This is War

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


“Jameel, you’re…” I tried to say, fear gripping me from within, and my heartbeat escalating to a nearly unbearable rate. 

Hurting me, I wanted to say. You’re hurting me.

But the words couldn’t escape my lips. Even my saliva wasn’t able to slip down my throat.

His grasp finally loosened and I loosely fell to the bed, coughing and gasping for breath. I was so sure that he was going to hurt me. I almost thought he would kill me. For the first time in my married life, I felt out of control. Out of control, and freakishly fearful of what this man could do.

But this was your choice, the voice within me said, reminding me that I’d basically dug my own grave. I had to let go and give up. There was no way I could get out now… no way I could leave this. I told myself that there was no escape.

And although not ideal, life becomes such that, you find yourself in some kind of rhythm. Abnormal things become the usual. Strange things become a norm. 

I was stuck in this world, sworn to secrecy and trapped in a place where I wished I could get out of…

At the beginning I would think a lot. I kept on thinking about Abba. About what Jameel had said. Did he mean that he made Abba go missing? Did he mean that Abba was involved in drugs? No matter what way I looked at it… nothing seemed to make sense. It just made me feel even more lost in the home that I was beginning to feel like a prisoner in.

Jameel didn’t let me go anywhere alone. To console me, he said he would stop the cocaine. I believed him. I forgave him. I wanted to forget it. Maybe he wanted to stop. Maybe he truly thought he could get better. I did too. 

It was okay, I would tell myself. He gave me everything of the best. It was just a small compromise.

I knew I was being foolish, but I couldn’t help myself. What would I do if I ran away? Where would I go? No-one would want me after this… especially pregnant with someone else’s child, I stood no chance.

It was a case of manipulation and forced guilt. It’s what Jameel would tell me when he would realize that I was catching up with his antics too. The thing with cocaine was that it was a drug that wasn’t easy to always detect. It had really short periods of ecstasy and really fast crashes. Because it caused the user to become ultra alert, something else would have to be taken to kill that. I learnt that those were called beans, and they helped Jameel when he came down, or needed to get some sleep. All this, I realized long after I needed to.

Sometimes I thought that maybe he was high. Sometimes I didn’t know. Sometimes I just suspected. I tried to learn more. Jameel was good at hiding it. Things didn’t change. The parties would continue. The life of luxury, material wealth and unlimited pleasures, for him, was at its best. There was no shortage of good things…. no limit to the worldly whims that had become a part of our world.

The voice inside would remind me… as always… but I felt helpless. I was sucked in… devoured by the world of that was at my disposal. The money. The cars. Food and drink. It knew no limits… it was pure extravagance. The endless socializing that Jameel was always a part of. Those nights always ended off with a drug binge, and we would end up at square one, with a screaming match that always ended in tears for me. 

“This can’t carry on!” I had screamed, on one particular night, not caring if his parents would hear and have a rant about waking the neighbors. They didn’t care that he was abusing drugs. They didn’t care about me or the baby. As long as they didn’t lose their respect in this world of wealth, game and fame.

I was exhausted from running after him, trying to keep tabs on this grown man. He was an adult, for goodness sake. Why was I always having to look after him… to make sure he didn’t lose control?

Tonight was wild. It was one of those nights when the party had reached a height of extremity. It was rough and very much explicit. Too many people knew him. Everyone wanted a piece of him, and Jameel, as usual, would go to the limits to satisfy. He would compromise the anything for the respect of the VIP’s, no matter what it meant to me or our marriage.

The music was purely satanic. The drugs were too exposed. The women were too naked. Everything was just too much. That night, I had reached the limit. 

Of course, Jameel thought it was all cool. My bulging tummy now made me more tired than usual. I felt heavy, burdened and really, really exhausted. 

“Leikha, just chill,” Jameel had said, trying to persuade me that it wasn’t a big deal. The problem with Jameel was that nothing was a big deal. He didn’t realize that we were living our lives like non-Muslims. I wasn’t even sure if our Imaan was still in tact. 

