with our loved ones. O Allah, make life an increase for us in every good and make death a relief for us from every evil with Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful.
Aaameen.

Someone asked Ali (RA): “How much was the Sahaba’s love for the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam)”

He replied: “By Allah! To us The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) was dearer to us than our riches our children and our mothers, and was more cherishable than a drink of water at the time of severest thirst.”

SubhaanAllah… what perfect imaan they had… May Allah enable us to practise..💕

#RevivetheSunnahofbeingGrateful

#RevivetheSunnahofQur’aanTilaawat

#ReviveSunnahofDuaa

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

The Battle Within

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 52
Hamzah

The buzzing of my iPhone in the early parts of the morning had already awoken me in a cold sweat, as my breathing quickened.

And there I lay, so far from that nightmarish reality I had just witnessed, in the stillness of the night, I could still feel the wetness of my t-shirt clinging to my back. I turned slightly, feeling the slight weight of my wife’s slender fingers on my shoulder, sliding them away as gently as I could, and shifting toward the edge.

I was almost holding my breath as I shifted toward the edge, with one eye open. I had already glimpsed the caller ID and my heart immediately sank, even lower than I had thought possible at that moment.

Hashim (3)

Layyanah’s brother, the new bane to my life, was at it again, and this time, I could see his relentless pursuit of Zaid’s credentials and custody preferences.

The message came a few seconds later.

Call me back or ul be sorry

Why he couldn’t and wouldn’t let this go, was still beyond me.

It was late. Too late for the crap. Almost 2AM, and I rubbed my eyes, closing them momentarily as I pictured it again the scene that played before me. This time, it was a little earlier than my habitual waking, that I had been doing consistenly since Ramadhaan. The last third of the night. The Barakah of praying then had always brought so much more to my day.  Coming back from Al-Aqsa that Ramadhaan had stemmed a whole lot of vigour in me, but  the haunting dream I had just endured was also due to it.

Spitting on my left side, I tried to desperately suppress the emotions, as raw as the first time I had seen the little girl in them, her blue-grey eyes large and almost translucent, brimming with tears flowing continuously…

“Please don’t shoot,” she was crying, speaking in Arabic, and I had gazed her in the dream, not even understanding how a tiny and pristine creature like that could be abandoned, with not a single soul one to even account for her.

Soldiers had been streaming into the scene at that point, an open road all around Al-Aqsa, running to her, as if she was an enemy out to get them. I was helpless, unarmed and wondering how I could ever assist… 

I had only been able to shake my head, trying to decipher how anyone could ever even think of hurting such an angelic and defenseless child.

“Baba, where are you?!” She cried, searching around her, her eyes filled with terror, sobbing then, as she calls out for her mother.
And as the dream goes on, I attempt to find who she is looking for, but as I turned to look around, I glimpse the blotches of blood splattered on the floor, and without even processing what I was seeing… I already knew that there was no one left… her family’s gone… only a brother, whose barely 5 years in age, lingers around.

And as she wanders, through to the street, I wondered how anyone could be so heartless to hate a child so innocent. I wondered how a child so small, could ever deserve this? How could pointing a gun at a baby, who screams, “please, don’t shoot”, ever be justified?

And as I follow her, thinking how absolutely afraid, yet self-sufficient she looked, she turned to look up at me, her eyes conveying a message of deep determination that I can’t even begin to understand…  just before the muzzle of the gun is felt in my neck as fear shoots through me, and then everything just went black.

It was something close to terrifying, that last part, but it had been a while since the dream had played out again… almost 10 days since the last, but it felt more real than ever this time. I couldn’t understand why it haunted me, but my subconscious was obviously a lot stronger than I knew.

And I knew I shouldn’t have been as terrified because for a believer, martyrdom was the purpose. Not the wealth or booty of this world, we had become so obsessed with, but the feeling of victory that came with the name of Islam flying high once again, was absolutely untouchable.

And of course, I could only have a glimpse of how much they had to endure, from my 10 day experience there. The persistence of the Palestinians, even in the face of death was something that made me fully comprehend the strength and vehemence of even the littlest of children. Their fervor. Their courage. Their utmost perseverance and Tawakkul, even in the face of imminent danger, was unbelievable. And the thought of what they are subjected to made me shiver with terror, I couldn’t seem to stop try mind from replaying the scene over and over again.

I opened my eyes again now, staring into the darkness as my eyes adjusted to the room light. It was the first time since my Nikah that I had had the dream, and I was aware that the events of yesterday that were still fresh in my mind had probably brought it on. I recalled the accident scene we had witnessed on the way back from the doctors room… the raw emotions that came with it and everything that had been gained and lost through it all.

There was a mixture of aching relief that came with the realization. I was one of the lucky ones. The ones who lived in peace, with no fear of war in my midst. The ones who were still alive, despite everything that had transpired. I was the guy who had seen so much, yet couldn’t make it to even voice my inner most thoughts.

I sighed, as my gaze fell on the two people who I now cared about more than I could describe. The reason for my resistance. The point of my patience. The motivation for the heartfelt emotions that were travelling through my veins. The battle within me was one that I didn’t realise yet that I was fighting.

