Flickering Flame

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


There are times in life when everything suddenly comes into perspective. It’s like the mist on our minds suddenly cleared… or the dirty windscreen just got cleaned. The outlook, or whatever one may call it, is all of a sudden, so, so clear.

Those moments… I feel, are moments of true realization. Moments that, if only we knew… could mean a world of pure amazement, as we step back and just let it all sink in.

It had started to rain as we drive home, and I couldn’t help but think about how clear it  was now. Although I was lucky that Ahmed was there to take me home, I wasn’t sure how much I would have to sacrifice now that he knew.

The drive home was close to unbearable. My heart was in my mouth as Ahmed drove home in the small golf that Abba kept as a spare car. Although my brother didn’t officially have a license, his driving skills were admirable. I sat back expectantly, trying to think of ways to explain.

I just wished that he would get over the berating and I could go on with my life. The anticipation was the worst.

“Rich people,” he suddenly muttered, and I held my piece, thinking that it would be the start of a torrent of  fury that Ahmed needed to release.

“Thy guys got a nerve,” Ahmed continued, his voice getting louder and he prepared the onslaught. “Coming there with all his flashy stuff and just taking over like a hero! I hope you know that these people are not like us, Khawlah. I could see what he was doing. I would have killed him if you didn’t walk away. Don’t get carried away, Khawlah. The guy is bad news. ”

I exhaled, slightly relieved that it was over. I knew that.

I wasn’t the type to get carried away. As much as this Adam guy had tried… I knew that I had been through way too much in life to lose myself now. Nusaybah always said that I behaved like I was thirty instead of thirteen.

I took a deep breath. I explained to Ahmed that it was a job that I had taken to help Abba and I really wanted to keep it. He made me promise not to entertain the ‘Adam character’, and I immediately agreed, at that time, fully meaning it.

I had no intention of falling into Shaytaan’s trap. I knew what problems it could cause. I knew how blind love and money could make a person lose all sight. I just didn’t know that sometimes… one person was not strong enough to withstand the pressure. But that was another story altogether.

We continued driving, and Ahmed was still muttering to himself as we drive into our relatively simple home. I was lucky to get off with a warning. From Ahmed, it was really something.

The thing was, for Ahmed, it mattered. Money mattered. I think what made it worse was the attitude that Adam had. In his mind, he felt that he was being looked down on. It was probably not the case… but with Ahmed’s insecurity, even a mere look would make him feel inferior because money wasn’t on his side.

I sighed to myself, thinking about how this Duniyaa could trap you. Money. Houses. Cars.

All so temporary… yet they weave themselves into our minds and even our hearts, and we still give them so much of undue preference. We put them above everything else. If only we understood that if this world was even worth a mosquito wing in the eyes of its Creator, Allah Ta’ala would not have given the Kaafir even a drop of water to drink.

It was narrated that Sahl bin Sa’d said:
“We were with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) in Dhul-Hulaifah, when we saw a dead sheep lifting its leg (because of bloating). He said: ‘Don’t you think this is worthless to its owner? By the One in Whose hand is my soul, this world is more worthless to Allah than this (dead sheep) is to its owner. If this world was worth the wing of a mosquito to Allah, the disbeliever would not have a drop to drink from it.’” 

I thought to myself, as I walked to my room, wondering about the day and everything that had happened. Some people… they had so much… but yet their lives were so empty.

I thought of Rubeena. Zuleikha. Even Adam.
They had so much of everything. I mean, sometimes, I couldn’t even think of a single thing I could get my sister that she didn’t already have.

But yet… recently, she barely looked happy. Rubeena, with her beautiful family, with chasing after everything else, was never satisfied. She was the one that puzzled me the most and that day was the last straw.

Almost as if she knew some thing was up, Rubeena called that very night, profusely apologizing about not giving me proper instructions about the sick baby. I gracefully accepted her apology, and though she didn’t mention her brother, I knew that he definitely had something to do with this. It wasn’t usually in her nature to admit she was wrong, so although I should have known there was something fishy, in my innocence, I ignored the nagging feeling and told her I would see her the following week.

It wasn’t out of the ordinary. Things would go back to normal, I convinced myself.
And then, I kept myself busy as I buried myself in my books again after what seemed like eons that evening, trying to forget about the day’s events and settle my mind.

I chose my favourite diversion… as I lay back on my favourite fluffy lilac throw and turned over to read my book.

The book told stories of life… of war… and of course, all centered around love… and as I devoured the contents, I couldn’t help but feel elated and inspired once again. The flickering flame was still there as I sunk into my literary pleasure and the very much needed escape was appreciated as I explored the lives of those whom I admired tremendously.

Their bravery and conviction was unparalleled. I sucked in my breath, unable to tear myself away from its excitement.

In the heat of a raging battle, a burning heart pursued her dream, chasing a flickering flame and igniting the fierce passion once again. It was a moment of pure exhilaration.

Victory was the only thing that was sought.
It was on its way again, but they didn’t yet know it.

Who are you?” Khalid RA insisted, adamantly staring down the evasive knight. 

She had no choice. She had to relent. 

“I am Khawlah Bint Al Azwar. I was with the women accompanying the army, and when I learnt that the enemy captured my brother, I did what I did.”

Khalid RA did not hesitate. He felt indebted to this brave warrior, and her determination was unmatched. It is said that he ordered his army to chase the fleeing Roman army, with Khawlah RA leading the attack, looking in all directions for her brother, but in vain.

The fight was furious, but by noon, the victory was decisive. A ferocious battle ensued, but finally, most of the Roman soldiers were killed.

Knowing that her brother and the prisoners had to be somewhere, Khalid RA sent Khawlah RA with a number of knights to find them. After a hot chase, they managed to catch up with a Roman detachment that was taking the prisoners to their headquarters.

They didn’t hesitate. Arrows were shot and swords were drawn… it was once again another mighty battle that took place. With hot pursuit and unmatched dedication, the Roman guards were all killed and the prisoners saved.

Khawlah RA and her brother were reunited once again. The attachment of these two siblings was intense, and the freedom that they had now acquired was a certain triumph. With Allah’s help alone, the taste of freedom was Divinely sweet. 


Free. How amazing it must have felt after that victory. How amazing is must have been to be free of shackles. They cared of nothing but Allah… they relied solely on His help.

How brave.

Through their bravery, they acquired so much. I wondered how I would fare if I had a loved one in trouble. Maybe there was already a test awaiting me… maybe I too, needed to prove my worth.

I couldnt help but think of my sister as I put my book down and got ready to pray my Maghrib Salaah. Abba was not home yet, and I took the opportunity to lie down for a bit while I waited, enjoying the free thoughts that roamed in my mind. There was just one thing that kept coming at me, like a silent reminder… a nagging feeling that didn’t want to leave.

Zuleikha. Somehow, she was just on my mind.

It had been ages since I had seen her and I really hoped she was okay. I lay on my bed, with my Extraordinary Heroine book in my hands, not even realizing that I had drifted into slumber in the process. I had read the book so many times before and the pictures of it’s events were still playing in my mind as I dozed off.

I didn’t even realize I had drifted off until Yunus knocked on my room door, and I woke in a slight panic, thinking I had slept till the morning. I blinked furiously as I sat up, looking questioningly at my younger brothers worried face.

“What?” I asked him, my words still slightly slurred by the daze I was in. “What’s happening?”

“We’ve got a visitor. Someone is here to see you,” he said tentatively, and I frowned.

At this hour? I didn’t even think to ask who it was. It was relatively late but I hastily washed my face and pulled on my hijab, calling out that I’ll be there in a minute.

I walked speedily to the front entrance, seeing a figure that I immediately recognised. Her back was to me as I approached, and even though I couldn’t see her face as her, I was already transported back to beautiful moments shared and stories told over afternoon tea and biscuits.

I couldn’t believe she was here.

After everything, I couldn’t believe she had come.

I cleared my throat, but it still felt dry as she turned around and met my gaze, with that oh-so-familiar smile settling on me after what seemed like years. It was still as jolly as I remembered, but what I almost didn’t see was the flicker of distress that lingered for just a few seconds. It was so fleeting that I thought I had imagined it.

And then, of course, her embrace consumed me as I reached her, and I forgot all else.

“My beautiful Khawlah,” she breathed, and I inhaled her familiar scent as I grasped her back tightly.

Aunty Radiyyah. Aunty Radiyyah was here.

