The Only Thing

Bismihi Ta’ala


As human beings living in this temporary world, it’s only natural that we will never understand the concept of ‘forever’. We don’t understand the reality because we see how night turns into day and day turns into night. We see flowers wilting and seasons changing. We see the people aging and lives ending…

Our concept of forever is limited… restricted… so temporary.

But the real ‘forever’.. the real forever is what comes after. It’s what we are promised. It’s the home of our desires and the basis of every dream. Sometimes it’s the only thing that really keeps us going. It’s only one day, when we walk in Jannah, when we will understand how forever really works. How truly limitless it is.

How every difficulty here in this temporary world will make eternal sense.

“I used to be the type of person who put everything materialistic above everything else. It was the only thing I ever cared about…”

I looked up at Aadam as he watched his nephews kicking the ball around. We had taken a little stroll  to the park near the apartment, now sitting and enjoying the soothing sound of gushing water from the the little pond there that I never seemed to tire of.

He wiped off the tiny beads of perspiration from his forehead as he spoke. His breathing was still slightly heavy from chasing after the boys just a few minutes ago.

“I don’t believe that,” I said, shaking my head and reaching out for his hand. “You were never a selfish person.”

Rubeena had taken over now and we watched her as she kicked the ball back and fro to them. Zaydaan was chasing after the pigeons nearby, and Zia was trying to join in on the make-shift goal scoring with no success. She was probably one of the few women I knew that could actually kick a ball with direction. I supposed having four boys gave you different kind of skill too.

”Khawlah,” he said, turning his gaze back to me and moving closer on the bench. “You saw me, all those years ago. And maybe you didn’t know me but I’m sure I was nothing like the kind of guy you’d always pictured for yourself…”

He looked at me and I smiled at him, taking in his now modest frame and unkempt hair, covered with a prayer hat. I remembered those days when his styled hair and bulky frame was the most noticeable thing about him.

”You loved your nephews,” I said simply, resting my head on his shoulder. “You changed your life. You found Allah. It doesn’t matter beyond that…”

“You make me sound so noble,” he said, his one dimple flashing as he glanced at me. “But I was so far. The only thing that consumed me was how much further in this world I could make it. How much more I wanted to push. If this had happened to me back then, if I had gotten sick… all I would have wanted to was spend all my time making an even bigger name for myself before I lost the ability to. I would have wanted to do was make the most of being alive. I would have probably been on my way to Kilamanjaro now… abseiling or mountain climbing or sky-diving… doing all the things I had never done before, just so I could say I made the most of my life..”

”You can still do all of those things,” I said with a grin.

“I know I can, sweets,” he said simply, his dark eyes meeting mine as he smiled and slipped his arm around me. “But the point is, I don’t want to anymore. Sometimes I wonder what little deed I had done  and overlooked and thought was all gone to waste. Sometimes I wonder which action it was of mine that made Allah look at me with such a gaze of mercy that it changed everything. But you see, love, I didn’t know it then, there’s a secret hidden in the sacrifices done for the sake of Allah…”

I looked at him as he breathed in deeply, gazing at the serene display of greenery ahead, almost as if he was trying to come to terms with it himself. Almost as if he was trying to digest the favors of Allah upon him, even in the state he was in…

“Sometimes the goodness doesn’t stem from the source we invest it in,” he murmured softly into my ear. “Sometimes it comes out of the blue, and it’s only now I can see how true Allah’s promise is when he says “Is there any other reward for good other than good?”
He granted me a goodness so far beyond my expectations. He gifted me with such a fulfilling marriage and solid belief through it. Lesson learnt… never ever regret any good put forward for the sake of Allah. With Him, nothing is ever lost…”

I looked at my husband as his eyes fixed onto mine, burning from deep inside as he spoke. He was so sincere and unwavering.

“I wanted to see my mother change,” he said softly. “And I can see it happening Khawlah. I know that my Duaa is already being answered. I want my sister to be happy again… I want to see her settle. I want to wake up at night and talk to my Lord. I want to feed people and do good. Real good. Most importantly, yeah… the one thing I want do right now is be with you and the boys and make the most of this…”

His voice broke as I looked at him, touched by his emotion. I had completely forgotten about that Du’aa he had made. His mother was truly becoming such a different person to me, and I couldn’t believe the change as I saw her every day. Amazing proof that Duaas work wonders…

”Aadam,” I said, swallowing hard, trying to lighten the atmosphere and at the same time, digesting the reality for like the millionth time since he was diagnosed. “You’re young. You’re only 22. Please don’t talk like you’re on your death bed…”

Aadam smiled cheekily as he squeezed my hand.

“I’m just baring my soul to the girl who stole my heart…“ he said simply. “This time without any weird stunts that will land me in hospital.”

”Well I should hope not,” I grinned at him. “I’m not sure if my heart could handle more right now. The only thing that’s keeping me going is knowing that you’re going to sail through this test and be okay…”

The sun was filtering  through the tree above, it’s streaky light settling on the ground in front of me in various patterns. It was strangely soothing.

“Do you know that Nabi SAW never made Du’aa for a long life?” He said, after a few moments of silence.

”I didn’t know that,” I said quietly. “But… you can choose to ask for whatever you wish…

”I know,” he said, pecking my cheek. “So let’s make a deal, yeah.. you ask for what you wish, and I won’t stop you… and I’ll ask for mine…”

The ball rolled up to our feet at that point, and Aadam stood up to join the boys again, while I forgot for a moment what it was we were really talking about. I forgot to ask him what he really meant…

And some things kind of slip beyond your view, dwelling there while you bury yourself in oblivion because it just makes the most sense to you right then…

And as they continued with their little game, so too did time move on… and life as we knew it continued. The days turned into weeks and time revealed to us many things we didn’t anticipate. Aadam got stronger, then weaker. He battled. He fought. He hurt. He healed. His emotions fluctuated with each new day.

Every day was different. Challenging in their own ways. Amazing too. Some mornings Aadam seemed so energetic. Alive. Some nights he seemed to be completely broken. Frustrated. I concentrated on the good, knowing that there were many who were worse off than him. I tried to be strong, supportive, and withstand the tests with conviction…

”Is your heart okay?”

My friend was looking at me with concern in her eyes, as she cleared a spot on my bed to collapse into. I glanced at her, not sure how to answer. Was my heart okay?

”It’s a little shattered,” I murmured truthfully. “But it will hold up.”

”That’s the spirit,” Nusaybah said encouragingly. “And what about him?”

I thought of Aadam, picturing him in my mind.

He was so fiercely independent that some days I couldn’t tell if he was really okay, or just about pulling through…

”He’s coping,” I replied, knowing that he wanted me to think he was perfectly okay. I saw the signs every day, but his mind was on a completely different wavelength to his body.

She offered a tiny smile, and turned to face me.  

“Emotionally, he’s perfect,” I said confidently. “Most days. I really can’t believe that he’s pulling through with so much of conviction…”

“I knew it,” she said simply, munching on her packet of chips in true Nusaybah style. “Because he had all the tools to bring it together, but he just needed you to help him to see it. You’re so strong, Khawlah. It must be taking a helluva lot from you. Can I do anything for you at all, honey? He’s going to be okay, you know. Just keep on giving Sadaqah…” 

I shook my head, and then nodded and swallowed, remembering the Hadith that if wards off any bad and prevents calamities too.

Umm Salamah (RadhiAllahu ‘anha) reported,

The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

“Good works protect from evil fates. Charity in secret extinguishes the wrath of the Lord, maintaining family ties increases life span, and every good deed is charity.

The people of good in the world are the people of good in the Hereafter, and the people of evil in the world are the people of evil in the Hereafter. And the first to enter Paradise are the people of good.”

[ al-Mu’jam al-Awsaṭ 6252 – Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani ]

Aadam hesitated not even a moment in doing anything he could. His generosity was on another level completely…

I was so glad that my friend had such an amazingly positive outlook on life. It was so refreshing and different to the gloom that we faced from other people day in and day out.

This is what I loved to hear. Positivity. Hope. Ambition. There was so much to be grateful for.

”You’re the best, Nus,” I said, looking at her with a wider smile. “I’m fine. Can you pass over that packet of Doritos that you’re hogging now?”

“This flavor is amazing,” she said, tossing me the packet. “It didn’t help that there was an exotic-looking muscle man in the kitchen that made my heart nearly cease in my chest. Who is he and where have you been hiding him all along?”

”You talking about Faheem?” I asked, knowing that Ahmed and my cousin were busy planning a road trip for the next day. 

Ever since Ahmed had put an indefinite delay on his wedding date, everything’s become a little upside down. Since it was their holiday season, my uncle and his family were down from the UK and having no wedding to plan for was leaving this at a little bit of anti-climax. The pros were that I was getting a chance to bond with my cousins. The cons was that Ahmed’s erratic decisions were unsettling everyone’s plans.

“Is that his name?” Nusaybah asked, her eyes glazed over. “Please tell me he’s not married or out of bounds.”

“I think he’s pretty much available…” I said, a little hesitant about where Nusaybah’s mind was going.

“Can you picture it?” she asked, her eyes still looking scarily dreamy as I watched her. “You and I… on a picnic mat under the glorious pine trees… while Mr Muscle and Mr Perfect are busy knocking around with a soccer ball while we sit and laugh about the ‘back in the day’ when we used to eat Doritos and talk about our futures…. Fast forward two years, Khawlah, and bam!! Two little munchkins are in the picture… a little girl that Adam always says he wants, and a little boy who looks just like Mr Muscle down there … already destined for each other since inception because their parents are best of friends…”

My goodness. She was officially gone bonkers.

Err Nusaybah,” I said, shaking my head at her in disbelief. “The guy doesnt even know your name and you’re planning to have a family with him. That’s just creepy.”

”But he’s beautiful,” she breathed, looking sincerely disappointed.

”Nusaybah, I think you’ve officially lost your marbles,” I sighed, as I looked at my friend. “The love affair with your mathematics books has to end. Do you know that they said Einstein had lost his mind? It was all those limitless numbers and  ridiculous formulas-“

”Formulaeeeee,” she said in a monotone, emphasizing the last part.

