Burning the Bridges

Bismihi Ta’ala


Part 73

The overwhelming stench from the green garbage drum during late November of that year reminded me of the familiar smell of rotting flesh. It had been hot. Rainy with electric storms in the evenings, but hotter than I remembered it being the year before.

Often, on the farm where I worked, I would set ablaze the entire thing until it went up in flames, without even batting an eyelid, but today, nothing was coming easy.

Even setting the barrel alight was proving a task.

The stench was unbearable. Maybe I had left it a bit too long this week. With the windy conditions, I wasn’t prepared to light it until I was guaranteed smooth sailing, and today was the first calm day.

“Come now, Z,” I taunted myself, pulling my sleeves up to beyond the elbow, and steadying myself before the stench knocked me out. “Get with the drill.”

I ignored the images and emotions that poked at my conscience as I sniffed the air, knowing there was no way to stop them completely today. I just had to keep reminding myself:

He breaks you to build you. Deprives you to give you. The pain in your heart was created to make you learn less for this life.

And to yearn more for Jannah.

I had to keep reminding myself. I had to keep pushing myself. On days like this.. bad days… there was no other way than to channel every ounce of energy into the task at hand, blocking out everything that had ever broken me, and march forward to the ultimate destination. There was no place more beautiful than what lay beyond this.

I had pulled out the rod from the toolbox to hammer in a few more holes and already tossed a match into the drum, as I stepped back and watched the barrel go up in flames. It was soothing, to a degree, as I watched it burn. If made me feel as if I was, hopefully, burning the parts of me that had been destructive to my mind. It made me think of how I needed to burn those old bridges and build up new ones. The right ones.

About how I wanted to, so badly, make up for the things that I had done. About how badly I needed to.

I turned away from the smoking drum, already walking back to the room when I saw my phone flash in the corner of the little kitchenette. As predicted, the message from my sister was as curious as she was.

Is J back? She’s not replying to messages.

I slid open my phone and replied the obvious.

Probably jet lag.

Her next message was quick.

Are you sure that you’re okay? You don’t think you’re being a little… extra.

I sighed and unbuttoned the top of my overall, getting ready to change into something more comfortable. I was not getting into this argument with my sister again. It was probably going to put me in a worse mood if I did.

All I wanted to do was close my eyes and forget about the look in the girl in questions eyes when she saw me. It was as if I had broken a piece of her that she probably didn’t even realise was there. So much of hatred brewed in her eyes, and I simply couldn’t shake that feeling of guilt. I hated to do what I was doing, but there was no other way.

Z, don’t ignore me.

My sisters message came a few seconds later. She knew what I was doing. I did too.

You know that I love you and want the best for you. That’s all. 

I knew that. And that’s precisely what killed me.

I typed fast and furiously, wanting to evade the feelings that were surfacing.

I don’t deserve anything even close. 

Nusaybah was right. The girl that she wanted for me was the best, and I didn’t even deserve it. I didn’t deserve a girl who was so beautiful, so pure, but completely naive. Especially when it came to the likes of me.

Knowing about my life would unhinge the little perfect picture frame she had been living in her entire life, and throw her into the haze that I’ve been struggling to find my way out of for years. I couldn’t do that to her.


Think about how mummy would love her.

I swallowed. Hard. I couldn’t think of my mother now. It was irrelevant. My mother didn’t know what had happened to me these past few years. How I had spiralled. How I had let them both down.

She would probably be beyond disappointed with me too. The way my father didn’t even look at me, and refused to speak to me, was proof of how much I had failed them both.

I typed the next sentence without even thinking.

I would love her too.  

<this message has been deleted>

I shook my head and tried to shake away the thoughts. Feelings. Feelings were by the way.

Maybe she would marry the guy who had come to see her earlier on that month. Not that he was bad, but the thought of it felt like a punch in the gut, and I deserved every discomfort that this situation had brought.

He was all the things that she needed and deserved. I had nothing at all to offer her.

The reply to nothing came five seconds later.

What did you delete? Sorry, pookie bear was trying to pull my eyebrows out of I didn’t slice her some cucumber. 

The corners of my mouth turned up slowly as I read that.

Only Nusaybah would call my one year old niece a disturbing name like ‘Pookie Bear’. Weird name, considering that Safeeyah was named after my mother and surprisingly looked a lot like her too. She was a mixture between my brother-in-law Faheem and all the good and comforting things I remembered about my mother. Seeing her for the first time when Nusaybah was down had been the highlight of my year thus far, and I was actually really looking forward to them coming the following month.

I rolled onto my back and thought of her, tossing my phone across the bottom of the bed, realising that it was time to get out of the hellhole room and start with my weekky atonement.

And don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t that my room was an actual hellhole. The amazing family I worked for had given me a decent sized place, with a proper bathroom and good living conditions. It was just that the home I now had, had become what it was because of all the baggage I carried with me from when I was actually scum. I’d  moved all weapons into my room after I figured that my teenybopper crush had mistakenly stumbled upon my make-shift arms room. There was no other choice but to drag every reminder of the past into where I struggled to sleep at night.

Mistake number one, and why I could never think of my infatuation as more than a phase.

And once again, I was reminded of the reason that I felt that I was in hiding, and the cringeworthy feeling overcame me because I knew that there was no escape.

Repentance. Atonement, and all the things that go with it.

My bold, unapologetic truth.

In  Islam, it is the act of leaving what Allah has prohibited and returning to what He has commanded. The word denotes the act of being repentant for one’s misdeeds, atoning for those misdeeds, and having a strong determination to forsake those misdeeds (remorse, resolution, and repentance)

It was the ultimate solution. The reason I allowed myself to actually get up each day with a conscience that doesn’t kill me inside. And though part of my resolution was the inescapable nature to make it up to my father, without even seeing him, my atonement actually ventured into more complicated routes.

It started with small, consistent acts. Monthly, I would drop off a set amount of money at the wife of a man I was once paid to target, because I had found out that she was an orphan with no support system and had three small kids from him. And though her husband wasn’t the best of humans either, and had a reputation of supplying their neighbourhood youth with the most addictive crack, my conscience wouldn’t let me rest.

So each month, I would take a trip on my motor bike to leave a designated amount of money in her postbox so she wouldn’t have to worry about where her babies meals were going to come from. It was a small gesture. And if it meant I ate a little less for the day, so be it.

It was a small price I could pay for a bigger part I had played, but it was worth being able to sleep at night sometimes. There were, of course, times when I wished that I could give back more. When I wished that I could help more.

One day, when the money I earned was halaal and completely clean, I vowed to be more to the community. I hoped to always feel like I was helping someone out. But that was the thing with remorse.

Sometimes Tawbah is not enough for the soul. Sometimes we have to keep pushing ourselves with better deeds.

Right now, all I was doing was trying to undo a lot of the pain and hurt that I caused, and I knew that today I had to head closer to home.

And as I dragged myself out of the room and pulled the door behind me, making sure I latch it, I knew that as much as I didn’t want to, today was the day I had to go to my fathers place. Though he barely looked me in the eye as he watched me from the window, I knew that I would sometimes revel in the sight of him peeping behind the curtain to watch me weeding the grass or neatening up my mothers rose bush. It had been growing wild for some time, but a few months ago, I had pruned them down and to see them bloom again gave me a feeling that was close to redemption.

At least, that’s what I liked to think.

And as I pulled on my helmet, jumping onto the bike and turning it on with a roar, I knew that I had to get my mind into the game. I was doing this to right myself. To ease my reformation. To be the best that I could ever be, and I knew there was no other place to start from home.

And I knew that my father an I always had our issues. I blamed him for my mothers death and he blamed me for choosing a rotten sort of lifestyle that killed her, long after he had dusted his hands off it.

And the thing was, I barely knew her, but I knew from stories that I’d heard, that she was a special kind of lady. And despite everything I’d heard about her, then came the stories I remember Nusaybah telling me as kid.

The stories of the Sahabah entailed  the story of Zubair bin Awaam (RA) mother who someone so awe inspiring that it made me wonder how humans like this even existed…

Safeeyah (RA) was the mother the full sister of Hamza ibn Abdul Muttalib. It was said that she was the Prophet’s only paternal aunt who actually embraced Islam and migrated.

She had a strong personality and was therefore inclined towards sternness and harshness.

Her first marriage was to Al-Harith ibn Umayyah, who was Abu Sufyaan’s brother. He then died before they had had any children together. She was then married to Al-‘Awwam ibn Khuwaylid, who was our Mother Khadijah’s (may Allah be pleased with her) brother. She gave birth to two of his children: As-Sa’ib and Az-Zubayr. When he passed away, Safeeyah RA devoted all her attention to her two orphaned sons, especially the younger one. Whenever he came home complaining of being bullied by children of his age, she would sternly rebuke him, tie him and beat him up so as to make him strong and firm.

