A Different Kind of War

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


Who doesn’t want to be a soccer star?

Being a soccer fan myself, I could imagine that it must be some sort of perfect dream world. Imagine fans going crazy just because you decide to make an appearance? The glitter.. the glam. The fame and fortune that comes with it all… It’s so easy to get sucked in.

But a picture doesn’t always paint a true story.

And in this world of illusion, what we are exposed to is often sifted and targeted, and is often very far from the truth. What’s next to best, after being a soccer star?

A soccer stars wife, of course.

And an article I read recently, put this into an entirely different perspective for me. And yes, from what I read, she lived a pretty amazing life, materialistically. But in all honesty, I think that sometimes we do forget that there is more to life than what meets the eye.

Because then she broke it to her audience… in a most natural and unbiased way… That there are some days when she is broken inside. She feels robbed of her rights. She is a prisoner to the world and its whims. She stands on the scale, literally, five times a day, just to check that that she hasn’t put on a single kilogram.

She is a slave to fashion… and a victim to expectation. Her appearance has to be perfect, just in case… her man’s eye has to stray onto a woman who is dying to be another notch on his bedpost. She is an object to his gratifications, his full-time secretary, the mother of his kids and on top of it all… has to live in a constant fear of another woman taking her place.

And if what I read there, was not complete ignorance of this age, I had no idea what was… and I had to backtrack…


It existed once, and we think its over… but this kind of prison obviously didn’t end there.

The people of Arabia had sunken into a pit of  revulsion and disgust. It was a different kind of war. 


“The worst religion; and the worst house.”

And we can never truly understand the animosity of Jahiliyyah. They were overflowing with ignorance.

Women had lost their dignity. They had no value… they had been robbed of respect. They would walk in the streets… literally, naked. For a man to divorce his wife multiple times… kick her out… be with another woman… and then take her back the next morning… was a usual thing. 

The people drank dirty water and ate filthy food. Desires had deflected them and self-conceit had swerved them. Extreme ignorance had made them foolish. They were confounded by the unsteadiness of matters and the evils of deception. Man disregarded kinship and practised robbery. They flogged their slaves. They worshipped idols, liaised with the demons of parallel universe and shed each others blood. 

A woman had no right. No court. No one to defend her whatsoever. And as she displayed herself in that beguiling manner… her worth decreased, and of course, seeing no value to the life of a woman.. knowing she would be subjected to the same barbaric treatment as every other women…

Upon their birth… Fathers actually buried their little girls alive. 

And this was the time when the light of Islam made its onset. It came to give women their rights. It came to save mankind. It came to relieve them from their burdens, and ease the turmoil that had broken out with such ferocity. As the sun dawned on a new faith.. a new beginning, and a new way of life for all… a new religion came to shake up this city of foolishness… to dispel the darkness.

When Makkah slept and woke, there was no other talk other than a man who had come with a truth of One True God. A bringer of glad tidings. A warner to call unto the worship of One Supreme Being. And for the Arabs at this time of overwhelming darkness… It’s light was a beacon that would illuminate the entire world in time  to come.

And among the dwellers of Makkah was a boy who was one of his most attentive listeners. He was the apple of his mother’s eye. A boy who, when he walked, the women would tail him in stupefaction. A youth who was brought up with utmost luxury. His name was Mu’sab.

And he was no ordinary young man. His beautiful garments were so long that they dragged behind him when he walked. He wore tailored shoes that came from Yemen. He wore scented oils that people could smell his fragrance before he even walked into a room. Mus’ab was extremely handsome, and one could only imagine the rancour the ensued when his mother got wind of his new faith… 

But among the chosen servants of Allah, there are some whose faith doesn’t shake. Some who are so steadfast, that no money, luxury or materialistic gain can sway them. He sacrificed everything for Allah and His Rasool (SAW)… 

“It’s Mus’ab!”

Mus’ab? It wasn’t the first time that I had heard about him…

“Hey, hey, hey….”

I turned my head to see who it was talking, and Ziyaad winked at me as I switched my view again to see what he was on about. Around me a group of men had gathered as they spoke, and an exotic, but neat looking car sidled up next to us as we watched.

“Someone’s got a downgrade.”

A downgrade? 

