Moments in History


Bismihi Ta’ala


Change. We don’t like it. Well, I know I don’t. We fear it, but we can’t stop it from coming. The thing is, we can either adapt to change, or we get left behind. By default, our lives are meant to be such that everything around us, within us and ahead of us constantly changes.

And one of the most extraordinary gifts that a person can ever be blessed with is the ability to smile amidst the challenges that they face. To take change in their stride. To make Sabr from the first test. To show forbearance at all times, whenever the burdens of the world that they carry may overwhelm them.

As was the outstanding quality of Nabi (SAW)… despite his trials, his losses and the grief that he endured within his blessed heart, he was always seen with a smile on his Mubarak face. Because he, (SAW), among all people understood that the nature of this Duniyaa is such that trials and tribulations are part and parcel of it’s disposition. He buried every child of his, except for one. He saw the pains of the beloved Sahaabah as they suffered from severe hunger. He experienced hurt and betrayal and abuse from even those whom he loved.

We are meant to learn Sabr. To practice Tawakkul. To build our faith and our belief that Allah does not wish for us difficulty, but only wants to strengthen us, to give us ease in the hereafter. To remind us that this world is not forever.

And along my journey, somehow, I had been fortunate enough to meet a guy who reminded me about this on a constant basis. He was the kind of person that you’d remember for those qualities, because in every situation that tests you, those simple things are lessons that remind you. Those moments are ones that you remember despite the sadness and despair, because they shine out through the darkness. Those moments are moments that not only make history… but moments that you can’t forget.

And though I’ve had my fair share of gripes with my mother-in-law, one thing I couldn’t deny was that someone.. somehow, had raised a great guy. Even if it was by some miracle, my husband had turned out to be an amazing human being.

Our character… the way we are and people see us… well, these are the things that aren’t tangible… yet leave everlasting impressions. Somehow, Aadam had acquired not just a helluva amazing approach to life, but also a conviction in his heart that no trial could shake.

“Are your uncle and them coming back tonight?” I asked, noticing the house suddenly empty as I got back downstairs.

”Uncle Siraj’s temporarily disowned me,” Aadam said with a raised eyebrow. “I don’t think he’ll be back any time soon…”

I glanced at Rubeena but she didn’t meet my eye. Something was up, and I knew that I had to get to the bottom of it.

”What did you do?” I said. Narrowing my eyes at my husband.

“Listen, sweets,” he said casually with one raised eyebrow, getting up and pulling out his crutches to use. “Don’t worry your pretty head about these things. It was some tests that I didn’t want to take… but I’m going to do them now, okay? It’s all under control, right Rubes? There’s a Greater Power here. It’s all under control, yeah?”

It was almost as if he was asking her and reminding her at the same time, and though I frowned and noticed her stagnant expression, with Aadam’s indifferent attitude and carefree approach to life, I obviously didn’t make a big deal of something that didn’t seem like a worry at the time.

The weeks of the second term exams flew by steadily, and being so busy with work and getting dragged into Nikah plans for Ahmed was pretty much consuming. It was the week when exams were due to end when my brother suddenly came to us and have us a considerate heads up about his heading off to Europe for two weeks. I would never forget the look on Zuleikha’s face when he said it. She was utterly peeved.

”Oh my word, Ahmed,” she squealed, looking up from the notebook she was writing in. “You can’t be serious! I’ve already set a date with the caterers.”

”Change it,” Ahmed said simply. “Nothings written in stone. I did tell you not to book anything yet.”

Zuleikha rolled her eyes at him in frustration. I could see through her niqab that she wasn’t impressed. Her amber eyes were narrowed, and I could see Aadam’s mouth lift up at the corners as he watched the two of them. To be fair though, maybe I should stick up for my sister. Ahmed seemed to be a bit softer with me after my teary episode when Aadam’s health had been a great concern. It had been consuming me for weeks, but with Aadam’s reassurance that everything will be okay… I was holding up just fine.

“Ahmed, are you sure you want to go?” I asked, a little disbelievingly. “Don’t you want to make Nikah first and then take your wife with you?”

Ahmed frowned.

”It’s a men’s Jamaat,” he said, as if I was crazy to even suggest it. “And I’ve waited my whole life to get married. I don’t think a few weeks will make a difference. Right Adam?”

Aadam smiled.

”I don’t know about you, bro.. but i couldn’t wait.”

”I’m different,” he said confidently. And with that he shrugged and walked off as Aadam and I made our way out after greeting an annoyed Zuleikha, and dismissing his behavior as typical Ahmed behavior. Besides, I was already preoccupied with psyching myself up for the night ahead. It was family night and supper with my mother-in-law always had it’s fair of drama.

Since Ruby still had a few days to come out of Iddat and supper was at her place … I kind of hoped that things wouldn’t erupt like they usually did. What I didn’t know was that tonight was going to be a moment in history that I didn’t anticipate.

”You guys are all so… unique,” Aadam was saying, almost to himself as we hopped in the car. “Ahmed is so rough and… powerful… And Zuleikha is super sensitive.. and considerate. Yunus is in a world of his own. He’s probably like one of the deepest guys I’ve ever met. As for you…”

I held out my hand to stop him in mid-sentence, already anticipating some quirky dig at me that Aadam was so famous for.

”I’m the most unemotional person you’ve ever known?” I said, shrugging indifferently and focusing on the road. My driving was becoming better and it was just in time because Aadam’s cast was due to come off in a week and he’d be more or less back to his normal self.

Well, I hoped.

“You’re my rock, Khawlah,” he said simply. “You are the way you are, and that’s precisely why I love you. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner… but back to the point..”

”No, no,” I said, waving my hand at him. “Carry on complimenting me please. Let’s not get back to the point.”

Aadam grinned as he leant over and planted a slobbery kiss on my cheek.

Euw,” I said, wiping it off.

”I can sit here and compliment you all day, beautiful,” he said seriously. “Without having you in my life, I really would have seen none of this. I would have been so lost if Allah hadn’t looked at me with His gaze of mercy and brought me from that pit of revolt that I was sinking in. I used to think that all these worldly things made me a cut above the rest, when in truth, all I have is a dark shadow that follows me wherever I go, reminding me that at one stage of my life, I was worth nothing at all. I had everything going for me, but I was still a lost soul. An unfulfilled being. I knew nothing of what my purpose was and who I was meant to be. That my living and my dying an everything in between is and always will be, only for One Supreme Being…”

I glanced at him and swallowed, pondering on that characteristic of him that never seized to amaze me. He was so humble. It was something that had blown me away from the minute I had gotten to know my husband, and that kind of humility only comes when you truly recognize Allah in everything you do. 

And I would never admit it to anyone, but when he we sat together, some time after the day of his big work function… What I saw in him was something that I didn’t often see in anyone before this. He had made it very well-known that all the glory, attention and awards meant nothing to him. For him, it wasn’t important.  All he knew was that no matter what people payed to him or said about him or spoke of him… he knew that otherwise he would be worth nothing at all. Nothing without Allah.

Ans tears had filled my eyes as I sat there, remembering his past and hurting for every pain that he had ever felt. There’s always a regret over time lost without knowing the Allah who gave you everything that you are. As he spoke about his childhood, his mother… his past… I always sensed a pain there that I wished so badly that I could make go away.

”Do you know what Yunus wants to be?” I asked him softly, with the train of thought still running through my mind as we sat in the car outside, not yet ready to go in until this conversation was over.

”He told me,” Aadam said with a smile. “Amazing guy. An Aalim, huh? I love him to bits.”

”Yunus talks to you?” I asked, wondering when it ever happens. Yunus was always in his own kind of silent zone.

