Pants on Fire

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


“So how did it go?”

The question hung in the air for a few moments while I momentarily stopped what I was doing, leaving the jug with the cupcake mixture aside, while I took a moment to contemplate.

I was trying to do more for my kids. Trying to be a more available… a more ‘involved’ mum. The rainbow cupcakes I had promised Dayyaan could wait a few minutes more, though. I had to phrase my answer carefully.

“Well,” I started, glancing at my brother as he tried to read me, like he always did. Adam was an excellent judge of character, but I wasn’t giving anything away in my expression.

“I think it went okay,” I said, a little hesitantly.

Adam raised his eyebrows at me.

“Really?!” He said, sounding like he didn’t believe me. “So she just smiled and forgave them without reservation, yeah?”

Gosh. He was so cynical.

I pursed my lips, and picked up the bowl of batter, avoiding eye contact. It was time for a diversion.

I could hear Adam approaching me slowly but I continued with what I was doing as he sidled up to me, and suddenly wound up in such close proximity to my face, that I wanted to swat him away.

Liar, liar, pants on fire!”

He chanted it directly in my ear, stepping back now and shaking his head as he crossed his arms over his chest.

I jumped back when he made his accusation and blinked in annoyance. I wasn’t sure how he knew it, but Adam was the one person who knew exactly when I was saying something that wasn’t exactly true. My little brother always had a way to make me reflect over my words… I was quite peeved that he picked it up so fast though.

“So, did she take it as well as I did?”

I scowled.

Adam was smirking but there was noting funny about what he was saying. He was broken when he had found out… and even more upset when he realized what a huge scandal it turned out to be.

Now it was my turn to raise my eyebrows at him.

“Shut up,” I said to him impulsively, the irritation getting the better of me.

It just so happened that it was at that very moment that the kitchen door swung open and Danyaal waltzed in… of course an expression of shock on his face. He was obviously unhappy about something he had heard.

And of course, there was no way he would let it go.

“Mum!” He said in shock. “Did you just say ‘shut up’ to Uncle Aadam?!”

I looked at my son apologetically. He had started to call Adam, ‘Aadam’ from a few weeks ago. He had this perception that we were saying his uncles name wrong and I hated to admit it, but my seven-year-old son was right.

He stared at me accusingly now, almost like I had betrayed him. I didn’t like them to use language that was less than polite. I mentally kicked myself as I realized what a fine example I was setting. I often heard that kids don’t learn from what you tell them… they learn from what you do.

“I’m sorry,” I said impulsively, looking at my son guiltily.

Danyaal gave a sheepish grin, nodded as a sign of acceptance and then turned to Adam.

“Uncle Aadam, will you help me with my madrassa work please?”

Adam nodded and smiled. I wasn’t annoyed that he didn’t ask me. Danyaal valued Adam’s input because he knew what he was teaching them… and he did it so well.

When it came to schoolwork, I was always on top of things, but when it came to Sabaq… Sometimes I wasn’t sure if I was even saying the words properly, because I had been so lax with regard to my Islamic knowledge.

I knew I needed to work on it, but I had so many things going on. I felt my spirits lift as Adam told Danyaal that he’d see him in five minutes, and he scurried off to get his Madrassa bag.

I watched my son in awe. He was so sincere… so genuine in his efforts. He portrayed such passion and devotion, I knew, that was so hard to see in a little child. It wasn’t just his age. I knew that he was special. Different. Khawlah had told me this on different occasions, but the question that hung in the air was what brought me to tears almost every night.

What had I ever done to deserve this?! Such a star of a child? A lover of the Quran? For a kid of his age… with Television so easily accessible, and everything of the best at his disposal, even I could not fathom how he had turned out to be so committed… such a fanatic of Deen… so in love with every piece of Islamic history that he had read about.

What had inspired this, of course I knew…. but what I didn’t often want to think of, was that it definitely had nothing to do with me. It was just that I had, by some miracle, made one right move by bringing someone into their lives who would impact such a change.

