No one really knows at what point their life will change. Most of the time, we are just weathering the storm, going with the flow, taking things as they come. And then suddenly, out of the blue, like a gust of wind that sometimes nearly knocks you out, it reaches us. Sometimes change comes at a time where you never really expected it, even when you are completely averse to it. It comes with its magical whispers, waking you up to another world, and before you know it, you’re already it’s best friend.
And sometimes change comes in the form of a crazy drunk colleague who gets you understanding a lot more about your purpose in life, even when you were running away from it all this time.
And so it happens, often times in life, things happen that may seem funny in retrospect, but at that moment… well, in that moment, there’s no way that you can ever see a remotely funny side to a situation that’s almost ruining your day.
And in a way I could understand how this may have been the beginning of quite a complicated relationship, but in many ways, it could have also served to be the reason that I would find myself in a very compromising position at work during the next few months.
“How you doing, babe?” Lesley slurred, all smiles and positive vibes as she winked at me, and I wanted to kind of curl up and play dead on her behalf.
It was obvious that she didn’t realize it, but she looked like at something out of a Star Wars movie.
“Lesley, what are you doing here?” I hissed, getting up and looking around, trying to figure out if anyone else had noticed her discomposure. She was wearing a short dress and her hair make up was still looking semi-decent, but she was still sticking out like a sore thumb.
“A lil birdie tol’ me about the wedding parr-ey,” she said weirdly, her eyes glowing in a way that meant that she was a little tipsier than we thought.
”Um,” was all I managed to say, because as I got up and noticed someone hovering over by the house, watching us both, I was already kind of freaking out about how to handle the situation with Lesley.
It was quite obvious that Lesley had not only gate-crashed, but she had probably had a little too much to drink on the way too. The fact that she had called this a wedding party obviously meant that she had expected something different here instead of a small and civilized Nikah and lunch.
The question was, what did I do from here?
Did I expose her? Hide her? Or simply try and get her out of here before it becomes a big deal that I couldn’t control?
“Lesley,” I said, trying to be calm. “Can we chat for a bit? Over there?”
I gestured to a spot behind a tree. I could already see a few eyes on us, and I wished that we could go somewhere and I could make this a little more appropriate, but it was impossible in this open area.
“I came for a wedding!” She exclaimed, shaking her head and spreading her arms out to the view before us. “I’m so ex-hited! I just want to be here, out in the open, have a par-ry! Cele-bation time, yeah?”
She did a little jiggle with her hips and I widened my eyes, noticing more people stopping and watching us as she stumbled slightly.
Bad. This was getting bad.
And of course, I wanted to pick up my phone and tell Layyanah so I could get some input and advice from a third party, but firstly, I had no phone on me for once, and also – I knew that I couldn’t be so selfish. She and Liyaket were spending some time together, and I kind of wished that I could just duck Les away somewhere until she resurfaced to a subdued state… but before that could even happen it was inevitable that someone was coming towards us and I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to tell them.
I offered a small smile as the girl approached,mentally sizing up the pretty girl with the black and yellow modest dress and black hijab, trying to smile at her before she accused me of trying to cause havoc at a peaceful wedding.
“Salaam,” I said, trying to keep a smile on my face.
“Assalamualaikum,” she said, a little stiffly, and I could feel the annoyance that she was oozing.
”Hiiii!” Lesley called from where she was, completely oblivious to the hostility, and I cringed inwardly.
“May I ask if you know her?” Stand-offish girl asked, raising her eyebrows at me judgmentally.
“We work together,” I said carefully. “At Hammond’s. She was feeling left out so, err, she kind of found her way here…”
I gave an awkward laugh but the ice-queen didn’t look amused. I had seen Mickey here somewhere, and I knew that Liyaket and him were close so that probably explained this predicament. Maybe he didn’t get the memo on it being undercover.
“Oh,” the girl said, not looking too happy with that consensus. “So you’re all are office girls?”
I cocked my head slightly and narrowed my eyes. Why did she make that sound so demeaning?
I replied with a shrug. Who cares what she thought.
“Office girls and office boys,” I said, slightly sarcastically.
She reminded me of Nani, but even Nani was nicer. This girl was just being evil.