”All the time,” Aadam said. “Sometimes in his mind. But we get each other.”

I grinned.

”Its such a noble thing,” he said as he thought of Yunus. “But not everyone’s destined for that. I know that I’m too rotten, yeah. Allah chooses those who do His work…”

Of course, I couldn’t help but think that growing up with Khalid had a great impact on him too. His influence was so intense that it had carried over so many years…

“And yet,” I said, catching on to my husbands sentiments. “The professionals in our community play an unbelievable role in uplifting this Ummah too. Especially those who do as much work as you do. Allah gives everyone different roles and skills for different reasons.. You’re a genius at what you do and you and you must never underestimate it, Aadam… you do amazing work.”

“Is someone actually complimenting me?” He asked incredulously. “I can’t believe this. Who are you and what have you done with my wife?!”

”I give credit where it’s due,” I said with a smile.

”I think the moment of truth is really close…” he said as I reached for the door handle. “The moment of declaration that I’ve waited for from the time I was married to the girl of my dreams…”

I shook my head as we walked up the steps to the doorway, amused by Aadam as usual. I straightened my face, as we pushed open the door, not wanting to appear too smiley with Aadam’s mother.

Yes, my mother-in-law had simmered down a lot but it was still awkward. The ice was still very much intact. I had no idea when it would be broken… but I didn’t suspect it happening anytime soon.

And as the door opened, my heart immediately lifted to see the boys running towards us in excitement. Since Aadam’s arm was a bit better now, he easily lifted Zaydaan and plopped a kiss on his nose. He was at that cute and podgy stage where his words were all mashed together and incoherence was his cutest attribute. He babbled on about something to Aadam while I hugged Rubeena and the other three, making our way into the house to see where my mother-in-law was.

Of course, she had taken over occupied in the kitchen and didn’t even bat an eyelid as all six of us made a rowdy entrance into her place of magic. I could already smell the yummiest chow mein and sizzling steak that was my all time favorite. My mouth was already watering.

“Howzit Ma,” Aadam said as he went up to her to greet. “Something smells good. New recipe?!”

Somehow Aadam knew just how to put his foot in it with his mother.

“No!” She snapped, her eyes narrowing at him. “Who told you that?! Can you believe that lady, that one that came home the last time to see my kitchen. She phoned last week to ask me for my recipe and I so graciously gave it to her. Little did I know she was planning to make it for the ladies function on Monday… and guess what?”

”Was it horrible?” Aadam asked hopefully.

”It’s not as good as I make it,” she said with a huff. “But everyone was going crazy about it and she never once even mentioned that it was my recipe! The cheek. Plus, I heard her tell her whole table about how Rubeena forced her husband to give her a divorce. Then she went on to talk about how my kitchen counters weren’t pure Caesar stone . Can you ever? How can people be so… evil?! Who even uses granite these days? What do they say about people like that? Better be careful… I just read my quls and avoided her for the rest of the night.”

Ah. The cooking drama’s of middle-aged women.

Aadam calmly tried to pacify his mother about how people are not jealous and don’t really wish bad, but are just like that because they admire her. She wasn’t buying it. Poor Aadam always tried to make every situation a positive one.

I glanced humorously at Ruby who was quieter than usual as she raised her eyebrows. Yes, my mother-in-law has been taking it slightly easier with me but it didn’t mean that she was being easy on Ruby. Her side comments were very evident of the fact that Rubeena’s life was far from her idea of perfect.

”So Khawlah,” my mother-in-law said, turning to me. I still felt awkward in her presence but at least she was being civil. “I hear your brother’s getting married.”

It wasn’t a question. She wanted more details. Ahmed wasn’t joking when he said that Aadam’s mother had taken a liking to him. He really had made an impression.

”I heard the girl is divorced with a child?” She pressed on, raising her eyebrows.

”Ma, can we stop doing the 411 on Khawlah?” Adam asked innocently.

I knew he was avoiding greater problems here but my mother-in-law shrugged it off as she continued to look at me.

”Jhee,” I said, a little unsure. How could I be rude? I had to answer her.

“Ahmed’s quite mature for his age… he feels it’s better to have a wife that will be more on his line of thinking…”

”Thats a lucky girl to bag an unmarried guy,” she said, raising her eyebrows. On the contrary, I thought Ahmed was lucky to find someone who tolerated his moods.

“But at least there’s hope for Ruby,” she continued casually. “I was worried that no man will ever be prepared to take on someone else’s kids, but this gives us both some assurance, doesn’t it, Rubeena?”

”Ooh, this food is too good to eat cold,” Aadam cut in to no-one in particular. He was looking at his mother, but the fact that she hadn’t eaten a bite didn’t faze her.

Rubeenas eyes were narrowing and my mother-in-laws voice was getting more high-pitched by the second. I had a feeling that Rubeena was really fighting her urges to say something that would put her in the ugly spotlight. Aadam’s father was watching the scene silently as my mother-in-law just went on and on…

And then of course, not unlike what I’ve seen before… almost as if she couldn’t tolerate it anymore… the expression on Rubeena’s face suddenly altered, and all of a sudden, almost as if she couldn’t help herself, she just erupted.

”Mum, please stop!” she snapped. “There’s more to life than bagging an idiotic guy.”

”Rubeena,” my father-in-law said meekly, his eyes widening in worry. “How’s about you show me where’s the dessert?”

“I wish I could,” she retorted. “But I cant even taste my food anymore! Ma, can you just give me a break? After you and Shabeer, and all your constant mental battering, don’t you think I’m already damaged enough? I definitely don’t need another man to come and mess up my life..!”

“You need a husband to be accepted in the community,” my mother-in-law said, and I honestly wished I could kick her under table. Only I knew that would go down well. My mother-in-law just didn’t get it.

”Mum, it’s not the end all and be all of life!” Rubeena said now, obviously a little fed-up. “Life is not only about extravagant houses and world-class kitchens and good-looking husbands. Ma, there’s a whole world out there that we know nothing about! There’s so much that Allah has promised us that we ignore and forget about just because we don’t see it right now. There’s a bigger picture, Mum… and there are so many more important things in life that when you realize them… it makes everything else that you thought was so huge look so amazingly insignificant.”

”Oh gosh, Ruby,” she said, rolling her eyes.  “You’re behaving like Ma now with your Bayaans. All I’m saying is you need to be more forward in your thinking…”

“I really don’t care about that right now!” Ruby snapped. “Sometimes things happen, and they open your eyes in a way you’ve never seen before. Sometimes life has many more lessons for us than we are willing to learn. Sometimes we get so caught up that we don’t realize that one day, we’re going to have to leave this world… and everything we have here behind us…. am I right, Adam?”

Adam was looking at Rubeena with his lips pursed and a stagnant expression on his face. I almost expected him to have something quirky to say back, but all he did was shrug as he glided his long fingers through his beard, and then glance at me a little warily.

”Ruby, don’t do this,” he said softly, and I could see him swallowing hard as she looked back at him… with a single tear rolling down her cheek.  “Not now…”

“Are you going to tell them or must I?” Rubeena said, her voice strained from emotion.

I watched them both in utter confusion as they looked at each other, speaking words through the silence that no-one but them could understand…

“Aadam, what’s going on?” I couldn’t help but ask, as he they sat there, just staring at each other.

”Sweets, I wanted to wait until you finished writing…” Aadam started, as he looked from me to my mother-in-law.

”Wait for what?” My mother-in-law asked with her brow furrowed and her attention immediately diverted as we watched them both.

And like a wave that came and knocked us completely off our feet, the news that they delivered was one of the most severest of blows.

