When Something Changes

Bismihi Ta’ala

Hamzah

Although the whiff of country air had sent my spirits soaring, the nagging sensation that had haunted me the entire week was still occupying my subconscious. I simply could not just ignore it.

”Liy, just tell me one more time,” I said, glancing at Liyaket, knowing that he was probably going to be high-five my face real soon. I mean, I had only asked him the very same question about seven times in the last hour.

But I just had to. Just one more time. I had to know if he was ready for this change.

“Are you absolutely sure that you are ready for this?”

He glanced at me for a minute, and then looked away. I was almost certain that I had seen a flicker of hesitancy in his eye but when I looked again, it was gone and Liyaket appeared once again as the awesome and confident guy that I had known since grade three.

“Only regret the chances you didn’t take, right?”

Each time was a different response, and I had to admire Liyaket’s charisma. I looked at him warily, unsure if he was serious or just spinning a line.

The changes were obvious. His face was now sporting a small but significant beard and his eyes were literally twinkling with optimism. That was Liyaket. Always looking at the brighter side of things. The complete opposite of me, but I supposed that’s why we were friends, right?

And it was precisely this that made me realize the truth of our earthly existence. Sometimes, in the midst of our lives, we do things that cause us to run away from Allah, and but through our repentance, we run in circles, finding ourselves right back at His doorstep once again. No matter how many times we break that connection, one hundred times over, we strive to rebuild it.

And some people have many turning points. Many moments of definition. Multiple points in their life where they will reach an amazing and significant change, and find themselves pacing back and forth, in the same directions. And then some people just had one amazing awakening, and they are absolutely and irrevocably altered.

And right then, well, right then… was a that irreversible  point for Liyaket. I didn’t realize it then, but in retrospect, the signs were as clear as day.

And it wasn’t only about the one event that entailed the Nikah. It wasn’t only about the marriage. It was so much deeper than that. It was a series of events that had led to this point, and that had reinforced for me that this was no coincidence and that a lot more was changing than just Liyakets relationship status.

Marriage, huh. It’s one of those turning points that I couldn’t quite figure out how you get to.

Like, at what point do you realize that you’re ready to spend forever (like really?) with one person and that’s that?

There was plenty of opportunity, so much to still discover. Well, that was what was screaming at us… calling for us… being drilled into us every day… at every avenue we take… whether it was the adverts we see, the crap we watch, or modernist articles we read.

We are constantly being taught that life is not just for the boring stuff. Why settle for what’s just normal?

And even when I found myself indulging a little more than I knew was okay, I knew that there was much that I was going to regret, but I just couldn’t seem to snap myself out of it. Sin is something like quick sand. Once you get stuck in it, it’s kind of hard to pull out. It’s sucks you in.. consuming you, holding onto you, almost like a parasite does to its host.

The thing was, around the time of Liyakets marriage, I wasn’t exactly the most amazing person. And who would have known it more than my best bud. Liyaket was eyeing my doubtful face as I sat next to him in my G-Star jeans and t-shirt in the passenger seat, before finally starting the car again.

We had made a quick stop at the service station and while Liyaket filled up, I restocked my cigarette stash. Since we were heading back to my home town, in the depths of Kwa-Zulu Natal, one of the greenest places I’ve ever been, I knew that the stall there didn’t stock the menthol brand I was after and I was going to have to do without them if I didn’t have enough.

“Bro, I think it’s time for me to give you some advice.”

I raised my eyebrows at Liyaket, taking the cigarette out from in between my lips and looked at him.

”I’m not sure if you qualify for that position as yet,” I replied with raised eyebrows, feeling around for my lighter in my pockets. I could never seem to hold on to one. I pulled the car lighter from Liyakets Yaris socket, lit it up silently as I pulled in deeply and exhaled, purposely leaving the window closed, just to annoy my best friend.

He shook his head at me.

“What’s that, number seventy -two?” He said, raising his eyebrows. “You want to kill yourself, don’t you?”

I shrugged.

I didn’t count. I’ve had way too much stress lately and he was the last one to judge. In fact, in all fairness, Liyaket was to blame for my undesirable state of mind. He should have been the last one to talk.

“Just keep your eyes on the damn road,” I muttered, suddenly annoyed at him as he chuckled at me.

I was just grateful that the suspension worked out for the best and lots of good had come out of it.

Liyaket had managed to secure an even better position at a better company and if that didn’t work out, Imraan was even prepared to take him on. How a plan was unfolding for him was simply amazing.

The corporate world was seeming less and less appealing to me as the truth of it was revealed to me that past week and the best part was that finally, Liyaket and Layyanah were tying the knot. The Nikah was one hour away and for someone who was getting married shortly, Liyaket was amazingly calm.

Hell, I wished that I could be as cool as him in my normal state.

I was enjoying the peace but I knew the silence wouldn’t last.

“So who was that chic?” Liyaket asked and I knew that he was talking about the girl I had seen at the shop. I could see him watching me through the glass windows.

The thing was, that girl wasn’t my type, but Liyaket wouldn’t believe me. He wouldn’t believe it if I told him that all I was doing was standing innocently in the line while someone was talking about the best flavour of Doritos to buy for Nachos, and next thing I heard was:

”So, you may know me,” a voice said, and I turned to look at a shortish and semi-pretty girl who was talking behind me. “In case you wondering how I know about all this stuff, I’m Foodie Fantasy.”

At first, I couldn’t figure out whether she was talking to me or not. The girl who was behind us nodded, and then I realised that it was my turn to acknowledge her.

Foodie fantasy? Why did it sound dodge? I looked around the place, but I was still confused.

Obviously, seeing the bewildered look on my face, she felt the need to elaborate.

“My handle,” she said, looking directly at me now, and I frowned. “Underscore and double E. I have like, 35k followers, and I’ve travelled to 18 different countries to review their cuisines. You must have heard of me.”

Ah. Lightbulb. Instagram. @foodie_fantasee. Right?

I nodded, not trusting myself to say anymore. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to know this stuff. Was I living in an age where insta-likes meant more than actual people liking you?

Is life nowadays only based only on virtual reality?

The other girl tried to look interested but I could see that she was just as confused as me. She probably hadn’t heard of her either. Do people who have big followings think they’re celebrities?

And then all I could think was; Hell. Life will never be the same again.

Every decade that passed was like I was entering a new world. The fact that someone felt it was okay to introduce themselves by their Instagram name, well, I was absolutely floored. It was a first but I knew it wasn’t going to be a last. Now that, my friends, is why I feel like I should not have been born in this crazy era.

I didn’t tell Liyaket yet. I knew I would save this tale for later when all the excitement was over. It would be a good one to tell, with extra expression. Also, it was all his fault because my cigarette consumption wouldn’t have been at this point if the guy hadn’t put me through so much of stress lately with regard to his alleged romancing.

”Just FYI,” I said casually. “I’m a friendly guy, but I know where to draw the line. Unlike some people in this car who get lovestruck and starry-eyed at first sight.”

Liyaket snorted with laughter, as if it was the funniest thing he heard the entire day.

“So you trying to tell me that I’m backward because I want to settle down now?”

“With the first girl that you gave time of daylight to,”I retorted, shaking my head. “Like, couldn’t you at least find done that was less maintenance? All this admin is killing me.”

It was true. Liyaket was a good guy. Too good. Hard worker. Five times a day at the mosque. Good to everyone he met. And then bam. This pretty but baggage-ridden girl comes along, out of the blue, and then there’s trouble.

And I knew I wanted him to make Nikah but Liyaket had a knack of making me eat my words.

Running away. Hiding out. It wasn’t exactly an ideal situation. This kind of Nikah was super stressful.

“When you know, you know,” was all he said, and it was his turn to look straight ahead now as he drove, and I knew it was time for me to stop talking.

Liyaket would never say anything to rattle me, but I couldn’t help but wonder: Had I possibly crossed the line by saying Layyanah was high maintenance?

I knew he was a CA but things don’t happen over night. He still had to establish himself, make a name, gain his experience.

To tell the truth, maybe I had said too much but the day had been stressful.

It was an hour left and I was so glad that this day was going to be  over soon.

We were just two minutes away from the entrance of our old holding. We would be passing it to get to the mosque down the road.

I had opened my window and the intense scent of damp moss and grassy plains was almost intoxicating. It took a moment before I realised that I had missed this immensely. Maybe even more than I thought.

It was here where Imraan was moving back to, and there was a stab of jealousy as I imagined him setting up office in this place. It was a home away from home that we all knew and missed, especially when we came back to taste it’s sweetness.

It was for this reason that we decided that this was the best solution to the problem that Liyaket was facing. He needed somewhere quiet and peaceful and away from home to have a Nikah and this was the perfect getaway. It was low profile and as far as possible from  Jo’burg.

Listen,” he said as we slowed down, taking it all in for now. I looked at him, seeing the seriousness that he was conveying as he spoke.

“I know maybe it’s not the right time,” he continued. “But you my best guy, and I know that at some stage, you gonna get tired of running after the world. Think of the possibilities. There’s so much more out there then pointless pursuing and chasing the world. At some point, the new gets old. The novelty gets boring. Even work and those girls who make the place so exciting… well, they’ll move on and find other conquests and if you don’t wake up soon, you’ll be stuck on a broken train.”

I frowned slightly, not liking how he was pointing out my flaws all at once.

“Im just saying bro,” he said softly, showing that he had my best interests at heart. “When you wake up and decide to get serious, let me tell Layyanah to find you a nice girl. And I promise you- I’ll make sure she’s not high maintenance.”

He gave a wry smile and I cringed inwardly. So, he had taken offense. Just a bit. But sometimes, I had to say it as it was.

High maintenance was okay when it was just for kicks. But once it became high maintenance that you had to fit the bill for, well, then it wasn’t so fun. And despite everything that had happened in the past week, drama and all, my ultimate hope was that Liyaket was not going into this blindly. The truth was, even if he was, there was not much left to do now. Cars were already pulling into the Masjid and the time for his Nikah was scheduled to be just before the Jumuah Salaah. Even if he was having second thoughts, well, it was too late to turn back now.

“You sure you want to do this?” I asked him now, knowing I was bordering on crazy but still not understanding how we had got to this point.

I couldn’t imagine how he must be feeling. Knowing his life, his finances and relationship status would change in under an hour. Ah well, it was a helluva big thing but Liyaket was taking it on his stride.

We had reached the destination Mosque, and as I glanced at it wistfully as my mind filled with snippets of the past. It seemed so comforting back then. Hearing the Adhaan bellowing from the speakers in the midst of those sunny days.  Running down from the top of the grassy hill. Sliding on the sandy bank nearby with cardboard boxes, just for kicks…

There were so many good memories that I had back then, when life was so much simpler, and the concept of money and making a name for myself hardly mattered. I recalled running around freely in the yard as a kid, chatting jovially the older men who came there regularly. As I got older, the mosque morphed from my playground to my refuge and the one thing I could always come back to no matter what or who was going down on my life.. but recently, caught up in working in Jo’burg, and the materialistic side of things, I had lost my connection with it. I hadn’t been home in months, and maybe I was making excuses… but Jo’burg scenes for me didn’t quite have that same homeliness.

Being back here though, where I was brought up, away from the beckoning of city life and all its materialistic perks, was awakening something within me.

The air was crisp and every breath escaped my lips now felt lighter and lighter. It felt as if, one by one, all the worries of the past few months away were shedding itself, reviving a new me, and evoking a feeling of freedom that had once been so familiar to me. Something deep within was changing too.

And as I straightened  my hat and pulled on my Friday attire, though I knew that this day was going to be a huge event for Liyaket, what I didn’t realize was that this was the onset of what was probably going to transform my life significantly too.


 

Mission Sunnah Revival!

The beautiful Sunnah of using the right hand.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 

Hazrat Hafsah
رضى الله تعالى عنها
narrates:
رسول الله صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم would use his right hand for eating, drinking and wearing his clothes, and his left hand for some other tasks

(Aboo Daawood Shareef)

An amazing quality to inculcate into our lives…

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

 

 

Going with the Flow


Bismihi Ta’ala

Mohsina

In my house, going with the flow was my mother’s antidote and fool-proof solution to avoid many a conflict, especially when it came to my notorious Nani. 

To tell the truth, I assume that this is precisely where the ‘problem’ with Nani all began. Not that Nani is a problem, don’t get me wrong.

It’s just that over the last few months, things had become strange between the two of us. We had become almost estranged. The thing was, believe it or not… I wasn’t always as assertive and opinionated as I am now.

