Softening the Blow

Bismihi Ta’ala


I was once told by my dear friend Nusaybah that there’s something magical about leaving your affairs in Allah’s hands. That there’s a beauty in submission.

I didn’t actually understand it at the time, but I remembered her saying that when we make Allah our caretaker, it means we submit our affairs to Him. We hand it over. We let go and we allow the One who is Ever-Living, All-Knowing and Eternal to take care of what He knows best. We take His name and we surrender to His will, no matter what is to happen. That knowledge alone will soften even the severest of blows…

And it can be scary to venture into the unknown. It’s scary to find out we’ve been wrong about something. It’s always scary when things are changing. It’s scary to imagine that at some point, for better or for worse, things will never be the same.

And yes, we don’t like it… but sometimes we just have to tune ourselves to the fact that nothing is within our control. As much as we try to plot, plan, organize and rearrange… despite it all, we have to understand that our plan is never the ultimate one.

The future, by default, is always changing. The future is the home of our deepest fears and wildest hopes. But one thing is certain, when it finally reveals itself…. The future is never the way we imagined it.

And as I tossed a handful of seeds into the ground and let the boys use their spades to compete in hastily covering it up, I couldn’t help but ponder about how I had gotten to where I was right then. In my minds eye, I was still a school girl who was babysitting her charges… but in reality, despite not ever anticipating it, I was married to the amazing uncle of these four boys that I had by some unexpected intervention, come to love so very much.

At that point, it seemed like my heart was bursting.  Allah had blessed me with so much and I couldn’t even find the words to describe how grateful I was. Of course, when we are at the top of the mountain… sometimes we just need to dwell in the glory before looking down.

”I want more seeds!” Dayyaan was squealing in exasperation from the patch he was working at. “Zia took all of mine! It’s so unfair, he always-“

”Okay okay,” I said, cutting him off and digging in my pocket for the other packets that Aunty Radiyyah had given me. Zia was tottering around happily and Dayyaan, on the other hand,  always seemed to be putting up a fuss about something or the other. Sometimes you had to just nip it in the bud.

I had finally gotten a chance to pop in to see my dear Aunty Radiyyah amidst my daily chaos, and I was so glad that I did. Of course, she had spoilt me with everything in her kitchen, plus sent me home with tons of goodies… and a variety of seeds that she had collected just for the boys. Since them days… it was her habit to collect all types of seeds to plant, which explained why her garden was such a mastery to walk in. There were varieties of fruit and plants that I had never seen before elsewhere before…

I placed one packet in Dayyaan’s hand, glad to see him content as he got back to work, enjoying the feeling of the Spring sun on us as we worked. I missed Aadam’s company and quirky humor that day, but since it was a Friday afternoon, he usually stayed home to preserve some energy for the weekend. It had become a routine for his mother to stay in the week, because, of course… she didn’t trust me with carrying out the dietary requirements. Of course, I wasn’t complaining. I looked forward to the uninterrupted weekend with my husband. Aadam always found a way to make it extra special, and I couldn’t help but smile as I thought of it.

I delved into the soil, pulling off my gardening gloves in haste and savoring the feeling of moist earth on my fingers. Never mind my nails would probably be filthy afterward. Never mind I would probably have to scrub them clean. I was prepared to make the sacrifice for my favorite hobby. I was still quite obsessed with gardening, and it was only after getting into it again after all these weeks did I realize how much I missed it. I hadn’t had much of a chance to go into the rooftop at Aadam’s place, and being with the kids too as they ran around, spraying each other with water and squealing excitedly as we dug into the depths of opportunity was a feeling of unmatched liberation that  I had completely forgot…

”Remember that time we ran in the rain?” shouted Danyaal as he looked towards me. “I almost wish that we could do it again!”

I smiled as I recalled, obviously not being able to forget that moment when I stepped up into cover and saw Aadam watching us with an amused expression on his face. It was almost a year ago and I couldn’t quite believe how the time had flown…


I whipped my head around as Rubeena’s call sounded, wondering why she was outside. I had told her to put her legs up for a bit and relax while I saw to the boys, but Rubeena, as I had come to know her now, was not the self-absorbed and inconsiderate Rubeena that I used to know. It seemed like she had forgotten how to give herself a break and I was actually beginning to feel really sorry for her. And yes, though I was glad that she was giving the kids more attention and love, I knew that at some point everyone needed to slow down, take a few deep breaths, and enjoy some me-time.

”Khawlah,” she said, coming up to me and lowering her voice.

