Clouded Conceptions

Bismihi Ta’ala


I had been so sucked into work this morning that I wouldn’t have even known if something had happened at the office to cause all the drama. It was clear that something was off. Plus, Layyanah was wearing a turban style hijab which was completely new to me. I was wondering what and why and whether Divine inspiration had come from above… because I never saw Layyanah covering her hair before.

And now I was left with the ardent task of trying to figure out what happened, after being forced to hold down the show while Liyaket went for his meeting, so Layyanah wouldn’t have a nervous breakdown in his absence.

How was my luck such? I internally groaned. So much for not getting involved.

Gosh, I should have trusted my instinct and walked away. it was no wonder I steered clear of these kind of situations. It just gave me unnecessary anxiety. But then what kind of friend would I be?

Stop being selfish, I chided myself.

At that point, there must have been some deeper reasoning as to why I was the one who Layyanah was going to turn into her most entrusted confidante…. I just didn’t know it yet.

Because of course, I couldn’t just leave the girl there. At that point, though we weren’t best friends, I actually quite liked Layyanah. She was one of the less snobbish but feisty girls who were at the office. She also wasn’t scared to say what she needed to when it was required. She didn’t worry about those few who would purposely stare at you when you walk past them, and then say something inaudabile just to get you all revved up.

“I’m leaving work,” she explained. “I mean, I have to. My parents are adamant that I must stay home and they want me to get married. To someone of their choice.”

Hmmmm. I widened my eyes appropriately.

Being in the crappy mood I was, I was tempted to nod and be impartial, but I knew I couldn’t be so heartless. Plus, if Layyanah left, she would leave me alone here with those annoying girls, I don’t know what I would do. She can’t leave work. No, that’s not going to work for me.

“Are they forcing you?” I said, wondering if she even knew what this meant.

Like, do those old forced marriages still exist? Arranged marriage, I understand. I knew that there was no pressure to say yes, if you weren’t compatible. But this sounded like something out of some nineteen-voetsek Bollywood movie and I couldn’t fathom that it was still allowed.

Layyyanah shrugged. It didn’t seem like she thought it was abnormal. It was almost like she expected it. But like, how do you even just accept someone who your parents choose? And then, what about Liyaket? Most of all, what about me?! Was this even real life or some soapy drama thing.

I took a deep breath in and looked at my acquaintance turned friend, trying to put on a comforting voice to ease her fears. Only problem was that I wasn’t very good at that, so instead of sounding kind, I just sounded edgy. Partly because I was worried about how long this coffee break was taking and partly because the whole situation was just stressing me out.

“Lets meet at lunch to talk,” I said decisively, knowing that I needed to get back to work it would also give me time to wrap my head around the problem and think of a practical solution. After all, I really did like Layyanah and it was horrible to think that I wouldn’t see her again. Because in all fairness, I really needed her to be my friend slash work-ally.

And though I made my way to my desk, eyes on me because my coffee making break had taken a little longer than expected, my mind was already consumed by worst-case scenarios. Opening the spreadsheet I was working on, my mind could simply not focus on it. Besides trying to avoid Jameela incessant messages about what I thought about her new design for her coffee shop logo, I finally called it a morning at 11.45, messaged Layyanah and told her to meet me at the coffee shop down the road.

It was a popular place that many of the office occupants frequented during the week, and today, I was hoping we could find a quiet spot to chill with minimal interruptions. Plus, I wanted to catch up with some posts. We weren’t allowed to be on social media at work and my lunch break was my haven to reconnect with the world.

Grabbing a table in the far corner, Layyanah bought us two cappuccinos and joined me while I took out my phone to take a snap of the coffee cups. I mean, there was no use going to fancy coffee shops if you didn’t share a story about the presentation of the coffee you drank. And the pattern of the frothy layer on the top. Latte art was always trending. Like duh.

I placed my laptop next to it my coffee. Just for extra effect took another snap, zooming in so I could get the full effect. Ooh yes, that was perfect.

The two cups looked good together with the Laptop and I immediately clicked the post icon.

Caption: Coffee with BFF.

Nah. Something more work inclined.

Caption: A dose of work earns a dose of coffee with the bestie.

Winking emoji.

Yep. That sounded more like it. At least they would know that I worked hard to earn my play time. And I had a  good friend that I could talk about my work nuances with. Well, not really, but it was all for the gram so no one really cared about the truth anyway.

My mother was sending me a WhatsApp message but I purposely ignored it. There was no need to reply immediately. I was doing something important and posting updates for people that paid attention to my life. It made me feel good, and my social media following was reaching nearly 6.5k. That was important. People who didn’t really know me were most important. What wasn’t hitting me was that this media I called social, was actually anything but. I was slowly becoming an anti-social freak with a gadget attached to my hand.

Oh but yes, what about hashtags?
#coffee #friends #bff #bondingtime

I quickly put in a heart and two girls emoticon, making sure to hashtag more appropriate things like #work, and then tagged @layyanah_m before looking up at the real life version.

Layyanah was sipping on her cappucino carefully, deep in thought while finished with my snaps, took a quick selfie and then put my phone back in my bag. I was tempted to take it out again to check the likes in the post. I had already seen some double taps but Layyanah didn’t look like she was in the mood for an Instagram update, so I waiting for her to spill her story.

And then she started and the urge to pick up my phone was overwhelming. I wasn’t sure how to engage with her without it. Nowadays it was normal to chat to people with one hand occupied, right? I saw it all the time.

I grabbed my phone, scrolling through posts of old friends with their babies, through some other influencer type feeds, wondering what it was I could do to earn more followers. It wasn’t like what she was telling me wasn’t important, and she wasn’t looking annoyed that I was on my phone, but it wasn’t making me stop in my tracks. Well not yet.

