Fading Moments

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 29

Long long ago… long before time and space even existed…  long before Darwin’s theory, evolution or the ‘big bang’ or whatever many may believe to have happened 14 billion years ago… Our Lord, yours and mine, created your soul, my soul and the souls of every human being that ever was and ever will be.

Staggering, isn’t it? And if you really understand it… you’ll be even more amazed about  the story that goes something like this:

On the plains of Alastu- in Alim-e-Arwah- was the place where the realm of souls gathered together before their Rabb to be asked a single question. 

In this pre-eternal time, Allah Ta’ala gazed at his creation and asked: 

Alastu bi Rabbikum?”

“Am I not Your Lord?”

And to this, every single soul replied… in one thunderous voice:

“Balaa Shahidna!”

“Yes, indeed! We testify to this, so that we have no excuse on the Day of Judgement to say that we were not aware of this covenant.” [Sura Ar’af 7:172]

But then… That moment faded… and we were placed in this world. This world of temptation, deception, greed and of rivalry for increase of every part of it. And not only did we come into this world, but with this world there was offered  Freedom of Will… choice… to all the various creations. And the offer was made , but the only ones to accept it were Mankind and Jinn..

And as I see it, the trade off was something like this. With ‘freedom of choice’, no longer did we recall that pledge that we took with our Lord, once upon a time.

With freedom to choose, what we said on those plains, as we stood before our Glorious Lord, faded into the backdrop… but within us, was placed something called Fitrah. The nature that mankind, by default has been created by one Glorious Lord, to worship Him, is with us, from way back when we were still just a soul in Alim-e-arwah.

So it all comes down to this:

The knowledge that we have… the knowledge that Allah is our Rabb… the desire to do good.. to be good and to act on what is good and pure is so deeply rooted within us, that sometimes even we forget it’s there.

And with me, between the office, Netflix series, @mostlymohsina blogging about my daily shenanigans, work woes and skin care routine… life had become pretty ‘hectic’…

Eventually, with all the dirt that we feed ourselves, when you keep shoving it off… that inclination to do good eventually dwindles… until there’s so much of filth over it that it’s completely obscured.

But first, we post. Never mind what comes after, or who gets trashed in the process. Bloggers and influencers will need their moments of fame, no matter what the cost.

The latest post of mine was sponsored and it didn’t matter if it went against my morale. What’s trending was trending right? Whether Israel was funded by Starbucks or not, we can’t always get all political in blog posts. It was part of my disclaimer, anyway.

The content creation world was rough and brutal. It didn’t matter who got shoved over or bulldozed in the process. This generation of influencers and digital content was a blood thirsty lot with little values or consideration for people. And dare you say anything to challenge that Instagram diva- you’re hounded with DMs and all hell breaks loose as a simple person is shamed publically and then posted about on multiple  stories.

And in a nutshell, my life was far too consuming to worry about goodness anymore. My world was so clouded by mundane filth that the ability to perceive right and wrong was quickly becoming difficult to distinguish.

Sometimes though, when you feel so dead inside, it’s it’s like that inner voice has been permanently blocked out.

In the pursuit of content creation, keeping  up with what was trending was my greatest pursuit. Before making my way  back to the car after a morning that lasted longer than I had predicted, one of my last stops to make was at Starbucks and I needed to do it in record time.

And as I stood in the queue with my many parcels, A girl in front of me who looked like Lesley in a hijab turned to me.

Her pretty eyes were bright with laughter and life, her presumably blonde hair covered completely and the negative part of me was annoyed that she even had the audacity to smile at me when all I wanted was coffee.

“Hey doll,” she said, and I blinked at her in shock, realising that it actually was Lesley, and doing a complete double take.

“Oh my word,” I breathed, a smile creeping on my face. “It’s you! And you’re wearing hijab. What and how…?!”

I hadn’t seen her since she had left Hammond’s about m 3 months back. She smiled and glanced over at the table on the other side of shop. Muslim guy from HR was sitting there. He raised his hand in greeting and I raised mine back. I barely knew him but I did think that he seemed like a pretty decent guy. How Lesley had actually bagged him, I wasn’t too sure.

I really wanted to ask her more but the crowd was getting rowdy and there wasn’t much time.

But first, of course, the snap. There was always time for that.

Caption: Shop, coffee, play. All in a day… 

Never mind that I was literally spinning with the craziness of the day, the post had to get sorted, because that was the whole crux of being a content creator. You had to pull through. You created the most amazing content, no matter what.

I hastily left Lesley without so much as chatting to her even about her inspiration or what was going on with her. I consoled myself with the promise that we will catch up soonest, as I hurried off to stop at the chocolate shop to get on with my next task before heading to the car, when I heard him.

”Hey Mohsina.”

I paused for a minute, on my way out of the chocolatier shop, umpteen bags in my hands as I stepped onto the sidewalk, trying to figure out where the familiar voice had come from.

I had just finished off with my bribery shopping that was necessary every time I took the dreaded trip back to the farm. I knew that I would have to make a little story about the colleagues from work who seriously needed some mentoring, and make that the reason for the hold up that made me so late.

”Over here,” Faadil said again, and as I glanced to the right, there he was.

He was still around and this was horrible timing for me. When Faadil was out of work, there was no rush for him. I wasn’t sure if he had a life out of work, but I mean, not everyone had the leisure of earning millions a year and not having to sweat finances. There he was, all cool and calm, dressed in a jeans and golfer with canvas slip on shoes, gesturing for me to join him at the window of the most expensive jewelry shop just next door like I was some old and familiar friend.

A business social had gone on a little longer than expected and I was kind of rushing around now to make up for lost time, and I had thought that he had left since then.

And because the business related brunch and coffee meeting was in the area- I had seen him like an hour back. That’s when one of the girls who was unashamedly into him (what’s new?) hopped into his car from the parking lot to the dessert place.

And I got it.

Faadils Porsche was the bomb. Of  course, I had to take a few snaps for the gram. Seeing the inside of a Porsche wasn’t something that happened every day.

I took a deep breath now, feeling a little under pressure, because there was no easy way to deal with this. The inclination to do the right thing was dwindling away. Sometimes I wasn’t even sure what the right thing was anymore.

I hadn’t even checked my phone in the past half hour. Jameela was probably going to kill me, and I was too busy to try and make any excuses. If I was already late, I might as well go all out, right?

This was my boss. I couldn’t be rude.

But you could be honest, and just tell him that I you were really needing to be somewhere, something was saying, very diplomatically.

“Hey,” I said easily, knowing that formalities were kind of unnecessary. It was the weekend anyhow and I had just seen him. “Still around?”

Faadil ran his hand through his hair and I looked at him pacing as he appeared to be making a very important decision.

”Just trying to choose a gift for someone,” he said off-handedly. “You got a moment? I’d appreciate a female’s opinion. Men don’t always know these kind of things.”

He gave an awkward kind of chuckle and then looked at me, and I already relented mentally. As a senior manager, he had that way of getting you to do projects that you didn’t feel like, by making it sound like it was no big deal.

But this was different. This wasn’t business and it wasn’t professional. It was where the line between office meetings and out-of-office meetings were crossed, but in my mind, I wasn’t quite seeing it the way I was supposed to.

No, something within me was screaming. Tell him you have to go.

“Sure,” I said casually, betraying myself, always eager to please. “Before I rush off, let me see if I can help.”

You coward, said the inner voice, and I felt like kicking myself already. What was wrong with me? 

Just when I thought Nani’s nagging was out of my head, my inner conscience suddenly reached adulthood.

I hastily ushered my aching legs to where he was standing, trying to ease the pain of my foot as I shifted my weight from one foot to the other.

It had been a long morning and I knew it was a horrible idea to wear these fancy but painful  shoes. My feet were battered and broken because of them.

To add insult to injury, I had fifty packets of handmade chocolates in my hand (one each for Ma, Jameela, M Husayn, Nani and Layyanah) as well as a the coolest new work outfits, baby clothes for the bubs in another packet and I had to walk to the next blocks parking lot to get back to my car.

Brilliant, wasn’t I? 

At least 15 minutes before any relief, if I didn’t decide to stop anywhere else. Which, knowing me, I definitely will do and kill myself further.

“You okay?” He asked, putting his hands out to take some packets from me. “Let me help with those.”

Quite the gentleman. Hmmm.

I gratefully shoved the heavier packets onto him. It was a tricky business, not touching a strange man as they tried to assist you. But then again, he wasn’t so strange, was he?

But still, my mind was saying. He’s your boss. He’s not your Mahram. Maintain distance.

The internal battle was still going on. Could it just shut up already?

And now, as if on cue, I could just imagine Nani’s eyes widening, her warnings about ‘office mens’ and their ‘funny funny ideas’.

I focused my gaze away from him, keeping a safe distance while glancing at where he was pointing, processing what he was asking my opinion on.

“Which one?” He asked, looking from left to right as he  pointed at two different necklaces in the store window.

My eyes instantly rested on the one closest to me, which was a beautiful but simple rose gold piece, with a petty pendant of two rings that was symbolic of unity. It was elegant and classy. Something that would enhance the look of a simple t-shirt and jeans.

”That’s beautiful,” I murmured, wondering who this special someone in question was.

”Or that one,” he said, pointing out one about two steps away.

But as he stepped sidewards and pointed it out, my raspy breath kind of caught in my throat as my gaze settled on the stunning piece of white gold, with the one carat diamond pendant, that made my heart hammer with exaggerated anxiety.

No. Ways.

The one. The Eternal Flame setting.

I felt like he had dug out a piece of my heart and thrown it on my face.

He could not even be serious.

I glanced at him in disbelief, hardly able to process what it all meant, if anything at all.

Did he know? What did he know? How did he even know?!


”This one, right?” He said, tapping on the glass, and sounding like he was quite certain.

His question seemed too innocent to be have any other insinuation, as he pointed to the cause of my sudden discomposure.

He can’t know.. there’s no way he can.

I let out the breath I was holding in.

It was just a necklace.

What was I getting all hyped up about anyway? The necklace was an extremely popular piece and trending for a few months now and of course he didn’t know that this was the same one that Hamzah had given me.

Of course not. Don’t be ridiculous now.

Um,” I said swallowing, looking at the price tag on them both and nearly having a stroke.

Yikes. The one in question was triple the price of the other. I cleared my throat, trying to concoct a response … any answer that sounded even slightly coherent.

But now I had to go, before I lost the plot completely. Slowly, my resolve to stay away from anything that would compromise my values was becoming weaker and weaker…

And saved by the bell, the buzzing from my sling bag that was tucked away somewhere within all the layers of shopping, happened in the nick of time.

”Just a minute,” I said sharply, not really caring about politeness anymore.

I turned away and dug into my bag to see Jameelas name on my iPhone screen. The call cut off just as I took it and it was at that point when I glimpsed the 14 missed calls from her.  She was obviously trying to contact me with insane resolution and I knew the least I could do now was to call her back.

I also knew that the least she could do was not kill me for going completely awol. I knew being late got on her nerves, but to call so many times was out of character for her. Completely out of character.

“I need to return this call,” I said quickly, hoping he’ll take the bait and leave, as I dialled her back.

“Hey, I’m so sorry,” I said as soon as she answered. “I completely got caught up-“

“Don’t even try apologizing,” she snapped, sounding as dragon-like as pissed-off sisters get. “Just get to the hospital right now. Liyaket isn’t in town and Layyanahs having the baby!”

