Building the Bridges

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 38

Life changes in a heartbeat.

One day, everything is the way we always knew it as, and the next, it can feel like we’re in a completely different world.

Everyone has their own battles. Their own tests and trials. Everyone has good days. Bad days. Days that they show their bad ways. Yes, and bad things happen too. Horrible things. But to stand tall, accept and still have Tawakkal in Allah’s plan, in the face of them, is what can define you. To put others before yourself, to be patient in the face of adversity, to build bridges, instead of breaking them… can change the outcome of even what seems like the bleakest of situations.

All it takes sometimes, is a new way of looking at things, a way of letting go of old habits and memories. Forgiving and letting go of past grievances. A way to build new bridges. All it takes is to start afresh, to build up again, with a new heart and a new mind..

And with the building, there is a secret key ingredient that is thrown in, with the recipe to happiness. Expecting the best from Allah Azza Wa Jal can bring the best out of any situation, turn stormy skies to sunny ones, bring the light from behind the clouds, and even turn rain into rainbows …

Better things come along, and a stronger, wiser you is waiting to show you your own mettle, as you walk through these days that seemed like they would never get any better…

And as you sit on your sisters front porch, staring at that life you are leaving behind, you have to accept that it’s gone. All you can do is stand still and be ready, and be open to the path that life is going to take next.

“Oh my word, I’m so sorry Sawls,” Fareeha sniffed, blowing her nose noisily as she tried to breathe steadily once again. “It’s been a tough week for you guys but here I am, bawling my eyes out about things that barely even compare to what you guys have been through. After today, you’re likely to go back home and never come see me again and I wouldn’t blame you one bit…”

“Don’t say that,” I said comfortingly, looking at her with a new eye as my mind raced with thoughts about everything she had just revealed to me. “This is just as important…”

Fareeha’s usually jovial face was drawn with worried lines that made her look almost years beyond her age. I held her hand tightly as she gripped mine back, for the first time ever for me, revealing the illusive shadow behind the usually courageous girl that I knew was my sister.

Seeing her like this was something that I hadn’t caught a glimpse of in years, and my heart went out for her, as I wondered how she must really feel.

The warmth of my little nephew, the cause for her concern, who lay against my chest was already a calming for my restless soul.

The view from where I sat, overlooking the greenery of the beautifully elevated garden, was absolutely remarkable. At the end of the day, as the sky and sun met, it felt almost like hope was meeting fear, and here I sat, somewhere in between.

I sighed to myself contentedly for a minute, realising that always, no matter how far we’ve strayed from Allah Azza Wa Jal, there’s always hope to find our path back to Him.

”Its been a tough week, hasn’t it?”

She could say that again.

The incessant weeping had finally ceased, as I held him close to me, trying to draw comfort from the little bit of comfort he had drawn from me.

Our hearts had all taken a battering this week. Every. Single. One. Of. Us.

There was I, sitting with little Uzayr, cuddling him till my hearts content, while Fareeha sat opposite me, just over the sudden torrent of emotion that had overflowed from her most unexpectedly.

“I don’t know how to do explain it,” she was saying softly, just moments ago. “It’s not that I resent him, but the child is finishing me, Sawls. He just bawls for hours on end… and I have no idea why even. The nights are hardest. I don’t understand him and he doesn’t understand me. The way it’s going feels like he’s been challenging me till I’m nearly breaking. And I know he doesn’t know but its literally making me lose my mind..”

And as she explained, it was like all of a sudden, everything was fitting into place and finally making sense. Now, I understood a little more of her, and a little less of myself and how I had been behaving the past few weeks.

I had been so selfish, blocking everyone else out to satisfy my own warped ideas, even Imraan, before the blast that had come  to settle my perception right once again. It was a much needed reflection, but it didn’t make it less heartbreaking.

And even though I was understanding more, I still wondered, not for the first time, if maybe Fareeha was possibly being a little too impulsive with her decision making. Maybe she just needed time to let things settle. Maybe she just needed to restructure her home environment and make it work for her in a different way. Maybe finding her husband another wife wasn’t really the best solution to the problem that she was finding most challenging at this time.

She closed her eyes for the umpteenth time that evening, looking absolutely exhausted.

