A Warrior at Heart

Bismihi Ta’ala


I’ve never been much for old sayings, but there is one old saying that I quite liked and it goes something like this: ‘A vessel can only pour out from what it contains.’

As we grow older, there comes a time in life when we have to stop and check ourselves. The state of our hearts. Our strengths. Our weaknesses and ill feelings. How Allah gives favours to some and maybe not give us the same. We come to understand that what’s come for us would have never missed us, and what’s missed us would have never come for us.

You see, some people have a naturally optimistic disposition. They can sieve the good out in every situation because they have either trained themselves hard to be optimistic, or are inherently blessed with love and light. Some people are just warriors at heart.

To want goodness for someone else, despite where their lives are at, is the epitome of excellence… And sometimes, it’s that very attitude that gets them to the greatest heights.

You have it,” I said to Zuleikha, passing her the pretty white gold bracelet that I had slipped over my arm. “It’s not really my taste.”

Zuleikha looked at me skeptically, her amber eyes narrowing. I wasn’t exactly lying.

”I can’t,” she said, shaking her head and handing it back to me. “It was Mama’s favorite. You keep it.”

”Listen,” I said, folding my arms over my chest. “I barely even remember her wearing it. You do. Just take it.”

Zuleikha sighed and slid the bracelet over her wrist. Her lean arms donned it perfectly.

”See,” I said softly, holding back emotion. “Suits you better.”

It was so beautiful but I truly wanted her to have it. I couldn’t help the tears that had welled up in my eyes as I watched her. Her slender arm was exactly like Mama’s.

”Then you have this,” she said, pointing to the charmed yellow gold bracelet that was still in the box.

I shook my head.

“Come on,” she urged. “Stop being such a hard nut.”

I knew I wasn’t going to give in. Instead, I placed my hand inside the box, pulling out the chain that I had spotted earlier with a pendant that boasted a blue sparkly stone. Whether it was real or not didn’t faze me. All I knew was that Mama used to often stand by the window and watch us, and as I would often gaze up at her, this little stone would be twinkling in the sunlight.

”I’m just taking this,” I said, smiling as the light reflected off the stone.

”We’ll keep some aside for Rubeena,” Zuleikha said wisely. “Mama would have liked that.

“She would have,” I said quietly.

“And Yunus’s wife,” she added, almost as an afterthought.

“You think?” I asked curiously. Yunus was still my baby brother. For him to have a wife was weird.

”it might be sooner than you expect,” Zuleikha said mysteriously.

Did she know something about Yunus that I didn’t?

”Maybe we get the value and do it properly,” I suggested, shrugging the insinuation about Yunus off.

”You’re right,” she said, shuffling through the other items.

The red box was an awakening from reality for us, slipping us momentarily into the past. Ahmed had found it hidden deep in one of the upstairs cupboards this morning and immediately called Zuleikha and I to sort it out.

”That’s all I want,” I said, holding onto the pendant and pushing the red box back to Zuleikha. “And of course, some of the mini furniture.”

”Take all the furniture,” she insisted, picking out the tiny pieces that she could see. “Khadijah will love it. I don’t have a daughter who can make use of it…”

There was a certain sadness in her voice as she said it. Zuleikha, after everything she had been though had finally settled into a peaceful and contented place where she and Jameel were at, but it was no secret to anyone that Zuleikha and Jameel were battling to have another child. I prayed so hard that they would, but Allah alone knew what was in her plan. I was just glad that she was content with her life as it was. It was lovely to see my sister happy, after everything. It had taken a long time but it was well worth the wait.

”Are you sure?” I asked her, running my finger along the carved lines of the corners of the mini pieces, quite impressed by the detail that it boasted.

Zuleikha nodded.

”It got you into enough trouble, didn’t it?” She said with a smile. “I think you earned it.”

Ah yes, it did.

I still remembered the day I had lunged at Hannah, completely appalled by her possession of my mothers gift to us. I had broken me. Those days seemed like so long ago.

”The punishment was torturous,” I said quietly, biting my lip and feeling for the little girl who I had once been.

”The only thing you would do is ask me if Khalid was as back yet,” Zuleikha said, breaking the  rolling her eyes and laughing. “You were pretty obsessed with that boy, weren’t you?”

I pursed my lips and smiled back. I was, wasn’t I?

”I wasn’t,” I said with a grin.

“Don’t pretend,” she said, shaking her head at me. “And he was too, you know.”

She didn’t say anything further. Zuleikha knew when to draw the line.

I looked at my sister, draped in a pretty lacey hijab, feeling at peace with how content she looked today.

Yunus had gone to see Khalid and mentioned the new occupant from Egypt. He had heard Aunty Radiyyah and her talking in the next room. Khalid, however didn’t offer any information.

“There’s a lady with them,” Yunus had said in passing, and I looked at him in confusion.

”A lady?”

Of course, the question flew right over Yunus’s head.

Now, though, with the return of Khalid and this new lady that Yunus had mentioned, a lot was clear to me. I had put two and two together.

It was possible now that his father had the accident, a turn of events would mean that he was preparing to stay here with her. Presumably his wife. Whoever she was.

“And you’re okay with that?” Zuleikha said, looking at me openly. “Even after everything you had told me last week?”

“Of course,” I said. “I wish him all the happiness in the world.”

”You’re so confusing…” she murmured, shaking her head.

Zuleikha had heard about the beautiful purple house last week from Nusaybah, and obviously had jumped to my imaginative friends theories.

I, however, had adopted a new approach to life. I didn’t want to dwell on last week. I didn’t want to dwell on what had happened and what could have been. Even after Yunus had revealed what he knew and even after I had toyed with all the possibilities.

Yes, I had maybe been a little too ambitious in my thinking after Nusaybah had left. I had felt lonely and a little confused after seeing the purple house again. When Yunus had relayed to me that Khalid had been rescuing the kittens from under the purple house for the old lady that had lived there, and struck up a relationship with her, I had sort of understood what had happened all those years ago, but it was the recent updates that had confused me. Despite Yunus saying that Khalid was probably responsible for the beauty of the garden too, I didn’t dwell on it. After him being gone for so long, part of my mind didn’t want to believe it. Maybe I was in denial. I had put through the offer for the house and hoped for the best.

And just when I was about to clarify any misconceptions that Zuleikha had, it was at that precise point when Yunus, Ahmed and his family came in, entering the lounge in their enormous glory.

”We’re back,” he said to us.

Like we couldn’t hear them from outside.

“Are you’ll nearly done?”

The way my brother was avoiding eye contact was amusing. He knew that it would be an emotional task, sorting out Mama’s things, and he had made himself extremely scarce. He didn’t know that this had brought on other kind of emotional.

”How are you coping, Ruby?” Zuleikha asked, smiling at them. It did amuse me to think that their family size would be significantly increasing in the next few months.

“I can only blame Ahmed,” she had said with a grin. “I mean, this never happened to me before.”

I smiled. I was really happy for them. I had so wished that they would have their own. I knew my brother wasn’t always set on it, because he wasn’t exactly the ‘baby-crazy’ type but seeing him with Khadijah wasn’t exactly bad to watch.

Ahmed smirked and shrugged as we looked at him.

”It never happened to me before either,” he said offhandedly.

Zuleikha laughed and shook her head. After the initial shock of it all, it was good to joke about it. It had been a while since I had to see them and I was glad that I did. The house was always buzzing with excitement and now that the babies were on the way, somehow, the feels were even more jolly.

”So are you excited about the babies?” Zuleikha asked Danyaal.

Danyaal nodded at Zuleikha shyly and then looked away. Of course he was excited. I could remember how thrilled he was when Khadijah was born. after Aadam passed away, he had become so subdued. He was, after all, very close to him… but the strange part was that as he grew up now his features were maturing and he was obviously beginning to look more and more like his uncle. As he grew he was also losing that baby-ness that I so loved about him. It was strangely sentimental for me, seeing these kids growing up now. I wasn’t sure if I liked it.

He put his hat on his head again as he turned around to leave. Ahmed was going for namaaz and had called the two bigger boys to join him.

I’m not excited,” Dayyaan said pulling a face. “Babies. Ugh.”

Rubeena shook her head but ignored him. Dayyaan wasn’t impressed with much these days. Except motor-bikes and fast cars.

”Dayyaan, Salaah,” Ahmed said sternly, raising his eyebrows at my nephew.

”Aw man,” he squealed. “Can’t I skip? I just came back. Dad doesn’t go. Can’t I just go and live with him?”

Ahmed looked at Rubeena and she turned her gaze to her second son. I had often noticed how Ahmed would voluntarily assist with the other kids, even when it came to discipline, but left Dayyaan for his mother to handle. He was, unquestionably, the most troubled of the lot and I didn’t blame him. He was somewhat of his father’s son and I could see that there were times when Ahmed just didn’t know how to handle him. Besides, I knew from past experience that dealing with Dayyaan and not giving into him could have disastrous consequences.

Rubeena got up from the couch, leaning down as steadily as her slightly protruding tummy allowed her, and looked him in the eye.

“Don’t you think that Allah will love you so much more when you make Him happy?” She asked him sweetly.

It wasn’t magical but it had the desired effect. The thing was, sometimes we take for granted our kids perception. We forget that Allah is watching over us with love, yet we still sometimes build them up with fear. We forget that sometimes we have to be their warriors… reminding them about all the love that Allah promises us if only we obey him.
The truth was that even as we go along, Allah is nudging us with love. Helping us along. Giving us hope to continue, not making us learn only through fear. How we build our kids is dependent on us.

Dayyaan hastily put his shoes on and skipped out after his brother and I could see Rubeena and Ahmed exchange a look as they watched him.

Parenting was something I’d always done on my own, but it was interesting to see this. I often wondered how Aadam would have handled Khadijah and her quirky comebacks. She was much like him, but I had a feeling that two of them together would have driven me crazy, in a completely love-to-be-driven-crazy way.

The other three boys were already running outside again, and Khadijah was pottering around with her little bag, playing on her own. Sometimes she did get tired of the boys. I was desperately wanting Rubeena to at least one little girl, so my daughter could have a friend.

I sighed as I left the room, still thinking about the boy’s and how their life had changed over the past few years. In some ways I really could relate to them, yet I was so glad that they hadn’t had the unfortunate experience of a terrible step-parent. I halted as I saw Yunus pulling on his jacket at the front entrance hall, looking like he was way out too.

“Where are you off to?” I asked Yunus. “Also for Salaah?”

“I went for early Salaah,” he said. “I need to make a stop for Faheem before I head home.”

“Can I join?” I asked. I was hoping to drill him about the hints that Zuleikha had mentioned.

“Of course,” he said, grabbing his keys as I greeted Rubeena and the lot. Khadijah had decided that she was having too much fun to leave, so I knew that I would have no choice but to leave her with Zuleikha for a few more hours.

Yunus, though pleasant and sweet, was not exactly the expressive type, so I knew that I’d have to do a little bit of prodding if I had to find out about this girl Zuleikha had thought was nearly a part of our family.

”So Yunus,” I said, clicking in my seat belt as he started the ignition. “How old are you again?”

Yunus looked at me weirdly.

Okay, I was being a bit weird.

”Twenty,” he said, frowning at me slightly as he backed out the driveway.

”Good age,” I said stupidly.

Ugh. This wasn’t going well.

”Yeah it is,” he added. “I’m stopping to fetch a USB from down the road. That okay?”

I didn’t ask him what down the road was. I just nodded. I was onto something and I needed to get it out of him.

”You ever thought of marriage?” I asked him, knowing that there was no other way to ask this.

Yunus shrugged.

”I have,” he said, slightly reservedly. “But not seriously.”

”Why not?” I pressed, wondering what Zuleikha was talking about. He didn’t seem keen on the prospect. At all.

“I don’t know,” he said offhandedly. “Taqdeer. When the time is right, it will happen I suppose.”

“Ah,” I said. He was obviously not serious about it was yet. But it didn’t mean that there was nothing to tell. “Are you interested in seeing girls?”

”You seem more interested in them than me,” Yunus said, a smile on his face as he met my gaze. I knew that I was being tiring.

“I’m just asking,” I said, deciding that I’d rather drop it now. I’m sure Yunus would tell me in his own time. If there was anything to tell. “I just want to see you happy. All settled.”