Chill?!” I asked incredulously, so fed up with his laid back approach to things that were both morally and religiously wrong. On so many levels. “I will not! This is getting out of control, Jameel. You are getting out of control!”

I still had the fear of approaching him after the last time, so I tried to lower my voice as I noticed his face hardening. I didn’t want another onslaught of his. I could see his high was starting to wear off, and he came a little closer to me, tightening his grip around my bare arm.

“Zuleikha, you don’t own me,” he said stubbornly, clearly irritated and wanting his way. “In this business, I have to do what it takes to step up. I have a big deal that’s going through. You think all this money comes from nothing?! You think I just make a few deals and we get rich?! Babe, I have bills to pay. People to impress. Don’t give me shit about my job. I know what I need to do.”

And with that he shoved me away as he stepped back, gave me a dirty look and stormed to the room, slamming the door. It was time for him to crash and I didn’t want to get in the way.

I sighed in relief, rubbing my arm. At least he wasn’t violent. At least he didn’t try and force me to be intimate tonight.  The drugs didn’t change him all the time. It was only sometimes… before he would crash… that a slightly sadistic side would come out. That was when I had to watch my back, and stay out of his way. Nothing I could do could make him see sense, and of course, his family would be of no help.

On top of it all, there was this innocent life inside of me that I felt I was ruining even before it breathed its first breath. 

The tears were rolling down my cheeks, as I thought of my life that night. ‘The introspection was bound to come sooner or later, and with the emotions toiling within me, I knew now, I had to reflect. Jameel ignored the sobs. I couldn’t seem to control them either. What was I doing? What was I doing

I wasn’t raised like this. This wasn’t how my Mama had brought me up. What would Abba say? If they knew what had been going on in my life, they probably wouldn’t have been able to bear this. I was on the verge of tipping over too. 

Where was the inspiration? I wanted to change, but I didn’t even have the energy to take the step. What had our lives become?

It was a rivalry… a competition for worldly wealth that was being chased.

I wasn’t sure when last I had truly prayed. I had tried to read some of my Salaah. I didn’t remember when last I had opened the Quran. I had known so much… I had been so aware. I had looked at people like me before with pride. I never thought that anyone could lose so much of Deen, but I was a perfect example of neglect. 

I got up from where I sat, slowly walking across the room as I reached for the Qur’an on the top shelf of my cupboard. There was actually dust on its cover, and I felt like a hypocrite as I wiped it off, and settled on the dressing table chair. The dim light in the dressing room was sufficient to see. I didn’t want to risk waking Jameel. I opened the cover carefully to my marker, eager to see what the last page was that I had read.

My eyes settled steadily on a page toward the end, and I sucked in my breath as I read the verses. I knew exactly what he devoured us. 

It was just as Almighty Allah says, so clearly and aptly. Just that first verse sent chills down my spine. 

أَلۡهَٮٰكُمُ ٱلتَّكَاثُرُ

Competition in [worldly] increase diverts you

I was astounded with the truth that stared at me.

The increase. The constant competition for increase. The rivalry that came with the increase of wealth. It was a curse that couldn’t compare… until reality hits. 

2. Until you visit the graves.

3. Nay! You shall come to know!

4. Again nay! You shall come to know!

5. Nay! If you knew with a sure knowledge.

6. Verily, you shall see the blazing Fire!

7. And again, you shall see it with certainty of sight!

8. Then on that Day you shall be asked about the delights!

The delights. What delights we were enjoying in this world… would surely be a cause for the fire in the next. I had forgotten was simplicity was. I had forgotten about the most beautiful examples. I had forgotten about the lessons that I needed to change.  


Where had I gotten lost? Where was I going? So far I had wandered… and my life was such that I had no relation whatsoever with the pious people of the past. 

I was lost. Truly, I had lost my way. Was I going to die like this?

No. I couldn’t.  But how did I find the path again?

I breathed in. I breathed out. Where did I even begin?

