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

12 thoughts on “Keeping Afloat

  1. Lots of new things learnt. Jazakallah for the post!! Love it like always. It’s justified for hamza to think of mohsina like that but if only he knew the truth😞 just hope faadil stays in his lane😡

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It’s sad about about Mohsina and Hamzah. However, at the same time one could even commend Hamzah for being strong and sticking to his new beginning. He really wanted to change for the better. Sometimes people might find it to break off an engagement and brushing things under the covers that they might not be comfortable with. Sometimes infatuation might override all the negatives of a potential spouse by one hoping that they’ll change after marriage. It’s so true what he said about her changing things by herself, for herself. Marriage is suppose to be forever, so it’s obviously important to choose properly.

    Sadly though we know Mohsina chose the option for her predicament that she went through…and just knowing that Faadil lives in the same building gives one the shivers. Whatever, happens I hope that she will be safe and find her way through all the chaos.

    JazaakAllah khair for sharing such wonderful and beneficial words ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

    • It is… so true. Especially when things are still new and exciting, people think that they can change their spouse or that things will get better after marriage. It’s definitely a delusional way to think … 🙈
      Just goes to show how some people can take the best out of a situation and some can go completely off track…
      Every test is also a reason to reflect .. for anyone to seek the goodness out of it.
      Shukran so much for your comment, dear sister
      Let’s see how she fares from now on…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s