Zukeikha and Ahmed were pretty much settled and content. Somehow, I felt like a mother to my little brother. As always, I felt responsible for him.

Yunus was indicating and slowing down at Aunty Radiyyah’s house.

“You’re worrying about everyone else, Khawlah,” he murmured. “What about you?”

”I’m fine the way I am,” I said hastily.

”Im happy too. But’s lets make a deal,” he conceded. “When you settle down, I’ll think about it too.”

”Oh goodness, Yunus,” I exclaimed, throwing my hands up in the air. “I’ve already been there! The topic is exhausted. There’s nothing more I can give.”

”I know you’re a warrior at heart,” he said. “But do you really keep fighting your feelings all the time?”

”I’ve told you everything I know,” he said, turning to me. “By now, you should have been completely convinced. Your life may have turned out differently but why don’t you get it? He never forgot you. Khalid never forgot you.”

I could not believe that Yunus, of all people was bringing this up.

”Khalid’s not interested,” I said obviously with a sigh.

Ah,” Yunus said with raised eyebrows. “After everything you still say so. But what about you?”

“What about me?!” I moaned. What did I do?

“Maybe he was and you scared him away!” Yunus chuckled. “You know how you can be.”

”Yunus, are you delusional?!” I scoffed, shaking my head. “Remember the lady? You said that there’s a lady with them…”

”Awh Khawlah,” he said softly. “I didn’t say who she was.”

Oh no. I did feel a bit stupid.

He was right. He didn’t say. Then who was she?

We were parked outside Aunty Radiyyah’s house now and my heart was beating crazily in my chest. I was immune to the beauty of the front garden today, as I wished with all my might that I could somehow have a quick escape. What exactly was he saying?

And why on earth were we here again?

“You coming in with me or what?” He asked softly. Yunus was always so soft. Easy. Diplomatic.

“What?” I asked, blinking stupidly.

“To see Aunty Radiyyah?”

Oh yes. Of course. I thought he was suggesting something else. Silly me.

There were so many questions that I had on my mind. About the purple house. About the lady who lived there. About how it ended up the way it was. If Khalid really made it as beautiful as it was.
Even if he was, was it really that terrible? My mind was running away with me.

Why was I always such a fierce warrior? Why was my heart so unwavering? Why did I always have to fight anything that was staring me in the face? 

“She was asking about you,” he said. “She’s been busy. Khalids father’s leg is broken pretty badly.”

I immediately softened as I zoned back to the present. I could imagine that  must have been really sore. I wished that I had called her to check if she needed anything before this. How could I be so selfish?

We walked up the path slowly, not fully comprehending everything that had unfolded. Yunus quietly slipped away through the side gate while I continued up the stairs, already spotting a smiling aunty Radiyyah as she opened the door.

Oh, how I missed her.

Her arms were already outstretched as I dissolved into them, savoring the familiarity that I had known since I was just a little girl. I was almost lost in a turbulence of emotion as I held onto her, now, more than ever, so confused about everything and wanting pour it all out.

Did Aunty Radiyyah know what was on my mind? All these years had passed… why didn’t she tell me about Khalid? Why didn’t she tell me the truth?

I smiled at her, concealing the pain as she let go, not realizing that tears had filled my eyes until she brushed them away.

“It’s so good to see you here,” she whispered, squeezing my shoulder as I smiled up at her. “My beautiful Khawlah.”

Jedda,” Aunty Radiyyah called. “We’ve got a visitor.”

The hair visible at the front of her scarf was only slightly grey and the crinkles at the corners of her pretty eyes were exactly like Aunty Radiyyah’s. They’re was no longer question of who she was.

I watched as as a woman entered the room, poised and elegant as she walked forward, a little slower than most would, with the hint of a smile on her face.

”Wait, let me guess,” she said, her Arab accent pungent as she smiled a bit more widely. “This is Khawlah.”

She said my name wonderfully. There was actually no doubt in her tone as she said it. It was as if, by some default, she knew exactly who I was, despite us never setting eyes on each other ever before.

She came up to me, gazing at me with tears in her eyes as she pulled me into a fervent embrace, very much like my dear Aunty Radiyyah’s. It was achingly familiar.

”It’s so good to meet you,” she murmured. Maybe it was her accent. Or maybe it was her words… but her voice was strangely comforting. “I’ve heard all about you.”

Virtues of the ten days we are in. If we haven’t made extra efforts, let’s start now InshaAllah!
The Prophet (PBUH) said, “There is no deed that is better in the sight of Allah or more greatly rewarded than a good deed done in the (first) ten days of Al-Adha”. It was asked, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?” The Prophet (PBUH) replied, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for Jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything.” Narrated by Al-Bukhari

Sunnah of Du’aa after Salaah: One of the Sunnah of asking Allah is never to be despondent of Allah’s mercy. Remember that He is always listening and waiting to answer our prayer.

Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said that Allah the Exalted had said: “I have divided the prayer into two halves between Me and My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks. When the servant says: Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the universe, Allah the Most High says: My servant has praised Me. And when he (the servant) says: The Most Compassionate, the Merciful, Allah the Most High says: My servant has lauded Me. And when he (the servant) says: Master of the Day of judgment, He remarks: My servant has entrusted (his affairs) to Me. And when he (the worshipper) says: You alone we worship and of You alone do we ask help, He (Allah) says: This is between Me and My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks for. Then, when he (the worshipper) says: Guide us to the straight path, the path of those to whom You has been Gracious not of those who have incurred Your displeasure, nor of those who have gone astray, He (Allah) says: This is for My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks for.” [Sahih Muslim]

Lots and lots of Duaas. Let’s focus on trying to bring Du’aa into our daily lives…

How easy to practice …











Twitter: @ajourneyjournal






When Duty Calls

Bismihi Ta’ala


Sunrises. There’s just something about them that just makes you want to dive in and start all over again. Afresh. Anew. It’s a feeling deeper than gratification. It’s a deeper sense of appreciation that makes you just… ‘feel’. It inspires. Enables hope. It awakens something within. The truth was that deep down, positive feelings are what had kept me grounded. Grateful. There was just something about a sunrise that was loyal. Committed. Every day, without fail, it wouldn’t let you down. I breathed in, savoring the familiarity of it… no matter where I was in the world, seeing it had always brought out the best in me.

Every since I was a little kid, a new beginning was the highlight of every day. Something new. Something exciting. Somehow, with the inception of a new day, I knew that there would be something promising waiting for me. And today would be no different.

I took a last swig of my water bottle as I looked out, watching the two guys in my company also completely lost in the blazing colours that were before us.

The buzzing of the airport chaos was constant in the background of our setting as we gazed out. It was as if the sky was kindling a fire of it’s own as  we saw yellow streaks beyond the mountains morph to tangerine and crimsons rays of delight. The horizon was slowly evolving in all its glory, and from the glass window that boasted it, like an exhibition in progress, every person who passed by had to literally stop in their tracks and just stare.

We were entranced by the spectacle, the fiery ball appearing from behind a sheath of clouds, bringing with it a flood of warmth and relief from the darkness of before dawn. Like an ultimate relief brought out from an imminent doom… It was simply mind-blowing.

”It’s incredible, isn’t it?” someone said.

SubhaanAllah. Indeed it was.

The thing was, being here was unprecedented but now so much appreciated. Although my mother had loved the short trip to Jordan, Egypt hadn’t exactly gone as planned.

I cringed as I remembered it momentarily. of course, as always, family was lively and entertaining. The functions and the excitement was consuming and infectious as everyone went all out, in their usual Arab hospitality, preparing and hosting us out in their most exceptional ways. That was how I remembered it. There were so many memories there for me, but it was heartsore too, in many other ways.

And it was bound to happen at some point, because then, on out last day, tears had filled Ummi’s eyes, and I wished that I could somehow fix the pain that had been etched there. I felt a sense of duty to her through shielding her from it before, but as we drove out of the city for the last time, we had collided into a protest. The chants of hundreds of Egyptians filled the streets of Cairo and several other cities… the first such incident since years ago.

”Ums, don’t cry,” I said softly. “Just now you’ll make me start and then you know how that will end…”

”I can cry because it’s where it’s from,” she said softly. she gave a hint of a smile but her grey eyes were still brimming with tears. “The pain is not so much because I’m not staying here… but it’s not the same.”

“Of course not,” I had said, trying to be indifferent. The truth was that it was paining me too. ”Did you really expect it to be, Ums?”

I had tried to warn her before. I didn’t want to see this happen. I knew that it would trouble her. I just didn’t know how much.

“The thing is, Khalid,” she said softly. “I had imagined this place so many times in my dreams. Coming back home. Seeing everyone. Talking about this. But never… in my most vivid dreams… would I have imagined it being so far from my home. This isn’t my home.”

”One day, Ums,” I said softly, my heart breaking for her. I knew it wasn’t likely but why not give hope, right? “One day it will be.”

Say it loud, don’t be scared, Sisi must go.”

It was crazy how things had regressed after after the Arab spring.
It had been coming for a while, but the speed with which it gained momentum had shocked me. Political turnovers, sporadic violence, and waves of repression were rife as generation of activists energized long-stagnant politics in countrywide demonstrations that ousted President Hosni Mubarak. Since then it had been somewhat of a battle, and many may argue, but the main feels out there were we that it was all for democracy.
Allah knew best. The surprising fact was that Muslims were rallying and threatening Muslims, yet still… we are still quick to call other nations our enemies. The truth, as I’d heard before… was that no one was our true enemy greater than ourselves and our sins. That was undeniably, the main cause for all the unrest. So much of unrest and bloodshed.

The bloodshed. The bloodshed was what broke my heart… but as the Ummah of Nabi (SAW), I knew that it wasn’t unexpected.

Sa’d reported: The Messenger of Allah said, “I asked my Lord for three matters. He granted me two of them, but withheld one. I asked my Lord for my nation not to be destroyed by famine, and he granted it for me. I asked my Lord for my nation not to be destroyed by drowning, and he granted it for me. I asked my Lord for there to be no bloodshed in my nation, but he withheld it from me.”

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2890

I sighed as I looked around where I stood now, wondering if I could ever call this place home.

Coming to Qatar for a few days was never in the plan, but it was an eager diversion, even if it was for a getaway. There was something about travel that opened your mind… it made you think out of the box. From everything I’d seen and experienced, my life was now completely different to what I’d imagined. I just needed some time to adjust to the concept.

”Is it your first time in Qatar?”

I had been here between trips, like how Molvi was now, but never like how I’d come this time- with the intention to visit and view this place to settle in… to be home.

I looked at Maulana Umar and the guy who he called his brother-in-law. Another one of his crew had gone to get something to eat. Of course, I wouldn’t have ever in my wildest dreams imagined that I’d meet him at the Salaah room here but it was so good to see him because he reminded me of home. Or the place I used to call home. And I couldn’t help but be quite intrigued by the fact here we all were, united in another place that was so far from our unanimous home. Qatar had already gotten under my skin, and even though I was on my way out for now, I knew I’d be back here again.

The smoke from Ziyaad’s mouth was escaping unstoppably as he glanced at us, dropped his current cigarette into the tray and squished it, then promptly lit up another.

If anything, meeting Maulana Umar and the guys that he was with was enough to cheer me up after the ‘down in the dumps’ feeling I had after Egypt.

”Hey bru, do you ever stop?”

I could tell Maulana was joking but Ziyaad was the type of guy who always had a quirky answer for everything. And most of those times, his answers were chuckle-worthy.

“Sorry Molvi,” he said, taking a puff as he shook his head at us. “I know I need to quit but trust me, when you have Nafs like mine, you rather just stick to cigarettes.”

I grinned. He was a great guy but he cracked me up.

“You smoke, Maulana?” he asked, looking at me.

Smoking wasn’t my thing, but I wasn’t completely averse to it.

“Not really,” I said carefully. Back in the day, yes, I had smoked sometimes… in the past. But those days were over now. His face fell and I patted him on the back, feeling bad for him.

He was obviously addicted to it and who was to make him feel bad about it? Everyone had their weaknesses.

“But don’t worry,” I said promptly, winking at him. “I understand. Life’s stressful sometimes. I completely get you.”

Zee’s face immediately lit up.

