The Lion Within

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 37

There’s just something about the great warriors of the past that stand out for me, like nothing else can compare. A task, never for the faint-hearted, for those who die in Allah’s path, the Mujaahid sacrifices pleasures, treasures and every desire he has, for the pleasure of Allah.

In what is known to be a meeting with the true Beloved, a break-free from the shackles of life and an attainment of sublime status… there comes a time where it becomes essential for the the true Lions of Allah to make their show at the forefront.

Now and again, when the state of the world becomes such that corruption is rife, and peace and harmony becomes rare… when truth and integrity are trampled upon… we are reminded that amongst all the modes of death, martyrdom, in the way of Allah, is truly the most excellent and unsurpassed.

And do not say about those who are killed in the way of Allah, “They are dead.” Rather,

“They are alive but you perceive not.” (Surah Baqarah: verse 154) 

And in the verse is just one reminder of the undying status of the Shuhudaa, but others came at me in many forms and shapes over those weeks that I was away, as the pungent smell of gun powder and smoke settled thickly in the air as I trudged up the alley on that day which I hadn’t yet known would be the last.

As a reaction to what had just happened, as a blast hit the centre of Sanaa, many were fleeing upwards in an attempt to move away from the hot spots. The city was divided into two territories, and through the piling up rumble of the red zone, my eyes settled on a fully-clad woman kneeling over an injured man, my heart felt like it had been subjected through way too much over the past two weeks to even feel anything significant.

The truth though, was that this war-stricken reality was really unparalelled. An awakening for the soul in slumber, a means for the lion within to make his show, I turned my gaze as we kept walking, noting the sound of the protests of young warriors, chanting against the continuations of the Saudi-led coalition, where Houthi members were said to dominate the area.

Young soldiers, underage, were loitering around, or moving back to their posts. Education, for them, was a distant dream. To defend their country, their town, their home… was their honour.

And once all the fending off was done, as I looked around me, smiling faces could be seen now.

When all was quiet again, Abdellah, who stood at the gate near our motel would smile and say: “Maafi Mushkila”, meaning no problem, in Arabic- a sentence that Yemenis would repeat constantly, even in the worst situations one could imagine.

And as I reached him, Mohsin too, turned to me with a wink, and a cynical smile on his face as we walked along.

”That one scared you, didn’t it?” He said in his refined South African accent, the movements of his brisk walk creating a swishing sound as we walked through another silent alley.

The drone attack just a few minutes back was sudden and unexpected. It was the second time in the last two weeks and this time, we were out on the open, with nowhere really to take cover.

It was a lucky escape, but it gave me an insight on the reality of life once again, as a resident in a war torn country. Even for the lucky ones, who have access to essentials, life here was quite unbelievable…

I looked around me as sunlight streamed through dusty windows of deserted shops. The warm lighting reminded me of India, where I had been once on a holiday with my parents as a teenager. I remembered places I visited for their light, but the circumstances were worlds apart though and as we trudged along, me checking my phone for the 15th time that hour, signal and the concept of time was still completely non-existentent.

The sound of gunshots had ceased for a few minutes now, and all I heard was the intermittent but undeterred shouts of passers by, as they slipped back into their routine. Passing through a new neighborhood now, my mood instantly lifted as l spotted a dingy store that sold coffee and had a cardboard board written ‘WiFi’ on its window.

I nudged him as we passed, and Mohsin, being Mohsin, immediately saw my need for connection in this war-torn suburb.

Even though he had been out of South Africa for years, he was the kind of guy who, as soon as I met him, just clicked with me. I tried to ignore the fact that his name was one letter short of my ex-fiancé’s, even though it may have had some significance, but as soon as Maulana Umar’s brother Yusuf had introduced us, from the onset, our friendship had already taken off. For almost ten days now, Mohsin and I were already almost inseparable.

And it didn’t matter that he looked like a complete misfit here, with his European skin tone, blonde beard and green eyes. Mohsin was as comfortable as a local, because his passion for journalism, his deep desire to search for truth, had forced him to settle here and live amongst the people that he claimed to be a part of, that nothing stirred him.

After studying Arabic in Jordan and Madinah, he had completed a number of Islamic courses before going into journalism. I would say that he was as learned as many scholars, but he hadn’t yet finished his Aalim course. The amazing part though was that he was in no rush to.  He always said that for him, as a revert, his journey was never enough… and his pursuit would continue until he dies. It was an unusual way to look at life, but it made me see everything around me in a different light too.

And as he spoke to to the guy in Arabic and retrieved the WiFi password in the dingy corner shop, we took a seat on their rusted metal chairs and ordered their pungent local coffee as the sound of men talking jovially around us continued.

For a minute, as I listened to the noises around me, it felt almost as if we were in some other place, where there was peace and joy, and the daily living of these people were barely affected by the bombing and conflict that was always in the backdrop.

For a moment, the atmosphere felt unhindered, almost as if I was in a cheerful suburb back home, as money moved from hand to hand, and people smiled and shared what they had. It felt almost like we were in a place where Shiasm and Sunni-ism didn’t exist as a new dimension that they were now brainwashed over fighting over…

And as usual, as we sat, one could never enjoy food alone, in a place like Yemen. Two men had already come up to the table and Mohsin entertained them unreservedly, offering a genuine smile whilst chatting seriously first about this mornings events before they all broke out into laughter about something I didn’t quite understand… and to tell the truth, would probably never fully get.

How they smiled and laughed amidst all this, was beyond me. How they would welcome, with open arms, anyone who crossed their path, was something I had yet to see in the western world that I had become so accustomed to growing up in..

The thoughts hounded me incessantly as I glanced around, glimpsing the streaky skyline through the obscured window, instantly wondering why I just didn’t stay here forever, before the WiFi finally connected and all else was immediately forgotten. I delved into my phone, seeing iMessage after iMessage come through, now breaking slightly into a sweat as I read the messages that had come through two hours ago . Mohsin and his two newly found friends were drowned out as I flipped through, not believing what I was reading, as I dialled Imraans phone, hoping against hope that he would answer.

It was almost midnight in South Africa and my heart was doing things that I couldn’t quite control. Liyaket had been in a severe accident. Layyanah had passed away just a while after. It was like my entire world was crashing around me, as these people around me tried to rebuild their own…

“I have to go,” I said to Mohsin, getting up suddnely, knowing that I had to try and get myself back on a flight.

”So soon?” The one local guy said in English.

I shook my head, unable to speak.

Mohsin immediately excused us, and I could see him hastily handing over some local currency to the shop owner before we headed out again.

“Something’s happened?” He said, and it was barely even a question.

“My best friends been in an accident,” I managed to get out, as I walked as speedily I could toward the little motel we were all staying at. It was still a ten minute walk away. “I need a flight home as soon as I can…”

“I’ll sort it,” he said, instantly picking up his own locally connected phone and dialling someone who he spoke to with purpose, and then turned back to me.

“Can you get to the airport in an hour?” He asked, as I glanced at them time.

I nodded. The airport wasn’t too far from where were were staying, and if all checkpoints were easily passable, we could be in luck.

I could hear him confirming something as I gave him credit card details and made my way up to my room to hastily pack up whatever was lying around it was a haze of events and a whirlwind of emotion as I greeted Molvi, Yusuf and the two other guys who had joined us, promising them I’d see them at home as they sent me off with the most amazing Duaas…

They still had a few days left before they would leave, and as the flight took off, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of displacement as I left, my heart completely torn now between this amazing place that had stolen my heart and the situation at home that I wasn’t yet quite certain of where it was heading.

And as I eventually touched down in Jo’burg, almost ten hours later, the message about Liyaket’s passing came like a torrent of emotion, almost knocking the wind out of me completely.


(Innaa lillahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji’oon. Allahumma’jurni fee museebatee wa akhlif lee khayram minha)
Verily we belong to Allah, and to Him will we return. O Allah, reward me for undergoing this difficulty and loss, and grant me something better in replacement for what I have lost.

I sat, in my aeroplane seat, unable to move, as I let it all sink in. How short is this life that we behave like we are living forever?

How foolish was man, that here we were, still unyielding in our pursuit of this world.

And despite it all, I had made it just in time. It was almost as if Allah had kept him back in this world, just a little longer, for me to return in time to see him off. With the hospital protocol and trying to get out of the post-mortem, the Janazah was already set for two hours time and although I knew that it was going to be heart-wrenching, there was a little relief in the fact that I would be there for the final parting.

And yes, life is painful at times. Like a sudden punch in the stomach, losses are devastating, to say the least. Tragedy pulls at our heartstrings even long after the blow has hit. Difficulties and tests and trials are meant to polish us and rebuild our bond with our Creator .. to bring us to the ultimate… because that’s when Allah gives us the reward.