Layyanahs at the hospital? Oh gosh. I sucked in my breath.

“I’m on my way,” I said after a few seconds, turning to gesture to Faadil that I was leaving. I started walking toward the exit briskly.

“Tell Layyanah to hold on,” I said, almost as an afterthought. Guilt was overwhelming me. If I hadn’t been late, I wouldn’t have missed this. “Please. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

It took me a second before I realised what I had said. I was telling her to wait before she pushed her baby out. I honestly needed a brain check.

Also, I needed an Uber. There was no way I was going to waste 20 extra minutes getting to my car that I parked in an isolated parking lot because everywhere else was full and the parking price was insanely lower.

”Everything okay?” Faadils voice said from behind me, sounding concerned. Here I was, thinking the guy was stalking me when I realised that he was still holding my fifty-odd shopping bags. Of course he couldn’t leave.

”An emergency,” I said speedily, holding out my full hands . “Layyanah’s baby is coming. Sorry, let me take those.”

He shook his head, pulling the shopping bags back.

”No ways,” he said evenly. “Let me help you. Where are you parked?”

I laughed humourlessly. Was he really going to trudge all the way over to the next block?

“I’ll get an Uber ,” I said decidedly. “And come back to fetch my car later.”

I had already started walking to the nearest exit, tapping on my phone to arrange the Uber.

“You can’t take an Uber,” he said to me, grabbing my phone from my hand.


Intrusive, much, wasn’t he?

He didn’t seem to be bothered by my annoyed glare. He was quite persistent.

“It’s not safe. My car is right here. Must I take you?”

Yoh. Was he even for real?

Can you even imagine the performance if I had to drive in our little neighbourhood alongside my sought-after boss in his flashy car?

Nani would probably immediately arrange my funeral.

“My family is very traditional,” I said firmly, turning around to face Faadil, hoping he would understand.

Even if he didn’t, he’d get the memo. One day I would explain how crazy they were. It wasn’t like usual Jo’burg shenanigans where he dropped me off and it was all cool. It was different  back home. Judgemental. Conservative. That’s why I hadn’t been home in way too long and Ma and Jameela were all up my grill because of it.

“If I came home with you they might lock me up and throw away the key.”

I added that part on for a bit of humour amidst the tension.

I thought he would back off and go but instead, he dug in his pocket and handed me a key.

And oh my word…. my heart kind of froze in my chest as I felt like I had just been given Willy Wonkas Golden Ticket…

It was none other than the real and actual key to his Porsche.

I widened my eyes; wondering if this was real. Like could this really be me? Driving around the streets of Johannesburg like a diva?

No. Ways.

I felt like I needed to pinch myself.

”Take my car,” he said forcefully, probably missing the part where I was completely gobsmacked. “It’s already here.”

He gestured outside to where only all the fancy cars we parked. And tadaa… like magic, there it was.

Who needed a Valet service when you drove one of the most expensive cars in Jo’burg?

You could literally park wherever you like.

“I can’t” I said, common sense now kicking in as I started panicking. “Let me book that Uber. This isn’t necessary …”

Gosh. I wanted to say that it was too much. Way, way too much, for just a colleague to do as a favour.

“Just take it,” he insisted, his tone hardening, as he put the dangled the keys on the top of the car roof, popping open the boot and placing my bags in. Oh gosh, was this actually happening?

“It’s an office car, if that makes you feel better,” he said. I knew very well that he had two cars. I just didn’t know that this was part of his package. “You’re also an employee. Just tell them it’s part of the package. They won’t ask whose.”

I looked at him, trying to read his earnest expression. Was he for real here or was there some ulterior motive for all this…. niceness?

My parcels were all in the car. Faadil knew that I was in a fix. Time was ticking by and I knew that I had to leave soon if I wanted to get to Layyanah before she gave birth. I couldn’t waste time thinking much more.

Well, that was it.

I grabbed the keys without a second thought, hopping into the front seat, and waving gratefully to Faadil as he stepped back to let me drive off.

I was still in dreamland as I drove along the highway. One tap would send the engine roaring crazily, and it kind of made me feel better and more in control, but at the same time also sent shots of fear pulsating through me as I felt the power of not just the car… but something else too.

It was a weird emotion, feeling all rich and powerful, and knowing that I was heading to the hospital where something really important was going on. At one moment I felt all liberated and excited and the other moment… well, that was what confused me. All that came to mine right then was… here I was, driving a bloody Porsche, living the live I always dreamt off, and not even having a single soul to share it with.

What was it about this kind of life that I just could not place my finger on? It felt like as soon as things got better materialistically, something else was slipping further and further away.

And as I pulled into the hospital, the feelings just got more intense. I couldn’t help but remember the last time I had been here. It was the moment where I made that decision… the one that had changed so much and broken so many hearts. It was the moment where wealth and power had intervened, and where my entire purpose in life would change.

And now again, wealth and power were at play, but something else was slipping away.

And as I parked carefully, climbing off the car almost as a new person, I made my way inside, confident and optimistic, I convinced myself that life couldn’t get much better than this.

Walking in and dialling Jameela’s number, I hastily made my way up to the second floor, hoping that everything was going according to plan.

The lift door had literally just pinged open, and almost instantly Jameela came rushing toward me, a look of panic on her face, and my heart skipped a beat as I wondered why her expression looked so dreadfully stony.

“I can’t believe you!” she spat, narrowing her eyes, as I remembered suddenly about her dragon-like manners today. “If it wasn’t for concern for Layyanah, I wouldn’t even ask you for a single thing, but Layyanah actually wants you there with her. Liyaket is rushing here but he’s never going to make it on time. I’m warning you. Don’t you dare let her down again!”

I swallowed. I would deal with my sister later.

The only time I had seen Jameela so angry before was when I borrowed her expensive white suede bag and mistakenly spilt activated charcoal all over it.

I nodded silently, barely saying a word as I was hastily shown into the ward into where a hugely stressed out Layyanah was already in mid-labour. She could barely even acknowledge my presence, but I could tell that seeing me definitely made her feel that much better.

And yes, I was horrified by the actual thing. I had watched a fair share of birth scenes on Netties but the real deal was nothing in comparison. Layyanah was exhausted, to the point of nearly passing out.

There was a flood of feeling as the babies cry echoed through the room, evoking the most unexpected emotions as I stood for a minute, feeling the sudden serenity that now descended, and hearing the suction sound as they cleaned him up and made him look like the most beautiful (but scrunched up) baby I had ever seen.

Ah, yes, it was certainly a gorgeous little boy.

It seemed like minutes became hours before they gave a birth weight and that’s precisely when I heard Liyaket’s voice from the outside, and I made a silent Du’aa in gratitude, knowing that it was my time to leave and feeling completely absolved of responsibility.

I blinked back tears, squeezing Layyanah’s hand as she smiled, her pretty face now a striking contrast to the painful expression she bore just minutes ago.

My heart was bursting with pride. And now that Liyaket was in his scrubs and already in the room, I took my cue to move along, passing him on the way, knowing that it was my turn to catch my breath.

”Thanks Mos,” Liyaket said, looking like any new father who was completely besotted with his newborn. “You’re a lifesaver.”

It was perfect timing, and as I left the room with the sound of Adhaan (call to prayer) being called out, I couldn’t help but feel a lump in my throat, almost as if instead of a new life, something within me had died.

Was I really the lifesaver? I felt like I was barely even living. I nodded and walked out, the slightest feelings of inadequacy niggling away at me.

I didn’t correct him, even as I grimaced at the irony.

I didn’t tell him that it was Jameela who had brought Layyanah here. I didn’t even have an inclination to.
I left the room that day, the realisation of what had just happened not yet hitting me.

It was a new life. A new lesson. A brand new birth, and a fresh reminder that even with all the brutality and brokenness in this world, once in a while, there comes a little miracle that reminds you of just how wonderful this world can really be.

But the reality of this can only come to you when you open your eyes to it. The problem with this lost generation that we become enslaved to the moments that feed our ego, our pride and our Nafs… in worlds that have already passed away, or ones that don’t even exist. But in reality, more than a thousand times a day, we are born, with a new opportunity to find ourselves once again.

The opportunity to know your Lord, to see Him in every thing… to see His hand in every new spurt of growth, in every life, in every miracle… it doesn’t come every day.

With every birth, there is an extraordinary reason to renew that recognition, a new opportunity to start over, to turn around, or to keep going. To rise higher, to heal, to grow. To be better. Each new moment calls for transformation. For return. For Tawbah, to go back to Him.

But sometimes we don’t.

Many of us choose to just let ourselves die again and again, as each new moment fades.

When moments fade as quickly as they come, with not even the slightest bit of change… then know that you are already dying inside.

Mohsina in the deep end here… blogger life taken over her world. Just a Hadith pertaining to the state of the heart: 

Abu Mūsa al-Ash‘ari (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The example of the one who remembers his Lord and the one who does not remember Him is like the example of a living and a dead person.” The narration in Muslim reads: “The house in which Allah is remembered and the house in which Allah is not remembered are like the living and the dead respectively.”

[Sahih/Authentic] – [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Mission Sunnah Revival

Sunnah of good manners/Akhlaaq 

Rasulullah Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam said: ‘There is no gift that a father gives his child more virtuous than good manners.’ (Tirmidhi)

N.B. Some translators of Hadeeth have translated the Hadeeth as, ‘A father gives his child nothing better than a good Islamic education.’








FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah



A Little bit of Change

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 28
3 months later

Once upon a time, in the age when history was still in the making, a man like no other existed, who won even the most obstinate people over by none other than his beautiful heart.

Sounds almost like a fairy tale, doesn’t it?

But it’s true. A perfected character was his gift to others.

There were no prizes for accepting this message, no drawn out contracts of recompense or deals that he made. He rejected wealth, he refuted any offers of leadership, nor did he have the capacity to offer any financial incentives in return for his mission.

All he did, was distribute the most sublime character.

Through one man, who disseminated the most extraordinary kind of light, even to his most avid enemies, he conquered so much more than just the Arabian empire. He conquered hearts that were as heart as rock. He lightened the darkened ways of idolatry, and brought them back onto the religion of Ibrahim (AS). His message moulded men who used to bury their beloved biological daughters alive, into believers who would weep at a mere verse of the Holy Quran.

Muhammed – Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam  – was a man who brought light and life to an almost soulless society…

And from this, learning about the life about  the last and final Nabi of Allah (Sallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), it was a beautiful lesson that even after a long period of darkness, its amazing how a little bit of light can instantly transform the most hopeless of situations. It just took one man, and life, as they knew it… was completely reformed.

As I gazed outside at the plot of land that had been home to me my entire life, the sunlight casting its glow over the semi-green terrain that boasted a variety of fascinating flowers… it was like daylight instantly cured the night’s niggling nuances. A little bit of light can bing about the most amazing change.

With the passage of time, when many changes seem to happen all at once…  there were times when I felt like I drifted to sleep in one world and I was jolted awake in another.

Whether it was fear or it was hopelessness… I wasn’t quite certain. But I came to realise pretty early in life that everyone is scared of something.

For me… I’m terrified about things I don’t have control over. Feelings, fate, hurt and broken hearts. Words I didn’t say, goodbyes I never heard. Moments that pass me by, without me even realising how or when or why…

Most of all, though, I was scared of change. Changes that set me back or that made me uncomfortable. Changes that created spaces between us, and made us forget who we were… changes that hurt people or made people upset or distant.

