First Impressions

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


“It’s okay,” I said, looking at Muhammed. “You can let them in.”

As long as he had known me, Mo always had this instinct to protect me from the world, and had I always needed it. Now, it was time that I faced reality instead.

I nodded at him again, despite his obvious cynicism, and he finally went to open.

“So, I’m going to be meeting my parents-in-law for the first time?” Mo asked, grinning slightly, while he walked back from the intercom and fluffed up the pillows on the couch. My OCD tendencies were rubbing off onto him. I just hoped that our visitors wouldn’t get a bad first impression.

I didn’t smile back as I put away the novel and folded the creases out of the electric purple throw that I was using to cover my feet.

I was just slightly stressed out.

Of all times, why would they come right now? After distinctly telling Umar that I would meet them when I was ready, how did they ever get to know where I was? I had concealed my life really well all this time from the rest of the world.

“Ah, babe,” Mo said, coming up to me and squeezing my shoulder . “Don’t look so sulky. They’re gonna love me.”

“Not if they know you gamble,” I said swiftly, promptly bursting his bubble.

His face immediately fell.

Myabe I should have hid it, but it was the truth. My family was super orthodox. Where I came from, even the idea that a husband could cheat on his wife was completely bogus. Gambling brought on a whole other dimension.

Mo shrugged me off. I was being mean and for some reason, he was really excited he was going to meet my parents. I was the complete opposite.

Nervous. Anxious. Worried.

I was half hoping that Mo would take over the whole situation, but it wasn’t exactly possible. These were my parents. My past. Something that I knew I needed to deal with.

Two figures approached as I watched the doorway, and though Muhammed went forward to greet, I stayed back, almost fearfully.

Still reluctant, I was almost rooted to the spot, as if I couldn’t move. My hands were starting to sweat and my legs were getting slightly wobbly.

In these ten years, I hadn’t once thought of how this moment would be. The moment when I would meet Ummi again never really crossed my mind, and now, I waited almost impatiently for the moment to arrive so I could just get it over with.

Most people wouldn’t understand why this was such a big deal for me, but I knew it had to do with the fact that I was facing everything from the past that I had been avoiding all this time. Seeing Ummi again would bring to life every memory that I had tried so hard to bury way down below. Dealing with it would be like reliving what I had thought I had run so far away from.

“As salaamu alaykum.”

Ummi’s voice was soft but steady, just as I remembered it. Almost as if berating me, as it used to, for never being the first to greet. I would constantly get chided for entering the house with no greeting, and I remembered Ummi’s clear voice just as it was now.

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) offered many advices to Sayyiduna Anas (radiyallahu ‘anhu) on various issues. The part you question is recorded in Sunan Tirmidhi and is as follows:

O my son! Whenever you enter your house, say salam. This will be a source of Barakah- blessing- for you and your family. (Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 2698)

“Wa alaikumus salaam,” I said quickly, almost at the same time as Muhammed.

I walked forward, still hesitant and visibly uncertain. Everything was happening so quickly, but I finally forced myself to look up at the figure in all black, almost apprehensively, expecting the worst. I half expected an outburst, or maybe even a reprimanding, but instead of disappointment and anger, what I saw was something that only a mother could manage to accomplish after all these years of channelling anxiety, worry and grief into something that could eventually become what I least expected…

To my utter bewilderment… Love, hope and tears of uncontrollable joy flooded Ummi’s eyes, and as I met them, I couldn’t help but think about how elusive fate was at times. Ten years of living with hope against fear, with looking over my shoulder almost in regretful anticipation, and with running away from what I wasn’t sure I was ready to face again, was returning to me in my own home, invited right at my doorstep.

I could tell that Ummi Jaan hadn’t changed very much over the years.

Yes, she might have aged, and maybe her hair might have a few more streaks of silver, but she was still the same Ummi that I had loved and admired as a kid. The same Ummi Jaan that I had somehow grown resentful towards as a teenager. The same Ummi that held back every ounce of retaliation that she could have sent forth, not ever making it known just how many tears she had shed worrying over my future. She was still Ummi. Ummi with the same kind eyes as I imagine every mother had, and Ummi, with the same smile that seemed to spread to infinity. Amazing and beautiful Ummi.

I knew that she wanted to greet me properly, but I couldn’t bring myself to let go completely. I took a step back as she reached out for something longer, feeling slightly uncomfortable and not ready yet for an emotional greeting. I looked at Mo nervously, and he looked back questioningly at me, wondering why I was being so cold. Umar’s father had entered and greeted softly, and Mo, with my next words, knew that it was time for him to take control of the situation.

“This is my husband, Muhammed,” I said casually, trying to kill the uneasiness and gesturing to Muhammed. I hastily wiped my eyes of any emotional evidence.

Ummi turned and looked, and so did Umar’s father. I could see the relief on their faces. I knew exactly what their orthodox minds were thinking and I almost smiled, amused. At least I wasn’t living a life of complete sin.

“Come, have a seat,” Mo said quickly, greeting my step father and guiding him to the lounge. I turned to follow them, but before I could, Ummi’s firm hand held me back.

“Aasiya,” she said, and I immediately felt like that teenage girl again. The inadequate, messed-up young woman who was always so unpredictable.

I turned to look at Ummi, expecting her to release her grip, but instead, she held on tighter.

“Can we talk alone?” She said quietly, and I saw the softness in her eyes. She wasn’t going to hound me with questions. She just wanted to talk.

And I wanted to talk to her. I really needed to. But it was late and after the long confrontation with Mo, I really just wanted to sleep and deal with this in the morning.

“Give me five minutes now and we’ll talk properly in the morning,” she said, sensing my hesitancy and guiding me to the hallway couch. “And don’t worry, I know it’s late. We’re not imposing on you. We booked a hotel.”

I looked at her, slightly surprised. I just wondered why they had come here so late then. Her next words answered my question.

“We just had to see you first,” she said as she sat down, holding my hand with hers. I was finally able to look at her properly, and immediately saw the tired creases that now riddled her face.

I wanted to ask her how she found out. How she knew that I was here. I wanted to face the past, but I wasn’t even sure any more if what I did was something that she wanted to ask me about. I didn’t expect her to be so… Normal with me, after all these years.

Mo’s voice cut through just before I was about to verbalise my own concerns to Ummi, looking from her to me.

“Anyone for some tea?” He asked casually, raising his eyebrows comically.

“We’re still talking, Muhammed,” I snapped bluntly as I turned to look at him, clearly exasperated.

I had a feeling that we were at the part of the conversation that was actually getting somewhere, and Mo had just chosen the most inappropriate moment to intervene. How inconsiderate.

He held up his hands apologetically.

“Just asking, love,” he said, looking crestfallen and quickly turning and walking back to the lounge.

I shook my head just to prove how annoyed I was, not even noticing Ummi Jaan watching me with an unreadable expression on her face.

I looked back at her, just a little confused.

“I think we’ll go,” Ummi said, getting up to leave. I shook my head at her, gesturing for her to stay.

“Stay a little longer,” I said, surprising myself. It was almost midnight but I didn’t care. I didn’t want Ummi to leave. Especially when it seemed like she was upset.

“What’s wrong?” I finally asked, following her as she walked towards the lounge. She paused momentarily before finally turning around, and reached out to grasp my hand in hers.

“Aasiya,” she said softly, looking at me kindly. “It may not be my place to say… And I know that you are living a beautiful life in this place for all these years. But your husband…”

I wanted to scream as I put my hands up to signal that I wanted to hear no more.

I knew it! I just knew that my husband would be an issue. I knew that they would have something to say about the fact that he wasn’t fully bearded or obsessed with Jamaat work. I immediately charged up my defensive mode, and cut her off.

I shook my head at her, blinking back angry tears.

“Ummi, my husband is my choice,” I said stubbornly. “He is Muslim. He provides for me, and I love him. Please. If you say anything-”

I stopped just as abruptly as I started, noticing Ummi nodding her head at me. I looked at her, surprised.

“Jhee, darling,” she said back quietly, still nodding.”He looks like a very nice boy.”

I blinked, wondering if what I heard was right. A nice boy? Really?