No, that particular quality had kind of developed over the last few months. Ever since the incident with my cousin about which we will not mention, lots of unmentionable words were mentioned and things just got kind of… unmentionable. And for Nani, as a younger girl, I was her ultimate fave.. and then as I eventually started having an opinion and sometimes disagreeing, well, let’s just say it didn’t go down very well…

The thing is, there’s a few things I learnt about going with the flow, when it comes to the bigger things. Sometimes going with the flow is not always the best solution, but at other times, it’s most ideal.

It’s like when a bird is in flight, if one has to really think about it… it will become obvious that as long as the bird is gliding along with the wind, without even flapping its wings even, it will move along easily, with very little effort. The thing is, I didn’t know that Nani might have been onto something when she would nag my brains about visiting the people I never wanted to.

Mohsina, Nadeema was asking about you, why don’t you go visit her so she can tell you about her madrassa classes?”

That one always made me annoyed, because I wasn’t quite sure if Nadeema was just acting pious or she really was. But it didn’t stop there, because then there was:

Mohsina, why don’t we go see your Appa’s daughter, she had a baby last week?”

I had rolled my eyes then. I was busy. I didn’t have time to see little human beings that puked on me whenever I carried them. And then of course, was the most famous one:

Mohsina, when are you coming for the Taaleem? All the Taaleem ladies are asking when they going to see that granddaughter of mine again. Some of them have nice grandsons also. You must come next week.

It went on and on; but I couldn’t quite see how Nani was actually trying to push me into the company of people that she wanted to mould me into. I didn’t quite get that when you are surrounded by goodness, the only after effect is that you will most probably end to going with flow, and becoming one of the ‘good people’ too. I knew Nani was hoping that would happen for me, but I couldn’t quite see it. 

A beautiful parable in the Hadith compares a good friend with a perfume seller and a bad friend with a blacksmith. It goes without saying that the least one will benefit from a perfume seller is that one will certainly get the beautiful scent of perfume, which will freshen the mind and heart. Merely being in his company will incline the heart towards good, likewise, the company of a bad friend is spiritually toxic and will influence one towards evil and sin.

And it might have not been the only mistake I was making but it was definitely one of them. Going with what was in, what was easy, and what was ‘trending’, for me…  it was the reason why at that time I felt like there was a ton of bricks raining down on me… and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

Nani’s words always had long-lasting effects on me. I was still thinking about how she had drilled the respect for Adhaan into me the previous day.

I had gotten up extra early the following morning, pulling on a modest navy blue blouse with a neutral colored pants, and slapped some make up on my face. I knew it wasn’t my best look, but I looked decent and the sooner I got out of the house meant the sooner I could relieve myself of the anxiety I was feeling and know exactly what was going on with Layyanah and Liyaket.

On reaching the office, there was no comfort. I came to learn very fast what exactly had happened with the outcome of yesterday’s meeting and my heart sunk to my knees.

Liyaket was suspended. The office was buzzing with gossip and I couldn’t not overhear it. Hamzah was late  this morning. Layyanah was missing in action since I couldn’t even remember when. Knowing that I had to unburden myself to someone, I had messaged and tried calling her the previous night but her phone was off and there was still no reply from her nearly twelve hours later.

Only Mickey and Lesley were in view and I couldn’t exactly ask them anything confidential without creating a huge hubbub.

And once again, I resorted to my desk, keeping to myself and trying to appear composed (when in reality guilt was gnawing me from inside) when a voice next to me snapped me out of my lucid thoughts.

“You wanna join us for coffee?” Lesley asked, plopping herself ON my desk and letting her long legs dangle off the edge.

Like, why couldn’t she just sit opposite me, on the chair, like a normal person?

I glanced at her, frowning slightly as she waited for my answer. Who was us? I knew that she was friendly with that Muslim girl from debtors, so if she was joining I wasn’t too sure if I would. The girl was just rude to me. 

And despite Lesley not being my favorite person ,the thought of coffee out of the office was great. I was done with my selfies. Alone. In my allocated two-meter cubed space. And I was seriously considering saying yes.

FYI, Lesley always ordered the most exotic vegetarian (she was vegan) things and I needed some new snaps for Instagram. Ideally, a hiking or adventure-inclined post as a weekend post might have gone down better but today the followers would have to settle with some foodie shots.

My social media presence had been dwindling for the last few days. I still went on often to check what was going on and to stalk other people, but I just hadn’t put up any good new posts. I was in dire need of one… while I was stuck in my uneventful rut, the last thing I needed were any UNfollowers. 

I looked up at Lesley, wanting to ask her where they were going when I saw her watching me with her grey-blue eyes.

“What time?” I asked, still typing away at my computer and trying to to appear too desperate.

Be cool, I reminded myself. 

“Maybe around one?” she said. “Will you tell Hamzah to join?”

“Why can’t you?” I asked, glancing up at her and frowning. 

“You guys seem cosy-like,” she said, eyeing me out. “If you ask him he’ll probably agree. You guys are not a thing, are you? Asking for a friend. “

Was she for real? She looked almost desperate as she waited for my answer, and I really felt like telling her to buzz off because right the I realized what her scrutiny was about.

I could see Marie at the front desk peering at us. She was discreet but not very friendly. She was probably also trying to figure out what exactly Lesley trying to get out from me. Only, she was decent enough not ask.

Lesley, on the other hand, was way too nosy. 

She had obviously gotten the wrong end of the stick, but then again, did I really owe her an explanation? 

“No, we’re not,” I said shortly. “I don’t have a boyfriend.”

“You don’t?” She asked, and I saw a flicker of relief and then she was just looking inquisitive again. “But why not? You’re so pretty.”

I shrugged off the compliment, but smiled anyway. I wasn’t sure if she was being sincere or not.

Why didn’t I have a boyfriend?

I wasn’t sure. Was it my career? I mean, so many girls were married and had careers. Was it because of my parents? Disappointing them by sneaking around? Or did I have some deeper reasoning that I hadn’t yet discovered.

Was I just getting it wrong by taking everyone else into account and completely ignoring what my Allah expects of me?

I took a sip of my coffee that was now gone cold, screwing up my face as I glanced at Lesley again.

The thing was, how did I even explain to her about the dating thing? So many Muslims dated. How did I explain to her that I was ‘saving myself for marriage’ without sounding dumb and outdated?

“I’m just one of those Muslim girls who don’t believe in dating,” I said calmly. “The statistics prove that arranged marriages are more successful. After all, you can go out with someone for years and still not know who they truly are, haven’t you heard of people like that?”

It was so true. I’ve heard so many of my school friends who were together from school days, and didn’t know so many (undesirable) things about their spouses. One was even divorced. And no, I wasn’t an angel, but I really wasn’t interested in getting involved with guys. Because Papa wasn’t exactly born into luxury and  had worked so hard to put us through a good school and university, I knew it was my responsibility to at least make sure that I didn’t mess it up. Besides that, the divorce rate for arranged marriages and were so much less then those for ‘love’ marriages. What other proof did anyone need to understand the wisdom behind this?

“So it’s a Muslim girl thing?” She said, and I could see her brain ticking. “What about Muslim guys? So is it true that Muslim guys can marry other religions too?”

Ooh, this girl was definitely fishing for something.

Well, there had to be a reason she asked me to join them for coffee. From Faadil to Hamzah… I wasn’t quite sure what she was up to but I was already thinking twice about agreeing to spending lunch with her. One hour of this mental battering would do my head in.

And it was just as well that Faadil stepped out of his office at that point and she went scampering back to her desk, and for the moment at least I was glad to be rid of her.

No, Lesley was definitely not the kind of current that I wanted to move in.  Sometimes going with the office flow is not always a good idea.

And it was just as well, because as I glanced at my phone the following hour, the reply came from a unknown number, exactly at 12pm.

Meet me at the usual spot. 12.30 sharp. Layy. 

It didn’t mention anything else and I knew that this was a sign that I needed. It was the least I could do, after opening my big mouth and causing such destruction. 

And yes, I wanted to ring Maahira’s little neck but I didn’t know exactly who or what she had said and I was hoping that talking to Layyanah might clear that part up, since Maahira was MIA.

I hastily tidied up my desk, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to focus until I saw my friend. 

Taking the short walk down the street to the Coffee Gallows, I was actually enjoying the sunshine that was beating down on my covered head. It was comforting and made me feel slightly more relaxed somehow, and I prepared myself for what I was going to tell Layyanah. Reaching the entrance of the little coffee shop that I so loved, I was surprised to see that Layyanah was already there when I reached.

I spotted her in a grey turtle neck with a matching turban style hijab. Her make up was done minimally and the girl looked like she had lost 2 kilos since I last saw her. I bent down to give her a quick hug, and then took a seat opposite her, putting my phone on the end of the desk and remaining hands free this time because I owed Layyanah that much at least.

“Sorry I’ve been awol,” she said quietly, giving me a small smile. “I meant to message you last week but it’s been so crazy and I have no idea where to even start.”

Now is my chance. I had to tell her the reason I wanted to see her.

 I took a sip of coffee calmly. Layyanah had already grabbed us both a takeaway cup each. It meant that she probably wasn’t staying very long. 

Hurry up and say it, I urged myself. I felt like there was a frog stuck in my throat.

“It’s been crazy,” she almost whispered. “I cant go anywhere alone. They monitor my phone. My computer. They don’t let me leave the house. Now I heard that Liy is suspended.”

Now my mind was in overdrive.

Did I cause all that? Would she be angry with me? If only she knew what part I had played.

Say it, I urged myself, as I put my coffee cup down. Just say it.

The greater good was finally triumphing the evil and the rising in my chest had to be relieved as I spoke out.

“Layyanah, I’m so sorry!” I blurted out, my voice sounding foreign even to me. I can’t even remember when was the last time I apologised to anyone. When last I felt so remorseful.

She looked up at me questioningly, looking slightly confused.

“I think I put my foot in it,” I hastily continued before I lost my pluck. “I happened to mention you and Liyaket to someone and I have a feeling that she might have told someone that you know…”

I couldn’t look up at her and meet her eye, but when I finally did, it was already unsettling to see the hurt in her eyes.

“You did what?”

I took a deep breath and finally met her eye.

Oh no. From hurt to anger to upset… Now, she just looked... Absolutely devastated

“It was a mistake,” I reasoned weakly. Was it? Yes. It was. “I didn’t mean to be so careless and the girl is all the way in London so I -“

“In London?” Layyanahs expression changed to slightly anxious, and then, as she registered what I was saying… she just looked up again, as if a puzzle piece was slowly fitting together.

“Who is this girl?”

It took her a minute or so to finally ask. Her voice was flat. Almost as if all the emotion was sucked out of it. 

“An old friend,” I sighed.

Whether I could still call her a friend, I wasn’t sure. What was in it for Maahira anyway?

“Her name is Maahira and she’s also a CA. I just didn’t think that she would actually have anyone to gossip to….”

Layyanah looked visibly stricken, as if I’d just pulled out a rug from beneath her feet. I could see her blinking a few times, and then, it was as if a penny dropped. 

“That explains it,” she said, holding her finger up almost in as if in awe. “Oh my word. That’s it.”

What?!” I asked, only a little concerned.

“Long story. Oh gosh, Mos, I’ll explain another time, I promise. This is it! It has to be. It’s this girl…”

She trailed off and her eyes widened as I looked at her suspiciously. Her entire demeanor had changed. It was like she was an entirely different person from the person I had first met here about ten minutes ago. 

Her eyes were darting back and forth and the colour had returned to her cheeks. In all fairness, I thought that I was giving her the worst news of her life, but turns out that her life couldn’t have gotten any better than at this point. 

Wait.

A fresh wave of anger and resentment was rising up as I realized that Maahira may have just been trying to impress someone and this had caused so much of trouble. How could she be so selfish?

“Mos,” she whispered, her eyes bright and her cheeks were now flushed and pretty as I always remembered.

She wasn’t looking all pale and ghastly anymore. Now I could see the girl I once knew and loved. In all fairness, now I could see why Liyaket was so crazy about her that he had given everything up just to make sure that she would be safe. Everything that was important. Even his job.

I just wished that it had turned out differently.

“Mos, I need your help.”

I looked at her questioningly, as her eyes met mine again. 

“I have to tell you something. But it’s a long story,” she said, her voice soft as she spoke. “My parents are planning my wedding to be in 6 months. An affair of the century. All the events that lead up to it.. the proposal, fancy engagement, Arabian night, seafood night, bachelorette party, mehndi… will take about six months and probably cost millions in itself. There are no limits, because I’m the youngest and Mummy is insisting that this must be the event of the year. Daddy’s already booked the tickets to Dubai. She’s psyched about the jewellery shopping. His aunties and sisters must all have gold and nothing less, because everyone must know that we are classy people, you know? We still have to think of a theme and the finer details that go with it. They’re all insisting that Rose gold and Spring blooms is the new in, so they are probably heading that way. My cousins from LA are already booking their tickets. There’s so much of excitement and to look forward to…”

I looked back at her questioningly, not quite understanding.

