There are moments in your life when you realise that time is divided into two parts- that’s there’s a before and there’s an after, and you realize that nothing will ever be the same again.
Okay I’m just kidding. But honestly, I could not believe this was happening to me. The first day I decided to use a stove and load shedding gets right in the middle of my good house-wife plans. No electricity from 6AM that morning was really a pain in the most inconvenient places.
You see, when Hamzah told me that the stove was gas, I figured it would be no issue. I didn’t know that you literally had to burn your fingers off before getting a decent flame to cook with. And after striking the match about a hundred times, I had finally got somewhere, before I managed to crack an egg in the stainless steel bowl I had found in the third drawer. I had attempted what I would have found impossible at any other point in my life.
I was just as bad as figuring the kitchen utensils but I knew that today, more than any other day, when Zaid was busy gurgling away in his bouncer and feeling like a king, and Rabia wasn’t around, would be a good day to start learning. At least it meant that I could have the kitchen to myself and not have to worry about her watching me like the incapable chef that I was.
“Are you using the stove yet?” Hamzah called in a concerned tone, from the top of the stairs. “Are you sure you okay?”
”Im fine!” I said bluntly.
Gosh, how rude. It was his code for saying: “Please don’t burn the house down.”
He was worse than Nani.
“Hamzah seems to think we can’t cook,” I said quietly to Zaid, who was smiling at me adorably. “Let’s give him the shock of his life, okay?”
Zaid gurgled happily, looking exceptionally pleased with the idea. I wished I could knock him for a six with a 5 course breakfast but it was a tall order. Eggs and baked beans were all I could manage for now.
Yes, I was a bit insulted but I sucked it up and poured the egg into the hot pan with oil , watching it splutter with glee as I took a step back, a little concerned for my face. Like, what if the gas exploded and hit me? It was the first time I had used a gas stove and I didn’t have a death wish.
Also, I was super annoyed because I couldn’t even send Jameela and Nani a picture of my cooking accomplishments right then, because signal was as crappy as ever. Nani had already sent me some easy recipes and a request for pictures and I had gotten the hint that cooking for Hamzah was an essential. She was convinced that Hamzah’s sole purpose in life was to be fed three full meals a day, and he wasn’t exactly self sufficient. The most he could do was boil kettle water and burn toast.
Right now though, I couldn’t even pacify her with evidence of anything worthy.
With the lack of basic privileges we become accustomed to, it sometimes felt as if I lived on an entirely different planet.
And I hadn’t realized it yet, but I ought to have understood by then that gratitude is magic. That electricity, water, WiFi and even petrol or all bounties of Allah Ta’ala and the thing is we have done nothing to earn our bounties, yet, regardless, we’ve been blessed with it.
What we didn’t realise was that sometimes Allah was saving us from other harms, in the process of not having that signal to message and call someone. Perhaps we were getting saved from some gossip, or argument, when that call couldn’t be made. Perhaps we are getting relieved of some Haraam in the fact that WiFi wasn’t always at our disposal. The thing was, all these favours were gifts from Allah Ta’ala that we take for granted.
And as the egg blubbered all happily and so did Zaid, I felt amazingly accomplished as I tossed around, feeling a bit more optimistic about the way things were heading.
I just hoped that the food would be edible and Hamzah would live to tell the tale. Also, well, this was way too early in the morning for me to even start with kitchen shenanigans, but it was just as well that I had already woken up to the sound of the shower water running, and there was barely even a sliver of daylight in the sky.
I had no idea that Hamzah was such an aspiring early bird. His waking up routine was a little bit too much for my own laid-back one, but I knew that marriage was a ball game that I’d have to start playing properly at some time. I wasn’t even sure where he had gone to before the crack of dawn, but he took a while to come back after Fajr and I was glad that I had a little bit of time before making my way down.
The thing was, my in-laws would all be back tomorrow and I knew that I had to at least be competent at some cooking. Hamzah could not survive on cheesecakes and pastries for the rest of our lives.
Also, well, the point of immersing myself in my cooking task was due to me trying to get my mind off yesterday’s horrifying images as fast as I could. There was so much that had happened in such a short space of time, and I couldn’t hell but feel a little overwhelmed by the events.
Somehow, I just felt more responsible. I wanted to prove more, that I was doing a good job, before anything else stood in our way.