“And that’s why I think that you should watch how you talk to him,” she continued. “As you said, he looks after you and Allah has allowed him to give you the best of everything. The worst thing you can do is make a man lose his respect, especially when people are around.”

What? I took a step back, slightly stunned by Ummi’s words. I definitely didn’t expect that.

And then, of course, I couldn’t help but think: Who the hell does she think she is?

Coming into my life, after all these years, and now already telling me how to facilitate my ten-year-old marriage. Right then, I didn’t realise that my ten-year-old marriage might be just that if I didn’t take heed of anything Ummi was trying to tell me. There might have been nothing left of my marriage if I leave my head in that rut it’s been stuck in all this time.

“Don’t push him away,” Ummi Jaan said as I stared at her disbelievingly.

She was clearly wrong. She had no idea of the reality. I wanted to tell her how immature Mo was at times, or how he just  went off-track all of a sudden when I begin to think that he was changing. I wanted to let her know that he had some disgusting habits and always made me mad when I least expected it. I wanted to tell her about how he just goes AWOL on me since I gave him the news that broke his world.

I shook my head at her, opening my mouth to speak. I wanted to tell her everything that would incriminate him, and make myself look like less of a dragon. I wanted to just make it clear who was wrong here.

But I knew that all of that would still never justify my actions. I knew what Ummi would say. I knew that Ummi would say that while I pointed a finger at him, the four others would still be pointing straight back at me.

I knew that the first impression she had gotten from us was probably extremely accurate. Ummi sensed my hostility towards Muhammed, and immediately rose to the occasion. One thing I remembered about her is the knack she always had to bring a positive into every negative situation. And though her next words caught me off-guard, it was exactly what I needed.

“I never thought I would get a chance to tell you this,” she said quietly, squeezing my shoulder lightly. “But when your Mummy was pregnant, she would make special Du’aa for a good spouse for you. I had always asked her why particularly that, and she never answered me… But when I heard of the name she had chosen for you…”

Aasiya. The wife of Firaun. That was the name my own mother had chosen for me, and I had no idea. The very knowledge just brought a whole different dimension to the reality.

And the story of this woman was nothing short of spectacular.

There are some women who are truly built with the strength of hundreds of men. Some women, whose resolve you can’t shake. They are powered by Allah and submit to nothing except for Him. And so, even the greatest tyrant cannot break them or shake their faith.

It was perhaps for this reason that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) mentioned her as one of the greatest women of all time.

But besides what everyone knows about her, I never really pondered on this.

Asiya was not just a regular woman. She was a queen. And not just any queen.. She was the wife of one of the most powerful men to walk the earth. She lived a life of unparalleled luxury and wealth. Yet, Asiya knew that her true home was in Paradise. She had no attachment to this life.

And amidst every other lesson her story had taught me, one of the most outstanding was the fact that despite all the persecution that she was going through, Allah granted her an ease within her difficulty.

It is said that Firaun had a habit of torturing people severely when he would deal with them, and for his own wife, the punishment was no less. Placed on a slab, some narrations say with nails severed through her in an attempt to pin her down, and others just mention the stone to crush her body… Extreme agony was what he had selected for her. And no doubt, it must have been terrifying and excruciatingly painful, but what was most unbelievable was that just before he offered the final execution to end her life, she actually smiled. And the reason why she smiled was because Allah SWT answered her Du’aa and allowed her to actually see her home in Jannah.

Allah SWT says in the Quran what is translated as, “God sets forth an example for those who believe, the wife of Firaun who said, “My Lord, build for me with You a house in Paradise and save me from Firaun and his doings. And save me from an unjust people.”” (Surah Tahreem)

And it was beautiful because despite her circumstances and situation, she was able to see that tomorrow held something in store for her that would make up for every hardship she had endured. She knew that with turning to Allah, there was no losing, because her ultimate home wasn’t here. Most importantly, what I had most forgotten about her was that she was a woman who never allowed herself to be defined or limited by her painful circumstances. She never let it burden her, like I was carrying my past with me, as an excuse for everything that I was doing wrong.

Instead, she carried in her such a deep faith and knowledge of who she really was, that she was willing to sacrifice everything, including her very life, for what she knew was true. And what other example could there be for anyone to follow that the example of a woman like her.

And of course, it was to make me realise that despite whatever I thought I was going through and had been, there should be no excuse not to show Muhammed only the best parts of me. To be the best kind of person I could be.

And I knew that the remedy was simple. To be obedient to Allah Ta’ala, to live the Sunnah, and to give quality time to the Qur’aan Sharief – this was the answer to every difficulty that was bringing me down in my home. This was how Muhammed would also, eventually, begin to see the light.

“Let everything else go, and make the effort,” she said quietly, getting up again, ready to finally leave. “You will see how everything will fall into place. Whatever you want, Allah will see to your every need.”

I wasn’t sure how, and how Ummi knew what to say, but by now, my entire frame of mind was already altered. And with my often rigid mindset, I couldn’t understand what it was that Ummi had said that made me actually listen, but there was something in her words that struck me in a place that I could never ignore. Maybe it was her concern, or maybe it was her genuine love that shone through, but her words were like my ultimate salvation for that day.

And thought I had hundreds of questions to ask her, and plenty to still say, I knew that this was the continuing of one of the most precious bonds I had let go of.

Now, instead of pulling away, when Mummy came forward again to greet, I whole-heartedly gave in, allowing myself to get just a little lost in the moment. I gripped on tightly, breathing her in, and reliving the moments that I had never cherished when I grew up.

Allah knew that I needed something more… Something to steer me, save me, and to lead me to that place where I knew I could finally see the light at the end of this dark tunnel.

Right now, as I gripped onto Ummi for dear life, nothing else mattered. Nothing else would ever take me away. My heart was completely absorbed in the moment, with the hope that it would all be better from this point on, and knowing everything that this could bring.

Like a little girl almost, waiting for the much-awaited return of her mother after a long departure, my heart was completely soothed once again.

Everything would be okay. Ummi was here.

#Revive theSunnahofSpeakingGood




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Focus on the Past

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


“Don’t go,” Yusuf was pleading with me, as I paced my room, grabbing things off the shelf that I might need.

Headphones. Eye drops. Hair straightener.

All basic necessities, of course.

“I’ll miss you,” he said in a quieter voice, and my heart literally skipped a beat.

I turned to look at his sorrowful face, feeling sorry for the brother that I loved so much. He was the only one who truly cared. Well, so I thought.

In later years, I would often think of him when I saw my youngest brother-in-law. His playfulness was just like Yusuf’s. I just never thought that my brother would grow up so fast and become someone so different to the kid I had once known.

I didn’t think about any of it, or of how I would regret leaving so soon, because I was so fixated on my own problems.

It was my second fight with Ummi that week, and I was so over it. I needed some space and I needed some freedom. I was going move in with my father. At least he had DsTV.

“I can’t believe you!” I had shouted at Ummi Jaan that morning. “Umar gets to go everywhere with his friends, and who knows who else he is with!”

It was true. I had even heard that Umar was interested in some girl, and I had a good mind to let the cat out of the bag and get him into trouble. I knew that his father would freak if he knew about it. To top it all off, he was in the middle of his Matric year.

“Aasiya,” Ummi had said calmly. “Understand, please, darling. You can’t compare yourself to Umar.”

“Exactly,” I scoffed. “Because Umar is your real child, and I’m not!”

Ummi Jaan took a step back, shaking her head. She looked stunned, like she was about to say something else, but I didn’t even give her a chance. I turned on my heel and stomped off, knowing that I had to leave to keep myself sane.

I was sick of being treated like some sort of invalid, just because I was a girl. I couldn’t stand the sexism in this household any longer. The battles were getting too much to handle.

Battles and battles.

I wasn’t even sure what I was fighting over, all those years, when I was caught up in my deluded world. I hated the world. I hated my life. And I hated my real mother for leaving me, because I didn’t understand. I thought that I was cursed.

As much as Ummi Jaan and Umar’s father had tried, I just never saw the bigger picture. I never understood that it was all Allah’s decree. I didn’t understand that He had a greater plan for me…

And I barely anticipated me saying the same words to my husband, as he came in late one night, and I knew that everything that I had put him through was taking it’s toll. I really didn’t realise how difficult I had been until I saw the effect on him.

