And so it Happened

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


It can be scary to find out you’ve been wrong about something. About someone.

The thing is, when you’ve hit rock bottom and everything seems at a loss, you need to remember; your situation can change in just a moment. Sometimes, the changes are forced on us. Sometimes, they happen by accident and we make the most of them. Sometimes, it just takes one prayer… to change everything.

And yes, even as the years went by and my marriage went through the motions that usually happen after you have a child and settle into some kind of comfort zone, I still often thought of the past. I thought of the past because at the beginning, it had been an escape. It made me feel like maybe things could have been different. And of course, I often thought of it because I wished I could be in it.

And then, I came to know of a beautiful thing called Qadr. Destiny. That no matter what, that which wasn’t meant for you, will never be, even if it’s between your two lips. That every new day brings a new dawn. That each new beginning that life gives us, is an amazing opportunity to learn from every mistake and set it right. And no matter how hard you wish you could start all over again, the intensity of wishing that, will never change what was in your destiny.

“Big day, huh? You need anything?”

I jumped as I heard his voice.

Jameel had surprised me. I had left both of them still in bed because I knew Muhammed would probably start screaming blue murder if his bottle wasn’t hot and ready as soon as his eyes popped open.

I simply loved how men came in at the eleventh hour, acting like they are prepared to take on anything, when all the big stuff had already been sorted out.

“I’m just making his bottle,” I said, scrutinizing the bottle line as I checked if it was correct. Jameel had already lost interest as he started tying his laces.

The thing with men taking the whole detached role from kids and everything to do with it was really baffling. Jameel took the crown.

The thing was, my stress levels were soaring and all the wedding anxiety wasn’t exactly doing them any good, even though there wasn’t much to do. Despite it all, I was still trying to breastfeed but due to my random panic attacks, my milk supply had dropped and I knew Muhammed would be less than understanding about it. He was at that stage where he had started to bite me, and  youch… I was never prepared for those.

“You’ve been on edge,” Jameel said, and I could tell he was trying to be careful about what he was saying.

He was right though. I had been on edge. Worried. Anxious. Even hopeful that something would happen to stir things up. Since the news of Khawlah and her imminent Nikah was eating me alive.

I turned to look at my husband. Of course, as usual he looked on top of the world, even with his unstyled hair, tracksuit pants and a short sleeve vest. The annoying part was that had probably just woken up…. That’s what gave Jameel the confidence that he always had, and it irked me.

He rubbed his bare arm as he scrutinized me, and I averted my gaze.

“I’m fine,” I said, hoping not to sound too blunt.

I barely noticed him step toward me as I turned away, until I felt a cold touch to my cheek.

I flinched.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I loved my husband. I did. Despite everything, I still loved him. But love has been created such that anger, grief, or pain to a certain degree, can still be expressed. When rough patches and hurt have been part of the route along the way, it’s not that easy to move past it unconditionally. Certain things… moments… events… they bring back feelings from the past that you wished so hard that you could just forget…

Jameels nostrils flared slightly as it did when he was slightly anxious. I looked at him questioningly.

I love you, Zuleikha,” he said softly, gently tightening his grip on my shoulders, forcing me to meet his gaze.

I swallowed, not expecting the emotion that was there. Jameel wasn’t a reserved guy, but it was unlike him to be so… expressive.

“And I…”

He paused as he contemplated over his next words momentarily.  I breathed in deeply, cupping Muhammad’s bottle in my palms as I felt it’s comforting warmth.

“I wanted to tell you,” he said, almost as if he was forcing the words out. “You can’t control everything. It’s going to be okay…”

I blinked as I looked at my husband, stunned for a moment by his compassion.

“That guy,” he said, so softly I could barely hear. “He’s a good guy.”

I blinked and breathed out. I was surprised at the intuition of Jameel. 

And then of course, I couldn’t help but think to myself…

But what about you?! Are you a good guy?

