Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
As much time as it takes to string a beautiful necklace, when the line of pearls snap, it’s entire contents can fall to the ground in the matter of just a few seconds. And just like this, like a necklace unraveling, the trials and Fitan of this era also unleash, just as the pearls of that necklace make their descent. And no matter how valuable that necklace is, there will be many who watch from afar and say, what’s the use in even trying to catch a single pearl? How can we make a difference? The necklace was already doomed for destruction.
But there will, from amongst them, be a group among them who stop and reflect. They will come forward. They spread out their fingers and attempt to grasp what they can. They will argue that their job was not to save the necklace. Their job was just to save a few of those rare pearls, and give some hope… to preserve them so maybe… perchance, they may still go on to see a better day.
The thing was, amidst all the conflict and tribulations that we faced every day, sometimes that’s all we need. Sometimes we just need a little hope. Sometimes, we just need to realize that our job is not always to save the world. Sometimes we just need help one person. Sometimes we just need to fix one part. Sometimes, by some small intervention, an little can go a long way.
”How did you find me?”
My brother had his brows furrowed as he eyed me out with a mixture of interest and annoyance. This was exactly what I meant. My brother was not exactly how I recalled him to be.
Ahmed was not the Ahmed I knew. He was still rigid and as resilient as always, but there was a certain softness that came through as I watched him. He seemed like he was actually missing his family, and somehow, he had morphed into a matured version of the phoney muscle-man he had always tried to be. Even as I told him what a mission it was to locate his whereabouts, he was still looking at me suspiciously, as if I was the one who was being psycho.
I mean, he was, after all, the one with a whole bag of rifles on the table in front of him. As much as he had changed, my brother was crazy about guns, and so when Zuleikha had told me he was going to be at the shooting gallery this morning, I thought that I would see the same old Ahmed that I always knew. How wrong was I…
I looked at my brother, still a little shocked. He looked different. Except for his dark eyes, Ahmed’s features were almost exact to Abba, but a little sharper. He wore three quarter pants and a t-shirt, but the biggest giveaway was that instead of his usual stubble and rugged hair that he had always wore, my brother was beginning to show something that resembled more of a beard. He looked neat and normal. Not like some macho-gangster type that he had tried to be back in the day when all he was good at was getting into trouble.
“Listen, the guys are waiting for me, Khawlah,” he said seriously, putting his bag on his shoulder again. I could see a few of Ahmed’s friends waiting. One of them looked like he was coming this way and Ahmed hastily guided me aside, so we were out of view.
“You shouldn’t be here,” he said, shaking his head. Ahmed wasn’t usually so… conservative.
“I wanted to see you,” I responded stubbornly.
I knew what Ahmed meant. It was different when I was younger and we would training as siblings. It was also much quieter at that time of the year. Now, it was weird. I felt strange being here around so many men.
”Is everyone okay?” He asked, his eyes clouded with worry as he bit his lip.
I nodded and he instantly looked relaxed.
I wanted to ask him. I so badly wanted to ask him about Adam, but I just couldn’t. I just couldn’t yet.
“You need to go home,” he said, looking around warily and thrusting a phone at me. “These guys will start thinking weird things about me.”
“I’m going to Aunty Radiyyah,” I said, shaking my head as he put his phone back in his pocket.
“I’ll see you again,” he said warily, and turned around to walk away.
I wished I couldn’t have spoken to him more or asked him more, but somehow, just seeing my brother and knowing he was well was enough for now. The door was opened now, and that was a relief. Perhaps I could phone him or meet him again. All was not lost.
I thought deeply as I walked to my old neighborhood, which was literally a street away. It was the tougher side of town but what I loved about it was it’s natural appeal that just got me. I loved the walk down the road where we used to stay. I wasn’t scared to be on my own. Although it wasn’t as safe as it used to be, I took my chances because I knew that Du’aa was the best protection. I smiled as I realized how far Ahmed has come too, from walking around this neighborhood with his gangster friends and screaming blue murder at anyone they thought could be trespassers. I honestly beloved now that as Ahmed grew up, he realized that the best protection you could ever get was that of Allah. Instead of him waging a war, he had finally learnt about the Controller of it all. About life. About faith. About being a true warrior.
