When the Tables Turn…

Bismihi Ta’ala


Everyone loves a good speciality. Trust me. I know.

I’m sure by now, you’ve at least figured that I’m not one of those sickly skinny girls who are obsessed with my diet. I do not spend my precious moments before tucking into my regular double-decker cheese burgers (with a fizzy drink) counting carbs and watching sugar intake. I don’t even understand people who guilt themselves about essential edibles.

And as the daughter of the locally sought-after culinary expert, I’m pretty well acquainted with the drill. And no, the skill is not hereditary, so please don’t ask me to cook for you. My food is passable and that’s that. It doesn’t mean that I’m the next Nigella or whoever the Indian equivalent is, but I do know that a pure butter pastry (margarine what?) tops the charts and that freshly ground garlic is the best thing you’ll ever waste your time making. I’ve learnt even though you can barely taste spices like turmeric, you cannot possibly make a good curry without it. I know that ready-fried onions makes my mother turn up her nose and rotis made with pure ghee are completely unrelated to those flattish pieces of dough that I sometimes buy from the shop down the road (when I’ve run out of my mother’s weekly supply).

My father can tell the difference just by looking at it, and if that isn’t skill, I don’t know what is.

The thing is, everything has its speciality, and I’m a big fan of the foodie version. There’s always a highlight of the lot. The exception to the usual. And we all strive to find that speciality, whether it be in a dish, a side or even just a extra thing we make for fun. We like specialities. We like to have ‘unique’ things. Everyone wants to be different.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that there’s a little underrated thing that comes for free, that sets us aside from everyone else. It’s an inherent quality, and having it makes us unique. It makes us the speciality. Me. You. Anyone who has it.

Its called sincerity. It’s called beautiful intentions. When someone comes to you with a pure heart and goodness overflowing from them, there’s just something special about them that draws you to them and makes you love them. And wouldn’t you want to be the speciality of the human race, as we know it? And I’m not saying that everyone is out there to con you, but when people are truly sincere in what they do, Allah sees the truth in what you are presenting, whether it be the tiniest form of a charitable smile or the hugest trip of  lifetime ‘Fee Sabillilah’.

And then of course, comes the beautiful reality, because with sincerity comes a very special type of status. A status of exemption. The status of love. The Hadith of Jibraeel (AS) being summoned by Allah makes my hair stand on end every time I hear it.

Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘if Allah loves a person, He calls Jibrael saying,

’Allah loves so and so; O Jibrael love him… 

And make an announcement amongst the inhabitants of the heaven:

“Allah loves so and so therefore you should love him also.

 And so, all the inhabitants of the heaven would love him, and then he is granted the pleasures of the people on the earth.”

[Al- Bukhari and Muslim].


And no matter how often I hear this spectacular narration, I can never tire of it’s amazement. I mean, can you possibly even imagine Allah taking your name and mentioning it, not just to any angel, but the most noble of all angels that exist? The one who was given the honor of sending Wahee to the prophets and the likes. Can you imagine being so honored, that not only does your name leave their lips, but gets engraved with them so they are so much inclined to you, that they actually begin to love you?

The awe of it all just nearly sends my heart into cardiac arrest.

So, back to the point before I go completely off track here… Whilst on my pursuit to find the best form of sincerity in every action I did, like I had been learning in the Taaleem I’d been briefly attending before my Iddat, I had truly attained so much. Really. In hoping to be sincere in all that I did, I was making every attempt to move past my delusional past. I was hoping to find peace, contentment and to just keep my stomach full enough to stay away from sins and not put on exorbitant amounts of weight that will send my mother into fits of rage. 

The only problem was that it seemed like Shabeer was living in some kind of ‘stupid zone’ during this whole advent. While I was trying to ‘find myself’,  yet again, as I embarked on a mission to attempt to shake myself off of him and make future plans for the benefit of my kids and I, his constant calls and visits would come to throw everything off track again.

“Salaam babe,” his smooth voice came as I  raced down the stairs with my abaya, hearing the front door open.

Crap. He was early. And crap again. I really needed to remember to take his keys away.

Shabeer didn’t understand boundaries. He was like one of those irritating mosquitos that relentlessly stuck around no matter how hard you tried to slap the life out of him.

”Don’t babe me,” I said through gritted teeth. Honestly, was this man dense or just delusional?

“What are you up to? Getting bored yet?” He asked, ignoring my statement.

He said it with a hint of cynical humor, and I clenched my fist in preparation for a mental punch. Maybe a few.

I tried to picture him with a blue eye. It definitely made me feel so much better.

”You’re not supposed to be here alone,” I said, tightening my scarf around my head and glaring at him. “Why can’t you just ring the doorbell like a normal person?”

“I can come when I want. What is all this nonsense?” Shabeer said in a low tone, looking me up and down with an ugly frown. “ You look like one of those burka aunties from Fordsburg. Come on Ruby, we were married for 11 years. Now you acting like some untouchable hijaabi.”

”Shabeer,” I said, as if I was talking to a kid. “Don’t. you. get. it. We’re not married anymore.”

”Ruby,” he said, his voice sounding calm and collected, as I breathed out impatiently. “Seriously. Stop this silly game now. Let’s make up like good, responsible parents and sort this out. You know you can’t survive without me. I’ve worked my backside off to give you the best life I could. A beautiful house. A trending car. Extraordinary holidays. How would you keep up, doll? No average guy will be able to compare… All your friends would laugh at you. Come on, just let me come back home.”

“For what?” I asked, rolling my eyes. “So I can put up with more of your lies? Why don’t you call to speak to the kids once in a while? To pick them up? Spend some time with your sons? Really Shabeer, I haven’t even seen one thing change in you!”

”Ah Ruby, don’t be so hard,” he said, putting on his pitiful voice that I knew so well. “Baby steps, alryt? We can’t all just change overnight. Dammit, you have such high expectations. All you high maintenance women, and you’ll wonder why your husbands mess around. Don’t you ever get tired of yourself?”

“You are such a -“ I started, raging. All my aspirations to be a better person were going down the drain. Turning the tables around was Shabeer’s speciality.

Sheeeeshhh!” Shabeer said, raising his eyebrows and waving his hand at me. “Behave yourself, woman. The lawyer is here. We don’t want any ugly words reaching his ears. He might just label you an unfit mother.”

Shabeer sniggered as he watched my expression turn to thunderous, and I honestly wanted to break him.

The man made my blood boil. He really wanted to play things this way? 

I glared at him with such venom that he promptly shut up and made his way out of my view to discuss what he needed to with the lawyer.

I knew that Shabeer needed money and wanted to sell the house, but I couldn’t even stomach the thought. He wanted to buy a flat for us, and get away cheap. There were lots of things to finalize and I didn’t want the kids to be around when we did it. Things that meant nothing to me, but I had to sort out for them. I had to get documentation in order so I could own the house, so I wouldn’t have to move out and disrupt their lives. I didn’t yet tell Shabeer about my plans, but I had enough money saved up to buy it from him, if he asked. I knew that this had potential to get ugly and I wanted to be prepared.

I sat on the couch and took a deep breath. I had to learn to breathe. Things were getting a little overwhelming for me and there was only so much I could do to stop myself from having an anxiety attack. And I knew I was that kind of person who didn’t deal very well in neurotic kind of situations, but as Shabeer finally left me in peace that morning, I knew that I had to get my act together and woman up.

And then of course, about half an hour later, just as  I finally felt the rising in my chest subside momentarily, my heart kind of shot out my mouth at the shrill ringing of the doorbell that caught me by surprise.

Of course I wasn’t expecting anyone.

The last thing I wanted while I was in enjoying my peace were people coming to annoy my life. I could just imagine what the ladies from gym would say. They would be looking at me all pitifully, talking about how I must be feeling like I’m in a prison. The facts were that it was the majority of them who were still stuck in that prison of an unfaithful marriage and chasing the world.

And sometimes I really did wish that it had turned out differently with Shabeer.  I still made Duaa that he would change some day, especially for the sake my boys. When I thought about how he had gone from bad to worse over the years, it was no wonder that my heart had changed too. I just couldn’t  feel that love anymore.

And thank goodness that as I glimpsed outside, instead of seeing half a dozen brain-eating women on my doorstep, I glimpsed the lean frame of my awesome brother who was resting  his shoulder against my front door.

He was alone, and as I pulled the door open to welcome him with the hugest of smiles (just because I was so relieved that he wasn’t Shabeer or a nosy woman who craved the latest gossip), something about the way Adam smiled back that day gave me a heads up that everything wasn’t okay.

“Assalamualaikum,” he said as he stepped in. “Where are the little guys? I’ve been missing them.”

Aadam had dropped them off the day before. Today, I had somehow convinced my father to take them for a few hours, just to kill their boredom. I wished I could be like those Instamums who did crafty arts and stuff with their kids all day long, but at this stage of my life, just the thought of paint on the carpet and glue all over the walls exhausted me. It was just hard to be at home with four kids all the time. They were literally eating my head in.

“They’re gone to mum for a while,” I replied. “I needed some time… can I offer you coffee?”

I didn’t elaborate on Shabeer as Adam nodded. Why should I bore him with my legal details?

He lowered himself into the couch, looking a little dazed while I switched the kettle on.

Now, I’ve always had an awesome relationship with my brother, and because he was generally so happy-go-lucky and barely complained about a thing, I knew him so well that if there was something bothering him, it was nothing that a good cuppa couldn’t squeeze out.

And of course, with my own neurotic tendencies, a cup of the condensed milk- sweetened version (with extra cream) was just what I needed to put all my anxiety at bay.  So when Adam sighed and rested his head back in exhaustion, I couldn’t help but prop myself up next to him with two mugs of luxury coffee, stare him down and force him to spill it out.

“You’re alone today?” I said, thinking it a bit strange since Khawlah was on holiday.

He shrugged. He definitely was not even remotely himself.

“She’s been busy,” he said, glancing at me momentarily.  “Her brother’s had somewhere to be a few days back. Some chic to see..”

”You mean Ahmed?” I said, my breathing a little stunted. He was going to see a girl? 

Adam nodded and shrugged. Goodness. My brother looked heartbroken. Maybe even more than me.

Focus Ruby. Focus on Adam.

“They didn’t tell you to come with?” I said,  really wanting more details, but also curious as to why Adam didn’t accompany them. He was married to Khawlah.

Plus, who was this ‘chic’ that Ahmed was suddenly interested in? The curiosity was killing me.

“She’s angry,” he said finally, raising his eyebrows. “We had an exchange. I suppose I didn’t think it was a big thing until I thought about it… but for her…”

I tut-tutted to myself as Adam spoke, feeling his pain, and forgetting my own inclination to know gory details of the samoosa run.

Trouble in paradise, huh? I just hoped it wasn’t serious.

“Was it something you did?” I asked him, not wanting to pry but itching to know. It was a completely tearing feeling.

“It was in the past,” he said, swallowing as he looked at me. “But I would never hurt her on purpose, Rubes. This is too much… she hasn’t spoken to me in days. She’s ignoring my calls. Doesn’t come out when I go there. It’s getting embarrassing to go there and I really don’t know what else to do…”

Adam looked absolutely distressed as he glanced at me and ran his hand through his beard. He was such a genuinely and sincerely nice person that I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. He placed the mug on the coffee table next to him, without even taking a sip.

Never mind. More for me.

I sighed as I watched him, looking like some kind of lost person. I didn’t know my brother’s past inside out but I had met his previous girlfriend, and I knew that it wasn’t just the kind of relationship that doesn’t leave any scars. At that time I didn’t know it was wrong. We were ignorant. The thing was, with Khawlah… she didn’t come from the type of life that we knew. The dysfunctional life that was full of gross details, ugly sins and disturbing dysfunction.

For her 16-year-self, though she was exceptionally mature, I could imagine that certain aspects of our immodest life were too sheltered to even process…

She lived in a childish fantasy where everything was sunny and earthly, and though I loved that and her idealism, the reality was that life was absolutely appalling.

Especially mine.

And just as I was about to explain that to Adam, my words kind of died on my lips as a burst of rowdiness blasted through the front passage.

And it didn’t take a genius to figure out that all four of my boys were back. I figured that sooner or later my parents would get fed up of them, and as they burst into into the room we were in, there was a series of excited jumps and greetings as Adam welcomed them with open arms and boy-like gestures. And of course it was all fun and exciting, but as they high-fived Adam, and I glimpsed my mothers face… I was already reminding myself about all my aspirations for being a better daughter.

She had an irate look on her face as she stood there, her hands folded on her chest, and for once as I followed her gaze, I was so grateful that it wasn’t directed at me.

And because I was in the clear, I didn’t even dwell on it further as I busied myself making another cup of coffee for my wonderful father, while my mother shook her head at my offer and stood there with that expression that I thought had become her inherent one.

I was so busy counting my lucky stars and whipping up the perfect cup of latte, that I barely even noticed her staring with hostility at Adam’s retreating back. It was only when her screech for him reached my ears, did I fully process her unconventional attitude towards her darling son. 

Mum?” He said, backtracking slightly and looking at her with a frown. “All okay?”

”Do I look like everything is okay?” She shot back, her face all stony and down-right disgruntled. “Have you ever seen me like this before?!”


That was mistake number one. I honestly wanted block my eyes. Though I completely got Adam’s point, let me just warn you that if you ever meet my wonderful mother, never… and I repeat, NEVER, let my mother know that her grumpiness has been noted before. She will never let you forget it.

Let me just tell you something, mister!” She almost yelled, her face beet red. Thank goodness the kids were outside. “I spend my whole life trying to make both you kids happy and this is the type of payback I get!”

Jasses. Why did I get tossed in everywhere? I was the resident dump-site.  All I was busy doing was minding my own business.

“Mum-“ Adam started.

You just listen to me!” she snapped, wagging her finger and edging closer to him as she tossed her newly highlighted hair back. “I won’t have you’ll making a fool of me. I will not be made into an unfit mother who brings up kids who can’t even hold together their marriages!”

She shot a look at me as she said it, and I cringed. I love how she blamed my failed marriage only on me. Like Shabeer was just a poor bystander. As if. 

“Mum, I don’t think you know what’s going on,” Adam said pointedly.

And, there we have it, folks. Mistake number two. 

Never, ever, tell my mother that she doesn’t know what’s going on. Even if she doesn’t know what’s going on, she still does.

”Oh, I know exactly what’s going on,” she snapped, raising her eyebrows. “I’ve had people asking me if you are also getting divorced. Already! Can. you. imagine. my. EMBARRASSMENT?!”

And I’m not even exaggerating with the punctuation there. That was exactly how she said it.

“They think there’s something wrong with me, that both of your marriages are headed for destruction! You brought that innocent girl into our home and you messed it up, didn’t you?!”

Adam was gaping at my mother like a goldfish. For once he had no smooth words to swizzle her.

”I warned you about this, didn’t I?” She continued with her resident glare. “I knew there’ll be problems. I even tried to show you before, but you were adamant!”

What? Was that what all her drama was about? I was dumbfounded.

When did the tables turn? How did people even know about the dynamics between Adam and Khawlah?

“It’s not as serious-“

”It DOESN’T MATTER!” my mother yelled, her glare still directed at Adam. “You fix this! I don’t care what you have to do or how you have to convince her. Even if it means that you sit outside her house day and night until she comes back, you make sure you put this right. You young people think that marriage is just a game! I won’t have both my kids moping around with failed marriages. I’m not an incompetent parent. Grow up and do what what it takes… or else!

I was gob-smacked. Not to mention, absolutely terrified.

The last part was what scared me. From experience, I knew that ‘or else’ from my mother was not just a regular threat. It usually involved a helluva lot of sucking up, painful cajoling and sleepless nights of feeling like the failed and rejected child. Believe me. I know.

And despite my father gaping at her in shock yet again, and Adam looking like he really wanted to cry, with that, she tossed her glossy auburn-colored hair back, spun around on her dainty heels, and gracefully walked out.


WIll reply to all comments soon.. A longer post that hopefully makes up for the delay!

Much Love,

A xx


As per the previous posts, we are now on the Sunnah of Drinking Water 

  1. The Sunnah of drinking water states that blowing on hot water or exhaling into a water glass can spread bacteria into the water. Therefore, it’s important that you move the glass of water away from your mouth after taking a sip so that you can avoid breathing onto thewater. Recite “Alhamdulillah” after drinking water.