I turned my head back again, with the light peeping through the gap in the curtain, to reassure myself that I wasn’t imagining the blessing I had been endowed with.

I couldn’t quite believe that here I was, next to my wife as Zaid slept soundly on her chest, just a week after my Nikah. And that when I got it… what Liyaket meant when I had watched him all those months back, and I didn’t even know how it had happened.

Somewhere, in between the sins and the thoughts that haunted my mind, in between winging parenting and tip-toeing around each other’s feelings, we had reached this comfortable place. A place where things were good. Hopeful. A place where I felt like I could finally breathe and fill my lungs with a good dose of gratitude  and awe at the great favour of Allah on me.

Unconditional love.

There was a reason that I once told Liyaket that I would be happy alone. It was somewhere in between my breaking things off with Mohsina and his passing and finding Allah had just been the most satiating thing for me.
Also, having felt the way I had felt before, I knew that falling apart over a girl once again, was something like having a huge hole that needs to be endlessly filled. I had battled with every urge, every temptation and every prospective vice before I made it through. It wasn’t that I really thought I’d be happy alone forever. What I was scared of was, was feeling broken to the point of never finding Allah again.

What if I found that I needed the love of someone and then depended on it? What if I actually ended up with the feeling, and actually liked it?

But there I was. I know life can be pretty messy, And as I sat, my heart somewhere precariously close to being on my sleeve, I felt alive in a way that I had never quite felt before.

So let me be honest and just say that I wasn’t ever completely convinced that this was the right thing. That coming back to this place with Mohsina would be the best idea.

But circumstances had happened and we had been somewhat forced to cross paths again. Seeing her, having to interact with her… well, it was different from the image I had conjured up in my mind. The pieces weren’t quite fitting together. Instead of being the money-obsessed Instagram girl, I had seen a new person.

But this was the thing with Duaas, and I remembered Liyakets one with absolute clarity, as I tried to avoid every technique he was using to get me settled.

I never quite knew the meaning of love, of what Liyaket had always wanted for me, until I met Zaid.

And although I had, on many occasions, joked and mocked him about it, when I first held him in my arms as he looked at me like I was the only hero that he would ever know, I couldn’t hold my heart back.

”So this is what you talk about,” I said to him, still looking down at the little human he called his son, not entirely sure if I believed that this child actually belonged to him. “Unconditional love.”

”You got it, bro,” he said, his smile all sentimental and cynical at the same time. “Doesn’t it make you want this too?”

I looked at him and narrowed my eyes, lying through my teeth.

“You think I’m crazy?” I asked, fighting the feeling, as I handed him back over a little sooner than I wanted to. “My life is way too easy without worrying about women and poo nappies.”

He grinned, his dark eyes twinkling with laughter.

”One day,” he said, putting Zaid over his shoulder and smirking. “Someone’s going to make you change your mind and you will eat your words. And that’s going to be my Duaa.”

“No man,” I squealed, still not believing his audacity. “You’re supposed to be my best friend.”

”Exactly,” he said knowingly, a glint in his eye. “And I know what’s best for you, but Allah knows better. I just have a feeling that it’s going to happen in a way you least expect.”

And he was right. Maybe not the way he expected either, but a Du’aa was a Du’aa.

And I knew things weren’t perfect. It had taken a week to get to this point, anyway. The point where all barriers had been crossed, and something very close to love had completely taken over. The point of no return, well, at least for me.

And it had been brought on by a number of things… after the scene of the accident we saw on the way from the doctor had evoked all kinds of emotions. The crumpled mess on the side of the road had made it seem like we were reliving Liyaket and Layyanahs death all over again. We had entered the silent house, walking up to our room, placing Zaid down in the cot I had brought for him from Liyaket’s place, still reeling from the shock of what we had just witnessed.

For once, I wished for noise of a busy household. For people around, to tune out the turbulence in my mind. The house seemed almost lonely without Rabia, who had made a trip to our cousin ten minutes away, on account of us coming home so late.

And of course,I could not stop thinking about what we had seen. For a while, I wished that I did look. At least then, I would have known what had really happened, instead of tormenting myself and thinking of the worst possible scenario.

I had no jokes, pranks or witty remarks to even soften the blow for Mohsina, as she hung up her Abaya and avoided eye contact at all costs.

”You okay?” I had asked, my voice sounding coarse and even peculiar to myself, as I looked at her, full of emotions.

It had been a helluva lot for one day. The advices from the doctor. The fact that Zaid may have an immune deficiency that needed to be confirmed with bloods. She was so strong, for taking this all on… for wanting to go ahead with feeding him, and as I watched her,  her hair tied back in a ponytail, I couldn’t help at look at her in admiration, because it just struck me right then how amazing she was and had been all this time.

And yes… I knew that a lot of this was about Zaid and even though she was still silent, I yearned for something… anything… to prove to me that she wasn’t in this just for him.