When one of the members of her husband’s family once passed by her while she was treating her son in this way, he requested her to be kind to the poor orphan. She replied that she wants to make a man out of her son; a man that would be undefeatable and insuppressible, a man that would never surrender to any of Allah’s creatures.

It was reported that Zubair RA engaged in a duel with someone who slandered him and was so strong, that he broke the hand of the slanderer and severely beat him up. This man, with his pains was brought to Safeeyah and she asked him what had happened to him, to which was told:

He fought with Az-Zubayr and he [Az-Zubayr] did to him that which you can see.”

All in all… Safeeyah (RA) achieved what she wanted; Az-Zubayr RA grew strong in body and soul.

Ans yes; these were some of the most amazing personalities. We could only dream to be like them. In our broken way, we try and aspire to emulate them.

It was just that… I wasn’t quite sure if I what I could say about myself. There were times when I felt strong. Stronger than the world and everything that had happened to me… everything that I’d brought upon myself. And then there were times when it felt like the entire world was on my shoulders, weakened by the burden of it, and I couldn’t shrug it off.

And I supposed that circumstances were what they were, and there wasn’t much else to be said. The thing is, Allah takes us through stages that polish us, and eventually makes us shine because of it…

There were so many trials that we had encountered along the way, but the most noteworthy event was the one that hit the hardest.

It was a horrible, guttural kind of pain that ate me from the inside every day until I realised that my mother being killed by a stray bullet that was meant for my father, was really not my father’s fault. I couldn’t blame her death on anyone. It was determined long before and nothing he could have done that day would have saved her.

And yes, it was a loss that was felt unanimously and it hurt like hell. It was the reason my father never married again. But that wasn’t why I was trying to set things right again.

Why I needed to make it up to my father was because I had learnt that when you do something for Allah Ta’ala’s sake… when you help with the intention of setting right the affairs of the world that have gone so wrong… you are rewarded in ways you can never even imagine.

And that was my only consolation. Even though my father barely spoke to me. Even though he couldn’t look at me after knowing what I had become. Even though he would never forgive me, I knew that I had to keep trying.

And I knew that as long as I lived, I would keep paying the price for my sins. I would keep up with the atonement, keep seeking repentance and keep trying to be better.

That was the least I could do.

And so I did it.

And later that very day, as I sped through the rained out city streets on my way home, again I wanted to make up for my wrongs. I had stopped at my sister’s friends nursery to get another rose plant, because my entire life was going to be spent trying to make up for all the pain I had caused people. That day was no exception.

As much as I wanted to undo it, I knew that I couldn’t. Everything that I had come came with a price. My entire life, the company I had kept, the enemies I had earned along the way… was the price I paid. I knew that there was no way that I could drag a girl into the dirt everyone had on me.

And so it went, the story of my life.

I knew that I had to silently bear the brunt of my mistakes. For me, there would be no point in believing in fairy tales of note. For me, there would be a greater purpose in life, than just marriage and what would come after.

For me, I strongly believed, that maybe there was something greater than love.

They say the mind cannot comprehend what awaits us, that sadness will be forgotten.
They say that the eye has yet to see
and the ear has yet to hear the beauties that await us in our new home.

They say rivers of honey.
They say rivers of milk, they say rivers of wine.
They say if you give your life, then all eternity will be yours.

Maybe for me, there would be the sweetness of another dimension. Maybe for me would be the scent of musk as my blood spills on the ground. Maybe for me, green birds would await me. What could be more valuable that a greeting with the angels who promise eternal bliss…

I sighed as I placated myself, reaching home only after Esha salaah, pulling off my riding jacket and changing my soaked pants hurriedly, before getting ready for bed. The last thing I expected at that moment was a pounding on the front door of the little house I stayed in, which caught me just a little bit unaware.

And of course, with my history, senses were at once heightened as I grabbed a weapon, and moved toward the door.

I knew that in all likelihood, a killer probably wouldn’t be knocking on the door, but it could also be a trap. Fear wasnt in my nature, but curiosity was.

Although I could just ignore them, I knew that whoever it was, was probably someone who had some business with me. I had already unlatched the two latches, and stuffed the firearm under my arm, before yanking open the door.

I found myself blinking as I looked into the eyes of the guy I had seen just the week before. A easy-going guy I had surprisingly come to like, despite the fact that he looked at me as if I came from another universe.

“Hey, salaam.”

I greeted him back with a quick handshake, my weapon now safely tucked away under my arm.

“How’s it?”

I nodded and stepped back. It was pouring outside. He came in without hesitation, shaking off the rain from his jacket and smoothing it down.

”Sorry to barge in like this.”

I shrugged, moving over to the kettle to switch it on. I figured it probably had to do with that idiot, Hashim, who thought that he was invincible. The guy made my skin crawl with irritation.

“Tea?” I asked, knowing that it was the only thing I really kept here. My meals would usually come from the coffee shop kitchen.

He looked around awkwardly while I popped the firearm into the top drawer, and pulled out two mugs.

All my shiny toys were probably giving him the heebi jeebis, but I pretended like they weren’t there.

”I need your help,” he said quietly as I turned to him, looking like he was mentally carrying way more than he could handle. “Actually, my wife does. I think you may know a little about the money she borrowed… from the guy with the Porsche.”

So it wasn’t about Hashim. The guy with the Porsche. Of course I couldn’t forget.

I didn’t want to say that the Porsche guy had come back here, the day of the wedding, to see Mohsina just before she got married. Of course, I couldn’t say that… unless it was vital to whatever he needed.

He was the reason why I’d ever gotten involved with this family in the first place. The reason why I came back for atonement. Why I’d made it incumbent on myself to be here and protect this family that we’d harassed and caused so much of trouble to. Also the reason why I couldn’t seem to pull myself together and be the man I wanted to.

There was way too much at risk here to do what I wanted to do. Any move I made would land me in trouble.

“Yup,” I said blandly, not offering any further information. “My uncle’s client.”

All I knew was that I hadn’t seen him since then… since I’d left my uncle… and that meant that all ties with my uncle were also cut in the process.

I really intended to keep it that way, but Hamzah had other plans.

“I need you to dig up some info for me,” he said roughly, looking like his life depended on it.

I didn’t know that it did. What I also didn’t know was that what he needed from me was to once again build all those bridges that I’d worked so hard at burning.

“I need to know as much as you can get about every transaction he had with you guys. However much it costs, I need every dirty detail. They’re trying to lay it all on Mohsina. Whether it’s on his name or Hammonds, I need to know. There’s something fishy going on with him and the money and we’re going to get to the bottom of it. I need your help.”

The much awaited Zubair POV. Oops. Got a bit serious, didn’t even realise. Well, let’s see what unfolds… 

May Allah Ta’ala make us all true mujaahideen on this Deen… fighting our nafs and shaytaan with the same kind of determination…


A x

Mission Sunnah Revival: 
Sunnah of Noble Character: 

Nabi (SAW) gave attention, spoke and showed love to even the worst person of a nation until the person felt that he is being given special attention.

May Allah make us of those who uphold the Sunnah of character always.

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


Wistful Waterfalls


Bismihi Ta’ala


Part 56

When Hamzah had mentioned the word adventure…. Well, let me just tell you, I wasn’t quite prepared for the kind that he had in mind.

It was the barely even what a sane person would call ‘morning’, of the day we were scheduled to leave the farm, when he had woken me up at an insanely early part, and actually expected me to get out of bed.

And of course, I had pulled Zaid off of me, squinted at him like he was crazy, and rolled over again. But that was the thing with Hamzah. He was so good at convincing me that it was going to be worth it, that I could do nothing more than pull on some lazy track pants and a long sleeve modest top.

“No need for the Abaya,” he said with a wink, after I’d prayed my Fajr Salaah, and I narrowed my eyes at him, wondering where we were going. “It’s just going to be us. You and me. Young, wild and free.”

Euw. Cheesy was not the word. I was so perturbed that I didn’t even take the hint that was being offered.

I made a puke face and pulled on a sports hijab, because I could already see him tying his laces and I kind of figured this was going to be some sort of wilderness expedition. Not that I was the sporty type, but I mean; sportswear was still trendy and I was just happy that I had brought my brand new modest activewear set with me.

And I wasn’t even sure how it happened but somehow, an hour later, there I was, the usually city-inclined  @mostlymohsina, at an unmentionable time of the morning, trudging through the thicket behind Hamzah through some random bush, with really no true sense of direction or information of what was to come.

The thing was, this wasn’t on the itinerary. I wasn’t really prepared for actual trekking through hiking trails and unstable grounds. I wasn’t even mentally prepped for creepy crawlies and weird spikey-like caterpillar thingums that we saw on bushes. I had already shocked Hamzah senseless with a few high pitched screams, to the point where he probably was tirelessly immune to the drama.