We stared at each other almost in uncertainty, as if each of us knew what the other was thinking. I knew he wanted to prove to me that he had changed… but Muhammed’s bawling was all it took for me to completely discard my concern as Jameel dismissed his own thoughts and pecked me on the cheek to signal his leaving.

I felt bad after that. Guilty. I sat in bed that morning as I fed my son, still thinking about everything that had been on my mind… wondering if there was any hope for me to have full faith in my husband again. Yes, of recent, he did try… but there was a bigger picture here. The past. The lies. The disregard for my feelings and the constantly worrying if everything he was saying was actually the truth. Staying in a marriage like that was like walking a tightrope.

I breathed deeply as Muhammed looked at me lovingly, obsessed with my sons long lashes. He had inherited those from his father, and I kissed his cheek tenderly as I shifted my gaze to Jameel’s side of the bed,  his iPhone immediately caught my eye. Of course, my mind was already running ahead of me as I reached over and unlocked it with no hinderance.

No face recognition. No password. I was actually surprised that Jameel’s phone was so easy to access nowadays.

My heart thudded in my chest as I browsed through his e-mails, scanning for the one that would speak an argument or cause a fight. I closed the e-mail application, now searching for something incriminating. I supposed it was habit.

In the days of our ignorance, there was always something shady that I had located on his phone, and although Jameel often played it down, drug talk and casual chats with women had become a issue that I had become accustomed to. After Muhammed was born, this was the first time I had really done this, and as I opened the touched the WhatsApp icon, I really wasn’t prepared for what I would see.

It was just one new message that got my attention… and I opened it easily with a simple tap, as I scanned the contents.

Thank you so much, boss, it said. We just reached. You don’t know what this means to us. May Allah reward you and your family eternally. You will be in every Du’aa. You made this happen. 

I blinked, slightly confused. I read the message again, as I accessed the senders details, wondering if it was a mistake.

You made this happen?

I was so baffled. Jameel..?

I didn’t understand, but in confusion, as I read and re-read the message, though it was so hard to believe… I was certain that it was true.

Jameel had paid for this guy and his family… to go for Hajj.

And it wasn’t just him. A few messages down, was a guy I vaguely remembered Jameel’s school friend. He too, had sent a message with pictures of his landing at the airport in Madinah, and expressing his gratitude to Jameel for making this possible.

The most unexpected realization was… it wasn’t a mistake.

How many more were there? How many secret deeds did my husband have that I had no idea about? Perhaps he had helped build someone’s home? Fed the poor? Gave money to help the sick?

The questions in my mind were overwhelming.

I didn’t understand. When had Jameel done this? I mean, Jameel had always had plenty of money, but how had he managed to change his focus? Yes, I had seen small changes in him, but to do something so selfless and not even tell me about it… I was speechless.

I closed the phone in a daze and left it in its place, my heart beating rapidly in my chest. I was overcome with emotion.

It wasn’t fear. It wasn’t even anxiety. It was an unexplainable excitement that I couldn’t fathom… A hope that I had held onto for so long, that it’s imminent fulfillment simply took my breath away. The unexpected… can change everything.

And yes, Jameel had a huge heart. His ability to fulfill someone’s request just by them asking, when it came to financial needs, was always met. I juts knew that Allah wanted me to see this, and make me understand that there are some people that Allah loves for the most unassuming qualities.

It was like what Zaynah he said once. Just as Allah uses every quality of His to admit people to Jannah, every person who will get admitted to Jannah… will be afforded that opportunity due to a different quality that they possess.

That kind of big-heartedness… for the pleasure of Allah alone, can be just the reason for your whole life to turn around. Sometimes it just takes one moment… one change…. one action… and Allah takes you, holds your hand and makes you His forever. You don’t have to be the most pious of people, but when Allah chooses you to be a means of fulfilment for someone else, we cannot understand the beauty in that.

I steadied my breath, even though I was overwhelmed, I knew that there was no time to waste. I still had to pack my bag… get my stuff together, make sure I have Khawlah’s gift and and get ready to help her to be ready for her big day. The reservations that had been plaguing me since a week back were now at bay, and since my discovery about Jameel that renewed my hope in him… I knew that this day was going to be so much more bearable….

