The Little Things

Bismihi Ta’ala


Sometimes the smallest things take the most room in your heart. Sometimes you don’t see it coming.  You never know it from the start. It could be a little word. A small gesture. A lingering smile. We never know when our hearts are suddenly swayed and then like a gust of wind from the blue, things are just not the same anymore.

At the end of the day, the way we are brought up and what we are exposed to shapes us. It makes us who we are. The heart, by default is something that easily turns. In the blink of an eye, it’s entirety can be devoured. If we feed our heart with everything besides what our Lord requires of us, it’s only natural that our hearts will incline to that.

In that, if our hearts are corrupt; if our intentions are corrupt, such deceit will follow in our actions.. For how will a fruit tree bare fragrant and delicious fruit if it’s roots, underground, have decayed?

I paused for a second as I let the thought sink in, thinking to myself how genius it was, as I thrust the shovel into the sand, digging up the debris that were left behind, trying to clear a path for me to walk through to continue my task. The smell of wet earth was particularly comforting, as it became more apparent that the roots of the huge oak tree started her. It was home to many animals, including nocturnal ones.

The tendons were still very much alive. They still had infinite potential and as I continued to dig in, with each movement, something inside me was getting revived. 

”You know what they say in Egypt about friends,” my mothers voice called out from the patio.

I had heard it plenty of times before. My granny had often used the proverb when I was younger. I just wasn’t sure if Tariq was trying to get information from me or if he was really being serious. He was a good guy, but his mouth was a tad bit on the loose side.

Even if a friend is honey, don’t lick them all up.

Tariq’s words were still ringing in my mind even though he had left an hour ago. I tried to make light of them but unfortunately it wasn’t that easy, I couldn’t help but feel that he should have more decency than to talk like that.

I looked at my mother and shrugged, trying to play it down. It didn’t matter, did it?

”You should have spoken your mind,” she said, just before she turned to leave. How did she even know what was on my mind?

“And what good would that have done?” I rattled to her in Arabic. “Speaking good and overlooking faults always wins the battle. The one who gives up arguing even when he is right, well Ums… you know the Hadith…”

Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “I guarantee a house in Jannah for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right; and I guarantee a home in the middle of Jannah for one who abandons lying even for the sake of fun; and I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah for one who has good manners.”

[Abu Dawud]

I smiled as I noticed my mother’s unchanged expression. She had her hands on her hips and an unimpressed look on her face.

”But this is not your life that it has to do with,” she said pointedly. “Some things are worth the argument. You should care more than that…”

”Don’t take it so seriously,” I said, walking up to her and planting a kiss on her soft cheek. As long as I’d remembered, Ummi’s cheeks were always somewhat like cotton wool. If she didn’t hate it so much I would have pinched them, but I knew that she would probably smack me.

“I see even after all these years you haven’t broken the habit of listening to my conversations?” I said with a grin.

She shrugged and gave me a wry smile. I had missed her smile. Her charcoal eyes. It had been so many years that I had forgotten the parts that had made home… well, home.

I grinned and shook my head to myself as I thought of her intuition. She always had this sixth sense about people who brought trouble, and Tariq was never in her good books. Though we knew each other for years, I think she was always wary of his charming smile and poetic phrases.

”If things were different you wouldn’t have been so unaffected,” she said, a note of sadness in her voice.

I didn’t say anything. Somehow, the light-heartednesse of the situation had been exhausted. Things between us had become serious as the atmosphere intensified.

Things weren’t different. That was the thing. It was what it was and it was no-one’s fault. What was meant to be had happened. If something is not on your Taqdeer there is nothing that can be done to change it. Destiny was such. Now that so much had happened since then.., and so many years had gone by… I had no intention whatsoever of going back down the road.

I breathed in deeply as I got back to my task again of rebuilding the treehouse, holding the spade with both hands, heaving before I went in for another dig. This time there was a “thwack” as it hit a solid piece of something, and I pulled back, trying to figure out why there was such a shallow point right there. Possibly something I had buried as a young kid? A piece of rock from the old store room maybe? Much had changed since I got back, and the yard was one of them.

My mother had gone back inside but I couldn’t help but feel uneasy. Of course, when Tariq has mentioned a ‘rich widow’, I didn’t think about who it could be. Yes, I had laughed it off… not knowing who he meant. When two and two was put together, I had to admit that the prospect made me feel uneasy. His brother wanting to propose to someone because she had money to rescue his business was definitely not an admirable thing to do.