”So Liyaket thinks we should make Nikah,” I heard her say all matter of fact, while I conveniently spat out my coffee all over the table. Oh gosh. How did we get to this point?

I put my phone down. Finally, and then looked at my friend.

Layyanah didn’t look fazed. I wasn’t sure if she even noticed.

”What?” I asked, widening my eyes at her. “Why on earth would he suggest that?”

She frowned slightly.

“Erm,” she started, not really noticing my discouraging approach. “Because we’re compatible. Because it’s the right thing to do. And because I really want to spend the rest of my life with him and no-one is going to stop me. Weren’t you even listening?”

I looked at her shamefully.

She had a certain defiance in her eyes as she gave her motivation and I was in between wanting to cheer her on and wanting to slap some sense into her.

Make Nikah? Just like that. Like, whose bright idea was that? Like, they were only going out for 2 seconds.

“Why can’t you just talk to your parents and let them know that you have someone and do things properly?” I said, wondering why all the drama but kind of guessing at the same time. As I said, drama, it wasn’t my thing.

Layyanah sighed and looked at me, her eyes looking all melancholy once again.

“They’ll never accept a son-in-law from another cast,” she said finally, swallowing hard and saying the word ‘cast’ emphatically. “Outdated Indian traditional thinking. Crazy, but that’s how we are. Nevermind we’ve lived in western world and want to everything else like the west. They still hold onto their old stupid old-fashioned and warped values. Of course, I’ll tell them, but I know what will happen. It’s too much of a blow to their egos to accept a ‘Khan’ as a son-in-law. My brother already knows- he was ready to approach Liyaket at the airport. Lucky Liy was fast to get out of there. Hashim messaged me with his derogatory terms and threatened me after he dropped me at home. But I don’t care. You know why?”

I shrugged. I really didn’t know. Probably because I wasn’t listening properly in the first place

“Because I see my sister suffering every day,” she almost spat, her whole demeanor changing as she became angry.  “Married to a first class idiot who cheats and lies and parties every weekend. And she can’t go anywhere because his parents have too much of pride to ever let it out the bag. And they have too much of money. And contacts. Not like my parents are any better… but for Liyaket… well, it’s not the same. He wasn’t brought up like that. It’s not like Liyaket  even has a father to fall back on or vouch for him. He knows what it is to come from somewhere that has no privilege. He doesn’t take anything for granted. Liyakets father passed away when he was a baby. He was raised by his grandmother because his mother had to work 18 hours a day to put food on the table. Gosh, I cried when he told me the story. His life is too far-fetched… too basic… too lower class for them. They would say I need to marry better. That we’re not compatible. But to tell the truth, Mos, I know I won’t find better. He treats me like a queen and I know it’s wrong to carry on like this, but I think that this is what’s best for me and that’s why when he said that Hamzah says we should make Nikah then I think that may just be the solution…”

It took me a few moments to process, feel the emotions, and then I narrowed my eyes at her before cutting her off.

“Hamzah suggested Nikah?” I asked incredulously. I almost wanted to laugh now.

Treats her like a queen? Please. It was probably only because he wanted her to succumb to him. I knew that Liyaket was a nice guy but no guy was that amazing. Right? He probably had some dodge connections to do it too. Highly possible.

“Like just like that? No plans, just Nikah?”

Layyanah shrugged.

“Apparently Hamzah’s family is very holy like,” she said, looking slightly calmer as her eyes strayed to the doorway where the devil himself was standing.

Hamzah and Liyaket had entered the coffee shop and I kind of got the feeling that they were looking for us. Well. For Layyanah- but you get what I’m saying.

And besides the fact that Hamzah annoyed me, I generally steered clear of him for other reasons too, only addressing him if he really got in my way. Because of default company and Liyaket and Layyanah, he was often around, but the fact was that he had earned his reputation in the months he had been here, I didn’t plan on even indulging his witty charm. He was the one who everyone looked at as the craziest guy in the crowd, who always cracked a joke at the most inappropriate moments, and, who, though extremely good-looking, no sane Muslim girl would ever touch with a ten foot pole because they knew that all he was good at was auditing and messing around.

And that was why I found it so hard to believe that he had actually suggested they make Nikah, because boy, the guy himself was way off that track of thinking.

I mean, what on earth happened to him, if his family was so holy?

And because I had been engulfed by darkness for far too long, for some reason, I was unable to see that this was probably coming from a good place.

Nevermind the fact that the longer they carry on making Zinaa, the less barakah there would be if they had a future together. Nevermind that Imaan actually lifts out the body when you engage in that sinful act. Nevermind that that maybe Hamzah was actually trying to recommend something good that would serve them well in future.

Nikah was the last thing I wanted Layyanah to do right now and I wasn’t even sure if my reasoning was valid. If she made Nikah she would definitely leave work at some point soon. Knowing Layyanah, she’d probably fall pregnant really soon and then feel all nauseated when she came to work and that would be the end of my friend.

The thing I didn’t realise was that Allah Ta’ala created an inherent thirst for companionshipin the heart of every human. The objective of Nikah was to attain peace of mind, which was something I had been lacking of late. Due to my Netflix addictions that were clouding my mind, I was a little delusional with regard to the purpose of this blessed union. My sins had played a huge part in making me see wrong things as right, and right things as wrong.  Sometimes we were so quick to make judgement and say what we feel, but seldom, we actually stop and think about what Allah will be happy with. About what Nabi (SAW) himself would have advised us to do. Our lives are so far from that and my life was particularly in need of reform at that point.

I grabbed my phone again, raising my eyebrows in greeting and then ignoring them as they came to the table, taking the chance to catch up on any Instagram comments. The truth was, I was annoyed at the two of them for suggesting this Nikah thing. This would put a spanner in the works and change everything as we know it. I delved into my phone, tuning my mind out of the present, avoiding any confrontation.