I said nothing to my husband, even as he dropped me off with much enthusiasm that I had not seen in him… like ever. His excitement about the Nikah was way exceeding mine. I knew it had to do with him finally getting a chance to work with a famous web developer who was soon going to be my brother-in-law, and though it didn’t meant much to me, I could tell Jameel was ecstatic.

As I reached the house and greeted my father and Dada affectionately, the quiet atmosphere in the house made me nostalgic, and I knew exactly what it was that had cause it. Foi Nani was a very palpable gap in our hearts, and we felt her absence daily. The fact that Khawlah would be entering another stage of her life which we knew Foi Nani would have been thrilled to see, had understandably got everyone a little emotional.

I watched my brother, trying to read his emotions as he took Muhammed from me. Overnight, Ahmed had become this brawny young man who seemed so much wiser than even myself. Traveling, exploring and learning so much about our Deen in the process too, had given him a wisdom and insight that intrigued me.

And then, there was Yunus. I was glad that he had finally opened up again and gave us the privilege of hearing his intelligent rambles. How intellectual he actually was, surprised me. Abba had always boasted about his good grades, and I knew that he hoped that he was destined for big things. Allah had a greater plan for him.

As for my dearest Khawlah, who always seemed to see the light within the darkness, and be the spark to our fire… as you could imagine… she was nowhere in sight. As the men left for the Nikah, I ushered the few ladies who were there to the lounge near the room where Khawlah was getting ready. My cousins from the UK had been so ecstatic about the wedding that they planned a trip to surprise Khawlah, and I couldn’t wait to see her face when she would see them arrive.

I smiled to myself. Actually, I couldn’t wait to see my sister, and just thinking about it made my heart soar.

Zuleikha, darling!

It was just her twinkly voice that made my day, and I was already smiling. Aunty Radiyyah was here and she truly brought with her the serenity that we all needed right then. I hugged her as she cooed over my son, and of course, then followed me down the passage as we rapped softly on Khawlah’s room door.

And of course, it felt like time stood still for those few seconds as Nusaybah held the door ajar, and then slowly revealed a sight of splendour as we saw the young woman perched at the edge of the bed…

I simply could not believe my eyes.

I mean, I know people are generally biased and have this thing where they think that their family is the most amazing and all the rest…. but seriously...

I really could not believe that my sixteen-year-old sister, who was looking like the most gorgeous version of a fairytale princess, was getting married.

No more did I see that feisty little girl who had been the catalyst in our home. No more was Khawlah the stubborn, and difficult to to control little girl that Mama had often struggled to understand. Instead… my little sister had grown up to be the calm in our very storm. Like my mother, she embodied faith, courage and a ferocity that convinced everyone around her that regardless of the number of years she had lived, Khawlah’s conviction far exceeded it.

I blinked, snapping out of my trance as an impatient Muhammed whacked my nose.

“Doesn’t she look just beautiful?”

Nusaybah’s eyes were wide as she looked at us, with a half-smile on her face. The time had gone so fast..  these two weeks of getting a dress, planning the small function that was happening that evening and mentally preparing ourselves for everything this would bring was exhausting. I felt like time had robbed us of building a proper bond, but I didn’t despair as I looked at her face, because she was positively glowing.

It was a moment of pure exhilaration as I shifted my gaze to my sister again, and I forced myself to hold back. My eyes were filling with tears and the lump in my throat seemed to expand. And then, of course, Khawlah gave me a small smile, and almost as if she herself couldn’t believe that this day had actually come.

The Nikah was over in a few minutes. A message from Ahmed, brought a shaky smile to both our faces, as I showed Khawlah the screen.

Deal sealed. They accept. ”

Qabiltun Nikaha …

Those words sent shivers down my spine, as I read it.

He accepts. He accepted.

And then, without a warning, despite her outward strength, then came a split second when momentary fragility overcame her.

And of course it would. What a huge step she had taken. What a great act of worship she had fulfilled.