“It’s Myeloma. A type of cancer that affects the bone, among other things… I suppose it explains his clumsiness…”

My mother-in-law was looking at him in utter shock. My father-in-law was stunned. I was completely speechless.

Inna lillahi wa Inna Ilaihi Rahioon. 

Oh yes. Sabr at the first test was so much easier said than done. I felt like I couldn’t breathe as I watched my husband, thinking how everything could suddenly be turned upside down in such a little time. Here I was, thinking we were living a comfortable little life, and out of the blue… a bomb just falls from nowhere at all. And what a bomb too…

“We were waiting for the final test results… and they’ve just come in today…” he started, trying to explain.

”Adam, is this a joke?” My mother-in-law asked, her eyes widened. “Because Siraj didn’t say a thing… if this is a joke I promise I’m going to whack you-“

”I told Uncle Siraj not to,” he said simply. “It’s not a joke, mum.. although I wish it was. I think the main thing is to be positive here… can we talk properly after we eat?”

“This can’t be happening,” she said with tears in her eyes. “You’re only twenty two… I don’t understand…”

”I’m still twenty-one, Mum,” Aadam said with a shadow of a smile. “For two more months. Don’t make me older than I am…”

“I have to go,” she said, her voice shaking as she shifted on her chair. “How can you expect me to eat? You acting like it’s so normal. I can’t do this, Adam …“

And with that she pushed her chair back noisily and stood up, walking to the kitchen almost in slow motion as all of us sat in semi-silence at the dining table.

My father-in-law was just staring into space, shocked out of his senses. Ruby was sobbing her eyes out in despair. Aadam was in no state to comfort anyone as he shifted uncomfortably in his seat and refused to meet my eye.

Of course, I swallowed hard and said nothing as I got up… making my way out to where my mother-in-law was, not really planning how I was going to deal with this all of what I would say.. but knowing that someone had to keep this thing together… to remind them about the purpose of life… to renew their trust in Allah and in Qadr and whatever He wills…

And sometimes it takes a harsh situation to bring out the best in people. Sometimes it takes something bad to bring out the good. Sometimes we don’t know what Allah has in store for us until in time, we see the fruits that can come even from a once barren tree.

”Mummy,” I said, as I entered the kitchen and walked up to my mother-in-law who was standing with her back to me. I placed my hand on her shoulder as I drew nearer, not knowing what to say but feeling her pain all the same.

It was a moment in history that changed everything.

And just as I reached her and she turned to face me with emotion overflowing from her eyes, she couldn’t hold it together even a moment longer. It was as if everything within her was falling apart as she gripped me helplessly and burst into tears.


Sunnah of Drinking water

Drink water while taking three breathing pauses. It is prohibited to drink water in a single gulp as our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Do not drink water only in one breath, but drink it in two or three breaths.”

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Super Heroes

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


In this thing that we call life, we all have our own battles. Our own victories. Our own heroes.

Heroes. We all have them- People we look up to. People who we admire or aspire to be. Sometimes our heroes are just regular people, like you and me. But what defines them, is a seemingly small gesture. A passing smile. A kind word. A simple but genuine ‘hello’, that takes you by surprise, in this ruthless world. It’s the fact that they stand out, that makes them heroic.

Sometimes, we don’t recognize our heroes until it’s too late. These people are the essence of integrity. They are the reason for hope in this ugly world. They are, the light that shines through, when you were so sure that the sun of  goodness had already eternally set.

Those heroes… they have something greater than superpowers. They have compassion. They have kindness. Most of all, they have an amazing ability to sacrifice their own needs to fulfill those of everyone else. They are selfless to the very core.

Because once in a while, Allah sends you your very own superhero who simply…. takes your breath away.

And it’s rare. So rare.

Because everyone in the world is out there for themselves. There are some people in this world who will do anything to kill your peace. To hurt you. To taint your shine.

As much as you may strive to do good, they are the ones who will bring you down. As much as you try to be the light, they will block it out. Instead of seeing the good things too, they will pick out and point out what is your weakness. Where you went wrong. What you need to fix.

When Hannah and Aunty Nas had left that day, I couldn’t help but feel a huge hole somewhere within my gut. Zuleikha had  tried to comfort me. She had told me that she would see if what Hannah was saying was true. She even offered to go to Rubeena and talk to her.

I had to refuse. I didn’t want the situation to spin out of control. I didn’t want to be in a deeper fix than I already was.

I sulked around for a few days, not able to control my feelings. Foi Nani tried to cheer me up. She had said that I needed to be a soldier. The warrior that I always was.  It wasn’t like me to be so negative. But the energy that Aunty Nas and Hannah had brought with them seemed to be contagious.

How was I going to fix this? How did I explain to Rubeena that I didn’t mean to put her in a fix. The memory of me leaving that day played over and over in my head, as I left. Did she let me go willingly? Was she upset with me? Was she just fed up of all her own issues that seemed to revolve around me?

I couldn’t make sense of everything. I felt like I needed to just go to her and speak it all out, but I couldn’t bring myself to face her. I thought I could try calling, but it was to no avail. I left a message. Rubeena had either forgot about me completely or just didn’t want to talk to me.

And amidst the emotional tornado that seemed to wreck havoc within me, there came a peak to the storm.

Foi Nani suddenly got really sick. Foi Nani, who we had kind of took for granted over the years. Foi Nani, who was always there. Foi Nani, who was our very own superhero.

It all started with a sudden fever. A sudden fever that no-one could explain. She was weak. She was shivering. Worst of all, she seemed to be completely disorientated. She had no idea what was happening, neither could she comprehend our explanations.

Abba had called the doctors home. They had set up drips. Antibiotics. Feeding tubes. Just to ensure she would get everything she needed. Even Ahmed came home to see her, and seeing her condition, he knew that he couldn’t take any chances. Despite his feud with Jameel, he wanted to be there with Foi Nani in her last stages.

That was when Zuleikha made the call to the UK, to Foi Nani’s long lost son, urging him to come and see his mother.

It was a long shot. We thought we would lose her before they came, and when they finally did arrive, I could literally see Zuleikha let out the hugest of breaths, as if she was just waiting for them to arrive before she finally let go. I supposed we all relaxed a bit, the moment they arrived.

Deep down we knew that Foi Nani wanted nothing more than for him to come home. She wanted us to know them. She wanted us to be a real family. It was just that it was a little too late for that…

Now you must understand, although these were my immediate family, I could barely remember their names, leave alone their faces. Abba had stood awkwardly at the back of the entrance hall as they entered, and I looked at my cousins for the first time in over 10 years. The eldest was a boy, who was a little older than me. Then came a girl, who was probably around fourteen. And the last was another girl who was seven. Like Danyaal. My uncle looked at us awkwardly as we went forward to greet him. We didn’t know him, but he knew us. We did the quick formalities before we guided them to the room where Foi Nani was.

And then of course, was the moment that would be etched in my mind forever. It was like Foi Nani just knew that her child had come home. I wasn’t sure how she could even sense him, in her induced sedation, as he held out his hand out to hold hers, I was sure she had reciprocated. Those moments of final consolation were just what we needed. I suppose it was just closure. Somehow, as much as I hoped I was wrong, I knew that the end was near. Against all my hopes that Foi Nani would miraculously pull through, I thought that this would be it.

It wasn’t long after that. That same night, as we locked up, it was Ahmed who was sitting at Foi Nani’s bedside when he suddenly called for us. Zuleikha had been staying over, and even during this extremely trying period, I noticed how Ahmed and Jameel avoided each other. As Ahmed, in a panicky voice called for us to come, our hearts were in our throats. Was this going to be it? 

And amidst the dreaded pain of what we may lose, it was a moment of pure affirmation for me. How quickly someone can be right there… and how fast everything can change.

