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.”










FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah


23 thoughts on “The Lion Within

  1. جزاك الله خيرا for the amazing post
    Each post leaves me hanging for more and eagerly awaiting for the next post🥺 …can we get a himan rights day bonus please🥺🥺

    This post, was so nice to see an insight of hamza again
    Please don’t go legal hamza…waiting to see how this unfoold and poor baby Zaid💔

    Liked by 4 people

  2. السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَ رَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَ بَرَكَاتُهُ
    Hope you’re keeping well🌸

    This is my dream and goal!!! To actually join these people and gain shahaadah💓…ahh one day soon, Aameen❣❣❣
    How I wish these people were for real❤
    I would have found and joined our ammmazzzing Moulana Umar and his jamaat!!!

    So excited to hear about Mohsin! MaashaaAllah!

    Nooooo pleeeeeeease don’t go to court and fight for baby Zaid💔💔💔
    Maybe Liyaket and Layyaanah wrote it somewhere that it’s their wish that they co-parent 💕
    Or Mohsinah finally gets her hidaayah and makes a massive change…..
    Or even better, Mohsina gets her hidaayah and, that boss/fiancee/shaytaan of hers just falls down dead💟💟💟….it feels like he has a hand in those loan sharks attacking Mohsinah and making him her last resort…..
    Ahhhh….sooo many possibilities!

    JazakAllah khair for the amaazing post.
    Hope you and everyone else has a smashing and super ibaadatful Ramadhaan💕❣
    Please keep me in your du’aas.
    جزاك الله خيرا 🌻

    السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَ رَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَ بَرَكَاتُهُ

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wa alaykum salaam dear sister…

      Lol, Jhee. I think we all feel like jumping on a plane with maulana Umar and crew, May Allah grant us such desire to go out in His path and die in His path… aameen 🤍
      Mohsin, Jhee, goes right back to journeying days …
      Heheh… made me chuckle too… especially the part about faadil..
      Many possibilities but so little time… but whatever is not revealed yet… well, we’ll just have to wait and see won’t we ✨✨✨
      Shukran Jazeelan and have a beautiful Ramadhaan as well ❤️
      Request for your esteemed duaas
      Wslm wr wb…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Absolutely beautiful posts. The parts of jihad just gets you pumped up…Haaa not one before Ramadan 😭 3 to make up for the month 🙈I’m joking I know it’s not possible but It just gets so intriguing I can’t help myself. Can’t they just come to some agreement. Court cases are so messy. Where’s the idiot. I hope he dissapeared somewhere

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I just have one question: Who does Zaid end up with?
    I feel like that will take long to be revealed – with possible court cases etc. – but I don’t think I’ll last through Ramadhaan without knowing the outcome!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Subhanallah I cried again.. when holding your loved to put them inside the grave.. to throw the first handful of dirt on the kaffan..

    My son witnessed it and kept asking why they were making our loved one dirty..

    The battle is on but I know it’s going to be super super exciting..

    Aww liyaqat and layannah.. what a beautiful couple that even went together from this pathetic world.. jazakallah dear authoress…

    Liked by 3 people

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