Now that I knew who the someone was, it made me feel even more unnerved. I had no idea that her husband had passed away, until a few days back. All I knew from the talk was that whoever had to propose now would have some really big shoes to fill.

I hoisted myself up onto the first branch of the tree, steadying my body as I reached the level of the would-have-been playhouse that my father had started when I left home. Who he was building it for, I had no idea. You could barely notice it, but as I had strutted around aimlessly the past week, still trying to figure out what was next from her, I knew that a revamp would be just the thing to keep me occupied. Papa had suggested teaching at the Uloom to keep me busy, but my thoughts weren’t that focused as yet. Catching up with all the things I had missed about home seemed more appealing for now. I just needed some time to adjust…

And of course, now that the memories had been revived, I couldn’t help but feel like the silly guy that I was back then. How life had caught me unaware… though it sometimes made me laugh at myself back then… it also filled me with regret.

I was so childish. Ignorant. Unaware of reality. I still remembered the conversation I had had back then with my mother, thinking I had had it all figured out. Falling into the wrong crowd, leaving madrassa… taking life like it was one big joke and then suddenly wanting to marry the girl who I had promised I would when I was ten years old just because seemed like she could fix it all… well, that was where I had stood back then. I mean, who even knew what they wanted at ten?

And yes, even though it was laughable now, and made me chuckle aloud… what haunted me was that I had blamed my mother for a long while afterward. Stupidly.

I had blamed her because I didn’t have the foresight in me to understand about Taqdeer.

I didn’t get that it wasn’t meant to be.

“I knew that you would come back, you know that?”

It was the day I had arrived, and I couldn’t yet bear to look at Ummi, whose eyes were brimming with fresh tears again as she took in my presence. Her face was drawn from the years she had aged and the lump in my throat seemed to intensify as I saw her pain. How could I hurt her like that? How could I have left without making it all okay?

”It would have been sooner if I could…” I said, running my hand through my now full beard yet still feeling like the coward kid I had been back then. “Ums… I’m sorry for that last time… I couldn’t…”

She shook her head vehemently as she held my head in her hands, kissing my forehead and then turning away so I couldn’t see the tears flowing.

It wasn’t rocket science. I knew she was crying. I knew my mother too well by now. To have had a son like me who had at one stage turned away from everything she had tried so hard to inculcate in him was much for her to bear. She had never disclosed the truth to anyone, even when I went away… but I knew now why she sent me. Being away from them made me reflect. Realize. Made me regret.

It’s not fair!” I had shouted at her. “You’d do anything for everyone else but for your own son! Its because it’s Khawlah, right? Looks like you’re more worried about her than me! It’s not like I want to mess around! I want to marry her!”

I was angry. Clouded by my thoughts. Controlled by emotion. Looking back I could not believe that I had raised my voice to my mother.

”Khalid, you needed to grow up first,” she said wisely, trying to make me see reason. “You can’t be getting married now. I won’t allow it. You think she will accept?! She’s not a stupid girl. You need to finish your Aalim course. Learn some responsibility. She hasn’t had an easy life. She’s lost her mother. She still has two years of school. Study something or be someone who she can rely on. If she is meant for you after it all… she will still be here… Tawakkal Allah...”

I had scowled and pushed her away as she tried to come towards me. I couldn’t believe that I had become so angry. Looking back, I couldn’t believe I had broken my mother.

My parents had given me so much. Everything a kid needed. They had put everything on hold to bring me the best of Deen. I had learnt so much from her, yet I still had it in me to break her with my rebelliousness. Of course it was not an easy thing. How much of grief and pain I had given my mother in that time, I could not even fathom…

How would I even begin to make up for it? How could I even prove to her how much I regretted all the pain I put her through...

But a mother. I didn’t understand then but I knew now. A mother is someone who knows your heart, even when you don’t even know it yourself. There’s a reason Jannah is under her feet. If it was her palms, she would have handed it over- undeserving. Within the ground, it bears her entirety. If you wish to achieve it, then only do you learn what it is to carry her weight….

”Don’t sweat the small stuff, handsome,” she had said mischievously with that twinkle in her teary eye, as I clung onto her at the door. “It’s all small stuff.”

Small stuff. I had laughed as she said it, but it all boiled down to one thing.

