Going with the Flow

Bismihi Ta’ala


In my house, going with the flow was my mother’s antidote and fool-proof solution to avoid many a conflict, especially when it came to my notorious Nani. 

To tell the truth, I assume that this is precisely where the ‘problem’ with Nani all began. Not that Nani is a problem, don’t get me wrong.

It’s just that over the last few months, things had become strange between the two of us. We had become almost estranged. The thing was, believe it or not… I wasn’t always as assertive and opinionated as I am now.

No, that particular quality had kind of developed over the last few months. Ever since the incident with my cousin about which we will not mention, lots of unmentionable words were mentioned and things just got kind of… unmentionable. And for Nani, as a younger girl, I was her ultimate fave.. and then as I eventually started having an opinion and sometimes disagreeing, well, let’s just say it didn’t go down very well…

The thing is, there’s a few things I learnt about going with the flow, when it comes to the bigger things. Sometimes going with the flow is not always the best solution, but at other times, it’s most ideal.

It’s like when a bird is in flight, if one has to really think about it… it will become obvious that as long as the bird is gliding along with the wind, without even flapping its wings even, it will move along easily, with very little effort. The thing is, I didn’t know that Nani might have been onto something when she would nag my brains about visiting the people I never wanted to.

Mohsina, Nadeema was asking about you, why don’t you go visit her so she can tell you about her madrassa classes?”

That one always made me annoyed, because I wasn’t quite sure if Nadeema was just acting pious or she really was. But it didn’t stop there, because then there was:

Mohsina, why don’t we go see your Appa’s daughter, she had a baby last week?”

I had rolled my eyes then. I was busy. I didn’t have time to see little human beings that puked on me whenever I carried them. And then of course, was the most famous one:

Mohsina, when are you coming for the Taaleem? All the Taaleem ladies are asking when they going to see that granddaughter of mine again. Some of them have nice grandsons also. You must come next week.

It went on and on; but I couldn’t quite see how Nani was actually trying to push me into the company of people that she wanted to mould me into. I didn’t quite get that when you are surrounded by goodness, the only after effect is that you will most probably end to going with flow, and becoming one of the ‘good people’ too. I knew Nani was hoping that would happen for me, but I couldn’t quite see it. 

A beautiful parable in the Hadith compares a good friend with a perfume seller and a bad friend with a blacksmith. It goes without saying that the least one will benefit from a perfume seller is that one will certainly get the beautiful scent of perfume, which will freshen the mind and heart. Merely being in his company will incline the heart towards good, likewise, the company of a bad friend is spiritually toxic and will influence one towards evil and sin.

And it might have not been the only mistake I was making but it was definitely one of them. Going with what was in, what was easy, and what was ‘trending’, for me…  it was the reason why at that time I felt like there was a ton of bricks raining down on me… and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

Nani’s words always had long-lasting effects on me. I was still thinking about how she had drilled the respect for Adhaan into me the previous day.

I had gotten up extra early the following morning, pulling on a modest navy blue blouse with a neutral colored pants, and slapped some make up on my face. I knew it wasn’t my best look, but I looked decent and the sooner I got out of the house meant the sooner I could relieve myself of the anxiety I was feeling and know exactly what was going on with Layyanah and Liyaket.

On reaching the office, there was no comfort. I came to learn very fast what exactly had happened with the outcome of yesterday’s meeting and my heart sunk to my knees.

Liyaket was suspended. The office was buzzing with gossip and I couldn’t not overhear it. Hamzah was late  this morning. Layyanah was missing in action since I couldn’t even remember when. Knowing that I had to unburden myself to someone, I had messaged and tried calling her the previous night but her phone was off and there was still no reply from her nearly twelve hours later.

Only Mickey and Lesley were in view and I couldn’t exactly ask them anything confidential without creating a huge hubbub.

And once again, I resorted to my desk, keeping to myself and trying to appear composed (when in reality guilt was gnawing me from inside) when a voice next to me snapped me out of my lucid thoughts.

“You wanna join us for coffee?” Lesley asked, plopping herself ON my desk and letting her long legs dangle off the edge.

Like, why couldn’t she just sit opposite me, on the chair, like a normal person?

I glanced at her, frowning slightly as she waited for my answer. Who was us? I knew that she was friendly with that Muslim girl from debtors, so if she was joining I wasn’t too sure if I would. The girl was just rude to me. 

And despite Lesley not being my favorite person ,the thought of coffee out of the office was great. I was done with my selfies. Alone. In my allocated two-meter cubed space. And I was seriously considering saying yes.

