Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


“Where is she?”

My father reached the top of the stairs as I came out, a worried look on his face.

“She’s inside,” I said, with a tiny smile.

I had just witnessed the most beautiful moment for my sister, and my mind was still wrapped in the amazement of it all. Amidst the worry that consumed me, I was still in awe of the miracle that came in that little bundle of joy.

“Is she okay?” He asked anxiously. “And the baby?”

I nodded silently. Abba was looking more like himself these days. The worries that had seemed to consume him were fading and his happiness now was quite visible. Yunus was there too, and they both looked exceptionally relieved at the news.

“When can we go in?” Yunus asked, shifting on his feet nervously.

My younger brother had changed a lot over the years. Yunus was generally the nervous type, and although he was always busy with some sport or activity, close contact with other people put him on edge. He wasn’t exactly sociable, and as he grew up, I found him withdrawing a lot. I wished I could speak to him and get through to him more… but somehow, as we grew up, things just changed.

Both Yunus and Abba headed for the room while I stayed back, just trying to catch my breath.

So much had happened in such a short time, and I couldn’t help but be completely blown away by the beauty of it.

Seeing Zuleikha there with a little baby was so moving, yet awesome.

“Did you see him?” She asked me, her eyes shining with something that I’d seen once before. I couldn’t seem to place the look she had in her eyes… but its presence was remarkably familiar.

I nodded.

“He’s beautiful, Masha Allah,” I said as i caught a glimpse and the nurse wheeled him away. He was. “Looks like you.”

She smiled at me, and I could see that she was in pure ecstasy. I couldn’t quite believe it too. I was an aunty.

“How’s Jameel?” I said, knowing that I had to ask. “Happy that his baby is here?”

Her expression hardened, and she blinked. It was like I had yanked her out of the little happy place that she ha been in, the moment I said his name.

“Ahmed,” she said, her voice shaking. “Where’s Ahmed? Did you hear what happened?”

I nodded. I knew that Ahmed had shot Jameel. Intense guilt consumed me as she said it, because I knew that whatever grudge Ahmed had acted on was due to information that I was responsible for giving him. I couldn’t tell Zuleikha that now, though. I stayed silent.

“Everything was so crazy,” she said, her eyes darting from side to side as she recollected the days events in her mind. “Ahmed… Jameel… and then… the blood. Khawlah, there was so much of blood! I can’t remember much after that, but honestly, I can’t believe that I actually got through this day.”

She sounded tired as she sighed, her worried eyes watching me.

“And then he came,” she said, after a few seconds, and the dreamlike haziness entered her eyes one again. “And I just could not believe how lucky I was. How perfect he was. Khawlah, motherhood is the most beautiful feeling ever. But when you are on your own….”

She trailed off there as she swallowed, and I moved closer to hold her hand. She looked up at me and her eyes were desperately seeking mine, almost begging me for some hope… some inspiration that she needed to hear.

I grasped her hand a little tighter, knowing exactly what to say.

“You are never alone,” I whispered to her. “Never. Even when life knocks you down on your knees… remember, Allah is placing you in the perfect position to pray.”

Zuleikha looked up at me in wonder, and slowly, as her eyes lit up again, she nodded.

“Remember how mama used to say to you, Khawlah? Remember?”

Of course, I thought to myself, looking away… not able to say the words. How could I forget?

I could almost hear her voice. After all these years… I still couldn’t forget. I could almost picture her saying it.

Allah. He was always there. No matter what. No matter who. He was always there. He remained.

“When they slept, He was awake. When they broke, He carried you. When no one else was there, He was. He remained. He always remains. Remember that always, Khawlah. Remember that. Remember Who you owe everything to.”

By then, I had tears in my eyes, but I hastily wiped them away. I didn’t want her to see it.

