Damage Control

Bismihi Ta’ala


Part 58

I blinked as I glanced at my phone, scrunching my nose up and narrowing my eyes slightly as I saw the notification that came in just a few seconds ago, not fully comprehending why I felt so uneasy about it.

It had been a while since I had changed the settings on my phone. All notifications and alerts had been silenced and I was trying my best not to get distracted by it.

And I had made a habit of keeping my phone away from me, especially in company, but as I saw it, I couldn’t help but feel that this was a matter of urgency.

Gosh. I could not believe my parents. I sighed audibly as Maahira suddenly stopped talking, and watched my expression.

“Somethings happened,” she said, without missing a heartbeat, as she shifted her gaze from the enticing waters to me. “Shoot.”

The city lights were twinkling in the distance, as  we sat on the patio of Hamzah’s parents house in Johannesburg, enjoying the evening breeze. Maahira and I were sitting on the edge of the pool, dipping our legs in.
Despite the soothing sound of the water and the rustling of the leaves in the near distance, I couldn’t help but still feel a little unsettled. After being back from the farm, with the serenity I felt there, I couldn’t help but feel as if everything else paled in comparison…

Also, with my mother’s constant messaging, there really was no peace at all.


She is a very nyc girl.

My mother was describing the girl who Jameela had apparently befriended a few weeks ago.

Frankly, I didn’t care if she was a nice girl. She was way older than my sister and I couldn’t possibly think of anything good that would come out of this, and I sincerely hoped that I wouldn’t have to do damage control to fix it after.

Your uncle is makin a trip 2 London next month and Jameela wants 2go. I think it wil be nyc for her.

My word. Since when did my mother become so liberal? 

“Sorry,” I said to Maahira, realising that I hadn’t heard a word of what she’d said in the last minute. “My mother. She wants to send Jameela to London! Can you believe it?

Maahiras’s eyes immediately lit up.

“That will be awesome!” She said with a smile. “Who will she go with?”

”Its not awesome!” I said, shaking my head. “It’s just… Firstly, I can’t believe how my mother is allowing Jameela to go for this rose whatever class with this girl she literally just met. Like, can’t she go and study something more beneficial? And now she wants to send her to London where this girl lives. What is she trying to do? I just know that this is trouble.”

I didn’t mention to Maahira that this girl was actually the sister of the guy that was involved with the loan shark Mafia. That Zubair character. She had vaguely told me that the girl had come home, looking for her own brother, and that already spelled trouble.

“Jameela can look out for herself, don’t you think?” Maahira said obviously. “She’s mature enough for her age and she seems to have her head screwed on the right way.”

”You don’t understand,” I said pointedly, ignoring the niggling feeling that I may have been too hasty in judging. But she obviously did not know my sister when her head was in the clouds. Jameela thought with her heart, not her head.

“I have a feeling that this thing is going to blow completely out of proportion. My parents are getting old, Maahi. They can’t parent anymore.”

“Mos,” she said, raising her eyebrows at me. “What’s so bad about it?”

“I just think she should at least do something beneficial,” I said heatedly. “Instead of pottering around in the garden and thinking of coffee shop and glamping ideas-“

”Mos, I think you’re being a bit harsh in her,” she said, cocking her head slightly and then studying my expression. “The coffee shop helped your father’s financial situation too. And so will the new project. Jameela has business sense and amazing ideas. But it’s not that, is it? I  think that something else may be bothering you…”

I looked away, not meeting my friend’s penetrating gaze for a while, as the breeze caressed my open neck.

For a night in the city, the skies were particularly breathtaking. Last night, after Zaid had fallen asleep, Hamzah and I had come out to admire them, and it was quite surprising how the twinkling night skies had soothed my constantly frazzled nerves….

“It’s this guy,” I said finally, relenting with my friends penetrating gaze. “This girl’s brother. He’s completely unsuitable and my sister is obviously smitten with him. My mother is completely oblivious, but neither does she care either.”

I sighed emphatically, while Maahira narrowed her eyes at me.

“What’s unsuitable about him?” She said with a questioning look. “Is he abusing drugs? Has a drinking problem? Going around with women?”

I looked at her, pursing my lips slightly as I answered.

“Well, no,” I said indignantly. I couldn’t exactly say something that wasn’t true. “But he’s just not the type of guy I want for my innocent sister. And he could very well be into that stuff. She’s not like me, Maahi. She’s not streetwise. You know Jameela. She’s so unassuming and sweet. How can she ever be thought suitable for a guy who has connections like that?”

