Jump into the Future

Waseem: A glimpse ahead.... A few months down the line...

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Undeniably, there are special places in the human heart made by- and only for- our Rabb.

Places that many people have come to only find when they had given everything… Only to end up with nothing else. Because when we remove everything secondary to Him, and finally  begin to rely on no-one else… It is only then, when Imaan brings on another whole dimension.

And in this temporary world, there are very few things that are truly priceless, and that will be part and parcel of the journey to Jannah. What I do know, though, in my chase for something ‘more’ to life, I had somehow ended up with gold.

And that brief moment that I had found it, I could never forget. It was a moment that I was saved, completed and everything that was once broken inside of me, had gotten fixed. The moment all the pieces fitted together, so perfectly, as if they had never been out of synch before. How my every need was fulfilled, through a single person being a means sent by the Almighty.

And though every incident that had stirred up so much within our family seemed like it would crush our spirits and move the mountains, with Zaynah around, no burden was too much.

With a pious wife, every difficulty just seemed like child’s play. Nothing catches you off-guard, because every situation is a means of bringing you’ll closer. Everything is easy, because you constantly have them there to remind you of everything that you had been missing all this while.

She was the closest I would see to perfection.

She never once made a fuss, or threw a tantrum. She never made me ever choose…. Through my father’s recovery…. Through my family’s hostility…. Through my brothers’ callousness. Through every tribulation.

She was pure selflessness.

My mind was still hazy, as I recalled it all. The new LED outside lights seemed a bit too bright as they peeped in from behind the block-out curtains, and as I focussed, my mind immediately went back to the events of yesterday, still not accepting them. I rubbed my eyes, looking around expectantly.

“Zaynah?” I croaked, my voice still a husky monotone. I cleared my throat slightly, trying to feel around the bed for the warmth of her hand.

The sheet was cold. I knew it. I knew that she wasn’t there.

I looked around, my surroundings still strange as I processed where I was. My room. My father’s house. Did I create my wife with my very own delusional mind? Did I possibly imagine her entire existence? Was she maybe only just a dream?

It all came flooding back, as if my life was flashing just before my eyes. My father. My past. My life. The baby. The divorce. And then… The tragedy I had to come to terms with… Letting go of Zaynah.

It was torturous and horrifying, but it was what I could never escape. It was, by far, the worst thing that had ever happened to me.

I was in a rut. I didn’t want to get up. I didn’t want to wake up to what lay ahead today. I didn’t want to face the world without her there with me.

I breathed in, slowly letting my breath out, steadying my emotions. I glanced around, and half expected her to be sitting there on the Musallah, as was her usual spot when I would get up at this hour.

I could never beat her. Somehow, she was always the one who would wake up first, and I knew I could never even try to compete. I knew she would never let me win.

“How did you do it?” I said aloud.

I could picture myself shaking my head at her. No matter what time I set my alarm for, she would always be out of bed before me. It was a no-win situation.

“My Allah shook me up,” I could almost here her say. “How can I ignore it?”

I would usually be squinting at my phone, wondering how it had suddenly fast-forwarded to an hour after the alarm was originally set. I was usually angry.

“Pious people don’t need alarm clocks,” I would mutter, to both myself and her, berating myself for being so far behind, spiritually.

And then she would shake her head at me, pursing her lips with that smile that said that she was wiser way beyond her years.

“Waking up for Tahajjud doesn’t make you pious,” her sweet voice would say defiantly ,trying hard to sound cross,  as if she was ready to start a fight.

I knew what she was saying. But I also knew the woman I had married.

She was determined and passionate, and she left nothing to be criticised.

But what she displayed then was proof that Allah had His special servants who He chooses to worship Him. And it was true that Allah chose a special time for every believer of His to be with Him, so they could forsake their beds and pray, when the rest of the world sleeps on.

We can just never comprehend the love and compassion that our Rabb calls out with, when he descends to that lowest heaven just before dawn, bestowing His Mercy upon us sinners, responding to those who may be in need, and fulfilling the desires of those who may have a request. We can never understand the enormity of what awaits us at that hour, if only we would abandon our warm duvets to take advantage.

It is reported that the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Allah, Our Lord, descends (in a manner befitting His Majesty) to the nearest heaven to us of this universe during the last third of the night and says: ‘Is there anyone to call upon Me so that I shall respond to him (fulfill his prayer). Is there anyone to ask of Me that I may grant his request. Is there anyone to seek My forgiveness so that I shall pardon him (and forgive his sins)’.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

And at that moment, remembering exactly what Zaynah would say, I realised that it was exactly what I had to get up to do.

This was what would bring me back. This was what would put me back on track.

I raised my head and got on my feet, almost tripping over her slippers that were on the floor at the foot of the bed. I was about to reprimand her, but my reality was no longer far-fetched.

I had been completely side-tracked. This was not meant to be something that I should dwell on… Something  that I could allow to consume me. Indeed, even our beloveds are tests for us… They were also temporary… Also a part of Duniyaa.