“Layy, what are you saying?” I was utterly confused.

How on earth did they already start planning such a huge and significant event in just a few days? Are they trying to bribe Layyanah into marrying some random rich guy?

She looked down for a second and I glanced at her, my mind not yet registering what exactly she was saying and even more so, now the undeniable defiance in her eyes.

“I feel numb,” she whispered, swallowing hard as her eyes glazed over and she looked at me again. “I have no emotion. No inclination to any of it. I don’t want that. I want a simple Nikah and a small supper. I don’t want all of these ridiculous functions that have no purpose and Islamic significance. What’s the point of planning all of this when the guy is as shallow as a pond? All he cares about is the money my father is spending to set him up a fancy office in the North. I can’t tell them that because they don’t want to hear it but Mos, I’d take any risk… anything… I’d even rather die than marry him.”

I looked at Layyanah, slightly shocked. This was serious. My phone buzzed but I wouldn’t even dare picking it up. I had to talk sense into her. I mean, if she had to oppose her parents, who knows what could happen?

“I don’t want to get you involved, so all I need you to do is give me two things. A little bit of time and your phone. Just for a few hours.”

Part with my phone? No. 

“Layyanah, I’m not sure if this is a good idea,” I started saying.

I couldn’t just agree to this. I was starting to hyperventilate. What if her brother had some mafia people that would come for me? What if they put a hit on me or something?

Aiy. I wasn’t going to risk that.

”Trust me,” Layyanah said, noticing my hesitancy as her eyes bored into mine. “I trusted you. I need your help. I promise, this is for the best. I can’t be that superficial girl that my parents want to be. I’m someone different. It’s like I’ve been sleeping all this time and meeting Liyaket woke me up, and I can’t go back to sleep, Mos. I don’t want to be that girl whose life is going to revolve around Sandton meet ups and Louis Vuitton bags…”

Yup, she trusted me and I broke her confidence. 

My heart was aching for her right then. Can it really be so bad to be spoilt and rich? I supposed everything came with it’s price, right? 

 “What if they blame me?” I said, keeping my voice low.

“Tell them we took the wrong phones from the table by mistake,” she said quickly. “By the time they figure it all out, I’ll get your phone back to you, don’t worry. I just need you to keep mine for a while. Please Mos. Just go with the flow.”

Go with the flow? Oh yes, sometimes it was easy, but this time I wasn’t too sure.

How exactly was I going to figure this one out? 


Mission Sunnah Revival: The beautiful Sunnah of using the right hand.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 

Hazrat Hafsah 
رضى الله تعالى عنها
narrates:
رسول الله صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم would use his right hand for eating, drinking and wearing his clothes, and his left hand for some other tasks

(Aboo Daawood Shareef)

An amazing quality to inculcate into our lives…

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

 

Guilty as Gossip

 Dear Readers

New post: Apologies about the post error on Saturday.. I’ve deleted that post and combined other content to progress in the story-line. Will try and post this week again. Sorry for the confusion! 

Happy Reading 🤍

 


Bismihi Ta’ala

Mohsina

“That’s an insightful suggestion. I’ll forward it to the board.”

Woah.

I mean, in any normal circumstance, I would have been jumping for joy to hear words like that from our boss, who was two feet away from me with a sincerely impressed expression on his usually expressionless face.

I had nearly missed the mail in my inbox that was sent the previous Thursday, thinking it was some bulk mail that was sent to the entire floor. But when I realized that I was singled out and that feeling of elation had dissolved, I had immediately started working on what would impress the board and improve my chances as a sole candidate for the big incentive and promotion that was still weeks away.

And now, after all that effort and hard work over the weekend thinking up all kinds of solutions… I mean, Faadil actually said something good about my ideas and complimented them. I mean, this has to count for something, right? I should have been over the moon. But…

The words had little effect on me. Whatsoever. I was up in arms, confused and consumed about what exactly had gone on to cause the mayhem that I was feeling so guilty about.

And it was just that earlier afternoon when I was very busy minding my own business when I noticed Hamzah looking up in panic as the office doors remained closed. In fact, I kind of wished that he would calm down and stop his ridiculous behavior because even I was getting more and more edgy as he sat there, wondering what was going on before I just couldn’t stand it anymore and went up to ask him.

“What’s happened?” I said, trying not to look too concerned.

For the first time since I’ve known him, in all his prankish and inappropriate behavior, Hamzah’s eyes were riddled with worry. I don’t think I’d actually ever seen him looking so serious before. It was like a completely different person.

“It’s Liyaket,” he said, not even focusing on me as he spoke. He was looking extremely distracted. Edgy. “He’s got a hearing with the Big Boss.”

The big boss. A hearing. That was one even more senior than Faadil. And a hearing usually wasn’t good news.

“What’s it about?” I was trying to keep my voice low and moving a bit closer. I could see Lesley hanging around, trying to figure out what we were talking about.

She was extremely distracted, in fact, bordering on ADD. How she did her work, I didn’t understand. Anything and everyone’s business became hers.

“It’s to do with Layyanah,” he almost whispered, and I sucked my breath in as my heart beat a little faster.

Did they find out about the two of them in the office? Was there indecent exposure? Inappropriate behavior? Like what were the real rules even?

“I’m not sure if you knew this,” he said quietly, running his hands through his hair nervously and not even noticing my own anxiety levels heightening. “But Layyanah got the job here because of her father’s contacts. Looks like those contacts are pretty strong ones and they got some inside information. They the same ones who want Liyaket out.”

His voice was riddled with worry and I could feel my heart hammering in my chest.

No. It couldn’t be. It couldn’t have been my mistake. It couldn’t have been my stupid story that I told Maahira. She was all the way in London. What could she do? 

And then of course, my legs just kind of caved in as they turned to something that resembled jelly.

And then of course, the feelings that surfaced thereafter were likes waves and waves, almost knocking me over, just as I started grappling around trying to find my feet.

I think as a default there has to come a point in life when you look back at your past and regret the things you’ve done that might have made someone else’s life a misery. And then there’s that point in life, where I was right then, when you shamefully look at your present self and realize that what you are and have become, actually makes you sick to your stomach.

So maybe I shouldn’t have opened my mouth and spilled the beans about office gossip but the opportunity to make my life sound exciting was a sickness that I couldn’t cure. I loved having something juicy and interesting to share, especially with Maahira, who was all the way over in London and seemingly out of touch with everything that was happening back home. I mean, what were the odds of it spinning out of control? What harm can it really do?

The truth was that I had become extremely selfish and self-focused, not even considering how this may actually cause someone’s to experience a real loss.

Apart from that, when a person is filled with such vanity and conceit that his ego tricks him into thinking that the entire world is simply dying to share every moment of his mundane life with him, and thus he cannot see past his own face, how is he supposed to see the majesty and glory of Allah Ta‘ala? How is he or she even supposed to remember that Allah is always aware of what we do?

And I would like to say that at some point my Nafs had been trampled and common sense kicked in, but the problem was that through my obsession with social media and keeping everyone ‘up to date’, my own character and demeanor was just becoming not just inappropriate, but simply unacceptable. I was addicted to making myself feel important.

And yes, at that point, I was a little further gone than I thought. My mind was full of work, gossip and worldly pursuits. The only thing that was putting a spanner in the works were those five words that I had heard that previous week.

Not everything’s about the big bucks.”

And it should have been a bigger whistle-blower. But it wasn’t, because the way I had allowed myself to been wired in the past few months was the opposite. Everything was about the money. Our entire work day was based on finances. Every meeting we had discussed it. Our paycheques at the end of the month would prove it.

I would like to say that my day carried on as normal from that point onward, but to tell the truth, the sinking feeling in my tummy just got deeper and deeper.

And when it got to a point when I couldn’t deal, it was only after work on the drive home when my mind was feeling the full impact of the consequences that I couldn’t really fix. And when I finally got home and crashed in the lounge couch out of sheer exhaustion while Nani eyed out my work attire from where she sat, that was the first time I could focus. I knew that I had to message Maahira and ask her exactly why she was needling me for information last week.

I had to know for sure.

Aslm. Howsit?

Nani’s eyes were peeping over her glasses but she looked away when I looked back at her, and kicked off my shoes so I could get comfortable. The least I deserved were some rested feet.

Her reply took a few minutes, but at least I had her attention once she did.

Ws. Well n u, my crazy friend? How’s it going that side?

I took a minute before typing out a reply.

All well. Works been a killer. Just checking in. you busy?

She took a few minutes again.

Nah. Just knocked off work. Heading home.

Knocked off? She was already using British English. How cool. But that was beside the point. I had to cut to the chase.

Great.

I typed. Next message:

Did you happen to mention the office news to anyone?

I didn’t mention romance. I just said news, to be general. But she didn’t bite. I waited a few minutes, but there was no reply. I waited another ten minutes, and when she still didn’t reply, that was when I knew for sure.

Guilty as predicted.

And how amazing was it that she had replied so efficiently prior to that… but when asked a question she didn’t like, well… I was just left on a ‘Read’. And I knew the tactic because that was precisely what I did to Ma and Jameela when they annoyed me with their nosy questions on WhatsApp.

Ghuh. I hated new age technology. It was just so transparent and just made you feel more crap when people purposely ignored you. I missed the good old days when your SMS might have got stuck somewhere between Vodacom and Jupiter and you would just pick up the phone to call them.

No-one did that in the 21st century without feeling socially awkward. No-one had time to pick up the phone and call. What was more amazing was that when I went onro Instagram, she was showing online, which further reinforced how she was just avoiding me and facing up to what she had probably said or done. But I got it, right?  No-one had time to engage. To be real. Only time to sit and scroll through a useless feed where every second person was also a ‘MUA’ or had their own Novelty Cakery.

And then of course, the cherry on top, while I was busy cyber stalking Maahira and sending her more messages, was Nani, who was sitting a few feet away, watching me with her cat-like eyes.

And just so you know… let me tell you something, in case you hadn’t guessed yet. There is a very valid reason that I haven’t gotten married, and no, it’s not because I haven’t found my perfect match or anything. No. You know how they say that your spouse is the one person who knows you so well that he or she will pick out all your faults without even blinking.

Well, there we are. That’s Nani for me. I don’t need a husband because Nani had it covered from day one. Even when I may seem like the most Haari poiree to the world, to Nani I was the most rotten ‘Beh sharam‘ that earthlings have ever seen.

“Hand only stuck to that phone,” she was scolding in Gujarati as she watched me.

I rolled my eyes.

”Nani, it’s important,” I tried to reason with her.

This was bloody important, but I couldn’t explain to her why without incriminating myself, could I?

“Looking whole day at screen,” she continued. “Now again, more phone. Azaan will go, sitting on phone. Namaaz waqt, sitting on phone. Sleep time also, sitting on phone. So much Shaytaan on that thing, it’s no wonder you are not already turned into one yourself.”

The call to prayer for Maghrib had just started and I sighed and put the phone down. I had to give it that little bit of respect. I had to at least try. Sometimes it was so hard to kick that habit, but I’ve heard stories of evil people who were given Paradise just due to one sincere act and maybe… well, maybe this was mine?

So, for once in my life, I fought the urge. I wanted to cackle at the irony. It wasn’t like Nani didn’t have a phone, and when she got stuck on the phone it was really the most extraordinary sight. The entire world gets blindsided. She sees nothing and no one, besides that screen, and here she was, blaming me as if I was the only phone addict in the room. But then again, we are always so quick to point fingers at everyone. And yes, Nani and I had a lot of tension due to unmentionable reasons for things that had happened in the recent past but I just couldn’t admit to myself that maybe she was right.

That maybe it It had to start somewhere. Maybe this was the reason I had gotten into this situation in the first place. Maybe some deep introspection was due and I had to face up to it.

And to prove Nani a point, I switched my phone to silent, put it on the side board and sat and stared at her for a good ten minutes. I was just doing it to annoy her, but she didn’t seem to notice. I read my namaaz and then sat and stared at her for another few minutes whilst she read all her Surahs, morning an evening Duáas AND her Salaat and Salaam. How old people did it every night without fail was beyond me, but at least it kept her off my back  and she barely noticed when I picked my phone up again and snuck back to my room.

And of course, I couldn’t help but check to see if Maahira replied. I even checked Instagram to see if she maybe didn’t say anything there, but the girl was as good as swiped off the planet earth for now. If she lived here, I knew nothing would have stopped me from going over to her house and squeezing and answer out of her but taking a flight for that reason just seemed unreasonable. And then of course, when I realised exactly how many issues I had possibly caused, and how Liyaket may actually be out of a job because of me, something within me started to stir.

It was a rising within my chest that started from that little feeling in my gut, and as it went higher and higher, my conscience could not simply dissolve that feeling. I knew that I had to do something before I snapped.

