Life as we Knew it

Bismihi Ta’ala


Nothing happens without purpose. No move. No change. No transformation. The thing is, every setback is a sign for us.  A change in the path is a sign for us. A death is a sign for us. Broken hearts, too, are a sign. Even love. Everything in life has a deep purpose that brings us back to the reality that we are often forgetting.

”Mummy, what you doin’?”

Khadijah’s speech was discerningly clear as she plopped herself on my Musalla. Her little locks were loose and vibrant as she cocked her head to one side and watched me with interest. I hastily wiped my tears away and removed her shoes, pulling her to me as her tiny fingers played with my wrist watch. They were long and slim, just like her fathers.

Oh, my heart.

She was such a paramount part of me that I couldn’t even comprehend the feelings I felt at times. Sometimes I still couldn’t believe that I was a mother. I couldn’t believe that I had somehow become ‘Mummy’ to this young little lady who was such a soothing to my soul.

”Why you crying?” She asked, scrunching up her little face angrily. She wasn’t used to being ignored and I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing. From my family to Aadam’s… Khadijah has always been the center of attention. I just hoped that I wasn’t nurturing a spoilt brat…

”I’m making Du’aa,” I said quietly, kissing the top of her peach-scented hair. “I’m asking Allah for what I need.”

”Did you ask him for my Abba?” She asked bossily, still frowning. “Is he still there by Allah?”

Fresh tears welled up in my eyes as I tried to answer her. I was behaving like a lunatic… crying for every little thing. It had to stop.

”I think your Abba is very happy by Allah,” I sniffed noisily, feeling particularly emotional that day. Today I missed Aadam. Today I missed him a lot. I cleared my throat and trying to formulate my next sentence. “But Allah said that we can keep asking him for whatever we need. To keep your Abba happy and to give him the best home… and keep on asking and asking…”

I wished that I could teach her all the lessons that I had learnt as a young girl. The things that Mama used to tell me too. I wish that she understood it all right now as I remembered it but I knew it would take a little time before she could truly comprehend. I wanted to tell her about Du’aa. About how Allah listens. That sometimes it’s just the comfort of turning to Him that brings solace. That there is an incredible peace in submission. That’s it’s possible that sometimes when we don’t get an immediately answer, it’s never that Allah doesn’t answer us. It’s just that sometimes we need to alter our method of asking Him.

”But why you asking, mummy?” She said, her little voice sounding more curious than before. “Allah knows.”

I blinked at her, wondering if this toddler of mine really knew what she was saying.

Yes, it was true. Allah knew. Even when we don’t have the time to ask for every detail of what we need… but if we are engaged in Dhikr or Tilaawat… Allah makes it such that our innermost desires are answered anyway. Allah knows. Sometimes we don’t have to ask. But sometimes the comfort is in the very knowledge of just raising our hands to Allah…

This living and breathing piece of my heart was growing so fast. I held her to my chest for as long as she’d let me, just before she got up again and scampered off, glancing out the window momentarily as I watched the boys playing downstairs, taking in the familiar terrain that I had enjoyed as a kid. The huge oak tree still towered in its glory. The same birds still teetered above. The dusty banks where we would write on still lay bare. My heart soared at the prospect of years ahead of them, knowing that these boys too would enjoy the same kind of youth as we did and would grow up in the home that we had known and loved.

It was a month ago that Ahmed had agreed to buy our old house from Abbba, and it had been a week since him and Rubeena moved in. The boys had begged me to come and stay for a while while their mother settled in, and I knew that Rubeena could do with the help too. For Ahmed, it had taken him a while to get on his feet to start afresh, but what was more amazing for me was seeing my sister-in-law’s ease and acceptance with him. It was something that I never imagined I’d see in Rubeena. I had been watching her as she worked, seeing her in the same kitchen Mama would be in… and watching her as she would go about her day-to-day chores… just as Mama would. It brought tears to my eyes at times, yet was something that warmed my heart. It was a big step for Rubeena. It also took a lot of courage for her to agree to selling her house that she had always known and doing what Ahmed thought was best for them, because she had always been so fixated on the fancy life she had always lived.

Of course now, as I saw her, I know that Mama would have loved Rubeena. I just had a feeling that the two of them would have got along. I hoped that the Ahmed and Rubeena would have their own little bundle of joy too… but when ever I suggested that they needed a daughter, all Rubeena did was laugh. She and my brother seemed to have acquired an ease that I couldn’t have ever imagined.