Besides that, I was literally just trying to maneuver myself through carnivore-territory without trying to freak out to much about getting murdered or killed, while I avoided cliff like edges that I could fall off and tried to just focus once again on Hamzah’s retreating back, that was now about a metre ahead of me.

“Where are we even going?” I nagged impatiently, poking him in the spot behind his shoulder blades with a stick that I had picked up along the way. It was the third time I had asked and it wasn’t as if I was the easiest person to deal with otherwise, pokes and all. “And how much longer?”

“Stop being such a control freak,” he muttered now, shaking his head at my impatience. I honestly could not stand suspense. It was the worst part of this whole trip.

I mean, it wasn’t all bad. The smell of nature had actually become strangely pleasant to me, and the sound of nothing but my rapid breathing was unusually calming. The intensity of the suns rays had been brazenly shining down on me for about half an hour now, and as the thickness of the greenery lifted, I shielded my eyes as I watched how focused Hamzah was.

And okay… maybe I was being a bit of a grouch, but gosh, he seemed to love this kind of stuff.

And as we found ourselves on a slightly more elevated point, when the sound of flowing water awakened my senses with the parting of the thicket, the sight below us revealed a most breathtaking lush valley that literally made me stop in my tracks. It was beauty upon beauty and beyond that all… all we could witness was the unveiling of the extraordinary mountainous skies that Allah Ta’ala had once again brought alive through every beginning of day. And as I gazed downwards, the untainted vision of blue waters in the sunken valley was a soothing salve to my senses…

My word, it was enchanting.

The gorgeous stream below us was slowly revealing itself through the thicket, and as I peeped through to get a better view, Hamzah had paused for a minute, almost as if he was recalling something, when I heard his phone ring in his pocket.

Signal! Oh my goodness. It was a miracle!

And there was nothing quite like it to defer my attention. Finally, I could check on Zaid. And messages. And life, as I knew it. Civilians were accessible! Also, though Saaliha was very confident that Zaid would be perfectly fine, my own heart had been so uncertain about leaving him for the entire three hours Hamzah had predicted we would take…

My aspirational husband had already taken out his iPhone, glanced at it with a certain flicker of emotion on his eye, and then put it back in his pocket. It was almost as if he don’t want to bother with the matter that was at hand then, and instinctively, my hand delved into my own pocket, but before I could even slide it upwards to unlock, Hamzah’s hand had already grabbed my phone, hastily tossing it onto the thickened floor of a nearby bush .

”Oh no, you didn’t,” I muttered, narrowing my eyes and looking at Hamzah as a sly smile crept onto his face.

He was smirking at me, as the filtered sun shone on his brown hair, with not an ounce of remorse on his striking face.

“No technology,” he said blandly, looking at me, his eyes stagnant, as if to challenge me.

Damn. I was itching to to take some pictures too. This spot was simply spectacular. It had been an hour of intense hiking to get to this point. I had to have something to show for it.

“But I need to take some snaps!” I whined, looking absolutely distraught as he threw his own phone into the another cushioned part of the bush.

He was pulling off his backpack and his cap, and a little Elfbar gadget he used to smoke when lighting a cigarette became too tedious. He had pulled out some snacks that we had packed, tossing a packet to where I was, before he sat down, facing the other way and puffed away.

“To hell with snaps,” he said smoothly, sitting closer to the edge as I took a step back while smoke clouded the air. “You took enough. And I’m warning you… Reach for it, and there will be consequences.”

And of course, I was barely the type to care about consequences. Especially from Hamzah. I mean, honestly, what could he really do?

I needed those pictures. It was like something was summoning me. All that effort. How could I not have something to show for it?

And as I stepped backward again, turning around exceptionally slowly while creeping silently toward the corner where my phone had been stashed, as Hamzah puffed away incessantly, I barely even heard a single scrunch of leaves behind me. In an instant, hands had already grasped me by the waist as I let out a startled shriek, as Hamzah literally air-lifted me off the ground to drag me back to where we had just been.

”Hey, man!” I yelled at him, struggling vehemently while trying to ease his unyielding grip on me.

“I told you there would be consequences, woman,” he warned aptly as I squealed again, but I could hear the humour in his voice as I wiggled around, now feeling just a little intimidated by his threats.

My wiggling was all in vain, due to his steely grip. He was barely even budging.

And okay. Maybe he was serious. Maybe I should just apologise.

”I’m sorry,” I said, putting on a pleading voice and hoping with every ounce within me that he wasn’t going to do what I thought he was.

No. Of course he wouldn’t throw me into the lurking waters below. He would never.

We were only standing at the edge of the bank of one of the most intimidatingly lakes I had ever seen. As I yanked myself backwards to try and escape him, his grip on my hand had tightened even more, while he stepped forward, toward the edge, and gave me a cheeky grin.

”You’re insane!” I almost shouted, struggling even more as I recognized that defiant look in his eye that signaled that he was about to do something crazy.

I did not know that I married a complete psychopath.

And okay, I wouldn’t have minded if he fulfilled his own deranged ideas, but why on Earth was he dragging me into it?!

I still couldn’t believe that he was actually thinking of that, but from the way he was focusing on it, I knew that he was absolutely serious. I wasn’t even sure if the water was deep enough for the height we were at, or if he had done this before…

”Hamzah, no!” I cried, honestly terrified, looking down at the torrents of water and pulling back with all the might I could muster, but he was too strong for me. “This is not funny anymore! Stop messing around!”

“Messing around?!” He said with a smirk. “Come on, City Girl from the Farm. Learn to live.”

No no no!” I screeched, knowing what was going to happen but trying to stall him. “Not now!”

”If not now, then when?!”

It was all he said, and with that and a massive tug of strength that felt like my knees being buckled from behind me, a few milliseconds of gut-wrenching free fall ensued just before foamy, icy waters surrounded and drenched me to the bone.

For a minute, the air was completely knocked out of me as I pushed my head above the current, barely able to formulate a response for what he had just done.

Oh my goodness. He had actually done it. We had actually fell into the bloody water. What was wrong with him?!

I literally wanted to kill him. Right here in these waters, and leave him here to get devoured by the crocodiles.

And as I gasped for air, spluttering and spitting incoherent venom at him in an attempt to reprimand him, his expression was completely unbothered as he continued wading through the waters expertly against the current to the middle of the lake.

Somehow, he had known exactly where we had to jump, to get the perfect landing… and the thought that this was all planned made me even more infuriated.

I was already out of breath and focusing on keeping myself anchored, and as he surfaced again, his face glimmering irritatingly with water droplets, I lunged forward to attack him. Hamzah, obviously exceptionally more capable in the water than I ever imagined, dodged me effortlessly.

“I c-can’t believe you!” I screamed, my face right in front of his now, still in shock as I flailed my one free hand around in the water. “Let go of me! I want to g-get out!”

I was livid. Raging with anger and completely unimpressed. I could see a mocking humour in his eyes, and it just infuriated me more.

“Relax,” he said calmly, but still not letting go. “Stop acting like such a girl. Why do you always have to be in control?”

“C-Control?!” I said incredulously, still slightly shivery although I was trying to warm myself up. “This is n-not about control! It’s about c-crazy men who throw women off cliffs!”

He laughed, finding the entire thing extremely amusing. I still wanted to hurt him.

I was still struggling to get my other hand free, but his grip was way too tight to even try. I was angry and frustrated and now irrevocably soaked. I honestly wanted to cry.

”I can’t believe that you did that!” I shrieked, hating every second. I hated swimming. I hated water. I hated feeling cold.

I still could not believe that Hamzah was such an obnoxious piece of crap.

“Can you just stop screaming?” He said, his eyes darkening now as he pulled me towards the centre of the lake. “People will think I’m murdering you.”

”You probably are, you psychopath,” I shot back, still angry and but feeling myself calming down, without even realising.

“Why would I even want to kill you,” he said abruptly, as if it was self-explanatory. “I don’t even have a motive. It’s not like you have any money I can even-“

He was cut off by the proximity of my hand to his face as he said it, but he was so good in the water that he had now grasped both my hands by the wrists to annoy me further.

He thought he was funny. This man had a cheek.

“You’re evil!” I screeched, my face thunderous now as he gave me a smirk. “How do you know I can even swim?”

“That’s why I’m here, Instagram diva,” he said obviously, not even turning to look at me as he floated along now, me in tow.

“Just trust me, and relax, aight?” He replied, squeezing my shoulder in an attempt to comfort me.

”You must be kidding me,” I said with a fake laugh, shaking my head at the idea of even trusting him after this.