I had to at least tell someone, and I knew exactly who I needed to tell first.


 

Mission Sunnah revival! A beautiful Sunnah:
We should remember the famous saying, “If you do not have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that the Nabi (Sallalahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him say good or remain silent.”

An amazing quality to inculcate into our lives…

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

 

No Filtering

Bismihi Ta’ala

Mohsina

In the same way that good deeds are a protection for us, and protect us from calamity… I’ve noted many times in the past that when you are submerged in sin it’s almost impossible not to openly welcome the wrath of Allah.

Often when you are drenched in darkness, the light seems very far away. Like that flicker in the distance, so evasive and unreachable, sometimes we lose hope completely of ever surfacing.

As a rule of thumb, Nani had once told me that reading my Tasbeeh every day is a foolproof hack to accomplishing even the most impossible of tasks. 33, 33, 34… and If I didn’t have enough time, even a shorter version…. Somehow, even the  unattainable gets achieved and the improbable gets accomplished, when you take out a little time for Allah in the morning and evenings.

And I knew I should have. I should have stopped with my worldly whims and fancies. I knew I should have done more of the actual cleansing. Dusting off the dirt. I would have and I usually did. But the thing was, I was busy. And I know I always use that excuse but that week, the office was buzzing with talks of the new incentive based promotion that Faadil had let out the bag on Monday when he called us to his office.

Hamzah was right. ‘Bossman’ was looking for me, but thankfully I wasn’t the only one who missed the memo. It was a whirlwind of excitement and enthusiasm after the little meeting and the office was a little more alive than usual. Everyone was giving off their best. Trying their utmost. No-one wanted to miss out on the opportunity that was opening up.

And of course, there were a few preferences, he had said, as he paced up and down, hair immaculate, clad in Hugo Boss jeans and an apple green shirt.

I wasn’t even bothering to look down and be a little decent while he spoke. It had become normal to ogle at strange men. The guilt was becoming non-existent. That was the thing with social media, Netflix addictions and spending more time on it. Once you get used to looking at whatever image your eyes fall upon, it becomes natural to forget that there was a filter on the gaze before. The dust had already settled, and it was becoming harder and harder to scrub it off.

And of course, Nthando, Mikael, Lesley and I were still sitting in a combination of frenzy and limbo after Faadil walked out after the (second) meeting he had called for, still trying to figure out what it was exactly that was going to set us apart from the others in this three month long competition for a huge incentive and permanent position at Hammond’s.

Oh yes, there were a few preferred graduates but no-one knew who they were. Some people had glanced at me, while others had muttered Hamzah, Robert and Lesley’s name… but no one really knew for sure.

Nthando was already scribbling notes in her diary, Mikael was busy with his laptop and Lesley just had this dreamy look on her face.

“The man just gets me every time,” she said, and my eyes always bulged slightly as she stretched out her long tanned legs. I wouldn’t say that they were particularly toned or anything but the girl had good genes, okay?

I’ve caught the guys literally stopping and watching her walk past, and to tell the truth, I assumed she enjoyed it. She was wearing a skirt, and though we had strict office rules about mini skirts, Lesley took it to the limit by wearing them just at the knee.

Every. Single. Day.

I couldn’t imagine what Nani would say about that if she had to ever come to my work place. And maybe I admired her confidence, but besides that, something within me told me that it wasn’t the kind of attention that I wanted to draw. It was just devalued. Objectifying. And so unnecessary.

“Did you see the way he dominates the office?” She continued, throwing up her hands dramatically. “It’s amazing.”

”Jah,” Mikael said absent-mindedly in his Cape Town accent. “When I grow up I want to be like Faadil the great.”

With Mikael I couldn’t tell if he was being serious or sarcastic but I half-laughed anyway and got up, not really wanting to sit around and listen to more Faadil-obsession, knowing I needed to get back to work after the eventful morning. Even the L-squared dramas were semi forgotten as we shifted into work zone, and I found myself getting lost in the work day and week. Never mind about them. For now Layy had sworn me to secrecy about their plans and I had agreed and forgot about it.

Other than that, I felt like I was stuck in this bubble of work, and it was all just going to burst before I even got to enjoy it. Maybe it was the mention of the incentive. Maybe it was just the worry of my future. But it had been more than once that week that I found myself wondering about things that I never did before.

Things like:

Was this what I really pictured myself doing for the rest of my life? Was this really my calling? Maybe I wasn’t cut out for an office job. Did I need an outlet? 

I couldn’t think about it too much without getting anxiety.

I sighed.

A distraction was just what the doctor ordered. A coffee and selfie time was the solution to everything. Layyanah had gone awol since from Wednesday. I wasn’t sure who or what had gone down but I figured that for now, the less I knew, the better it may be.

The thing was, there wasn’t even much time to ponder about it or even message because before I knew it, the week was over and I wasn’t even sure if I accomplished everything I needed to. Everything felt so rushed and in the moment.

And though I was feeling unaccomplished, I knew that some comments and likes would cheer me up, so I scrolled through my gallery and found an old post of a some nature reserve that Papa had gone to on the West Coast and posted it. Nature wasn’t my thing but it looked good on my feed and it was completely appropriate for weekend vibes. To tell the truth, the picture didn’t even need a filter. It was that beautiful, but that was just by the way.

Caption: Weekend vibes!

Another amazing week- productive and exhausting and definitely calling for some unwinding time…

I put in the emoji of the dancing girl, the heart eyes, and some nature and weekend hashtags before stashing my phone in my bag.

It was time to retire for the week so I packed up my stuff, shut down my computer and went for the elevator just a mere half hour after work time.

And as the elevator pinged open, I was a little annoyed to see Hamzah in the lift, coming from the top floor, work backpack in hand and looking just as annoyed to see me. Yeah okay, I could see he was rushing. Plus he was a mess. His tie was loose, his teal shirt was hanging untidily and the entire lift was stinking of cigarette. Ten floors down with him is going to make me super claustrophobic because besides having to deal with the stench of cigarette for that long, to tell the truth, I wasn’t exactly into the polite thing this evening.

“Press it closed,” I said automatically, not caring about being rude and audibly sighing in exasperation. “I’ll wait for the next one.”

Ugh. Fifteen minutes at least. He shrugged and pressed a button, looking relieved, but then suddenly jerked it open again.

“Get in,” he said, stepping out himself and gesturing to me. “You’ll wait ten minutes by the time it comes back. You have further to drive than me.”

He wasn’t happy about it and I didn’t need hand outs, but the traffic situation was stressing me out and my Choti Kala was coming home tonight and I really missed our conversations. She was the only one in the family who got my urgency to gain my corporate fame and I really needed to have a heart-to-heart with her. About life. Relationships. Family. It was away over due.

So when I heard footsteps and spun around to see Faadil pacing the office hallway, probably checking to see if he can lock up, and I figured why usually annoying Hamzah was being so polite, I jumped at the opportunity of the headstart. Of course, I thought, feeling relieved.. It wasn’t a hand out. With Hamzah there had to be some ulterior motive.

Right? That could be the only explanation.

“Trying to impress the boss, huh?” I muttered as I walked past him, raising my eyebrows judgementally. I was only half joking. I just had to have the last say. It would save me from saying thank you. “What a gentleman.”

I was being sarcastic. I mean, until I glanced at him and saw that he was looking exceptionally confused and I realised that maybe, just maybe, he had probably not even seen Faadil pass in the first place. And then of course, it got me wondering if maybe I was wrong and he was just being nice, but like, Hamzah was never just nice. Not for no reason.

“Why would I want to impress him?” He asked blandly, pulling a face as if he was disgusted at the mere thought.

“Erm, duh,” I said, as if was self explanatory. “Getting a head start for the big incentive slash promotion that everyone is dying over.”

He still had that confused look on his face, and then realization dawned, and he purposely stomped into the lift, punched the close button and turned to me.

“You think I’m that desperate?” He said, a disturbed look on his face. “Not everything’s about money, Mos. The thought of signing with Faadil for another two years is not exactly my dream job. Just FYI. Not everything’s about the big bucks.”

It was the first time I had heard him call Faadil by the name and from that I knew that he was slightly pissed off.

And with that, the lift pinged open again sooner than expected and he sashayed out onto the next floor, cigarette stench and all, before two more people came tumbling in, leaving me feeling just a little crappy as I waited to reach ground and step out, wondering if maybe I shouldn’t have been so judgmental in the first place.

But also, in my defense, wasn’t everyone here for the big bucks? He couldn’t tell me that he was so in love with auditing and taxation that he dreamt about it lustfully every freakin’ night. Everyone who worked here was in it for the money. There was no other reason to work like slaves.

But then again, it was only Hamzah so there was no need to break my head over it because it didn’t really matter anyway. I wasn’t sure why he smoked if it didn’t help his chill levels. The guy needed to go for some aggro therapy or something. Yeesh.

I walked up to my car, only greeting the guard as I stepped into the parking lot, pulling down the mirror to check my appearance again. Today was a low profile kind of day. I had worn a modest bottle green blouse with a loose grey pants, since it was a Friday, wore a longer coat over. I still looked good and my make-up wasn’t completely trashed yet, in case I stopped at the garage for a coffee and there were any decent prospects around. My feet were breaking from the heels I had worn to make me appear thinner and taller, but beauty was pain and I got that.

I checked my phone before I started my car, pausing to see my last post reaching a 100 likes and then psyching myself for the trip home. The roads were surprisingly uneventful that Friday. Usually Johannesburg boasted at least 3 a highway accidents and umpteen traffic jams, but this Friday was a little easier to get to my semi-farm based home and it was a welcome record.

I had just taken the off ramp when my phone buzzed in my lap and I momentarily glanced down. I tried not to type while I drove, usually pausing to message only when I stopped at a robot but traffic was slow and it was more or less safe in this area.

What’s the plans for the rest of the eve? 

It was a message notification from Maahira on Instagram. Seemed like she even forgot that there were other ways of communication.

She had sent me a picture earlier of her standing with a friend outside the London train station. It was pretty cool to think that my friend was so independent in a distant city all on her own.

I thought for a minute about what to say.

There was no need to say that I was going back home. The truth was, even though I was looking quite forward to spending time with my aunty, I couldn’t let her know it. That wasn’t the life we always dreamt of having. For Maahira and I it was always about the corporate life. The glitz. The glamour. The functions and events and the chilling with friends after work to catch up on social time so we could have the best of both worlds.

It had always been a dream of hers to work in London and I always wanted to work at Jo’burg CBD. It was just our preferences and though we often tried to convince the other to swap aspirations, we still supported each other’s choices.

I couldn’t help though but wonder how London must be like on your own. With no family to go back home to. No home cooked meals. No soji and mutton briyani on a Friday evening even. That was the part that got me, as I finally rode down our driveway. But for Maahira, she made it look so amazing.

Her Instagram following was close to 10k because London life was a huge draw card. And she really lived the life, I could see from her page.

Plus, she shopped at all these amazing places and people were always drooling over her modest fashion-wear posts. I suppose you had to make the trade off. Family life was nothing compared to all of that, materialistic stuff. When she comes down she promised she was bringing me a whole new wardrobe and I was super psyched.

I opened her message and replied.

Just had some fun times with some work friends. The night is still young.

I put in a winking emoticon and left it at that. I didn’t expect her to reply so fast though.

What happened at work this week?

Hmmm. I wondered if I should tell her about the promotion and offer from the company that everyone was going for. It was exciting but she might tell me not to try too hard for it. She always told me that I was better than some common corporate position and should only settle for the best.

Ah yes, I knew exactly what I could tell her about.

Just the usual craziness with a dose of dramatic office romance. It’s been quite a week!

Again, her reply was quick. Like, didn’t she have anything else to do on a Friday night. Like be out with some cool work friends.

Office romance! Ooh. Do tell!

And so I did. Only, I had forgotten that it was supposed to be a secret. Maahira seemed so far away, and letting her in on what was going on here was barely going to make a difference to her awesome life.

And for all my aversion to drama, What I didn’t realise was that my lack of filtering was probably going to cause a bigger drama than ever…


A little longer post than normal. Any thoughts on Mohsina and her way of dealing with things?

Love hearing your thoughts !

Much Love

A x

On that note, Sunnah of the week:

We should remember the famous saying, “If you do not have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that the Nabi (Sallalahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him say good or remain silent.”

An amazing quality to inculcate into our lives…

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

 

Clouded Conceptions

Bismihi Ta’ala

Mohsina

I had been so sucked into work this morning that I wouldn’t have even known if something had happened at the office to cause all the drama. It was clear that something was off. Plus, Layyanah was wearing a turban style hijab which was completely new to me. I was wondering what and why and whether Divine inspiration had come from above… because I never saw Layyanah covering her hair before.

