A Game Changer

Bismihi Ta’ala


In case you didn’t figure it out yet, I’m Yunus. The quiet one. The protected one. I suppose you could call me the silent bystander. The voice that often doesn’t get heard.

Okay, now you’re feeling sorry for me. And I’m just kidding. Really, I am. Please don’t.

I am the way I am. An ordinary guy with ordinary thoughts and ordinary dreams, and its not like it ever bothered me. Living in the shadows of my siblings suited me well for the most of my life. They had set the bar high. There was much to aspire towards, and me being… well… me… wasn’t exactly outstanding… until someone had come along to convince me that maybe I’d be the one change that they needed all along.

Only, I didn’t believe that it was true. I never thought that I could be the one who could ever change the course of my own life, never mind anyone else’s.

But anyway, let’s not make this about me. Let me get back to the story.

Of course, I had managed to get by with my sisters watching out for me and my unemotional brother letting me know, in his own way, that no matter what… he was always the there for me. And he was. That was always enough.

That was why as I looked back at the journey that had begun right then, you can understand that where I was at that point was kind of a big deal. Stepping off a plane, collecting my luggage, going through passport control… all alone… it was quite an achievement. It was something that my older brother had done with his eyes literally closed, probably hundreds of times, but being the protected one of the family also came with its own set of rules. This was the first time that I had been anywhere without a single member of my family and it felt eerily strange.

”Passport, sir.”

I fumbled in my pocket as I took out my documents, a little overwhelmed by the realization that I was in a foreign country, on foreign territory… all by my foreign self.

”Fine, you go,” he said hastily, shoving the passport back in my hands while I struggled to get my stuff together as fast as possible. I didn’t want to keep the people behind me waiting.

Following the signs to the exit was easy because I understood the language. After two years of Aalim course, my Arabic was more or less conversational. Amidst the calls of Ahlan wa Sahlan from several enthusiastic drivers scouting customers,  I found myself in a taxi with a local and friendly middle-aged man , admiring the sweeps of desert and iconic landmarks, drifting off just as we arrived at the hotel I was staying at for the night. I was looking forward to touring and learning and really making the most of this trip that I had no idea yet would be one of the most memorable of my life.

Ammaan was an amazing city. Of course, the fact that it was so rich in Islamic history was one of the main drawcards for me. Many people don’t know that Jordan was the first place out of Saudi Arabia where Islam had spread. Furthermore, it was on its east side where the famous Battle Of Mut’ah had taken place.

As I found myself gazing at the barren lands that we passed on the daily trips, it was as if I could almost see the Sahaba at the time plunging forward into the battle field, preparing themsleves for what would be their last battle, as the Prophet (SAW) had prophecised.

The most significant and the fierce battle during the lifetime of the messenger of Allah [SAW] was to be a preliminary and a prelude to the great conquests of the land. I never tired of it’s story. It’s passion. It’s splendor. Their faith. No matter how many times I read or heard it in class, it still boggles my mind.

And according to the prophecy Nabi (SAW) had conveyed, it was Zaid Bin Haarithah (RA), the closest to the my Beloved Messengers (SAW) heart, who assumed leadership at first. He fight tenaciously and in matchless spirit of bravery until he fell, fatally stabbed. And then, as predicted, Jafar bin Abu Talib (RA) was then the one who took the banner and did a miraculous job of fending off the enemy with great valor. In the thick of the battle, he dismounted, hamstrung his horse and resumed fighting until his right hand was cut off. He seized the banner with his left hand until this too was gone.

He then clasped the banner with both arms until a Byzantine soldier struck and cut him into two parts. It is reported that was called “the flying Jaffar” or “Jaffar with two wings” because Allah has awarded him two wings to fly wherever he desired there in the eternal garden. Al-bukhari reported fifty stabs in his body, none of them in the back…


And as mentioned beforehand, Abdullah bin Rawaha (RA) then finally proceeded to hold up the banner and fight bravely on his horseback while reciting enthusiastic verses as motivation for his wavering soul, until he too was martyred.