And the thing was, yesterday, we barely had any time to discuss it any of the issues that were lurking. Hamzah had been rushing for Esha salaah, and I had let him focus on driving because I knew very well how he hated to miss Salaah in Jamaat. The only concern was that the traffic was appearing to intensify as we moved along the main highway.
I wanted to know his real thoughts on the doctors advice but as the traffic doubled up and we moved at a snails pace along the main freeway, my thoughts were halted as sirens from behind us started blaring, and I literally went cold as the scene ahead of us already came into view.
Naturally, all other thoughts were shelved as I looked out now, into the stack of cars that were ahead. Hamzah’s window was slightly open due to the cigarette he had been smoking earlier, and I could already hear people in the next car talking, their phones out their window, trying to capture the graphic scene ahead, as the chaos around us ensued.
And as much as I wanted to block my ears as they started talking, their voices were still as clear as day.
“Ya Allah, there’s a baby in that car,” someone was almost screaming. “Put the phones away, its not right!”
The person had a point. This was someone’s worst nightmare. A horrible tragedy that could be fatal. Capturing it on camera seemed so heartless, but who cares these days?
My heart pounded in my chest, as I closed my eyes, knowing that we were nearly at the scene. It seemed like it had just happened and I couldn’t bear it…
For a minute, as I held my breath, I was almost hesitant to look, for fear of what I would see.
”There’s a small child in the car!” Someone screamed again, and without even casting a sideways glance, Hamzah’s finger pressed down on the button, eager to shut out all the sounds, my mind going into overdrive as I processed what this meant.
I couldn’t even look at him at that point. All I could think of was how Hamzah was still going to move past this devastating collision, the part where two cars were already overturned and the truck was on its side. The part where all I could think of was our dearest friends who had just passed on. I wasn’t sure how we were going to keep ourselves together as we egged on, but all I knew right then was that I couldn’t bare to cast my gaze anywhere on the road.
And of course, I could barely do anything else beside hastily turned my face away as we got closer, not wanting to even process the condition of the truck on the side of the road and unsightly smashed cars.
I didn’t even realised that I was holding my breath as I kept my eyes shut, hearing Hamzah’s breath quicken and clutching Zaid a little tighter as we by passed the main point of congestion, already aware that Hamzah was purposely going a little faster than the other drivers. While other cars were slowing down to get a good look at the accident scene, Hamzah sped up, trying his best to move past it all, without having to directly process it, and I knew exactly why.
My heart was already contracting painfully, as I remembered that fateful night.
The baby. There’s a baby. There’s a baby in the car.
The car was a crumpled mess and the words were still echoing in my ears. The emotions that had pulsated through me then were still wrecking havoc within. The whole scenario was something that I could barely, for the life of me, come to terms with.
And it was undeniable that everywhere we turned, there was a reminder about our friends that we just didn’t have the heart to deal with as yet. I heard that there had been pictures of Liyaket’s car, but I knew that I couldn’t dare to look at them.
This was close. Too close for comfort. Seeing the accident scene was something that had caught us both completely off guard, and as my heart pounded in my chest, nervous about the outcome of what exactly was going to happen here, I couldn’t help but feel myself shudder at the possibilities.
Riveted by what we had just been faced with, even after passing the worst of it, I could sense the obvious trauma and discomfort.
And like it had never happened at all, the car was silent again, except for Zaid’s breathing. Both Hamzah and I were too shaken to even talk. I looked out the window, tears streaming down my face, as I tried to keep it together. Internally, I could tell that Hamzah felt exactly the same way, but he expertly held himself back.
It didn’t take long to get home after he stopped for Salaah at a mosque on the way. We had entered the silent house, walking up to our room, placing Zaid down in the cot Hamzah had bought for him, still reeling from the shock of what we had just witnessed. The house seemed almost lonely without Rabia’s noise there. Rabia had gone to her cousin ten minutes away, on account of us coming home so late.
And of course, a half hour after we had seen it, I could not stop thinking about it. For a while, I wished that I did look. At least then, I would have known what had really happened, instead of tormenting myself and thinking of the worst possible scenario.
And I wanted to ask Hamzah about it… to talk about the accident and to touch base with how we all felt, but I couldn’t bring myself to. I didn’t want to bring it up, to revisit that place, to go back to the place where I was on that fateful night, while I sat in my upmarket Hammond’s apartment up to no good, before my life had changed so suddenly.
For a few minutes, I couldn’t meet his eye.
