Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
“We shall take this route; let not your resolve be weakened. Know that the help of Allah comes according to your desire. Let not the Muslims fear anything so long as they have the help of Allah.” -Khalid Bin Waleed
I breathed in as I gazed up at the screen, letting the words that had once inspired me, do their magic once again.
It was written on a key holder that was attached to my backpack, and whenever I found myself even a little uninspired, I would check myself again and let it sink in.
It was Khawlah who had given it to me three years ago, and thinking about my sister made me feel a little more hopeful than I was. She always saw the good side of things. Somehow, there was always a positive within the gloom… always a light at the end of the darkest tunnel. Maybe I really did have some things I could learn, like she always told me.
Where to from here? Where do I go from here?
I was at a loss at I stared at the screen listing flights boarding and taking off. Dubai. Namibia. Toronto… Was I ready to leave everything here behind and start afresh? It was tough. A rough choice. With the help of Allah, I knew that I was no coward… But this was a call for the warriors.
I leaned back slightly against the balustrade behind me, letting the heavy load on my back take some support, whilst thinking about my best option.
Streams of people whizzed past as I watched them, and for a few minutes I felt like I was the loneliest person in the world. What lead me to the airport was merely a strong drive to escape. I knew that it had gone a little too far with Jameel, but I felt like a coward now for leaving it behind. I wanted to expose him and save my sister all at once, but I didn’t anticipate that maybe I might have just made it worse.
“Why’re you looking so glum, brother?”
I frowned momentarily as I heard the voice with a distinct Gauteng accent, almost right next to me. I wasn’t in the mood for conversation, so without even looking up, I shrugged indifferently, just trying to mentally work my way out of the rut I was in.
“You staring at that chic, right?” The voice said again, whilst I stared straight ahead.
I didn’t see any chic. And even if I did, I doubt it would even faze me. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about girls. I was a normal teenager. But with my frame of mind….
“And wondering how to make a move,” he continued.
I frowned, getting annoyed, and instinctively, turned around to come face-to-face with a guy of medium height and hard-set jawline.
“I knew that would get you,” He said, a smile planted on his face.
”I used to have a problem with looking at chics,” he said, smirking, and I knew he was having a go at me. “Now I just have to turn and walk away. Sometimes my life depends on it.”
He looked pleasant enough. Good-looking I supposed, in that rich and spoilt-boy kind of way. He probably knew nothing about what life was really about. He was probably born into luxury and stayed there his whole life.
What bugged me was that he was looking at me like he knew exactly what I was all about. What made me tick. Life was probably a game for him.
I was failing to see any humor.
“Do I know you?” I said, raising my eyebrows at him and not really bothering to be polite.
He wasn’t affected by my stand-offish attitude. He stuck out his hand and looked me in the eye, winking as he chewed on his gum.
“I’m Zee,” he said, gripping my hand firmly and shaking it with purpose. “I saw you standing here and you looked a bit lost. My brothers warned me to behave, so I figured talking to you would probably help keep me out of trouble. I have a knack of wandering off and doing unseemly things. Youngest-child syndrome.”
I cracked a small smile. It was all I could muster at that point.
His theory reminded me of Yunus. My youngest sibling would have probably been worse off if he didn’t have Khawlah to check on him through his growing up.
“So where’re you off to?” He asked, taking a seat on a recently freed metal chair.
He patted the one next to him, gesturing me to sit next to him. I shook my head. I didn’t know where I was headed to, and I wasn’t prepared to get comfortable yet. Besides, what if the guy was going to give me whole life story or some kind of weird philosophy that I didn’t really care about. I wasn’t in the mood for small talk.
“I’m not sure yet,” I said, answering his question. “I’m still figuring out my plan…”
I trailed off, not wanting to risk giving away too much of information either.
“That’s my brother, Mo,” Zee said, shrugging my vagueness off and pointing to a tall guy who stood next to three other men who were talking animatedly. “He’s the eldest. His bro-in-law is a heavy Molvi… and so we kind of fell in with the holy crowd by default.”
I cracked another smile. The guy was actually a bit amusing.
“Where are you guys off to?” I said, warming up a little. It would be good to focus on someone else besides myself for the first time in days.
“Well, Molvi is into this whole anti-ISIS thing,” he said, with raised eyebrows, his voice suddenly becoming serious. I wasn’t sure that this guy was actually capable of being serious. “I mean, I know if you look at him you may get a bit skrik, but he’s not that bad. He does these awareness campaigns all over. He’s found some places where the movements are becoming really hectic. He’s been visiting them and trying to spread the good word… He’s just back from Netherlands.”