“I wouldn’t call it a downgrade,” Molvi’s younger brother, Yusuf said, eyeing the car that approached.

“Who cares? A car is just a car,” a voice I didn’t recognise said blandly.

”That’s my man!” That was the Molvi talking, of course.

At that moment, the door swung open and only then did it click with me what they were talking about. Aadam stepped calmly out of the new, completely less flashy than his previous car, and gave us a Aadam-styled grin. Did he actually sell his Ferrari?

“Exactly my point,” someone muttered, still hanging onto their previous conversation about whether this was a possible downgrade or not.

To me, cars had mattered. Money had mattered. But the whole ‘a car is just a car’ phrase intrigued me so much, that I wanted to know who said it. I couldn’t quite place the voice in the growing crowd.

Aadam went around the other side like a real gentleman, opening the door easily as my sister stepped out.

Yeah, I supposed the two of them were ‘sweet’. I dropped my cigarette bud and squished it under my shoe as I offered to help, and the other guys obviously stayed at a distance. It was only after I had come forward to the noble thing, that the back door opened, and I got caught kind of off-guard.

Now despite not being the sociable type, I couldn’t help but feel a little inclined to these kids that were pouring out from the back. And although the macho guy attitude didn’t exactly mesh with all these soppy feelings, I knew for certain that they had earned, for some reason, a very special place in my sister’s heart too.

At the end of the day, I got it. A child is a child. I mean, if people (especially parents) take that notion seriously and do their utmost to just ensure that a child has the most normal kind of special childhood, I would have no problems. But what broke me here was seeing these kids so torn over their parents issues. Although the smaller two were mostly oblivious, catching the eyes of the bigger ones kind of broke my heart. Basically, what I saw was that look of defeat that even I wore as we grew up… and it ate me alive.

I stepped back as their attractively dressed mother jumped off, being careful not to look at her and allowing them space to pass me while I took Aadam’s luggage.

I kind of blamed her for this inner battle that the kids were facing. I mean, almost always, it was both parents that deserved a solid telling off about how they were messing their kids up. But the main candidate whose perfect nose I so badly wanted to break had basically been off the radar for a few weeks, and I was waiting for him to make an appearance that day. Somehow, after the drama on the wedding day with Hannah, Aadam’s brother-in-law had just gotten onto the wrong side of me.

As the women and kids went inside, the group of us were huddled on the side of the car drive through at Johannesburg airport, as we waited for them to finish their dangling cigarettes. Aadam looked like a typical high-flyer guy gone pious, with his tailored Kurta and hand luggage Samsonite bag that moved with his stride. His smile was infectious, as usual, as he outstretched his hand to greet Molvi first and then the rest of the guys. Aadam just had this easy-going nature about him that made everyone feel at peace. And of course, I couldnt believe that he had actually sold his sports car. I was so sure that Khawlah had something to do with it.

Molvi and his brother had flown in from Durban airport and were also leaving for Hajj on the same flight as Aadam, lucky guy… which explained the huge crowd that was there. Two of the guys were smoking vapes… and mixture of fruity smoke and tobacco were keeping onlookers at a distance. The only guys who didn’t smoke were Molvi and Aadam, and I killed my urge to light up another one as I stood next to them.

“Another real life Mus’ab, nuh?”

Being a finicky guy, I personally hated when Jo’burg people used the nuh/neh thing. It just annoyed the crap out of me. But wait, there was that Mus’ab again right? Who was this Mus’ab?

Wow. Waseem! Bro, I haven’t seen you in ages!”

I switched my gaze curiously as a guy from the crowd moved forward and I eyed him out, taking in his calf length Kurta and modest posture. Besides being dressed to Sunnah perfection, there  was something special about this guy. Piercing blue eyes and a charming smile… Aadam embraced him and as Molvi stepped back to where I was, he could tell I was curious.

“The two modern-day Mus’abs,” Molvi said with an illuminating smile on his face.

I nodded as he elaborated, explaining to me about how he had first met Waseem, who he called the first Mus’ab. It was a few years ago just when Waseem had changed his life. For him, it wasn’t only about a girl who he thought was out of his reach… he was giving up his family, throwing away the chance to be an heir to his father’s multi-million business and losing a home. He had risked everything to change his life… and Molvi couldn’t be prouder. According to him, Aadam was on a similar path, and it made me see my brother-in-law differently. The crazy part here was that Molvi had just told me that Waseem, was actually the Zee’s brother.