And as the news hit me, I couldn’t help but think of Mohsin’s words. Where we had just been, of course, was somewhere that martyrs were honoured. They had, in essence, given their lives for a cause… for the people… for Allah, and this too.. what Liyaket had endured was very much the same status.

As one of the Shuhadaa… what a way to leave this world. The most honoured, by far, martyrdom was the desire and purpose of a true believer.

And there was my friend, in all his glory, on what I hoped would be his best day yet. He was one of those who left behind this entire world too, as I lowered myself into the six-foot deep hole to assist , holding him close to me for the last time, before he would be left alone forever.

The grief right then was overwhelming, and I felt my shoulders shake almost involuntary as we shovelled the first lot of earth onto his calico-clad body, barely able to hold myself back any longer.

At that point, it was wave after wave when the grief came at me, like never before, as I made my way to my car, doubled over, unable to digest what had just happened, because I just couldn’t believe it all.

It wasn’t that long ago when Liyaket and I, as jovial school boys, bared our souls to each other, pouring out our hearts and shared the greatest dreams of distant futures that had become the recent past way too fast…

There he was, as I pictured him again , like a film rolling through the years where it would feature my best friend with the most memorable times of all. In my minds eye, he was forever full of life. Best academic of the year. Full of charm and optimism.
Sterling cricket player. The greatest personality. Academic Dux award. Superb colleague. Full of sincerity. Most dedicated team mate. Bestest buddy a guy could ever have.

Most of all… the most extraordinary influence that completely changed my life.

Because with all these worldly achievements, which had never come without the most stringent of effort, it still wasn’t the most influential thing I learnt from him.

The greatest thing yet was the eagerness that he possessed to change everything… his entire life, just so that he could have a chance to do it right… and once again, I was so grateful that there was so much I had taken from him, as he grew, and with him, I did too.

I wondered for a moment if the lessons and memories of him would stay that way or if they would fade as the years went by…

The waves of emotion had ceased and I finally breathed in deeply, not even thinking further. Not wondering about what comes after this, or what may lay ahead …

All I knew as I finally reached home after the longest day I ever felt, was to lay my head on my pillow and forget about the events that had literally turned my world upside down that day. I was exhausted, mentally, emotionally and physically… and for those few hours, I sought refuge in the serenity of slumber, as I sunk deeper and deeper into a realm where reality was very, very far from me.

I awakened, drenched in sweat hours later, starving and perplexed by the array of  voices I could hear from down the passage. I threw back the pale grey duvet cover, laying there for a minute as I took me a few moments before everything came back into focus once again… and the truth of this life made its ugly head apparent once again in my mind.

Death was savage. Hardest on the living. It was a reminder for the the most complacent, that everything in this world, one day, will mean nothing.

And yes, it breaks homes, and yes, it shatters souls. It is awful and painful, yet only a reality that we have to face. As if it was ripped apart, my heart will never be the same again.

My heart sunk as I remembered my friend, his wife, and his child whom I still hadn’t gotten news of yet, but knew I had to check on.

It contracted painfully, yet again, as the memory resurfaced, as I pulled myslef up to leave the room, almost still in a daze as I shielded my eyes with my hand, trying to protect it from the offensive burst of daylight that poured through the passage window.

I could hear Imraan and my mother speaking in low tones as I walked down the passage. He had been here for the funeral and had probably stayed over for the night.

Pulling my kurta over, I knew that I also had to make my way back to the funeral house, to see if they needed anything else, and as I walked over to my mother to greet her, she held on tightly to me, obviously knowing the turmoil that I was still feeling as I still struggled to accept Liyaket’s death.

He had, throughout our high school and university careers, been like an additional member of this home. The loss was something that we all felt together, but as I pulled back and breathed in after my mothers and brothers comforting words, there was something about the words they had said that gave me an immense sense of peace.

Allah Ta’ala never takes anything from us without granting us a better substitute. What better substitute can there be than the love of Allah Ta’ala and His togetherness, which  will only be attained with sabr (patience) and expectations of rewards. As for those who have passed on, what could be better for them than to be cared for and pampered by Allah Ta’ala, in the most beautiful of places?

And they were right. Of course, he was in a better place. He was, after all, of the Shuhudaa, the ones whom Allah had favoured immensely with a gift that not many can easily attain. He had changed so much of his life, and reached Allah at a place where there wasn’t much question about how he would reach Him…

Time, right? Time is all it would take. Time heals all wounds. Time eases all pain.

And as I eased myself into the meal, forcing myself to nourish my body after it’s ordeal, I could see my sister hanging around in the background, almost as if she wasn’t quite sure how to strike up conversation. Her expression was morbid, as she sat next to me, offering me a sympathetic hug and a wavering smile as she watched me eating, without saying much else.

My mother had dished out a generous serving of curry and rice that I was unashamedly tucking into when Rabia suddenly looked at me, as if she couldn’t bear keeping silent any longer, because it just wasn’t in her nature to keep things inside, she turned to my mother and said:

“So you didn’t tell him yet, did you?”

And it went without saying that she immediately had my attention, as I swallowed the last bit of rice that was in the front part of my plate, and held it out for another serving.

And for someone who didn’t feel like eating much, I didn’t quite realise how much I had missed home food.

I glimpsed my mother shooting Rabia an unreadable glance as she took my plate. Even Imraan, who was sitting on the couch nearby, waiting for me to finish eating before heading out again, was shifting in his seat slightly uncomfortably.

“Tell me what,” I said, taking a sip of water as I looked at them both.

Rabia obviously wasn’t getting any hints to tone down with her conversation, or frankly didn’t care.

“Let’s not worry about that now,” my mother said. “We can talk about it later in the week.”

”Mum, please,” Rabia said, sounding peeved at the very idea of postponing whatever she was on about. “He has a right to know Mohsina was here.”

Wait. Did she say Mohsina? Or maybe she meant Mohsin?

Was I just too tired to hear properly. Did he call? What was even going on?

I was probably still too tired to even process…

”Who?” I said, as if to clarify. I didn’t know what else to say. The ‘white guy’ sounded a bit offensive.

“Mohsina,” Rabia said, giving me a strange look. “The girl you were supposed to marry. Remember? She came to drop something off. Something to do with Zaid.”

Well, when she put it that way, there couldn’t be a mistake.

Of all the things, she was something that I didn’t exactly want to deal with right now.

But wait, did she say Zaid? After everything that had happened in the last thirty-six hours, regrettably, I hadn’t given him much thought. I remembered someone mentioning that he was still in hospital, but mentally and emotionally, I just couldn’t deal with the possibility that he too, could be gone.

But he wasn’t, it seemed, and my heart lifted as I looked at my mother and my sister, waiting to hear what else they had to say.

”What about Zaid?” I asked, ignoring the fresh plate of lamb curry and rice that my mother had placed in front of me, now consumed with concern for my best friend’s orphaned child.

“She came to ask you to sign his paperwork ” Rabia blurted out.

My mothers eyes widened as she looked from me to her. Rabia was obviously not supposed to know that. For all I knew, she was probably eavesdropping on someone’s conversation.

“You’re the executor to Liyaket’s estate. His mother is incapable. She needs your permission for sole guardianship.”

I turned to look at my brother, glimpsing the look on his face, already knowing that this wasn’t something that he was ready to delve into.

I knew that Liyaket had put me as executor to his estate. He had told me that months ago. But his kid… well, that was something that held much more weight. It was his most prized possession.

And in my heart, I also knew that guardianship rights was something that I wasn’t prepared to give up. It wasn’t about power or pride. This was something that knew that I couldn’t just forsake, for the sake of my life long friend. He entrusted me with this, and there was a reason he did. I couldn’t just give it up.

Never, in a million years.

Which meant I had one question to ask.

I already knew the answer, but I just had to hear it out loud. Somehow, there was a fiercer, more protective part of me that was making it’s way to the shore, and I simply couldn’t ignore it. The lion that I knew within me was about to come to the fore…

I turned to Imraan, swallowing hard as I looked at his worried face, my own expression hardening, before I asked:

”What’s my chances?”

His grim expression was a dead giveaway. He looked at me dismally, and despite my solemn resolutions, my heart sunk for the fiftieth time that day as he said it.

“I hate to say it,” he said quietly, barely meeting my eye. He already knew that I would do what it takes and this was the part that he was dreading.

“I already made some enquiries,” he continued. “It’s a last resort… but if you want to contest it, looks like you’re going to have to take it to court.”

Dear readers… I’m going to desperately try and tie up loose ends before Ramadhaan… please make maaf if I’m unable to do more than one post. 💕Your questions are welcomed… just so i know I’ll be covering it all…


Request for duaas

Much love

A x

Mission Sunnah Revival

Revive the Sunnah of Giving Constant Sadaqah.

Sadaqah as a means for cure, a way to cool the anger of Allah and proven to ward away calamity. There are many other benefits, and this great deed was a practise that is not only a reward but a barrier agonist the fire of Jahannam.

Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), with the commencement of Ramadhaan, would become even more generous. 

It is narrated that he was most generous to the people and even more so in this blessed month that is approaching. Let us try and increase on our Sadaqah, InshaAllah ❤️

Du’aa for Sha’baan 

اَللّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِى شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَان

Allaahumma Baa’rik La’naa Fee Rajab(a), Wa Sha’baan(a), Wa Bal’ligh’naa Ramadhaan.

“O Allaah! Make the months of Rajab and Sha’baan blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadhaan.”










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A Ray of Sunshine

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 36

How do you say goodbye when you didn’t even know you were supposed to say goodbye?

I mean… The thing is, all goodbyes are different. Some are for a day. Some, for a month. And some, as painfully heartbreaking as they are, are forever goodbyes.

And in a beautiful narration that so aptly captured my heartfelt emotions as I recalled it on that fateful night… in one of his books, the famous saint, Imaam Ghazali Rahmatullah writes that Nabi Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam once asked Allah Azza Wa Jal:

“O my Rabb, where can I find You?”

And to this, Allah Ta’ala replied:

“You will find Me by those whose hearts are broken.”

(Al-Hamm wal Huzn no 61)

And that’s all it was.

Broken-hearted. Heartbroken.

The emotional transition was something that I could barely understand before this, but now, I could so accurately comprehend.

Was there any way to dull the pain, to lessen the blow..  Was there any less painful way to put it… to feel it… to digest it?

And on that earth-shattering evening, it was blow after blow. Heartbreak upon heartbreak. A slow but steady ache as the evening edged on, hearts bleeding with anguish… we were struck with such an immense feeling of devastation that breathing didn’t even come easily anymore.

And as I looked up, my mind an overwhelming jumble of emotion as the second blow came that night, the only resort I had was to submerge my heart in the knowledge that Allah Taála was the Ultimate Planner, Healer and Over-seeer… the tranquility that had descended thereafter was almost unbelievable. It had all occurred just before Maghrib Salaah, as Liyaket headed back home to drop Layyanah before he would go to Masjid… when his car met in a tragic accident that would be etched in the memory of many, for a long time to come.

”Allah knows best,” was all I could hear, at the end of every sentence, as I heard the voices in the hospital corridor. “It’s Allah’s will. It’s all His plan.”

And that was the only thing that really gets you through it, doesn’t it?

Allah doesn’t take something from us without giving something in return.

Sometimes Allah takes something away from our world, but even through that, surely there has to be a ray of sunshine that will make its appearance, although it just needs its time to come to the shore…

Because amidst the shattered hopes and broken dreams, is a beautiful plan that comes to remind us that every now and again, we must be awakened from our worldly slumber to shift the focus from this meagre world, to the one that is eternal. From a world of futile pursuit to a place where there is no grief, no pain and where glad tidings for the ones who withstand the hurt and the pain with patience are able to say that they’ve truly been humbled by it all..

And oh yes, we were.

Humbled to our very knees, praying with utmost fervency with bated breath almost, my sister and I stood there, in the dreary hospital corridor, on the brink of insanity, as we waited for the news about Liyaket, as the doctors on call tried with every ounce of theirs to give us some hope and keep him with us.

No less than several hours later, using the jaws of life to extract Liyaket from the drivers side of the car, With him being on the side of impact, the devastating collision had injured him significantly.

And as the paramedics rushed him to the nearest hospital and doctors had attempted with every ounce they had to keep him from flatlining, it was only two hours later that Liyaket was announced to have joined his Queen in the abode of eternity, to meet his Lord and reside in forever together.

For the living, though, death was brutal. Like a punch in the stomach… Blurring your vision for a short time, and then bringing the reality of life that we had long ago lost the essence of into focus once again.

Death didn’t look at your wealth, status or your dependents. Death didn’t look at your youthful beauty, your aspiring career or wait for your child to grow up..

Death, in it’s ferocity, didn’t even look at your age.

And as Mohsina and I drove to the house after in silence, the glorious horizon stretched widely ahead of us in the wee hours of Saturday morning, the bloody sunrise that broke over us brought with it it’s own emotions. Crimson and tangerine streaks of light covered the width of the skyline, almost as if reaffirming the tragedy that had rocked our world just hours before.

”I just can’t believe it,” Mohsina almost whispered, her gaze fixed in the road ahead as we drove. “Life is so short.. No one knows at what point it’s all going to be over, but Layyanah’s life change … well, that was really something that that was one in a million, wasn’t it?”

I swallowed, fighting back tears, thinking of her as I nodded.

They are a few souls from amongst this world are those who sell their own selves, searching for the happiness of Allah. Layyanah had come, like a gust of wind, knocking us all out of our delusional world, with her colorful personality and complete aversion to material things, in her new found escape.

How she had sacrificed so much, so deeply, was still a mystery to anyone who knew the life she had come from. And on one occasion, just around a month back, she had said it so beautifully, as she looked at me, with a contented smile on her face, reading something she had picked up from the bookshelf a minute before.

She had come to visit my mother with little Zaid, because she had said she missed seeing the activity the coffee shop brought every day. Even though Papa had employed someone to assist, she was adamant that she would be back to help us once Zaid started crawling around and she was a bit more capable.

We sat on the lawn while my mother went to fetch some iced tea that she was trying out for the coffee shop, so we could give her our reviews.

“Ah,” she said whimsically, her eyes bright as she looked at me. “Just listen to this.”

And I had sat on the damp grass, as she shifted on the wrought iron outdoor chair, and read aloud.

It was a heart rendering incident that was said to have occurred on the occasion of Faathima’s (RA) wedding, where she appeared to be a little reserved and despondent. Her beloved father (Sallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) knowing a little about her concerns, went up to her, addressing her so lovingly as Nabi (Sallalhu Alayhi wa Salam) said  that he knew that Ali (RA) was poor, possessing very little and living in difficulty.

He also mentioned that he stayed in a rented house, had to work for a living and owned no wealth or property of his own.

And then, Layyanah’s face brightened as she looked at me, her eyes warmth with contentment and a huge smile on her face.

“But then, listen to what he says next,” she murmured delightedly, sounding awestruck as she glanced at me again. “And it was as if this part was meant just for me to see and digest…”

I looked at her and smiled back, waiting to hear what she was so ecstatic about. And it didn’t disappoint.

”’I’m also aware that I have turned down many proposals of many wealthy individuals,’” she continued softly, with a teary smile on her face. “‘However, Oh Faatimah! Don’t be sad. The trials and poverty of this world is only a few days. Keep your gaze on the Aakhirah and it’s bounties, because the wealth of the Heavens is for you. Allah Ta’ala will make you it’s owner!”‘

And that, she certainly was.


And what more could anyone ask for? To meet Allah at a place where you know that you sacrificed everything in this world for Allah’s pleasure alone, and your reward is waiting for you in your final abode.

Mohsina’s  eyes were red-rimmed and teary as I narrated the incident to her as she looked at me with tears falling unashamedly from her eyes, and I really had nothing more I could say to even make them stop.

We had reached the funeral house now, and donned for the occasion, we entered to see streams of people who were already there, as Layyanah lay there with us for her final few minutes, I sat in a corner of the room an wept my heart out.

All I could think of was how beautifully Layyanah’s  life had changed, and how amazingly she sacrificed so much of this world because she saw the reality of the one she was about to enter.…

And that was precisely what I saw here, as I saw our friend being lifted, as they carried her over to the vehicle that would take her to her final abode, with hope upon hope that her resting place would be expanded greatly upon her arrival.

For those selected few, amidst the cries of grief and loss that hearts are submerged in, as their final journey to their resting place would begin, it is said that the deceased is already yearning to meet their Lord. Surely Allah had fulfilled His promise. Surely her abode would be a pleasant one.

Yes. We cry. Yes, we hurt. But, no…

No matter how much you hurt, pine or grieve… we don’t say that which will displease Him, because the knowledge that Allah is the full and only controller of life and death is sometimes all we needed to process.

I looked at my sister, who was utterly and emotionally exhausted, and I couldn’t help but see a completely different person to the one I had thought she had become all along.

Isn’t it funny how life keeps us apart, and death brings people together?

Right then, I felt closer than I’d felt in months to her, as we worked together, trying to piece all the fallen parts together and make this make sense once again .And it was still there. The little rift that existed between us, and all the things that we didn’t and couldn’t quite yet say. Somewhere, within us, existed so many hidden secrets, so many untold stories, so many words that were still left unsaid…

I yearned to break down all those barriers that had been built around us set our affairs right again, smooth over the creases and gain that courage once again to make her my best friend…

Moreso, now that new information of how much she had really endured over the last few months became apparent to me just the week before, a new light was shed on her, and my heart contracted momentarily for everything she had probably been through, trying to keep our family together. Putting herself at stake. But still holding out a torch that maybe her and I would somehow meet at a place where we could bare our souls and let everything out.