I watched her as she made her way to me, dressed in  a pastel pair of tights and a loose and flowey top that really suited her. Her cheeks were slightly flushed and she was tying her hair up into a bun as she widened her eyes at me. She was actually looking really good these days. I supposed not having to stress about Shabeer’s dramatics had done her wonders…

”Its Hannah,” she almost whispered, looking like she had seen a ghost. “Right here. Outside.”

Hannah?! The Hannah?

Oh my word. It was Hannah. For a moment I just stood there, blinking at her in confusion as she watched me. What on earth was she doing here?

”What does she want?” I asked, placing down the gardening tools carefully and wiping my soiled hands on my skirt. I knew it wasn’t the wisest thing to do but I wasn’t exactly thinking straight.

”She’s got her baby with her,” Ruby said, almost disbelievingly. “She asked to speak to you too…”

I gathered the boys up in one area of the garden, my mind racing as I made my way up the stairs and down the passage to the entrance hall. Danyaal was old enough to see to the others for a bit. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but I tried to relax and convince myself that Hannah wouldn’t be up to no good. Besides, if Rubeena had thought it was safe to let her in… well, I’m sure there was a good reason she had called me.

”Salaam Khawlah.”

I turned to the direction of the voice, already doing a double take as I saw this girl that I now vaguely recognized. Hannah had always had a pretty face, but I never ever anticipated the day when I’d see her in Hijaab. I was a little overcome by emotion, as I saw the change. Even though her face was looking thinner and she was looking a little weaker, I couldn’t help but notice the beautifully peaceful expression on her face as I looked back at her. It was the first time I had ever noticed her so serene and I was completely blown away. On the floor next to her was a little girl who looked like she was just under a year.

I smiled as she gurgled, already overwhelmed by how cute she was. What a lovely little girl… I couldn’t believe Hannah had a baby.

”I’m sorry to just show up like this,” Hannah said, looking a little out of place. “I know I should have called or something but I was scared that you guys would tell me not to come…”

She trailed off as I shook my head at her, not really knowing how to react. Should I hug her? Comfort her? Assure her that everything was okay…?

After everything, even though I had forgiven her deceptive stunts… I still found it hard to completely forget all the hurt she had caused… it was still a distant memory.

”It’s okay,” I said quietly. “It’s good to see you looking… happy. And her too…”

She nodded as I glanced at the baby, I could see hear looking nervous. I could tell that she wanted to say more…

“I wanted to talk to you,” she said, picking up the baby as she squealed. “To apologise to Rubeena. And you. And also…”

She paused as the baby squealed, taking out a chip from her bag and giving it to the baby in her hand. Goodness… I didn’t expect Hannah to be so… maternal.

Rubeena was still looking like she was in a slight shock. I couldn’t imagine the emotions that she must have been feeling… to know that this girl had plotted her husband and basically lured him into bed… I was a little overwhelmed by the change that was right before my eyes.

“As I was saying,” she said, obviously  uncomfortable as we both stared at her.

Well, she kind of deserved the scrutiny.

“I also wanted to thank you for signing the forms and for giving me a chance even after everything that I did. I really do feel like I need to refocus and sort out my issues even more now, that I have this responsibility. You must really have a big heart to be able to overlook all my ridiculous stunts… both of you..”

I narrowed my eyes slightly as I looked back at her and Rubeena. Papers? The papers were with Aadam, as far as I knew. Unless he…

Ah. Of course he had. That was Aadam. Quick to overlook. Always able to deliver. He never passed up an opportunity to make someone else’s life easier. I didn’t even know how he had done it but somehow he was able to get a joint custody for Hannah and the lady who was looking after her daughter previously. Where I was hesitant, I was so glad, and immensely grateful that he had done it.

I smiled, wondering how Hannah was managing to support her and herself. She wasn’t a stupid girl. I was hoping she had used some of her intellect to get a job. She was definitely looking like she was in a better place than before. In a strange way, through feeling responsible for her and also living together for those few years… I was kind of proud of her.

”I hope you’ll take good care of her,” I said, hoping she knew what a great responsibility it was to have a child.

”I will,” she said softly. “I think of you often Khawlah. About how different things were back then. About how I saw a little bit of yours and Khalid’s world and I wanted to see more. I always thought that you two… well…”

She trailed off as she looked to Rubeena, and then decided not to say it. I supposed that I knew what she was going to say. I also supposed that she probably didn’t know that Khalid was no longer around…

My heart contracted as I thought about it again. I wanted to tell her but something held me back.

Its not important, something was telling me, knowing that saying it aloud would probably get me choked up again.

It felt like a lifetime ago, but it was so impressionable because I knew that it was through him that Hannah had glimpsed a different perspective. I remembered how she would watch us from the window, and then turn away when I looked back… almost as if she was playing a little game of her own that no-one knew about. I supposed that I was also a little stubborn, by not letting her into our world. It was through the little adventures that she had been watching where Khalid would never fail to enlighten me with miracles of Allah’s creation, that Hannah too had glimpsed some of the light.