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Sins That Leave Scars

Bismihi Ta’ala


“You know,” Aadam said, watching me from the corner of his eye. “You never told me the story of Prophet Aadam…”

I gave my husband a tiny smile as we sat side by side, acquainted very well by now with his cunning ways to convince me to do something. My favorite kids had heard their uncle and were sitting on the rug expectantly. It was very evidently time for bed, and not just for the boys. Aadam was stretching his tired muscles as he yawned, leaning back against the couch with a small smile playing on his lips.

”I practically know that story by-heart…” I moaned, remembering the days when Danyaal used to make me read it, sometimes five times in one sitting.

”Just one time more time, yeah?” Aadam grinned. “For old times sake?”

The night had been fun, with popcorn and board games, but it had been a busy day. The last of the term, with way too many eventful happenings…

I knew exactly what Aadam was trying to do. He was trying to get me to be more involved with the kids, so I could forget the reality that I had just discovered. It was easier said than done…

”Please Khawlah-“ Danyaal started, packing away the blocks.

Aunty Khawlah,” Aadam cut in smoothly, with one raised eyebrow. “That’s my wife you’re talking to.”

A huge grin crept on Danyaal’s face as he looked at us. He was such a wonderful child, that I couldn’t help but just adore him. Rubeena was so lucky to have been blessed with such a star… He barely fussed about anything, and he truly was one of those rare kids that shone out from the rest. He had even started Hifdh classes this term, and I was so, so proud of him.

And though Aadam was trying to teach his nephew a little thing called respect, I could imagine that if Foi Nani had witnessed this, she would have been horrified. For her, Aunties were ‘Foys and Kalas’. There was no way you could get away with the modern-day substitutes.

Aadam’s family, on the other hand, were not even remotely cultural. They used no Indian or other terms to address their elders. I mean, the kids called their granny Nona. It was too… English…

Fancy, Foi Nani would have said. I missed her. I wished she could have met Aadam.

Aunty Khawlah,” Danyaal said, looking up at me with a tired smile. “Please can we have the story of Prophet Aadam (AS). We haven’t heard it in ages. And then.. we promise to sleep.”

“Hey,” Aadam said, narrowing his eyes threateningly. “Are you’ll trying to negotiate the sleep-time routine?”

I smiled. Of course they were.

”We promise,” Dayyaan said, sticking out his pinkie finger for Aadam to shake, and  nodding solemnly. His hair was falling over his eyes as he shook, and I stuck out my hand to brush it away.

Zia was mumbling something incoherently, as he lay on the carpet, fiddling with two blocks that he was holding, barely even aware of what he was doing awake.

They were all such characters, and yet,  were all so unbelievably connected to my heart…

”One story, and you’ll better sleep,” Aadam was warning them, as he leaned forward. “Else the bedtime monster is coming to catch you’ll.. and it’s not going to be fun..”

”Don’t scare them,” I rebuked him gently. But they were far from afraid. They knew their uncle too well…

As Aadam leaned forward to crawl onto the rug, his infamous tickle monster being the highlight of their before-bedtime routine. They were in stitches as they giggled away, loving the mixture of pure happy time and drunken tiredness. I loved to watch them. It almost cheered me up completely. Almost.

I watched my playful husband with his nephews as he eventually read them their story, knowing that I wasn’t in the mood to do it. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed someone else reading, though, that night. I was in my element as I listened to his easy voice, closing my eyes as the words glided into each other, almost in a calming rhythm. Aadam really did sound like a poet… His voice was gentle, yet firm, and I knew that if given the choice I would sit there and listen for hours.

Since I was so crazy about reading myself, I had a hunch that his calm mannerism was enough to put the boys into the most peaceful frame of mind. It helped him to put them to bed, and as he read their Kalimahs and Duaas for them softly, when we emerged from the room a few minutes later, they were already hopelessly knocked out.

I grasped Aadam’s hand gently as we retired the balcony bench, hoping to enjoy the city lights and the warmth of the early Autumn night. At night, the city lights were so vivid, that staring into them sometimes made me feel like I was in some sort of daze. It was stunning.

“Give me a smile, beautiful,” Aadam said softly, swinging his arm around me as my body involuntarily stiffened.

I physically slumped my shoulders, trying to alleviate the tension I was feeling, but Aadam wasn’t buying it. He pulled his arm away and leaned forward to look me in the eye, his dark lashes now even more noticeable in the dim light, as he frowned.

“Are you still thinking about Hannah?”

I breathed in momentarily as I closed my eyes, almost wishing that today wasn’t real. Hannah. She was so much on my mind… and I didn’t even know how to get it to stop.

Aadam sighed, as he looked away.

“I don’t know,” he said finally, swallowing worriedly as he placed his hand over mine. “After all this time… coming here and then giving you her sad story…”

I knew what he meant, but for some weird reason, I felt responsible for her. We had spent a good amount of our childhood under the same roof… in the same space… within the same boundaries. With the same crazy mother-figure. Only, she had it a little worse, because there was no getting rid of your real mother…

Aadam was waiting outside when I arrived, and as soon as I saw him, I could see a mixture of relief and worry in his eyes.

And of course, as I locked eyes with this girl that had been my sworn nemesis for almost a decade, I couldn’t help but feel a little obliged to give her a hearing.

”I came to talk,” Hannah said. “I remember Rubeena showing me once where her brother lived… and I took a chance by coming here. I wanted to try and fix some of it.. I know I used your name and I made your life a bit miserable…”

”A bit?” I said incredulously. I was a bit shocked that she was so… open.

“Okay, a lot.”

Responsibility was a hard pill to swallow, but I was honestly a little wary of her. I wasn’t sure what her intentions were, as she sat on Aadam’s couch and watched me with that unreadable expression she had often wore.

“Why did you do it?” I asked her. I was hoping to break that wall that she had built around her. I was hoping to see some sense in her madness.

”Does it really matter?” she said, looking at me with a frown.

“It does,” I said, narrowing my eyes at her.

“I don’t know,” she said finally, her expression still emotionless. “That house. Your father. It was nice, okay? Everything felt so much better. I wasn’t sure what it is about you, Khawlah, but everyone just seems to like you without you even trying. I always felt it was so unfair.”

What did you even say to that? When someone openly confesses that they were obsessed with making your life a misery? 

She sighed, and I looked over at Aadam who was sitting down at the corner couch behind us, head down and listening intently without a word. He had refused to let me talk to her alone. I could tell that he didn’t trust her,

“Anway, I’m here because I need help,” she said, looking a little unsure of herself now, for the first time I could ever recall. “My mother doesn’t really care. All she cares about is making other people’s lives a misery, as you know. You’re married and you can help me to get headway with re-adoption.. And I know I don’t deserve it but I mean it when I say that I don’t have much time left. I’m trying to change. In rehab we did a lot of tests and stuff… turned out I contracted HIV somewhere along the way…”

She said it with a nonchalant shrug, and as I met her gaze, I felt like I was in limbo. My heart kind of seized in my chest as I realized what a huge mess Hannah had got herself into.

“Binge parties,” she said, looking a tad bit ashamed as I gaped at her. “No-one really cares whose needle they using. You get so caught up in the high…”

And although she tried to portray that she didn’t care, when I glimpsed at her.. at her frame that was so delicate and her sunken cheeks that seemed to have no life in them… within the hollows of her eyes I could see something that I never saw in Hannah before. Something that she was trying so hard to hide, but was desperately failing to.

Fear. It was so ironic, because it was the one thing that had given her courage to come out here today. Fear was the fall that was lifting her back up… and somehow, that fear was bringing her closer to a reality that she had never known before…

Fear. Fear can cripple us. When we give precedence to bounties, things and people who take over our heart, the fear of losing it consumes us. Soon, what was once a gift becomes a weapon of torture and a prison of our own making. We wish to become free… And at times, in His infinite mercy, Allah frees us…by taking it away. By taking away a gift that we had taken as a right.
As a result of it being taken, we turn to Allah wholeheartedly. In that desperation and need, we ask, we beg, we pray. Through the loss, we reach a level of sincerity and humility and dependence on Him which we wou
ld otherwise not reach—had it not been taken from us. Through the loss, our hearts turn entirely to face Him.

Through the fear of loss… sometimes we gain so much more.

Hannah was afraid. So afraid of losing everything, including her life.

And as she spoke, I was visibly taken aback by her words. And then of course, I couldn’t help but think when asked for help with it… after all this time… why did she even want her daughter back? If she wasn’t well, was she even capable of looking after her… and for how long?

And as I sat with my husband that night, I tried to make sense of the things that had evaded me. How do people even end up so… lost? It just seemed so brutal…

“People survive for quite a while on ARV’s,” he said seriously. “Like for years…”

”Really?” I said, feeling a bit better. “So she’s not going to die like right now?”

Aadam smiled.

“Only Allah knows,” he said realistically. “But with the medical technology these days… if it’s HIV, she’s still got a chance of living normally…”

My heart was still pounding in my chest. It was like all hope had evaded me today.

Somehow, she had ended up with a raw deal when it came to a role model, but didn’t she make a choice? So many sins… leaving so many scars…

I thought about Mama… about my own mother. About how her love had exceeded every mark. Though I had known her for such a short time of my lifetime, like a fleeting moment of wonder, her compassion and sincerity in whatever she had conveyed to me in that time was unforgettable.

And then, as Khalid crossed my mind.. I couldn’t help but wonder what would have become of me if I had no friends back then to keep me grounded. What I would have done without that beautiful and rare love had moulded me into someone who could see the beauty in everything my Creator had blessed me with, instead of dwelling on the loss.

And then there was Nusaybah. How amazing was it that she had come into my life from nowhere, breaking down those barriers that I had built and helping me to glimpse the magic of rainbows and laughter, that I had closed my heart off to, all that time…

And now, I looked at Aadam, as he gazed at me as if I was the only person in his world. His love had come like a hurricane… with such ferocity that had lifted me to the most amazing heights, opening my heart, not just to a love I never felt before, but to a world of goodness and gratitude and amazement that I would be forever in awe of…

And of course, I could never forget, the One Constant. No matter what. No matter who. He was always there. He remained. He had got me through it all, through every person that He had placed along my path. I could almost still hear Mama’s voice saying it.

When they slept, He was awake. When they broke, He carried you. When no one else was there, He was. He remained. He always remains. Remember that always, Khawlah. Remember that. Remember Who you owe everything to. 

Gratitude is King. Always was and always will be.

“It’s amazing,” Aadam voice said, breaking into my thoughts as he watched me. “Where I came from… and how much I have… and I keep thinking that we’re okay for now, but I’ve seen people losing their Imaan in front of me, Khawlah. And to them they may believe that they found something better, but to me… They’ve lost everything that matters. Sins are something like quick sand… And once you get stuck, it’s so hard to pull away. How are we even deserving of being saved from that kind of life? Somehow.. I managed to scrape through, yeah? And I cant even be grateful enough…”

”I know,” I said quietly,  leaning back against Aadams outstretched arm, as I thought about what he just said. “I know I shouldn’t be judging her… but I just can’t understand one thing… How did she just let her baby go.. and continue with that life? Having a kid should have put a lot into perspective for her.”

Aadam shrugged.

“When people have issues, they don’t really think at all,” he said. “Maybe she was trying to do the right thing?”

”Maybe,” I murmured. “It’s just so irresponsible. People do that stuff all the time… and an innocent child gets involved. Drugging, partying, irresponsible behavior… and they fall pregnant and give their kids away or have abortions because they can’t handle it… It’s brutal..”

Aadam shifted as I looked up at him. His expression had altered and I could see feel his body tense up next to me as he looked ahead.

“Some people don’t have a choice in the matter,” he said, a flicker of something unrecognisable in his eyes.

“I think most people do,” I argued pointedly. “Having kids… well, it doesn’t happen by itself! You make a choice and you deal with the consequences. If you are grown up enough to do it, you have to man up and face it! There’s not much else to it.”

”Khawlah,” he said, swallowing as he looked at me, albeit nervously, as he got up. “I get your point… but it’s not always black and white…”

”Please Aadam,” I scoffed, narrowing my eyes at him. “What would you do? Like really? Would you ever just throw your child away?! ”

Of course, it was a rhetorical question, but he looked at me steadily as I asked it, almost like he was thinking about what to say. He clasped his hands together nervously, tentatively sitting down on the single seater opposite me, and met my unwavering gaze.

Hypothetically?” he said softly, and I narrowed my eyes at him slightly. “Or for real?”

What?!” I said, completely confused.

“You really want to know, Khawlah?” he almost whispered, searching my eyes fervently. “And you wont get angry?”

“You’re kidding, right?” I breathed, my voice shaky, as he looked back at me.

I didn’t doubt that Aadam had a past. When I first saw him, in all his teenage glory, I could see just what type of guy he was. That was why I probably wouldn’t have touched him with a ten-foot pole. He was different back then, and I probably wasn’t the first girl that had ever caught his eye..

Aadam’s face remained expressionless. My heart pounded in my chest as he gazed back at me.

“There was one particular girl,” he started, and I sat at the edge of my seat with bated breath. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to know this, but there was no going back now. He had already spoken too much. “ I knew her for a few years. Pretty well. We were… well…”

Oh,” I said, swallowing hard at the revelation. I wasn’t stupid. I knew exactly what he meant.

And that’s when he said it. That’s when he broke to me the news that broke my world.

For the second time that day, I felt like my heart had just seized in my chest. Literally. I honestly felt like I could not breathe. I couldn’t even speak.

His chest heaved slightly as he said it, and my own words had caught indefinitely in my parched throat. He slumped over in relief, as if a weight had been lifted off his burdened shoulders… and now, transferred directly onto mine…

How could he be so selfish?

“I can see it’s a shock,” he murmured, reaching out for my hand from where he sat. “I’m sorry, gorgeous…”

I pulled away at his touch. I mean, really? He tells me something that will crumble my world, and then he expects everything to be okay? 

A shock?” I said, breathing in with much effort. “You think it’s a shock? Aadam, do you have any idea what this means?”

Aadam looked up, his eyes ridden with guilt. Guilt and absolute regret. Here I was, all this time, thinking Aadam was being considerate by giving me time to adjust to married life… when in reality, he was holding back for his own selfish reasons… Because he couldn’t stomach his own sins. Sins that had left scars so deep, that their effects had shot even to the depths of my own heart…

“I know,” he said softly, his entire frame looking defeated as he stared back at me in desperation. “And I should have explained this a long time ago… I was scared..”

My heart was feeling like it was being torn apart. Bit by bit. Piece by piece….

“A girlfriend, I expected,” I said, my voice steady as I spoke. “Maybe even more than one… But this, Aadam…This is not a small thing. It’s not about liking cheese on my burger, or whether I prefer hot chocolate with milk… or even about sugar in my coffee…”

”I’m sorry, Khawlah,” he said again.

”These are big things,” I continued, my voice getting a little louder as I pointed at him accusingly. “Things you tell people when they marry you..! It’s things you tell people when you fall in love with them and give them your everything… These are things that you say when you’re sitting together and getting to know each other.. things you say before they become a huge issue… like what’s happening right now!”

”Khawlah, please, you’re not being reasonable. All this is in the past-“ he started, edging towards me.

”I need to go,” I said angrily, grabbing my bag and getting up. “Please call Ahmed to fetch me. I’ll wait downstairs.”

“You can’t wait downstairs alone. It’s not safe.”

“I’ll wait inside,” I said stubbornly. “I’ll be fine.”

“Khawlah, I can’t let you leave like this,” he begged. “You’re upset. Please, love… Don’t go…”

“Please understand. I need to be alone,” I said softly, my eyes pleading with his in mutual desperation.

It was a rare moment when we both just stood there, staring at each other, for the first time ever… with nothing else at all left to say…

And to respect my wishes, as he always did, Aadam stood there in forced silence, with a bleeding heart as he watched me walk away. My own insides felt like a series of daggers had penetrated their fore, as I tried to figure out why this terrible pain was one like I’ve never experienced before.

Unreasonable? No. I wasn’t being unreasonable. I was being realistic.

Yes, some things were not always black and white. Good people do bad things. Mistakes happen. People mess up. Everyone has their own battles, and this was just one of mine.

Tears stung my eyes as I practically floated down the stairs, silently praying fervently, aching for my Lord to get me through this one unscathed.



I gave my heart away,

In Your way, Allah,

I beseech Your Aid for one last battle,

Oh, Healer of Hearts… 


Dear Readers,

A bit of a longer post because I’m writing next week so will be a bit crazy. Please do remember me and all those who are writing in Duaas…

Love to hear from the readers . 