Maahira looked at me, and I could see a hint of confusion in her eyes.

“So you have nothing against the guy in particular?” She said, now raising her eyebrows. “Just his uncle, who he doesn’t have contact with anymore?”

I know it sounded a little immature, but also, Jameela needed someone who could look after her. This guy had absolutely nothing. Nothing.

”Mos, do you know how hard it is to find good guys these days?” She said, shaking her head at me disappointedly. “Like, if the guy is not clubbing and drinking and just making the most out of his single life, then he is seeing dozens of women and just being an obnoxious mess-around.”

I shrugged, immediately thinking of Hamzah. Yes, there was a time when he was probably an obnoxious mess-around, but how things had turned around in the last few months for him was something of a miracle.

Alhamdulillah, I didn’t have to worry about that. At that moment, he was gone out to meet some Jamaat friends that he had met when he went to Yemen. It was a comfort and a relief not to have to stress about the company he kept. And though I would never compliemt him directly, I knew for sure that Hamzah had the greatest quality to look for in a future partner, which is Taqwa.

‘The person who does not have religion, does not have anything.’

The truth was, with all the stuff happening out there and the Fitan that is so rife… If your guy is aware of his actions and has piety, if he has faith, he will be aware of how he behaves and treats you as a wife. The thing was, I wasn’t even thinking of that aspect for Jameela. I was blinded by the fact that the guy was basically non-existent, in the eyes of ‘educated professionals’ like myself.

”Is it so bad out there?” I asked with a small smile.

“Oh my word, Mos,” Maahira was saying, rolling her eyes as she recalled it. “You have no idea! Thank Allah that you are saved from these ridiculous guys. You would not believe what the one guy told me… Samoosa run number two. He actually asked me if I would be okay with him going out with his friends every second weekend. Like a boys night out. He said I can also do girls nights, and we can meet up from time to time. Like, what on earth is that even? Sounded pretty disgusting to me. Can you even stomach it?!”

“Nightmare,” I said, widening my eyes and shaking my head. “You would think that at some stage they actually grow up and want to have normal, healthy relationships.”

Once again, I felt an amazing spurt of gratitude for my own husband.

”Not a chance,” she retorted miserably. “Some of them just never stop. And then they get married and have kids and make their parents grey with their nonsense. I mean, look at Hashim. Still messing around and out partying every weekend. A friend of a friend confirmed it. I actually do feel sorry for his wife…”

It was achingly true. So many guys were still up to nonsense they did in their ‘experimental days’.

”And lucky you didn’t end up being the second one,” I said, giving her a reproachful look. She just looked grateful while she shook her head disdainfully.

”One of the guys that wanted to come home was apparently looking for one,” she said with a cheeky smile.

“Well?” I asked with a grin. “Would you ever consider?”

She laughed. I knew it happened, of course. At least they were doing it the Halaal way.

“I said I might consider him in five years time,” she said with a mischievous grin. “If I’m getting older and there are no hopeful prospects, there may be hope in the ones that have already been tested and approved.”

I burst out laughing.

Tested and approved indeed. 

I wasn’t quite sure how I would feel about it if Hamzah had to be the tested and approved version. I was quite the jealous type.

“The only thing there is,” she continued, not even fazed by my laughter. “Kids become an issue, man. Some of them don’t want kids because they’ve already been through all the nappies and tantrums and child rearing. I really, really want kids. Especially after meeting Zaidoo. He’s the sweetest little guy in the world. And I love that you’re feeding him. My sister in law breastfed all three of her kids till two and I plan on doing the same.“

I smiled. I never thought I would say it, but I also wanted babies.

“Besides, everyone is having babies now,” she said with a longing look in her eyes. “Remember Tauhida from school? She just had a baby girl last week. I’m actually so happy for her… after everything she went through in her previous marriage…”

I was silent for a few seconds, recalling the girl Maahira was speaking of, before talking again. I had seen a WhatsApp status and sent a congratulatory message, but I had actually forgotten what the poor girl had gone through after school when she mad gotten proposed to a guy her parents wanted for her.

”Can you imagine what she must have gone through?” I said softly, as Maahira shook her head. “The guy didn’t touch her for the entire year they were married. Can you even begin to think what her self-confidence must have been depleted to? ”

I honestly felt so terrible when I heard the story. It did remind me a bit about what I’d heard from Saaliha about Rabia, only her husband just had another woman that he was apparently involved with even before they were married. It was still disgusting.