And as always, the virtual world was eventful. Already a few followers had commented with some emojis. Obviously they thought that this was the best kind of corporate life ever. And then of course, Maahira, an old school friend who I chatted with often and was now working in London messaged to check one where we were having coffee. She had worked in Sandton before she moved to London and I was in the midst of replying to her when Hamzah rudely clicked his fingers in front of my face.

“Hey TikTok,” he said, his voice intruding my precious moments of Instagram fame. Why did he have to always make himself important?

I didn’t look up at him, because I felt like there was no point. Well, until he said smoothly:

“There was an announcement. Bossman is looking for you. I suggest you go and see what he wants.”

Mission Sunnah Revival!

Wearing Shoes and Covering the head when entering the toilet.

It is recommended not to enter the toilet with the head uncovered, because of a report which says that when the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) entered the toilet, he would put on his shoes and cover his head. End quote.



FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah


Awkward Pauses

Bismihi Ta’ala


Coming home after a long trip was challenging enough when I had my mother and Jameela annoying the hell out of me, but when Nani was at home, well, it just made things significantly worse.

And to top it off, Jameela couldn’t even give me a warning on the way home. Just damn selfish, if you ask me. Entering the house to the welcome smell of chicken and methie, only the way Nani cooked it, was an extremely welcome fragrance, but knowing that it meant that I would have to deal with Nani’s verbal battering that evening already left a bad taste in my mouth.

I scowled as I placed my bag in the passage, knowing I’d have to greet her first and then only go to my room and freshen up. My sheila pin was literally stabbing my neck and my heels were literally breaking my feet. I removed my suit jacket and hung it up on the door hook, because my mother had refused to keep a coat hanger (like I had asked her to) straightened my back and made my way to the kitchen.

Both women turned to look at me, with a big smile on their faces. Okay, maybe this wasn’t going to be as challenging as I thought

“Salaams,” I said, going to my Nani and kissing the top of her head.

“As salaamu alaykim,” Nani said emphatically with a shake of her head, not looking impressed by me today. That was nothing new of recent.

I returned her greeting before she got offended.

What salaams, salaams,” she was muttering to herself and sighed emphatically.

The thing was, Nani and I used to be really close but now…

Well, that was a story for another day. Ma was a little more easy-going, comparatively. She was busy rolling Roti so I grabbed one from the cooked pile and patted Ma’s shoulder, because there was no way I was getting that stuff on any part of my charcoal suit.

“How was your trip, poiree?” My mother asked, not even noticing Nani’s eyes getting narrower as I answered her.

Now it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Nani hated my work. And of course, her next words were an affirmation that she didn’t even want to conceal it.

”Look at her, Bhengori,” Nani was saying in Gujarati, pulling up her dupatta to cover her hair again. “Like a proper man. Only with scarf on her head. Big, big suit she wears like she’s one big business mogul. What does Iqbal think about this, letting his daughter act like she is doing good things? Chi.”

I internally rolled my eyes. It was time for me to make an exit, but I had to do it skilfully. Salaah. Yes.

“Let me read my Asr,” I said loudly, while my mother tried to answer Nani. What to say to her when she was like this was basically falling on deaf ears, but it wasn’t my problem.

“You see when it’s time for her to get married,” Nani was saying, not falling for the Salaah excuse, now in English as Jameela entered the kitchen. Since Jameela was the youngest and had missed most of Nani’s gujarati lectures as she grew up, she didn’t understand so much. Nani generally switched to English for extra effect. “Men don’t like all these- too educated career women. See Nadeema, she’s learning to cook, clean and studying that online Madrassa over the zoom. That’s why she’s getting nice proposal coming.”

I wanted to say something but I wisely zipped my mouth. At least I knew how to do that much. It wasn’t anything good, even though it was necessary for Nani to stop with the praising of her favorite granddaughter. Nadeema was my cousin who was a few months younger than me, and since she had once bad-mouthed me to a good friend of ours a few years back, we were no longer close. Unfortunately, Nani didn’t seem to think it was a big deal what she did. I still did.

Like, if she was so amazing, why would she talk bad behind my back for no reason?

“But Nani,” Jameela was saying. “As it is, you the first one- you don’t like going to male doctors… So if girls don’t study, Nani, then how will we have all these professionals?”

I wanted to pat my sister on the back for sticking up for me and women in general, but I knew Nani would have an answer for that.

“Yes, study is one thing, but Hayaa, Jameela,” Nani said emphatically. “Dr Hameeda wears full abaya and niqab. She works only with women. She has respect… She has – whats this called… She is honoured. It’s not the same when you dress like a business man with bum showing.”

Astagh. How rude!

I wasn’t even sure if Nani realised what she said, but there was an awkward pause and then Jameela burst out laughing while my cheeks burned with embarrassment. Okay, maybe my tops had been creeping up a bit during the past week but that was just unnecessary. Ghuh!

“Nani, we have dress code at work!” I argued.

“Dress code like man?” Nani said, raising her eyebrows and the rolling pin up at the same time. “I don’t know Mohsina. How will you find a husband? Every boy wants to come home, you say no. Just now you will be twenty five and then the boys won’t even want to come anymore.”

Ugh. I couldn’t hear all this. I couldn’t hear the point behind what she was saying.

“Mohsina, my cousins got a son who is an engineer,” Nani was saying last month. The previous time was, “Mohsina, this boy got his own shop, he’s looking for a nice wife.”

Maybe I should count my lucky stars. At least she wasn’t trying to introduce me to Aalims anymore, in the hope that they could ‘fix’ me and turn me into a haari poiree.

Anyway, long story short, Nani just made me angry with her talks and I couldn’t see reason when that happened. Maybe it was the way she said it, or whatever, but all I could think of doing then was spin around and stomping up the stairs to my room. And I did just that.