Much Love,

A xx


As per the previous post, we are now on the Sunnah of Drinking Water 

  1. The Sunnah of drinking water states that blowing on hot water or exhaling into a water glass can spread bacteria into the water. Therefore, it’s important that you move the glass of water away from your mouth after taking a sip so that you can avoid breathing onto thewater. Recite “Alhamdulillah” after drinking water.


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An Unexpected Visitor

Bismihi Ta’ala


Once upon a time, when I was far too caught up with a life that probably involved a lot of late nights, misguided aspirations and brain-crushing ideas, an unwavering friendship that pulled at the heartstrings was about to be severed…

Okay, so I’m sorry that this story is a little morbid, but I promise I’m not the kind of guy who would make you cry. Really, I wouldn’t.

Anyway, I’ll get on with it.

So there was once a boy and a girl who spent every minute of their techno-free (unbelievable, right?) childhood together, and were now well aware that their childhood (as they knew it)… well, was about to end. It was time to move on to the rest of their lives. It was the time that most people like me dread. It was time to grow up.

But this story about the boy and girl, and what happened after, is not the important one. What’s important here is the magic that had been born from this bond. This love, that these two kids can somehow formed, had stemmed from something that was so absolutely unique… that hearing about it kind of made me wonder who was the inspiration behind it all. I didn’t know that I’d have the privilege of meeting this very man years later… this boy’s father, who had been the pinnacle of every ambition, hope and aspiration that brought to life for these two kids, in every sense of theirs, the beauty of creation…

And it was through this, and everything they had come to see, that they truly lived and believed, that nothing was created in vain. That they saw amazement in every vision. Every moment, minute and passing interval, there was not a time when they didn’t remember that sunshine was a gift of Allah’s power, and the rain was a reminder of His mercy. A flower was never just a flower. It brought to life the advent of a great and momentous occasion that had just transpired. A rainbow was not just a rainbow. It was a symbol of Allah’s hope that spread across the sky, to remind them of how amazing and colorful life could really be.

It was a time when all things were tall, and all their friends were small. The world was new, and the skies were always blue… well, not really, because that’s impossible (except for real poets)… But you get my drift..

Basically, it was when the sun was at it’s brightest. Where everything was inherently magical, with no major effort. That was essentially, what childhood was about, and as this friendship bloomed in the most natural way, a love of Allah was cultivated and transferred from a heart that held so much of it, to a heart that was yearning to carry more. And from that blossoming heart… it’s love had brimmed and spilled over to be passed on to not just a few, but many, many others too… And at the end of this particular story.. I was one of those fortunate people that somehow got thrown, head-first, into the mix.

You see, there’s a great lesson here that’s evaded me all these months, since hearing this story.  All I saw was a cute little story of two kids that had no point. But then, as I looked deeper… I was simply blown away.

So let me just say this: Never, ever underestimate the smallest of actions. Especially with a little kid… you can never know the true effect of showing a young heart who their Creator really is. You never know what the value is of teaching a child the language of Glorious Qur’an. You will never regret teaching a child that their only reality is Allah, because this little effort really can go to insurmountable lengths. Because that purity… that connection that is formed at such a tender age… that type of love… is simply infectious.

Once you feel it, you will never want to let go. When the heart sings it, embraces it and lives it… the mist is completely cleared. The veil is permanently lifted. And no matter what that little kid will be told in a group or class of kids who know none the better, whether he is told that there is no sky, or the earth had materialized from one Big Bang or that humans evolved from some kind of apes… his (or her) sturdy heart will know better, because it will continue to sing…

Laa ilaha Illalah, laa Ilaha Illalah. 

There is no Reality but Allah. 

The Maker, the Breaker… Owner and Creator of the entire Universe.

And though I featured nowhere in that little tale that I just told you, there is something amazing about my life that tops the charts. Something that’s made me believe that wonderful things can happen to even undeserving people. Something that’s opened my heart to such a vast degree that I never thought I could ever witness.

Somewhere along the way, I found the gold. In some deviate alley, I stumbled upon a path that’s lead me to the most spectacular of treasures. An insurmountable pleasure. Somehow, through a magic beyond my understanding, I’ve managed to find it in me to love another person with all my heart and soul and to me… That will always be enough. Because even if I lived my entire life to achieve nothing else… I had already found what I need. I had already found the pathway to enteral bliss. I knew now that my living and my breathing and my dying was only for One Supreme Being.

We often hear about destiny. Fate. What’s meant to be. Yet, we still strive with our best for this world, push ourselves… try so hard to make it to the top. We buckle our belts, we wear a helmet, we stick to the paved paths, we try to be safe. We try so hard to protect ourselves, but sometimes it’s not enough. When the bad things happen, they catch you by surprise. The tests and trials come suddenly, with no warning… But we forget that sometimes that’s exactly how the best things come too.

And yeah, I was floating somewhere on cloud nine for the past few months, and it was tough getting down from there. It was amazing, because the light that had entered my life was one that had broadened my entire horizon. I suppose we don’t really notice when things are a little wonky when we’re propped up somewhere in the clouds.

And we’ve all had our share of pain, somewhere along the path. Pain. Sometimes it’s in the mind. Sometimes it pushes us to the edge. Sometimes it’s just part of who we are.

Pain. It comes in all forms. The small nudge, a minor twinge, the random ache and the normal pains that we live with everyday. Then there is the kind of pain you can’t ignore.

Some levels of pain are so extreme… that it blurs out everything else. Makes the rest of the world fade away…. How we manage our pain is up to us. We medicate, anesthetize, ride it out, embrace it or even ignore it. For some of us, though, the best way to manage pain is to just push through it.

I reached up to take the Mybulen from the top shelf, pouring out three, and hoping it would do the trick. I read a Surah Fathihah as I pushed it down, knowing it was the key to the cure. Above all else, rely on Allah alone, right?

And yeah, the meds were a temporary fix, but what wasn’t temporary in this world, right? Next week I would book an appointment with the chiropractor and it would all be sorted out. I bent to put my shoes on, sitting down to swallow the pills.

I breathed in as I swallowed the water, remembering the Sunnah of drinking as I sipped. Pause. Sip. Deep breath. That’s the only way the water goes to every cell of your body. It’s the only way that the passages are so amazingly opened up so that those nutrients can replenish those cells, that need the nourishment of pure water. That was the Sunnah that I had lived almost two decades of my life with knowing nothing about.

I checked my view in the mirror as I watched myself. I looked normal. It was just that I felt like crap. The ringing of my phone halted my thoughts, and I quickly pulled it out as I glanced at the ID. It was Rubeena.

“Assalaamualiakum,” I said as I answered,  psyched to hear from my sister, already forgetting my aches and pains. 

“Was-salaam,” she said, sounding tired. I understood. Her life was not exactly great right now.

“Howsit Adam? Am I disturbing?”

”Nope,” I said, feeling a little better as I put my takkies on. “Just getting ready to fetch Khawlah.”

”Ah okay,” she said, sounding disappointed. “You guys going out?”

”Well, we have a big day planned next week,” I said, my heart drumming away as I thought of it. I couldn’t wait. “We had a few things to sort out before…”

”Oh shucks, okay no stress,” Ruby said quickly, sounding even more down. I honestly was feeling so bad now. I had a feeling that she needed me and I couldn’t help her. Did I just put it out there or did I just ignore it and live my own little fairy tale?

I couldn’t hear my sister like this.

“Rubes, what can I do for you?” I said, trying not to think too hard about what I may be getting myself into. Khawlah would understand. Ruby was sounding like she had been rained on with a ton of bricks.

“I need to leave the kids with you,” she said, sounding apologetic. “Just the three. They’re easier to handle. I have some things I need to sort out. Mum hasn’t really been much help. It’s their holidays and it’s not like I can take them anywhere… and Shabeer is pretty useless.. Just for a few days.”

A few days?

Crap. This was going to eat into almost all Khawlahs free time. I knew she loved the boys but I really wanted some time with her. Alone.

“It’s okay if you can’t,” Ruby said quickly, sensing my hesitation.

I swallowed as I thought about it. On one hand I had my amazing wife who I barely got to spend time with, and on the other hand was my sister who was in a predicament and needed my help. Why couldn’t I just include the boys in whatever we were doing? Maybe the big ‘date’ would have to wait a few days… but what other choice did I have?

“Okay, no problem,” I said, not wanting to let her down. I had this overwhelming desire to just make everything easier for everyone. I just wasn’t sure if it was going to backfire. “We would love to have them.”

“Thanks a million, Adam,” she said, instantly sounding relieved. “You don’t know what this means to me. You deserve the best brother award. I’ll tell them that you’ll fetch them in a bit.. just let me know what time. They’re so excited.”

I sighed as she cut the call, wishing that Rubeena could have at least let me know in advance. I couldnt help but think she was taking advantage, because she knew we both couldn’t say no. We wouldn’t. Looked like I’d have to tell Khawlah to wait another half hour for me… so I could take the boys with me.

And I know I sounded like an old battered guy, but I was already feeling tired, thinking of all the effort this was going to involve. After a long week all I wanted to do was chill. I loved my nephews to bits but they needed attention. They craved it because since Rubeena’s problems with Shabeer, they sensed the tension at home. I hated to put them in front of a screen, and ideas to keep them busy sometimes evaded me. I had a good mind of asking Khawlah to stay over, and I dialed her number again, hoping to sweet-talk her around the new plan.

“Sweets,” I said, noticing my wife’s voice sounding slightly strained. “I’m going to be half an hour later than planned.”

“How are you feeling today?” she said instantly.  “Your back?”

It was like it was the only thing on her mind since the topic hand come up. I cringed as I remembered how I literally repelled her touch that day. I was trying to be strong by not taking a painkiller the previous week. For me, aches and pains were a regular thing. It came with my job. It was just that I didn’t like to medicate all the time. Meds always have side effects.

”It’s not that,” I said, running my hand through my beard. “Ruby’s sending the boys. They’ll be with me.. us… for a few days. I’m so sorry… I didn’t plan for this but it should be fun, yeah?”

”Oh,” she said, sounding a little distracted. I had a feeling she wasn’t really listening. “Okay I’ll see you after then.”

”I’m sorry, Khawlah,” I said, feeling disappointed too. She would have loved the trip I planned. Local but amazing. I just couldn’t help how things change plan. We plan, but indeed, Allah was always the best planner.

”It’s okay,” she said. “What’s meant to be will be right? We can make the most of it.”

Exactly. That was my wife. Reminding me of all the things I kept forgetting.

”You’re amazing,” I said, a little in awe of her understanding. “You make it all so easy. I love you, beautiful.”

”See you just now.”

I grinned as she cut the call, shaking my head at my wife’s fear of emotion. She had closed herself off from the beauty of expression. I could just pour my heart out to her relentlessly, until I was blue in the face, and all I would get back was a cynical smile. And of course, she just did it again…

And despite all this, it didn’t change the fact that that I was lucky to have her. I knew that she didn’t have me in my mind when she chose a partner. I knew that I was way off the mark. Completely off the charts…  But when I looked into her eyes… I could literally see through to her heart. It was brimming with love

I smiled to myself weirdly as I got some snacks ready for the kids, feeling a bit better already. I had bought a bit of time, and since I started doing some shopping for the apartment, I had been stocking up.

On the up side, knowing that I would be surrounded by my favorite people that night was the best feeling ever. Having Khawlah and the boys over would be a blast. Story time was always the highlight. Khawlah still topped the list with the way she read stories and Hadith… and I always felt contented when she was here with them. I could just picture them jumping around on the couches, (which I had to act like I minded, but I didn’t really) playing some annoyingly childish game, with her counting to ten to get them to pay attention again. Nights like these… well, this was what life was about.

It was how I pictured my life with Khawlah a few years down the line, hopefully with a few kids of our own. I could imagine her being a great mother… a great example… and picturing her as the woman who would hold my home together… well, there really was no other way I’d have it.

And of course, being a little bit of an obsessively organized guy, having gotten myself a little more sorted for the evening ahead, my mind was feeling a little at ease.

I grabbed my jacket and keys, glancing at the clock to ensure I’d be back for Salaah. There was plenty of time to head to that side of town and still be back on time.

And though I hated city life and preferred the natural scenes much more, the nice thing about having an apartment was the convenience of being able to just pull a door and leave. There never was a security problem in the building, and that’s what I liked about living there. Knowing that Khawlah might be here alone at times the following year if I had to go on any trips or be out of town was my main reason for choosing this place. For now, the location, simplicity and convenience suited me perfectly.

And that’s why, when the lift touched down at the ground floor, when I stepped out to see a glimpse a youngish looking Muslim girl standing impatiently in the foyer, looking at the mounted list of occupants in the building, I really didn’t even bat an eyelid. I figured she was someone else’s visitor, averted my gaze and walked ahead. I greeted the old couple who lived on the bottom floor as they left, and raised a hand to the security guard. It was only when I reached the door, that I heard a voice, and immediately knew that she was talking to me. I was the only person left there.

“Excuse me,” she said loudly, and I paused momentarily as I glanced at her. I didn’t speak to strange girls, but I knew how to handle myself.

She was almost Khawlah’s height and I assumed that she was around her age too.

”Yes,” I said, wondering what she wanted from me.

“I came to see a girl I know… I’m not sure at which number she stays but I’m told that she lives in this building. Do you maybe know her? Her name is Khawlah.”

“That’s my wife,” I said, narrowing my eyes at her involuntarily. “Who are you?”

I turned to face her, feeling a bit threatened now, knowing that this person was probably not supposed to be here. It was obvious that Khawlah knew nothing about her coming. She would have mentioned if she was getting a visitor. It was unlike her to invite someone without telling me. Especially a female that I’ve never seen before…

“My name’s Hannah,” she said, looking nervous as she said it. “And I really need to speak to her.”

N.B. next two posts may be a little delayed. Its that time of the year again.. request for Du’aas

Much Love, 



Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “A man is upon the religion of his best friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2378

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to keep the best company that can be to our benefit. Keeping good company is also a Sunan, and a means of reward.  

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Building Bridges

Bismihi Ta’ala


“Khawlah,” Nusaybah said as I opened the door after school, on the last Friday of term one. I was feeling all euphoric and psyched at the onset of the holidays, but one look at my friends stony face had already killed my vibe. “I’ve got the worst news ever.”

I swallowed as I looked at her. I had just got off the phone with Aadam, who was obviously just as excited as I was that we had a short break ahead. What we didn’t know at that stage was that there were a few more hurdles in store for us before we could be absorb ourselves in holiday bliss. Brick by brick, a few more bridges were still left to be built…

“What’s happened?” I asked her, knowing very well that Nusaybah was also a tad bit dramatic.

”My father booked a trip!” She said, throwing her hands up in the air dramatically. “Three hours away! For FIVE whole days! There goes all our plans for burning the midnight oil! Honestly! Can you believe him?”

I closed my eyes in silent appreciation.

Allah had really answered my Duaas that week.

”Err, Nus,” I said, wondering if my friend had gone crazy. All that studying had to affect your brain negatively at some point. “How is that even bad news?”

I was elated. No Nusaybah next door meant no-one stressing me out about studying till the wee hours of the morning. No Nusaybah around meant I could sleep till late. No Nusaybah..

Gosh. I couldn’t believe I was such a horrible friend. And an even worse student.

“He didn’t even ask me!” She moaned, as she trudged down the passage to my room.

“That’s lovely news,” I said, smiling broadly. “I hope it’s somewhere nice, gorgeous and green. You know, I heard that the outdoors is the best therapy… really excellent for indulging your brain too. The nature, the sunshine… the swishing and swaying of the trees that work on your subconscience…”

Nusaybah scowled as she paused to open the door, and then halted in mid-action and froze, already in a frenzy.

Khawlah!” She whispered, looking appalled. “No-ones in here, right? Like, it’s  safe, right? To enter?”

I flung my hand to my mouth in shock.

Wait!” I said, widening my eyes at Nusaybah, while I pretended to peep around the door. “Let me just tell him to get decent…”

You should have seen the look on her face as I turned to look at her. She was absolutely mortified. I did not even want to know what she was thinking.

By then, of course, I was giggling uncontrollably, quite amused by my friend. I honestly didn’t know what she thought of Aadam and I, even though I had tried really hard convincing her that my life was pretty much like a normal teenager and that I didn’t hide my husband in my bedroom.

“Oh my goodness, Khawlah,” she breathed, seeing the room actually messily empty as she dove on the bed in appreciation.