“Are we married or just living together?” He asked suddenly, and I looked up at him sharply.

I was reading a novel that I had borrowed from a friend of mine, and I knew it was just a waste of time to be reading it, but it was just an excuse to stay up until Mo came home. I just couldn’t seem to sleep until he made his appearance. He seemed to be coming home later and later every night.

He shook his head at me, and I narrowed my eyes at him. He sat on the couch, and looked up at me again.

He had that look on his face again. Almost like he was going to cry.

“I love you,” he said softly, looking at me expectantly.

I didn’t say it back. I wasn’t sure why, but I just couldn’t. I could see that guilt was plaguing him, and I wasn’t going to let him feel better.

“What did you do?” I asked, expecting the worst.

His tired eyes looked back at me. He couldn’t lie. I knew him too well.

“I lost two hundred grand,” he said, shaking his head.

I wasn’t surprised. Back in the day, when I had first met Muhammed, I knew that he would often do small deals that took chances. I knew it was gambling, and I had an idea that today’s incident had to do with the same thing.

When would he ever learn? Making money through Haraam means was only a way to earn Allah’s wrath. That was where all the Barakah in our home was going to.

I was actually glad that he had lost today.

I sighed, shaking my head at him.

“When will you ever learn?!” I snapped at him. “You think that money is just to waste on stupid deals! And that you’ll just win it back in the next one. What is wrong with you?!”

Mo looked down, immediately regretful. He bit his lips nervously, not even daring to look up at me.

“It was just a poker game,” he said quietly, still not meeting my eye. “With the guys.”

Just a poker game? It made me more angry.

The last part was an afterthought, just in case I thought that there were any women involved. I didn’t put it past Muhammed, but he also knew that if I knew about any infidelity issue, I would probably leave.

I felt like I was always such a dragon with him… But I couldn’t help it. When I looked at couples around me, I realised that we needed to change something… But why did he make me so mad?

I was trying so hard to be better, and change our lives. I knew that we were so off-track and we had just started to get things right. But Mo just wasn’t seeing the bigger picture. It was like every time I made a little progress, he took two steps back. It was frustrating.

I gritted my teeth visibly, and then pursed my lips.

Don’t push him away, something was telling me. Win him over. 

That was it. Itwas the solution to everything. When Muhammed and I were on good terms, everything was fine. He was even making an effort to go to Masjid, and I could see that he was being so much more particular about what I was nagging him about all this time. I mean, even his Mp3 in his car changed. For Mo, that was huge progress.

But the minute  I started going all cold all him, he immediately turned away. He didn’t understand that it wasn’t to do with me. He needed to turn to His Lord.

Where did we go from here, though?

I knew what was driving him to this, and I also knew that I could set it right. I just had to make a little effort.

I slowly approached him, and he looked up at me, almost scared to react. Although nothing in me wanted to, I forced out the slightest of smiles as I sat next to me, wanting him to know that I meant well. He had to know that I wasn’t revving up for a fight again.

I sat right next to him, my hands on my lap and knees almost touching his. I didn’t look up at him, because what I needed to say next would be affected. I took a deep breath, preparing myself for the ultimate pride-breaker. It was something that I couldn’t say all this time, but I knew that I needed to do.

“I’m sorry,” I said to him, still not looking up. “I should have told you before. I should have just been honest.”

That’s all it took. I knew that it was all that we needed to be strong again. It didn’t require us moving mountains. It just meant being a little more considerate.

There was just silence. I could hear his shallow breathing, and I finally dared myself to look up at him, only to see him watching me back all this time.

“I’m sorry too,” he said, a tiny smile forming on his face. “I know you hate poker. I just needed a diversion.”

I nodded. I could understand. But he also needed to know that there was a better way to deal with things. Haraam amusement would do no good.

But this was how Muhammed dealt with things. With Ziyaad’s wedding, his father’s accident and the news I had waited so long to reveal, I knew that Muhammed had a whole lot on his plate right now. It was a really long two weeks, and I just wished I could say something that would ease his fears, or alleviate his burden, but I wasn’t that type who was all caring and comforting. I just couldn’t seem to find the words.

“Why?” He asked now, studying me with a frown on his face.

I shrugged, not trusting myself to say anything yet. He shook his head at me, and his voice changed. He was getting frustrated again, and I couldn’t help him.

I flinched slightly, expecting the explosion at any minute. Muhammed was random in his outbursts, and I always expected the worst.

Ten years, Aasiya! ” He shouted now, getting up, his hands flailing in the air. “And now you tell me what you knew all this time. Over an SMS! OVER A DAMN SMS, Aasiya!”

He paused, and I watched his forlorn expression.

I wanted to tell him it was an iMessage, but I didn’t think it was a good idea. He was either psyching himself up for more, or he was mellowing down. I wasn’t sure which as yet.

“I feel so…. Tricked!” he finally spat, his voice changing again.

Bitter. That’s what he was.

I breathed in. Then out. Deep breaths. This was why I didn’t tell him. At whatever point, I knew he would have felt the same way about it

The storm was over. He looked like he was ready to calm down again. I was just… Numb.

“Are you sure, Siya?” He said now softly, tenderness in his voice as he sat down and looked at me carefully. “We can’t ever have kids?”

“It’s not that simple,” I said to him bluntly. “There are lots of complications. I always had an ovarian disorder. And now, in ten years, if it still hasn’t happened…”

I trailed off, not completing the sentence.

“It’s either yes or no,” Mo snapped now, getting annoyed. “You keep putting my questions off! You don’t understand how stupid it makes me feel!”

I think I did know. And maybe I did it on purpose, but sometimes I didn’t know how to answer my husband.

This was the sore truth: In ten years, with no other intervention, it just never happened. Doctors say the beginnings of Endometriosis were visible and they weren’t sure how much longer I would have a chance.

“Some things are not black or white,” I said firmly, looking at Muhammed in the eye for the first time in two weeks.

It was time for honesty. Pure honesty.

“It’s not a business deal, Muhammed. This is life. There’s only one Greater Power here, who is in charge of everything. He knows why He puts us in the situation we are in, and He will take us out. Only He knows the truth of it. This is how we build ourselves, and learn to trust in Him. Not only because we need Him, but because we want Him, and we want to please Him. ”

It was what I had come to realise, and what had hit me now after so many years of fighting to come to terms with the truth. After so many years of battling with the demons of the past.

It is of Allah’s infinite mercy that some of the believers who have been tried greatly in this world and have remained patient will meet Him without any sins in their records at all. I couldn’t imagine being of that calibre, but I made an intention to place my trust in Him.

To wake up and do what needs to be done. To take care of myself and my husband. To pray, to work, to live… But all that while, remembering to trust Him. To never say that except which pleases Allah.

The human heart is just a little, fragile piece of muscle, but with true patience, it is able to carry the kind of pain that would cause a mountain to crumble.

Like when Yacoob (AS) lost his beloved son Yusuf to the ‘wolf’, he didn’t complain and make it known how distraught he was. He didn’t employ a third party to ensure that all was as it was said. He trusted in his Lord and endured it patiently… He lived the grief and he experienced great difficulty. But he did it beautifully. And so, he was rewarded for his patience, like his son was too.

And yes, sometimes the rewards are not immediate. Sometimes it takes years and years of enduring the worst kind of pain you thought you could ever go through. Like stepping onto razor thin segments of glass and muffling your screams, the tears stinging at your eyes from the pain, you smile and do not say a word.

You learn to truly live in Sabr, because that is what will determine your ultimate reward. The beauty that you desire.

“Say, ‘O My servants who have believed, fear your Lord. For those who do good in this world is good, and the earth of Allah is spacious. Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account'” (39:10).

There is no power or might except that of Allah. HE is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs for us.

With Sabr, the storm will cease, the burdens will ease and we’ll eventually find refuge under the shelter of our Lord. Allah’s promise is always true.

With difficulty, there is always ease.

Muhammed swallowed and looked away, and I could see him thinking hard, because he was fiddling with his fingers. It was a habit of his when he was deep in thought.

“Okay, so we can still try?” He eventually said, looking hopeful.

I smiled at him now, amused by his persistence.

“Let’s work on other things first,” I said, avoiding his question.