And as she approached me, and her arms enveloped me one of the most fiercest of hugs, all we did, for a few minutes, was stand there, in silence, knowing exactly how the other felt, seeking some kind of comfort, fully comprehending how painful the entire experience had been.

It felt like just yesterday, when that sting of loss had sunk us to the depths of grief.

It felt like hours ago when I had first gotten the messages, confirming for me that my lifelong friend had lost his life, much earlier than I would have ever imagined. All I needed right then, for the first time ever, was to let myself sink into the consolation that this degree of closeness had brought, and draw every bit of solace that I could.

“Liyaket was part of my life for almost two decades,” I whispered, and I could feel her breathing quicken as I spoke. “I feel like I’ve lost a major part of me, a portion of my heart and my sight. I can’t erase those chunks of my life, and go on like it never happened.”

She nodded, pausing before she spoke.

“I know,” she said softly. “Two decades… Why would you want to erase it?”

I shrugged.

Because it hurt too much to remember.

Two whole decades of the best friend someone could ever have, guiding and advising me, loving me explicitly, always having the most diplomatic and amazing way to look at things. I loved the guy with a helluva part of my heart. I felt incredibly lost without Liyaket.

”I feel like we are losing more and more of them, every day,” I said softly, breathing in her familiar scent. “I want to hold on…”

“I feel like we’re trying to take over their roles,” she said, so softly that I barely heard her.

I nodded, feeling the same way. Were we unintentionally trying to fill their shoes?

“What if we hadn’t lost them?” she asked softly, and I could hear something that I never heard from Mohsina before, in her voice. It was almost like fear… like an uneasiness that had consumed her, as she said it.

“It was Allah’s will,” I murmured into her hair, knowing that was my only consolation… thinking that’s what she wanted to hear, my voice finally steady. “You can’t question-“

”It’s not that,” she said firmly, pulling back and looking up at at me, her eyebrows slightly furrowed and her brown eyes glistening with tears. “All these questions are going through my mind and I can’t help but wonder. Where would I have been then? Where would you have been? If all this hadn’t happened, would I have changed? Would you have even come back…?”

I knew all these questions. I had asked myself the same ones over and over. I had so many more too. What if things didn’t work out? What if she changed her mind? What if she woke up one day and decided that even though I loved Zaid with everything I had, I wasn’t the right guy for her?

But I knew the answers already. For me, things were either black or white.  I had decided one thing, before I decided to marry her, and that was what I had to stick to. I had never asked her, but from the day I had seen her in Bossman’s car, I figured that he had some sinister intention and though she denied it at the time… I assumed something had happened between them. And though it had plagued me… Right then, though… well, right then, he was the last person I wanted to talk about.

“It doesn’t matter,” I said, shaking my head, my eyes holding her gaze. “What I thought or what I wanted… What happened or who featured… Can we just stop thinking?”

And it was true.

Because she had apologized. I had apologized.

And at times it happens that we apologize, but the trust is still shattered. You forgive them but to look at them the same way, is something that you are tested with every day.

And I had felt that. I felt that deeper than I ever thought I would feel anything, but thats where Maulana Umar got me, when he explained it to me.  Allah Azza Wa Jal, in His infinite mercy, not only forgives, but even wipes away the sin completely, as if it never happens. Allah Azza wa Jal, in his astounding love, even commands the writing angels to erase those sins, as if they never happened.

Ar-Rahman forgives those who ask forgiveness with repentance. In the noble Qur’an Allah Almighty says:
“. . . and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”

Forgiveness. Only Allah knew how much it had taken out of me… how much it hurt me not to ask… but it was that verse that pushed me to overlook. I had made that promise to myself, because of what Maulana Umar had told me.

She had changed. Whatever had happened, we had to both let go.
And it was no coincidence. This is not something that happens by chance. This was not something that you decide to do on a whim. A desire to turn towards Allah… towards Deen, towards goodness, is only from Him. Only a favour that those who are blessed and truly loved can ever be privileged enough to encompass.

It was nothing short of Taqdeer, and destiny had a funny way of making everything fall into place.

It all seemed surreal for a while, coming home with so much of devastation and loss… as we grew together, as a family, but what I didn’t anticipate was feeling the way I did. It had been the most emotionally taxing day, but somehow, as our hearts took over, I had silenced the concerns that had been in both our minds, broken down the barriers Mohsina had put up and found solace in the comfort that only a wife could offer. The love, that was slowly creeping over my heart and overtaking it… well, it took me by surprise.

And though our road had been rocky, the way it had panned out, it felt almost as if Allah had made it happen in such a way, that the entire journey I had been through was leading up to what was playing out in front of me.

From Yemen ; back home, and then to Palestine, and then coming home again, with the intention of such great responsibility, I thought that through everything I had been through and seen, I was ready to go all into this.

A new era was approaching, and my resolution was to put everything else behind me, and head in, with a clear motive.

Like at the time of Hijrat, when the Lion of Allah, Hadhrat Hamzah (RadiAllahu Anho) entered the borders of Madinah, he knew that there was much opportunity for the Muslims. Within his breast was Imaan so strong and steady, that the first flag in Islam was handed to him. Within them all, was forgiveness, and hope, and a hope for a new tomorrow.