Maybe tonight, once this lengthy day was finally over… we could bare our souls once again.

Sleep though… well, that was a distant memory and a yearned for escape. None of us, from our family, had had the luxury as yet. My mother had planted herself next to Liyaket’s  on a bench at the hospital, completely broken, almost as if their entire world had fallen apart in front of her eyes.

I couldn’t imagine the pain that his mother  was feeling, because when it comes to someone who your heart held oh so very close… you don’t just lose them once.

Losing someone is a journey, not a once-off. There is no end to the loss, there is only an attempt on how to stay afloat, when it washes over.

I breathed in as I looked ahead of me, tears blurring my vision as I thought of how this had even happened? So many questions were still hounding me as I processed it all, for the umpteenth time since that evening.

There was so much to still process. To digest. To sort out… before life could ever return to some kids of normal.

But for now, as Mohsina’s phone rang again, I hastily picked it up without a second thought as she came out, not expecting it to be the long-awaited call that she was expecting from the hospital about Liyaket and Layyanah’s three-month old son, who was the most adorable piece of pudding that I had ever seen.

Within the chaos, I barely even had time to wonder about what would be the end result here. All the doctors had said was that he was under observation and no further information could be given until they checked with welfare about his guardianship.

My heart was in my throat from the minute they said it, because I knew that it could go either way. No information could mean that he was really critical or the complete opposite.

I watched Mohsina as she took the phone, walking along the edge of the grass outside at their house, basically responding with a series of ‘okays’ and ‘right’, as she spoke to them. I awaited either an exclamation of grief or joy, but none came yet, as she finally put the phone down, and then looked at me, with the most peculiar expression in her eyes.

“What’s happened?”

I was aching to know.

“He’s okay,” Mohsina said, a grim smile flashing on her face for a milli-second.

Somehow, he was alive and safe.

It was an overwhelming feeling of relief that was coupled with several waves of grief.

She explained briefly that baby Zaid had, by divine miracle, slipped down into the section between the dashboard and the seat, safe and secure, only by Allah’s intervention, but there was still a deep sense of loss for his deceased parents that acompanied the glorious news.

“They said he can be fetched later today.”

He can be fetched? Well, now, that was amazing news.

It was a ray of sunshine, amidst the darkened clouds. A rainbow of hope and a deep sense of gratitude, as I joyously went forward to embrace her but Mohsina stepped back for a minute, as she took a deep breath and looked at me, that peculiar expression now settling in her eyes as her brow furrowed.

“That’s not the end of it,” she said, swallowing as she looked around us, at the people in and out of the house now, coming forward to give their condolences, a squeeze of the shoulder or a sympathetic smile, before heading out back to their cars.

Soon the house would be empty again, and the loss more real than ever.

”What do you mean?” I asked my sister, narrowing my eyes.

“They said I could take him,” she said blandly, obviously completely torn between two unyielding factors that I had no idea of as yet. “They asked me if I want to sign for him. As a guardian, who was capable. To apply for adoption.”

Her voice was shaky as she said it, almost as if she couldn’t bare the weight of the responsibility that was suddenly on her shoulders.

I too, was slightly in shock. Layyanah’s sister was spotted at the funeral, but I wasn’t quite sure what their deal was there. Liyaket’s mother, I knew, was in no position for sole guardianship. She had all kind of medical complications and had started dialysis the previous month. Layyanah had mentioned that it meant long hours away at the hospital and lots of rest. She was almost always tired. Although she loved her grandson to bits, to expect her to take care of the baby on her own would be a little ridiculous.

”Okay,” I said carefully, trying to assess the situation. “So you will need to think about it. Maybe it’s not such a huge thing. Maybe you just need to-“

”It’s not that,” she cut me off, shaking her head. “I would take him in a heartbeat. There’s one catch…”

”What is it?” I asked, holding my breath. I didn’t want to say it but I so badly wanted her to say yes. I just wanted to open my heart and love that little guy with every ounce of me that I had.

”According to documentation, there’s someone else who has just as much right than I do,” she said, her expression now painfully resilient as she said it, almost as if she was entering a battlefield of her own.

“And I’m going to have to ask for his consent first.”

Mission Sunnah Revival

Revive the Sunnah of Giving Constant Sadaqah.

Sadaqah as a means for cure, a way to cool the anger of Allah and proven to ward away calamity. There are many other benefits, and this great deed was a practise that is not only a reward but a barrier agonist the fire of Jahannam.

Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), with the commencement of Ramadhaan, would become even more generous. 

It is narrated that he was most generous to the people and even more so in this blessed month that is approaching. Let us try and increase on our Sadaqah, InshaAllah ❤️

Regarding the 15th night of Sha’baan, Especially as we head toward Ramadaan, we should try and increase in good deeds and prepare ourselves more for longer stretches of ibaadat, in preparation for our Aakhirah. May Allah grant us the strength.
There is a specific Du’aa for the 15th of Shabaan that is below.

Du’aa for Sha’baan 

اَللّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِى شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَان

Allaahumma Baa’rik La’naa Fee Rajab(a), Wa Sha’baan(a), Wa Bal’ligh’naa Ramadhaan.

“O Allaah! Make the months of Rajab and Sha’baan blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadhaan.”










FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

The Trade Off

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 35

Someone once told me that you could have anything you want in life if you are willing to sacrifice for it. What they meant is nothing in this life comes without a price.

Before  going into battle, you have to know whats the trade off… and you have to know exactly how much you’re willing to lose if you stay in it.

Because too often, going after what ‘feels’ good means losing what you know is right… and letting someone in, means abandoning the barriers you’ve spent a lifetime building.
It means that sometimes, bit by bit, we end up losing ourselves completely, and that’s when the sacrifice can turn out to be more than we can bear. That’s when the darkness brings its demons, and the little light that may still exist in our lives gets completely distinguished.

And if we don’t stop it in time, to bring in the light of Adhkaar and Quran, then we will never cease being ‘lost’ because all we do is keep striving for a misguided purpose in other ways becomes our sole intent…

Snap. Snap.

No. Trash it. Not good enough.


And one more.


There we go. Perfect capture from the window overlooking the airport apron around the landing strip at sunset, and it barely even needed a filter.



Homebound. (What else for FriYay vibes, bruh?)

And of course, a plane emoji with a party one, along with the hashtags were a must, to show my dedication to the cause of hashtags…

And the pic was one of the most stunning captures of the South African skyline yet, and the reflex reaction was to post, caption and tag, before I even took in the beauty of the creation that was displayed before me.

It was, after all, all about me and my ego.

My Jo’burg, my city. My amazing corporate life. My, my, my. My.

A hard week out and about, means back home for the weekend, for my cool-off time.

I ignored the message that had flashed on the top of my screen from my mother as I disembarked, checking where I was and if I had prayed my Salaah.

It was the usual and I’d reply to it later, so Instead, as I headed towards the exit, my eyes settling on the newest message that had just come in.


Have you landed?

I tapped on it immediately and answered in the affirmative.

Meet me out front?

Of course, I had to prioritize. Ma’s message wasn’t urgent. I’d see to that later.

Because that was what I had made myself believe. I’d  only got here, to this point where I was so successful, because I’d re-prioritized my entire life.

And maybe the priorities weren’t exactly in the correct order, but that was by the way.

You see, the goal of this life is to realize the truth of Allah’s greatness and our own insignificance before Him. How small we are, and how big He really is. Our purpose is to take ourselves out of the center and put Him there instead…

But we live in a world that perpetuates the illusion of the exact opposite, because unfortunately, the drill goes like this instead:

What I ate for breakfast or bought at the shopping mall is news breaking enough to let the whole world in on. When we post a video or pic, be it the latest restaurant we are at, our skincare routine or my favourite Jimmy Choo, we wait. We wait for a pat on the back or some sort of recognition. And we are ever conscience of—and even compete in—the number of followers we have because the more we gain, the more entitled we are to imposing our opinions or others and slamming people just because we are virtually ‘popular’.

And the vicious cycles goes on. The more we do, the more we post… The more we turn to social media for comfort… the less happy we seem to be. No matter what, the game continues. You lose when you quit, and there was no way I was quitting.

I glanced at my phone, deciding to give it a breather as I made my way to the exit.

According to his itinerary and the airport board, which was mostly immaculately planned, Faadil had just arrived on another flight.

And since I wisely planned it so I had no baggage to collect, I made my way straight out to save time, tapping on iMessages as I glanced around me simultaneously, making sure I was still balancing my patented black heels perfectly with my new Saint Laurent laptop bag as I joined the corporate crowd, all heading speedily straight to the airport exit.

Buzz again.

Change of plans. Bumped into a colleague. Car is waiting out front. You take it and we’ll catch up later. x

Oiy. All that fixing my make-up for nothing.