FYI, Lesley always ordered the most exotic vegetarian (she was vegan) things and I needed some new snaps for Instagram. Ideally, a hiking or adventure-inclined post as a weekend post might have gone down better but today the followers would have to settle with some foodie shots.

My social media presence had been dwindling for the last few days. I still went on often to check what was going on and to stalk other people, but I just hadn’t put up any good new posts. I was in dire need of one… while I was stuck in my uneventful rut, the last thing I needed were any UNfollowers. 

I looked up at Lesley, wanting to ask her where they were going when I saw her watching me with her grey-blue eyes.

“What time?” I asked, still typing away at my computer and trying to to appear too desperate.

Be cool, I reminded myself. 

“Maybe around one?” she said. “Will you tell Hamzah to join?”

“Why can’t you?” I asked, glancing up at her and frowning. 

“You guys seem cosy-like,” she said, eyeing me out. “If you ask him he’ll probably agree. You guys are not a thing, are you? Asking for a friend. “

Was she for real? She looked almost desperate as she waited for my answer, and I really felt like telling her to buzz off because right the I realized what her scrutiny was about.

I could see Marie at the front desk peering at us. She was discreet but not very friendly. She was probably also trying to figure out what exactly Lesley trying to get out from me. Only, she was decent enough not ask.

Lesley, on the other hand, was way too nosy. 

She had obviously gotten the wrong end of the stick, but then again, did I really owe her an explanation? 

“No, we’re not,” I said shortly. “I don’t have a boyfriend.”

“You don’t?” She asked, and I saw a flicker of relief and then she was just looking inquisitive again. “But why not? You’re so pretty.”

I shrugged off the compliment, but smiled anyway. I wasn’t sure if she was being sincere or not.

Why didn’t I have a boyfriend?

I wasn’t sure. Was it my career? I mean, so many girls were married and had careers. Was it because of my parents? Disappointing them by sneaking around? Or did I have some deeper reasoning that I hadn’t yet discovered.

Was I just getting it wrong by taking everyone else into account and completely ignoring what my Allah expects of me?

I took a sip of my coffee that was now gone cold, screwing up my face as I glanced at Lesley again.

The thing was, how did I even explain to her about the dating thing? So many Muslims dated. How did I explain to her that I was ‘saving myself for marriage’ without sounding dumb and outdated?

“I’m just one of those Muslim girls who don’t believe in dating,” I said calmly. “The statistics prove that arranged marriages are more successful. After all, you can go out with someone for years and still not know who they truly are, haven’t you heard of people like that?”

It was so true. I’ve heard so many of my school friends who were together from school days, and didn’t know so many (undesirable) things about their spouses. One was even divorced. And no, I wasn’t an angel, but I really wasn’t interested in getting involved with guys. Because Papa wasn’t exactly born into luxury and  had worked so hard to put us through a good school and university, I knew it was my responsibility to at least make sure that I didn’t mess it up. Besides that, the divorce rate for arranged marriages and were so much less then those for ‘love’ marriages. What other proof did anyone need to understand the wisdom behind this?

“So it’s a Muslim girl thing?” She said, and I could see her brain ticking. “What about Muslim guys? So is it true that Muslim guys can marry other religions too?”

Ooh, this girl was definitely fishing for something.

Well, there had to be a reason she asked me to join them for coffee. From Faadil to Hamzah… I wasn’t quite sure what she was up to but I was already thinking twice about agreeing to spending lunch with her. One hour of this mental battering would do my head in.

And it was just as well that Faadil stepped out of his office at that point and she went scampering back to her desk, and for the moment at least I was glad to be rid of her.

No, Lesley was definitely not the kind of current that I wanted to move in.  Sometimes going with the office flow is not always a good idea.

And it was just as well, because as I glanced at my phone the following hour, the reply came from a unknown number, exactly at 12pm.

Meet me at the usual spot. 12.30 sharp. Layy. 

It didn’t mention anything else and I knew that this was a sign that I needed. It was the least I could do, after opening my big mouth and causing such destruction. 

And yes, I wanted to ring Maahira’s little neck but I didn’t know exactly who or what she had said and I was hoping that talking to Layyanah might clear that part up, since Maahira was MIA.

I hastily tidied up my desk, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to focus until I saw my friend. 

Taking the short walk down the street to the Coffee Gallows, I was actually enjoying the sunshine that was beating down on my covered head. It was comforting and made me feel slightly more relaxed somehow, and I prepared myself for what I was going to tell Layyanah. Reaching the entrance of the little coffee shop that I so loved, I was surprised to see that Layyanah was already there when I reached.

I spotted her in a grey turtle neck with a matching turban style hijab. Her make up was done minimally and the girl looked like she had lost 2 kilos since I last saw her. I bent down to give her a quick hug, and then took a seat opposite her, putting my phone on the end of the desk and remaining hands free this time because I owed Layyanah that much at least.