And this was only a test that would bring me closer to my Creator. After this, it would only serve me to keep on trying. If the one person who had become so much to me had to be lost completely,  it didn’t mean that I would stop living… Through it all, I couldn’t forget what was always there.

The words came back to me, as they often did, reminding me of what I had been forgetting.

Never forget what He saved you from. That moment when you swore you couldn’t fix it, He did it for you.  Never forget Who put you back together. When everyone pulled out, and you had to face it all alone, don’t forget Who pulled you through. Never forget who carried you, when the storm pushed you to your knees and there was no one else left. No matter who or what is beside you now, never forget the moments when it was only Him. Don’t forget Who remained.

He remained. He always remains.

A moment, yet again, when everything I had thought I didn’t understand seemed to come into perspective. When the confusion disintegrated and the darkness lifted. And as I sat there, on the Musallah that stayed in the corner near the window, I raised my hands to ask of the only One Who could fix what was broken inside.

The loud knock on my door was a diversion that got me slightly panicked, but I composed my thoughts, knowing that I shouldn’t get anxious.

I had to remain calm.

The future was not set in stone. This wasn’t the end. Whatever I would face, whenever it is, I knew that this could never break me completely. The past didn’t make me, and the present wasn’t a deal-breaker.

What lay ahead, ultimately, would determine everything that I would become. All I had to do was dust myself off, step out, and jump into it.

Note: Dear readers.

Okay, I’m sorry. But I had to do this. Thinking about how this is going to end is not easy. I just know that it can’t be spontaneous. So I’m putting out this post as the beginning of the last season. The writer of this blog will take a 1-2 week break, and then will continue, insha Allah. All will be revealed, if Allah wills. 

Ibn Jaz reports: “I have not seen anyone who smiled more than the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).”[Tirmidhi]




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Battles and Boundaries: Zaynah

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

“What are they doing here?’ Waseem asked, narrowing his eyes, sounding like he wasn’t very pleased.

I turned to look at him, and he immediately changed his expression.

“I meant….” he started, slightly apologetic. “It’s just a bit late.”

It might have been late, but Nabeela was welcome here at any time. She was like a sister, and though I knew why she had come, I was surprised that Raees had brought her so late.

I didn’t have to say anything to Waseem. He wisely kept his mouth closed. I was glad.

“Jelly baby?” He said sweetly, offering me the open packet that he kept in his car. It was clearly a cover-up.

I pursed my lips tightly, not meeting his eye. It was our first ‘almost argument’ and I found myself feeling grateful that we didn’t argue about much.

I kept a straight face, not relenting, but grabbed a few anyway. The stash in my room was low. Actually, come to think of it… Everything in the house was low.

I looked at our house as I knew it, realisation  dawning, and I felt that familiar sinking feeling again.

I had forgotten.

Coming home now, I expected to walk in and find Abbi sitting on his favourite couch, reading his favourite section of the newspaper with a cup of tea near his legs. I longed for his tender smile, as he would watch us play silly games, almost like we were little kids again.

And now, as I stepped off the car, my heart yearned to see his face peeping out to watch us come in, like he always would when we would come home.

But it would never happen again.

That was the hardest part about someone dying.

Things would never be how they were. Things will just never be the same.

“At times,” Nabeela said, as we stepped into the entrance hall. “I still can’t believe he’s gone.”

Her voice echoed and the house felt even more empty than a few hours ago. Well, it was virtually bare. Tomorrow I would leave. Waseem said he had found the perfect place for us, and though I was excited to see what lay in the future, a cloud loomed ahead.

Waseem was my husband, but he was still new for me. Knowing that he was the only person I could consider as my true family, was a huge responsibility. Although Zakiyya was around, with the new baby almost here, I felt slightly at a loss. She had her life to worry about, and I had mine.

“You’ll back early?” Nabeela asked, after we settled in and I put the kettle on.

I could see where she was going with the question, but she didn’t know what exactly to ask. Besides that, Waseem was still hovering around. I gestured to him discreetly to take Raees and sit in the lounge.

He eventually obliged, and I could immediately see the relief on Nabeela’s face.

“We left early,” I said, answering Nabeela’s question. “Too much of mixing… Waseem walked out.”

Even though the function was supposed to be ‘separate’, it was a bit disturbing for me that men kept coming into the ladies’ side. People had seemed shocked that Waseem was leaving his own brother’s function, but what’s wrong was wrong… No matter who and how many people were involved. The thing was, with pleasing people, you shouldn’t dare to displease Allah.

I wondered if his parents would rattle him about causing a scene. I shrugged my shoulders, not bothered either way. The function was annoying me anyway. Too extravagant. It made me feel sick.

“Is she pretty?” Nabeela asked, looking hopeful.

I looked at her with a small smile, not knowing what to say. I knew exactly why Nabeela was here and why she was asking me all these questions. I just didn’t know what to say to her. If I had any idea before, I would have stopped her from having any hopes whatsoever… But Nabeela was a dreamer. How can you crush a teenage girl caught up in her own little world?

