A Special Acquaintance

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem 


Whenever I thought of my mother, even after so many years, it always brought on mixed emotions. Reading the letter, with all its sentiment was an experience that brought back memories I thought I couldn’t even recall. And yes, although I missed her… not really having that much to miss her about made it a bit easier.

Her name was Sarah. I always remembered her radiant, graceful and full of love. Before she got sick, I supposed many could say she was beautiful. Then, as the illness took over… well, everything changed.

When I started working for Rubeena, story time always brought back memories of my mother. Somehow, whenever I had read the story about beautiful Sarah (RA), the wife of Ibrahim (AS)… my mother crossed my mind.

And though the story of Ibrahim (AS) was an spectacular one with multiple lessons, what was most amazing for me was the incident where the couple migrated to Egypt, where there was a King who captured beautiful women. This migration was with Sarah, and It was said that he had told her that this tyrant was one who if he finds the husband with this woman, he will kill him.  Knowing this, and also bearing in mind that this man intended evil, Ibrahim (AS) had said to her: “Besides you and I, there are no other Muslims in this place, so you are my sister in Islam. You must tell him that I am your brother.”

The story of Ibrahim and Sarah (RA) in Egypt goes on to an incident that night, when the King tried to have his way with the beautiful Sarah. Through the will of Allah, as the King tried to advance toward her, his hand was suddenly stricken by paralysis.

SubhaanAllah. He asked her to pray to her God to relieve him, and he will leave her alone.

She did so, and he was cured of the paralysis. He then again tried to advance with evil intentions, but was struck by paralysis once again. Seeing this happen once more made him realise that this woman was no usual character…. seeing this awakened him to the fact that there was more about her than just some supernatural power.

And of course, reflecting on it again just made me realise how Allah can turn a situation completely around with His help. For years, Ibrahim (AS) had tried to no avail to get the people of his town to believe. Being the only Muslims at that time, Allah made the situation such that not only did he save them from the evil King… but Allah also granted them honour through him. He realised that the couple were pious people. This King was to be the one who had sent multiple gifts with Sarah, of which one was Hajar (AS), who was according to some narrations, his very own daughter and a princess of Egypt. And everyone knows what happened thereafter… that it was through her that came the descent of the most Noble Ambiyaa, and lastly, the Holy Prophet SAW… Final messenger of all time.

And all this… because of a man who never gave up on this Islam. A man who sacrificed much to spread the truth of one Allah. A man who submitted to Allah’s command in every way, through every walk of his life.

And this is the very basis of Islam. To obey Allah. No matter what. No matter how hard it may be.  To submit. To wholeheartedly adhere to the commandments of Allah, not only because He has stipulated such, but also because there is a great, great benefit in its execution. To stay away from what Allah has forbidden for us, is not only about abstaining from the temporary pleasure it can bring. What we don’t see is the bigger picture that Allah has full knowledge of. What we don’t see is the harm that Allah is saving us from in the long run.

And of course, as I sat with my favourite kids that Sunday of Aadam’s arrival, and read the story of Ibrahim (AS) once again, I couldn’t help but tear up. Maybe I was crying for more than one reason. I wasn’t too certain. All I knew was that I had removed myself from the mayhem that was going on downstairs, because getting in my mother-in-laws way was probably going to be disastrous today.

The thing is, in life, we never know when things will change. No human being has knowledge of the future. But, sometimes, it happens. Sometimes, we wake up, we face our fears. We take them by the hand. And we stand there waiting, hoping, ready for anything…

And sometimes it’s good to be scared. Sometimes, it’s healthy to be afraid. It means you still have something to lose. It means that there’s still something that you care enough about to be afraid to let go of..

I could hear my mother-in-law busy harping off instructions to the people who were there, and in a way I was glad she was occupied, so I wouldn’t have to undergo her scrutiny again.