Like, real brother. I was in awe. The trademarked phrase of ‘a car is just a car’ was his.

“Are you guys talking about me?” Zee asked, hearing his name.

Molvi smiled and winked at him playfully.

Ziyaad was eyeing me suspiciously as I looked from him to his two brothers and raised my eyebrows. Now although I loved Ziyaad and his quirky humour… and between him and his older brother, there were definitely dials… with Waseem, I saw no connection..

”That’s your brother?” I asked him incredulously. “Like really?”

Zee frowned.

“Is it because he’s like Prince Charming and I’m Shrek?”

I wanted to laugh, but I’m sure you gathered by now that I  was pretty good at maintaining a straight face. Molvi was cracking up next to me though.

Zee grinned, just to show he didn’t take any offense.

“It’s okay,” he said coolly. “Waseem’s the enigma in the family. I got the drill ages ago. I’m just the damn go-to boy.”

Molvi shook his head and slung his arm around Ziyaad’s shoulder, trying to cheer him up. That was the thing about Molvi. He was so terrifying yet easy- going at the same time. Although his sturdy build, seriously striking features and solid gaze sometimes gave me the creeps, his amazing smile and ability to just make everything easy was so amazing. Such a perfect example. And this was something I learnt from the time I had spent with him on the last trip he had convinced me to accompany them on to Egypt, a few weeks before, because truly, when you travel with someone, especially when they are the friends of Allah, then only did you realize their true worth.

And those few weeks ago, I really didn’t have many expectations about the trip. He had mentioned we would give aid to refugees if need be, and do some Da’wah work while we were at it. His brother and one of his friends were with us as we boarded a bus after landing at the basic airport, dragging our bags through dusty streets and hoping to find a suitable place to stay.

I looked around at the Egyptian capital… A place of extremes, filled with ancient landmarks, snarling traffic, ornate mosques, and glittering modern skyscrapers. Who would have ever thought that there had been so many riots caused by the infamous Arab spring, just a few months ago? I took it all in as we walked, enjoying the boisterous  city scenery and trying not to worry too much about the rumours about terrorist attacks that always seemed prevalent. I had to relax.

Molvi, Yusuf and Imraan all seemed at peace. I had to get the drill.

They were so easy. Simple. Everything about him was Sunnah. And the amazing part about Molvi Umar was that he wasn’t a poor guy. From what I heard, he was a guy who had a considerable amount of money. His family owned a good business and his brother, who was with us, was an engineer. But all this… never made him lose sight of what his purpose was. He could have booked the best hotel in the city… stayed in luxury… made sure that we were in perfect comfort… but this man was not about the ‘finer things in life’. From what I had heard from his friend Imraan, and the sacrifices that he had made during his former years, Molvi was no man of the world. He had given up so much for the sake of this selfless work and he wasn’t going to stop there. Because his entire life was about one mission, to waste money on what was not necessary was something he could not bear. For him, he needed to get right into the heart of the camps… and the project. He wanted to meet the guys going through the rough times… whether they were Muslim or not. He wanted to converse, to mesh… and to completely be in service.

And of course, travelling as brothers who were in the way of Islam, many people had their eye on us. I mean, imagine four guys with fully bearded faces, full Muslim garb and backpacks on their shoulders.

Enough to break anyone’s swag, right? Yeah, I can tell what you’re thinking already. But let me just kill the stereotypes here. Most religiously clad people go to these countries with the intention of serving the people who are there. They don’t go there to ‘fight’. They go their to provide food, hampers, assist in medical aid… and many other valid reasons that have nothing to do with the treacherous ISIS.

And I know where you’re coming from if you were thinking that way, but although we were only only going to Egypt and the typical Islamaphobia was not common… but the odd few security personnel and passengers would definitely give us a second look. There were times in my life when I had wondered about this.

To tell the truth, for me- it was awkward. Being the kind of person I was, every time that someone gave me an odd look or double-checked my passport… I wanted to break their face. For Molvi, Yusuf and Imraan… it didn’t even faze them.

