Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


My brain was boggled with the information that I was processing as I reached home that day. Mishka. The red car.

I threw my bag on the floor and ran into the kitchen, searching for something to eat as I raided the fridge. My scarf was unpinned and flung on a nearby chair as I pursued my mission.

Zuleikha’s curious eyes followed me around the kitchen as I opened door after door. First the fridge. Then the cupboard. Nothing tickled my fancy. I was like an annoying tween with too much on her mind.

“Okay, out with it,” Zuleikha finally said, putting her pen down and looking at me expectantly.

Her hazel eyes looked almost green in the afternoon light. Sun was streaming in through the kitchen window and she cocked her head to one side as she watched me. My sister looked like a pretty picture- we were like chalk and cheese.

”Something bugging you,” she said, and she pursed her lips as she eyed me out relentlessly.

This was too much for my nearly-twelve-year-old-brain. I threw my hands up in the air and let out a stifled scream.

”I hate school!” I shouted, pacing up and down like a maniac. “All those silly girls and their attitudes. They think they are sooo great and they really are not.. and I don’t even know why they are… like… all so annoying!”

I was talking in riddles and I knew I wasn’t making much sense. Zuleikha stared at me in humor, amused at my outbursts. I wasn’t generally the dramatic type so it wasn’t probably was strange for her to witness.

”Well,” she said, thinking carefully. “This isn’t you, Khawlah. You either going to show them what you are really made of or we’ll tell Abba to take you out of that school. It’s no use staying there and just being unhappy.”

I sighed dramatically, just for emphasis. She had no idea. Her eyes followed me as I paced the room. My head was bursting.

“I wish I never had to go back,” I muttered, completely demotivated. I just wanted to hide away and never come out.

Everything was so confusing. What was going on with those girls and what did they want?

”It’s probably a phase,” Zuleikha continued. “They’ll get over it and find someone new to pick on. They usually pick on someone who they find may be prettier or more intelligent… and then they get over it and move on.”

Prettier or more intelligent? I was none of those. Well, as far as I knew, I didn’t see myself as competition. Besides, after today I knew that there was more to it than just that.

I looked at my sister in the eye, studying her composed expression and noticing her slight frown. I had to ask her.

“Zulz,” I said, trying to ascertain her mood.

My voice was calm and my heartbeat had slowed down as I stoped pacing.

“Hmmm,” she said, looking up as she was alerted that something was up. She was on edge.

I cleared my throat and loosened the pony on my unruly hair.

“Who was the guy in the red BMW?”

I had just blurted it out, because I knew if I stalled any longer I wouldn’t be able to ask. I watched Zuleikha’s expression change from curious, to shocked, and then angered. Her hazel eyes flashed furiously as she blinked, startled by the question.

“It’s none of your damn business!” She almost shouted, obviously perturbed by my question.

Anyone else would have gotten scared off.

I just rolled my eyes. I had no time for drama. Obviously it had become my business from today, because whoever this guy had been, that I seemed to vaguely know, had somehow come back to make my life a misery.

“I saw him,” I said, looking her courageously in the eye. I wasn’t scared of much and I didn’t want to beat around the bush.

“Today, he was outside my school with that annoying Mishka. He called my name. I wish I had tripped her.”


Zuleikha’s expression changed, and she got worried, and then curious again.

“That annoying girl who’s making my life a misery.“

Zuleikha sighed and rubbed her temples. She placed her pen carefully down on the counter, using both hands to run them through her brown hair that sat neatly below her shoulder.

“It was a long time ago, Khawlah,” she started, nibbling on her lips slightly nervously as she spoke. “And it was something I think about almost every day.”

I watched her as she spoke, telling me about how deeply she regretted it. She called it dating. I wasn’t sure what it meant but it reminded me of what Khalid had told me about boys and girls.

“Papa says we are gone too big now,” he had said, sounding like an recording machine. “And boys and girls are not supposed to be friends.”

Khalid was supposed to be my forever friend. I didnt know what the problem was with boys and girls being friends. I wasn’t completely naive at that age. I had heard friends talking and seen the stuff on the TV Aunty Nas watched. Maybe Khalid’s Papa was worried about that?

I felt a funny feeling in my stomach.

“I’m sorry Khawlah,” he had said, looking at me now with glazed eyes. I remember that he looked sad too. Even though Khalid wasn’t the same, he was still my friend. It was so terminal.

There was a voice in the distance. It sounded like his mother but I wasn’t sure.

”I have to go,” Khalid said, shifting around now, his shoulders slumping a little more.

I nodded, because I didn’t know what else to say. I didn’t understand.

But now… Now I understood a little.