I had taken special care in what I wore today. Simple, modest and elegant was the look I was going for. I knew that I would be judged by every person who was there today. It was a mere half hour before Aadam’s expected arrival and I could already hear the noise of incoming people downstairs… as I completed my Salaah, and silently wished for everything to go well.

I stepped out of the play room a little hesitantly now, not really knowing how to react to all the foreign faces. The kids were immediately diverted by a popcorn and candy floss machine, that had become a new trend at functions, and were already eating themselves sick. I finally left them in the ‘kiddies tent’, with Zaydaan still in my arms… a little hesitant about what to do next. I felt a bit lost. Rubeena wasn’t anywhere in sight and my mother-in-law was fussing over the decor.

My mother-in-law had stopped at nothing to plan the ‘perfect’ function. It was really ridiculous, and just plain extravagant.

“Everyone will want to meet him,” my mother-in-law had said, tossing back her perfect hair. “We have to accommodate for them. How will it look if we are unprepared?!”

I was just glad that I had Zaydaan to hold onto, and to keep me company, and even more ecstatic when I finally glimpsed Aadam’s car turning into the driveway.. much sooner than expected.

My heart was completely out of control as it caught wind of what was in store… and I raced down the stairs in a frantic rush, making a silent Du’aa that my mother-in-law was too busy to notice his arrival right then.

And of course, as I glimpsed him step off the car, I couldn’t help but feel my heart soar with ecstasy, as a wry grin crept onto his beaming face.

Oh, how I missed his smile. So easy. Carefree. Completely soothing

And I wished I could have been graceful about the whole thing, but as I flung myself into Aadam’s secure embrace, with Zaydaan squished between us… I really had no words to even appear cultured.

All I knew was that I felt like the only girl in the entire world as he literally lifted us off the ground in the most massive of hugs. It was like coming home.

Woah!” he said finally, pretending to be shocked. “Careful, gorgeous. This guy’s not muscle man. You’ll might break my back.”

I could hear him faking a raspy breath as he let go of me, squishing Zaydaan cheeks lovingly as he looked at us both, and I couldn’t help but giggle, amidst my erratic emotions.

I missed his annoying humour… more than I thought I would.

“You act like I weigh a ton,” I muttered, whacking him playfully, trying to retain some of my dignity.

“You might be surprised,” he complained as he pretended to rub his arm, winking at me. “Or maybe it’s Zaydaan… Bordering on child obesity.”

I studied him easily as he smiled playfully, his eyes a little moist at the edges. If I could glimpse his soul, I knew I would have witnessed the magic of this miraculous journey that he had just undertaken… How my heart ached.

How must it have felt to be of those present, on the scorching plains plains of Arafah? How spectacular must it have been to sleep under the twinkly stars of Muzdalifah? How amazing must it have been to be of them who could pour their heart out to their Rabb with utmost conviction…

I wished I could ask him right then.. to soothe my soul… but I had step back for a minute to take him in as Rubeena came out to greet him too. She grabbed Zaydaan from me, allowing a little time to scrutinize the changes in my husband.

He looked completely at peace. Tranquil. Like he had been irrevocably fulfilled… beyond any understanding… and I was so jealous.

His beard had grown fuller and his hair was obviously now non-existent. The baldness suited him. Although I could see that all that strain had lost him a kilo or two… In that massive hug it was evident that the arduous journey had definitely made him pretty hardy. I was itching to hear every detail of it.

The elation was short-lived, as Aadam finally lifted his gaze, looking around and then glancing at me.

“What on earth is happening here? Who’s getting married?” His eyes were wide as he saw people streaming in.

I grinned and shrugged. The man had just come home from the trip of a lifetime. I wasn’t going to burden him with my sorry stories of what a misery his mother was making of my life… and how she planned this entire thing against our will.

I remembered Zuleikha’s words the day before. By giving him a good welcome, it also meant to ease his mind of any worries. It was a beautiful etiquette that women forgot when their husbands come home.. and so, so rewarding.

“My mother, right?” He said, already looking exhausted as he ran his hands through his beard. “Makes everything a big deal.”

