Running in the Rain

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


“Lets’s run in the rain,” Yunus said, nudging Khalid as we sought refuge in the covered area of his house, as we peered at the rain that we’d have to pass through to get home. Khalid looked back at it with a certain ferocity in his steely eyes, almost as if he was ready to take it on. 

“Nah,” he finally said, shaking his head and cocking it to one side as he usually did when he decided that he had thought deep enough about something. “Let’s just use the umbrellas.”

But it was already too late. Yunus had already spoken, and his little light-bulb idea wasn’t just an idea any more. 

To me, running in the rain, was not just about getting wet. It symbolised freedom. It was about going against the rules. It was about pushing the limits. It was that all-encompassing feeling of utter liberation, that poured onto you as the pelting drops of moisture would too.

And so I ran. Khawlah, the ever-so-brave, left the two clucking boys behind, and ran as fast as my then little legs would carry me, through the puddles and all. And yes, I got soaked. I held my school bag over my head, just in case. But I still got soaked. I laughed and laughed, as I ran, and of course, the punishment that came after was worth it all. Never even for a moment, did I regret that feeling, as the pouring rain was all that could be heard around me, and I realised that this was what childhood was about. This was pure affirmation that a little child needed, to assure her that after all, there was a brighter side to life, even within the pouring rain.

I smiled as I looked at the rain, remembering the past as I scribbled in my workbook. Sometimes as you catch up with the past, the past somehow, catches up with you. I think its true for many, that the former years on anyone’s life, are often considered in jest. To others though, it’s not that simple. What I mean by that is, I may remember myself sprinting through the garden, just as a little child often would, but to an adult, they may see me as running away from something in my life. It may be that I was just being ridiculously rebellious by refusing to follow the rules and play like the rest of the kids, but to another person, they may assume that I was a problem child. The truth was, people read too much into things. Kids are kids. They do as they please, say as they please and get away with almost murder because of their little regard for any consequence whatsoever. 

And even as I got older, there were times when I would still find myself contemplating about my childish years. The laughter. The fun.  The childish innocence that always got me seeing the brighter side of things. The excitement of upcoming holidays as a child was overwhelming as I  recalled the vivid memories of a little girl with unlimited energy. I always remembered myself as this grown-up-too-fast mischief-maker finding her way through the motions of a life, trying to fill the shoes that were way beyond my meagre years. 

Challenging, was a word I often heard Mama use to describe me. Constantly finding innovative ways to keep myself busy, proved me to the one of the four kids that had to be watched, practically all the time. And although I kept busy and always occupied with Yunus, babying him too, to some annoying degree, somehow I would still find a way to earn a scolding from Mama almost every day.

Too tough, she called me. Too tough for my own good.

In an attempt to discipline me, when I would sometimes catch a hiding, which was more often than I remembered, I would look back at my mother with a certain defiance that she just couldn’t comprehend. It made her all the more mad, and would usually result in me being sent to my room for the rest of the day. So young, and yet my mind was already so set in rebelliousness. Mama was scared for me. I knew she was, and I often heard her tell Abba that I was the one test that she didn’t know if she would pass.

And then Mama got sick. Really sick. To a certain extent, it changed me too.

I remembered those days of disarray, where none of us knew quite what to do with ourselves. Khalid was the greatest diversion, I would say. I remembered Aunty Radiyyah too, always welcoming us in with the broadest of smiles. I didn’t see the tears she sometimes hid behind that joy as she watched us, because she was losing a friend too.

She knew we needed some stability in our upside down lives. It was those little things that kept us a little sane, with Khalid’s easy ways and simple life. We got lost in his world of historic dinosaurs (which was his obsession around six), ghost stories (inspired by the Purple House from seven) and theories about adults that always made us laugh. We loved it. He had two normal parents and lived a pretty normal life. Somehow, we needed that glimpse of normality for us to be kids again.  Back home, with Mama entering the final stages of her life, everything was becoming overwhelming. That was when when Abba, with a bit too much on his plate, had realized that it was time for me to be more occupied.

The pre-school that I had been attending was closing down and the thought of another year in pre-primary was boring me. I was an intelligent child, I heard the teacher say to Abba, the day the school closed. I needed something more stimulating.

And so, with Abba faced with many decisions that needed fast actions, he immediately enrollment me in ‘big school’, at the tender age of five. It couldn’t be said that I outshone the other students, but I definitely wasn’t behind. Somehow, I had managed to catch on pretty fast, and life as we knew it, went on . I never looked back and neither did he.

However, as the grade twelve year approached for me, I could literally feel my nerves dwindling. I was always hard on myself. I never struggled, because languages came easily to me, but Mathematics, however… well, let’s not go there. For me, Maths was my Achilles heel. Where I excelled in everything else, Maths somehow knocked my spirits, as I attempted to figure out exponential equations and trigonometrical calculations. I rubbed my temples as I squinted in thought, trying to figure out why any sane person would ever create three letter words like sin, cos and tan. I.could.not.even.

“Are you going to sit here the whole day with Mr Absurd?”

Absurd. AbSurd. AbSURD. Sometimes, Nusaybah just got me. She was so ambiguous. In a hilarious way.