“Sorry I’ve been awol,” she said quietly, giving me a small smile. “I meant to message you last week but it’s been so crazy and I have no idea where to even start.”

Now is my chance. I had to tell her the reason I wanted to see her.

 I took a sip of coffee calmly. Layyanah had already grabbed us both a takeaway cup each. It meant that she probably wasn’t staying very long. 

Hurry up and say it, I urged myself. I felt like there was a frog stuck in my throat.

“It’s been crazy,” she almost whispered. “I cant go anywhere alone. They monitor my phone. My computer. They don’t let me leave the house. Now I heard that Liy is suspended.”

Now my mind was in overdrive.

Did I cause all that? Would she be angry with me? If only she knew what part I had played.

Say it, I urged myself, as I put my coffee cup down. Just say it.

The greater good was finally triumphing the evil and the rising in my chest had to be relieved as I spoke out.

“Layyanah, I’m so sorry!” I blurted out, my voice sounding foreign even to me. I can’t even remember when was the last time I apologised to anyone. When last I felt so remorseful.

She looked up at me questioningly, looking slightly confused.

“I think I put my foot in it,” I hastily continued before I lost my pluck. “I happened to mention you and Liyaket to someone and I have a feeling that she might have told someone that you know…”

I couldn’t look up at her and meet her eye, but when I finally did, it was already unsettling to see the hurt in her eyes.

“You did what?”

I took a deep breath and finally met her eye.

Oh no. From hurt to anger to upset… Now, she just looked... Absolutely devastated

“It was a mistake,” I reasoned weakly. Was it? Yes. It was. “I didn’t mean to be so careless and the girl is all the way in London so I -“

“In London?” Layyanahs expression changed to slightly anxious, and then, as she registered what I was saying… she just looked up again, as if a puzzle piece was slowly fitting together.

“Who is this girl?”

It took her a minute or so to finally ask. Her voice was flat. Almost as if all the emotion was sucked out of it. 

“An old friend,” I sighed.

Whether I could still call her a friend, I wasn’t sure. What was in it for Maahira anyway?

“Her name is Maahira and she’s also a CA. I just didn’t think that she would actually have anyone to gossip to….”

Layyanah looked visibly stricken, as if I’d just pulled out a rug from beneath her feet. I could see her blinking a few times, and then, it was as if a penny dropped. 

“That explains it,” she said, holding her finger up almost in as if in awe. “Oh my word. That’s it.”

What?!” I asked, only a little concerned.

“Long story. Oh gosh, Mos, I’ll explain another time, I promise. This is it! It has to be. It’s this girl…”

She trailed off and her eyes widened as I looked at her suspiciously. Her entire demeanor had changed. It was like she was an entirely different person from the person I had first met here about ten minutes ago. 

Her eyes were darting back and forth and the colour had returned to her cheeks. In all fairness, I thought that I was giving her the worst news of her life, but turns out that her life couldn’t have gotten any better than at this point. 


A fresh wave of anger and resentment was rising up as I realized that Maahira may have just been trying to impress someone and this had caused so much of trouble. How could she be so selfish?

“Mos,” she whispered, her eyes bright and her cheeks were now flushed and pretty as I always remembered.

She wasn’t looking all pale and ghastly anymore. Now I could see the girl I once knew and loved. In all fairness, now I could see why Liyaket was so crazy about her that he had given everything up just to make sure that she would be safe. Everything that was important. Even his job.

I just wished that it had turned out differently.

“Mos, I need your help.”

I looked at her questioningly, as her eyes met mine again. 

“I have to tell you something. But it’s a long story,” she said, her voice soft as she spoke. “My parents are planning my wedding to be in 6 months. An affair of the century. All the events that lead up to it.. the proposal, fancy engagement, Arabian night, seafood night, bachelorette party, mehndi… will take about six months and probably cost millions in itself. There are no limits, because I’m the youngest and Mummy is insisting that this must be the event of the year. Daddy’s already booked the tickets to Dubai. She’s psyched about the jewellery shopping. His aunties and sisters must all have gold and nothing less, because everyone must know that we are classy people, you know? We still have to think of a theme and the finer details that go with it. They’re all insisting that Rose gold and Spring blooms is the new in, so they are probably heading that way. My cousins from LA are already booking their tickets. There’s so much of excitement and to look forward to…”

I looked back at her questioningly, not quite understanding.

“Layy, what are you saying?” I was utterly confused.

How on earth did they already start planning such a huge and significant event in just a few days? Are they trying to bribe Layyanah into marrying some random rich guy?