There upon a man took the banner and called upon the Muslims to choose a leader. The Muslims looked to the place where a future lieutenant and leader of the army was fending off the enemy, and the honour was unanimously granted to Khalid bin al-Waleed, an outstanding strategist and a skilled brave fighter. It was reported by that he used nine swords that broke while he was relentlessly and courageously fighting the enemies of Islam. He, however, realizing the grave situation the Muslims were in, began to follow a different course of encounter, revealing the ferocious strategy-maker that Khalid (RA) was rightly called…

Khalid Bin Waleed (RA). A legend of sorts that fought to such heights that Harith bin Shamir and his allied Roman army lost its courage. They thought that the Muslims had received fresh reinforcements. They began to recede when the darkness of night started to prevail. Khalid bin Waleed (RA) also left for Madinah along with the remaining army. It was greatly through his exemplary valour and military expertise that Khalid bin Waleed RA safely delivered one thousand soldiers out of danger and reached Madinah. For this reason, the Prophet (SAW) honoured him by the title of “Saif-Ullah” (the sword of Allah).

And of course, being there in a place which served as a constant reminder of the victorious past… one that was so rich in history… only made me want to learn and see more.

The days were full and uplifting. My own Ustaadh at the Uloom had directed me to someone who I could engage with… whether it was something educational or something important just about life to learn, I was open to it. Quran was an every day routine and Hadith classes were ongoing at his Madrassa. Because I wasn’t a regular student, he took special care in taking me to sites that were of interest. What I found myself most taken aback by was seeing and meeting refugees who were displaced. The Syrian crisis became a reality. Gaza was no longer just a place I heard of in the news. Being there opened my eyes. Alerted my brain. It made me realize why Ahmed always pushed me to travel, because your entire perspective of the world can change when you see what really happens out there…

”Next time you bring your wife,” Ustaadh Dawud, who was a friend of an Aalim at Madrassa, said as we jumped back into the taxi. “The ladies are always thrilled to see other ladies. They love to meet new people. Talk. Give them stories of their lives… especially the older ones.”

”I’m not married,” I said, feeling a little shy about the prospect. Marriage was a far-fetched notion.

”No problem,” he said easily in his Arab accent. “Maybe your sister? If she comes she can help hand over our monthly package. The ladies are strong. Very strong. Many have no support. You ask them where’s their husband… they say simply… ShaheedAlhumdulillah. You ask them about their sons. They say same. So easily. Alhumdulillah is their second nature. I ask Allah every day to give me that type of Imaan. It’s… I don’t know what you will say in English…  SubhaanAllah…”

I swallowed and looked at him, already feeling choked up. That was on another level completely. Like strength and Yaqeen and immense Tawakkul all combined…

“Insha Allah,” I said vaguely, knowing that Khawlah would probably love to come here.

Thinking about my sister again in this context… knowing she lost her husband too… caused me halt in my tracks and think of my brother-in-law after many months, in this strange place. It had been a while but his memory was that poignant. I had never admitted it, but had missed him unmentionably for the first few months. With time of course, the pain had seemed to fade, but I couldn’t forget the great service he had done for me when he had been alive. Just the fact that he took time to know me and be more than a brother-in-law was something that made a dent.

“So do you know what you’re doing after school?” He had asked one night as he peeped into my room, peering over my school books.

Khawlah was always an early sleeper, and Aadam never went home straight away. That was just Aadam. Never in a hurry. Whether he was chatting to Dada, Abba, or tapping on my room door… Aadam was someone who just made time for people, no matter how busy he was.

The thing was, I was hesitating to tell him. My dreams were nothing amazing. That much I had convinced myself of.

But when I eventually told him that I wanted to be an Aalim… well, he had basically taken the ordinary and made it something completely extraordinary.