How boys and girls shouldn’t be friends… and now I understood a little bit of why… I felt… well, there was no other word for it.

I felt betrayed. Let down by my sister.

Like she had let me down. My own sister, who was my own real-life heroine… and always seemed so normal and together… she had also got carried away. I didn’t like this. I didn’t like it at all.

“So you trying to tell me,” I finally said with disdain. “This Mishka has it in for me because her new boyfriend wanted to marry you?”

Marriage. Zuleikha was going to marry that guy at one stage and then she dropped him. It was when Abba wanted us to move houses. She suddenly got jerked out of her sinister behavior and changed her entire outlook on life. She had finally come to her senses.

It just goes to prove how wrong things can mess with your mind. Make you think like a lunatic.

Zuleikha was looking at me with her eyes wide.

“Boyfriend?” She said in amusement. “No. It’s her brother. Jameel is Mishkas brother.”


Oh no. I had gotten the entire thing completely wrong.

Here I was, labeling Mishka as some kind of boy-crazy girl and all this time… she was just trying to fight her brothers battles. I supposed she felt that she had reason to.

”So are you going to show her your crazy or must I?”

Zuleikhas voice broke through my thoughts as I snapped into reality.

“Wh-what d’you mean?”

“C’mon Khawlah!” She said, her voice getting louder by the second. “Stop acting like you have no backbone. Stand up for yourself! Don’t you remember how you tackled Hannah when she stood on your toes not so long ago?”


Ooh, that girl was something else.

She had really tried my patience. I had no choice but to put her in her place. She never took a chance with me after that. I hypo, had learnt to overlook.

But… was this the same? It was all noble being good and kind… but did it really mean that I had to act like a doormat? Where was the line?

Obviously those who incessantly and consistently continue to commit sin with no remorse were not worthy… but maybe it was worth a try?

“I’m not saying you must bite her face off, Khawlah,” Zuleikha said quickly with humour in her eyes. “Let’s talk to Abba later and see what he says. Let me talk.”

Foi Nani hobbled into the kitchen at that point, and Zuleikha quickly looked back into her books as she walked through.

“Talk to Abba?” Foi Nani asked, catching the last part of our coversation as she walked to the stove. “About what?”

I could see Zuleikha frantically gesturing to me, trying to get my attention. I looked at her, confused.

What? I mouthed.

She wanted me to keep the whole thing hush hush because she didn’t want to get into trouble about this Jameel guy. I gathered that much, Even though Zuleikha wasn’t an angel, she liked to pretend that she was. I rolled my eyes.

“Errr,” I said, not knowing how to answer Foi Nani.

It was so tricky. No matter what the circumstance, I couldn’t lie, but I didn’t want to expose Zuleikha either. I knew that there was a goodness in hiding peoples faults. Mama used to always say if we don’t talk about people, and all the wrong that they do… maybe Allah might excuse our wrong on the day when it will matter.

“Whoever conceals [the faults of] a Muslim, Allah will conceal [his faults] in this life and the Hereafter.” (Muslim) 

“You know your father has enough to worry about, besides your stories,” Foi Nani was saying. She was in one of her no-nonsense moods.  “He’s been very busy. Shukar to Allah he is doing very well, but I don’t want you girls growing up to be spoilt brats.”

I held my feelings within my heart and changed the topic.

“We’re just waiting for Abba,” I said carefully, looking at the food. “I was feeling like eating something different today…”

The moment I said it I saw Zuleikha slap her forehead with her palm and put her head down. I had kind of put my foot in it in and immediately regretted mentioning food, because Foi Nani turned around in a huff and started another rant.

“Khawlah, this is very upsetting,” she said, her light eyes darkening with anger. “I try and make what you’ll like but you and your sister keep complaining. The boys just sit and eat the food quietly… but you girls..!”

And with that she turned around and stormed out the kitchen, muttering to herself about how we are getting worse by the day.

“Wrong move,” Zuleikha said as she rolled her eyes and and  I looked at her with contempt, obviously blaming her for this whole scene.

Gosh, it was so hard to make people happy. I felt like I was too young to deal with so much going on in my world.

I spun around and exited the kitchen in annoyance, taking the stairs up to my room two at a time and escaping to my world of literature. I didn’t want to think. I didn’t even want to do my homework.

I had gone to the Islamic section in the library and found a book that went further into the adventures of Sahabiyyah. It was so gripping, and the tales of victory and empowerment were so uplifting. I got lost in my world for a little while… completely absorbed in the courageous tales of people from the past.

I didn’t even realise that nearly two hours had passed when I heard Zuleikha come in. It was time to pray my asr, and Abba should have been home by then. I prayed my Salah and waited patiently on my bed for Abba.