This life was nothing but a really fleeting journey. A journey that we don’t realize, until we see the end. Our road is paved for us, but it’s up to us to build the houses along the way. We have to invest for that final destination. We have to earn enough to pull us through. We have to make it count in a way that we will see long after…. in the next world.

And that was Foi Nani. She had been there. She had been our constant. She was the one person who had never left us while we needed that something solid. She could have easily left us and went with her son overseas. He had asked her to come at the time. She didn’t owe us a thing. At a time when we were just four messed up little kids, she was our very own superhero, and for being that, we couldn’t be grateful enough. We couldn’t be thankful enough.

Foi Nani breathed her last around midnight that very night, with all four of us grandchildren at her bedside. My Uncle sat on the chair in the corner of the room and read Yaseen aloud. Ahmed was reciting his Qur’an loudly by heart too and so was Yunus. The moment when Foi Nani passed away, all I saw was a slight frown on her face, as her rooh exited, and then… it was just peace. Peaceful peace.

“The gift to a believer is death.” (Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1609)

And it reminded me so beautifully of what I had once heard about those whom Allah loves, who leave this world. For the true believer, there is no ‘death’… There is a mere transfer from this world to the next. SubhaanAllah.

All I could think of was… what more beautiful way can there be to leave this world? No machines, hospital bed or emergency. It was so controlled… so serene.

No more of this warped Duniyaa. No more hurt. No more pain. No more sickness. No more grief.

That was Allah’s promise. And of course, amidst the confusion and the overthinking, the consolation was that it was Allah’s will. Allah’s will. And of course, it wasn’t goodbye.

It was, till we meet again.

Foi Nani was buried that same morning, and during those last few days before Ramadhaan, life was somewhat of a blur for us. It was different to when Mama passed away, but in some ways, I felt the same. This time though, there was a certain relief, because I understood. I understood so much more. Foi Nani was not just a lifeless figure for me like Mama was. Foi Nani was now gone to a better place, with Allah’s will.

What was amazing was how the thought process matures and changes as we get older. Amazing how we see things in a completely different light as we grow up.

Thoughts plagued my mind. In my sleep, I was awake. In my wake, I was restless. That’s how the first few days of overwhelming grief are. They suck you in, and the only refuge is to let it all out and put your heart out to the One who knows you better than anyone else. And then, of course, I remembered. I remembered what I had forgotten. But how could I forget?

When everyone and everything else in this world has left, there’s still a constant. No matter what. No matter who. It was your Lord who was always there. He remained.

When they slept, He was awake. When they broke, He carried you. When no one else was there, He was. He remained. He always remains. Remember that always, Khawlah. Remember that. Remember Who you owe everything to. 

Although my heart was aching deep inside, the courage I sought was finding its way to the surface. It was like I was lost in a sea of emotion, and now, I was finally breaking the surface.

And honestly, it’s effect was immediate. As soon as the realization sunk in and hit me, things started to fall into place, piece by piece. Indeed, the miracle of putting your trust in the One who controlled it all, was just inconceivable. When you truly believe that all your worries are in the hands of Allah, He will take it upon Himself to sort it out.

I had seen many people at the funeral that day. Even Rubeena was there, but in my own emotional state, I had done nothing more than greet. Nusaybah sat at my side the entire time, like the pillar of strength that I needed to pull through. As for Aunty Radiyyah, she took over everything. Besides sorting out the ghusl (bath for the deceased), she went beyond what we expected. She saw to the feeding, she arranged extra help for the house, and she basically kept everything in control. At times like that, it was people like that who defined what Akhlaaq was. Beautiful character and pure compassion. Her true character showed in her selflessness, and as we thanked her, all she could say was that it was her duty. Mama would have been happy if she knew.

Although we had an influx of visitors at first, things slowed down towards the beginning of the next week and I could feel the grief subsiding. I still missed Foi Nani but the fact that acceptance was on its way, gave me the hope of breathing easily. The stages of grief were taking their effect.

Nusaybah would pop by from time to time  when she wanted to visit, and as it happened, there came a day when she called me to say she was coming and I really did not expect what she had brought.

I could barely believe it, as they all came into the lounge, one by one, I felt like I was coming to life again.

Not only was Nusaybah standing in passage, but so was Rubeena, Danyaal, Dayyaan, Zia and Zaydaan.

My heart swelled as I took them all in, blinking a few times as I processed exactly what was happening. They were here. They were all here, at my house, and I could not have been more elated!

I immediately got up from the sofa I was sitting on to greet, and I bent down as each boy came toward me, gripping them with all my might, just because I had missed them so much. The empty gnawing in my gut had temporarily departed as I grasped onto them, one by one. Danyaal, as usual, slunk back as I looked at him, and for the first time since I left, I felt like the hugest traitor in the world.

Somehow, I could just read him. I could see it in his eyes.

I had left him. At a time when he needed me most, I had deserted this precious little kid, and I wasn’t sure if he’d ever forgive me.

I swallowed hard as he looked away, and I could see that he was blinking back tears. He looked just like his uncle, and the resemblance today startled me. His lips were pursed together and he avoided eye contact, and all I could do to keep myself from audibly sobbing was reach out and drag him into the hugest of hugs I could muster.

I’m so sorry,” I whispered to him, breathing him in as he stood, almost like a statue. He still smelt of Nivea lotion and skittles. I soaked in the familiarity but he didn’t hug me back. He didn’t even move.

Give him time, something told me. Just give him some time. Everything will fall into place.

I fought back my own tears as I guided them to the lounge, but amidst the excitement, there was a certain uneasiness that hung in the air. My cousin, who was very much like me, was excited about the kids, and immediately took it upon herself to entertain them. With the kids now gone into the next room, it was only then that I recalled the tension with Aunty Nas and Hannah, which I had forgotten about for the past two weeks. Strangely enough, they hadn’t made an appearance since Foi Nani’s death and I actually found it a bit strange. I wondered if they were even around.

I offered a shaky smile to test the waters, and Rubeena came forward, embracing me affectionately as she said all the right things that made me tear up once again. I had felt exhausted from all the emotion, but as the days were going by, I was starting to feel more human again. The grief was no longer so… stifling. I could finally breathe easily, once again.

”I’m so sorry that we didn’t come earlier,” she said, and I could hear the sincerity in her voice. “We thought we’d give you some time. The kids really wanted to see you though. And…”

She paused, almost as if she was thinking carefully about her next words.

“We really need to chat,” she said, giving me a smile and squeezing my hand. “There’s so much I want to tell you…so much has happened… but… there’s no rush. When you are ready.”

I frowned slightly, curious to know what she wanted to talk about. I didn’t want to think about the past, and I knew Rubeena wanted to chat about everything that had happened too. With Hannah. With Adam. I was aching to know too.

With time, I reminded myself. All with time.

We chatted for a while and they listened. Every time I spoke about it… about those last few days before she passed away, the pain eased a little more. Speaking about it gave me a little more closure. I made sure we still read every day, because that was the only thing we could do for Foi Nani, now that she was gone.

”I’ll come see you,” I said to her as she eventually got up to leave, and she smiled.

“You have to,” she said. “I have to apologize to you properly. I’m trying to get on my feet now… it’s been a little hectic being a single mum.”

A single mum? I widened my eyes. What had happened?

I walked her and the kids out, taking a little time to hug them again, assuring them that if see them later in the week. I was feeling a little more relieved, and as Ramadhaan came closer, I knew that I wanted to sort the mess out before the blessed month came upon us. I wanted to make the most of it and for that reason, I felt the overwhelming need for closure with Rubeena. Maybe I would see her tomorrow. Maybe even sooner than that.