Everything seemed to be going downhill. I couldn’t seem to find a way out.

And then later that day, as I lay in pensive thought… I heard a loud knock on my door. Because my house was attached to the main house, I had no bell and neither did I get many visitors. I looked up, wondering who it was. 

The mad knock on the door was loud enough to wake the dead, but Jameel slept on obliviously, as I went to open. I almost jumped  with shock as I saw my brother standing at the door, muttering something about a psycho woman who I guessed was my mother-in-law. I remained silent as I let him in, noting his roaming eyes as he surveyed my home and then let his gaze settle on me. It was only the second time he had been here.

“Yoh, you are HUGE!” Ahmed said loudly, not even trying to be polite about it.  I looked back at him, narrowing my eyes.

 “Thanks,” I muttered, wanting to get to the point and get him out of here fast, before Jameel woke up. He didn’t like my family visiting. He had his reasons, but I knew he was worried I would say something that would kill his reputation as being as amazing as he always pretended to be. It was only Ahmed who didn’t seem to take to him. 

“What are you doing here?” I asked. 

He poked around in a few of my stuff as he walked in, finally settling on the suede couch near the kitchen.

  “I came to see my sister,” he said, as if it was obvious.  “You’ve been scarce. Jameel treating you okay? Whens the baby coming?”

There was a hint of something in his voice and I almost suspected that he knew more than he was letting on. 

Baby stuff. I had been thinking about that. Somehow, with everything going on, I didn’t even have much time to look at the options. I had ordered the basics online, and kept them in the little room in the back. I just couldn’t seem to get very excited about the baby at this stage. I wasn’t sure if there was something wrong with me.

 I was about to say something back, but the door of the room slowly opened as Ahmed continued talking about Khawlah and her plans for when the baby arrived. They were expecting me to come home. 

Jameel sauntered in casually, and I already knew that something was up. For all I knew, he was probably pretending to sleep. He had that look on his face and I was already wishing that Ahmed didn’t come. I didn’t want him to see this side of Jameel.

“Zuleikha is not going anywhere,” he said, and his voice was icy as he eyes Ahmed out.

Ahmed’s expression changed in an instant, and he stared at him, with his eyebrows raised. I remembered the time Ahmed wanted to kill my husband. The situation was getting close.

“No one asked you, idiot,” Ahmed said, and I could tell that he wasn’t scared. That was the problem with Ahmed. He wasn’t scared of anything.

I could practically see the smoke coming out of Jameel’s ears. He was fuming. He started hurling swear words at my brother like there was no tomorrow, and Ahmed looked back at him, with an indifferent eye, almost in amusement. I wanted to run but I was frozen. This was soon going to get out of hand, as Jameel got even angrier. He couldn’t stand when someone made him feel stupid, especially on his own territory.

And then, just when he couldn’t take it anymore, his entire body suddenly lunged forward, and charged at Ahmed. It didn’t help that he was still slightly out of his senses. It probably contributed to his disorientation.

As he reached Ahmed in a kind of fury that I had seen glimpses of in recent weeks, I could already sense that something bad was going to happen. I wanted so badly to control it, but I could do nothing. Jameel shoved Ahmed backward as he almost stumbled himslef, but he remained intent on getting his own back. And then, my worst fear became a reality. 

It was almost in slow motion that I saw Ahmed pull out his handgun, and my heart jumped straight to my mouth as he aimed it at Jameel, and then looked at me in expectation.

I was in limbo. In utter limbo. I couldn’t say a thing. Time was at a standstill.

Ahmed was always quick. Too quick. Quick with his food. Quick with his work. Quick to lose it… completely.

He was equally quick with the trigger. 

The piercing bang resonated through the air, just as I felt trickling down my leg. I couldn’t believe what was going on, and even as I averted my gaze to focus on what was going on with me, the feeling of excruciating despair was overwhelming. 

What had he done?! What had he done?

