When Real Roses Win

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


You know what it’s like when you’ve waited for something special that you’ve ordered to come in the post… and then, it actually comes…. a day early?!

That feeling…

“Oh my word, Khawlah, it’s snow!”

Yunus was screeching as I still lay in bed one morning, deliberating in my mind whether step out of my comfort zone or not.

Of course, despite the cold, immediately following his outburst, I jumped out of bed in haste, and speedily searched for the warmest items of clothing I could find in the messy pile on my chair. Yanking the curtains open, I peered outside to see if it really was as he said, and the sight that met me… well, it simply took my breath away.

That feeling of unexpected joy. Well, that was exactly it. An overwhelming excitement. I was ecstatic, as my eyes feasted on the splendor that looked, oh-so-inviting.

Who would have ever thought we could have such spectacular snow in the most southern tip of Africa?

I was a boisterous ten-year-old at the time, and I could barely believe that as we slept that winters night, the skies had opened up to a silent downpour. It was like blinding whiteness, that had descended so gracefully during the night, and the most amazing part was- we had no inkling whatsoever.

I breathed in as I stepped outside, the iciness catching slightly at my throat as I rubbed my gloves hands together in glee and followed my brothers into the open and deserted road. Of course, we were thrilled to have a ‘snow day’, but I wasn’t sure how much longer I would last in this cold. We didn’t exactly have the best snow gear.

I trudged along, trying to figure out where exactly it all stopped, and although it wasn’t the thickest layer of icy delight, the whiteness on that morning seemed… endless. It was simply beautiful… but, before I had actually witnessed this, I didn’t realize just how freezing snow really was.

I shuddered as I felt a thud at the back of my scarved neck, instantly moving myself  around as fast as I could, despite the hindering snow.

I scowled, dusting off the moisture that I could feel at my neck. I should have guessed the culprit.

Khalid stood a few meters away, chuckling in delight as he saw the expression of annoyance on my face. Of course he would find it funny.

”It’s only water,” he grinned, thrilled with the snow that had made its appearance after so many years. He was all geared up with a beanie, mittens and a heavy duty rain jacket. I hadn’t seen him since a few days, and secretly, I was happy to see that my friend was okay.

“Frozen water!” I retorted unhappily , blinking at him angrily. Khalid wasn’t fazed.

He was still chuckling away as a voice called my name from the near distance. It sounded like my father.

Khalid busied himself with gathering more snow, almost as if he had been doing that all along and I scowled again, turning on my heel and making my way up to the house before another snowball hit. He could tell I wasn’t happy with him. I would get him back later, when it wasn’t so cold.

“Hey, Khawlah,” he called out from behind, and it was kind of strange because when I looked at him, I could, for the first time ever, see Khalid’s expression change to something of regret. He actually looked… apologetic.

I shivered as I looked down at him from the slope I stood on, my expression immediately softening. Amidst the presence of the snowfield, Khalid’s lively eyes looked almost blue. His gaze shifted off of me as he simply unzipped half his jacket, stuffed his covered hands into his inner pocket and fumbled briefly before he finally pulled it out again to reveal… the most perfectly colored burgundy rose.

”It’s for you,” he said, thrusting it at me consciously, as I stared him down. I wanted to smile but I didn’t want to let him off the hook.

I couldn’t imagine how he had probably hunted in this blizzard to find such a perfect rose. Khalid knew my weakness, and had used it to his advantage.  In our eyes, of course, this beauty of a flower was extremely valuable. The perfect curve of the stem and the natural rose perfume that it emitted was extremely rare indeed. Of all the roses we had picked this winter, despite Aunty Radiyyah’s scolding, it was my favorite one yet.

He took a step forward, prompting me to take it. I shivered again as I stared at the ice that stuck to my furry boots.

“Can you see that, Khawlah..?” He said now, speaking softer, as he watched me, scrutinizing his rose. He pointed to its innermost part with one bare hand. “Papa says that everything that Allah created is with such perfection.. every unique finger  print… each petal on every flower … every flake of falling snow… every thing is so special. Khawlah, can you even imagine how much Allah can really do? ”

I met his icy gaze for a second, narrowing my eyes, just as the bellowing for me from the distance resounded again. I wasn’t prepared to let him off the hook just yet, so I grabbed the rose without another word, because honestly… I didn’t know what to say.

He was right of course. Khalid, courtesy of his father’s inspiration, always spoke about the most unseemly attributes that we forgot about our Creator. Imagine the anti-climax if our Glorious Lord had chosen to make every leaf the same, and every petal look alike..? Life would honestly have no flavor to it at all. Our entire universe would have been so… uniform… so boring. Out of the Almighty’s beautiful mercy… we have been give such variety in every aspect of our lives. In everything, every life, every beauty, there is a sign for us to believe…

“…(Such is) the artistry of Allah, Who disposes of all things in perfect order…” (al-Naml 27:88).

Like the most superb of artists, Allah has fashioned such perfection, and still yet some choose not to believe. Such an array fruit, flowers, foods, and so much more… the uniqueness of everything that we have so bountifully been given adds an entirely different appeal to life that we cannot encompass.