There was actually no way I could ever even allow Aadam in here. He would be horrified.

“You nearly gave me a heart attack,” she said, closing her eyes and breathing in dramatically, like she was doing some weird Japanese calming technique. My friend was actually quite hilarious when she wasn’t on a mission to work the life out of me.

“You guys still acting like some middle-age couple then,” Nusaybah muttered, her chin cupped in her hands now as she rolled over and eyed me out. “Or did he finally reveal to you his bloodsucking tendencies and you made a run for it?”

I rolled my eyes.

”Nusaybah, please…”

“Hey,” she said, shrugging her shoulders. “My best friend is married to a possible Edward…”

“You need to stop devouring those Twilight books,” I said shaking my head, knowing it was a craze at school. “You’re becoming obsessed.”

I mean, really? Did girls not have anything more to do that sit and obsess over weird vampires? I wasn’t really sure what it was about the story,  but what I did know was that every young girl wants to save the gorgeous bloodsucking monster and rescue him from his lonely eternity. How warped is that?

“Okay, okay,” Nusaybah said, smiling comically as I stared her down. “I’m kidding. I’m just fake obsessing like those annoying girls at school. But on a serious note, I do expect to hear a few juicy details now and then. That’s all. How old are you’ll? Seventy-five? Honestly, Khawlah, sometimes I wonder. All that ‘waiting for forever’ junk is so outdated. You guys need to get with the times. Some action would be appreciated.”

”Can we talk about something else?” I said, not in the mood to explain our situation yet again. Besides, I was never going to talk to Nusaybah about those details at any point, and by the look of things, Aadam wasn’t ready for me to move in with him anyway. He was certain that staying together would be a distraction for me and that we had plenty of time.

And we did, of course. Our whole lives. What was the rush?

Nusaybah and I chatted about some issues  that had gone on at school, about how some girls were consumed with finding boyfriends, and of course… our aspirations after the year was over.

Sometimes I was so glad that Nusaybah was my friend. Instead of all the boy-girl obsessing that usually went on in school… and her constantly nagging my brains about inappropriate things… she did bring more substance to life. And excitement too. She was definitely so much more focused, and without her I probably would have been so lost.

She kept me grounded, because she truly was one of those friends that reminded me of Allah. She had such deep and unwavering faith, that I found it hard to believe she was my age. When I first met her, I didn’t understand what a great personality I had been privileged to befriend. Her entire outlook on life was so amazing that spending time with her was one of my favorite things to do.

And especially at this time of my life, I knew that it was so important to have good friends. Friends to learn from. Friends to guide you. Friends who can show you what’s important in life… and what’s really worth focusing on.

And when I learnt once about the Tafsir of the verse about friendship, I couldn’t help but be taken aback by its message. Ibn Kathir has briefly said, in his Tafsir, that every friendship will be turned to enmity on the day of Judgement. But he didn’t stop there, because at the end of the ayah, Allah says…

except for the righteous…

Close friends, that Day, will be enemies to each other, except for the righteous…” Surah Zukhruf.

And that particular part was so amazing, because the end of the verse was precisely the beauty of everlasting friendship. The line that is drawn, the distinguishing element… the deciding factor that makes it or breaks it. If a friendship is one that is for Allah Ta’ala, and it’s fulfillment benefits one’s relation with his or her Lord, then definitely, Allah has given a promise that these kind of friendships… will carry over to a life beyond this meager world.

The thing was, I was really anxious about Matric but I knew the key was keeping good company and knowing that there was an end to the madness. Sometimes I wondered what all the hype was about. This year, everyone insisted, would define our future.

But it wasn’t this year that scared me. What really made me anxious was all the talk about post-matric studies. It was the only thing on everyone’s minds. I knew that my father wouldn’t allow me to do anything besides what was correspondence learning… he had previously said he had learnt his lesson with Zuleikha.

And though I didn’t really mind, I always felt like people expected me to aim for more… and be more than just ‘a girl studying at home’. People were expectant. Condescending too. And then, just when I was feeling all down and out about it, she told me something made made me see it in a different light.

“Sometimes we have to stop gaping at the barriers and start building our own bridges,” she said, in her old wise voice.

And Nusaybah had made it all okay by being the one to remind me that not being able to study at a university wasn’t a barrier. She made me see that what I made of my life doesn’t define who I was. She had so beautifully said that as a Muslim women, there was a much broader role that Allah had set for us, besides what career path we wanted to chase, if it was our choice. Allah Ta’ala, in his infinite wisdom, had given us the noble task of nurturing little humans and bringing them into this world to tread on the most illuminated path. Allah does not burden us by giving us multiple roles and tasks.

First and foremost, he has given us a most esteemed role of being mothers of the Ummah, and although I found myself so blown away as she spoke so passionately, I still couldn’t help but think that my role of being a mother was still pretty far off. To me, it was at least 5 to 6 years into the distant future… what would I do in the meantime?

What I didn’t know was that Allah had a plan for me in a little miracle that was going to make it a reality much sooner than I thought. This amazing, yet unexpected addition to my life would be my reason.. my life… and rightfully, alter my entire future as I knew it, in the process…

Sometimes we just had to change our perspective, and a world of opportunity awaits.

I breathed in as I processed Nusaybah’s words, knowing that being married to Aadam was something that would play a major part in my decision too… I just didn’t know what a huge part in my future plans he would come to play.

Oh my scarf!” Nusaybah suddenly yelped, flinging her hand to her mouth. My friend was so dramatic, as she looked at me with wide eyes I couldn’t help but wonder what she was on about now. “Before I go… I completely forgot to tell you! I met this girl the other day at the park with my brother… I’m not sure if you remember… the one that used to attend Tafseer with us and then she left…”

I racked my brains for a few seconds, trying to figure out who this girl was and why Nusaybah was mentioning her. We had been attending extra classes for three years now, once a week.

“I have no idea, Nus,” I said, quite confused. “People come and leave classes all the time.”

“So anyway, nevermind. I saw her and she actually came up to talk to me!” Nusaybah said, waving her hand at me as if it didn’t matter. “And guess what she asked me?”

”Err,” I said, completely clueless. “I have no idea, Nus. She could have asked you anything.”

”She asked me about you!”

“So?” I said, not really knowing where she was going with this. Who was this girl, even?

”She wanted to know if you have a brother called Ahmed,” she said, her eyes widening. “I asked her why, but all she first said was something vague. Anyway, eventually I got it out of her and she said she was asking for her cousin who lives 4 hours away somewhere in some farm place… and they are looking for a reference…”

”A reference?” I repeated, sounding like an idiot. Why would anyone need a reference about Ahmed? Unless…

I knew that Nusaybah had some idea of what had happened with Rubeena… but she hadn’t heard it from me. Right now wasn’t exactly the greatest timing for this type of thing to be going on…

I could hear voices in the kitchen for a while now, and I had a feeling that Ahmed was home. I just wasn’t sure who it was that he was talking to. All I knew was that I had to get to the bottom of this.

“Khawlah, I need to leave,” Nusaybah said after a few minutes. “Please don’t mention my name…maybe you’re not supposed to know..?”

Nusaybah’s voice was slightly anxious as I opened the door. She was worried now, but she had already mentioned it so there was no going back, right?

Aadam had just phoned to say he needed to fetch the boys and was going to be a bit later to fetch me than he had planned, so I knew there was no rush to be ready. I had a bit more time…

I paused to give Nusaybah a quick hug before she headed for the front door. They were leaving early tomorrow and she still needed time to pack.

In the meantime, with much on my mind, I rounded the kitchen corner and was pleasantly surprised to see my sister visiting. I didn’t even know she and Muhammed had arrived. I gave him a slobbery kiss whilst I caught up on his incoherent chatter. He was so adorable at this age.

Zuleikha and Ahmed were talking about a trip they were scheduling for a few days, and as I looked at them curiously, I could see Ahmed’s frame become more rigid as I listened. Things between the two of us were a little strained since everything to do with Rubeena had blown up. I knew that Ahmed was upset, but the least he could have done was let me know if he was looking for suitors… before I heard it through someone else.

“When do you want to leave?” Zuleikha was asking him, and my ears pricked up as I tried to gather more information.

”Tuesday morning,” Ahmed said. “So we can be back by the evening. I rather keep it short. Maulana says that they are some other girls he wanted me to see next week. I don’t mind going alone.”

Tuesday? Why did Tuesday sound familiar… I was sure that something was planned for Tuesday, that was completely evading me right now.

”No,” Zuleikha said, shaking her head. “We’ll come with you. Right, Khawlah? Let’s just take it one at a time.”

Did he think looking for girls was like a shopping mission? He couldn’t just tick them off the list like grocery items…

I looked at my brother, taking on his unapproachable frame as he stood there. He was always so hard. Unwavering. It seemed like his mind was always occupied with something or the other… just waiting to get each task over with. He had no passion.

I couldn’t help but wonder if he was throwing himself into proposals too soon after the Rubeena drama. And yes, though I had to admit that him getting married would probably be a good idea… I just wasn’t sure how a girl would feel if she knew about the recent events that had surrounded Ahmed’s name.

”Ahmed,” I said carefully, hoping I wasn’t going to overstep the mark. “Are you sure you should be doing this so… soon?”

”I tried to tell him,” Zuleikha said, shrugging. “But he won’t listen.”

Ahmed scowled. Of course he would.

“What do you want me to do, Khawlah?” he scoffed, a little more abruptly than necessary. “I have to get married at some point. Now seems like an appropriate time, don’t ya think?”

”That’s the thing,” I couldn’t help but say. “Maybe it’s not a good time. Maybe you need to let thing settle for a while first before you jump into -“

”Really?!” He said, turning to me, his hazel eyes flashing angrily. “You have a problem with this too?! You had a problem when I spoke to Rubeena. Now you have a problem when I’m trying to find a wife to settle down with. Really, Khawlah? Is there anything you don’t have a problem with?”

“Hey,” I said heatedly, annoyed at his reaction. “Stop jumping down our throats! All I did was suggest that you wait. You’re most welcome to go and throw yourself into something that you’re not ready to take on.”

“I’m sick of people telling me what to do!” Ahmed growled, his face getting redder by the second. “I can’t make everyone happy! My whole life it’s been someone or the other… Abba, that woman he married, Foi Nani.. now you and Zuleikha think you’ll fit the profile. Don’t you’ll get it? You’ll are not my mother, so stop acting like it. Get off my back, man. You’ll can decide if you’ll want to come, but I’m going on Tuesday whether you’ll like it or not!”

My phone was buzzing on the counter top as I watched my brother stare us both down, almost as if he was waiting for us to challenge him.

Sheesh. Ahmed had issues. And a short fuse too. I glanced at Zuleikha as he turned and walked out, shaking my head, and just feeling defeated. Maybe I should have just kept my thoughts to myself. I didn’t know what to say anymore.

”He’ll come around,” Zuleikha said, the house phone now ringing incessantly.

I had almost forgotten that Aadam was due to fetch me, and as I put the phone to my ear, I barely even expected to hear his voice greeting me back.

“Sweets,” he said, his voice sounding calm, but definitely not himself. There was something about his next words that stopped me in my tracks.

I had a feeling that there was another bridge that was waiting for us to build and cross. Bit by bit, brick by brick… Somehow, through rocky and rough waters, we had to make it through…

“Is Ahmed there?” He said, sounding a little desperate now. “I’m so sorry. I’m a bit tied up for now. Somethings come up and I need you to ask him to drop you here please… right now. It’s urgent.”

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “A man is upon the religion of his best friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2378

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to keep the best company that can be to our benefit. Keeping good company is also a Sunan, and a means of reward.  

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Perfect Patch Up

Bismihi Ta’ala


Can you imagine a world where everyone just got along? Where peace reigned… where politics were non-existent… where no leader was corrupt?

Imagine a world free from war… famine… from the atrocities that are a part of day-to-day life.

And speaking of atrocities, let me just enlighten you. I’m not really a political kind of guy, but just so you can educate yourself, hear me out.

Basically, a few years ago in Tunisia, the rural town of Sidi Bouzid, a 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi, was preparing his stall of fruit and vegetables. He was the sole bread winner of his family.

Struggling to make ends meet and lead a regular life, Bouazizi was caught off guard when the police requested a permit for his business. He was then asked to hand over his wooden cart, and upon his refusal, a policewoman allegedly slapped him.

Long story short, the heart wrenching tale goes on to where Mohamed set himself on fire outside the governor’s office, despondent at being unable to earn money and provide for his family. And yes, it was heartbreaking. For everyone.

And we often wonder where all this turmoil began, where all the heartbreak and uprising started. At this advent, came the initiation of what we now know as the ‘Arab spring’. A despondent tale of an innocent man who, when tried to plead his case thereafter, felt let down by the system… then positioned himself in front of a government building… and set himself alight.

His act of desperation resonated immediately with others in the town, and shortly, throughout the Arab world. Protests began that day in Sidi Bouzid, captured by cellphone cameras and shared on the Internet. Within days, campaigns started popping up across the country and the entire Middle East.

The momentum in Tunisia set off uprisings across the Middle East… and of course, as I stepped out into Cairo that night, I couldn’t help but see it’s effects all over.

You see, this tale broke my heart, because in my perfect world, everyone deserves a chance. A fair shot. No one should have to wonder where their next meal will come from or wonder where they will end up sleeping each night. Everyone should have a home to go to… even if it’s a place with people just like them. They should have people who care for them and a space to call their own. Everyone should have a chance to be the best they can be and to reach their fullest potential.

That kind of world… well, although it sounds like the most amazing thing… it simply can’t exist. Because we don’t live in Utopia. We have to do our own patching up, because we don’t live in a perfect world.

And we have to understand this. The fact is that this striving… struggle… this toil… that is part of our existence is not really our life. It is merely our worldly existence. Beyond this world… beyond here… believe it or not, there is a perfect world. One that we have to work towards. Beyond our pain and tests and trials, there is a blissful, beautiful and peaceful world that awaits. It is and everlasting abode and it’s what we are placed in this world to prepare for. Sometimes we need to understand this, before we give in to the pressures that this life brings for us. Sometimes we need to stop and just wonder if we always are doing the right thing.

And yes, sometimes the world scares me. When I went to Egypt, I was a little shaken by the dynamics that existed there. Seeing Khalid there made it all the more real for me, because he was living with in it. I wanted to get to know more.

“Ahmed, it’s great to see you,” he had said as I stepped back, giving him a once over to assess how different he looked.

He had grown up. He was slightly taller and broader than me. He was rough around the edges, but I could see beyond that. He still possessed that childish charm that I had known back then… as if he was always up to some amazing adventure, and of course, I could tell that he hadn’t stopped when he came here.

I could see a few guys coming up to him and asking him things… almost as if they relied on him for everything.

“Listen,” he said, after introducing himself easily to Molvi and chatting a bit to us about the general happenings there. “We have somewhere we have to be now, but will you guys join us later?”

He had directed the question at Molvi as well, telling them that one of his family members had a restaurant in central Cairo and they would be honoured for us to join them later. Molvi assessed the situation for a few minutes, and because he seemed to take to Khalid, he agreed to meet for a late supper, so we could rest first.

And of course, everything about that night was awesome. The food was amazing, the hospitality was superb, and they were so thrilled that a Jamaat had come to their humble restaurant. We could hear the chatter of Arabic to and fro as Khalid kept calling for more and more exquisite dishes. I can’t even describe how delicious it was. I felt like my stomach was bursting, but Khalid was still calling for the famous Egyptian desserts, despite our protests. Molvi had taken a liking to Khalid and the two of them chatted for a while while we sat inside. Khalid was thrilled to see me after all these years, making small talk about the family and everything that he missed about South Africa. Molvi and Imraan had called it a night by around 10, but I stuck around for a bit… wanting to be a little adventurous.

I took a pull of the pipe as I sat opposite him just outside the shop, letting the tobacco settle in my throat for a few minutes before I let it out. I already loved this place.

I loved the boisterous atmosphere outside. For now, it was safe and everything was calm. Now I could see why Khalid was here. The night life was amazing.

“How’s the family?”

I looked at him for a second, knowing that he wasn’t asking just for small talk. He genuinely wanted to know, and I knew who in particular he was asking about. He was just too modest to say it.

”They’re good,” I said, meeting his eye. “Khawlah’s happy. You know she’s married?”

And that’s when I saw it. That look in his eyes, like I had punched him. He kind of just froze, as I said it.