I could tell that he was annoyed as he inhaled, pulling me aside for a minute before he was spotted, as we entered the slightly concealed doorway.

“P.S,” he whispered, his tired eyes suddenly looking alive again as he pecked me on the cheek. He wasn’t going to dwell on his irritation. It just wasn’t Aadam-like, and I loved that about him.

I looked at him questioningly.

“Was it everything you imagined?” I asked him, reaching for his hand and dying to know about every single bit.

“More,” he said, his eyes looking hazy as he looked into mine. I could just imagine how amazing he must feel… what a beautiful journey it must be.

“Did I mention that I missed you?”

My heart skipped a beat, but he wasn’t getting away that easily.

“No,” I said, pouting. “You were too busy complaining about how fat I’ve gotten.”

“Oh yeah,” he said, his eyes dancing playfully. “I can barely even recognize you.”

I knew he was pulling my leg but I frowned at him and turned away, threatening to leave him there to fend for himself. I could already see people coming toward us… I would steer them all in his direction on purpose.

“Hey, don’t leave me!” He said, feigning panic.

“You deserve it!”

He grabbed me by the arm, just as my mother-in-law came into view. He ducked slightly as he saw her, and I already knew this was going to bring trouble.

“You better get used to me bugging you,” he said quietly, but I could hear the amusement in his voice. “I plan on doing it every single day for the foreseeable future.”

I scowled.

By now, I had realised that bugging me was his crazy way of showing emotion. What worried me was that his mother might get upset that he wasn’t greeting guests like he should be… Of course she would blame me, even though I was desperately trying to rid of him by now.

“You better go,” I said, widening my eyes at him in warning. “Your mother…”

“You know why?” he said, ignoring me.

Oh gosh, he was so persistent.

I shook my head vigorously, swallowing nervously as I spotted my mother in law in the driveway now, eyeing out Aadam’s car. Her eyes were narrowing as they darted around…

“Later,” I mumbled, getting nervous about his mother in the vicinity. “We’ll talk later.

“Because even when you’re angry, you’re still beautiful,” he said quietly, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

He was oblivious to my panic.

And bulls eye …  she just spotted Aadam and I…

It was easy for him. He wasn’t the one to deal with the drama after. Men were always unaffected. And of course I had perfect response for Aadam’s smooth lines… but as my mother-in-laws voice rang out in utter annoyance, I had to swallow it…

“Can we at least get into the house before we do all of this?” she snapped, looking at us both. “Goodness! There are people here!”

Of course. I could already sense her female rival radar emitting signals as she approached. Emotion wasn’t allowed. Of course we couldn’t talk together.

People will see.

My dear mother-in-law turned away in a huff as Aadam’s eyes widened scarily, and then grinned as he called out to her.

”Salaam Mums,” he said holding out his arms and stepping forward. “Hajj Mubarak. I hope you made Du’aa for me. Don’t I get a hug?”

Aadam could melt an iceberg, he just had this amazing way of making everyone succumb. It was really quite unbelievable.

She stopped in her tracks. Of course, he had her at ‘Salaams’. I turned away, in half admiration, half disgust. He was amazingly good at conning people… well, except for me.

Crowds were coming to greet him now from all directions. I was sure that he felt celebrity-like. I mean, I really didn’t know that he knew so many people. I smiled as I stepped back to avoid getting caught up in the craze.

And I was so glad that we had stolen those few moments because of course, I barely saw him that afternoon as he was whisked away with the crowd to have his meal and entertain the guests about his trip. Aadam was visibly exhausted, but he was also not the type to fail when it came to entertainment. He was just always so easy-going. He never complained. I could hear him enthusiastically giving the low down for every part of his journey from where I was, and as I helped Rubeena to serve the never-ending in flux of guests. Rubeena was exhausted, and in pain, and I didn’t blame her because it was getting quite tiring.