I literally watched the seconds tick by as I waited. And waited. And waited. I even did my homework.

It was nearly half past 6, and still Abba wasn’t home. I was started to get worried (not to mention hungry) and I think everyone else was too.

“Where’s Abba?” It was Yunus who walked into the room with the cat in his hand.

Ever since Aunty Agnus has left, the cat that Khalid had given me had become a resident in the house. Aunty Agnus had taken responsibility for it while she was here, but since She had left , I knew she he was lonely and needed company. Yunus had become its sworn companion. I think it reminded him of Khalid.

I shrugged, shaking my head at him.

“I don’t know,” I said, getting a little concerned now. Everyone in the house was slightly anxious now, awaiting the familiar sound of Abba’s car in the driveway.

“I called his cell phone,” Zuleikha said, her eyes darting around in worry. “It’s off.”

Foi Nani immediately put her hand to her mouth and started reading. She had forgotten that she was upset with us. It was a moment of extreme panic, and as the minutes ticked by and there was no progress, we found ourselves in a bit of a frenzy.

Abba. What would we do if something happened to him? We couldn’t even bear to think of it.

I swallowed nervously as I sat with my books, trying to concentrate. I wish I knew how to make it all stop… how to just end the worrying… but it was almost impossible at this point. Matters had gotten to a stage where we could no longer just overlook the obvious.

Abba was not home, and we were helpless. Zuleikha had gone into a panic-stricken mode where any sound would make her jump, and Foi Nani was like a force of another kind.

She was literally phoning everyone she knew, checking if they had any news at all on Abba. My brothers were sitting around quietly, and as for me, well… I sat at the top of the stairs and silently watched the commotion.

I silently zoned out into my own world… it’s own battle finding its way to truce… my mind taking me to its own haven. A haven from which I would draw silent strength.

The battle is fierce. The fighting is terrible. The Greeks have chained themselves together so that none can flee.

From the rear, a brave warrior waves a sword and shouts, “Cut off the arms of these uncircumcised!”

But the battle seems nearly lost.

The Muslims drop back. It seems futile. Panic quivers through their ranks. More and more withdraw.

And then it happens. Out of nowhere a tall, imposing knight, enveloped all in black, with gleaming eyes, gallops into the field, sword flying.

It’s amazing. Heads turn. The Muslims stop their retreat in awe at the reckless courage of this Arab warrior, penetrating the lines of the Byzantines, rushing right into their center.

The wreckless warrior- a heroine of such esteem.


I whipped my head up as my name was called, knowing that I was being summoned.

Like a call to serve, I could see red and blue lights through the front window, and I could practically smell melancholy in the air.

My family knew me. They knew that I was the toughest one here. Whenever there came a time where no-one could bare to withstand… Khawlah would always come through.

I could see flashing lights from the top of the stairs, and Foi Nani was starting to weep incessantly as she feared the worst. Zuleikha was stunned into silence, and my brothers too were rooted to the spot.

“Khawlah, answer the door!”

Yunus was calling from the lounge. I didn’t even hear the doorbell ring. I nodded numbly as I trudged down the stairs.

I knew I would have to up the strength today. I would have to keep it together for us all.

Khawlah, be strong, the voice was telling me. Be the warrior you know you are inside.

Now I knew that everything that had happened to this stage was a moulding for what was to come. It was the training for the battle… it was the camp that provided the skills.

That was life. That was how we grew.

It was going to be a fierce battle… and the battle was just about to begin.



16 thoughts on “Battle

  1. Assalaamu alaikum sister. Been wanting to comment from long 🙈

    Want to say your writing material, structure, content & everything is absolutely unique Masha-Allah.

    اللهم زد فزد

    May Allah reward all your time, I am gripped into the entire story line & always await your posts eagerly..

    I marvel at your manner of joining in stories of the Sahaabiyyat etc & the way the lessons are highlighted, paints an effect on the mind
    Please keep going, truly benefiting a lot.

    The battlefield, the courage, the morals, about being a warrior – are dosages to last us days on end.. And lingers on in my mind.. It’s something very relatable yet in a different way ❤️💙💜💛🧡💚

    May Allah take you from strength to strengthen & let the light from your ink radiate always, Aameen.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wslm sister.., always good to hear from readers, and so glad to hear people benefitting from my humble writings. JazakAllah Khair for your kind and sincere words.
      Allah make this a means of guidance and change for me first…
      truly, the stories of the Sahaba are so inspiring SubhaanAllah.
      Aameen , Thumma aameen! Req for duas 🌷

      Liked by 1 person

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