”That’s amazing,” he said, looking truly awestruck. I narrowed my eyes at him disbelievingly.

Was it?

Most people didn’t think so.

”I know what you’re thinking,” he said to me.

I looked at him cynically, putting away my school books as he made himself comfortable on my bed. Of course, when I had first met my brother-in-law, his upper-class accent and lazy attitude was strange. I had never met anyone like him till then. As I got used used to him, those had grown to be one of his mos likable traits.

”You see me as this computer geek with all these monuments to my name,” he continued, shrugging indifferently. “Thinking I don’t know what it’s like to be you. But before you get the wrong idea about me, let me just tell you that I’m a pretty regular guy. I’m not saying that because I want you to tell me that I’m not. And yes, maybe I have a few meager titles to my name, but in no way does that make me a game-changer, yeah? I am nothing great…. I can promise you.”

I was still cynical when I looked at him. But he was. He was a famous computer guy who had articles written about his work and so many things going for him. He had potential. He was lucky. He was one of the popular people. I wasn’t.

“But when I look at you, Yunus,” he said, halting my train of thought. “You are different. Extraordinary. Not many people know what they want out of life, and have such noble ambitions. I know game-changers…. and believe me when I say that you, Yunus, are going to be a game-changer… you are. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You’re going to pursue the Aalim course and you’re going to be an awesome Molvi whose going to teach Deen and inspire people and change so much more than you think. That much, I’m absolutely certain of.”

I blinked as he said it, surprised that he had so much of faith in my ability. Surprised that his words had already affected my heart. Surprised that there were people like him who cared enough to even make this meagre thought of mine into something that I could truly believe in and aspire towards. I suppose some people were just meant to cross your path and serve the purpose of giving you the kind of unprecedented inspiration that you could stash away for an entire lifetime.

And though I didn’t believe it at first, I could quite safely say that his words that night and constant encouragement throughout was such that kept pushing me to pursue my dreams of being an Aalim, despite feeling that I would never be able to accomplish it…

And sometimes we underestimate the little words that people say, but this was something small and sincere that had really changed the course of my life.

“We’ll stop at a Masjid on the way,” Ustaadh Dawud said, bringing my mind back to the present. “Else we will miss Maghrib Salaah. There is beautiful recitation here.”

I nodded and looked out the window, glad that the drive to the wasn’t too long. I gazed up at the astounding architecture as we pulled up, thinking how much of beauty that the Masaajid exuded here… it seemed like each was more beautiful and intricately decorated than the last. Though the weather was a little chilly, the warmth  hospitality that the people displayed always amazed me.

The Adhaan (call to prayer) had just concluded
as I settled into a space of my own, taking the time to enjoy the feeling here… I couldn’t help but also feel a little overwhelmed….

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar…”

The Iqamah had commenced and I could see people scrambling to the front and gesturing to each other to fill in gaps that were left in between. As Ustaadh Dawood went to the front, I found myself wedged between a bulky man with a beard and a young guy who looked like he was a university student.

I closed my eyes as the Imaam started to recite, and though I didn’t expect it, like a sacred kind of feel that happened in the Masaajid of the Haramain… I instantly found myself lost in his recitation. Every letter and word was pronounced with unhindered purpose, and as the voice peaked and dropped at just the right inflections, I was lost in its beauty. The recitation was really unlike anyone I’ve heard before. Completely unique. Perfectly composed. It was a time when I silently willed for the Imaam to recite a few more verses. To continue for a little longer.

And because my Ustaadh had explained to me about how Qiraat recitation worked and how difficult it was to become a Qari, it made me admire these types of recitations all the more. I could see that everyone around me was appreciating the strong tone that flowed out of the speakers surrounding us, together with the beautiful flow of its natural disposition that made it something really something special. If reading like this didn’t move hearts then I’m not sure what could…

And as we ended the Salaah and I read my Sunnah, I cast my gaze thereafter to front where Ustaadh Dawud was, as a small  crowd was now making its way out, leaving enough open space for me to get a clear view of the now empty Mimbar. Something within me told me that I had to catch a glimpse of the face that belonged to the recitation. There was some kind of invisible yearning that was drawing me to meet this person whose recitation I’m sure had already affected so many hearts.