I breathed in as I dished out more sojee for an older lady who had asked, convinced that I was going to need a time out after this serving. Rubeena had already gone to rest. I had just found a spare chair, before loosening the buckle on Zuleikha’s shoe that I had borrowed, when my mother-in-law caught sight of me.

Muhammed had gotten sick at the last minute, which meant Zuleikha had to stay home… and Nusaybah was gone away for the weekend with her family. Right then, I was aching for some moral support. I felt extremely vulnerable, and just a teeny bit frustrated.  I was almost ready to get up again, just to avoid her confrontation, but as she came toward me, I was kind of caught off-guard as she wore a a half smile on her face. Besides, I was exhausted, and the thought of getting up again was already making me tired.

I could see her gesturing to someone as she beckoned to them, and then advance towards me again with more people in tow. I was so glad that the function was separated, except for the few stranglers… but the scrutiny of these high-flying women was really something else.

She stopped in front of me and smiled, introducing me sweetly to her friends as her new daughter-in-law. I was actually a little in shock as she laughed with them, and watched them scrutinize me from head to toe before finally giving me a nod of approval.

The verdict was revealed. I had passed the test.

I was still in awe about how people like that could exist. It was all just a little bizarre for me… but completely regular for them. And just when I thought that I had recovered, and the ladies left, a young girl who I had noticed watching me from the beginning of the function came up to us.

It was amazing how my mother-in-law was so perfectly civilized to everyone but me. They turned to me as I got up to leave… and I smiled, knowing that I was expected to be polite.

“I’m Khawlah,” I said to the girl, glad that she seemed a bit approachable in person. “I’m Aadam’s wife.”

The girl smiled as she nodded, and then looked at my mother-in-law.

“This is my friends daughter, Zaira,” my mother-in-law said. Didn’t ring a bell.. but I supposed that explained a bit.

And it was all good as I smiled and asked her how she was, before Aadam’s mother dropped the bomb.

“Aadam and her were friends from school days,” my mother-in-law said, and I could see an uncharacteristic glint in her eyes as she said it. “We all thought that they would get married.”

I swallowed hard, as that feeling of imminent emergency overcame me…. I knew the wisest thing was to escape, but it was already too late…

“Well, until you came along.”

And of course, I felt as if I’d been punched in my stomach. I actually could not believe that she had said that. I was in shock.

The girl at least had the decency to look embarrassed as I swallowed hard to stop myself from breaking down right there and then. Now that, was completely uncalled for.

I was half choking as I somehow made an excuse to use the bathroom, hoping with every ounce of myself that no-one was occupying it, so I could just bawl my eyes out in peace.

Of course, I wasn’t immune to feelings. I was tough.. but what was it about this woman that just wrecked havoc within me.. I didn’t know.

And just as the torrent of emotion overcame me, a distinctive knock on the door caught me by surprise. I almost wanted to shout at them to go away, but I knew that it wasn’t exactly a wise thing to do. I breathed in and speedily grabbed a clump of toilet paper to dry my eyes, hoping that I at least looked normal.

The knock sounded again as I got up, wishing I could peep out to check who it was. I mean, was there no respect for people who were in the bathroom nowadays? Not even letting me cry in peace. I knew I was getting exceptionally angry over something seemingly small, but I couldn’t help it.

And of course, after a quick glance in the mirror to ascertain the damage on my puffy face, I walked to the door calmly and yanked it halfway open… expecting to see an impatient child or family member who didn’t know any better.

But as I met her pretty eyes, I couldn’t help but digest for a minute… wondering who this person was.

She removed her niqaab as she saw me, and just her kind smile immediately lifted my spirits. She was lovely in a soft and completely unexpected way. She blinked as she opened her mouth, almost hesitant about what to say.