To tell her that she was probably getting carried away would probably just push her away. After opening up and telling me about her innermost feelings, how could I go all hectic on her? I had to find a more diplomatic method.

“Does it really matter?” I asked her, looking her in the eye. “He made his choice. Why don’t you just make Du’aa that they are happy?”

I wasn’t even sure if she would understand this. I just had the hope that she could come to terms with the fact that sometimes, Allah plans things in a way that is in our best interest. Sometimes we know, and the signs are obvious… But at other times, it’s so difficult to see.

Allah, the Almighty says,which means,
“And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (AI-Baqarah, 2:216)

Only Allah knows the true reality of every situation.

A Mu’min should simply ask his Lord to choose good for him and make him pleased with His choice, for that indeed, would be the best ending. When a person leaves all his affairs to his Lord, and is satisfied with His choice for him, Allah will support him by relieving all his burdens and freeing his heart.

I just hoped that all of this was bringing her closer to Allah, and she was using the time away for her benefit…. To free herself from everything that had been bringing her down.

But her next words caught me completely unaware.

“I love him.”

I closed my eyes for a split second, processing the words. She loved him? Did she even understand what she was saying?

To me, she was still that 6-year-old playing with her favourite doll. And now she was claiming to love a man who was married.

“You need to get over him,” I said sternly, knowing that softness would get us nowhere.

What did she want me to say? Go for it?

There were certain circumstances where we no longer had to worry about being all tolerant and patient. Right now, I knew was one of them.

And I was all for being accommodating, but when it came to breaking the laws of Allah, I knew there was zero tolerance. Right here is where I drew the line.

I couldn’t be in a conversation like this. It was wrong.

I busied myself with making the tea, but it wasn’t long before I heard a slightly muffled sound coming from behind me.

I stopped pouring the tea, and immediately turned around to see my poor cousin sobbing her heart out from behind her hands. She was trying so hard to conceal it, but it wasn’t working very well. I reached for a few tissues to give her, only to find that the box was empty.

Shoot. And I hadn’t bought more because we weren’t supposed to be staying here.

Poor Nabeela was scrounging around with her Abaya sleeves, trying unsuccessfully to wipe all her snot and tears. I wanted to actually laugh at how ridiculous she looked, but realised that it would probably be really rude to disregard her emotions.

Now, I wasn’t going to go around the house looking for a tissue. I knew we didn’t have any. I kept a straight face and tossed her a used dish cloth, only to be thrown completely off-guard when she grabbed it and simultaneously let out a huge snort.

Yes, a snort.

And then, I just couldn’t hold it in any more.

I burst out laughing, trying to conceal it at first, until I finally saw our ice-breaker. A tiny smile appearing amidst the tears she had been relentlessly shedding. A ray of light emerging from the darkness that she was caught in.

The smile turned into a giggle as she slowly realised what I was laughing about.

“A dish cloth, Zay?” she muffled, in between breaths, as she half hiccuped and giggled at the same time. “Really?!”

I giggled some more, and so did she. It was a moment I could never forget. So enlightening, that we both forgot everything that was bringing us down till now. We had simply let every mishap and downfall slide under the rug, because we had realised that it really wasn’t worth worrying about any of it.

This was where the road had lead us, and this was where the beginning of something new will begin. There was no use clinging onto old memories, emotions and sentiments, because how would that ever help us in gaining new ones? It was time for us both to let go of everything that we had been holding on to… Defeat that battle with our conscience, and to release it all and move forward to a new beginning.

It was just what we needed. We were still giggling, though not as hard, when Waseem came in.

I immediately assumed he had come to check on the tea.

“Sorry!” I said guiltily, immediately getting up again. “I got distracted.”

“Listen, love,” he said, and I immediately looked up at him.

His usually cheerful eyes were filled with worry.

“What’s going on?” I asked, immediately alerted.

Something was wrong. The seconds were feeling like hours. It seemed like forever before he answered me.

“It’s my father,” he finally said, rubbing his temples. “He’s had a terrible accident.”

New Sunnah: If you’re feeling down… Smiling is a simple, inexpensive act that helps lift your mood and make you feel better. Our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was seen frequently doing it. So,come on people,  let’s follow along this great Sunnah!

Consciously take note of your usual facial expression: Is your normal expression a happy one or do you always appear sad, exhausted, preoccupied or frustrated? It will take a bit of regular effort, but you can cut down on the frowning, smile more often and spread joy and peace around you as the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) instructed.

Click to read more: http://productivemuslim.com/12-super-sunnahs/#ixzz4FVYrbLoC

Ibn Jaz reports: “I have not seen anyone who smiled more than the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).”[Tirmidhi]




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Three of a Kind

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

“Another one please,” I said, sitting back in my chair again, gazing out over the wooden deck of the coffee shop I was seated at.

I wasn’t sure when was the last time I had been to a coffee shop. It seemed like a super sophisticated thing to do. I could already feel myself climbing up the socialising ladder from ‘hang-out spots’ to ‘coffee shops’.

