Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Sundays. I just loved them.

And I didn’t always love them.

Most Sundays were spent sleeping off hangovers and late nights out… Another wasted day in my somewhat wasted life.

But since I had become clean, my focus for Sundays were a bit different. Sundays were my cooling off days. The chill-out time.

After a snack, an early morning jog usually did it before I hit the gym. All Waseem’s unused equipment was coming in handy, and it was an awesome way to divert my attentions and work off all my pent-up energies.

And then of course, I would venture into the kitchen (again) for some real nourishment.

I opened the fridge, and quite a surprise awaited me that particular day. Mum must have really gone all out, or maybe we just never realised how much us brothers ate when we were around. It was also possible that in my father’s chase for the world, he had probably even stopped eating.

The shelves were packed with food, most them my favourite dishes. I knew that Waseem wouldn’t approve, but I was ready to take it on. I took out about three different ones, aiming for a variety.

Being back home was good in some ways, because I felt glad to make my mother happy. I wasn’t sure if it was a good thing, but with my slightly more emotional state of mind these days, I had also become more tuned in to other people’s emotions.

She had known that I was with my brothers, but when I came home, I could just see the relief on her face.

“How’s Waseem?” She asked, immediately giving away her concerns about the blue-eyed boy. And no, I wasn’t jealous.

Okay, maybe a little.

“He’s gone missing,” I said, without missing a beat. Waseem had an episode a few years ago when he went AWOL.

No-one knew where exactly he had went, but I doubted that it was anywhere great. Maybe he was trying out ISIS.


“He’s fine, Mum,” I said, feeling slightly bad for her. “He’s staying at his place… He’s content.”

Contentment. That place I thought that only old people reach when they kick the bucket. I was actually glimpsing it somewhere in the near future even for myself. The urge for achieving and owning materialistic things was slowly diminishing…

I walked up the stairs to my upper-level refuge, hoping not to bump into my father. He was usually in his office on Sunday mornings. Well, come to think of if, I wasn’t sure when he wasn’t in his office. Instead of admiring his business approach, all I could think of now was: Didn’t he have a real life?

Like. C’mon. Dude.

I unpacked my bag and lay back on my two seater couch, initially actually glad to be back in my private dwellings. I unlocked my phone and ventured onto social media for a bit, surprisingly finding the world so much further away than I had thought.

Friends and acquaintances who were a constant on my social media feeds now seemed somewhat dull in comparison to what I knew was reality. And now, I truly understood how much of wasted time went into these pursuits.

I put my phone down, contemplative.

Loneliness. That’s what drove people to social media. This is what it felt like. For the first time in a while, I had none of my ‘guys or gals’ around.  No-one. The feelings of ‘loser-hood’ were becoming a reality for me. In cutting everyone off, was I becoming a loser who no-one really liked?

I had even basically thrown my chic away, losing her to another guy altogether. Was I acting too irrationally? Did I just get an impulsive urge to reform that I knew I might regret?

My inner demons were knocking down the urge for good.

Call her, a voice was saying. Win her back.

I shook my head at myself, knowing that wasn’t an option. She wasn’t going to fall back into my arms either way. After all, I was just that ‘drunk guy at the club’.

My thoughts instantly then moved back to my crew…  My friends who I hadn’t seen in a while, and like an inclination that was pulling me back on track, I remembered Waseem’s advice.

He was spot on with his predictions. Right now, no-one really had my back. No-one really cared where I was. Everyone was already moving on and moving along, only looking out for themselves.

The reality was already hitting me, as will be the case on the Day of Judgement, when all will be revealed for who they are. This was true… This was reality.

No-one could put in better than how Allah tells us…
الْأَخِلَّاءُ يَوْمَئِذٍ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ إِلَّا الْمُتَّقِينَ
Close friends, on that Day, will be enemies to each other, except for the righteous and God fearing…” •[Surah Az-Zukhruf:67]

And so, it was time to make some real investments. To find some friends who were actually going to have my back… Not the type of friends who I thought were going to benefit me here in my worldly pursuit.

As I stood on my balcony, I thought of the getting into contact with that guy who had been the start of the whole change. I had no idea how he came to be a part of our activities, but I knew he wasn’t anything like me. He was just a means that Allah had put into our lives to help us.

I sighed, lighting a cigarette and inhaling deeply, feeling somewhat lost. Without my brothers, I was weaker.

Well, my feelings were short-lived, because just as the isolation of my room started getting to me, voices from below caught my attention. Had I been inside, I wouldn’t have gotten an inkling of the happenings below me, but outside, the raised voices were clear as day.

It was like World War 75 in Dad’s office.

I sighed, shaking my head, preparing myself for still worse to come. I could hear that someone else was downstairs, and I could hear that my father was probably going to make it a scene. A disgruntled supplier? Irresponsible staff?

I braced myself, stubbing the cigarette I had half-finished on the wall. I could hear my mother banging on my room door, and hastily closed my sliding door, rushing to open the first door of my section to her distraught face.

“Ziyaad, please come,” my mother was saying tearfully, looking completely stressed.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I knew my mother needed some assistance. I usually didn’t get involved.

I had always been the last person anyone would call, but making a choice to grow up made people see me in a new light. The Zee was going to be something of a buffer… I would have to step up.

I raced down the passage, taking the stairs because the lift would’ve have just wasted time. The voices became starker as I approached, and I could clearly hear my brother trying to calm Dad down.

“Dad,” he was saying. “I’ve made my choice. I’ve just come to ask you to attend my Nikah-”


Only, he didn’t say damn. He used a different word.

I shuffled on my feet, looking at my mother painfully.

Did I hear right? Waseem was getting married?

“YOU MESSED UP ALL OF MY DEALS,” he continued.

Only, he didn’t say messed up. He used an uglier version.

I sighed, rubbing my own temples. He wasn’t done.


I cringed. All the banter was a harsh contrast to the serenity I was feeling the past few days. Anxiety was building up because I was inclined to do something. My mother wasn’t a quiet woman, but she had a smaller frame, and I knew she wouldn’t dare interfere.

She would get caught up in the bust-up.

I walked forward, peeping in from outside. Waseem’s back was to me, and while my father’s hands flailed all over, Waseem just stood there and kind-of watched him. It was a bit like  a spectator sport, only the difference here was that the opponents here were one and the same person.

My father and his greed for worldly things were the competitors. The truth of what Waseem had told me all that time ago came back to haunt me, like it was just yesterday. Except that this time, it wasn’t referring to me: My father was his own enemy.

I watched my father close in on Waseem, his hand outstretched to deliver the final physical blow after all the verbal abuse. It was like everything was in slow motion, even though we all knew what was coming.

No, Cassim!” My mother literally screamed, stepping forward as if to save Waseem.

But it was too late. The sound of the blow was painful, but I couldn’t imagine the excruciating torture that Waseem must have  been experiencing. I could see him wincing as he touched his head and then looked at his hand to check for blood.

He looked back at my father, who had now cornered him, and then finally put up his hands, as if to surrender. So unlike Waseem. He was just taking it, when I knew he didn’t have to. Why?

I took the opportunity to butt myself in, like a brainiac warrior with no armour, wedged in between the two.

“Da-ad,” I said, my voice shaky. I couldn’t look at my father. I was petrified.

“Zee, what are you doing?” Waseem whispered from behind.

“Don’t worry,” I said, putting on my mafia tone. “I got this.”

The whole impression I was trying to create just wasn’t meshing well with my true emotions. Instead of Jackie Chan, I felt more like Kung Fu Panda.

And my father knew it well. Either way, I knew he wouldn’t touch me. In those moments, seconds felt like minutes.

I looked up at him, glancing just once at his red face and widened pupils which looked like they were about to pop out, and offered the ultimatum as I turned my body as quickly as I could. I put my hand out, grabbing Waseem with all my strength, and decided what I had to do.

Kung Fu Pandas can’t tackle this shit. We had to make a run for it.

Run!” I shouted impulsively. I wasn’t sure if I was being dramatic or if this was going to be the most awesome plan I ever had.  “Just get out of here!”

I pulled him out of the room as I exited, doing the whole escape Zee-style. I knew there was no other way.

I expected my father to follow, but instead, my mother placed herself at the door, trying to calm him down.

I didn’t care about my father’s shouting, or the consequences after. I actually didn’t give two hoots about anything else, except that for the first time in my life, I was actually saving my brother’s back, instead of the other way around.