”I wonder why they would make a girls life miserable like that,” she said, looking a little angry about it. “He turned out to be… well, we all know how the story went. If he had feelings for boys, they shouldn’t have forced him…”


It made me cringe. Honestly, it was a sickness spreading over the Muslim youth and it scared me witless. LGBTQ and it’s acceptance was something that was becoming a norm.

And the fact is, as kids and even adults in this era, we have to explain to your children that this is haraam, drill it in them, instill it in them, make them hate the act for it to have an effect.

I remember as a kid, my mother would drill the fact that alcohol and pork was Haraam in us to the extent that we even visiting stores and restaurants that they were kept was Haraam and completely awkward. And though my mother was a bit of a dragon, its important for a kids tarbiyyah, because thats the effect drilling can have.

And its not always parents fault, but this isn’t something that only exists on social media. It exists in schools too and if we don’t speak out, if this is normalised… it will have a drastic effect, if not today then tomorrow. We had to take a stand and forcefully forbid the evil that this movement was bringing…
I mean, just thinking about what this girl went through made my heart contract painfully…

“A whole year,” Maahira said, still not able to get over it. “Imagine… who could be married and do a whole year and nothing …”

I smiled meekly. Indeed. It defeated the whole purpose of marriage.

“Perhaps the second wife option sounds more appealing then?” I said, nudging Maahira. “Rabia had one of those proposals. Apparently she was pretty close to accepting it.”

Maahira grinned.

”She’s brave,” Maahi said admiringly. “How is our dear Rabia anyway? Still stalking you and Hamzah?”

I sighed, rubbing my temples to ease the headache all this was giving me.

”If I’m not worrying myself sick about Jamz, I’m losing my mind with Rabia. Will it ever end?”

And of course, it was a rhetorical question but I couldn’t help but feel completely conflicted inside as I thought of her. The girl had been testing me endlessly and there were times when I wanted to literally punch her in the face. It was a shame that Hamzah was completely oblivious to it.

“I’m sorry Mos,” she said apologetically. “What is the deal with her anyway though?”

I shrugged.

“She’s just always giving me these weird looks and pushing my buttons. Lucky she’s not here this week and the farm is huge so I don’t have to spend too much of time in her face when we’re there…”

I rolled my eyes while Maahira smiled. I didn’t want to talk too soon.

We had one week left before we would move into the flat Hamzah had rented and I didn’t want to count my chickens. Rabia could pitch up at any time. Only, when we left yesterday, she didnt seem very impressed with Hamzah or I. I knew that I was being mean but I was secretly hoping ignoring her would keep her away.

The thing was, seeing how obsessed Rabia was with social media was also a reminder of what I once used to be. She wasted hours just scrolling through feeds, with no regard whatsoever for all the time that was going to waste.

Before I found the peace and contentment that Qur’ān had brought into my life, I was exactly the same. A bit like a headless chicken, running around in circles, looking for recognition from everyone else. I wished that I never saw days like that ever again…

“Well, I hope you guys still had really good couple time though?” she said, giving me a smile and watching my expression. “I heard Jameela say that it’s so beautiful there. I hope you guys took full advantages of the beautiful, open spaces…”

“We had a good time,” I said vaguely, not entertaining her insinuations, while she narrowed her eye at me and then winked.

“Stop looking at me like that!” I said, and I could feel my cheeks flushing.

Hamzah had really earned the trophy in terms of being the most amazing nature enthusiast and guide. Even though I wanted to kill him at times, exploring the farm and greenery with him had turned out to be absolutely rejuvenating…

“Has Mr Phantom Husband who barely exists, turned into Mr Romantic?” She asked with a smirk, and I avoided eye contact as I rolled my eyes at her.

And I never thought I’d say it, but the time away from the city was absolutely incredible. Beautiful. Refreshing. Completely idyllic.

Even the air felt different, and as I had gazed out into the never-ending fields beyond, my heart had already felt things that I had never felt before. Even though it was a day after we had been back, I still felt.

For the first time in years, Hamzah had made me feel completely at ease outdoors. He knew exactly how to make me switch off and take it all in…

And of course, why wouldn’t anyone feel that way there, in those completely gorgeous surroundings, where the smell of nature filled your nostrils and it’s sounds were like music to my ears? My heart felt so much more soothed there, surrounded by green, consumed by oak trees and gorgeous creepers with the most unusually patterned flowers.

