Silent Dilemmas

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 29

“What on earth is that noise?!”

My mother-in-law eyes were riddled with worry as she winced with every deafening blast that echoed from outside.

It sounded something like a torrent of gunshots raining on our roof. Or our wall. Or somewhere really close. And instead of feeling safe in this out-of-city environment, usually peaceful retreat out in the serenity of the country.. I felt like we were like in the middle of a deadly war zone.

Imraan!” I called, wondering where he was, just as he and Uthman loitered back inside, looking extremely chuffed with themselves.

”Jhee, my darling,” Uthman said, battering his long  dark eyelashes, inherited from his father, and grinning from ear to ear.

Imraan grinned identically and ruffled his head lightly.

Rabia, who was sitting on the couch, let out a spurt of laughter as she watched them together.

I rolled up my sleeves, meaning business. The summer intensity hadn’t yet eased off, despite it being in April. I longed for the calmer winter days once again… pining for cooler temperatures and the first fall of snow we may experience on the farm. Although it didn’t snow often in the region… it was possible that we may get a little if temperatures dropped significantly… and I could barely wait.

The vast lands looked simply stunning when we woke up to a world blanketed by snow. A white winter wonderland that was simply beautiful to gaze at.

”What is going on?!” I asked, putting in my stern voice shaking my head at the pair of them as I smoothed a layer of icing over the sponge cake that I had just baked. “What is that noise? Sounds just like gunshots.”

”It is gunshots, my love,” Imraan said with a grin, sidling up to me and swiping a finger of icing to taste. “But don’t worry, it’s just Hamzah shooting at some cans. He’s pretty good with targets. Looks like all that time with Molvi had some immense benefits.”

Imraan was chuckling about it, obviously thinking it was hilarious, while I narrowed my eyes at him. Never mind my son was learning all these violent tendencies before his time.

And okay, maybe I was a tad bit paranoid because it was my only child. When I believed I should protect him from everything, Imraan was the complete opposite. Him and Uthman got up to the most disturbing things at times. Sometimes they got thermselves into the strangest dilemmas.

And of course I could believe what he said. Maulana Umar was famous for his collection of handguns and rifles, from way back when we were all kids, in school. It was so strange, because his wife, Haseena, was the softest and most benevolent personality you could find.

Opposites really do attract, don’t they?

I pulled open the bottom drawer and grabbed some sprinkles, decorating the plain vanilla cake with an array of pastel shades as the four of them settled on the kitchen stools at the nook, obviously ready for some tea and cake.

At least the blasts from outside had stopped now that they were inside, and I found myself a little more at ease as Hamzah loitered in, looking like he had literally come from war, clad in his dusty kurta and outdoor shoes.

To be honest, it still made me awestruck, this change that had happened almost over night and came like a huge shock to us all. From that mischievous teenager and charmer, Hamzah was now suddenly this modest young man who looked down even when he came into the same vicinity as me. The days he had spent in Jamaat, away from home, had obviously affected his heart really deeply.

It was true what they said. The effect of pious company… of a good environment… of food with barakah and lots of Duáas… well, it definitely had its impact on anyone immersed in it. And of course. It was Imraan who had spoke to Maulana Umar to get him to convince Hamzah to go, so the rewards were all on him.

”Have you let off all your pent-up frustration?” Rabia asked, obviously poking her brother as he sauntered in.

I knew that Rabia had that kind of interfering personality, but I also knew that between brother and sister, there was always some little bickering that went on.

Also, Rabia, after her infamous divorce two years ago had been through a string of horrible samoosa runs so most people were a target for her. I understood that it was hard to find a decent guy who wasn’t on drugs, involved with way too many girls or just plain down incompatible… but it really wasn’t anyone else’s fault that her marriage didn’t work out for her.

Instead, she acted like everyone else had to pay for it. I think she was going through her own kind of dilemma that no one but her had an inkling about.

“What frustration?” Imraan asked innocently, frowning slightly at her.

”You know,” she said, getting up to switch the kettle on, and I could see a hint of shrewdness in her eye. “After seeing Mohsina at the hospital in his ex-boss’s car and losing his shit.”

Rabia!” My mother-in-law scolded, widening her eyes at her.

Oh no. That didn’t sound good. Actually, it sounded really bad. And I could see Hamzah’s face changing because of it. It was probably something that he didn’t wanted everyone to know about either. Unlike Imraan, who usually kept calm in most situations, Hamzah was a bit more vocal. This time though, he silently slunk back, as she said it.

