Just Imagine

Bismihi Ta’ala


Much like a blind person cannot possibly see or describe colors accurately in this world, a person cannot possibly imagine the bounties, the beauties, and the pleasures of Paradise. It said that these are so great, so vast, so pure, so astonishing, that it is beyond the abilities of a person’s mind to understand; thus, as the Qur’an explains- no heart or mind can ever comprehend them.

Simply put, they have no relation to us, earthly creatures. No one will ever be able to fully understand or grasp the true realm of Paradise until they enter its bounds.

Jannah. Paradise. A place of hopes and dreams that often featured In my dialogues as a kid. And many a time, as a young girl, I never could understand this. I could never fully grasp these immense delights that have no basis of comparison in the earthly realm.
But to a kid who is curious and mindful, for something to be beyond the imagination is somewhat unrelatable.

Nabi SAW: ‘Allah, the Exalted, has said: ‘I have prepared for my righteous slaves what no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and the mind of no man has conceived.’

As boisterous girl, I could not possibly come to terms with this. Being who I was, in my vivid and limitless imagination, always questioning, anything was possible.

But this, well. Why not? Why couldn’t I just close my eyes and imagine the eternal garden?

Of course, it was my favorite topic to drill Khalid about. Ever since he had, in his comforting way, told me to just imagine Jannah when I felt sad… well, that’s all I wanted to do. The only problem was that my childish and curious mind could not ever stop with the questions.

Just imagine that it’s meant for you,” Khalid had said softly. 

The gardens?” I said, hopeful. “Beautiful, green gardens with lots of flowers and plants and fruits-“

”No no,” Khalid said carefully with his lobsided smile. “There are better thing to look forward to in Jannah. Do you know that you never grow tired in Jannah? That nothing will ever end or finish? Do you know that everything delicious and amazing  will only increase with every passing moment?”

”Like the food?” I said, my tummy rumbling. I had only had a naartjie to snack on. “Come Khalid. Tell me about the food. What did your Papa say about that?”

”Ah Khawlah,” he said, his grey eyes dancing. “The food is on another level. It’s like all you have to do is think it… and it will fall directly into your lap…”

I giggled.

The people of Paradise… well, they could eat and drink whatever they wish. If they had to see a bird they wish to eat- without another thought- it would fall roasted between their hands with no effort on his or her part.

Cups will be served to them containing shiny rubies, pearls, and diamonds. Fruits will hang freely from trees and automatically lowered for its inhabits to enjoy whenever they desire.

“[They will be told], “Eat and drink in satisfaction for what you put forth in the days past” (Quran 69:24)

The clothes of Jannah will never wear out or age. The dwellers of Paradise will wear luxurious green silk. They will accessorize with the most exquisite jewelry. The mountains will be musk. Their bodies will never age…

I dangled my legs over the branch we sat on, now accustomed to its shakiness. If had been reinforced carefully by Khalid’s Papa as a perch on the tree.

Sometimes I wondered why I was so obsessed with Jannah. Why nothing I heard seemed to satiate me.

I didn’t understand that as humans, our nature was novelty. Sometimes I didn’t know what to do with my heart. It was always immersed in the fantasy.

“And those flowers, Khalid,” I said with wide eyes,  already mesmerized by my own childish imagination, moving onto the garden again. “Can you imagine the colors… the smell?”

He nodded eagerly.

Even flowers, Khawlah,” he said excitedly. “They say people in Jannah will even wear the clothes of flowers, beautiful and scented… wrapped around them. And as they walk, the flowers will change, the colours will change… as they wear it, it will keep evolving…”

But Khalid,” I said abruptly, cutting him short. “How on earth can people wear flowers?!”

He looked at me for a few seconds, almost as if he was thinking about what I said. And then, without warning of course, he titled his head back in that oh-so-familiar way, opened his mouth to show his white teeth, and let out a rumble of heart-felt laughter, just like his mother always did.

As funny as he thought I was, I wasn’t in the least amused.

One again, I wanted to reach my hand out and knock him with the stick jutting out from below me, but I was too afraid to let go of the branch to grab it. It was already violently shaking from his hilarious laughter, and I frowned at him reproachfully as he chuckled away, obviously peeved at his response.

“Thats the thing, Khawlah,” he said, still smiling a me, even as I frowned at him with disdain. “We wont be on earth!.”

“Oh yes,” I said blandly, feeling stupid as he grinned again, left it at that as he expertly climbed down the tree, as if it was the most natural thing to do. It was, after all, the branch of the highest tree in the yard, but Khalid had by then mastered it.