”Whatever,” I said, waving my hand at her. “You’ve officially gone crazy. What about lowering your gaze, huh? It’s not like you to be guy-obsessing…”

”Khawlah, I can’t deal!” she suddenly wailed, throwing up her hands in the air as she hid her head in the pillow. ”I can’t even open a single book for the past two days! Every time I try it’s like there’s an overwhelming force that’s come to devour me!”

I wanted to laugh, but I knew it was wisest not to make fun of my friend. She was shaking her head, almost in a deep depression.

“Khawlah, do you think my mind is rebelling against me at the worst of times?!” She moaned. “There are only two months to finals!”

Two months? That was a lifetime.

Hmmm,” I said, not wanting to tell her that maybe she had burned out her brain cells. It would probably finish her. “You think maybe some motivation can help..?”

I was thinking along the lines of a professional tutor or alternate study partner. I didn’t know that my best friend had other ideas in mind…

”My word, Khawlah, yes!” She exclaimed, her wide eyes lighting up. “You’re a genius! A study partner and mentor. Can we start this weekend? I’ll set it all up, with a mini smoothie fridge, gluten-free snacks and the study works.. we’ll be on our way to multiple distinction passes in no time at all…”

”Not this weekend,” I said quickly, remembering Adam’s request that morning, ecstatic that I had an excuse.

”Why not?” She asked suspiciously. “Listen, you better tell Mr Perfect to go and fight the werewolves or something for the next few weeks. We can’t be having any interruptions.”

”This is kind of a big deal,” I said quietly, glancing at my friend as she frowned at me. Her eyes suddenly lit up as realization dawned…

Oh my socks…” she murmured, widening her big eyes even more. “Has he finally proposed for the big move? This is like an event of it’s own…”

”Not exactly,,” I said softly, not wanting to admit that it had crossed my mind a few times after we spoke. It did sound like Aadam was thinking about it. “But it’s probable…”

The truth was, even though I didn’t know what was really going to happen… I couldn’t help but feel that amidst my studies and his sickness, and everything else in between… time was running out on us, and Aadam felt the exact same way.

”Oh cadoodles…” Nusaybah breathed. “Please pinch me. Tell me I’m not dreaming. Please tell me that you’re actually thinking along the same lines as me, and not like the crazy old lady in young person’s body that you used to be…”

I stuck out my hand and pinched her arm in jest.

”It’s like one of those romantic novellas,” she whispered, rubbing it dramatically. “When the injured knight in shining kurta comes back from a fierce Jihaad, seeking the halaalest love of his life and just wanting to spend every remaining waking moment with his hijaabi warrior-princess before he has to head out again in the noble path…”

I closed my eyes and shook my head, fighting the urge to giggle.

Nusaybah was nuts, but so easy to laugh with. She made everything seem so simple, even though there were so many other things going on.

Ahmed’s uncertainty about his own future was still a concern, and with us just finishing the last lot of trial examinations, it was about time that I took a moment to breathe.

The truth was, with so much going on and Aadam just finishing off his treatment, he was so exhausted that we couldn’t even think further. Now that he had made it clear that there was no way he was continuing to put himself through anything so taxing again and feel even worse than the cancer made him, we were thinking a little more clearly. If was time for him to take a break, do his tests and then leave it in Allah’s hands.

Leaving home to live with Aadam was a big step right now, and as hard it was to digest, he was my husband after all. Maybe it was time to be make the big move…

Nusaybah was rummaging in my cupboard, already tossing out several outfits, some of them of an extremely embarrassing nature, when Ahmed’s voice from down the passage sounded out.

Now, sudden outbursts in my house were pretty much nothing out of the ordinary, but we usually tried to keep it together until all outsiders left. This was just a little out of character, even for Ahmed…

I widened my eyes as Nusaybah paused to look at me worriedly. I instructed her to wait there while I made my way toward the kitchen, clearly hearing Zuleikha’s raised voice as she addressed him.

”You can’t do this!” She was saying, he voice sounding dangerously on the verge of tears. She seemed absolutely distressed. “You can’t just go around breaking people’s hearts with a mere apology. What kind of person are you? She’s such a nice girl. I cannot believe you called it off! You’re not thinking straight!”

I could see my cousin looking back and forth as he watched them. Poor guy was caught in the midst of their banter.

”I can’t do it, Zulz,” he said simply. “I can’t marry someone just because they seem like a nice person.  People are allowed to change their minds. She said so herself. There’s no harm done. Can we just let it go?”

”No!” Zuleikha almost screamed. “I won’t allow it! Have you even thought about this properly?”

I stepped into view as they both looked at me. Obviously I knew what this was about. The topic had been the only one in discussion for the past month. Obviously, I could not have been more disappointed with Ahmed’s lack of ability to deliver, but I really didn’t have much time to dwell on it. I just didn’t expect Ahmed to come back with a changeover… the only thing that may set everyone off completely.

”I’ve thought about it very carefully,” Ahmed admitted, meeting her eye. “I’m ready to make Nikah. The only thing is… I’ve got someone else in mind…”

Don’t forget our Sunnah this holiday! 

Umar ibn Abi Salamah said: I was a young boy in the care of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and my hand used to wander all over the platter (of food). The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me, “O young boy, say Bismillaah, eat with your right hand, and eat from what is directly in front of you.” 

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5376; Muslim, 2022).

Drink water while taking three breathing pauses. It is prohibited to drink water in a single gulp as our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Do not drink water only in one breath, but drink it in two or three breaths.”

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When Little Secrets open Big Doors…

Bismihi Ta’ala



We all have things that we don’t talk about. Things we’re too scared to say out loud. We protect others. We protect ourselves. Sometimes, no matter how much we’re aching to come clean, we hold onto those little secrets because we don’t want to face what comes after.

And the thing is, in this day of social media, where everyone’s life is on show, sometimes it’s hard to adjust to the meaning of living a private life. Of living a life that’s not for everyone to see. Whether you say it or not, people are hanging onto every thread of information. Even the Aunty at the fruit shop wants to know the darkest details about your failed marriage that you’ve never even told your mother. No matter how much you try to avoid it, privacy was slowly becoming a concept of the past.

And during my life, I’ve had many things happen that would have shook anyone to the core. They were just that unbelievable, yet I kept the deep and dark secrets to myself because revealing them would have revealed way too much.

Then there are times when the secrets sometimes out themselves.. sometimes, things happen to reveal everything for what it is. Allah makes it happen at the right time… to relieve you. To unburden you. Like He promises, for us there is never intended any difficulty.

And when that happens… it’s like a world of opportunity suddenly opens for you. You can do things you never thought you could. See things the way you should have all this time. When that finally happens, you see a part of life that your little secrets were hiding away all along…

”So what does your mother say about your daily dramas?” Siraj asked, glancing at me with amusement in his eyes.

I was glad that he thought it was funny, but I couldn’t have been more embarrassed. All I was doing that evening whilst I waited for my uncle to fetch us was trying to juggle my crazy life, plus give my kids a dose of the good stuff at the same time by sitting down for some reading… And then of course, we were interrupted by the terrible sound of Shabeer’s voice which was bellowing from outside…

My cheeks flushed again as I remembered my husband making an utter fool of himself. He honestly took the tea when it came to crazy drunken people. It wasn’t the only time it had happened… but it was the first time any of my family members had actually witnessed the untainted reality of my ex-husband… and boy, was it a sore sight to see.

”You know my mother,” I sighed, pulling the seatbelt to click it in as I glanced at my uncle, glad that he had pitched up and sent Shabeer away with his tail between his legs.

“She’ll find any  reason to prove what a failure I am in my life. If she knows, I’ll never hear the end of it. She just loves Shabeer. Only Allah knows why. There really is nothing to love about that man.”

Siraj shook his head. I had a good mind of calling Shabeer in as a service to my poor neighborhood, but I wasn’t sure if I could handle that terrible sound inside my house.

Thank goodness the boys just thought it was amusing. They didn’t know that their father had a genuine problem that was probably going to cause a lot of issues in the future. I shuddered at the reality.

He really needed help. I still could not believe that he had pitched up at home in that state….

”Does he drink often?” Siraj asked, looking slightly concerned as he drive. “He seemed convinced that you are his dream girl…”

I rolled my eyes. He was obviously too drunk to remember how caged he felt in our marriage.

”He does,” I said.

And yes, I was all up for giving people credit for their good qualities, but with Shabeer, there was absolutely none due.

“Ever since I remember…”

Siraj raised his eyebrows.

”I didn’t know….” he said, shooting me a sympathetic look. “Looks like the guy put you through hell. Rubeena, do you ever think you’ll recover?”

I smiled, slightly touched by his concern.

I supposed he couldn’t fathom it. Siraj was, after all, a good guy. I could tell that his wanting to pick me up before we headed to Adam was because  he wanted to make amends, but he didn’t know how to. The two of them had been at each other’s throats since the diagnosis and Siraj was obviously feeling guilty. After all, you can’t stay angry with a sick person, right?

I sighed, thinking about Shabeer again, how misguided he was, and whether he would ever change. The truth was, it actually wasn’t funny at all. When Shabeer was my husband, I had hidden all his faults. Every single dirty one of them.

Now that he wasn’t, strangely, I still felt a need to protect him… but Siraj had seen something that I didn’t anticipate. He had unintentionally seen the truth of what I had dealt with for all these years… and it wasn’t very pretty.

”I might need a helluva guy to knock me off my feet if I ever do,” I said in jest, knowing that I didn’t intend on it. Right now, guys were the last thing on my mind.

And the thing was, it wasn’t like I hadn’t thought about it at all. There were moments when I was lost and confused, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I would end up growing old and lonely with no one  at all. And then of course, I had ambitions for the hereafter as well.

I knew that I hadn’t been a perfect wife either. I was far from a saint in my marriage. But when I eventually did make that move, I wanted to do it over. I wanted to do it right.