Of course, the magic of Deen can have astounding effects on even a corrupted heart. It comforted my heart to know that Aunty Nas’s effects weren’t permanent. Maybe there was still hope for Hannah…

”Anyway,” she said, after telling us a bit about  her life now and the place she was renting that was next to the other lady who had been given custody of her daughter.

”I need to have her back home by 5,” she said as she grabbed her baby bag. “I just wanted to apologize… because I know I really made such a huge mistake and I really don’t know how I could ever make up for it… but one day.. I hope that I could.”

She trailed off and Rubeena looked at her slightly sympathetically.

I had a feeling that Rubeena might have even been a little grateful that Shabeer and Hannah’s short-lived Nikah had been the reason that she had finally seen the light. Although I couldn’t quite understand how you could ever forgive someone who potentially messed up your marriage… I suppose Rubeena’s one was a bit unique. We both knew that she wasn’t happy before that. Now,  for the first time in the three years I had known her, she seemed to be glowing from within. This time, through her pain and her struggle and her searching… she had truly found what she was looking for. I was quite certain that she had found Allah and I had a feeling that Hannah was on her way there too.

And as we watched Hannah leave with her little munchkin, I couldn’t help but feel emotional. Yes, of had been a helluva couple of years. From the time we had lost Mama to now, the going seemed to be getting a little easier.

And yes, we did have our tests, but there were times when I actually forgot about Aadam and the cancer. I didn’t want to think of it as the dreaded C-word. I lived for the moment when he’d come home one day and announce to us that everything was okay and there was nothing really to worry about. I lived in the hope that our longing and praying would reach the doors of the Heavens, and Allah would send His mercy upon us in showers. I lived with the knowledge that only ease was meant for those who were striving for Allah… but how wrong I was…

Nabi (SAW) said:

The most severely tested people are the prophets, then the next best, then the next best. A man will be tested in accordance with his level of commitment to God…”

And maybe I should have seen the signs as my husband came by later that day with a big mysterious box, saying he wanted to spend some time with the boys and needed some company.

”Looks like you guys have been having fun…” he said, his expression only slightly tired as he watched us out in the garden. “You’ll carry on while I watch from here…”

There was no chance of that though. As soon as they saw it, the garden tools were already stowed away and the boys were all hovering over all the carpentry items that Aadam had brought. It looked like an unfinished piece that he had been working on, and as I watched them, I could see how thrilled they were that they would get to knock and hammer like real carpenters.

I looked at my husband as he left them to it. He was wearing a black kurta and prayer hat, but his thick brown hair was visible from the sides. His beard was combed neatly and I smiled as he pulled me into a sudden embrace, for some reason, sensing that something was different about him yet not being able to put my finger on it. Maybe he was just tired? Possibly.

“I missed you, beautiful,” Aadam whispered as he took my hand, his eyes smiling as he sat on the edge of the chair at the back porch.

I grinned back at him. I had missed him too, but spending time with the boys like old times was amazing.

“Thank you for sorting out Hannah’s papers,” I said quietly, not wanting the boys to hear. “She came by earlier.”

”Really?” He said, sitting up and looking at me with interest. “She actually came here? What did Rubeena say?!”

”She was quite mature about the whole thing,” I said, shrugging. “Personally, I think Hannah just brought out a very active side of Shabeer that Rubeena wasn’t able to see anyway…”

Aadam said nothing, but gave a knowing smile.

”I’m so glad she’s out of that,” I said quietly, as I squeezed his hand.

”Me too,” he almost whispered. “I’m so glad it’s all coming together.”

I didn’t read into his words, as I watched the boys as they started working with Aadam’s exciting tools. The boys were embarking on a real task as he watched, thrilled at their eagerness. From time to time he would get up, check on their progress whilst he gave them some motivating words, and then sit back on the couch.

”You’ve got them really busy, haven’t you?” Rubeena said as she stepped out, shielding her eyes from the afternoon sun.

”I’ve got everyone on a schedule,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “Mums sorting out the diet and cooking, and after a small chat, there are some good things that are actually finding its way to my plate. Ma is on the property front, looking out for a good investment apartment for me. Siraj is on the health front, doing all the important things and making sure my finances are in order… You’re doing my paperwork and admin, which by the way… needs a lot of catching up with…”

Rubeena smiled as I looked at her, wondering how Aadam was still worried about administrative aspects and finances when he was supposed to be taking it easy. It just didn’t seem important to me right then.