And although I was fighting it, against my will, the cool waters were doing their thing with me. I attempted to ease myself through them with Hamzah’s guidance, and I couldn’t help but feel soothed by the white noise as the water current crashed against me as we moved along, and for a moment, I began to enjoy the feeling of water surrounding me.

There was no way I would admit it. I continued to struggle but it was to no avail. I still wanted a way out, but instead, we were just moving deeper and deeper in.

And just as I was about to ask Hamzah where on Earth he was going, all of a sudden, we stopped, and as I turned,  the cascading sound of a waterfall filled my ears, as I turned to look. Torrents of water were just ahead of us, falling from a height of about fifty meters, and sight of it – like a hue of paradise- immediately made me freeze in awe. I didn’t even struggle anymore, as we edged closer, my gaze fixed on the spectacular view ahead, as Hamzah also looked almost longingly at the glorious drop of water that towered ahead of us.

It was something like I had never set my sights on before. For a minute… just a crazy minute… I wondered how it would feel to be underneath there. For a crazy minute, I actually wished that Hamzah had pulled me right under, to feel the weight of that pounding water from the top of my head.

Goodness. Hamzah’s wild streak was rubbing off on me.

And then, just as quick as the thought entered, I berated myself for thinking of such insane things because there was no doubt that he would probably just do that…

I glanced at Hamza, knowing that was exactly on his mind when I saw the raw emotion in his eyes… but it was only when he spoke, that I knew exactly why.

”I was only ten when I came here for the first time,” his voice said in my ear, as I pulled myself far enough to create a distance between us, and close enough to feel safe.

Ten years old? Seems like the guy was always crazy.

The sound of the waterfall was now even louder than before as we approached it.

“It was with Liyaket,” he continued, and I looked at him as he said it, and my heart softened. “After Hifdh class one day, we stood there, where we were, and jumped in for the first time. Imraan warned us not to. He told my parents after and my mother almost killed us both. No regrets, though. It’s the best feeling in the world… and since then, well… every year it was our thing…  and we would make this our trademark.”

“Once crazy, always crazy,” I said, shaking my head as I glanced at him.

He smiled faintly, but continued.

“Want to know something?” He said, still now, as he watched the pounding of water ahead of us. “The last time we came was… well… we came just before Zaid was born. It was like two weeks before he passed away… that he told me he wanted to come back here…”

I was quiet now, as I heard Hamzah, not even daring to look at him. I was still a tad bit angry at him, but also… well… I was kind of touched that he had brought me here.

And why wouldn’t I be?

The beauty before me was absolutely breathtaking. There were no words I could use to describe a wonder so magnificent. I had never been to a place like this before. I always shied away from nature, engaging myself in worlds that were so far from real… when it had so much to offer me. I could not believe that I had lived my whole life without seeing this before.

There were no phones, no Instagram posts and no means for diversions, but for the first time in years, I felt inspired and awakened by the setting before me, with no need to filter or replay… and I could not attribute its greatness to anything but Allah Ta’alas magnificence.

“He told me that he had a dream,” he said quietly, as he inched a little closer. “And I didn’t even think anything of it. He had seen in it that he was swimming in blue waters and there were unusual white birds flying above him. I laughed it off, you know. Told him that the only birds we’ll get flying above him here were Mynahs and they would probably give him some blessings on his head…”

I swallowed, surprised at how emotional I was getting while he said it. What an awesome dream…

“You know what I imagine him doing right now?” He said quietly, coming a little closer and for the first time in the waters, I felt completely at ease. Even though I was holding on for dear life due to the strong current, at that moment, nothing felt more safe than being right there.

I turned to look at him, because the sound of the waterfall was getting even louder now. We were approaching it from the side and he paused for a moment, droplets of water glistening on his beard, before he spoke again.

“Every time I read that ayah, it’s only he who comes to mind:

…As for those who believe and do good, We certainly never deny the reward of those who are best in deeds.

أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ لَهُمْ جَنَّـٰتُ عَدْنٍۢ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهِمُ ٱلْأَنْهَـٰرُ يُحَلَّوْنَ فِيهَا مِنْ أَسَاوِرَ مِن ذَهَبٍۢ وَيَلْبَسُونَ ثِيَابًا خُضْرًۭا مِّن سُندُسٍۢ وَإِسْتَبْرَقٍۢ مُّتَّكِـِٔينَ فِيهَا عَلَى ٱلْأَرَآئِكِ ۚ نِعْمَ ٱلثَّوَابُ وَحَسُنَتْ مُرْتَفَقًۭا
It is they who will have the Gardens of Eternity, with rivers flowing under their feet .They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and will wear green garments of fine silk and brocade, reclining therein on adorned couches. Excellent is the reward, and good is the resting place.

(Al-Kahf 30-31)

It was a beautiful ayah, SubhaanAllah… that so astoundingly described the most unfiltered parts of Jannah…

“And I can almost still picture him right there,” Hamzah murmured as he moved forward, pointing toward the drop of water that was plummeting down, his chest now against my back and I could see the smile on his face while he probably held the vision in his mind. “And I only hope that he will get the most amazing kinds of waterfalls… In rivers of eternal bliss… with the most unusual birds of Jannah really flying above him… Having the time of his eternal life.
Imagine what types of rivers and falls are there, Mos… and he’s just free, in a place where there is no pain and no grief. He had so much that tied him up, so many difficulties… and yet he never complained. On the other hand, I had so much of opportunity and so much of ease… and I had gone so off track. How does it always happen that way? And after he changed his life, you know, he always said that he didn’t know how he would make up for it… but yet he did so much to fix himself. His Salaah was paramount in his life. His Dhor was flawless. He took everything to extreme levels. Lived a pure, honest life. No nonsense. No interest. No loans. He was such an example and I don’t even know how I was blessed with his friendship…”

Hamzah sighed and I didn’t even know what to say to that. I had just silent, listening in total awe…

”The thing is,” he said, glancing at me momentarily. “I think Liyaket would have liked that I brought you here. To our spot.

Their spot. I could literally see Hamzah’s mind recalling the vivid memories.

“I think he would have liked that.”

By then, my anger had already dissipated. And that was a sweet thing to say. I was already fully drenched, so why shouldn’t I just let myself enjoy the moment?

“It was the only time I saw Liyaket with no other care in the world. Free. Completely at ease,” he said softly. “I just want you to share that too, you know?”

“I know,” I said quietly, feeling exactly like Hamzah had described. Free. Not a care in this earthly existence.

“But man, Mos,” he said, almost as if it was a second thought, his honey-brown eyes twinkling even more in the sunlight as he gazed at me. “You’re a fighter.”

“No,” I said, with a wistful smile. “I’m a whole army.”

He grinned and even though I absolutely hated him just a few minutes ago, he was such a con-artist at swindling my heart, and as he came forward, his nose against my forehead as he pecked my nose gently, I knew that I couldn’t bail out now.

I mean; a few months ago, well… I would have never imagined this. In my heart… I was always a city girl. I would have never, in my wildest dreams, imagined Hamzah and I ever being out in the wildest of wilderness… in the depths of silent beauty that spoke right to my soul… having a heartfelt conversation about rivers and waterfalls of ethereal beauty, gardens of eternal bliss, unlike any others in our wildest dreams… And it was such a profound moment, in the most extraordinary setting that had awoken me, inspired me and made me see things in a completely new light…

And oh yes, the kind of world that was Hamzah’s was something like I’d never known before.

And that is when I truly realised the meaning of:

Death is a gift for a believer (Bayhaqi). 

Because for the one who truly believes, it is through the gateway of death that he finds the door to eternal contentment and happiness…

And because of Liyaket, being here was something that was really important to him, and I had understood that. All these months… so much had pained him and grieved him and just being here for now had already brought him so much of joy… the thoughts of Jannah and the Aakhirah and everything that was still to come had evidently already lifted our spirits… 

And though it didn’t lessen the heartache in any way, and the pain of loss was all fresh and devastating once again, all I could think of was how all this had come to show me a completely different sort of life… how it got us to focus on a different path and how our entire perspective had changed through the tragedy had  we both felt so deeply.

It made me ponder. I mean, we all wanted Jannah. The amazement and the splendor … the milky rivers and the most sublime kind of gifts…we all wanted that kind of abode where the purest of Malaaikah would greet us … where there is nothing but ultimate perfection to encompass for eternity…

But the thing is, were we really earning it? What was I really going to secure my final abode?

I had been so caught up in the world and it’s ornaments… so consumed by everything it had to offer… that very often, we even forget our ultimate destination.

And that’s when it came to me, and I realised that even the most trying situations come with their own goodness. That though there was much pain and strife, through Hamzah coming into my life, a whole new world had suddenly opened for me. Perhaps the sole purpose of this entire thing was not for Zaid at all. Perhaps everything that had happened till then has no relation to what it’s true purpose was. Perhaps Allah Ta’ala, through his mercy, had wanted me to come to a realisation of Him, that would change my entire world.