I wanted to have the kind of marriage that really did give me everlasting beniefits.

A believing woman who prays her salaah, fasts in Ramadaan, guards her chastity and pleases her husband will be told to enter Jannat from a whichever door she wishes. (Mishkaat)

Those were real goals. I wanted that. And it really wasn’t so hard, because  all we had to do was refrain from sin and do our duty… and we get such an amazing guarantee.

”Don’t let your mother pressure you into marrying an idiot,” Siraj said as he turned into Adam’s road. “Find someone who’s willing to accept your kids and love you with no reservations. Someone who has your interests right now…”

”I know,” I said, glad that Siraj had more common sense than my mother. “I need someone whose serious about being a better Muslim too. I always admired the bond that you and Na’ilah had. She’s got a lot of faith. You’ll are so solid…”

My uncle said nothing for a while, as he listened to the boys in the back seat talking about some soccer club in the area that Adam took them to once.

”I’m actually not sure what’s going on with Na’ilah,” he said, his voice dropping. I could see his expression change as he glanced at me. “Sometimes I don’t understand her. She’s lost interest in everything. No matter how much I tell her that it doesn’t matter… she still gets cut up about not having kids. It’s tearing us apart.”

I looked at my uncle in surprise. I had no idea. Not having kids was completely out of anyone’s control and I’m sure she knew that. I supposed that it was easier said than done, but with pure conviction, and knowing that Allah will only test you as much as you could bear… I knew that it was a challenge that could be conquered.

”Did you guys ever think of adoption?” I asked, thinking it seemed obvious.

“Plenty of times,” he said, shrugging and pulling into the parking space. “But she always comes back to the point that what I’d want my own kids. I would love to adopt. Really. She wants me to take another wife. You know what my life is like. Besides the fact that I’ll need time that I don’t have to find one… Tell me, Ruby, which woman in her right mind will actually suggest that and be okay with it?”

I smiled as he said it. It was crazy, but as soon as he saw my expression he immediately looked apologetic.

”You’re looking right at her,” I said drily.

“Hell, Ruby,” he breathed, as he got off and helped me take the rowdy boys out the car. “Is there anything that man didn’t put you through?”

”Haha,” I said. “I’d have to think really hard about that one. I can ask him for some tips for you if you’re really serious about finding another wife. He seemed to have mastered the technique.”

Siraj chuckled as we walked into the building, me behind him as we stepped into the lift.

And yes, the shenanigans that Shabeer had been up to we’re far from easy at the time… but looking back now , I was glad that I could smile and say that I had made it through. It definitely meant that I had made progress and was on the way to recovery.

Ans of course, I was in the best of spirits as I entered my brothers flat because I knew that my mother wasn’t there. It wasn’t that I avoided her completely. I just felt it better got my general well-being if I spent as least time as possible with her. The more we steered clear of each other, the less chances of any explosions in the vicinity.

Khawlah greeted as I entered, giving me a quick hug as I followed my boys in, and quickly escaped  to the kitchen as she saw my uncle behind us. Khawlah just had this amazing quality of modesty in every situation that I always admired.

“How’s Adam doing?” I asked as I followed her, wanting to know what to expect before I went in.

She smiled as she glanced at me, knowing my habit of having random emotional outbursts when I saw my brother. By nature, I was not the most emotionally stable of people, and seeing Adam in the state he had been in a week ago set me off like a never before… snorts and all. I was a tad bit embarrassed.

“He’s fine,” Khawlah assured with a smile. “I think he’s just glad it’s the weekend.”

I widened my eyes comically. I knew the reason why.

My mother had been staying here in the week and basically micro-managing everything from his visitors to his diet. I could imagine that Adam must be quite relieved about her temporary absence. All I knew was that my father was particularly excited about the turn of events. When I spoke to him yesterday, he sounded like a man who had been let loose after a century of captivity.

“Shame,” Khawlah was saying sweetly. “I think she just wants to take really good care of him. She’s made four different lists of things that he needs to do. I didn’t know that she was so… particular.”

More like annoyingly controlling. It was quite typical that my mother would turn this into something so selfish. Making up for lost time was well and good, but I always felt sorry for Adam as a kid when my mother wouldn’t be around when he’d come home on the weekends. I supposed that’s what made us closer. We never spoke about it, but I’m sure Adam knew exactly what she was doing.

I glanced at the list of weird cultures and juices that he was meant to stuff down his throat daily. Low GI. Gluten free. Fresh vegetables. Weird concoctions. Yoghurts that I’ve never heard of before. Poor Adam had to probably just sit put and bear it all.

The kids were already all over Adam as I stepped into the room to see him on the bed, sprawled out now as they jumped around like four crazy monkeys. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched them, wondering how my uncle and Adam were actually having a conversation amidst the madness that was very evidently going on.

And yes, I was slightly surprised at how quickly Adam and Siraj just shifted back into comfortable companionship gear, thinking how strange men were. Men were just unassuming like that. No fuss. No grudges.

And as I stood there, I couldn’t help but feel a lump in my throat as I thought about the reality. I knew that I was getting to that crazy and emotional state of mind that would bring on the ugly tears, but despite the obvious downfalls of Adam being sick… I couldn’t help but think of how amazingly it had brought our family together.

For Ma and Mum… for Adam and Siraj… for me and the boys and the rest of our family. Sometimes Allah has really strange ways of working. Sometimes there’s more good that comes out of a less than favorable situation than we ever anticipate…

”I think we need to take them to the park later,” Adam finally said as he shook his head and tackled Zia who was literally diving head-first off the bed. “These guys have way too much energy for my humble apartment.”

And of course, as I tried to simmer them all down, I couldn’t help but think how on earth Adam would manage with the boys in his state… but then again… why not?

Why shouldn’t he enjoy his nephews before there came a stage when he couldn’t anymore? Maybe Adam needed to be out and about. Get some fresh air. Feel more alive.

I plopped myself on the single chair as Siraj left for the hospital and Khawlah came in, luring the boys with some awesome pasta dish that they were obsessed with and giving me some peace to spend some much needed time with my brother. She was so amazing with them and I didn’t even know how she did it.

And as she smiled at Adam, I could clearly see that it was her who Adam drew his immense strength from. She was so unwaveringly ‘together’. I wasn’t sure how she did it it, but my brother was already looking so much stronger, now that she was here. A little more optimistic.

Today was a good day, and I was glad that I was here to see it.

“Are you coping?” I asked him, watching him stretch out his legs as he sat back in the rocking chair he kept in his room.

He looked at peace. Content.

”I’m fine as long as you’re not feeding me weird stuff that makes me want to cringe,” he said steadily. “Mums been on quite a mission. You think she’d mind if I tell her to that she can stay home?”

I stifled a grin, wondering how long this would really last. Adam’s bound to say something critical at some point, which would probably send my mother off on a tantrum about how her children don’t appreciate her. Besides the diet, I could just imagine my mother coming into the room every few seconds, checking to see if he was still breathing. My mother got seriously suffocating at the worst of times.

”I think I may have a solution,”  I said, with a smirk. “It involves some cotton wool and cello tape…”

Adam grinned back at me. I knew I was being mean but the thought of my mother not being able to say the random and overbearing things that she was accustomed  to gave me a weird sense of satisfaction.

”Seriously, though,” I said, dropping my tone. “Have you spoken to Khawlah?”

Adam looked at me questioningly.

”About what?”

I wasn’t sure how to say it without seeming intrusive. I just wasn’t sure if my brother had thought that far ahead… But I mean, come on. It wasnt really on the list of things we usually spoke about… but which normal guy doesn’t think about these things?

”About her staying here,” I said carefully. “Don’t you think it’s time you guys make the big move?”

I could see Adam looking slightly pensive, as he glanced at me.

”I’m not sure what you guys are waiting for,” I added, raising my eyebrows at my brother and crossing my arms over my chest. “I know what you guys planned, and everything that’s supposed to happen.. but right now you’ll have no idea what the future holds. Haven’t you heard the saying… ‘time waits for no man’?! Come on, Adam… I think it’s time for a change of plans.”

“Ruby…” Adam said, looking a tad bit uncomfortable. “I can’t just tell her to put everything on hold in her life and save the day… although I would love to have her here… it’s not fair…”

”Why not?” I pressed urgently. “What if you’re not being fair?! What if she wants to? What if she’s waiting for you to say it? Do you doubt her love, Adam?”

“Not even for a moment,” he said without missing a beat. He wore a tired expression on his face as he continued. “But it’s not what you think. I’m no longer that guy who she married. Right now I’m okay, but there are times when I don’t want her to see me… when I’m in such an appalling state. I don’t want her to have to deal with all of that. With the drowsiness and the irritation and the rest of my annoying habits. If I opt for chemo then she’ll have to deal with that too. I’m certain that Allah is going to bring us through this and it’s going to be exactly what she expected when this is over and we take that big step…”

”And what if it never happens?” I asked, my voice rising as I looked at him. I didn’t want to say it but someone had to. “You can’t wait that long. You’re missing the point, Adam!”

He shrugged, almost as if he hadn’t thought that far ahead.

“What if you never get better?!” I continued, internally shuddering at the thought. “What if you guys live in this dream world where everything is going to come together again and it never happens?!”

Adam blinked and watched me unemotionally as I stared at him, waiting for an answer. As far as I knew, there was a 50-50 chance. This could go either way.

What if? What if?! There were so many uncertainties in this life. He remained silent for a few seconds before he spoke again.

“You’re scared,” he said softly.

I swallowed and looked at him. Of course I was scared. Of course.

I didn’t want to lose my brother. But more than that, I didn’t want Khawlah to feel like my brother didn’t love her enough to show her who he was, despite what was happening to him. Because that’s what love was about. No matter what or why or how, to give to each other and receive and be absolutely unconditional in every way. That was love. That was what I wanted them to see.

And even if I never got to experience that kind of amazing love, I knew that with him and Khawlah, being there for each other would raise them to completely new heights.

”I’m not scared,” he said quietly, lifting his gaze to look at me.