I typed back, suppressing my urge to add how inconsiderate he was. No need to act desperate.

What time later was, I didn’t want to know. It was already 7PM and my brain was broken. Also, my back was killing me slowly too. I suppose a nice hot soak in the bath would be a good idea…

For now, back to the gram.

The announcements from the speaker above were drowned out as I scrolled through my feed whilst walking steadily through the sliding doors into arrivals. MUA, influencers and two school friends had posted, and I found myself double tapping almost unconsciously as I scrolled through all their posts.

Friday night vibes were trending but I was barely feeling it.

And like most Friday evenings, and as I glanced at men and women alike coming back from a day or week out of town, probably rushing home to be with friends or families, there was an inkling of twisted irony here, that I didn’t quite understand.

Although I had told myself that this was the way I had wanted it, at times it felt like I was living a life that wasn’t my own.

And everyone around me here, I was sure, had their own story. Their own hang-ups. Their own perks too. But right now, all that was on their mind was to get home, recharge for the two days that felt like two hours  before the rat race would start all over again.

I took a quick selfie as I wheeled my bag out the sliding doors, trying desperately not to spot Faadil, who was as stark as day, with his back to me, chatting easily to a female someone outside while I walked past.

Black Armani shirt. Fitted denim jeans. Polished leather shoes. His hair was always immaculately styled and I felt my tummy do a little twisted knot as I turned my gaze away.

A colleague? I wasn’t quite sure.

He probably didn’t even notice, but in one glance, I took in way more than I meant to, and body language was always a dead giveaway.

Lost. I felt so lost as I walked past, wondering not for the first time if maybe the path I was treading wasn’t exactly the wisest one.

But then again, I couldn’t forget the plot. The motive. It wasn’t about feelings. This was business.

I walked outside, stashing my phone while I stood patiently, scanning the cars for the office chauffeur driven one.

And as I approached the C-class Mercedes and jumped in, I was determined not to overthink anything. I enjoyed the ride, opening my phone as a remedy to dispel all inadequacies. As if on cue, @londongirlfromjozie had already double tapped and commented, and Maahira’s message had come just in the nick of time.

And since she had called it quits on the toxic situations  in her life, aka Hashim, I kind of related to her journey, because it was around the same time that things had ended with Hamzah.

And though it took a while to build that trust again, we had taken comfort in each other whilst we healed through the trials we faced, and Maahira’s new approach to life actually made me feel soothed but lacking in spirituality…

It’s like she was way ahead of me on this journey of reflection and reformation and I could barely keep up.

Our last conversation had unsettled me, to say the least.

@londongirlfromjozie commented:

Back home? Is it time u let the cat out the bag? 

@mostlymohsina: Mhm.

Maahira’s inappropriate response:

Or should I say – tiger on the prowl?

Me, switching to direct message:

Don’t be a hater. He’s a busy man. It’s not his fault he has to mingle with so many people.

She had heard, through the pipeline, that Faadil wasn’t exactly the conservative type and it made her super wary.

@londongirlfromjozie via direct message:

He has to, or chooses to? It’s one thing if he’s single and mingling but…..

She left that in the air but it had the desired effect. That was a question that was worth investigating, but I wasn’t going to fall for her suspicions with no solid evidence.

Evidently, she wasn’t thrilled about the recent developments on my relationship front with Faadil, and she didn’t mince her words.

What she didn’t understand was that emotionally and financially, I was indebted to him. Throughout the roughest patched over the past few months, he was the only person who had proven to be of any consolation. He had, literally, come to the rescue and sorted everything out, when I felt like I was in way over my head.

To me, it all made sense. The proposal that he had put forth was a strategic move that wouldn’t only benefit the company, but would also serve to reinforce the foundation of it. The financial benefits, of course, were noteworthy, but not the sole aim.

Soon, I would break the news to Layyanah and then to my parents, and I did expect them to be happy for me. I just needed time to wrap my head around it, and to finally come to terms with the fact that it was time to settle down, but for real this time.

I opened my phone again, not able to shake the feeling that her questions were bringing on.

Do you think my parents will go psycho on me?

I typed in our private chat.

I wished I could go psycho on u.

Of all people, I didn’t expect Maahira to be this way.

Haai. But why?

I typed quickly, not sure why she felt so strongly about this.

The next thing I knew, Maahiras name was flashing on my phone and I slid to answer the call, putting the phone to my ear without saying anything.

“Because any work-based relationship is trouble,” she retorted bossily as I answered. “But your boss is the most trouble. And I know his type. Did you even tell Layyanah? What about isthikhaarah?”

I knew Layyanah would have asked me the same thing, and that was precisely why I was fretting about telling her.

Maahira and Layyanah had actually been in contact over the past few months, and I had no idea until I had started chatting to Maahira again.

Maahi had asked her for a sincere apology for being such a rat in the past and things kind of took off from there. It was cool that two of my best girls were friends.

”I didn’t tell Layyanah and you better not open your mouth,” I warned her.

“I won’t,” she promised, and I believed her this time. She knew that if she had to betray my trust, I would never forgive her again.

For me though… I just needed all the toxicity to leave… so I could feel at peace with everything.

I swallowed as I thought about Isthikhaarah. Lately, I’d been feeling so disconnected. I didn’t even think about that. About connecting with Allah. About seeking His help.

But if everything was pointing towards this as a solution, won’t it be the right thing for me?

“You do understand that if anything goes wrong,” she continued. “His first revenge tactic will be to sack you.”

“But Faadil will never do that to me,” I said confidently.

He knew how badly I needed this job and what an asset I was becoming to the company. Of course it wouldn’t get bitter. Besides, he wasn’t the only boss here.

“Just remember, no one is irreplaceable,” she shot back.

I bit my lip, trying not to explode on her.

Was she actually saying that I could be replaced by some other half-wit who probably can’t even do a portion of slavery that they get away with allocating to me?


Listen, I have to go in a bit,” she said, quickly, as I heard someone in the background. “Some girls are here from the office. Will you just speak to your parents already? I thought you went to the farm last weekend.”

Faadil also called my home a farm. Most city people did, and now that Maahira lived in London, she was jumping on the bandwagon. I found it just a tad bit derogatory.

As if they were some kind of royalty just because they had a city address.

”I just went to see my favourite little guy,” I said, thinking of Zaid once again, instantly forgetting all the worries that were hounding me. “l’ll speak to them soon. And Layyanah too…”

I had spent an entire afternoon with him while Layyanah and Liyaket went off to do some shopping. I had been seeing him almost every weekend when work time allowed.

And I smiled as I remembered his adorable little double chin and the cutest single dimple that just got me every time.

Even through everything that had happened recently, I honestly felt like he was the one reason I had to keep myself sane. He was undeniably a reason to smile after a long and tiring week at work.

And since I was seeing her so often I knew that I should have already spoken to Layyanah about Faadil, but I just couldn’t seem to sum up the courage…

“I’m waiting to know the outcome here,” she concluded. “I need to know when to plan my trip back home. Let me know as soon as you tell them.”

I cut the call after greeting, feeling uneasy for some reason, now that she was talking about official stuff.

And now this was actually happening, of course.. I could only imagine that it would very possibly be a high profile type of weeding. Faadil only mingled with the rich and famous.

Although I was all in for the fancy favours and trending decor… a part of me secretly always wanted a small and intimate Nikah, and I knew that wasn’t exactly on the cards for him.

I sighed, not trusting myself to say anything more. I’d had no one to talk to about this, so I shoved it out of my mind for then, hoodwinking myslef into believing it was all cool for now.

Deception. It’s like I was caught in a maze that had no way out.

Another message from my mother came through on my phone as I we reached Sandton, and I figured it may be a good time to call, while I bided the time before I’d be home on my couch with a bag of popcorn.

I thought that it would be the usual mother-like nagging, but this time though, there was something else.

”Did you speak to Jameela?”

And of course, if I had the decency to reply, I would say no, I didn’t.

In fact, I hadn’t spoken to my sister in over two months. I mean, we acknowledged each other when we met, but there were no more FaceTimes or calls that would pass by between us intermittently in the week, like back in the pre-high-flying days.

And I wanted to on multiple occasions but I didn’t make the first move. The tension was subtle but it was very much present. I did have a feeling that she might have been upset about the way I live my life but I didn’t sweat it.

My mother had good avoidance tactics. Instead of answering she just said that Jameela will be in contact, and cut the call just after telling me that she was hoping they’d see me this weekend.

EIsh. If they were expecting me I knew that I had to let them know not to. I really just wanted to chill and take it easy. Maybe visit Layyanah and baby Zaid. See Faadil under our stipulated conditions. Other than that… I wasn’t sure and I was feeling pretty selfish.

And yes, at this point, It had been a helluva couple of months. Nightmarish memories still haunted me but I was finally feeling settled and accomplished and being away from home and the constant hounding of my family was helping too.