He went on to tell me about how people are getting tricked into leaving their homes and fleeing to places like Iraq and Syria with the notion of being IS heroes. The only thing is, when they get there, it’s far from heroic. They lose their citizenship of their own safer countries, and worse still, bring kids into these camps that have terrible conditions. Many of these kids don’t survive.
The worst part is that they think that they are the only true Muslims for being in the situation they in, even though they see that the ideologies of IS camps are far from ideal or even Islamic. It was heavy stuff… scary, even for me.
I remember reading about this stuff a while back, but I didn’t know many details about it. What I did know about ISIS was that they are thirsty for genocide, and their state rejects peace as a matter of principle. There is nothing more UnIslamic about it. The breaking factor is that once you join, there is little you can do to come out.
The truth was, although many people, including Muslims, have this perception that Muslims are commanded to fight and oppose anyone who is not Muslim, this is far from the truth. And even if we just look into Islamic History, in the Battle of Badr, which was the first war of Islam, there were various signs given to non-believers before they persisted in their fight. Many of the disbelieving chiefs even had dreams, warning them of the onslaught they would face if they had to go through with their mission of attack, but they still went forward.
The Quraish were thirsting for battle. Nonetheless, there were a few tender hearts who shuddered at the idea of blood-shed. Nabi SAW too, was one of them, and when the battle of Badr commenced, being averse to seeing his hands stained with blood, the Companions raised a shed of stones at one end of the fields for him to stay in. Sa’d Ibn Mu’adh RA stood at the entrance with a naked sword that none might dare to enter it.
And of course, we know the rest of the story, about the angels who came down, taking the form of men and fighting with divine assistance from above. It was said that the men who were slain by the angels could be recognized by the specific burns on their faces.
Western historians, who can think only in terms of material causes and affects, are left wondering how a body of three hundred footmen could vanquish one thousand adversaries reinforced with a hundred horse. But Divine help has many a time worked wonders like that. Nevertheless, the miracle of Badr was just that. A miracle that Allah had allowed to occur, so the Muslims could prove their truth and finally, rid themselves of the taunts of the Quraish.
Stories of war always inspired me, and although I might have been a little ambitious in my thinking… Every day was a new day and hearing Abba’s voice in my head, and the constant striving to fight my Nafs, I was growing up.
And yes, I was growing up. The childish fight for notoriety and striving to make a name for myself was dying. I mean, who was I proving myself to?
Being rough and tough was all well and good, but it wasn’t what life was about. It was also about respect, and when I looked at the men who were in front of me, I could just see how well-known and revered they were in the community. Every second Muslim person was stopping to greet them. Even Zee, who looked like he wasn’t impressed by much, seemed like he had great admiration for those scholars.
Respect. It wasn’t bought or sold. It was purely what Allāh Ta’ala raised people with, and His raising your status was greater than any other kind of recognition.
Even if I said so myself, the whole process of introspection for me was a little too late.
”Anyway,” Zee said suddenly, breaking my thoughts with his bubbly voice. “Maybe I’ll see you again. My bru’s calling me. Like literally, he’s calling me… on my phone. You’d think the guy would at least look for me first before assuming the worst!”
He shook his head, pretending to be disturbed by their lack of faith in him. I didn’t say anything.
He did look like the kind of guy who got into trouble at times. I wondered if he was married or had kids. He didn’t mention it but I didn’t ask him much either. His life looked so carefree… like he had no worries in the world. I didn’t realize that once I got to know him, I would understand that his life had been just the opposite, and truly, it’s only what you make of a situation that brings you to where you were.
“Hey, wait,” he suddenly said, putting his iPhone back in his pocket and looking at me with narrowed eyes. “You said you weren’t really headed anywhere. Why don’t you join us..? We heading to a mosque first. Molvi has another talk.”
I was about to say no. I mean, the old and confident Ahmed would have never even thought about it. I supposed it was my pride that had stuck with me before. The infamous Ahmed wouldn’t have even been caught speaking to a swanky guy like Zee. With his smooth lines and designer Gucci sneakers… those kind of guys usually rode on my nerves. Now that I was down and out, I found myself in an entirely different frame of mind. A little less… rigid.
I toyed with the idea for a few seconds, wondering if it could really do any harm. Surprisingly, the guy actually looked like good company, and since I wasn’t really sure of where I was headed, buying some time before making a rash decision might be a good thing.
I found myself nodding, without even realizing what I was committing myself to.
I mean, I could always leave if I wanted to, right? I just didn’t realize that these people had a way on working themselves under your skin, even when you least expected it.
I trudged along with my heavy backpack, following Zee as he worked his way through the crowd. He was speaking on his phone to someone about where the car would be waiting. The other guys had already gone to fetch the car, so Ziyaad (which I learnt was his full name) was heading to another guy’s car who was heading the same way.
