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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23 thoughts on “When Sins are ‘Little’…

  1. Wow !!
    Lots of eye openers in this post. So happy that Zuleikha managed to find the true light and happiness.
    The plot is just getting thicker by every post !!
    Loving every bit
    Jazakillah Khair for the lovely post 💗
    Can’t wait for the next

    Liked by 3 people

    • Alhumdulillah..
      I like to show two versions.. with Rubeena’s failing marriage it can make people in a similar situation lose hope..
      with Zuleikha’s story at least we are given hope. ❤️
      Shukran sister..


  2. What is going on..?? 😳 How is ruby asking for a number becomes an issue for khawlah and her mil. Trying to get an idea of what’s happening.. You have us so gripped I’m just crying for more!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

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