Basically, changes that changed things… things that I knew so well and had grown to love over the years.

And well, also, I was scared of Nani. When she started screaming, the fear there was very much unmatched.

“Jameela!” She shouted from the bottom of the staircase. “We need to leave right now! What are you doing? Stop working so much. Boys don’t like girls who act so clever.”

I closed my book and sighed. Chauffeur duty called. Nani wanted a ride to my uncles house and it had become my duty to escort her without further questions whenever she required…

“Jameela!” Nani’s voice sounded from downstairs again. “You better not be getting all these study ideas like your sister… then you won’t want to get married and have children and than I have to explain what’s wrong with all my grandchildren.”

I cleared my throat to signal I had heard her, getting up and wanting to tell Nani that I was way too young to be thinking about kids. Like. Really.

Chi,” she said, watching me as I plundered down the stairs that Saturday. “Go and put on some proper clothes. You can’t come looking like a jungalee. What if there are visitors?”


I looked down at my grey pants with the elasticated cuffs at the end, and my white longer length t-shirt. Nani was way too fussy about superficial aspects but I went up anyway and put on an abaya and scarf. It was my usual going out attire since two years back, but when I felt lazy I just didn’t have the energy for it. Plus it was only my uncles house, and I wasn’t even going in.

But then again, anything to keep Nani happy, right?

After all, she was trying her best to keep things together, even if it mostly benefitted her reputation at the end of the day.

In an effort to bring some light into our lives, I know that Nani had now taken it upon herself to attempt to fix our slightly dysfunctional family.

To add insult to injury, all her coaxing and commanding entailed compulsory grocery trips, chaperoned trips into town and Taaleem every week. It wasn’t that I minded it all… it’s just that I didn’t see the effect it was really having on me until I saw the effect that the lack of it was having on my sister.

Nani was re-draping her dupatta and I watched her as she pulled her bag from the hook and gestured for me to come.

I dropped her off, promising that I would be back in three and a half hours to fetch her and come in to greet everyone so I didn’t appear to be a real jungalee and full of myself.

That was the thing with changes. With social media and technology taking over, people no longer really felt a need to visit people anymore. All the old people in the family complained that khala khala-ing was no longer a thing and I had a feeling that they were bordering on depression because of it. It was a huge part of weekend life before.

“That’s the problem with Mohsina,” Nani said bitterly in gujarati, as I caught onto some tit-bits if her long rant before she left. “The worst mistake your father did was let her move away on her own. Now she thinks she’s too great with her big, big degree so she can’t even make time for family.”

Changes again. That was it. Seemed like I wasn’t the only one averse to it.

She got out the car in a huff, shaking her head to herself, and I couldn’t help but think that maybe Nani did have a point there.

I didn’t want to go in right then because my heart just wasn’t feeling into it. There were way too many emotions and opinions and I wasn’t quite sure I could handle them all.

To tell the truth, I wasn’t in the zone for all the snickering and assumptions that family people concocted behind our backs.

Besides, the last time I had gone into my uncle’s place, everyone asked where Mohsina but still didn’t believe me when I answered.

”She’s at work,” I had replied steadily.

And with judgemental family people, a simple answer is never enough to pacify them as they continued to mumble behind me.

And of course, as always, I would end up irritated, but because I wasn’t the type to lash out, it would just brew inside. My cousins were like the mean girls who weren’t even popular.

One time though, the mumbling was competing with my sanity and getting the better of me so I couldn’t help but narrow my eyes at them.

“Is something wrong?” I asked, trying to keep my face as neutral as possible as I spun around and looked at them.

They looked shocked that I asked.

“Not really,” Nasreen, the younger one said, almost as if she was covering something up. “Just.. you know… we were wondering about your sister… like after the broken engagement … is she really okay?”

Something told me that she wasn’t exactly concerned about her well-being.

“Like, I can’t imagine how it must feel to be in her place,” the other sister said. “Two times over… you can’t help but feel that there’s something wrong with her.. you know?!”

Her tone was questioning but the look in her eyes was just evil.

What did she even know about my sister?

She was insinuating things that she had no proof about… talking about the past and judging Mohsina as if she knew more than she really did.

I desperately wanted to ask her how come she wasn’t married yet but I didn’t have that much of an evil streak in me. Plus, I had to keep reminding myself. Getting back at people wasn’t the point. Character, right? That was the only thing that we could hold onto, when everything else seemed amiss.

Peace. Kindness. Love. Breathe in, and let it go.

And everything else aside, but it always amazed me how people who were less than worthy sat on high horses and judged everyone else. Nasreen and her sister appeared to be the perfect Muslim girls, but the reality was far from that and not many knew it.

I didn’t want to get into an argument right then so I let the comment slide. I did suppose that rumours were doing its rounds in the family…. Everyone had their own theories.

Luckily today, I actually had a good excuse for not going in, and for extra effect, I planned on convincing Mohsina to join me at my uncles house later on so everyone will see just how amazingly well my sister was really coping.

All she had to do was turn up at home first. On time.

And yes, Mohsina had promised to be home by lunch time that day and the afternoon rush at the coffee shop but I already knew that she was going to be late. It was a given with my sister.

It was a weekend so I didn’t understand what the delay was, but I knew that since scoring that position at Hammond’s, it seemed like her popularity was soaring limitlessly. Every time I asked her what her deal was; she always had some commitment, feature or something of that sort. Technically, Mohsina was the backbone of an entire division and being a Muslim female there was obviously a huge amount of scrutiny and pressure for her to perform at top level. Of course, her work had to be impeccable… but the question I couldn’t help but ask was: at what cost was it all coming?

I glanced outside as I stood at the doorway, seeing Layyanah’s Hyundai making it’s way up our plot as she skilfully parked alongside the driveway. I smiled as she emerged from the car, her tummy almost the size of a beach ball now, as she hobbled along the footpath.

“Assalamualaikum,” I called, grinning at her slightly clumsy movements. “You’re looking so cute. You need a hand?”

Even though she was wearing an abaya, she was looking like a super sweet pregnant lady as she made her way towards me.

She had a container of something she was carrying, and since Layyanah was now a frequent here, she was almost like another member of the family.

Also, it had just been a few months… but with the start off the new year, our coffee shop and garden had quickly become a regular destination for many around the province. We didn’t expect it, but since Mohsina was doing the page for our Garden Getaway page and the coverage she gave it was quite extensive, the coffee shop and chill spot was really exceeding expectation. It was really one of the more popular coffee shops that offered Halaal entertainment, outdoor seating as well as full catering that Mummy had trained people to help her with, and Papa was really beginning to enjoy managing this new project.

I hated to say I told them so, and of course it was great news, but we needed extra help. That’s when Mohsina suggested we ask Layyanah to assist, because she was nearby and had lots of experience in administration and operations when she was at Hammond’s.

”I think I’m okay,” she said with a slight huff, but I knew Layyanah. She was getting knackered really fast and it was a warm day today. “It’s just an effort to keep moving at times.”

She grinned at me as she waddled forward. She was honestly looking quite huge, but the fact that she wasn’t one of those gracefully pregnant women made her really self conscious.

“You look like you are ready to pop!” I said with delight as I reached her, going forward to help her with her bag. She balanced the Tupperware on her tummy as we walked through the front door.

”Mohsina here yet?” She asked, her eyes looking bright as she said it. Mohsina’s visit today was an event that was rare and she made certain she wouldn’t miss. It had been almost a month since she had come.

“Not yet,” I continued as I watched her, hoping that Mohsina wasn’t going to make us wait too long. “You okay?”

She was shifting uncomfortably as I watched her trudging forward.

Having a highly pregnant woman in my midst got me a bit anxious. She nodded convincingly and I relaxed slightly.

“Mohsina is apparently going crazy, shopping for the cutest outfits ever,” I said, her huffing away as she made her way down the passage. “Do you need anything else for the baby, by the way?”

Liyaket didn’t want the whole occasion thing before the baby arrived and preferred to have it after, so we had shelved the idea for later that month and put some money together to buy Layyanah some cute baby attire. After all, she just had 3 weeks to go before the baby was due.

“All I want right now is to get this baby out!” she moaned emphatically, clearly exhausted. “The only person who is more tired than I am is Liy, shame, man… He is honestly my ease through the most difficult pregnancy, Alhumdulillah. I’m soo grateful…”

I smiled. The two of them were so in love and it was just so cute.

”You left him at home?” I asked casually as we walked into the kitchen.

She shook her head as she placed the container down.

“He took his mother for her meds and  a new script,” she said easily, collapsing on the two-seater couch as I put the kettle on for coffee. “The hospital she used to go to from them days is an hour away. He told her to go to the private one here, but she’s so stubborn, shame. These old people, neh? She says she doesn’t want him to waste money on her, especially since his family will be growing… she says he’ll need to save it all.”

That was really considerate. But the government hospitals were no joke.

“The least he could do is drive her there,” she continued. “He said he’ll try and convince her for next time. She used to take the bus and it took her the whole day in the past. Shame, she’s really in a lot of pain.”

I smiled sympathetically, remembering her mentioning  that his mother had chronic back pain as well as diabetes, and also touched by how much of love she had for her son. It was like one of those stories you heard in folk tales. Only more soppy.

”He’s a good son, Layy,” I said quietly. “Are your parents excited about the baby?”

Layyanah’s eyes narrowed.

“Didn’t Mohsina tell you?” She said, her expression instantly changing to one of upset. “My parents don’t want to have anything to do with my child because of its surname. My father is still hung up on the shallow guy who he missed out a major business opportunity with.. the one I was supposed to marry, because of all the money that he would have made out of that partnership. It’s all about money, money and more money for him.

People from my circles are highly superficial.”

It was really sad, what Layyanah was saying. I had no idea that people still behaved like Bollywood antagonists in this day and age. It was a brutal lesson about wealth and status… and how greed and the need for more and more consumed people. What happened to blood being thicker than water? What happened to love triumphs all? 

I sighed and looked at my watch, realizing that Mohsina was already late and she hadn’t even called. The words Layyanah had said still rung in my ears.

People from my circles are highly superficial.

People from my circles too, I wanted to add, but I kept silent. Some things were better left unsaid.

She looked away, but I didn’t miss the escaped tear from her eye that she hastily brushed away.

My heart ached for my sisters friend, who seemed seemed so fragile right now.  Layyanah had really turned over a new leaf, so much so that she had become a really serious influence on me to be a better person too. I wasn’t even sure how she broke away from that kind of lifestyle she had grown up in. There were so many changes that her heart had undergone… changes that were so deep and obvious, changes that had transformed her and reformed her and most of all, changes that had brought about a beautiful character that I knew would eventually win even the most unassuming people over. At least, I hoped so.

Change was hard. It was harder when things happened  that were so irreversible that it was quite certain that nothing would be the same again.

There was a moment of silence as two of us sat around the kitchen table, sipping on our Cappucinos while we waited for my notoriously late sister to turn up. Sunlight was streaming into the kitchen and the morning glow should have cheered me up, but it just made me more grumpy that day.

Layyanah, who reeked positivity, barely noticed my annoyance as she stretched out her long legs, holding her breath for a while and then breathing out slowly, as if she was bracing herself for something. I wasn’t sure if she needed help with anything but she gently rubbed her tummy, and then looked slightly uncomfortable for a moment as she sat back and looked at me with a strange expression.

“I think I need to go to the bathroom,” she muttered, still slighly perplexed as she got up. “Again.”