Walking to the doorway, I couldn’t help but hear Ahmed’s distinct laughter from outside, and both Rubeena and I turned to see what was going on.

It was quite unexpected, and actually surreal, because it had really been ages since I’d heard Ahmed laugh. He wasn’t exactly the easy type to humour. Yunus too, as I saw, was chuckling away, and so was my father.

After Foi Nani’s death, our house had been like a mortuary. We just went through the day-to-day rituals of living. But today… as I saw a little life in my brothers’ eyes, I couldn’t help but wonder what had inspired it. What magic had brought this on.

I turned my face away as I saw Adam there, not wanting to look. It was obvious that he had been the cause of the amusement, and Rubeena shook her head, embarrassed as she mumbled something about her brother causing a scene at a funeral house.

I smiled at her, assuring her that it was okay. In fact, after two weeks… we needed to smile again. Yes, we still hurt at times, but we needed to a little reason to lighten up, after the storm.

My heart was thudding in my chest for some strange reason, and Rubeena smiled at me as she stepped out, with a single sentence that caught me a little off guard.

”Whenever you are ready, we are waiting. All of us.”

I swallowed the saliva that had gathered in my mouth. Now I knew what she had meant… After everything that I had been through during the past month, a lot had changed. A lot had come into perspective. And I realized a lot of things I had tried to ignore before, because the fear of losing love for me, was greater that not having it at all.

But now I realized, that I didn’t need to be scared.

Through love… through loss… through life. Yes, grief was in its place, but there was always a little light in the distance. There was always a reason to live. I just didn’t know that the deal was already halfway sealed.

Yes, I was still in school. Yes, I was so young. Yes, there were so many excuses I knew I could make. Despite my reservations and despite my  answer not been given as yet, my family had already knew what was best for me.

And this was how it happens. You can’t set an alarm for these things. You can’t put them on your calendar. I supposed, when you least expect it, some people just ‘get’ you. They move you, in a way that you’ve never experienced before. They stir up emotions, from deep down, bringing a whole new understanding to life that you had never yet realized.

And of course, there he was. A little light in a tainted world. A shimmer in the hazy distance. There was a hope for us… because everything would soon fall into place.

Because in this ruthless world, there are people who stand out from the rest. They have qualities that make them shine. They have a warmth that they exude, and spreads to all those around them.

They are compassionate. They are kind. They see the best in every situation. They are those people who are a cut above the rest, and it’s only because of the beauty of their character, that makes them stand out.

And in our unlit world, we needed a little sunshine. We needed to shed some light into our darkened doorway. Yes, the love of a mother could never be replaced but with Allah’s will, after hardship and loss.. there’s a always a lesson. A reminder about life. A reason to return to Allah.

And of course, after hardship, always comes an ease.

Another super-hero was just what we would need.

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Dearest readers,

A reminder that highlights the main theme in today’s post. Death is the cutter off of pleasures, but for a believer, death is a mere transition into a more beautiful world. SunhaanAllah.

May Allah make us of those believers who earn Paradise and its beautiful pleasures. May He make us of the steadfast, and assist us in attaining the most out of this blessed month that comes upon us.

I’m thinking that this post will be the last post of season one, and I think it provides the closure that readers were asking for..? Shukran to all the readers, and I wish every one of you a blessed Ramadhaan. Please remember this sinful servant in your Duáas.

Sayyidina `Ali (r) said, “If Allah wanted to punish the nation of Muhammad, He would not have given them Ramadan nor qul huwa allahu ahad.”

P.S. Remember to make a timetable to assist in achieving all goals and aims in this beautiful month.

Rinsing the mouth after eating.

It is mustahabb to rinse the mouth after eating, because Basheer ibn Yassaar narrated that Suwayd ibn al-Nu’maan told him that they were with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in al-Sahba’ – which is some distance from Khaybar – and the time for prayer came. He called for food, but he did not find anything but some saweeq (barley mush). So he ate some and we all ate with him. Then he called for water and rinsed out his mouth, and then he prayed, and we prayed, and he did not do wudoo’.

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5390).

How easy to practise!





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Walk Away

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


Every day is a new adventure. For my nearly-sixteen-year old self, that’s how I had come to see it. An adventure that sometimes takes us by surprise, and at times, never fails to allure, amuse, or even delight.

What we make of life is only how we see it. Although seeing the best and being the best is always a tough call, to conquer the evil that always lurks in the midst with goodness from within, was an unfathomable achievement. Good character, no matter what the situation, takes a strength greater than a 100 men… But it effects are far more worthy than we can ever imagine. It will simply blow you away.

I breathed in deeply as I reached the house that I had now come to know so well, reveling in the scent that lingered and taking in the the natural beauty of spring that was emerging in full force. It was that time of the year again, and as time went by, I knew that my time there too, was limited.

It had become a ritual of mine to take delight in the little buds that were forming on the bushes, and carefully track the constant rustling in the nests that were all being meticulously structured above. The unprecedented structure and beauty of nature never failed to amazed me.
And just like the sunlight brought hope for a new start, the little lights in my life always kept me going. It was like they knew I was there even before I even arrived. The door swung open just before I reached out to press the bell, and Dayyaan and Zia looked at me with wide smirks on their face.
“What are we doing today, Khawlah?” Dayyaan asked, his eyes wide with excitement.

“Dayyaan!” His mother shouted, and I could hear the scrunching of her sneakers as she made her way to the door. “Can you at least let Khawlah come in before you’ll bombard her?”

Rubeena emerged from the lounge area and as she entered my view, I noticed that she looked a little rough around the edges. Her hair was  a mess and her eyes were a bit puffy. If I wasn’t mistaken… it looked like she might have been crying.

”Is everything okay?” I asked, a little panicked now.

Rubeena had always seemed so… together. I was a little alarmed to see this sort of discomposure from her.


She opened her mouth, but I could literally see her almost choking on her words, as emotion overcame her again. I knew the feeling. The feeling when you so baldly wanted to speak… but you were scared that all that would come out was … more tears.

She hastily turned away as I watched her, and I quickly got the boys on the important task of setting up our favorite game to divert them, while leading her to the nearest chair in the adjacent kitchen.

“I’m sorry,” she finally spluttered, hastily rubbing away the tears at the corners of her eyes.” It’s just…”

She sighed, trailing off and swallowing as she looked at me, slightly embarrassed. Her cheeks were were flushed and her nose was as red a tomato.

“Everything’s a mess,” she blurted, shaking her head.

I swallowed hard, not knowing how to respond. It had been a few weeks since Zuleikha had spoken to me, and though I had promised her I would be careful and think about giving up my job… I wasn’t ready to leave them all behind as yet.

And yes, it had really got to me when I heard. I wished that I could tell someone what I was truly feeling. She thought I was ‘going out’ with Rubeena’s brother. The thought of what she suspected was even more loathsome to me than her. I was confused, overwhelmed and upset, all at the same time.

The worst part was that I couldn’t even talk to Nusaybah about it, because I was so worried that she too, would think something bad of me. How did I explain to them that I had done nothing wrong? There was just so much of opportunity for people to talk. It just looked so bad.

My heart thudded in my chest once again, whilst I deliberated my next words.

“I’m sorry, Ruby,” I said, genuinely apologetic.

I hated to see her like this. I hated all the conflict that was going on. I never spoke to Rubeena about what Zuleikha had told me but I knew some of the truth.