I could barely look her in the eye, because it was she had come to see me after all this time. She pulled back and took a long look at me once again, swallowing hard as she scrutinized me from top to toe. I could tell what her thoughts were. Her emotions were overwhelming and as she rubbed her own eyes, I could feel myself tearing, as I remembered the days of innocence that I had spent at her home. As I remembered those moments, that had passed in haste. Where had the moments gone to?

She shook her head, as if to disregard all that had occurred, but I couldn’t help but feel extremely guilty for leaving the way I did.

The least she deserved was a proper farewell, and I was too much of a coward then to offer it back then. The flame within me had been extinguished. Everything had just fallen flat, when Abba had said we were moving house.

Now, it was too late. She had come herself, and though I didn’t know it yet… the news she would bring would ignite the desire… it would ignite that flickering flame once again.

Dear readers, 
I will be away and not be able to post for two weeks. I will try and fit it one more before I leave but my sincerest apologies if I do not manage. Insha Allah the story will continue when I return. 
Shukran to all the readers and commenters 🌸
Much love 
A 🌸

Double Trouble

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


Some people are talkers. They can talk themselves out of most things. They can talk when they are in a strange environment. They can talk when they are in trouble. They can even use their talking when they find themselves in a situation that is… let’s say… less than favorable.

Now for one, I was not that kind of person. I never was. Yes, I was tough and I was always up for a challenge… but talking was not my forte.

So of course, when Ahmed stormed up to me, wondering what was going on, who the baby was and why there was a strange male in the vicinity… I obviously did not know what to say. Instead, I just waited for him to say the first thing before I put my foot in it.

He walked up idly past the flashy Ferrari sports car in the driveway, looked at me, and then cast a disgusted look at Rubeena’s brother.

“Who are you?” He said, not even making any effort to sound polite.

Of course, I wouldn’t have expected any more from Ahmed. He was tough by nature and made no secret of it. He didn’t see himself as rude. For him, he was just being direct.

Adam was frowning slightly as he saw my brother, and in the streaky sunlight I can see his brown hair looking a little less informal than the last time. He wasn’t all gelled and business-like today. He looked like he was a little calmer than the last time… also less intimidating… except , he was looking annoyed too.

He stood up straight and looked at Ahmed squarely.

“Who are you?” He asked just as directly,  raising his eyebrows at Ahmed questioningly.

“What’s going on Khawlah?” Ahmed said, not liking the response he was getting and narrowing his eyes at me. “Is this your boyfriend?”

Of course, at this point, I literally wanted the floor to open up and transport me to some other space and time. I did not, for the life of me, know what to say.

”No no,” I said, a little worried that this Adam guy was also going to jump to conclusions about me.

Maybe he would think that I was some kind of desperate young girl who was making false allegations. Maybe he thought I was trying to set him up. It was just a wonder that whilst they were busy bickering, none of them noticed the baby in my arms.

“I was wondering if Khawlah had gone mad,” Ahmed muttered, almost to himself.

“And so what if I was?” Adam was saying, now taking on an entirely different approach. His body language has now gone on the defensive and I could see that he was getting angry.

I opened my mouth, slightly agape, knowing that I had to say something.

“Hey!” I shouted at the pair of them, trying to get their attention. “Didn’t you’ll even notice that there’s a baby here in my arms?”

They both stopped and looked at me, frowning slightly.  I knew they thought I was gone mad, but they were acting crazy too.

“I need help,” I confessed desperately.  “Zaydaan has a fever and I don’t know what to do. I’m kind of panicking.”

I looked at Ahmed with pleading eyes, knowing he would understand why I brought him here.

“Do you want to take him to a doctor?”

I nodded, then shook my head.

A doctor? I couldn’t. Even though it would be a great plan… I just needed someone to put this all in perspective for me. To help me think.

“Wait,” Rubeena’s brother said, actually speaking so softly I wasn’t sure if he was. He ran his hand through his hair and looked at us both.

”Let’s try a cool shower,” he suggested, his eyes lighting up. “And I’ll try for Rubeena-“

”I did,” I said, cutting him short. “She’s not answering.”

”As usual,” he muttered.

He shrugged it off and hastily took the sleeping child from me. He was still hot to the touch and I could tell that his uncle was just as worried as he felt him. He hastily took him to the bathroom while I busied myself in trying to sort the other kids out. Their nails were long and the sand had gotten underneath. I knew that Rubeena could be home at any time, and even though she hadn’t given me many instructions about the kids, I knew she would expect everything to be perfect.

Athough I loved looking after kids, Rubeena wasn’t always easy. Her expectations were high and I had always exceeded them.

I sighed, annoyed that I had always been so ambitious. I ushered the kids to the bathroom, determined to do a quick wash and get them looking neat and clean in record time.

Ahmed, on the other hand, was looking at me inquiringly, probably wondering what on earth I called him for. He knew nothing about kids, and even if he did, he was certainly the type to act like he didn’t in case, by my chance, he looked a little less macho than he wanted to. He tentatively entered the doorway of the house, looking around curiously at its expensive interior and raising his eyebrows.

He was definitely bought.

Unlike the rest of my family , Ahmed had this strong inclination towards ‘the good stuff’. He liked nice things. He liked fast cars. Expensive watches. The best perfumes.


Ahmed loved it, and it was one of the biggest tests he had to fight off since Abba could no longer afford all the good stuff he used to.

So, although he was a bit peeved at Rubeena’s brother for being here, when he clearly didn’t want him to be near his sister, the fact that the house was beautiful and there was an unmentionably expensive sports car in the driveway, was already changing his entire perspective.

He looked at everything around him now with a hint of interest, already letting me know that he had something else to focus on besides my emergency. He was consumed by ty splendor… looking like he was being devoured by its materialism. Ahmed was very much occupied.

I tried to ignore the crying from the bathroom and hurried to the room to take out some clothes for the kidswhile I had a few minutes free, letting the two big ones dress themselves. They didn’t always do it perfectly but I loved that they tried and were getting better every time. I was so absorbed in them that I didn’t even hear the door opening behind me.

I almost jumped as he spoke, in a hushed voice.

“It’s gone,” he said, hesitating as he saw my shocked expression and takin a step back. I didn’t expect him to come here. I didn’t exactly know what to say, so I just  nodded.

”Wohere can I leave him?”

Zaydaan was finally sleeping peacefully and my heart felt so much more at ease. I pointed to the camp cot outside the playroom, and I watched as thier uncle carefully settled him on the pillow.

I wondered how he knew so much about babies. He seemed young. I mean, he was older than me, but  barely old enough to have his own. I wondered if he had babysat a lot of Rubeena before.

He had seemed so busy. Before when I had met him… I didn’t think he had time for kids. He seemed tired. Fed-up. Annoyed.

But today… today, he had surprised me. Today, he had literally saved the day.

I smiled stiffly, not exactly at him, but hoping to seem appreciative .

“Thank you,” I said, not very loudly, but just audibly.

I knew he heard me because he looked up slightly as he stepped away fro the cot, and looked at me, probably for the first time, with a  more interest than before.

“Welcome,” he said indifferently, looking away quickly. It was a bit strange, and even though I always knew that I didn’t have much time for boys, this wasn’t a usual conversation that any girl would have. Well, so I thought.

“What’s your name again?” He asked, and then I knew that I was going into a danger zone.

Instead of this just being precise and a means to get out of a situation I had been in, it was becoming a little more friendly that I liked. But how could I ignore him?

”It’s Khawlah,” I said hastily, turning away to leave and wondering where Ahmed was. Hopefully he would take me home and not go without me.

“Are you leaving?” He asked, and I hoped he wouldn’t go on complaining about the kids like he did the last time.

I prayed that I could escape silently and he would just take over. I jus had to get out of this conversation with the least effort on my part.

Now, one thing most people knew about me was that I was a reader. I loved my books, and since I loved them I much, I would go out of my way to find educational and informative books on Islam. Not always, but I loved to read about different aspects.

I remembered what I had read once. As I was getting older, I had become more aware of myself and interactions. Now aware of boys, especially during the past few months, I knew that there was a certain way to act. I knew there was a certain way in which I should speak as a Muslims girl, especially when it came to guys.

Allah (SWT) said in the Quran; “then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery, etc.) should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner”.