The fact that I was still struggling so much wasn’t important, right? I mean, wasn’t it true that Musa (AS) was brought up in the home of the most abhorred tyrant? What defined him was that within it was his own mother, who was a woman who received Wahy from Allah, and who had  maintained contact with him, so he could grow into a Nabi and Rasūl of Allah. And of course who could forget the Queen of that palace, who through him acquired such unshakable faith in the face of her enraged husband, which was so recognized in her pursuit of truth, that she will be regarded as the best of the women of the world, till the end of time.

It was like my eyes had been opened after an eternal darkness. It was as if a clear vision was now brought right in front of my eyes. Seeing things differently now…. How lucky I was that my Creator was actually giving me a chance to try again….? How lucky I was that I had kids who were so focused and willing to learn..?

What did I even do to deserve so many favors..? Despite the trials that brought me closer to Him, and despite those things that I didn’t understand back then… how was I even entitled to such perfect ease…?

Lost. I had been so lost.

I hastily wiped the tears from my eyes before Adam noticed my emotion. I didn’t have to worry though..  Adam was caught up in his own thoughts, staring into space, in a world that I honestly wished I could get a glimpse into. There was just something intriguing about the way he was so pensively leaning on the kitchen counter right then, with his chin cupped in his hand and a thoughtful frown on his forehead.

I clicked my fingers in front of his face now, curious to know what was on his mind.

”I’m was just wondering,” he said, his dark eyes narrowing as he snapped out of it and spoke a little hesitantly.

“Did you talk to mum?”

My mother? I went blank for a moment.

“About um…”

I was still oblivious.

“About Khawlah,” he almost mumbled, clearing his throat.

I couldn’t help but notice how  he was so awkward when he said her name. It was so sweet, right? Like he was even modest about how he mentioned her.

But wait. What was he asking me again?

I mentally kicked myself. Again.


I swallowed as my brother looked at me, running his hands through his ash brown  hair and shifting uncomfortably.

This was awwwkwarrd.  

“Um,” I started, feeling like a crappy sister.

With my own drama that seemed to be unfolding endlessly for the past two months, I had completely forgotten that Adam had asked me to do.  I knew that there was great wisdom in consulting with learned people too. The following week was a meeting with a Scholar that Adam knew, who would advise me about divorce or what to do about my failing marriage, but the thought of speaking to a pious stranger about it was stressing me out.

Speaking to our parents too, had completely slipped my mind. More specifically, our mother. Everyone knew that a man could be easily persuaded by his wife, but mum was a force to be reckoned with. If I could just get her to be accepting about what Adam wanted, and his plans for making Nikah, I knew that my father would change his mind in the blink of an eye. Thankfully, she had not heard about the outrageous scandal. Yet. And if she did, I knew she would not hesitate to let me know about the less than worthy girl who I had introduced into her precious sons life.

“I spoke to her,” I said carefully, trying to save myself but not wanting to lie. “And she was a little better than before. Like, she was more… open.”

I bit my bottom lip and looked away, avoiding eye contact with my brother. I felt like how I had felt a few moments ago. Like a traitor. I couldn’t lie. I didn’t want to.

Yeah?! Really?”

Adam was looking at me with a hint of something unrecognizable in his eye. I knew I was going to hear more than I bargained for.

“So is that why she forced me to accompany her to her friend’s little ‘coffee date’ last week, so I could meet her incredible daughter?”

Busted. I was only trying to protect him, right?

Ah, fish. Ugh.

Adam’s expression was definitely not a pleasant one. Of course it wouldn’t be if my mother was still trying to set him up with random girls who he didn’t have any interest in.

This time he stood where he was and crossed his hands over his chest in a huff.

“Rubes, I just have one thing to say to you,” he said in a monotone. I braced myself for it.

“Liar, liar, pants on fire!”

I couldn’t help but crack a smile.