”See!” He exclaimed, pointing at me and looking at Molvi Umar with a comical grin. “This guy! He’s like the coolest Maulana Dude I ever met… Was, meet Maulana Khalid.”


This guy was something else. I was so amused that I didn’t even notice the other guy approaching us, but as he pointed, my eyes settled on a well-built character who came toward us with a variety of chips and drinks in his hand.

Maulana Umar introduced us properly. He made me smile when he said that if I ever forgot his name I can call his Mus’ab, and of course, the name fit. Like the blue-eyed Sahaba, who was the flower of assemblies. Like the handsome youth who had wealth at his feet and gave it up for Deen. I didn’t know that this very guy was a guy who found the light amidst the throngs of darkness too.

“I’ve never met a guy named Khalid before,” Waseem said, looking thrilled as he shook my hand. “Reminds me of all those warrior stories Molvi used to tell me on our previous trips.”

I grinned. The Noble warrior. The sword of Allah. As a kid it was my only inspiration, and Ummi never ceased to thrill about the stories of Khalid Bin Waleed (RA). If only I could live up to that kind of courage. If only I could truly fulfill that kind of duty. Sometimes I felt that the older I got, the more mellow I became. Once upon a time I had that spark within me… but for a while, it had been somewhat lost…

Talking about lost, there was something about Waseem that I couldn’t place my finger on. Somehow, as we chatted easily about general things, I felt like he was strangely relatable. It was a while before I checked my watch, realizing that my family would be finished with Salaah and would be waiting for me.

”I’m going to have to leave you guys,” I said, looking at my watch and holding my hand out to greet them all. They still had a few hours before their flight. Maulana had already settled in the corner of the lounge with his Mushaf. He knew that there was no time to waste.

“No problem,” Waseem said. “but listen Maulana…when will you be heading back home? It’ll be good to see you again.”

I looked at him, not really sure if I should tell him. The truth was, I wasn’t sure where home was anymore. It felt nomadic but for some reason my heart wasn’t feeling settled in the place that I’d always sought refuge. It wasn’t settled back in South Africa.

”I haven’t really made any solid plans yet,” I said, looking them all as they waited for my answer. Maulana had put his Quran down as he cane to greet me. “I’ll take my mother back to Egypt and see from there. At the end of the day, whatever plans Allah has for me is on the cards.”

Molvi smiled and Ziyaad looked shocked.

”That means you don’t have a woman telling you what you need to do,” Ziyaad exclaimed, looking at me in admiration.

I grinned, but didn’t answer. Now wasn’t the time to get into that topic…

“Young and free, huh?” He said, looking at me with even more admiration. “Charming and good looking Molvi Dude like you, you must be having all the girls after you, nuh? I remember those days…“

He shook his head sadly and I couldn’t help but burst into laughter.

”Ignore him,” his brother said, shaking his head. “Ziyaad doesn’t like to admit that his marriage is the one thing he loves more than food.”

Heeeyy,” Ziyaad moaned, tossing the empty packet of chips in the bin. “That’s a low blow.”

Maulana Umar chuckled along with me. It was fun to see these brothers at each other.

“Don’t worry about this guy, Maulana ,” he said seriously. “When the time is right and you’re back in SA hopefully we’ll see you again. You’re brave to be out here. Taking big steps in Deen. Doing things that some of us are afraid to do.”

How did I tell him that even though I was brave on the outside, I had so many other fears.

”I’ll see you, Maulana,” I said, embracing him as he patted he on the back. “They’ll be waiting for me.”

“Jhee,” he said, nodding. “We’ll see you on the other side. Assalamu-Alaykum.”

I greeted him back, making my way back to the boarding area seats where they had been sitting. So many people, all from so many places… all headed in different places. It was something that I always loved about airports. Just sitting and watching… wondering where everyone’s story started and where they will end.

And right there, in front of me as I took a seat, was one of my favorite people. Just seeing her made me feel at home even in this foreign place.

”Missed me, habibti?” I asked, kissing her hand as I took a seat opposite her. Her gaze was focused ahead, as if there was something on her busy mind.

”You’re not moving so far away,” she said to me crossly in Arabic, as if she had been waiting for me to come back… just to argue with me again. It was a squabble she had started at the beginning of the trip, when I mentioned that I might settle here.

I smiled, knowing where this was going.

“And why not?” I asked her, still holding her hand. “You’ll be coming with me, you know.”

How I loved her. She was always cross for some reason or the other and it always made me chuckle.

”You’ll just be an immigrant here,” she muttered with a scowl. “You’re not just an immigrant. You’re better than that.”

”Says who?” I asked, raising my eyebrows. “Aren’t we all just slaves of the Almighty?”

“You can’t leave,” she insisted, ignoring me and getting angrier. “After all this time now you want to go again! No. It’s not right, Khalid. You must think about your parents.”

She was right but I felt like I was being held back. I knew they were making sense but how could I ignore a call to do this type of work? Here, where it just felt right?  What I didn’t know was that there’s a deeper sense of duty that had to call and it was about to unfold sooner than I thought.

”You know I’ll be back this time,” I tried to comfort her.

She shook her head vehemently.

“You‘ll change,” she murmured. “I know it and I don’t want it. No more… what they call this in English? Globe-trotting. Yes. You stay put. Get settled. Else I won’t be happy.”

I grinned, taking it lightly. Globe-trotting sounded so adventurous. I looked at the time, and my smile already faded.

The call for boarding was resounding through the speakers. Where was Ummi?

”Where’s Ummi?” I asked her, getting a little worried.

”She went to the pharmacy,” she replied, looking worried too as I checked my watch again.

I stood up, running my hands through my beard as I scanned the crowd.

“Wait here,” I said, picking my backpack up in case I needed it. “I’m going to check for her.”

I ran off to the pharmacy, only to return back to the bench where Ummi was already waiting. Relief flooded through me as I saw her, but as I got closer I could see the two women chatting fervently and I immediately felt a tightening in my chest. Something wasn’t right.

”What’s happened?” I asked them in Arabic. Fear gripped me as I saw Ummi’s eyes filled with tears.

“Not good news,” they both said. What now?

“Ums, tell me,” I insisted, the anticipation killing me.

”It’s your father,” she said tearfully. “He slipped in the bathroom. Broke his femur.”

Inna Lillahi. Not good but it could have been worse.

It was the one thing that had worried me when we had left him… knowing that he was alone back home. He had refused to join us… saying he was busy with work and would be fine. Papa was fiercely independent and wasn’t very old but worst thing that could happen was something like this for Ummi to rush back. There was no family close by to even offer their help.

”I’m so sorry, Khalid,” Ummi said softly. “I don’t want to ruin your plans. I know you didn’t plan on going back… not now at least.. but -“

Ssshhh, Ummi, don’t say that,” I said to her, shaking my head and stepping forward to grasp her arm comfortingly. “It’s no ones fault. Taqdeer, huh? We’ll take a detour. It may be fun.”

“May Allah reward you, handsome,” my mother said sincerely, clearly relieved. “You’re a good boy, Khalid.”

I smiled. Ummi calling me a good boy made me feel like a child again. I had forgotten the things I missed most about her all these years.

“It’s no big deal,” I mumbled.

Maybe a change of flights and some extra expenses but I knew I couldn’t let her down . For now, I had some time to spare before I’d get on the road, choose my path and commit to it.

”What about me?”

Ah. I had forgotten. I looked at her and smiled. It was when duty was calling, and right now we didn’t really have much time to waste. The ideal thing would be to head back straight from here. There was no time to make any stops. I had to step up and be there for my father. It only made sense to take her with us.

”What you say Habibti?” I winked at her, holding my hand out to help her up. “Maybe it’s time you come and see where I grew up?”

She smiled and nodded.

“Maybe it’s time.”

Sunnah of Du’aa after Salaah: One of the Sunnah of asking Allah is never to be despondent of Allah’s mercy. Remember that He is always listening and waiting to answer our prayer.

Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said that Allah the Exalted had said: “I have divided the prayer into two halves between Me and My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks. When the servant says: Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the universe, Allah the Most High says: My servant has praised Me. And when he (the servant) says: The Most Compassionate, the Merciful, Allah the Most High says: My servant has lauded Me. And when he (the servant) says: Master of the Day of judgment, He remarks: My servant has entrusted (his affairs) to Me. And when he (the worshipper) says: You alone we worship and of You alone do we ask help, He (Allah) says: This is between Me and My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks for. Then, when he (the worshipper) says: Guide us to the straight path, the path of those to whom You has been Gracious not of those who have incurred Your displeasure, nor of those who have gone astray, He (Allah) says: This is for My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks for.” [Sahih Muslim]

Lots and lots of Duaas. Let’s focus on trying to bring Du’aa into our daily lives…

How easy to practice …











Twitter: @ajourneyjournal





The Garden

Bismihi Ta’ala


There are some people who can walk through the most magnificent of gardens and not bat an eyelid. And let me tell you, for one, my sister was never one of those.

She’s one of those who can literally smell nature’s gratuity from miles away. I always remembered her saying, even as a grown kid, that some people can hear the most incredible of recitation, yet their hearts are never swayed. There are people who can merely exist through every bounty or difficulty of this journey, yet never be awakened to life’s true purpose.

And yes, it’s basically someone going through this entire life without realizing that there’s an Aakhirah. For the believer, there comes a time in life when you are forced to open your eyes. When your lens is suddenly cleared. When the eyes of your heart, are finally opened.

Hadrat Ali R.A narrates that Rasulullah Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam is reported to have said, “The world has departed with its back turned (towards you) and the Aakhirah is coming facing you, and each one (Dunya and Aakhirat) have children (that is followers and slaves that incline towards them). You should become children of the Aakhirah, that is, those that will desire the Aakhirah and not children of the world. Today is the (time of) carrying out actions and there isn’t any reckoning, and tomorrow is the day of reckoning where one won’t have the ability to carry out actions.

And if we truly grasp that, we would understand that there really was no time to waste on futile activities in this world. Some people, well, they just have that ability to see eternity in everything that they do. Its what defines them and keeps them in line. And I think because my sister had a better knowledge… a more real experience when it came to love and loss because through what she had seen and been through, somehow, her windscreen of life was always defogged.

“You ready, Khawlah?”

I was smirking at my sister knowingly, only to get back a scowl in response.

”I’m more than ready,” she said defiantly, placing her hands on her hips. “I’ve never been the chicken in the family.”

I chuckled. I could practically see her nose growing longer as the door opened and she feigned a indifferent expression.

The thing was, when my cousin Faheem had asked me to join him to see this house, I really didn’t know which house he was talking about.

And as he pulled up to the house… it hadn’t clicked with me immediately either. I had only become fully aware as we drove up and saw a shivering Khawlah on the brink of what looked like her version of jumping over a cliff. I could honestly see her head going in all directions as her eyes were probably peeled for some scarecrow or weird phantom-like thing to pop up through one of the windows and freak us all out.

And no, of course it never happened.

I grinned as the estate agent unlocked the door, and like a domino effect, I could see her resolve subsequently crumble.

If there was one giveaway, when it came to my seemingly fearless sister… Even when every ounce of her was fierce and determined, her trembling hands were always her weakness. She stuffed her hands into her Abaya pocket as she caught me watching them. I could tell she was as scared as a mouse.

”I feel like closing my eyes,” Khawlah whispered, only so I could hear, as we took the first step into the house.

I shook my head in humor and held onto her arm just in case she was thinking of making a run for it.

My sister could be the bravest of warriors in the face of an imminent war, and a clucking chicken at the very prospect of the ‘purple house’. I knew it was Khalid’s childhood theories that were still on her mind, but as I grew up it did occur to me that those theories were… well, just theories. I was just surprised that she never realized it too.

I watched Khawlah as we stepped in, amused as I watched her peeping through her fingers behind me. She was making sure that no one else could see her and it was quite hilarious.

And lo and behold, as light flooded into the room and we looked around, all I could describe the expression on my sisters face as she put her hands down and widened her eyes…. was ‘bewildered’. The light streaming  in through the open door now made the entrance hall look so… inviting. Instead of the rickety windows that were once fitted, new wooden shutters were gleaming at us. The ceilings were high but not in a creepy way.  I couldn’t quite believe that this was the very house that was so daunting to us as kids. The floors were a shade of classic mahogany, and the built-in finishes were absolutely professional. And because I had learnt a bit of carpentry over the years, because often Khalid would take me to his fathers warehouse when we were kids, and course, Aadam knew quite a bit himself, I could appreciate the workmanship. It looked like there was some major renovation that had happened recently and the turn-around that the house had made was quite unbelievable.