Taqdeer. It was what it was. I didn’t understand it then. It took me years. Years of battling with my Nafs, my heart and my overpowering inclinations. Being in Egypt had put a lot into perspective for me. It changed my views, my company and the way I saw life. Instead of the irresponsible guy I was back home, I  had morphed into a civilized and commendable character that everyone looked up to.

And then, of course, there was the accident. If you could even call it that. An incident that claimed the lives of two of my cousins. An incident that made me realise that a friend of ours who seemed to be on our side… really wasn’t. It had taken another year of battling to find base afterwards. I couldn’t go back to Egypt because of the politics that had heightened after the Arab Spring. I would have been in deep trouble. I couldn’t go back home because the guy who had set us up was waiting there to see if I would still be alive. It was time for me to take care of myself… time for me to be on the run…

And it was a tough journey. To see the other side of life. When I saw the guys advancing towards us as we set off past the border, gasoline in their hands… I already knew that we were in trouble. And yes. It was the most terrifying feeling. As the flames overcame us, somehow, I had managed to escape the brunt of it.

When I woke up, I was already taken captive… not yet knowing what crime I had committed, but knowing that I was set up. It was surreal. Facing death and living to tell the tale. Getting arrested for no reason that seemed to make sense. Being beaten in the depths of the night for crimes I didn’t commit. All we were doing was taking food and necessities over to a camp where it was scarce. We didn’t know that they would consider us as competition. That the people who intercepted us weren’t happy about it and made it political. Six months later, I had eventually found my way out, but in foreign territory. I couldn’t go back, I had to keep escaping until I found refuge in a Mosque near the Indian border.

And of course, as Taqdeer would have it… I completed my Aalim course there. I then went on to perfect my recitation in Quran, making sure to steer clear of Egypt in the process. Both territories were dangerous for me. Somehow, through trying to do what was right, I had become a violator. Jordan seemed like an amazing place to be, and that was precisely where I had ended up a few months before clashing into Yunus.

What a journey. My mind could not even wrap itself around the gratitude that I felt right then. The magnitude of what had happened. I never thought I’d get back home. I never thought I’d ever see my mother again, but Yunus came along and changed it. Allah had sent him to be a means of relief, and I could not even express how grateful I was to him. He was an amazing guy. Always had been and still was. I closed my eyes as I thought of everything I had made Duaa for, not even realizing that everything I wished for back then was now directly at my disposal.

Sometimes in our pursuit for different things, we forget the things that Allah has given us without asking. Sometimes we get so fixated on the things that we don’t get, that we forget about the little things that we never have to ever ask for.
Yes, at one stage I had wanted wealth and love and status so badly. At once stage I had been lured off track, taken in by a crowd who seemed like they were cool and focused, only to find out they were the exact opposite. It was short-lived but I wasn’t immune to it’s effects.

Papa had a knack of bringing me back on track with his words, but sometimes even the small pains we cause our parents can have repercussions. Through a little disobedience, we cause more damage. Being faced with difficulty sometimes helps us to channel our thoughts in the right direction. It helps us find our base. Eventually it brings us back home. 

And now that I was home and it was all over, never again will I take for granted the soothing smile of my mother… the warm handshake of my father. The acceptance of people back home. A roof over my head. The gifts that I was blessed with every day. Family. Friends who loved me. The fact that I had a home to go to, breaths that I didn’t have to ask for. A conversation with a stranger who knows where I come from. A smile from the tea-shop guy who remembered me as a little kid. I’ll never look at home in the same way again.

Exchoose me!”

At first I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it. I paused as I stopped the hammering, peeping through the tiny gaps below me as I saw little curls that flew all over her face. It was a laughable sight as I watched, and of course, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe I was gone crazy and had been transported back in time to a place where the world was new and the skies were still clear blue. I was almost lost in translation as I tried to make sense of it… holding my weight with the strongest branch of the tree and then making my way down as she went on for herself.

”Who are you and what are you doing here?” She asked clearly as I made myself more visible. For a girl of that age, her speech was remarkable.

And I couldn’t believe she was asking me that. I mean, I was almost certain that I should have been the one to ask what she was doing here. At my house. In my yard. She was hilarious.

I chuckled as my feet touched the ground, put my hands on my hips to mimic her and took a long look at the face that belonged to the strangely familiar bossy voice. All I knew was that though her hair was distinctly familiar, her little face was the cutest little picture that I’d never seen before. And as I heard the voices coming from the back alley, calling her name in frantic worry, I supposed there was not much else I could do to keep myself concealed from what was obviously awaiting…

There is an end to every storm. Once all the trees have been uprooted. Once the houses have been ripped apart. Eventually the storm will pass. The wind will hush. The clouds will lift.