“I want to change, Khawlah,” Zuleikha whispered, her voice shaky as she wept. “I don’t want to be like this… I don’t want to be stuck. How did Mama do it, Khawlah? I cant even be half of that! I want my son to know the beauty of Deen that we knew as we grew up… I want him to learn his Kalimahs and go to madrassa…I want him to learn the Sunnah and practice it. Khawlah, I’ve gone so far away… ! I don’t know how to do it. I’m not strong enough, Khawlah… I’m not strong enough. I’m not like you…”

She was broken. A broken girl from a broken home… like the little girl I had left behind, so many years ago.

I placed my hand on my sister’s, swallowing my own emotion before I spoke.

“You  are strong, Zuleikha” I said calmly, keeping my hand firmly on Zuleikha’s. “You just don’t know it. Speak to Him. Allah will guide you. He is always listening… and right now, He knows exactly what you need to do.”

And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” (Surah Ghafir, verse 60)

Her hazel eyes were overflowing with tears as she spoke, but she wasn’t finished. There was still one more thing that she needed to say. One more thing that she needed me to know.

She turned her face away momentarily, and the streaks on her face glistened as I watched her.

She didn’t look at me as she said her next sentence, and I almost missed it completely.

“There’s one more thing, Khawlah,” she almost whispered, and I inched forward in an attempt to grasp her words.

I nodded solemnly.

“Promise me,” she said, her hand clenching and unclenching, almost as if she was releasing a rage from within her.

I nodded again.

“Promise me, Khawlah,” she repeated, as I nodded once more. I didn’t trust myself to speak.

“Don’t let them lie to you,” she said, and I looked at her in confusion.

“Don’t let the money, cars and status make you lose yourself,” she said, and my heart beat faster as I wondered why she was telling me this. “Even if he promises you the world, Khawlah… stay away. In the end, it’s not worth the heartache. At the end of the day, to his family, you’re just going to be the poor girl who has no mother.”

She spat out the last few words with such venom that my heart pounded violently at it’s ferocity. I widened my eyes in disbelief, unnerved by her directness. What was she saying? What did she know?

I wasn’t sure if she was talking about me or herself. The reality of what my sister was going through was sinking in, and I didn’t like it. Aunty Radiyyah’s words resound in my head.

My heart was still thudding in my chest as I walked out, barely able to put one foot in front of the other as I walked.

I answered Abba’s questions as normally as I could, keeping my voice stable.

She was okay, I assured him. She had just had a baby. It wasn’t abnormal for her to be in a bit of pain.

Right now though, I had other concerns on my mind. Zuleikha’s words just before I left the room were still with me.

“Go check on Ahmed,” she said as I walked out, sounding worried. “Now you know why I don’t trust Jameel.”

In her entire married life, my sister had never so much as uttered a negative word against her husband. Everything had always seemed rosy and perfect. Although I might have had doubts about him myself, nothing she ever said ever confirmed that.

Today, everything was new. Shocking. Inconsistent. Like her whole life, thus far, had been a horrible hoax. I couldn’t help but feel betrayed and hopeless.

I nodded and headed home with Foi Nani, who was exhausted from the day spent at the hospital. As much as she didn’t like to admit it, Foi Nani was getting old and a bit cranky too. I felt a bit sorry for her as she climbed up the stairs to our home. I remembered the days when she had taken the place of Mama, and been there for us as we grew up. She was the one constant we had… and as a child, constants were really important. As a kid… you crave that person who you know, no matter what, is always around.

I thought of the children that I looked after, realizing something that I’d never processed before.

I was their constant.

With the exception of weekends, for the past year or so, I had been the one thing that was consistent for them. Every day, our routine… though changing at times; we had a certain continuity that kids in general thrived on. The responsibility alarmed me, but a sense of possessiveness comforted me. I couldn’t let the down. I wanted to always be there for them, no matter what. When Danyaal had uttered the words that struck my heart, I already knew… I couldn’t let them down. I couldnt control my own heart. It was swelling with love.

I just didn’t know that some things, even the heart couldn’t control.