I grinned at the thought. I supposed that Farah would love to do all these fancy things.

I inhaled deeply, the remnants of wedding anxiety surfacing again, my eyes fixed on the orange end of the cigarette, until it faded again. I held it in, letting the smoke fill my lungs, and slowly exhaled, imagining that I was just letting go of everything I had been keeping inside for so long.

Chilling out time. This was the life. I tried not thinking of anything else, including the incessant buzzing of my iPhone, determined to spend these moments as I felt was fit. I knew that people were trying to get hold of me.

It wasn’t that I wanted to be alone. It was just that I didn’t trust myself to be in company.

I stubbed my cigarette and stroked my beard roughly, gazing on to the next table, watching a girl drinking her coffee. My eyes fixated on her neck where her hair hung, and then I closed my eyes for a few seconds…

I downed the espresso shot that was placed in front of me, still fixated. I was willing to try my luck. No strings attached.

And then I caught myself.

Hold up, Zee, I said to myself. The chase was over.

No more chances. I was sure Farah would hound me just for looking at another girl.

Kill it, the voice was inside me was saying. Fight the urges.

I had come so far. So far from that place where scoring girls was my main objective. But now, I felt like I had gone backwards. I felt like I had no more aspiration. Who cared about what Farah knew? Shouldn’t I be more worried about the One who was watching me all the time?

I berated myself, almost wanting to kick me. I was letting myself get carried away.

What are you doing? My conscience was saying.

I shook my head, sitting back down again.

Yoh. I felt like my insides were on fire. Too much of coffee? Cigarettes? Maybe it was just plain stupidity.

“Zee dawg.”

I spun around, only to realise that my conscience wasn’t exactly who I thought. It was someone else altogether.

There was only one person who had called me that. Like, ever. And it was so weird.

I had just assumed that Muhammed must have been going through some ‘gangsta’ phase in his life when he made up that nick-name, and I couldn’t help but chuckle, despite my slightly sombre mood, at the memory.

He stood there, looking like he was kind of blasted as well. For the first time, I truly believed that we had the same messed-up blood. We were truly two of a kind.

“What are you doing here?” He asked, narrowing his eyes.

“I’m cooling off,” I said, giving him my best ‘duh’ look.

Wasn’t it obvious? It was just friggin’ annoying when people asked dumb questions.

He crouched in the chair he was sitting at, all morbid and dull.

I looked at him, now completely irritated. The thing was, if he had the audacity to oinvade my privacy, the least he could do is try and lighten up the whole situation. Not dampen the spirit so much that I felt like an even more depressed case.

Idiot. Wasn’t it so selfish of people who make everything about them, when it shouldn’t be? Wasn’t today supposed to be my day?

I was moody today. I knew it. To make it worse, he was tapping on his phone. I shook my head at him, rolling my eyes.

He raised his eyebrows at me.

“She said she was busy with her make-up,” I defended myself, because I knew that now, after the Nikah, I should be with her. I knew what he was thinking.

It was just… I don’t know.

I didn’t want to think of what came after. The whole do would be too much for me.

I was becoming like Waseem. I didn’t like all those heavy kind of preparations that seemed to be a part of Muslim weddings these days. But Farah’s family didn’t do simple. What was I getting myself into?

“How did you find me?” I asked Mo blankly, staring him down.

He glanced up from his phone, not noticing the glare.

“I have my ways,” he replied vaguely. “Technology never fails. And I had a feeling you’d be on the verge of running for it.”

I looked away. I wasn’t a chicken.

“It’s not a death sentence, you know,” he said, after a while.

I shrugged. I knew that. It was just that I didn’t expect it to happen so soon.

“You shouldn’t have done something you’re not sure about.”

I didn’t respond. Did I?

I knew that Farah was a ‘dream’ for any guy. But the undeniable fact was that this wasn’t something I had planned.

I had a responsibility here. To leave the whole thing as it was, and let people talk about how irresponsible Cassim’s youngest son was, wasn’t the type of impression I wanted to create. I wanted to make it all okay, but not only for the sake of people.

The thing was, sitting in Itikaaf this Ramadhaan was a life-changer. The urgency I had felt during that time to settle everything wasn’t normal. I knew that it was a sign.

Despite my father telling me to leave it,  I went to her house, knowing what I needed to do. I asked her why she had never told me before. And though her reasons were half-believable, I couldn’t help feeling let down.

The regret was immense. If only I knew how much of destruction my own desires would have caused… How careful I would have been. If I knew how much I would have to pay for everything I had done, I might have lived my life an entirely different way.

And then I remembered that feeling I had found myself with,  on that fateful morning after, possessed by the emotions I had let bubble within. I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the feelings, even though they were wrong.

And now… The chance to change it…. To make it right. I had wanted to have her, but without having the worry that she could ever leave. I wanted to be secure in the knowledge that she would be only for me, in every sense of the word.

And that was what I was getting, the right way. They say you can’t right what you’ve wronged, but this was the closest to it I was getting. Through Nikah, amazingly, Islam makes that bond so much more meaningful than we can imagine.