The thing was, in a world full of streaming technology I had actually found solace in a place where a tree just remains a tree. What Hamzah had done, as we made the most of he surroundings was make me realize that life was passing me by, as I stayed hooked on my delusional devices. He was so driven and full of energy, and I couldn’t help but feel alive when he showed me some new discovery, or explained to me the most interesting scientific facts in nature, that were surprisingly right up my alley.

I couldn’t even remember when was the last time I had felt such serenity and take so much of comfort from it. I no longer felt the need to keep picking up my phone, everywhere I went. Besides the fact that Hamzah would probably throw me into the next waterfall if I did… well, I had successfully killed the urge to let life engage me with no other distractions.

”Come on, Mos,” she said pleadingly, not even noticing how she was eyeing me out. “Tell me. I can see you’re blushing. I never thought I’d see the day. Can we make the announcement. Are you actually in lurrrvv?!”

Maahira’s eyes were wide with excitement and I rolled my eyes at her as she made smooch noises and weird romantic sounds.

Oh goodness. She was the absolute pits.

“Come on,” she said, wiggling her eyebrows weirdly. “Admit it or I won’t stop!”

I was so consumed by her annoying sounds and trying to stop her from being the annoying BFF that she always was, that I didn’t even hear the voice call out from the passage until he had to literally scream from where he was.

And as we heard him, I could see the embarrassment creep onto Maahira’s face while I quickly got up to see what he wanted, whacking my friend on the back of the head as I passed.

She was so annoying. Not to mention, completely tactless.

I rounded the corner to see Zaid was perched on Hamzah’s hip and he had already let out a gurgle as he saw me.

“Sorry to disturb,” Hamzah said as I appeared in the doorway, and from the look on his face I could tell that he was concealing a smile. I was extremely embarrassed at Maahira’s behaviour but I tried my best to hide it. “I can see you guys having fun there, but this guy’s awake and I  need some help with some coffee. I kind of forgot where the coffee beans stay.”

Typical male. But shame. 

Nevermind Hamzah had lived here for a larger part of his life and I was only here a little bit more than a month. Hamzah was clueless where things stayed in the kitchen.

”Sure,” I said, grabbing Zaidoo from him and giving him a slobbering kiss, not meeting his eye on account of Maahira’s stupid behaviour. “I’ll just leave him with Maahi. You have company?”

I was still in hearing range as he replied in the affirmative, dumping Zaid with Maahira and giving her a smoldering glare as I glimpsed her cheeks turned crimson while she giggled away at her ridiculous behavior.

She was so immature. I ignored her as I turned back to the kitchen where Hamzah was, talking very professionally while I briskly opened the cupboards and pulling out the coffee beans tin, before filling it in the machine.

I had just topped up the milk when I heard my phone on the counter buzz, but fighting the urge to pick it up straight away, I placed the coffee cups on the tray for Hamzah and whoever his company was, and took out another tray for Maahira and I.

The men were in the front lounge and as I called out for him through the passage, I thought it would be a good time to check on those notifications before I headed back to Maahira and Zaid.

I mean, it would only take two seconds to check and get back to them.

My hand was already sliding upward on the screen, before I saw the crux of what the message from Jameela was about.

Mos. When last did you check Insta? People are going crazy on you.  

I blinked, staring at the message again as I processed. My fingers were already opening the app as Hamzah came in, saying something about some cookies I had made the other day but I was barely even processing. My mind was only on the hundreds of direct messages and requests that were staring at me in my inbox.

Oh my word. I was in such kak.

I wasn’t even sure when this had happened but @mostlymohsina was in a dilemma and I wasn’t even sure how it had happened. My notifications were up to 800 and as I scrolled thorough, I could see that most of them were angry followers who were demanding an explanation for something that I had no clue about. As far as I could see, it was about three unnamed users who had started this all off… claiming I had taken money and not gone through with what I had promised… and it had spiralled into a whole huge controversy which made me seem like the wickedest and most narcissistic content creator in the world.

Oh. Crap. 

I’ve always followed you and admired your page. I thought that you were one of those honest and unfiltered kind of influencers. It’s obvious that I was wrong. 

The next message was a little more sentimental:

I started following you after I went through a bad patch in my marriage. Your quotes and daily inspiration was something I would look forward to every day. I don’t want to believe that you are that kind of person but unfortunately actions say much more than words.