I knew I had things to work on and so did he. Mo still had some childish habits, and I had some issues that I needed to deal with. I knew it would probably take me delving into my past and reliving a bit of it, but if it meant it would help my marriage and my entire frame of mind, I knew it had to be done.

And as we sat there smiling at each for those few moments that seemed like they were lasting forever, the sounding of intercom literally made me jump.

At this hour, who would be coming to visit?

Muhammed looked at me, slightly confused, and then went off to check the CCTV. I could hear him talking from the hallway, but all I caught onto was a few words of his that made me even more confused.

“Siya,” he said, coming into the room, looking a bit worried. “There’s a lady outside with her husband. She says she’s your mother.”

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“He who believes in Allah and the Hereafter, if he witnesses any matter he should talk in good terms about it or keep quiet.” [Muslim]

#Revive theSunnahofSpeakingGood




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Over the Obstacles: Zaynah

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

A simple sacrifice can be all it takes to make someone happy. Sometimes the smallest actions hold the most weight, and sometimes the easiest things leave the most impact.

But sometimes… Sometimes, it takes something big to make a dent. Something huge to see the rewards. Most things in life are not all perfectly placed for us to just pick and present.
Sometimes, we have to see for ourselves. We have to make our own mistakes. We have to learn our own lessons.

It’s all a journey, that we have to endure.

Lessons about the nature of love, this world, people, and one’s own heart, can pave this often painful path. But most of all, this path can bring lessons that take us back to our Creator.

And while everyone was busy with their own pathways, learning their own lessons, we sometimes forget the struggles of the people around us.

As I was dealing with my own battles that I would have to face, I didn’t notice Aasiya’s sullen expression as she would dash in and out of the hospital for updates on my father-in-law, and neither did I notice that she would always come alone. I barely even put  Muhammed’s abruptness down to the fact that maybe everything in their household wasn’t as peachy as I had always thought. I even didn’t know that he was going through a rough patch as he dealt with Aasiya’s infertility revelation that she had kept from him all this time.

And when it came to my youngest brother-in-law, I didn’t acknowledge how disconnected him and his wife were, all this time, even though they were still literally on honeymoon.

And though she had confided in me to tell me about the dreaded rumours that had potentially ended her marriage on the first night, I didn’t respond. I mean, even I partly believed that she was lying to Ziyaad about how far pregnant along she was, to trick him into thinking that he was the father. It turned out that another ‘ex-girlfriend’ of Ziyaad’s was trying to cause some serious rifting between the two, as a means of getting back at him. It honestly made me sick to think that people could actually go to such extreme measures, and stoop so low.

And of course, there was no way that I could have guessed that beyond the obvious problems, there were some control issues that could potentially affect our entire family.

I couldn’t see it, because, of course, I had my own concerns to keep me focussed.

My mother-in-law had been discharged, and in the process of trying to make sure she was okay and adjust to the new move that Waseem wanted to make, I was somewhat occupied. Sometimes when your life is too busy, you can’t help but be just a little bit selfish.

“You don’t have to, if you’re not ready,” Waseem was now saying to me, as we stood outside the ICU ward door, his eyes mercilessly scrutinising my expression.

I didn’t look at him.

I was trying to be cool. I was trying to be strong. But if only Waseem know how much I was dreading this, I knew he probably whip out his standby packet of Jelly Tots and keep it in hand.

But I knew it had to done, and I couldn’t be standing there and chewing the extra sugary sweets the first time I meet my father-in-law. It had to be over with, so that I could move past all these insecurities that brewed inside me, constantly reminding me that I wasn’t good enough. I had to meet Waseem’s father, and conquer whatever it was that had poisoned my mind into thinking I could never be worth his son.

I just wished that the circumstances were different. That he wasn’t in such a vulnerable position, where he would feel compelled to just… Accept me.

I wanted him to actually like me, so I knew that I would be able to live in the same house as the man who never even gave me a chance.

Waseem turned to me, reaching for my hand. He clasped it tightly in both of his, looking at me seriously. It was like he knew exactly what I was thinking.

“You don’t have to do anything if you’re not happy, love,” he said softly. “I will do what I need to. You don’t have to compromise.”

He looked down at me carefully, and I shifted under his scrutiny, looking away.

I shook my head at him. He knew what I was like.

I wasn’t that kind of wife that would give up at the slightest of bumps that we faced. I would try. I would try really hard to make everyone happy, because I knew Waseem would do the same for me.

“I’m all in,” I said, looking up at him now, squeezing his hand back. “Not halfway. You know I’ll do whatever it takes.”

I never thought that I, of all people, would ever say that and be prepared to sacrifice everything to make this work, but if making my husband happy meant compromising a little bit of my privacy and giving a little bit of time for my in-laws, why not?

He had assured me that the move didn’t have to be permanent if I was uncomfortable, and I trusted that he would do what it takes to keep me happy. He just wanted to make sure that his parents were okay with the new adjustment his father had to make, and Waseem needed to be there to ensure it.

He smiled his amazing smile, and I immedietly felt all warm and fuzzy inside. It had the same effect as my favourite sugar doses. I mean, who needed jelly babies when Waseem was around? I think I was on my way to finding a cure.

“That’s why I love you,” he said quietly, moving forward, and pulling me behind him.

He pushed the door open and I followed him towards one of the beds, my heart literally thudding in my chest. Waseem squeezed my hand one last time and let go before the person  in question came into view.

I could still hear my heart palpitating, amidst the noisy room. I wanted to see his father, but the only problem was, I couldn’t set my eyes on him, because my eyes were still fixated on the grey hospital tiles.

“Zaynah,” Waseem whispered, and I could feel his hand gripped around my arm.

I looked up at him, and then glanced at the bed, almost scared to look at his father’s face.

And then, of course, I had to, because he spoke.

“Waseem,” he said, sounding a bit groggy and disorientated. His father’s brain activity was okay, according to the doctors. It was just that there were no guarantees because of the gunshot wound that extended to part of his spine.

I looked at him carefully. Since I was seeing him for first time ever, I was kind of shocked that this man was the one who had been the main obstacle in my marriage.

Maybe it was the days in hospital that he had been knocked out, but he barely looked like the dominating type that I had imagined him to be. He looked like he was tall, just like Waseem, and the resemblance between them was uncanny. I could see Waseem’s resilience in his expression. My father-in-law’s face, however, was much harder and serious, and I could only assume that it must have happened over all the years that he had spent in business. His eyes were half closed. I wondered if he had said Waseem’s name in his sleep.

And then, Waseem stepped forward, greeting softly to rouse him properly and offer the anticipated introduction.

“This is my wife, Dad,” he said boldly, stepping back again and gesturing to me as his father opened his eyes and looked around.

I sucked in my breath, overwhelmed by fear, not even able to offer a greeting. The words seemed to be stuck somewhere between my oesophagus and throat, not even daring to make their way out.

Awkward. This was by far, the most awkward and uncomfortable few moments ever. I was still standing timidly behind Waseem, not sure what to say. His father’s gaze shifted, and he focussed on me for a few seconds.

It was like a staring competition I would often play with Zakiyya when we were kids. Only much more formal.

He looked at me, and I looked back at him. I wanted to say something… To sympathise… To comfort… But I couldn’t seem to gain the courage. And just when I thought I could, my heart plummeted in my chest as he shook his head at me, and then, finally, he looked away.

I was shocked to the core. Every hope that I had, just fell flat on it’s face.

I blinked back the tears furiously.

I was angry. Upset. I expected him to say something… Anything… But all he did was turn his face away.

I honestly wanted to scream with frustration at this obvious insult, but I clenched my jaw, tightening my fingers around my wrist, keeping every turbulent emotion within.

Be strong, I said to myself. You have to be strong.

All this while I had fought it, remembering everything that Abbi had said, what Waseem had confided in me, and how unworthy this man had made us feel. And now… Instead of at least offering some recompense for it all, all that was left was more bitterness. More ugliness. More contempt.

I knew that I was visibly distraught, but I couldn’t even hide it for the sake of Waseem.

The tears were already escaping my eyes as I turned to leave, but Waseem’s firm hands held me tightly around my shoulders, until I was forced to look at him. He held my face in his hands, brushing away the tears with his fingers.