And now I was left with the ardent task of trying to figure out what happened, after being forced to hold down the show while Liyaket went for his meeting, so Layyanah wouldn’t have a nervous breakdown in his absence.

How was my luck such? I internally groaned. So much for not getting involved.

Gosh, I should have trusted my instinct and walked away. it was no wonder I steered clear of these kind of situations. It just gave me unnecessary anxiety. But then what kind of friend would I be?

Stop being selfish, I chided myself.

At that point, there must have been some deeper reasoning as to why I was the one who Layyanah was going to turn into her most entrusted confidante…. I just didn’t know it yet.

Because of course, I couldn’t just leave the girl there. At that point, though we weren’t best friends, I actually quite liked Layyanah. She was one of the less snobbish but feisty girls who were at the office. She also wasn’t scared to say what she needed to when it was required. She didn’t worry about those few who would purposely stare at you when you walk past them, and then say something inaudabile just to get you all revved up.

“I’m leaving work,” she explained. “I mean, I have to. My parents are adamant that I must stay home and they want me to get married. To someone of their choice.”

Hmmmm. I widened my eyes appropriately.

Being in the crappy mood I was, I was tempted to nod and be impartial, but I knew I couldn’t be so heartless. Plus, if Layyanah left, she would leave me alone here with those annoying girls, I don’t know what I would do. She can’t leave work. No, that’s not going to work for me.

“Are they forcing you?” I said, wondering if she even knew what this meant.

Like, do those old forced marriages still exist? Arranged marriage, I understand. I knew that there was no pressure to say yes, if you weren’t compatible. But this sounded like something out of some nineteen-voetsek Bollywood movie and I couldn’t fathom that it was still allowed.

Layyyanah shrugged. It didn’t seem like she thought it was abnormal. It was almost like she expected it. But like, how do you even just accept someone who your parents choose? And then, what about Liyaket? Most of all, what about me?! Was this even real life or some soapy drama thing.

I took a deep breath in and looked at my acquaintance turned friend, trying to put on a comforting voice to ease her fears. Only problem was that I wasn’t very good at that, so instead of sounding kind, I just sounded edgy. Partly because I was worried about how long this coffee break was taking and partly because the whole situation was just stressing me out.

“Lets meet at lunch to talk,” I said decisively, knowing that I needed to get back to work it would also give me time to wrap my head around the problem and think of a practical solution. After all, I really did like Layyanah and it was horrible to think that I wouldn’t see her again. Because in all fairness, I really needed her to be my friend slash work-ally.

And though I made my way to my desk, eyes on me because my coffee making break had taken a little longer than expected, my mind was already consumed by worst-case scenarios. Opening the spreadsheet I was working on, my mind could simply not focus on it. Besides trying to avoid Jameela incessant messages about what I thought about her new design for her coffee shop logo, I finally called it a morning at 11.45, messaged Layyanah and told her to meet me at the coffee shop down the road.

It was a popular place that many of the office occupants frequented during the week, and today, I was hoping we could find a quiet spot to chill with minimal interruptions. Plus, I wanted to catch up with some posts. We weren’t allowed to be on social media at work and my lunch break was my haven to reconnect with the world.

Grabbing a table in the far corner, Layyanah bought us two cappuccinos and joined me while I took out my phone to take a snap of the coffee cups. I mean, there was no use going to fancy coffee shops if you didn’t share a story about the presentation of the coffee you drank. And the pattern of the frothy layer on the top. Latte art was always trending. Like duh.

I placed my laptop next to it my coffee. Just for extra effect took another snap, zooming in so I could get the full effect. Ooh yes, that was perfect.

The two cups looked good together with the Laptop and I immediately clicked the post icon.

Caption: Coffee with BFF.

Nah. Something more work inclined.

Caption: A dose of work earns a dose of coffee with the bestie.

Winking emoji.

Yep. That sounded more like it. At least they would know that I worked hard to earn my play time. And I had a  good friend that I could talk about my work nuances with. Well, not really, but it was all for the gram so no one really cared about the truth anyway.

My mother was sending me a WhatsApp message but I purposely ignored it. There was no need to reply immediately. I was doing something important and posting updates for people that paid attention to my life. It made me feel good, and my social media following was reaching nearly 6.5k. That was important. People who didn’t really know me were most important. What wasn’t hitting me was that this media I called social, was actually anything but. I was slowly becoming an anti-social freak with a gadget attached to my hand.

Oh but yes, what about hashtags?
#coffee #friends #bff #bondingtime

I quickly put in a heart and two girls emoticon, making sure to hashtag more appropriate things like #work, and then tagged @layyanah_m before looking up at the real life version.

Layyanah was sipping on her cappucino carefully, deep in thought while finished with my snaps, took a quick selfie and then put my phone back in my bag. I was tempted to take it out again to check the likes in the post. I had already seen some double taps but Layyanah didn’t look like she was in the mood for an Instagram update, so I waiting for her to spill her story.

And then she started and the urge to pick up my phone was overwhelming. I wasn’t sure how to engage with her without it. Nowadays it was normal to chat to people with one hand occupied, right? I saw it all the time.

I grabbed my phone, scrolling through posts of old friends with their babies, through some other influencer type feeds, wondering what it was I could do to earn more followers. It wasn’t like what she was telling me wasn’t important, and she wasn’t looking annoyed that I was on my phone, but it wasn’t making me stop in my tracks. Well not yet.

”So Liyaket thinks we should make Nikah,” I heard her say all matter of fact, while I conveniently spat out my coffee all over the table. Oh gosh. How did we get to this point?

I put my phone down. Finally, and then looked at my friend.

Layyanah didn’t look fazed. I wasn’t sure if she even noticed.

”What?” I asked, widening my eyes at her. “Why on earth would he suggest that?”

She frowned slightly.

“Erm,” she started, not really noticing my discouraging approach. “Because we’re compatible. Because it’s the right thing to do. And because I really want to spend the rest of my life with him and no-one is going to stop me. Weren’t you even listening?”

I looked at her shamefully.

She had a certain defiance in her eyes as she gave her motivation and I was in between wanting to cheer her on and wanting to slap some sense into her.

Make Nikah? Just like that. Like, whose bright idea was that? Like, they were only going out for 2 seconds.

“Why can’t you just talk to your parents and let them know that you have someone and do things properly?” I said, wondering why all the drama but kind of guessing at the same time. As I said, drama, it wasn’t my thing.

Layyanah sighed and looked at me, her eyes looking all melancholy once again.

“They’ll never accept a son-in-law from another cast,” she said finally, swallowing hard and saying the word ‘cast’ emphatically. “Outdated Indian traditional thinking. Crazy, but that’s how we are. Nevermind we’ve lived in western world and want to everything else like the west. They still hold onto their old stupid old-fashioned and warped values. Of course, I’ll tell them, but I know what will happen. It’s too much of a blow to their egos to accept a ‘Khan’ as a son-in-law. My brother already knows- he was ready to approach Liyaket at the airport. Lucky Liy was fast to get out of there. Hashim messaged me with his derogatory terms and threatened me after he dropped me at home. But I don’t care. You know why?”

I shrugged. I really didn’t know. Probably because I wasn’t listening properly in the first place

“Because I see my sister suffering every day,” she almost spat, her whole demeanor changing as she became angry.  “Married to a first class idiot who cheats and lies and parties every weekend. And she can’t go anywhere because his parents have too much of pride to ever let it out the bag. And they have too much of money. And contacts. Not like my parents are any better… but for Liyaket… well, it’s not the same. He wasn’t brought up like that. It’s not like Liyaket  even has a father to fall back on or vouch for him. He knows what it is to come from somewhere that has no privilege. He doesn’t take anything for granted. Liyakets father passed away when he was a baby. He was raised by his grandmother because his mother had to work 18 hours a day to put food on the table. Gosh, I cried when he told me the story. His life is too far-fetched… too basic… too lower class for them. They would say I need to marry better. That we’re not compatible. But to tell the truth, Mos, I know I won’t find better. He treats me like a queen and I know it’s wrong to carry on like this, but I think that this is what’s best for me and that’s why when he said that Hamzah says we should make Nikah then I think that may just be the solution…”

It took me a few moments to process, feel the emotions, and then I narrowed my eyes at her before cutting her off.

“Hamzah suggested Nikah?” I asked incredulously. I almost wanted to laugh now.

Treats her like a queen? Please. It was probably only because he wanted her to succumb to him. I knew that Liyaket was a nice guy but no guy was that amazing. Right? He probably had some dodge connections to do it too. Highly possible.

“Like just like that? No plans, just Nikah?”

Layyanah shrugged.

“Apparently Hamzah’s family is very holy like,” she said, looking slightly calmer as her eyes strayed to the doorway where the devil himself was standing.

Hamzah and Liyaket had entered the coffee shop and I kind of got the feeling that they were looking for us. Well. For Layyanah- but you get what I’m saying.

And besides the fact that Hamzah annoyed me, I generally steered clear of him for other reasons too, only addressing him if he really got in my way. Because of default company and Liyaket and Layyanah, he was often around, but the fact was that he had earned his reputation in the months he had been here, I didn’t plan on even indulging his witty charm. He was the one who everyone looked at as the craziest guy in the crowd, who always cracked a joke at the most inappropriate moments, and, who, though extremely good-looking, no sane Muslim girl would ever touch with a ten foot pole because they knew that all he was good at was auditing and messing around.

And that was why I found it so hard to believe that he had actually suggested they make Nikah, because boy, the guy himself was way off that track of thinking.

I mean, what on earth happened to him, if his family was so holy?

And because I had been engulfed by darkness for far too long, for some reason, I was unable to see that this was probably coming from a good place.

Nevermind the fact that the longer they carry on making Zinaa, the less barakah there would be if they had a future together. Nevermind that Imaan actually lifts out the body when you engage in that sinful act. Nevermind that that maybe Hamzah was actually trying to recommend something good that would serve them well in future.

Nikah was the last thing I wanted Layyanah to do right now and I wasn’t even sure if my reasoning was valid. If she made Nikah she would definitely leave work at some point soon. Knowing Layyanah, she’d probably fall pregnant really soon and then feel all nauseated when she came to work and that would be the end of my friend.

The thing I didn’t realise was that Allah Ta’ala created an inherent thirst for companionshipin the heart of every human. The objective of Nikah was to attain peace of mind, which was something I had been lacking of late. Due to my Netflix addictions that were clouding my mind, I was a little delusional with regard to the purpose of this blessed union. My sins had played a huge part in making me see wrong things as right, and right things as wrong.  Sometimes we were so quick to make judgement and say what we feel, but seldom, we actually stop and think about what Allah will be happy with. About what Nabi (SAW) himself would have advised us to do. Our lives are so far from that and my life was particularly in need of reform at that point.

I grabbed my phone again, raising my eyebrows in greeting and then ignoring them as they came to the table, taking the chance to catch up on any Instagram comments. The truth was, I was annoyed at the two of them for suggesting this Nikah thing. This would put a spanner in the works and change everything as we know it. I delved into my phone, tuning my mind out of the present, avoiding any confrontation.

And as always, the virtual world was eventful. Already a few followers had commented with some emojis. Obviously they thought that this was the best kind of corporate life ever. And then of course, Maahira, an old school friend who I chatted with often and was now working in London messaged to check one where we were having coffee. She had worked in Sandton before she moved to London and I was in the midst of replying to her when Hamzah rudely clicked his fingers in front of my face.

“Hey TikTok,” he said, his voice intruding my precious moments of Instagram fame. Why did he have to always make himself important?

I didn’t look up at him, because I felt like there was no point. Well, until he said smoothly:

“There was an announcement. Bossman is looking for you. I suggest you go and see what he wants.”


Mission Sunnah Revival!

Wearing Shoes and Covering the head when entering the toilet.

It is recommended not to enter the toilet with the head uncovered, because of a report which says that when the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) entered the toilet, he would put on his shoes and cover his head. End quote.

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah


Awkward Pauses


Bismihi Ta’ala

Mohsina

Coming home after a long trip was challenging enough when I had my mother and Jameela annoying the hell out of me, but when Nani was at home, well, it just made things significantly worse.

And to top it off, Jameela couldn’t even give me a warning on the way home. Just damn selfish, if you ask me. Entering the house to the welcome smell of chicken and methie, only the way Nani cooked it, was an extremely welcome fragrance, but knowing that it meant that I would have to deal with Nani’s verbal battering that evening already left a bad taste in my mouth.

I scowled as I placed my bag in the passage, knowing I’d have to greet her first and then only go to my room and freshen up. My sheila pin was literally stabbing my neck and my heels were literally breaking my feet. I removed my suit jacket and hung it up on the door hook, because my mother had refused to keep a coat hanger (like I had asked her to) straightened my back and made my way to the kitchen.