I read my Salaah speedily and then opened my Tiktok app, scrolling through some dumb videos that made me laugh. It was just what I needed to destress, but only for that short time, and when I finally emerged from the room half an hour later, my father had gone for Maghrib and Nani left with him to go to my uncles place, I was just feeling more crappy than before.

And yes, I loved my Nani and her quirky sense of humour but when she started with me about work and marriage, I couldn’t deal.

It was just that this time… I couldn’t shake the feeling that maybe Nani had a point. But then again, what was the big deal? I was happy. Right? I kept to myslef. I didn’t have a boyfriend. I didn’t have to worry about an annoying husbands feet to press. Or a demanding one to cook for. Or some kid to make sleep. But then why?

Why was I still feeling that something was amiss?

And of course, partly because of Nani’s words and also because of the rift that had now become a part of our relationship, my sleep that night was horrible. I had tried to divert my thoughts with an Instagram post and a few stories about the eventful trip I had come back from, but Nani’s words still annoyed me. Plus, she posted on her WhatsApp status about how the new generation has no respect for the older one and they will just do as they please, and reading it just got me more annoyed. And then she posted again the following day about how a woman’s place is at home and not out in the corporate world. Like, she already broke my spirit when she saw me, so why couldn’t she just message and tell me the rest? That was what ticked me off the most.

I spent the next two days sulking at home, making excuses not to join my parents who wanted to take a drive to get chicken tikka in Jo’burg. Jameela was also being extra annoying with all her business proposals about her coffee shop, which my father happily humoured, as long as it was just an idea. Frankly, I didn’t feel like doing any brainstorming with her. All I wanted to do was watch every season of Suits on Netflix and chill.

And of course, it was no wonder that I was still in a crappy mood the following morning when I went to work. I obviously did nothing substantial and just wasted time. Even my Salaah had gotten delayed because I was too obsessed with finishing the third season the previous day. Plus, I’d read no Qur’an at all the entire weekend. I was feeling dark inside and I was obviously suffering with a Netflix hangover but I dressed up carefully for work, aiming for a modest but professional look, in all black, secretly hoping that Nani would approve my new approach. Who ever thought I’d see the day, but I really wanted to impress my Nani.

Entering the office before everyone else that morning had helped. It meant that I wouldn’t have to see any annoying Happy Monday faces and I quickly went to my desk and took a seat, diving into work. That was what I preferred to do. Keep a low profile. Keep my ‘respect’. Be a good Muslim girl. It was only when my hungover head started incessantly pounding, that I realised it was already 10.45AM and the office with buzzing with activity. My brain was calling for coffee time. I knew it was time to go to the kitchen and risk seeing people and I secretly wished that I also had a coffee lady like Bossman who would bring my coffee to my desk.

One day, I consoled myself, as I dragged myself up and headed to the kitchen. One day I’ll have all those privileges. Just had to keep my head in the game and keep on focusing.

I pushed open the kitchen door, avoiding eye contact with anyone in the way, hoping the kettle was hot so I could make the coffee fast and get back to work. I didn’t anticipate seeing a huddled couple in the corner of the kitchen, where there were three seats and a small table, looking almost like they were deep in conversation. Or other things. Obviously, I wasn’t going to pause enough to check.

I knew they weren’t supposed to be in here together. We usually took ten minute breaks to make our tea or coffee in the mornings  and were then expected to return to our desk. I turned my face away, trying to ignore them as I passed through to where the kettle is, and they must have noticed me because I could hear some awkward throat clearing and shuffling as I passed by.

“Sorry Mos,” someone said, and I turned around to see Liyaket standing behind me, with Layyanah on the seat next to him. I realized at that moment that I had gotten it wrong. The two of them weren’t exactly up to what I assumed they were, but I wasn’t sure if this was more awkward or not.

Liyaket was shifting on his feet indecisively, looking as if he really needed to say something or explain but wasn’t quite sure how to. Layyanah was blowing her nose and dabbing her eyes, looking like someone had passed away. Something was definitely wrong and I had a really bad feeling about this. As much as my instinct was urging me to turn around, be wise and remove myself from the situation, I knew that I would appear absolutely heartless if I said nothing at all.

There was an awkward pause, before the words finally came tumbling out of my mouth.

”What’s going on?”

Shukran for the thoughts and comments, love hearing from you guys 🤍

Mission Sunnah Revival!

Wearing Shoes and Covering the head when entering the toilet.

It is recommended not to enter the toilet with the head uncovered, because of a report which says that when the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) entered the toilet, he would put on his shoes and cover his head. End quote.



FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah


Part 5: Aiming for Awakening

Bismihi Ta’ala


“Listen bro,” I said quietly to Liyaket after we jumped off the plane, careful to steer clear from any straying ears. “You either have to end this thing, or make Nikah. You guys can’t carry on like this. It’s killing my nerves.”

Liyaket blinked as I said it, grabbing his bag from the conveyor belt and wheeling it alongside us. At the risk of sounding like my overtly pious older brother, I had to say it as it was. It wasn’t that I was particularly worried about the elements that my brother might have worried about. No. My concern was that he and his girlfriend had just shared an intimate moment before the arrivals doors and I couldn’t help but wonder if the Muslim aunties staring at them might know them. Or if the young girl who was standing and ogling at them behind us was some connections daughter. Or the older uncle with the blue tie who was very suspiciously looking around might be Layyanah’s high profile father’s business acquaintance.

Whatever. Long story short, my friends budding romance was giving me sleepless nights. I dreaded the day when things were going to hit the fan in a most stinking way and I had to let him know it. As pretty as Layyanah was, the guy had to start using his brains to think. Following your heart for things like this never went down well. They just didn’t.

Liyaket said nothing as we both wheeled out bags towards the pick up points.