I couldn’t swallow it. It was all too much. We didn’t know what this would all bring… and I didn’t know that it would go so far. I could hear the screams from somewhere close by but I didn’t know who it was.

All I knew was that whatever the outcome was here…

This would be war. 






Dearest readers

I am so sorry for the delay in posting. Know that the post is on its way and in the final stages of editing. Things have just gotten a little crazy this week, but I will post it as soon as possible.

Maaf again.

Much love,

A 🌸


Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


I am lost. I am lost. Truly, I have nowhere to go. I have nowhere but Your door to go to.

I’m in the midst of the storm… and there is no-one who can save me from it but You. I am searching for the way out… but every path looks the same. Truly… without You…

Without You.

What had my life become?

Those two words had summed it up quite accurately.

Without You. Without Him. Without my Lord… truly, I had become lost. I had lost my way… lost the path. Lost my entire purpose.

And now, everything was a mess.

The sound of the front door opening was a shock to my now calmer system. Just those few minutes of realization had settled my mind momentarily.

My heart jumped up to my throat once again, and I sat up, hearing Jameel place his keys down… and then waiting for the confrontation I expected.

His footsteps were loud and with purpose. There was no question that he was looking for me. He was checking the lounge. Dining room. And then, after what felt like ages, he finally entered the room, and looked at me sitting on the Musalla.

“So now you pray,” he said sarcastically, rolling his eyes. “How did you get home?”

I glared at him with hatred. I ignored his question. I had gotten a lift from a friend I had met through him, but I didn’t want to tell him that. I didn’t want a reason for him to start name-calling again. 

“Jameel, how could you?” I asked, my voice trembling. I didn’t realize how affected I was.  “I trusted you. How could you?!”

He looked at me blankly.

“Oh hell,” he said tiredly, running his hands through his hair and sitting on the bed. “Don’t psycho analyze me. I’m not one of your students.”

I stared at him in utter bewilderment.

He was going all defensive now? He was wrong. He was doing something wrong. And yet, he still had the audacity to be cocky. I couldn’t understand it. Was this what drugs did to you?

“Listen, Leikha,” He said, his voice now softening a bit. I was hopeful as I looked up, my eyes still teary. I wanted to cry again, but I needed to have this conversation first. It wouldn’t help if I broke down. 

“There’s no need to make a big deal,” he said casually, shrugging and looking at me condescendingly. “It’s just a little cocaine. It’s really no big deal.”

I widened my eyes at him, my mouth agape.

“A little cocaine?!” I said, my voice getting louder, not believing my ears. “It’s a drug, Jameel. A highly addictive drug! How can you take it so lightly?”

He sniffed a few times as I spoke and I couldn’t believe how stupid I had been before this to not notice all these obvious signs.

“Leikha, everyone is doing it,” he said, sniffing again and looking at me as if I was stupid. “All the big guys. You think all this money comes by itself? Think of it as an investment. A little cocaine… and it opens up doors I never knew were there. It opens my mind… and I can see things so much clearer. It’s just now and then… when I need to impress people. Don’t worry, it’s not an addiction.”

I blinked as he spoke, wondering if he was serious. An investment in drugs? What kind of good can that do? 

I was convinced that the cocaine had altered his brain. 

He was still talking. He was talking about being socially streetwise, and on top of the game. His words were as flowing and impressive as always, and although I always thought that drugs made you dopey and induced slumber, what I didn’t know was that this was typical cocaine high symptoms.

The perspective. The confidence. His whole demeanor was completely contradicting what I always thought a drug addict would act like.

Everyone was doing it? That was his justification. Were his cousins all drug addicts too? His friends? I had been so stupid. 

The tears were now flowing freely, and I could not believe the mess that I had gotten myself into. The money. The show. All of the pomp and luxury… it all came at a price. A price that had nothing to do with money. A price that was very, very expensive indeed. 

I was choking over all the emotion and my vision was blurry as I sat on the edge of the bed, not knowing what to do.

How did I get out of this? Where was I to go now? I had nowhere to turn. 