It was just that, as I walked out the room with my phone in hand, in the early hours of the morning, I now felt more on edge than ever.
Within me, I was fighting a bigger battle. I felt on edge. Threatened, and unwavering. My resolve to protect Zaid from Hashim was even stronger now, than ever. That lion within me… the one that sometimes made its way to forefront in the most trying situations… was bearing its teeth again.

I wasn’t one to back down. I picked up my phone, wondering if I should call him back right then. Let him know that I won’t stand for anything. Be the man I felt myself become, over these past few months.

But as much as I wanted to, something within me held me back, and I stopped myself. Maybe it was Imraan’s words, that had told me not to ask for trouble with him. Maybe it was the thought of starting something that I didn’t yet have the power to finish. All I knew was this Jihaad was something I would fight with my heart and soul.

And for me… as I kept this in mind… I knew that if I had to challenge Hashim from that point on, life would never be the same again. Putting up a fight could harm more people than I wanted. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t help but stop myself, because I knew that nothing good could come out of it.

I knew people like Hashim and I knew how they worked.

But now, as I looked at the caller ID glaring at me again, a wave of ferocity washed over me as I renewed my intent. No matter what. No matter how. I knew that I would stand by my word.

No matter what happened or who came in the way, I was going to protect them from every bit of it, with every ounce of me, but I was also fully aware that I couldn’t ever let Mohsina get an inkling of this.

And in doing that, as I fought my inner battles, what I didn’t know was that I was risking losing everything else in the process…


Authors note: I was aiming for a bit of a change up with perspective. Will try and post sooner this week InshaAllah … x


Abu Qatada reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: A good vision is from Allah and a bad dream (hulm) is from the satan; so if one of you sees anything (in a dream which he dislikes, he should spit on his left side thrice and seek refuge with Allah from its evil, and then it will never harm him.

Sunnah of Forgiveness:

With the New Islamic Year already here, and these auspicious days, one of the lessons gfrom the Seearh is how Nabi (SAW) forgave his oppressors, and let go of old whims.

A sublime quality that Nabi (SAW) inculcated into his life on various occasions, and especially on the occasion of Hijrah.

May Allah Almighty give us all the ability to forgive others for the wrong they do to us and make us more productive Muslims through this and may Allah forgive us all for our sins, ameen.
O Allah, purify our hearts from grudges, envy, and cheating. O Allah, amend our relations with our relatives. O Allah, amend our relations with our loved ones. O Allah, make life an increase for us in every good and make death a relief for us from every evil with Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful.
Aaameen.

Someone asked Ali (RA): “How much was the Sahaba’s love for the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam)”

He replied: “By Allah! To us The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) was dearer to us than our riches our children and our mothers, and was more cherishable than a drink of water at the time of severest thirst.”

SubhaanAllah… what perfect imaan they had… May Allah enable us to practise..💕

#RevivetheSunnahofbeingGrateful

#RevivetheSunnahofQur’aanTilaawat

#ReviveSunnahofDuaa

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

When Hearts Open

Bismihi Ta’ala

Mohsina

Part 51

I remember once hearing a beautiful narration of the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) that went like this:

The heart is between two fingers of power of Rahman (All-Merciful), and He turns it as He wishes.” (Muslim, Qadar 3)

And for me, during that period of my life when I felt myself constantly grappling with the changes, it was only true that my heart itself, was undergoing a whole host of them, that at times it felt like it was bursting.

And along with everything else, as the feelings of ‘love’ entered the mix, I could only claim to be caught completely off guard because I now saw everything with a new eye.

See, the thing is, some people find spirituality without much effort, whilst others keep searching. And sometimes hearts remain sealed and unyielding, not even awakening at the most earth-shattering of jolts, not ever realising that one significant piece that’s missing from their world.

For me, I had been too consumed with the fear of being ‘holy’, to ever open my heart. But as I learnt to rid my heart of its rigidity, and to soften it, I realised that it is only that heart, which allows its Rabb to enter, that will truly ‘love’.

And not just any love, but a love that truly opens … a love that is a purist kind of love that brings about calm—not inner torment. Real love, as Allah intended it, is not a sickness or an addiction.

Real love, the true type… is affection and mercy. It is complete and unwanting. It is open and free.

And that’s where I had got it wrong in the past. With my past self, love had made me a slave to myself. To my own desires. That false love had unleashed my desires, blinded my heart and broke my faith. The love I knew, had taken me away from Allah.

But in this new love that I was learning about, as I struggled with my mushaf recitationsitting on the carpet in Hamzah’s bedroom in his parents house… I couldn’t help but process at how much closer to Allah this journey was taking me.

All I knew was that I wanted Allah to be happy with me, but somehow, from time to time it felt as if was this huge barrier that was with me as my Nafs, and I was trying so badly to conquer it…

”What’s wrong?”

And of course, he would ask, as he walked into the room from his slightly shortened day at the office, having taken early leave every day just for this week.