“I don’t know, man,” he said with a sigh, shaking his head as he paused again. I turned to see what he was looking at, almost glimpsing the mental battle between the confines of his skull.

The girls from our group were talking and laughing about something as they headed out, phones in their hands and selfie ready, as always. After a few seconds of TikTok obsession, Mohsina tucked her phone in her bag and walked toward a man big a huge white beard and a younger, abaya-clad  version of herself, who I assumed was her sister. Layyanah was already waving to her older brother who had come to fetch her , souped up in his Armani suit. He was familiar to me because he had done some business with my brother and come to home once or twice. Now that my brother was moving back to our hometown, I knew I wouldn’t see much of him, and secretly, I was glad. He didn’t look too impressed as he now walked ahead of Layyanah without even a raising of his hand in greeting or word to anyone whilst she said her final goodbyes to the other girls. But then again, he generally had that unimpressed look on his face, so I wasn’t too sure. 

And it was just as well that I was over watching the girls taking stupid reels to post because I could already see Layyanah’s brother focusing on us and giving Liyaket dirty looks as he typed profusely on his phone. Was it my imagination? No. Sometimes my friend needed a guy like me to watch his back, and it was in a the nick of time that I did a close to martial arts manoeuvre to safely steered my friend outside, into the waiting car of my older brother before he did anything incriminating that Layyanahs brother might have broken him for.

I shook my head as I closed the car door, greeting Imraan and my 6 year old nephew, wanting to smack Liyaket at the back of his head for being so stupid.

The fact was, Liyaket and I weren’t just colleagues. We were friends was way back before we even decided to study the same thing at university together. Being together for so long made us that much tighter, and now that it was at this point, I knew I had to look out for my friend.

“This bloody romancing in the workplace,”I muttered to myself, annoyed that I was getting involved in their stories. I had half a mind of letting Imraan give Liyaket a pep talk but I knew I couldn’t out my friend that way.

“I can’t help it,” Liyaket said under his breath. “I love her.”

I snorted with laughter.

Okay, now maybe you think I’m mean.

Laughing at the guy when I should have been all sentimental with him. But honestly, I didn’t believe in love. Not at this stage anyway. It was an illusion that completely sidetracked any sane person. I mean, looking at my friend, I could see exactly why I would never venture down that road. To tell the truth, all this new age kind of stuff wasn’t for me. If you really wanted to know, what I really felt was that I was meant to exist in some other era. Technology, illusions, ‘love’… and everything that came with this new age stuff… frankly, it wasn’t for me.

It wasn’t that I was anti-social media, like everyone may think. No. I wasn’t just a hater who picked on people who had Tiktok.

Well then, what was for me, you may wonder? The truth was, when I closed my eyes at night, all I want to do was just live in the moment and be who I was. Not a virtual person. Not a person escaping reality. Not just the corporate and accountant version. Studying and becoming a CA was the least descriptive part of me. What I really wanted to be was someone who would have a purpose. Fight for something worthy. Really dig deep to find my inner calling…

What that was though, well, I didn’t yet know. I just knew that bloggers, influencers and following people so I could see what went on in their personal and private life wasn’t my thing.

I tuned into to what Imraan and Liyaket were talking about.

“No ones going to pay you just to spot errors, my man”  Imraan was saying to Liyaket as we drove along the highway. They were talking business. “You have to have proper insight to their financial situation. You have to analyse and give them solutions.”

He was munching on some Doritos and I grabbed some from his packet as I explained the parts of the audit that I found challenging that week. It was just as well that we had an excellent team of students. Every single member, even the girll, had all pulled their weight to make sure that Bossman didn’t have any complaints whatsoever about us. And he didn’t.

”It’s not that simple,” Liyaket was saying. “Now with technology being so advanced, it even gives them revised solutions-“

”Exactly,” Imraan said. “That’s why you have to think out the box. We’ll talk about it later when we get to my place. First, Salaah.”

And I knew it wasn’t a question. We could hear the Adhaan (call to prayer) as we entered our suburb and though I would have preferred to go straight home and chill, I didn’t have a choice.

Hadhrat Abdullah bin ‘Umar (Radhiyallaho anho) once visited the market. He noticed that at the time of Salaat, everybody closed his shop and flocked to the musjid. He remarked:
“These are people about whom Allah has remarked:
“Men whom neither merchandise away nor sale beguileth from remembrance of Allah and constancy in Salaat and paying to the poor their due; who fear a day when hearts and eyeballs will be overturned. (XXIV:37)”
Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (Radhiyallaho anho) says:
“These people were completely absorbed in their trade, but when they heard Azaan they left everything and hastened towards the musjid.”
He once remarked: “By Allah, they were such traders whose trade did not hinder them from the remembrance of Allah.”

This was Imraan and I knew it was why he was successful in every aspect of life. Frankly, he didn’t give two hoots about anyone and what they thought. After leaving one of the biggest corporate workplaces the previous year, he now worked for himself and couldn’t be happier. It meant he could take off time to do as he wanted, and spend time as he pleased. It meant he could do what he always wanted to do, whether it meant taking a holiday in the middle of February or taking off for Ramadhaan, according to him, Imraan lived the life.

As he grew older, his focus in life changed and making money wasn’t that important to him. Spending time with his best friend was the best thing for him and yes, because they had grown up together, I knew that this was his focus in life.

Because of his best friend, Maulana Umar, he was no longer  chasing the corporate ladder, struggling to get to the top. He stopped competing with the big guys in the invisible race for fame. He had stopped worrying about the materialistic things because he had made it his entire life to dedicate to a different path. His company was one of the largest independent companies and it still never diverted him from his purpose in life. All I knew was that my brother had found out the important things in life and he was definitely onto something, but I couldn’t take the time out or wrap my head around it to comprehend it. Maybe I was still too young. Maybe I just lacked the insight. For him, he kept saying that he was so spoilt now that that he couldn’t ever go back to that corporate life. And for me, well, I honestly couldn’t think of anything better than the corporate life. For now, it’s what kept me going and what motivated me to keep achieving.