And I supposed that was the trick, because then of course, came the moment when a security guard at the airport pulled Molvi aside and demanded he open his backpack. And of course, my heart kind of just seized right there and then because I honestly didn’t know what I would do if they arrested Maulana Umar. And of course he had nothing with him that would be a warrant, but you heard of those stories where people were accused or even framed.. and had to spend years in prison for no reason at all? My mind was going into overdrive.

Though I came close to his build, and did present quite a threat, Molvi’s presentation was much more formidable. It was no wonder that from the four of us, they picked him aside as their target and I couldn’t help but think how unfair this world was.

What a test… and of course, as my gaze caught Molvis, extreme relief overcame me as I saw the complete ease that was in his eyes.

This man was something else. Of course, his response was on another level completely.

“We have nothing to hide, my brother,” he said calmly, talking to no-one in particular. “We are open. We are transparent. We have nothing to hide.”

The man who searched him seemed contented and I looked ahead as Imraan came up beside me. Molvis stance was so cool. Calm. Unexpected. And of course, he just amazed me even more as we went on. To top it all, he was completely right.

“You look like you’re panicking,” Imraan said calmly. “This is nothing … relax. You lucky Umar’s calmed down over the years…”

What I didn’t know at that point was that he had gone through much worse…

My brain just kind of froze as I processed what it was to be a Muslim traveler. I was caught up in my own world for so long… that the reality was such a shock. And of course, there weren’t only Islamaphobic people out there… but you HAD to expect the odd few. One thing I’ve learnt was that if you are open, friendly and genuine, then other people will treat you the same way most times. When you don’t make your dress/hijab/attire an issue, they don’t make it an issue.

And as works out, when your faith is in the One Who Controls it all.. Of course it all has to all work out in the end. Molvi and the security guy had a jolly conversation before we moved on, my heart still beating rapidly in my chest. I climbed out of the taxi that day as we reached the Mosque, with a relief that was unimaginable.

They called me the virgin Mujaahid… not because we were going to ‘war’ as many people would think, but because a Jihad is basically a struggling and striving with the inner self in order to please Allah. It was the first time that I had experienced this. This was a different kind of war. This was what Khawlah had always try to tell me about. It’s a process of putting aside all other whims and desires, trusting in Him alone and hoping to attain a reward that was reserved for those who attain a beautiful status of asceticism and disregard for anything else.

And man, as I travelled with these guys and got to know them, I just loved them and their work so much more. I even forgot about the macho and hard-core kind of vibe I was used to putting on. I was in awe of them, and as Molvi greeted he guys in the Masjid with affection, I could see the genuine warmth that they exuded when they saw us too. They were so welcoming… hospitable… so glad that we had braced them with nothing else to offer them but our meagre presence. They seemed to know Maulana Umar well, and had prepared a wholesome traditional meal for us that exceeded our expectations.

And just as we got ready for the next prayer, and I got my things together… A figure standing to my right caught my attention as I felt his eyes on me…

And of course, being the formidable me, and not being able to stand people staring at me, I switched my gaze steadily to this guy who was openly gaping at me with a look of absolute wonder.

And of course, as I caught sight of him, I couldn’t quite believe it myself.

Right before me stood a guy that I had not seen, literally, in years. I could still remember his ambitious laugh and superb character, as if I had just seen him yesterday. With the exception of a amazingly defined cheek bones and a sparse scattering of facial hair, as I would expect of anyone that age, he looked almost the same.

I wondered when he had got here. I wondered if he knew of everything that had gone down back home. At one stage he seemed so close to us… but now…

I had no idea when or how he had reached this place that seemed so far away… but I was soon about to find out.

Khalid?” I asked, a tiny smile creeping on my face as I watched him in awe.

“Is that you?”

Dear readers,

Sincerely hope all had a lovely Eid! Extra long post today with a different perspective.

Love to hear from the readers…

Much Love,

Nawas ibn Sam’an reported that the Prophet of Allah, SAW, was asked about doing good and evil. He replied, “Doing good is having good manners. Doing evil is what troubles you inside and what you would not like others to know about.”

May Allah help us be of the best character and manners for our families, friends and all people around us.

Let’s revive this Sunnah Insha Allah.