I looked up at Nusaybah who was hovering over me and literally scrutinizing my work. Surprisingly, surds were not my weakest point.

I scowled at my friend. It was easy for her to talk. For her, Maths was a breeze.

“I haven’t even had a chance to sit with my friend for like one entire week,” she said, scowling back. “These damn calculations have taken over your life and our friendship. I’m going to have to ditch you if you insist on pursuing your current relationship…. I cannot handle this type of competition. It’s too… intense.”

I giggled. Nusaybah’s face was serious, and it made me giggle even more.

I shut my book and finally stood up, grabbing a packet of chips from my lunch box that I had brought. Foi Nani had forgotten to make lunches again today, so I had quickly packed a fruit and chips for Yunus and I, hoping Yunus would buy something from the tuck shop if he was hungry. Although Foi Nani was starting to worry me, I shoved the thought away, convincing myself that she was getting old and these things were expected.

“Can we sit alone today?” Nusaybah half-whispered as we walked down the passage. “Hearing about Naj’s complicated   relationships is getting too much for my brain.”

Najma and Kimona were two girls that we sometimes sat with, and though I enjoyed their company, the drama that these girls always had to relate was draining. I nodded eagerly. I was in no mood to listen to other people’s complicated lives. Mines was much too messy at this time of my life, and I frowned as I remembered the feelings that had surfaced a few days ago, when I had left a piece of my heart behind in the house I had grown to cherish.

“Is everything okay?” Nusaybah asked as we sat, noting my frown.

I nodded, opening my packet of chips and trying to divert the attention. I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t want to remind myself by speaking about the pain. It was getting better as the days went by and I knew that it was just a matter of time until I healed completely.

“Ruby called me,” she said carefully, and I blinked in surprise as she said it, suddenly wary of what she may know. “She said you left. The boys miss you. Why didn’t you tell me?”

I finally met my friends eye as she gazed at me enquiringly, clearly hurt.

“What did you think, Khawlah?!” She suddenly spilled out, and I could see the anger in her eyes. “You thought I’d be upset? Did you think I would judge you?”

I swallowed hard as I gazed back at my friend, remembering the day I left. It was still so clear.

Khawlah, wait!”

It was Ruby’s voice, and as I halted at the door, and my heart thudded in my chest as I thought about explaining my sudden decision.

How did I tell her that I needed to play it safe? I mean, I was barely sixteen. I couldn’t even think about marriage. I wasn’t against marriage at a young age but I one of those girls who could, because I understood that although it was the right thing to do, there was no way that I could ever be mature enough to take on that responsibility. I just couldn’t do it.

“I’m sorry about that,” she said panting, and I could tell that she was struggling to catch up with me before I left. “I didn’t mean to put you in an awkward situation. After I spoke to you last week, I called my brother to try and set things right. Adam really wanted to see the kids… I didn’t expect him to come so early today.”

She was still panting, and I nodded as she gave me a small smile, glad that things were looking up for her.

“The kids love their uncle,” I said, smiling back at her. “They need him.”

She nodded.

“They do,” she said.

I had to tell her. I was planning on phoning her and explaining my decision to her, but there was no use delaying the inevitable.

“I won’t be able to come in next week,” I said, taking a deep breath, and expecting her to enquire about why.

She merely looked at me and nodded. It was like she knew. She didn’t even ask me any more.

It was like she already knew that I was planning to leave. My heart sank momentarily, because she didn’t even try and convince me to stay.

“Will you come back?” She asked, without expectation, meeting my gaze as she waited for the answer.

I shook my head, not really able to form audible words.

“I want to see the kids if it’s okay,” I said softly, clearing my throat to try and remove the frog that had somehow found it way in there.

“Of course,” she whispered, and I looked to to see tears streaming down her face as she hastily wiped them away, and then reached out to wrap me in a fierce hug that spoke a million words.

“Thank you, Khawlah,” she whispered as she clung to my somewhat rigid frame, and I processed the turn of unexpected events. “Thank you so… so much. I hope I see you again… I have to… in whatever way…”

I was a bit dumbfounded as she pulled away. I didn’t expect it to be so easy. I didn’t expect her to just surrender me, and although my there was a very palpable pain in my gut, I knew that the alternative would have not been as achievable. Ruby knew what she needed. She knew that her kids were important. I just hoped that she would also take the time to get to know the beautiful souls that they are too.

And sometimes we think that something is good for us, but it is only Allah who make that notion a reality. It is only Taqdeer that can determine what is meant for us, and what is meant to fly completely over our heads. It is only Qadr that determines what’s in our destiny, or what’s meant to miss us.

When Aadam AS was created, the event of his sin and being sent to earth was already determined. It is reported that Musaa (AS) had one day struck up an argument with Aadam (AS).

“Adam and Musa held a disputation. Musa AS said: ‘You are Adam whom Allah created with His Hand, into whom He breathed by His Spirit, to whom He made the Angels prostrate, and whom He taught the names of everything, so why have you expelled us and yourself from Al-Jannah(the Paradise)?’