“Really?” He finally said, still looking shocked, but attempting to recover. “Wow, that’s great. I thought … She’s still in school right?”

I shrugged, taking another pull of the pipe. Khalid had halted the smoking on his side. Actually, I wasn’t even sure if he had taken a pull. He was probably sick of this thing by now… they probably did this every night. There wasn’t much else to do if you’re staying out of trouble. It was great, though.

“They made Nikah,” I said, looking around me at the night life here. “She’ll stay with Adam after her finals.”

I wasn’t big on details and I could tell it left Khalid a little puzzled. I was too taken in by the atmosphere here to care.

And I suppose it was just as well that a guy suddenly came up to our table and stuck out his hand. I shook it, a little surprised at the hospitality, and Khalids infectious smile returned as he got up and embraced him, introducing me to his cousin. The guy chatted a while in Arabic to Khalid, and then an older woman came and hugged him. I assumed it was his aunty.

“This your brother-in-law?”

Khalid said something in Arabic and the woman nodded and looked at me, before giving me a wave and then going away.

“Sorry, that was weird,” he said, looking apologetic. “When I came here all my aunties wanted to do was marry me to their daughters. I told them I already had a girl back home… of course, I was joking…”

Ah. That explained the brother-in-law thing.

“Whenever I mention someone from SA, well… you can see what happens. They think my in-laws are here.”

”You didn’t know about Khawlah?” I asked, wondering why his mother wouldn’t tell him. “From your ma?”

He shrugged.

“She didn’t say anything,” Khalid said, and looked away. “I’m happy for her.”

The topic was closed and we spoke about a few other things that he was pursuing at the moment. Although he was normal and  went into great detail about his ambitions and what he planned to do here, I could see that something was on his mind after I mentioned Khawlah’s marriage.

And it wasn’t exactly me to sit and dwell over these things so I let it go. I kind of got the picture, in my mind. I had a feeling that Khalid had meant more than he had let on that night. What I didn’t know was that I had still gotten the picture wrong. There were some things that Khalid’s mother had hidden from Khawlah for a reason, and it was a little too late before I found out. Some things that no-one was supposed to know.

And of course, coming back home after that with a skewed train of thought, I couldn’t help but assume that Khawlah had been in touch with Khalid. That something had gone on and she had left him in the lurch. I didn’t try and find out the truth. Shortly after, the news about Khalid’s death came… and it was a shock to my system. It was no use trying to figure the truth at that point anyway. I felt like I had just seen the guy, with so many promises and in all his glory… and now he was gone.

But such was life. Khalid was so young and alive and free… even when I had seen him.. but one thing I remembered about him was what a remarkable and thoughtful human being he was. So responsible. He had grown up into an ambitious guy too. He was crazy about politics and about keeping close to Deen, but only because he was so protective over his family. He had spoken about getting out there and doing the right thing. About showing the people how to live, despite their conditions. He saw a better life, beyond war and famine and everything else that existed. All that was cut short, because of an idiot who didn’t like his optimistic ideas… but he had already inspired me. He had done good.

And that time of the year was a bit rough for me, as I dealt with emotions, work and admissions for the course I was doing… along with my fathers pressure on what to do with my life. Sometimes I really felt that my father needed to get married again, so he could get off my back… but then I remembered the last time he did it and I agreed that we were better off.

It was just that whenever someone close to me passed away, it was like I felt it a million times more than the last time.

And it was around that time of the year when a lady had called me one night, saying she got my number from someone who said I could help her. I didn’t know who she was at first, but we soon figured it out. It was barely rocket science.

Now, as I drove back home, roughly three months from that night, I couldn’t help but curse the day that she had called.

I pulled my phone out from my side console as I unlocked it, keeping my eye on the road as I searched her number. It had been a while since I dialed it, and I was glad. Now that the situation had come to this… I knew that I had to do it one last time. I had to sort this out.

And yes, the voices in my head were screaming at me not to press that little symbol to initiate the call, but against my better judgement, the ringing tone sounded and there was already no going back. I knew I had to do this one last time.


It was her. She had answered.

“Salaam,” I said, as steadily as I could. I didn’t say anymore.

“How are you?”  It was her who asked first. She sounded worried and out of breath. Like she had been rushing to get the phone. Or maybe she was rushing around behind her four kids. Four kids. That’s a lot.

“I’m fine. I need to-“

”Sorry, these kids are making a din,” she cut me off, and I could hear shutting a few doors as she spoke again.

”Sorry,” she said again. “What were you saying?”

I had to cut to the chase. No small talk.

“Ruby, what’s going on?” I said stiffly, hating the uncertainty that speaking to her brought. Not speaking to her was worse. I was confused. “Can I get some clarity here?”

She was silent.

“Rubeena, can you answer me?” I said, raising my voice slightly. “Everyone is on my case and I’ve had convince your brother and mother that it’s not what they think. My sisters are breathing down my back. What the hell is going on?”

I knew it wasn’t fair to put this all on her, but I couldn’t help but think that she had caused this. To me, I did nothing wrong. All I did was speak to her. Feelings were by the way.

“I don’t know!” She said softly, and I could tell that she was crying.

And then of course, without even expecting it, I felt terrible. I couldn’t even deal with my sisters crying, which they hardly did. Now I had to deal with this.

“I don’t know what to do,” she said, sounding a bit steadier. “My mother phoned. She said you came to talk to her. You know she likes you more than she likes me? She said everything is my fault and I caused problems for everyone. For you too. She said I must get back together with Shabeer and it will all be okay. She said his problems are just a small things… that women go through so much worse.”

”You know it’s not like that,” I said, getting angry. I wasn’t sure at who. I didn’t even know why.

Meeting Aadam and Rubeena’s mother was an event that I couldn’t forget. She was so loud. Loud and extremely nerve-wrecking. But it went off better than expected. She actually made me sit for tea. It was a little awkward. She was so enthusiastic. Zuleikha was a little shocked at her behaviour, but I knew how women like her were. They loved attention and needed buttering up. Although I didn’t have the time and energy for that, I had to come out with a clean slate.

And it was at that point, as I awaited Rubeena’s answer, that I remembered Zuleikha’s words. What if there was some guy, talking to my sister? Ruby was someone’s sister and daughter too. Someone’s mother. I couldn’t carry on like this. I needed to stop this. Right now. I was panicking. What did I even call her for?

Rubeena sighed, and I waited a few more seconds, knowing where this was headed. I now knew that whatever she said, I had to do the right thing.

“Shabeer is threatening to fight for custody,” she said, sounding exhausted. “I know we never spoke about it but we both knew what thoughts crossed our minds. I shouldn’t have phoned you to complain about him. I shouldn’t have dragged you into all my problems. I shouldn’t have told you half the things I did. Now look what it’s caused. I did it all and I know it’s too late and we can’t take it back… but this is it. If he hears anything else about you… I’m in for it. I’ll be roasted, Ahmed. He knows what will break me. He’ll turn everyone against me. He’ll hire the best lawyers and he’ll finish me. I can’t deal with this. I don’t have the energy and I can’t lose my kids. I’m sorry. Let’s just forget we spoke and go on with our lives. I’m sorry for everything this had caused for you. I’m so sorry, Ahmed. I have to go.”

The phone line cut just as I opened my mouth. That was it. What was there to even say? Maybe it was better this way? There was no use even venturing down that lane. I didn’t even know what to feel. Feelings were just by the way. I just needed to know where to focus now, and right now, it was more clear than ever.

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I shouldn’t have thought anything could happen. I had to repent for those feelings. I had to. I hastily deleted her number from my phone, annoyed that I was upset. I had to move past this and there was just one way.

There was about 10 minutes in peak traffic till I got home. It was just enough time to make that one more call and sort it all out. The more I thought about it, the more it just made sense. This was the only way to get past all this. This was the only way that I was going to ever get this all behind me and move on.

The ring tone was sounding again, and this time, I was all ready for what I needed to say.

“Ahmed! Assalamualaikum Wa Rahmatullah! How are you keeping, Bhai?” He said, sounding ecstatic at my call. “I’ve been waiting for you to give me the go ahead… are you ready for another trip?! We’re forming a Jamaat for Europe.”

I actually missed him a lot. I really needed to see him. He was just so far away. I wished he stayed closer.

“Jhee, always, Maulana,” I said, the thought of going away already sounding exciting. Just what I needed. “But that isn’t why I called.”

”Jhee, Jhee,” Molvi said, obviously knowing that I had another reason. “What can I do for you, my brother?”

”I remembered that Maulana once asked about marriage,” I said steadily. “That there were a few girls who were available. I wanted to check if the offer still… stands.”

”Jhee, of course,” Molvi said, sounding elated. “There are always girls looking for good guys like you. You coming down to Durban. Want me to organise it?”

“Please,” I said, knowing that I had to move past all this. Good guys like me? Despite feeling like I was being crushed by a ton of bricks, I knew that this had to be the only way. I had to take responsibility and patch things up for everyone.

“I’m ready to make Nikah.”

Authors note: Disclaimer: With regard to what happens in this post, it is crossing the boundaries of what’s allowed but I have briefly gone into the problems it caused to stress on its’s abstinence. In many of our dealings, whether it be at home or work, our Ulema have constantly stressed on the importance of maintaining a respectful relationship with non-Mahrams, if we have to converse with them. The ideal is to let a male or someone else represent oneself, if there is a need. Whether it be the guy who is working for you or a distant family member, chatting about our lives and problems and getting into detail in conversation is completely forbidden and always leads to problems. Our voice should also be altered so we don’t sound attractive. Hijaab and Pardah is of great importance. May Allah guide us all. 

I’m sure many readers may not think Ahmed is doing the right thing.. Any thoughts? 

Much Love,

A 🌸

Sunnah of maintaining ties: 

Beloved Nabi (SAW) has said:

“The person who perfectly maintains the ties of kinship is not the one who does it because he gets recompensed by his relatives (for being kind and good to them), but the one who truly maintains the bonds of kinship is the one who persists in doing so even though the latter has severed the ties of kinship with him“. [Al-Bukhari].

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to rekindle any ties of kingship that may have been severed. It is truly a great reward and Sunnah.

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One Sweet Day

Bismihi Ta’ala


I wish I could write you a poem, 

To say just how I feel,

But every time I put pen to paper,

I still wonder if you’re a dream…

Aadam was comically avoiding eye contact as I glanced up at him. He made me want to burst into giggles.

That was just so sweet. What was even cuter was the way he refused to look at me, as I coyly eyed him out. He was wearing his three-quarter track pants and a simple grey t-shirt, and I couldn’t help but notice how amazingly serene he looked today.

And I was slightly taken aback, as I folded the piece of paper in my hand. I mean, who even writes poems these days? With ink? I secretly buried it into the depths of my soul… as I simultaneously tucked the note into my battered beaded purse.

“At least say something,” Aadam said, running his hand through his beard as he glanced at me from where he sat at the edge of his seat, on his handmade wooden bench. “Is it too corny for words?”

“You really are multi-talented,” I said simply, a little overwhelmed by the emotions.

I wished that I could stitch it to my heart.

“I thought of it that day while I sat with you and watched the sunrise,” he said, glancing at me. “Wanted to remind you…”

”It’s beautiful,” I said simply, as I gently reached out to touched his dimpled cheek.

There was just something about hand written notes that made me want to tuck them away and keep them forever. What was more amazing was what he had waiting here for me, with it. And yes, unconventional but so me… He had packed a gift box filled with a variety of flower seeds, vegetable seedlings and the best of all… a brand new gardening set. And I know it wasn’t every girl’s idea of a perfect gift but it most definitely was mine.

Aadam had known exactly what I needed to find my base again… calm down, and just find my peace again after the eventful term… he always bought the most unusual things for me and this time… he had hit the nail right on the head.

“Maybe we could bring the boys over later and enjoy the planting together?” I suggested, aching to see those kids again.

It had been over a week and I was especially missing Danyaal and his quirky humor. He was a lot like Aadam, and as he grew up, he was really becoming such a pleasant young man. I was just so glad that they had Aadam as a constant in their life. He made sure he went there every day, and that was exactly what they needed.

“Of course,” Aadam said, smiling at me as we looked up into the sun, enjoying the feeling of it’s fuzzy warmth on our face. How I loved these months leading to winter, with their tepid weather and  welcomed sunshine…

And I didn’t even know how Aadam knew it, but as a kid, my heart would soar at this time of the year when the opportunities seemed endless. The Summer had been eventful, to say the least. The first term of grade twelve had been extremely taxing and even with the upcoming holidays, I had been dreading the break. Nusaybah had already bossily informed me that we would be working our skirts off. She was super focused. She had ambitious plans to catch up on Mathematics tuition with me, as well as put some focus on our Tafseer and Seerah lessons while we were on break. I honestly felt like my friend wanted to me whither away and die. Was it even humanly possible to study so much?

The thing was, with the changing of weather, came so many opportunities that I wanted to indulge myself in… and so many memories too. There was so much going on in my mind… It was like the craving for adventure was engraved in me. The moments of my childhood that I had alway clung onto flooded my mind, and it was only natural for me that my thoughts moved to Khalid as I reminisced. Each and every moment of my memory were so vivid…

“What are you thinking of, gorgeous?”

Aadam’s words were said so naturally, but I flushed slightly as he watched me intently, remembering Ahmed’s words about Khalid. Khalid was undoubtedly a beautiful page of my childhood story, but I wasn’t sure why I felt like Ahmed knew something that I didn’t. It wasn’t like I had ever purposely hid anything important from Aadam… he was my husband and I hated to keep secrets.

”I’m thinking of the change of season,” I said quietly, lifting myself  from the bench to slide onto the beautiful swing that looked so inviting. I pushed myself forward, as I savoured the feeling of the soft breeze against my skin. “And how beautiful this view is…”

The view from the rooftop was spectacular. It just so happened that on that particular day, the skies appeared bluer than blue, and the lilac contrast of the jacarandas against the clear horizon was almost picture-perfect. I just loved those trees.

They were breathtaking. SubhaanAllah..!

“You know you’re my most complicated conundrum… I never know what you’re feeling… so please tell me..”

He had slid down to the AstroTurf that he had fitted a few weeks back, saying it was the closest thing he could get to grass up here. Of course, it was a sorry substitute.

”I’m still upset,” I admitted, swaying with the breeze as it pushed me to and fro.

Ahmed’s words. I just couldn’t let them go.

”At who?”

How could I tell him what Ahmed said without making him suspicious? Or upset?

I pushed myself harder on as I thought, enjoying the feeling of freedom that swinging brought. I felt like an overgrown child.

”I don’t know.”

”Its not nice that you guys are carrying on like this,” Aadam said quietly, but loud enough to for me to hear.  “Apologize and let it go, yeah? He’s your brother…”

Aadam was right. He was just so softhearted and caring like that, because he hated conflict. Aadam lived in a fairy tale world where everyone got along… and it was one of the things I loved about him. Always encouraging me to be good. To maintain ties. To be the best that I could be. That was, ultimately, what true love for Allah was about.

And I did try to be my best, but the thing is… everyone slips from time to time. Ahmed had a streak in him that I just couldn’t stomach. His words sometimes made me want to punch him in the face. And because Ahmed was my brother and had a shady past, I couldn’t help but doubt his intentions. Did he want to cause problems? He was always so evasive. I couldn’t help but think that he may have played a part in Rubeena’s divorce…

I sighed as I wondered if I had done the right thing by rattling him the way I did. He was definitely not impressed with me,  but I had to at least give him credit for trying to sort things out after.

It had turned out that Ahmed had taken matters into his hands the previous week. According to Zuleikha, she was petrified that Ahmed was going to see Rubeena as they left the house that day. Obviously that would have been disastrous. She was fretting about how awkward the situation would be… when Ahmed actually turned into my in-laws house instead.

And of course, then she was even more horrified, knowing she would have to meet my mother-in-law. Only, it turned out that I was the only one whose guts my mother-in-law hated. She simply adored everyone else.

And yes, I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised, yet equally disturbed about my mother-in-laws reaction. It turned out that all Ahmed had to do was open his mouth to offer some ruggedly uncultured charisma, and my mother-in-law was already convinced that he was an angel.

And I really wondered if she could have at least had some shame about it. Like really? I mean, I knew that my brother was handsome and all the rest but I really didn’t expect her to believe him so easily, just because he was an enigma. Of course, it didn’t meant that anything had changed for me… I was still the damn Cinderella.

I sighed, trying to calm myself down. I was getting about heated up about this and it wasn’t good.

“My mother loves him,” Aadam said simply.