Solid wood floors and newly tiled bathrooms. I could still smell the paint on the walls, which was a comforting shade of light blue. I could almost imagine someone sitting on a leather reclining couch near the lounge window, soaking up the sun that was streaming in. Empty, the place looked great. I was sure that when it was furnished, it would be something else.

”I can see you guys are quite impressed,” the estate agent said, bringing me back to earth. It must have shown on our faces. Here I was, getting all carried away…

”I love it,” Khawlah said neutrally, probably surprising herself too as Nusaybah and Khadijah echoed her sentiments. My cousin looked from her to me, and then looked a bit worriedly at the estate agent.

“Is the owner up for negotiation?” He asked meekly.

Faheem had always been a conservative spender. I supposed it was a bit out of the budget, but because it was so close to Ahmed, he really wanted to see this place. Being away from family in the UK for so many years, he had a strong inclination to be near family now that he would be living here.

I nodded as the estate agent said we could discuss it with owner, and then started talking about how it had been revamped after it had previously belonged to an old lady who had lived with almost a dozen cats.

Cats. Cats. Why did that ring a bell?

“You see?!” Nusaybah was muttering to Khawlah with a huff.

Though Nusaybah was often quiet around me, I never missed her and my sister’s little theatrics. Of course, since we were all in one room, I couldn’t help but overhear the two of them squabbling.

”See what?!” Khawlah replied, looking annoyed.

Cats. Why did cats sound familiar? Had I maybe known this before? 

”That’s what you’ll end up like!” She hissed at my sister, clearly unimpressed. I was really trying not to listen to them but they had always cracked me up.

“The old lady who stayed in this house,” I caught her saying. “With a dozen cats! Can you imagine?! Leaving her house to her cats?! That’s how you will end up if…!”

Oh hell, now I remembered.

This was where Khalid had found the cats! The one that Khawlah had gotten into trouble over. The same kitten that he had given us way back when. I could not believe that I didn’t make the connection before this. All these years I had wondered what had really gone on in this house and now it was so clear.

Okay, maybe not so clear. But much clearer than before.

I recalled Khalid coming back and then showing us the kittens.. had he possibly maybe encountered the old lady here and then found more cats? Turned out that the purple house wasn’t as scary as we had thought. I had to remember to ask him for the full story one day.

”I will not!” Khawlah insisted. “You are horrible!”

Apparently, the lady had no children and had left the house to her cats. Her cats. I was absolutely amazed…

I mean, it just made me realize… how gracious is Allah that he has clear cut instructions on how to even distribute our wealth after our death. For every avenue… every little path that we venture in this way of life, there is rule that we follow. And yes, we may think it is only because we are obeying, but the clear cut truth is that everything Allah decreed is for our benefit too. I mean, imagine leaving everything you own to your cats?

The two of them argued on as the door leading outside was unlocked, and as I glanced at my niece I could already see where her eyes were fixed.

Khadijah had clearly inherited my sisters addiction to the outdoors, and I could vouch for it at that very moment. Her eyes widened as the door opened, and as she grabbed and pulled me along, I could almost feel some kind of magnetic force just drawing her towards the greenery.

”If you’ll love the house,” I could hear the estate agent saying to Faheem as they walked out. “You’ll are going to be blown away by the garden.”

And of course, when they heard that, I could already hear the two girls behind us. The view that we had glimpsed from inside was already a drawcard, but as I stepped out, I could barely describe the reality. My gaze was locked ahead as I reveled in it’s existence, just for a few minutes, before I actually took it all in.

I sucked in my breath as I stood, motionless at the stairs, wondering for a moment if this place was real or not. It was pin-drop silence for a few seconds as we all just stared.
The contrast of the colors against the bluest of skies was a sight to stop anyone in their tracks. Their clarity was simply breathtaking. And then of course, just below, rows and rows of flowers, planted methodically as we looked ahead. Bougainvillea cascading over the walls, dozens of trees, bushes and lollipops in intervals along its path. And yes, it was unusual for a guy but because I had spent so much of time with my sister in the garden as a kid, and even until recently, that I couldn’t help but know the name of every flower I could see. From lilies to roses, dahlias to hollyhocks.. to orchids of every colour perched on unassuming trees…. it was a feast for anyone’s eyes.

I mean, it was just something indescribable. I couldn’t understand how anyone could see this.. so much beauty and life… and not be swayed? How could anyone see such natural and unconditional splendor and still deny that there is a Magnanimous Rabb?

I breathed in the scent of nature, honestly mesmerized by the sight before us. I mean, whose needs a park when you have one in your back yard? I grinned to myself as I watched my pretty niece twirling in a sunny spot on the path. Khawlah’s eyes were bulging open.

So much for the haunted ‘Purple House’.No one would have ever assumed that this house would boast such splendor in its back yard. Honestly, such unprecedented marvel in this home was one of the most unexpected surprises. A bridge over a tiny pond with wisterias was truly a splendid scene. It even boasted a treehouse with an extensive jungle gym attached. It was a children’s dream. As my mind processed this.. like a magical garden…. it was nothing like I’d ever seen before.

”Imagine Jannah,” the voice in my head said to me.  “Just imagine Jannah, boss.”

”It’s great huh?” Faheem said in awe, as he turned to look at me.

I looked at my sister. Great was definitely an understatement.

SubhaanAllah,” Khawlah said, looking like she was in utter shock. It was the only appropriate word I could think of. “I’m in love with this garden. If you guys aren’t taking it I’ve got amazing ideas. This will make be a kids paradise. Maybe an orphanage or a children’s Madrassa or something along that  line. It was always Aadam’s dream to be involved in something like this… and what a way to earn eternal rewards. Just being here makes you want to make Dhikr. I’d love to be here, maybe even teach here… and see this place grow..”

I breathed in as she said it, slightly taken aback at my sisters awareness.

How amazing was it that even in this incredible garden, her thoughts were still on Aakhirah? There were just some people who had that kind of unwavering perspective. They didn’t only look at the ‘now’. They saw beyond. Far beyond the present. I felt immensely proud that my own sister was one of those rare people. She didn’t want Duniyaa just to have Duniyaa. For her, it wasn’t about now. It was about the treasures of the afterworld..

And though I knew that, I couldn’t figure out how to some people it just came as second nature. It sounded so familiar as she said it. And why did this place seem like is known if before? It felt like I was missing something all this time.

And because I was so focused on the appeal of the garden and it’s unprecedented splendor, only when I felt the brushing at the bottom of my kurta did I realize that there was a very furry and well-fed cat that lived here. And as I kneeled down to pet it and Khawlah spotted, I could practically see the lightbulb flicker on in her head.

”Hey, isn’t that Khalid’s cat?”

Of course, it hadn’t clicked with me and she said it without thinking but it was a dead give away. Because my sister was as unassuming as she always was, it took her a few moments to put the pieces together.

Err,” I said, scratching my beard. Well, he did look just like Khalid’s. And ours. But there was something about Khalid’s cat that you wouldn’t miss for anything. They had the same identical eyes. Maybe he was just visiting? But then why was there a cat house and play post here too?

”Wait,” she said, her voice slightly strained as she looked around us. “Who does this place belong to? That lady with the dozen cats died years ago, right? This one looks like it’s well cared for…”

I kept silent. I didn’t know want to say it. The pieces were just about fitting together in my own head.

The memory was clear to me as if it was yesterday.

“You see, Yunus,” Khalid had said softly, his gaze meeting mine. “We all have hopes. Visions, plans for the future. I’m sure you do too.  I thought that I had it all set out for me. The perfect house, a perfect girl, the perfect plan… a perfect life that I wanted to live with the best of everything. But one thing I’ve realized is that when our plans are toppled, there is something else waiting for us. We can’t dwell on it because I’m sure that you, more than anyone else, know that only have a set number of days. Life is too short for that kind of negativity. What we put forward today is going to help us tomorrow. The only thing we take with us is what we give forward in deeds and charity. When we plan for the Aakhirah, we can never go wrong.”

There I was, thinking that maybe it was just some awesome parting advice, but little did I realize that I’d missed something really important right there.

”Yunus!” Khawlah said with her eyes narrowed as she scrutinized me.

Jasses, there was so much more I could read into if I wanted to. But what was the real proof that this house belonged to Khalid? 

My sister was looking at me skeptically and I wished that she couldn’t read me like that. She already knew that my mind was abuzz with a new influx of information and I didn’t even know how. Somehow, the mystery was slowly unfolding itself as most of the pieces were fitting together and Khawlah was not one to miss it…

”You have to tell me,” she said, forcibly pulling me aside out of earshot and looking me in the eye.

”Tell you what?” I almost squeaked.

”There’s something you know,” she said, wagging her finger at me. “About Khalid and this place. And you have to tell me what it is.”

Sunnah of Du’aa after Salaah: One of the Sunnah of asking Allah is never to be despondent of Allah’s mercy. Remember that He is always listening and waiting to answer our prayer.

Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said that Allah the Exalted had said: “I have divided the prayer into two halves between Me and My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks. When the servant says: Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the universe, Allah the Most High says: My servant has praised Me. And when he (the servant) says: The Most Compassionate, the Merciful, Allah the Most High says: My servant has lauded Me. And when he (the servant) says: Master of the Day of judgment, He remarks: My servant has entrusted (his affairs) to Me. And when he (the worshipper) says: You alone we worship and of You alone do we ask help, He (Allah) says: This is between Me and My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks for. Then, when he (the worshipper) says: Guide us to the straight path, the path of those to whom You has been Gracious not of those who have incurred Your displeasure, nor of those who have gone astray, He (Allah) says: This is for My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks for.” [Sahih Muslim]

Lots and lots of Duaas. Let’s focus on trying to bring Du’aa into our daily lives…

How easy to practice …











Twitter: @ajourneyjournal





Being Brave

Bismihi Ta’ala


There are many uncertainties in life. In fact, in life, most things are uncertain. Sometimes improbable. Often unpredictable.

You see, human beings are creatures of habit. We thrive on certainty. Familiarity. Comfort. And there are a few things that are certain. Constant. A means that we live by. A routine we abide by. And the one thing that is and should always be a constant in our lives is the One that is always the there. Our living. Praying. Believing.

And sometimes, when we are feeling a little uncertain, we just need a little certainty. Sometimes life catches us unaware. Sometimes we just get thrown in the deep end, when we are faced with a tragedy or a test or sudden illness. sometimes, along our path in life, we do have to reroute. That’s what trials do. They put us on halt, and make us revisit our only source of help that is always there.

And I wasn’t sure what it was that had triggered the sudden  thudding in my chest at that time when everything seemed a little hopeless. All I knew was that when I felt a bit out of sorts, like I was then, there was nothing more I could do but to turn to Allah. To bow my head down, let all my fears out. All I knew was that I needed to seek help through the only channel that I could get it through.

Indeed, mankind was created anxious:
When evil touches him, impatient,
And when good touches him, withholding [of it],
Except the observers of prayer –
Those who are constant in their prayer” (Qur’an 70: 19-23)

And just like that, as I t would all be okay. As I entere Salaah, it became my happy place. A simple, quiet ritual that didnt demand anything more than to ‘step out’ of my chaotic world and ‘step into’ a different dimension – the Dimension and Presence of the Divine subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).  As I stood there, facing one direction, worshipping One Lord, in compliance with His Final Messenger – Nabi (SAW).  Right there, in the moment, was my refuge- reciting, bowing, prostrating, glorifying, supplicating, and yes perhaps even crying. Then exit Salah and there I was – renewed, rejuvenated, mindfully present and ready to face the world…

I knew that my Duas would be answered. It was the magic of submission.

And I was pretty emotional. Whether it was the departing of my friend for two upcoming weeks… Or maybe it was the palpable absence of Aunty Radiyyah… Or perhaps it was because I felt like everyone else was moving on with their life and here I was… just stuck. Quite possibly, it could have been because the last letter of Aadam’s was lying on the bed, unopened, because I had been stalling this event for as long as I could.