Jameel was looking at me with pity and I turned my face away as he tried to come closer. He wanted to comfort me but I didn’t want anything to do with him. 

I edged away. I was disgusted with him. So disgusted that I had lived with this drug-induced man for so long. So disgusted that he was probably sniffing powder right under my nose and I had no clue about it.

And now, though I felt horrible for saying it, the worst part of it all was I was having his baby. The baby that I prayed with all my heart would be normal… because he was probably using drugs even when I had fallen pregnant. He was probably using drugs from before we had even gotten married.

Of course, all that money didn’t come from nowhere… 

“Just leave me alone!” I screamed at him, jumping up from the bed, and putting my hands out to stop him from coming any closer “Just GO!”

Jameel obeyed. He wasn’t going to force himself on me… that much I was grateful for. My voice was loud, and I didn’t realize just how loud until I heard footsteps coming into our house. And then, I heard the voice of our most unwelcome visitor.

“What’s happening here?” 

He voice was acid-like, as usual, and although I usually hated her presence, for once, I was glad about the intrusion. This was something that she needed to know. 

Jameel’s eyes widened at me in warning, but I ignored him. I hastily wiped my tears as I stood up, seeing my mother-in-law entering our bedroom without permission, as usual. She looked from me to Jameel and frowned. 

“You didn’t come see me,” she barked at Jameel, obviously annoyed that he didn’t come to dote on her like she expected him to. 

“And what the hell are you screaming for at this hour? You know we live in a civilized neighborhood, unlike you.”

She made no effort to hide her hostility as she spoke to me.

“Ask your son,” I said boldly, swallowing hard and straightening up as I spoke to her. She needed to know. She needed to know the truth. 

“My son?” She spat. “He was not the one acting like a barbarian. Jameel, sort your wife out once and for all so we can all get some sleep tonight.” 

She looked at Jameel expectantly. 

“Ma, go sleep,” he said smoothly, but there was a hint of something else in his voice.

It was something that I didn’t recognize straight away. Something that Jameel didn’t often show.

Fear. Jameel was scared. And if Jameel was scared, there was only one way to nip this in the bud. I was not going to keep quiet. 

“Jameel is on drugs,” I blurted out, my voice surprisingly steady. “I just saw him. I think he needs to get help.” 

Jameel blinked at me in disbelief at my boldness, and his mother looked stunned for a few seconds as she processed what I was saying. 

“Mum, it’s not what she thinks-“

She held up her hand to silence him, and without a word, she turned around, and then started to walk away. 

Walk away. Really?! I should have known. I should have known she wouldn’t acknowledge that her dearest son has a problem.  

And then, just as suddenly, she paused, and I was hopeful. Hopeful, that maybe I had redeemed myself even minutely. Hopeful that maybe she may actually say to Jameel something that he needed to hear. 

Turning around again, she glanced at Jameel, then looked me in the eye. Those few seconds felt unbearably long. 

”He is a grown man,” she said finally, and I almost stumbled backward, feeling like there was a knife thrust into my chest. She was unaffected. “He knows his limits. And besides, with a wife like you nagging him all the time… you can’t expect the man to remain straight. Think of it as something you brought upon yourself, my dear.”

And with that, she turned around, leaving the room in a deafening silence. 

What on earth?! 

I was stunned. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even breathe. My heart was hammering in my chest again and I suddenly felt all limp. Limp and weak… like I was going to faint. 

And then I looked at Jameel, my eyes trying to plead with him. I couldn’t go on like this. I couldn’t live with this guilt. I had gotten lost, and I needed to find my way. I needed him to help me. 

I wished that I was stronger. But I wasn’t. It was a tide of raw emotion… and it was about to engulf me. I could either succumb… or…

“Jameel, please,” I said, my voice dripping with desperation. “For the sake of our marriage. For the sake of this baby, Jameel. Please… leave the drugs. Leave this life of duniyaa and fantasy. Let’s change. I’m in it with you.. let’s change our lives.”