“I’m so sorry,” she started, carefully stepping back as she tried to ascertain my reaction. “I don’t mean to pry. I saw what happened and I just wanted to check if you were okay…

I flushed as she said it, feeling so embarrassed that other people had heard my mother-in-laws words. It was one thing when she did it in private, but when it was in front of so many people…

“Don’t worry,” she said kindly, placing her hand on my shoulder. It was strangely comforting. “I don’t think anyone else heard. I just felt so bad for you… So I well.. I followed you. I hope you don’t mind. My husband was somehow persuaded by yours to join him for supper before we head back home. He must really like him, because Yusuf never eats anywhere but home. We just didn’t know that there would be so many people here…”

I looked at her, feeling like there was a need to apologise. She didn’t sound like she was from here. Her accent was not even remotely Gauteng-like. I wasn’t sure how to explain to her… whether to just say it or to just carry on looking at her a little dumbly, like I was doing now.

She smacked her hand to her now bare forehead and shook her head, almost admonishingly.

“Here I am going on about myself when you’re in such a state. You’re probably wondering who I am. You may know my sister, Haseena… or heard of my brother-in-law, Maulana Umar..?”

Maulana Umar? Of course I knew him. Well, I knew of him. He was the Maulana that Aadam and Ahmed never stopped offering praise for. I made the link in my brain as I looked at her, a little surprised that she was so sweet and down-to-earth. These were special people… They were of a different calibre..

“Khawlah, right?” She smiled. “I love your name. Reminds me of one of my favorite stories. It’s so good to meet you… I’m Laila.”


A blast from the past… combined with a bit of family dynamics.. I keep trying to shorten the posts and they keep getting longer. Sorry!

Maybe our Laila might have some advice for Khawlah.. 

Much Love,

A 🌸

New account: We see that we’ve been getting quite a few Facebook Shares, and so we have created a page where posts of the blog will be shared from. Follow us at:

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Being good to our parents is also an Ibadat and part of Akhlaaq. As they get older, it definitely does get harder. Allah make it easy for us to fulfill their right as they had looked after us when we were young .

How easy to practice!

Let’s revive this Sunnah Insha Allah.

IG: @thejourneyingmuslimah

#revivetheSunnahof Sleepingearly






Twitter @ajourneyjournal



23 thoughts on “A Special Acquaintance

    • Exactly… The sad part is that you do get people like that…
      Ah, yes, Yusuf… At least he came around to make Laila see sense in the end..
      In case new readers don’t know about Laila/Yusuf.. it was on my other blog… a journey in a journal… comp forgot to mention it.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. This mother in law takes the cake in embarrassing her poor daughter in law….
    I loved the bond that Aadam and Khawlah have….
    I wonder if her mother in law will ever accept her….

    It’s good to have our lovely Laila back in the story, she was one of our favorites on the previous blog…

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Yay Laila! Really enjoyed reading . Don’t worry about the length of the posts. You don’t have to be sorry sister. In fact it is great reading the long posts💞
    Also the part about Nabi Ibrahim and Sara(Alayhimus Salaam) makes us realize how much they sacrificed for our beautiful Deen.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Beautiful post as usual!
    Khawla and Adam are too cute!
    And I like the way her mother in laws comments get to her… No one can’t be tough in every situation and it makes her character so much more relatable.
    Good job!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lol, exactly, and I think this is actually her test… because she is usually so tough and together … there has to be something that gets to her. 💜 and it will be interesting to see how they both overcome this…
      Shukran dear sis 💐

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Poor Khawlah 😢 I wonder how someone could find so much joy in creating so much pain. I am glad that she has met Laila now… inshaAllah she will part some good advice. Love the length of your posts… wishing it never ended. JazaakAllah khair for posting.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Length is perfect 👌
    Dont mind even if they become longer 😂
    Your writing makes us so fixated, we’re just drawn into reading until whenever the end comes with no rush 💙

    Always enjoy the twists, it’s what i like about your blog… So real. Depicts an ordinary life. Not a fiction that’s farfetched.

    And the way you combine incidents from the ambiyaa in a captivating manner 💞
    Masha-Allah beautiful reminders

    Liked by 1 person

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