In the Deep End

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


You never know where you’re headed. No-one does. All we know is that once in while, we feel this invincible and incredible thing… and then, well.. you’re already in the deep end.

Love. A matter of the heart. A force of nature. Neuroscience says that it activates the same part of the brain as a habit-forming addiction. It makes us feel like we can be anything, do anything… achieve anything.

And what’s most important is to tell that special someone that you love them, while you still can. The thing is, life is such… this Duniyaa is such… that you never think that the last time’s going to be the last time – you think there will be more. You want more. You think you have forever, but you don’t.

Yes, horrible things do happen. Happiness, in the face of all of that… that’s not the goal. And yes, although the ultimate goal is to love purely and solely for the pleasure of Allah… I think the most important thing, through it all…. is Gratitude. And we often hear the phrase of Allah’s promise in the Qur’an in no uncertain terms.

“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.” [Qur’an: Chapter 14, Verse 7]

And of course, the beauty in the message here is so vital. The thing is that as we grow up, we get tuned to be ungrateful and not to see the blessings in our life. We focus all our energy and attention towards finding out what we lack.

And every so often in life, it happens that we see things for what they truly are. We see ourselves for how truly undeserving we are. People are, by default, expectant. Ungrateful. We expect the best, even though we don’t give the best. We think we deserve the ultimate, when our striving is not always the best.

The truth is, if we don’t understand our great favors as gifts from Allah, we often fall prey to believing that bad things that befall others are because they deserve it. The truth is this: whatever good comes our way is never to our credit.

A good financial standing, is not because we earned it. A righteous child, is never our ‘doing’. A loving spouse, is far from our right. When we begin to truly see these gifts for what they are, then that truth will humble us to such a degree that we will never tire of  thanking Allah.

I’ll miss you, beautiful.”

The words were almost drowned amidst the chaos of the boisterous airport, and I swallowed hard as he said it , silently willing myself not to pour out all my slobbery emotions on his strikingly white Kurta.

I wanted to say it but I just couldn’t.

Oh, be still my beating heart. In such a short time, the feelings were over-whelming.

It’s just two weeks, I reminded myself desperately. Only two weeks. And then he’ll be back.

I breathed in his musky aftershave as I held onto him, almost afraid to let go. I could feel his grip loosen as he tried to pull away, but for some reason… it was like the force just got stronger. Maybe it was the fact that his mother’s eyes were boring into my back as I tried to bid him farewell in the most dignified manner, although I was terrified of what was in store for me thereafter.

Khawlah,” he said a little uneasily, as his one evasive eyebrow tilted downwards in worry. “You’re behaving like I’m boarding the Titanic. What’s wrong?”

The crowd in the distance looked like they were moving on to the boarding gates, and I stepped back as I furiously blinked back tears and shook my head.

He already knew. There was no time, but he already knew.

“You’ll be okay,” he said easily, placing his hands on my shoulders. “And I know it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; but we’re going to work at this everyday… even when I’m gone… and I want to do that because you’re my best friend and I love you and she’s going to love you too. You’re going to be okay.”

I breathed out as his thumb gently wiped away the single tear that rolled down my cheek, and without another word, brushed the back of my hand to his lips, and then spun around and practically bolted down towards the departing crowd.

I felt as if my heart had spilt in two, as I watched him till the very end of the queue… greeting a few of the millions of people he knew speedily along the way and then turn around one last time to wave just before he disappeared completely out of sight.

My heart. Why, oh why did it have to be like this… I felt like he was leaving me to circling vultures that were just waiting to have their feast.

My mother-in-law had barely greeted me as I saw her earlier, and facing her again was already making me anxious. Would she talk to me?  Would she be nice?

Why did her behaviour really affect me so much? I just couldn’t seem to win her over.


It was Rubeena who was approaching. Thank Goodness. Despite trying to be a warrior, as still in a bit of a fragile state. I wished I had took Nusaybah up on her offer to come and give me some moral support.

“Mum wants to go for coffee,” she said blandly. She had Zaydaan in her arms, who looked like he was about to nod off. I pulled him into mine as he stuck out his hands, enjoying his welcomed warmth and comfort. Children were so real and unfiltered. I loved that they never took sides.

“Will you join?”

Coffee now? I turned around to see my mother-in-law watching me from a distance, pretending she wasn’t, as she suddenly averted her gaze.

I couldn’t tell if she really wanted me to join. On the other hand, if I said no… she might use it as leverage against me when Aadam came back. She’ll argue that I never make an effort. I was in a bit of catch. This was going to be a difficult  one…

What if she said something to me? Worse, what if I said something rude to her back?

”Khawlah, you coming?”

It was Ahmed who now approached from near the gates with his phone in his hand, not really looking up as he got to me… and I almost wanted to hug him.  Almost. He came forward, looking a little less confident than usual as he spotted Rubeena.