To have a friend who reminded me of this was invaluable, I knew. At times when Khalid spoke, I felt as if I knew nothing at all.

I muttered something about catching him later, making my way back to my brothers. Ahmed acknowledged me with a grunt as he saw the rose. That was the politeness of my elder brother.

“So, did Khalid propose to you again?”

Ugh. Ahmed never ceased to have a go at me. I could feel my cheeks flaming up, despite the severe cold. Ever since I had very openly declared Khalid’s childish proposal to my entire family a few years before, Ahmed never missed an opportunity to make my life miserable.

As I was getting older, of course, mentioning it was just… awkward. I was sure that Khalid had even forgot. And although I knew that Ahmed had always been teasing, somehow, as I finally we got back inside that day, and I carefully placed the rose in a small vase, there was a slightly irate look on his face as he briefly told me that I was getting too old to play with boys.

He was right, of course. It was just as well that I barely saw Khalid those days, so I ignored his comment even as he raised his eyebrows at me, with a look of disdain on his face.

And of course, now as I shivered on the step, and Ahmed’s gaze settled on me steadily again, I couldn’t help but recall those awkward moments that seemed to replaying right at that moment, once again. He wasn’t happy with me, and as his gaze settled on me, I got the feeling that he wanted to let me know it.

Ahmed was definitely not the easiest person to please or even appease, and as I shifted my gaze to Adam, I could tell that he was wary. My gosh, so was I. Why was Ahmed always so scary? 

Danyaal and Dayyaan were sent by their uncle to shower, and I felt even more awkward as the two of them looked at me in semi-silence. I felt like I needed to apologize for something, but the situation was not exactly forthcoming. I could already tell that my brother didn’t want us to talk alone, and he was making no secret of it.

“Just a few minutes?” Adam asked him, looking at me for approval.

I said nothing, looking at Ahmed for some sign of consent, despite the hammering in my chest. It was obvious that after Adam had spoke to my father and Ahmed, he now felt the need to take matters into his hands and sort this out. Well, sort me and my inconclusiveness out. Obviously, we needed to speak… but I just didn’t expect it to be this way. Every time anyone in my family had suggested him coming home, I had conveniently changed the topic. Now, of course, there was no way of avoiding it.

“We’ll be right here,” Adam said, gesturing to the lounge in the next room, and his statement comforted me as well.  Ahmed visibly relaxed, and despite my unseemly appearance, I followed behind Adam carefully, almost as if I was afraid of stepping on something. I knew that Adam had a right to be upset at me. I had left him hanging for so long.

Of course, my heart was beating madly in my chest as we entered the second lounge, and Adam gestured for me to take a seat.

I placed the towel down and gingerly sat at the edge of the suede one-seater, still unable to look at Adam in the eye. Even though I knew what this was going to entail… nothing really prepared you for the actual meeting when you would have to face it all on your own. I wasn’t sure how much longer I was going to last. When I was nervous weird things with my stomach were quite threatening to my general well- being. It was quite embarrassing. I tried to focus on the subtle decor in the room instead. Rubeena had good taste.

“I’m going to get straight to the point,” Adam said, and all I could think to myself was, thank goodness.

I was so worried. Super scared. Not to mention… afraid that he’d be angry at me for being so evasive about his almost confirmed proposal those few weeks ago…

Adam didn’t take a seat. I looked up at him with , but contrary to my expectation, Adam didn’t look angry.

For the first time ever, I noticed something unique about him. Of course, Nusaybah was right. He was very much worth ogling. Aesthetically, of course, he was barely lacking… but as he stood there, I realized that my own inclination wasn’t at all about the superficial aspects. There was just something about him that made people feel comfortable. He was easy… approachable… and something about him told me that there was a story behind his candidness that I didn’t know. A story that, in all its spectacle, I had no idea of as yet.

“I know everything’s been a mess, Khawlah,” he started. He said my name correctly, despite the fact that his accent wasn’t typical. I assumed that Danyaal had probably drilled it into him.

I nodded. That was an understatement.

“There’s so much that’s been going on…”

I held my breath. Now was the moment that he was going to  probably going to burst my bubble. He was probably trying to be tactful all this time.

And somehow, just when you tend to underestimate someone’s good nature, and significantly overlook the possibility of them just opening a door that you thought had been shut all along… they surprise you.

“Hey, don’t look so scared.”

He stopped pacing as he said that and looked straight at me, for the first time that day. I looked back at him too, surprised at his statement.

I swallowed as he said that, because somehow, he had hit the nail on the head. I had been so scared… I had even been avoiding this… because I didn’t want to face what it would bring. The entire facade was such a step back for me, and such an attack at my own self-esteem. It made me question my values, my tolerance, and at times… even my self- worth.

Adam took a step closer as he watched me from afar, and I found myself watching him back as he walked up to me, bending his long legs as he took a seat opposite me.

His expression was serious and slightly disconcerting.