“Go do what you need to,” I said, hoping he’d take the advice and get away from this life. “Change your address. Get married. But do it quick.”

He had to, before more damage was done. He had to cut himself off whatever was holding him back. He needed to break free, and ease those shackles that had come with these attachments that we had thought were so important our whole lives.

“See you later?” He asked, getting a faraway look in his eyes. “After Asr?”

His cheek was still ablaze from the encounter with Dad, but his mind was elsewhere.

I nodded, but I knew I’d have to stick around here to make sure all was okay at home.

All this time my brothers had dealt with this, and I saw nothing wrong with the way our every day lives were unfolding. Day in and day out, the chase never ended. I was sheltered… Protected. I saw no wrong because to me, my wretched world was perfect.

Looking closer got me seeing a whole other reality. It was like the world I was now seeing was different world altogether.

Somehow, Waseem had seen the light, amidst this blackened horizon. And he had broadened it, to make way for our delusional minds to experience some of the brilliance. To encounter some illumination. To kindle the flame in our souls that had been nearly dead.

When one person makes the effort, and starts to change, it’s infectious. It’s like the effect of a ripple in the ocean. It’s effects may be slow and difficult to see, but deep down within, there are definitely felt.

He had done good. I was proud of my brother, no matter what my father or anyone else may say.

And of course, he deserved good back. I had to see that he got a shot, and hope for the best. As I watched him leave, I realised that it was happening right then.

Today, right now, was time for his payback.



Crossing Hurdles

Note: Sorry about the short-ish post… Something that is more substantial will be posted later this week InshaAllah.

Author not well, request for Du’aas.

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Waseem: Meeting expectations...

There are times in life when things unfold exactly the way you expect. Sometimes, even the finer expectations are met, in ways that we, ourselves, are surprised by.

And at other times, our expectations seldom meet the predictions that we had in our minds. There are times when things don’t quite go the way we had planned.

But that’s all in the plan of our Rabb. It’s all in the greater plan, that we fail to understand.

It just happens that at times we are too blinded by expectation to see that in not giving us what we want when we want it, it is purely a means of us acquiring a better and greater reward. Every slight test we endure is an opportunity to build the relationship with our Lord. We keep on going, because by being grateful, we truly have nothing to lose.

And, in my mind, I thought that nothing was lost. Everything, in hindsight, had gone well. And to say the least, I was quite sure that all would work out, when I had put myself out there. I was convinced and confident. No reservations. Being a ‘somebody’ in my neighbourhood from adolescence had got me quite an ego, and as the next day after the big proposal dawned, I felt a little bit of a reality check.

The realisation that the smart car I drove, money my father had, and the bank accounts he had set up for us for life, wouldn’t mean a thing when it came to this greatest event, hit me like a truck. To these people, and to this girl, I doubted all my draw cards had any effect. I doubted that it would even sway their decision.

However, where it did matter, I knew that I might be at a loss. With regard to Deen, what really did I have to offer?

All that hit me was this: Hell, a chic of that calibre must have even had the likes of Aalims propose to her… How did I even stand a chance against that?

And so, the third day after proposing, my hopes were swiftly plummeting, realising that maybe I wouldn’t get a chance to show what I could offer her. Maybe I wouldn’t see any more but a glimpse of the other side. Maybe all this chasing was just going to result in me losing it altogther… Just when I had finally found the gold.

But of course, when all the hopes are dashed, and you have no-one else that you can turn to, only the Almighty has your back. Even when you have zero expectation, and you’re feeling all down and out, with faith in Him, you never come out with nothing.

And so, after a particularly rough night, when I entered the Masjid the following day, I just knew that their was a silver lining here. My spirits immediately rose when I spotted Molvi Umar in the front, talking seriously to a someone, while I waited in the back.

I just knew that it was going to be a different kind of day.

He ended his conversation and it was a few moments of confusion and complete bewilderment before I realised who he was talking to. As the man in question turned around, none other than Zaynah’s father stood there, and he walked toward me, looking just as surprised to see me.

I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it, but a hint of a smile crossed Molvi’s face as he caught my eye  just before Zaynah’s father got to me, pausing to greet with both hands, Sunnah style, looking me straight in the eye.

If he was avoiding eye contact, I might have been worried, but the fact that he was so full-on with me got me all the more hopeful.

My nerves were already completely shot down by that stage, so I supposed any news would have been good news.

“Waseem,” he said steadily, still holding my hand. “My daughter is happy…”

And that’s all I heard. I mean, he didn’t have to say a word more. I was already smiling from ear-to-ear and I could now clearly see Molvi Umar watching me back, a clear smirk on his bright face.

Those moments were simply priceless. I was of such a momentary high, that I couldn’t focus to listen to what he was saying next.

“… To talk about what your parents want to do…”

Ah, shucks. My parents.

I had seen my mother a few times, but only out of the house. Mothers were mothers. She knew my battles with my father. I knew that she would hear me out if I had to ask her for anything, but my father would be a hard nut to crack. I wasn’t sure if I was willing to chance it.

I nodded back, telling him that I would come this afternoon so we can sort out the details of the next step forward. My heart was literally thumping in my chest, and I forced myself to calm down.

Jasses, Was, I told myself. Just cool off.

I was anxious. Despite the obvious excitement I felt, I knew I couldn’t exactly tell anyone until I had told my parents. I had already made my mind up about my father: Whatever he had to say, it wouldn’t sway me. My duty was just to tell him, and put myself out there for some possible ear-splitting performances. I didn’t need his approval, because it didn’t matter.

“Mus’ab,” a voice said, and I looked up to see Molvi Umar smiling, like he knew something that I didn’t.

“How’s everything, Maulana?” I said, turning to him to greet, trying to conceal my anxiety.

“Everything great, I hear,” he replied, still smiling. “Why are you still looking stressed?”

I sighed, feeling the whole world’s weight on my shoulders.

“Parents don’t know,” I said, rubbing my temples.

Molvi didn’t seem surprised.

“You know what you do,” he said thoughtfully. “After you read your two rakaats, just ask Allah to make it easy. Ask Him to sort it out, to make Nikah quick and it will be okay.”

I nodded, his words having the desired impact.

I felt immensely guilty. I mean, things had worked out perfectly so far, but not even for a moment did I stop to think about my reaction to it all.

Things were moving forward, but my mind was focussed on the next hurdle rather than focussing on how much had gone right. I didn’t even consider making shukar and thanking Allah…

“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe’.” (14:7)

I was living in a illusion that everything depended on my effort alone, completely forgetting the one who controls everything.

And so often we forget that indeed, part of being in obedience to Allah is to thank Him for everything he had blessed us with so so far. And with obedience and gratitude, then only will He shower us with so much more and increase us in bounties.

So I turned to Him, realising that it was only Him who had brought me through everything that I had been through till this day.

I realised the truth. That nothing happened without a purpose. Nothing. Not even when I got broken…. Not even when I experienced pain, or nearly lost myself to the Duniyaa in completion.

I learnt that difficulty was but a lesson and sign for me… They were warnings that something was majorly wrong. Warnings that I was indeed grateful for, because they had brought me to where I was today. They opened my eyes… They made me change.

I sat in solitide and complete gratitude, then realising that now was the time for the next step. I had asked Allah for guidance in matters that I was concerned about, so now the news had to be spread. Time won’t wait.

As much as I wanted to cling onto the moments where everything was perfect, I knew that a little discomfort would be a means to move on to better things.

I got up, planning my next moves carefully, because I knew what lay ahead.

It was time to go and see my father.

Breaking the Barriers: Zaynah

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

At some point, you have to make a decision. You have to seize opportunity.

Boundaries don’t keep other people out, they fence you in. So, you can waste your life, being apprehensive, and drawing the lines that you’re too afraid to step over… Or you can live your life crossing them.

Now, I’ve had my fair share of proposals before moving here.

Well, three is fair when you’re under twenty. Lack of compatibility made me tell Abbi that I was too young to make a decision like that. The guys I had seen had always just fell short of what I had always wanted, and I seldom mentioned the experiences because I really didn’t feel it worth remembering.

Back home, people were starting to think that I probably thought I was too good for any boy. And I had stopped accepting requests if I knew there was a very slim chance.

Why should I put myself through it again?

Every time I had to expose my face to a guy, and make mundane chit-chat was me putting myself and my dignity on the line once again.