To tell the truth, I wasn’t in the mood to humor her. It was one thing if Lesley was behaving inappropriately but to act as if it was my fault was just ridiculous. Either way, I was feeling a little protective over my colleague so there was no need for me to even try and get on this girl’s good side, if she even had one.
I stared her down until she finally spoke again.
Her next words were just icy.
“Well, this is our property and you need to tell her that she needs to leave,” the girl said, looking indignant, and I kind of felt like punching her in the face.
“No!” I said vehemently, getting all charged up. “I won’t do that.”
Her property? I wondered who she was to Hamzah’s family. Shame, maybe she didn’t get enough attention when she was younger. I rolled my eyes, preparing myself for a full on confrontation as her eyes widened in shock. And yes, I was all ready for it.
And the truth was, I didn’t exactly think about my behavior, and I was all about giving tit for tat, but it was besides the point. It was just as well that at that moment there was a voice behind me that called out my name and I spun around, to figure out who this unknown person was and if I even knew her.
The thing is, when someone pisses you off, there are a number of ways in which we can react. Some people break down into tears, some simply ignore the offender and walk away, and others retaliate. Now, I wasn’t the type to go all weepy and give her the satisfaction of breaking me. It wasn’t my style. I was the type to give it right back to her, exactly like she deserved it. But the thing was, I had to check myself. Was it pride? Arrogance? Or was I just giving into my Nafs and behaving like the animal inside me that I hadnt yet tamed?
As people who should be an example to others, as Muslims, the question we need to ask is, “What is it that will please Allah Ta‘ala?”
And it always helped not to lose your cool. It helped to take a moment, to breathe, and then think about your response… And that little interruption allowed me to take a second to check myself.
And yes, I was glad that I didn’t lose my head because it probably would not have been a pretty sight. I also may have just ruined Liyaket and Layyanahs big day with a big scene and that was the last thing I wanted to do.
The new unknown girl who was in niqaab came over, said something to Miss Goody-Two shoes and then turned to me, and I could see from her eyes that she was smiling.
She looked a hundred times more approachable than the Mean Girl version 2.0 who was trying to make my life a misery minutes ago, and there was a live lesson for me right there, even in the way she introduced herself. Character was something that shone through no matter what.
“I’m so sorry about that, Mohsina,” she said sweetly, after greeting. “My sister-in-law tends to get a bit overwhelmed in stressful situations. I’m Saaliha, Hamzah’s brother’s wife. Just checking if you maybe want to take your friend to a room to um, rest? There is a free one behind this one.”
She gestured to the room behind us, and I was slightly surprised at her suggestion. The thing was, Lesley wasn’t exactly a guest, but this was a big lesson for me. I wasn’t even sure how this girl knew my name and who had told her what to say, but that mystery wasn’t important right now. All I knew was that there was a lesson to learn right there.
The thing was, they could have easily got her escorted out of here, especially since she wasn’t in the most admirable state… but to treat her with dignity and kindness was what trumped it for me. She obviously had no idea that Muslim weddings were any different and I’m sure she didn’t come here with the intention of causing havoc. Lesley was out of line, but she still didn’t deserve to be treated with contempt.
And there I was, wanting to punch a girl because she had a bad attitude.
When Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would dispatch any of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) to fulfil a need of Deen, he would instruct them saying, “Give glad tidings and do not chase (people) away. Create ease, not difficulty.” (Sunan Abi Dawood #4835)
The thing is, Allah Ta‘ala has blessed us with a Deen that is not only natural but also an embodiment of ease. It is a natural attraction… a means for people to be invited, without even verbally explaining. All we had to do was have the best manners so that they will want to understand the beauty of Islam.
And since I was so busy admiring this contrast of character that was right before me, it took me a few minutes to process what she had said about taking Lesley to a room until I turned to see her in question, in all her trampled glory, nearly flat out on the grass.
Okay, I got that country air kind of feeling but Lesley was just taking it to another level.
Also, well, I supposed that she was just all into the whole party vibe and she had probably misunderstood the entire concept when she heard ‘wedding’.
I sighed and nodded, wondering how I was going to get her to come with me, but Lesley was in such a dazed state that she willingly obliged, hanging onto my shoulder as we walked together to a room around the corner from the house.