”It’s just a bad day,” I said soothingly. “It happens. It will get better.”

I gazed at Uzayr, her only son, with his curly brown hair and chubby cheeks.

Nearly two years old, I tried not to make mention of the fact that my little nephew was saying no substantial  words and had heavily delayed milestones. And although he had been an extremely calm baby, compared to his dramatic sisters, he had very suddenly become an over-active and hyper toddler that was making Fareeha literally pull her hair out.

“Do you think I’m doing something wrong?” She asked me suddenly, and I looked at her, not sure what to say.

I didn’t want to tell Fareeha that she may need to consider taking him for an assessment, if there were no changes soon. Besides talking late, he was, very evidently, finding difficulty with expressing his pent-up feelings, which made him all the more frustrated and troublesome.

Deep in her heart, I knew that she knew that something was wrong. But in situations like this… how do you know when to stop hoping something will change or just nip it in the bud and try and rectify whatever’s may be wrong?

It wasn’t an enviable plight, and I felt for my sister. I really did.

For the first time, it made it apparent why Fareeha may be completely averse to any more kids and would rather surrender her husband to another woman instead. I got it now, a little at least.

“You’re an amazing mother,” I told her reassuringly.

She really was. She did everything in her capacity for her kids, with little help from anyone else. Having a child that was a little delayed in milestones or not as fast as other kids didn’t define your parenting skills.

“This… whatever is going on with Uzayr, it doesn’t change anything about you,” I assured her. “You’re doing the best you can.”

Fareeha looked at me morosely as I stirred the cup of tea that she had just made, almost in slow motion, whilst she got up and pried his fingers off of me to put him down. After rushing down to Johannesburg for the funeral the previous week, I had asked Imraan to drop me at Fareeha’s place for a while to settle my own thoughts.

I just needed some spoiling and comfort food and I knew my sister was just the person to sort it all out for me.

”Again, sorry about the drama,” she said apologetically as she came back into the kitchen, shaking her head as she pulled her teabag out of her cup. “How are you all doing? Imraan? Your brother-in-law? And how is that little baby boy… that poor little child… an orphan so, so suddenly..”

I stirred my own cup as she looked at me questioningly with teary eyes, emotions overtaking me too for a minute, as I felt gripped the steaming cup tightly.

And she was so right. A sudden death is just so much more tragic. It’s like taking that familiar walk up the stairs on the dark, thinking there is still one more stair… when there isn’t.

Its a moment of uncomfortable shock as you try to readjust the way you think of things.

My heart contracted as she said it, and without a warning, tears were already forming in the corner of my eyes.

“It can’t be easy for the family,” she said quietly. “It’s part of life though, isn’t it. Death. We all know it’s going to happen but act like it’s a surprise when it does…”

Ah yes. That it was, for the living. But for those who have reached a place of excellence, it’s light upon light, as Allah says in the Quran:

Peace be upon you for what you patiently endured. and excellent is the final home.

Indeed, that final destination is most exceptional, if only we knew.

The events of the past week were a heart-wrenching reminder, but amidst the trials that had come was  beautiful silver lining that had stood out for all of us.

And sometimes, all we need is a shift in focus. As it became common knowledge that he was partly under Hamzah’s care now, like an immediate relief from our torment… all I could think about day and night now was the baby, and trying to ensure that  he would be safe and okay.

And the way I saw it, the lessons here were many. Right before us was the glaring example that showed us that despite who my brother-in-law was before, a situation that could have lead to his downfall had brought him to a place that had now completely changed him. There he was, an entire new person, now with a even greater responsibility- that we were all immensely looking forward to seeing him take it on.

But the task didn’t come without its hiccups. Of course, I had offered my undying commitment. I was rooting for Hamzah to bring him home forever to us so we could keep him and love him and shower him with everything that I was aching to but only problem was that since the news of baby Zaid, and my excitement over him, Imraans mood had noticeably changed, and it wasn’t for the better.

And though we had made our peace and I’d made up for my previous behaviour, Imraan’s face was still riddled with worry and I just didn’t understand it

“Hey, it’s good news,” I eventually said to him the previous night over supper, when I finally couldn’t stand his morbid face any longer. Even Uthman had gotten up and gone to play with his Lego’s. “Why are you looking like you’re in depression?”