Both women turned to look at me, with a big smile on their faces. Okay, maybe this wasn’t going to be as challenging as I thought

“Salaams,” I said, going to my Nani and kissing the top of her head.

“As salaamu alaykim,” Nani said emphatically with a shake of her head, not looking impressed by me today. That was nothing new of recent.

I returned her greeting before she got offended.

What salaams, salaams,” she was muttering to herself and sighed emphatically.

The thing was, Nani and I used to be really close but now…

Well, that was a story for another day. Ma was a little more easy-going, comparatively. She was busy rolling Roti so I grabbed one from the cooked pile and patted Ma’s shoulder, because there was no way I was getting that stuff on any part of my charcoal suit.

“How was your trip, poiree?” My mother asked, not even noticing Nani’s eyes getting narrower as I answered her.

Now it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Nani hated my work. And of course, her next words were an affirmation that she didn’t even want to conceal it.

”Look at her, Bhengori,” Nani was saying in Gujarati, pulling up her dupatta to cover her hair again. “Like a proper man. Only with scarf on her head. Big, big suit she wears like she’s one big business mogul. What does Iqbal think about this, letting his daughter act like she is doing good things? Chi.”

I internally rolled my eyes. It was time for me to make an exit, but I had to do it skilfully. Salaah. Yes.

“Let me read my Asr,” I said loudly, while my mother tried to answer Nani. What to say to her when she was like this was basically falling on deaf ears, but it wasn’t my problem.

“You see when it’s time for her to get married,” Nani was saying, not falling for the Salaah excuse, now in English as Jameela entered the kitchen. Since Jameela was the youngest and had missed most of Nani’s gujarati lectures as she grew up, she didn’t understand so much. Nani generally switched to English for extra effect. “Men don’t like all these- too educated career women. See Nadeema, she’s learning to cook, clean and studying that online Madrassa over the zoom. That’s why she’s getting nice proposal coming.”

I wanted to say something but I wisely zipped my mouth. At least I knew how to do that much. It wasn’t anything good, even though it was necessary for Nani to stop with the praising of her favorite granddaughter. Nadeema was my cousin who was a few months younger than me, and since she had once bad-mouthed me to a good friend of ours a few years back, we were no longer close. Unfortunately, Nani didn’t seem to think it was a big deal what she did. I still did.

Like, if she was so amazing, why would she talk bad behind my back for no reason?

“But Nani,” Jameela was saying. “As it is, you the first one- you don’t like going to male doctors… So if girls don’t study, Nani, then how will we have all these professionals?”

I wanted to pat my sister on the back for sticking up for me and women in general, but I knew Nani would have an answer for that.

“Yes, study is one thing, but Hayaa, Jameela,” Nani said emphatically. “Dr Hameeda wears full abaya and niqab. She works only with women. She has respect… She has – whats this called… She is honoured. It’s not the same when you dress like a business man with bum showing.”

Astagh. How rude!

I wasn’t even sure if Nani realised what she said, but there was an awkward pause and then Jameela burst out laughing while my cheeks burned with embarrassment. Okay, maybe my tops had been creeping up a bit during the past week but that was just unnecessary. Ghuh!

“Nani, we have dress code at work!” I argued.

“Dress code like man?” Nani said, raising her eyebrows and the rolling pin up at the same time. “I don’t know Mohsina. How will you find a husband? Every boy wants to come home, you say no. Just now you will be twenty five and then the boys won’t even want to come anymore.”

Ugh. I couldn’t hear all this. I couldn’t hear the point behind what she was saying.

“Mohsina, my cousins got a son who is an engineer,” Nani was saying last month. The previous time was, “Mohsina, this boy got his own shop, he’s looking for a nice wife.”

Maybe I should count my lucky stars. At least she wasn’t trying to introduce me to Aalims anymore, in the hope that they could ‘fix’ me and turn me into a haari poiree.

Anyway, long story short, Nani just made me angry with her talks and I couldn’t see reason when that happened. Maybe it was the way she said it, or whatever, but all I could think of doing then was spin around and stomping up the stairs to my room. And I did just that.

I read my Salaah speedily and then opened my Tiktok app, scrolling through some dumb videos that made me laugh. It was just what I needed to destress, but only for that short time, and when I finally emerged from the room half an hour later, my father had gone for Maghrib and Nani left with him to go to my uncles place, I was just feeling more crappy than before.

And yes, I loved my Nani and her quirky sense of humour but when she started with me about work and marriage, I couldn’t deal.

It was just that this time… I couldn’t shake the feeling that maybe Nani had a point. But then again, what was the big deal? I was happy. Right? I kept to myslef. I didn’t have a boyfriend. I didn’t have to worry about an annoying husbands feet to press. Or a demanding one to cook for. Or some kid to make sleep. But then why?

Why was I still feeling that something was amiss?

And of course, partly because of Nani’s words and also because of the rift that had now become a part of our relationship, my sleep that night was horrible. I had tried to divert my thoughts with an Instagram post and a few stories about the eventful trip I had come back from, but Nani’s words still annoyed me. Plus, she posted on her WhatsApp status about how the new generation has no respect for the older one and they will just do as they please, and reading it just got me more annoyed. And then she posted again the following day about how a woman’s place is at home and not out in the corporate world. Like, she already broke my spirit when she saw me, so why couldn’t she just message and tell me the rest? That was what ticked me off the most.

I spent the next two days sulking at home, making excuses not to join my parents who wanted to take a drive to get chicken tikka in Jo’burg. Jameela was also being extra annoying with all her business proposals about her coffee shop, which my father happily humoured, as long as it was just an idea. Frankly, I didn’t feel like doing any brainstorming with her. All I wanted to do was watch every season of Suits on Netflix and chill.

And of course, it was no wonder that I was still in a crappy mood the following morning when I went to work. I obviously did nothing substantial and just wasted time. Even my Salaah had gotten delayed because I was too obsessed with finishing the third season the previous day. Plus, I’d read no Qur’an at all the entire weekend. I was feeling dark inside and I was obviously suffering with a Netflix hangover but I dressed up carefully for work, aiming for a modest but professional look, in all black, secretly hoping that Nani would approve my new approach. Who ever thought I’d see the day, but I really wanted to impress my Nani.

Entering the office before everyone else that morning had helped. It meant that I wouldn’t have to see any annoying Happy Monday faces and I quickly went to my desk and took a seat, diving into work. That was what I preferred to do. Keep a low profile. Keep my ‘respect’. Be a good Muslim girl. It was only when my hungover head started incessantly pounding, that I realised it was already 10.45AM and the office with buzzing with activity. My brain was calling for coffee time. I knew it was time to go to the kitchen and risk seeing people and I secretly wished that I also had a coffee lady like Bossman who would bring my coffee to my desk.

One day, I consoled myself, as I dragged myself up and headed to the kitchen. One day I’ll have all those privileges. Just had to keep my head in the game and keep on focusing.

I pushed open the kitchen door, avoiding eye contact with anyone in the way, hoping the kettle was hot so I could make the coffee fast and get back to work. I didn’t anticipate seeing a huddled couple in the corner of the kitchen, where there were three seats and a small table, looking almost like they were deep in conversation. Or other things. Obviously, I wasn’t going to pause enough to check.

I knew they weren’t supposed to be in here together. We usually took ten minute breaks to make our tea or coffee in the mornings  and were then expected to return to our desk. I turned my face away, trying to ignore them as I passed through to where the kettle is, and they must have noticed me because I could hear some awkward throat clearing and shuffling as I passed by.

“Sorry Mos,” someone said, and I turned around to see Liyaket standing behind me, with Layyanah on the seat next to him. I realized at that moment that I had gotten it wrong. The two of them weren’t exactly up to what I assumed they were, but I wasn’t sure if this was more awkward or not.

Liyaket was shifting on his feet indecisively, looking as if he really needed to say something or explain but wasn’t quite sure how to. Layyanah was blowing her nose and dabbing her eyes, looking like someone had passed away. Something was definitely wrong and I had a really bad feeling about this. As much as my instinct was urging me to turn around, be wise and remove myself from the situation, I knew that I would appear absolutely heartless if I said nothing at all.

There was an awkward pause, before the words finally came tumbling out of my mouth.

”What’s going on?”


Shukran for the thoughts and comments, love hearing from you guys 🤍


Mission Sunnah Revival!

Wearing Shoes and Covering the head when entering the toilet.

It is recommended not to enter the toilet with the head uncovered, because of a report which says that when the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) entered the toilet, he would put on his shoes and cover his head. End quote.

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

 

Aiming for Awakening

Bismihi Ta’ala

Hamzah

“Listen bro,” I said quietly to Liyaket after we jumped off the plane, careful to steer clear from any straying ears. “You either have to end this thing, or make Nikah. You guys can’t carry on like this. It’s killing my nerves.”

Liyaket blinked as I said it, grabbing his bag from the conveyor belt and wheeling it alongside us. At the risk of sounding like my overtly pious older brother, I had to say it as it was. It wasn’t that I was particularly worried about the elements that my brother might have worried about. No. My concern was that he and his girlfriend had just shared an intimate moment before the arrivals doors and I couldn’t help but wonder if the Muslim aunties staring at them might know them. Or if the young girl who was standing and ogling at them behind us was some connections daughter. Or the older uncle with the blue tie who was very suspiciously looking around might be Layyanah’s high profile father’s business acquaintance.

Whatever. Long story short, my friends budding romance was giving me sleepless nights. I dreaded the day when things were going to hit the fan in a most stinking way and I had to let him know it. As pretty as Layyanah was, the guy had to start using his brains to think. Following your heart for things like this never went down well. They just didn’t.

Liyaket said nothing as we both wheeled out bags towards the pick up points.

“I don’t know, man,” he said with a sigh, shaking his head as he paused again. I turned to see what he was looking at, almost glimpsing the mental battle between the confines of his skull.

The girls from our group were talking and laughing about something as they headed out, phones in their hands and selfie ready, as always. After a few seconds of TikTok obsession, Mohsina tucked her phone in her bag and walked toward a man big a huge white beard and a younger, abaya-clad  version of herself, who I assumed was her sister. Layyanah was already waving to her older brother who had come to fetch her , souped up in his Armani suit. He was familiar to me because he had done some business with my brother and come to home once or twice. Now that my brother was moving back to our hometown, I knew I wouldn’t see much of him, and secretly, I was glad. He didn’t look too impressed as he now walked ahead of Layyanah without even a raising of his hand in greeting or word to anyone whilst she said her final goodbyes to the other girls. But then again, he generally had that unimpressed look on his face, so I wasn’t too sure. 

And it was just as well that I was over watching the girls taking stupid reels to post because I could already see Layyanah’s brother focusing on us and giving Liyaket dirty looks as he typed profusely on his phone. Was it my imagination? No. Sometimes my friend needed a guy like me to watch his back, and it was in a the nick of time that I did a close to martial arts manoeuvre to safely steered my friend outside, into the waiting car of my older brother before he did anything incriminating that Layyanahs brother might have broken him for.

I shook my head as I closed the car door, greeting Imraan and my 6 year old nephew, wanting to smack Liyaket at the back of his head for being so stupid.

The fact was, Liyaket and I weren’t just colleagues. We were friends was way back before we even decided to study the same thing at university together. Being together for so long made us that much tighter, and now that it was at this point, I knew I had to look out for my friend.

“This bloody romancing in the workplace,”I muttered to myself, annoyed that I was getting involved in their stories. I had half a mind of letting Imraan give Liyaket a pep talk but I knew I couldn’t out my friend that way.

“I can’t help it,” Liyaket said under his breath. “I love her.”

I snorted with laughter.

Okay, now maybe you think I’m mean.

Laughing at the guy when I should have been all sentimental with him. But honestly, I didn’t believe in love. Not at this stage anyway. It was an illusion that completely sidetracked any sane person. I mean, looking at my friend, I could see exactly why I would never venture down that road. To tell the truth, all this new age kind of stuff wasn’t for me. If you really wanted to know, what I really felt was that I was meant to exist in some other era. Technology, illusions, ‘love’… and everything that came with this new age stuff… frankly, it wasn’t for me.

It wasn’t that I was anti-social media, like everyone may think. No. I wasn’t just a hater who picked on people who had Tiktok.

Well then, what was for me, you may wonder? The truth was, when I closed my eyes at night, all I want to do was just live in the moment and be who I was. Not a virtual person. Not a person escaping reality. Not just the corporate and accountant version. Studying and becoming a CA was the least descriptive part of me. What I really wanted to be was someone who would have a purpose. Fight for something worthy. Really dig deep to find my inner calling…

What that was though, well, I didn’t yet know. I just knew that bloggers, influencers and following people so I could see what went on in their personal and private life wasn’t my thing.