The guilt. Why couldn’t she just understand? I just needed the peace to deal with myself.

I breathed out as I reached home, opening my Instagram to see the reactions on the last post. 360 likes already, and it had barely been an hour.

And ‘peace’ was what I was fooled into believing I had, as I opened my empty apartment, kicking off my heels and dumped my bag at the front.

No matter how classy the hotels were… How delicious the breakfast had been… How luxurious the business class seats were…. Home was still home.

Later, I would read my Salaah. For now, all that mattered was my ego and feeding my desires. Whipping up a cup of my favourite coffee, and planting myself on my chill-out sofa was the perfect remedy after a long week.

Tomorrow, I would be more productive. Do a little bit of cleaning, and dusting. I didn’t realize that souls needed cleansing too.

For now, I just needed a diversion. Maybe I’d even message Lesley for a coffee date. Find out whats going on with her after Nikah. Perhaps even draw some much needed inspiration and hope she would give me the go-ahead with Faadil.

I shoved everything else out of my head as the red and black logo flashed on the screen. For now it was Netflix and chill, so there I was, procrastinating endlessly with my head in my darkened clouds, prying my eyes open as I lay on the couch.

And I was seemingly lost in a parallel world, on the brink of zombie mode,when the buzzing of the phone on my lap jolted me awake.

And still half expecting it to be Faadil who had said he would see me later, but as I studied the phone in my hand, I realized that it wasn’t him at all.

And for a minute, I wasn’t sure what to do, as I saw my sisters name on the ID, after weeks of no contact.

And while I deliberated on whether or not pick up right away, the call cut and she phoned again, almost immediately. There was no doubt that it had to be pretty important, so I shoved aside my toxic mentality for a minute, pressed the green button, not really thinking further than my pride as I greeted, trying to sound as natural as possible.

“Assalamualaikum,” Jameela’s voice said, really faintly as I struggled to hear. It was like a mixture of bad signal and utter chaos, wherever she was at the time, but my ears were ringing the the racket. “Mohsina, sorry, you have to…”

Her voice trailed off as I struggled to decipher her words as I heard sirens blaring on the other side of the line, wondering where on earth she was at this time of the night.

“Jameela?” I said, sitting up as I was practically jolted from my Netflix-induced slumber, her voice sounding almost foreign to me as she spoke again.

“Mos, you have to come now,” she cried, her voice clearly on the verge of tears again.

She sniffed loudly as my heart beat incessantly in my chest, assuming every worst case possible scenario in my head.

“What’s happened?!” I asked, guilt immediately overwhelming over me as I thought about how I’d put seeing off my parents for so long. “Just tell me, what’s going on? Is Papa okay?! Nani?!”

Lucid thoughts were hounding me. About Nani. About how my priorities had gone completely out the window during the last few months.

When was the last time I had even seen my family properly?

She was silent for a few seconds, but I could hear her fighting back emotion with intermittent noises that I could barely understand as she tried to formulate her next words. Panic was rising within me as she struggled to get it all out.

My heart was racing with terrifying trepidation as I awaited her next sentence.

”It’s not them,” she managed to blurt out, a few seconds later. “There was a huge accident here on the main road. “A truck… a car.. truck shot the robo…”

Oh shit.

I swallowed hard as the anxiety rose within my pulsating chest.
The thought of losing anyone I knew, even vaguely, was traumatic…

“Mos, I’m so sorry…” she said, her voice riddled with emotion as I heard her breathing intensify.

Somehow , in the back of my mind, I was well aware that the blow was going to be unparalleled, but the moment between assumption and execution is always the most prolonged.

And it was all in a matter of a few minutes, but that’s how it always happens, doesn’t it?

Every now and then, we have to look up. Awaken our senses. Begin to taste the reality that surrounds us every day, while we continue to be the losers, caught up in our poisoned worlds.

Because every now and then, when the races we compete in are of fame and success, and when day-to-day becomes a mere means to an end, when the darkness begins to overwhelms us… a great trial comes forth to rescue us. To take away from what’s been consuming our souls. To eliminate the darkness that engulfs us. To heal our hardened and heavy hearts.

Sometimes Almighty Allah, for the child who is not yet capable of signing the deal, makes the deal on our behalf, to reveal to us a greater truth. The truth that comes with enduring the trials we face, patiently and with full trust in the immense reward that awaits the righteous…  To vie with one another in good instead, to pay whatever the price it takes, and barter this world for an eternity of bliss… where we will forever dwell within.

…when we are competing for the lesser, it was the one certainty that will never cease to exist..

The last of it is musk, (The divine fragrance of Paradise, the seal thereof which will be Musk)

So for this let the competitors compete.
(Surah Al Mutaffifeen)

“Its Layyanah ,” Jameela whispered, breaking down the barriers of my hardened heart, as she uttered her next words…

“Mosee… She’s … gone…”

Sunnah of Giving and Receiving gifts. 

In an attempt to create love, especially if they may be rifts or some kind of problem… the Sunnah of giving gifts is always a perfect remedy ❤️

Rasullulah (Sallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said: “If anyone receives something from his Muslim brother, without asking for it, he should not reject it but he should accept it is his sustenance (rizq) which has been sent by Allah Taála.”

(Fadhaail e Sadaqah)

Du’aa for Rajab 

اَللّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِى رَجَبَ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَان

Allaahumma Baa’rik La’naa Fee Rajab(a), Wa Sha’baan(a), Wa Bal’ligh’naa Ramadhaan.

“O Allaah! Make the months of Rajab and Sha’baan blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadhaan.”









FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

No Secrets

Bismihi Ta’ala


It’s strange how life works, isn’t it?

One day you’re the happiest person in the world, and the next, it feels like the worries of the entire world have settled on your tiny shoulders.

And as we drove back into it, the city air had been doing its thing with me, unsettling me and making me feel all sorts of uneasy, as I entered our old residence. As much as I tried to shove it away, the prickly feeling in my tummy didn’t yet ease.

It had been a few moments of relief, but the calming effects of the view of the contrasting bougainvillea bushes against the lush greenery of the small town we had just visited had already been lost, as we found ourselves entering the suburbs once again.

For a minute there, I found myself immersed in the vision of the intermittent splash of stunning jacaranda trees visible from the highway, abadoning myself to the feeling of winter in the city too.

Breathing in, letting the relatively denser air fill my lungs, the point was to dispel the less favourable emotions that were coming at me once again. It was owed to the fact that it had been, in my opinion, another fruitless month.

Along with the pulling of my legs and aching tummy as I felt the pain subside momentarily, it was no secret that there was not even a possibility of a positive pregnancy test this month.

And as I sighed and slid open my phone, playing the voice note from my sister, my mood worsened substantially.

“Let me know as soon as you guys are in Johannesburg,” Fareeha said bossily. “We’ll come see you.”

“We’ll come to you,” I typed to her quickly, before she made any plans to visit.

This time, I knew that Rabia was here with us and I didn’t want to risk any clashes. Knowing my sister, as soon as she clapped eyes on her, she would probably dive right into it. Perhaps she would even do a live introduction right there, and risk my entire two month mission of keeping them away from each other being sabotaged.

But I hadn’t yet let Fareeha know that I was in town yet and I had good reasoning for it. Never mind I was being slightly obsessive and unreasonable. I wasn’t going to budge because I knew that if I gave her even a little bit of an advantage, Fareeha was going to completely steal the show with her new and sole ambition in life.

I pulled the bunch of lilies I had bought out the boot, almost with a vengeance as I made my way through the interleading garage door after my mother-in-law, barely even reaching the glass table at the front before the wailing of a baby caught me completely off-guard.

And for a minute, I thought it was my warped mind playing tricks on me.

Or perhaps it was a cat. But there was no cat here. And if it wasn’t a cat… well… That noise could only mean one thing.

My heart lifted as I heard it, and as if the sombreness was immediately eliminated, it was as if my entire existence had suddenly found its purpose once again.

All I knew knew was that as my mother-in-law headed over to where Hamzah was sitting on the couch, it was like some magnetic force that was dragging me over as well.

The precious lilies were abandoned on the glass dining table, and I found myself almost tripping over a baby bag, racing before my mother-in-law to scoop the baby in question up, without even a second thought of who, how and why…

And okay, in retrospect, I knew it was just a little bit of a psychotic reflex but I really couldn’t help it. My heart was already endowed with love for any little human that I saw.

”Oh my, Masha Allah!” My mother-in-law said, glancing at him and smiling widely as I placed him onto my shoulder. “Hamzah, why didn’t you tell us Liyaket was leaving his baby?! We would have left our shopping for tomorrow! I can’t believe you!”

Neither could I.

”Mummy,” he said easily. “Can’t you see how capable I am? Just two hours with me and he’s literally on cloud number nine.”