IG: @thejourneyingmuslimah

How easy to practise!

#revivetheSunnahof Sleepingearly






Twitter @ajourneyjournal

28 thoughts on “A Different Kind of War

  1. I really love how he emotions are portrayed. ..I also laughed about the shrek and Prince charming comparison😂😂🙊
    Good to see all the different blog characters meet again. Jazakillah khair for the amazing post…so much of it was really an eye opener and much needed reminder. Sorry Ahmed, I also say ne😋

    Hope you well dearest Author and had a wonderful Eid 💞❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • hehe, sorry sis… It wasnt me.. It was Ahmed.
      I don’t have any prejudice about the jo’burg nuh/neh whatsoever.
      (Is my nose growing longer??!)
      Nonethless, hope you had a wonderful Bakri Eid too, dear sis!! 💞.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Subhanallah
    Amazing through and through.
    Eye-opener. Encouragement. Doesn’t it suffice to say “jam-packed” in every way beneficial to us 👏
    Totally luvvvvvvved the perspective. It’s presented in such a captivating manner, yet equally refreshing.

    True soul food Masha-Allah
    بارك الله فيك

    The nuh/neh realllly cracked me up 😂🤣

    (I commented on 2 previous posts, it showed posted..but later didn’t show up in the comment section. Maybe am error from my side inform realise. But please know, I eagerly anticipate your posts and cannot wait to “pounce” on them as soon as I see a new one. Lol.

    تقبل الله منا و منكم

    Hope you’re feeling better now sister 💐

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear sister, I didn’t manage to find your previous comments but I’m so sorry about the spam issue. I never check it🙈 I will definitely check it more often in future 💙
      JazakAllah Khair, dear sister. it humbles me to receive comments from such a talented poet and warms my heart to know that it’s appreciated.
      May Allah accept us with sincerity and grant us Aafiyat and more aafiyat.. in every aspect of our lives.

      Alhumdulillah , I am back to normal now… Allah is soooo Great ❤️❤️


  3. Subhanallah
    Amazing through and through.
    Eye-opener. Encouragement. Does it suffice to say “jam-packed” in every way beneficial to us 👏
    Totally luvvvvvvved the perspective. It’s presented in such a captivating manner, yet equally refreshing.

    True soul food Masha-Allah
    بارك الله فيك

    The nuh/neh realllly cracked me up 😂🤣 #joburgershabits 😂

    (I commented on 2 previous posts, it showed posted..but later didn’t show up in the comment section. Maybe an error from my side I didn’t realise. But please know, I eagerly anticipate your posts and cannot wait to “pounce” on them as soon as I see a new one. Lol.

    Hope you’re feeling better now sister 💐
    Appreciate your efforts 💕


  4. MashaAllah mashallah. Beautiful post… so very true how very many rich and have all the abilities to be able to get all the royalty but yet adopt to simple lifestyle and very down to earth…. exactly like the sahabah Rad did… That’s the challenge we face 2day.. unfortunately we get so much carried away with all our luxuries… May Allah guide us…
    Lovely post with all the past characters ….
    Jazakillahu khayr

    Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly… and this is the beauty of our Deen.. if only we can truly see it.
      We envy the Sahabah but we dont really make the effort to go through the pains that they did… or experience life the way they did. And even if we do have welath, which isnt a sin… the test is to use the wealth in a way that is not extravagant or just fulfilling our baseless desires.
      Aameen.. Shukra.. dear sister 💞.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Gosh!!!! You outdid yourself in this post… So many beautiful lessons.. Each one of them strikes a chord.. Days of jahilliyya😢we are living a modern day jahiliyya.
    Missed the previous characters.. So exciting to hear from them again🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  6. MashAllah so nice to hear from previous characters. 😂 at the neh thing. They do it something like that in Cape Town too. My kids have a laugh abt it too since they live on the other side of the planet where neh is unheard of. JazaakAllah khair for the lovely long post.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Yup we defo living in zamana jahilyat if only people could see the beauty of Islam sadly muslims are the very people who have given this beautiful deen a bad name.. Allah make us among those who follow in the footsteps of the sahaba n show the world true Islam with our actions.. love this post.. n love your quotes about jihad its like an abused word..

    Liked by 2 people

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