She’d only already been 3 times, but she had just downed a whole cup of cappucino and I supposed with a little human pressing on her bladder, the constant trips were  kind of expected.

I smiled as I picked up the mugs that were on the tabel, feeling happy for Layyanah and trying to shove the thoughts about my sister and her alleged shenanigans out of my head.

I grabbed my phone and opened Instagram almost automatically, pausing for a minute as the first post from @mostlymohsina came up on my feed, and that’s when I saw red.

Now this is what really bugged me. It was a snap of my dear sister with two girl friends from work, striking a pose outside the latest trending ice-cream shop at Melrose Arch, dressed to the nines, just this morning. There were a few foodie snaps on her story and then one of her in a car, and it took me a minute or two to realize that it wasn’t her car that she was in.

Perhaps one of her friends? But a Porsche… a Porsche… who was it again that had a Porsche? I recalled her mentioning it once but the memory was clouded by my emotions.

Anger was brewing inside me as I realized that she had clearly shelved our brunch date for all of this, and I knew that this time when I saw her, this wouldn’t go unmentioned.

She was, undeniably, immersed in a world that we weren’t worthy of. She was constantly vying for attention of everyone else, and it confused me because there was nothing lacking in her life.

Maybe at one stage, things weren’t amazing, but now… she had everything. She was beautiful, she was successful and she was popular. Which was why I was so confused as to what she was getting at. All these posts and going out of her way to make a name for herself… wasn’t it only about arrogance and show? All this worldly pursuit, was it really all that it seemed? Wasn’t it a direct trade-off with your happiness, when you are persistent in disobeying Allah’s laws as you led your life..?

There is no obedience the creation if there is disobedience to the Creator…

A Hadith says:
“The heart of a Muslim whose object is the life Here- after does not care for the worldly pleasures, yet the world is brought to his feet; on the other hand, who- ever goes after the world, he is overpowered by mise- ries and calamities, yet he cannot receive more than his allotted portion.” (Fadhaail e Amaal)’

All this chasing… Was it not just an attention seeking play, vying for likes, pleasing people and looking for approval from creation… when in fact, our approval should only be sought from the Creator?

“Um, Jamz.”

I looked up to see Layyanah standing in front of me, a worried look on her face. I put my phone down instantly, the anger slightly dissolving.

“I think I need to go to the hospital,” she said quietly. “Like now.”

My eyes widened as I looked at her. Did that mean she wanted me to take her?

I wasn’t the most amazing driver but I could make my way around. I only wished that Mohsina could hurry up so she could  take over and do all the calming down and stuff. Layyanah was sounding like she was hyperventilating and I had no idea how to even start to make her chill.

She got up and I eyed her tummy, which was looking slightly lower now, and made me panic all the more.

“Whats happened?” I almost whispered. Somehow, I couldn’t find my voice.

“It’s my waters,” she said, sounding a little hysterical. “I think my waters broke.”

I let out a deep breath, that I wasn’t even aware that I was holding. Waters. Water. The water breaks, when the baby was ready to come. That was a normal thing, right?

Right. It wasn’t rocket science.

I picked up my phone as I grabbed Layyanah’s keys, knowing that I’d have to get her to the hospital as soon as I could. I was already dialling Mohsina’s number, now boiling with rage as I realised just how selfish she was. Her best friend was having a baby and she couldn’t even pick up her damn phone. This was just the lowest she had ever gone, well, in my eyes.

I was never going to let her hear the end of this.

This was going to be one helluva change, and I wasn’t even sure how we were going to make it through.

I wasn’t sure how I even got Layyanah to the hospital but as we pulled up, the call from Mohsina finally came. What on earth was she so busy doing that she couldn’t even answer my fifty million calls?

”Hey, I’m so sorry, I completely got caught up-“

“Don’t even try apologizing,” I snapped, picking up the phone as she called me back, almost 15 minutes later as I drove to the hospital parking lot. “Just get to the hospital right now. Liyaket isn’t in town and Layyanahs having the baby!”

“I’m on my way,” she said after a few seconds, sounding like she had gone into shock. “Tell Layyanah to hold on. Please. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

Tell Layyanah to hold on? Was she even for real?

She was really something else. I knew that this day would be one that I wouldn’t forget, but what I didn’t know was that the event that was happening… this whole change that was going to make their world an entirely different one to what they had known all along … this event that was going to bring about something nothing short of miraculous. Changes, huh?

Maybe… just maybe… some changes weren’t so bad after all…

Mission Sunnah Revival

Sunnah of good manners/Akhlaaq 


Rasulullah Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam said: ‘There is no gift that a father gives his child more virtuous than good manners.’ (Tirmidhi)

N.B. Some translators of Hadeeth have translated the Hadeeth as, ‘A father gives his child nothing better than a good Islamic education.’










FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah



Keeping Afloat

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 27

Everyone is healing from things they don’t speak about. Feelings can sometimes be something like drowning in a sea of hopelessness and despair, no matter how fast you try to swim, you’re still going under.

For some obscene reason, summer felt three hundred times hotter that year. I think most people felt like they were drowning in perspiration.

And when I look back, I remember it as the time of my life that I had spent in the midst of sweltering summer, in the depth of one of the greenest places I had ever set my eyes on… immersed in its intensity as I sometimes lay on the grass under trees on a summer’s day… listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky. That was summer life at its best, in the very centre of nature where I grew up and brought me back to my roots.

Maybe it was the climate of the farm… the region that was very different to where I’d become accustomed to, where it was humid and dense… or perhaps it was the openness of it all that kind of sucked everything out of you when you were there, that just made me all the more lethargic and open to critics…

”Can you stop moping about?” Rabia was saying as she entered the patio area, while I lay, iPod in my ears , listening to something Imraan had forwarded me half an hour ago. Every so often he would sent me these inspirational things that I didn’t bother listening to, but this one was actually doing me good.

I glared at my twin sister, annoyed at the disruption.

”Can you stop being such a nag?” I asked her, narrowing my eyes at her. She plopped herself on the couch while I glared at her.

”I can’t,” she said, pulling her phone out from her bag and laying back as she probably scrolled through her latest feed. “It’s in my DNA, because I take after you.”

She stuck her tongue out at me and I turned my face away.

I ignored her for a good few minutes while I listened to the clip.

The Aalim was talking about how everyone is tested in different ways, and if there weren’t the tested, it would make them complacent. For the believer, there is no calamity… because everything is an opportunity of gaining closeness to Allah and benefit…

I was just getting into it and beginning to understand the crux before I saw Rabia in my face once again.

”You not still hung up on Mohsina, are you?” She said, widening her eyes at me. She was definitely the devils accomplice today.

I sighed, turning the volume up as she took a seat nearer to me, determined not to be tuned out.

”Are you going to ask her for the chain back?” She pressed. “It’s close to 50 grand. You can’t let her just keep it.”

I didn’t even think about the chain. Of course, the fact that Rabia had told me about it when I bought it meant she had some kind of special attachment to it.

“She can keep it,” I muttered, annoyed she was bringing Mohsina up relentlessly. “It’s just a chain.”

Materialistic things held no weight in my eyes anymore. I’m sure Mohsina would probably sell it.

“There are plenty of fish in the sea,” she said loudly, as if she was oh-so-wise.

“There are absolutely no good guys around though,” she added quietly as a second thought, almost to herself. “Only Kachra.”

Kachra. What a word to use. Was I Kachra? Or was I not?

“Gee thanks,” I said, not really knowing if it was a compliment or not.

“It’s true,” she said, tapping on her phone again as she shrugged. “But I suppose you’re okay. You shouldn’t have a problem finding a nice girl, don’t worry. I mean. Men are even scouting for second wives with no problem… so finding one should be easy peezy.”

She clicked her fingers as I pulled my iPod plugs out my ears and glared at her again.

Rabia really needed to get a life or something. She was studying law through Unisa but it obviously wasn’t using enough of her brainpower. She still found the energy to annoy other people.

I glanced back to see my sister-in-law Saaliha in the vicinity and I had an inkling that my sister was just saying it to wind her up. Rabia did those unnecessary things sometimes. She was obviously a problem.

Imraan and his wife were literally just having this second wife discussion regarding her sister two days ago, when my mother was around, and of course I was part of the discussion by default because Maulana Aadil was the one who brought it up to me.

“Just do me a favour,” Imraan had said, looking a little worried as Maulana Aadil left the vicinity that day. “Please don’t mention what Aadil said to you. Don’t even give your opinion. My wife will go mad.”

I grinned. Women were another story altogether.

And I understood a little bit about my sister-in-laws temperament from the past, but I chuckled because Moulana Aadil cracked me up because he had some unusual ideas. About his wife finding him a new one. And about having two women living on one street, and some other unheard of ideas too. Not that it was haraam, what he was saying, no. I just wasn’t sure if he was serious or not. It just sounded a bit nuts.

“The second wife story?” I asked innocently, raising my eyebrows.

Imraan smiled.

”You really think he was serious about it?” I asked.

Imraan shrugged.

“From what I know, the minute the wife gives consent… the game is over,” he said, with a grin. “That guys not taking any second wife. It’s just all talk.”

I raised my eyebrows with a shake of head. I was qualified to give my opinions on that. As Liyaket had said in the past, we rather focus on the first one. I wasn’t quite sure how I would deal if it was times two.

”Each to their own,” I murmured, pulling out a smoke from my box and checking my pockets once again for my lighter, which I still couldn’t hold onto.

My cigarette intake was slightly elevated but it was a huge period of transition for me. There were many things that were happening at the time, that era of my life held both positives and negatives for me.

On the down side, how I remembered it was that I  forgotten myslef there for a few moments. How to deal. To heal. To break free from shackles of hurt and betrayal that seemed to consume me.

Obviously, thoughts of Mohsina were still apparent. She, on the other hand, was sucked in by her career and a fancy position and I still couldn’t fathom how she had made the choice that she did, after knowing how I felt. I still didn’t understand how she could be so selfish, and not even give a crap about her actions and their repercussions. She was a different person to who I thought she was and that was the part that I was struggling to accept.

But I was getting there. On the up side, I was down on my knees and in the perfect place to keep praying and seek the aid of my Lord. I just needed someone to help me remember, and being there was definitely the solution.

And like an answer to a silent prayer, it was just yesterday that I had met Maulana Umar at the town masjid, and I wasn’t sure how he did it, but that guy knew just the thing to say to remedy a close to hopeless situation.

And whether Imraan had told him something or whether that guy had divine inspiration, after chatting for precisely two minutes, he said exactly what I needed to hear.

The thing was, my life was such that ending off at Hammond’s hadn’t exactly been free flowing. Emotions were getting the better of me and I was just getting angry with everyone there. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, knowing that this place was the cause for so much of turmoil and upset.

To top it off, there was a break between the new position starting date and me finishing off with Hammond’s and the thought of all that extra time on my hands drowning in stupid thoughts was starting to eat away at me. Idle minds they say, yeah, were definitely a problem to have.

I shook Maulanas hand as I saw him recognise me through a crowd of people that were usually always around him. Being singled out as I saw him meet my eye and gesture for me made me feel like a celebrity.

He grasped my hands firmly, Sunnah style, as I went up to him, seeing him purposely try to move away from the crowds. Because he was always away, when Molvi was around, it was always an event.

“You doing okay?” He asked quietly.

I nodded. I wasn’t, but what else did I say?