I tuned into to what Imraan and Liyaket were talking about.

“No ones going to pay you just to spot errors, my man”  Imraan was saying to Liyaket as we drove along the highway. They were talking business. “You have to have proper insight to their financial situation. You have to analyse and give them solutions.”

He was munching on some Doritos and I grabbed some from his packet as I explained the parts of the audit that I found challenging that week. It was just as well that we had an excellent team of students. Every single member, even the girll, had all pulled their weight to make sure that Bossman didn’t have any complaints whatsoever about us. And he didn’t.

”It’s not that simple,” Liyaket was saying. “Now with technology being so advanced, it even gives them revised solutions-“

”Exactly,” Imraan said. “That’s why you have to think out the box. We’ll talk about it later when we get to my place. First, Salaah.”

And I knew it wasn’t a question. We could hear the Adhaan (call to prayer) as we entered our suburb and though I would have preferred to go straight home and chill, I didn’t have a choice.

Hadhrat Abdullah bin ‘Umar (Radhiyallaho anho) once visited the market. He noticed that at the time of Salaat, everybody closed his shop and flocked to the musjid. He remarked:
“These are people about whom Allah has remarked:
“Men whom neither merchandise away nor sale beguileth from remembrance of Allah and constancy in Salaat and paying to the poor their due; who fear a day when hearts and eyeballs will be overturned. (XXIV:37)”
Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (Radhiyallaho anho) says:
“These people were completely absorbed in their trade, but when they heard Azaan they left everything and hastened towards the musjid.”
He once remarked: “By Allah, they were such traders whose trade did not hinder them from the remembrance of Allah.”

This was Imraan and I knew it was why he was successful in every aspect of life. Frankly, he didn’t give two hoots about anyone and what they thought. After leaving one of the biggest corporate workplaces the previous year, he now worked for himself and couldn’t be happier. It meant he could take off time to do as he wanted, and spend time as he pleased. It meant he could do what he always wanted to do, whether it meant taking a holiday in the middle of February or taking off for Ramadhaan, according to him, Imraan lived the life.

As he grew older, his focus in life changed and making money wasn’t that important to him. Spending time with his best friend was the best thing for him and yes, because they had grown up together, I knew that this was his focus in life.

Because of his best friend, Maulana Umar, he was no longer  chasing the corporate ladder, struggling to get to the top. He stopped competing with the big guys in the invisible race for fame. He had stopped worrying about the materialistic things because he had made it his entire life to dedicate to a different path. His company was one of the largest independent companies and it still never diverted him from his purpose in life. All I knew was that my brother had found out the important things in life and he was definitely onto something, but I couldn’t take the time out or wrap my head around it to comprehend it. Maybe I was still too young. Maybe I just lacked the insight. For him, he kept saying that he was so spoilt now that that he couldn’t ever go back to that corporate life. And for me, well, I honestly couldn’t think of anything better than the corporate life. For now, it’s what kept me going and what motivated me to keep achieving.

And whilst I was busy out there, aiming and achieving, I didn’t know it then, but on it’s way was some kind of awakening that would give me the deeper purpose I’d been searching for all along.


Mission Sunnah Revival! New Sunnah next week.

One of the first Sunnahs that we introduce is the Sunnah of miswaak, and though we know its benefit, its so beneficial and it’s useful to know that besides the Sunnah benefits, there are so many scientifically proven benefits as well. Miswaak:

  • Fights plaque.
  • Fights gum disease.
  • Prevent any existing teeth decay from getting worse.
  • Contains minerals such as chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium.
  • Strengthen the enamel in your teeth.
  • Leaves you with a healthy mouth.

Keep a Miswaak at our bedside:

Whenever the Exalted Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi wa Sallam) would wake up from his sleep, he would use the Miswak. [Sunan Abu Dawud, Page 54, Hadith 57]

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

Only Skin Deep

Bismihi Ta’ala 

Mohsina 

The shrill ringing of the iPhone tone was enough to make my head turn in the early hours of the morning. That and seeing my sisters name on the caller ID was a pure concoction for catastrophe.  

Jah,” I said, Jo’burg style, as I pressed the speaker on and continued to sponge on my Huda foundation, attempting to get it even under my eyes.

How did those online tutorials look so easy? Why did concealer always make them bags look so much worse? 

Moseeee!” She squealed into the phone and I glimpsed her excited face when she looked at me and widened her eyes. “Ohhhhh, woweeeee!”

I took a step back as I eyed myself in the mirror. Nude Scarf. Matching camisole. Charcoal pants, with a matching black suit jacket over the camisole, and pointed nude heels to match. Was it too much? Too matchy-matchy? Hijab styles these days were very much all those anti-climatic colours. I had often saw that all these matchy matchy wardrobes weren’t really in, but I felt really odd NOT to match. Like, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I think I could add in a turquoise accent… but I wasn’t sure-

“Moseee!” She shouted again, and I focused back to my sister. “I’ve got the most awesome idea!”

”What?!” I said, looking at her pretty face and getting annoyed that she wasn’t even wearing make up and could still look so perfect. How unfair was life? 

“I’m going into business!” She said excitedly,  as if it was the most brilliant idea in the world. “It’s going to be a gourmet coffee and popcorn shop, situated in a stunning garden, breathing in fresh country air, boasting the most amazing scenery while you sit and enjoy-“

”Did you ask Papa?” I said, cutting her off before she got even more carried away. I wasn’t sure if my father would want our house turned into a business. 

“No, but if I tell him that you are helping me then he can’t say no!”

There was a certain nervousness in her voice as she giggled and I understood that there was an underlying question there. She wanted me to be her scapegoat and her motivation at the same time and there was no way that I was falling for her tricks. If she thought she was going to use all her charms on me then she definitely thought wrong. She may have done it easy to wrap everyone else around her little finger but there was no way that she was getting me involved. 

“Jameela, I’m not interested,” I said coolly as I picked up my bag and my room card to head down for breakfast. “I’ve got a job, remember?!”

“But Mosee, you have all the experience and are so good at what you do!” She argued, putting on her flattering but pitiful voice. If that was even possible at the same time.

That was my smaller sister, looking around disdainfully as I looked back at her as she sulked in the elevator.

Jameela was the perfect child to both my parents. Unassuming. Impeccable in behavior. She was also the skinniest one, which inevitably made her look better. Beautiful, in fact. Whereas I was just the one with the best brains. That’s all.

“I’m on my way to breakfast,” I said, hoping she would get the hint and hurry up so I could get her off the phone before the elevator door opened again. “Can I call you later?”

Jameela had just matriculated and literally gnawed my brains every day about her future plans. My mother, of course, wanted her to get married. (Should we even pretend to be surprised?) My father had this idea that she should at least study something before. I mean, you never knew what could happen. I agreed with him. In this day and age where they guys were mostly scum, a girl has to secure something for herself. These days, the men weren’t like before. Very few of them actually look after their wives the way they’re supposed to. Some losers are just blatantly oppressive. 

And just my luck. She was still going on again about a certain ambiance she wanted to achieve when the elevator door pinged open again and in came Liyaket and Layyanah. 

Hamzah was right behind them. 

I was already beginning to regret answering her call. 

“Found them,” he mouthed triumphantly as I lowered the volume on my iPhone and tried to look interested for my sister. 

“It will be a state of the art coffee shop!” Jameela was saying. She said coffee shop as if it was the most amazing idea in the entire world and no ones ever thought of something so unique. Ever

“Let’s talk about this later,” I quickly said to my sister as I blocked her off from other lift occupants and lowered the volume a tad bit more. “It’s a great idea but I’ve got to go. Will brainstorm some ideas.

Shame. She was young. I didn’t want to burst her bubble. And I also didn’t want to sound so mean to put her idea down in front of my friends.

I turned my gaze to Layyanah who was positively glowing with I don’t know what, while the boys shifted to the other side of the lift. Ma will be happy about that. At least they were observing a little bit of pardah. All we needed was a screen in between. 

“Where were you’ll?” I muttered to Layyanah quietly as two more people entered the lift. 

She just smiled at me dreamily and then looked straight ahead, as if she was in some kind of parallel universe. My word. Was she even present in real time?!

We walked out in a line while I tried to (unsuccessfully) coax a proper reply from Layyanah. Honestly, she looked so elated that I really didn’t want to break her positive vibes about where their relationship was going. Even though I had previously warned myself to back off, it was becoming so difficult NOT to get involved. 

I swallowed my emotion and listened to her silently going on and on about how sweet and amazing Liyaket was, glad for the interruption when one of the other girls from the team came up to us as we were pouring some cranberry juice. 

“So does he not follow the same rules you do?” Lesley Potter asked as we walked back to the table and she eyed my plate of food.

She was gesturing back to Faadil who was hovering over the bain-maries. 

Liyaket and Hamzah were sitting on the table parallel to ours but it didn’t mean that they were too far to eavesdrop. 

“I think he’s checking what’s vegetarian,” I said carefully, knowing full well that there were only tomatoes today. 

“I’ve watched him every day this week,” Lesley said, shaking her head and putting a spoonful of yoghurt with muesli in her mouth. “He eats everything.”

“He just doesn’t care,” Hamzah piped up from the next table. He was super strict with what he ate from buffet and my father had drilled the same into me.

Coming out here would mean that I’d have to make sure that there was no contamination with food that wasn’t Halaal. Many people didn’t understand it and it just took some explaining. I tried to explain to her about meat and vegetables and how certain things required us to have Halaal certification before we consumed it. 

Faadil, however, wasn’t as concerned about contamination. He happily ate the ‘Halaal friendly’ buffet, avoiding only the pork which was right next to the lamb sausages. Sharing the same utensils too. He was sitting three tables away from us on his laptop now, devouring his breakfast with a knife and fork, already fully focused on the day of work ahead. It was no wonder he held the position he did at Hammond’s, where we worked. He was never off duty.

And though m I occasionally ate the beans or potatoes, I’d never venture to the meat. When Hamzah had blatantly asked him a few days back, Faadil was adamant that it was all Halaal. 

“Hey Lez, why you watching him so carefully?” Liyaket called from their table. He had a smirk on his face and winked at Layyanah as they caught each other’s eye. She blushed unreservedly. 

Euw. Couple gestures creeped me out. 

Lesley shrugged. 

“He’s quite something to watch,” she said, not looking awkward at all about Liyakets question. “Pretty damn fine if you ask me.”

I nearly choked on my corn flakes as she said it. I’ve never heard any girl speaking so openly about another guy, especially our boss, in front of so many other people. 

“You think he’s married?” She asked, not even concerned about my coughing as I tried to dislodge the corn flakes caught in my oesophagus. I took a sip of water. 

I actually never thought about it till then. I mean, Ma was always drilling modesty in the workplace into me.

“Don’t look at all those corporation business men,” she warned with big eyes. “Big big titles they got for what?! See Yasmeen, my Bari Kalas daughter-in-laws sister? She married one of those big directors and he left her for his secretary. They are too busy with their corporate ladders to take you seriously. You finish your work this year and then we’ll find you a nice boy from the town who has his own hardware shop.”

I had rolled my eyes when she said it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be that kind of girl who would just sit at home and be someone’s wife. 

I didn’t want to look at Faadil that way, but the way Lesley was going on about him and we got up to leave, I couldn’t help but steal a look.

Though we always saw him as ‘bossman’, thanks to Hamzah’s nickname, I never really wondered about his personal life. I glanced at him from the corner of my eye, noticing for the first time his broad posture and somewhat alluring demeanor. Oh yes, I was sure that he was either married or in serious long term relationship. Everything about him said it. 

“You think he’s handsome, don’t you?” 

It was Hamzah who was watching me, watching him. 

His expression, for once, was strangely serious. 

“He’s okay,” I said breezily, not wanting to look at Faadil again and get caught red-handed. “He’s much older.”

I used to be so particular about lowering my gaze. I had to be more careful, even with colleagues. 

The Prophet ﷺ also warned us explicitly of the dangers of not lowering the gaze, when he said:

“…The adultery of the eyes is looking (at [that] which is not allowed)…”

(Bukhari, Muslim)

It was time for me to start implementing it seriously. No more messing around. It would only be bad news in the long run. 

“Maybe in his late thirties,” Hamzah said about his age as he grabbed an apple from the front table. “He’s also married to his job.” 

“I don’t know,” I said carefully, dusting my hands on the napkin and carefully wiping my mouth. “I think he’s probably more easy-going than we think.”

“Trust me,” Hamzah said, taking a huge crunching bite of his apple. “He’s the complete opposite of what you think.”

Trust him? Ugh.

But before I could even ask him what he even meant, Liyaket had come forward to ask Hamzah something about yesterday’s audit and all I could do was take a seat next to Layyanah at reception and forget what exactly Hamzah had been on about.