I felt like a mother who was taking care of my naughty kid. Lesley was even acting like a remorseful teenager. She looked guilty and apologized, merely nodding in agreement as I explained to her that I was going to leave her to get a bit of rest, and helped her to get under the blankets. It was only half a minute or so before her eyes started closing, and I left her to doze off for a little while, knowing that Layyanah would probably be looking for me and hoping to find Jameela too before lunch.
And it was a crazy day yet, because with the hype of the wedding and being so excited for my friend, I tried my best to do what I could in terms of helping and serving. I clashed into Miss Goody-Two-Shoes about three times, but I purposely stayed out of her way because I really did not want to be bitter about her earlier attitude.
Besides, there were so many other amazing things about the day to focus on. The thing was, as I looked around, I knew that in Layyanah’s mind and from what she was used to, her wedding lunch or waleemah might have been completely different. I knew that her parents would not have settled for anything less than the best for her.
This function, however, was simple, with paper plates and slightly fancy paper serviettes. Some mats were laid on the floor, Sunnah style, and I assumed it was the house people who sat there. There were no engraved favours or personalized napkins. There were no fancy orchid flower arrangements, but simple flowers that were in single vases on the table, which I knew were picked from the garden here. The simple white table cloths and lack of cutlery was far from what she was accustomed to. There was no themed wedding cake, only a few simple trays of home-made treats, that would be served after the meal.
To top it off, as the cherry on the top for me, some of the neighbors had been invited and to see their simplicity and the way that they observed the Sunnah of washing hands, eating and even licking their fingers so impeccably was a breath of fresh air. And yes, I was watching them carefully because it was something that I never saw in the high-flying circles of Jo’burg where extravagance was rife, but something that many had sadly lost the essence of. It was simply beautiful to see it alive here.
And although this was much less than what she might have imagined materialistically, as I glanced as Layyanah, who was sitting next to me, all she seemed like was beautifully at peace.
I had helped her to do her make up and someone else had offered to tie her hijab. That change also, was so amazing to see in itself. Everyone had come together to help make sure the few guests were served most graciously. It was intimate and comfortable and most stress-free. There was nothing but happiness and sunshine that was shining down on us, and it just reinforced for me that big bucks and fancy things were not the best things in life, after all.
And I was all about piling up dirty dishes and taking them for washing as everyone sat around and talked, but as I glimpsed at Jameela talking to some aunty, I could feel my feet aching and seeing the extensive garden got me feeling all nature-inspired once again. I wanted to soak up the sun for a bit, before the clouds would take over. I could already see the wind getting a little more disruptive as I picked up a few serviettes that had flown off the table. It looked like rain may be on it’s way.
And even though I knew that going to find Muhammed Husayn and heading home may be the best idea right then, as I glimpsed Layyanah sitting in the distance with Liyaket, my heart did a little contraction on seeing how intimate and settled they looked, forgetting for a moment all the drama of the week and what I was supposed to be focusing on right then.
Seeing those two just made me feel all fuzzy and warm inside, because I was just so glad that everything had worked out for the best. And as I stood and eyed them out from behind for a few seconds, seeing Liyaket getting up and placing his hand on Layyanah’s shoulder reassuringly before he left, I knew it was my cue to catch up with her briefly, and see if she needed anything. Some things, you could only tell your girls, and I got that.
Lifting my dress slightly as I made my way over, I plopped down next to her, completely ungraciously, happy to see that she was beaming blissfully. I sat without saying a word, made a silent Duáa for her, seeing the wisdom in the words that were advised to say after a marriage would take place.
When supplicating for the newlywed, Nabi (Sallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) would say, “Barak Allahu laka wa baraka alaik, wa jama’a bainakuma fi khair”
“May Allah bless you and send blessings upon you, and bring goodness between you.”
And yes, I wished all of that and more for the two of them, and my emotions were driving me to all sorts of undesirable states but I knew I had to hold it together and at least appear composed.
“Hey you,” she said casually, as I nodded my head at her, too choked up to say anything. She smiled and looked ahead.
The weather was slowly changing and I could feel the wind picking up as we sat there. I wrapped my arms around me as the breeze intensified, looking out into the meadow. Somehow, the sunshine had made everything seem brighter. Now that there was a little cloud cover, my mood was feeling a little more subdued.