My voice was breaking. There were tears flowing down my cheeks again, and I met his gaze with open sincerity, hoping to see something stir within him. Hoping that he would hear my plea. Hoping for him to budge… even if it was just a tiny bit. 

“There’s nothing to change, Zuleikha,” he said, his voice stiff and his expression hard. “Our lives are fine… we have everything we want and more.”

I frowned, amidst the tears that flowed down my cheeks.  

But we didn’t have  what we need. We didn’t have peace of mind. We didn’t have the richness of the soul. We were empty on the inside.

I couldn’t go on like this, and I had to let him know. 

“Jameel, our lives are not like Muslims should be,” I sighed, now feeling completely drained. “We have no purpose. We have no prayer… no Salaah, no Duaa… “

I broke off, waiting for some recognition in his expression. There was none. It was like talking to a brick wall.

I loved him. I wanted him to get better. 

I had to tell him. I had to let him know that it was now or never. 

“If you not with me on this,” I finally said, plucking up the courage to finally say it. “Then, I have to leave.”

He was looking in the mirror as I spoke, but as I uttered the last three words, his head turned to me with sudden purpose, and a certain ferocity that I had only seen in Jameel once before entered his eyes once again. In a flash, Jameel darted to me, grabbed me by the collar of my nightgown and pulled me so close to his face that I could smell the menthol bubblegum he used to disguise his cigarette breath.

 “You think your father went missing by chance?” He muttered into my ear, looking at me with contempt.

I tried to struggle free, but his grip was too tight. He was hurting me.

“You don’t know what I’m capable of,” he continued, through gritted teeth. His eyes were blazing as he spoke, and I almost wanted to gag as he tightened his grip on my neck. And then he uttered the fatal words. 

“If you ever leave me, Zuleikha, I promise… I will find you… and then… I will kill you.”

Falling Apart

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


Sometimes in life, it takes a while to realize that things are not exactly the way that they are supposed to be. Sometimes we are blinded by the flowers of life, until it’s too late to see the thorns that are there. Sometimes you just don’t notice everything fall apart.

The haziness, although obscuring, is rather temporary.

And when the daylight finally finds its way through… it’s simply amazing how much you can truly see.

I blinked steadily as I looked through the window, taking in the sombre surroundings of the palatial home I resided in. It wasn’t ugly. It was just bare.

A beautiful water feature stood in the middle of the front driveway, but it looked so lonely, surrounded by the concrete that it lay on. Grey and bare. Cold. I wasn’t sure if it was me, but everything these days just looked so icy.


It was my mother-in-laws voice and I could hear her footsteps coming towards my section of the house that she very so often trespassed into. Jameel has told me to keep quiet about it, and I reluctantly obliged.

“What?” I said to her, as she barged into my lounge.

Her face turned a close to a purple colour, and then all hell broke loose.

“You bloody witch!” She screamed, and I winced as she hurled a vicious array of resentment at me, not even stopping to take a breath. It was the usual nonsense she threw at me when Jameel wasn’t around.

This time though, it was a little different.

“What the shit?! Ma, what’s happening here?”

Jameel. Thank God. Finally, he would see her true colors.

His voice was alarmed and his eyes darted from her to me, in utter bewilderment.

“I was just telling her she must be careful about the spicy food,” his mother said, her voice now suddenly sickly sweet and her face actually adorned with a smile. I wanted to puke.

She was crazy. So crazy. I swear… this woman was probably possessed by some really bad stuff.

I wobbled over to the couch, shaking my head and sitting down. This was the same kind of thing that would happen every day. She would go crazy. I would hold back. And then Jameel would just have the wool pulled over his eyes. Just when I thought it would be different. When was it going to end?