I held Foi Nani’s hand as she struggled up the stairs, thinking how fast time goes by. There was a time when she would be the one holding my hand as I struggled to step up… hoisting me along and prompting me to take that one more step as a little girl. When Mama was sick, it was Foi Nani who looked after us, making sure we were taken care of, bathed, changed and the whole lot of care that’s comes with bringing up little kids. I patiently waited as she took the last step, tears stinging my eyes when I processed that she might not have that many chances left to climb those steps again.

“Where’s Ahmed?” Foi Nani finally asked as she caught her breath, and I remembered about my brother again.

A thudding in my chest signalled the warning that something may be up, but with a mixture of hope and fear, I searched the house, hoping he would be hiding somewhere here for now. As much as Ahmed wasn’t scared, he also wasn’t stupid.

He wasn’t in his room but I wasn’t yet worried.

It was only after Maghrib that my feelings took a bit of a plummet. Now that darkness was overtaking the day, my fears were escalating. He hadn’t called either.

The shrill ringing of the phone got all our hopes up after Salaah, and I hastily grabbed the receiver, greeting and speaking into the it with purpose. It was Ahmed’s voice I was now aching to hear.

”’salaam,” the voice replied back to me, but already my hopes were shattered because it was a female on the line. I wasn’t despondent.  Maybe the call would at least bring some news about my brother.

“Khawlah?” The voice asked, and I vaguely recognized it.

“Yes, it is she,” I replied. “Who is this? Are you calling about my brother?”

I had to ask. The desperation was overwhelming.

”Khawlah, it’s me, Ruby.”

My heart plummeted to somewhere near my feet.

Ruby. Rubeena. What on earth was she doing calling my house phone now? At this hour.

“Oh,” I said, my thoughts hazy, because I couldn’t focus. I was still consumed with worry. What did she want?

“I needed you to spend some extra time here tomorrow,” she started, not even waiting for a further response. “I have a date with the girls and then the usual. But I’ll run a bit late because Matt is shifting my session to accommodate my luncheon. So yeah, I’ll be late. I hope you will wait till six. If Shabeer is home early you can leave, but not before 5.30 because you know him. He won’t manage alone with the kids for over half an hour.”

I could picture her rolling her eyes as she paused for a breath.  I couldn’t believe her audacity. She didn’t even ask. She just demanded.

Matt was her trainer and it was a bit weird that she had a male trainer, but I didn’t ask any questions. It was her life, after all. Rubeena wasn’t exactly the type that you could get through to easily.

“Rubeena,” I said stiffly, knowing that I needed to tell her in a diplomatic way that I have a bit of a family crisis. “My sister just had a baby. Things may be a bit crazy. Can I confirm with you?”

Besides, Abba will never let me stay out till so late. It got dark early these days.

“What do you mean?” She asked, sounding peeved that I didn’t just relent. She was used to getting her way.

“I’m going to have to ask my father,” I said, trying to explain that I can’t do as I pleased. Although I was nearly fifteen, I was barely a grown up.

“Can’t you just ask him now?!” She snapped, sounding annoyed.

“He’s at the masjid,” I said, pursing my lips. Not that she could see, but I was getting pretty annoyed too.

“Listen, Khawlah,” she said, in a no-nonsense tone. “I need to know ASAP, because I can’t cancel anything so you just need to be here.”

I wasn’t sure whether to say it. I didn’t want to risk sounding cocky, but I also didn’t want to commit in case I couldn’t make it.

What if Ahmed was still missing? What if Zuleikha needed me? She was probably going to leave the hospital tomorrow… and even if she wasn’t coming home like we thought, she might still want me with her.

I had to tell her. I had to let her sort herself out for once. I was tired of being bossed around.

“I don’t think I’ll make it,” I finally said. “I think you should cancel for tomorrow.”

I knew that she wouldn’t like it. I thought that she might ask her brother. He would be a better option than a helper or some stranger. At least he cared about the kids and they seemed to really like him.

Despite the impression I had gotten the first time Nusaybah and I had met him…. he  had actually surprised me.