Adam AS replied, ‘And you are Musa whom Allah favored with His Message and His Words, have you not found that it had been written on me before I was created?’ He (Musa) said: ‘Yes, indeed”‘ Then he (Rasool Allah SAW) said: “So Adam got the better of Musa in the argument.” (2)

Adam did not prove his argument against Musa by means of Al-Qadar (the Measure), thinking that the sinner can use Al-Qadar (the Measure) as an argument. Neither a Muslim nor any sane man would say that. If it were an excuse, it would be an excuse for Iblees as well as for Nooh’s people, Hood’s people, and every Kaafir.

Neither did Musa blame Adam for the sin itself, for Adam did repent to his Lord and was then (forgiven and) gained favor and was guided by Him (SWT). But he blamed him for the calamity which afflicted them because of the sin; that is why he said to Adam, “Why did you have us and yourself expelled out of Al-Jannah (the Paradise)?” Adam thus replied, “This had been written on me before I was created.

And of course, everything that happened from Aadam AS was written before it happened. But that’s not the lesson here. Qadr and it’s divine splendor is not the lesson. The beauty of this is that although Aadam AS knew and understood that it was Taqdeer and it would happen, as Allah had commanded it to, Aadam AS did not let it stop him from asking for repentance.

He did not say, but it was meant to happen.. I was meant to sin and eat from the forbidden tree… so why must I make Tawbah? Aadam AS understood. He comprehended that Qadr was in its place,, but his actions could change his situation. And so, he did the ultimate and made Tawbah, and he repented… and Allah forgave him. Not only did he earn forgiveness, but Allah, through his infinite mercy, reunited him with his beloved, Hawaa AS.

Qadr. It was such a deeply profound concept. A measure that is somehow beyond our comprehension. How Allah sometimes put us into a situation that we are tested, to bring us to a situation that could give us so much of joy… the depth of it planning, although unexplained, is extraordinary.

It was all good for me. In some regard, there was Khair. I didn’t regret any of it. I didn’t regret meeting Rubeena, or the boys, or even crossing paths with her brother. It wasn’t something I had planned, but the plan had something from which I could learn.

With Qadr, always came a lesson, and something you could take home.

“I didn’t want to hurt you,” I finally said, meeting Nusaybah’s eye as she spoke.

Nusaybah was not someone who could possible be angry quiet, simultaneously. Her fury often came with babbling outbursts and fierce expressions. It actually made me feel a little better than a silent treatment.

She let out a huge breath, and it felt as if the whole world had been offloaded from her tiny shoulders.

“But didn’t you think not telling me would be more hurtful?” She snapped, obviously exhausted from all her offloading.

I swallowed, wondering what to tell my friend.

“I wouldn’t ever, in a million years, think of a guy like that,” I said, speaking softly.

“Why not?” Nusaybah asked, her expression suddenly changed to something of curiosity.  “You have to be crazy… or super pious… not to even have some inclination, Khawlah. Honestly, girl, it’s like you’re from another planet.”

I smiled, despite how I was feeling.

“Is it your brother?” She suddenly asked, her eyes almost popping out of her head, and it seemed like something had just been switched on in her brain. She smacked her palm to her forehead, shaking her head.

“Gosh, yes!” She murmured. “Ruby told me what he said to her brother. I completely forgot!”

Goodness. How long were those two talking for? How did Adam meet Ahmed? Now I was confused. So confused. Did I miss something?!

I frowned as Nusaybah let the cat out of the bag, and then covered her mouth, as she realized that I didn’t know.

“Tell me,” I urged her, just because I was dying to know. If it was about me, I had a right to.

“He told him to stay away from you,” Nusaybah said simply, folding her hands across her chest as she furrowed her brows.

I nodded, not surprised. From Ahmed, I could expect that. I was glad that it wasn’t anything bad. I might even thank him for that when I saw him. Maybe.

Nusaybah was still looking at me with that intense look, and weird frown on her face. I looked back at her, wondering what on earth her problem was now. I felt like running away, as I gazed at the pouring rain now, almost inviting me to come and soak up its splendour. Nusaybah would probably think I was crazy.

“It wasn’t just that,” she said, and now she looked like she was just plain resentful. Angry and resentful.

”Gosh, Nusaybah,” I said, irritated, and annoyed that she was still upset. “What?!”

”I cant believe you didn’t tell me,” she said through gritted teeth. I was even more confused, as she gave me the deadliest look I had ever seen on my friend’s face.

She exhaled, letting her bulging eyes bore into mine as her anger partially disseminated.

“He said,” she spat, her eyes still narrowed and her tone as icy as a snowstorm. “That you’re already proposed.”

Dearest Readers,

In preparation for Ramadhaan, last week we were working on Reviving the Sunnah of Miswaak. This week, Insha Allah, let’s try and bring in a little about the Sunnah of eating, as touched on in the previous post. I will try to keep it short, simple and effective🌸

The Prophet (saw) said: “Whosoever says Alhamudlillah …. (Another complete Du’a, different from the one above) after eating, Allah will forgive all his past sins”Ibn Majah 3285, Tirmizi 3458, Al Albaani silsalah 3348

How easy to practise!





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