But today I needed to hear some words of encouragement. I had savored every letter, sometimes opening one every few days. The last one had been unopened in my drawer until today. I couldn’t quite place my finger on it, but today, as I got off the Musalla and asked Allah to brighten up my way… I pulled it out and I knew that it was just the something I needed to lift me up. Somehow, through my plea, as Allah had planned his penning, Aadam’s words would always have that effect.

My Gorgeous Wife,

Stop it. Okay? Just stop. Stop scowling.

I can just imagine you sitting on your bed with that dreary night gown (please give it away now, there’s enough money in my socks drawer for a new one), feeling all sorry for yourself.

Stop it.

It’s not my fault that it’s the last letter. You knew that it would come, yeah? This wasn’t going to go on forever. Okay, I’m sorry that I’m being mean.

I just didn’t want to write this soppy last letter that you’ll be moping over because truly… I want you to believe that its not the end. There’s sunshine after this rainbow. There’s still much to come for you. You’re still alive.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s okay. Everything is okay. It’s okay for you to live again. To love again. And no, I don’t mean that you have to go and find another guy who’s as great as me (though I hope you do)… all I’m saying is that you can step out of your comfort zone. Be kind to yourself. Go and watch a sunset. Take the boys to play Scrabble at the flat.. Ride a horse again. Go to the places we used to go to. You don’t need to tiptoe around me as if I can see what you’re doing.

Set goals. Fulfill dares. Have hopes. It’s okay.

I know you’re going to be amazing. 

There’s so much that we can make out of this life, if we just open our eyes to the possibilities. We can either waste it away with our unfulfilled promises and aimless hopes, or you to live the best kind of life you can, understanding and appreciating Allah’s glory and bounties right where you are. Embrace it. Aspire. I know that you‘re brave enough to do it.

You’ll always be my very own warrior. You helped me to find my true strength, and I truly hope that one day you’ll find yours.

Remember that I love you. Always have. Always will.

Be brave, Khawlah.

Your one and only,

I lay in bed for a few seconds, just letting it all sink in.

Be brave. Maybe he was right. Maybe I needed to stop moping around like I was dead too. I looked at my daughter who was napping on the bed next to me. Seems like she had gotten some of my habits.

Gosh, I was a bad influence on my child.

”Look what I found!”

I had been at a point I was kind of over Nusaybah’s early-morning rendezvous, and I usually had no problem in making my feelings known to her. It was just that today was different. I held my piece because she was leaving for a honeymoon-ish trip with Faheem the next day and I was already feeling a little emotional.

The aching in my heart was a familiar one. I was definitely going to miss her. Khadijah shuffled slightly in the bed, kicked the blankets off and turned around to sleep again.

What was it with kids and blankets? I kept covering her and she kept kicking it off.

The thing was, she was actually used to Nusaybah barging in at all hours now so the talking didn’t bother her.

I glanced at my friend expectantly as she tossed a book into my bed.

“You gave it to me a while back to read and since I’m packing my stuff, I stumbled across it yesterday,” she said, dropping her voice as she came to sit on the edge of the bed.

She was packing? Of course she was packing. Married people  had to move out of their fathers’ house at some time.

I shoved sentiments aside and looked down at the paperback book that was lying on my jumbled up bed. I could just imagine what Aadam would say about my bed too. That it’s about time I actually got out of it and made it.

I sighed and picked up the book to read the title, not realizing at first which book it was. I had a whole library and half of them were at Nusaybah’s house. I was surprised that she had only brought back one. Typical.

My heart beat a little faster as I processed the title.

Khawlah bint Al Azwar, it said at the top

An Extraordinary Heroine

”This book keeps cropping up,” I muttered, not entirely impressed with its presence right then.

”Yup, but there’s a reason I brought it. Did you ever read till the last page?” She asked.

I frowned slightly.

”Of course,” I said obviously. “Plenty of times.”

”I mean,” she said, standing up and planting her hands on her hips. “The last last page. After all the stories of the Sahaba, right on over to the blank pages after.”

I glanced at the book again and picked it up.

”No, I don’t think so,” I murmured, flipping through to the end.

”Well,” she said, crossing her hands over her chest and raising her eyebrows. “Maybe you should have. I folded the corner of the page I’m talking about. Have a look.”

I opened to the page in question, flattening the corner as I opened it. If there was one thing I hated it was flappy cornered books.

My eyes settled on it, spotting the bit of writing that was scrawled at the top of one.

To Khawlah,

Ummi saw this book and thought of you. She said you’re the bravest girl she ever knew. I think so too. I hope you enjoyed reading it.
I’m sorry that I have to leave, but I hope that one day we can be friends again.

 From Khalid 

I smiled and looked up, placing the book back on the bed as I remembered the time he had given me that book. It was just before he left for madrassa. I remember being heart broken. It had given me so much of comfort and inspiration. It was those stories that inpspired me, uplifted me and woken something within me.

Ah well, a lot had changed since then.

”So?” Nusaybah said, raising her eyebrows at me.

”So what?” I said, raising my eyebrows back at her. Sometimes I wished that I could see into her ticking brain.

“Don’t you think that means something?” She exclaimed with wide eyes, throwing her hands up in the air. “I hope that we can be friends again? friends. Friends. Friends, or friends…“

She did a weird thing with her eyebrows as she said it and I couldn’t help but giggle. She was hilarious.

”Friends mean friends,” I said obviously, raising my eyebrows. “He was just a child. He knew he would miss home. He didn’t understand what he was saying.”

”That’s baloneys,” she said vehemently. Sometimes my friend did use weird words. “He had something up his sleeve.”

”Nusaybah,” I started, rolling my eyes. “Something up his sleeve?! Come on.”

”I’m looking at the potential…”

I narrowed my eyes at her. Potential?

”I’m thinking of Khadijah,” she finally declared, her hands up in defense. At the mention of her name Khadijah sat up in bed, looked around and then snuggled up against me as she watched my friend.

”What about her?” I said softly, stroking my daughters hair as I read her Du’aa for waking and looked at my friend in confusion. “She’s perfectly content.”

”She needs siblings!” Nusaybah harped. “Duh. Can you ever just be a single child?!”

”Mummy, what’s siblings?” Khadijah asked in a tired voice.

Oh goodness. Trust Nusaybah to bring kindred into the equation in front of her.

”Well, you don’t need to worry because that’s sorted,” I said with a shrug. “Rubeena’s having triplets so I’ll just steal one for Khadijah. I’m sure they’ll be thrilled about that.”

I could see that Khadijah was excited at the prospect. She was such a little madam. I knew she’d be ‘oohing and aahing’ over those babies from the time they are born.

”I still can’t believe that,” murmured Nusaybah as she widened her eyes and remembered. “Rubeena will die.”

I grinned. Rubeena was in a state of shock when I had seen her earlier that week. I supposed it will take some getting used to the idea of having three babies as once. Zuleikha was thrilled because she herself was having a tough time falling pregnant again.

“That will be something to see,” I agreed. “But it will be fun.”

”And having your own kids will be fun too,” Nusaybah pressed. “Besides, I don’t think Khalid’s Papa would have been too happy about that little letter, would he? Writing creepy letters to girls at the back of Islamic literature? Can you really be so sneaky?!”

Oh, Nusaybah and her nonsense. It was innocent, but there was no way I could prove it. I had to just try another approach to kill her case.

“Okay okay,” I said with a sigh. “Even if what you’re saying is true, Nus. Even if it were, and I’m not saying it is… but it’s not fair what you want him to be!”

“And why not?” She asked innocently.

”Because that type of situation is not really fair to someone you want to spend your life with,” I said, lowering my voice as Khadijah listened to us. I really hoped that she didn’t understand what I was talking about. “He can’t just be there to pick up the broken pieces and put them together again.”

”But he did it before, didn’t he?” She said, not entirely wrong. “Pick up the pieces…”

I shrugged. I actually don’t know what my childhood might have been like if he hadn’t been there to show me the life that I had come to love and actually take so much of comfort in as a kid.

”Let’s just drop it,” I said, giving my daughter a sideways glance.

”Ah, well,” she said, a little sadly. “It was worth a try at least.”

”And I appreciate it,” I smiled , loving that my friend cared about my happiness but also happy that she was butting out of it.

How did I explain to her that some things are not in my control? If things were meant to be, they would have been… but now Khalid was gone and all hopes were completely dashed.

“Anyway,” she said, eyeing the letter on my pedestal. “Whats the latest on the vampire diaries? Have you finished the letters as yet?”

”I just did,” I said, tossing her the last letter that Aadam had penned. “But talking about vampires… I think it’s my turn to hound you. I’m in desperate  in need of some juicy details…”

I was just teasing but it was fun to see my friends cheeks turn a slight shade of crimson.

”There’s nothing to tell,” she said, rolling her pretty eyes emphatically. “He’s amazing.“

Ah, the irony.

That perfect?” I asked incredulously. “So that means you’re not staying with him yet, right?”

I knew the deal, but I was poking at her. My uncle and his family had a small flat in the city and Faheem and Nusaybah hadn’t found somewhere to stay as yet so they were still staying apart until they could make further arrangements.

Nusaybah scowled and scrunched up her face.

”It’s better this way,” she said with a tiny smirk. “Now I get it. This way I can live with the dream that he sleeps like a purring cat, and not a gurgling train. I can also live with the dream that he makes his own breakfast and does his own laundry… oh, and how can I forget?? It means I won’t have to deal with the stinky socks thrown in the corner of the room…”

I gave her a knowing smirk.

”And,” I said with glee. “It means that you haven’t yet been acquainted with how he turns into a werewolf when there’s a full moon?!”

Nusaybah widened her eyes and looked at me.

Oh my scarf, Khawlah,” she breathed. “You’re right. That’s exactly why he’s so evasive during the evenings…”

I chuckled as she stuck her tongue out at me, albeit a little flustered about the theory I had just planted.

Of course I was just joking. My friend, however, was easier to sway than a branch.

“Talking about creepy,” she said. ”Are you ready to come see that house with me now? I’ve been itching to show it to you.”

Oh no. I was so hoping they forgot about it and it wouldn’t come up again. I had kind of told her that it was a creepy house way back when. I just wished that I had more of a case.

”Listen, Nus,” I said wearily. “I’m not feeling too well…”

I knew it wasn’t the exact truth, but I remembered someone once telling me that we are all spiritually unwell. I mean, right now, more than ever, I was really spiritually lacking.

”Aw come on, Khawlah,” she moaned. “It’s my last day here and I really want your company. Can you just not be such a lazy and unadventurous friend and come and spend some time with me before I go?”

Oh yes, the old guilt trips.

Of course I wanted to spend time with her, but definitely not at the infamous Purple house.

I really wished that I could shove her off and tell her that I wasn’t up for it, but her doe-eyed look was enough to convince me and something within me was telling me that maybe I did need to step out of my comfort zone.

What did that letter say again?

Maybe Aadam was right. I had become too focused on just being, that I had forgotten how to really live. To take chances. To fulfill a dare.

The thing is, sometimes even the greatest of warriors do fall. But what defined them, ultimately, was their ability to rise again.

And like the book had brought to life for me once, as I paged through again almost absent-mindedly, I was reminded of the inspiration it had.

This warrior fights like Khalid ibn Walid, but I am sure he is not Khalid (RA).”

And in a twist of fate, it had just so happened that Khawlah bint Al Azwar had once got captured by the Byzantine army due to accidentally falling off her horse.

They are captured, taken by surprise, like sheep. Their weapons are confiscated. She was taken to the tent of the leader of the army, by his instruction… for pleasure… but this heroine was no soul to play with.They are confined to their tents, while the Byzantine troops taunt them with abuse and insulting language, with threats to their honor. But even getting captured couldn’t break her spirit.

“Do you accept the Byzantines as your masters?” Khawlah whispers to her captains. “Are you willing for your children to be the slaves of the Byzantines?”

The women shudder and move in closer to hear Khawlah.

“There’s nothing we can do,” they hiss. “We have no swords or spears, we have no mounts.”

Khawlah clicks her tongue. “Where is the famed courage which has become the talk of the Arab tribes? Where have you left the skill that is renowned in the cities?”