And I saw it all the time. Girls who would talk to boys at school… or even on the phone. It was so weird how their voices and tones would suddenly become annoyingly sweet and sugar-coated when there was a guy involved. To keep our voices as low and unattractive as we could was the only way to keep away trouble and unnecessary sin.

There were alarm bells ringing in my head and I knew that I had to get away. Adam’s gaze was boring into the back of my head.

”I have to go,” I murmured, almost to myself, turning around again to retreat.

“One minute,” He said, almost convincing me that there was something important I had been missing.

I glanced at the kids. They looked neat enough. I looked at my watch.

It was time for Rubeena to be back, and it wasn’t the first time that she was late. I knew that I would have to leave now, and I didn’t feel bad because her brother was here. What was annoying me the most though was that this guy thought I had all the time in the world to be here.

I turned back slightly, offering a tiny wave to the boys who were watching, making it known that I was on my way out. Their uncle was more than capable. If Abba comes home before us, I knew we would have a lot of explaining. I would have to spend the drive home convincing Ahmed to let it be for a little while longer. Just to buy me some time.

I was caught by surprise when Rubeena’s brother’s voice called out again.

“Will I see you again, Khawlah?”

I almost stopped in my tracks as I heard him, feeling a little ruffled and slightly unnerved by his audacity.

He was clearly not just asking out of my own concern. There was an underlying hint of interest in his voice, and I could tell that he was quite experienced in this kind of chatter.

Of course, it had to be at that precise point that my brother chose to come and look for me, and him hearing it made me me want to run and hide. I wasn’t sure what he was thinking. His penetrating gaze moved from me to the guy, and back to me. I was already scared… worried. Hoping he wouldn’t think that I was actually flirting with this outrageously confident guy.

He gestured for me to follow him, without saying a word, and I blindly followed, looking down and trying to appear as innocent as I could. I didn’t do anything wrong, but I wasn’t sure how it would explain it all to Ahmed.

I could tell that his mind was already working, and his amber eyes were filled with an obscured emotion that I just couldn’t put my finger on.

We had just reached the car, and Rubeena pulled in. I waved at her as I got to the car, gesturing that I would call her later.

The look she gave me back wasn’t very convincing, but I just hoped that she would understand my predicament when she knew the full story. I couldn’t really worry about her right now, because all I could think about was the onslaught I would probably get in the car.

I could already tell that Ahmed was revving up for something, and it’s wasn’t just to drive his car.

Maybe my little adventure was a little more trouble than I had anticipated…


More than the Bargain

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


It’s amazing how life unfolds so beautifully, for the people of Tawakkul.

There’s one lesson that I learnt along the way, that I knew would never leave me. If you really and truly believe that Allah is the sole provider, and it is Him and ONLY Him that can provide for any need, be it a mountain or even a shoelace, then He is the One who comes through for you.

Over and over again. By some means or some will… the plan is made, and the path is opened up. That’s the magic of Tawakkul. Tawakkul is not looking for the pathways to pave the way. Tawakkul is just looking for Allah, and He will map it all out for you.

It’s what Nusaybah had told me too, and as I travelled up the pathway that I had been traveling the past few months, I felt my heart swell with joy as I thought of the afternoon that lay ahead.

I loved my job. I truly did. In fact, I didn’t even call it my job. It was my calling, and it was my refuge. It was also, really and truly, more that I had bargained for.

I stepped up eagerly, ringing the familiar doorbell and waiting for Rubeena to open. She had insisted that I didn’t call her aunty.

“Don’t make me feel old,” she said, brushing me off when I said I felt awkward calling her by her first name.

Today, she took a few extra minutes to open, but she finally emerged with a towel on her head and still barefoot. I figured that she had just had a shower, and I realized that maybe it had been a bit of a rough day.

“Zaydaan is sick,” she said, sounding exhausted, and of course, that explained a lot. “I asked Shabeer if he can stay and help out but of course, you know my husband. He always has some important meeting and I’m getting a little bit sick of his excuses. Idiot. I’m actually not sure what I would do without you, Khawlah.”

She turned away in a huff, hastily grabbing her shoes from the front room and then calling the two older boys.

”Danyaal! Dayyan!” She shouted. “Khawlah is here!”

The two older boys literally raced out of the room, and their smiles were from ear to ear as they saw me. I was almost knocked over by their fierce hugs as they grabbed my legs, obviously excited and chattering away about something that had happened over the weekend.

I could hear an occasional roar and then some other animal sounds, and I could gather that they had been to some ourltdoor excursion. I just hoped that it was their father who had taken them and he had actually been spending some quality time with his family. It was really strange that I had been working here for a few months, and I hadn’t even seen him once. Not that I wanted to. I just wanted to know that he knew what an amazing family he had.

“So,” Rubeena said quickly as she applied some lipstick on her pale lips. She looked at me gratefully as I took the baby Zaydaan away from the helper who was passing. “Patricia needs to finish the kitchen so please maybe take the kids out of the way so Shabeer doesn’t have a fit when he gets home. You know how fussy he is. And, of course, the bedrooms need to be in a decent state so it’s not a big fight again. Last night he couldn’t understand how the kids could make a mess in five minutes flat. I told him to stay at home for once and watch them. Of course, he shut up fast after that.”

She rolled her eyes and I smiled awkwardly.

Gosh, this woman always complained about her husband. I wondered if he was really as ogre-like as he sounded?

She rattled off a dozen more instructions about the helper and where she shouldn’t go to me as she put on her trainers, and then she tied her streaked hair up in a neat bun and left with a bag and gym jacket.

I let out a sigh of relief as she left, gathering the four boys and slowly guiding them towards the back exit. It reminded me of the days of our old home, when leaving through the back door would give me a gorgeous world of opportunity… a gardening feast that I would look forward to endlessly. I was insatiable when it came to my adventures of planting hope… I just couldn’t get enough.

Danyaal, Dayyaan and Zia. The other three boys were chattering and joyfully parading down the stairs to the garden, as I held little Zaydaan in my arms and followed them through. They were just as excited as I was, and I daresay that gardening was as contagious as chickenpox, because I dug into the patch that Rubeena had started some planting, the four boys not only watched, but gathered pales and spades, ready to ‘help out’ wherever they could. I would often giggle at their ambtition, though sometimes a little overdone. And of course, I sometimes had to hastily wash the mouths of the smaller ones when I would find them stuffing handfuls of soil in. I still didn’t understand what was so amazing about eating sand, but the Zaydaan was a little obsessed.

Having this time was a welcome break and wonderful refuge. After everything at home, my mind really needed to take a break from reality as just forget about the ast few months. I had been so worried about Abba’s work… about Zuleikha’s marriage… even about Foi Nani’s health. I desperately wanted to get my mind into my passion for planting and let it be.

Zuleikha had returned back to her home after a month, when she was looking almost back to normal. And then of course, she phoned with the news that she was pregnant and awfully sick. I wasn’t sure whether to be happy for her or not. I could gather that she  didn’t even know how to feel herself. I just hoped that the pregnancy wouldn’t be a reason for her to stay in a marriage if she knew it was going to be trouble for her. I yearned to see my sister, hoping she would come by this weekend. I delved into the task ahead, trying to forget about Zuleikha for the moment.

Of course, what started a a half hour session turned into two hours, and amazingly, the kids are very busy with balls, spades, buckets and a number of other activities outside. It was only when I went to get some snacks and water did I pick up little Zaydaan and notice his eyes a little smaller than usual. They were slightly glossy, and as I held him, it was unusual that instead of wiggling and trying to squirm free, he actually lay his head on my shoulder without a fuss or fight.

Now this would have been awesome if it was his bedtime, but as I touched his bare cheek, the heat that emanated from it gave me a mini panic attack. And then, of course, I remembered Rubeena saying he wasn’t well. It all came flooding back as I wracked my brains about what next to do. He was clearly down with fever again and needed treatment. ASAP.

Did she say where the medication was? Did she say what to give him? I was now at a stage where I was becoming a little more than just anxious. Uneasiness was settling in and I was frantically searching drawers for some medication or some kind of instruction.

I hastily grabbed three bowls, poured in some flings into each so they wouldn’t fight and planted the three kids on the carpet in the playroom.


I shouted for the helper, wondering if she would know any better. She was fairly new but she might have seen something that Rubeena had given him earlier. She might know what to do.

”Yes?” Patricia said, coming out from the kitchen and looking at me questioningly.