“Why even?” I said, rolling my eyes. “Ahmed’s the kind of guy that can make anyone pull their hair out.”

“You know,” he said, and I could see him hiding a smirk. “I think it’s that irritating thing that annoys the crap out of people yet makes them crazy about you at the same time. It’s exactly how I feel about you.”

What?!” I widened my eyes at him as he looked back at me with an evil glint in his.

“Yup, I mean I don’t know why you keep me, despite the fact that you are clearly allergic to me. It’s a bit strange, yeah?”

“I don’t have a condition!” I retorted, wanting to pinch him.

”Khawlah, you know you never told me that you love me? Not even once? Any guy in my place would have probably run for the hills by now. But me, I’m a sucker. A sucker for punishment. I keep coming back like a little puppy because I can see beyond your armor, princess.”

”You’re mean,” I said, narrowing my eyes at him. I had my reasons. We still had our whole lives ahead of us. I was just waiting for the right moment…

Aadam’s expression was amusing. I knew he was poking me… Maybe it was good for me…

“I keep coming back because I know that one day you are going to say it,” he said with confidence. “You keep your heart so deeply tucked away… why? Open up. Give it some fresh air. Let it take a deep breath of love. Love. Heard of it, Khawlah? Love. Love me.”

I gazed at him lovingly. He was so sincere… my heart was already melted.

”You know you’re the only poet I’ve ever known,” I said, touching my purse that held the little note.

”Don’t change the subject,” Aadam muttered. “I love poetry but I’m no poet. I’m just a computer geek with a few frills to his name. Don’t let the critics fool you.”

I couldn’t resist a giggle. To me, he was a poet.

“Okay, so back to the point.. you know, this is super awkward for me,” Aadam said, forgetting about his grievance and glancing at me. “She’s my older sister, yeah? But even if he felt something for her… or whatever… let’s not get into all the embarrassing details… it’s not a sin. You can’t hold their feelings against them. They didn’t act on it. That’s what matters. So you can’t be angry.”

I knew about the Hadith that said so. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that they both should have known better.

The Prophet (SAW) said: “Allah will forgive my ummah (followers) for whatever crosses their minds so long as they do not speak of it or act upon it.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 4968; Muslim, 127

But I also knew that as much as we could, we had to try and fight the urges that we had to do wrong. And as I looked around, me, I saw so much of opportunity out there. We are given so many choices, opportunities and chances. This wretched world and everything it stands for is screaming out to us to let go and just be free… to be who we want to be… to do what we feel. The difference for us as Muslims though, is that with Deen in our hearts, and this great responsibility that we accepted… we live with the  awareness that we do only what pleases our Allah.

Aadam was looking pensive, as he clicked his neck. His usually energetic frame looked visibly worn as I glimpsed him from the corner of my eye.

“But it’s so weird…” I said, also feeling the whole accusation a bit awkward. “Because even if this wasn’t true… don’t you think it would have opened a can of worms now? Like… maybe they might start thinking about it… even if it never crossed their minds before?”

What Aadam didn’t know was that I could see the way Ahmed had looked at Rubeena the day he had seen her that day at the airport.  I was getting really worried about what this could bring. The whole situation had the potential to get out of control.

I watched my husband as he leaned back tiredly.

“Things happen, gorgeous,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “I mean, when I saw you that day at Ruby’s … I couldn’t stop staring. I didn’t know I was being all immodest, like forward and stuff by asking you when I would see you again. I just saw a beautiful girl and I was blown away, yeah? And then I learned that I need to ask the big guys and get the green light. That I had to talk about marriage. Yeah, I was a shocked out of my senses that I couldn’t just take you out for coffee… but I love that I didn’t do all the usual shenanigans that happened in my past. I love that I’m dating my wife. They’ll learn the right way too… if they have to ever make it work.”

I smiled, thinking of Aadam before he changed. He really was a different guy. I actually would have never even given his type a second glance until he approached my brother…

Wait, what was he saying?

Make it work? Really? Ahmed and Rubeena could never make it work. The age gap was over ten years and I really just wanted them to forget about this whole thing. And maybe I was being a little unfair, but what I was most worried about were those boys that I loved with every ounce of my heart… If Rubeena was going to be irresponsible and introduce someone else into their lives… I really hoped that it would be someone who cared about kids.

Ahmed could barely even converse with an adult, leave alone a kid.

Aadam was oblivious as I watched him pensively, noticing him rolling his shoulders again as he sat. I had figured that his back was bothering him. The swing had come to a halt, and as I silently jumped off, I moved towards him from behind. I placed my hands squarely at the top of his shoulders with little pressure, hoping it may give him some relief…

What I didn’t expect right then was him jolting forward with such a force that I almost staggered backward in shock. It was like I had inflicted such severe pain… and as I retreated, I was a little startled at how tense and resistant he was. This definitely was not normal.

Sorry,” I said meekly him, feeling terrible. I knew that working with gadgets as a living probably buggered your back and neck muscles… I just didn’t think it was that painful. “Is it really sore?”

“A little,” he said, but I could see from the glance that he shot me after that he was lying.

He was in excruciating pain. I swallowed hard and tried not to take it personally. He was probably just working really hard this week and straining his neck…

“It’s just a few knots,” he said indifferently, giving me a small smile. I supposed that explained it. “It will settle after a few days.”

I nodded.

“I’m sorry,” he said, reaching out for my hand to squeeze it  assuringly. “It’s just tender… but it will be okay next week.. before our big date..”

Aha,” I said, well aware that he was diverting my attention expertly.

I ignored the niggly feeling I had about Aadam and smiled. A date? My heart was humming with life again. I had forgotten about being angry at Ahmed. Rubeena too.

All I wanted to do was sit with my husband for the rest of the afternoon on his rooftop and enjoy the view. Oh, and discuss our future date. It just made all the ugliness fade away…

“Can we just forget about the past few weeks?” He said now, hesitating as he looked at me.

Aadam never said anything, but I could tell that he had felt Khalid’s loss in a way that he didn’t let on. I think it was my hurt that puzzled him… and of course it would. Then there was the issue of my mother-in-law that was always lurking above. For now though, I was just so glad that the drama was over…

”I think I need a break,” I said desperately, stretching my legs and leaning against him slightly. “Please just take me far away so Nusaybah can’t find me. I really want nothing more than to over-eat, over-sleep… and catch up with my Qur’an..”

I actually could not wait for the few more days till the holidays set in.

“Are you serious?” Aadam said, his one quirky eyebrow raised as he looked at me, delighted. “You want to have a proper Waleema this holiday? Then we can just tell everyone that we’re going away on an exotic honeymoon…”

”I’ve already checked all my symptoms,” I said, keeping my face straight and not reading into his Waleema suggestion. I knew it entailed some awkward topics.  “All I really need is a trip to the Maldives.”

Aadam was chuckling, as he ran his hand through his beard.

”Did you think you married a functioning millionaire?” Aadam said, his weird eyebrow doing strange things. “Sorry sweets, this guy has no money to waste on private villas and solitary beaches. Do you know how many people we could feed with that money? How many kids we can clothe with all that cash? You know, now that you mention it… maybe we can go to an island and do some community work…”

I pretended to pout, but inside… honestly, felt like a series of sunrises had just risen at the fore of my heart… it was that amazing…

And it was no wonder that I loved every bit about my husband. He was so real. Cultured, and brought up with the best of everything… yet so down to earth… a rare diamond of a heart.

Yes, he was successful. Yes, he had plenty of money. Yes, he could afford the best of everything if he wanted it. But what he had was wealth of the heart. He lived in a simple apartment near the heart of Gauteng. He now drove a regular car that didn’t make any heads turn. He wore a basic and inexpensive watch that he insisted he probably wouldn’t have bothered about if he didn’t need to tell the time.

To be extravagant and waste money on something that was so temporary now was completely against his principles. And yes, he loved nice things too and he often went on overseas trips… but for him, everything was moderation, because that’s the way he loved to live… and of course, the way that Allah loved best. No wastage. No flashy show-offy attitude. And because he always made that his priority, I loved him all the more..

“I will take you somewhere far away,” he said quietly, pulling me towards him affectionately and pecking my cheek. “Someday. And it’s going to be epic. But for now…. for next week.. I have a different kind of surprise for you.”

”Does it involve a Waleema?” I asked weakly, my heart racing a little as I heard his steady breathing in my ear.

“I know you’re itching to have your big day, but let’s leave it for after finals, yeah?” he said with a grin. “For now… how’s about that date? A dash of nature.. dose of Allah’s perfect mastery… and maybe… just maybe… falling in love with your crazy husband all over again… because even though you never say it… I know you a lot better than you think…”

Of course, Aadam was right. Of course I loved him. To me, love was an amazing force of nature. It was big. Bigger than everything else. Love was a beautiful law unto itself. An emotion that could never be expressed in words. To ever tell Aadam how he had opened my heart, beautified my soul, and altered the eyes through which I saw life itself … well, I knew I would never be able to do justice to.

It might take days… it might take years.. or it might just be a lifetime … but whatever it was, I held fast to the far-fetched notion that we had many, many years and amazing times to spend together, and one day…

Well, one sweet day, I was going to tell him exactly what he wanted to hear…

Dearest Readers,

Quick one: Since I mentioned a honeymoon here, please know that this was penned while ago. It was meant light-heartedly and though I have nothing against couples taking a break to spend time together, we have to also remember that Islam is beautiful in it’s moderation. I think a simple break away is always good for a couple to bond, but if they are staying on their own, being at home can also be bonding time. I’m no expert in this field so please make me maaf for any errors.

With regard to romance in this blog… I always try to keep it romantic but clean, so please forgive me for any shortcomings and let me know if I ever don’t… or am going over the top.

Okay, I’m done now… sorry for the rambles. 

Much Love, 

A 🌸

Beloved Nabi (SAW) has said:

“The person who perfectly maintains the ties of kinship is not the one who does it because he gets recompensed by his relatives (for being kind and good to them), but the one who truly maintains the bonds of kinship is the one who persists in doing so even though the latter has severed the ties of kinship with him“. [Al-Bukhari].

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to rekindle any ties of kingship that may have been severed. It is truly a great reward and Sunnah.

FB: The Journeying Muslimah

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Twitter: @ajourneyjournal





When Responsibility Calls

Bismihi Ta’ala


Responsibility. It really is a mouthful isn’t it? Not just to pronounce… but a helluva lot to digest too.

Responsibility doesn’t end. Once you get past the curfews and the glasses and the braces… the responsibility doesn’t go away. Either someone makes us face it or we are forced to suffer the consequences.

I once had a friend that used to make breaks for me. All the time. She would lie to the lecturers for me. She would hide my whereabouts from the nosy girls who wanted to interfere in my business. She had even distracted my father when he came to campus once (can you believe it?) to check on me.

She was the one who bunked lectures with me to go to movies or lunch or just to be daring and play some forbidden game of cards that was the popular hobby at the cafeteria.

At that time, she was the best friend I could have asked for. Someone who stuck by me, became my bosom bunking pal and got me out of trouble at all the right times. She was a needle in the hay stack. She was really fun too. When she had to leave because of bad grades and restricted finances, I was heartbroken. And of course, it was all in the plan Allah had for me… because someone to cover my back when I was getting out of control was never going to turn out well.

I often wondered about that friend that I had. We had lost contact over the years, and though in retrospect, I still saw her as a loyal friend… what I didn’t comprehend  was why she never told me to stop my messing around and get my act together. She wasn’t a bad girl but she never tried to guide me. Sometimes I wondered in those days of ignorance…. if I had a little guidance.. maybe I might have been better off.

But thats when I came to know the meaning of a responsibility, and a righteous friend. Friendship is not only a social construct… but a religiously significant relationship. The best ones are the ones that bring us closer to Allah. A righteous friend is the one we should aim for. Loyalty is an amazing character trait but the action of forbidding evil and enjoining good has a completely different appeal… and always triumphs, even in the long run. It was only when I met my dear friend Zaynah, that I realized what was truly worth having in a friend.

And it was only then that I saw the truth of friendship and responsibility. Although friends are supposed to be a guidance too… We can’t blame anyone else for our own downfalls. We make the decisions. We have to accept responsibility. We have to realize that maybe the only person really responsible for everything we were going through, was ourselves…

And right then, as I looked at my brother, I knew someone would have to take responsibility here.

“Will you tell me what happened?” I asked, because I couldn’t stand him looking at me with that emptiness that he always did. Like the world owes him something.

“Khawlah is devastated,” I continued as he looked at me blankly.  “She’s going through hell with her mother-in-law… and now, this is just making it all worse. Rubeena just told them she’s asked for a divorce.”

It had been a huge and unexpected event at her mother-in-laws place the previous night and I was absolutely appalled that Ahmed’s name had come in. I didn’t want to make any accusations but the odds were completely against him.

”I did nothing,” Ahmed growled. “All I did was answer my phone.”

”So you never called her?” I asked, crossing my arms and raising my eyebrows. “Not even once?”

Ahmed looked away guiltily and I sighed.

”But Khawlah said she warned you!” I suddenly snapped, trying to make him see reason. “She told you to stay away from her. She’s a married woman for goodness sake! Didn’t you know that?”

”If she acted like a married woman,” he muttered. “Then I would have believed it.”

I narrowed my eyes at him.

All these months, I thought Ahmed was busy with his finance course. I was happy that he was getting his act together, getting with the right people and finding some focus in life. If this was true it was going to ruin us all…

“What if it was me?” I asked him suddenly,  itching to get some sort of reaction out of him. “What if it was me who someone was speaking to? What would you have done to that guy?”

”I would have probably killed him,” Ahmed said, shrugging his shoulders.


“But then again, if you had a husband like hers who was still up to crap…”

I closed my eyes and shook my head. That was not the answer I wanted.

“Listen,” he said, his face hard as he looked at me. “When your husband was messing around, I rattled him to show him that I didn’t like it. He got his stuff together. Fast. Yes, Shabeer is an idiot, but all Rubeena said was she wants a divorce. I told Khawlah to leave me alone and I’ll tell you the same. What you guys all on about?”

”The problem is,” I said through gritted teeth. “You have become the reason for her asking for a divorce. You need to stop talking to her. Right now!”

Ahmed shrugged, not giving much away. He didn’t refute my accusation. That could only mean that he was speaking to her, right?

“I’m serious,” I warned him. “This is not a joke.”

“Alryt,” he said, rolling his eyes. “Whatever you say, Mummy.”

I wanted to twist his ear. He wasn’t even giving me proper answers. He was treating it like a joke. He didn’t realize the seriousness of the situation. She was married with four kids. Leave alone the age gap that was more than ten years…

Gosh. Did he even know what he was getting himself into? Maybe he just wanted me to think that something was going on. My brother was always a little crazy.

I googled the Hadith on my phone, about the man who came to the Prophet (SAW), requesting permission to commit Zinaa. I promptly sent it to him, not just to rattle him up a bit… but in the hope that Allah would purify his heart, if there were ever any evil intentions…

Abu Umama Al-Bahily (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that a young man came to the Prophet (SAW) and said:

‘O Messenger of Allah (SAW), give me a permission to commit  Zina.’

The Companions turned to him and started rebuking him. The Prophet (SAW) said: “Come closer.

When the young man drew nearer to the Prophet (SAW) and sat down, the Prophet (SAW) asked him: “Would you like it for your mother?

The man answered; No, by Allah. May Allah make me a protection for you!

The Prophet (SAW) commented, “People also do not like it for their mothers.” The Prophet added, “Would you like it for your daughter?

Again, the young man answered negatively. So, the Prophet (SAW) said, “People too would not love it for their daughters

Further, the Prophet (SAW) asked, “Would you like it for your sister?” The Prophet received the same answer and made the same comment. The Prophet went on asking about the man’s paternal and maternal aunts. The young man’s answer was the same and the Prophet (SAW) repeated the same comment, “People do not like that for their aunts.

The Prophet (SAW) then placed his hand on the young man and prayed for him, “O Allah, forgive his sins, purify his heart, and protect his chastity.

Abu Umamah, the narrator of the hadith, said that the young man did not pay heed to any temptation thereafter. (Authenticated by Al-Albani)

And I really wanted to lecture him relentlessly, but the thing is, I knew it would just make Ahmed rebellious. I had to be patient and understanding too… gentle like the Prophet (SAW) had been when the man suggested even the most atrocious of acts.

And as it happens, I actually didn’t need to do much rattling because just as I was about to open my mouth, there was a tap on the door before my dear Khawlah pushed it open.