All my life, all I ever worried about was me. My career. My job. My life. My problems. And then this happened, and everything changed.

And I’m not saying that this thing with Hamzah was always mind blowing and mesmerising… but what I did know was that somehow, the office-loving Chartered Accountant was slowly but surely morphing into an unyielding, adventure-seeking cow-girl, and I wasn’t even resisting it. Such beauty and splendour could not possibly fall on a heart and bring forth no effect…

It was a mixture of ultimate surrender, as I felt myself lose the desire to be in control, just for that moment. It was an acceptance of such grandeur and amazement and as we both stood there, for the first time in years for me, I could barely believe how absolutely unlike anything else in the world this feeling felt.

Everyone needs a spot sometimes, a place where the world grows quiet and solace can be found in the fact that a tree is just… well, a tree. Everyone needs a moment to breathe in the magnificence of the natural beauty that was before us, gifted by the Lord of the Worlds. Sometimes it’s only in the stillness of nature, combined with the soothing scent of towering trees and wistful waterfalls, one finds a purifying bliss… and being with Hamzah, well, I hadn’t realised it before but this is what it took for me to understand who was the centre of the ultimate kind of wealth…

And that was the thing with life, in this day and age, isn’t it? We are so caught up in  emails and WhatsApp messages that we forget that there are meant to be real things that we also take much joy in. We forget those moments we could spend obsessing over the perfection of Allah in the curves of a tree’s branches, or watching a spider gracefully spin it’s web. We are blind to the beauty of a blue-bird taking flight or the crusted colours of the leaves in autumn, as they begin to morph. We forget the little things like cascading waterfalls and gorgeously bloody sunsets, capturing the heart of the one you love. We are unaware of the feeling of falling, completely and effortlessly, as those explosions that crackle away like fireworks explode within our souls, allowing ourselves a chance to love so wholeheartedly that we lose the desire to always want to be in control.

And that was just one minuscule part of it… but among the other lessons we may learn along this path— after a long road of falling, tripping, losing, failure, winning and so many mistakes—is that there will be some people you love because of what they give you and the way they make you feel. It will be for it your Nafs, and it will always be about how you feel. So if you’re chasing a feeling, you’ll always be chasing.

But, once in a while, there is another love that can exist.

This love… is not a selfish love and is the rarest type. And if it is pure, and not competing with, the love of Allah Ta’ala Himself, it will also bring about the most joy. To love in any other way is to be needy, to be dependent, to have expectations—all the ingredients for misery and disappointment.

And this is a love that you will give to the creation—not for what you can get in return from them. You will love and you will give, but you will be sufficed from Him. And the one who is sufficed by the Rabb Himself, is the richest and most generous of all lovers.

Your love will be by Him, for Him, and because of Him. That is the liberation of the self from serving any encapsulated thing. And that is freedom. That is happiness.

That is love.

Dearest Readers 

Sincerely hope everyone is well. Abit of a longer nature-inspired post that I did quite enjoy writing…

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to truly appreciate his magnificence when we see it… 

Please take note of our very important Sunnah reminders. 

much love
A xx

Sunnah of (Digital) Company:

We live in a world where digital media surrounds us. We mindlessly forget that we are what we feed, and these WhatsApp, instagram and twitter feeds have an effect on us.

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to be particular even about our digital company, and save us from falling into bad companionship.

Abu Musa reported: The Prophet, (Sallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said, “Verily, the parable of good company and a bad company is only that of a seller of musk and a blacksmith. The seller of musk will give you some perfume, you will buy some, or you will notice a good smell. As for the blacksmith, he will burn your clothes or you will notice a bad smell.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5534,

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

A Game Changer

Bismihi Ta’ala


In case you didn’t figure it out yet, I’m Yunus. The quiet one. The protected one. I suppose you could call me the silent bystander. The voice that often doesn’t get heard.

Okay, now you’re feeling sorry for me. And I’m just kidding. Really, I am. Please don’t.

I am the way I am. An ordinary guy with ordinary thoughts and ordinary dreams, and its not like it ever bothered me. Living in the shadows of my siblings suited me well for the most of my life. They had set the bar high. There was much to aspire towards, and me being… well… me… wasn’t exactly outstanding… until someone had come along to convince me that maybe I’d be the one change that they needed all along.

Only, I didn’t believe that it was true. I never thought that I could be the one who could ever change the course of my own life, never mind anyone else’s.

But anyway, let’s not make this about me. Let me get back to the story.

Of course, I had managed to get by with my sisters watching out for me and my unemotional brother letting me know, in his own way, that no matter what… he was always the there for me. And he was. That was always enough.

That was why as I looked back at the journey that had begun right then, you can understand that where I was at that point was kind of a big deal. Stepping off a plane, collecting my luggage, going through passport control… all alone… it was quite an achievement. It was something that my older brother had done with his eyes literally closed, probably hundreds of times, but being the protected one of the family also came with its own set of rules. This was the first time that I had been anywhere without a single member of my family and it felt eerily strange.

”Passport, sir.”

I fumbled in my pocket as I took out my documents, a little overwhelmed by the realization that I was in a foreign country, on foreign territory… all by my foreign self.

”Fine, you go,” he said hastily, shoving the passport back in my hands while I struggled to get my stuff together as fast as possible. I didn’t want to keep the people behind me waiting.

Following the signs to the exit was easy because I understood the language. After two years of Aalim course, my Arabic was more or less conversational. Amidst the calls of Ahlan wa Sahlan from several enthusiastic drivers scouting customers,  I found myself in a taxi with a local and friendly middle-aged man , admiring the sweeps of desert and iconic landmarks, drifting off just as we arrived at the hotel I was staying at for the night. I was looking forward to touring and learning and really making the most of this trip that I had no idea yet would be one of the most memorable of my life.

Ammaan was an amazing city. Of course, the fact that it was so rich in Islamic history was one of the main drawcards for me. Many people don’t know that Jordan was the first place out of Saudi Arabia where Islam had spread. Furthermore, it was on its east side where the famous Battle Of Mut’ah had taken place.

As I found myself gazing at the barren lands that we passed on the daily trips, it was as if I could almost see the Sahaba at the time plunging forward into the battle field, preparing themsleves for what would be their last battle, as the Prophet (SAW) had prophecised.

The most significant and the fierce battle during the lifetime of the messenger of Allah [SAW] was to be a preliminary and a prelude to the great conquests of the land. I never tired of it’s story. It’s passion. It’s splendor. Their faith. No matter how many times I read or heard it in class, it still boggles my mind.

And according to the prophecy Nabi (SAW) had conveyed, it was Zaid Bin Haarithah (RA), the closest to the my Beloved Messengers (SAW) heart, who assumed leadership at first. He fight tenaciously and in matchless spirit of bravery until he fell, fatally stabbed. And then, as predicted, Jafar bin Abu Talib (RA) was then the one who took the banner and did a miraculous job of fending off the enemy with great valor. In the thick of the battle, he dismounted, hamstrung his horse and resumed fighting until his right hand was cut off. He seized the banner with his left hand until this too was gone.

He then clasped the banner with both arms until a Byzantine soldier struck and cut him into two parts. It is reported that was called “the flying Jaffar” or “Jaffar with two wings” because Allah has awarded him two wings to fly wherever he desired there in the eternal garden. Al-bukhari reported fifty stabs in his body, none of them in the back…


And as mentioned beforehand, Abdullah bin Rawaha (RA) then finally proceeded to hold up the banner and fight bravely on his horseback while reciting enthusiastic verses as motivation for his wavering soul, until he too was martyred.

There upon a man took the banner and called upon the Muslims to choose a leader. The Muslims looked to the place where a future lieutenant and leader of the army was fending off the enemy, and the honour was unanimously granted to Khalid bin al-Waleed, an outstanding strategist and a skilled brave fighter. It was reported by that he used nine swords that broke while he was relentlessly and courageously fighting the enemies of Islam. He, however, realizing the grave situation the Muslims were in, began to follow a different course of encounter, revealing the ferocious strategy-maker that Khalid (RA) was rightly called…

Khalid Bin Waleed (RA). A legend of sorts that fought to such heights that Harith bin Shamir and his allied Roman army lost its courage. They thought that the Muslims had received fresh reinforcements. They began to recede when the darkness of night started to prevail. Khalid bin Waleed (RA) also left for Madinah along with the remaining army. It was greatly through his exemplary valour and military expertise that Khalid bin Waleed RA safely delivered one thousand soldiers out of danger and reached Madinah. For this reason, the Prophet (SAW) honoured him by the title of “Saif-Ullah” (the sword of Allah).