“He’s got a fever!” I exclaimed, hoping she would assist. “What did ma’am give him earlier? What must I do?”

Patricia looked at me blankly and shrugged. She didn’t seem very fazed by my emergency. She was not your regular domestic. She was educated and this job was just a means for her to earn some money to complete her degree. I couldn’t blame her though because she was only there a week. Rubeena’s criteria for a helper was always someone who was well-spoken and could read. This would ensure that she could do the work that Rubeena, or any other women of the house would usually do without a communication barrier, including seeing to and reading to the children. She was the third helper since I was there and I already knew that she wouldn’t last.

“Medicines are upstairs in the room,” was all she offered, and walked away.

I couldn’t go upstairs. I never did. What was I going to do? How can Rubeena be so irresponsible?

Now by now, as you can probably gather, I was downright panicked. Stressed and panicked. As I tried to put the baby down to fetch a wet towel, I could see his eyes kind of rolling back and my heartbeat immediately escalated.

This was not good. This was not good. The baby was not well… the least Rubeena could have done was give me proper instructions. I berated myself for not asking her. What on earth was wrong with us both?

I grabbed the house phone, looking for a list of emergency numbers. Rubeena’s number was all I could find and I dialed it, my heartbeat slightly reducing as I felt relief. All I had to do was call her and ask. Maybe she will come back.

But of course, it was Murphy’s law. The phone rang and rang, and no-one answered. Maybe I should call someone else? Panic was setting in again and little Zaydaan was not looking good at all. Even with dabbing him down, his temperature was not showing any signs of coming down. He looked miserable too. His light brown eyes were still shiny and he pouted slightly as I put him down, wanting to be carried again.

I wanted to cry too. I sat down on the hallway carpet, limp baby in hand, trying to provide some comfort to him by rocking him gently and dabbing his forehead. He didn’t like the wet towel but he seemed too weak to care. Two of the older boys had finished their chips and had come to look for me. The little boy in my arms was delirious and I had no clue on how to help him. I knew that I had to get some help. I had no choice. If something had to happen to little Zaydaan, I would not know what to tell his mother.

I hastily dialed my brother’s number from the phone that was in my hand, already worried about how I would explain my job to him. Yes, it was selfish but that was my main concern.

No-one knew. Not even Abba. They thought I had extra lessons at school, and although I would help Abba but stuff for the house, Abba didn’t ask about how I did it and neither did I offer any information.

I was hoping Ahmed would understand. As he answered, I cleared my throat, speaking clearly, and hoping he wouldn’t pick up on my panicked state.

“Ahmed. Where are you?” I said gingerly, hoping he wasn’t far.

“I just came home,” he said, sounding annoyed that I was asking. “Where are you?”

He probably noticed the strange number. I hastily gave him directions and an address, telling him I’ll explain when he got here.

I blew my nose and tried to occupy the kids with a story as we sat and waited. It was the first time I had been faced with a challenge of this sort and I couldn’t help but realize that kids weren’t always fun and easy to see to. They took time. They took care. But most importantly, they weren’t always a walk in the park.

Over the past few months of seeing to these kids, I now saw motherhood as a kind of super power. Allah really chooses those who he gives the gift to. I just sometimes wished that Rubeena put a little more care into her kids. I felt like they were left to fend for themselves a lot, and I felt bad about it.

Goodness, I would have to tell her. This was the last straw. Leaving a sick baby with me with no instructions was disastrous.

Thankfully,  It was less than a minute later that I heard a car outside, and I didn’t even think before shooting up and heading for the door handle. My hand automatically turned as I heard the car switch off, not wondering why it sounded very much different to the noise I was used to of Ahmed’s citi Golf.

I wasn’t even thinking about the fact that it might not be him as I impatiently pulled open the gate, and waited for my brother.

I was so busy with the three kids that were with me that I didn’t even notice the car in the driveway. It was only when I heard the unfamiliar clearing of someone’s throat did I realize that it wasn’t Ahmed. In fact, Ahmed had not even arrived yet.

The vaguely familiar scent of perfume stifled me as I looked up, and I almost jumped as I saw him suddenly in front of me, with a huge box in his hand.

He looked different today. I couldn’t help but think that he looked better than I remembered. I didn’t want to look, but the guy was right in front of me and I could not miss seeing that perfect nose that Nusaybah kept going on about. I was a little disorientated as I processed all that was happening, but as he frowned at me, I realized  that I was in his way and hurriedly looked away and moved aside.

At least the older two kids are now diverted by the newcomer and his package, so I could focus a little more and wonder to myself about exactly what had happened.

I remembered him.

Adam, his name was.

He was, of course, the famous brother that Rubeena had always spoken about, that Nusaybah was extremely charmed by and I was a less than impressed with. There was, of course, a lot more to him than what I had known at that point.

Watching them, I forgot for a moment that I was supposed to be waiting for Ahmed. I was still holding the feverish baby in my hands, hoping that something miraculous would happen and make everything be okay again. I just didn’t realize that it had already happened… and that the very fact that this visitor was here and I could see Ahmed pulling in too was all part of a plan that was about to unfold.

A plan. A plan. A plan that held a deeper and greater meaning for us all… and a plan that would most definitely change a life.

Little did we know, that plan was already in place. It was already in progress, and as my brother jumped out of his car in a frenzy and made his way over, I held my breath, hoping that this wouldn’t bring any trouble.

Maybe I had panicked too soon. Maybe I had  been a little spontaneous. Maybe everything would have been okay… but right now, I knew that I would have to think fast.

All this was just a little more than I had bargained for.

Escape to Nowhere

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


“Where were you?”

My words were acid-like as I saw my sister stroll in at nearly 5-o-clock that afternoon. What on earth was she doing out till so late? I’m sure Abba will let her have it if he knew.

“Um, I,” she stumbled over her words relentlessly and I narrowed my eyes at her suspiciously. “I had something to sort out.”

I wasn’t going to let it go. Later on I would pursue this, but as Khawlah turned away from me and made her way to her room, I just felt so drained. So indifferent to everything else.

She wasn’t looking at me properly, and I understood why. Even looking at myself was a task, and everytime I caught sight of my battered face, I literally wanted to tear it off.

Today, instead of it looking better… it looked ten times much worse. It felt like I had been hit like a ten ton truck… although that could very likely be due to the lack of sleep too.

I touched my face for the umpteenth time that day, wincing again as I pressed the tender contours of my bruised eye.

The blood that had been fresh yesterday had formed a soft but painful scab on the inside of the wound, but I knew that it was just a matter of time before it would start to heal properly.

My new phone that jameel had bought for me buzzed as I sat on the front couch, turning my face slightly so I could see the recipient of its vibrations.

“Please answer.”

The words stared at me as I looked at my phone, already annoyed at the sender. Jameel was pestering since the morning, and all I wanted to do was be left alone. I was still reeling from yesterday… I hated the way he made me feel, and he needed to know it. My phone buzzed again, and although I tried so hard to fight the urge, I could not help but look down.

“I won’t do it again. I promise. I love you.”

The screen was almost pleading with me, taunting me to respond to its appeals.

I thought of Jameel’s handsome face. How I loved him. Moreso, I loved the life he was giving me. The luxuries. My husband was my weakness, and he knew just how to get me.

I just couldn’t forget his look of utter indifference as I had cried out in pain.

My mind played back the memories from that fateful afternoon, and I couldn’t help but remember the series that all started with the visit to Aupnty Romana. It was the third time I had stepped foot in the mansion-like home, and as usual, they were all gushing over Jameel like he was some kind of god.

Of course, he loved the attention he was getting. I did too. The fact that he was my husband, and came home with me every night would make it all okay. It didn’t matter that he would be looking at every woman around… he was still mine.

“You two look more and more gorgeous every time I see you guys!” Aunty Romana gushed, squealing in delight as Jameel leant forward to hug her lightly. I couldn’t help but feel flattered at her comment, because I knew I had made an extra effort that day.

I reached forward to hold his other hand, a little insecure. It was one of those big cousin get togethers and I wanted to stay as close to my husband as I could.

“You know Uncle G will be so proud of you, when he hears the good news about the contract,” she winked at us, and then tossed her hair back as she screamed for her husband.

“I’ll go find him,” Jameel said a bit too eagerly, and I knew it was because he was itching to escape her penetrating gaze. Jameel didn’t deny it when I had mentioned that ahe was obsessed with my him, and I knew that he wasn’t sure how to react to it. She was so much older, and of course, like a mother-figure to him. She was so obvious about her sugar-Mummy crush that it made me feel sick.