And as I looked up at that tree again, from the back porch, I wondered, not entirely appropriately if Khalid, with his now able-bodied frame could still climb up it.

I quickly averted my mind as I heard her laughter, and even as I looked at the lovely woman who had no doubt been a very prominent part of Khalid’s life in Egypt, there was no doubt that her infectious laughter was most heart warming. It was exactly like Khalid’s and his mothers.

Aunty Radiyyah was smiling too as I watched, loving how much Khalid’s granny was talking and how excited she was to see me. I could only imagine that Aunty Radiyyah must have only told her the good things.

The thing was, all this time, I just could not admit to myself that maybe I hadn’t always been sincere to me. Maybe, in my naivety, I didn’t realise the impact that  my choices would make. Maybe I was too young to take it seriously. Maybe when Khalid had told me to wait for him, he really did mean it.

And of course, I couldn’t help but let my mind wonder, even as I sat there. Of course, back then when there was so much of Khalid in my heart, I came to real side that maybe there would still be a piece where it would always remain.

Glancing at my phone, I knew I had to ask Yunus to ask him.

Ask Khalid about the house, I typed. About the garden. Tell him it’s important.

For some reason I could not let that place go. I knew that it was just Duniyaa but somehow It was imprinted on my mind. I had to know whose it was and I had to let him know that I had seen it you. It had brought back too many memories of the past. It brought back so much of what I had forgotten.

And the thing was, I supposed that if Aadam had not come along and changed the course of my life, and everyone else’s as he had, I might have still accepted it. I might have still been waiting for Khlaid to save the day. I might have still hoped, even after the news that had broken our hearts, that maybe Khalid was still alive. It was just that so much had changed. My dreams. My hopes. My perception and view of myslef too, and how everyone else saw me.

The thing was, I wasn’t the naive Khawlah anymore. I had been through so much. I’d seen so much. I also knew that now that I had been a wife and become a mother, I might have changed for Khalid too.

I understood completely that even if he had still had a hope all these years, after learning about my marriage and the man who I had loved wih my entire heart, he too might have changed. It was no longer black or white. There was now a kaleidoscope of colour that had found it’s way into my spectrum and I had no choice but to sift my way through the colours and decide which type of rainbow I wanted over my life.

Getting into the car after greeting Aunty Radiyyah and Jedda, as they called her, we had just pulled out of the driveway when I turned to Yunus, hardly able to bear the anticipation any longer.

“What did he say??”

I asked the question and Yunus barely looked at me, shrugging nonchalantly.

I didn’t know until later that it was the most difficult thing he had to ever do, concerning me.

Right, I thought, quite flustered.

I looked at him, and as he glanced away, I knew he had seen the hurt in my eyes. He had seen it, yet still he said nothing, and for me, as we reached home and hopped off the car, it was the final straw.

Yes, I was hurt. Hurt, but I understood. Feeling more stupid than ever that I had put myself out there and had been met with nothing but indifference. That finally, when I wanted to kmow more… when my heart was opening up a little more, I had been crushed like an ant. Maybe I deserved it. Maybe he felt that I had let him down. How could Khalid just ignore my question?

And feeling the way I was feeling that day, all battered and out of sorts, still thinking she was at Ahmed’s place, I barely expected my daughter to come bouncing toward me as I entered, all energetic and full of life, saying she had to bake a chocolate cake right now because she had promised her Dada that last week.

That was just kids. Things just suddenly dawn upon them. They didn’t see beyond their own fancies. They were immune to our emotions because they couldn’t comprehend why anyone wouldn’t want to do something that seemed so fun to them. It was just that for me, it was the worst timing because all I really wanted to do was curl up under my lilac duvet, close my eyes and wait for the next morning to arrive. The emotions that day had been exhausting.

“Khadoo, please,” I said, swallowing my sentiments, and turning to my daughter with my hands clasped. “Please can we bake Dada’s cake tomorrow?”

She shook her head vehemently. She was taking nothing as an excuse.

“But he wanted it today,” she insisted, banging her one foot on the ground. Like she even had any concept of time.

“I promised him. He will feel so sad if he doesn’t have anything for tea.”

She had a morose look on her face that immediately made me feel guilty. It was time to put on the big-girl pants and be a real mummy to my sweet daughter.

And indeed her Dada would. Though my mother-in-law barely approved, Aadam’s father had a definite sweet-tooth that was getting even more demanding with age.