It was an effort. It was torturous. Not to mention, humiliating.

And the worst part was afterwards. Waiting. Anticipating. Uneasy. Wanting to be wanted. Even if I didn’t want it myself.

Expectations are suffocating.

And so, nothing was more welcome than what had stepped into our lives that afternoon, turning it into something I had never expected. I didn’t expect to let myself be swayed. I didn’t expect to be caught up in what I would have always called clichéd.

I remembered our short meeting, and my spirits soared momentarily.

When I was so sure that we wouldn’t ever be compatible… When I had so many reservations about him and his likes. How was it that this guy was actually close to perfect?

The cynical, antagonistic streak in me was just awaiting some kind twisted secret beyond this whole supposed fairytale.

Honestly, sometimes I was so certain that I was slightly bipolar. There was no other way to explain how fast emotions got me swaying.

There had to be something wrong. There just had to. He just couldn’t be that great. He was a guy, after all.

Nabeela phoned Zakiyya to give her the slightly exaggerated account of the afternoon, and my sister graced us with her presence after Esha that day.

“I had to actually throw a small tantrum to get Riyaadh to bring me. This better be good.”

She looked at my face and sighed, exasperated.

“So? As usual… Still no expectations?” Zakiyya said, sitting down with her slightly protruding tummy.

I shook my head, then nodded. Should I tell her?

“He proposed,” I said, not believing it myself.

“Oh my gosh!” She squealed, covering her mouth.

“Like immediately?” She gasped. “That’s a record, Zay!”

I nodded, still in shock.

He had phoned the very evening to ask what my answer was. Decisiveness in a guy was something that was extremely admirable to me. I always wanted someone who was clear about what they wanted… No nonsense.

The thing was, I just needed to settle my own concerns.

I was quite overwhelmed, to say the least. I could feel the anxiety rising up again. Like an over-boiling kettle.

“Zaks!” I could hear Nabeela saying, like she was in the distance. “She’s doing it again. Emergency!”

Zakiyya giggled, shaking her head, and Nabeela came to sit in front of me, cross-legged, trying to get my concentration on her.

“Breathe, Zaynah,” she said, trying to calm me down. “Breeeeaathe.”

Nabeela was trying to do some kind of knock-off Japanese technique that was way beyond my frame of mind. She held my shoulders down, trying to get me to relax.

It just had adverse effects. I hated people touching me.

“Just get me the damn sugar,” I scowled, pushing her hands off me.

Zakiyya looked at me reprimandingly, wagging her long finger.

“You know, Zaynah,” she started. “You need to start being more civilised. If you’re going to be married, guy don’t like all the drama…”

I zoned out, taking a jelly baby from the packet Nabeela was offering. The sugared sweet melted on my tongue, and I immediately felt calmer.

A realisation suddenly hit me.

This guy wanted to marry me. He actually wanted to marry me.

I really needed to start getting my act together. If he had to find out about the real me, I was sure he would scurry away, horrified.

“Can’t I just go and crawl under the bed?” I asked, sticking out my bottom lip.

“Stop being such a drama queen,” Zakiyya snapped, getting annoyed.

Instead of stopping me from crying, now I was just feeling more emotional. All of this reaponsibility was now mine. I had to make a decision. Whether to give myself or not. I needed support, and Zakiyya was just being so cold.

My lip started trembling, and before I could control it, the tears were flowing. It was all too much for me. I needed a break. I needed someone to just tell me what to do. I needed my Ummi.

“Oh gosh, Zaynah,” Zakiyya said, slightly apologetic. “I’m sorry, okay? But this is not the time for all of this. Let’s just talk, okay?”

I nodded, wiping back the tears. Abbi had come in earlier to tell me to make my Isthikhaarah and decide, but it seemed like such a huge thing to do. The thing that was scaring me was the very fact that I was just so tempting to accept.

“You know, Zaynah,” Nabeela said suddenly, coming to sit next to me. “Remember the ‘investigation’ that I said I was doing?”

I turned to face her, searching her face for tell-tale signs of news.

Was it going to make my whole decision easier? Was there some deep dark secret lurking there? Skeletons in the closet? A girl he made pregnant?

I felt bad for thinking such terrible things, but I always had a feeling that people from that kind of lifestyle had plenty of hidden agendas and unexposed secrets. Was he just the same as them all?

“We-ell,” she started, building up the suspense. “I asked around at school.”

“And?” I probed, all ears.

“A-and…” She said, trailing off, not meeting my eye.

“What?!” Zakiyya almost screamed, frustrated.

I think the pregnancy was really getting to her.

“A friend of mine’s… Her sister knows them,” she said, mysteriously.

“And?” I pressed, glaring at her.

She paused dramatically. I wanted to strangle her.

I wasn’t even sure about Nabeela’s sources, but I still wanted to know.

“She says that they’re very rich,” she said, looking awestruck, and as if it was a deal-breaker. Or deal-maker.

Rich? Was that all she got, out of her whole big investigation?

Zakiyya sighed, clearly exasperated.

She turned to me, glaring.

“Zaynah, it’s like you just looking for flaws. You’re looking for a reason to say no.”

“I’m not-” I started saying, trying to defend myself.

“Think of all my friends I had told you about,” she said, forcing me to reflect. “They’ve been refusing even good proposals, for silly reasons. Every single guy that proposes… There’s always a story. It’s always ‘never right’. And now they’re nearly in their mid-twenties and can’t find any guys. Maulana Umar wouldn’t have brought him if he wasn’t worthy. Getting a good one is like a needle in a haystack. Don’t be stupid.”

She was right. I knew it. Abbi had told me to make my choice, but I knew what he meant.

These days, it was so difficult to find the right type of guy. All the answers I had got from Waseem had seemed perfect, so was there any reason to delay?

I had always wanted to do things the right way… I was always stressing on how I needed someone who would be best for me and my Deen… I had always wanted it… And Abbi seemed so keen.

So, wouldn’t it be hypocritical if I didn’t take the words of our most beloved Nabi’s (SAW) seriously?

He (SAW) said, “When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied asks for your daughter in marriage, accede to his request. If you do not do so there will be corruption and great evil on the earth.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi.)

And I had seen so often that when the advice was not followed, often, things took a turn for the worse.

In aspiring to do what’s right, I knew that there would be no mistakes.

Yes, there might be hurdles, but I would have to speak to him first to clear up whatever concerns I may have had. I would ask Allah to guide me, and try taking a plunge, for once in my calculated life.

Nabeela noticed my expression, and smiled.

“She thinks he’s gorrr-geous,” she  said, in a sing-song voice. “She wants to lurvvv him… She wants to marrrrrry him…”

I shooshed her, not wanting her silly movie songs at that moment in time. She watched so much of junk, that I was considering telling Abbi to take the laptop away from her. It needed to be thrown into the bin.

At the moment, though, there were bigger fish to fry. This whole marriage thing was a big step for me.

Huge. Iconic. But I wanted to break the barrier between his world and mine.

I wanted to see how the two would mesh, how we would merge as two separate people, united by the Sunnah ceremony that my heart was so inclining towards.

It was an awesome step for me, and a huge and somewhat unsteady bridge to cross. I was apprehensive, but willing to try, hoping for the best.

Expectations. I had them too, and I always will. I wanted to prove that it could be awesome, if I allowed it to. I wanted to convince myself that happy endings might actually exist. That after all, there are some lines that are worth crossing.

Here’s what I know: If you’re willing to take the chance… To take the leap, and reach that place where where there are no limits…

In simple terms: The view from the other side…. Can actually be quite extraordinary.


Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Waseem: Hanging onto hope...

The future is a mystery. We never know what’s coming. But we still spend our whole lives worrying about it, planning for it and trying to predict it, even though it’s always changing.

And we’re all susceptible to what comes with the change.

The dread and anxiety of not knowing what’s next… The hope that our deepest fears will be eradicated, and our wildest desires fulfilled. We hang onto the hope, because basically, what would be the point if we were to live with no ambition at all?

At that moment, though, I momentarily wished that I didn’t have any aspirations. Ever.

I mean, solely because it would have saved me the feelings that haunted me since the day I saw the girl that had turned my life upside down. Of course, I could never have known how deep I would get myself in.

I stuck out my hand, almost robotic-ally, to greet the girls’ father.

“You’ll got my messages, bha?” He asked, clasping my hands Sunnah style and ushering us on the verandah, once again.