“The truth is, Khawlah,” she said, finally meeting my eye. “I’ve just had the hugest fight with Shabeer. My parents are angry with me. My brother doesn’t speak to me… I feel like I have nobody but these kids that make me crazy and I just don’t know what to do…”

She sniffed again, and I could see the beginning of another outburst. I could understand her feeling sorry for herself… But fueling that pity wasn’t going to do her any good. I wanted to tell her how lucky she was but I knew she wouldn’t see it that way, and it was at that precise moment that Danyaal chose to scamper in to the kitchen, grab an apple and dash out again, already ready to sink his teeth in.

I forgot that his mother was there, for a minute. It was just instinct from being with them for so long, and part of Foi Nani’s influence, that I had to shout out. Mama too, had always said that when Allah is in your heart, you remember him in everything that you do. Taking his name before eating or drinking was the least we could do, and I wanted these kids to take at least that with them if I had to leave them behind.

“Danyaal, say Bismillah!” I called out to remind him, thinking to myself how long it took for kids to learn it. It was so frustrating that no matter how many times I told them… they just never got it by themselves.

”I did!” he yelled back, already racing back to the playroom in hot pursuit.

For a second, I even forgot about Ruby who was sitting there, and as I looked back at her, instead of her tearful face, she was looking at me in a kind of daze. Almost as if she was dumbfounded.

“That’s what I mean!” she suddenly half-whispered, and it was like a light-bulb was coming on in her head. “That’s what I tried to explain to my parents! I mean, how are you so amazing, Khawlah? Never in a million years, will I be able to remember all these things. Sometimes I even forget to say it myself, because I’m so useless at being good. But you…”

She trailed off and shook her head.

“My brother saw something in you that I was missing all this time,” she said, almost in awe, and my throat suddenly went all dry. “And then he made the mistake of telling me.”

I swallowed hard as she continued,  half-dreading and half-anticipating the version of events that she was going to tell me, from her side of the story.

“He could see you weren’t the typical girl,” she said, a little sadly. ”So he asked me for advice. And who would blame him? You’re amazing, Khawlah. You’re stunning, inside and out. You have such impeccable manners… and the way you are with the kids… honestly, you’re my life saver.”

All I could do was nod and listen, like a robot. I was not sure what to say. It was the first time that Rubeena had ever said anything remotely pleasant about me. It seemed like her being emotional brought out a whole different side to her.

One thing Mama had always told me was that the greatest way to show what a Muslim was about, was through our character. The Prophet Muhammed SAW had a superb form of dawah, and superseding anything else, many didn’t realise that his greatest asset was gained through his impeccable characteristics. Not through war. Not through force of submission. Not through hatred. It was just beautiful character. To be the best type of person, even in the worst of situations was something of a miracle.

I tried… but I wasn’t sure if I really measured up to what Rubeena was saying. They say that whoever you meet, always understand that you should not leave them until you have learnt something invaluable that you yourself did not know. I’m sure that there were some things I could learn from her too. My greatest fault was that I never stopped to see it.

“My parents would kill him, Khawlah,” she said now, clenching her fists nervously. ”My family is so fixated on money and success… and when you came back again… they got angry at me because they blamed it all on me. They blamed me. They thought I had set you guys up… or something outrageous like that.”

She scoffed, shaking her head.

“They don’t know what you’re like,” she said, the shadow of a smile now visible on her face. ”Shabeer asked me once why you didn’t greet him when you saw him in the driveway. I didn’t understand that it was actually you being modest… until I actually googled it. You’ve actually taught me something. Not just one thing. So much.”

I was still stunned. My stomach was in all sorts of knots and twists as she continued, and slowly, as she let it all out and it sunk in, I was beginning to feel a little normal again. A little normal in a new upside down world.

It was a few days after Zuleikha had told me about everything that she had heard from Ahmed, and I had shrugged it off that day, not wanting to worry about something that might have been completely invented. I so badly wanted to meet Ahmed and ask him myself… but something within me was telling me to let it be for now.

He was fine. He was safe. He was in good hands. And if I met him… I wasn’t sure what kind of reception my older brother might give me. I sighed as I thought about it.

I took her advice that day and she left, feeling slightly relieved in the knowledge that soon I would be out of that environment completely.

It broke my heart but I knew that if what she had said was true… there was no way that I could continue to break that family up with my presence.

And as much as my heart could not be controlled, I knew that I had to start making preparations to leave. Slowly, and in a subtle way, I had to give these kids as much as I could before I had to leave them on their way. I was tormented by the thoughts of what would happen to them when I left, but I knew that I had to put my fears aside and let them go.

Life would never be the same, but maybe… I hoped… in the future, I would meet them in a better and easier time of frame.

I sighed to myself as I sat with the kids the following week, trying to muster the words that I knew I had to say.

Rubeena had poured her heart out to me that day, and the feelings that had surfaced were hard to put at bay. Although playing with the kids was the most fulfilling thing, whilst i heard them giggling and squealing in delight during our mini pillow fight, my conscience just wouldn’t let me rest. The nagging feeling was still there at the back of my mind, reminding me that there was always an end to every story. Maybe the end to our story was approaching. Maybe it was time to write the final chapter.

It was nearly time for me to leave for the day, and with just a few minutes left,  the children were bouncing around on the rubber horse that was their latest addition to the playroom.

I smiled as I watched them, whilst holding little Zaydaan in my arms. He was particularly exhausted that day, after our high-energy afternoon, and I felt my heart unexpectedly soaring as I savored the feeling of this little dumpling in my arms. I held him a little tighter as I took in his lavender-scented powder, breathing in the baby-ness as I tightened my arms around his tiny frame.

“I love you,” I murmured to him, overcome with emotion and feeling nostalgic already. He mumbled some intelligent statement of toddler language in reply, and I found myself instantly giggling to myself.

They were growing so fast, and I just could not fathom how these little people had snuck so deep into my heart.

“Do you love me too?”

It was Dayyaan who asked the question, and I looked up to see him watching me with his little brother. His statement was as straightforward as little boys’ ones come. There was no mincing his words.

I was so absorbed in Zaydaan that I didn’t even notice him watching us. I couldn’t help but break out into a grin as he watched me, oh-so-seriously.

“Of course,” I said to him, nodding vehemently. “I love you all. You’ll do know that, right? No matter what happens, remember that Khawlah thinks that you’ll are really, really amazing.”

No regrets. I had to tell them that. I had to let them know.  After the chat with Rubeena, I wasn’t sure where I stood. She had to leave in a bit of a rush after her meltdown, so I didn’t exactly get to tell her what I needed to.

Danyaal was looking at me now, with that dreamy look that he sometimes got. My heart contracted momentarily as I thought of leaving them behind… of some day, walking out the door and not seeing them again. I was already having panic attacks about that tormenting moment. I was not sure how I was going to deal. I just wasn’t prepared for it being so soon.

“So, since you love us so much,” he said, looking thoughtful but with a mischievous  grin on his face.

I frowned at him, wondering what he was about to say.

”Please can we have one more story today?”

I smiled, shaking my head.

“Mum will be here just now and my father will be waiting for me,” I explained.

”It’s my birthday,” he said, a little sadly. “Please.”

I didn’t know it was his birthday. Although we never celebrated birthdays as kids, I wasn’t sure how to explain it to Danyaal as yet. It was on the bucket list of things I needed to say. I wanted to teach them so much… but there was so little time.

Either way, his puppy dog look was doing the trick.

”Pleassse….” Dayyaan copied.

“Pweeeeeezee,” mimicked little Zia.

I chuckled to myself, looking at the three rascals and shaking my head. They were so unknowingly manipulative, but they still made me laugh.

“Just one,” Danyaal quickly said, sensing me crumbling under their scrutiny. “Here.”

He thrust a familiar book at me, and I momentarily remembered the first day I had brought it for them. There were so many memories I had shared with these kids.

The pictures in the book were a sure winner, and over the almost two years I had been here, it had grown to be a favorite.