I was beaming with gratitude. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to spend time with her… I was just afraid of making a wrong move while I was at it. I needed some time to settle my thoughts.

I looked at Rubeena indignantly, but she didn’t really notice. It took me a few minutes to realize that Rubeena was not exactly in sync with my thoughts as my brother stood there… and I looked from Ahmed to Rubeena for a few seconds, trying to figure out if I was just being presumptuous.

No ways, I thought to myself. Rubeena was way older. And she’s married.

I made a mental note to warn Ahmed later about lowering his gaze. I didn’t want Rubeena to get the wrong idea. For now though, I knew I had bigger fish to fry them worry about possible chemistry between the two.

I had to somehow weasel my way out of the coffee date and leave on a good note with my mother-in-law… who was so difficult to please…

I didn’t understand it. She was Aadam’s mother after all. No-one could take that place. Why did I pose such a threat to her?

To top it all… rumour had it that she wasn’t happy about Aadam’s car downgrade either… and I was sure that it was part of the reason I was getting the extra cold shoulder today.

I dug in my bag for the Kit-Kats I had bought for the boys earlier, hoping they would serve as a distraction whilst I greeted her and went on my way. I wished I had brought her something as well.  Assuming the most natural stance as I approached her and the other three kids, who were with their grandparents, of course… I didn’t need any introduction.

”Khawlah!” The two screamed as I got there, almost knocking me over in excitement. I loved these kids with no reservation.

And of course, like a cat arching their back in the vicinity of a threatening acquaintance, I could already see my mother-in-laws defense up as I stepped forward to embrace them. I knew that they would also miss their uncle these two weeks. I felt like the rival female as my mother-in-law peered at me judgmentally, whilst I pulled out the chocolates from my bag.

Danyaal and Dayyaan were already almost on top of me, as I attempted to hand them over.

“Chocolates now?”

Of course, she was now towering above me as she icily said it, her eyebrows raised.

“It’s already six-thirty,” she said, now with a condescending smile. “We don’t need these boys getting hyper on us tonight. All that sugar…”

I sighed.

It was the classic ‘make a big deal out of a small thing’ issue, because she didn’t have the guts to just confront me about what was really bothering her. She was using other ammunition to try and build a case and I wasn’t buying it. I just didn’t have the drive in me to fight it.

“Mum it’s not like it’s that late,” Ruby started, trying to stick up for me.

“They can even save it for-“

“It’s already dark!” My mother-in-law snapped rudely, cutting me off before I even finished my sentence.

Ooh, I wished I could have given her a piece of my mind. What was this woman doing to me?

“Besides, we’re taking them to that toy shop to get them something,” she said with a toss of her flawlessly tinted hair. How did she always look so perfect? 

And of course, mention the word toy shop to four kids of understanding, and they were already bought. The menial chocolates were already forgotten. Besides the fact that there wasn’t a real toy shop at the airport, she had already won. I stuffed the chocolates back into the packet they were in, knowing that I was going to be no match for this woman who definitely wanted to outdo anything I could offer. Well, not today.

I could tell what her thinking was, of course. As it stood… I had ‘taken away’ her precious son… she wasn’t about to let me get the better side of her grandsons as well.

I sighed again as Rubeena offered me a silent apology. She shook her head and grabbed the chocolates, saying that she knew it will probably keep them busy while she was attempting to have her cappuccino in peace.

And of course, although I was hurt by my mother-in-laws constant efforts in trying to break me, I knew I had to keep trying, for Aadam’s sake. Where was the limit though? When did I stop trying and just call it a day?

And then of course, like an epiphany… I couldn’t help but digest it.

Maybe I was just getting it completely wrong. Maybe my intention had been wrong. In my attempts to win her over, maybe I had forgotten the point of it all. I was always trying so hard… that I forgot what my ultimate aim should be.

I had forgotten that my focus should be to please Allah. When I felt like letting her have it… I needed to remember that. I needed to remind myself that there was a bigger picture out there than giving tit for tat.

Ahmed and I walked in silence to the car, thoughts of how much more I could do clouded my mind. I had to be strong. I had to try harder. I had to shift my focus. There was no use getting upset over these things. Tomorrow was another day…and I had to work on what was more important. I had to work on pleasing my Creator first. It was only through Him that I could gain anything… even if it was, by some miracle, her entire heart…

”So,” Ahmed cut through my thoughts as we jumped into the car and automatically buckled up. “Your brother-in-law didn’t make it?”

I frowned momentarily as he said brother-in-law, before it clicked. Ah.

“Shabeer?” I said, wondering why he was asking about him. I wasn’t sure if I was getting the wrong end of the stick… or was Ahmed really …?


I had to make it known. I couldn’t risk this spiraling out of control.