I cleared my throat as I approached the front, staying close to Ustaadh as I tried to take in my surroundings. The inside of the masjid was spacious and spectacular. I felt my heart sink as I realized the Imaam must have left or gone somewhere else. Maybe one day when I’d come back, I’d meet him.

While Ustaadh spoke to someone in fluent Arabic, I caught tit-bits of what he was talking about as they chatted, taking some inanimate snaps of its inside to pass my own time. I could hear him telling them about me visiting from South Africa and snippets about the refugees we had seen earlier. My heart was still affected by the reality of what I’d seen. It was a real eye-opener. We hear about people who are suffering and have lost everything they have and are still content, but when we see it, it was completely different story.

”Yusuf,” Ustaadh said, calling me to him. I had given up on telling him that my name was Yunus and not Yusuf, so I smiled instead and nodded. It didn’t really matter anyway.

“What city it is you’re from? Shaikh Khalid is asking.”

I answered briefly and then glanced at the guy he was talking to. The Imaam. Shaikh Khalid?

“It’s just Khalid, Ustaadh,” he replied in English. The accent was painfully familiar. “Good to meet you, Yusuf.”

And of course, as I met his gaze, and he met mine back, it wasn’t the only thing that was painful. My mind just kind of froze as he held out his both his hands, in the style I was accustomed to back home, to greet me back. I felt like I was floating somewhere beyond the current realm as my mind processed exactly what was happening and all the possibilities that this could bring.

The words froze on my tongue as I tried to make sense of it, knowing that there was an enthralling story behind this meeting and how he had come to be here. Knowing that there was a reason that I, of all people, was brought here at this time and place. Knowing that if I played this right, though it may be something that would require intense strategy, this might be a complete game-changer…

Dearest Readers

Shukran to all for the comments and the much appreciated guidance that a confused soul like me needs. You, the readers, have no idea what it means to me. Insha Allah I will go as far as I can by next week Thursday to give the readers some closure (just so that our brains can focus on Ramadhaan) and afterwards, well.. Insha Allah… try and give something of an epilogue. 

Much Love,

A xx

A new Sunnah. Consideration for beggars and Needy.

Especially in these surreal times, we sometimes forget that there are many out there who are in compromising situations and genuinely need assistance.

It is narrated that Sayyiduna Husain bin Ali  used to express joy upon the arrival of a beggar. He would say: “The beggar is transporting our goods to the Hereafter.”

SubhaanAllah. The Sunnah of giving was one that was second nature to Nabi (SAW).

allahuma baarik lana fi Sha’bana wa balligh-na Ramadan

Oh Allah! Grant us Barakah (Blessing) during (the months of) Sha’ban, and allow us to reach Ramadan.

Imam Shafi’i RA has stated: “I have heard that duaas are accepted

by Almighty Allah on five nights:

The night of Jumu’ah

The nights of the two ‘Eids

The first night of Rajab

The middle (15th) night of Sha’ban

Allah accept our efforts and Duaas.









Twitter: @ajourneyjournal





38 thoughts on “A Game Changer

  1. Oh Yes! Subhanallah!

    Please don’t disappoint us by making this “shaikh khalid” just somebody from South Africa or something…

    You just made my day.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. No no no. Khawlah, I know you loved khalid once. But please, you’re just Aadams. I know you deserve a happily ever after but please don’t get married to Khalid. My heart is breaking for Aadam 💔 even though he’s in a much better place now.
    Sheesh, I can’t believe how petty and selfish i am 😶🙆🏻‍♀️