He probably assumed that we had just arrived. I held my breath, hoping he wouldn’t ask us anything else that would incriminate us.

“Messages?” I asked, almost whispering.

Had the man been sending messages for me? Messages I didn’t know about?

“Jhee,” he answered opening the door with his key, only to find it already unlatched.

Crap. We forgot to lock up.

He looked slightly fazed, but continued talking.

“I met your… Err… Father,” he said, sounding wary. “He had asked me something about the house and I said I had spoken to you. He seemed… Busy. I wasn’t sure if he would tell you, but he gave me your card to contact you. That was about a week ago.”

My card was completely outdated. I didn’t even use a card any more, come to think of it. What was the point?

“Maaf,” I said apologetically. “I’m not in business any more, so I changed my number. Was there anything you’ll needed? Everything okay with the place?”

I had to ease up the whole situation. I just hoped that my father played it cool and didn’t let on his true feelings about the house. It was typical of him to act normal and let everyone else do his dirty work though.

The man shook his head, and then nodded. I didn’t know what to make of it. He stepped inside, expecting us to follow.

I didn’t want to. I was ready to leave… Because my mind was already on what was coming next. I didn’t want to get myself involved here again. I still had to face my father, and do the big confrontation.

But that’s the things with planning… Things barely ever turn out how you anticipate.

“Actually, Waseem,” the man said. “I wanted to talk to you about something else… About my daughter.”

The familiar disconcerted feeling rose up again, and I felt embarrassed. I mean, after having come twice with the same intention and still failing, there was a certain amount of embarrassment that accompanied the mention of her.

I knew that I had to let them off the hook now. I had to let him know that I didn’t come back for that reason. He must be thinking that I was chasing something beyond my reach, by popping up here time and time again. I kept on bringing up history that they had probably swept under the rug. I cringed, realising for the first time how us being here looked.

But how did I explain the real reason without it getting uncomfortable?

“Abbi,” a voice said from inside, before I could save myself from further trouble.

It was a different voice to earlier. Different, but vaguely familiar. I immediately tried to look inside from where I stood, just glimpsing a girl of medium height, fully covered up. She came forward, opening the door to let her father in, and then looked at us for a moment, before turning back to her father.

“Please tell them to come in,” she said, addressing her father, but making sure that we could hear.

I sucked in my breath.

It was her. The girl who I had first seen, as I had glimpsed the view from the other side, just momentarily. The girl I had first set my sights on, not knowing that she was far beyond my reach.

I had really thought that she wouldn’t want us anywhere near them after everything that had happened. Well, until now.

“Come, Waseem,” her father said, looking from me to Ziyaad. “Come have something. The girls have prepared.”

It wasn’t a question.

And, he didn’t have to say any more. Even if I wasn’t game, my brother was already… Well, about ten steps ahead of me.

Ziyaad immediately went to the dining room, gaping at the spread on that seemed to pop out of nowhere. I mean, we were just there minutes ago.

I took the plate that was handed to me, eating a little, careful not to over indulge. They had a cloth spread on the floor, and it reminded me of Jamaat meals, while we sat there and ate in peace the Sunnah way. It was just so serene.

All the anxiety I had previously felt seemed to dissipate into thin air.

Well, until her father went out of the room for a short while and came back, addressing me again.

“I don’t know if it’s good timing,” he said, looking apprehensive. “But I was trying to contact you. Zaynah, my daughter, wanted to speak with you before she, er… Makes a decision. Maaf… A bit sudden, I know… But you know me and this message business…”

He trailed off, looking awkward.

I swallowed, digesting exactly what he said.

Well, I had least expected that.

They wanted to give it shot. They were prepared to accept my humble proposal, without me even having to ask again. They were ready to actually take the plunge.

I nodded, almost blankly, and he got up, and I knew he expected me to follow. Ziyaad was vaguely aware of what was happening, but as usual, he was quite busy in pursuit of having a good fill after all the work he had done, to really worry about where I was going. It was nearly Asr time, so I signalled to him to start finishing off before leaving the room.

To say I was nervous was modest. My hand was stuffed in my kurta pocket to stop the trembling, and I felt like I hadn’t drank anything the whole day. I couldn’t think straight, so just followed orders as to where to go.

It was a shock to my system. I was caught completely unaware.

“Straight through,” he said, gently pushing me forward and leaving me to go on, sitting on a stool nearby.

I somehow managed to step forward, weak knees and all, focussing on just not tripping over and causing a scene. I mean, the whole build up was just so intense, and now it was happening so fast. Too fast.

The room was fairly bright, and I looked ahead and greeted, still not focussing on who sat in front of where I stood, mainly because I was in slight awe. I wasn’t even sure how this had happened… How I had got a chance, but I just knew that by Divine Mercy… I needed to not mess this one up.

Every smooth pick-up line I had used in the past wouldn’t avail me here, and I literally found myself lost for words. For the first time in my life, I didn’t know what to say.

Before the silence got awkward, she quickly intervened, probably realising that I was probably less eloquent than I seemed.

“JazakAllah to you and your brother,” she said simply, sounding sincerely grateful.”May Allah reward you immensely. We didn’t know what to do, and our home would have been wrecked if you’ll didn’t step in…”

“Please,” I cut in, not able to accept that we had been some sort of heroic figures here. “It was our duty. My father….”

I trailed off, knowing that it wasn’t a good idea to get onto that topic.

Safer zones, I reminded myself.

“The food,” I said, wanting to thank her. “Was great. My brother’s really enjoying himself there. You’ll didn’t have to prepare so much.”

Too much of info. I cringed slightly, finally sitting down and getting the courage to actually look up.

Finally, I got to actually see the girl that I had been so set on for the past few months.

How did she come to finally accept me as worthy of her?

The answer was soon to come.

She turned away slightly under my gaze, and I witnessed a slight redness creeping in, to colour her pale face. The same face that was etched in my memory, for the past few months.

Of course she would be shy.

It was precisely the sign that I had always needed to see in my wife-to-be.

“JazakAllah,” I said finally, trying to somehow redeem myself. “For everything.”

As if every box hadn’t already been ticked, her next words were enough to completely blow me away.

It was one thing when a girl makes you sweat, but when her knowledge of Deen is the first thing she reveals to you, it’s something else.

She looked up, smiling slightly, and said the words that just made it for me.

It was priceless.

“Is there any other reward for good other than good?” She said, slightly mysteriously.

I knew the words. Of course, it was Allah’s promise… Of the favours upon us.

It was just the most perfect moment. With the most perfect words. I couldn’t even think of what to say back, so I just smiled, because I already knew where this was leading.

Allah blesses the Muhsineen who do good without expecting anything in return.
He blesses them with an army from His own who will be kind to him and love him… Without him even realising it.

And so He says:

هَلْ جَزَاءُ الْإِحْسَانِ إِلَّا الْإِحْسَانُ
Is there any reward for good other than good?
(Surah Al Rahman, Verse 60)

The thing was, just when we think we’ve figured things out, life throws us a curveball. But we improvise. We find happiness in unexpected places. We find our way back to the things that matter… Back to what we know is best for us.

Sometimes, things don’t always work out perfectly the first time… And sometimes, you’re not sure if it could getter any  better, because it’s just that awesome.

But when things don’t work out the way we had planned… There is always a way of making sure we wind up exactly where we belong… A means to attain that ultimate reward…

And where we belong, ultimately, is nothing short of perfection.

Making History

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Waseem: The Right Way...

Often, you don’t recognize the biggest days of your life. Not until it’s already happening. The day you commit to something… Or the day you make it big-time… The day you meet your destiny.

Or the day you realise the truth about this world… Because you foolishly thought you could live forever, when you were always told that nothing’s meant to last…

Whatever event it is… That’s the thing with making history. It’s always in the making. And for me, all the making was just on one day.

And right then, as I sprinted towards the house that I had come to know fairly well during the past few months, I just had a feeling that it was going to be a day that I would probably not forget very easily.

Besides almost bubbling over with anger, the anxiety about the outcome was killing me. How was I going to end this open onslaught? How would they deal with this vicious insult… This ripping apart of their home for no other reason other than Dad’s plans to build more and more?

I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Fortunately, there was no car in the driveway. I was at least grateful that the man who owned these things didn’t have to witness this undignified removal.

I scanned the yard, immediately seeing the guy I was looking for. They called him Ossie and he was my Dad’s go-to guy. He always did Dad’s odd jobs, and especially intervened when it came to things of this nature. You name it, and he would deliver.