“Look, sweets,” he said, swallowing hard. I could see he was thinking of a way to get me to stay, but I wasn’t sure how he was going to do it.

I knew I just needed to get out of here, before I broke down completely.

And just as I was about to head out, a murmur from behind us forced us both to turn and look.

I sucked in my breath at what I saw, realising instantly that it wasn’t what I had thought all along. Sometimes, jumping to the worst conclusion isn’t always the best option. Sometimes, we had to look a little beyond the expected, to see what was buried beneath.

I had got it completely wrong.

Waseem’s father had turned away, but this time, it wasn’t what I thought. It wasn’t arrogance, in the humbling state that I was seeing him in. It wasn’t his displeasure that made him upset.

The two streaks on his face glistened in the fluorescent light, and I was immediately overwhelmed by the sheer emotion that he was obviously displaying. He looked at Waseem, reaching out his hand, still unable to talk, as fresh tears rolled down his face.

He shook his head and swallowed, opening his mouth. He needed to say something, but at this crucial time, he couldn’t seem to get the words out.

Regret. Remorse. Resolve.

Finally, I realised what it was, without him even saying it. I didn’t expect it, but the very knowledge of what was happening completely blew me away.

I remembered the words I had told Waseem so clearly, that the reality shook my world.

“… Don’t give up on anyone. He must have something in him if he raised a son to be like you.”

And it was exactly what I expected. It was the building of the path, back to his Creator. With the building of Sabr, building of character and, of course, the building of forgiveness, Allah was using this as a means. It was going to be the ultimate sign that would prove how a change in one heart can affect every single heart around him.

Every experience that had made him hard and turn away, was now being turned around for him to be brought back to Allah.

How wonderful is the case of a Believer! There is good for him in whatever happens to him -and none, apart from him, enjoys this blessing. If he receives some bounty, he is grateful to Allah and this bounty brings good to him. And if some adversity befalls him, he is patient, and this affliction, too, brings good to him” (Hadith: Muslim).

And that’s exactly how Allah calls us back, by first meeting our desires, by appealing to us and calling, expecting our willing response. And if that fails, the next stage is the disciplinary punishment, and the perfect response should be to repent. To return to Him, through our repentance.

Because through every test and tribulation, and over every obstacle and hurdle, He alters and transforms us, to become something better than what we are. Just like coal is exposed mercilessly to pressure and heat until it transforms into that beautiful and sparkly diamond, we too, are subjected to something more severe to mature us into our best possible form. We too, in the same way, are put through adversity, to emerge as something that is eventually worthy of the Jannah that we all want. To exceed the expectation that we had all this time, and help us to reach the true home for the purified…

The Paradise where we truly belong.

For our next Super Sunnah, I’ve chose one that affects us all, especially in this day and age of technology. We often find ourselves in situations where we sit and talk about things that do not concern us. We waste precious minutes, even hours, just by talking about matters that will not increase us in knowledge, character or anything for that matter.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“He who believes in Allah and the Hereafter, if he witnesses any matter he should talk in good terms about it or keep quiet.” [Muslim]

#Revive theSunnahofSpeakingGood




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Causes for Compromise

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Waseem: Where it all started...

“Wait here,” Molvi Umar said before we entered the security gate, gesturing for me to sit down on the somewhat uncomfortable metal airport chair.

I shook my head at him, attempting to follow him.

This was ridiculous, man. I wasn’t a terrorist. I wouldn’t tolerate any counter forces pushing me around. As far as I was concerned, they were cowards.

He turned back, extending his hand to keep me back.

“Just wait,” he said again, much more sternly. “This is not the time to act all macho. Kill the ego, boss.”

I promptly went and sat down, doing as he said. I got it.

Two or more bearded Muslim men alone at an airport was always a cause for other peoples’ concern. Trying to enter a country where there was already so much of trouble caused by who they called IS, was another story altogether. I followed him alone after he was clear, and we were soon on our way.

“We have to compromise,” he explained to me later, as we sat on a bus, heading to main town Damascus. “We can’t push our weight around if we’re heading out in Allah’s path. We gotta be humble and Allah will sort it out. They can find any reason to lock us up…. Being South African doesn’t exempt us from becoming suspects.”

I looked up at him, watching his expression carefully. He had a weird, faraway look in his eyes, almost as if he knew exactly what he was talking about. Almost as if he knew way beyond what he admitted to. It was slightly sinister, and I had to admit, a bit scary.

I wondered about this guy. He was somewhat of a mystery. I sincerely wished that I had met him a few years back, before he became the saint that he was today. He always gave me the impression that he was far worse off back then, but I couldn’t believe that.

I looked out of the window as I held the bar of the dilapidated moving mini-bus. Houses were scattered and bombings that had recently taken place were still very visible. Life seemed to go on as usual, but you could feel the underlying anxiety in the air. Well, at least I did.

“It just happened overnight,” Molvi Umar was saying, talking in a low tone. “A civilian shooting erupted into a fully blown war. President won’t step down. Few rebel groups. It’s a vicious cycle that won’t end.”

I nodded, still looking out. We were approaching some buildings and an area that was a little more developed. It wasn’t pretty, but the Masjid that we could see close by was definitely a comfort.

A place of Sujood. Always made my heart yearn for it, no matter where in the world I was.

Islamic was palpable here. You could see it. You could feel it. And it wasn’t only because it was Ramadhaan.  I knew that with the war, it had been a means of bringing the locals back onto Deen. It was happening in several other places as well. These people’s Jannah was being made for them, but it wasn’t easy.

With every trial and difficulty, it was a means to make us ponder. To contemplate. To appreciate.

And I made shukar for the luxuries we were able to enjoy back home. We took it so much for granted, as if it was our right. Islam was just by the way for us, and we had no idea how lucky we were. Were we ever going to stop and reflect?

My mind was completely consumed by the ferocity that surrounded me, and it could only be a reminder for us to make shukar for the ease that we were blessed with all this time.

Well… Right until now.

My mind was zoning back in, as I heard the voice somewhere in the distance.

“Wake him up,” it was saying, sounding forceful.

I tried to look, but I was still in a parallel universe. I tried to comprehend what was going on, but I couldn’t adhere to reality.

“He’s fast asleep,” I could hear her saying, and I immediately was alerted. I felt something and shook my head slightly, reaching for whatever it was.

My hand grasped soft fingers, and I slowly zoned out of my slumber to lift my head up. I looked up at Zaynah, and then Mo,  wondering what was going on.

And then it all came flooding back. Now I remembered.

I had been seated on a two seater couch in a private waiting room near the ICU. I thought that Mo had gone home, but him standing in front of us was clear evidence that he hadn’t.

And even though I was in a better reality, I felt like I was still in a war zone, with all the tension in the air. It was expected that my thoughts immediately went back to the flash-back I was having, immediately alerted as to what stemmed it.

Crime, hi-jacking and robberies. The constant living in fear, always looking over our shoulder, as if we will never be free. Like captives, even in our own homes. The thing was, this was our life. Life here was becoming like a war zone.

And like people say that Muslims are suffering all over the world for the sins of the Ummah, so is the situation in our country. It was indeed a form punishment, and a means of making us turn back. Though we may not be in such chaos as is Syria, Palestine, Central African republic or any other country undergoing torturous war crimes… This was definitely something that we couldn’t deny. Every country that was hit with the ‘War on Terror’ was in a lax state before it hit. I wondered when our time would come, but the truth was, we were already in turmoil. Maybe it was still to get worse, but we were already undergoing a hardship that we never contemplated.

“Is he awake?” I mumbled, fumbling around for my hat, trying to rub the sleep out of my eyes.

Zaynah was still looking wide awake. I wondered if she had even slept a wink while I was completely zoned out. I could see the tasbeeh still moving on her finger tips, just like it was before I had fallen asleep on her lap.

She shook her head.

“I saw him,” Mo said, still hovering around, looking all disorientated. I glanced up at him, noticing not for the first time how messed up he was looking. His hair was all over the place, his face was unkempt and the bags under his eyes were making them look like sockets.

I understood that he might have been going through rough patch at the moment, but I was still annoyed at how he had spoken to Zaynah just now. I could see that she was feeling uncomfortable with him here.