It was almost like he was warning me about Faadil, but for what reason, I wasn’t quite certain. 


Mission Sunnah Revival!

One of the first Sunnahs that we introduce is the Sunnah of miswaak, and though we know its benefit, its so beneficial and it’s useful to know that besides the Sunnah benefits, there are so many scientifically proven benefits as well. Miswaak:

  • Fights plaque.
  • Fights gum disease.
  • Prevent any existing teeth decay from getting worse.
  • Contains minerals such as chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium.
  • Strengthen the enamel in your teeth.
  • Leaves you with a healthy mouth.

Keep a Miswaak at our bedside:

Whenever the Exalted Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi wa Sallam) would wake up from his sleep, he would use the Miswak. [Sunan Abu Dawud, Page 54, Hadith 57]

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

 

 

Chartered Changes

 


Bismihi Ta’ala

Mohsina

Being a woman in a male-dominated workplace is tough. Being a Muslim girl in the workplace is that much more challenging.

Often times I felt myself over over compensating. Going the extra mile. Making sure I never stepped out of line.

I supposed that’s why I was always watching my back. I wanted to be successful and I wanted this to work out. More than anything, that was my focus right now.

I turned to see Mickey (his real name was Mikael) approach and I let myself breathe a sigh of relief. Just another one of us. But just as well, the fun was over for this trip. It was time we headed back.

But wait. One more snap, before I left. I flipped the camera to face me, smiling widely as I tried to keep my scarf in place with the unruly wind. Perfect.

Now to post.

@mostlymohsina (my main Instagram handle and page) had approximately 6327 followers (well, the last time I checked which was about 2 minutes ago).

There were new follow requests every day though. Many were ex-students from the high school I attended, while others were people I had met along the way. I knew people spoke about my ventures. I had a knack of making simple things look super thrilling. That’s what social media was about though, wasn’t it?

Of course, then there were the few odd followers who I had no idea of who they were, but nonetheless, they were followers of my (seemingly) iconic lifestyle and I had to keep the game on for them. Things out there weren’t easy on the social media platform either. It was savage and it sucked you in, but I was already too far in to ever back out of it. In a way, it was my refuge too. When I was alone at night, it’s what kept me focused.

Ah yes, it was hard work. Keeping the posts and keeping people engaged. Sometimes a little drama was needed, just to create a new following and keep current followers hooked too.

Of course, I had to show the girls back home how amazing the corporate world was. Especially those who were probably sitting at home with a kid, browsing though social media, waiting for their husbands to come home. I couldn’t imagine that kind of life, to be honest. Maybe it suited other people, but it was far from what I had ever wanted for myself.

I was one of the lucky ones who had made it this far and I had to make it known.

The problem was, not everyone shared my sentiments.When I had expressed my views to Ma one day, she just gave me a:

”If Allah is happy with you then who else you have to impress?”

Pfft, as if it was so simple.

But she didn’t know. She didn’t know that the whole world was watching your every move, waiting for something in your life to go wrong just so that they could point a finger at you and blame it on your choices.

I turned my attend to Mickey who was gesturing for us to follow him. Hamzah wasn’t even bothered. The wind was blowing so fiercely right now that I had to shut my eyes. Why was the Cape always this windy?

Honestly, this was just doing sabotage to my impeccable hijab look.

”Come ON!” I urged Hamzah, getting impatient. If he didn’t follow I was prepared to leave the annoying sod to catch it from Faadil. I didn’t want to risk getting into trouble. “We need to make it before the bus leaves.”

“You mean, before bossman comes and hounds us for having a little fun when we’re allowed to?” Hamzah asked with a raised eyebrow, clearly knowing where my thoughts were as he caught me eyeing the time. 

I rolled my eyes at him. 

“Come on, Mos, don’t be such a suck up,” he moaned, turning to glance at me. “Get into trouble now and then. Besides, the guy needs to remove that carrot from up his behind.”

I rolled my eyes at him.

Okay, I’ll admit it. Faadil was a bit extreme with his bordering on oppressive manner and no-bullshit regime, but Hamzah had absolutely no respect for rules. None at all.

Although the two of them barely got along, there was no denying that the one thing that had gotten him selected for this trip was his genius auditing skills and ability to pink out errors in record time. He really was better than any one of us here, but he was too busy being a wisecrack to admit it. Of course, Faadil wouldn’t admit how valuable Hamzah was to the team either, because Hamzah just had a way of getting under people’s skin. And not in a good way.

I grabbed my backpack and slung it over my shoulder, ready to leave, not tolerating Hamzah’s nonchalant attitude. Work was work whether he liked it or not. 

I turned to look behind me as I heard other voices with Mikael’s, hoping the Liyaket and Layyanah would come back soon from their little escapade.

Oh yes, let me just give you the low down regarding them. FYI, those two are obsessed with each other but I really hoped that they’d see sense and break it off with no strings attached before it was too late.

The fact was that though they looked cute in theory, the painful facts were that while Liyaket Khan was a hard working and motivated guy from a small town who was out to make it for himself, Layyanah was a typical rich and spoilt Jo’burg girl from HR who had paid to come on this trip just so she could be with him. And though we got along and being with him was somehow bringing her down to earth, I didn’t want to be the one to break it to either of them.

Besides the fact that I knew that they would never work long term, I really didn’t have the energy to worry about their forbidden romance. As I said, my focus here was on the work. I wasn’t here for the drama. 

I trudged along, hearing Hamzah talking to the other group members behind us now, taking some time to clear my head for the work day. It was time I focused and got my head back into the auditing game.

It was obvious that Layyanah’s parents would never approve of him, and that was why she was sneaking around seeing him- but Layyanah was the type of girl who was used to getting her way. Besides her being spoilt rotten, I sincerely loved this girl and the last thing I wanted to see was any of them hurt. 

I sighed as I shielded my eyes from the sun, not seeing either of them nor hearing Hamzah come up behind me, sandals in hand as he adjusted his cap with the other hand. 

“Don’t worry about the two love birds,” he said bluntly, walking ahead of me speedily as I fell behind. The others were far behind and showed no sign of hurrying up. “They’ll find their way back before bossman notices.”

“Hey!” I shouted, running after him as he sped up, overtaking me so he’d be the first back. The conniving rat! I gritted my teeth as I tried to beat him back, whilst trying to look poised at the same time. It was impossible.

Oh well, I thought to myself, glancing back once more for my friend who was still awol. I was getting late. I suppose the two love birds would have to find their way back on their own. As always, I had to worry about myself. I mean, no one else was looking out for me.

Little did I know, this was about to change much sooner than expected. Not too far in the future there would be a wake up call that would change much more than just the way I thought.


Dear Readers

This new theme and story line is pretty experimental so please bear with errors or anything that may be offensive.

Obviously there will be great lessons to learn. I would also like to go into Sunnah revival, so if anyone would like any particular Sunnah to be mentioned, let me know, or we can start with the basics and work from there? I’m still struggling to balance my time and since posts may be a bit longer in future, I was thinking I can do just one a week. Or two shorter ones.

Comments and thoughts are always welcome. ❤️

Much love

A xx

The (much-needed) Voice of Reason

It was lovely hearing from the readers. Please continue with your input. I will reply in due course, just trying to manage time more effectively. 
Sunnah Revival will also start soon InshaAllah 🤍

Happy reading xx 


Mohsina


“Assalaamo
alaykum”

That was my mother’s standard greeting. I always broke my head over why she used an ‘o’ instead of a ‘u’ for the last letter of the standard greeting.

I knew it was weird to notice it, but that was me. Weird it may be. I just noticed odd things. 

Wer are you today? “

did you read ur Fajr?”

Another message. 

C if you can bring back some fresh snoek.”

Four separate messages. SMS’s, if you must know. Like, doesn’t she know she can go onto the next line instead of wasting airtime. 

But nonetheless, I was glad she hadn’t tried FaceTime. Besides me looking at the crack in the kitchen wall most of the time instead of her face, because she kept pressing the flip button in error, I really wasn’t in the mood to do a virtual tour of the shoreline. 

Because yes, okay, I’ll admit it. Even though my mother was not my biggest fan in terms of my corporate achievements, I was a teeny bit scared of her. Okay. Maybe a little more than a teeny bit. 

“Are one of the Instagram slaves already responding to your post?” Hamzah asked as he saw me tapping on my phone. 

Can anyone be more annoying? Like, why does he even talk?!

The rays of the sun were shining down in a most imposing glare, but I was sure that I could see a smirk on his face as he looked at me shivering. The tide had washed onto the bottom of my jeans. I bent to roll them back down to cover my ankles once again.

I could almost hear Ma ‘tut-tutting’ as I imagined her disappointment at me exposing my sacred ankles.

“Remember Mohsina,” she had said as I left home for the airport.

She was looking at the Uber driver disdainfully as I packed the boot. She was extremely suspicious of Uber drivers. Too much of negative media coverage if you ask me. The minute she saw a car outside, she would check her security group, posting about how there was a suspicious vehicle on the road with one Bravo Mike. How she even learnt that lingo was beyond me. 

“Remember Beti,” she said, a little softer as she glanced at him again, “Wherever you go. You are muslimah first.”

And there it started. I often rolled my eyes internally as she conveyed her mini-Bayaan, completely unaffected by her guilt tripping. 

The thing was, as long as I knew her, my mother was, by all standards, the traditional Indian one. I think it came from the fact that my maternal grandmother was first generation Indian. Like, ‘from the ship Indian’. That- and one more thing- Ma just had this crazy idea that a girl should grow up to be a good housewife and a homemaker. That’s it. Full stop.

And yes. I’m sure you could imagine the massive argument that ensued when my father broke her rules by letting me study BCom ACCOUNTING. Yes, not just any degree after school to say that their Beti had indeed studied at University. Not even BCom Marketing, like the other girls had ended up changing to, after realising what a killer Accounts was and hastily running to see the Dean to swap over.

No. I HAD to be one of the ones to take it all the way to the end of the fourth year. Honours included. Plus the board exams. She was basically inconsolable.

“It’s easy to talk,” I scoffed, tuning back to the present and shoving the thought of my mother’s disappointments (aka: me) out of my head before turning back to Hamzah. “Why don’t you come and see for yourself?”

Honestly, I was just over his belittling attitude. Just wait until he starts dancing around like a chicken in these icy waters. I snickered to myself. I was camera ready. Blackmail was on its way!

He chuckled, taking it as a joke and oblivious to my plan as he gingerly got up and made his way toward the shoreline. I tightened my hijab and turned to watch him.

I giggled as I watched him jingle a bare foot around, splashing around, almost like a child, grinning to to himself as he cast a playful glance at me, obviously taking delight in this frivolous activity. 

“Hey monkey,” I called to him, quite shocked that he wasn’t shivering at the mere prospect of Atlantic seas. “Don’t you think we should go back now?”

Honestly, just saying that was making my heart contract. The thought of not knowing when I would see these beautiful shores again was painful. It was somehow different to being on the east coast where we had family. The dolphins and the tidal pools… the beauty that the west coast boasted was so unique. It really was an amazing sight. 

Glory to the One who created it…

I couldn’t help but think about how my parents would love this view. They had always been the outdoorsy type. As kids, we often spent days away on hikes and bikes, early mornings on trips that would take us forever, but the experiences after were always well- worth the wait. That said though, I felt guilty for ignoring my mothers last message asking me what I was wearing. My daily attire usually consisted of a loose straight cut pants and a longish top that looked decent. Today, however, the top was creeping a little higher than usual. It wasn’t entirely intentional though.

Okay, maybe it was. I can see you judging me, but let me just explain, okay? 

The thing was, work was demanding. I didn’t have time to spend hours on choosing a suitable outfit that looked professional and decent at the same time. My wardrobe was limited. My aim, as I grew in my career and earned more (lots, lots more) money was to buy more appropriate attire. Modest wear. Appropriate in my eyes. And my mothers, okay, if you must know. For now though, I was working on a budget and I had to make what little I had packed, work. I was an aspiring CA and I had to live according to my means. 

But anyway, back to the point. How we ended up on the must needed diversion was that a few of us who had headed out for a morning stroll before today’s audit began, just as a little breather.

Believe me, with a boss like ours, we all needed it. And even though I knew that we were working our butts off, habit had it that I still found myself checking my watch more frequently as the time for breakfast and the start of day would commence. 

We were a team of seven graduates who had been selected for this short trip and I didn’t want to mess it up. Besides, our boss was not the most understanding of people when it came to being late. When it came to being anything other than perfect, to be honest. 

Hey!” a voice called from behind us. I closed my eyes momentarily as I heard him, hoping it wasn’t who I thought it was. “What are you’ll still doing here?”