Even as the rest of the family made their way in and everyone in the room moved in to greet her, it was me that my baby sister’s hands reached out for, almost in desperation and I clutched her fiercely, trying to steady the unexpected turbulence that had overcome.

For now… even if it was just for now

BarakAllah…” was all I managed to say as I held her tightly, my voice breaking with emotion.

“May Allah bless everything for you two..
And shower His blessings upon the two of you…
And may he bring you together…
In everything that is good…”

It was Aunty Radiyyah who almost whispered it, just loud enough for us to hear, and as she said it, for that moment, everything seemed to fit together again, as we held on to each other, almost for dear life.

My heart ached for every desire to be fulfilled. That her spouse would be the coolness of her eyes. For this Sunnah to be her salvation… To dwell in nothing short of tranquillity. To pray together through thick and thin… and stay together always.

Oh, how I yearned for all the happiness in the world to be hers. I wished her marriage to be a one of innumerable blessings. Like the chosen companions of whom Allah had revealed His pleasure, I wished her home to be a place where charity was a norm… an abundant norm. Like what Muhammed (SAW) and Khadijah (RA) had, when the tears welled up in his blessed eyes as he glimpsed her necklace, even after all those years… I wished her and her husband to be completed so beautifully, that all that spread from their base would be goodness, love and sincere compassion.

And that was the beauty of Nikah. All this time, I had forgotten, yet I hoped so hard that she instead, would have the opportunity to discover every wonder that could be in a spouse, because that’s what she deserved.

We all need that one person, at least, to believe in us implicitly. To inspire our soul. To know our mettle. To be our fall-back. We need to know in moments of grief, insecurity and vulnerability… that there is someone who will stand by, no matter what. I sincerely believe that the greater of a person you are, even better will be the person whom Allah chooses to complement you. And for Khawlah.. what I knew is that within her was nothing less than sincerity and pure goodness… and so Allâh had chosen the perfect person who would be unreservedly bring out the best in her.

Some people will live their whole lives, just to reach this place. The place where everything seems to fit just so perfectly together. Where every piece within them that was once broken, is now seemingly fixed.

But, let me tell you one thing. Everyone will make you believe that this is the place where it all ends. This is the happily ever after. The riding into the sunset. The love story conclusion.

But that’s where they’re wrong. This is, in essence, only where it all begins. This is just the start: the initiation of a life, the polishing of your character, the lessons of patience, perseverance, and sacrifice. The building of selflessness. The building of love, for and only through Allah that truly can exist.

And in our oblivion, little did we realise that this particular destination was not only about Aadam and Khawlah. It was a journey that would mould each of us in a different way, revived our dwindling spirits and brought us back on the most amazing path that led to our Lord…

And so it happened… amidst a fairytale that was playing right before our eyes… a whole new chapter was just about to begin.

Shukran to all the readers for being so patient! I know it was a much awaited post…

Duaas. Love to hear the rambles… ❤️

Much Love,

A 🌸

Sunnah Revival: Visiting the sick 

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)  said:

“Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and set free the captives.” [Bukhari]

The concept of looking out for others is found throughout the teachings of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

Sadly, we are regularly aware of people within our circle of family, friends and acquaintances who are tested with an illness, big or small.

Visiting and spending time with them has two major benefits. You demonstrate love towards another, instantly tightening the bonds of kinship/friendship.

Also, to see someone who is unable to function as well as they normally can, is a strong reminder of the blessing of health.

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

23 thoughts on “And so it Happened

  1. Mashallah, that was amazing. How we underestimate sometimes not realising there s goodness hidden in people…. May it serve lessons for all of us…, really awaited post. Wonder what’s going on Khawlas head.
    Jazakillahu khayr for sunnah practice reminders really beneficial Alhamdulillah.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love love love this post!!!
    You are such a talented writer ما شاء الله
    The words just seem to flow from your heart and you present Islam and sunnah in such a beautiful manner…
    بارك الله فيك

    Liked by 2 people

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