I breathed out, letting the anxiety fade away. It was just that I never anticipated me getting hitched before twenty. In my mind, I still had a good few years to go. The Zee, as everyone knew me, would have to take on a whole new persona.

Well. A grown up, married, boring kind of persona. Bleh.

I was about to explain this whole thing to Mo, but my thoughts were cut off, because Waseem  sauntered in casually, as if he was invited.

I narrowed my eyes at Mo, knowing he had told him to come.

I lit another cigarette, knowing that I would need it. Don’t get me wrong.

I loved my brothers to bits.

But how could I ever explain to them the truth of the whole situation? Would they ever understand that I had done it for no other reason than to try and fix and the B.S I had dug myself into.

I caught their gaze on me, and I knew I didn’t have to. They already knew.

We sat there in silence, the three of us, as if we were already having that conversation, without saying a word. Three brothers, worlds apart… Undoubtedly connected, yet so extremely distinctive.

It was a few moments of reflection, and I knew that what I was doing here, wasn’t the most wise.

At some point, we all have to make a choice. Do we fall back on what we know? Or, do we step forward, to something new? It’s hard not to be haunted by our past. Our history is what moulds us… What guides us.

This was life. And yes, it wasn’t always easy.

Life is rocky…. Life is erratic… And life is not always consistent…

But what matters is what you, as an individual, can make of it.

It’s the beauty beyond the obvious… The true scene behind the façade. It’s what we can somehow make out of what we are handed out.

The truth is, we see in life what we want to see.

If we search for ugliness, we’ll find plenty of it. If we want to find fault with other people, we’ll certainly be able to do so. But if we look for the extraordinary in the ordinary, we can see that too.
The question is, do we ever stop to try?

The river could had drowned Musaa (AS) in his infancy and vulnerablility…

Instead, the sea viciously swallowed Firawn at his peak.

And that was it.

The thing is, everything is not always as clear cut as it seemed. Sometimes, we can’t have exactly what we want, in the way we want it. You want… I wan’t… But what Allah wants is what will happen.

But we fail to see the signs, and who keeps ‘tabs’ on it all. Who controls the universe in entirety, and every miracle that we choose not to see.

Who works on the perfection of the universe in action… The spectacular beauty of nature… The incredible miracle of human life? Do we think that all this is per chance… Just happening by itself? Every new life in the midst of an undiscovered place… Every blossoming flower that slowly brings life to it’s surroundings… We see…. But still choose to ignore His signs.

It’s all flawless and faultless, and all comes down to the Majesty and Power of our Lord.

Life was what it was, but it was also extraordinary. When ordinary things will take on a whole new meaning, we choose to see the good in whatever has come.

And yes, I didn’t see it till now, but rest assured, my Lord is fully aware of my needs. He knew what He had to put me through to get me on track.

Yes, I had made a huge mistake. But I couldn’t let it bring me down. It hurts to grow. But time heals.

For myself, I knew that this was a way to move forward, and to make a change. For me, for my wife… For the child I haven’t yet met.

It was time to stand up, and take a step towards a better life.

I got up, hastily stubbing my third cigarette, glanced at my brothers and delved my hand into my pocket for my car keys. The hint of a smile was visible on their faces.

Sometimes change is good. Sometimes change is everything. And in my final chance to change my life…

Yes, folks… I was going to meet my wife.



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Back in Focus


Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

“Don’t do that,” I said, getting irritated. I felt like I was always getting irritated with him, for some silly reason, and I couldn’t shake the feeling off.

I didn’t make eye contact. I wasn’t in the mood for his rattling on about my insecurities.

“Do what?” He asked, even though he knew what I was saying.

I sighed, wiped my hands, and looked up.

“Look at me,” I replied. “Stop. Please.”

He shifted uneasily on his feet, and I watched him shake his head at me and then turn around to leave.

“Do you even want to do this?” He asked, turning around once more.

I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. If he was talking about this platter I was taking tonight, I wasn’t too sure. It was proving to be more work than anticipated.

“I think you’ve got a problem,” he continued, and I could tell where this was going. His voice was getting louder. “No woman in their right mind says the things that you do. Really, Aasiya. Maybe you should get some help… Sort yourself out. I think you have some serious issues.”

I didn’t reply. I had a great come-back for him but I decided to remain silent. It wasn’t always about having the last say, and I wanted to keep it peaceful for now.

I didn’t want to argue. It was futile starting a fight we wouldn’t get to finish. It was like arguing had become a hobby. And obviously, it always revolved around one thing.

It wasn’t like I didn’t ever want kids. But how could I tell Mo my real fear?

I knew that I could make my reason about everything else.

Mo barely spoke to his father. I was estranged from my family. I was still fixing my spirituality. How could we have a kid with all of that going on?

“It’s not right!” he was saying, his voice louder still. “You can’t do this! I want kids. And if you don’t want to give me any, then… Then…”

He trailed off, exasperated.