“Khawlah, I’ve had a messy past,” he said now, his voice a bit lower. “I’ve done so many things that I wish I could just… trash. Edit. Erase. But the worst part about my past is that its true, and it won’t go away. I’ve done bad things, and I can’t lie about it. I will never hide the truth from you… .”

I was, somewhat transfixed. Did I want to know? I needed to, but I knew Ahmed was listening to us, and I wasn’t sure if this was the right time. What about his parents? There was still much to be said, but Adam wasn’t done either…

“But today, Khawlah,” he continued, speaking even softer. “It’s not about me. My being here, is because I wanted you to know that you have nothing to worry about. I know you’ve been hurt and you’ve lost people who you love, and had to face a dark side of reality that probably broke you inside. I hate that…”

I was stunned to silence as I  stared at him in bewilderment. How did he know all of these things? 

“But Khawlah, you’re tough and I know that you don’t need saving. I also know I’m no match for you… but because of what I do and want to believe, I’m taking this chance.”

”Aadam,” I finally said, wanting to apologize and feeling terrible. He held his hand up, signaling for me to let him finish.

“The thing is, I live in a virtual world,” he said, his dark eyes boring into mine as he spoke. Like Danyaals, his lashes were so long  and I looked away, feeling so conscious of myself.

“Reality is sometimes far fetched. I spend most of my time living in a place where anything can be corrected with the tap of a few buttons. Comments can be deleted. Mistakes can be undone… things can be fixed. I want to fix everything… or at least try…”

I looked up at him, now hopeful. He sounded so promising.

“And I will. But the thing is Khawlah, although virtual reality is so amazing… What I’ve learnt here, is so… so real. And of course, the boys have this amazing knack of proving to me that the real world wonders still win, hands-down.”

I smiled, somewhat involuntarily. They were right, of course. With their insight, ability to perceive and their amazing device of no-filter, kids can often teach us a thing or two. When you look up from that world of delusion, the amazement that you can discover is simply mind-blowing.

I held my breath.

“Yeah, I could have done this any other way,” he murmured now, a little strangely, and I could tell it was just nerves. This was obviously not easy for him. “A virtual ring…. A personalized video… would have been so much simpler. But I’m so sure of this, that I needed it to be real. I’m taking this plunge because I know that it will change everything…”

He swallowed and looked up at me now, running his fingers through his beard roughly. His beard was now almost full and involuntarily, my mind relapsed to those months ago when I saw his first sign of change…

It was the first sign. The first hope for him… The first mistake I had made had, had turned out completely differently for him, and I had no idea.

I wanted to ask him what had happened. I wanted to ask him how it had all changed. Of course, there was so much I wanted to ask him about himself too.

”I hope this is real enough,” he said, looking up at me briefly.

He shifted as he moved up on the couch, a little closer, and of course I had to look again because almost like a magician, his hand suddenly manifested the deepest and most richly colored rose I had seen in months.

It was perfection. And my goodness, it was so real.

He placed it next to me with a tiny smile, and despite my heart already being a goner, he clasped  his hands together, bit his lip nervously, and spoke.

“Will you give this a chance?”

Dearest Readers,

Western ideology portray proposals where there’s no dating or prior exclusive meeting, as outdated and not feasible. I wanted to show the beauty in Deen, modesty, and that discussion to a certain extent is permitted. I’ve also personally heard of some boys who have brought a bunch of flowers or chocolates for a girl who they came to ‘see’, despite not meeting her before. I thought it was a really amazing gesture, because it shows his compassion and appreciation of her time, even if the proposal does not work out.

For those readers who may be having to go through the awkward proposals and checklists for marriage, I found a lovely article with some awesome points. 🌹


Nabi (SAW) told a companion who was due to marry, “Go and look at her, for that is more likely to increase love between you two” (Tirmidhi 1087).

With regard to the boy and girl chatting (and looking), we know that this is only allowed under circumstances where there is a Mahram present and the talk will probably decide the outcome of the proposal… and hopefully a quick Nikah. ❤️

May Allah save us from haraam and assist us in doing the right thing, always for His pleasure…

Aameen 🌹

Much Love,

A 🌸

The character of Nabi (SAW).

Nabi (SAW) was the most pleasant person. He would greet everyone with a smile and always spoke to people with gentleness. His companion said about Him:

“I have never seen a man who smiled as much as the Messenger of Allah.” (Tirmidhi)

This shows that the personality of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was pleasant and gentle.

Let’s revive this Sunnah InshaAllah, because it is through our Akhlaaq that people can see the light of Islam and beauty of Deen.

How easy to practise!






Twitter @ajourneyjournal

IG: @thejourneyingmuslimah

15 thoughts on “When Real Roses Win

    • Okay, so which part would you like clarity on? ❣️
      Basically, at the moment Khawlah has to make a decision about marriage, following the events of the entire Hannah escapade- where Hannah was using her name and doing all sorts of things (more to be revealed about Hannah). Everyone knew but they didn’t tell Khawlah because they knew that the truth would be revealed and she was innocent. Shabeer had left Ruby because Hannah was pregnant – but more to be revealed about that, because there is still more to come… 🌹

      Liked by 1 person

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