But then again, Rabia also had a tendency to exaggerate things and work on her twin brother’s nerves.

My poor brother-in-law looked immensely uncomfortable as he muttered something under his breath that I couldn’t quite catch.

“Mind your own business, Rabia,” Imraan said quietly, shaking his head as my mother-in-law came around to grab a knife while I got the cups and saucers ready.

I just hoped she wasn’t planning on poking Rabia with it.

“It’s true,” Rabia said, and she wasn’t in the least bit remorseful. I could see Hamzah’s eyes narrowing at her as she spoke.. “I heard him on the phone with Liyaket. Does he really have one of those really expensive Porsche’s?! That means something must-“

Shut up!”Hamzah shot at her, slamming his empty mug on the counter before stalking off, looking like he was seeing red. I was surprised that the mug was still in tact.

But of course, I didn’t blame him.

My mother-in-law closed her eyes and held her head with her hand, obviously not knowing how to salvage the situation, and I felt myself really wishing that Rabia had a filter in her mouth.

Whether she was just oblivious, or a trouble-maker… lately she was honestly one of the most testing personalities I have come across.

Interfering and deliberately causing problems was not exactly an amazing trait to have, even if you’ve had a tough time. Why make other people miserable with you? 

”I was only telling you guys what’s true,” Rabia said as we all watched him disappear into the next room. “Who asked him to take it so personally?”

Ah, how guilty were we all of that? Saying something that’s true… using ‘Haqq’ as an excuse to say what we wanted to. Haqq spreads with goodness. Whatever happened to hurting people and their feelings? Whatever happened to guarding our tongues? What happened to the example of Sahaba-e-Kiraam… the Haqq of other people whether it was in person, or on social media? 

Hamzah had already walked out the room, escaping Rabia’s tormenting, while my mother-in-law turned to her angrily.

“He’s obviously upset about it!” my mother in-law said sharply. “It doesn’t matter what’s the truth. You’re still gossiping and causing problems. Why are you listening to his conversations anyway?”

Rabia shrugged and tossed her streaked ash-blonde hair.

Honestly, I took my hat off to my mother-in-law, who was staying for a few days with us while my father-in-law was in town.

Without exaggeration, she really was one of the most amazing humans beings I’ve ever come across, with the most stunning character. And I knew many people couldn’t say the same about their mothers-in-law but with such a wonderful person, who did so much for everyone and had an absolute heart of gold… I couldn’t help but count my amazing blessings.

There’s always a balance, isn’t there? With every difficulty, there’s an ease..  and supposed that with the tests that I went through before marriage, dealing with stigma and now with my new tests of fertility … Allah blessed me with the most amazing husband and in-laws.

My mother-in-law didn’t say anything further but I could see that she was hurt by the exchange. She really did like Mohsina and from what she said, she couldn’t make sense of why Hamzah didn’t try and work things out with her. To tell the truth, I wasn’t sure if anyone knew the truth. It was some silent secret that no one quite understood.

And everything else aside, although Rabia had her complaints, I had an idea that Rabia’s constant diversion was probably also due to her social media accounts that were steadily increasing continuously.

She had once explained how in today’s times, she needed a real account for people to see her, a fake one for her to see and suss out people and one secret one for spamming people to see how they responded. I honestly did not even get what she was on about, but I did know that before a guy would come to see her, she would do a full research and referencing, waiting for him to fail somewhere.

The thing is, being surrounded by digital company was just the same as actual company. The followers, the influencers and the entire content on any social media platform had its own source of ‘company’ and its own social vibe where people are accepted, cheered on, bullied or just plain down resented.

And as you get into it, the mind is bombarded with a digital system that we don’t even know has an immediate impact on our lives. The friends on there are the ones that you aim and aspire to be like, and who mould who you are too. These ‘friends’ are the ones that you not only follow there, but also looked at as a guidance to live your life.

Abu Huraira RA reported: The Prophet, Sallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, said, “A man is upon the religion of his best friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.

Just like how Hamzah had made an effort to find good company, it was like Rabia purposely lost herself in digital worlds that obviously had nothing more to offer than gossip and worldly pursuits. And of course, when you are only exposed to that kind of environment, it’s only natural that you become affected, and your Imaan is not left without any mark on it.