I manoeuvred my way into the house where he was going, calling out his name to try and get his attention. He turned around to face me, looking confused at first. I supposed it took him a few seconds to realise who I was, but he eventually did.

“Waseem?” He asked, cracking a smile.

I nodded, greeting him. Straight to business, I reminded myself.

“Uncle O, please halt this operation,” I said seriously. “Your guys need to start putting everything back.”

He frowned, shaking his head.

“Strict orders, boss,” he said. “He’ll finish me if I leave without doing this job.”

I had to do something. I had to make it end. It was time to pull out the draw card.

“I’ll sort you out, don’t worry,” I said, feeling slightly nauseated. “My father will understand the situation.”

He was still reluctant.

Money. I mean after all, it was all that mattered, right? Without talking rates, nothing gets done. I could always have threatened him in ways that I knew would work, but somehow, I just didn’t want it to get ugly. Firearms weren’t meant for this kind of business. Here in Pretoria, it was just the cause of more killing and gangster business going on. I had to be responsible.

I pulled out whatever cash I had, making sure he could see that I was armed so he wouldn’t try any tricks to get me out. Obviously with a promise of more cash still to come, I finally began to see some enthusiasm. I was disgusted.

Firstly, with myself, because I had become a part of it, and secondly, because I had forgotten the way of the world. Being on a different path of life had got me deluded… It had got me thinking that the whole world had changed, when it actual fact, when you move on, everything else stays exactly where you had left it.

I only wished that I could make people see where the real riches lay. I wished that they could trash the idea that it was in the massive houses, luxury super cars and branded clothing that they bought. I wish people could stop worshipping the idols of this world, like their Smart Phones, shoes and handbags that they would probably die without.

It was a fact. We made idols of these things, making them such objects of extreme importance, when it actual fact, every thing that we see around us is just going to turn to dust. Every silly sentimental ornament, or expensive gift… The gold and diamonds of the world that we hold so much value to… It will all just become dust. Just powdery, useless dust.

And about the real wealth, people don’t care. The wealth that is invested with your Lord is eternal. Those hours spent in repentance and worship can never be a waste. The disregard for this world will always avail you… Because what awaits after, can never compare.

And no-one could put it better than our Prophet (SAW) saying:

A proclaimer will proclaim: “For you there is everlasting health, and you will never be sick. For you there is everlasting life, and you will never die. For you there is perpetual youth, and you will never get old. And for you there is everlasting bliss, and you will never be in want. (Muslim)

SubhaanAllah. It is truly humanity’s real abode… A place in which there will be no human imperfection. We can never imagine… And yet we still prefer this temporary life over the promises of Jannah.

I shook my head, letting the feelings of putridness dissolve.

This was the last thing I wanted to happen. I felt like an invader in these people’s house. I didn’t know how my father did these things, most of the time for no apparent reason.

It was just as well that they weren’t at home, because I would have hated for them to witness this.

I facilitated the quick replacing of furniture, as best as I could remember. The guys left quickly, eager to be let off early, and I stayed back while Ziyaad helped to re-arrange final bits in the main home area. He was actually behaving himself for once, and it was quite something to see how much my brother had grown up.

Ziyaad, my previously ‘idiot younger brother’, was actually growing into a man. And not the disagreeable, obsessed man I had feared. Allah had looked at him with such a mercy that I could see his whole life changing, and it was yet another reminder of how Du’aa could change anything.

We finished off, glad that the car wasn’t back yet, and hoping that I wouldn’t catch them on the way out. I wasn’t sure what exactly I would say or how we would explain ourselves, so I ushered Ziyaad out and followed him toward the door as quickly as possible. And it was just as well that they didn’t reach the other rooms as yet, because just as we were about to step out, a voice caught us completely unawares.

” ‘Salaamalaykum.”

The voice was soft, but loud enough for us to hear. We both spun around to see a youngish girl, covered modestly and not even looking at us, just at the passage entrance. I looked away. Had she been standing there all that time? 

A new anger rised up, realising that they were probably in the house all this time. How could they intrude with these girls alone at home? It was just so unethical. I knew this was something I was going to confront my father about. Just thinking about what could have happened, made me so angry.

They literally broke into their home. No consideration at all.

At that moment, I was seeing red, but I had to focus on what this girl was saying.

“My sister… Erm… She says to tell you’ll… Um…”

The girl was probably in  her early teens, so I could understand her hesitation. I mean, she had probably never spoken to a guy before, and now she had to face two who were in her own personal space. Leave alone that, the one was shamelessly ogling her, completely unaware of how unsettling it was for this chic.

I whacked Ziyaad on the back of his head, hoping he would get the hint and stop being so damn audacious. He was acting like he’d never seen a girl before. The poor girl was looking terrified.

“My sister says to, er, w-wait for Abbi,” she finally stammered, and literally spun around to run back to the room.

I looked at Ziyaad and he smirked at me, looking slightly apologetic.

“Idiot,” I said, shaking my head at him, and turning around again.

All this time I was on edge, but now that the girl mentioned her father, I felt like the whole world’s weight was on my shoulders.

Despite what she said, I really wanted to get out of there before he came. I just couldn’t face him after everything. There was too much history… Too much to be said. I didn’t know if I had it in me to go through with it. I just hoped they wouldn’t hold us accountable for my father’s selfish actions.

“Let’s get out of here,” I said, literally pulling Ziyaad with me as I walked down the verandah, eager to escape.

What?” Ziyaad was saying, stubborn as ever. “You heard her the lady, bru. She said to wait.”

He didn’t know what this could all bring… And the truth was, neither did I. I had just stepped down the stair and started to open the gate, when the familiar white Toyota pulled in, with the man in question looking directly at us, a strange look on his face.

History resurfaces. Sometimes we can change things, and sometimes we can’t. Sometimes we have a choice.

So, we had to remember, the most important thing, was the history we’re making right now.

Make it good… Make it the right way. But most importantly, make it the way you want to remember.

The Ugly Side

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

My father was the type of man who never backed down from an argument. I supposed that’s why he had always perservered in his field of business… Probably because he treated his professional pursuits in the same way. For him, there were no strings attached. Business or family… It was all the same to him.

Muhammed had inherited that quality, but he always diluted it with doses of good humour, to soften the blow. With my father, it was all just raw. Concentrated, you could say. The bitterness was always very obvious.

There was no avoiding the situation. Waseem was probably in for it. I was glad that I didn’t have to call my brother, because, thankfully, I supposed he had already heard the small exchange from where he sat. The dining room wasn’t that far off.

“Dad?” Waseem asked, looking surprised. He came forward whilst wiping his mouth with a paper towel. He must have just finished eating.

“Waseem,” my father’s gaze quickly shifted from me to him. It was still penetrating.

“Can you tell me what exactly is going on?” He asked candidly, looking at Waseem expectantly.

“About what, Dad?” Waseem asked, acting nonchalant.

My father narrowed his eyes, stepping forward. It was like he was noticing Waseem for the first time.

“What is all this?!” He snapped, pointing accusingly at Waseem’s hat. He scrutinised his entire garb, shaking his head.

“You gone tabliqi or something?” he asked rudely.

I wanted to crawl away, and just remove myself from his ugliness. It was just so… Unnecessary.

I didn’t know why my Dad had to say it so loathingly. Like it was a disease.

Waseem didn’t bat an eye.

It was strange how people like us liked to pick on the tabs. Like tabliqi people who went in Jamaat were the only people who wore full Sunnah garb.

“So what if I was, Dad? What would that mean to you?!” Waseem’s voice was getting louder. “Would it really taint your ‘reputation’ that much if your son had to actually take a different path to your high-flying lifestyle?!”

It was someone’s turn to step in, because I knew if this carried on, it wasn’t going to end well. At all.

I was surprised at my father, though. His come-back to Waseem’s statements weren’t coming fast enough. He actually seemed to be thinking about his next words, which was pretty strange.

“Well, Waseem,” he said, a bit too calmly. “It doesn’t look like I’m the one who has to worry about reputation anymore. Yours is already gone out the window. It looks like your everything has caught up with you, son.”

I was confused. And from the looks of it, so was Waseem. He shook his head, looking at my father once again.

“What are you saying?” Waseem pressed, unsure of what to make of the whole situation. “Dad. What did you do?”