The baby was already silent and sucking on his fingers.

”Yes, I can see that, but we would have loved to help,” she said easily. “You don’t have to act like superman.”

Or be so selfish, I wanted to add, but I didn’t. After all, it wasn’t quite his fault that I was baby-obsessed.

“Does he need a nappy change?” I asked, glancing at my brother-in-law while I felt the fullness of his diaper.

I could see Hamzah rummaging around in the nappy bag for something, and finally emerging with a nappy and two different wet wipe pouches.

One was some brand hygiene wipes and the other was Huggies sensitive baby wipes. I could see that he had no idea what the difference was so I grabbed the appropriate one, dug for the changing pad in the bag and made my way to the next room to lay the cutie out on the top of the bed and change him.

I would have never guessed that changing a wet diaper would have made me so ecstatic, but it did. It had been so many years since I had done this but it felt like it was just the other day. The years flew by so very fast…

“So how was shopping?” I could hear my brother-in-law asking my mother-in-law in the next room. “What did you buy for me?”

It had been a while since I had met such a friendly baby, and his chuckles resounded through the room as I played a silly little game with his little toes, wiping him carefully and then sealing him up again, before re-buttoning his vest and romper. The smile he gave as he looked up at me felt like the sun had risen in the horizon of my heart.

Warmth oozed within me as I held him close, the feeling his heartbeat next to mine as his fingers gripped around my thumb, almost as if, in their rhythm, the two of us shared a little secret that no one else knew.

I wasn’t sure if anyone else could be as in love with babies as I was right then.

”We brought some food,” my mother-in-law was replying, and I could hear her go silent for a while as she unpacked the packets I had rudely left on the table.

Of course, I knew she wouldn’t mind. It was no secret to her that I would abandon anything for even a few moments with a little human being.

Also, there was inarguably another reason for her silence. Although it had been a highly sensitive topic before, things had kind of simmered down now… but I could tell that she was probably debating whether to tell him that we stopped over at Mohsina’s family’s new coffee shop. We weren’t quite sure how he would take to it.

And though it had been on the trending list for a few months, and I had heard about it a few times because my sister had been there at least half a dozen times and could not stop swooning about it… I figured that since we might be passing through the area, it may be worth a try.

And it just so happened that we were literally starving because we couldn’t find many Halaal places around where the factory shop we went to was, and this was slap-bang, in the middle of our detour. Not only was it conveniently located, but it was also a really aesthetically pleasing location that soothed my heart significantly, even if it was for a little while.

And as we drove up the gravel road leading to the familiar property, I had stepped off the car and breathed in the fresh air, taking in the stunning little rose garden in the front as I walked up the two steps that led to the entrance of the shop. Not only was I already in love with the scenery here, but being there felt almost like being completely out of the city, as I felt myself shedding all the worries that had consumed me earlier on, letting myself get absorbed in the beauty of the beautiful bougainvillea bushes in the distance.

I gazed intently at the carefree collusion of creamy whites that turned almost pearl, pretty pinks that transformed to blood reds … and pinky-peaches that somehow morphed into burnt orange. The contrast against the streaky skies made me stop in my tracks for a minute, as I digested the colours that were very much like the horizon that was spread before us, with its silky smooth skybursts of reds and yellows that found its way into the calmness of the latter afternoon.

When nature painted, with Allah as the artist, truly, no filter was needed…

“You think she will be here?” My mother-in-law had asked quietly as we entered, scanning the room as if she expected Mohsina to pop out from the woodwork.

I knew that she was secretly hoping she would see her but I did think that it was highly unlikely. Even though it was a weekend, with qualified professionals, I knew that there wasn’t always weekend time.

We walked in, immediately noticing that the place was simple and very cottage-inspired. There was nothing fancy about its decor or furniture, but it felt so amazingly homely and comfortable.

And as I took it in, I could see that it’s inspiration was a picture frame of a pretty meadow, and I couldn’t help but glance at if a few times, trying to figure out who had painted it, wondering if it was some coincidence that it looked so strikingly familiar to the farm back home …

A younger boy who stood behind the counter, upon seeing us, quickly went to the back, and in his place out came a girl who at first glance could have been Mohsina, but I already knew wasn’t.

It was her younger sister, and even though I had met her once before, her name had slipped my mind completely.

“Assalamualaikum,” she said kindly, her eyes meeting mine as she flashed one of the rarest smiles I’d seen in months. It was just so sincere and welcoming that it  took me aback.

She had obviously not recognised us, I said to myself. If she did, she would have snubbed us completely. After all, Hamzah was the one who called off the Nikah.

The girls head was covered with a floral hijab that was tied tightly and her striking features were slightly sun kissed, as if she probably spent her glorious days out in the garden most times. The mesmerising rose garden in the front had to be the result of someone’s toil…

“How are you?”

My mother-in-law, seeing no males in the vicinity, and generally unconcerned about any dynamics that may have existed, unlike me, lifted her niqab and gave her a genuine smile.

And the thing was, even if you are in niqab, to reveal your identity was always the right thing to do, by whatever means. Personally, I was just a little worried about how she may take us being here after everything that had happened.

”Wa alaykum Salaam,” Mummy said, looking slightly hesitant as the girls expression changed. “I’m not sure if you remember us, Jameela?”

Ah yes. Jameela. That’s what her name was.

I could tell that she did, but she looked down shyly, almost self-consciously and nodded. So far, so good. I mean, she didn’t chase us out, so that was great.

Instead, she passed us a simple menu and then said:

”I’ll be with you in a minute. My mother would love to see you.”

And with that, I was kind of taken aback. For me, the situation was a little awkward but it seemed as if they were surprisingly elated at our being here, and it took a while for me to wrap my head around it because I really didn’t expect it. What I did expect was an acknowledgement and maybe mere politeness, but I really didn’t think it would go further than that.

And that’s when I realised that maybe there was some hope in this world where everything else seemed to be a dead loss.

And that wasn’t the end of it. And as her mother emerged and a surprisingly pleasant reunion took place, Jameela recommended to us the popular specials they had, served us the best coffee I ever tasted, and packed us off with four extra sandwiches to take home.

Homemade and absolutely delicious, might I add.

And after feeling all satisfied and at peace in my new surroundings, as I soaked up the sun in the outdoor area where the view was nothing short of spectacular, when I went up to the counter, Jameela merely shook her head at me.

“My parents say I can’t charge you ladies,” she said with a sweet smile. “Next time, I promise. Then I know you’ll will come back.”

”That’s not right, Jameela,” I insisted, taking out my purse nonetheless.

I never know what to do in situations like this. And this was awkward. The whole situation was.

“We ordered so much. Let me pay for something at least.”

She shook her head again.

“My Papa will lock me up in the barn if I don’t listen,” she half-whispered, but I could tell she was joking. “You came to our home and after everything that happened… well, it’s the least we could do. It’s Hadiyyah.”

When she put it that way I couldn’t refuse. And they were kind of blowing me away, with all this niceness, even when we barely deserved it.

There was nothing more I could do or say, except thank her appreciately, as I looked around me, taking the place in.

Now that I was here again, I understood again that Mohsina had come from a simple home,  and that they had probably just made ends meet every month, without that much ‘extra’. It made me think about life so differently… because when I thought of it, this is what got me, all the time, and what Allah Ta’ala revealed about those who prefer others above themselves:

They prefer others above themselves, even though poverty become their lot (Holy Qurān, Surah Baqarah.)”

I just couldn’t get it, and although I had a deep desire to be, I wasn’t like that.

How is it that people that have so much, find it so hard to part with that which they own… yet people who don’t, take in so much in their stride? Was it because they have little and are content with it… so giving even of that little doesn’t make a difference? Or was it because they just possessed an immensely amazing gift that allows them to open their heart so unreservedly, that no matter what they lose in the pursuit of winning over someone’s heart, barely makes a difference…

What I didn’t yet realize is that the money earned by a person, if it is not blessed, will never be enough. The more one earns, the more are his needs. Its like continuing to eat without becoming satisfied.

And as I exited, my heart engulfed all sorts of strange emotions, my eyes fell on a selection of potted flowers for sale on a little stand there, and next to it were a few buckets of lilies that took my breath away. So instead, I looked through the selection of pretty lilies in a bucket in the bucket, who Jameela said she was selling for someone else, and bought two unusually coloured bunches.

“Such a lovely girl,” my mother-in-law was murmuring as we made our way out. “Next time we need to bring something for them. If I had another son I would have already sent a proposal for her.”

She chuckled light-heartedly but there was a hint of sadness in her voice, probably for the would have been daughter-in-law she had missed out on all those months back.

I kept silent, thinking what everyone would think in situations like this. Whatever happened. However Hamzah may have messed it up. Whatever Mohsina might have done.

Allah knows best.

“But it is what it is,” she said, almost to herself as we got in the car. “No use thinking about it. And three is a good number, though, right? Lucky my second pregnancy had turned out to be twins.”