Imraan sighed and looked at me, running his hand through his beard as he stopped eating. His measly portion was lying almost untouched.

”It’s not so simple, Sawls,” he said steadily. “He’s currently in between with Layyanah’s friend and Liyaket’s mother…. remember Mohsina? “

”Of course,” I said softly.

”She’s taken off work to see to him, but Hamzah said that can’t last forever…”

Would this bring additional problems that I didn’t anticipate?

”What’s the plan from there?” I asked carefully.

Imraan shifted uncomfortably as I watched him, not yet meeting my eye.

“He wants to go into court,” he mumbled. “It’s going to make this whole thing so much more uncomfortable but if that’s what it takes to get him, then it has to be done, right?”

I stared at Imraan, a little in shock over what he had just told me.

”What?” I asked, still processing. Wasn’t that a teeny bit drastic?

He obviously wasn’t in favour of the situation, but for me, it was bringing on major anxiety.

Court cases were the pits. I’d had plenty of experience with my family and their own issues. My cousin Lameez had to eventually go into court for custody over her daughter. It was horrible and left them all absolutely emotionally exhausted.

The court battles bring on so many issues and ill-feelings. If there was any way at all to avoid it… they had to reconsider.

”You know when Hamzah has his mind set on something, it’s hard to change it,” Imraan said softly, as I tried to digest the information.

I knew that about my brother-in-law. Even when it came to his marriage, it was finalised in no time… and the same thing happened when he called it quits. No-one could sway him either way. For Hamzah, it was either black or white. There were no other colours in between…

Imraan looked so hopeless that I wanted to hug him and chase all his worries away. He was clearly at a loss for words, and I knew that I had to try and provide some hope.

“For Allah’s sake,” I pleaded, appealing to a side of him that I could see was dwindling. “Tell him to leave it, for Allah’s sake. Don’t let them take this to court.”

And as much as my heart was aching for that little guy to be with us, I couldn’t let them go through with this. If everyone wanted their way, where was the room for negotiation? The advice of the pious Akaabireen was to exhaust every other means of mediation before the court. Whether they had to speak, argue or fight it out in a private setting, anything would be better than court.

Especially now, when it came to the blessed days, so close to Ramadhaan… why should we drag themselves to court and fight it out… and bring Allah’s blessings out of what is supposed to be a noble thing?

In the case of this little baby, who was the apple of their eye… the entire relationship will turn bitter if they had to turn it over to the lawyers.

I had to be positive and hopeful but I had to be reasonable too. If we all just keep pushing our own agendas, what about the little baby that this is all about?

”Going to court should be an absolute last resort,” I murmured, shaking my head. “This will break them completely. Maybe Hamzah may agree to seeking someone’s advice? Maybe once we make some enquiries you can suggest to Hamzah a way that will bring more Barakah…”

And that’s precisely what we needed right now. More blessings. Less conflict. Hearts coming together, to build more bridges that coils hopefully bring the best out of the situation.

With Ramadhaan around the corner, I really did wish that maybe they could come to some resolution, so bad-feelings could be avoided. After all, these were great days where we should be concentrating on mending ourselves and maintaining better ties with those around us.

Imraan looked at me, and immediately, his burden seemed a little lighter as his face lit up.

“You think he will listen?” he asked hopefully.

“I think its worth a try,” I said with a smile. “There’s only goodness in making Mashwarah. Allah‘s help will come. Have faith in Him, because if we have good expectations… then there’s no way that He can let us down..”

Imraan nodded, but it already looked like the hugest boulder was off his shoulders.

He had pecked me softly on my forehead as he got up, thanking me and then heading off to the study to start with his work.

Nothing was immediate, but what I had said to him made sense. Yes, it may take time, but he was certain that something could change…

And as I sat there right then, I wasn’t quite sure how to feel. It was a mixture of hope and shame, for how I had behaved in the past and how everything was changing so fast. I so desperately wanted to set everything aright again.

I knew that today, I would explain to him about Fareeha and why I had been acting so crazy. I too, hadn’t been having the best of expectations. Soon, I too would build those bridges that had been placed between us, and make an effort to mend our hearts, so we could find comfort in each other once again. Brick by brick, we would build those bridges once again…

And just as I felt my heart dropping a little as I sat with my sister, wondering if Imraan had spoke to his brother yet, my phone coincidentally lit up.