I kept myself busy, as he hung up his kurta and I took off my abaya. My scarf was unpinned and placed over the chair. My motions were purposely slow as I did it, feeling the intensity of his gaze on me, as I finally met his it…
I hadn’t trusted myself to say anything. The room sounded almost eerily quiet, and there was not even a sound that was coming from outside. For the first time that week, we were completely alone and we could barely even think of words to say to each other.
But I knew I had to, as he came closer, almost as if he didn’t quite understand how to deal with this… we didn’t know how to seek comfort after this.
It felt like just yesterday, when that sting of loss had sunk us to the depths of grief. It felt like hours ago when I had first gotten the call, telling me that my friend had lost her life, much earlier than I would have ever imagined.
Everything was coming at us like never before, and though it had nearly broken us inside, we knew that we had to accept it. We knew that the reminder was just what was needed for us to seek the truth of what we knew.
Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Qur’an:
”And say to them, Oh Muhammed (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam), the things of this world are few (temporary), the things of the Aakhirah is better for him who fears Allah; you shall not be wronged (even the amount of) a single date fibre. Wherever you are, death will reach you, even if you’re in strong and high towers.” (An Nisah 77-78)
And now, as I stirred the baked beans and heard Hamzah making his way downstairs, I couldn’t help but think of how much Hamzah had matured over these months. All I could think of was that a helluva lot more than what I knew must have happened for him to have become the man he had. One day, I hoped that his experiences and thoughts would be narrated to me, and I could get a glimpse into what was really on his mind…
I turned to look at him as Hamzah’s voice cut into my thoughts now, as I buttered the toast, placing it on the side plate as he picked Zaid out of the bouncer. I mean, I wouldn’t usually butter someone’s toast but I’d always seen my mother do it for my father and it just seemed like a cute thing for couples to do for each other.
And naturally, as I caught the scent of his familiar oud, whilst I just smelt of onion and oil, the awkwardness was unparalleled. And though I had actually made an effort to look as good as I could early on a Saturday morning, I was still wearing my bunny slippers and I just felt a little ridiculous as I snuck a glance at him, dressed in a fitted sage t-shirt with a white three-quarter pants, all ready for the day. Also, it was super nerve-wrecking because he was looking at the food a little reservedly, almost as if he wasn’t quite sure whether he should tuck into it or not, and I wasn’t even sure whether to invite him to.
”This looks good,” he said optimistically, giving me a thumbs up. I didn’t want to tell him that looks could be deceiving and he should taste it first, so I just smiled back nervously.
And of course, if he was wary, he hid it well. He had already headed the safe route by taking a toast from the plate and biting into it. I was scrutinising his every move and I knew I was acting crazy but I couldn’t help feel excessively nervous.
And of course, I was extremely relieved that the toast wasn’t burnt, and his hand slowly ventured towards the baked beans spoon, as I simultaneously tried very hard to distract myself and bring some tea cups to the table.
This was very awkward but I knew that I had to act natural. Like I cooked for my new husband every day.
”It’s good, Mos,” Hamzah finally said with a smile, and even if it was forced, I didn’t care. I did appreciate the compliment, but as I was about to dish out too, Hamzah’s phone from behind me just started ringing and I hastily got up to bring it to him.
And I didn’t even notice Hamzah’s slightly panicked look as he saw me reach for it, and I was hardly the sneakish type, but I couldn’t help but notice the caller ID that had popped up on the screen a few minutes before.
For a minute, I was just stumped. It had jolted me a bit, but not in an entirely bad way, as I processed exactly what it said, and passed it to him, not able to really comprehend what it meant.
Your Jannah is Calling.
Like, my heart was literally endowed with amazement for this man by now.
It was like an awakening for my dormant soul became I could not really process what a unique thing Hamzah had saved his mother as, and how that made me feel right then.
I mean, imagine if I were the reason for someone’s Jannah? Imagine if I appeared in that way on someone’s caller ID. What an honour that was… to be the reason for their Jannah.
As much as I wanted to have my own kids at some point, the fact was, I hadn’t thought about it recently. I had been so consumed by Zaid and then by marriage with Zaid, that my own needs had been completely sidelined.
“Mummy,” Hamzah said instantly as he answered, glancing at me a little weirdly and then turning away. “Wa alaykum Salaam.”
I could hear my mother-in-laws voice on the other side, and as he answered I could see that she was asking after Zaid and how he was feeling.
