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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Twitter: @ajourneyjournal




22 thoughts on “Building Bridges

  1. Loved this post and the beautiful verse ❤️ it reminds me of my friendship with @zed005…
    when I think back to the friends I had in school and the few I have now, I make so much shukr because I know I would have been caught up in chasing Dunya if I kept that company.. May Allah guide us all.. Aameen!

    Liked by 7 people

    • Shukran sister 💞
      That is so sweet. Personally, I wish that I had a friend like that in school. But Allah knows how our journey turns out, why we do what we do and how we are meant to come back to Him.
      May Allah help us to turn to Him before we return to Him… by whatever means…
      Aameen ! 💙

      Liked by 6 people

    • Hey! Technically, I ~was~ a school friend! Some sort of school friend. And I agree (I always end up agreeing with you). The good friends are rare, but they make up for allll the other friends Alhamdulillah! And while we’re being mushy and nice to each other, انى احبك فى الله ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes but not -that- kind! And yes again, you should always agree with me xP
        still love you, you big marshmallow even though you’re always arguing with me ❤ احبك الذي احببتني له

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh my scarf !!!!
    The foreshadowing of this chapter is so amazing written subhanallah.

    And now for whats to come, wonder why Aadam requires Ahmad’s presence.

    Jazakallah khair for the awesome chapter…I can so relate to the friendship of Khawlah and Nusayba..alhamdulillah good friends are definely a blessing.

    Enjoy your weekend💕

    Liked by 4 people

    • Lol, Nusaybah is really a character. I have fun thinking of the possibly quirky things she can say …
      Good friends are most definitely the most important asset… we don’t realize how valuable until our life changes and we see how far we have come.. Allah bless us all with them ❤️
      All will be revealed… have a good Sunday too, sister z.. 🌸

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Ya Allaah!!!!
    I wonder what happened now….
    Maybe he has a little surprise for her…
    Jazaakillah khair for the lovely post especially the beautiful reminders 💞

    Liked by 4 people

  4. So many things are happening !
    I really hope Adam just has a surprise for her and it’s nothing serious.
    Jazakillah Khair for the lovely post ! 💗
    Can’t wait for the next

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Adam why does he always have drama?
    Okay he is the perfect guy but he is exhausting lol
    Ahmed look closer to home
    Maybe you need some of nusaybahs drama in your life?lol
    Dont know if she would consider but maybe …..
    Love thhe way the story is unfolding
    Have read your other blogs and this one is just top of tge list .Alhamdulilah
    Very riveting

    Liked by 6 people

    • lol, I love that. Perfect guy but exhausting. *killed*
      Okay, so poor Aadams drama usually centers around Ruby and her dysfunctional marriage.. but let’s cut him some slack, bichaaro.. 👅
      I think Nusaybah might shock Ahmed out of his senses. But then, Rubeena was also quite dramatic so you never know… opposites do attract.
      Shukran sister, appreciate you reading and commenting ❤️ I do hope my writing is getting better and not worse 💫

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Oh gosh!!!!! What’s happening now. Poor thing can’t relax in peace😬 I think maybe ahmed needs a good wife. With no drama. A simple wife that will guide him. He is a good person underneath but he just needs someone gentle to help him settle. I dont know. What was aunty Radiyyah telling khawlah about her parents. Something about her mother bringing out the good in her father. Maybe this is like that. Enjoyed the post once again sister. Cant wait for the next❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lol, yes indeed poor thing… bichaaro..
      haha, I wonder if Ahmed is thinking along the right lines but I suppose it’s left to be seen..
      haha, yes, maybe Ahmed needs someone to bring out that side of him too.,,
      Shukran dear sis 💞


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