I sighed as I looked at the time, realising that I did have a half hour to spare before Asr and would have to leave my nap out. I would make this as speedy as possible. Even though my heart was barely in it, I speedily took out the ingredients for Zuleikha’s flop-proof cake and starting throwing them into my favourite baking bowl.

Hey!” My daughter moaned bossily. She sounded just like her father sometimes.

”What?!” I said innocently, looking up at her one cheek that was dimpled angrily at me as she pursed her lips.

“You didn’t say Bismillah!” she said in a bossy voice. “And you’re going too fast. I want to mix!”

I smiled at her and shook my head, making sure we said a huge Bismillah before we started again. Indeed it was the recipe for success.

Caught up in my own emotions, I was even forgetting Allah in the process. Sometimes children just had a way to put things into perspective for me. How often it is that we get so involved on our troubles that we even forget the One who is in charge of it all?

“Me, meee!” She squealed. “I want to do!

I was honestly over it and we weren’t even quarter way through. Every step was taking ten times longer and I took a sharp breath in as a tried to comfort myself. Tolerance was a most beloved trait to Allah but it was definitely something that I was not doing well with recently.

Khadijah wasn’t impressed with me as she watched me go through the remaining steps in fast-forward. I was barely giving her a chance to do anything else and I knew I wasn’t being fair to her, but today I was just to absorbed in my own issues to even think otherwise.

I could hear the voice in my heard telling me that I had to stop. To slow down. To take this in and enjoy the moment. My mind was overworking. Was my behaviour so terrible? Was I being ungrateful? I had been given so much that Allah had blessed me with. I had the best of everything, and Allah had brought to me such a point that I barely even felt my losses any more.

The truth was, realistically, I felt that I didn’t deserve to be any more than I was now. I didn’t deserve to be more happy. I didn’t deserve to find love again. Aadam was everything I had ever wished for and more… so why should I even feel entitled to anything more? Why did I even have the right to be upset about any further wishes going unanswered?

I sighed as I scooped the micture into a big roud tin, letting Khadijah have the bowl so she would grace me with her silence. Like her father, when it came to certain things, she was really persistent… but as soon as her mouth was busy something, I was glad to get some quiet time. I set a timer and checked the oven temperature, glad to be over with the task for now as I wiped the counter.

My goodness. I couldn’t help but think that I was a horrible mother.

Mothers and daughters were supposed to enjoy this type of thing. Baking together. Bonding in the kitchen. I could barely wait for it to be over. And just as guilt overcame me and my turbulent emotions had settled, I bent down to kiss my daugher on the forehead as i put her down, surprised to see Abba entering the kitchen just as I dusted the flour from Khadijah’s clothes off my own. I wasn’t sure how but somehow, with my daughter, we both always ended up a frighful mess.

“Assalamualaikum Abba” I said aloud, wiping the batter off my cheek. Was there anywhere that didn’t have cake batter?

”Some tea?” I asked, already putting on the kettle. Abba never said no for tea.

Khadijah had already given Abba a quick hug and ran off to get her story books. There were times when she was quite tiring and did not stop with constantly needing to be busy.

”Khawlah,” my father said, taking a seat at the table and looking at me as I put the final dishes in the sink and started with his tea.

I turned to look at him questioningly. Abba had grayed a lot in the past three years. I watched him curiously as he picked up Dada’s paper and then put it down again.

“Jhee Abba,” I answered, a little worried.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Abba and I spoke. As much as Ahmed and I spoke. Which wasn’t very much. Abba and Ahmed just had that typical manly steak of independence that didn’t really give anyone a chance to strike up a conversation with them. It was just the way they were and I accepted it. Actually, I quite enjoyed the comfortable silence most times.

”Khawlah,” he said again, swallowing and then looking up at me. “Are you happy here?”

I frowned at Abba as he said it. Did I come across as unhappy?

”Of course,” I said to him quietly.

”Are you sure?” He asked again.

”I am,” I said, nodding. “How could I not be? This is my home.”

”I know,” he said carefully, pulling at his graying beard. Abba was visibly aging, but he still looked like my Abba. He was, after all, only forty-eight.

“Then why did you put an offer for another house?”

Ah. The house.

I picked the mug of tea up carefully and placed it in front of him. I wonder how he knew.

”Abba, it wasn’t a real offer,” I said casually, sitting opposite him. “I mean, not to stay in.”

”Listen, if you and Khadijah need to leave, it’s okay,” he said. “You don’t need to make excuses. You don’t have to stay here for the your rest of your life. Dada and I will be okay.”