And whilst I was busy out there, aiming and achieving, I didn’t know it then, but on it’s way was some kind of awakening that would give me the deeper purpose I’d been searching for all along.

Mission Sunnah Revival! New Sunnah next week.

One of the first Sunnahs that we introduce is the Sunnah of miswaak, and though we know its benefit, its so beneficial and it’s useful to know that besides the Sunnah benefits, there are so many scientifically proven benefits as well. Miswaak:

  • Fights plaque.
  • Fights gum disease.
  • Prevent any existing teeth decay from getting worse.
  • Contains minerals such as chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium.
  • Strengthen the enamel in your teeth.
  • Leaves you with a healthy mouth.

Keep a Miswaak at our bedside:

Whenever the Exalted Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi wa Sallam) would wake up from his sleep, he would use the Miswak. [Sunan Abu Dawud, Page 54, Hadith 57]


FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

Part 4: Only Skin Deep

Bismihi Ta’ala 


The shrill ringing of the iPhone tone was enough to make my head turn in the early hours of the morning. That and seeing my sisters name on the caller ID was a pure concoction for catastrophe.  

Jah,” I said, Jo’burg style, as I pressed the speaker on and continued to sponge on my Huda foundation, attempting to get it even under my eyes.

How did those online tutorials look so easy? Why did concealer always make them bags look so much worse? 

Moseeee!” She squealed into the phone and I glimpsed her excited face when she looked at me and widened her eyes. “Ohhhhh, woweeeee!”

I took a step back as I eyed myself in the mirror. Nude Scarf. Matching camisole. Charcoal pants, with a matching black suit jacket over the camisole, and pointed nude heels to match. Was it too much? Too matchy-matchy? Hijab styles these days were very much all those anti-climatic colours. I had often saw that all these matchy matchy wardrobes weren’t really in, but I felt really odd NOT to match. Like, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I think I could add in a turquoise accent… but I wasn’t sure-

“Moseee!” She shouted again, and I focused back to my sister. “I’ve got the most awesome idea!”

”What?!” I said, looking at her pretty face and getting annoyed that she wasn’t even wearing make up and could still look so perfect. How unfair was life? 

“I’m going into business!” She said excitedly,  as if it was the most brilliant idea in the world. “It’s going to be a gourmet coffee and popcorn shop, situated in a stunning garden, breathing in fresh country air, boasting the most amazing scenery while you sit and enjoy-“

”Did you ask Papa?” I said, cutting her off before she got even more carried away. I wasn’t sure if my father would want our house turned into a business. 

“No, but if I tell him that you are helping me then he can’t say no!”

There was a certain nervousness in her voice as she giggled and I understood that there was an underlying question there. She wanted me to be her scapegoat and her motivation at the same time and there was no way that I was falling for her tricks. If she thought she was going to use all her charms on me then she definitely thought wrong. She may have done it easy to wrap everyone else around her little finger but there was no way that she was getting me involved. 

“Jameela, I’m not interested,” I said coolly as I picked up my bag and my room card to head down for breakfast. “I’ve got a job, remember?!”

“But Mosee, you have all the experience and are so good at what you do!” She argued, putting on her flattering but pitiful voice. If that was even possible at the same time.

That was my smaller sister, looking around disdainfully as I looked back at her as she sulked in the elevator.

Jameela was the perfect child to both my parents. Unassuming. Impeccable in behavior. She was also the skinniest one, which inevitably made her look better. Beautiful, in fact. Whereas I was just the one with the best brains. That’s all.

“I’m on my way to breakfast,” I said, hoping she would get the hint and hurry up so I could get her off the phone before the elevator door opened again. “Can I call you later?”

Jameela had just matriculated and literally gnawed my brains every day about her future plans. My mother, of course, wanted her to get married. (Should we even pretend to be surprised?) My father had this idea that she should at least study something before. I mean, you never knew what could happen. I agreed with him. In this day and age where they guys were mostly scum, a girl has to secure something for herself. These days, the men weren’t like before. Very few of them actually look after their wives the way they’re supposed to. Some losers are just blatantly oppressive. 

And just my luck. She was still going on again about a certain ambiance she wanted to achieve when the elevator door pinged open again and in came Liyaket and Layyanah. 

Hamzah was right behind them. 

I was already beginning to regret answering her call. 

“Found them,” he mouthed triumphantly as I lowered the volume on my iPhone and tried to look interested for my sister. 

“It will be a state of the art coffee shop!” Jameela was saying. She said coffee shop as if it was the most amazing idea in the entire world and no ones ever thought of something so unique. Ever

“Let’s talk about this later,” I quickly said to my sister as I blocked her off from other lift occupants and lowered the volume a tad bit more. “It’s a great idea but I’ve got to go. Will brainstorm some ideas.

Shame. She was young. I didn’t want to burst her bubble. And I also didn’t want to sound so mean to put her idea down in front of my friends.

I turned my gaze to Layyanah who was positively glowing with I don’t know what, while the boys shifted to the other side of the lift. Ma will be happy about that. At least they were observing a little bit of pardah. All we needed was a screen in between. 

“Where were you’ll?” I muttered to Layyanah quietly as two more people entered the lift. 

She just smiled at me dreamily and then looked straight ahead, as if she was in some kind of parallel universe. My word. Was she even present in real time?!

We walked out in a line while I tried to (unsuccessfully) coax a proper reply from Layyanah. Honestly, she looked so elated that I really didn’t want to break her positive vibes about where their relationship was going. Even though I had previously warned myself to back off, it was becoming so difficult NOT to get involved. 