I breathed in deeply, as I took in the beauty around me. There was just something so soothing about nature. It was so true.
I thought about how the kids I had looked after had grown so accustomed to the outdoors, after being cooped up for so long. Yunus had mentioned that Ruby had phoned for me, but I didn’t want to Venture into that territory as yet. I was itching to see the kids but I needed a little more time, before I spoke to Ruby to make arrangements. All I had to do for now was be true myself and focus. I hoped that Ruby meant it when she said she would be spending more time with them. They had truly come to thrive on outdoor life, and it had become their refuge.
I breathed in as I climbed the steps, literally stepping into Aunty Radiyyah’s familiar arms and all-encompassing hug and her boisterous greeting. It was honestly like i was coming home.
“Sugar or condensed milk?” Aunty Radiyyah asked, as she finally pulled away and guided me to the back porch. She was still smiling as I took a seat on the back porch. Everything was already set up and I pointed to the condensed milk in anticipation, remembering the always appreciated taste of the sweetened coffee she would make for us on cold days like this when we were kids. I took a tiny sip and let it settle on my taste buds. It tasted exactly like it did back then.
Aunty Radiyyah crouched down to sit, and as she caught my gaze, in her eyes I could see a hint of something completely unrecognizable.
“Gosh Khawlah,” she breathed, almost looking spooked. “You look exactly like your mother.”
I blinked and shifted as she stared at me, feeling a little uncomfortable under her scrutiny, especially in the outdoor light.
Coming here after a few months was supposed to be my getaway, but I didn’t think that Aunty Radiyyah anticipated the change in me either. For me, I needed some time to think and just to clear my mind in the crispy air of the towny suburb that I loved so much. Even as I gazed out at the beckoning plot of land that was spread in front of me, I needed a little time to just dwell in its glory, without yet tucking in. The moisture in the air was so tempting, but I knew that going out to sink my hands into the wet soil would be a messy task. I wasn’t ready to take it on as yet.
Aunty Radiyyah’s expression had now changed to a less daunting one, and I smiled at her now, as I took a sip of the delicious coffee she had made especially for me. It brought back so many memories. Being here was simply amazing.
“Your mama was a showstopper, by the way, darling,” Aunty Radiyyah said in jest, obviously not finished. “Even thought she never did show it. No need to get embarrassed. I couldn’t understand how she was so easy going when everyone was always in awe of her.”
In in awe of her?
Somehow, I never remembered my Mama that way. I remembered the voices at the funeral. I remembered them saying that it was so sad. I remembered people talking so brazenly about the poor kids and how we will cope, as if we weren’t even there. I was just never in awe of my own mother. On the contrary, I was always in awe of Aunty Radiyyah. Maybe I was too young to notice what Mama was, but in my memory, I just remembered her as too thin and lacking energy that she needed for four energetic children. The memories of her heartiness were few, and as I grew older, I could barely remember my mother not being in bed. Zuleikha, I was sure, probably had a lot more memories of Mama being the way Aunty Radiyyah had just said. She probably had more memories of the real person Mama behind the sickness really was.
“Of course, your father had a hard time keeping up with her,” Aunty Radiyyah said, sitting back and smiling, her voice whimsical as she spoke, almost as if she had forgotten I was really there. It was like she was just jogging her memory out loud, as she recounted the past. I listened with no response.
“He was, after all, her choice,” she murmured, gazing into the garden. “Not exactly what they expected, but he changed his life for her. A heart of gold, your Mama always said. And your uncle hugely disagreed…”
Ah yes, Foi Nani’s son who had gone overseas and we hadn’t seen since Mama’s funeral. I had no idea about all this family history that Aunty Radiyyah was suddenly bringing to light.
I cleared my throat and Aunty Radiyyah suddenly jolted, as she focussed on me once again.
“I’m sorry, darling,” she said, her eccentric smile returning once again. “What were you saying you needed to ask me about? Goodness. Khalid was right. Sometimes I do come across as a crazy old lady.”
I frowned, wondering how Khalid could be so rude to his mother. She was a wonderful woman. It was probably just his own brain that needed some adjusting. That silly hairstyle was affecting more than I thought too. I wished I could tell him it too.