Of course, anything to do with money, or earning more money of which there was already too much, was a huge achievement. I didn’t deny it because of course, I benefited immensely too. All the good stuff I could ever dream of was at my disposal. I lived the life of a queen, loved it, and Jameel never said no to anything. Besides that, he would spoil me relentlessly, and I couldn’t complain.

I could see Jameel swiftly casting his gaze around the room, and I followed him as he went forward, my six inch heels just a little wobbly on my unsturdy feet.

I knew I had no reason to feel insecure. Today I had made an extra effort… and I knew, to him, I was looking great. Jameel had put his stamp of approval on my royal blue skinny pants and white zipper shirt. Casual and carefree was the look I was going for, and I let my hair down for the first time, loving the feeling of being free and fitting in.

All his cousins were around, and I didn’t want to look backward. I greeted them enthusiastically, spotting his cousin who I remembered meeting the last time. Her name was Layya and today she wore a stunning gold dress, that again sat above her knee. She had the most perfect and toned legs, and she knew it. Her hair was up in a bun, and it was no doubt that this cousin of Jameel’s was his favourite, and probably the most attractive too. The familiar green monster was brewing within me, although I told myself not to be ridiculous.

Couldnt she dress a little less openly? I thought to myself, hating the way Jameel went forward and greeted her affectionately.

Even though I still didn’t like her, I understood now what my mother-in-law was talking about. Jameel had his father’s habit. With Jameel’s wondering eyes, I had to keep him interested. I just wished that he could focus on me now too, that we were in public. As I caught sight of myself in the surrounding mirrors, I could see my own reflection behind my husband.

I looked gorgeous. I knew it. He had told me so too. So what the hell was his problem?!

“Jameel, can we go outside?” I whispered to him as he greeted his uncle, wanting to get away from the crowd for a bit.

I could see he was annoyed by my suggestion by the slight frown on his face, and he ignored me as he spoke to his uncle about the new contract he had gotten, which was the highlight of the year and why we had been invited here in the first place. I felt even more awkward.

There were a few of his female cousins around, and even though I had met them before, I wasn’t sure how to strike up a conversation. I sauntered off to the outside area, eager to be out of the spotlight for a bit.

The function was fully catered and I joined the other younger girls who were there while they ate whilst standing, listening to their conversation and saying as less as I could manage. There was no way I could be the odd one out and find a place to sit. I would look like a real eyeball if I had to worry about the Sunnah of eating right now, even though Mama had always been so strict about it. Mama didn’t know about these kind of functions back then. She didn’t know how these people would judge me.

They weren’t unfriendly. They just spoke on another wavelength to me. It took me a while to realize that KUWTK was a programme on television, and that the sisters they were talking about were actually celebrities.

I blushed as they spoke about baby daddy’s and some other stuff I found a little x-rated. Most of those girls were younger than me… I couldn’t believe they even knew about those things.

I hastily made an excuse to leave the crowd, eager to find my husband again. I didn’t want to smother him, but I was actually missing his voice.

I sauntered off to the sitting lounge, knowing I could get some peace there. It was just as I entered, that I saw Jameel sitting there, and he looked in deep conversation as he spoke. I took a step back and watched him, not wanting to be rude either. He wouldn’t like it if I interrupted him, so I moved slightly more out of view, not expecting to see his cousin sitting so close next to him, that I almost missed her completely.

I jerked back in shock… just catching sight of my husband’s hand on her bare thigh.

I could not believe it. Why on earth were the two of them alone? What exactly was going on?

My senses were sent into shock as I literally ran out of the room. I wasn’t sure what was happening. I wasn’t sure if Jameel saw me. Tears blurred my vision as I ran… not even knowing where I was going. All I could think of was Jameel and his hand on his cousin’s thigh. It played on my mind, over and over, until I literally wanted to puke.

I ran outside, far from everyone, reeling over on the side of the driveway, trying to balance on my heels and compose myself at the same time. My stomach was churning. My eyes were burning. The bile was collecting in my mouth as I tried to keep my vomit inside.

I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to vomit here.

“Are you okay?”

The voice was dripping with concern as I looked up, with great difficulty, to see one of Jameel’s male cousins, looking at me with worry. He was as tall as Jameel, and his eyes were slightly lighter than usual. They reminded me of my own.

I quickly looked away, not knowing what to say. Hoping to control the nausea. It was the first time I had been confronted by a strange male, and now was not exactly an ideal time.

My stomach churned once again, and this time, I opened my mouth and I couldn’t keep it in any longer.

With desperation, I clung to the shrub next to me, and retched with all my might. It was only then that I felt strong hands hold me back from falling into my own vomit, and although I could not stand the thought of a strange man touching me, there was nothing I could do but let him merely hold me up as I felt like my entire stomach was emptied.

I shook myself free as I felt the nausea subside, not knowing how to explain to him that he shouldn’t be touching me. I couldn’t even look up, and hearing his soothing words, asking me politely if he could call some help, I managed to look up at him again.

“What the hell?!”

It wasn’t him speaking and he didn’t say hell. He used a more abrupt version.

It was Jameel. That was Jameel’s voice. It seemed like he was looking for me, and he rushed up to us, pushing the other guy away as he lifted me off the ground, trying to balance my unsteady legs.

“Leikha, what the shit is going on?!” He said, not only addressing me, but also the guy who was trying to help me. “And why the hell are you touching my wife, bru?! Piss off!”

I couldn’t see straight. I couldn’t think. I just let him guide me to the car, letting him jump in and drive me away. It all happened so fast. I wasn’t sure how to ask him.

I could only think of that Hadith that Mama used to read to us. The one just stood out to me so clearly…. About everything bad that happens to us was because of our own sins… our own mishaps.

I was sorry. I was bad. I was sorry that I had been bad. I could only think about how I violated my own principles. How I had let myself down. How I had let my Allah down. Now it was too late. Now my husband was a cheater. A cheater.

“I hate you,” I spat, not knowing what else to tell him. Him and Layya. I could  not swallow it. What would he say? Should I ask?

He looked at me, and then, all of a sudden, he stopped the car. Dead. We were on a side road near our home, and I couldn’t even muster up the courage to tell him more or to ask him… because I was still feeling so weak.

You hate me?!” He said, his voice slightly raised. His eyes were thunderous with anger, and I flinched as he spoke, his voice booming again.

You dress like a whore… you act like a whore…  and you hate me?!

Jameel’s eyes were flashing angrily as he watched me, waiting for my reaction. I was scared. So so scared.

I had never seen him like this. I had never heard him say things like this. Why was he being like this?

It wasn’t  him.

It wasn’t him. It wasn’t.

Okay. It was him. It was. But why?

He was just angry. Maybe he thought I had asked that guy for help. Maybe he thought something else. And as I sat there, making excuses for him, I knew that something bad was coming.

And then it happened.

The voice was screaming out to me in my head as he lashed out, and I couldn’t believe that it was my Jameel who was doing this to me. I couldn’t believe that he was destroying me like this.

The shooting pain wasn’t immediate. At first I was numb, as he issued not one, not two, but three pulsating lashes… then… then I felt the burn. Then I felt the stinging on the side of my face.

I reached up to my cheek and looked at him in disbelief, and almost immediately, the anger in his eyes had dissipated. Instead, now, all that was in his eyes was fear. Fear and desperation.

“Leikha…” he breathed, and I could see that he wanted to talk. Talk. That’s what Jameel was good at. Talk his way through business. Talk his way to charm… talk his way out of an accusation he knew I had against him.

I wasn’t sure what to do. I wasn’t sure how to act. All I knew was that I had to get out for now.

Without even thinking, I reached for the door handle, and I opened it, knowing that all I could do was run. It didn’t matter how far. It didn’t matter how safe. It didn’t matter that I would go back.

I had to go. For now, I had to escape.

Dear readers

A bonus post and change in theme again as we start to highlight some important aspects that I wanted to bring in. ✨

There is a Hadith that mentions that our ruin will sometimes also come in the form of Duniyaa luxuries, and if we persist on disobeying Allah, these comforts are actually a punishment for us.

May Allah Ta’ala save us all…

Much love

A 🌸



Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


”His mother?”

His mother?! Jameel’s mother did that to her?