As for me, in semi- defeated warrior style, since Nusaybah’s news of the imminent Nikah, I had slipped into a place where I found myself doubting my own decisions. Did I do the right thing? Was I maybe a bit too hasty in thinking life would be the same forever? Maybe Siraj’s proposal wasn’t the worst thing in the world… Maybe Abba was right and I needed to move on… To tell the truth, being the terrible friend I was, I was dreading her Nikah day, because I knew I would have to say goodbye to my best friend. Because I knew that our world as we knew it would be changed.

I sat there for a few minutes longer, begging Allah to alter my heart… to strengthen my resolve… and to make me into the kind of friend that she deserved. She had done so much for me. The least I could do was wish her the best.


It was Ahmed’s voice from down the passage. I looked up as he came into the room I was in, holding a small paper bag in his hand.

I looked up at him questioningly. He had matured so much. He had made an amazing father to the boys and I wasn’t just saying that because he was my brother. Those boys were unimaginably close to my heart and I would have taken on anyone who didn’t give them what they deserved. Of course, over the few years Ahmed had been faced with many challenges along the way- a bit too many for a guy nearing his mid twenties- as well as Shabeer wanting to take custody of his kids after realizing that Ahmed was a better father than him… but Ahmed had fought him in a custody battle that eventually sentenced him to a rehabilitation center for a few months. Though I was glad that the boys were still with their mother and Ahmed, I couldn’t help but feel a certain sadness about their situation. Shabeer was still their father after all. I prayed that he would get his act together and make some real effort as they grew.

For now though, despite Dayyaan’s initial resistance and missing their uncle unmentionably, with the stability that Rubeena and Ahmed provided them… I was quite certain that they were growing into the most amazing young men. I still loved them to bits.

”Rubeena found something the other day,” Ahmed said, looking at me a bit strangely. “I think it’s from when we were staying here…”

He said no more as he narrowed his hazel eyes slightly, looking at the package briefly before coming forward and handing it over to me. I adjusted my burka and eyed the package out, trying to figure out why it looked so familiar.

And of course, as I stuffed my hand in to pull out the contents, I could already feel my hopes soar. The book was as it was when I had first laid eyes on it and I felt my heart rate accelerate as I caught sight of its simplistic cover with the solid bold writing.

Khawlah Bint Al Azwar

An Extraordinary Heroine

Gosh. I couldn’t even remember how many years if had been. I looked up at my brother, feeling a little dazed by this coincidence. I couldn’t even fathom how the book had lasted so long.

And like a reminder of what I needed at this moment in time, it felt like it was just waiting for me to find it again after all these years, bringing to life for me the courageous aspirations of the stories of the woman who I had drawn so much of strength from as a young girl. It was a time when I had learnt patience. When I would aspire for their endurance. It was their courage that kept my mind focused on the true purpose of this world.

My thoughts wondered as I found myself pondering about that girl back then. Wondering when she had lost her spirit. Where all her gallantry had gone to. Where that drive had been displaced. Where the will to keep fighting had been sucked out… Had it all been exhausted through the pains of life, it was it maybe just waiting for an opportunity to surface once again…?

I clutched the book to my chest, my heart lifting as I thought of how it had inspired the lost and broken girl that had lived within me at some point.  I read some parts immediately, some aloud to my daughter over the next few day’s and some over the quiet periods when she would nap. I was lost in its magic, once again, as I read and reread the stories that had inspired and brought me through the darkest days of my life. All over again, I gained strength and fervor and willed myself to live up to the amazing women that featured in the stories.

And as the week sped by and I found comfort in the stories that brought back so many memories and emotions, the end of that week also brought my another surprise to my brother’s new home for a visit. Seeing each other had been a constant part of our days and since I barely spoken to her since her proposal week, we had a lot to catch up on.

The buzzing of the doorbell on Friday afternoon brought her armed suspiciously with a jumbo-sized chocolate cake topped with gallons of her delicious Bar One sauce over. I could already tell that my friend had spent half the day in the kitchen making comfort food. The only worry was that I wasn’t sure why…

”How did you know how to get here?” I asked her, thrilled at her presence yet not sure how she found the house.

”Yunus,” she said. “Shame, I think I woke him up. I just had to see you. He gave me the address in his sleep.”

I had nearly forgotten that my brother was back. I had spoken to him briefly on the phone earlier in the week, but knowing he would probably be jet-lagged, I had said I’d speak to him properly when I was back home. I was itching to know about his trip.