“He’s bad, bru,” he continued, ignoring my penetrating gaze. “Baaaad.”

I narrowed my eyes, not saying anything back. I didn’t have to, because I could see Ziyaad coming through the doorway, looking like a man on a mission.

He was alone now. Wedding night dramas weren’t always the most awesome thing.

“Why so serious, boss?” He said, greeting us and stepping back, trying to add some humour to the whole situation.

Maybe it was my mood, but I honestly wanted to rearrange his face for asking such a stupid question. Ziyaad had a knack of choosing the wrong moments.

I got up now, ignoring his comment too and moving my brothers away from the waiting area and Zaynah. Of course, I had to check what was really going on.

“Where are you going?!” Mo demanded. “I’m telling you that I just came from there, bru. The situation is hectic.”

I was getting annoyed. It was true that pressurising situations sometimes got moods in a twist, but Muhammed was definitely treading on fine threads.

“Is he dying?!” I snapped, spinning around to face him. “Already dead?!”

Mo shook his head slowly, holding his hands up in self defense.

“I just meant,” he said, speaking softer now. “That he is going to have a rough life. He can’t move his legs. He’s going to need to change his entire lifestyle.”

I swallowed. I didn’t know.

Dad was paralysed. It wasn’t something that we didn’t expect, but the reality of it was a real shocker.

“So now what?” Ziyaad said callously. “What does it mean?”

I knew what he was asking. We all needed to know. How will this affect us? What role do we have to play here?

“It means we have to be there,” I said simply, stating the obvious. “Help Mum. Assist Dad. Do what it takes. Serve our parents.”

They both looked at me, then at each other. I felt like I was speaking to aliens.

“Someone needs to be with them,” I continued, speaking slower. I wasn’t sure if they didn’t understand.

I could literally see the wheels in their brains turning, as if the whole idea was rocket science. Moving back into the main house was probably a foreign concept.

“I’ll always be around,” Ziyaad said, but I could see that he was hesitant.

I understood that guy had just got hitched, but certain situations called for extreme measures. Someone needed to compromise here. I mean, no matter what issues we had with Dad, he was still our father and there nothing he wouldn’t do for us, especially when it came to money that Ziyaad always seemed to need.

Couldn’t Ziyaad give at least a little bit of a damn?

“Seriously guys,” he said, pulling at his beard and now genuinely looking stressed. “I’m not the best option. Besides, my father-in-law will probably put a hit on me if I had to move home.”

It was the most messed up thing I had heard in a while, but it was probably true.

I really wasn’t sure how Ziyaad could live with a father-in-law controlling his life. After all the hectic theories doing it’s rounds about his wife, if I were him, I would probably run for the hills. But the fact was, in this day and place, all of it was probably just bored people doing what they do best- making stories.

I looked at Mo next. I knew that Dad and him had history, but we had to put it aside at some point, right?

“I have issues at home, boss,” he said candidly. “If I make a move, Aasiya will run for the mountains. Probably the Magaliesburg ones… They have a spa. Either way, I can’t.”

I wanted to shake him up.

Cowards. I felt like I was pushed in a corner, all by myself. Both my brothers were selfish.

That’s all it was. Plain selfish.

I knew exactly where this was headed. All eyes were on me, and I couldn’t avoid it.

In their mind, I was the only one who didn’t have any real commitment. My in-laws were non-existent, my marriage was prospering and my wife was the most amazing I could have hoped for.

Whatever it was, I knew she would understand.

Life would take on a whole different approach, if we were to stay with my parents, but at this point, I felt like I was completely alone… Until I realised that it would never be that for me. The guiding light of my past, deluded life, and the sweetness that I tasted through every bitterness I had felt… Zaynah was going nowhere. She was easy. She would be there.

I glanced back at her as I stood there, knowing that I would have to say goodbye to the life we had planned for ourselves, just yesterday. Our dream apartment would have to wait, our honeymoon phase would be cut considerably short and we didn’t know it then, but unfortunately, our love would be put to it’s greatest test.

“I’ll do it,” I finally said, not knowing exactly how far I was getting myself in, with a single commitment. I didn’t know how much this would change us. I didn’t know just how deep I would get sucked in.

Here I was, contemplating this great plan.

I mean, why not? Both my brothers looked relieved that they were off the hook, and I felt glad to be a comfort for my parents. I just didn’t know the if there would be consequences when I made the deal. Like a dodgy contract, nothing was transparent, but I was still prepared to deliver.

“I’m moving in,” I said after a few seconds, almost as if I was reminding myself.

There was no going back now.

The deal was sealed.




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Modern Day Magic

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

“Stop staring, bru,” Waseem whispered, nudging me bluntly in the ribs.

“Ow,” I said, rubbing my side.

I immediately looked up at him from the chair I was sitting on, in the hospital waiting room.

He got up to sit next to his wife, leaving me muttering to myself stupidly.

I think I must have a serious problem. I didn’t even realise that I was staring at a hot nurse who was writing at the desk near the ward. My eyes were basically locked, unconsciously, as if it was the most natural thing to do. I shook my head at myself, feeling like an idiot.

I looked up guiltily at Farah who sat at the opposite end of the waiting area. She was typing on her phone. Thank goodness. I was glad she didn’t see. I needed to stop this ‘women-staring’ business.

I glaced at Mo, who was sitting a few seats away, looking like he was down in the worst of dumps. Maybe a few levels below me. Aasiya was nowhere in sight, so I could only assume that they might have been more fighting going on, and she had done a runner. Again.

I almost chuckled to myself, but quickly realised that this was probably not the best time for humour. The Zee would have to take on a new, more ‘seriyaas’ approach to life.

I took out my own iPhone instead, putting on my mature face, and scrolling through my feeds. I wasn’t sure when was the last time I had done it, because I had purposefully moved all useless apps into a folder I didn’t often access. I knew it would do me no good, but now, more than ever, I needed a diversion from reality.

This anticipation was torturous.

We were left hanging by a thread, not knowing what the deal was. Mum was in trauma, and we had been asked to leave her alone for a few hours.

As for Dad… Doctors were all in the theatre with him, and we had no idea how this was going to turn out. Not even a single clue.  I could sense both my brothers getting more stressed out as the minutes passed. And if they were stressed out, hell, I knew that I should be too.

It wasn’t just an accident. Someone had seen the messed up car and assumed Dad was in it.

And yes, Dad’s new Porsche had been completely smashed, but that wasn’t the worst of it. Surprisingly, the value of ‘things’ had considerably decreased for me as the moments went by. In a fleeting moment, I realised how temporary everything really was.

It was a high-jacking gone completely wrong. The damn idiots had pulled the trigger when Dad refused to give in to their undeserving demands. It was a bullet at the back of his neck, which could probably cause the most severe paralysis or even death.

Death. The word sent shivers down my spine, as I remembered how my life had changed when I had faced it.

Dying changes everything. It’s all emotions, duh, but there’s also the practical stuff. Like who’s gonna sort out the business? Who’s going to take care of everything? What’s gonna happen after? Was Dad even ready for the big confrontation with the One who controls the Heavens and Earth?

I exhaled, shaking my leg nervously.

Cigarette. I needed another cigarette.

As if on cue, before I could reach for my box in my pocket, my phoned vibrated in my hand.

It was like she could read my thoughts. I knew she hated cigarettes.

Are u okay? 

It was Farah. Typing at me from across the room. It was just a pity that we couldn’t communicate as well as we wanted to in person.

I ran my hands through my beard and looked up at my wife, but she didn’t look at me.

I typed out my response.

I’m fine. How r u?

I tapped send, and rested my head on the chair headrest with my eyes closed for a few seconds. My phone vibrated again.

Everything will be okay. Don’t stress.

I swallowed, immediately touched by her concern.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

I was a horrible person. I know. I didn’t deserve any of this. I didn’t even deserve her casting her eyes on the scum that I was. I was clearly looking for a way out of the marriage, before it even started.

But give me some credit, okay? The Zee was getting all soft and emo. I was actually beginning to see beyond the superficial. The fact that she actually had it in her to comfort me when I had been such an idiot was nothing short of amazing. We had spoken, and she had even apologised to me for the type of function I had to endure, knowing how uncomfortable it had made me. She promised she would explain to her father, and it would get better.