“I’m coming to see your bro tomorrow,”  he said. “And you too. In the interim… keep yourself busy,”

He was looking at me almost as if he could read me. Busy? How, exactly.

“And not just busy. Keep yourself afloat. Only with tasbeeh, you’ll keep your head above the water. Keep swimming, bru.. and nothing will get you down.”

His broad shoulders were resting against the wall as he spoke, and I wondered about this guy… about everything he’d endured… back when I was just a kid and Imraan would tell me the stories of his travels almost like they were fairytales.

He had this fierce passion that was almost contagious. I could see from his eyes that he wasn’t just saying what he was saying. He was hoping it would save me.

And I didn’t get what he was saying then. But his words had inspired me. Firstly, to get back to my passion, and I knew what was on my agenda the next morning as my body itched to hit the open waters once again. It was long overdue.

And it was just as well that Liyaket was away in the province on a short break with his wife and the boutique hotel wasn’t far from the beach I had chosen to drive to that day, so the company was welcomed when he joined me at the shore that day, ready to take on the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

It had been over two years years since I’d taken off time to come here again because I knew what the nothingness did for me. Out in the open waters. Free to get immersed in the silence. Succumbing to the current. Being submerged like never before.

The possibility of forever staring at us, as I gazed out to a horizon that seemed to never end.

“This is the life, huh,” Liyaket said as we pulled in again, closer to the shore. He had a comical look on his face as he grinned at me.  He was looking the most rested and serene than I had seen in months, and it was great to see him like this.

“It is,” I said, grinning back, glad that the beach fever caught him too.

He was like a little child beginning a new adventure and of course, I couldn’t be happier for my friend. I could barely believe he was going to be a father. This guy that I knew since grade school was going to have his own little person and it was quite an event.

And only as we lay there, our backs to the ocean current, gazing into to deep blue seas, did it hit me what Molvi was saying just the day before.

Because there was no other word to describes how i felt, or what amazement lay there, beyond the shorelines.


And from the same root word of Saa Baa Haa, how amazing is this: In the Arabic language, the root word saa baa baa, means to swim.

Yeah, you heard right- to swim. And when I really thought about this analogy … tasbeeh… which also has the root of Saa baa Haa… well, what other solution was there other than to swim even when you felt like drowning ?

The thing was, the action of floating and being quick and swift in the water had a sublime resemblance to the remembrance of Allah. Just like how you need to keep moving and keep swimming to stay afloat, with tasbeeh, it’s the need of the hour that we keep on using it to keep our Imaan afloat. In this race of life where we feel like we are drowning in Duniyaa, the dhikr of Allah is the only solution for one to keep our heads above the water.

Tasbeeh is comprised of two words: Subhan and Allah:

سبحان الله

The word ‘tasbeeh’ means the act of saying SubhaanAllah… just as tahmeed means the act of saying Alhumdulillah.

And then there was what we say in ruku and sajdah…  out of humility.. reminding ourselves how small we are, and we acknowledge Allah’s Purity and that He is the Rabb.  Subhaanak... Not only does it testify to the perfection and glory of Allah, but it also gives us insight into the speech of the dwellers of Jannah.

SubhaanAllah… and it was the perfect remedy to keep you afloat, when you felt like you were going to drown in the worries of this world.

And the thought was so soothing and comforting as we stepped back onto the sand… the thought of keeping my head above the water being my saviour… when Liyaket reminded me about the last time I had been at a beach.

I had forgotten for a moment that the last time i had seen open seas was on the work trip with Hammonds just a few months ago. It seemed like years ago. So much had happened since then.

But now, it felt so good to finally be where I loved to be. In the warm waters of the ocean, where I could lose myself and float away with just a surf board as company, there was little else that could beat the feeling.

Liyaket and I sat on the edge of the shore, just talking about life, work and things in general.

Since he had found out he was going to be a father, I almost couldn’t believe the change I was seeing in him. Every time was like it was a new guy I was meeting and it was all good changes. He had really taken the most amazing leap and the contentment that it gave him was unmatched.

I felt for my lighter in my jacket pocket, but to no avail.. Maybe I had to give up smoking. I pulled open my car door as Liyaket jumped in, and found my lighter in the middle compartment. I instantly lit up my cigarette, breathing in deeply as I opened the window and reversed out the parking.

“So how you doing?” Liyaket asked, glancing at me as we sat down and simultaneously started the car. “Are we still not talking about…”

He cleared his throat loudly, looking at me.

“Ahem?” I asked, as he cracked a smile.

I shrugged as he widened his eyes emphatically. He didn’t want to say it but I knew that he wanted to know if if changed my mind.

After we had a huge argument about why I called it off, it was the first time he had mentioned the whole break off and it was kind of overdue. He still felt that I should talk to Mohsina and try and work it out. Try and get her to change her mind.

The thing was, more than anyone, I knew what Mohsina was like when anyone stood in her way to what she wanted. I wasn’t going to do any chasing or fighting. Why should I have to change her mind? Besides what happened between us that I immensely regretted, I had worked with her for a year before that. She was extremely focused and kept very much to herslef … but I could tell from day one that her career and social media pages were paramount in her life, and no-one could change it. I supposed that’s why Imraan had advised me to talk to her about her career plans when we got proposed. The whole independence buzz women had these days was purely destructive and now I knew better.

Also, I was doing better too.

“I’m good,” I said quietly, and I really meant it. It was about time I stopped moping around. “That ship’s sailed, dude.”

”Really?” he said, glancing at me sideways. “Just one thing, before the ship docks…”

I rolled my eyes at his attempted humour.

He flashed a brief smile and then his profile was serious as he paused for a moment, looking almost like he was rethinking his next question.

“You don’t think Mohsina may have had a really good reason to take that position?”

I looked ahead, my grip tightening on the steering wheel once again.

“It’s just damn greed, if you ask me,” I said stubbornly. “Money is important to her. I just didn’t know it would come above everything else in her life. I thought she was different… but apparently not.”

It didn’t matter how much I would be earning for us. She wanted to prove herself. She wanted to make her own name and she got it. Mohsina had proven, time and time again, that no-one can stand in the way of what she wanted.

I wondered if she knew that I had been offered the same position and declined it. That I knew exactly how much of money she was getting out of it and it disgusted me.

After all, I said no because I wasn’t desperate for all that recognition at Hammond’s. No one does that to themselves unless they’re in it for the big bucks, and that’s what Liyaket didn’t believe about her. Neither did I- but now I knew that she was after the promotion, and good for her- she got it.

To top it off, Layyanah and Mohsina were close too, which meant that I got to know more than I needed to at times. Faadil had offered her an apartment in his building and the thought of what would happen if she accepted was making me crazy.

And though Liyaket was my friend for years, I didn’t expect him to choose sides. I was upset and angry and hurt, but it wasn’t fair to make him feel that way too. I just had to swallow my emotions and get on with it.

If Faadil had offered her a flat, who knows what else she was getting out of it. The thought made me sick to my stomach.

I took another pull off my cigarette before sliding into the fast lane, picking up speed as I tried to push lewd thoughts out of my mind. The entire thing… the money… the incentive… the drive that we all possessed as we tried to make it to the top in this corporate battlefield, was making me rethink my life on a whole. It was making me wonder if maybe I had gotten everything wrong from the start. If maybe all this was a sign  that something in my life too, had to change.

Today though, I was feeling a little better. Things were looking a bit brighter. One chapter of my life was over and I had a feeling that maybe the next one was going to be a little more promising.

I breathed in deeply and then exhaled as the smoke escaped my lips, feeling that familiar ache in my gut as I remembered the betrayal and brokenness that had been a part of me the past few weeks. It wasn’t about a girl. It wasn’t just the fact that Mohsina had chosen something so superficial above me. It was the fact that when I saw her, there was no escaping the fact that she was slipping away, and there was no way that I could reach her.

The familiar pain quickly subsided as Liyaket and I chatted, changing the subject as we spoke about his work and the baby and how he planned to adjust to his nee lif. He was ecstatic. It was strange to imagine my old friend as a father but I knew he would be good at it. Strangely enough, all this talk was making me excited too. I actually couldn’t wait to meet the little guy that Liyaket and I were convinced was going to be a part of our own guy squad. He could join us on our beach trips, fishing adventures and just cool off with us when we feel like being chilled. There were just like 4 months left and I was feeling like it was a new chapter of my life too.

In the interim, even though just the previous day I had felt like I had nothing going for me. By keeping myself afloat, I had renewed my hope in myself and my faith in Allah.  there was so much out there that there was to look forward to. People who cared about me. Exciting things to come. Moments to live for. And what I didn’t know yet- a whole new adventure that I could escape to whilst I was waiting to start my new job.

I dropped him back at the place he was staying, heading off back to the farm for lunch.

Imraan had confirmed with me that Maulana Umar was coming over that day and I was actually quite looking forward to some enlightening from him.

“You’re looking good today,” my brother said to me, after I had a shower and went down to them by the pool. “I think Liyaket and Molvi should come around more often.”

“When don’t I look good?” I said, grinning at him as he smiled.

Maulana Umar smiled as he shook my hand, Sunnah style, but said nothing.

I reached for the plate of savouries Saaliha had sent outside with my nephew, ruffling his hair playfully for the first time in what seemed like days.

I was honestly ravenous after the two hour swim, and Uthman silently sidled up to me to munch next to me, as we connected silently. He was nearly eight and he was obviously the spoilt nephew who was everyone’s favourite, but also one of my favourite people to have conversations with. He sat there with a grin on his face, probably grateful that I was looking like my usual old self, putting in his two cents here and there before he scampered back to where the ladies were.

“So how’s about taking some time out for something useful?” Molvi said, looking at Imraan. “It’s been a while since you came in one of our trips, bru, and your brother needs to learn the ropes.”

I looked at them with interest. I was keen to see this other side of life… the part my brother knew so well.

“I’d love to join but I’m still settling in here,” Imraan said, looking remorseful. “Next time, I promise. Now that I’m close by, you know you’ll be seeing more of me. As for Hamzah, as long as you bring my brother back, boss… he’s yours.”

Maulana Umar gave a knowing smirk but didn’t say anything. I looked from Molvi to Imraan, trying to figure out what exactly they were talking about.

“So where are we going?” I asked, really curious about this trip that he was talking about. I mean, after all, I had all this extra time on my hands and what was that Hadith again?

Spending some time in the morning or evening in path of Allah is better than the world and whatever it contains…”

(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 2792 and Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 1880)

The world and all it contains, yeah?

Maybe it was just the thing needed to keep me afloat.

”No need for details,” he said evasively. “I promise it’s going to be well worth your time. Just go home, pack your bags, be back here on Sunday we’ll be all psyched to take you on the trip of your lifetime …”

Revive the Sunnah of being Active 

Especially in this day and age when there are so many Haraam recreational options available for entertainment, it’s crucial that we try and adopt a clean environment or even a hobby that’s beneficial and Halaal.

On Swimming

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Any action which is void of the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala is futile (lahw) except for four actions.

a) Walking between two targets, ie. practicing with a bow an arrow/spear

b) Training one’s horse

c) Playing with one’s wife

d) Learning how to swim

(Sunan Nasai, Hadith: 8940 and Tabarani, Hadith: 1785)









FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

The Last Time

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 26

The other day I read something that said:

There was a last time you played outside as a kid and you had no idea that it was the last time you did.”

And I know it’s just a fleeting thought that may have crossed a random someone’s mind at some random time, but it hit pretty hard for me. Because, well, the truth is- we never do know when the last time is the last time, do we?