“Sure, I’ll call you back, Mums,” he said quietly, after he answered the first three questions. “Just having some breakfast. Mohsina went all out this morning.”
I flushed because he couldn’t have been farther than the truth. But shame, it was sweet of him to make me seem like I was being a good wife. Also, he barely even acknowledged his compliment as he cut the call, looking at me, and then frowning slighy as if he was deliberating if he should really say what he wanted to.
“So you’re really going to do it?” He asked finally, looking at me questioningly.
I was a bit confused as I munched on my toast and looked back at him, I hadn’t even realised that I had been fiddling with the bottles that the doctor had prescribed for me the day before.
“Do what?” I asked, and he gestured to the them. And it seemed coincidental and maybe even subconsciously…. because I had just been thinking of that very amazing thing…
”The feeding thing,” he said with a slight smile, sitting back and pouring water into his cup for tea. I could see him looking inside to check if the teabag was there, and of course, if wasn’t.
I passed him one from the counter top, trying hard to keep a straight face. I had no idea that Hamzah was so pampered.
”I don’t know,” I said, to answer him.
Which was true. The feeding thing. I liked what he called it, and it was an awkward topic. And of course, I wanted to have this full on discussion, to weigh the pros and the cons and talk about the doctors advice as a couple doing this but there was one thing that was holding me back.
“I’m still so two-minded,” I said, pulling a slight face. “I don’t know which side of the fence I fall on. I mean, I don’t even know if I would have breastfed my own kids and I’ve been hearing so much about how it can change your body and stuff…”
Oh gosh, now I just sounded shallow and forward too. Hamzah and I hadn’t even discussed having our own kids, but Maahira had been telling me stuff that had been making me hesitant and I couldn’t seem to stop the worry. Hamzah didn’t meet my eye.
“I just feel like I’m stepping over the limit here,” I said quickly, before he got any odd idea, knowing that it was my main reason for holding back.
I was stepping over the limit. But where were the limits even? What Hamzah and I were in… well, I wasn’t even sure.
And I was feeling all flustered because the crux of it was that I almost felt as if I was taking Layyanah’s place. The feeling had been coming at me, from the week before, when I met Layyanahs sister, but it was now as clear as ever, as I wondered what exactly to do.
It took him a few seconds before Hamzah spoke.
“Mos… I think we need to face up to what’s happened,” he said quietly, his gaze not meeting mine, as he put some sugar in his tea.
I nodded, looking at him questioningly, before he started talking again.
“I’ve been living as if I’m waiting for Liyaket to come back and tell me what to do. Im so used to him giving me advice. Asking him where to go from here. Living as if life is on pause, until that happens. I’ve been living as if I can’t live… you know? But that’s not what death is supposed to be. It’s not supposed to be so hard on us, that we lose hope in life.”
I nodded, swallowing hard, feeling like I wanted to cry again. As if yesterday wasn’t enough for us.
I couldn’t think of what to say. I felt like a traitor. Like we were living the life that they were supposed to be living sometimes.
“I went to the graveyard today,” he said softly, glancing at me. “For the first time since Liyaket passed.”
My heart kind of plummeted in my chest as he said it. For the first time?
“I know I’m terrible… and it’s my fault,” Hamzah said quietly, his voice dropping even more. “We need to stop tiptoeing around Liyaket and Layyanah’s life. We need to go back to their home. We need to visit the places we used to meet them. Do the things we used to do with them. We need to show Zaid more of what his parents were.”
I sat there silently, not even touching my food, my heart bursting with emotion, but knowing that he was undeniably right. We were behaving as if they were going to come back and question us, or reclaim what was theirs. We were living our lives in their shadow. Afraid to accept the reality.
“You’re right,” I said, my voice not quite coming out the way I wanted it to, as I glanced at Zaid who was rubbing his eyes now, and looking quite tired. I needed to snap back to reality. Stop waiting for Layyanah. Stop feeling guilty.
“So I’ve been doing some research,” I said, looking at him as I spoke. “About all the things that can happen… the fatwas there are out there and-“
“Listen, Missus Google, let’s forget about all of the virtual stuff,” Hamzah said, winking at me and I rolled my eyes at him.