Yes, right now she wasn’t exactly that chic that I had been swooning over a few months ago, and yes, she wasn’t as Deeni as I had recently anticipated having in a wife… But despite all that, there was a part inside of her that was actually quite awesome, that you could never doubt it’s sincerity.

I immediately got up and made my way to her, watching her expression as she finally noticed me. At first she looked hesitant, as she uncomfortably shifted in her seat, but as I took the place next to her, she seemed to feel more at ease.

Even her fingers looked different. Slightly swollen.

I would have to get used this pregnancy thing and I kick out my shallow notions. I reached slowly for her free hand, all reservations aside. I wrapped my fingers around it, just so she could feel the appreciation that I wanted her to.

We were trying to right something that was previously wrong, but where were we going here? Was this even going to work?

“What are we doing?” I said aloud to her, knowing that we needed to have this talk.

“Shhhh,” she said, hushing me, as if I was a child.

She squeezed my hand and  leaned her head against my shoulder, and I immediately knew I was forgiven. I couldn’t even be upset at her, because she was trying to make up for whatever had gone wrong at the hall, when I knew it wasn’t really her fault.

“Let’s leave this talk for another time, okay?” She said softly.

I shook my head at her, wondering how she could just let it all go. I had accused her of one of the worst things ever. What made me feel worse was that she didn’t have it in her to hold it against me. I wasn’t sure why, but right now, I was certain that she trusted me… Maybe even loved me .

I had no idea why she could ever want to, though. I was probably the worst person to ever trust with a heart.

I looked down at her, feeling completely torn. At times I was so sure that I had done everything right to please my Lord, but at times, I just had no idea what I had got myself into.

I often wondered why she just didn’t get rid of ‘it’. And yes, I know I’m horrible, but to me, it would have been the easiest thing to do. Just let the whole thing slide under the rug, and be done with it. Never look back.

But I knew she couldn’t go through with that. It was probably the hardest decision she had ever made, and I doubt she had found it very pleasant. Especially when she had to deal with idiotic people like her ex-fiancé and father.

She knew what she had to do, and we both knew the risks. Doing the right thing takes more effort. It can be more painful. It’s always more severe. And it’s often the most difficult thing to do.

But when you understand how you are hurting yourself, by deliberating and contemplating the worst consequence of a bad choice, it is definitely better to just do it the right way.

But folks, like any alternative, there’s a catch. ‘The right thing’ wasn’t always easy. It wasn’t even always possible. But when the odds are against you, and you really didn’t feel like being the one to beat them, that’s what makes that deed that much more valuable in the eyes of Allah. When you do it solely because you want to please Him.

I remembered the chase. The constant battle that I had with myself, when I was on a different path. But it was only Him that brought me back.

And I could easily have said that I was choosing something better for my life, and taken a different fork in the road. I could have left the whole baby drama behind me, done a few ‘Samoosa runs’ and chosen a ‘good girl’, like every other guy I knew who had changed his life. But some things happen for a reason. Relationships happen for a reason. People weave their way into your life for a reason. They serve some purpose, teach you something, or benefit you in some presumable way. They open your heart, and allow you to love unreservedly.

And get this: The thought crossed my mind, just for a moment, and I knew I had got the drill. In aspiring for a clean slate, maybe I was going to be a reason. I didn’t think the Zee could actually be it, but I had an idea that she saw something in me that I couldn’t. Maybe there was something beneath all the obvious rustiness that she had discovered, in her hope for something different.

And maybe that was her inspiration.

I wanted to hug her when I saw it, because I never said a word to her. All on her own accord, my new wife, amazingly, had actually donned a hijab tonight before we came here, and I couldn’t help but feel that there was a deeper intervention here.

Maybe I didn’t see the signs. Maybe I had been blind to the suggestions. Maybe if I had taken heed, I would have seen exactly where this was heading.

It was just the answer to the Du’aas I had been asking for this all along. For the kind of person who would be best for me, and for the kind of lifestyle that would serve my Deen. I had just didn’t want to wait for it, because I didn’t realise when and how it would happen.

It has also been related that when a righteous slave supplicates to Allah, exalted is He, Gabriel says: O Lord, your slave wants a need of his fulfilled.

So Allah responds: “Leave my slave; for I love him and love to hear his voice.” (Al Tabrani)

Whatever and whenever our Lord deems for us, is always the best. Sometimes the answers may be vague and drawn out, but all we had to do is trust.

And I was getting there. It was a journey, but I was reaching that destination.

As I glanced up, a doctor was coming though the doors, and we all immediately got up, anxious to know the result. There was no other way we wanted this to be, other than good. We honestly weren’t sure how we would process this if Dad was anything but okay.

And when the doctor’s words finally came out, it was like I was finally able I breathe again, relief flooding my entire body.

I heard nothing else.

He was alive. And if he was alive, right now, we didn’t need any more. That in itself was a mercy. It was a blessing that Dad had been given another shot. It was beyond our expectation.

It was, in fact, something of a miracle. And miracles are nothing but Divine.

We forget, sometimes, in the lull of our lives, the greatest signs. We get too caught up to realise how sucked in we are. We completely lose the plot, as we continue to chase the world in all it’s materialism. We never stop to think about how much Allah is waiting for us to show that little appreciation. Waiting for us to submit to Him… To prove our love to Him.

And when we realise this, turn to Him, and give Him our everything… Not only do we feel His love, but we see it all around us. We become blind to everything that antagonises it, because we are only intent on gaining his pleasure. We make every wrong, right, because we want to feel His love… The magic that we are striving to discover, in this race for the world.

And no, it wasn’t a Disney animation film. There doesn’t have to be pianos playing or birds singing or confetti falling from the sky… And there are definitely days when the laughter and romance is completely dead.

But stop for a second. Feel His magic. Revel in the miracle today, and drink it in.

Of course, things will happen. Whatever is in the plan, will definitely never miss us. People will change. Love will die. Everyone will, eventually leave, and go alone on their path back to their Lord.

But for now, make the most of the life you’ve been given today.

Because today… Today, it’s all okay.

Since today is Friday, let’s try and recite as much Durood as possible. Let’s also make the most of the time and ask of Allah, since there is an hour when we know Du’aas are accepted. 

Abu Hurayrah who said: Abu’l-Qaasim (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “On Friday there is an hour when, if a Muslims happens to pray at that time and ask Allaah for something good, He will give it to him.”




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Lights, Camera and Action

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


I clenched and unclenched my jaw hazardously, trying to control the outburst that I knew was on it’s way to escaping.

You know that feeling when you’ve just heard something that could potentially be the worst thing that you could ever hear at that moment, and you’re all up in arms, wondering how it could ever be?

Yeah. That was me.

All I could think to myself, as I sat on the groom chair at my Waleemah, was:

I cannot believe this shit. 

My mind was reeling with the information that had been thoughtlessly whispered into my ear just moments ago, as I was forced to pose for another professional snap. The cameras were really getting on the wrong side of me today. I thought I was done with all the selfie and posing BS last year. I wasn’t even sure if Farah wanted all of this.

Not to mention, the lighting in the hall was quite unnecessary, seeing that it was a day function. Eskom would have probably gone bezerk if they saw the amount of fairy lights the stage had. In broad daylight. It was unreal.

I couldn’t help but stare down the next stranger who came forward to greet me and pose for another shot. The smile that had been plastered on my face was swiped off the instant I had processed what I had just heard.

And then, the moment of rationality hit me, as I realised that maybe… Just maybe… It was all just a big hype of no-big-deal. Maybe I was getting all edgy and heated for no reason. Maybe I just needed to get to the bottom of this.

“Let’s go, sweetie,” I murmured under my breath, certain that she could hear me. I was just being extra sweet in case anyone else did.

I didn’t just have one objective in mind.

The whole ‘do’ was too hectic. Too fancy. Too mixed.

We made our way through quickly, and I tried to just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other, and finding the way out.

Of course, when you’re surrounded by people, you can’t help but be aware of what was going on.

It was like going in the rain and expecting not to get wet. Impossible.

And I had to hear it.