She looked down for a second and I glanced at her, my mind not yet registering what exactly she was saying and even more so, now the undeniable defiance in her eyes.

“I feel numb,” she whispered, swallowing hard as her eyes glazed over and she looked at me again. “I have no emotion. No inclination to any of it. I don’t want that. I want a simple Nikah and a small supper. I don’t want all of these ridiculous functions that have no purpose and Islamic significance. What’s the point of planning all of this when the guy is as shallow as a pond? All he cares about is the money my father is spending to set him up a fancy office in the North. I can’t tell them that because they don’t want to hear it but Mos, I’d take any risk… anything… I’d even rather die than marry him.”

I looked at Layyanah, slightly shocked. This was serious. My phone buzzed but I wouldn’t even dare picking it up. I had to talk sense into her. I mean, if she had to oppose her parents, who knows what could happen?

“I don’t want to get you involved, so all I need you to do is give me two things. A little bit of time and your phone. Just for a few hours.”

Part with my phone? No. 

“Layyanah, I’m not sure if this is a good idea,” I started saying.

I couldn’t just agree to this. I was starting to hyperventilate. What if her brother had some mafia people that would come for me? What if they put a hit on me or something?

Aiy. I wasn’t going to risk that.

”Trust me,” Layyanah said, noticing my hesitancy as her eyes bored into mine. “I trusted you. I need your help. I promise, this is for the best. I can’t be that superficial girl that my parents want to be. I’m someone different. It’s like I’ve been sleeping all this time and meeting Liyaket woke me up, and I can’t go back to sleep, Mos. I don’t want to be that girl whose life is going to revolve around Sandton meet ups and Louis Vuitton bags…”

Yup, she trusted me and I broke her confidence. 

My heart was aching for her right then. Can it really be so bad to be spoilt and rich? I supposed everything came with it’s price, right? 

 “What if they blame me?” I said, keeping my voice low.

“Tell them we took the wrong phones from the table by mistake,” she said quickly. “By the time they figure it all out, I’ll get your phone back to you, don’t worry. I just need you to keep mine for a while. Please Mos. Just go with the flow.”

Go with the flow? Oh yes, sometimes it was easy, but this time I wasn’t too sure.

How exactly was I going to figure this one out? 

Mission Sunnah Revival: The beautiful Sunnah of using the right hand.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


Hazrat Hafsah 
رضى الله تعالى عنها
رسول الله صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم would use his right hand for eating, drinking and wearing his clothes, and his left hand for some other tasks

(Aboo Daawood Shareef)

An amazing quality to inculcate into our lives…





FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah


10 thoughts on “Going with the Flow

  1. Jazakillah khair, was eagerly awaiting an update.
    So grateful to see Layys transformation and inclination to deen
    Also happy mohsina was open about her big mouth
    Just wondering what did maahira do.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Aameen, Shukran dear sis 🤍
      Yes, Alhumdulillah, it’s very heartwarming and I hope an inspiration for young girls getting married. Many a time they focus on the wedding day, not even taking a minute to actually focus on what comes after … 💔

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This goes to show also, that this notion of the glamorous lifestyle really looks so cool & that is what you need to strive for. . In actual fact, it’s such deception, this world is a deception, Instagram is a Deception in my opinion.. True contentment lies in Simplicity, but it takes a very strong person who is very strong in their Imaan to live that simple lifestyle & shun luxury. . But that is what we need to be doing, especially now, at least weaning ourself from the luxurious lifestyle. . Just trying in small ways to cut down. . This world is a Prison for the Believer. . We Can’t Loose the fact that Our Only Goal in Life is To Get to Jannah. . So we truly need to do whatever it takes to get there. . I speak for myself first. . May Allah Ta’ala grant us all Aafiyah, protect us from all the Fitna happening currently, Keep us on the Straight path, Strengthen our Imaan, Forgive us for our mishaps & Grant us all Jannah. . آمـيـن

    Liked by 6 people

    • This is so true and insightful, and I completely agree. Social media is such an illusion, and constantly following all the content people constantly put up is what creates the jealousy and also adds to so many problems. I’m not completely anti -social media but at times when it gets too much I delete it and wean myself off, because insaan is such that we get carried away so fast, and one click leads to another and another…
      May Allah guide us and make it easy for us to see the truth of this lie. This is truly another generation and era that we have to prepare for – may Allah save our offspring and guide them all.
      Aameen, Shukran jazeelan, dear sister 🤍

      Liked by 4 people

  3. MashAllah lovely post and lovely change from Layyana. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to be in that type of family situation. JazaakAllah khair for the post.

    Liked by 3 people

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