“The first one,” he said, knowing exactly which story he wanted. The story of Aadam AS was right of the front.

I sighed, shaking my head. It was the most popular one for the kids, but frankly, I was sick of reading it. I almost knew it by heart.

“Choose another,” I said flatly.

“Okay, let’s read the Lion King,” Dayyaan piped up.

“No!” squealed Danyaal, annoyed.

“Story of Aadam,” he insisted, and as if he suddenly spurred into action, Dayyaan climbed on the colorful ottoman at the center of the room, pumped his first in the air, and started screaming at the top of his voice.

“Lion King, Lion King, LION KING!”

“Aadam, Aadam, AADAM!!” Shouted Danyaal back, just as loud.

How did these kids even learn things like this? It was horrific.

They looked like a pair of those terribly behaved children who would just create spectacles to get their way. I widened my eyes at them and opened my mouth to scream.

My mouth was left hanging as we were all silenced by the abrupt voice at the door.

What is going on here?!” it shouted, obviously disturbed by the outrageous behavior.

I mean, if I heard that from the other side of the house, I too would have been shocked.

I whipped my head around, blinking as I glimpsed the figure who stood at the door. For a few seconds I was actually dumb-founded as I processed who it was.

Although I barely recognized him, there was no mistaking it. I could literally feel my face changing all shades of colors as he too, looked at me in shock. He obviously did not expect me to be here, and his next words were very evident of it.

“You?!” He said, looking strangely disturbed by my presence.”Sorry, I thought… Nevermind.”

He seemed genuinely shocked that I was there.

Oh goodness. This was a bit awkward.

The boys were looking from me to him, stunned by the reprimand and slightly shocked at their uncle’s presence. It was also obvious that he thought that I didn’t come here anymore, and hence, didn’t expect to bump into me today. This was a bit of an uncomfortable mess.

“Hey Uncle Adam,” called Dayyaan.  “You look like Mufassa.”

Now I wanted to slap my hand to my forehead, like Danyaal often did what Dayyaan asked a unexpected question. I knew that he was obsessed with the Lion King, but how could he call his uncle Mufassa?

Trust Dayyaan’s quirky sense of humor to break the ice. I wanted to giggle but I didn’t dare crack a smile. The tension in the room was still palpable.

His uncle smiled and dropped the box that he was holding down onto the floor as I hastily grabbed my bag to let myself out of the room. From the looks of it, I could escape without much notice from the boys, because Adam was already ignoring me and watching the boys obsess about the electric cars he had bought for them all. I was so glad it didn’t escalate. I always knew that kids were the best ice breaker.

I wondered why he had come. Maybe being Danyaal’s special day, he needed an excuse to visit his nephews. Maybe he knew Rubeena wouldn’t be home tonight, or she had actually stayed late on purpose.

I silently closed the door behind me, letting out a huge sigh of relief as I walked down the passage to the door.

My heart felt strangely at peace as I made my way to my leave. So many plans I had… so much I still wanted to say.

But the defining question was… Right here and right now, on this journey that I had decided to embark on… would it ever end? Would it ever be enough?

Maybe it was time. Maybe it was time for me to let go now. Maybe it was time for me to leave, and just let it be.

Maybe my time here was up. I had said what I needed to… conveyed what I could while I was here. I had been that little window that they so badly to get a glimpse into. How much longer was I going to hold on to them for?

My heart soared and sank almost simultaneously as I heard the joyful giggles from the other side of the house. Hearing those shrieks of laughter and bursts of excitement now were enough to send my escalating emotions into overdrive. I may had been their window to get a glimpse of the other side that they so badly needed to see… but maybe these kids needed more.

I was just a stranger, after all. They needed their family. They needed their uncle too. Maybe there was another window waiting to open for them, revealing a world that would hold so much more than I could ever imagine giving them.

The truth is that we all have this desire. This innate need, put in us by our Creator. The unshakable yearning to help others in need is like a reflex, whether for family, friends, or a stranger on the street. There is nothing evil about our nature, until we make it so.

I was just someone who had stumbled upon their path for a season of their life, and now it was time for me to move on. Things had gotten a little out of control, and it was getting difficult to distinguish between right and wrong.

I opened the front door, forcefully holding back the tears that were threatening to escape. I wasn’t going to cry. I wasn’t going to lose myself on this path that I had so carefully trod. This was all Duniyaa, after all. This was all a part of the beautiful  journey to my Lord, that lay ahead.

Today, I needed to be strong. Today, I needed to do the bravest thing. It was no walk in the park, to a destination that would most certainly offer you the sweetest ease. This was hurt. The bittersweet pang that rips your heart apart as you walk away, has nothing on convincing yourself that you need to stay. Only, you don’t.

I halted, swallowing as I deliberated what could be the of the entire game change, or just another weak moment. It was just as I convinced myself and stepped out, a familiar voice called out, as if it was designed to target the vulnerability of my heart strings once again.

The words taunted me, even as I took that one more step I needed to break away.

“Khawlah, wait.”


P.S. Wonder if Khawlah should leave or wait..?

Dearest Readers,

In preparation for Ramadhaan, last week we were working on Reviving the Sunnah of Miswaak. This week, Insha Allah, let’s try and bring in a little about the Sunnah of eating, as touched on in the post. I will try to keep it short, simple and effective🌸

It is mentioned that when eating, if you recite Bismillah before eating and Alhumdulilah when done, your sins are forgiven.


How easy to practise!





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Good Old Days

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


Abba looked at Zuleikha sharply, and his expression changed as he processed what she had said. Marriage? 

She was serious. There was not a glint of humour in her amber eye. The trait of my elder sister was that she had the amazing ability to make others just… well, succumb.

Abba needed her. He needed her to be there. Even though he had married Aunty Nas, he knew that he didn’t want to force her out of the family home. Not like this.

When Mama had died, she had been the foundation that formed our home, and kept it stable. Although she was still young, she understood the enormity of three younger siblings, and the burden that my father carried. She cared for us like a mother would, and took over chores that my father couldn’t find the strength to. She matured at an amazing rate and carried herself in a manner far beyond her years. No-one could question the value of my elder sister.

“Okay,” my father said, nodding now. He didn’t ask her who she will marry. He didn’t ask her anymore. Maybe he should have.

I could see that he was thinking. This was a lot for little minds to process. We had lost our mother. We had partially lost our father. We didn’t want our sister to go.

My sister stood straight with her chin out, stubbornly staring my father down and waiting for him to speak again. Her olive skin made her amber eyes seem even more stark, and her eyebrows furrowed slightly just the way my fathers did. The pair of them were so much alike at that moment, I found it hard to believe that they were not seeing eye-to-eye.

She was not backing down on her threat, even as my father seemed to relent.

“We will stay here,” he said finally, his hands tiredly running through his hair.

He got up and looked at us all, probably wondering how everything had gotten to be this way. My father’s tanned skin looked drawn and his eyes was sunken. Although he tried to obscure it in his dress, he was definitely aging in a way that was not so graceful. Abba was getting old, and acting it too.

“Abba, can we go to the park tomorrow?” Yunus asked, his eyes suddenly lighting up. He saw an opportunity and he didn’t want to miss it.

“Okay,” Abba said, without even a batter of an eyelid. Maybe he was feeling bad. I didn’t realised it, but guilt was settling in as he stood and looked at the kids he had left to bring themselves up. Well, that’s how I saw it, even at that tender age.

”Abba,” I blurted out now, seeing an opportunity too and not able to keep it in any longer. The guilt was consuming me too. Was this my fault?

“I’ll be better, okay? Please don’t make us all leave,” I cried, my eyes were burning as i tried to hold back the tears.