And other emotions aside, but my just heart kind of sunk as I thought about all the last times that may have happened without me even knowing it. The last time you ‘played’ at a friends house or the last time you ever spoke to someone special… the last time you sat on your father’s lap or in his house or the last time you all enjoyed a meal with only your siblings before you moved on to another chapter of your life…

Life is a series of moments… a series of ‘last times’. A series of events that are strung together, a combination of last times that sometimes leave an aching feeling in our gut till long after.. even though you don’t always see it at the time.

And every so often in life, it happens that we see things for what they truly are. A pious man once called this world our ‘Earthly Existence’. And it was so true, because sometimes we forget that this part of our being is not the temporary one. We forget that there’s a world that’s bigger… that’s greater, that’s purer… that’s more real and millions of times more beautiful than this one. That doesn’t have any lasts or goodbyes, because all it is is a collection of eternity that knows no bounds.

Sometimes we are tested so we can see this, and sometimes when we are tested we forget this.

And it was the day before I was set to leave home, as I sat with my common and repossessed addictions , when I was sucked into it like never before.

I was all stuck in this rut of devilish screen time and feeling sorry for myself, feeling as if everyone was moving on with their life and almost as if no-one cared that I wouldn’t be here anymore when my fathers voice boomed from just outside my room door.


True echo of my fathers voice in the hallway of the second floor of our house was enough to make me literally freeze, tap the pause button and slide off my Queen-sized bed.

And it was about time. Jameela and my mother had made several attempts, with no luck. I supposed it was only expected that my father would have been the next and last resort.

“Mohsina,” his voice sounded again, but it was gentler this time.

Almost like he remembered that he had to be sensitive. That I was leaving tomorrow and I wouldn’t be here anymore. That I had endured a few great ordeals recently and desperately needed some TLC.

Almost as if he was trying to coax me out of the gutter that I was lying in.

I swung the door open haphazardly, and then quickly grabbed the towel from behind my door.


I had forgotten that I was wearing a t-shirt and shorty-shorts and if I didn’t cover myself in record time my father would have another heart attack.

And okay, I hear you. It was my father but Nani was always on my back about my dressing and even in the house I knew that it was only out of a little bit of shame and respect that I should dress decently in front of him and my brother. The fact was, spiritually, I was on a low, and my outward self was taking the battering.

Over the years I had come to realised that my level of Imaan and my modesty went hand in hand.

The thing is, Hayaa is a protection of Imaan. If one goes, the other will also be lost.

And when you do good deeds, they were a magnet for good deeds, but it was like-wise with bad deeds. When I found myself getting involved in questionable and off- track things, my mind overpowered my reasoning and sunk lower and lower…

Papa shook his head at me, his look of disdain fading as he ran his hand through his grey beard and tried to offer a small smile.

“Put on your cloak and come down,” he said, pleading with me through his eyes. “Everyone is asking for you.”

I sighed.

I so did not want to go downstairs right then. Besides Nani and some other family members making an appearance this evening, I felt like killing time, enjoying my room which would soon become office space for Papa and Jameela with their new venture… and just being by myself for now.

And okay, I admit it, Nani and I weren’t exactly on speaking terms right then. She conveniently turned her face away when I entered the room the other day. If she didn’t ignore me completely, she openly insulted me. She spoke around me, about me, almost as if I wasn’t even there.

Her eyes would follow me around the kitchen as I tried to make myself a cup of coffee to take back up to my room.

Bengori,” she told my mother that day, almost in a whisper. As if I couldn’t hear. “What you think if I get a taweez? It’s two times now, beti. How can happen two times? Everything going upside down here. I can ask Khairoon – her son is a Maulana, he’ll give something for Mohsina. Must be someone put too much eyes, that’s why her life is like this!”

I rolled my eyes. She was digging up old dust and although it stung, I closed my eyes momentarily, trying to forget once again, what happened had in the past.

She was referring to two years back, a Samoosa run proposal hadn’t exactly gone according to plan. What she refused to accept was that it was hardly my fault, and that it was largely due to her favourite granddaughter spreading stupid rumours about me and no one listening to me until the damage was all done. Of course, this was the reason there was a huge fall-out, and why my cousin and I didn’t get along.

The break-off was for the best, though, in retrospect. The guy was a spineless idiot who cared too much about his parents opinions about unimportant aspects. Everything, from the furniture of our house to the color of my wedding dress had to go through them. People who don’t have a back bone are hardly my type of people. I wasn’t exactly craving an oppressive relationship.

Obviously I was upset at the time…. But those were the unmentionable things that we didn’t mention. Maybe it was time that I set the record straight….

I opened my mouth and shut it again as she continued.

“Such good proposals,” she continued sadly in guji, her voice sounding strained as she sighed and I poured my coffee silently. “There must be a reason why this is happening to me. How will she ever get married now.. any other boy will think something is wrong with us..”

I widened my eyes and opened my mouth, ready to explode.

How can she make this about her? This was my life. My marriage. I was the one enduring all the hurt and criticism and she was still blaming it on me.


Ans I was about to say it but it just took one look from my mother for me to keep my mouth shut and swallow all the words on the tip of my tongue. Talking about the past would open up a can of worms. Nani was upset, and so was I. I knew my parents were hurting and disappointed too, but they hid their hurt because they didn’t want to rub it in my face. They silently put on a smile and loved me no matter what… when all I was doing now was letting myself slip further and further into a gloomy hole.

”Mummy,” said Ma calmly. “I heard the other day that the one of the most effective things to read for nazr.. for protection from peopel is usually Quls and last two verses of Surah Qalam.”

Protection duaas, of course, were the greatest  preventative.

And I knew the evil eye was real.

The hadeeth clearly states: “The evil eye (nazar) is a reality.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #5740)

Nani though, usually took it to another level. Everything was Nazr.

I stirred my coffee without a single word. Sometimes it was just life. We went through hard tests and times. Stuff happened. We had to learn to heal, to reach out, and to ask Allah for help during those times of trial…

What I was doing about it though… I wasn’t sure.

Nani was saying something about turning salt, md I really wasn’t keen on trying those out-dated and dodgy methods.

“Listen, please, Ma,” my mother continued. “Please don’t go and ask aunty Khairoon because she will tell her whole family and everyone else and it’s not nice. We read manzil. Every day. I’m sure Mohsina is doing her morning and evening duaas and reading everything she can. Right, Mosee?”

She looked at me and I nodded back guiltily.

I feel like I’d been targeted and exposed.

Ah yes. I was taking the tea when it comes to complacency. Thinking I was too good before Thai. Too religious. I wanted to be better but lately, I’d been sucked into distractions.

You see, it took me some time but I realised very fast that forgetting someone is not as easy as double tapping and unliking an Instagram post. It was far more tedious and it wasn’t exactly my favourite thing to do.

In an effort to shove the past behind me and get on with it, social media had become my refuge once again. Netflix was my new and old go-to and with my favourites streaming once again during the festive period, I couldn’t help but resist the temptation.

Sometimes in life it happens that we forget what our purpose is. When we are a little good, we become complacent. We think that we are beyond sin. That we won’t fall into a trap.

In that spirit of festivity, when everyone around is having a good time, our purpose becomes one and the same. When we are overwhelmed with emotion, down in the gutter or feeling a little out of sorts… we are no longer the slaves of our Creator.

I felt hurt. Deserted. Abandoned, even when I knew that Allah will never abandon me… I was refusing to step up. Instead of relying on my Creator, I relied on everyone else to prove my self-worth.

Layyanah too, after her coaxing and comforting the past two weeks, had gone away on a baby-moon while Liyaket was on leave and left me to my own devices. Like, literal devices of delusion, that I couldn’t stop with.

And from one movie watched in that spirit of craziness, I ended up getting hooked on three different series.

And that’s the thing with these subscriptions, isn’t it. One movie isn’t enough. It’s not enough to get the required ideology across… to infiltrate the warped concepts and ideas… to really immerse someone in the message they are trying to put across. It’s not called ‘series’ for nothing. Over a continuous dose of addictive episodes, your mindset becomes contaminated with the thoughts you probably never knew existed.

Besides, drowning myself in mindless series with their subliminal messages was also the best way to escape Nani’s prying eyes and escape into another world.

It didn’t help that everyone else was busy too and barely enjoying the holiday time. On the home front, Jameela was busy with her big renovation of the front building and Papa was in the process of handing the shop over to someone else. Ma was busy doing what she can to keep the peace and Nani was, as usual, eyeing me out with a look of disappointment every time she saw me.

And though home it was my refuge at times, my mind was screaming for a relief.

And so my escape was first the office, where everyone was in high spirits at the end of the year.  Going through the motions. Winding down. Cooling off. I mean, it’s not called the silly season for no reason. People really do get pretty crazy and at the end of year when there were usually an array of parties and occasions that were hosted by work, it meant that I couldn’t simply escape it all.

And maybe I wasn’t doing the things that people usually do, but in my own way, I was resorting to my own kind of silliness.

Yes, my family was supporting me silently, but it wasn’t good enough for me. All I saw was Nani’s battering and the stigma that was getting attached to me, I saw people’s judgements and dreaded meeting family. When it came down to it, something was telling me that a new and fresh start would be just the thing to set everything right.

So when Faadil mentioned in passing that the package I had scored came with an apartment or a rental allowance, I jumped at the opportunity to see the apartment. The company already had a few that they owned.

When things broke off with Hamzah, I had a feeling that something may have been circulating that general office people had gotten wind of, but didn’t mention it to me.

I wasn’t sure what it was and who said what… but the package that was promised came ahead of time. It was almost like a reward.

There were added benefits on my contract that weren’t mentioned before and better perks. I couldn’t believe how good it was all looking on paper. The apartment, obviously, was the welcomed bonus. It was a stunning penthouse in the heart of Johannesburg which was a mere 5 minutes walk from the offices. It would save me the trouble of morning traffic and also mean that I could sleep in till a seemingly ridiculous hour for a work day.

That was the life, I told myself, the day I went to see the apartment, floored by its spacious living area and master bedroom. This is what I’ve worked so hard for.

It was all about me. About what I wanted. About what I could do to help myself. I mean, I had been through enough, shouldn’t I have something to appease myself at least?

And due to that, the decision came without much thought. Time was racing by and it was finally the week when I would get occupancy. It was the week when old contracts were ended and new ones began. It was a start of a new chapter for many people at Hammonds too.

What I was trying to forget was that this was the week that Hamzah would leave permanently and the week that our Nikah was scheduled to be. I buried the thoughts under the haze in my mind, trying to forget it completely.

Lesley had come in early those few days while we tried to work out the year end tasks. Mickey and the rest were busy trying to be busy with nothing in particular.  Hamzah was absent for a good portion of those last few weeks. From what I heard from Layy, because I barely saw him, was that he took intermittent leave in those few weeks purposely, on account of everything that had happened and some huge change in his life. I didn’t ask what it was. My life was perfectly fine knowing nothing more about him.

He had also probably found a new route to the roof smoke breaks so I barely even saw him on our floor anymore. If I was feeling it, I didn’t show it. I had become pretty good at masking my emotions.

And with all that, I was all psyched up that day as I grabbed the keys from the envelope Faadil had sent to my desk earlier that day. The new bunch looked all shiny and fancy, with a special disk to enter the building from the parking lot.