And there I was, sitting cross-legged, hands now tucked under my thighs because I couldn’t help but want to fiddle with anything in the vicinity if they weren’t, rocking furiously and looking as frustrated as hell. His room was cleaned spotless as a result of my restlessness, and his clothes were all neatly organized in his cupboard. I had been doing everything else, trying to find ways to escape idle mind that I could not seem to focus properly.

”I can’t do this,” I complained with utter desolation, as I gently closed it. “I feel like I’m failing. Just failing. I can’t even get this one thing right. I’m too old.”

Hamzah’s eyes immediately softened, as he watched me looking utterly distraught, and then glanced over at a stirring Zaid on the bed, before he came toward me, whilst he took off his shoes.

“You’re not too old,” he said softly with a slight smirk, lifting his kurta and sitting next to me, tucking his legs under him. “Unless you’ve forgotten who I am.”

The joke had lost its effect as I scowled at him.

”I feel like it up here,” I said, tapping on my head. Why didn’t I think of doing Hifdh earlier in my life?

“Listen,” he said comfortingly. “You’ve only just started. That’s how it is. Be patient. It takes some time.”

”Yes, but you know how I am,” I whined, getting annoyed even at my own voice. “Everything’s come easily to me in the past. If I can’t get this the first time then I’m just useless.”

“You’re not.”

“I am.”

“Open it. I’ll teach you.”

I looked at him, sceptically, raising my eyebrows.

“How will you do that?” I asked suspiciously, and watching as Zaid sucked his dummy a little more vigorously now, hoping he didn’t wake just yet. I still had a few lines left to achieve, and maybe Hamzah’s motivation was just what I needed.

“Can I show you?” he asked suddenly, not even waiting for my answer and already taking my hand with one of his hands, as he opened the Qurān with the other.

His sudden touch felt a little unnerving, but I loosened my hands as he grasped and guided my finger to the place where I had marked.
Top of the third page. It felt like I was doing that part forever.

“You have to point,” he murmured, eyes focused on the page, still talking quietly as he moved my finger along the top line. “Point, look, read aloud… and of course, listen. We used to say that doing that once is like reading it thrice otherwise. It’s one of the most effective Hifdh hacks, if you could even call it that.”

He concealed a smile as I glanced him from the side, also very aware of how his hand over mine was now making me feel strangely aware of his proximity, even though I knew that he wasn’t doing it to make me nervous. Or maybe he was.

Maybe he wanted me to take my work more seriously too.

He looked at the page briefly, watching me now as he pronounced the first ayah with perfect Tajweed and made me repeat after him.

Once, twice. A third time, then the next ayah.

I did it a few times, repeatedly, before I slid my hand out from under his, not sure if the whole lesson was just making me a bit nervous or if his whole husband slash teacher demeanor was a little more intimidating than he knew.

“I think we done for the day,” I said lightly, feeling my brain shutting down and closing the Qurān as he smiled at me. “I’ll go over it before I sleep. 10 times, nuh?”

He nodded and I grinned comically.

Why is it that I could sit for hours in front of a screen but a half hour of Quran made me tired?

Harami was not even the word for people like me.

”I think you need to help me,” I said, only realising now what a huge difference it made, having someone who loved Quran, to help you love it too. Someone who’s in it with you, guiding you along, helping you to be better.

It was like the ultimate kind of couple goals that I had always read about… the type that made you closer to Allah Ta’ala and lifted you to new levels of contentment, because it was only because of Him that you were aspiring so much for this kind of amazement.

“I just did,” he smirked, smiling briefly as i rolled my eyes at him.

He fixed his gaze on me for a minute silently, before talking again.

“You know… my Ustaadh once told me that  the amazing thing with the Qurān is that the more you do it… the more you read, learn and memorise… the more it opens up for you. Like a fragrant flower. Only more beautiful.”

I couldn’t help but marvel at it. The Qurān is an amazing miracle, that promises so much more than just peace and comfort in its words.

”I’m not sure if I can do it,” I said, feeling a little overwhelmed, looking at all the pages I had left: I was only on page 3 of hundreds. “It’s tough. You must have finished pretty young, right? And why did you never mention it before?”

He was looking at me, a tiny smile on his face as he fiddled with my sticky markers.

”I didn’t know that it would have impressed you,” he said, teasing me slightly as I felt myself blush a little. He didn’t know that it had been a game changer and had solely inspired my decision.  “If I knew, I would have pulled it out sooner. Anyway, I had been slacking on my dhor for some time in between. Went through a bad patch… generally. But now… it’s almost on track.”

A bad patch.

Gosh. I had continuous bad patches. More like a bad era. If only Hamzah knew half of the sketchy things I had done. I wanted to ask him more… even though he had told me once about how he didn’t take anything seriously, messed around and just didn’t care about breaking Allah’s laws.

Now may have been a good time to talk about those bad patches, that I’d been avoiding all along.

But no. Not now.

”That’s amazing,” was all I said, swallowing back my emotions and wondering if he was one of those genius people who could read from anywhere in the Qurān and know exactly where he was reading.