I looked up at him as he said it, frowning as I realized that he was actually serious. He wasn’t?

His face was pensive again, and I knew that with Adam, no matter what, there was always something cooking in his active mind.

”I’m not scared for me, Rubes,” he said, in almost a whisper. “But I’m scared for you. Maybe for Khawlah. But more for you. I’m scared that you’ll crumble. I’m scared that if things have to take a turn for the worse… you might come crashing down. Just like how you want me to think about my future… I want you to consider yours too.”

”What do you mean?” I asked, narrowing my eyes at him. “What future?”

Your future,” he said obviously, with a glint of humor in his eye. “Love. Marriage. Maybe more kids, yeah…”

He grinned as he said it, while I widened my eyes at him.

More kids? Clearly that Cannabis oil was having other kind of effects on his brain.

”Adam,” I said, shaking my head at him. “It’s too soon. You can’t expect that from me.”

“Okay I’m kidding about the last part,” he said with a smile. “But it was worth a try. How’s about a deal, yeah? I’ll go ahead with my big move and I’ll help you to make yours?”

“What kind of deal?” I asked, narrowing my eyes at him suspiciously. I was half anticipating, yet half dreading his next words.

”Well, it’s kind of a secret,” he whispered mysteriously. “And you have to promise me that it will stay that way…”

I nodded silently as he opened the drawer next to his bed,  pulling out a pen and a notepad, and tossing it to me.

What I didn’t know was that there was a lot more to this little secret than he had let on. This little secret was going to be one that would open huge doors.

“My muscles are too tired to do any of this,” he said, looking at me with his eyes shining with excitement. “So I need you to start writing…”

Dearest Readers, 

A little bit of suspense but I’m trying to keep it as light-hearted as possible.

Hope everyone is having a good break and remembering that throughout our fun and holiday entertainment, we are Muslims first. ❤️

Safe Travels for those who aren’t around .

Much Love, 

A xx

Don’t forget our Sunnah this holiday! 

Umar ibn Abi Salamah said: I was a young boy in the care of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and my hand used to wander all over the platter (of food). The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me, “O young boy, say Bismillaah, eat with your right hand, and eat from what is directly in front of you.” 

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5376; Muslim, 2022).

Drink water while taking three breathing pauses. It is prohibited to drink water in a single gulp as our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Do not drink water only in one breath, but drink it in two or three breaths.”

FB: The Journeying Muslimah

Ig: thejourneyingmuslimah 







Twitter: @ajourneyjournal



The Good, the Bad and the Intense


Bismihi Ta’ala


”What the hell is the meaning of this?” I growled.

I thrust the letters in my brother-in-law’s face the minute he opened the door, barely fazed by the expression on his tired face as he looked back at me.

And yes, the sensible part of my brain was telling me that I was absolutely off my rockers for confronting a recently diagnosed cancer patient in this appalling manner, yet the extremely agitated part of me was completely unconcerned.

”And Assalamualaikum to you too, bro,” Adam said blandly, raising his eyebrows at me. “I trust you had an amazing trip. How’s about a cuppa, yeah?”

He stepped back and gestured for me to come in, only half glancing at the papers I had in my hand. I walked in with my shoulders rigid, trying to appear more macho than I felt. The truth was, Adam’s indifferent reaction wasn’t what I expected. It wasn’t what I expected at all.

”Did Khawlah tell you what I said?” I asked, annoyed now and getting more worked up at the anti-climax of the whole situation. “Because she needs to understand that it’s not acceptable! In our family we don’t allow our girls to campus. Besides, this is not the time for all this kak… and do you even know what happens at those places?! Are you guys even thinking straight?! I won’t let my sister be some sort of… prey!”

”Tea or coffee?” Adam asked, ignoring me and running his hands through his unusually unkempt hair as he switched the kettle on. I couldn’t help but notice the excess stubble on his upper lip as he stood there, busying himself with his coffee container.

I was blinded by anger to see anything else, as I rattled off all the reasons why Adam had to wake up and tell my sister that she couldn’t just do what she felt. I was angry. So angry. Angry at Khawlah. Angry at him. Angry that he had gotten sick and now we were in this predicament that was changing everything. Angry that my own situation was compounding and we just couldn’t seem to pull out of the rut we were in.

I shook my head as he looked at me expectantly, shrugging nonchalantly and then taking out one mug to pour his own cup of coffee. He walked slowly over to his lounger, shifted the blanket that was bundled up on it with his other free hand, and sat back almost carefully, as he continued to watch me pensively. His behavior… or rather, lack of it… was highly unnerving.

”You seem pretty worked up,” he said, calmly taking a sip of coffee as he looked back at me. ”Regarding Khawlah, I’ve already spoken to her. She doesn’t want to study anyway. Is everything else okay?”

She doesn’t want to study? She didn’t tell me that. So all of this… venting… was for nothing?

I took a careful look at my brother-in-law as I stood there, not wanting to relax as yet. And despite my feelings,  his calm demeanor was somewhat soothing, and as he watched me I could feel myself calming down… without even realizing it.

Okay, maybe I was a little worked up about my own issues to think properly. Having to make a decision that was life-changing, not only for me.. but for my future and two other people who will be directly affected… was a little pressurizing.

And now that I was calmer, I digested my surroundings a little easier. When I barged in, I barely took notice of the darkness of the lounge, where the curtains were drawn. The bundled up blanket obviously meant that he was probably asleep… On the couch. I studied him, realizing that his legs looking even longer than they used to in his Pyjama pants. His face appeared slimmer than before, and his usually bulky arms were still toned, but barely as sturdy as they used to be. Adam was losing weight in a bad way. Three weeks without seeing him made it all the more evident.

And yes, though I didn’t expect it, I walked out of Adam’s flat with exactly what I had come there for. Adam just had a way of saying things. I couldn’t help but leave there so much more at ease than ever before.

Because every so often in life, it happens that we see things for what they truly are. Sometimes we are tested. Sometimes people around us are tested. Sometimes we are thrown in the deep end before we learn to swim.

And I was never good with emotions, but somehow, Adam just knew what to say to simmer my aggression. The thing is, I didn’t know how to explain to him how badly I wanted it all to just go away. How I wished that this didn’t happen to him. How everything else in my life was compounding at the same time, but as I walked out of his flat that day, I knew that Adam had some kind of amazing gift that put every other quality of his away. The thing is, I hated to admit it, but it really wasn’t his or even Khawlah’s fault. I knew where all of this had started. My temperament was only a result of my own doing. I had thought that feelings were by the way. I didn’t expect to feel it… but when Khawlah had mentioned a few weeks ago that Rubeena would be out and about soon, as a single woman… Shaytaan was already starting to put all kind of thoughts in my head. I couldn’t help but find myself feeling a little unsettled.

And I supposed that it was on a whim, but when Molvi had called to ask, just at that precise time, if I set a Nikah date as yet… I couldn’t help but find myself jumping for the opportunity at another Jamaat… no matter how far back I’d have to push the much-awaited event of a Waleemah.

I had been doing so well… and I had no intention of going down a road of sin again. All I knew was that I had to remove myself from the risk of falling deeper into the trap that I had found myself in before… and just avoid Rubeena altogether, until my Nikah was over.

And of course, I didn’t regret going. It was just that I didn’t exactly expect my world to come crashing down when I heard about Adam as I boarded the plane back home. I felt like everything around me was falling apart.

And it was like dejavu because as the news hit me, I could recall the exact same thing happening to me when my mother had taken a bad turn and landed in hospital. I was gone away with school for two nights to a biological swamp, and coming back with my mother hooked onto drips and the works was like a shock to my system. Yes, her sickness had always been there… but as was the case with Muscular Dystrophy… it can spike at any time and take a turn for the worse.

And as I sat on the plane back, fighting the insomnia that had taken over from the time I heard about Adam, I couldn’t help but feel a bit grateful that I had amazing company this trip that had grounded me so well. I knew that I had no right to feel like this. I knew that it was Allah’s will. And if was just as well that He had sent a walking and talking distraction right next to me, to remind me about the true purpose of life.

Well. His version of the true purpose of life.

”Just imagine,” he was saying as he looked at me and stretched, on the last leg of the flight back to Joburg.

Despite not liking him when I first let him, Ziyaad had become the ultimate go-to guy, whenever I needed a dose of humor. It just so happened that he was seated right next to me on the return flight, and I knew it was no coincidence. He was one of the most laid back guys I had ever met.

“I was having the most amazing dream,” he yawned.

I didn’t look at him to prompt him. I knew that wouldn’t stop talking anyway. That was just Zee. It was the last hour of the flight and he had just woken up, and energy levels were flying as high as the plane was making its descent.

”Imagine this, boss,” he said dramatically, his arms spread out. “Pure whiteness before you… The most exotic of Hoors surrounding you… in the most pristine place of unimaginable beauty.. and then… the queen of them of …all.. Hey, what’s your chics name again?”


”Yup, that’s your one,” he exclaimed. “Saffia. Just imagine. The queen of your Jannah… the apple of your eye..”

I shook my head as he went on, not being able to resist a smirk.

“Dude, how do you even think of these things?!” I asked in bewilderment.

“I’m well trained,” he said, putting on a serious face. “When things get tough with the vrou, sometimes you have to pull out the big guns.”

”Does all the buttering up really work?” I asked, amused.

”Well, boet,” he said breezily. “You have to have the skill. You can’t be pulling them out and not knowing where to shoot them.. with women it’s like a completely different ballgame. Believe me, I’ve had enough experience with the opposite gender by now…”

“Is this guy bothering you?”

I looked up to see Molvi smirking at me from the seat in front of us, shaking his head at Ziyaad.

“I’m just trying to get this guy psyched up,” he explained. “For a guy whose on the brink of Nikah, he’s like a brick wall of anti-emotion. If I was him I’d literally have some weird sort of ants in my pants.”

Molvi grinned back at him as the two of them playfully bickered about nothing in particular. It was Ziyaad’s easy nature that made him all the more fun to be around. He took Maulana Umar’s comments in jest as they went on.