Rubeena has to be in hospital for two days after her collapsing incident… but Aadam had very briefly told me that Shabeer had somehow got himself out of the deep end with the cops and was back home with her. I was sworn to secrecy but the good news was that Rubeena was pregnant… and not fatally ill, as I had feared.

Surprise surprise. Although I was happy for Ruby… and glad that Hannah didn’t win.. something about the notorious Shabeer just made me feel uncomfortable. The cheating, the whole situation with Hannah… and then… the way he had stared at me so candidly when I had met him. It was like he was always looking for something more… was Rubeena going to ever be truly happy with him?

“Ahmed,” I said carefully. “Shabeer and Ruby are still married. He may not have been there but things are looking pretty good between the two of them for now.”


Ahmed literally halted the car in the middle of the road, as he spun his head around to stare at me with a look that said I was probably gone crazy.

Was I getting the whole thing wrong? Why else would Ahmed be asking about Shabeer?

Rubeena was in a fragile state and I didn’t want anyone getting their hopes up.

“I’m just saying,” I said, knowing I had to nip it in the bud… even if it was just a thought. “I don’t want you getting your hopes up on someone…”

”My hopes?” Ahmed said, with a smirk on his face as he edged the car forward again.

“Rubeena is in a really delicate state,” I said, biting my lip consciously as he looked at me again. “You need to just watch how you behave around her… she might-“

”She might think I’m leading her on by looking at her?! I know her husband is a unfaithful piece of crap, but is she really that desperate?”

That was uncalled for. I was just trying to warn him. I didn’t care if he thought that I  probably morphed into some kind of crazy old woman persona. I didn’t care if he thought I was being old-fashioned. The gaze was a powerful thing… an evil arrow of the arrows of Shaytaan that can sway even the most focused and unassuming people.

“Answer me, Khawlah,” he said, with a forceful edge to his voice.

I frowned as I looked back at him.

“Is that how you lead people on? Tell me! Because I really want to know!”

Okay, now he was getting a bit fanatic about the whole thing. Crazy, right?

“All I was saying was-“

“I don’t start things that I don’t finish. I’m not you.”

I sucked in my breath as he said it, a little confused. What did he mean?


Now it was my turn to look at him like he was crazy.

“Oh, don’t act so innocent,” he said, banging his hand on the steering wheel. “You know what I’m talking about. You act like you are so good.. and you never make mistakes. Tell me, Khawlah, you never did that before? Left things hanging?”

“I have no idea what you are talking about,” I said heatedly, hating all these accusations. This was sounding so achingly familiar. Was he talking to Hannah? Shabeer? Someone else..?

“Yes, you’re living this awesome life of luxury with a famous doting husband and the best of everything, so you don’t care,” he said, in a bitter voice. “But what about your past, Khawlah? What about things you did?”

I shook my head as I looked at him in bewilderment. Yes, maybe in my childish ignorance I might have done some crazy things… maybe some stupid things too… but I never intentionally hurt anyone. I would never…

Ahmed was going to hear none of it as he slammed the brakes, swerved to the side of the highway, and hastily turned off the ignition. He wanted to get answers out of me and I had none to give. This was so dangerous and crazy, and I hated it.

Dammit Khawlah, you’re so good at acting stupid,” he finally muttered. By now I was convinced that my brother had irrevocably lost his marbles at some point in his crazy life.

This was completely unbeknown to me. It wasn’t about making mistakes. It wasn’t even about history. Somewhere along the way, something had happened that had landed me right the deep end.

I could gauge his raspy breathing in the pitch-black darkness of the night. I was at the height of frightening curiosity, and with no other warning… his words painfully cut through the dead silence as he spilled it out.

“Do you have any idea where’s Khalid?”

Sunnah Reminder:

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




19 thoughts on “In the Deep End

  1. Yoh… Ahmed is a character. I know someone like that😜guys like that don’t show emotion and they not very sociable but underneath they are very caring
    Gosh… The mil is scary 🤪how do you win someone like that over

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lol, so true. I also know a few like that. They are like marshmallows inside.
      Unfortunately you do get mils like that and worse.. that’s the sad part- and the play such a big role in breaking their own child’s marriage up as well … that’s the sad part 💔

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 😮 to both mil and Ahmed. The mil is really making things tough for Khawlah. Do such people even have a heart? Super curious to know what’s up with Khalid and why he had to bring it up!!! JazaakAllah khair for the post and always looking to the next one.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Is it just me or I sence something is going to happen to Adam..
    Wonder what Khalid is up to n why has he left home..
    The mil oh gosh I’ve been through that hell with not a mil but fil makes is 100 times worse but allhamdullah 1000 times Allah has granted me najat from that jahanum.. request 4 duas it’s a very traumatic experience..

    Liked by 2 people

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