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





13 thoughts on “Being Brave

    • Lol.I wanted to name my child Khawlah,but I gave birth to a boy!!!!
      When I read the line that warrior fights like Khalid but its not Khalid..
      Imagine if author pairs Khalid and khawlah…two warrior sorts
      Its sounds so delusional to be focusing on characters that don’t exist
      And then
      I thought, who was Khawlah bint azwar married to?
      Author plz enlighten us,when u free

      Liked by 4 people

    • I think it’s a beautiful name ❤️
      It says in some narrations that she was married to Ali (RA) but there’s no solid evidence that this was true. I will try and find out and let the readers know 🤍 she and her brother were very close as well and often fought together

      Liked by 4 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s