And of course, being there in a place which served as a constant reminder of the victorious past… one that was so rich in history… only made me want to learn and see more.

The days were full and uplifting. My own Ustaadh at the Uloom had directed me to someone who I could engage with… whether it was something educational or something important just about life to learn, I was open to it. Quran was an every day routine and Hadith classes were ongoing at his Madrassa. Because I wasn’t a regular student, he took special care in taking me to sites that were of interest. What I found myself most taken aback by was seeing and meeting refugees who were displaced. The Syrian crisis became a reality. Gaza was no longer just a place I heard of in the news. Being there opened my eyes. Alerted my brain. It made me realize why Ahmed always pushed me to travel, because your entire perspective of the world can change when you see what really happens out there…

”Next time you bring your wife,” Ustaadh Dawud, who was a friend of an Aalim at Madrassa, said as we jumped back into the taxi. “The ladies are always thrilled to see other ladies. They love to meet new people. Talk. Give them stories of their lives… especially the older ones.”

”I’m not married,” I said, feeling a little shy about the prospect. Marriage was a far-fetched notion.

”No problem,” he said easily in his Arab accent. “Maybe your sister? If she comes she can help hand over our monthly package. The ladies are strong. Very strong. Many have no support. You ask them where’s their husband… they say simply… ShaheedAlhumdulillah. You ask them about their sons. They say same. So easily. Alhumdulillah is their second nature. I ask Allah every day to give me that type of Imaan. It’s… I don’t know what you will say in English…  SubhaanAllah…”

I swallowed and looked at him, already feeling choked up. That was on another level completely. Like strength and Yaqeen and immense Tawakkul all combined…

“Insha Allah,” I said vaguely, knowing that Khawlah would probably love to come here.

Thinking about my sister again in this context… knowing she lost her husband too… caused me halt in my tracks and think of my brother-in-law after many months, in this strange place. It had been a while but his memory was that poignant. I had never admitted it, but had missed him unmentionably for the first few months. With time of course, the pain had seemed to fade, but I couldn’t forget the great service he had done for me when he had been alive. Just the fact that he took time to know me and be more than a brother-in-law was something that made a dent.

“So do you know what you’re doing after school?” He had asked one night as he peeped into my room, peering over my school books.

Khawlah was always an early sleeper, and Aadam never went home straight away. That was just Aadam. Never in a hurry. Whether he was chatting to Dada, Abba, or tapping on my room door… Aadam was someone who just made time for people, no matter how busy he was.

The thing was, I was hesitating to tell him. My dreams were nothing amazing. That much I had convinced myself of.

But when I eventually told him that I wanted to be an Aalim… well, he had basically taken the ordinary and made it something completely extraordinary.

”That’s amazing,” he said, looking truly awestruck. I narrowed my eyes at him disbelievingly.

Was it?

Most people didn’t think so.

”I know what you’re thinking,” he said to me.

I looked at him cynically, putting away my school books as he made himself comfortable on my bed. Of course, when I had first met my brother-in-law, his upper-class accent and lazy attitude was strange. I had never met anyone like him till then. As I got used used to him, those had grown to be one of his mos likable traits.

”You see me as this computer geek with all these monuments to my name,” he continued, shrugging indifferently. “Thinking I don’t know what it’s like to be you. But before you get the wrong idea about me, let me just tell you that I’m a pretty regular guy. I’m not saying that because I want you to tell me that I’m not. And yes, maybe I have a few meager titles to my name, but in no way does that make me a game-changer, yeah? I am nothing great…. I can promise you.”

I was still cynical when I looked at him. But he was. He was a famous computer guy who had articles written about his work and so many things going for him. He had potential. He was lucky. He was one of the popular people. I wasn’t.

“But when I look at you, Yunus,” he said, halting my train of thought. “You are different. Extraordinary. Not many people know what they want out of life, and have such noble ambitions. I know game-changers…. and believe me when I say that you, Yunus, are going to be a game-changer… you are. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You’re going to pursue the Aalim course and you’re going to be an awesome Molvi whose going to teach Deen and inspire people and change so much more than you think. That much, I’m absolutely certain of.”

I blinked as he said it, surprised that he had so much of faith in my ability. Surprised that his words had already affected my heart. Surprised that there were people like him who cared enough to even make this meagre thought of mine into something that I could truly believe in and aspire towards. I suppose some people were just meant to cross your path and serve the purpose of giving you the kind of unprecedented inspiration that you could stash away for an entire lifetime.

And though I didn’t believe it at first, I could quite safely say that his words that night and constant encouragement throughout was such that kept pushing me to pursue my dreams of being an Aalim, despite feeling that I would never be able to accomplish it…

And sometimes we underestimate the little words that people say, but this was something small and sincere that had really changed the course of my life.

“We’ll stop at a Masjid on the way,” Ustaadh Dawud said, bringing my mind back to the present. “Else we will miss Maghrib Salaah. There is beautiful recitation here.”

I nodded and looked out the window, glad that the drive to the wasn’t too long. I gazed up at the astounding architecture as we pulled up, thinking how much of beauty that the Masaajid exuded here… it seemed like each was more beautiful and intricately decorated than the last. Though the weather was a little chilly, the warmth  hospitality that the people displayed always amazed me.

The Adhaan (call to prayer) had just concluded
as I settled into a space of my own, taking the time to enjoy the feeling here… I couldn’t help but also feel a little overwhelmed….

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar…”

The Iqamah had commenced and I could see people scrambling to the front and gesturing to each other to fill in gaps that were left in between. As Ustaadh Dawood went to the front, I found myself wedged between a bulky man with a beard and a young guy who looked like he was a university student.

I closed my eyes as the Imaam started to recite, and though I didn’t expect it, like a sacred kind of feel that happened in the Masaajid of the Haramain… I instantly found myself lost in his recitation. Every letter and word was pronounced with unhindered purpose, and as the voice peaked and dropped at just the right inflections, I was lost in its beauty. The recitation was really unlike anyone I’ve heard before. Completely unique. Perfectly composed. It was a time when I silently willed for the Imaam to recite a few more verses. To continue for a little longer.

And because my Ustaadh had explained to me about how Qiraat recitation worked and how difficult it was to become a Qari, it made me admire these types of recitations all the more. I could see that everyone around me was appreciating the strong tone that flowed out of the speakers surrounding us, together with the beautiful flow of its natural disposition that made it something really something special. If reading like this didn’t move hearts then I’m not sure what could…

And as we ended the Salaah and I read my Sunnah, I cast my gaze thereafter to front where Ustaadh Dawud was, as a small  crowd was now making its way out, leaving enough open space for me to get a clear view of the now empty Mimbar. Something within me told me that I had to catch a glimpse of the face that belonged to the recitation. There was some kind of invisible yearning that was drawing me to meet this person whose recitation I’m sure had already affected so many hearts.

I cleared my throat as I approached the front, staying close to Ustaadh as I tried to take in my surroundings. The inside of the masjid was spacious and spectacular. I felt my heart sink as I realized the Imaam must have left or gone somewhere else. Maybe one day when I’d come back, I’d meet him.

While Ustaadh spoke to someone in fluent Arabic, I caught tit-bits of what he was talking about as they chatted, taking some inanimate snaps of its inside to pass my own time. I could hear him telling them about me visiting from South Africa and snippets about the refugees we had seen earlier. My heart was still affected by the reality of what I’d seen. It was a real eye-opener. We hear about people who are suffering and have lost everything they have and are still content, but when we see it, it was completely different story.

”Yusuf,” Ustaadh said, calling me to him. I had given up on telling him that my name was Yunus and not Yusuf, so I smiled instead and nodded. It didn’t really matter anyway.

“What city it is you’re from? Shaikh Khalid is asking.”

I answered briefly and then glanced at the guy he was talking to. The Imaam. Shaikh Khalid?

“It’s just Khalid, Ustaadh,” he replied in English. The accent was painfully familiar. “Good to meet you, Yusuf.”

And of course, as I met his gaze, and he met mine back, it wasn’t the only thing that was painful. My mind just kind of froze as he held out his both his hands, in the style I was accustomed to back home, to greet me back. I felt like I was floating somewhere beyond the current realm as my mind processed exactly what was happening and all the possibilities that this could bring.

The words froze on my tongue as I tried to make sense of it, knowing that there was an enthralling story behind this meeting and how he had come to be here. Knowing that there was a reason that I, of all people, was brought here at this time and place. Knowing that if I played this right, though it may be something that would require intense strategy, this might be a complete game-changer…

Dearest Readers

Shukran to all for the comments and the much appreciated guidance that a confused soul like me needs. You, the readers, have no idea what it means to me. Insha Allah I will go as far as I can by next week Thursday to give the readers some closure (just so that our brains can focus on Ramadhaan) and afterwards, well.. Insha Allah… try and give something of an epilogue. 