My heart was all racy with trepidation as I grabbed my new Micheal Kors work bag to sling over my shoulder, making sure that I had all my work essentials in there for the weekend. It was no use being in my new place if I didn’t make full use of the space.

“Hey babe,” Lesley called, as she saw me heading out. “All the best for the big move.”

She was styling in a pants suit today and I couldn’t believe how it suited her. The change in her, since she started dating the Muslim guy from HR was absolutely shocking. I had an idea that she was considering taking it to the next step with him but that was a different story altogether. I wasn’t in the space to advise her, because I was so off-track myself.

Before Nikah I would assume she had said  that she was wanting to revert, and though I was so happy for her and what this had brought… I couldn’t help that feeling that made me feel like she was ten steps ahead of me and I was still lagging behind.

I chatted to her for a few minutes about weekend plans, and though she was all excited for my new place, she had her own plans and I felt myself playing up the whole thing a little too much. She had also got a pretty good position at a firm close by. I was actually so good at pretending nowadays that I found myself faking smiles and laughter even unconsciously. And as I grabbed my phone from the front compartment of my bag, opening Instagram to check out the latest posts on my feed, the lift pinged open and I automatically walked in, not even processing if anyone was in there.

It took me a few seconds before I looked up, wanting to greet and make eye contact with the elevator acquaintance but already feeling a coldness from behind me as I turned to see who was here.

And that’s when I saw him.

It was Hamzah stood there, his eyes fixed ahead, almost as if he was completely immune to my very presence. His expression was unreadable and his mere being was reeking with aloofness, obviously stemmed by me being less than a metre away from him.

I swallowed hard as glimpsed his familiar jawline, set now in a steady but grim fashion as his eyes narrowed ever so slightly, before I looked away. I couldn’t quite digest the feelings that were hitting me at that point.

Seeing him like this was as painful as ripping my heart right out of my chest. He seemed like a different person. He acted like someone I had never met before. As for his appearance, his face now sported a fully grown beard and his demeanor was entirely transformed.

I stood silently, with my gaze now averted, knowing truly well that he didn’t offer even a single glance my way before the lift door pinged open again and he waited silently, as always, for me to step out, before he did so himself.

And as I did, it was only a few seconds, it felt like old times, and my heart was overpowering my mind.

It was stupid but I couldn’t help it. Like a magnet was drawing me to the spot, almost as if I couldn’t move on until something pushed me away, a fierce wind of emotion overpowered me as I stood there for a brief moment, merely waiting.

I waited for something. Anything. A glance of acknowledgment.  A word of greeting. A murmur of familiarity.

Even a sigh of irritation would have been welcomed right then.

But all I got was the silence of the empty entrance hall as he walked away, two work bags and a backpack on him, with not so much as even a single glance backward.

It was the last time I would see him leaving, and I felt like my heart was crushing within my chest, as I realised the full extent of what was happening here and how everything was just leaping further and further away from me, as I struggled to come to grips with it all.

Because what were are.. what we were… was only a moment. A wrong moment, every time. A moment stolen, that probably wasn’t even ours. A moment where we forgot everything else but what our Nafs wanted for that time. A moment where life, death, wealth and reality intervened, where disastrous choices had to be made and everything was destined to come crashing down.

A moment where I had lost myself, but had come back… only to lose myself once again as I struggled to cling onto that very wrong moment. And now, a last moment of realisation, where I could have used to change my path, to turn back the page, to come clean and erase the past few months and just start all over again if I wished.

But I didn’t. I couldn’t take back what I’d done and there was no way I could ever explain.

This was it… like two threads hanging in the open, until a gust of wind brought them together again as they approached, but no-one would see if they could meet or intertwine once again.. whether the wrong moments could be righted, whether the darkness of sin could be purified, or if wisps of time could have perhaps gifted us with the knowledge that this wasn’t really goodbye…

That forever moment, the last time I glimpsed his back in the steely entrance hall of Hammonds’ office block would be the last time we didn’t say goodbye.

Dear Readers,

Sorry for the heartbreak.

Really appreciate the feedback, it really helped me to see so many sides of the issue of polygyny… different perspectives, as well as challenges many face. The second wife controversy continues and we’ll get to it soon.
(Seems the ladies may really like to see Fareeha get into it, as that may be another story altogether…hehe)💕💕

Just something to note for Nazar: (from Path to Paradise Kitaab via Uswatul Muslimah) 

The last two verses of Surah Qalam are very effective in removing nazar. They should be recited eleven times and blown on water, which the patient should drink. The water could also be sprinkled on his face and head, or used for bathing. Alternatively, the verses could be merely recited and blown on the patient.

Should be combined with Surah Humazah, Surah Falaq and Surah Naas three times each, preceded and followed by durood shareef three times. It could then be used in the above mentioned manner.


Revive the Sunnah of being Active 

Especially in this day and age when there are so many Haraam recreational options available for entertainment, it’s crucial that we try and adopt a clean environment or even a hobby that’s beneficial and Halaal.

In one of the Hadiths, Abu Hurairah mentioned that The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessing be upon him) said that:” A strong believer is better and dearer to Allah than a weak one, and both are good.”

This particular Hadith outlines the importance of being healthy and strong physically, which shows that exercises and keeping fit are important for Muslims. In a world where everything is one click away, people are no longer willing to do any effort to stay in good health physically or eat well. Let’s try and revive the Sunnah of being active, through running, swimming or exercise.








FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

When Doors Open

Bismihi Ta’ala


Part 25

A whole new world can open up when we see things in a different way… when instead of looking at the doors that close; we see ones that open.

There’s a saying that goes, ‘Men have sight… women have insight.’

And if you think about it, it really rings so true. It’s just the little things that we do or notice that sometimes makes the world of difference…

And I’m no food connoisseur but I can tell you that when a women loves something, she gives it her all. A woman is someone who often puts her heart and soul into anything she adores. And if there’s something that I’ve come to love, cooking had become my refuge at times when I most needed it.

The thing was, as a teenager, I’d always been particularly sporty. An athlete, I supposed people would say. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I’d become addicted to a stove but when cooking became a passion, I sort of channeled some of that energy into my new ‘sport’.

I mean, who said cooking can’t be a sport? And though I sometimes hit the treadmill and did a work out or two with lunges and a cardio-inducing routine, my constant that would calm me down; help me to think… clear my mind… was to stir and cook up a storm.

And when it came to cooking, as much as I enjoyed my traditional rice dishes… as many of us do (especially lamb Briyani on Friday afternoons), it’s common knowledge that as women.. Indian women… no-one just makes a pot of Briyani and leaves it at that.

Simply put, Briyani is not Briyani if there’s no extra mile that includes the sour milk with greens, or the mango pickle or even the sambles, which we often call katchumar (don’t even ask where that word originated from because I have no idea).

Sometimes sojee (sweet semolina dish with butter) is the starter or the dessert.. and of course, there’s always the possibility of vermicilli or some other sweet dish instead.

And that’s basically the standard menu after the Jumuah prayer but the point isn’t that.

Honestly, there’s no end to how extensive the meal could get… but the point I’m trying to make here is not really about Indian cuisine.

The point is that we, as women… we go all out. We put everything into that meal, when we want to impress. Whether it’s our families or husband, everything has to be perfect. Complete. We will go the extra mile, put our heart and souls into something that could have been seemingly simple… because we want that little bit of recognition. We appreciate the appreciation. We thrive on that little bit of hope that our efforts will be understood… and that smile… or that ‘thank you’… or even the mere knowledge that the food has met expectations… well, that’s enough, right?

And when he says it… when he makes that eye contact and tells us that our food has made the cut… well, that elation we feel at the compliment… it’s simply gratifying. Our heart and soul has been satisfied.. our efforts have paid off.

But somehow, I wasn’t sure if I was getting it all right. All that effort, and the extra time we take… as well as the toil involved…

Have we ever stopped to only imagine what the situation would be like, if we put our heart and soul into pleasing our Rabb? If, with every breath of His name we take, we give our all? If with every Salaah, we really prayed like it was our last? If we held back nothing when it came to our Ibaadat… giving it our every inch of ourselves in the process?

Because in everything else we do that, why can’t we put our focus into doing it for the one who created our heart and soul?

And it’s not only about food. Sometimes we invest in a career. A relationship. A pass-time that doesn’t give us  benefit. And because we put our heart and soul into the lesser things, often times, the investment backfires on us..

When then we end up focusing on the wrong things, and we are let down. Sometimes we are let down so badly that it seems like there are a hundred doors slammed in our face, before one finally remains open. Sometimes you have to be broken a little, to realise how it feels to finally be complete.

I glanced at myself in the mirror, next to the entrance of my open plan kitchen and lounging area, taking in the hijab-clad woman who was now in her early 30’s but still looking like that girl who was a little broken back then.

I couldn’t help but let my mind wander back to that less than amazing time of my life as I pushed the oven open and placed the casserole of pasta in the oven to melt the cheese… making sure the oven setting was perfect before closing it tightly shut again.

And it was just at that moment when Imraan stepped in, smiling brightly as he saw me.

Since forever, my husband and I make it a point to drop whatever we’re doing when the other person walks through the door at the end of the day to greet them, give them a kiss or hug and connect. Even if it’s just a moment before I turn back to cooking or dishes or whatever.., we always pause to let the other know they’re priority and we’re glad they’re home.

“Hey sweets,” he murmured, planting a kiss on my cheek as I wiped my hands on my apron. “Assalamualaikum. Where’s everyone?”

”Wa alaykum salaam,” I said, smiling back at him as he peeped into the pot on the stove. “I’m here. Who else are you looking for?”

I was teasing him, because I knew that he was looking for Uthman or Hamzah, who was here for the past week.

Last Hamzah was skulking around on the patio, keeping to himself, when I saw Uthman kind of sigh out of frustration and go and play with his ball outside.

Shame. The poor child did get lonely. The thing was, Hamzah was barely talking to anyone, which was absolutely shocking because when Hamzah and my son were together they usually couldn’t stop talking about cars, driving cars or watching car videos together. Uthman was too young to understand matters of the heart.

I hated to admit it, but I could see what kind of space Hamzah was in.

Rejection is a hard pill to swallow. No matter what the situation, when things don’t work out, there’s no pretty way to put it.

It was something that I was all too familiar with. A part of my past that I had tucked away, underneath the creases of where life had taken me, beneath the crevices of where I had hid away the feelings that had been buried and forgotten so long ago…

“What’s wrong?”

Imraan was watching me with his sparkly brown eyes, as if he was trying to read my thoughts. And when he did… He was usually on point. He knew me too well to tell that my mind was occupied. The thing was… I couldn’t exactly tell him that since Hamzah had been here in all his brokenness- my mind also had been pretty corroded with thoughts of my own past.

The thing was; some painful memories never leave you completely. Making peace with the past had taken longer than I had thought.

And I won’t mince my words, but when Bilal had called my own wedding off, literally a day before the Nikah, my parents had simply told me that it was for the best. That Allah wouldn’t take something away without replacing it with something better. That when one door closes, sometimes a brand new, amazing new door will open up.  Everything happens for a reason, they said, extremely calmly, but I hadn’t believed them or any of it.

Well, not until Imraan came along and I realised that this was exactly what they were talking about. That someone was going to come along to erase everything from the past, who wouldn’t care if I’d been proposed and things didn’t work out.

Who didn’t really worry about stigmas or the talks around… or about what was going on in the small town that we lived in.

