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…”
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..
Revive the Sunnah of Du’aa
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 …
WOW…wowww just wow !
Am I the only one that feels this is the only response I can formulate ?
This post was really worth waiting the entire Ramadhaan for !
Yo! and the lessons, SubhanAllah. How you incorporate the lessons, I’m virtually speechless.
(even though I did comment)
LikeLiked by 6 people
Aw. Shukran dear sister… I think I just needed time to bring this part of their past in, in a really structured way… I was struggling to make it all come together but it finally is! Shukran jazeelan… dear sister ❤️ Really appreciate the kind words
LikeLiked by 5 people
Jazaakillah khair for the lovely post and all the beautiful reminders especially about Duaa.
Does so many things have to happen in one post?
Can’t wait for everything to unravel…
LikeLiked by 5 people
Aameen! Shukran dear sister.. lol, I’m sorry about that. To tell the truth, the post had much more going on and I’ve cut it down now to two posts which I will hopefully get ready and post soonest 💗
LikeLiked by 4 people
Waiting for the next post…💓
LikeLiked by 2 people
InshaAllah soon- working on the final editing ❤️
LikeLiked by 2 people
LikeLiked by 1 person
Eeehhh.. nus shouldnt enter the purple house either.. on the other note.. nus is hilarious in all ways.. jazakillah for the lovely post..
LikeLiked by 4 people
lol, true… Shukran sister ❤️
May you be blessed in this gift that Allah has given you of writing so beautifully with so many beautiful lessons, Alhamdulillah
May we all have the ability to practice Aameen 💖💖💖💐
LikeLiked by 4 people
Masha Allah 💙
Lots of lessons to be learnt
LikeLiked by 3 people
Shukran dear sister 💜
I haven’t commented in a while, but always reading and loving every bit of it.
I always wondered about the purple house too. I always retold the story to my ten year old daughter and she initially called it ‘purple house’. And she even guessed that the house Nusaybah was going to see was the purple house lol.
Still feel sadness thinking about Aadam. Looking forward to the next post. JazaakAllah khair for always posting.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Lol, yes, the purple house. Some may have forgotten that it was never revealed what happened…
I know, I also feel sadness. It’s weird huh. Lol- I think it was just cos he was a nice character.
Shukran for your comments sister… always appreciate the readers feedback 💗