Much Love,

A xx

A new Sunnah. Consideration for beggars and Needy.

Especially in these surreal times, we sometimes forget that there are many out there who are in compromising situations and genuinely need assistance.

It is narrated that Sayyiduna Husain bin Ali  used to express joy upon the arrival of a beggar. He would say: “The beggar is transporting our goods to the Hereafter.”

SubhaanAllah. The Sunnah of giving was one that was second nature to Nabi (SAW).

allahuma baarik lana fi Sha’bana wa balligh-na Ramadan

Oh Allah! Grant us Barakah (Blessing) during (the months of) Sha’ban, and allow us to reach Ramadan.

Imam Shafi’i RA has stated: “I have heard that duaas are accepted

by Almighty Allah on five nights:

The night of Jumu’ah

The nights of the two ‘Eids

The first night of Rajab

The middle (15th) night of Sha’ban

Allah accept our efforts and Duaas.









Twitter: @ajourneyjournal





Some Storm

Bismihi Ta’ala


“Can I look yet?”

”Just a few more minutes…” Aadam’s voice said excitedly.

I was completely in tune with my senses as I walked along. The scent of wilderness was refreshing. The scrunching of the leaves underneath my pumps were an indication that we were somewhere outdoors. The teetering of a variety of birds reminded me of the park near Aadam’s place, although now that we had travelled for a while, I knew that we were quite far from home….

”Now?!” I asked, tapping my foot impatiently as we halted, and the sound of water now audible as I listened. I had regrettably put the blindfold on, despite hating surprises.

One positive was that now I did realize that when your one sense is compromised, it seemed as though every other one was considerably heightened.

“Patience gorgeous,” Aadams voice was saying, and I could hear him a few meters away. “Just a little more time…”

“You mean you dragged me out of bed at insane hours so you can keep me standing here looking at nothing but blackness?!”

”Careful cowgirl,” Aadam was saying. “With all this biting my head off you’re competing with the hungry crocodiles…”

I placed my hands on my hips, naturally getting grumpier by the second.
Biting his head off? What did he… Hey, wait.

Did he just say hungry crocodiles?!

Yikes..! Was this some kind of insane trust test of something?!

Aadam!” I almost screeched. A bit like a fish wife. I knew that I was going against every rule that Nusaybah had set up for me last night but I couldn’t help it. The guy was making me freak out.

”If you don’t take this thing-“

”Okay, okay, relax… you can look!”

Of course, as the magic of light became apparent to me, my voice already froze in my throat…

He was planted in front of me with his hands outstretched and a look of wizardry on his face. At that moment he honestly reminded me of one of those comical magician figures as he watched me, my eyes fixed ahead in absolute wonder.

Ta-da!” He said, quite visibly thrilled as I grinned at him and then shifted my eyes to the beautiful scenery that lay before me. And honestly, if I could say I have ever been at a loss for words, this would be the moment. “I know it’s not Maldives, but yeah, you know…”

I was simply blown away.

He walked towards me slowly, reaching out for my hand and giving it a little squeeze.

”Are you in love yet?”

”Absolutely,” I breathed, completely at a loss.

There were millions of things that I loved about nature and what was pictured right in front of me was one of them.

I really had to pause to catch my breath as I looked up into the green mountains that surrounded us, with the most strikingly blue estuary spread below. A small stream was right ahead and in between was a bank which lead to a greater mass of water that looked extremely appealing. Sea gulls squawked above us and Egyptian geese settled on the nearby shore. The early morning light was a feast for the eyes as it met the break of tide, revealing the most perfect shades of blue and scarlet from here to beyond the seas… where the water seemed to never end.

Of course, with my husband knowing me so well… right on edge of the waters, just for my grumbling tummy was a simple picnic spread that boasted a few basic breakfast necessities and snacks. Sunnah style dates with cucumbers. Crackers and cream cheese. Milk and cookies. A few of my favorite all-time snacks that I would munch on at regular intervals at home… and it just showed how much Aadam already knew about me. I simply would not survive without some scrumptious nourishment.

”Remember the date we were supposed to go on?” He asked, as he sidled up to me and I reached for a cucumber.

I nodded. Of course I remembered. It was that crazy week where Aadam’s past had come back to haunt us and I couldn’t bear to even face him. So this was what Aadam had up his sleeve…
He reached down and picked up a fresh date, handing it to me.

”Here you go,” he grinned, obviously finding himself very funny.

I rolled my eyes at his lame joke but grabbed it anyway, surprised at its amazing sweetness as I bit in. I had forgotten the unfamiliar queasiness I had been feeling after that long drive… my stomach was in need of some nourishment and I was already tucking in.

I glanced around, almost in awe of the beauty. It wasn’t every day that you saw the sunrise against the most beautiful emerald hillocks that seemed to never end. It was an array of pinks and magenta… yellows and tangerine… somehow, even in different parts of even the same country, sunrises were magnificently different. Aadam pecked my cheek as we looked on, both of us a little mesmerized as the light from the skies seemed to fill the entire world.

It had been an early morning once again but I appreciated it because Aadam that taught me that at these parts of the day was when the most amazing things can be seen.

When Aadam had said early, I supposed my mind kind of blocked out the reality of what he really meant by it. I hated waking early, but with Aadam, his sickness hadn’t changed his habits. As usual, when he had these sort of plans, he had pitched up at my house in the wee hours of the morning. Ahmed had given him a key a few months ago… to avoid any possible early morning moodiness from the inmates of the house and without even hearing him sneaking in to my tornado-ish bedroom, the scent of alluring aftershave in the midst of my early morning slumber awakened my senses before I could even pry my eyes open. His voice was gentle yet disturbingly alive at that part of the morning…

“You’re early,” I mumbled, wishing that he wasn’t.

”Sweetheart,” his completely unnervingly smooth voice said. “It’s almost 10AM…”


I jumped up with a shock, narrowing my eyes at Aadam’s chuckling as he watched me.

”I knew that would work…”

My eyes shot open, taking in the contours of Aadam’s face as he smiled at me. As usual, he looked great, smelled great, and made me feel like Mrs Frump all over again.

And yes, I know that I should have known better. By now, and it wasn’t like I didn’t expect him that early. It was just that when my dear friend  Nusaybah had heard that I was needing to be out of the house for a special outing the next day, of course, the twenty-one questions (most with answers provided by my amazing friend) were already inevitable. I had a list of do’s, don’ts and absolute no-nos. I had only slept after midnight by the time she finished off.  I felt like I was getting married all over again and Nusaybah was the bossy advisory officer.

“Where do you even find these places?” I asked, shaking my head at him.

“I used to come kayaking with my grandfather,” he said, glancing at me as he twiddled with his long fingers. “It was like our thing. He was an awesome  guy but he was rough… you know? A real man’s man, yeah. Always onto something adventurous and dangerous. Heart of gold. Tons of charity work. We always had a blast… Of course, I haven’t been here since he passed…”

I could feel the emotion is his voice as he spoke. It wasn’t often that he mentioned his grandfather and this was the most he had said about him. I knew that he also took after his grandfathers hobby with the carpentry. Somehow, we never got to talking more about him.

”That’s amazing,” I said softly, reaching for his hand. “You never did tell me though… how did he pass away?”

Aadam looked up at the skies as some pretty pigeons cooed above us, and then turned to glance back at me. They were unlike the ones I usually saw in the cities. Grey with a tinge of green… simply beautiful.

”Cancer,” he said simply and I could feel my heart immediately hammer in my chest.

”I didn’t know…” I said, my throat feeling dangerously constricted. “May Allah grant him the highest stages…”

All sorts of things were going through my mind. I had no idea that his grandfather had cancer. What cancer was it? Was that why he barely spoke about him? Did it bring back painful memories?

He was studying me as I looked up at him, my eyes searching his for an answer. I was too scared to ask. I didn’t want to spoil the mood…..

The beauty… the nature… the sincere love that Aadam had in mind when he planned this. Of course he had wanted it to be a perfect day. 

”You know what he used to tell me back then?”

I glanced at him for a moment as he stared ahead. His dark eyes were fixed on something in the distance and he subconsciously ran his hands through his beard as he spoke.

I looked back at him inquiringly.

“He wasn’t the most pious person you could meet, but he had this awareness, you know?” He said quietly. “I remember him asking me once while we were here: ‘Can you see Allah’s hand here… in everything?’
Of course… I didn’t get it then. I never really understood what he meant. All I thought was that he was a little bit of a crazy old man who didn’t understand the science of rock formations and seasonal changes. I was always taught that everything around me was pure science. That’s how I was engineered to think. Coincidence, you know? Laws of nature. Allah’s existence for me was merely an ideology.. but now, Khawlah, now I see it. Now I see that His creation are signs. Now I see the reality. Now only, as I look at it… I can see His constant presence in everything that exists. How nothing exists without Him and how He can exist without anything…”

I swallowed and nodded, too afraid to speak. I could see exactly what his grandfather had spoken about. Of course I could. In every leaf. Every ebb of the soft tide. Every rock that surrounded us.