With her ferocious and determined spirit, Khawlah had devised a skillful plan with the other women prisoners to use the poles of the tents and killed 30 enemy soldiers. By her own hand, Khawlah killed 5, including the man who had insulted her…

Once again, I was awestruck by the shining example of this woman who I had always felt so connected to. A sterling representation of valor and courage that relayed a strong message that every woman has the right to fight for her beliefs, principals, moral values and protection…

What courage, I couldn’t imagine.

Be brave, the voice reminded me. Brave.

I couldn’t quite believe it but maybe there was an underlying message for me there. The truth was that with everything that had happened in life, I had lost my pluck. I was somewhat broken inside. Maybe I needed to slowly put those pieces of courage back together… draw some inspiration… build myself up once again and take a plunge. Maybe it was the time to let myself go and be that girl that I once used to be.

And because my friend was so persuasive, before I could even say it, I was already dressed and in no time, talking nineteen-to-the-dozen, Nusaybah had already driven all over to the familiar neighborhood that held the purple house. We had just pulled into the driveway, and I could tell that I really had no choice but to follow my friend as she and the estate agent stood at the entrance to unlock the door.

You see, there are different types of courage. There are people who are outwardly brave, physically conquering every obstacle that ever stood in their way. There are people who have been fighting their entire lives, showing  immense determination in the face of all conflict. Then there are people who are brave, braver than you’ve ever known, brave on the inside. They smile in the face of hardship. Adversity. They stand alone to nurture the strength of others. They are a light for those living in their own darkness.

True strength is not about force, but about conviction. A person who can be home and care for a loved one is just as strong as someone’s who can climb a mountain. A person who can stand up for something they believe in is as strong as someone who can fend off an entire army. Sometimes true strength is just opening your mind to all the possibilities that you were too scared to consider before. Sometimes you just have to open your heart, and let the courage pour out of it so you can be the warrior of your own inner battles..

Sometimes everything is not really as it seems. Yes, I had no idea yet but it was almost like an unprecedented reward for my bravery, as we cautiously stepped in, what lay ahead was a spectacular surprise that none of us, in our wildest dreams even, might have ever envisaged…

Sunnah of Du’aa after Salaah: One of the Sunnah of asking Allah is never to be despondent of Allah’s mercy. Remember that He is always listening and waiting to answer our prayer.

Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said that Allah the Exalted had said: “I have divided the prayer into two halves between Me and My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks. When the servant says: Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the universe, Allah the Most High says: My servant has praised Me. And when he (the servant) says: The Most Compassionate, the Merciful, Allah the Most High says: My servant has lauded Me. And when he (the servant) says: Master of the Day of judgment, He remarks: My servant has entrusted (his affairs) to Me. And when he (the worshipper) says: You alone we worship and of You alone do we ask help, He (Allah) says: This is between Me and My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks for. Then, when he (the worshipper) says: Guide us to the straight path, the path of those to whom You has been Gracious not of those who have incurred Your displeasure, nor of those who have gone astray, He (Allah) says: This is for My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks for.” [Sahih Muslim]

Lots and lots of Duaas. Let’s focus on trying to bring Du’aa into our daily lives…

How easy to practice …











Twitter: @ajourneyjournal





Over the Top

Bismihi Ta’ala


”Now that boy!” Dada boomed suddenly in a his thunderous voice.

Somehow, because Dada was slightly deaf, he kind of thought that everyone couldn’t hear too.

“That boy,” he continued, wagging his finger in the direction of the departing car. “I like. He’s my new favorite. Or old favorite maybe.”

Yunus grinned and I shook my head at my grandfather. Sometimes Dada did go over the top.

Everyone knew that Khawlah was his favorite. It was probably because she looked most like my mother. Zuleikha and Adam had somehow found their way to the favorite category too.  For Adam, he was an honorary member of the favourites because, I mean, who didn’t like Adam?

But Khalid. Well, that was new. Or so I thought.

Yunus has brought Dada along with him to the hospital, where I was waiting for news about Rubeena. We were sitting at the entrance to the hospital where Khalid had just come to greet us before he left.

It was hard to believe that this was the guy that had once known throughout his childhood, or the guy who I used to trouble my sister about as a kid… or the guy that I had met all those years ago in Egypt. And many may have seen the kind of guy he was destined to be, but I for one wouldn’t have thought that he would have been chosen, so much so, and in such a way that he had become such a scholar. His reciting, his lectures, his lessons… it was something that I had come to know the magic of only during the past month or so that he was here.

”You’ll think I’m joking?” Dada asked as he stuck out his stick and pointed. “You should have heard that talk today, Ahmed. The way he spoke- like a master- even I feel like leaving for Jihaad now and giving my life.  What a test, man. What a test.”

I smiled. Dada was a hard nut to crack at times, but Khalid definitely had a way with words that moved even the most rigid of hearts.

And I could just imagine him saying it, the way Dada narrated it. The way he spoke, I could see that Dada was already converted to make-shift Mujaahid mode.

”Im ready to take it on!” He boomed, pumping his fist with a serious expression on his face.

And of course, to see Dada all psyched up like this at this part of his life was quite amusing. I always knew that he had this rigid and prickly side to him, but with age he had mellowed a bit. Of course, it’s where Abba inherited it from. And I mean, after all the drama that morning I kind of appreciated the chuckles.

Yikes, was I glad that I had some kind of diversion right then. Khalid’s coming here to the hospital to greet us was something we didn’t expect. Truth be told, the guy was so humble that I didn’t expect him to actually be so knowledgeable.

And the thing was, I could see that Dada was inspired. There are some people whose very presence can just build you. Inspire you. Change you. When Dada spoke I kind of got the drift about the talk…

When the Mahdi finally comes to rule, even those who didn’t want to submit, will follow. Peace will reign. Imaan will be at its heights. It will be a time when every single person will have to pledge allegiance. When everyone will be called to fight. Directly or indirectly… that’s when the true Mujaahideen will be born.

Some tests are sometimes a call for the most courageous warriors. Sometimes you need real strength… strength that humbles you.. brings you down to your knees… and truly brings you back to Allah.

And yes, as Dada spoke with so much of theatrical passion, I knew what he was narrating was on point. That at some point we will all have to stand up. We will have to pledge allegiance, whether directly or indirectly. We will have to fight at some point. We had to be prepared, but right now, I knew that I had bigger battles to fight within me. I had a jihaad within myself that I was fighting constantly, and still needed to work on.

And yes, he made me think- even as Dada said it. Khalid- or Maulana Khalid- had surprised me.

I recalled clearly the time I had seen him in Egypt, all young and full of life, almost ready to take on the world. The way he welcome us with open arms was something that defined him, even back then. That Arab hospitality was a renowned trait of his. Added to that was the humility he had always possessed, no matter where he was in life.

I didn’t know at that stage what exactly it was that had landed him there. I didn’t know, until I had found out later, that he was running away from something back home. Yes, When we met him he was focused and determined, but there was something added to it then just made him seem so much more grownup. It was like his outlook had been altered and from this somewhat immature guy who seemed so inexperienced in life, he had suddenly merged into someone so brilliant.

One day, I knew I had to ask him what it was that had really changed in his life.

“I don’t know how to thank you,” Khalid had said, taking my hand and clasping it, Sunnah style, as he greeted for the last time. “For arranging the paperwork. For sorting me out. I owe you big time.”

”It was nothing,” I said, trying to remain unemotional as he spoke. I had just pulled a few strings to get his paperwork in order and clear his name so he could travel freely again and he was so grateful.

”It was everything, bro,” he said seriously. Then he grinned, and he looked like Khalid again. “I never thought I’d say it but I’m so glad you have the right have contacts. Wish I could be like you.“

”But your mother will kill you,” I said with a grin, and he shook his head at me, catching me off guard as he closed in for a fierce hug.

He was so warm. Sincere. Approachable. It’s what made Khalid the kind of person he is. The kind of person he always was.

”You haven’t changed one bit,” he grinned, shaking his head in good humor. “I never thought I’d see you guys again but here we are, and Allah knows where next and on which journey, huh? Yunus, maybe we’ll meet at some other place next time…”

This was getting way now emotional than I intended.

He ran his hand through his beard as his icy eyes looked back at me.

“Imagine,” he said softly. “Every time we meet for the pleasure of Allah… always out in some path or the other. We’re meeting and leaving with our sins forgiven. Make Du’aa that I can stay that way.”

”You make Du’aa for us, Maulana,” I said softly. “It’s strange calling you that, by the way.”

He chuckled and winked.

”Who would have ever thought?,” he said with a smile. “It’s  just Khalid. Same ole, same ole…”

Same old, same old. Same old guy from way back when. The same old guy who was in love with my sister.

I wanted to say it but I didn’t. I just smiled as he waved at us, and turned to my brother.

I took a deep breath, but I let it out as he greeted Yunus and I one more time, and then opened his car door and drove away.

We were sitting outside the hospital entrance, and I felt a slight void as I watched Yunus’s face. He knew more than he was letting on.

I didn’t have to ask Yunus. We watched him leave, and Yunus turned to me. It was like he could tell what I was thinking.

”You think there’s a chance that he’ll ever come back?”

I shrugged. ‘For Khawlah’ were the silent words that he didn’t say. We both knew what we wanted. We just didn’t have the guts to say it.

”She was there earlier,” he said, and I knew who he meant. “She mentioned to me that she saw him. Don’t tell her I said so. She went to see Aunty Radiyyah.”

”What? She actually went there?” I asked incredulously, grasping what it meant .

Khawlah was getting way too independent for my liking. Scouting around the neighborhood like a free woman… who did she think she is? Why didn’t she check first or ask me to take her?

Sometimes I wasn’t sure if she really understood how to behave. The position and behavior of women at the time of the Prophet (SAW) compared to now were like day and night. They were so particular about modesty that even the form of a woman wasn’t brought in front of a man. They were so modest that before the ayaat of Pardah was revealed, their modesty was way more than what was present today… even when we are well aware of every rule of pardah that exists.

It was at the time of the marriage of Nabi (SAW) to Zaynab bint Jahsh (RA) that the verses of pardah were revealed. It is said that there were some Sahaba who had come to join in the meal, and she was present. Due to her discomfort, these two commands were revealed in Ayat of the same Surah:

O you who believe! Enter not the Prophet’s houses, unless permission is given to you for a meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation. But when you are invited, enter, and when you have taken your meal, disperse without sitting for a talk. Verily, such (behavior) annoys the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), and he is shy of (asking) you (to go); but Allah is not shy of (telling you) the truth. And when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. And it is not (right) for you that you should annoy Allah’s Messenger, nor that you should ever marry his wives after him (his death). Verily, with Allah that shall be an enormity.” [Noble Quran 33:53]

And yes, they were sahabiya but we had to aspire to be like them. Imagine what Khalid must have thought. Why couldn’t she have phoned and checked first? I definitely had a bone to pick with my sister and my mood was just set for it.

And in all fairness, maybe I did have too many bones to pick with people. One thing for sure was that I wasn’t very happy with the women in my life at  the time. Of course, I had reason to be upset though. Rubeena had gone a little over the top this time.

I made my way back to the ward as I greeted Dada and Yunus. There was no use sticking around here now.

”Sir, the results have come back.”

It was just in time that one of the nurses who had come out to call me. My mind had settled into reality, and I could feel my anger subsiding. I stubbed my cigarette and tossed it into the little sandy patch at the door before following the nurse.

”Is she okay?” I had asked the doctor as he walked in early that morning. I had been terrified that something was wrong with her. After Aadam and the cancer and losing him… no one could really blame me for being as paranoid as I was.

It was playing out just like Adam’s story was. My mother-in-law was freaking out. Siraj was adamant that no-one should touch her until he got there. What was happening to Rubeena was something completely unexpected. She had basically collapsed on the kitchen floor. I had no idea what was going on with her but it was quite a concern.

”Well, the results of the tests have come back,” he said pretty calmly as he jotted something down. I took a seat on the bench positioned against the wall of the casualty ward.

Was it bad? Life-altering? Life-threatening? I had a feeling that I was going to need to sit.

”And?” I asked weakly, waiting for the response the doctor peered at me.

“She’s pregnant,” he said flatly, as if it was obvious. “Her hCG levels are extremely high. It accounts for how she feels. We’ll do a scan later and see what comes up. She’s extremely dehydrated and seems have lost weight too. Has she been eating at all? You look like you didn’t know?”