Well, everything  was kind of coming together now.

I remembered Zuleikha telling me a few times about her mother-in-law giving her a tough time. I remembered her also explaining to me that she was always cut up and in a bad mood because of her husband… Zuleikha’s father-in-law.

I just didn’t want to think about it because those kind of stories made me feel sick in my tummy. It made me wonder if there was anyone in this world who was good and true. Who was actually normal and loyal.

I breathed in. Then out. All this was making me a little anxious, which was a bit strange for me.

And then, of course,  there was my brother who was standing at the entrance with his handgun still glued to his hand.

With all this craziness I couldn’t help but feel that everything was turned upside down all over again.


I had to ask that question. What ever prompted a person to take violence to such a level… where there was such putrid evidence.

“We had an argument,” Zuleikha said quietly. “And when Jameel tried to intervene, she would have none of it…  and then she lashed out and hit me with some heavy duty utensil that was on the counter. I don’t know… I just saw stars… and then Jameel guided me away. It’s really sore.”

A few tears escaped her eye and she winced again as she touched the wound.

“You can’t go back,” I said to her, adamant. “You can’t.”

“Of course she can’t! If Jameel thinks she’s stepping foot in his house again he’s got another thought coming!” Ahmed exclaimed, dangling the pistol erratically. The way he was going about was actually starting to give me creeps.

Foi Nani just kept on having random outbursts. She was working herself up for no reason, and she could only talk about what people would say if they found out. I couldn’t help but think that there might be more important things to worry about than that.

The sound of the front door opening was like a melody to my ears. It meant one of the normal people in our home were here and my heart started beating a little faster as I anticipated the reaction when they would see Zuleikha for the first time.

“Assalaamu Alaykum.”

it was Abba. He always greeted and made a roaring salaam as he entered, and I whispered one back. I didn’t want to speak too loudly. It was almost as if I wanted him to see it, but was dreading it as well.

I held my breath as Abba walked into the kitchen, placing his bag down and then frowning as he looked curiously at Zuleikha. Her head was down, and he too was thinking that it was strange that she was here at this time. She slowly lifted her head, and though Abba’s gaze stayed fixed on her, his facial expression didn’t change. He just continued to stare.

He didn’t look at anyone us. He didn’t even speak.

Did he see her? Did he even noticed the huge gashes she had on her face? Why was he saying nothing?

He walked over to her quietly, and then lifted her chin ever so slightly as he studied her. His face was serious, but he didn’t utter a single word. He merely scrutinized her face, and then sat down next to her, still saying nothing.

Ahmed stood at a distance, watching them intently, and looking slightly shocked at Abba’s reaction. At least he had put the gun away. I let out a silent sigh of relief, and then held my breath again as I heard Abba speaking.

He spoke softly, and his head almost touched Zuleikha’s as they conversed.

“Are you okay?” He was asking her, with concern in his body language.

She nodded, almost numbly.

“Did Jameel do this to you?”

She looked up at Abba, and then looked down and shook her head.

“Are you sure?” Abba asked, prompting her again.

“Yes, Abba,” She said firmly now, and I could see her eyes flashing a little angrily.

Abba had to check.

“She needs to stay here,” Ahmed said. His voice was firm as he stepped forward. Abba turned to look at him, frowning slightly.

”Jameel already called me,” he said, and then I understood his reaction. So he already knew. That explained a lot. “She will be here for a few days, and she will go back to her husband. They will find a way to work through this together. Now both of you’ll go to your rooms and get ready for supper.”

Ahmed and I hastily retreated, knowing that abba would take over from here and there was no arguing. I wasn’t sure about what Abba had said. Zuleikha would go back and be exposed to that all over again? The thought made me shudder.

Even as I entered my room and closed the new pink chevron curtains, I just couldn’t stop thinking about Zuleikha and her monster gashes.

I wished that there was a way I could erase them from my mind, but as I pulled on my flowery pyjama top that night, I knew that when I went back downstairs again I would have to see her horrific injury again. It made me feel so bitter…. so hurt inside.  I felt that much more possessive over my elder sister now that all this had happened.

Was Abba really sending her back to that home? Was it the right thing to do? I didn’t understand how all these matrimonial things worked, but if there was a big problem, why couldn’t she just stay here? Why couldn’t she just leave?

I didn’t understand that divorce was so bad. I mean, Abba had been through it. For good reasons too, right? To me, at my tender age and with everything that had happened, I just wanted Zuleikha to come back home.

Jabir reported that Allah’s Messenger SAW said:

Iblis places his throne upon water; he then sends detachments (for creating dissension) ; the nearer to him in rank are those who are most notorious in creating dissension. One of them comes and says: “I did so and so.” And he says: “You have done nothing.” Then one amongst them comes and says: “I did not spare so and so until I sowed the seed of discord between a husband and a wife.” The Satan goes near him and says: “You have done well.” A’mash said: He then embraces him.” [Sahih Muslim]

I didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand why Abba just didn’t tell Jameel that he doesn’t deserve Zuleikha. That he should never come back here. The question of how this all happened was still hanging in my mind, as we sat at the table that night, in complete silence.

No-one spoke. No-one laughed. It was as if there was a huge cloud looming above our heads that night, and it brought back the most awful memories. I excused myself quickly, saying I was tired and needed to rest for school tomorrow.

The day had been too eventful. First my pending job. Now this. I wasn’t sure what to do about either. As the night progressed, and I heard Zuleikha coming up to her bed, I tried to ignore the sobs that she was trying to stifle in her pillow before she slept. I pretended as if I didn’t hear the whimpers that escaped her mouth every few seconds, and she tried to fall off to sleep. It was heartbreaking. She sounded so … broken.

I wished, with all my heart, that there was something… anything… that I could do to make it better… but I came up with nothing, and all I could do was turn my face away and live with the pretense that I didn’t hear it. As weird as it sounded,  I didn’t want to disturb her sobs.

All I could do was be the sister who was the warrior. The strong one. The one who held it all together. Sometimes being too tough for your own good did actually have it’s perks. Sometimes courage came in different forms altogether.

You’re strong Khawlah, the voice said, as I tried to reason with myself. You’re a warrior.

A warrior. A warrior.

The flashes kept coming as I drifted into slumber. Where was the courage? Where was the fervor?

A battlefield. War. Hope. It was a vivid array of images, unlike any other dream I’ve had. I couldn’t picture it yet I couldn’t forget the visions.

The green shawl was wrapped around her loosely as she advanced. Her brother, Dirrar RA was a great skilled warrior of his time, and taught Khawlah RA  all she knew about fighting- from spearing, to martial arts, to sword-fighting. She was his companion wherever he went – be it at the market place or amidst the battlefield.

It is said that the love between these two siblings was on astounding. It was on another level. Given this level of love between the two, when Dirrar RA was captured in the battle of Ajnadin, it was said that Khawlah RA became hysterical and uncontrollable. She did not know whether her brother was alive or not, but on the hope and tawakkul in Allah that he was alive, she donned armor, jumped up a horse and galloped with the sole aim of saving her brother.

This wasn’t any fairytale or fictional story. No one can imagine- a female protagonist (under an armor, so no one knows she’s a female yet), taking on dozens of highly capable Roman soldiers at a time, to save her brother. The soldiers who saw her take on the enemy misjudged her to be Khalid ibn Waleed RA, the sword of Allah, who was leading the army at the time. SubhanAllah.

However, when they saw Khalid (رضي الله عنه), who was highly impressed as well… they were nothing short of astounded.

“Who is this?” was the question on every mind and tongue. A mystery soon to be revealed… 

My body shuddered as I woke up that morning, feeling slightly unsturdy, but mentally focused. I saw clearly now. It wasn’t just the erratic dawn light that was creeping in… I knew now what I had to do. As I watched my sister sleep, I knew that my calling was here. It was time that I had to step up… time to show my worth.  I couldn’t let anything else take preference now. Right now, my sister really needed me. She needed my courage. There was no question about it.

Every now and then, a trial and calamity would befall… but how we deal with it was a test. And although many may think that tribulations are the bigger test, but when Allah grants us ease… this is when we truly need to reflect and ponder over where our focus is. Pleasing Allah when times were good was the greatest test and best way of thanking Allah.

I prayed for ease after reading Fajr, and started to get ready for my day. Getting ready for school was a bit daunting, because I didn’t want to face Nusaybah. I loved my friend to bits, but I knew that the minute she saw me, she would know something was wrong.