For the first time since he entered, I caught the glimpse of a smirk on my father’s face. It just looked kind of evil. Ugly evil.

“I just sorted out a few things,” Dad said contemptuously.

“Things? What d’you mean?”

His tone was desperate now, and he followed my father as he began to walk out.

“Let me just tell you this,” Dad said, spinning around and looking Waseem in the eye. “I’ve already got plans approved for that property and I’m going ahead with what I need to. So if you’re not going to get your girlfriend’s family out, son, my guys are already on the way. You wanted to play hard, my man… Well, you got it.”

And with that, Dad continued walking, leaving a completely disorientated Waseem hanging around, trying to figure out his next move. It was absolutely unsettling.

Girlfriend? I didn’t get what Dad was talking about. Was it someone in Waseem’s past? The pieces weren’t yet fitting together.

Waseem moved back into the vicinity, muttering something to himself. It looked like he was on his way to look for Mo. Muhammed could sort out almost anything.

I caught up with him just in time. This whole thing was getting too deep. I wasn’t sure if I should escape now, or stick around to watch the the rest of the drama unfold. There was sure to be a forthcomong attraction.

I didn’t have much else to do, so I decided to wait it out.

“Did you hear what he was on about?” Waseem was asking Mo, in disbleief.

“I didn’t want to know,” Mo replied casually. “We don’t talk anymore.”

They don’t talk? I mean, I knew my father and Mo had issues, but I really didn’t know it was so bad. The true reality of my family life was hitting me. It was traumatic.

Stupid arguments and useless pursuits. And it all ended in severing ties and silent treatment… Just over money and temporary worldly things. Was this really how screwed up my family was?

I was slowly beginning to hate the very things that I had loved so much… The things that were causing all this unnecessary conflict.

“I just don’t get it, bru!” Waseem was outraged, following Muhammed into the lounge. “He’s just so caught up in his stupid world… He can’t even see what’s right or wrong anymore…”

Waseem stopped in mid-sentence, his eyes suddenly widening.

Shit!” He said emphatically.

“It’s that house,” Mo said, nodding. “So?”

“I have to do something, Mo,” Waseem was saying, sitting down on the leather couch.

“What are you gonna do?” Mo said, matter-of-fact. “You really want to get involved with that chic’s family again? After they turned you down twice?! Wipe your hands off it, Boss. It’s not your indaba.”

“I don’t know, bru, but everything happens for a reason,” Waseem replied, with that oh-so-determined look on his face.

He got up and went to the room, coming back with a holster that he tied to his thigh, and strapping a revolver into it.

Now, I knew that both my brothers had licensed firearms, but I rarely saw them carry it. Mo’s often stayed locked in the safe, and living in a gated community, Waseem rarely had a reason to take it out. He got up now, pulling his kurta down, and I wasn’t sure if it was mind over matter, but he just seemed that much more fierce now than ever before. His icey eyes seem to scruitinise his surroundings, and with a no-nonsense attitude, he pulled out his car-keys and headed for the doorway.

It was the perfect opportunity to hit an ISIS line, but I wasn’t sure how well that would go down. I’d probably be in for a speech from Waseem about how ISIS is not even backed by Muslims, which probably was the truth.

Well, the next best thing, obviously, was to follow. I mean, especially if it was something involving the bombshell chics, I knew I’d have to go along, even if  it was just for the ride.

Mo was trying to convince Waseem to cool off a bit, but he seemed overly hyped up. It was extremely infectious. Adrenalin pumped through my own veins, and excitement for whatever was to come began to mount. This was no ball-game. Whatever Waseem was going to do, had to be chaperoned.

I jumped into the passenger seat, witnessing Waseem in action after ages, really pushing his new car to the limits with speeding. It heightened the whole anticipation, even though it was just a little bit crazy. It was just as well that there were no cops around at that time.

Waseem yielded slightly at a stop street, braking almost half heartedly before he literally spun into the parking lot outside the house that I now knew quite well. The one over the berry bush that I had seen into, wondering who it was that was taking over my Dad’s property. I remembered the first time that I had come here, probably not even completely in my senses, looking with hungry and immodest eyes, relentlessly robbing these people of dignity, just with my mind. Little did I realise, that by being who I was, no-one but myself was undignified.

Since then, I had grown so much. I now looked, not with greed and inferiority, but with a heart filled with remorse. A heart that had previously been filled with the filth and love of this world that my father treasured so much, had been purified to allow some empathy and care. Emotions. The Zee was actually letting emotions take control.

I watched, with my heart bleeding.

A truck full of people were basically invading these people’s home, removing bits of furniture, and basically, whatever they could get their hands on before the final evacuation. I knew where this was headed. It was a scene that had played in my mind as a child, when I remembered my father taking me to one of these sites before, and I remebered the little kids’ toys strewn around in the yard. I was probably around 10 years old at the time.

It was a vivid memory that was now suddenly so clear.

Where are they going, Dad?” I had asked, hoping for some consolation. “Are they moving?”

Dad had just shrugged, saying that they needed to go.

They weren’t paying rent. I supposed he needed the money at the time… Maybe.

This time, though… I wasn’t sure.

Rebelliousness. Greed. It was just an issue of wanting more and more. And in all honesty, I knew it wouldn’t end.

Everytime I thought of my father, I would reflect once again on the verses I had learnt about just the week before in the class Waseem had took me for. It was like a reality check everytime it hit home.

1. The mutual increase (for worldly wealth) diverts you,

2. Until you visit the graves.

3. Nay! You shall come to know!

(Surah Thakathur)

And it was amazing how this one short Surah summed up so much of what needed to work on in this world… How our focus was just so off base. We forget how the greed completely diverts us of the reality… When we know that we will surely be questioned, and reach that final destination underground, that we completely lose sight of in this wretched world.

Had my father completely forgotten his purpose here, whilst on his pursuits of this temporary world? Did he understand that all  his wealth, his riches, and the buildings he continuously constructed will not accompany him to his final destinantion?

 Was this really an issue of money or was there some deeper-lying problem here that he wasn’t revealing?

Waseem was watching the very scene before my own eyes, looking like he wanted to explode.

He shook his head to himself, incessantly murmuring someting that sounded vaguely spiritual, and finally opened the door.

Run, Waseem, I wanted to shout, kind of stuck to the seat.

I wanted to tell him to just stop the onslaught. End this chase of the world. Kill the greed. Do something.

He closed the door behind him, breaking into a sprint, looking like he was ready to take on the world.

Well, despite him looking like the protaginist in a Batman sequel, only bearded and clad in full white, my heart felt unbelievably freed.

Right now, despite the cliché… There was a longing for this kind of twist in the whole drama.

Whatever it took, right now, we needed a damn super-hero.



Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Happy endings. I just loved ’em. I mean, who didn’t? Who doesn’t enjoy that ‘awwwww’ moment, at the end, when everything was just so damn peachy and yummy.

Well, yummy was an understatement. Aasiya’s welcome home dish was just superb. I grabbed a plate, not hesitating to load it with the creamy, cheesy pasta dish that was just going to go down the right alley. Perfection.

“Zi, do you ever stop eating, bru?” Waseem asked, literally coming out of nowhere. Or maybe I was just too absorbed in my food to notice him approaching the kitchen.

“You just had a full chow at that chic’s house, like, just over an hour ago,” he commented.

“This is dessert,” I replied, matter-of-fact.

“Boss, you just lucky you got a high metabolism,” he said, shaking his head.

I nodded and just kept on eating.

He narrowed his eyes at me.

“Did you even say Bismillah?”

I stopped chewing, just for about three seconds.

The phrase that is prescribed for mentioning Allah when eating is to say “Bismillah” (In the name of Allah), because of the report narrated by ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “When one of you eats some food, let him say Bismillah, and if he forgets to do so at the beginning, let him say Bismillah fi awwalihi wa aakhirihi (In the name of Allah at the beginning and end). Narrated by at-Tirmidhi, 1781; classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him). 

“Duh,” I said, quickly reading in my mind. Maybe that’s why I never got full.

Sometimes I just forgot. It was normal. I mean, I was human after all. Duh.

“I’m sure,” Waseem said, raising his eyebrows and glaring at me with his weird eyes.

“Spook,” I said, just because I was annoyed. I knew he was right, but I just didn’t like him reminding me of it. I had a lot to work on.

“So, what’s the latest with the ladies,” I asked, wondering where Waseem was headed to from here.