I didn’t want to delve into the details of my life, but in a nutshell, on the phone I had explained to her that my brother was offering information about me that I wasn’t in favor of. Aunty Radiyyah was like one of my best friends. I knew I could talk to her in confidence. I just needed some advice on how to handle it.
”And how sure are you that the information came from him?” She asked suddenly, narrowing her eyes at me in curiosity.
“Well, I can’t think of anyone else who would say such things,” I responded, already convinced that my brother was the culprit. In actual fact, the information he come from a third party, and although I didn’t want to admit it, relying on that source of information might not be the best thing to do.
Aunty Radiyyah shook her head.
“Ah sweetheart,” she said, closing her eyes and putting her head back in that familiar way that I remembered. Only this time, there was no bubbly bursts of laughter that followed. instead, she rubbed her temples and kept her eyes closed, almost as if she was deeply contemplating her next words to me.
“You have so much to learn,” she said, with almost a sad smile on her face. “Because you’re so mature, I almost forget that you and Khalid are the same age. People are fickle, my darling. And most of the time, your own people wouldn’t be the ones to cause problems, even if they don’t like what you are doing. Your own people care. It’s other people who don’t. Other people who have evil intentions. Other people who may be out there to get you, and you’ll be surprised at how many of those you find out there, my beautiful Khawlah.”
I looked at her with interest, hoping that she would offer more information. Was she talking from experience? Or was it just her wisdom that gave her so much of insight? I supposed that besides getting old and forgetful, old age had its other benefits too.
She sighed now, and her face lit up once again as she smiled.
“You’re not like the rest of the girls your age, Khawlah,” she said, her voice dropping as she spoke. “People don’t like it when you’re different. When you’re so special. Those kids miss you. They loved you, but you know why you had to leave. You know where to turn, my dear. Turn to Allah. Turn to Salaah. Salaah can fix anything. It can cure you heart, and make you feel brand new, once again.”
As she said the words, I immediately thought of Nusaybah. Aunty Radiyyah had so much of perspective. Part of the reason I didn’t want to tell Nusaybah about my whole saga was because I knew my friend. She never said it, but of course, I could tell that my best friend was not just ogling the guy when she first met him. When she would often find a reason to mention him on other occasions, I could tell that she was partly infatuated. And it wasn’t that I condoned it. We knew that there was no way she could pursue her feelings, had there been an opportunity, but she didn’t have any solution either. It was what it was.
But I was wrong. She was wrong too. Because often, we dont think that we can turn to Allah if we get caught in something Haraam. I mean, Haraam is Haraam. Often, we don’t associate something good with it. Some people might tell you to turn to Allah, instead. They will tell you to find Allah. They will urge you to suddenly channel your energy into reaching out to tmfind your Creator. But what they don’t tell you is how. They don’t tell your answer lies in Salaah. They don’t tell you that by truly praying to Allah, it will fix your heart. Salaah is the cure. It will undurden your soul.
I left that day, feeling so much lighter, as I thought about Aunty Radiyyah’s words. She made sense. At the end of the day though, it didn’t really matter. If they thought I was proposed they would probably find out at some point that I wasn’t. To clear the air would be going into some unnecessary venture that would probably be more problematic.
Abba was waiting outside for me at the time he had promised, and we drove in companionable silence, I thought to myself about him in a different light. About my mother. For many of my childhood years, my father had been my hero. It was only when he chose to marry a woman who made our lives a misery, that I kind of lost some hope in him. And he knew it too. But what he didn’t know was that all was not completely lost.
It was just that, after Mama died, something of him had died too. I remembered how he had changed, almost as if he was trying to find something that was missing. I didn’t realize it then, but as I watched the deepening lines on his forehead and the creases at the corners of my father’s eyes, I could see a different Abba. It was like he was kind of biding his time, just trying to work through the motions of life… almost as if he wasn’t quite sure what he needed out of this life anymore.
Now, I knew. Now, I finally understood. It was a little fairytale that they had lived. Now I understood the love that they had. He changed for her. He wanted to be better for her. It wasn’t just that… but from where Abba came from, he became the best person that he ever wanted to be when Mama was alive. He gave her everything of himself, but he didn’t realize that he was missing the last link. The link that made it real. The link that made it true.