I glimpsed at the message from Imraan and immediately smiled.

You know you give the best advice.

He always gave me undue credit but it’s what I loved about him the most.

I wasn’t sure how I had been so lucky, but for Imraan, he just made everything so easy. I mean, there were many spectacular perks of Allah Ta’ala’s blessing me with one of the most amazing husbands, but this was one of his most outstanding.

At least my husband still cherished me enough to include me in the most crucial matter that was going on. My heart soared as I looked up at Fareeha and gave her a huge smile, all my fears already diminishing as the new snippet of information sunk in for me.

Whatever will come, or whatever is on its way, if Allah has taken care of you today, is it not the absolute truth that the same Lord will see to you in the future?

Life changes, sometimes in a heart beat. Some lose love. Some lose friends. Some lose pieces that they never imagined could be gone. And then without even realising it, these pieces come back, in the strangest of ways…

“Far,” I said, sitting back and opening my messages to reply. “I think that there may still be some hope in this hopeless world.”

She gave a grin smile and then raised her brows questioningly.

“Imraan just asked me if he can pick me up to go with him.”

“Ah, don’t leave me,” she said sadly, pouting her lips.

I smiled back. It really was the best news all week.

My wish was coming true. Imraan had taken what I’d said to heart and had somehow gotten through to Hamzah too. Finally, brick by brick, the bridges were coming together… and I was finally beginning to feel whole again. Because always, no matter how far we’ve strayed from Allah Azza Wa Jal, He will always welcome you back with more love than than anyone ever could if you put Him above everyone else.

“it’s for a really good reason, I promise,” I said with a smile. “Maulana Umar has intervened. He insists that the court should be avoided, as far as possible. They’re going over to the house to see Zaid and negotiate some kind of arrangement, to avoid a court case. He wants me to go with…”



Dear Readers ❤️

Shukran for your patience! Sorry, I really did intend to to a two part post but I’m still recovering from being unwell and time is not on my side since the first fast will be tomorrow. InshaAllah, this has provided some closure and we will continue after Ramadhaan.

May Allah help us to put the lessons into practise, mend broken ties and make the most of this blessed month. Let’s try and stay offline, delete social media, absorb ourselves in Quran and make lots and lots of Duaa…

Please make me Maaf for my shortcoming and remember me in your precious duaas.

Much Love

A x

Sunnah of Maintaining Ties


Especially as the month of blessings dawn on us, and we are preparing for extra ibaadat, let’s make an effort to maintain family ties.

“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain the bonds of kinship” (Bukhari)

A young man went to attend the weekly Hadith lecture of Sayyidna Abu Huraira but stopped when he heard him saying “If anyone sitting here has severed any ties of kinship (qata-ur-rahim), he should leave.”
He recalled that he had not been on speaking terms with his aunt living in the same town. The young man quietly left the gathering and went straight to his aunt’s house and asked for forgiveness for his past behavior and sought rapprochement. When the aunt inquired about the reason for this change of heart, he narrated the incident. She accepted the apology but asked him to inquire from Abu Huraira the reason for this unusual statement. Why did Abu Huraira leave all the other major sins and focus only on this? What was so special about ties of kinship? Sayyidna Abu Huraira replied that he had heard from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that our deeds were presented to Allah every Thursday night and anyone who has severed family ties has all his good deeds rejected. He did not want any such person sitting in his gathering, which was held on the same night, for fear that it could deprive the entire gathering of blessings. Another Hadith explains further the reason for this fear: “Allah’s mercy will not descend on people among whom there is one who severs ties of kinship.” (Baihaqi, Shuab Al-Iman)

Du’aa for Ramadhaan  

اَللّٰهُمَّ سَلّمْنِيْ لِرَمَضانَ وَسَلّمْ رَمَضانَ لِيْ وَسَلّمْه لِي مُتَقَبَّلا

Allaahumma sal’lim’nee Li’Ramadhaana, wa sal’lim Ramadhaana lee, wa sal’lim’hu lee mu’ta’qab’ba’laa.

O Allaah! preserve me for Ramadhaan, safeguard Ramadhaan for me and accept it from me.











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