Three is an amazing number. Although I’d be happy with two.

Oh, but I’m happy with one too. Am I?
Of course, I’m grateful, but just one more….

I smiled and shook my head to myself, thinking about how my mother-in-law had once mentioned that she never thought she would have any more kids after Imraan. And then bam… along came two at once, almost ten years later.

And I never did ask her more about it. I always assumed that she had fallen pregnant with twins naturally and there were no treatment options at that time. But now as she said it, the desire the ask her was overwhelming.

“Was it a shock?” I said carefully, putting the car into reverse and glancing at her as we left.

”It could have been one, two or three,” she said with a smile, and left it at that.

”Ah,” I said, as if I wasn’t quite sure.

But of course I understood what that meant. It was the option that Imraan didn’t want to consider as yet, but the one I was trying hard for him to at least think about. IVF, under stipulated conditions, was allowed, but to get Imraan to accept it as a viable option was another task altogether.

I sighed as I picked baby Zaid up now, holding him close as I took in that unique newborn scent, and headed back to the sitting room.

I wasn’t sure if my mother-in-law had told him where we’d been but as I heard more voices in the vicinity, I realised that Zaids parents were already back.

With a slightly heavy heart, I dragged myself to the kitchen, seeing Liyaket’s wife perched on a chair there, looking as calm as ever, as I held her baby in my arms.

“Ah there he is,” she said, smiling as she saw her son. “I really hope he didn’t trouble you.”

And if she wasn’t so lovely I might have resented her for having the cutest baby in the world, but of course I couldn’t.

“Not at all,” I smiled, passing him over to her. He was so sweet-natured, as he literally drifted into lala land again with his dummy in his mouth. “You should have left him longer. We hardly had any time with him. Hamzah was keeping him all to himself.”

Layyanah smiled, shaking her head.

”To tell the truth, I didn’t think he would!” she laughed, genuinely humoured. “Liy and I thought he’d phone after an hour with multiple complaints about how difficult babies are, but when he didn’t, we got even more worried!”

She was giggling as she said it and I smiled.

I too, could barely believe that my otherwise spoilt brother-in-law who could not even make a cup of coffee by himself was actually so handy when it came to babies.

”I hope you guys did what you needed to do?” I asked politely, as I switched the kettle on. “Can I offer you tea or coffee?

“I’m fine with tea,” she said gratefully. “But only if you’re making for yourself. It’s been a pretty hectic morning. The queues at the bank were crazy and I had to urgently sort out a problem with my account. Liyaket keeps telling me not to stress but I can’t help it. I worry, and yet he’s the accountant. Financial security… For Zaid, more than me. He keeps saying that it’s all Duniyaa, but you know..”

She trailed off and I smiled, because I knew. The worry was real and although we were supposed to have Tawakkul, we were so weak. Besides, with our kids, does it ever stop?

”We all worry,” I said knowingly. “We are weak, even though Allah tells us over and over to hand it over to Him…”

And because I knew of Layyanah’s family, who I had recently come to find out was one of the wealthiest families in Johannesburg, it was no secret that I had already had it in my mind that she was pretty materialistic so it didn’t surprise me that she was talking about money.

Liyaket, on the other hand,  was a simple guy who had worked exceptionally hard while he was studying, even doing all-nighters to keep up with work and studies, because for them, nothing ever came easy. The two of them had completely contrasting backgrounds.

And although I had formed my assumptions, the next thing she said caught me completely off guard.

“I suppose at some point, we just have to hand it over, don’t we?” She said quietly. “When we look at the type of life the Sahaaba lived, how can we ever say we are of the same Ummah? Like for example.. the other day I was just reading about Hadhrat Faathima (RA), in a book I found in Liy’s mother bookshelf. How simple her life was, how she worked so hard and how her husband adored her because of it… where are we and where were they? Do you ever wonder?”

She shook her head shamefully while I looked at her in awe, barely believing that this was the same girl I had heard about, who was so spoilt that she had never even had to dish out her own food.

And now, as I tried to process how Allah’s plan works, I was listening to her tell me more about the simplicity of Deen..

This girl was making me review my own intentions in life. It was like I had been missing the point all along.

”Sometimes,” I said, feeling overwhelmed for a minute. “It’s amazing how they endured so much, huh?”

Perhaps it was all the hormonal emotions that were taking it’s toll, but her entire demeanour and beautiful outlook was having such an immense effect on me that I literally just wanted to crumple up and sob my heart out.

“Anyway,” she said, barely noticing, shifting around and moving baby Zaid onto her other arm as she finished feeding him and grabbed two more biscuits. I hastily went up to take him, eager for a little more time. “I’m not sure what time Liy is planning on leaving but I’m just going to carry on eating because this feeding makes us so feel like we’re starved, neh?”

I smiled. I remember how I used to eat about seventeen times a day when I was breastfeeding.

The kettle was already halfway boiled as we chatted easily about babies and their erratic feeding schedules, when I could hear Imraan calling me from the other room.

And since he had just probably arrived, I excused myself to see him, and see to Uthman as well. They were probably a little hungry, since Imraan had gone out to meet a client for the day and Uthman had gone for some additional school tutoring.

“Assalamualaikum,” I said with a smile, peeping out the kitchen door. “How are you? Can I send something for you to eat?”

”Sawls,” Imraan said causally. “I’m fine. Where’s your phone? Fareeha is trying to get hold of you.”

When was the last time I had used it? I had gotten so busy with the baby that I had even forgotten

Oh yes.

“It’s in the car,” I said, smacking my hand on my forehead. “Let me go and fetch it.”

”Don’t stress, love,” he said casually. “Maulana Aadil called to say that they were on the road, so I told them to come here.”

”What?!” I said, widening my eyes at him. “No!”

Imraan frowned.

“Why?” He asked innocently. “Don’t you want to see your sister before we go home? Is everything okay?”

He wouldn’t understand. He was also looking at me like I’d lost my marbles.

“It’s just,” I said slowly, carefully retracting. “I thought we would visit them for a change. I didn’t think you’d go and invite them over without telling me first. It’s so sudden. And I really just wanted to go there and chill while Fareeha did all the tea-making..”

I loved entertaining people, and Imraan knew it. I supposed that’s precisely what made him more suspicious.

”Listen,” Imraan said, his phone and the buzzer going off at the same time, and his voice softened as he said the next sentence, and moved to the corner of the lounge where no-one could see us. “You’re acting crazy and completely unlike yourself. Don’t get offended… but it’s not just now, it’s been for a few weeks now. Do you want to tell me what’s going on?”

I closed my eyes momentarily as Imraan spun around, pressed the button for the top gate, and then turned around again to face me.

”You rather go out and greet them,” I said meekly, as he looked at me and narrowed his eyes.

I could hear my mother-in-law and Layyanah chatting in the next room, feeling like I was missing out on precious moments with the baby.

“They can wait,” he said stubbornly. “You know you can tell me anything. I’m not going until you spill it.”

Breathe, Saaliha, I told myself. Just breathe

It was no big deal. Maybe the two of them wouldn’t clash at all. Perhaps Rabia would be out for a while longer, and Fareeha would be long gone before she even made an appearance.


Imraan only called me by my full name when he was in a no-nonsense mood.

“I can’t,” I finally mumbled. “It’s a secret.”

How would I ever explain this craziness? 

That, I can never mention.

“We never keep secrets,” he said softly, sounding as if I’d knocked the wind out of him, with the words I’d just uttered.

Seconds felt like minutes, as I heard car doors slamming and Fareeha’s voice screaming at her kids as time was running out.

Imraan was inching closer to me, his expression even more disturbed than before.

I swallowed, looking at him, but determined not to breathe a word of my concerns out loud.

“Are you sure absolutely sure?” He said, looking resigned already, as he stepped back, his expression now one of undeniable hurt.

I nodded. I wasn’t thinking further than right then.

“Right,” he said abruptly, turning to leave, and for some reason, there was no other time I remembered that I’d felt more down in the dumps than I did right then.

It didn’t matter though. All I knew was that, come what may, this secret was one that I could never expose…

Sunnah of Giving and Receiving gifts. 

In an attempt to create love, especially if they may be rifts or some kind of problem… the Sunnah of giving gifts is always a perfect remedy ❤️

Rasullulah (Sallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said: “If anyone receives something from his Muslim brother, without asking for it, he should not reject it but he should accept it is his sustenance (rizq) which has been sent by Allah Taála.”

(Fadhaail e Sadaqah)

Du’aa for Rajab 

اَللّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِى رَجَبَ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَان

Allaahumma Baa’rik La’naa Fee Rajab(a), Wa Sha’baan(a), Wa Bal’ligh’naa Ramadhaan.

“O Allaah! Make the months of Rajab and Sha’baan blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadhaan.”









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