I also wanted an idea of how I would need to head if I was to go the same route. I wasn’t thinking of settling down yet, but the business with Farah and all the emotions it brought with it got me wondering whether I rather just call it a day and get hitched.

Waseem shrugged his shoulders, almost numbly.

“I dunno,” he said vaguely. “I think no more. I’m not quite getting what I need.”

“What do you need?” I asked curiously. I mean, who says that?

I didn’t even know what I needed.

“I need someone with the same focus as me,” he confessed, almost hopelessly. “It’s not just about the physical attraction any more, Zee. I’ve had enough of that. I needed something more…. Promising.”

Not about the physical attraction? I almost choked.

How could he say that? He was, like, defying natural laws with that one statement. As long as I knew it, guys always have, and always will care only about what they are going to get out of the whole deal. Of course, there was a yearning for something deeper, but the overriding power was always the most obvious thing. Ultimately, it was always about physical services.

“Don’t look at me like that,” I retorted, as he watched my expression.

“You are a typical chauvinist,” Waseem said, shaking his head. “Objectifying women is a sin. You need to look deeper, bru. It’s not all about what meets the eye. What lies deeper is what matters.”

“So,” I said, not getting it. “That means we can’t be attracted to chics?”

‘”It’s not that,” he said shaking his head. “Islam doesn’t forbid attraction. It’s natural. But how we act on what we feel, does matter. We have to discipline our desires in the right way, bru. And if you can’t, then our Deen always offers an alternate, like what Nabi (SAW) said about fasting.”

“We were with the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم while we were young and had no wealth whatsoever. So Allah’s Apostle صلي الله عليه و سلم said, “O young people! Whoever amongst you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty, and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting is a shield for him (from desires).”

“I don’t think I’ll manage,” I said hastily, already thinking about food withdrawal.


I was trying to stay away from chics, but man, it wasn’t easy. Staying away from food, though… It was another story.

“Then you better start looking for a wife,” Waseem grinned.

I pictured myself as a married man. Nah. Not yet.

“But,” Waseem continued. “If you are serious at some stage, you need to know the deal. Where to go. Who to look for. It’s not rocket science, but whatever you need is in the Qur’an and Sunnah. Like when Musaa (AS) found his wife, he didn’t go up to her and strike up a conversation like you would. Not at all. And she and her sister didn’t say, ‘aww, JazakAllah’, and bat their eyelids, when he assisted them. It was just pure. Modest. There’s nothing else that says piety like that.

The story was one I recalled vaguely, but Waseem refreshed my memory. I had actually forgotten that story, probably because at that stage of my life, it was anything but  important.

After fleeing the city of Pharoah, Musaa (AS) was at a place in his life when he had many needs. He rested, and while doing so, he caught sight of these two women who were waiting by a watering place for their turn. Being a Nabi, he could not see the injustice that the other people were subjecting them to, and immediately intervened to enable them to have their share of water quickly.

While he rested again, he turned to the One who has power over all affairs and beseeched for His help; he made a beautiful and sincere Du’aa saying:

Lord ! Truly I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me. [Sûrat Al-Qaṣaṣ, 28:24]

Their father was surprised when the girls came back so quickly because he knew the men near the well. When he asked them what had happened, they told him what Mûsa (AS) had done. So he sent one of the daughters to call the stranger to meet her father, who also happened to be a Nabi, Shuaib (AS).

Allah says: Then there came to him one of them, walking shyly, meaning, she was walking like a free woman, as it was narrated from the Commander of the Faithful, ¢Umar ibn Al-Khaṭṭâb: “She was covering herself with the folds of her garment.”

Ibn Abî Ḥâtim recorded that Amr ibn Maymûn said: “Umar said: ‘She came walking shyly, putting her garment over her face. She was not one of those audacious women who come and go as they please.’”

The Ayah goes on: She said: “Verily, my father calls you that he may reward you for having watered (our flocks) for us.”

Amazing. She did not invite him directly, lest he have some suspicious thoughts about her.

No dates, no coffee, no exchange of numbers… Nothing. Mûsaa (AS) accepted the invitation, but had a request.

Get this. She didn’t walk in front of him, due to it exposing herself, but threw pebbles at the required directions instead, with him at the back. This was exemplary modesty.

Imagine the scenario: He was a prince who must have had women throwing themselves at him, but we see him here ‘lowering his gaze’. There was nothing but lessons in it, especially for me.

It was just that, in this day and age, it was so rare to find that kind of modesty. It was like finding the rarest kind of diamond. And I knew that I didn’t deserve it, because I had probably been one of the biggest sinners in the town, but if I didn’t have aspirations, I knew I would never improve.

“You guys are looking very serious,” Muhammed’s voice said, as he stepped into the kitchen. He pulled in Aasiya from behind him, and she looked at us both eating. They were holding hands.

Ah, how sweet. Not.

Overly romantic people made me a bit annoyed. It was just not comfy, man. Didn’t people realise?

“This thing is tops,” I said, pointing to the food. I didn’t want to ask what happened with the two of them, because everything seemed quite peachy as it stood.

Of course, I still wondered. Aasiya’s whole life was a mystery, but I was sure that everything would soon unfold time went by. I was glad my brother was looking like his normal self again. I glanced toward at Waseem, only noticing now that he had moved to the dining table, probably wanting to give the two of them privacy.

The doorbell went as I got up, and since I was up, I decided to be a little considerate, since I was turning over onto the more ‘mature’ side of me, and actually answer. It was a bit strange, though, because as I went to press the intercom button to open, the gate was already closing. It seemed like whoever had come was already inside, and so I calmly looked at the camera and saw a very familiar car already parked off.

I glanced down the passage way at the already open door, and in stepped my father, with a slightly thunderous look on his face. I think I had foresight, at that moment. It was bound to be catastrophic.

I had to be honest. At that point, though I didn’t show it, I was fretting. I was close to turning around and running. At first I thought that I was in for it, because I hadn’t been home for almost a week, but my father’s next words settled my own worse fears.

I was indeed grateful. To say the least.

I was psyched that it wasn’t me. I knew he was in for it, just from the way my father spoke. There was no greeting or chit-chat. That was my Dad. Straight to the point.

“Ziyaad,” he said, in an extremely hostile tone. Sheesh. This was bad.

“Tell Waseem I want to see him. Now.”

Focussing on the Shift

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


You know how every girl has that idea of a perfect love…

The consuming, hopeless and far-fetched kind…. The one that’s meant to completely blow her away?

And most of the time, it happens, but it’s never how it was all envisioned.

I mean, because we are engineered to expect it, she has this superb expectation of him seeing her from across the room… And their eyes lock, as if there is not a single other being in proximity. He’s meant to slowly walk up to her, and literally knock her off her feet in just about… Say, three words.

And so, with not meeting expectation, the appeal is radically down-sized, in most cases, because the initial meeting is always never that awesome.

But that’s the thing with emotion. It still feels that way. At that time, in my ignorance, it was the most empowering and uplifting thing. Mo was unbelievably sharp, popular, smooth… And the most amazing thing was… He wanted me.

And, just for the record, I never felt anything for him, until we were bound by the sacred union that I knew I could never get peace without. My conscience would have eaten me alive, had I not done what I needed to, just to make it all okay in the eyes of Allah. Even though I had gone off-track in my adolescence, I would have never been able to lose myself the way that ‘love’ promised, had I not done it this way.

There was really no mysterious story behind how it all happened. I mean, it wasn’t expected at all, but somehow, it all just happened, with no major set-backs.

Muhammed was a friend of Aayisha’s brother.

Aayisha. The sister who was from another wife of my father, with whom things never worked out. Aayisha was less than a year younger than me, and not surprisingly, no-one had told me about her… If anyone had known.

Seeing her for the first time was a shock to my senses… She was almost exactly like me in appearance.

Her personality, however, was less dominating. She was softer, more obliging… A dreamer, in some ways. Finding me was one of her greatest achievements, she had said, but obviously, she had needed help to do so.

And that’s where Muhammed had come in. He was the one who had helped them to find me… He had given her tips on how to locate me.

And maybe I had been too trusting.. Or maybe I was just naìve, in my youth, but Muhammed, being who he was, even at that age, was always a step ahead. The thing was, to be smart, you didn’t have to have the best of qualifications or degrees. It came from experience, which Muhammed had plenty of… In all fields.

And that’s exactly how I had fell into what was setting me up for… How I eventually fell in love with his world.