I swallowed my emotion and listened to her silently going on and on about how sweet and amazing Liyaket was, glad for the interruption when one of the other girls from the team came up to us as we were pouring some cranberry juice. 

“So does he not follow the same rules you do?” Lesley Potter asked as we walked back to the table and she eyed my plate of food.

She was gesturing back to Faadil who was hovering over the bain-maries. 

Liyaket and Hamzah were sitting on the table parallel to ours but it didn’t mean that they were too far to eavesdrop. 

“I think he’s checking what’s vegetarian,” I said carefully, knowing full well that there were only tomatoes today. 

“I’ve watched him every day this week,” Lesley said, shaking her head and putting a spoonful of yoghurt with muesli in her mouth. “He eats everything.”

“He just doesn’t care,” Hamzah piped up from the next table. He was super strict with what he ate from buffet and my father had drilled the same into me.

Coming out here would mean that I’d have to make sure that there was no contamination with food that wasn’t Halaal. Many people didn’t understand it and it just took some explaining. I tried to explain to her about meat and vegetables and how certain things required us to have Halaal certification before we consumed it. 

Faadil, however, wasn’t as concerned about contamination. He happily ate the ‘Halaal friendly’ buffet, avoiding only the pork which was right next to the lamb sausages. Sharing the same utensils too. He was sitting three tables away from us on his laptop now, devouring his breakfast with a knife and fork, already fully focused on the day of work ahead. It was no wonder he held the position he did at Hammond’s, where we worked. He was never off duty.

And though m I occasionally ate the beans or potatoes, I’d never venture to the meat. When Hamzah had blatantly asked him a few days back, Faadil was adamant that it was all Halaal. 

“Hey Lez, why you watching him so carefully?” Liyaket called from their table. He had a smirk on his face and winked at Layyanah as they caught each other’s eye. She blushed unreservedly. 

Euw. Couple gestures creeped me out. 

Lesley shrugged. 

“He’s quite something to watch,” she said, not looking awkward at all about Liyakets question. “Pretty damn fine if you ask me.”

I nearly choked on my corn flakes as she said it. I’ve never heard any girl speaking so openly about another guy, especially our boss, in front of so many other people. 

“You think he’s married?” She asked, not even concerned about my coughing as I tried to dislodge the corn flakes caught in my oesophagus. I took a sip of water. 

I actually never thought about it till then. I mean, Ma was always drilling modesty in the workplace into me.

“Don’t look at all those corporation business men,” she warned with big eyes. “Big big titles they got for what?! See Yasmeen, my Bari Kalas daughter-in-laws sister? She married one of those big directors and he left her for his secretary. They are too busy with their corporate ladders to take you seriously. You finish your work this year and then we’ll find you a nice boy from the town who has his own hardware shop.”

I had rolled my eyes when she said it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be that kind of girl who would just sit at home and be someone’s wife. 

I didn’t want to look at Faadil that way, but the way Lesley was going on about him and we got up to leave, I couldn’t help but steal a look.

Though we always saw him as ‘bossman’, thanks to Hamzah’s nickname, I never really wondered about his personal life. I glanced at him from the corner of my eye, noticing for the first time his broad posture and somewhat alluring demeanor. Oh yes, I was sure that he was either married or in serious long term relationship. Everything about him said it. 

“You think he’s handsome, don’t you?” 

It was Hamzah who was watching me, watching him. 

His expression, for once, was strangely serious. 

“He’s okay,” I said breezily, not wanting to look at Faadil again and get caught red-handed. “He’s much older.”

I used to be so particular about lowering my gaze. I had to be more careful, even with colleagues. 

The Prophet ﷺ also warned us explicitly of the dangers of not lowering the gaze, when he said:

“…The adultery of the eyes is looking (at [that] which is not allowed)…”

(Bukhari, Muslim)

It was time for me to start implementing it seriously. No more messing around. It would only be bad news in the long run. 

“Maybe in his late thirties,” Hamzah said about his age as he grabbed an apple from the front table. “He’s also married to his job.” 

“I don’t know,” I said carefully, dusting my hands on the napkin and carefully wiping my mouth. “I think he’s probably more easy-going than we think.”

“Trust me,” Hamzah said, taking a huge crunching bite of his apple. “He’s the complete opposite of what you think.”

Trust him? Ugh.

But before I could even ask him what he even meant, Liyaket had come forward to ask Hamzah something about yesterday’s audit and all I could do was take a seat next to Layyanah at reception and forget what exactly Hamzah had been on about.

It was almost like he was warning me about Faadil, but for what reason, I wasn’t quite certain. 

Mission Sunnah Revival!

One of the first Sunnahs that we introduce is the Sunnah of miswaak, and though we know its benefit, its so beneficial and it’s useful to know that besides the Sunnah benefits, there are so many scientifically proven benefits as well. Miswaak:

  • Fights plaque.
  • Fights gum disease.
  • Prevent any existing teeth decay from getting worse.
  • Contains minerals such as chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium.
  • Strengthen the enamel in your teeth.
  • Leaves you with a healthy mouth.

Keep a Miswaak at our bedside:

Whenever the Exalted Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi wa Sallam) would wake up from his sleep, he would use the Miswak. [Sunan Abu Dawud, Page 54, Hadith 57]


FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah



Part 3: Chartered Changes


Bismihi Ta’ala


Being a woman in a male-dominated workplace is tough. Being a Muslim girl in the workplace is that much more challenging.

Often times I felt myself over over compensating. Going the extra mile. Making sure I never stepped out of line.

I supposed that’s why I was always watching my back. I wanted to be successful and I wanted this to work out. More than anything, that was my focus right now.

I turned to see Mickey (his real name was Mikael) approach and I let myself breathe a sigh of relief. Just another one of us. But just as well, the fun was over for this trip. It was time we headed back.