”You know what’s amazing?” He said, edging closer, and I looked at him questioningly.

“Me?!” I said hopefully, trying to not let my mind run away with me regarding bad patches. I had to just let it go.

“That too,” he grinned, touching my cheek lightly as he said it. His dimple faded as he continued, looking down and talking softly. “But also… I heard something amazing to the effect that went something like: There are people among you who have memorised the Quran and yet, are not of the people of Qurān.
And yet… there are people among us, who have not memorised, yet are regarded as the people of the Quran. All it is, is a matter of implementation. And the way I see it is, we need to make a choice which people we will be.

Right?”

That was seriously beautiful. And he had hit it right on the head. Even though I wasn’t a Hafidha, I was trying to be that kind of person who actually implemented but sometimes I fell so short of it that it scared me.

I looked at him, immensely impressed by his words, but also, well, quite impressed with him on the whole because he was just being kind of impressive these days and I could barely believe that this was the kind of man that he had been moulded into, after being through so much during these past months.

I was also just about to go against my own rules to let him know that exact fact, in reticent fashion, but just as I caught his intensely penetrating gaze, it was at that very moment that Zaid’s muffled murmur had just started from the bed and Rabia’s voice simultaneously sounded from outside the door, when all other idyllic thoughts were already slashed.

“Hamzah,” Rabia called loudly from the slightly ajar bedroom door. “Can I take Zaid?”

I widened my eyes, obviously not impressed any longer.

”Sorry,” Hamzah whispered, smiling sheepishly as he disengaged and shook his head.

I was wondering how long she was probably standing outside, or listening to our conversation or just snooping around.

“Where does she keep popping up from?” Hamzah muttered, and he took the words right out my mouth. Only, his version was a bit kinder, as he got up to take Zaid.

It seemed like at any given moment, Rabia was around and ready to kill a moment or get right in between us.

When I had asked Hamzah why she was here when we were supposed to have the house to ourselves for the week, he had just shrugged.

“Rabia’s had a bit of a tough time,” he said, biting his lip, looking like he didn’t want to get into it. “We don’t like to make her feel unwelcome. My parents don’t say anything much to her. She takes it a bit personally.”

Gosh, I wasn’t saying chase her out. I was just wondering why she couldn’t give us a few days alone before she decided to come here.

And I knew what it was, but trying to explain to Hamzah would be futile. Men were just daft like that. The classic old women rivalry thing was something they didn’t quite get, even when it stared them in the face. Rabia was competing for most people’s attention most of the time, and seeing me always capturing her brothers was a little more than she could bear.

And it annoyed me but I had just labelled her as the possessive type and made light of the situation. I definitely was not the type to fight for my husbands attention, even though she had tried every thing in her power to keep it from me since she arrived. With her just being in the house, Hamzah seemed to be more on edge than ever too. I supposed it was her remarks that she sometimes made and although I tried to ignore them, when she purposely asked questions about Hammonds or my Instagram profile in front of Hamzah, I couldn’t help but want to ring her neck.

The the thing was, after my marriage announcement, upon Hamzah’s request, I had made a resolution to be better. I had been trying very hard to keep myself out of peoples feeds and direct messages, and not worry about all the futile things they posted. It meant staying off social media and minding my own business, even when everyone else wanted the low-down on my entire life. Maybe Rabia was snooping for info about people, or trying to find faults, but I wasn’t going to give in, and neither was I going to back down and let her get her way at home either.

I mean, I didn’t understand what was her deal with Hamzah anyway. I was his wife. She was his twin sister. We both had our respective places in his life. The woman seemed a little crazy to me.

And now too, as she walked in the room with no invitation. I mean, what if I was completely indecent?

I breathed out heftily, not exactly concealing my annoyance. My patience, at that point, was almost non-existent.

“Okay, but wait a minute,” Hamzah called to her, making her backtrack as he gave her a look that said that she was crossing boundaries by not even knocking.

He had just got up to fetch Zaid from the bed and plant a kiss on his head, when she then knocked on the door.

”Can I come in?” Rabia asked sweetly, and though I rolled my eyes, I made sure that Hamzah didn’t notice it.

I took him easily from Hamzah, nodding briefly at her as she plopped herself on the single couch, grabbing a spare nappy and his half full bottle that lay next to the bed.

Hamzah didn’t do the nappy thing. He did most other things, but nappies was something that he usually steered clear off. And though it annoyed me sometimes, after all Nani’s and my mothers lectures about husbands and wives knowing their role in the house, I kind of gave him a break.

I was almost an expert at changing anyway and he sat quietly for once as I undid his nappy, watching as Hamzah leant over him to distract him, as Zaid looked unhappily back at him, moaning slightly, on the verge of tears. And I should have noticed straight away.

And it was unusual for him not to jump for Hamzah, because he was his ultimate favourite, but it was only as I opened his nappy and felt his body temperature against my fingertips that I realised that something was very wrong.

He was burning hot. All over. The child definitely had a fever and I was so stupid to not realise that the heat I had felt earlier wasn’t just induced from his 45 minute nap.