And as much as I loved that notion and the fact that he loved my Mama so much, I so badly wanted him to become the best again, this time, with an entirely different perspective in mind. I wanted him to see that maybe there was a perfect reason that Mama was yanked out of our lives much too soon, and I wanted him to see it too.
And just as I was about to speak something of my mind, the sight of the foreign car in the driveway brought a frown to both of our faces. We didn’t often get visitors. Foi Nani usually had her family members fetch her for any function she wanted to go to, and this car was completely unknown. I looked at Abba warily as he pulled at the door handle, anxious to see who was here. I wasn’t sure if it meant danger, but since my senses were already alerted, I followed him in quick pursuit, eager to know exactly what was going on.
Abba fumbled with his keys to find the right one, hastily turning it with a click and pushing it open. Despite the thudding in my chest, I anxiously called for Foi Nani, hoping for some signal that everything was okay.
And almost on cue, at that precise moment, Foi Nani rounded the corner with a tray of tea cups and biscuits as she headed for the lounge. My mouth was already half- open as I watched her in her most amazing form, pleasantly greeting Abba, saying that she was waiting for us before they began. Abba looked back at her, confused.
“We have visitors,”she half-whispered, in old lady style, and I frowned as she looked at me reproachfully, signalling for me to help. I obediently took the tray from her and proceeded to the lounge with it, with my heart in my throat.
And of course, as I reached the lounge door and I glimpsed the ‘visitors’, my feet could just not move a single step further. I was literally rooted to the spot. I could not believe that Foi Nani had just let these people back into our lives. I could barely believe that this was actually happening.
I also didn’t know that this coming would answer so many of the questions I wanted to ask just earlier that day.
I just went cold. I felt like those precious beads were unraveling once again, falling to the ground, and as I tried to catch them, I just couldn’t find the strength or determination in me to even grasp one.
And as my feet kind of buckled, and the attempt to keep my hands firmly grasping the tray proved to be completely futile…
With a shattering of Foi Nani’s precious china, the entire tray went crashing down.
In p reparation 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 posts. I will try to keep it short, simple and effective🌸
Do not criticize food
Abu Huraira narrates that:
“The Prophet ﷺ did not criticise any food ever. If he desired the food, he would eat it and if he disliked it, he would leave it.”
Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim
How easy to practise!
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the suspense is going to keep me waiting on my toes for the next post.
Jazakillahu khair for sharing your amazing writing with us.
started rereading your other two blogs, and alhamdulillah the reminders it contains brings tears to my eyes and opens my mind to a perspective that has been dulled with materialistic things of this dunya.
May Allah reward you for it.
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What other two blogs are you talking about? Plz send the links would love to read
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I’ve also added a page at the top of the blog, on menu. ‘About other blogs’- you may access the blogs from there too InshaAllah ❤️
Aameen, sister, I’m sorry about the suspense, I’m going to start working on the next post ❤️
Shukran so much for reading, and like mentioned in the post, even if I’m able to touch one person, I know this effort is not wasted. InshaAllah
Honestly, I can only imagine that some of the things I write with such great and deep lessons are only because Allah just inspired me to put it in at that moment in time. I usually have no plan until I gt into the writing, and when I reread it and see… SubhaanAllah
Shukran so much for reading and commenting sis, I appreciate it 💐
I can’t handle the suspense 🙈
Jazakallah khair For the wonderful post , I loved all the lessons in it.
You truly have such an amazing talent for writing. may Allah always bless and grant you the best of rewards in both worlds , Aameen.
Can’t wait for the next one
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Sorry sis ❤️
Aw, aameen, sis, and JazakAllah Khair for the comments, truly appreciate the appreciation 🍀
This post Absolutely well written
Mashallah..keep the posts coming
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JazakAllah sis… !
I didn’t want the post to end!!! MashAllah it was a lovely post. Anxiously awaiting the next post. JazaakAllah khair.
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Aameen, shukran for reading, sis !
Wonderful way of passing the lessons that you always do Sister. May Allah accept your efforts and grant you the best of both worlds. Aameen.
Eagerly waiting for the next post
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aameen, and shukran sis for your comments… Always appreciated 🙂
Such Suspense! Subhanallah!
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