“Can I tell you what I want to do?” He said, stirring his tea as I watched him. “I just want to live. Do you know what that means? To shut off everyone else and just live for now? Stop worrying about the world and statistics and everything else. Just stop, Mos. There’s so much more that life has to offer you, if you just let everything else go.. you’ll see. See the beauty in everything. Stop worrying. Stop assessing. Stop being such a genius at things that don’t matter…”
He was right. He was so right. I had lived in virtual worlds and in parallel universes and none of it was ever real. Everything had been about illusions and filters and most of the time, everything in my life had been channeled toward the next Instagram post and how I was going to make the world swoon.
I closed my eyes for a moment, shutting out all thoughts and reservations and knowing that although I had things to say, it wasn’t the wisest thing to do. It just felt so right to be in the moment.
And it was. Hamzah was right.
Sometimes being in the moment was a hundred times more amazing than any virtual experience. And maybe once upon a time, when I was silly and deluded, I didn’t think so. Maybe once before. I had been enamored by the reels and taken in by a filtered world, but now that Hamzah had come into my life, I knew that there had to be a purpose for it.
It wasn’t only about Zaid. It wasn’t about this situation. Right then, it wasn’t just about circumstances.
“I should do it, right?” I said with a cock of my head. “It’s going to be something of an adventure for us all, don’t you think.”
“I’ve got bigger things planned, pookie,” he said, grinning like a nutcase. “Real adventures. Choose adventure.. choose excitement. Stop with the virtuality. Let’s just live, okay?”
Lets just live. He was right. Maybe I analysed things too much. Got too caught up in my virtual worlds.
“And how do you suppose we do that?” I said, leaning forward and looking at him with narrowed eyes, as he gave me his one dimpled smile.
“I know just the place to take you to.”
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله رب العالمين
On the Day Of Ashura
The Prophet ﷺ was asked about fasting the day of Ashura and he said, “It will expiate the sins of the past year.”
The hardships we face are paths leading us to ALLAH, to build our reliance on ALLAH alone. The story of Moosa AS is one of perseverance. He knew the situations were from ALLAH and the outcome will come from ALLAH. He showed us a path of gratefulness, by fasting on the day that ALLAH had saved him.
How many oceans has ALLAH opened for us and not caused us to be swallowed into the darkness!
The Rabb of Moosa AS and your Rabb is the same, so let your faith overpower your fear, for your Rabb has not abandoned you nor forsaken you.
May Allah make it easy for us to keep these fasts ❤️
Sunnah of Forgiveness:
With the New Islamic Year already here, and these auspicious days, one of the lessons from the Seerah is how Nabi (SAW) forgave his oppressors, and let go of old whims.
A sublime quality that Nabi (SAW) inculcated into his life on various occasions, and especially on the occasion of Hijrah.
Someone asked Ali (RA): “How much was the Sahaba’s love for the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam)”
He replied: “By Allah! To us The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) was dearer to us than our riches our children and our mothers, and was more cherishable than a drink of water at the time of severest thirst.”
SubhaanAllah… what perfect imaan they had… May Allah enable us to practise..💕
Wow are they going for Umra
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That may be a good idea…. but let’s see… ❤️
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What a light hearted but serious post at the same time.. It’s so good where Hamzah & Mohsina are at.. That awkward but comfy beginning marital stage.. But it’s also thought provoking for those reading.. We really need to upskill our daughters .. Cos end of it all, it’s not pretty food pictures that gonna be winning your hubby over, it’s gonna be tasty, scrumptious & appetizing food.. It’s not something you just wing by following a recipe, cos the 1st time u make it is always a tester.. Hence takes few times of making previously in order to perfect it.. Hence girls NEED to be in the kitchen Way before marriage..
Hoping Zaid does adapt to the breastfeeding though, would be great for Mos with regards to pardah.. Let’s see what happens next.
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Yup, it really hits a sore point… I think life has become quite easy (especially for the younger generation) and take away is also a very common way out of no cooking…
Virtual food doesn’t make anyone satisfied…🙈
Shukran sister… ❤️
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Awww.. I think I was like that.. haha fried egg was a super accomplishment for me.. there after my mum in law left hajj and who knew I would eventually learn my way around the kitchen..
But seriously we need a fun filled super adventurous exciting time for this lovely couple and zaidoooo
I’m excited for the two of em..
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And as for me I can cook everything but I can’t fry a simple egg🙈 Hats of to Mos, at least she can.
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Those sunny side ups with the hard yolk especially 🙈
Yes, something relaxing and nature inspired is in mind….
Oh yes.. the lovely sunny side up that’s always over cooked or under cooked.. just don’t know how to get it right..
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