The last one was repeated in a few different variations:

Unfollowed and reported. I wish I could get your profile banned. 

And as I skimmed through all the messages, my heart was hammering crazily in my chest. I didn’t even know what to do. I had no idea where to start.

And I know it sounded dumb that people were so invested in my online life, but that was precisely what social media was about.

People get attached. They loved the drama. Any little development was as if their own lives were taking that very same turn. To be told that any of it didn’t really happen, or wasn’t as it seemed, felt as if you were being cheated.

That was the game, and I was just a player.

I was so consumed in the messages that I barely even heard Hamzah talking to me, until he was right in my face, his eyes boring into me in frustration.

“Mohsina!” He said emphatically, his hand grasping my shoulder whilst looking at me like I was some kind of crazy women. “I’ve asked you five times! What’s so important on your phone?!”

”S-sorry,” I said, literally shaking with fear and anxiety and I wasn’t even sure what else. I knew he hated me being distracted by the phone. “There’s just… I don’t even know how the hell this happened and -“

”What?!” He said, his expression quickly changing from vexation to concern, as his brown eyes scanned my face. “Is everything okay? Is it your father?”

His intense gaze was increasingly concerned as he watched me, and then averted to glance to my open screen, and his brow furrowed slightly with worry.

And while I appreciated his concern for my father, right then, this seemed so much bigger than anything else. The name I had made for myself had become a business and a source of income for me, and if that was spoilt…

How could I make him understand?

It sounded so dumb to him. He didn’t understand the weight of losing my dignity through this stupid medium. What I didn’t know was that maybe being free of the validation of people was actually the best thing that could ever happen to me…

I too, didn’t quite understand how this could have gone so far, but I also knew that I couldn’t let myself be portrayed as the person they were painting me as.

”Hamzah,” I said softly, while he stared at from me to the phone in worry. He didn’t know how much I relied on this. “My father is fine. It’s.. someone has… gosh, Hamzah… someone has done something with my profile… its my reputation, my business and I don’t know what on earth they would get out of this, but it’s absolutely out of control…”

For a second there, he frowned even more intensely and then as his face relaxed and he looked at me, I could see that he was a little less stressed than before. In contrast, I was feeling more unsettled with every passing second.

“Listen,” he said kindly, grabbing the tray with his coffee cups and turning to leave. “It’s only Instagram, okay? Breathe. Just put the phone away and get back to your life. You have so much going for you. No-one in real life really cares.”

“You’re wrong!” I almost shouted, anger flooding through me. It was easy for him to say! “This is my name. My reputation. It’s still me they are talking about!  People are saying I stole their money, calling me a thief and even saying I may even have addictive habits, since I went awol… Oh my word, Hamzah, what the hell must I do?!”

He had put the tray down and was still standing there, looking at me, as if he was wondering if I was serious. It took him a few seconds before he mentally relented, finally understanding the severity of the situation and how important this was to me.

“Babe,” he said softly, looking just a tad bit sympathetic, as he bit his lower lip thoughtfully and shrugged. “I’m sorry. I wish I could help you, but I don’t even know how all this stuff works. Plus, Mohsin is waiting for me. In the meantime though… I’m just thinking aloud… but have you heard of damage control?”

Damage control? 

Yes, I sometimes hated Hamzah’s driven, black or white outlook to life… but sometimes, his perspective really came into handy. Now I knew why he was always the best at problem solving at Hammond’s. While I was busy panicking, he always had the right answers at the right time.

“Alright,” I said, picking my phone up again, and giving him a small smile, as he squeezed my hand comfortingly, and then quickly hurried back out.

Damage Control.

Where on earth do I even start?

Mission Sunnah Revival

Sunnah of Time Management:

We come into this world with an allocated amount of time. We should, ideally, spend this time to please Allah and strive toward our Aakhirah.

Among the harms of social media are the harms of time wasting.

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to be particular even about our digital time, and save us wasting our time on these frivolous activities.

Oh son of Adam. You are nothing but a number of days. Whenever a day passes, another day has gone. (Fadhaail e Sadaqaat)

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..💕
















FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

8 thoughts on “Damage Control

  1. How is Hamza so cool about it.. I was almost laughing out loud.. I mean I know mos in trouble but look at how Hamza easily calmed her down.. it takes down right skill to do that..

    Also think Rabia crossed the boundary she shouldn’t have.. 🙄😱😱

    Liked by 4 people

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