It was as if he was broken.

He sat down on the three-seater, head in his hands.
I stopped what I was doing, just watching his behaviour.

He was behaving badly, right? He was wrong. Right?

I wasn’t sure any more.

I could tell what he was thinking, and I felt awful. Right now, after all these years, I had reached a point of no return.

I mean, which woman doesn’t want children? How selfish and inhumane was I?

He looked up, finally. His cheeks were flushed and he hastily wiped his eyes.

I knew I frustrated him to the degree that he actually cried. I could see his face was drawn. I could see the tired creases that framed his eyes.

It was the end of the argument… He would let it go… For now.

I wanted to smile at him, but it was like my face was frozen.

A few weeks ago, all we would do was smile at each other. It felt like we were on honeymoon again. Our love had been palpable. It was thriving.

And of course, with the emotions flying around in the air, the topic of kids had come up, not for the first time. This time, though, he was serious.

And it scared me. Not because I was completely averse and didn’t want them, at the time. It was because I just didn’t want to want them.

I took a deep breath, grabbing the platter from the table, and marched to the car. I glimpsed the mirror as I exited, checking to see if I looked decent.

We drove in silence, and although I tried to make eye contact as I left the car, I could tell that Muhammed was uninterested. I knew what he wanted from me. I was either all in or completely out. There was no halfway. He wouldn’t accept the middle line.

We stopped outside the house, still sitting in silence, waiting for the line of cars to ease off.

It was actually crazy how busy this place was, for a last minute wedding.

Memon people, I thought to myself bitterly.

I instantly berated myself. I was just being moody. I loved functions for all the joy they brought, but right now, I just wanted to be at home.

Besides, to me, it seemed like Ziyaad’s sudden conscience that he had developed last week was probably not going to be the best thing for him. Of course, it was the ‘right’ thing to do, considering Farah’s pregnancy drama, but he didn’t seem certain. I just hoped that my brother-in-law wasn’t getting himself too deep in.

I shook off the negative feelings, greeted Mo with a peck on the cheek, putting the monster of pride aside. I was trying to be better. I just didn’t know how to say what I needed to.

He murmured something about fetching me later, and I nodded, glad that he had at least spoken to me fairly normally.

I stepped into the large room where the ladies were fussing around, placing the platter down, and meeting and greeting a few people I knew. It was all fake smiling and small talk, and although I wasn’t in the mood for it, I knew that it would be better to put my feelings aside.

Besides, the decor was quite something. A bit too much, even for my liking, but it was done really well. I was quite impressed.

“Can you believe this place?” a voice said, just above the noise of the crowd.

I smiled at her. It was probably the first time Zaynah had actually come to a function like this. She actually didn’t look impressed… Just a bit shocked.

“You look stunning, love,” I said to her, expertly air-kissing her, not wanting to risk our make-up.

I wasn’t lying to her. She did look gorgeous, even with barely any make up on.

I could see the looks she was getting from some young girls, and I narrowed my eyes at them. Her dress was slightly out of date, but with this type of function, you could never compete with the outfits they pulled out. Some of them had probably travelled overseas just to get something completely exclusive for the next function. It was just a bit ridiculous.

I spotted my mother in law from over the crowd, and grabbed Zaynah, literally dragging her over with me, not wanting to leave her alone to the wolves. I sat on the nearest seat to the wall, although it was close enough to hear my mother in law speaking to one of her connections.

Zaynah was still standing, and I gestured to her to sit. I knew that she was waiting to greet my mother-in-law, but that’s how it was when you were newly married. You always worried about small things that could potentially seem disrespectful. I knew my mother-in-law wouldn’t mind, so I decided to make myself comfortable until she finished her chat, and then greet.

Taking in my surroundings, I glanced at a few girls chatting next to me, and although I was trying really hard not to eavesdrop, sometimes, people made it a tiny bit difficult. It was possible that they probably had no idea who we were. Zaynah looked at me with wide eyes as she overheard them and they continued to talk, with no regard for anyone around us.

“…I mean, I can’t believe her,” the one was saying. “The pregnancy… How she can lie to him like that…”

My ears pricked up.

Lie to him? A lie? What exactly were they saying? Did Ziyaad know any of this stuff?

I shifted around in my seat, straining my ears.

“Well,” one girl I vaguely recognised, said. “If you can’t get what you want, you do whatever it takes to get it.”

She smirked as she said it, and I could hear faint alarm bells going off in my head.

Something within my conscience was warning me that I should make an escape. Something that was fighting for the better half of me to be overpowered, was making it’s presence felt. Something that I knew I shouldn’t ignore.

A good friend of mine was waving to me from across the room and I knew it was my opportunity to get up. I just couldn’t seem to get off the chair and kill the urgency to know more.

“He must have found out,” the other was saying. “You can’t be so stupid. I mean, if you’re trying to make a fresh start and do the right thing, the least you can do is be honest…”

‘The least you could be is honest.’

The words stung, as if they were meant just for me, who sat two seats away, eagerly hanging on to every word of their pointless conversation.

