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 🌸

4 thoughts on “Flickering Flame

  1. Beautiful post..!!!Going to miss khawla… 💔Always look forward to her adventures .. Enjoy your break sister and if you can surprise us with another post “hint” 😜

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s