“This is the type of guy who the women complain about…” Molvi said jokingly.

”Molvi,” Ziyaad said with a grin. “I was thinking of giving the vrou a break, but a third Nikah may just set me off completely. To tell the truth I think she gets sick of my inherent charm. I can’t understand why though because I really am such a catch…”

Maulana chuckled as I looked at them, stopping for a minute to remind myself about the kind of life that Ziyaad had had. I could hardly believe that he actually lost his child and his wife too… at his age… been through so much and still took life with so much of conviction and ease. He really was one of a kind.

And it made me think about how when I first met him… how I had judged him and thought that he was probably just a typical Joburg guy with an easy rich-boy lifestyle. It’s funny how we judge people without knowing anything about their lives… and strange how when we see how rough other people’s worlds are, we are forced to rethink.

And yes, it was a sore reality check too for me again… because as I went out in the path of Allah, there was nothing about the trip that ceased to amazed me. There was so much to learn and consider that I was blown away. To witness the result of ethnic cleansing that had happened decades ago and how it had impacted on Deen in Europe was something completely new to me. Muslims were forbidden from practicing Islam. From fasting. From reading Quran even in their own homes. Countries that were predominantly Muslim had some Muslims still, but not a hijab is in sight. And though it was heartbreaking to hear the tales of how Masaajid were destroyed and Islam was obliterated with such long lasting effects… what I couldn’t get over was the hospitality that the people had. People were willing. So willing. Accepting… so accepting that they were ready to take the Shahadah at times when we still weren’t ready for them.

It gave me a completely different sense of appreciation for what we had, and it was one of the reasons that I loved traveling. It didn’t matter where. Because I had little attachment to the place I called home, anywhere in the world could be mine. It was here where I would have the greatest adventures, connect with the most amazing people.. and learn the most amazing things.

And then of course, hitting home base after it all had a whole list of conquests that were awaiting me.

First things first… I knew I had to be there for my sister and try and be some kind of support. I just didn’t anticipate the plans she had for the following year coming in the way, but that was a different story altogether.

Secondly, to come back to the point of how the whole thing blew so way out of proportion in the first place, let’s just say that I had to contact my future in laws, even if it was just to say I’m alive. The important thing here, though, was that in the back of my mind… I knew that I had to set a date and give them some clarity on the Nikah.

And I would say that the first half of the planned visit went well. My future father-in-law was an easy enough guy to get along with. Conversation revolved around my trip and other general things, before we got onto the serious business.

And I knew that I was taking too long to get to the point. I didn’t realize that I was stalling on purpose. I kept telling myself that all I needed was to come here and see what my future held for me, and put everything into perspective again… but the longer I was here, the harder it was becoming to bring the subject up.

Besides, the little chatter box that had entered the room was literally talking our ears off. No-one else could get a word in edgewise. She was only three but she really would not stop talking. She was clearly very excited that her mother was getting married.

I was trying to adjust to the obvious cuteness, knowing that this would be a part of my daily life… when her mother came in, and hastily sent her away. I supposed she could see the expression on my face. I couldn’t say that I was disappointed. Chatty kids were cute, but I definitely preferred them in small doses.

“I’m sorry to hear about your brother-in-law,” Saffia said, as I finally looked up at her. She had just walked in and was still standing, and I couldn’t help but notice her serious expression.

Her eyes weren’t filled with laughter, the way they were when I first met her. I wasn’t sure if it was the news about Adam or something else that was on her mind.

“I hear he has cancer…”

It just hit that much harder when someone else said it.

I nodded, as she took a seat next to her father, still looking serious. As they sat side by side, I could see that she resembled her father most. For me, it wasn’t really about how a girl looked. Although there were a lot of things about her that appealed to me, more than anything, I needed someone that I could talk to on every level… someone who was patient, intuitive and level-headed too. Being who I was.. and going through what I had gone through wasn’t a breeze for girls to relate to…

“Papa,” Saffia said, turning to him slightly as she said it. “Can we talk alone for a while? Ahmed and I?”

Her father nodded a little hesitantly, and stepped outside like he had done when I had first seen her.

I looked up at her, as she watched him leave, glad that I wasn’t having to explain more to him. Besides, it was between the two of us.

“Sorry, I didn’t come earlier,” I said. “It’s just been a hectic couple of weeks…”

”We were wondering if you’d run away,” Saffia said, raising her eyebrows. She was smiling but I could tell that she wasn’t joking.

Why would she think that I’d run away? 

”Hey,” I said with a frown. “I wouldn’t do that to you…”

Things were quiet for a while as I sat on the couch, unsure of how else to explain my absence. She went on to talk about general things, but my head wasn’t in it.

I was still thinking about her words. Maybe I had been a little too evasive. Maybe I…

”Ahmed,” she started, turning to face me after a while. “I spoke to your sister…”

”Really?” I said, knowing that Zuleikha was upset with me for postponing the big event.

She wouldn’t have told me. She would have probably had a fat lot to say about me too.

Saffia nodded.

“I would hate to sound like the insecure kind of girl whose desperately been waiting for this great guy to come save her…. but lets be serious here…”

I cleared my throat, knowing she was giving me more credit than I deserved. I was far from a great guy. Right now I felt like scum.

“As far as I know,” she continued. “Both our families are waiting for you to make a decision and are worried about dragging the engagement on for so long… it’s already been almost 6 weeks…”

I said nothing. This girl spoke a lot more than I thought. Now I knew where her daughter got it from.

Six weeks was barely anything. It’s not like I was going anywhere. Well, not right now.

“My previous marriage,” she said, as if it was self explanatory. “He kept on pushing back the date and it was only later on that we found out why…”

“I’m sorry,” I said automatically, feeling bad that I was bringing back bad memories for her.

”It’s not your fault,” she said quickly. “But I have to be more careful now. It’s not only about me anymore. I need stability in my daughters life and when I looked at you the first time, despite your age… that was what I saw.”

“I haven’t changed,” I argued, trying to defend myself.

”It’s not that,” she said, not looking at me. “I’m not asking for sympathy either. It’s unfortunate, but Allah plans what happens and I supposed that my ex-husband was trying to make his parents happy. But the point I’m trying to make is that if there’s anything at all that may be stopping you from taking this step, Ahmed.. I need to know now..”

I nodded, not trusting myself to speak. This whole revelation was a lot to process. I mean, I didn’t plan on hurting the woman but the fact that she had been through hell before put an amazing amount of pressure on me. The situation was getting pretty intense.

There was nothing much more that I could say. I wasn’t even sure what to think.

What I had no inkling of  was that it wasn’t really the time until Nikah that was bothering her, but rather, there was another reason she might have suspected, that had steered the conversation directly this way.

“I suppose what I’m asking, Ahmed,” she said, taking a deep breath and finally meeting my eye. “Are you really sure that you want to make Nikah?”

Don’t forget our Sunnah this holiday! 

Umar ibn Abi Salamah said: I was a young boy in the care of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and my hand used to wander all over the platter (of food). The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me, “O young boy, say Bismillaah, eat with your right hand, and eat from what is directly in front of you.” 

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5376; Muslim, 2022).

Drink water while taking three breathing pauses. It is prohibited to drink water in a single gulp as our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Do not drink water only in one breath, but drink it in two or three breaths.”

FB: The Journeying Muslimah

Ig: thejourneyingmuslimah 







Twitter: @ajourneyjournal




Future and Fears

Bismihi Ta’ala


When Mama first got sick, there were times that I felt myself floating beyond reality… almost as if there was no escape from the clouds that seemed to constantly loom above us.

I would creep away into my own little world, read my little books to my little self… or escape to Khalid’s garden whenever I felt the weight of sullenness start to rain on me.

It was on one particular autumn day that I sat under the great oak tree, just humming to myself and watching the pigeons flock together, when little Khalid plopped himself on the bench next to me.

”Hey Khawlah, are you okay?”

I had been exceptionally quiet that day, and nothing had escaped his notice.

”Yup,” I said, looking away. I didn’t want to talk about it.

He said nothing before he got up and started drawing in the sand as he usually would. I could see him playing a solo game of X and O’s and as I pretended not to watch him, he suddenly turned, tossing the stick away and looked up at me.

It was just Khalid, something was telling me. I could tell him.

His grey eyes were curious as he watched me. Khalid was always so jolly.. except when he was thinking deeply, like right now. I supposed that it was moments like these when he entered my heart…reserving his place there… all that time ago.

“See that tree there, Khawlah? The one with most of it leaves fallen off?”

I nodded carefully as I looked up at him.

His dark floppy hair was all over the place and his expression was slightly pensive as we looked at it carefully. It was almost bare. It’s dry leaves were piled up… abandoned at the bottom..

“A sick person,” he continued softly.  “Their sins fall off them like the leaves fall off the tree… imagine that, Khawlah? Imagine.”

I closed my eyes to imagine. I could almost picture it.

“You know what Papa says?” He said, and I already knew it was going to be something good.  ”Papa says that the believers are payed back for any little pain or inconvenience that they may feel. Get this, Khawlah: even if they’re looking for something in their left pocket, and it’s in the right one… they are rewarded even for that…”

Wow. I sat there, a little speechless.

”Khawlah, it’s going to be okay in the end,” Khalid said, his icy eyes softening as he looked at me. “Ummi says that if it’s not okay… it’s not the end…”

I couldn’t help but smile back at him. I had heard her say that before. Khalid’s smile was contagious as if morphed into a childish giggle as he made a funny face, and I couldn’t help but laugh back.

And it wasn’t like I had poured my heart out to my friend. I was only 6. Because without telling Khalid, there were many things that he already knew. He was exceptionally perceptive. For a kid, we sometimes underestimate their ability to understand… but they do.

And it was no wonder that when Khalid had told me that, all those years ago, somehow, his reassuring words had stuck with me whenever I happened to come across anyone sick… whether it was a menial flu or a fatal disease.