I looked at my sister, and I couldn’t help but notice that for the first time in months, her face was drawn and grim. The glow that marriage had brought for her had been diminished. I could see her looking from Ahmed to me in expectation.  I only hoped that this hadn’t caused any problems between her and Aadam. That would be terrible. My sister did look like she had been crying…

”How are you, Khawlah?” I asked kindly, moving aside so she could sit next to me. The was a shadow of a smile on her pretty face, but she remained standing as she watched us, almost as if she was waiting for Ahmed to say something.

Ahmed looked away and ignored her. I guessed that there had been some words between them that weren’t very pleasant. My heart ached to see the trouble that this had caused.

“Can you talk some sense into him please?” She said finally, closing her eyes and inhaling, as if the whole world was on her shoulders.

“Did your mother-in-law say how she had found out about them?” I asked carefully, still wondering how contact between Ahmed and Rubeena had gotten to her ears.

Khawlah shrugged.

“I think someone called her,” Khawlah said. “Maybe Hannah. Sounds like something she would do.”

Or maybe Aunty Nas, upset that everything seemed to be working out for Khawlah and not Hannah. Aunty Nas always had an exceptionally mean streak when it come to Khawlah. Lucky Khawlah was tough… but I think that pushed Aunty Nas more to do the things she did. At the time it was just so heartbreaking to see my little sister put up with that. She was so strong.

“Which reminds me… I need to go and see Hannah,” she said quietly. “I’ve just got so much on my head right now… My in-laws are freaking about Rubeena. I have exams coming up and I can barely concentrate…”

It was strange to see my sister so worked up. So upset. I wished I could take her into my arms, and tell her it would all be okay. I wished that this hadn’t blown out of proportion the way it did.

Ahmed didn’t say a thing. He just looked like his usual unemotional self as he looked back at us…

“Shabeer gave one Talaaq yesterday,” Khawlah said finally, looking upset. I couldn’t help but notice Ahmed’s expression change. “My mother-in-law has gone into depression. She’s not even talking to Aadam, because she thinks he’s in favor of you guys or whatever is happening. Aadam knew nothing…”

I swallowed. He actually gave the divorce? 

”Shit man,” Ahmed said, shaking his head and beginning to pace. Finally some reaction. At least now he realized how serious it was. “This woman’s making my life hell!”

“This woman?!” Khawlah retorted angrily, and I could see her step forward as she pointed a finger threateningly. “Please Ahmed, don’t act so innocent! You obviously led her on! She’s got four kids! Are you ready to take that on? You’re barely even an adult yourself, for goodness sake!”

”How the hell did I lead her on?!” He shouted back. “Do you have any proof? You can’t just go around accusing people of things. You just all cut up about Khalid so you can’t think straight… as usual. Does Aadam even know?”

I wanted to cover my eyes and block my ears. These two were really going for it. Both were being unreasonable. It had been years since I saw them fighting like this.

”Oh shut up!” Khawlah spat at him, and I could see the tears filling her eyes as she blinked angrily. “This has nothing to do with Khalid. Don’t turn the tables around and make it about me!”

”Get over yourself, goodie-two-shoes,” Ahmed growled at her. “You don’t own Rubeena. I can talk to who I want to.”

”Well, that’s where you wrong!” Khawlah screamed back at him. “You can’t just do what you feel! It’s a sin! You have to be accountable-“

Will both of you just STOP?!” I bellowed, cutting her off and knowing that this was going to cause a huge rift between them if they continued like this. It probably already did.

I could see Yunus standing in the doorway, looking a bit shocked. Thankfully Dada was asleep. How he slept through all of this was a mystery in itself.

“Don’t you’ll see what you’ll are doing?!” I asked them, looking at them angrily. “Someone is trying to cause problems and you’ll are letting them. Can’t we just talk this through? Khawlah, please calm down. Ahmed, can you please just sort it out?”

This was getting bad. The two of them were literally at each other’s throats and I was right here in the middle of it. I knew Ahmed would never hurt Khawlah but he was getting really angry. As for the issue of Khalid… I meant to ask my sister but I never got around to doing it. I figured it was a sensitive topic but I knew that Khawlah would never hide anything important from Aadam.

I could see Ahmed’s shoulders heaving and his furrowed brow deepening as he glared at her. It was pretty scary… but Khawlah was glaring right back. They were both relentless. Two of a kind.

As for Ahmed, I knew he liked to wind people up to get a reaction. Whether he was saying all that stuff about Khalid and  Rubeena for attention was another story altogether…

”Please Ahmed,” I begged, trying to get through to my stubborn brother. “Can you just stop this nonsense?”

”Zuleikha, I swear I didn’t!” Ahmed said, his amber eyes full of  fury. “I met her once. I gave her some documents. It was a public place. All I said was I’ll help her to speak to the guys who were after her idiotic husband. It never went farther than that…”

He looked away and I couldn’t tell if he had spoken the truth. Was he just covering his tracks? Why was Khawlah so convinced about something more going on? Was there something that she knew that she wasn’t saying.

My brother and sister had a relationship where they would tell each other whatever they needed to with no reservations… but I also had a feeling they both knew secrets about each other that no-one else did.

I sighed while Khawlah stood at the door and scowled. She finally turned her back and left.

Such a huge, unimaginable mess. Obviously someone had seen the two of them together and it had gotten to the wrong ears. Or maybe someone was trying really hard to make Rubeena seem like a loose woman…

“You need to get some advice,” I said, trying to think straight. He needed to get into contact with his Maulana again. He needed to refocus his life. Maybe make another trip away from home, to get away from this.

I blinked as Ahmed threw on a Kurta next to me, and started putting on his shoes as if he was suddenly in a hurry. It was like something had suddenly been ignited in him, as he got ready to leave. I had a feeling that he was finally going to take responsibility for this… but I wasn’t sure if I would like what it had to bring.

“Ahmed, what are you doing?” I asked, a little confused. Where exactly was he going right now? 

“What do you think?” he said, looking at me in frustration. “You told me what I must do, didn’t you? I’m going to sort this out once and for all… and you’re coming with me.”

Dear readers, 


A little bit of drama but we are getting to calmer parts soon… 

Shukran to all for reading

Much Love, 

A 🌸 

Beloved Nabi (SAW) has said:

“The person who perfectly maintains the ties of kinship is not the one who does it because he gets recompensed by his relatives (for being kind and good to them), but the one who truly maintains the bonds of kinship is the one who persists in doing so even though the latter has severed the ties of kinship with him“. [Al-Bukhari].

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to rekindle any ties of kingship that may have been severed. It is truly a great reward and Sunnah.




When Sins are ‘Little’…

Bismihi Ta’ala


Every person has a story to tell. And every soul is entitled to their own secret. Some people have those perfect ‘love’ stories that the romantics will go crazy about … and some people have morbid tragedies that can even sway the critics.

You see, I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that not everyone has their very own happily ever after. Some stories are just that. Stories. Not everyone marries Mr Perfect and rides into the sunset. I’ve heard many a couple agree that nothing about marriage is forever happy. There are moments of bliss, to be sure, and lengthy spans of satisfied companionship… Yet these come at no small effort, and the girl who reads such fiction dreaming her troubles will end when she is whisked away into the sunset… needs a rational woman to set her straight. Oh, and a reality check.

Yes, people fall in love and go on to live pretty great lives. But there are people who fall in love, and live miserable lives trying to figure out how they ever fell out of it.

And then there are people like me. They are paddling along on this somewhat turbulent route, trying to just find that one thing that gives them peace. Through a little bit of sin, a little bit of falling… and then a dash of desire and aspiration… She doesn’t wait around for a prince to charge in and slay the dragon. Maybe she saves herself and in the end, rides off into her own beautiful sunset.

And that’s the place where her Allah fits right in. That’s where she finds her peace, within the sanctity of her Lord. Her refuge was right there, where there was no storm… And it took me a while to figure it out, but sometimes we have to go right back to the beginning to figure out the end. At what point did everything go so off… and at which point did it come together again.

The thing was, in what I remembered as my beginning, all I knew was that I was blown away. At that time… way back when… during my teenage delusion, I was taken in by a a ‘little bit of sin’ with a guy who promised me the world and more.

I was a 17 year old school student. He was 21 year old heartthrob. Sought after, painstakingly rich and strikingly handsome. Even if I didn’t want to know him… there was always a murmur through the crowd when he made an appearance.

And I’m not telling you this so you can envy me. Really. There’s nothing enviable about my story. I’m telling you this so you can know… when I met Jameel… I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Many teenage girls don’t have the foresight to see that a crowd-stopping boyfriend doesn’t always make an amazing husband.

Yes, of course he had caught my eye. There was barely a girl who didn’t know who he was. I was also warned to steer clear because he didn’t have the best of reputations. He had left a string of broken hearts behind him as he worked his way through most girls in the higher grade. He had been in the same school three years before and there was no mystery about him when his name was mentioned….

But being fickle girls, his notoriety didn’t stop any of the girls from wanting to be one of his conquests. I supposed every girl who caught his eye believed that she would be the one to change him. And every woman who ever thought they could change a man usually ended up with a real sore reality check… as well as a broken heart.

And then of course, one day, his flashy red BMW stopped next to me, as I walked the two kilometer distance back home. His window rolled down and I could barely breathe as he offered me that dazzling smile, as I stood there, thinking why on earth this guy had his eye on me.

And as I watched him watching me, I couldn’t think of anyone else who remotely resembled him. He was complicated, almost contradictory in so many ways. On the surface he was a bad boy, the talk of the town… but somehow there was a mysterious and compassionate side of him that he never failed to surprise me with.

And yes, I didn’t see sense at first. Besides knowing that it was against every principle I had ever had, every belief I had been taught… my first boyfriend was the one that I broke all the rules for. I would sneak out to meet him. I would stay out till late to be with him. I would lie to go out with him. It was wrong on every level. Small sins became bigger ones.

And yes, it wasn’t only because I found him unusually enchanting. His overprotective nature was intense. The fact that he would never tolerate a guy looking at me at school was somewhat alluring.

But then, as happens, I came to see another side of him… that bordered on obsession. When I entered the small teaching centre the following year, that my father had eventually allowed me to attend, I couldn’t stand him following me everywhere… that’s when I knew that it wasn’t healthy. I needed some space. I needed to breathe. I tried to get out of his clutches. I had to do what was best for myself.

But let me tell you something. When you’re young, impressionable and are looking for comfort in the wrong places… you make uneducated choices. You think that little sins are small things. They’re not. You just don’t see the reality of a situation until you get really caught up.

Pulling away was like trying to cut a metal chain. In that time, when I had been forced to let Foi Nani source a proposal for me just so I could call it quits on Jameel… I was bordering on desperation.

Yousuf was the grandson of Foi Nani’s friend and a promising prospect. Really promising. I had a feeling that Foi Nani knew about Jameel too and didn’t like the idea of him. And it had been going so well… until Aunty Nas had very conveniently intruded to kill every chance that ever existed for a different kind of life. A normal life. A life that wasn’t going to feel like I was in a prison.

And I’m sure Jameel had got wind of Yousuf coming home. He had waited outside campus for me every day that week after the proposal had come home. I tried to avoid him. He had promised me that he’d changed, but I just found his persistence scary..

After the scene with Aunty Nas, Yousuf’s family they had come to know about Jameel. They were wary but there was still hope… until things started compounding on me… and I felt suffocated.

Of course I still had doubts about Jameel, but I suppose that’s what happens when you are in over your heard. When you get involved in something Haraam, and it goes terribly wrong.

What I figured out after was that when Jameel said that Abba didn’t go missing by chance… was that he knew exactly who was responsible for it.

Aunty Nas had owed people money. Lots of money. The plain fact was that we didn’t have the money. It was a war of its own that was going on… and when Jameel had come back into the picture with a promise to make it all go away, I couldn’t resist. Deep down, I really did feel something for this crazily obsessed guy. Despite his never leaving me alone… I knew that if I just gave into him, everything would be okay.

To many girls though, they would have thought that I married the perfect guy. The teenage dream. The guy that every girl wants.

But it never felt like that. There was too much going on at the time to feel at peace and in love. Yes, there were moments of amazement and hope, but there were also moments of unexplainable torment. Somehow, even when you make a Haraam thing Halaal, you still end up paying for the sins you did before. There was never complete ease in our marriage.

And of course, in retrospect, all I could see here was Aunty Nas and her constant effort in controlling our family, even long after she was gone. It was like she could not stand to see us happy. Her entire existence was focused on making sure everyone of us was miserable… and I could clearly see her work still going on.

So when Khawlah called me, all cut up about a story with a theme that sounded heartbreakingly familiar, I knew that this work was not just the work of regular gossip aunties of our town. There was something sinister about this story. Something that spelled trouble, and of course, had an ulterior motive.

It was a feeling of mixed emotion. And yes, I had found my path in life. Finally, I had got to that place that I wanted to… but it didn’t mean that everything in the past would just disappear. I knew that there would many things that would set me back.

“Did you hear that Hannah is out of rehab?”

I shot Jameel a glance as he said that, using the sports towel to wipe his forehead as he watched me. Of course, he had come back from cycling where he had probably seen someone he knew…

Where Hannah was, Aunty Nas was never far. The two of them were cut of the same cloth.

“Who told you that?”

”A little bird,” Jameel said, trying to sound mysterious.

”Did you speak to Shabeer?” I asked, unable to contain myself.

Jameel pursed his lips and raised his eyebrows.

“I suppose I did,” he said. I didn’t like the fact that he was meeting Shabeer so often.

As long as Jameel steered clear of his shady past, I was happy. The minute it came up again… I felt threatened.

And yes, even though things had gotten better… we still had work to do on our marriage. It was a few weeks ago when things had come into perspective for us, once again. When I had come to assess where we really stood.

It was when I had finally decide to take that step and wear the niqaab… for Jameel… it was a huge blow. He couldn’t understand why I would ever want to be so hectic…

“What is this?” He had said angrily, pulling it off my face. “We don’t wear these things.”

I looked at him defiantly as he scowled. He was upset.

“I’m changing my life,” I said to him softly,  hoping he would understand. “I want your support but I don’t depend on it. I have Allah.. but I would really love you to do this with me too…”

Shit, Leikha,” he said in irritation, running his neat fingers over his stubble. “I’m trying man. I’m just not ready for all this crap. First the hijaab and the taaleem and all this… I can’t do it all… I’m not saying no, but slow down man.”

Was it really too much too soon? But why couldn’t he just see the things the way I did? Why couldn’t he just see the beauty it had brought and embrace it all? Why did he want to hold off?

I shrugged as he looked at me. What did I tell him?

Show him, something within me was saying. Show him what this life is about… Don’t push him. 

”Think about it,” I said softly, stepping back as I watched him. “You don’t  have to change overnight… but I need you with me. I want you to be a part of this. If you can’t be… then you can go on. Live the life you want. Do what you like. But I can’t be here.”

I swallowed as I remembered Jameels words, once upon a time when he threatened to kill me if I ever left. Today, I was giving him the choice. He either took my path, or we had to make a better decision for both of our sanity. The painful truth was that I truly did love him.

I looked at my husbands handsome face, now riddled with worry. He had made it clear that he would not know what to do without me. I didn’t want him to be reliant on me. I wanted him to find a source of Greater Peace. I wanted him to truly find Allah. I was doing this for both of us.

He was shaking his head, and I could see regret filling his eyes as he met mine.

“I’m so sorry, Leikha,” He said softly, coming towards me and grasping me by the shoulders. “You know that wasn’t me talking, don’t you? I was so off-track. I’m so sorry I put you through hell, babe… it’s just… I don’t know how to deal with this. How will we go out? How will we visit my family when you are so… hectic… we’ll be so awkward…”

”Let’s take it as it comes, okay?” I said softly to him as he bit his lip, both of us watching Muhammed chattering to himself in the feeding chair as he ate his strawberries.

He was blissfully aware of the dynamics that had existed between us, and I was so grateful that Jameel had changed his evil ways. He had taken up healthier hobbies, like sports and cycling… but I needed him to understand that there was more…

And of course, it had been a tiny hurdle compared to others, but with heartfelt Duaas, my husband had accepted my change in his own way.

Now as I looked at him, being sober for months, I couldn’t help but see what a completely different and amazing person he could be. Yes, if anyone ever told you otherwise, always believe that bad marriages can go good. I had living proof.