I didn’t quite understand why he was having me over in the weekends and his mum on week nights. Why he came to Rubeena everyday for lunch. It didn’t click with me why, after years, him and his father had taken a fishing trip down the coast, and why he came to spend time with the boys on a Friday evening despite being so exhausted.

Aadam was actually very carefully planning a way to spend private time with each of us in a very subtle way.

I watched Rubeena shake her head as she walked away. It didn’t faze me as I got up to get my bag, my mind occupied because the time time for my study session that Nusaybah would have my head about if I missed was nearly there…

“Khawlah,” Aadam said, a twinkle in his eye as I waved to the boys and leant down to peck his dimpled cheek. “I haven’t designated you to a task as yet…”

I raised my eyebrows at him as he smiled convincingly. I could already tell that his mind was occupied, planning for what would soften the blow…

“What can I do for you, sire?” I asked him, crossing my arms over my chest as he looked up at me.

”A small request, love,” he said softly. To me though, it sounded something like a death sentence.

“Can I have you to myself tomorrow?” he said, meeting my eye. “Early?! I have somewhere that I want to take you…”


Sunnah Duaas! Let’s try and practice InshaAllah !

Oh Turner of the Hearts, keep our Hearts firm on Your ReligionYaa Muqallibal Quloob Thabbit Qalbee ‘alaa Deenik.

Oh turner of the hearts (Allah, the Most High), keep our hearts firm on your religion

Sunnah Duaa for drinking water 

اَلْحَمْدُلِلّٰهِ الَّذِىْ سَقَانَا عَذْباً فُرَاتاً بِرَحْمَتِهِ وَلَمْ يَجْعَلْهُ

مِلْحاً اُجَاجاً بِذُنُوْبِنَا


All praise is due to Allah, Who of his mercy has granted us sweet and pleasant water to drink and did not make it bitter and salty due to our sins.

Revive the Sunnah Duaa for drinking water. How easy to practice! 

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Twitter: @ajourneyjournal


21 thoughts on “Softening the Blow

  1. The suspense !!!! And I’m getting a little scared.
    So happy for Hannah and like always all the characters manage to astound you.
    The lessons too are so remarkable Subhan’allah.

    Jazakillah Khair for the post 💗
    Eagerly awaiting the next one

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Such beautiful advice… Each lesson has given me something to think about.
    Happy Hannah found some purpose and her life is not wasting away 🌺
    And now I can’t help being so so scared…!!!! I had like a rock in my stomach while reading and I think it’s going to be there until the next post 🤐….
    Again your writing is truly amazing ❤️❤️

    Liked by 4 people

  3. O my word
    Writing is amazing & the lessons so pertinent…trusting Alalh is really the recipe to peace and happiness…
    Adam ???? Wil he live through his sickness
    Ahmed ???? Will he heal his hroken heart or will rubi fix it
    Rubeena???? Will she be content single or take the job od fixing Ahmed broken heart?ey i dont know how they will gel
    What’s next????????
    Tooo nice story…now tooo much suspense
    Loving the lessons all the way
    Allah make us those who truly trust His plans

    Liked by 3 people

  4. السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
    Jazak Allah for the posts.
    “Aadam was actually very carefully planning a way to spend private time with each of us in a very subtle way.”
    I can help but get negative vibes from that.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I haven’t commented in a while as I wasn’t well either, and Alhamdulilah I also gave birth a couple of weeks ago.
    MashAllah So beautiful yet I sensed some sadness too with regards to Adams health. We’re all waiting in suspense to know what’s going to happen to him.
    JazaakAllah khair for all the beautiful posts and valuable lessons shared. 💐

    Liked by 3 people

    • Masha Allah! Allah make your baba the coolness of your eyes! Yes, it is quite heart wrenching but I feel also a necessary of this story because we all get sucked into a fairy tale world at times and forget that this world is not meant to be our forever one…💔

      Liked by 1 person

    • No man… plz don’t crash… InshaAllah you will be just fine!!
      may Allah ease all your pain, sister… I truly hope that you find relief with Him. Remember that Allah has put us in this world to find Him, and many a time we may find ourselves being stretched to the limits and in need of comfort… but all it is in Allah reminding us that He is the Greatest Comforter and the Best Companion that we can ever have… ❤️💔 He is there to hear our every Duaa and plea…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Phew! I was missing out so much in the holidays. Only managed to catch up today. Wow, I’m blown away by the lessons. MashaAllah ukhti.

    Please don’t kill Aadam. The subtle notes are scary and Aadam is a real gem. If I send you seeds to plant or bake a chocolate cake for you, will you let Aadam live please? (puts on a baby voice)

    Jazakillah khayr for the awesome posts❤️

    Liked by 2 people

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