I looked at the doctor and blinked. Yes, I felt like a complete fool.

Of course I didn’t know.

”What will she need?” I asked, almost robotically. I was too scared to ask any more questions. The thought of a baby was freaking me out. But not in an entirely bad way.

”Just a drip,” he said, looking at his watch. “She should be fine to leave tomorrow. We’ll just have to see if her levels are rising so we know that it is in fact a successful pregnancy. From the looks of it, I’m sure it is, but the sonographer will be here for the scan in a bit.”

I nodded blankly, glancing at my phone to see a message from Siraj who was asking after Rubeena. He had spoken to the doctor there and would be there later.

I looked at my wife who was lying, quite motionless on the hospital bed. I wished that I could talk to her. Ask her why she hid the truth. Ask her if she didn’t think I’d be able to handle the pregnancy news. I didn’t even know how far she was… was I really that much of a hard nut that she couldn’t even break to me this important news?

I got up slowly, rubbing my temples and feeling the need for some caffeine. It had been Adam who had gotten me into the habit of a daily coffee. Without my dose I often couldn’t think properly. I knew that I needed some time over a ‘cuppa’ to let this all settle and decide the best way forward. Rubeena was still asleep.. probably pretending even… but I didn’t care. I need red the time to let it process.

The corridors of the hospital were semi-quiet as I strolled through, trying to let it all sink in. By then there was none of my family around, and I appreciated the time to think.

A baby. A baby. How would the boys react? I mean, they loved Khadijah. We all did. But at the end of the day, she still went back home to her mother. A baby. I wasn’t sure but I was thinking that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. They are quite cute. And they obviously seem to make women happy. I guess one extra kid won’t be that bad.

My brain was kind of wrapping itself around the idea of it all as I paid for my coffee and made my way back to the ward, pausing at a bench to sit and drink my coffee. My mind was a jumble as I remembered the last time I was here. When Aadam was really sick and he had called me here to see him.

I was actually so lost in the thought of Aadam and how he might have actually been so thrilled about this new addition to the family that I had forgotten that the ultrasound was probably going on right then.

Of course, as I made my way back to the rooms and glimpsed my mother-in-law’s sordid face in the corner of the room. I was obviously a little worried. The sonographer had just arrived with her machine and I could see that I just missed the scan. I didn’t know what had just happened, but as I looked at my wife I couldn’t help but feel the thudding in my chest increase about tenfold.

Rubeena was sitting up in bed now, looking at me like she had seen a ghost. Of course, I couldn’t help but assume the worst as I looked from her to my mother-in-law, now feeling like a ton on bricks were threatening to rain down on me any minute.

”Ruby,” I said, my voice just over a squeak as I turned to look at my mother-in-law. “Ma. What’s going on?”

She continued looking ahead, moving her gaze to me after few seconds, and then turned her head again as she focused on a spot on the wall. It was a tiny bit freaky.

“Congratulations, sir,” the sonographer said as she saw me. “I’m sure you and your wife are excited about the big news.”

”Thanks,” I said blandly.

Excited. I wasn’t sure. I looked at Rubeena. She didn’t look like it, and I didn’t blame her. The four boys kept her busy enough. On the other hand, one more wouldn’t make much of a difference, right? I wanted to tell her that she didn’t have to act like the world was crashing down on her.

It really wasn’t a big deal. Some people couldn’t have kids. Maybe she was just being a tad bit ungrateful.

”Tell him,” Rubeena croaked, a bit robotically.  “About the scan.”

I narrowed my eyes and looked at her.

”Is the baby okay?” I asked, feeling strangely protective over the new life that was living inside her. It was weird how I warmed up to the idea. If I didn’t know myself better, I would have probably even believed that I was excited.

”Babies,” the sonographer said with a smile. “There’s more than one in there.”

I widened my eyes at my wife, not realizing that my jaw had dropped open.

Twins?” I said in disbelief, feeling all sorts of weird things in my gut as I tried to process. Two? Two babies?

Yikes. No wonder my mother-in-law was so silent. It was probably a shock to her system too. Two babies at once was a bit over the top.

”No, Ahmed,” Rubeena said, shaking her head and meeting my gaze for the first time since I got to the room. “It’s not twins.”

“Well, that’s a relief,” I said with a chuckle, only half joking. I didn’t realize that I was shooting myself in the foot.

She looked at me squarely, raised her eyebrows and spoke.

“We’re having triplets.”

Dear readers, 

Just a little humor to keep us going. Let’s keep with the istighfaar, Sunnah revival and lots of Du’aa. InshaAllah 

Much Love,

A xx

Sunnah of Du’aa: One of the Sunnah of asking Allah is never to be despondent of Allah’s mercy. Remember that He is always listening and waiting to answer our prayer.

According to another version (3477): “When one of you prays, let him start with praise of Allaah, then let him send blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ, then let him ask whatever he likes after that.”Then another man prayed after that, and he praised Allaah and sent blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ. The Prophet ﷺ said: “O worshipper, ask and you will be answered.”

Therefore, whenever a worshipper asks Allah with sincerity, hoping for Allah’s mercy, and fulfilling the etiquette and manners of dua, he should be certain that his Du’aa will be responded to.

Lots and lots of Duaas. Let’s focus on trying to bring Du’aa into our daily lives...

How easy to practice …











Twitter: @ajourneyjournal






And the Plot Thickens Again…

Bismihi Ta’ala


Memories are a funny thing. It’s quite amazing though… how the mind works. The things you can’t seem to remember, yet the things you just can’t seem to forget. But with memories… and remnants of our somewhat illusive minds… there comes a beautiful reminder about time. About life. About loss. Just like how childhood, and beauty and new life come to evolve… a new existence, a new world in which much will be born… will also come to die. Our problem is that we become enslaved to the moments that have gone by, enslaved to old worlds that have already passed away.

But in reality, more than a thousand times a day, we are born. With a new hope. To start again, to start afresh. Yet many of us choose to just let ourselves die again and again, as each new moment fades. We forget that each birth is a new opportunity to start over, to turn around, or to keep going. To accept. To seek forgiveness, To overcome, to heal, to rise again.

Because when you’re a believer, you see things from an entirely different perspective. Every test is a blessing. Every situation is a means for reformation. For others, death is the end. For us, death is just the beginning. Just as childhood and beginnings and life come to pass… the pain and the hurt also do. Sometimes we just get a little caught up that we forget the point of our existence is to keep returning to the One who reminds us that we still have a chance at a new beginning… That every new discovery is a great opportunity to turn to Allah and start again.

Of course, right then, as I processed this turn of events, I did see it from a different perspective. It would be a new beginning. A new start. Somehow, this too would bring a new realization that I did not yet see coming.

Right then, I was a little caught up in the present. My heart soared as Nusaybah had broken the news that my cousin had gotten a post for internship with immediate effect in the city, and they were serious about settling here. Of course, I was over the moon. Astounded by Allah’s mercy. I could barely believe that I wouldn’t really have to say goodbye…

”You wouldn’t have believed me otherwise, huh?”

Nusaybah was grinning widely as she watched me,  and I could already feel the corners of my eyes dampen as I thought of how lucky I was. My friend wasn’t leaving me. She wasn’t leaving. It was something that I had been so scared about, but now all my fears were put to rest when she had shown me the two apartments that they were looking at renting.

”They’re absolutely lovely,” I said to my friend as we got into the car. Both were close to the Masjid, close to the hospital he would be working at and not a huge distance from the the Medical university she wanted to attend. It was perfect.

”Maybe you’ll use your apartment more often now,” she said, and I heeded the silent question mark as I glanced behind us at the flat that held so many memories of Aadam.

Aadam’s apartment. It would never truly be ‘mine’. I wasn’t yet sure if I could stay there. Every time I had gone there to do a speedy clean up, there were just too many memories of him. I didn’t have the heart to sell it. His presence was so felt, in every morning I woke there, at every corner I took. It was like I was just waiting for him to pop up from behind the couch with his one quirky eyebrow raised and tell me that this was all one huge hoax. Oh, how I wished.

”There’s still one more,” Faheem said, cutting into my thoughts as we drove along. “It wasn’t entirely available but the pictures looked great.. Its actually a house…”

He smiled as Nusaybah as she scrunched her face excitedly. My cousin and Nusaybah were actually such a sweet and amazing couple… and I actually could not believe that I had missed this potential before this. Yes, she was boisterous and determined.. and Faheem was reserved and a tad bit intense… but this was complete proof that opposites really did attract. I just wasn’t sure how he would fare with her constant unconfined spirit. Though not as averse to emotion as Ahmed, Faheem was pretty introverted.

“I haven’t seen it yet,” Nusaybah said excitedly. “But Faheem said I’ll lurvv it! Its a really nice neighborhood… somewhere near Ahmed’s place.”

I nodded, glancing at my wrist watch again. It would be nice for to them to stay near to Ahmed. Khadijah was gazing out the window and humming to herself while she played with a little ice-cream shaped lip gloss Rubeena had gifted her. Begrudgingly, my daughter was always being spoilt by everyone. Whether it was Rubeena, or my in laws… she just had to say the word and her every desire would be fulfilled. I just hoped that she wasn’t going to become a bratty monster. Aadam wouldn’t have been very pleased with that.

And as I remembered Aunty Radiyyah, it was just as well that we were going to Ahmed’s neighborhood, because really needed to make a stop and see them both. Ahmed had mentioned something by-the-way about Rubeena not being well, and now that I thought about it, I knew that the worst thing that could happen is Aunty Radiyyah leave for the airport later that day without Khadijah and I seeing her. My daughter would be hysterical.

”Nus,” I said tapping her on the shoulder as Faheem took an off ramp that lead to our old neighborhood. “Can we make a stop please? I just want to see Aunty Radiyyah for a few minutes.”

“Anything for you, doll,” Nusaybah nodded as I explained to my cousin where the house was.
Nusaybah was chattering away as per usual, her face bright and her cheeks were flushed with happiness. I had always wished Nusaybah to find the most amazing person, when the time was right. I was now certain that she had found her own fairy tale ending and I made a silent but fervent Du’aa that it would remain that way.

”I’ll come with you,” Nusaybah said breezily. “I barely got to speak to her on the wedding day and I have no idea when I’ll see her again…”

She trailed off as a wave of sadness hit me, realizing that she was right. The truth was, neither did I. Aunty Radiyyah didn’t give me any definite answer when I spoke to her on the phone the day before. She seemed really emotional about leaving too. She hadn’t been to see her extended family in years but she would miss everyone here immensely. My heart was somewhat in despair as I thought of her not being ‘just around the corner’ anymore. It was all kinds of sentimental..

The crunching of their driveway gravel beneath the car tyres were always a welcome sound for my daughter. She had a huge, one dimpled smile on her face as she looked ahead, her amber eyes fixed on the door as if Aunty Radiyyah would pop out any second. We were a little earlier than I thought, and as we stepped off the car I could not help but take a huge gulp of scented air, nostalgic as I remembered the fragrance of those yesterday, today, tomorrow’s that bloomed every Spring. Ah yes, today, in the spectacular morning sunlight, they were in all their glory.

How the time whizzed by. It was my favorite time of the year once again…

Wow, Mummy,” she squealed excitedly. She was pointing to the yellow-flowered tree that stood at the Centre of the garden. “Look at those! I never saw that one before!”

Of course she didn’t. And it was no wonder that she Aadam’s daughter because she never missed the magnificence of nature. She was too young to know that the yellow-flowering Tabebuia tree that bloomed did so annually, and it’s striking beauty was so intense that no one could miss how it brighten up the entire front yard.

I smiled and strolled along. Not so long ago it was around this time of the year when we were just a couple of kids, playing hop-scotch beneath blossoming jacaranda trees and scurrying around in the pelting rain. There were so many memories here. In this garden… in this yard… every time I came here, I couldn’t help but think back to how much of fun we would have as kids, as we enjoyed the very best of nature’s gifts. Of course, who could forget the tradition from August every year since I was six, to witness Mother Nature’s surprising bounties. To go out and start planting… investing… observing the wonders that the new season had for us every year.