Imraan, the guy I chose… who came to see me a few months later with such a striking sense of compassion and understanding was a definite contrast to Bilal’s stern demeanour, and completely different in almost every way. And though his best friend was Bilal’s brother-in-law, it made no difference to me because once Imraan became part of my life, when Nikah had healed me, I no longer felt like I had been broken into tiny pieces anymore, and I didn’t feel that sting when I saw Bilal with my cousin or witnessed them get on with their life. It was all okay, because I accepted that it was meant to be.

And that’s when I realised that Allah’s plan sometimes doesn’t unfold immediately. Sometimes it takes a little more time before you see the beauty in a seemingly warped situation. Sometimes there is something that may seem to be good for you, but Allah knew the harm it would have done, had it gone according to what you wanted…

”How has he been?” Imraan asked, cutting through my thoughts as he took a seat on the kitchen stool, his one leg placed over his thigh. Looking pensive. His voice was low as he glanced outside.

I could see Hamzah from where I was. He was lying listlessly on his back in the common patio area, arm slung over his eyes, almost immune to us even being on the same property, never mind 10 metres away. There were three separate houses on the property and though he stayed in his place usually, he came to the main house for most meals. The last few days though, he’d barely even ate anything.

It was really strange, considering how he was usually the biggest fan of my food and wasn’t usually shy when it came to eating. I had made his favourite pasta today, hoping it would draw at least a positive be vibe but I wasn’t so sure of it would work. Being married since the time he was a teenager, he was like a little brother to me too… especially since him and my own little brother were around the same age.

Hamzah didn’t ever come to the main house unless Imraan was around. Since he’d become mature enough to understand, he kept a respectable distance, although he always had a story or two to humour us with when he did come in. Now, though, it was like he was a different person and I just couldn’t help but feel so terrible for him…

The thing was, I always thought that men never got emotional. That they took things with a pinch of salt and moved on. After the whole proposal with Mohsina breaking off, this was something I never anticipated happening.

“I think he just needs some time,” I said softly.

Imraan nodded and sighed.

Of course he would understand. He was someone who was most in tune with people’s emotions… more than anyone else. And that’s why, when Imraan and I had made Nikah, he delved right into my emotions, without any hesitation. He don’t want me to harbour old feelings. He got to know me in a way that he even wanted to do the things I loved too. Being a sporty personality, he took it in his stride to have competitions with me, to run with me on our farm plot, and to even sometimes knock around with a tennis racquet. That’s what you do when you love someone, and besides that, he firmly believed that a healthy and active lifestyle was part of being a good Muslim. If you’re not doing Halaal things that make you thrive and pose a challenge, it’s inevitable that you will resort to Haraam.

Besides that, to be active and fit with your spouse was a great way to bond and observe a Sunnah.

It was reported Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) raced with Aisha his wife and she outran him. After a couple of years they raced again and this time he outran her, so he said, “this time makes up for the other.” – [Ahmad,Safwat as-Safwah, vol. I, p. 68]

I smiled sadly, as we both took a seat on the counter, even though the mat on the floor was already set for our meal. It had become a norm for us to eat on the floor, since Uthman had turned 6.

”I think let’s do this,” Imraan said softly. “Can we maybe ask someone who can motivate him… maybe Molvi can talk to him? Or what about Maulana Aadil? Isn’t Fareeha coming later?”

I nodded.

Ah, yes. Of course. Maulana Umar (aka Molvi) was Imraan’s best friend and childhood friend,and it would be great to get his advice here… but my sister and her husband were going to be here and Maulana Aadil always had a different way of looking at things.

I was sure that he was going to have something useful to say and as I heard my sisters laughter in the doorway about twenty minutes later as we rounded up supper, I already felt like the cloud that was looming above us was slightly lifted. Hamzah had come in for all of 5 minutes, taken a plate of pasta and sat outside to eat. I was just glad that he was eating a little more though.

Imraan and him had been sitting outside since then and I could see them chatting away, inaudibly, as I glanced out the sliding door, whilst cleaning up the floor mat.

I smiled as Fareeha’s girls ran outside, obviously excited about the open spaces here, I couldn’t help but grin at their eccentric matching  outfits. Her little boy was waddling away after them. My sister had the most unexpected dress sense for her three, but they all looked surprisingly cute.

Both Fareeha and her husband were such positive and comical personalities and having them around for these two weeks was such a pleasure. My two nieces often outspoke their mother, and there was no other way I’d have it. It was always so wonderful to have them all here at the farm.

Being here, settling in, after the fast pace of Johannesburg life was welcomed but it also got a bit lonely when there wasn’t a stream of visitors in and out.

A lot had changed since I was younger. Many of the younger family members had moved away from the small town into bigger cities and some families had even relocated completely, as the elder of the family passed away. Still though, the greenery was soothing for my soul. I knew that this was what was best for us too… to be away from the prying eyes of people who kept on asking why I didn’t have more kids… or why I don’t give my son a sibling. The scrutiny was beginning to kill me… and I appreciated being there now, more than ever. At l least my mum was still not too far away, and Mehnaaz, my elder sister, also popped by occasionally.

I turned my gaze back to my younger sister, watching her walk in with her flowing Abaya, her niqab into her head now as she entered the kitchen.

”Hey lovely,” she cooed, coming up and enveloping me in a huge hug. She placed the Tupperware she was holding on the counter. “I brought cupcakes. Must I make some masala chai? Laila sent me this simple and easy masala chai on Instagram and the other day but it’s made in a huge pot and I’m dyyyying to make it. I actually haven’t even had a chance to breathe since I came, we’ve been soooooo hectic… I feel like I’m getting more popular with age, so many people are inviting us home, yoh… how’s everything going?!”

I laughed. The Instagram recipes never ended. At least they used social media it for good stuff. Well. Most of the time. For my own sanity, I kept off social media. When I did go on, I got carried away and found myself going from one thing to the next in mere seconds.

“So you guys been busy, huh?” I asked with a smile.

That’s what happens when you come home to your farm town after a few months. Laila and Fareeha had been best friends since school days and she was also in town last week. Everyone wants a piece of you when you’re back. When I lived in Jo’burg it was the same story. Fareeha sighed and plopped herself on the stool, looking utterly exhausted as she grabbed a custard biscuit from the container that lay on the table.

Baking was a constant in our house. Even though cooking was fun for me, baking had become equally therapeutic… my go-to whenever I felt a little stressed or under the weather. It was one of the things that I often found myself talking about with Mohsina, not expecting her to also have a passion for it as well. She was actually someone who I really came to like. I was just sorry that it had turned out badly…

What exactly happened between Hamzah and her, I wasn’t sure. I didn’t want to pry and ask too many questions.

I knew that it was wishful thinking but I really hoped that they would sort it out.

And as I watched Fareeha making the tea that night whilst we chatted about general things, I was hoping that Maulana Aadil was doing some magic on my brother-in-law to get him to come around and set things right with her.

Fareeha was busy with the kids, seeing to them while I tried to help where I can. She finally emerged from the dining room where the two girls were having a small tiff – looking absolutely fed-up.

Her face was a picture of irritation and I honestly couldn’t blame her. Juggling the temperaments and grievances of three kids couldn’t be easy. As much as I wanted so badly to have more kids, I did understand what the challenge was. Seeing Fareeha was almost enough to make me reconsider. Almost but not quite.

And of course, I expected her to write it off as them being the usual kind of kids who tested you to no bounds, but what she said next was kind just a little out of the ordinary.

“I’m so sick of these kids!” she said, collapsing on the chair again, grabbing her cup of chai whilst she stuffed her mouth with a cupcake.

I didn’t want to say anything. Fareeha had been loading on a few extra kilos in the recent months but I didn’t realise how bad it actually was. She was already on cupcake number 6. With ganache and fresh cream…

“Shame, I’m sure they can be a handful,” I said sympathetically, trying to be cool while I moved the container away from her. “But Far, all kids are hectic. These days will pass and soon they’ll be-”

“Don’t you dare start with me!” she warned me, narrowing her eyes as she cut me off. “I’ve had enough comforting and coaxing. I can’t handle anymore kids. As much as Aadil is pushing for them, I’m compelled to reject his suggestions. I simply cannot manage with even one more.”

I pursed my lips.

We were one two sides of the fence. It was quite something seeing the other side of things though. Seeing someone who was so overwhelmed and exhausted by the whole parenting thing when I was so desperate for it.

“So he wants how many more?” I asked carefully, pulling a weird face.

Three was a good number. Well, I had always thought so, for Imraan and I. We just couldn’t even get to number 2. As always, I made shukar for my only son…

“At least two more!” she exclaimed with big eyes and a comical voice. “Can you believe him?!! I told him NO WAYS! If he wants more kids he must get another wife to do all the hard work. There’s no way I’m having more of his children. They’ve made me batty as it is.”

Only Fareeha would be so nuts to say such crazy things. I shook my head at her. I hope she wasn’t going to get herself into a problem.

“Fareeha, are you mad?!” I reprimanded her. “You can’t tell a man things like that. Even if you are joking. You never know what they will do… what doors it will open.”

She shrugged, as if it didn’t bother her. Like, did she really forget what happened with my mother and father all those years ago, when Mummy let go of herself?

She will swallow her words if it were to really happen. When Papa had taken another wife, we were already much older… as Fareeha insisted we find out who, when, how and all the rest because it bugged her so much.

She was feeling the worst for my mother and my mother was at least 15 years older than what Fareeha was now.

“So what did he say?” I pressed, panicking for my sister.

I was quite the possessive type, even though Far was the complete opposite. Maybe I had to have a chat with Laila about this. Laila had a way of getting through to Fareeha. Perhaps she could talk sense into my sister.

She was really behaving like a crazy woman. Off the hinges, with no control or care about herself even. She was definitely going to regret this.

“He said I have the right attitude,” she said proudly with a smirk.

I raised my eyebrows. Both Maulana Aadil and Fareeha were known to be a bit unusual on the whole. Cute in a way but also erratic and crazy, but this was just making me worried.

“What do you mean the ‘right attitude’?” I asked with a frown.

“He means,” she explained, taking one last bite of the cupcake she had and then pulling the Tupperware from me and opening it for another one. “That women need to stop behaving like it’s something wrong or out of the ordinary for a man have more than one wife.”


It was just always such a gossip factor for people.

Fareeha was chewing noisily as she went on, waving her hand dramatically.

“What’s the big deal?” She said nonchalantly. “Like it doesn’t mean she’s not good enough or anything like that. He is in full agreement that when it’s done the proper Sunnah way, there is always benefit. And I agree. He said that I must find him one at the end of next month.”

Uh oh. She was leaving way too many doors open here.

I couldn’t quite believe them. Was this another way of looking at things or was it just ridiculous?

Dearest readers…

Okay, I know… I know. It’s a controversial topic, especially for us ladies…

but someone asked me about this recently so would appreciate any thoughts? 💕

A xx


Revive the Sunnah of being Active 

Especially in this day and age when there are so many haraam things available for entertainment, it’s crucial that we try and adopt a clean environment or even a hobby that’s beneficial and Halaal.

In one of the Hadiths, Abu Hurairah mentioned that The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessing be upon him) said that:” A strong believer is better and dearer to Allah than a weak one, and both are good.”

This particular Hadith outlines the importance of being healthy and strong physically, which shows that exercises and keeping fit are important for Muslims. In a world where everything is one click away, people are no longer willing to do any effort to stay in good health physically or eat well.








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