Within my engaged mind, a scraping of a chair startled my thoughts as I looked up and watched Zaynah walk away. I knew exactly why she had left. I couldn’t pretend that I didn’t.

Hearing whatever I had, I knew that it would probably cause such havoc, even if I had to relate it to just Mo. It could be grounds for the wedding to be completely called off. If I was that kind of person, who truly loved to interfere in other people’s business, I knew I could have had lots of fun.

The tongue. It truly was the worst weapon… Why we were so clearly advised to refrain from misusing it.

Abu Moosa al-Asharee – radiAllahu’ anhu – said, “O Messenger of Allah (SAW), which of the Muslims are better?”

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Those who do not harm the Muslims with their tongues and hands.” – Saheeh Bukhari.

Because in a moment, the tongue can cause ripples of destruction that can never be reversed. And so often, we pay no heed to how much of damage this single muscle can do.

I shook my head, ignoring everything else now, because my thoughts were elsewhere. I was completely sidetracked, because the words that had hit me were still running through my mind.

Fresh starts. Another chance. A new beginning.

It’s what I had promised myself for after Ramadhaan. To keep away from vain talks in an attempt to detach myself from the world and all I had let myself love so much about this temporary life.

And for Muhammed… I wanted the same. For us, as a couple, I wanted us to try and give of each other once again. To love unconditionally, with no expectations.

But it wouldn’t work even I couldn’t even fulfil his basic right. If I couldn’t just be the wife that he deserved. If I couldn’t just be honest with him.

Because, just as I had heard, the least I could do for him was be honest.

I wanted to, and I needed to. The urgency was so great right then, that I felt like calling him back right then and letting it all out. I felt like telling him my entire story… About how everything, for me, was never just straight-forward.

I tapped out a message, pausing just momentarily before I tapped on ‘Send’.

Maybe I shouldn’t do it like this, but I knew I would never be able to tell him in person. The doctors had warned me, and though I was first in denial, after ten years, I was now completely certain that it was true.

My thumb stretched out to the highlighted word once again, and I re-read the message, finally offering the final execution.

It glared back at me, almost taunting me. Straight to the point.

I’m sorry. I can’t have kids.



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View from Below: Nabeela

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

“You can’t just barge in!” I screamed at Raees, completely annoyed by his disregard of privacy.

“I can do what I want,” he replied indifferently, unfazed by my outburst.

It was the day after Eid, and while everyone was sorting their lives out at home, Raees was making it his sole priority to annoy me.

“Don’t you have anything better to do?” I scowled, turning back to the novel that I was reading. I needed a diversion.

I was at the interesting part, and my eldest brother had chosen that particular moment to disrupt my peace.

“I know you love my company,” was all he said, making himself comfortable on the wooden chair near the door. It was one of the few pieces of furniture left in the house. Everything else had been relocated or sold, sweeping away memories of days spent in complete oblivioun.

I ignored him, grateful for his silence of a few minutes, before he spoke again.

“Besides,” he said, not getting the hint. “I get the feeling that I should stay away from Zaynah. I can’t even talk to my cousin properly. She’s acting strange.”

I rolled my eyes at him and put down my book. He was acting stupid. Of course she’s acting strange.

“She’s just lost her father,” I said obviously. “Both her parents. Within a few months. She is bound to act a little differently.”

He shook his head at me.

“Not in that way,” he argued. “Like… When her husband is around she just ignores me completely. No Salaam even. And he gives me weird looks. Like I should stay away. Like, dude. I’m like her brother.”

“But you’re not her brother,” I said, pointing out the obvious. “You’re not even her Mahram, and you act like you are. No wonder the guy gets tense.”

He rolled his eyes, frowned at me and stood up, realising that he wasn’t going to get me on his side.

I knew that Raees and Zaynah are just a year apart, and were really close when they were kids. Obviously, with Zaynah being so strict as she grew up, she kept a distance, but it seemed like Raees was having a difficult time accepting change, now that she was married. I actually felt kind of sorry for him.

Raees had come this morning to take me back home, and Zaynah would stay for a week more until Waseem came back. I really wasn’t sure what was going on with the two of them.

Our uncle had stayed for Ramadaan while Zaynah sorted the house out and saw to all the formalities of Abbi’s death.

My heart sunk again, as I remembered.

Death. I still couldn’t believe it. The reality had shook me in a way I had never been before.

I mean, I’ve heard of these things happening… About how people just die… Leaving their loved ones… Dependants… All of a sudden. I just never thought it would happen to us. I never thought it could hit home. I mean, who ever does?

“She deserves better than that,” Raees said, and I wondered what he was going on about. “If he cared so much, he would have taken her home by now.”

He was visibly angry, and I was quite surprised by his reaction. I didn’t quite expect him to take it so seriously. He needed to chill out. What was this big hype about Zaynah all of a sudden?

I shook my head, silently absorbed in my own world again.