For Mama, for Foi Nani, and now, even for Aadam.. as I looked at him. It was like I could just see Allah’s mercy showering down on them… just like those leaves were falling off that magnificent tree, I could almost picture their sins being shed for them. I would picture their abode being prepared for them. I would fervently pray that I too, by some miracle, be blessed with a tiny bit of what they were receiving… and it was always a comfort.

”Khawlah. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to…”

I turned to look at my sister-in-law right then, her eyes still brimming with tears as she looked at us.

”I shouldn’t have done that,” Rubeena said from where she stood at the door. “Aadam should have been the one to say it…”

My mother-in-law stepped back as she came in,  little embarrassed about her open show of emotion, softening as she looked at her daughter. It was the first time I had seen the two of them in this kind of fragile state… so openly affectionate and empathetic… knowing that they were all in this together. I almost couldn’t believe that I was seeing this moment before my eyes. It was extremely emotional.

”It’s all my fault…” Aadam’s mother had whispered to me, just moments before. I shook my head at her… trying to convince her that it could never be.

And even though I knew that her feelings were nothing farther than the truth, if was only a reflection that in those crucial moments, these were the defining feelings that had somehow surfaced.

Guilt. Regret. Remorse.

”I pushed him so hard,” she said, shaking her head. “Always pushed him to be the best, work the hardest he could… and now see! See!”

And I suppose it didn’t even have to do with the apparent. It was just a regret that fills you when you realize that you’ve put so much effort, for so long, into the wrong thing.

”It’s no-one’s fault,” I tried to convince her. “It’s only Allah’s will. You can’t blame it on yourself…”

It was ridiculous. My mother-in-law stopped for a moment and looked at me, wiping her tears eyes as she tried to compose herself.

”Do you think he’s going to die?” She said, desperately seeking an answer as she looked at me.

And honestly, how do you even answer that? I wished I could console her, but the fact was that no-one knew what the future held. We all live in that fear of the unknown…

”Whatever happens,” I said, swallowing the emotion. “It’s going to be okay. You have to believe that. Its in Allah’s hands…”

She looked at me for a moment, slightly taken aback as she processed what I just said. She was actually a beautiful woman who I rarely got to notice, because of the way I had seen her before…

It had been a few minutes that we were in the kitchen, and as I heard shifting and Aadam clearing his throat behind us to signal his arrival, I found myself stepping away as Ruby left and I turned to look at him, still not really believing everything that I had just heard.

I still needed time to process it all. To think about how I felt. To let it all sink in.

”I’ll leave you two alone for a while,” I said, glancing at him and my mother-in-law.

For some reason, I couldn’t meet his eye. It was like my husband was no longer the man that I had known all this time. He was a patient. A cancer patient who was living with a fatal disease. How do you adjust to something like that? How do you change your mindset from thinking that you have the rest of your lives together… to wondering if you probably don’t..?

”Khawlah,” Aadam said softly to me as I passed by, attempting to  console his mother as best as he could. “You don’t have to go…”

”It’s okay,” I said assuringly. It really was.


It was my mother-in-law who spoke now, as she looked at me. I looked back with a small nod.

”Thank you,” she said sincerely.

It was just two simple words, but as they escaped her lips, it felt like every wall that had been built between us all these months was instantly being broken down. And although I barely knew it, it was that very moment that was a moment of revolution that would define our future…

I nodded and walked out slowly, still in a daze. The kids were bustling around and my mind, for once, could not settle into their tedious frame of mind. I needed to be away…

”Can we go?” I asked Aadam, now absolutely exhausted as he came out a few minutes later after assuring his mother he’ll be back to talk about it, . I desperately wanted to talk to my husband on his own.

There were so many things that were going through my mind… like an influx of information and questions that I couldn’t seem to shake…

”I’m so sorry.”

I couldn’t help but shake my head at him as he said it. Typical. He was apologizing to me.  It was so unbelievable that Aadam felt indebted, despite him being in the situation that he was. How crazy was that?

”You’re apologizing?” I asked, raising my eyebrows. “You have a condition that’s destroying your limbs and organs and you’re apologizing to me? Honestly… Aadam, you really don’t even have to…”

”No,” he said softly, stopping and turning me gently to face him. “You know it’s not that. You shouldn’t have had to find out that way. I wanted to be the one to tell you, Khawlah… to hold you before and console you after and tell you that it’s all going to be okay..”

My heart shattered a little more as he said it…

Is it going to be okay?” I asked softly, finally looking up at him. ”How bad is it? Is there a stage?”

”Let me just put it this way,” he started casually,  and I could see a hint of humor flicker in his eyes. “I’m not going to drop dead tomorrow..”

”Aadam,” I said with an exasperated sigh. “I’m serious. This is not a joke and you need to take this seriously too! I need to know!”

“Okay, I’m sorry,” he said meekly, with a tiny smile. “Lets just say that I’ll pretty much be my normal annoying self for at least a few more weeks. The cast is coming off , and then Siraj is pushing me for the radium and chemo treatments but I’ve turned them down… I want to try something else, and those may also have side effects but according to what I’ve read, they’re not as bad. Obviously,  try tell a medical doctor about alternate options and he shoots you down…”

Alternate options? I was also skeptical, as I looked at Aadam. What were the guarantees? But then again… Were there any guarantees in life at all? Right before me was a young guy with his whole life ahead of him… and now he was faced with something that was completely life changing, and not only for him.

He still looked the same. High cheek bones. Dark lashes. Striking features. I wasn’t even sure how something so deadly could be living inside of this guy…

Aadam averted his gaze  as he ran his hand through his beard.

”Khawlah, I’m not going to lie to you,” he said softly. “There are going to be bad days. There’ll be days when I won’t want to get out of bed. Days when I will probably make you angry and days when I will make you cry. Days when we’re probably going to fight like cats and dogs. Days when you will hate me. Days when I might hate me too… and you’ll probably walk out on me on some days, because this is going to test us in ways we never felt before. But I want you to remember that you have to come back, Khawlah… because I promise you, there are going to be good days too. Days that will give us hope and moments within them that will be the ones that you remember forever and remind you about this crazy guy you once loved, and no matter what happens, we still fought through this all in one solid piece…”

”I will never hate you,” I said, swallowing back all the emotion that he had just brought on. “And don’t talk like that. We’re going to get through this. You will fight it.”

”Khawlah, how do you do it?” He asked, looking baffled as he met my eye. “I wished I knew, because it’s like you never need my comforting… time and time again you keep proving to me how much you can bear and I don’t understand  it. Through this all, what I do know is that Allah has given me so many bounties amidst this sickness and one of them is that He brought you into my life to be the one that’s right here to hold it all together exactly when I need it…”

“I’m not what you think, Aadam,” I said, knowing that I wasn’t half as strong as he thought but not really wanting to go into that right now.

I had fears. So many of them, because so much of my own life would change. Our routine, our relationship, our future… And every decision that had to do with it would be revisited with this new and alarming piece of information in mind.

I couldn’t help but think about how we planned everything… to the last tee. How we would be apart for the year and then move in together. How Rubeena wanted to plan the function a week after my finals are over. How we had checked to see if we could make a booking for a getaway in advance… all those plans… now on hold as we waited for this unpredictable stage of our lives to be over.

And then came the plans for the following year, that had featured more often that I had thought it would. As we get older, our dreams get bigger too. I admired my mother for being the committed mother and housewife that she was, but times were different now. Well, that’s what everyone said. Everyone in my class was applying somewhere or the other. It was expected for me to do the same… even though my heart was never in it…

“Listen sweets,” Aadam had said one day a few months before as I sat with my dilemma and googling career options… as he folded his long legs to sit next to me. “You and I are brought up differently. I’ve always been driven by education. Maybe even shoved into it. That was my mother. That’s why I think that having a career is important… but for you, maybe not. Your brothers may think differently, and your father may not like it. But you married me, and if you really want to pursue something  … I can work anywhere … I’ll come with you, yeah? I know the environment is not ideal, so I’ll take you, have lunch with you, be your chaperone… you do what you need to do. I’ll be there.. just name it…”

”Can’t I just do nothing at all?” I finally said, exhausted from all the information I was processing. “I think 12 years of school is enough to put anyone off for life.”

Aadam grinned. Of course I would do something.  I was thinking along a completely different train…

”You don’t need to work, gorgeous,,” he said sweetly. “No pressure. You can sit at home, stuff your face and shop online the whole day and I won’t say a thing. Just don’t let my mother know.”

He smiled as he said it, but I knew there was a deeper meaning to his statement right then. I understood that his mother was extremely ambitious with regard to academic studies and though she might have felt she was motivating him… I knew that the pressure had impacted negatively on Aadam as he grew up.  That maybe she had focused on the wrong things. It was always the most important thing to her. He was always pushing to get to the top… and she loved him to be there. It was when  he got there that he  couldn’t understand what the big deal was anymore…

And yes, it was precisely then when he realized how much more there is to life… and he wished so badly that he had known if earlier.

My thoughts were a jumble as I filled application papers, not really knowing what I was setting myself up for and not really caring much about it either.

It was a back-up plan that would fall in if I ever changed my mind. I had sent them in to a few different campuses and left it at that, forgetting I ever did it. Aadam was still exploring treatment options and gearing himself up for it as the holidays started and it was a rollercoaster of emotions for those few weeks as everyone found out about the battle he was facing. Everything else took a back seat. I just wanted to be there for him before the following term would dawn again.

Of course, when he returned, Ahmed’s Nikah was the last thing on my mind. With the shock of the news… there was just too much else going on.

And in the midst of it all, as I entered the house after one exhausting day trying to convince Aadam otherwise about his treatment options, knowing I was getting nowhere at all.. All I expected to see was Dada sitting on his rocking chair catching his afternoon nap. Instead, as I entered the kitchen to grab a glass of juice, Ahmed was sitting on the bar stool, almost motionless… as he leaned over some documents.

”Assalamualaikum,” I greeted, opening the fridge door while my brother barely mumbled back a reply. I busied myself with choosing the flavor I liked, calmly took of out and just about poured a huge glass of cranberry and apple juice when Ahmed’s voice spoke out.