”Abba,” I said, narrowing my eyes at him. “Who’s going to make your tea? Are you thinking of marrying again?”

I mean, I had to ask him. Even if it was just for fun. My father was, according to most, still good-looking. Relatively young. Doing well for himself once again.

Abba smiled.

”Death is hardest on the living,” he said quietly. “Sometimes when people pass away, they take a part of us with them. Your mother… Khawlah…”

Abba stopped himself and glanced up at me, and I could see the raw emotion in his eyes. It was unbelievable. Even after all these years, the pain of her loss was almost exactly as pungent for him as it was fourteen years ago.

“That ache in your gut when you realize that you’ll never hear them again,” he said softly. “The loss is something that you never stop feeling, no matter how many years may go by. It doesn’t get easier. I haven’t met anyone who can live up to her.”

I swallowed, trying to stop myself from tearing up. He was right. So right.

I knew that Abba kept Mama on a pedestal but I barely blamed him. And of course I could relate to him on so many levels…

“Allah has given me so much,” he said quietly.

I looked at him, slightly bewildered. He didn’t say ‘had’. He was talking about the present. He wasn’t referring to his favors as the past. He knew that everything that had already happened  was still a bounty for him. An ever- living bounty that had effects that still poured on him to this day. How grateful.

Verily, your Lord is Ever Watchful (over them).

As for man, when his Lord tries him by giving him honour and gifts, then he says (puffed up): “My Lord has honoured me.”

But when He tries him, by straitening his means of life, he says: “My Lord has humiliated me!”

(Surah Fajr)

Yes, man is continuously complaining. Ungrateful. Unseeing. But to open ones eyes, to remain grateful, content and continue to praise Allah despite every situation… that was a beauty in itself.

”Not everyone is as lucky as we are Khawlah,” he smiled. “To have tea-makers like you. At my age, that’s all I really need.”

I smiled.

”Then I don’t think I can go anywhere,” I said, contented with Abba’s conclusion and dismissing the niggliness in the back of  my mind.

”Hmmm,” Abba said, clearing his throat and looking at me. “Looks like we’ll have to start training Yunus up with the tea.”

I frowned slightly, wondering what he was talking about.

”There’s someone to see you here about that house,” he said casually.

Oh. That was how he knew.

Wait. The house. The house.


It was Khadijah’s excited voice that rang out from the passage and my heart literally froze in my chest and I registered what it meant.

KHALID?! Khalid was there? I mean… Khalid was here?! No, it couldn’t be.

Abba gave me a wry smile as he registered my expression.

”Just imagine,” he said softly, winking at me sipping his tea once again. “But I think he wants to talk to you about something else too.”

Tolerance – a beautiful Sunnah 

Allah Taa’ala loves tolerance.
Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Abbas RA narrates that Nabi SAW said to the
leader of the Abdul Qays tribe: “You possess two traits that are
beloved to Allah, tolerance and deliberation (non – impulsive).”
Sahih Muslim Vol 1 Pg 35

How easy to practice …











Twitter: @ajourneyjournal





34 thoughts on “Just Imagine

  1. Jazakillah khair sis ❤️ Loved this chapter! Beautiful lessons Alhamdulillah.. Tolerance-something most of us need to practise 🙈 may Allah grant us the ability, Aameen 🌼

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Oh my im horrid in the kitchen with my kids as we.. such a beautiful lesson.. Subhanallah. I think i need to slow down and bake with my kids.. just have fun.. watch them giggle..

    Jazakillah sis.. beautiful post… are we hearing nikah sermon soon🤩🤩😍😍😍

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t worry I am just as bad sometimes. I do try but I think that sometimes we just need to put more effort and care into making it a fun experience. It won’t be by itself. This mother thing does requite effort at times ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved it and Nooo!!!!! You can’t leave us hanging like this😵plz plz post soon.
    I’m also hopeless with my kids in the kitchen. I just can’t handle the mess😬but I’m going to try In Sha Allah…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. wow! beautiful, mashaAllah!
    Authoress please post soon.
    can’t wait for more… mashaAllah so talented in plotting stories.. mashaAllah it requires efforts. it’s motivating too…
    Jazakumullahu khairan kaseerah… May Allah reward Aap ubundantly..

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Loved this post…
    I think baking with your daughters is just something very few mums have patience for (hide)
    Sister you can’t leave us in suspense (can’t see)
    Please post soon….

    Liked by 2 people

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