”Hamzah,” I said, looking at my husband as he sprawled on the bed now with his phone, me picking Zaid up immediately, panicking slightly. “Feel him. He’s got a fever. Right?”

Hamzah had already hopped over and was already touching him on his forehead, and Rabia, who had been sitting and waiting on the couch had already kneeled over to investigate as Zaid suddenly seemed like he couldn’t bear to keep it in any longer, and just let out a full on howl.

Hamzah’s concerned expression already got me worried, and I wanted to cry as I tried to unsuccessfully pacify him too.

Poor Zaidoo was now suddenly sobbing uncontrollably, and my own heart just felt like it was caving in as I watched him.

Oh my word, I was starting to tear too. How do mothers even deal when their kids are in pain? 

“You want to give him something?” Hamzah asked, looking at me worriedly, a lump forming on my throat. “I think there’s Panado in the bag. And I remember Liyaket once saying something about suppositions or whatever.”

Suppositories. They were for fever. Layyanah also told me about them once.

We were first time parents with a first time sick baby. He never had fever before, and the thought of anything happening to him was scaring us both. They way he was bawling made me feel utterly helpless too.

“Let’s take him to a doctor,” I said decidedly, googling on my phone, trying to stay calm. “His paed is not far from here. “

“Maybe we can give him some medication in the interim,” Hamzah suggested, pulling the nappy bag towards us. “And then see what the doctor says.”

“Good idea,” Rabia said, also looking a looking extremely worried as he opened the bag and dug inside.

Layyanah had always kept everything packed carefully and organised, and I tried to keep it that way. Although I had restocked and bought a few new things, her maternal touch was still very present. Sometimes I felt slightly grieved, when I thought of a day when Zaid may not be able to have any evidence of his mother. It was fading so fast.

I was beyond myself at that moment, holding him closer to me as Rabia offered to take him. I didn’t want to let him go but knowing I had to get ready, I handed him over and speedily pulled on an Abaya. Rabia herself looked helpless, even as she held Zaid and we hastily popped some Panado syrup down his throat with the syringe, expecting a small fuss and a host of erratic tears that seemed to evidently be stemmed by some sort of pain.

All I knew was that I was glad to have an extra hand while Hamzah fetched his keys, and it was a whirlwind of craziness as we drove, hoping to make it before the doctor left his rooms, worried, like parents should be, and extremely anxious about what could be wrong with him.

I had dozens of possibilities, of course. My mind was working in overdrive as I wondered if he had maybe gotten a bad virus or infection wondering if maybe it was something a little more serious.

As the tears ceased and he quitened down in the car, Zaids little body was limp and exhausted, as I held him to me, willing myself not to cry due to his very obvious discomfort.

And it took a good 20 minutes or so, but finally, the fever seemed to be subsiding and I could see him looking a little more at peace.

We were glad that because it was toward the end of the day, the doctors room was a little emptier than it usually was. There were two other mothers with their kids there and they smiled at me as we arrived, probably noticing my anxiety, and as the one was called in, I could see Hamzah too, visibly relaxing. He was the more relaxed one of the two of us, and as I held a sleeping Zaid, he quickly took the forms that secretary handed us to update.

The thing was, besides not being prepared for all of this parenting stuff, we weren’t quite prepared for the emotions either. It was obvious that Hamzah was a little jolted as he stared at the forms, Liyaket’s handwriting still on them, and because we had worked together, I too, recognised it immediately.

It was something like a knife being pulled out slowly, the pain gradual yet still present, and my eyes immediately moved to his face as I watched him study it for a few seconds, and then looked up at me, his expression riddled with emotion; still contemplating whether he could actually strike it all off. It just seemed so wrong. Once upon a time, Liyaket had probably filled in those forms, with so much of paternal hope. It felt like we were erasing them from Zaid’s life, bit by bit.

I held back tears and looked away, not able to imagine what he was feeling at that point. All I knew was that here we were, still figuring this whole thing out, and I still wasn’t sure if I was even doing anything right.

And as we pulled ourselves together, we had asked for a new form and filled in new details, placing it on top of Liyaket’s one, just before getting called in. Yes, we had shoved emotion away but I couldn’t help but feel the heaviness that this whole situation had brought.

We hadn’t even been back to their place to sort out their stuff. I had gone briefly with Jameela and Liyaket’s mother to get some clothes and essentials for Zaid, but I had gone straight into Zaid’s room and out again. It felt almost intrusive, to hover around and dissect Layyanah’s things.
I knew that I had to, at some point it would happen… sooner or later… being faced with tangible evidence of Liyaket and Layyanah but being there, right then, just felt like the weight of the world was coming down on us.

For the first time since this happened, the gravity of the situation was almost unbearable. As much as we both loved Zaid, we could not even dream of ever not letting him know how amazing his parents once were, and it was at that moment that I realised that we had really huge shoes to fill and I was barely able to comprehend the thought.

Right then, I just felt responsible and completely consumed by worry about Zaid. My heart had been filled to the brim with this little guy, and I could not bear to see him in pain.