“Can you explain to me what’s the meaning of this?” He said suddenly, holding up the papers in the air as his penetrating gaze fixed on me. “Since when did you get all these ideas, Khawlah? Speech Therapy? Property Development? Law?”

”What are you talking about?” I asked him, completely confused. It was like he was building himself up, and now it was time to erupt… with no warning at all.

“University letters,” he snapped. “Provisional acceptance. From three different campuses. You really have a hope of that!”

Woah,” I said, feeling overwhelmed as I took a seat and put my glass down. With so much going on… I even forgot about those. “Am I really accepted?”

”Don’t you dare get any ideas,” he said with raised eyebrows. “Its not becoming of someone in your situation to go and run off to campus. Besides, you still live in this house until you leave. I won’t accept it and Abba won’t allow it either…”

”If doesn’t matter what Abba says,” I said stiffly, the defiant streak in me taking over. “Or you, for that matter. I’m married, remember? I don’t think I have to answer to you…”

How dare he tell me what I can or can’t do? He had no right. He had no idea what it was being in my situation… or what I was dealing with right then.

“Please,” Ahmed scoffed. “You really think Aadam is in the position to be making decisions like that?”

“I think he’s completely capable,” I said stubbornly. I mean, he wasn’t dead. Why was Ahmed acting like an idiot? 

Ahmed’s eyes narrowed at me as I faced him, not relenting with my gaze either. I didn’t know that all this had stemmed from something else that had erupted in his own life, that he failed to tell us about. All I could see was an intensely temperamental Ahmed threatening me with his fierce looks and rigid approach, and I didn’t like it at all.

”Mark my words, Khawlah,” he said angrily, tossing the letters across the table and glancing up to look at me. “This is not Adam’s choice anymore. You better burn those letters and forget about them or I won’t let him hear the end of it.”

I know everyone is taking it a bit easy this holiday season – please bear with me if next posts are a little delayed 🌷

Keep safe and Much Love, 

A xx


Sunnah of Drinking water

Drink water while taking three breathing pauses. It is prohibited to drink water in a single gulp as our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Do not drink water only in one breath, but drink it in two or three breaths.”

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Moments in History


Bismihi Ta’ala


Change. We don’t like it. Well, I know I don’t. We fear it, but we can’t stop it from coming. The thing is, we can either adapt to change, or we get left behind. By default, our lives are meant to be such that everything around us, within us and ahead of us constantly changes.

And one of the most extraordinary gifts that a person can ever be blessed with is the ability to smile amidst the challenges that they face. To take change in their stride. To make Sabr from the first test. To show forbearance at all times, whenever the burdens of the world that they carry may overwhelm them.

As was the outstanding quality of Nabi (SAW)… despite his trials, his losses and the grief that he endured within his blessed heart, he was always seen with a smile on his Mubarak face. Because he, (SAW), among all people understood that the nature of this Duniyaa is such that trials and tribulations are part and parcel of it’s disposition. He buried every child of his, except for one. He saw the pains of the beloved Sahaabah as they suffered from severe hunger. He experienced hurt and betrayal and abuse from even those whom he loved.

We are meant to learn Sabr. To practice Tawakkul. To build our faith and our belief that Allah does not wish for us difficulty, but only wants to strengthen us, to give us ease in the hereafter. To remind us that this world is not forever.

And along my journey, somehow, I had been fortunate enough to meet a guy who reminded me about this on a constant basis. He was the kind of person that you’d remember for those qualities, because in every situation that tests you, those simple things are lessons that remind you. Those moments are ones that you remember despite the sadness and despair, because they shine out through the darkness. Those moments are moments that not only make history… but moments that you can’t forget.

And though I’ve had my fair share of gripes with my mother-in-law, one thing I couldn’t deny was that someone.. somehow, had raised a great guy. Even if it was by some miracle, my husband had turned out to be an amazing human being.

Our character… the way we are and people see us… well, these are the things that aren’t tangible… yet leave everlasting impressions. Somehow, Aadam had acquired not just a helluva amazing approach to life, but also a conviction in his heart that no trial could shake.

“Are your uncle and them coming back tonight?” I asked, noticing the house suddenly empty as I got back downstairs.

”Uncle Siraj’s temporarily disowned me,” Aadam said with a raised eyebrow. “I don’t think he’ll be back any time soon…”

I glanced at Rubeena but she didn’t meet my eye. Something was up, and I knew that I had to get to the bottom of it.

”What did you do?” I said. Narrowing my eyes at my husband.

“Listen, sweets,” he said casually with one raised eyebrow, getting up and pulling out his crutches to use. “Don’t worry your pretty head about these things. It was some tests that I didn’t want to take… but I’m going to do them now, okay? It’s all under control, right Rubes? There’s a Greater Power here. It’s all under control, yeah?”

It was almost as if he was asking her and reminding her at the same time, and though I frowned and noticed her stagnant expression, with Aadam’s indifferent attitude and carefree approach to life, I obviously didn’t make a big deal of something that didn’t seem like a worry at the time.

The weeks of the second term exams flew by steadily, and being so busy with work and getting dragged into Nikah plans for Ahmed was pretty much consuming. It was the week when exams were due to end when my brother suddenly came to us and have us a considerate heads up about his heading off to Europe for two weeks. I would never forget the look on Zuleikha’s face when he said it. She was utterly peeved.

”Oh my word, Ahmed,” she squealed, looking up from the notebook she was writing in. “You can’t be serious! I’ve already set a date with the caterers.”

”Change it,” Ahmed said simply. “Nothings written in stone. I did tell you not to book anything yet.”

Zuleikha rolled her eyes at him in frustration. I could see through her niqab that she wasn’t impressed. Her amber eyes were narrowed, and I could see Aadam’s mouth lift up at the corners as he watched the two of them. To be fair though, maybe I should stick up for my sister. Ahmed seemed to be a bit softer with me after my teary episode when Aadam’s health had been a great concern. It had been consuming me for weeks, but with Aadam’s reassurance that everything will be okay… I was holding up just fine.

“Ahmed, are you sure you want to go?” I asked, a little disbelievingly. “Don’t you want to make Nikah first and then take your wife with you?”

Ahmed frowned.

”It’s a men’s Jamaat,” he said, as if I was crazy to even suggest it. “And I’ve waited my whole life to get married. I don’t think a few weeks will make a difference. Right Adam?”

Aadam smiled.

”I don’t know about you, bro.. but i couldn’t wait.”

”I’m different,” he said confidently. And with that he shrugged and walked off as Aadam and I made our way out after greeting an annoyed Zuleikha, and dismissing his behavior as typical Ahmed behavior. Besides, I was already preoccupied with psyching myself up for the night ahead. It was family night and supper with my mother-in-law always had it’s fair of drama.

Since Ruby still had a few days to come out of Iddat and supper was at her place … I kind of hoped that things wouldn’t erupt like they usually did. What I didn’t know was that tonight was going to be a moment in history that I didn’t anticipate.

”You guys are all so… unique,” Aadam was saying, almost to himself as we hopped in the car. “Ahmed is so rough and… powerful… And Zuleikha is super sensitive.. and considerate. Yunus is in a world of his own. He’s probably like one of the deepest guys I’ve ever met. As for you…”

I held out my hand to stop him in mid-sentence, already anticipating some quirky dig at me that Aadam was so famous for.

”I’m the most unemotional person you’ve ever known?” I said, shrugging indifferently and focusing on the road. My driving was becoming better and it was just in time because Aadam’s cast was due to come off in a week and he’d be more or less back to his normal self.

Well, I hoped.

“You’re my rock, Khawlah,” he said simply. “You are the way you are, and that’s precisely why I love you. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner… but back to the point..”

”No, no,” I said, waving my hand at him. “Carry on complimenting me please. Let’s not get back to the point.”

Aadam grinned as he leant over and planted a slobbery kiss on my cheek.

Euw,” I said, wiping it off.

”I can sit here and compliment you all day, beautiful,” he said seriously. “Without having you in my life, I really would have seen none of this. I would have been so lost if Allah hadn’t looked at me with His gaze of mercy and brought me from that pit of revolt that I was sinking in. I used to think that all these worldly things made me a cut above the rest, when in truth, all I have is a dark shadow that follows me wherever I go, reminding me that at one stage of my life, I was worth nothing at all. I had everything going for me, but I was still a lost soul. An unfulfilled being. I knew nothing of what my purpose was and who I was meant to be. That my living and my dying an everything in between is and always will be, only for One Supreme Being…”

I glanced at him and swallowed, pondering on that characteristic of him that never seized to amaze me. He was so humble. It was something that had blown me away from the minute I had gotten to know my husband, and that kind of humility only comes when you truly recognize Allah in everything you do. 

And I would never admit it to anyone, but when he we sat together, some time after the day of his big work function… What I saw in him was something that I didn’t often see in anyone before this. He had made it very well-known that all the glory, attention and awards meant nothing to him. For him, it wasn’t important.  All he knew was that no matter what people payed to him or said about him or spoke of him… he knew that otherwise he would be worth nothing at all. Nothing without Allah.

Ans tears had filled my eyes as I sat there, remembering his past and hurting for every pain that he had ever felt. There’s always a regret over time lost without knowing the Allah who gave you everything that you are. As he spoke about his childhood, his mother… his past… I always sensed a pain there that I wished so badly that I could make go away.

”Do you know what Yunus wants to be?” I asked him softly, with the train of thought still running through my mind as we sat in the car outside, not yet ready to go in until this conversation was over.

”He told me,” Aadam said with a smile. “Amazing guy. An Aalim, huh? I love him to bits.”

”Yunus talks to you?” I asked, wondering when it ever happens. Yunus was always in his own kind of silent zone.

”All the time,” Aadam said. “Sometimes in his mind. But we get each other.”

I grinned.