And of course I didn’t want to judge her, but I did also think that a detox from all that phone rubbish might reform her entire personality.

Rabia sauntered away, probably to revert to whatever she was scrolling through a few minutes back, lost in her virtual company that was probably also making her a little more uncomfortable to be around at times.

It took a few minutes before Hamzah came back and warmed up enough to started talking again but I could see that he was purposely ignoring Rabia.

“You know… you hear about those stories where one incident changes your life?” He was talking to Imraan and his mother and I listened. Even his voice sounded different. More mature. Like he had grown up, overnight.

My mother-in-law nodded eagerly. Even Uthman was hooked.

“That was me,” he continued. “At first I was fighting it, like thinking… why must I waste all that time when I could be doing other stuff, you know? But that’s the thing I learnt. It’s never time wasted, right? And when Allah Ta’ala calls you for His work… how do you even fight that? When Molvi gave the talk on that 3rd day after we left, he spoke about a man who didn’t pray for seventeen years and then came back… I was already a goner. My heart was completely changed and I knew it. There was no going back from there…”

Wow. That was the kind of stuff I only heard about in all those inspiring Bayaans.

But it was no wonder, because conversation had centred around the latest developments on the Jamaat front, as Hamzah recounted his recent trips, he also expressed a really keen desire to join with Maulana Umar for some other trips. His entire perception of Deen and Jamaat work had changed, now that he he gotten a taste of it. The stories about people who were once lost, that Maulana Umar had told him about, anout returning and coming back to Allah with such amazing conviction was truly heartwarming.

For a minute, I wanted to tell Imraan that maybe our purpose in life needed to change too. That maybe we also needed to see all this, to be completely changed as well. Hearing these stories and knowing the effort that went behind it… how much people truly do to spread deen… well, it’s no use if you don’t act on it, is it? The sacrifices are real and not easy. To trudge through the townships, to go into jungles for Allah’s message… If only we could truly understand how it must be to sacrifice everything for Allah’s Deen…

”So what was Liyaket’s reaction when he saw you after the trip?” Imraan said with a smile.

I zoned back as I watched Imraan talking. Hamzah’s change was so sudden that everyone around him could barely believe it.

I wanted to hear that too. Liyaket had changed so much too, from when I knew him back when they were kids to now. It was amazing how one persons change can inspire so many others.

“I think he was a bit shocked,” Hamzah admitted. “But then again, he’s got much more exciting things happening is his life, yeah? A new member in our crew.”

Hamzah sounded just as excited for his best friend, almost as if it was a family member. I had heard from Imraan that they had just had a baby and I could barely believe it. It seemed like just the other day, they were two young boy’s, still in school.

”So how is the baby, anyway?” My mother-in-law suddenly said, placing her cup of tea down as she smiled almost dreamily, probably thinking about the newborn.

She glanced quickly at Rabia, who was still lazing on the couch and didn’t seem to be listening. The talks of Jamaat and Hamzah’s adventures didn’t seem to interest her in the least.

She had cut another slice of cake as they continued talking. She wasn’t  overweight, but it was like her fourth  slice and she was beginning to remind me of Fareeha, who was still quite adamant that she didn’t need to change anything in her life to keep her husband to herself.

“Jhee,” my mother-in-law smiled. “He was looking so excited the last time I saw him. I’m so happy for them both. I need to get them something nice. Maybe one of those swing things- remember how Uthman used to love that?!”

She looked at me and I smiled back, reminiscing over those early days when motherhood was new and my son was still a little baby.

“He used to fall asleep in it,” I grinned. “He was so tiny.”

I looked at my son, now lanky and tall like his father, full of life and energy as always.

“Baby’s going home today,” Hamzah said, sounding excited about it. “I’ll go and see him later again, when I go back to Jo’burg. Liyaket and his wife aren’t doing pictures. Before anyone asks.”

With digital photography a norm these days, you don’t get many people who don’t take pictures anymore. Amazing, though.

“Okay, but does he look like Liyaket or his wife?” my mother-in-law asked with a smile. “His wife is very pretty, Masha Allah. So sweet also…”

It was true. I had met her a few weeks back when Hamzah was here, and they had popped in to visit.

”Liyakets also very pretty,” Hamzah said defensively, with a slight grin. “And the baby looks like himself. Like a baby. How do people even tell who babies look like anyway?”

I supposed that was true as well.