I wanted to be ‘free’… To live with no limitations. I craved comfort and security, more than anything, and he knew that. He offered it all to me, on a golden platter, just by being who he was. I didn’t realise that being free meant being lifted from the shackles of luxury, and having the ability to trust only in Allah’s plan.

And though I may have been somewhat mislead, there was one thing I had promised myself never to do. I had never, till that stage, got involved in anything, most of the time, due to the fact that I was never given opportunity. But, of course, when opportunity was there, it was a whole different appeal.

I wanted to explore that side of life. I could have easily given in, and been another girl that he never took seriously, but I wouldn’t let myself go there.

And I supposed that’s how I ended up being ‘the wife’. Just like that.

Mo had promised me the world and more, at the moment when I needed it the most. I was lost and confused, having left home, and having just learnt that my new-found sister had passed away in a car accident that was supposed to be my ride back home. It was devastation, hopelessness and desperation, all uniting to steer me in that one direction.

And, at first, I never regretted it.

He had loved, comforted and nurtured me to the best of his ability. He cared for and consoled me, when I felt alone and down. He never missed and opportunity to make me feel as special as I had never felt all those years growing up in a house that I thought I was a default. And the cherry on the top was that he defended me relentlessly, if anything ever came up about my past, he would use whatever means he could to brush it under the rug, and give me a fresh start.

With him by my side, I felt no fear, because whatever it was, Mo would sort it out and make it all go away. And the thing was, I had become so used to it, lost in his world, that I just expected him to keep on doing it.

So when Umar had cropped up at my home, exposing skeletons in the closet that I thought were long gone, my senses went into arrest.

I blamed Muhammed because pride and ignorance had taken over. I couldn’t blame anyone else, even though in my heart of hearts, I had only myself to look into.

The truth was staring back at me: I knew that this was a way of getting me back on track again. I had just started realising how off-track my life had been, and Allah knew that I needed a reason to change.

To change my life, to alter my perspective. To shift the focus, once again, and go back to my roots. To go back to where I had come from, despite everything that surrounded me now.

And so, back in the present, I shifted my gaze, as my husband entered his own home,  hesitant to come toward me.

Muhammed stood there now, a week after I had left him, watching me almost as if he was afraid of me.

Tears welled up immediately, as I felt remorse. After everything. There was nothing that this man didn’t do for me. He was an amazing guy… SubhaanAllah.

Allah had made him such that he was the one to bring me through the worst of my past… He had provided for me unconditionally, and I had thrown it back in his face.

I was sorry. I knew it, but he didn’t. All he knew was that he was just glad that I was back.

“I’m sorry,” he said, before I could bring myself to say it.

He closed the door after his brothers and walked up to me, almost as if he was afraid I was going to leave again. Afraid that I would dessert him if I was given half an opportunity.

“I never meant to take you away from your family,” he continued, making me feel even worse about my outburst the previous week.

I was riddled with guilt but I had to let him know what I had decided.

I had to invite him to the world that I had been completely and selfishly concealing him from, because of my silly insecurities. At the time we had married, I didn’t want him to know where I had come from, thinking that he wouldn’t want me… Based on the fact that our life was so much absorbed in pursuit of the world.

But, the truth was, when you truly love someone, you have to love for them what you love for you. You have to be able to offer them whatever is best for them, despite what it may do to you. No matter where it leads you, you let them free, because, in the event that they find what they need, ultimately, it will free you.

And so I put it forward to him. Despite loving the life that I had, I knew that staying right where we were was not benefiting either of us. I looked up at Muhammed, noticing his D&G Sunglasses perched on his head.

I finally understood that feeling… The one that had been eating me up, since that day I had feared the worst… Like I had predicted what was going to come.

The feeling that, in my heart of hearts, something had to let. Something had to change here.

It was like how I had learnt.. When we had done our daily Taaleem, Ummi Jaan would stress on disregard for worldly things… And I remembered how we had read of the Sahabah’s fear for themselves, even though they had endured such hardship. Their focus was so pure, that even when they were given so much of wealth after their suffering, they would still use their wealth in Allah’s path. They would use every opportunity to spend, only for Allah’s sake.

And the likes of Abdul Rahmaan Ibn Auf (RA) always held my thoughts. When they made Hijrah to Madinah, Abdul-Rahman (RA) was paired up with Sa’ad Ibn Ar-Rabi’ah (RA) who was one of the wealthiest men of Madinah. On that occasion, it was Sa’ad (RA), out of generosity and kindness to his new brother, who offered wealth and even his wife to Abdul Rahmaan bi Auf (RA).

But instead, Abdul Rahmaan bin Auf (RA) then said the famous words.

May Allah bless you in your family and wealth. But show me where the market-place is.”

It was “The market of Qainuqa” he was asking about. It was here where he started off, making a fortune in just days.

And Aaisha (RA) narrated that years later, when he caused the city of Madinah to tremble with his flock of 700 camels, she began to recall Nabi’s (SAW) words.

Aishah shook her head and gazed in the distance as if she was trying to recall some scene or utterance of the past, and then she said:

“I have heard the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, say: I have seen Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf entering Paradise creeping.”

Why creeping? Why should he not enter Paradise leaping and at a quick pace with the early companions of the Prophet (SAW)?

When the news of the Hadith Aishah (RA) had mentioned reached Abdur-Rahman (RA), he remembered that he had heard the hadith himself from the Prophet (PBUH) and he ran to the house of Aishah and said to her:

“Yaa Ammah! Have you heard that from the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace?”

“Yes,” she replied.

She said to him, “Do you remember what the Prophet (SAW) told you?”

The Prophet (SAW) was once giving the good news of Paradise – he was congratulating the Jannati Sahabi, telling them, “You’re gonna go to Paradise. And YOU are going to Paradise.”
When the Prophet (SAW) reached Abdul Rahman bin Awf (RA), he said, “Abdul, you are going to Paradise, but you’re going to get left behind.”

Abdul Rahman bin Awf (RA) asks, “Why, O Rasullullah (SAW)?”

Prophet (SAW) replied: “Because all the accounting of your wealth is going to lag you behind.”

Hearing this, Abdul Rahman bin Awf (RA) became very teary-eyed. He was hit by her question.

“You have reminded me of a hadith which I have never forgotten,” he is also reported to have said.

He was so over-joyed and added: “If I could I would certainly like to enter Paradise standing. I swear to you, yaa Ammah, that this entire caravan with all its merchandise, I will give in Sabilillah.”

Immediately, he tells the people working for him to take all of his goods and give them to the Bayt al-Mal as Sadaqah.

And so he did. In a great festival of charity and righteousness, he distributed all that massive caravan he had brought in the name of Allah.

It was just one incident of many that proved him to be on of the greatet Sahabah. This is what you call a perfect example of charity. It’s what we were supposed to compete for, in attaining Allah’s pleasure.

This world we live in, is full of materialistic wants and the desire to look wealthy. Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’s (RA) qualities are too many to list, or even know them all, but here is another one to ponder over.

He had thousands of people who worked for him, when he was among his workers, people could not distinguish him from them. One day food was brought to him with which to end a fast.

He looked at the food and said:

“Mus’ab ibn Umayr (RA) has been killed. He was better than me. We did not find anything of his to shroud him with except what covered his head but left his legs uncovered. Then God endowed us with the (bounties of) the world…I really fear that our reward has been bestowed on us early (in this world).”

SubhaanAllah. And they still worried about thier hereafter, after the hardship they had endured. They feared they were getting compensated here instead of the Aakhirah.

We compete for everything of this world but forget what we supposed to be competing for. We sometimes don’t even care if we ever will win that competition, when it so clearly unveiled. Were our hearts completely sealed?

But now, I had made a choice. I didn’t want it to be that way.

“Muhammed,” I said finally, moving out of the proximity of the lounge, away from Waseem and Ziyaad. I needed him to answer this one on his own. With no ulterior motive. “I wanted to ask… If you would give this a chance. I want to change, but I can’t do it without your support…”

It was a long road for me… I was at a place where I could never imagine I would ever be at. I had gone against the odds, against the norm. I had told myself that ‘people like me’ don’t ever do this. People like me, coming from the place that I’ve come from, after giving it up, don’t get a second chance.

But here it was… And I needed to know where I stood. That second chance was staring at me, waiting for me to grab it.

My eyes had finally opened to the reality. It was the chance to change my life.