How was I going to explain to her about Zuleikha? How would I tell her that I had changed my mind about the job? That was the part I was dreading the most. There was no way I could say yes now. I had to be rational. I had to control my heart.

I spent most of the day doing extra class work and trying to avoid Nusaybah, but as I predicted, as soon as she saw me, the she plagued me with questions.

“Please tell me. What’s wrong?”

Although I had only known her for a few months now, it was amazing how well she already knew me. I yearned to tell her everything… to just pour out my heart.. but something was stopping me. I couldn’t do that to my sister. I didn’t think that she would want anyone else to know about her pain. I felt so much older than my true age… I felt like the weight on my shoulders was so much more than the years I had lived.

”I’m turning down the job,” I said hastily, hoping she wouldn’t catch onto anything else.

Nusaybah’s face fell, and then she blinked and smiled sadly.

“I thought you were a goner,” she said, shaking her head. “When you saw that house and went all gaga over those kids… Woah, Khawlah… I was a bit concerned!”

I couldn’t help but smile at her expressions.

“And when you went gaga over that guy,” I teased her as I blocked my eyes, and then giggled.

Thinking about it, it was actually a little embarrassing. Nusaybah looked at me with wide eyes and then started laughing too. Her laugh was so jolly and infectious, that I couldn’t help but giggle too. She reminded me of Aunty Radiyyah, and I missed my motherly friend a little as I laughed with her, feeling free once again.

Everything that had happened had kind of imprisoned me. It had stifled my emotions, and now… now, I felt completely liberated as I chuckled away with her, forgetting all of my problems for just a little while of laughter.

I knew that just now, school would be over, and I’d have to go and explain to Rubeena that I couldn’t help her. I was dreading it because I knew that just being there, and seeing that inviting garden would sway my heart again.

I knew I was tough, but I wasn’t sure if I was strong enough to withstand that. When it came to my love of natural beauty, I often found it intensely overwhelming. There was very little I could do to restrain myself… but I knew that this time…. I had to. For Zuleikha. I had to be there for her, right?

I took the road to the elite part of the estate alone, knowing that this was a task that I had to carry out by myself. It was no use dragging Nusaybah into it again. It wasn’t fair on her.

I knew what I had to tell Rubeena. Aunty Rubeena. I wasn’t sure what to call her. It didn’t even matter though. It’s not like I was going to have to address her a lot… so at that moment, I didn’t worry about it. I just carried on, through the pathway that led to the house, and the splendor that surrounded me.

I didn’t want to look. I didn’t want to take it all in. Although my heart was inclining me otherwise, I knew that I had to control it.

With great struggle, I reached the door of the house unfazed by its exterior, knowing that the task of walking away would be much easier now. I held out my finger and pressed the buzzer easily, listening to it’s echo within the house.

The house was unusually quiet for a house of four small boys, and just when I thought that maybe no-one was home and I should leave… a turning of the lock sent my heart on a rapid torrent once again. It was crunch time, and the moment of truth.

As the door opened, Rubeena just took a glance at me, and I could literally see her entire demeanor change. Her slumped shoulders  straightened almost immediately, and her eyes kind of lit up. It was almost as if she was seeing me for the first time, in a completely different light. and the look on her face changed from sheer exhaustion to one of extreme relief.

“It’s you!” She said, smiling from ear to ear. She sounded absolutely elated. All my reservations simply went out the window as I saw her hopeful gaze. She was relying on me. She needed me.

It wasn’t about her gym. It wasn’t about her busy husband. I didn’t care about her routine that she needed to establish.

This time, it was about me. About what I knew I needed. Sometimes courage spoke beyond the boundaries of our understanding. Sometimes courage just meant doing what you truly meant to do.

I didn’t want to look her in the eye, but I finally plucked up the courage, and then… Then I knew that I just wouldn’t let her down.

A Shattered Soul

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


“So, she thought we would come by and see if you were still looking for someone,” I explained, with bated breath. “And when we came, we were kind of caught off-guard… and then the guy just left!”

The guy. That was her brother, I just realised.

I could see Nusaybah wanted to say something here, but she wisely kept her thoughts to herself for once.

The lady, whose name I would come to learn was Rubeena, was still looking at us, as if we were talking gibberish. More like gaping. She looked confused. I wasn’t sure exactly what she was thinking.

This could go either way. Either very wrong or really right.

”Wait,” she started, holding her hand up for emphasis. “You mean he just let you’ll in? And he didn’t even know what you’ll were here for?”

I could see the fiery anger brewing in her eyes, and then, like an gush of water, her eyes fell on the sleeping baby in Nusaybah’s arms, and I could literally see it dissipating as she processed everything that had happened. Her expression changed from anger to shock, and then, she was just perfectly serene.

Seeing her little one resting so contentedly brought an untold peace… and I could totally relate.

“Is he actually asleep?”

Her gaze was fixed on the cutest little munchkin lying in Nusaybah’s arms, and my friend willingly handed him over to his dumbfounded mother, who was looking like she saw a ghost.

“Where did you come from?!” She said to me in awe, looking up with wide eyes. “This is a miracle! He doesn’t ever sleep like this… how on earth did you’ll do it, Nusaybah?”

I had gathered from here that she was familiar with Nusaybah. She just didn’t know me.

“It was all her,” Nusaybah said indifferently, pointing at me.

I shrugged, not wanting to take all the credit.

”Oh my gosh,” she exclaimed, still awestruck. The baby jerked slightly at her slightly raised voice. She lowered her voice.

“Let me just put him down and I’ll be back.”

Nusaybah took the opportnunity, and took me aside.

“Don’t be a pushover,” she warned me quietly. “This will be a tough job. Don’t let her off cheap.”

”I know,” I said, trying to pacify her and considering the fact that I might probably be alone with these four kids for hours at a time. I could hear one crying for something the other one had, and I tried to make some kind of truce between the two. It was typical childhood issues.

“How’s about a sweet?” I hastily bribed the one, trying to avoid a full blown argument.

I prayed that his mother wouldn’t come in as yet. I could tell that he was around two years old, but he knew exactly what I was saying when I said the word ‘sweet’. He immediately released the fidget spinner thing that both of them were clinging onto and looked at me expectantly. I dug in the little purse I carried, praying that I had something in there for him. I didn’t want to lie to the kid. I remembered learning that even when dealing with toddlers, telling the truth was so important. They take your word so seriously.

Some people may tell lies to small children because they know that children will not criticise them. They think it’s okay because they are small.

However, by doing this, they embed lying in their character from a very early age.

Abdullaah bin ‘Aamir reported that his mother once called him, promising to give him something, and the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam heard this, so he said to her: “What will you give him?” She answered: “I will give him some dates.” So he sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to her: “If you were not to give him (what you promised), it would be recorded as a lie against you.” (Abu Dawood & Al-Bayhaqi).

I understood that kids weren’t always easy. Entertaining them might be a bit difficult.

But goodness, my heart was already so much more at peace than before I got here. Everytime like I glanced out the window I was blown away again. How I longed for a piece of that gorgeous garden.

Rubeena returned quickly, with flushed cheeks and an opportunistic smile. I could see that her entire approach had changed and I really didn’t need to convince her much longer. She had the same straight forward manner as her brother and even their looks were similar.

“So do you want the job?” She asked, with a hopeful smile on her face. “You’ll get snacks and I won’t make you do any housework. I just need someone to see to the kids… I’m so busy, and now my trainer’s got a new routine for me… I need to take it more seriously. My mother has her own life. My husband is never around. My brother is too busy with his work. Sometimes I just need a break from the four of them.”

I wanted to tell her that it wasn’t really anyone else’s responsibility. She acted like her family members were indebted to her. I wanted to tell her that she needs to take her kids more seriously.

But I wasn’t here to lecture the woman. I just found little humans so amazingly special, that I couldn’t understand how some parents just didn’t care about them.

Two of them had discovered she was back home and were taking turns to pull her in different directions, but she persistent on ignoring their pestering. She was still intent on getting an answer out of me before I left, prompting me to give her a price and available times.

And of course, I was bleeding inside. For the kids. My heart was already convinced. I really wanted to commit and give her my wholehearted word, but I knew that there was something that I had to do first.

After all, I was only thirteen. I couldn’t exactly act as if I could do as I pleased according to my will. I had to ask Abba first… and I really hoped he would agree.