Getting into the doctors room though, minutes later, was a huge relief. It brought a little bit of lightness to the gloomy atmosphere.

The paediatrician was a tall man, with an easy smile. His forehead was edged with salt and pepper hair and his glasses sat at the bridge of his nose. We knew he was probably going to bring Layyanah and Liyaket up. It took him a minute, as he went over the file, flipped through and then fixed his gaze on us, and I immediately recognised that look in his eyes which portrayed that he had just realised who Zaid was.

“Zaid Khan,” he said, his gaze faltering slightly as he looked at Zaid who was now subdued and almost asleep due to the medication we had dosed him with. “I tried to get hold of his guardians, but no information was available. No next of kin either. Both parents passed away in an accident about two months ago.“

It wasn’t a question, of course. Hamzah just nodded and swallowed, before he spoke. I could sense how heartbreaking this was for him.

“The adoption is being finalised,” Hamzah said briefly, concealing his feelings expertly, and the doctor nodded sympathetically.

“How is the little guy?” He asked, a little more sympathetically, glancing at Zaid and getting up, while he signaled for me to bring him to the bed. “And I’m assuming you guys are his relatives?”

“Good friends of his parents,” I said briefly, not really wanting to go into details right then. “He had a fever. He was crying so much…”

I trailed off before I started tearing again, whilst the doctor nodded and first checked his eyes and mouth and ears, and then opened him up briefly, preparing myself for the drama that would ensue when Zaid awoke. He was already stirring as the doctor checked and prodded him, and once he was done almost in record time, looked up at me and said.

“Looks like it’s just an ear infection for now,” he said almost to himself, writing something in his file as he walked back to his desk. His laptop was next to him, and I could see him frowning slightly as he looked from the file to the laptop, and then looked up at us both.

”I know this may sound a bit awkward to you both,” he said, his steely eyes looking at us over his spectacles as he sat down and wrote out the script, and then looked directly at me. “But are you open to attempting breastfeeding?”

I widened my eyes at him momentarily, not actually aware of the shock on my face, until his mouth lifted slightly at the corners.

I mean, I know he was a doctor. A proper paediatrician too. They spoke openly about things like this and how good it was for babies and of course, I knew that breastfeeding was important but I mean, how did he even expect me to think of that?

“Just a suggestion,” he said apologetically, glancing at Hamzah whose head was down and arms were over the chair back as he stared at a spot on the carpet for the last minute or so, looking very uncomfortable indeed. “You guys can discuss it, of course.”

Of course, I wanted to laugh but I knew it would just make me look immature so I stifled a smile and said, a little stiffly:

“I didn’t know that was possible. We actually haven’t even thought about it.”

Which was true, because we hadn’t. There was just so much that was going on that we didn’t even give it a single thought. Come to think of it, the endless formula battles might have been over if I had. How clueless was I about babies?!

”Well then, I think it may be time that you do,” he said, looking at me. “Of course, there are pills or injections you will have to take, some side effects, it may take about two months or even less to get a supply… but I always tell the mums, it’s the sacrifice you make for your child… but also, the best gift you can ever give them.”

Besides the immense benefits of breastfeeding, I didn’t even think that this was the one step that would transform him into the closest thing to my real son. I was still standing, with Zaid in my arms, as I digested this.

If you had asked me this a year or 6 months ago, I would have never agreed to this. I supposed when the hearts open, even the most impossible things can seem entirely likely.

I nodded, the idea growing on me, wanting to ask more questions. My heart was now even more inclined to it, as I realised how much it could benefit him.

What kind of pills? And how do I start? The whole thing was still kind of freaking me out -maybe just as much as it was Hamzah- but as my mind opened to the idea, the doctor wasn’t yet done with what he was saying.

“Also, I just recalled the reason why I was looking for his guardians,” the doctor said, shaking his head, looking at Hamzah now again, almost as if he couldn’t believe he hadn’t followed up the process. “The infection isn’t bad, thankfully. But before we get into that, I need you both to take a seat. There’s something about Zaid you need to know.”


Dearest Readers,

Hope everyone enjoyed the extra long post. ❤️

Quick one: any thoughts or experiences with regard to breastfeeding with adoption… I’ve heard of some siblings even feeding each other’s kids, so their kids are mahrams for each other… good to hear personal experiences 💕

Always appreciate the feedback

Much Love

A xx


Mission Sunnah Revival

Concealing the faults of others:

Whoever conceals [the faults of] a Muslim, Allah will conceal [his faults] in this life and the Hereafter.”

The matter of concealing the faults of others is mentioned in numerous hadith of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. In particular, we find the following:

Someone asked Ali (RA): 

“How much was the Sahaba’s love for the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam)”

He replied: “By Allah! To us The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) was dearer to us than our riches our children and our mothers, and was more cherishable than a drink of water at the time of severest thirst.”

SubhaanAllah… what perfect imaan they had… May Allah enable us to practise..💕

#RevivetheSunnahofbeingGrateful

#RevivetheSunnahofQur’aanTilaawat

#ReviveSunnahofDuaa

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

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