I wanted to giggle because instead of this super-intelligent nearly twenty-one-year old, he was behaving like a sulky four-year-old. Adam was clearly not happy with me, and honestly, I did feel bad about it… but really, he was making it so hard to maintain a straight face. I stifled my laughter as Dayyaan ran in, looking for his brother, and then looking from Adam to me as he noticed me finally give away to the giggling.

“Okay, I’m sorry,” I finally said, looking Adam in the eye. His expression was stony and I tried to put on a straight face as I spoke. “I promise I’m going to speak to her. Can we just get Khawlah in a better place first? Like, let’s just wait for this whole thing to die down… so it’s not such a huge scandal doing it’s rounds. I’m just giving it some time….”

Adams face softened. Danyaal would be waiting for him, and I knew that he had to get going too, but I needed to clear the air first. I just hoped he had it in him to forgive me…

“Rubes,” Adam said suddenly, and I couldn’t help but notice that look in his eyes. That mastermind web developer look that he often got, when I forgot that my brother was such an genius of a business man and not just my little brother. This time, I could tell he was onto something big.

He was pacing the floor now, ignoring Danyaals erratic shouts for him from his room and Dayyaan literally running round in circles around the kitchen table. Zia had somehow found his way to us and had joined in the fun too.

Adam was completely oblivious. He was definitely onto something really big.

“I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before!” He said, completely bewildered by whatever his train of thought was. He was pulling at his beard methodically before he finally stopped in his tracks and looked at me.

“I’m going to clear her name,” he said, with a faint smile on his face.

“But how?”

Indeed, how could he possibly clear a rumour of such ferocity? 

Oh, the lies. I sincerely hoped that someone’s pants were going to catch on fire.

“I have to go,” he said sharply as Danyaal screeched again. “But we’ll talk after. Your son is losing his cool.”

I was about to follow him but the sound of the front door opening caught my attention, and my heart involuntarily thudded in my chest.

After the burglary incident, I was still a little ruffled up, and I had made extra sure to keep everything locked. My heart was almost in my throat as I rounded the corner and saw a figure in the entrance hall, closing the door behind him.

Relief flooded through me as I exhaled, wondering if I was seeing right. Shabeer.

And then, of course, I just got furious.

“Hey babe,” he said as he saw me, stuffing his hands in his pockets as he stood there in expectation. “I missed you.”

After 10 days of no show, he waltzes in, almost as if I owed him something.  I wanted to twist his reddened ears.

Liar, liar, pants on fire. 

I wanted to shout it out, as he came toward me, leaning forward for some kind of welcome home. I made a resolution right there and then to never say anything untrue, even if it was to protect someone I loved.

I took a step back, giving him the most thunderous glare that I could manage.

The audacity.

“Please Ruby,” He said, with a look of sudden desperation now on his face.

I didn’t budge. I just wasn’t prepared for what he would say next.

“Please… I want to come home.”



P.S. Wonder if Ruby should let him come back…?   

Revive a Sunnah 

Revive the Sunnah of Not Over-eating 

Miqdam bin Madikarib said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) say:

‘A human being fills no worse vessel than his stomach. It is sufficient for a human being to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one-third of food, one third for drink and one third for air.’” [Ibn Majah]

It is an underestimated fact that food has a dramatic effect on your body’s and brain’s performance.

This Hadith clearly highlights that overeating is a reprehensible quality we should avoid.

How easy to practise!




Twitter @ajourneyjournal

IG: @thejourneyingmuslimah


6 thoughts on “Pants on Fire

  1. Oh no, she can’t take him back unless he really changes too. But she is in such a better place right now and he could mess it up. Looking forward to read what Adam has planned to clear Khawlah’s name. JazaakAllah khair for the post🌹

    Liked by 3 people

  2. No these men need to be put in thier place.. Allah has put them in authority not to abuse it but to protect.. with authority comes responsibility if u cant fulfill it you rather not be in the place of authority..
    Sadly lot of men these days are abusers..

    Liked by 2 people

    • So true. I hear of many stories today where men take advantage, don’t appreciate their wives and still expect them to put up with al of their nonsense while they at it. It’s so sad…


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