Babies, huh? A new one comes into this world and it’s a new topic of discussion. And I loved hearing about new babies and the joy they brought to this world. My mother-in-law was exactly the same.

The last newborn in the family was Fareeha’s son and she didn’t even do her confinement at my mothers. Her two girls were driving her crazy, so she stayed at home, while my mother went to her for two weeks.

I sighed as I started collecting the empty tea cups. How I wished deep within my heart that Allah would bless us with another bundle in the family really soon. Even if it wasn’t mine… I was absolutely in love with the idea of anyone’s baby in the vicinity, on a permanent basis. I was broody and over-obsessed and I knew that I had to stop thinking and move away before I made myself all emotional again.

They were still talking about how little babies look like when they are born and I got up slowly, clearing more dishes, trying not to draw too much of attention to myself as I quietly slipped away.

My thoughts were a whirlwind of emotion, and I couldn’t quiet understand why I felt this way, when it was supposed to be an occasion of joy. And I didn’t wish anyone ill. I really was so happy for Liyaket and his wife. Anyone who was blessed with that miracle… well, it was really such a precious gift that Allah Ta’ala bestowed on those who were granted it.

So much of love and joy and happiness arose from the occasion of a newborn baby, and it made me feel so elated… yet also, I couldn’t help that overwhelming feeling that questioned why I couldn’t be the one to be granted that beautiful gift as well?

And of course, my Allah was well aware of what was in my heart… I knew that so well but the ache in my heart just wouldn’t ease.

A bittersweet wave of emotion washed over me, as I hastily wiped a stray tear from my cheek… trying to busy myself with stacking the dishes in the sink, barely even hearing Imraan as he came behind me, silently placing his hand on my shoulder and giving it a reassuring squeeze.

He didn’t say a word at first. He didn’t even ask. How he knew, was beyond me. Imraan knew me so well, that at times I felt like he knew me even better than I knew myself.

”Everything in its time,” Imraan whispered quietly, as I leaned back into him, swallowing back more tears. “HasbunAllaha Wa Ni’mal Wakeel… right? Allah has a plan for us, right? Come back to the table, babe. Uthman’s started a quiz and you have to be on his team. You know how he hates to lose.”

HasbunAllaha Wa Ni’mal Wakeel

Allah is sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of Affairs.

It was already a soothing for my soul.

I nodded, smiling back at Imraan despite the wave of emotion that I felt. He was honestly the most caring person I could ask for, and as he made his way back to the table before me, I found myself forgetting about my worries as I got psyched for the game. It was one of my favorite Islamic general knowledge games  and it was the diversion I needed for then, and as we argued and laughed over stupid answers and about who was cheating, I almost completely forgot about the troubles that had been on my mind for the past few weeks.

Well, almost.

The ringing of the house phone was the disturbance that Imraan and Hamzah were waiting for to take their opportunity for a smoke break, and I hastily picked it up, thinking it was my mother who usually called most evenings. She was also one of the few people who had the landline number.

”Hello, Assalamualaikum!” I said cheerfully, not even looking at the called ID as I spoke.

“Wa alaykum salaam,” Fareeha’s jovial voice said, and I instantly stiffened slightly as I heard it. “Howsit?”

It wasn’t that I didn’t like hearing from my younger sister. It was just that our last conversation had got me a little worked up and I really did not want to even put my nerves through it again. Her whole second wife search thing was becoming so big that she had even become a discussion on someone’s social media account. I mean, In all fairness, you don’t blame people for getting a little sensitive about the topic.

Also, though, which woman in their right man actively looks for a second wife for their husband?

”Please don’t tell me that someone else is talking about you now,” I said, getting panicky again. I knew that once a blogger or influencer gets wind of some  gossip, news just flies around.

”Can you just chill?!” she said, laughing as she spoke. “There’s no bad news. Only good vibes. Okay?”

I let out a sigh of relief. Boy, was I glad. The whole thing was just stressing me out unnecessarily. I didn’t want my sister to ever approve of this. Her doing this would open a can of worms that I didn’t even want to think of as yet.

I sighed, coming to terms with my feelings and thoughts and what had been upsetting me the most the last few weeks.

In simple terms, I couldn’t accept what she was saying because of the impact it may have on my life too.

As much sense as it made… as much as my heart was telling me not to be selfish… the main issue that I was dealing with – with not having any more kids- was that I knew that taking a second wife would be the decent thing for any wife to ever offer her husband.

But such was my heart that I couldn’t control.