But wait. One more snap, before I left. I flipped the camera to face me, smiling widely as I tried to keep my scarf in place with the unruly wind. Perfect.

Now to post.

@mostlymohsina (my main Instagram handle and page) had approximately 6327 followers (well, the last time I checked which was about 2 minutes ago).

There were new follow requests every day though. Many were ex-students from the high school I attended, while others were people I had met along the way. I knew people spoke about my ventures. I had a knack of making simple things look super thrilling. That’s what social media was about though, wasn’t it?

Of course, then there were the few odd followers who I had no idea of who they were, but nonetheless, they were followers of my (seemingly) iconic lifestyle and I had to keep the game on for them. Things out there weren’t easy on the social media platform either. It was savage and it sucked you in, but I was already too far in to ever back out of it. In a way, it was my refuge too. When I was alone at night, it’s what kept me focused.

Ah yes, it was hard work. Keeping the posts and keeping people engaged. Sometimes a little drama was needed, just to create a new following and keep current followers hooked too.

Of course, I had to show the girls back home how amazing the corporate world was. Especially those who were probably sitting at home with a kid, browsing though social media, waiting for their husbands to come home. I couldn’t imagine that kind of life, to be honest. Maybe it suited other people, but it was far from what I had ever wanted for myself.

I was one of the lucky ones who had made it this far and I had to make it known.

The problem was, not everyone shared my sentiments.When I had expressed my views to Ma one day, she just gave me a:

”If Allah is happy with you then who else you have to impress?”

Pfft, as if it was so simple.

But she didn’t know. She didn’t know that the whole world was watching your every move, waiting for something in your life to go wrong just so that they could point a finger at you and blame it on your choices.

I turned my attend to Mickey who was gesturing for us to follow him. Hamzah wasn’t even bothered. The wind was blowing so fiercely right now that I had to shut my eyes. Why was the Cape always this windy?

Honestly, this was just doing sabotage to my impeccable hijab look.

”Come ON!” I urged Hamzah, getting impatient. If he didn’t follow I was prepared to leave the annoying sod to catch it from Faadil. I didn’t want to risk getting into trouble. “We need to make it before the bus leaves.”

“You mean, before bossman comes and hounds us for having a little fun when we’re allowed to?” Hamzah asked with a raised eyebrow, clearly knowing where my thoughts were as he caught me eyeing the time. 

I rolled my eyes at him. 

“Come on, Mos, don’t be such a suck up,” he moaned, turning to glance at me. “Get into trouble now and then. Besides, the guy needs to remove that carrot from up his behind.”

I rolled my eyes at him.

Okay, I’ll admit it. Faadil was a bit extreme with his bordering on oppressive manner and no-bullshit regime, but Hamzah had absolutely no respect for rules. None at all.

Although the two of them barely got along, there was no denying that the one thing that had gotten him selected for this trip was his genius auditing skills and ability to pink out errors in record time. He really was better than any one of us here, but he was too busy being a wisecrack to admit it. Of course, Faadil wouldn’t admit how valuable Hamzah was to the team either, because Hamzah just had a way of getting under people’s skin. And not in a good way.

I grabbed my backpack and slung it over my shoulder, ready to leave, not tolerating Hamzah’s nonchalant attitude. Work was work whether he liked it or not. 

I turned to look behind me as I heard other voices with Mikael’s, hoping the Liyaket and Layyanah would come back soon from their little escapade.

Oh yes, let me just give you the low down regarding them. FYI, those two are obsessed with each other but I really hoped that they’d see sense and break it off with no strings attached before it was too late.

The fact was that though they looked cute in theory, the painful facts were that while Liyaket Khan was a hard working and motivated guy from a small town who was out to make it for himself, Layyanah was a typical rich and spoilt Jo’burg girl from HR who had paid to come on this trip just so she could be with him. And though we got along and being with him was somehow bringing her down to earth, I didn’t want to be the one to break it to either of them.

Besides the fact that I knew that they would never work long term, I really didn’t have the energy to worry about their forbidden romance. As I said, my focus here was on the work. I wasn’t here for the drama. 

I trudged along, hearing Hamzah talking to the other group members behind us now, taking some time to clear my head for the work day. It was time I focused and got my head back into the auditing game.

It was obvious that Layyanah’s parents would never approve of him, and that was why she was sneaking around seeing him- but Layyanah was the type of girl who was used to getting her way. Besides her being spoilt rotten, I sincerely loved this girl and the last thing I wanted to see was any of them hurt. 

I sighed as I shielded my eyes from the sun, not seeing either of them nor hearing Hamzah come up behind me, sandals in hand as he adjusted his cap with the other hand. 

“Don’t worry about the two love birds,” he said bluntly, walking ahead of me speedily as I fell behind. The others were far behind and showed no sign of hurrying up. “They’ll find their way back before bossman notices.”

“Hey!” I shouted, running after him as he sped up, overtaking me so he’d be the first back. The conniving rat! I gritted my teeth as I tried to beat him back, whilst trying to look poised at the same time. It was impossible.

Oh well, I thought to myself, glancing back once more for my friend who was still awol. I was getting late. I suppose the two love birds would have to find their way back on their own. As always, I had to worry about myself. I mean, no one else was looking out for me.

Little did I know, this was about to change much sooner than expected. Not too far in the future there would be a wake up call that would change much more than just the way I thought.

Dear Readers

This new theme and story line is pretty experimental so please bear with errors or anything that may be offensive.

Obviously there will be great lessons to learn. I would also like to go into Sunnah revival, so if anyone would like any particular Sunnah to be mentioned, let me know, or we can start with the basics and work from there? I’m still struggling to balance my time and since posts may be a bit longer in future, I was thinking I can do just one a week. Or two shorter ones.

Comments and thoughts are always welcome. ❤️

Much love

A xx