”Is that a celebration cake?!” I asked her, teasing her purposely as she barged into the house with a no-nonsense frown on her face.

”No,” she said bluntly, not offfering any more information as she dumped the dome on the table, plopped into the chair, cut herself a slice and then gobbled it up in about 7 seconds flat. She promptly cut another slice and started the process of devouring again. And again. And again. Six whole times.

It was painful to watch. What was going to be more painful was her complaining about her weight when she was done. Nusaybah was usually something of a health freak when it suited her.

”Okay, Nus, what’s going on?” I said, widening my eyes as I watched her.

Like really? Did she just come here so she could have company whilst she OD’d on her main anti-depressant?! It was crazy.

”It’s not going to work,” she said bluntly, crossing  her arms over her chest grumpily as she collapsed on the couch next to the kitchen.

”What?” I said, not getting her. She grabbed a bag of chips from the tray and stalked outside to where the boys and Khadijah were playing, popping it open as she sat there, and staring ahead of her in some kind of daze.

“The Australian,” she muttered with a distasteful look on her face. “We spoke yesterday. He’s too… unemotional.”

I wanted to laugh.

Unemotional?! What did she expect him to do?

”You know me, Khawlah,” she said with a huff, still chewing noisily. “I’m a crazy woman. If I don’t have a macho guy to hold me down I’ll snap out of control. I can’t be marrying a guy who beats around the bush and lets me do as I please. I’m not all refined and pious like someone we know. I’ll be bouncing off the walls.”

I raised my eyebrows as I looked at my friend.

“I’m not sure who you’re talking about,” I said.

Pious? Psssshhtt.

”Topic’s closed,” she said, stuffing her hand into the chips packet again and getting up. “I’m done talking.”

So she’s just going to bury her sorrows in food? Great.

“Why can’t I just find my own Mr Perfect?” She said softly, glancing over at me at she stashed the chips away.

I looked at her, expecting my heart to feel the usual stab that it did when she mentioned him, but today… well, today the pain wasn’t as severe. Today it was more of a pulling at my heartstrings. A dull ache, but also a warmth that engulfed me, making me appreciate with so much of me that I had the experience to love and be loved in that beautiful way.

”Maybe life is not about finding Mr Perfect,” I said simply, thinking about the last few days. “Maybe we just need to find the One who helps us to find our own version of perfection…”

Her eyes lit up as she looked at me, suddenly spurred on by my words.

”Thats just it,” she said suddenly, her voice suddenly all psyched up. “You’re spot on! I’m sick of looking for someone to save me. To help me follow my dreams. To be who I want to be. You and I both, Khawlah… we can’t be sitting here like this indefinitely…”

I glimpsed the fire in my friends eyes,  and like that first time I ever saw her, her glowing face was joyful, but behind that, a certain rigidity made her catch my attention in a completely different light. I could already tell that she was on to something and she wasn’t going to back down. It reminded me of the strength she had displayed throughout our friendship. Her words. Her encouragement. Her constant battle in keeping me afloat was something I still had no idea how to pay back,

“You know why I’m not worried, Khawlah?” She said suddenly, her eyes still shining. “There just one reason.”

I looked at her questioningly.

Rabbi Inni Limaa Anzalta Ilayya min Khairin Faqeer,” she said simply.

I was familiar with the Du’aa of course. It was the Du’aa of Musaa (AS). His pleading to Allah when he was at his very lowest… and then Allah granted him so much that he was relieved of every hardship that he had experienced. Through that Du’aa… he had been granted a home, provisions, a family, a wife…

Oh my Lord.. I am in desperate need of whatever goodness you bestow on me…

Just the words of that Du’aa was enough to make me reflect. To elevate my hopes. To build my sincerity.

“This is Allah’s wisdom,” she said pensively as we walked the garden path, me fully aware of the natural surroundings that were my refuge right now. “It’s Allah’s plan and it’s also a sign of His goodness. It’s Khair. You just reminded me… and suddenly… I got an epiphany.”

“Khawlah, I’m tired of sitting and waiting for my Mr Perfect,” she said with a hint of annoyed independence. “It’s not what we’re meant to do. And I’m tired of watching your life on pause since Aadam left. I can’t bear to see you all fixated on your past. And yes, I know it was wonderful and Aadam was the perfect love of your life but you’ve been living in this bubble for too long and it’s time to break those barriers you’ve so carefully built..”