What would I do? I wouldn’t have my friend Khalid down the road. Our lives would change. Everything would just be so messed up. The simplicity of a nearly nine-year-old caught my father off-guard.

My father’s mouth turned up at the corners, and he shook his head at me.

That was my Abba. That was precisely how I remembered him. Not the harsh, unapproachable version that had become Aunty Nas’s husband. I liked the obliging, hopeful, and always cheerful one that kept our family going. The Abba That would surprise us with a pack of jelly tots late at night. That would whisk us off after bed-time, with a complete disregard for Mama’s rules. He was the fun parent. I missed that.

“Alright,” he said, his eyes sparkling. It was like the light within him had been switched on again. He seemed so much more alive.

“Tomorrow we will go out. And tomorrow we will be like the old days with ‘the gang.’”

I forgot about the antics of the afternoon then as my heart expanded in my chest, excited about the upcoming day. Abba was true to his word and took us out the next day. He seemed to give us more attention than the past few weeks during the months that followed.

True to his word, the mention of the other house dint come up again. I remembered the arguments that followed that day, accompanied by hushed whispers and disgruntled voices, but being so young, I brushed in under the carpet and carried on with my childish day-to-day life.

Every day would bring a new adventure, and though we seemed to sometimes collide, I found my step mother and sister not home as often as they usually would be. In keeping the  peace, my father had split his former family and his new one, and that way, there was much less conflict. And of course, they got the new house.

It was only one day, when I ran from outside into the house that I realised how much had been going on behind the scenes. I climbed up the little ledge on the kitchen skirting, trying to each for a glass to get some water. I could hear the voices in the passage, but I ignored them until I heard Zuleikha.

“Thats not yours,” she said, in an acid voice.

”Well, she doesn’t know it, and we are just borrowing it,” my stepmother said, her ugly voice even colder than usual. “We’re not stealing it. And you better keep quiet before I tell your father about your Mister with the red BMW.”

I froze as I listened, trying to figure out what they were talking about.

“You can’t just come in here and act like you own this house,” Zuleikha said, her voice icy. “It doesn’t belong to you, and we don’t deserve this. You’re not my mother so don’t try to threaten me-“


It was Foi Nanis voice that came from somewhere further than where the pair of them stood, and I too got an enormous shock as I heard her. I didn’t even know she was around.

The glass dropped from my hands, and as it crashed to the ground all the voices ceased. The footsteps scurried to the kitchen where I stood, shattered glass around me and a guilty look on my face.

Aunty Nas stared at me as she usually did, with complete dismay, while Foi Nani put her hand to her mouth in shock, obviously disturbed about what the nine-year-old ears might have heard. Zuleikha was nowhere to be seen.

Now don’t get me wrong. Aunty Nas was not the best person for me in my childhood years, but it didn’t mean that she was ugly on the outside too. She was actually a very attractive woman who kept herself physically on top on things. But as a child, Mama had taught me a very important lesson as I would gaze into the mirror and admire my own aesthetic beauty.

Character. Beautiful character. That was what truly mattered.

It was the greatest asset a person could ever have. I remembered her  words so clearly, the day I got into trouble for making another girl cry after she picked on me. I sought revenge. It was a trait I tried hard to break.

“It’s not about how people look, Khawlah,” Mama had said wisely. “It’s about the inside. About how you treat other people. You have to be good to everyone, not just the people you like. People may forget what to say, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

And of course, she would, as always, tell me about the Hadith of Nabi (SAW), and bring to like the beauty of his character in a completely differing perspective. Mama knew these thing and she always pushed us to learn it too. Though I missed her every day, it was one thing that I missed most about her. The fact that she just made us want to be better people. It was things like this that you couldn’t learn in books. It is the very deed that will lead people to enter Paradise the most.
When the Prophet ﷺ was asked about which act leads people to enter Paradise the most, he replied, “Piety and good character.” (Sunan Ibn Maajah)

I ran out of the kitchen as fast as I could that day, back outside to where Yunus was waiting for me. Khalid was supposed to be there too but ever since his Aunty had bought him that PlayStation thing, he had been getting more and more scarce. It was like we had to drag him out of the house. I tut tutted as I walked down the oath to his house, shaking my head and complaining mercilessly about my friend.

I didn’t realize that Khalid was now entering another zone of his life, maybe even early adolescence. He was a full year older than me and my own mind was too naive to understand the changes that were taking place. His mother came to the door with her usual smile, beaming at us both with enthusiasm, and telling us to get Khalid out of the house to have some outdoor fun.

I simply loved her. There was just something amazing about her character that just drew people to her. The cherry on the top was that her smile was infectious.

I raced through to the lounge, knowing I would catch my friend there.

“Khalid, this is so boring!” I complained as I sat on the edge of the couch and watched him dart from side to side as he tried to aim at something with the remote controls.

“That is so cool!” Yunus said in contrast, as he fixed his gaze on the screen, his eyes wide with eagerness as he watched every move Khalid made. I shook my head and rolled my eyes at them both. This was simply torturous.

Boy stuff. Ugh.

“Five minutes, Khawlah,” Khalid said as he turned and looked at me, trying to assess how annoyed I was. He gave me a small buttering-up smile and then turned to play again, with Yunus at his side. I sighed.

Maybe we were getting too old to play outside. Why did I feel like everything was different? How had everything changed so quickly? Even Khalid was starting to look different. Was something wrong?

The five minutes lasted about 15 more, and I sulked in a corner as they finished, reluctantly getting up as Khalid gestured to me to come with them.

“Let’s go up,” Yunus said, and I got up ready to follow.

“Outside, please, my darlings,” Aunty Radiyyah said, her smile not wavering. “I’m sure you’ll know that us Mummies get worried about the mess in the rooms.”

I wanted to tell her that we knew all about it. I sometimes I felt like I couldn’t even breathe in the house, leave alone mess.

When Aunty Nas was around I did my best to disappear. I didn’t know that Aunty Radiyyah had ulterior motives for sending us outside. In her adult wisdom she knew the harms of indoor activities at our age. Though not yet teenagers, our childish innocence was dwindling away.

We made up a fun game with a soccer ball, a net and a few beacons we found outside. I had always been the Tom-boy type and although I found myself slowly outgrowing it, for Khalid, I would sacrifice my girlishness. It just went without saying. Even though I had recently befriended a new girl in school who I had really come to like, I treasured my friendship with Khalid because it had always been my security. I thought that we would be that way forever. I didn’t know that our days were numbered.

Yes, I hated the dust and perspiration as we played, with the hot sun beating down on us from above, but it’s what made it all the more exciting.

The endurance. It was both exhilarating yet exhausting, and we finally took a break as we sat on the tarred pavement outside the house, just soaking up the blazing winter sun and chatting about our ambitions. It was rainbow smiles and sheer bliss. The life I knew I would always miss.

This was before it all changed. From dreams of building the fanciest of tree houses to comparing the high hopes we had. From childish banter to actual serious chatter… The problems of the wide world were far fetched for us. I couldn’t help but allow myself to get lost in the moments, living in them as if they would never end.

For now, all I knew was that I had passed. I had passed the biggest tests that life threw at me. It was a childhood that I would never forget, but was made so unforgettable by the little things of beauty that I woke up for every day. Those were the days of our life… the good old days.

The days I would never forget.

Dear readers

Shukran to all for the comments and feedback. I know the story may be a bit sad and I apologise in advance if there are any more depressing parts. But please remember that I always aspire to have a good ending so Insha Allah, it will be, with lots of lessons to be learnt. Always appreciate the feedback.

P.S. Are posts too long? Too boring?

Just checking 🌸

Much Love

A xx