I just could not seem to do it.

And yes, it was selfish that I didn’t want to say it and give my husband a chance to experience fatherhood again, but I simply could not even find it within myself to make that offering.

I felt like the most horrible person alive. I knew that Imraan loved kids to bits. I also knew that he would stop at nothing to try again… but nothing, even the treatments we had done in Jo’burg, seemed to help.

“So is the infamous search over?” I asked, hoping it was. I moved away from my in-laws as I spoke, not wanting them to overhear me.

“The search is currently paused,” Fareeha said, sounding a little tired as she yawned. I knew her kids slept early and so did she. “I didn’t realise just how women can behave, Sawls…. Like really, can you imagine? I’m offering my husband and still have to deal with twenty-one questions!”

I cleared my throat, not really sure what to say.

“Maybe he’s rethinking the whole idea then?” I asked hopefully.

Hmmmm,” she said thoughtfully. “I don’t know. But also, I think I’ve just been looking in the wrong places. I didn’t even think before this. I always thought that getting someone I don’t know may be better… but in the past week, I’ve been thinking that maybe, I might as well get someone who I­ do know. Doesn’t that make more sense?!”

I wasn’t sure what made more sense. Not much that Fareeha said made much sense.

”I suppose so,” I murmured. Whatever made her happy, really.

“You agree, don’t you?” She pressed, a little distracted as I watched the siblings now bickering over something else as they came back in while Rabia was seated at the table. I just hoped that they weren’t going to start about any sensitive topics again.

“Yup,” I said absent-mindedly, packing away some biscuits that were lying out back into their Tupperware.

“So I have the most amazing idea,” she said, sounding all excited over again, and just the tone of her voice got my guard up again.

Her best friend Laila and I could almost always attest to this kind of ‘feeling’ we get when Fareeha gets a new idea. Whenever Fareeha had amazing ideas, that she insisted that she carry out… almost always… they were the most deluded disasters that ever occurred.

I braced myself, and my instinct wasn’t wrong.

“I think I know just the person I need to speak to!” she said, sounding like she had an epiphany. “I couldn’t believe that I didn’t think about it before this… and late last night, it was like some kind of revelation that came to me out of the blue. She suddenly just struck me as a really great option..!”

“Who?!” I asked, itching to hear who this mystery person was.

”Your sister-in-law, Rabia!”

I choked on the biscuit I was munching on, almost dying from a clogged windpipe as I tried to loosen it with a sudden dash of water. Imraan had heard me gasping for breath and was watching me with an eye of concern.

“Sawls?!” Fareeha said, as I put the phone on the counter. I was just a little concerned about how this idea was going to pan out, and knowing that this was putting me in a  huge dilemma.

This, for sure, was going to be one meeting I had to stop from happening.

Mission Sunnah Revival

Sunnah of Speaking good and good Akhlaaq

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.’








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13 thoughts on “Silent Dilemmas

  1. Gosh Rabia!!!🤣🤣 I know I always say this but I just can’t wait for the next one. Jazakallah sister for the lovely post. All the kids are asleep so really enjoyed it.🤩❤❤
    So many diff topics and all were relevant.
    I can just imagine humzas reaction on seeing mohsina in the porche. We all guilty of that at some point. Misjudging the person. And I see how so interestingly you nailed it that between rabia and mohsina they both are caught in the web of social media but in diff ways. On the outside it looks like mohsina is gone deep into it but rabia is hooked with her obsessing and stalking

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Gosh Rabia!!!🤣🤣 I know I always say this but I just can’t wait for the next one. Jazakallah sister for the lovely post. All the kids are asleep so really enjoyed it.🤩❤❤
    So many diff topics and all were relevant.
    I can just imagine humzas reaction on seeing mohsina in the porche. We all guilty of that at some point. Misjudging the person. And I see how so interestingly you nailed it that between rabia and mohsina they both are caught in the web of social media but in diff ways. On the outside it looks like mohsina is gone deep into it but rabia is hooked with her obsessing and stalking

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yoh yoh yoh, fareeha still has her crazy ideas and never outgrew that phase, but now it’s boarderline dangerous for her adulthood crazy ideas…
    Shucks, poor Saaliha to be stuck in the middle.
    Eager to see how the story unfolds and awaiting to see Mohsina back again, really hoping she regains her spirituality soon.
    Shukran for the post, uthmaan is too cute

    Liked by 3 people

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