“Can I talk to my father first?” I asked her, knowing that it might be difficult to convince him but also hoping that he may be open to it if he had to hear the pros of this job.

There were so many perks. She was paying well. The house was lovely. And of course, she seemed nice …  I was just hoping that she was not fussy and demanding like other employers could turn out to be.

Nusaybah looked at me as she requested us to help get the two smaller kids into chairs for their lunchtime meal, and I could tell from how she was looking at me that she still wasn’t convinced. I said I would get back to her tomorrow, waved to the three little ones and then made our way to the door.

“Are you certain about this?” Nusaybah asked, her eyebrows slightly raised.

“I am,” I said to her firmly, hoping to convince her to join me.

She shook her head adamantly.

“I’ll go crazy,” she said, rolling her eyes. “I’ve had enough looking after babies, remember? My brother was only one when my mummy passed away… so I suppose that kind of explains it.”

I smiled sadly at my friend, understanding her feelings. I could imagine what it must have been like for her. She was only eight, and her father never did marry again.

I wondered who had looked after them after school… who had cooked their meals… who had seen to the finer details of a household. My friend seemed so much older than her chronological age.

I nodded to myself, leaving Nusaybah at her door and heading to my own home, still pensive. I was thinking about  how to bring up the topic with Abba. How would I explain how this all happened? Would he be annoyed? Angry? Embarrassed?

I had just reached the door to my house, and still in my own little world, I pushed it open, not really expecting anyone to be home yet. Foi Nani would normally nap in the afternoons and Ahmed would be out for some kind of extra lessons.

Yunus was quite the sportsman so he was always involved in some match or the other. I expected the house to be quiet at least, and so of course, you could imagine my surprise when I entered to see Ahmed pacing the house like a madman and Foi Nani actually up and about, whispering to him with a worried look on her face.

I stopped in my tracks as I watched them, wondering what on earth was going on. All my plans about contemplating the best way to ask Abba’s permission about my dream job went out the window, as I saw at them, and I was unable to control my mouth.

“What on earth is going on here?” I asked, a little bit rudely, feeling flustered. Ahmed’s light brown eyes were darkened with worry and I could already see that he was planning something drastic.

”Kitchen,” was all he said, and I literally raced there, not at all expecting to see what I did.

It was Zuleikha who was sitting, just slightly slouched on the curved stool, with her back facing me. She wore a black dress and I could see her scarf tied up in a turban style from where I stood. I knew it was pointless because hijab was supposed to cover the neck as well, but I would contend with that later. I couldn’t even see her face, but as I approached and she sensed my presence, the bar stool she sat on turned slightly, and I almost screamed in horror as I caught sight of her face.

It was not a sight for the faint-hearted. The skin just above her high cheekbone was grazed deeply, and a large patch of fresh purple-black bruising could be seen just under her eye. She was looking down in shame, but as the chair swiveled right around and she slowly lifted her gaze, I could see her amber eyes were no longer as bright and sparkly as they had always been. Her face was devoid of make up and my beautiful sister was a sore sight to see. Her eye protruded slightly, and swelling was already quite severe.  I heard a noise behind me, and I turned around to see Ahmed there, with a gun swinging from his hand.

I jumped back in shock, alarmed at the sight of the pistol after so many months. I didn’t even know what Ahmed planned to do with it… and frankly, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to.

“I’m going to finish this off, once and for all,” Ahmed said threateningly.

It was almost as if he was asking Zuleikha’s permission and needed her consent. It was almost as if he needed her approval. He respected my elder sister that much, I knew. He would never do anything she didn’t want.

“No!” She said, shaking her head and standing up, and her hand immediately went to her mouth as she spotted the gun.

I was delirious with anger.

Jameel. Who else would do this? I always knew he had another side to him… but I didn’t know it was as fierce as this. Seeing my sisters state made me want to join Ahmed too in his hot pursuit.

How dare he lay a hand on my sister? How dare he scar her like this? How dare he abuse her?

There was nothing more appealing to me now than to conjure an awesome plan to get back at my brother-in-law for the allegations I had invented against him.

Zuleikha swallowed and looked down, and I could see embarrassment on her face as I waited for an answer to the questions I had in my mind. She said nothing. What could she say?

Instead, she slowly lifted her hand to her face and touched her wounds, gliding her fingers around the open cut, and let it fall again. I could see her wincing in pain.

“Please,” she finally said, swallowing hard, and collapsing into the chair behind her. “Put the gun away, Ahmed.”

Ahmed narrowed his eyes at her.

“I’m never going to let this go! They need to know we’re not stupid orphans with no back bone. They need to know that!”

Ahmed always took everything personally. He ignored my questioning gaze as I watched them, panic rising in my gut. I needed answers, and I needed them now.

The thoughts that were running through my mind were uncomprehending … I was captured by my own imagination almost immediately as I watched my brother.

He was furious. Spontaneous. Not to mention, wreckless too.

A warrior of sorts, though, he never failed to be.

Not much is known about her youth, except that as a girl young Khawlah RA learned swordsmanship and poetry from her brother, a well-known local warrior-poet named Dirrar RA who wrote epic poetry and mastered the art of swornmanship . Dirrar RA, as the son of the chief, had been trained from birth in the art of pushing these skills to the maximum, and in passing the knowledge along to his sister he actually in the long run ended up doing himself (and the entire empire) a favour by doing so. He even earned himself quite a title, through fighting with no upper garment, through his daring swordsmanship and is said to have butchered 19 of the opposition on a solo expedition. Although it was awesome, all were not impressed. He was warned about his wrecklessness by the great sword himself, Khalid bin Waleed RA, but he persisted in his great warriorship.

It was on one specific occasion when Khalid RA gave him a mighty task. He was assigned to ambush 10 Roman soldiers who were hidden in a hillock, waiting for an opportunity to attack. With knowledge and advanced tactics,  Dirrar RA  felt it would be better for them to kill the Romans in the guise of darkness before the morning came. Khalid RA agreed and Dirrar RA and his 9 men set out shortly after midnight.

It was a long and drawn out night. The battle was becoming lengthy and the men were starting to feel its heat. Khalid went to meet an ally, and as they spoke, with ferocity he grabbed Khalid in a strong hold and called out. It was a huge turnaround, and it came completely out of the blue.

Ambush. It was all they could decipher. 

From behind the hillock, they spotted  10 Roman soldiers emerge and race towards them. Khalid RA could not help but think that Dirrar’s RA time had come and he had made no other arrangements for his protection.

The Muslims would be defeated. They were as good as gone.

But alas, it wasn’t their end. As the soldiers surrounded the two men, to his great surprise and amusement, Khalid RA suddenly noticed that one of them was not wearing any upper garments! It was Dirrar RA and his men who had put on the Roman soldiers’ clothing.

Khalid RA then recited the verse “They plan and Allah plans, and Allah is the best of planners.

Indeed He is And who would question the authority of Allah when His plan unfolds? All we had to do was do our part with utmost trust, sit back and watch, and know that the Greatest Power was taking care of it all.

And of course, as my brother paced the room in utmost despair, he knew that he was going to probably be planning something too. I just needed to know exactly whose blood he wanted to spill. And would it really be worth all this fuss? Was it really the right thing to do?

Zuleikha looked at me with utter despair as she watched my brother, hoping I would say something to stop him. She knew that I was the only one who could. I just needed to know one thing first.

“Zuleikha, we cant just leave it as it is. What do you want us to do?” I asked, purely out of concern for her bruised heart. I could see she was hurting inside too, and that pain, I knew was a much harder one to cure.

“Nothing,” Zuleikha said adamantly. Then she lowered her voice, and her next statement was like shock to my system.

“It wasn’t him,” she said, looking me in the eye with her own battered one, and I almost couldn’t look at her back. Her eye was puffy and her wound was still fresh. It was like a broken window to a shattered soul. There was no hope in the house of her heart.

“Jameel left me here,” she said quietly. “It was his mother.”


Apologies for the delay once again, and shukran for all the messages and Duaas.

Alhumdulilah, I am almost back to normal.

Much love,

A 🌸


Dear readers…

Unfortunately, I have not been well and since I know that readers don’t like waiting for posts, I would like to be courteous and let readers know that the post is on its way and I will post as soon as I am able… InshaAllah 🌸

Request for Duaas

Amatullah 🌸