Way before we knew about this, it all comes back to one thing.  It doesn’t matter how far you’ve gone. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through. And I’m not sure at exactly which point Taqdeer had changed for me. I don’t know which hour or day or time of the week, there is no measure when it comes to the mercies of Allah that can rain on you through patience and perseverance. Too many of us are trapped in that cycle of chasing, that we forget to live, feel and experience the beauty that we created. There is no way to understand the weight of what we bear, until one day we realize that right now, where we are, is where we were praying to be all along…

And through it all, if theres one thing I learnt, it’s this:

After hardship always comes ease.

It’s those little words and reminders that we sometimes forget. The little reminders that help us to be more like the people we want to be, were called to be… and hopefully always stay that way… for better or for worse.

But mostly for the better…

Dearest Readers,

I did plan to pen a little more of the story but as time would have it, I kind of had to make the most of whatever I had planned and condense the lessons that I had in mind for the preparation of Ramadhaan. Whilst we embark on the journey of this amazing month in the most surreal of times, let us not forget the little things that we take for granted. The time with family. The smiles of our kids. Just playing with them and enjoying their little laughter.

We will probably have a lot more time on our hands for the first few days. With no iftar parties of excessive gathering, let’s use the opportunity to get closer to Allah and seek His mercy. Let us lose ourselves in the wealth of Allah’s refuge. May we become so close to Him… so pious … that after Ramadhaan our hearts are completely changed.

May Allah alleviate the burdens of the entire Ummah and Mankind, and grant every person relief from the troubles and ailments that are engulfing us. I will reply to all comments soon and yes, InshaAllah, a few posts to be expected to conclude the story thereafter. 

Lastly, don’t forget to make Du’aa. Lots of duaa. May Allah accept!

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





34 thoughts on “The Little Things

  1. جزاك الله خير
    For the reminder.
    My heart stops for both of them when they see each other.
    You won’t believe my relief over how things seem to be ending.
    Though I’m still a diehard Aadam fan.

    Liked by 8 people

  2. This was great! From the story to the lessons, may Allah grant us all the best and an accepted Ramadan, and of course cant wait for the may i say best to come parts of khawlahs journey, jazakumullah khair ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Ameen thumma ameen to all your days ukhti
    OMA I wish it would have continued to see Khawlas reaction … but all is khayr .
    Jazakillah khayr and have a mabrook and maqbool Ramadhan and keep us in your pious duas xx

    Liked by 3 people

  4. السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
    Jazak Allah Khair for this post and all the amazing lessons especially on parents .Khadijah lol is too cute. Have a lovely Ramadan and pls remember me in your duas.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Jazaakillah khair for the lovely post and reminders and all the answers to where Khalid was..
    Sister please one more post wherein Khalid and Khawlah meet before Ramadhaan 💐

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Sigh!!
    No words to describe this post. Everything just came together so beautifully.. Jazakallah khair and Ameen to all your duas. Plz remember us all also..❤️❤️

    (We living in such dangerous times, it’s important we make duas that Allah Ta’ala doesn’t blind our eyes and seal our hearts to what’s right.. The going ons at this moment is frightening. Muslims spying on Muslims/ulama that are trying their best to keep the flames of Deen alive. Allah Ta’ala save us all and protect each of us from the major brainwashing that’s engulfing us and allow us to follow the ulama e haqq)

    Liked by 9 people

  7. Was waiting for the moment they meet…
    Does Khawlah marry him?It would be nice to know…
    Glad we got an insight into Khalid’s life
    Lovely story line,no doubt

    Rem us and the ummah in yr beautiful duas

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Wow. Masha Allah…this post was just so…incredibly heartwarming. Can’t wait for the grand finalé! I’m happy in a way because it’s the end and I’m also sad. It’s almost as if they were really a part of my life.

    The quote about mothers is so beautiful…we really take them for granted.

    Jazaakillah khayran ahsanul jazaa for all the entertainment, suspense and most importantly inspiration to do better. May Allah take you from strength to strength and grant you the motivation to start another one Insha Allah. 💞

    P.S Sorry..this ended up longer than I intended.

    Liked by 4 people

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