And he had assured me that there was nothing to worry about, but deep in my heart, I knew that there was another problem of my past that needed to be addressed. A problem that had to do with Shabeer, Hannah and Aunty Nas. Someone was causing conflict and I knew that it was going to ruin us as a family.

When I went to my fathers house later that evening, it was no surprise to see Ahmed looking like he’d been knocked over by a bus. I had already suspected that Khawlah’s mother-in-law’s theories were not completely off-track.

It was just as well that Khawlah wasn’t at home. Ahmed looked up at me with a frown as I entered his room. I’m sure if he could have growled at me, he would have too.

I remembered Mamas words about my brother. Unlike Yunus, who was always soft and obliging… Ahmed had a hard streak about him that I just couldn’t crack.

And okay, I know we all get caught up in a little bit of sin from time to time. But how much is too much? When does an innocent conversation become something more? When does a simple glance become a lustful gaze?

I know that Ahmed probably didn’t mean for it to get this far.  How anyone had found out about this aspect of his work was probably the doing of Aunty Nas. Ahmed knew people. People who weren’t always up to good. He knew them because he used to hang out with them when he was younger.

His earning cash every now and then was because he mediated between Mafia and regular people who owed them money… making deals and trying to get people out of debts. It was a good intention… but a really dangerous job too. Although he said he knew the guys for years and they would never hurt him… what I knew about Mafia was that they could turn at anytime.  According to what Khawlah had suggested, Rubeena had called him to ask him for some guy’s number to sort out some debts that he knew back in the day.

It had to do with her husband who owed some money, and she was trying to resolve things before they got out of control. What they didn’t realize was that things were already way out of control..

What I wasn’t sure of was whether Ahmed would open up to me to tell me the truth. Khawlah was devastated. I tried to make her see sense, but she was a adamant that Ahmed knew exactly what he was going when he communicated with Rubeena. She was insistent that he would have known better. She was right, of course, but as I looked at my brother… I found it hard to understand what he was really thinking.

A pretty woman like her and a young promising guy like him… was there really no room for Shaytaan to come in between? Of course… it was all just theories but there was always an opportunity.

Oh, the pain and conflict that a little bit of sin could cause… I was physically aching to get to the bottom of this…

”Ahmed,” I said to him, hoping he would soften up as I sat at the edge of his bed. “Can we talk?”


Sunnah of honoring guests:

Abu Shuraih Khuwailid bin Amr Al-Khuza`i RA reported: I heard Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) saying, “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, should accommodate his guest according to his right.” He was asked: “What is his right, O Messenger of Allah?” He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) replied: “It is (to accommodate him) for a day and a night, and hospitality extends for three days, and what is beyond that is charity.”
(Bukhari and Muslim)

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When things are not Pretty…

Bismihi Ta’ala


There’s a great lesson that I once learnt from a pressure cooker. Yes, from a pressure cooker. And no, I have not lost my mind.

Because sometimes, you just don’t know the reality. You are blissfully unaware of the facts. I know they say you must listen to your gut and all that sentimental hogwash… but something told me that I had to open that pot, no matter what, because it was time to eat. And damn, I was hungry.

I was persistent. I battled with its stubbornness, pushing and pulling the lid… despite protests from my friend who was there… until bam… it exploded all over the stove. My face was a few centimeters away, but my hands got the brunt of it. They burned persistently for hours. It was far from pretty, but I didn’t believe it would happen until I saw it.

Sometimes you have to let go and focus on the facts. You have listen when people advise you. You have to do what’s the right thing, under the circumstance, no matter what your sometimes unruly mind (or rumbling gut) may tell you…

And leave aside the pressure cooker… which I’ll come back to later… but the thing is, you never really know the day when your whole world’s going to get turned upside down, do you? I mean, no-one really anticipates it. I don’t think anyone ever plans it.

I mean, no one really says; “Well, today, I’m going to completely botch up the normality of my world, just because it looks like fun…”

I mean, really.

And I know that I don’t have the best of reputations when it comes to getting my act together, but give me some credit okay?

I had strongly come to believe that whatever good you ever have an inclination to do, the best thing you could ever do for yourself is to do it right then and there. Don’t wait for Ramadhaan, to start wearing the hijab. Don’t wait for when you get old, to start praying. Don’t wait for your heart to become so burdened… that you fear your repentance will never be accepted.

Abu Hurayrah (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Hasten to do good deeds before you are overtaken by one of the seven afflictions.” Then (giving a warning) he said, “Are you waiting for such poverty which will make you unmindful of devotion; or prosperity which will make you corrupt, or disease as will disable you, or such senility as will make you mentally unstable, or sudden death, or Ad-Dajjal who is the worst expected absent, or the Hour, and the Hour will be most grievous and most bitter.”

And yes, I had tried. I had really tried so hard to keep it together. For my kids… for my family… even for myself. But the thing is, sins… well, they’re something like quicksand. They have a tendency to make you think you’re on top of things when in reality, you’re sinking.

And boy, we were sinking. We were nearly underground.

“Hey hey hey, Assalamualaikum!” Adam’s voice boomed from outside. The boys had already smelt him. “Where are our little aliens tonight? Have they finally come back down to earth?”

I could hear a series of giggles and whispers as little footsteps made their way down the passage. The kids were ecstatic. It had been while since they spent time with Adam and they had missed him.

My mothers face scrunched up momentarily before she tossed her head back indifferently. I didn’t ask her what was wrong, as I exited the kitchen. I knew there was no point.

Besides, I had told myself that I was going to try and be a better person. Especially to my mother. No more rolling eyes (directly) at her. No more mocking her holier than thou attitude. No more looking down on her. Instead I was going to try and gently be the better and more refined person… and see where it gets me. I wasn’t sure how far I was going to get but hey, a girl could try right?

“Hey Ruby, Salaams,” Adam looked up at me as he emptied a hoard full of chocolates from his pocket. “How’s everything going?”

It was a normal day. It was a simple question too.

But for me, a normal day was one with regular inconveniences. The traffic to school was as crappy as always, Zia had been as sick as a dog while he brought up in the back seat (all over my new branded sports hijab) and Zaydaan had thrown a complete hissy fit in the middle of the service station convenience store (over a drink with a name that he couldn’t even pronounce). A completely normal day, by the standards of any mother.

And so when I got home and saw Shabeer already making himself comfortable on the reclining couch… I wasn’t sure what snapped in me.

All I could think of was some really uncensored words.

And in true ruffled-up-my-feathers female style, I said nothing as I started to (very noisily) unpack my grocery packet. Bottles were clanging and cupboards were banging. I knew if I raised it up one more notch, it couldn’t do much harm, but as I heard Shabeer clearing his throat in the passage to announce his arrival, I already knew that I had gotten the desired effect.

“Err, Ruby?” His voice said, a little hesitantly as he entered the kitchen. “Are you okay?”

”Yes,” I barked.

Bang went the spice drawer.

”Are you sure?” He asked, frowning as he came closer, taking the empty packets and stuffing them under the sink.

Clank went the chilli sauce on the counter.

I said nothing as I continued with my task.

“Okay what the hell?” He said, looking defeated as he shook his head at me. “Have you lost your marbles?”

”I’m applying for Hajj,” I said suddenly, looking him in the eye for a minute, taking him in. He was all pooped out from a semi-busy day at work and I could see he was a little stressed. I knew he had all these debts he was trying to sort out and he had blamed them on Hannah. I didn’t care because I knew that he was lying. I had checked up on many of his personal files in the last few weeks, and I had clear insight on what was going on. I had even contacted someone to figure it all out. I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea but it put everything into a much better perspective for me.

Money. Women. Vices. Sins. I was just so sick of hearing about it, whether it was from the nosy neighbour or the woman at the gym. The gambling and the drink that I smelt on Shabeer at least three nights every week.

I had had it. Literally. I didn’t want to live this life anymore. Sooner or later it was going to take its toll. All that money… so much of it yet all so devoid of any goodness.. I couldn’t use it to nourish my kids anymore. I couldn’t use it to live a regular life. We had to change. All this Haraam was taking its toll.

The thing is, when my kids were younger, I could easily pull the wool over their eyes and act like everything was peachy. Now that my kids were bigger, how was I going to explain to them why their father was so evasive? Now that Danyaal was eight, who was going to take him to mosque? Who was going to explain to him everything about growing up and living as a proper Muslim male, when his father was completely devoid of every aspect of it.

“Really?” Shabeer said, raising his eyebrows at me. “For when?”

“Whenever it comes through,” I said casually. “I’ve already put our names down.”

Shabeer smirked.

“Is someone giving you all these ideas,?” He asked mockingly, and I could see he wanted to laugh. “I’m not ready to go all holy yet, please Ruby. Hajj is for fifty plus. Give me a break… I’m still young.”

”Look at you!” I retorted, wondering if he glanced in the mirror lately. “You look like you’re nearly 90 years old! Who knows how much longer you’re going to live?”

I didn’t care that Shabeer’s ego was visibly wounded by my statement. The way I saw it, all it would take was one overdose and he was probably going to collapse.

With all the silly young women he usually ran  after, he probably didn’t realize just how crappy he really looked. I also knew that he was hiding something from me. I had dug onto some of his recent shenanigans and realized that he had clearly not learned his lesson. Another woman. Another Nikah. The chase was never enough for Shabeer. This was, for me, the last straw. He was either going to change, the way I wanted or he needed to leave. There was no other way.

And of course, it became a fully blown argument with ugly words and accusations. I told him exactly what I thought of him and he called me, to put it lightly, a stuck up pain in the behind. I didn’t care what he was on about. He told me no-one will want to marry me now, with four kids. He tried to convince me that I was lucky to have him.

All I knew at that point was that if he wasn’t going to change, I didn’t want him. So when Aadam asked me how I was…. well, what more could I do but shrug. No use burdening him with all my sorry stories.

I smiled at Khawlah as she offered me a half wave.

How had everything been going? Besides being a little over ambitious in the eating department, slacking on the training and dwelling in the misery of probably being alone forever, I’d been been doing good. I could already feel the kilos loading on.. but you know what? I didn’t care. I liked being chubby.

“Where’s mum?” He said, squeezing my shoulder as he offered a small hug. “Did she cook up a storm?”

I tried really hard not to roll my eyes. See, I really was trying.

”Shes made that Mesh Om Ali thing for dessert,” I said, keeping a straight face. “She said she’s the only one who hasn’t tried it yet because her family never comes to visit her. She’s feeling like the unloved mother so I’m just warning you…”

”She’ll snap out of it when she sees me,” Adam said, winking at me confidently as he walked to the kitchen. I didn’t follow him because besides not wanting to get in my mothers way… I really didn’t want to answer the one question she had been raving about since I arrived.

“Where is Shabeer?”

And honestly, I had no idea why she was so on about him. Every previous time when he hadn’t come, I had told her the tale about him being busy with work and she had accepted it. It was just that today… well, today, she knew something was up. How she knew, I had no idea, but I could tell that she wanted to hear it from me.

I sighed. The other thing she couldn’t stop talking about was how she couldn’t believe that Adam had replaced us. I had kind of blanked out after that.

The kids were busy outside, and since my mum had refused any help in the kitchen, Khawlah had gone to join them. My mother was acting all hard to get as Adam tried to strike up a conversation, which was just a tad bit unusual.

It went something like this.

“How was your week, mum?”

Mum: Sulky face.

“Do you need help with anything?”

Mum: Shrugs shoulders.

”Am I still your favorite or have I been demoted?”

Mum: Stony glare.

Now if I was him, I would have clean given up by now. But I knew that Adam couldn’t stand when anyone was upset with him. A weakness, yet a strength that he possessed since he was a kid.

“Okay mum,  I’m sorry,” he finally said. “Please tell me what I can do to make you smile.”

I wished he wasn’t such a suck up.

“You worry about making everyone else happy but you forget about your own mother!” My mother snapped, and I couldn’t help but widen my eyes with the viciousness of the onslaught.

Adam was, to put it lightly, taken aback.

”I heard about how you go to that lady’s house every day. She’s not even related to you! What kind of son are you?!”

I had to hand it to my brother. He remained composed.

“I didn’t know that it upset you so much,” he said quietly. “Those people lost their son. They don’t have family here. I keep imagining if it was you… and you lost me… I wouldn’t have wanted you to hurt alone…”

I closed my eyes momentarily as my mother turned to Adam, expecting the worst.

“I wouldn’t make it everyone else’s problem,” she retorted acidly, the entire crux of what Adam was trying to say completely going over her head.

What she didn’t know at that stage was that she was going to eat her very own words sooner than she thought.

“No-one is making it my problem,” Adam said softly. “They’re really nice people. Aunty Radiyyah barely speaks to me but she always makes us comfortable with her hospitality. I’ve become really close to her husband and I just wanted to be there for him… I didn’t mean to hurt you, mum. You know I love you. You’ll always be my fave.”

And of course, like a sucker, my mother scoffed and wiped away her fake tears, because Adam was just so good at breaking her firewall. The two of them were murmuring to each other as I left the kitchen in semi-disgust, actually quite shocked that I could never swindle my mother like that.

And of course, now that the awkwardness was over, I was quite looking forward to my mother’s supper. My father was chattering away to Khawlah and Danyaal about some higher grade Du’aa I never heard of that you need to read if you forget to make your first dua… as they sat and as I began to tuck in, I really did not expect any more drama.

Despite my marriage very possibly crumbling, I was feeling completely at ease. Knowing that Shabeer was going to be out of my life was actually kind of comforting, and as I savoured my first mouth full of my mother’s butter chicken, her next words were enough to make my taste buds completely numb.

“Where did you say Shabeer was again?”

All I could taste now was chalk. The mention of Shabeer nowadays usually did make me lose my appetite. I just wasn’t ready to tell my mother the truth as yet.

“He’s not coming,” I said flatly. “He’s busy.”

”But I especially called him!” She said, annoyed that I wasn’t giving her a proper answer. “Why didn’t he come?”

“Because I told him not to,” I said simply, and I could feel all eyes on me. I swallowed my chalk roti and took a sip of powdery Appletiser.

“Why would you do that?” My mother asked, appalled as she looked at me. “He’s always welcome here!”

“Not when I’m here,” I said, raising my eyebrows at her and sitting back.

I couldn’t eat. My mothers questions were becoming too intense. I didn’t want to tell her like this but she was really pushing me to. My father was wisely trying to distract her but she was having none of it.

She was going on about how hard it was to get her family together, and the one time she does, I had to go and spoil it by opening my big mouth. I didn’t want to tell her that no-one really missed Shabeer anyway. Her words were just kind of going around in circles as she went on and on, and even though I was trying really hard to block it out, I felt like I was being hounded by the mini-demons in my head who gave me no relief whatsoever, no matter how good I was being.

The voices were kind of compounding on me, and even when I started humming to myself in the hope of ignoring it, they just seemed to get louder, louder and louder… and as my mother praised Shabeer and basically knackered everyone else who wasn’t him… I had to call it quits on my better conscience. The evil was definitely triumphing the good here and I could not even resist.

I just could not take it anymore. I felt like that bursting pressure cooker. I completely snapped.

He’s never coming back!” I shouted, the entire table silencing immediately as I said it. And yeah, how crazy was it that now everyone was looking at me like I had gone bonkers?

“But why?” My mother said weakly, and I could almost see her bottom lip sticking out. How typical it was that she would make it all about her?

”I’ve asked him for a divorce,” I said, knowing that this was going to cause a commotion. And yes, I knew that this was no surprise to anyone, despite how my mothers lip was trembling.

What I didn’t anticipate was what happened next.

My mothers eyes narrowed as she shifted her gaze around the table almost in disorientation. At first I thought it was just shock, but as she finally let it settle on Khawlah…. I knew this was no coincidence.

It wasn’t even that she had just lost her cool, as she stared at my sister-in-law. As her eyes promptly narrowed and she glared at her… I couldn’t help but cringe as she pointed a completely unnecessary accusing finger. My mother knew more than she was letting on and this was definitely not going to be pretty…

You!” She exploded, and my heart literally shuddered as she shrieked. Khawlah obviously knew nothing about what she was on about.

Unfortunately, I was the only one that did…

“This is all your fault!”

Apologies for the late post 🌸 

Just a reminder of Jumuah Sunnah… I think it’s an awesome idea to set a goal for Durood every Friday. (Usually 1000+) 

Don’t forget Surah Kahaf, Friday ghusl and lots and lots of special duaas for the Ummah. Make intention for Sunnah and we will get double reward InshaAllah! 


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