That childhood.. with its wonder and greenery… was invaluable. Though I tried my best to show the boys and Khadijah the best of what I had had … somehow there seemed to be so many more distractions in this new age. Sometimes the beauty of it flew right over their heads. This garden was somewhat the inception of all things beautiful and hopeful. It was a soothing for my bruised soul at the time, and the place where I felt like true royalty, whilst I basked in the magic of Allah’s creation. It was where dreams came alive and where I was the conquering queen of my very own secret abode.

I couldn’t forget. Suddenly, everything just seemed so clear. The energy. The drive. The restless ambition of youthful splendor. There was so much of it. It was both exhilarating yet exhausting, and I clearly remembered those days we spent, just soaking up the blazing sun and chatting about our childish aspirations.

I turned my gaze to where Khadijah and Nusaybah were skipping hand in hand as we paused at the porch steps. The sunlight shone down on her bouncy curls and I could almost see myself, that little daring girl in her, as she swayed her dress from side to side and stopped down to pick a flower from the side of the path.

Those were unforgettable times. Beautiful moments that I could hardly define.

I breathed out as I heard footsteps come to the door, relieved that I wasn’t too early to miss Aunty Radiyyah.

I knocked and braced myself for Aunty Radiyyah’s dynamic voice, and without doubt, her warm embrace. She was always so excessively welcoming, that I hadn’t prepared myself for anything else. Of course, as the door swung open, I hadn’t expected anything less.

And like a sudden jolt to my system, my heart kind of jumped to mouth as I realized that it wasn’t my dear Aunty Radiyyah, but a strangely familiar face that looked back at me. From the striking sunshine just outside,  my eyes were still adjusting to the darkness inside, yet I still wasn’t sure if I was seeing right.

I didn’t even realize that I was staring as I relived those moments when I would pound on the door like a hooligan, awaiting the adventures that the day held. Like a screen play rolling backwards, with us as the main characters… the memories were like flashbacks through my mind.

Of course, it was so hilarious that here I was, pounding on his door once again, and could not fathom how I had forgotten that him answering would be a great possibility.

And oopsi. I didn’t mean to wake him.

Somehow, I had forgotten that Khalid lived here again. Moreso, as I found myself face-to-face with this guy who had been such a prominent part of my childhood, I could not help but feel extremely awkward in his presence. Of course, I could see that he was a little startled too.

Those childish giggles… the boisterous fun… the endless games… was it really so long ago? Were we really completely different people?

I shook my head as I tried to recover, greeting briefly as he looked down a little consciously. Of course he would be. I was quite ashamed that I hadn’t been a little more modest. I wasn’t sure what had overcome me in the moment.

And I got it. I got that we weren’t the same people we were back then. We had changed… we had grown. Goodness, we even looked different. Older  different. I had forgotten those steely eyes.. Yikes

Oh gosh, I had to lower my gaze…  Nonetheless…


I could not believe my ears as I whipped my head around. She called him like he was her friend! Her voice was ecstatic as she lunged forward, grabbing hold of Khalid’s legs as I took a step back and watched my daughter as if she was another person’s child. It was obvious that she had struck up quite a friendship with this guy and I wasn’t too sure how I felt about it. And since when did she call grown people so linguistically expertly by their first name?!

This definitely called for a twisted ear when we were in the car!

”Is Aunty Radiyyah not here?” Nusaybah said it loudly, to no-one in particular, but I could see that she was trying to ease the awkwardness.

I could not bring myself to look up again as she asked the question. And I knew I shouldn’t. The one glance that had strayed had been a little too dangerous. All I could remember was the thudding in my chest as I realized who it was. It was something that caught me completely off-guard.

And as he put my daughter down and briefly explained that Aunty Radiyyah had popped out to the shop and would be back soon, it was just in time that the car hooter from down the driveway sounded. I said I’d be back to see her later, grabbed my daughter and literally made a run for it. Of course, I had to ignore my hammering chest and the snicker from Nusaybah behind me as I did so.

”And once again, the plot thickens,” Nusaybah said mysteriously, cackling away like a witch as I slowed down and we made our way to the car. “I can read you like a book, my friend…”

”Read what?” I said innocently, holding my head high and ignoring her. So what if I was a little flustered? It didn’t mean anything.

”He’s dreamy, isn’t he?”

I rolled my eyes at her, nudging her in the ribs.

Shurrup,” I snapped, giving her wide eyes and retying my niqab as I reached for the door handle. “You’re married, remember? And he’s a Maulana. Give him a break…”

“I know, I know,” she said begrudgingly, but with a cheeky smile. “But he’s human too. Like some kind of super- transcendent human with a-“

Nusaybah! ” I scolded, feeling embarrassed for Khalid. Nusaybah was way too descriptive for my liking.

I recalled her habit of giving guys super-freaky extra-terrestrial qualities. From vampires to aliens, I wasn’t sure what would be next and I didn’t want to find out.

“Sorry, sorry!” She said apologetically. “That evil arrow of Shaytaan is at it again. I promise, no more weird attributes. I’m trying, okay?”

I chuckled as she smacked her hand to her forehead and got into the car. I didn’t expect her to, but she actually told Faheem the whole story about what had just transpired. I could see that he found her amusing. At least he took it with a pinch of salt and I didn’t blame him. Honestly, Nusaybah was really something else.

And yes. That evil gaze that’s like the arrow of an arrow of Shaytaan. Yes, it had befallen us at one point and I knew that my friend knew it too.

Rasūlullah (S.A.W) said: “Evil glance is one of the poisoned arrows of Shaytān, (whoever indulges in casting furtive evil glances) on him be Allāh’s curse. Whoever forsakes it for the fear of Allāh Ta’ālā will receive from Allāh Ta’ālā the sweetness of Īmān which he will find within his heart.”

I wouldn’t have ever admitted it, but for those few moments as I stood there, like dejavu, the memories of our inherently magical childhood were as clear as ever before. Just the other day it seemed, we would compete to get to the highest branch of the infamous oak tree. Just the other day, we’d let our imaginations run wild as we contemplated vivid dreams for the oh-so-distant future. Just the other day, I could speak my heart with no reservations. I could relate to him what I wanted from a life that seemed so far away. I could reveal my hopes and dreams for the future… and not only would he listen, but he would make me believe that it all would come true.
And of course, then, as if it was just the other day, was moment when everything had changed completely.

Somehow, we had gotten a little caught up in a sin that was waiting to overcome. It was the day when I saw something different in his eyes. It was when the plot of our story had taken a completely different turn. It was a point of no return… when I knew there was no going back. It was when something had stirred within, when innocence had been ripped away and our entire youth had evolved…

And at that point… though we were just a pair of kids on the brink of adolescence… And I knew how much we meant to each other… I just didn’t know how much it could change. Things were different. I didn’t want to accept it… but after that day… I had felt it too. Now I believed him… and that was when I knew that even though he didn’t want to, Khalid needed to leave.

And that’s where I was stuck. I had forgotten the solution. The antidote. Tawbah. It was always the answer. Though we didn’t quite know what we had been saved from, Tawbah was the way that I could move forward. I sought refuge from every avenue I had strayed. Tawbah was the way to save myself then… and to save myself now…

See, we all make mistakes. Aadam (AS) made a mistake, but so did Iblees. The difference was in their response to the error they made. Tawbah is always the answer. When we see our mistake and turn to him… realizing our need for His forgiveness and mercy, we actually become more beloved to Him. It was actually after he had made a mistake, realized his need for Allah, and repented, that Adam (AS) was sent to earth as a prophet.

In fact Allah, in His infinite mercy, does not just accept our repentance—He loves to forgive. The Prophet (SAW) says: “If you were not to commit sins, Allah would remove you and replace you with a people who would commit sins and then seek Allah’s forgiveness, so Allah could forgive them” [Sahih Muslim (2749)].

I smiled at my friend as she joked about something, trying to shove off the insinuations that Nusaybah had suggested as we jumped into the car, my heart rate slowing down as we started moving again. Of course, I was all caught up in my childhood thoughts, despite how much I didn’t want to be. I was still a bit lost in my own world, that I barely even noticed the house that we pulled up to.

All I knew was as I glimpsed it was that I didn’t recall this house from my childhood. It hosted a simple driveway and what looked like a new white picket fencing at the front. At first glance, it was pretty and neat, but far from the contrasting natural beauty of Aunty Radiyyah’s entrance garden. It didn’t click with me immediately exactly which house this was..

No one would have thought that this was the very house that we had all been freaked out about as kids. Of course, Nusaybah had no clue and I didn’t want to be the one to tell her that this wretched one was the infamous Purple House…

What on earth was going on today? Was it ‘re-living childhood with Khalid’ day?

I scowled are my friend as she turned to look at me, but it was obvious that Nusaybah knew nothing about the history of the Purple House… or even Khalid’s connection thereof.

”So here’s the thing,” she said quickly, turning around to look at me. “Faheem says this house is not really for sale. But the agent did recommend we look at it. Apparently the owner is not around and wants to give it away for some noble cause or something of the sort. He says that it’s got so much of potential for a home. Since Faheem will be qualified soon… we thought maybe we could suggest something along the medical lines if the owner agrees…”

I nodded, getting her drift but not really interested in all the technicalities. I so badly wanted to tell my friend that this house was haunted, but I tightened my jaw to ensure that I kept my mouth zipped because I knew that I had no real proof except Khalid’s weird escapades. All I knew that it was probably going to take some real convincing to get me in there.

And just as I was about to make some excuse and  tell her that she could carry on without me…  the buzzing in my pocket as Ahmed’s name came up on the caller ID was obviously Divinely sent.

Only Allah knew how terrified I was of that house. I frowned slightly as I answered, not wanting to give away my true elation that I had an excuse, but also thinking it was probably him just checking on where I was. I had been taking a little longer than expected. I had mentioned to him that I’d be with Nusaybah and probably visit him later that day. He was probably just wondering where I was.

”Wa-alaikum Salaam,” his stiff voice said methodically. The thing with Ahmed was that you could never quite figure what kind of mood he was in.  Ahmed always sounded the same, whether he was over the moon or down in the dumps… his voice was always lifeless and monotonous. ”Are you close?”

”I’m just down the road,” I said, my voice a teeny bit more shaky than it should have been. I was just a little flustered about the house. I walked away, just out of earshot.

“You won’t believe where I am, Ahmed,” I muttered into the speaker. “Remember that house? The purple one that-“

”Listen Khawlah,” he said cutting me off. “Sorry, but this is kind of urgent. I need your help. I need you to see to the boys. We’re going to the hospital. Rubeena’s really not well…”

Dearest Readers,

Hope everyone is well and in the best states of health and Imaan. I’m going to try and post again soon…

Just a thought on the note of repentance.. as we live through these crazy and extraordinary times… a post I read brought to light a really interesting point. The only way that the situation will turn around for us, and our lives can continue without fear of this new and strange disease us if we truly turn to Allah and ask for His forgiveness. Allah make it easy.. as we hope for a miracle. Allah is the only Doer. We just have to keep on with the istighfaar and ask Allah for His mercy. really the only way things will turn around… it is in the Hadith that it’s shamelessness and immorality that leads to sicknesses that we’ve never heard of before. Let’s make intention too turn to Allah through Tawbah..

Much Love.

A xx

Revive the Sunnah of Du’aa

Having good Expectations and certain faith that Allaah will respond
Al-Tirmidhi (3476) narrated that Fadaalah ibn ‘Ubayd (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: Whilst the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ was sitting, a man came in and prayed and said, “O Allaah, forgive me and have mercy on me.” The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said, “You have been too hasty, O worshipper. When you have prayed and are sitting, praise Allaah as He deserves to be praised, and send blessings upon me, then call upon Him.” (Authenticated by Albani)
According to another version (3477): “When one of you prays, let him start with praise of Allaah, then let him send blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ, then let him ask whatever he likes after that.”Then another man prayed after that, and he praised Allaah and sent blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ. The Prophet ﷺ said: “O worshipper, ask and you will be answered.”

Therefore, whenever a worshipper asks Allah with sincerity, hoping for Allah’s mercy, and fulfilling the etiquette and manners of dua, he should be certain that his Du’aa will be responded to.

Lots and lots of Duaas. Let’s focus on trying to bring Du’aa into our daily lives...

How easy to practice …











Twitter: @ajourneyjournal