    Liked by 3 people

    • السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
      Jazak Allahu Khairan , I absolutely loved this post❤❤.Every bit of it.
      And now…K&K and little K

      Liked by 5 people

    • I also agree
      Things like this hardly happen in real life
      But taqdeer is a different story…. I dont think its just easy to pick all ur pieces up
      Im so confused

      Liked by 3 people

    • Aah man, that’s so heartbreaking… 💔 yes, he is in a better place but I completely get you guys coz it was one of those one in a million kind of loves and no-one can replace him… but she is also so young- I wonder though if maybe she and Khadijah can have their own happily ever after.. and we see what unfolds with this Shaikh Khalid…❤️

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Yeeeeesh does this story get any more lovable.

    Wow what taqdeer.. i still love Adam and Khawla but theres khair in everything so lets hope for the best.
    How is it that we never had Yunus pov before and he is so very .. admirable

    Please post sooner sister..

    I love every single post!!!!

    Liked by 5 people

  4. SubhanAllaah
    What a beautiful coincidence, would like to know how Khalid ended up in Jordan…
    Can’t wait to read about Khawlah and aunty Radiya’s reaction when they hear Khalid is alive….

    Liked by 4 people

  5. My heart is still broken on Aadam’s death, but I think its time to move on.
    If you think of the Sahaabah and Sahaabiyah, they got married as soon as their spouse passed away, and its not like they never had feelings .
    Although I’m saying this but my heart is STILL broken !!!
    Eishh I’m taking this wayyy too seriously .

    Liked by 4 people

    • lol, I’m sorry. I also miss writing about Aadam;,so weird how characters seem so real at times, and yes- that’s such a valid point you made because they knew that they were not made for this world and it’s not our ultimate destination. That’s theres a beautiful Jannah that awaits for the believer that promises eternal happiness… so let’s see and let’s hope and pray that maybe sometimes there are happy endings even when we go through tough times, 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What!!!! He’s alive??
    I just can’t wait now.. Where was he all these years!!!
    For some reason after the ustaadh said “We’ll stop at a Masjid on the way,” my heart was literally pounding like can it be possible ♥️♥️
    Loved loved this post.. Yunus always seemed small all the time.. Nice to see how he’s grown up… After each post I feel like I’m gonna be missing you more and more dear author 😭😭knowing there’s only few more posts left

    Liked by 4 people

  7. WOW! SubhanAllah 💕 Sheikh Khalid all the way in the Arab world conducting lessons! Who would’ve thought?! Amazing! As amazing as it is and that he is alive or we think it’s the same Khalid, I think it would be way too cliché if he was “waiting” for Khawlah or hadn’t got married and now married Khawlah and it becomes Khalid, Khawlah and Khadija?! I dunno what the authoress has up her sleeve but I just hope this amazing amazing story line with beautiful lessons doesn’t just end with the two of them “finally” getting together…

    Liked by 4 people

  8. No hate or anything but I think it’s just something all our minds turn to.. the romance or the love. How many stories happen like this in real life?! A handful.. so yeah, if this does happen.. it’s just a part of those few..

    Liked by 4 people

    • I know it’s a story but even if it were real, you have the same hope and the same feeling of seeing someone find that happiness again. And if there’s a possibility, you’ll try your best to help make it happen.. 😊LOL I get too involved in my stories

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I bet Khalid has memory loss from the accident otherwise he would hv contacted his parents..
    I have no words where author comes up with these plots&twists

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Masha’Allah. What an unexpected and deliciously enticing and heart provoking post. I felt like i saw a huge piece of burfee on the table. Only to devise a plan to eat it alone.
    No other way to describe my hearts reaction. Lets see if the burfee gets devoured before Ramadaan.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Ohh … I was just holding my breath knowing that Khalid will be back… but we never know what authoress has planned. Whatever you are inspired with will be….
    Jazakillah khayr for the beneficial posts with reminders . Really refreshes our amaal.

    Liked by 1 person

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