“You clean up good, by the way,” she murmured, nudging me ever-so-slightly with a small smirk. “Dressed to impress, neh?”
I laughed sarcastically.
“Now that you noticed, there was a random girl who wasn’t too impressed with me today,” I said, rolling my eyes, not really intending to relate the entire story to her.
“I may know her,” she said, looking like she wasn’t letting on what she knew.
“Really?” I asked. How did she know what had happened? “Who was she anyway?”‘
“Does it matter?” she said softly, and I knew that she didn’t want to say anything bad. “What matters is that I do know someone who was impressed by you today. About how you handled the Lesley drama. Why didn’t you tell me?”
I looked at her, slightly confused.
”You know?” I asked, stating the obvious. “Who?”
Who was she talking about?
”I heard,” she said, raising her eyebrows, but still smiling. “Liy just told me.”
I was hoping she wouldn’t hear. Which reminded me that I needed to check up on Les before I left. Maybe feed her some Briyani and get her an Uber back home.
Layyanah had enough on her head as it was. I never thought that I’d be the type to be considerate but there I was. Considerate and all.
And hey, wait, what did she say about someone being impressed by me?
I hoped it wasn’t some weird stalker type with unkempt hair and crooked teeth.
“You never know when you make an impression on someone,” she said quietly, not exactly answering my question. “At work you’re always so hard and composed and focused, and I loved that part of you. The go-getter, the straight-talk, the corporate monster in you is good but I like the other side to you so much better.”
“What other side?” I said innocently, trying to keep a straight face. “Did I happen to show you that I’m actually human?”
She grinned. It was so good to see her so happy, and she wasn’t just smiling with her eyes. The happiness was overflowing, directly from her heart.
“There’s a lot more to you than you think of yourself, you know, Mos,” she continued, her smile wavering slightly. “Sometimes we don’t realize how we impact someone else’s life. How you can make someone smile when you say something quirky to them. Or they feel chuffed when you compliment them. Maybe your input made someone think twice and I know it did for me.”
Ah man. I was so chuffed by her words. Like really, I think that was the nicest thing anyone ever said to me. I actually didn’t know that I could actually come across as …. nice. Wow.
“And so,” she continued, not meeting my eye. “So when you asked me about my mother earlier, if I told them about my Nikah… I know I had to at least let you know that she contacted me. I haven’t told Liyaket yet.”
My inflated ego was slowly deflating. Why did I smell trouble?
Weren’t Layyanah’s parents like fixated on this great and glorious lifestyle for their daughter? But I couldn’t get carried away as yet. Maybe there was a good reason for it and they weren’t really coming after me like the mafia-like people who had probably put a hit on me for helping their daughter to run away.
And like a gust from the blue, I felt like the wind was knocked out of me, as she relayed to me exactly what was going on.
“Can you please stay a little while longer?” she said, her eyes pleading with mine as she finally looked at me. I wanted to cry. Surely, I was going to die on an isolated farm 220 kilometres from home.
“I really wanted you to meet her.”
Mission Sunnah Revival: the beautiful Sunnah of eating and licking fingers.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
١٥ ربيع الأول ١٤٤٣
15th Rabee’ul Awwal 1443 – South Africa
22nd October 2021
رسول الله صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم said:
If the morsel of any one of you fall, then he should pick it up, thereafter remove any dirt etc on it, and eat it. And he should not leave it (morsel), for satan.
And he should not wipe his hand, with a cloth, until he lick his fingers, for verily he doesn’t know, in which portion of his food, is the blessing (Barakah)
If a morsel fall down, then we must not regard it as, reprehensible.
There’s great reward in picking up a morsel and eating it, regarding it a Sunnah.
If it’s not possible to eat it, then place it in such a place, where some animal can eat it.
An amazing quality to inculcate into our lives…
Awww man!! I’m so happy for them. Hope the meeting with the mum goes well. Who’s the judgey girl!! Can’t wait to see who she is. So true about not judging ppl. As they say, hate the sin not the sinner
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Well I hope so too… Mohsina kind of attracts the drama so let’s hope it drama free for once 🙈👅
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But so hard to do as said . As we have a whole jamat looking down upon you as to why you miss tahajjud Salah..
I think the judgy girl might be related to hamzah
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Not always easy yes…
she is related but how is the question ✨
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