I breathed in as she said it, not sure how to respond. Maybe she was right. Maybe I needed to start living again. Really living. Going places. Having clean fun. Taking walks to the park. Appreciating the beautiful sunsets that Aadam had shown me, once again. Riding horses like we used to do when I was married. Teaching my daughter how to savour the greatness of Allah that Aadam had been just as obsessed with. Taking in the moments that made every day.

Maybe we needed to allow ourselves to let go too. Maybe I just needed to stop living in the hope that somehow Aadam might come back and revive all the dead parts of me and teach me how to live again…. so I could learn to do it myself…

The truth was that Aadam was gone. He wasn’t ever coming back. He was gone. The question to me though was I going to continue living in that shadow… of distant memories and hopes that I  might eventually become that kind of girl that I once was… or was I truly going to change my situation and be that l fierce and nature loving girl that Aadam loved… determined to make the most of everything that I had…

Being out in the garden right then was exactly what I needed. Reconnecting with my passions. Nusaybah and I had many things in commmon, but our love for nature always topped the list. It was a lovely day and there was plenty to sit back and soak in. Our garden hadn’t been as vast as Aunty Radiyyah’s but it had a fair share of space. The boys and I had been working on giving it a facelift this week and I dare say we did a  wonderful job. I had taken some shoots of the flowers Aadam had planted at the apartment rooftop and used them here.

There were also a variety of seeds that he had bought way back when he was working on making the place look amazing , and watching the little sprouts peep out from the sand made me feel like I was a new mother all over again. Somehow, I had found a strange sense of comfort in old hobbies over the past week…

”Maybe you’re right,” I started. I looked around me as I said the words, trying to spot Khadijah as she had just been following us a minute ago. I looked behind me at the boys, wondering if she had gone back to them, but when I asked them all I saw was a blank look on their faces.

”But she was with you,” Danyaal said obviously.

Dayyaan’s eyes looked worried as he looked at me.

”She asked me for water,” he said carefully as he swallowed. “I told her it’s by the store room…”

I widened my eyes at him, knowing that Khadijah was fiercely independent. The shed was out of sight and I immediately felt my heart hammering away as he said it. I just hoped she didn’t get her hands on anything dangerous.

”I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean…” Dayyaan stuttered, seeing my expression as I hurried toward the back of the yard.

I shook my head at him, not really focusing on what he was saying as I hurriedly scanned the store room. Of course I didn’t blame him. Khadijah had her mind of her own, but she was nowhere in sight.

I glanced behind at the little patch of sand that was wedged between the wall and the room, but she was nowhere to be seen. All kinds of crazy thoughts were going through my mind. Had she been kidnapped? Lured? Wondered off as I had been so focused on my own conversation?

”Khawlah, I think you should see this…”

I turned to where Nusaybah was standing and immediately felt my heart rate accelerate as I followed her gaze. She was already heading out to the opened gate, and as I stared at the latch, I could not even fathom how my little daughter had managed to get it open by herself. It had been ages since anyone had used the back gate, and due to pur negligence, no-one had even checked on it since we were here.

I sprinted out, just as I had those many times as little girl… but this time it was different. This time there was a serious and life-threatening task at hand. This time, unlike any time before, I prayed silently in my heart, asking Allah to keep my daughter safe. This time, with my heart in my throat, I was filled with fear over what would be the outcome…

What I didn’t know was that through this little escapade, despite the trepidation that had gripped my beating heart, life as we knew it would be significantly altered…

A little bit of a longer post! Shukran for ALL the comments… really gets the inspiration going… will reply ASAP

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





18 thoughts on “Life as we Knew it

  1. Im holding my breath!!!!

    This post brought back so many beautiful memories of little khawlah.. And the not so nice ones of aunty nas…😬
    Now for the next post… can’t wait.. 😍😍

    The part where shes missing him💔😢 heartbroken

    Liked by 4 people

  2. So true about Duas.. no doubt Allah knows all what we go through .. subhanallah. Enjoyed the part when she gets the book back and gets revived back…
    Anticipating for the next post . What happens next
    Jazakillah khayr

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Oh my soul …..half way through reading this I just felt….nusaybah and siraaj may be perfect he is solid and grounded and they both love khadija !

    Ah just a thought …….I really love nusaybah

    Liked by 3 people

  4. ما شاء الله
    Such a cute post with such beautiful reminders…
    My heart breaks for Khawlah especially when she has little Khadeejah as a reminder of who she lost…
    did Khadeeja just use the gate to visit Aunty Radiyyah….
    Can’t wait for the next post…

    Liked by 5 people

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