I sometimes wondered about myself… How I could be so unfeeling and emotionless. The loss, at the time, had literally shook our lives, but now, out of Ramadaan, I seemed to have gone back to my unmindful attitude.

Reading a novel, of all things.

I closed my book for good now, looking outside the window at the orange horizon, realising how much I was going to miss this place. My school. My friends. My freedom.

And of course, him.

A streak of newly found guilt found it’s way to my conscience, as I realised that I had been completely off-track until recently. Entertaining fantasies about a guy in my mind was also Zinaa. Secretly crushing on someone was actually Haraam.

And I wasn’t a terrible teenager. I knew that. I was fairly good.

Fine, I watched the odd series and liked to dress a little smart… But I would never take it so far.

But now… Now, I was convinced that I was in love. I mean, there was no other explanation for it. My mind was completely absorbed in thoughts about him all the time.

It made me crazy to a point that it actually made me sick. It even made me starve. Because as much as I wanted it, I knew I would never get it.

It killed me that I couldn’t just let it out… Because I knew I would get put down for having feelings. Zaynah would probably ship me off to Azaadville.

Besides, he probably would laugh if he know. I could see that he looked at me as a child.

I sighed at my own stupidity, fidgeting around in the last of my bags, making sure nothing was left behind. I was thorough enough. I mean, I had a whole month in which to pack. I was just dreading the whole transition.

Because being back home didn’t mean fun. It meant I would be stuck doing housework and correspondence learning, because my father wouldn’t allow me to set foot in the goverment school a few kilometres away. I didn’t blame him. I just wished that there was another option.

Although… Maybe this would be good for me.

Because although I wasn’t a teenage terror, I wasn’t like Zaynah. I wasn’t all Deeni and focussed. I didn’t know what I had to do to make my parents feel prouder, because I honestly believed that I didn’t have the potential. People like me just weren’t meant to be pious. It wasn’t me. It was just the way I am.

And then Ramadaan came. And of course, it went just as fast as it dawned. And though it might have not changed me completely, a little Taqwa I had attained had now allowed me to see my wrongs.

To attain what I had been missing. To guard my tongue. To guard my gaze.

And not only when it came to the guy I had set my ‘sites’ on…

But from things I knew would make me lose my focus. From switching on the laptop when I knew no-one was around. From holding myself back when I knew I had every opportunity to sin.

Because to be of the Muttaqeen… To be of the pious, didn’t mean that you had to be in Ibaadat all the time. You didn’t even have to read Qiyaam in the depths of the night or fast all the time. All you had to do was stay away from sin. And that was the only aim I had. My only aspiration for after Ramadaan.

And of course, for a woman, Allah has moulded the path for us.

Hibban narrated that the Prophet(Sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, “If a woman prayed five prayers, fasted in Ramadan, protected her honor and obeyed her husband; then she will be told (on the Day of Judgment): enter Paradise from any of its(eight) doors.”

And I was hoping to become of those. To anbandon all Haraam. To rid my mind of all evil, and to attain the eternal rewards.

Being away from here would make that easier. I wouldn’t have to worry about getting sidetracked or risk seeing him. I would be completely safe, because I would remove myself from the environment that was causing me to sin. And that itself, was a huge step.

I zipped up my bag, hearing a sudden heighten  in noise down the passage, wondering what was going on. I was certain I could hear a man’s voice, and my heart anticipated it, but I wasn’t sure if it was him.

He would only come if Waseem came, and Zaynah had clearly said that he would only be back next week.

After coming home briefly after Abbi passed away, Waseem had left again for Jamaat, determined to complete the term he had committed himself to.

I walked dowm the passage, peeping in shyly through the door. Zaynah was smiling from ear-to-ear, humming some Arabic nasheed as she packed a few containers.

I missed Zaynah. I watched her smiling, realising that right now, I missed her more than ever.

Was it even possible to miss someone when they were right there? I couldn’t even remember the last time she had smiled like that. She caught sight of me in the doirway, and beamed even more.

“Nabeela… You won’t believe it!” She breathed, turning to me briefly as she continued packing. “He’s back.”

She sounded… Relieved. Exhilirated. Completely liberated, and free of any burden.

I was so glad.

I smiled back, looking to see if he was around the area. I knew I would dive straight back into the room if I had to see him. I always felt really shy of Waseem for some reason, and I wasn’t sure if that would ever change. It was a good thing, I knew, but only wished I could exercise my modesty with the person I needed to.

“Waseem’s gone to the bathroom,” she said, assuring me that he wasn’t in the vicinity. “But that’s not all. There’s a reason he’s back a little early…. Some big news.”

I looked at her, waiting for her to break the big news to me. She smiled mysteriouly, and I hated the suspense.

I rolled my eyes at her. I didn’t know why she did that.

I was already on edge, feeling certain that the news could potentially affect me. I just didn’t know how much it would, until I actually heard it.

I couldn’t help it. If I had been so careful before, right now was the moment where everything would be exposed, not even leaving some dignity in tact.

It was like my whole world shook when she said the words.

“Ziyaad’s getting married.”