I sighed, not having any energy to argue. was huge. For some reason, I was not one of those gracefully pregnant woman who would only grow a tummy. Not me. I was round and big and I hated it. I especially hated how Jameel was looking at me now, with utter dismay as his mother complained about me. On top of it all, I had developed gestational diabetes, so I coudn’t even indulge when I would feel slightly depressed by events that happened in the day,

Liar, I scowled, listening to my mother-in-laws annoying voice in the passage. She thought I couldn’t hear her.

“I’ll speak to her, ma,” Jameel said calmly. “Go rest now. I’ll come see you just now.”

He was holding his nose and grabbed a tissue as he tried to usher her away.

Nose bleed. It was a normal for Jameel, probably related to the weather and stressful situations too.

She reluctantly left our section as he turned away, promising to be back later if he didn’t come.

“Let’s just leave it, and go,” he mumbled under his breath, shrugging away the negative energy that hung in the air, wiping his nose again and ignoring my pitiable look.

He knew it. He knew she was crazy but he would never admit it. How on earth was I going to go on like this?

I breathed in, and then out again.

Suck it up, Zulz, I convinced myself. Suck it up.

Why couldn’t he just say it and make me feel better?

Jameel turned to me, his nose all wiped up and smiled his dazzling smile. I couldn’t help but immediately forgive him for being such a coward.

It was inevitable. He just had this look that made me crumble. This was a small thing. When he had nearly broke me the last time… he had come begging for forgiveness, promising to be better.

He loved me, he said. He couldn’t stand another man touching me and when he saw me that day, he lost it.

I understood. It was a weak moment. Since we had found out about the pregnancy, he hadn’t laid a finger on me. He had just made a mistake.

I swallowed and smiled back, getting up and wobbling over again, trying to appear a bit more sophisticated than I felt.

“Are you ready?”

I nodded and sat down again, trying to clumsily strap the sandals I had chosen to wear that day. It was the only thing that seemed to match with the outfit I had chosen, and although heels were not the best choice, I didn’t want to spoil the look.

We were going for some work function that Jameel was invited to and I couldn’t look anything less than the trophy wife he would always boast about having.

Even though I didn’t feel like it, Jameel finally convinced me that I looked amazing in the metallic tights and baby doll style top that kind of suited my roundness, and we were on our way. I tried to forget about his mother’s accusations that I knew were founded on jealousy, and concentrate on the evening ahead.

Amazing. That’s what it was going to be. A seven course dinner that would be spent rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous in the city… you couldn’t compare to that, right?

I sighed as we reached the venue, slightly nervous as I stepped off the car. They had people to park your car for you- and if that wasn’t a good gauge of the function’s credibility, the bouncer type guards that were outside ensured that only the wealthy and  affluent people would be entering the premises. I tossed my hair back breezily with an air of arrogance, even though I felt close to a whale.

That was the thing about being rich. You didn’t have to always look great. You just had to dress it.

As usual, Jameel was almost immediately sidetracked by some business acquaintances, and unlike the earlier days of my marriage, now I stayed planted by his side, hanging onto their every word and laughing modestly at all the appropriate times. Jameel nodded and winked as required, and we were ushered in this manner to the main table, where the VIPs of the town usually sat.

I was on cloud nine. The earlier events of the evening meant nothing now. Jameel grabbed a chair for me to sit, and I sat obediently, glad that I could finally rest my legs. Opposite us was a TV personality who I vaguely recognized. The other was the owner of the biggest chain of franchises in the country. I silently observed the other people at the table too, noticing a boy and a girl who were conversing in hushed tones as they spoke. They looked strangely alike, and as I turned away to read the menu, I couldn’t help but hear the idealistic chatter beyond the other end of the table.

Outfits. Houses. Cars.

That was the buzz around me, and even as I got caught up in the moment, I couldn’t help but feel that something was missing.

I was here. In the poshest and most VIP function in the country… surrounded by the  most affluent and influential people… but inside, I felt strangely empty.

Not just lonely. That was a different feeling. I felt like there was a void. A huge, empty hole in the pit of the my gut that I had been trying for so long to ignore… and I just couldn’t anymore.

Was this what life was really about? Was this the end all and be all?

“Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children, as the likeness of vegetation after rain, thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment (for the disbelievers, evil-doers), and (there is) Forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the believers, good-doers), whereas the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment“. [57:20]

A deceiving enjoyment. A perfect illusion. A beautiful lie.

Oh, how I knew all this and yet I still was here… with no regrets about what my life had become, and no intention to change. And then, like an arrow in the midst of the battlefield, aimed so perfectly… something precise and planned knocks you off your feet and gets you down on your knees again.

I was still stupidly starstruck by my  surroundings, but as I sat back in order to ease the pain on my lower back, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation at my table.

”Don’t be crazy,” I could hear the girl saying. “She’s not our type. She lives in a one story cottage and she has no mother.”

I frowned, and I couldn’t help but feel like someone was stabbing me in my chest as I heard that. Were they talking about me?

I swallowed hard.

“She’s different,” the guy said, and his voice sounded convincing. “Real. Not like all these people we see here. Ruby… you may be older than me but I know more about life that you. This is all we ever knew and it never made us happy. This girl… what’s her name again? She’s got something about her.”

”She’s not your type. She’s too good,” the girl said. “Khawlah will never agree…”

By now, my heart was thudding in my chest… and I noisily pushed the chair back in haste, eager to get out of there and find my husband.

Khawlah. Did they just say Khawlah? My Khawlah? My sister. How on earth had my family history found it’s way back here… to this elite function where I thought I had hidden my past so well?

I pushed passed several people as I looked around blindly, trying to spot Jameel’s face in the crowd. There was music in the background, and I tried to ignore its undertones, almost taunting me to relent and sway to its melody, like many were. It wasn’t a club but with the amount of vices that were around here… I was sure that it was just as bad. I peeled my eyes for my husband, now eager to find him and grasp onto the one familiar thing I knew.

Without realising, I found myself at a black door, with bold writing.

VIP only, I read.

He was nowhere else. He had to be there. At any other stage in my life, I wouldn’t have dared to go in, but knowing that I had gained that status through Jameel, I pushed it open, facing two biggish guys who looked at me steadily.

“Yes?” Said the one, eyeing me out.

“Jameel,” I said, hoping that it will do the trick. “Jameel Mohamed.”

There was immediate recognition noted as I said it, and the man stepped aside with no questions. I pretended to be a true VIP as I walked through, trying to wave away the smoke that was cascading at me from the e-cigarettes that almost everyone there was smoking. I took shallow breaths and waded my way through, trying desperately to spot my husband in the growing crowd.

It didn’t take long.

Somewhere at the back I could hear his voice, and although I couldn’t see his face… it was obvious that he was there from the small crowd that only Jameel usually drew.

I edged forward, without much thought or evaluation.

I didn’t realise that this crowd wasn’t the usual type. This crowd wasn’t the type that would gracefully engage with his wife just to get on Jameel’s better side. This was a different kind of crowd.

This crowd was only after one thing. they just wanted to get the most of the situation… and unlike me, they knew things about Jameel that I was completely oblivious too.

The table was now within my view, and I could see packages that looked a little parcels… tied up, with tape on them to seal. At first, I wasn’t sure what it was… but as I got closer, I kept telling myslef that it could never be.


This stuff was like something out of a movie. Powder in packages. Money just thrown around. People snorting lines of white powder just another table away.

My heart was now hammering in my chest, like I couldn’t believe. And then, Jameel happened to look up, and our eyes locked in mutual disbelief.

It wasn’t the moment that it happened, but it was the moment that the realisation hit me. Our faith. Our home. Our marriage.

Our entire lives.

Everything in our lives was falling apart.


Note: Dearest Readers,

Sorry about the delay in posting. Things got a bit crazy this week. Hoping to explore a different aspect for the next few posts as this is a really scary and increasing problem in our community. We sometimes think that these things are so far-fetched until we hear of it happening literally under our noses. May Allah save us all.

Much Love,

A 🌸