“The bride still looks hot,” I heard a guy say behind me, as I exited the main area.

It wasn’t loud, but my ears were like sattelites, trained for this type of thing. And I honestly wanted to smash the person who said it.

Like, c’mon… Don’t these owes have a brain?

I spun around, trying to catch the guy who was guilty, realising that it could be anyone. I was surrounded by family, guys and girls, all standing around outside, some together, and some just checking each other out.

Could I even blame them? 

It wasn’t even their fault. A display was meant to be viewed.

I was acting all righteous and heavy, when I was actually just as guilty. The thing was, the old Zee was finding his way to the surface. Weaknesses and all. I even found myself actually checking out girls who had come to my own Waleemah, now feeling no shame whatsoever.

And yes, we all got caught up. Women and men both have a problem of lustful glances, but we don’t realise that it is exactly that which is the root to all other problems. We forget that our imagination, however, was not created to entertain junk and fantasties. When we finally realise that we are not meant to indulge our nafs in evil and disgusting thoughts about other men’s wives and strange women, then we see a little clearer.

It was only then that I realised exactly how low I had stooped.

“If one of you sees something wrong, let him change it with his hand; if he cannot, then with his tongue; if he cannot, then with his heart and this is the weakest faith.”

Some versions add: “there is no part of faith beyond that, not even so much as a mustard seed.” (Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Da`ud, Ibn Majah.)

I wanted to bang my head on the concrete ground.

I was a coward today. I knew it. Hating what was happening was a weakness, because I didn’t have the strength to stop it. Seeing my own brother leave the wedding was like a stab in my back, but I knew I couldn’t blame him.

It was their fault, I thought bitterly, looking to pass the blame on.

After ignoring my request to keep the function as simple and separate as possible, I was all the more infuriated. I had to keep face, right? I wouldn’t dare to walk out of my own Waleemah. My father would probably kill me. And it would be the biggest eye-ball ever.

But now, it was too late.

I got it, though. It was all in the game. It was all just to show who was in charge here. It was just to say that, no matter what, Farah’s father would always be the boss.

I mean, he had already bought us a house so his daughter wouldn’t have to stay in anything than the best. And yeah, I know they say that if you have a rich father-in-law, you’re sorted for life… But the thing was, we both understood. Already, everyone knew who would be calling the shots.

I was still muttering to myself like a maniac as I literally dragged her through the door, determined to get out of this crowd. Her friends were eyeing me out, thinking that their death stares would get me to slow down, but I was unfazed. I wasn’t stopping for anyone. I had to leave.

I jumped into the supercar that my father-in-law had arranged, waiting impatiently for her to enter.

I was all geared up to be straight forward the moment she closed the door, but Farah was all glowing and happy, I actually felt a bit bad that she was stuck with me in all my gloominess.

The thought that I was being too ‘hectic’ crossed my mind. Everyone else thought this was okay. Why was I being so heavy?

“Did you get the booking reference?” She asked, assuming that I had booked the hotel her father had a contact with.

I didn’t answer. There were some things I had to decide for myself. Where to stay on the first night I was married was one of them.

I stopped the car at the hotel entrance of my choice, and she looked at me, slightly confused. I stared back at her, knowing that I was about to blow my top if she had to say anything I didn’t like.

“You chose this place?” She asked, turning to face me, looking confused.

That was all it took. I wasn’t even sure how she meant the question, but I immediately fed my anger with built up negative emotions. The effect of the mixed function, all the Haraam I was recently indulging in, and my attitude that needed to be adjusted, was taking a toll.

“If you don’t like it, be my guest,” I said bluntly. “Leave.”

Her expression immediately changed, and she looked up at me, clearly hurt.

I sighed audibly, making sure she heard. She needed to know that I was so done with this.

Her emotions were too much to handle. I really didn’t have time for the ‘pregnancy’ emotions and drama.

“You know,” I continued, as I got off the car, not even assisting her as the doorman opened the door for her. I shrugged him off as he tried to help me with her bag. I was on a roll.

“If you were going to fuss about the hotel, maybe we should just just leave it out.”

I went straight to the lift, taking out the key-card from my pocket.

She shook her head at me as we entered, and the lift doors closed.

“I didn’t mean it-”

“No, Farah,” I snapped, not even giving her a chance. “If all this is below your standards, I’m not prepared to change. Take it or leave it.”

“Ziyaad!” She said, turning to face me, her cheeks flushed with anger. “Will you stop making this about you and your ego?!”

We were already entering the room, and I flung her suitcase down, now even more infuriated.

I banged the door closed and turned to face her, feeling my face burning up. I was beginning to feek like the old me. Bi-polar.

Only this time, it didn’t feel as good as it usually did. Probably because I wasn’t high.

“Sorry, I forgot,” I said, being obnoxious. “Everything is supposed to be about you, right? Give me a damn break, Farah.”

She shook her head, and I could see she that she was holding back tears. Her stomach was only slightly protruding in the dress she wore, but as she took a seat, I could see the strain it was taking on her body.

Farah had put on weight. She clearly wasn’t the best she had ever looked, and being a superficial guy, I knew I was being a little more horrible because of it.

Sorry guys. Welcome to the real version of Zee, male chauvinist.

“This is about us,” she said quietly, and I tried to feel some empathy. “You wanted this, remember? You came to me, remember?”

She was right. She didn’t force me to make this decision. It was all me. But was it right?

Yes. I felt compelled to do it. But at the time, I didn’t know that this was going to be based on a potential lie.

Right now, at this moment, the first night we were married, wasn’t exactly awesome timing to be thinking about all of this and bringing it up. Besides the timing, I knew I was going to bear the brunt of my actions.

Although, in my anger, I was barely thinking of physical services, I could literally see that getting crossed off the list. Gone.

But the thing with involving yourself in Haraam, is that it doesn’t just have short-term effects.

It started with the Waleemah, all in the name of ‘Deen’. To fulfill a blessed Sunnah.

But these type of functions… The gatherings of heedlessness, are clear poison. Cameras, mixing, music…. Any place that has haraam in it is like poison. It enters you, and takes over your being. It consumes your thoughts. It infiltrates your mindset and controls your actions.

And even if you claim to not commit anything hectic there, why should you want to be seen at such a place anyway, where Allah’s gaze of wrath and anger pours down? It was just strange how people like me brought these things upon themselves, and then wondered what exactly went wrong.

And yeah, I was thinking exactly that. What exactly was going on here? 

What was I up to? My demonic thoughts were all over the place, but now, we both needed to get back on track with each other.

I had to ask her. I had to clarify if what I had heard was true.

I sat down, daring not to look up at her until I knew the truth. I had to know the facts. I had to get it off my chest.

“Is the baby even mine?” I finally asked.

I knew why I had to ask her, but I also knew that I had to draw the line somewhere. Maybe in an attempt to ease my own mind, I had taken it too far.

The look on her face said it all. She was crumbling to pieces.

I wanted to cry too.

Rumours. A simple theory can spiral completely out of hand, if one is not careful. Some rumors grind to a halt, while others circle the world. Some ideas spread and others die. The human tongue is a vicious weapon that many simply cannot guard.

I immediately knew that I had to apologise, but deep down inside, I knew that this would take a lot more than a bunch of roses to fix.

I sighed deeply, my head falling into my heads,  both emotionally and physically exhausted. How did I get here? How do I get out?

The shrill ring of my extra loud  iPhone, set to be heard above the noise of the Waleemah hall, caught us both completely unawares.

Muhammed’s name displayed on the screen, and I braced myself for hearing all about what a coward I was. I knew I shouldn’t answer, but my conscience was torn.

I picked up the phone, signalling to Farah that I would be with her in a minute. I felt terrible, but in my mind I knew that I needed to deal with Mo and get it over with, and then with Farah. It was a win-win. She just didn’t know it yet.

“Yes,” I said, not bothering to greet as I swiped  to answer the call. I wanted to get this conversation over with so I could move on to the next. Mo needed to be quick.

“Boss,” he said, and I expected a good blasting from him, for being such a chicken. What he said, instead, was way worse.

“Meet us the hospital. It’s Dad.”

For all those who wanted a little bit more clarity, I tried to post a little earlier… Next post may be a little late.




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