”We going with Molvis student,” he said, raising his eyebrows. “Not like I care about all this stuff anymore, but for some background info, this guy is like the Don in web developing. Like he’s super young and he’s made it to like the top web developers in the country… he’s like so… wanted. Now, apparently, Molvi says he’s giving it all up to change his life. I mean, it’s a bit hectic if you ask me. But it’s what Molvi admires about these owkes. He like waits for them so he can get them to take the plunge. To show them it’s never too late to change their lives. Like my bru.”
I nodded, scratching my stubble and wondering for the first time of it was a good idea to go with the guy. Was I going to be some test tube case for them? Or was I going to look odd, with my shaven face and jeans? I didn’t want to be an eyesore.
“Don’t look so worried, boet,” Zee said, smirking slightly, almost sensing my second thoughts. “We’re a cool crowd. We’re not gonna go all pious on you and make you our next project.”
He paused momentarily.
”Unless you want…”
He chuckled to himself almost knowingly, and it made me wonder about him.
I nodded, swallowing as I exited the automated doors, still a bit weary about what to expect. It was like this guy was just sent to me in my darkest hour, and I couldn’t ignore the signs. Never in a million years would I have whist blindly followed a guy that I barely knew, in the past. Now, what he had to offer me was basically all I had.
We approached a black BMW, and I held back, waiting for Zee to tell me to get in. I was still a little hesitant as he opened the door, and I slid in after him, moving my backpack to my lap. The dude who was driving replied to our greeting, and then shifted the car into gear before we literally sped away.
It was the first time I had been in a car so fast, and for a materialistic guy, it was quite impressive. I didn’t even notice the driver. I was just enjoying the ride. It was only after a few minutes that Zee and the guy were speaking for, about things the details of the car that were less appealing to me, that Zee nudged me and gestured to the him.
“Sorry, bru,” He said, looking from me to the driver dude apologetically. “We’re getting all carried away with Duniya and I didn’t even introduce you guys.”
It was at that precise moment that the guy turned around to see me, and as he glimpsed my face, I could tell that his thoughts were exactly along the same lines as me.
Although he looked like a different version of himself, with his Sunnah beard and simplified hair style, I knew exactly who he was. Our eyes met and the very feelings that had surfaced the first time I had laid eyes on him were coming up again. I blinked, hoping it would sway my hostility. This was no coincidence.
And, of course, I knew exactly what it was that had inspired his whole journey to change.
”Ahmed,” Zee said, patting me on the back as I tried to compose my next words.
In preparation for Ramadhaan, this week we are working on Reviving the Sunnah of Miswaak. I will try to keep it short, sweet and effective. 🌸
Some advice from personal experience: try keeping more than one Miswaak, so it may be easy to use wherever you are.
- Fights Tooth Decay and Cavities. …
- Potent Antibacterial Properties. …
- Protects Against Plaque Buildup. …
- Removes Bad Breath. …
- Strengthens Gum Tissue to Prevent Gingivitis. …
- Natural Anticarcinogenic. …
- Reduces Gum Pain. …
- Pleasant Aftertaste.
Follow us On ig @thejourneyingmuslimah
Wonder whose this Adam dude…dnt rem him being mentioned b4
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The one who khawlah bumped into
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Ohhh now I rem👋
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He was mentioned 🍀 but you’ll see again soon 🌸
The old. The new the awesum
I love it masha Allah
Im looking 4ward to this insha Allah
Oh no Adam… ahmed
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Yup, I kind of anticipate some drama. Uh-oh, Feel sorry for Zee..
Assalamualaykum Dearest Sister
It makes some sense now why Rubeena has issues with Kayla but of course waiting for our talented authoress to let us know……
MashaAllah lovely writing 💞
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Shukran sis.. 💞
Unfortunately there are more issues about to be revealed.. next part out soon..
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Wow, what a twist in the story…and all our favourite characters coming back….
Looking forward….Jazakallah khair
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Aameen sis.. it makes it a bit more exciting
How I wish this was a never ending book!!!!💕💕💕 Need to read the next 100 chapters now 😭…
On a more serious note, I love the concept of taking the plunge. Besides bringing so much light in our lives it also has a ripple effect that the goodness from it causes those around you to also change
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hehe, aw man.. unfortunately all good things must come to an end… Still a little while to go though. I love writing the endings of a blog !
You’re so right, sis… That is so true. I personally know so many families who had one person starting the effect that so many others follow. Alhumdulillah.. The light will always shine through.
This story just gets more inspiring and interesting!
So excited that all the old characters are back !
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Shukran sis.. A little bit of drama and excitement with it too…
alot of catching up to do …inshaaAllah… jazakAllah khayr for the sunnah reminders sis
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we missed you too, sis
Allah make it beneficial ❤