I could hear Rubeena’s shallow breathing on the phone. The silence was a bit deafening.

“I have a better idea,” she said, and I couldn’t tell what she was thinking.

Her next words were as icy as a snow storm. I wished that I hadn’t opened my mouth, but it was already too late as she uttered the final blow.

I didn’t know that she would dare to put a spanner in the already messed up works.

“If I cant rely on you, Khawlah,” she snapped with dismay. “I’d rather just find someone else.”

And with that, there was a click of the phone and she cut the call.




21 thoughts on “Spanner

  1. Great post. I’m just a bit confused about what Aunty Radiyyah’s words were. And also what information Khawlah gave to Ahmed that made him shoot Jameel. Maaf, it’s just a bit confusing when things are revealed a bit later than when they actually happen 🙈

    Liked by 3 people

  2. MashAllah lovely post!!! Seems like Ruby is quite a bully. Even though it would be better that Khawlah doesn’t work for her, it will be so hard since she’s attached to the boys and she would feel guilty knowing that they’re equally attached to her too.
    I hope Zuleikha will have a chance to a better change. Jzk khair for posting.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Wonderful wonderful post!! 😍 Gripping .. But now why is zuleika going back so soon. Unless it’s a chance for her family to be often at her place so then Jameel will have to behave better. Can’t wait to read more

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m sorry that you feel that way sister. I am not an aalimah and I may not know better. Gross labour parts? Maaf sis, if I have offended u. I didn’t mean to describe anything gross.
      By creating a strong character that will speak about the evils of haraam in society, I am hoping to encourage good. We can’t turn a blind eye to drugs, womanizing and even violence in our community. I try not to touch on topics like intercourse, etc, because I always thought that it was the most behayaa and also unnecessary. People enjoy good reading. Muslim people. Even non-Muslims too. I try and use what I have to educate about Deen, in the little way I can.
      Muslims are clubbing. Taking drugs and drinking. Dating. Having affairs. It’s happened in front of my eyes and I’m sure you have heard of it too. My writing is not perfect, and I will try and remove any behayaa parts if it does seem too much. I’m not afraid to edit and learn as I go along.
      Lastly, I don’t think other bloggers will appreciate you generalizing in that manner as I do not write like them and they don’t write like me. Writing styles, content and general emphasis all differs, and I think each writer has their own motive and style. I do try to bring in helpful lessons, but if there is a chance that I may be failing in this and making this blog futile, I might think twice about posting further than this. Peace be with you, sis.. Ma’asalaam.

      Liked by 4 people

      • This is being defensive on your haraam story. Not an alimah??? You probably came from a shitty indo park darul ulum or maybe ur husband or ur father just like the journey of Muslim youth authors father, what what clubbing and all she’s glamoirising but calls it journey of Muslim youth and claims her father isn’t reading it and gives me big bayaans…. Blogs have no place its jaahileen.


    • SubhaanAllah. And you are such a sterling example of Hayaa that you use bad language and openly insult other bloggers on this site. Not only that, you are evidently a racist as well. Is this part of the Sunnah of my beloved Nabi SAW, my sister? Is this how we prove ourselves – by hurting and remaining abusive even when we have not been rude to you?
      Correct me if you must, I am willing to edit or adapt if I’m wrong, but when you use this blog as a platform to abuse other people or bloggers, that, I will not tolerate.
      May Allah make us of those who have Hayaa.

      Liked by 5 people

  4. Salaams Dearest Sister. Please pay no heed to the snide comments that come your way. You are doing a GREAT job. May Allah accept your efforts.Aameen. Love your style of writing and your blog 💞💖💝

    Liked by 3 people

  5. This is the only blog I’ve ever read that is so beautifuly written without any obscenity in it.. Not once was there ever anything behayaa written. This z person has a hidden agenda, criticizing our indo pak ulama. The blog is just an excuse. May Allah guide her.

    Liked by 4 people

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