”Its such a noble thing,” he said as he thought of Yunus. “But not everyone’s destined for that. I know that I’m too rotten, yeah. Allah chooses those who do His work…”

Of course, I couldn’t help but think that growing up with Khalid had a great impact on him too. His influence was so intense that it had carried over so many years…

“And yet,” I said, catching on to my husbands sentiments. “The professionals in our community play an unbelievable role in uplifting this Ummah too. Especially those who do as much work as you do. Allah gives everyone different roles and skills for different reasons.. You’re a genius at what you do and you and you must never underestimate it, Aadam… you do amazing work.”

“Is someone actually complimenting me?” He asked incredulously. “I can’t believe this. Who are you and what have you done with my wife?!”

”I give credit where it’s due,” I said with a smile.

”I think the moment of truth is really close…” he said as I reached for the door handle. “The moment of declaration that I’ve waited for from the time I was married to the girl of my dreams…”

I shook my head as we walked up the steps to the doorway, amused by Aadam as usual. I straightened my face, as we pushed open the door, not wanting to appear too smiley with Aadam’s mother.

Yes, my mother-in-law had simmered down a lot but it was still awkward. The ice was still very much intact. I had no idea when it would be broken… but I didn’t suspect it happening anytime soon.

And as the door opened, my heart immediately lifted to see the boys running towards us in excitement. Since Aadam’s arm was a bit better now, he easily lifted Zaydaan and plopped a kiss on his nose. He was at that cute and podgy stage where his words were all mashed together and incoherence was his cutest attribute. He babbled on about something to Aadam while I hugged Rubeena and the other three, making our way into the house to see where my mother-in-law was.

Of course, she had taken over occupied in the kitchen and didn’t even bat an eyelid as all six of us made a rowdy entrance into her place of magic. I could already smell the yummiest chow mein and sizzling steak that was my all time favorite. My mouth was already watering.

“Howzit Ma,” Aadam said as he went up to her to greet. “Something smells good. New recipe?!”

Somehow Aadam knew just how to put his foot in it with his mother.

“No!” She snapped, her eyes narrowing at him. “Who told you that?! Can you believe that lady, that one that came home the last time to see my kitchen. She phoned last week to ask me for my recipe and I so graciously gave it to her. Little did I know she was planning to make it for the ladies function on Monday… and guess what?”

”Was it horrible?” Aadam asked hopefully.

”It’s not as good as I make it,” she said with a huff. “But everyone was going crazy about it and she never once even mentioned that it was my recipe! The cheek. Plus, I heard her tell her whole table about how Rubeena forced her husband to give her a divorce. Then she went on to talk about how my kitchen counters weren’t pure Caesar stone . Can you ever? How can people be so… evil?! Who even uses granite these days? What do they say about people like that? Better be careful… I just read my quls and avoided her for the rest of the night.”

Ah. The cooking drama’s of middle-aged women.

Aadam calmly tried to pacify his mother about how people are not jealous and don’t really wish bad, but are just like that because they admire her. She wasn’t buying it. Poor Aadam always tried to make every situation a positive one.

I glanced humorously at Ruby who was quieter than usual as she raised her eyebrows. Yes, my mother-in-law has been taking it slightly easier with me but it didn’t mean that she was being easy on Ruby. Her side comments were very evident of the fact that Rubeena’s life was far from her idea of perfect.

”So Khawlah,” my mother-in-law said, turning to me. I still felt awkward in her presence but at least she was being civil. “I hear your brother’s getting married.”

It wasn’t a question. She wanted more details. Ahmed wasn’t joking when he said that Aadam’s mother had taken a liking to him. He really had made an impression.

”I heard the girl is divorced with a child?” She pressed on, raising her eyebrows.

”Ma, can we stop doing the 411 on Khawlah?” Adam asked innocently.

I knew he was avoiding greater problems here but my mother-in-law shrugged it off as she continued to look at me.

”Jhee,” I said, a little unsure. How could I be rude? I had to answer her.

“Ahmed’s quite mature for his age… he feels it’s better to have a wife that will be more on his line of thinking…”

”Thats a lucky girl to bag an unmarried guy,” she said, raising her eyebrows. On the contrary, I thought Ahmed was lucky to find someone who tolerated his moods.

“But at least there’s hope for Ruby,” she continued casually. “I was worried that no man will ever be prepared to take on someone else’s kids, but this gives us both some assurance, doesn’t it, Rubeena?”

”Ooh, this food is too good to eat cold,” Aadam cut in to no-one in particular. He was looking at his mother, but the fact that she hadn’t eaten a bite didn’t faze her.

Rubeenas eyes were narrowing and my mother-in-laws voice was getting more high-pitched by the second. I had a feeling that Rubeena was really fighting her urges to say something that would put her in the ugly spotlight. Aadam’s father was watching the scene silently as my mother-in-law just went on and on…

And then of course, not unlike what I’ve seen before… almost as if she couldn’t tolerate it anymore… the expression on Rubeena’s face suddenly altered, and all of a sudden, almost as if she couldn’t help herself, she just erupted.

”Mum, please stop!” she snapped. “There’s more to life than bagging an idiotic guy.”

”Rubeena,” my father-in-law said meekly, his eyes widening in worry. “How’s about you show me where’s the dessert?”

“I wish I could,” she retorted. “But I cant even taste my food anymore! Ma, can you just give me a break? After you and Shabeer, and all your constant mental battering, don’t you think I’m already damaged enough? I definitely don’t need another man to come and mess up my life..!”

“You need a husband to be accepted in the community,” my mother-in-law said, and I honestly wished I could kick her under table. Only I knew that would go down well. My mother-in-law just didn’t get it.

”Mum, it’s not the end all and be all of life!” Rubeena said now, obviously a little fed-up. “Life is not only about extravagant houses and world-class kitchens and good-looking husbands. Ma, there’s a whole world out there that we know nothing about! There’s so much that Allah has promised us that we ignore and forget about just because we don’t see it right now. There’s a bigger picture, Mum… and there are so many more important things in life that when you realize them… it makes everything else that you thought was so huge look so amazingly insignificant.”

”Oh gosh, Ruby,” she said, rolling her eyes.  “You’re behaving like Ma now with your Bayaans. All I’m saying is you need to be more forward in your thinking…”

“I really don’t care about that right now!” Ruby snapped. “Sometimes things happen, and they open your eyes in a way you’ve never seen before. Sometimes life has many more lessons for us than we are willing to learn. Sometimes we get so caught up that we don’t realize that one day, we’re going to have to leave this world… and everything we have here behind us…. am I right, Adam?”

Adam was looking at Rubeena with his lips pursed and a stagnant expression on his face. I almost expected him to have something quirky to say back, but all he did was shrug as he glided his long fingers through his beard, and then glance at me a little warily.

”Ruby, don’t do this,” he said softly, and I could see him swallowing hard as she looked back at him… with a single tear rolling down her cheek.  “Not now…”

“Are you going to tell them or must I?” Rubeena said, her voice strained from emotion.

I watched them both in utter confusion as they looked at each other, speaking words through the silence that no-one but them could understand…

“Aadam, what’s going on?” I couldn’t help but ask, as he they sat there, just staring at each other.

”Sweets, I wanted to wait until you finished writing…” Aadam started, as he looked from me to my mother-in-law.

”Wait for what?” My mother-in-law asked with her brow furrowed and her attention immediately diverted as we watched them both.

And like a wave that came and knocked us completely off our feet, the news that they delivered was one of the most severest of blows.

“It’s Myeloma. A type of cancer that affects the bone, among other things… I suppose it explains his clumsiness…”

My mother-in-law was looking at him in utter shock. My father-in-law was stunned. I was completely speechless.

Inna lillahi wa Inna Ilaihi Rahioon. 

Oh yes. Sabr at the first test was so much easier said than done. I felt like I couldn’t breathe as I watched my husband, thinking how everything could suddenly be turned upside down in such a little time. Here I was, thinking we were living a comfortable little life, and out of the blue… a bomb just falls from nowhere at all. And what a bomb too…

“We were waiting for the final test results… and they’ve just come in today…” he started, trying to explain.

”Adam, is this a joke?” My mother-in-law asked, her eyes widened. “Because Siraj didn’t say a thing… if this is a joke I promise I’m going to whack you-“

”I told Uncle Siraj not to,” he said simply. “It’s not a joke, mum.. although I wish it was. I think the main thing is to be positive here… can we talk properly after we eat?”

“This can’t be happening,” she said with tears in her eyes. “You’re only twenty two… I don’t understand…”

”I’m still twenty-one, Mum,” Aadam said with a shadow of a smile. “For two more months. Don’t make me older than I am…”

“I have to go,” she said, her voice shaking as she shifted on her chair. “How can you expect me to eat? You acting like it’s so normal. I can’t do this, Adam …“

And with that she pushed her chair back noisily and stood up, walking to the kitchen almost in slow motion as all of us sat in semi-silence at the dining table.

My father-in-law was just staring into space, shocked out of his senses. Ruby was sobbing her eyes out in despair. Aadam was in no state to comfort anyone as he shifted uncomfortably in his seat and refused to meet my eye.

Of course, I swallowed hard and said nothing as I got up… making my way out to where my mother-in-law was, not really planning how I was going to deal with this all of what I would say.. but knowing that someone had to keep this thing together… to remind them about the purpose of life… to renew their trust in Allah and in Qadr and whatever He wills…

And sometimes it takes a harsh situation to bring out the best in people. Sometimes it takes something bad to bring out the good. Sometimes we don’t know what Allah has in store for us until in time, we see the fruits that can come even from a once barren tree.

”Mummy,” I said, as I entered the kitchen and walked up to my mother-in-law who was standing with her back to me. I placed my hand on her shoulder as I drew nearer, not knowing what to say but feeling her pain all the same.

It was a moment in history that changed everything.

And just as I reached her and she turned to face me with emotion overflowing from her eyes, she couldn’t hold it together even a moment longer. It was as if everything within her was falling apart as she gripped me helplessly and burst into tears.


Sunnah of Drinking water

Drink water while taking three breathing pauses. It is prohibited to drink water in a single gulp as our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Do not drink water only in one breath, but drink it in two or three breaths.”

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