”So much of beauty here,” I murmured, letting my emotions settle. “This place is really something else…

“Imagine how Allah planned this all in complete synchronization,” he said softly. “How everything flows and blooms and reveals itself in such a wonder that we can’t help but remember Him…”

He was right. This was a level of it’s own. It was pure nature and beauty that was unforgettable. The thing was, anywhere you go could be an opportunity to see the master of Allah’s work…

“Come on,” he said, pulling the boat forward as he gestured to it. “You ready for some adventure?”

I raised my eyebrows at him as he looked at me.

“Are you sure there are no animals lurking in there that might eat me?” I asked.

He smiled and grasped my hand, gently guiding me as to where to put my feet and then seating me sturdily in the low boat. It felt… different. Almost like I was so close to the water, but not exactly there. Relaxing and peaceful and unlike any feeling I’d felt before.

“I learnt to kayak when we were in school,” he said as he hopped on easily, pushing off from the shore as we made on our way to the midst of the waters. “The guys would always have a ball out in the water. I came here once with my grandfather and fell in love with this place.”

He was swiftly moving the oars as we moved ahead. I watched him intently, as his sturdy arms rotating steadily round and round, in a certain rhythm, wondering how much of practice it took to get to the point when you could do it so effortlessly.

”Are you checking me out?” Aadam asked, raising his eyebrows at me. ”I’m married, you know…”

I rolled my eyes at him as he winked. His jaw was clenching with each tug of the awe, and I could only imagine how much of effort this must be putting on his limbs.

”Aren’t your arms sore?” I asked, worried that he was straining himself. Today seemed like a good day but with Aadam… well, I was always worried. He was an expert at pretending he was okay.

”I’m fine,” he insisted, stopping for a moment and looking at me intently as he explained to me about geographical laws of nature and how the rock formations occurred. How he loved learning about it and how it all came together with the will of Allah.

There was a beautiful but seasonal waterfall that was trickling from the peak of the surrounding mountains… and I gazed up at it just as the grey clouds suddenly came into view…

We had already been rowing for close to an hour. The skies above us were changing slightly as I looked up a little worriedly.

The waters were getting more rough and what was a slight drizzle became raindrops falling, blurring our vision slightly. It was so beautiful and serene… even with the rain and the grey clouds above… I was so in love with this that I couldn’t help but tear. What I didn’t know was that it wasn’t just the surroundings that was making me emotional. I had no idea of the magic yet, but as I sat there with my husband, feeling like some kind of crazy and hormonal woman, there was very evidently something foreign and miracle-like wrecking havoc within my body.

We had reached the shore now and I couldn’t tell what was blurring my eyes more. Without any warning, a low rumble of thunder sounded from above us and I jumped. Aadam looked at me from across, rowing fiercely as he tried to mount us onto the sand. We still had the stream to cross, and unlike earlier, where it appeared calm and serene, now it was raging with ferocity. My heart was in my throat as I looked at Aadam, trying to steady myself on the bank and wondering how on earth we were going to get out of this. The panic was settling in and I could see that Aadam was concerned too. 

“Aadam, how are we going to get to the car?”

He had just pulled the boat up and was now trying it to keep it from getting washed away.

He turned to me, silently throwing me a jacket from his bag as I covered myself with it. His hair was soaked already and his t-shirt completely drenched.

”What are we going to do?!” I asked, panicking like never before. It was unlike me, and  the first time in my life I had been so scared. We were caught in the middle of two raging streams and had no idea how to escape.

As fearless as I had been, stormy weather was my weak point. My shortfall. My Achilles heel. Even as a kid.. when it came to the big ones..  There were some storms that I could never face…

I turned to my husband as he glanced at the stream, a little taken aback at how it had transformed.

The water was crashing against the surrounding rocks, and I grabbed onto him with a yelp as it splashed onto my dress, now soaking the bottom. The jacket was over my head and I looked around me, wondering how the weather had changed so fast.

“Aadam, this is crazy,” I breathed. “We need to find some shelter…”

Storms were one occasion that brought out the worst in me. Rivalry. Swords. Even guns. I could take on anything else, but the warrior within me wasn’t equipped for this. I remembered curling up close to Mama when I was a little girl the moment I would hear that familiar rumble from the sky. I was almost frozen as Aadam tried to hoist me over the water so I could be partially untouched, I could see his own strength wavering.

”Come on,” he said as he turned to me. “You have to push against the current…”

”I can’t,” I almost cried. “It’s too strong! Let’s just wait for it to be over…”

”And get washed away in the process!” He almost shouted.

His expression immediately softened as another rumble of thunder roared above us. The pelting rain seemed to up a notch as well, and I could see a streak of fear in his eyes as he turned around to face me, who was by now absolutely hysterical…

Tears were flowing down my cheeks, but with the rain pouring down on us I wouldn’t think he noticed. He grasped my shoulders sturdily as we tried to balance, despite the force around us.

”Khawlah, do you think I’ll ever leave you here?” He said, his eyes boring into mine.

The droplets of water were sliding down his face as he said it, and he wiped them off hastily, holding onto me fiercely as he spoke.

I shook my head, knowing that he wouldn’t. Of course he wouldn’t.

”I love you, Khawlah,” he said, his hands gripping me tightly as the storm raged on. “But this… around us… right now.. like everything we’ve seen today… it’s proof of Allah’s power. And He loves you much more than I do.
Do you ever think that He will leave you alone, Khawlah? Do you ever doubt that he won’t take care of you?! As terrifying and unexpected as this all is… Khawlah, In every time. In every place. As much hurt or fear or pain that you feel.. There is a loving and caring Lord who is always looking after you…”

I looked at him, the fear in my chest still palatable but significantly less intense.

“Truly… He gives you what you expect… if not more. Have high expectations and you’ll never be let down. This is no ordinary being. He is One who made you… created you… sustains and loves you more than you will ever know… come on, sweets. Trust me. We’ll get through this.”

And just like that, I wasn’t sure from where or how… but there was a serenity that descended over me like I never felt before. It was as if the entire world didn’t matter. It was a magic that he had passed on with his words, pushing me to delve into the depths of my soul and find the courage within. Find the faith I knew I had. Despite the storm, and despite the panic and overwhelming fear… Sometimes we just had to leave it to Allah. With that knowledge and submission, often, you find an entirely new kind of liberation…

And as he turned back around, almost carrying me through that raging stream, we did just that. We got through that storm. That furious river. That pelting rain. The rumbling thunder above and bolts of lightning that flashed all around us.

Because sometimes we do need someone to remind us that there’s an end to every storm. That there’s something more beyond it. More powerful. Overwhelmingly greater.
Once everything’s been uprooted. Once the buildings have been ripped apart. The wind will hush, the clouds will part, the rain will stop, the sky will clear in an instant. But only then, in those quiet moments after the storm, do we learn who how we were strong enough to survive it. How we got through it. Who brought us to safety. That beyond it all there was a Great Lord Who hears every cry, knows every fear and sees far more than we know

And as we sprinted through that storm, reaching the car panting and in absolute exhaustion, my mind too was racing with those very thoughts that I could not fathom all along. Right then… at that moment, I had all the words to tell him, to explain the magic… to express my amazement… but as Aadam literally collapsed onto the seat next to me, my thoughts halted as I heard his labored breathing significantly more strained than usual.

“Are you okay?” I asked, feeling the adrenaline rush wearing off as I glanced at him, forgetting the moments of pure liberation I had felt just then. Running in the rain had brought on a completely different dimension for me that day.

”We’re… so lucky,” he said, sounding so unlike himself as he took breaths between his words. “Allah really… took… care of us. Just… need… a few minutes…”

He closed his eyes as I watched him, his chest rapidly rising and falling as I waited for him to turn to me and give me his usual Aadam grin.

But it wasn’t a few minutes. It wasn’t what he had thought. Some storms are meant to be faced. Some can be defied. Some can even bring a beauty that we’ve never seen before.

But sometimes there aren’t always rainbows waiting to reveal themselves after the storm. This storm was one that changed the season of our entire lives…

Dear Readers,

Just on that note, a thought that ran through my mind as I wrote… was that we often hear of Allah’s love for us and how it can exceed any kind of love we have in this world.

Many people wonder about the Ummah and often question all the calamities that befall us today. It truly pains our heart, and though we send money, raise funds and awareness… a valid point I just read about this morning was that we should constantly try and boycott sin. This is the only true remedy to stop the stress on the Ummah. May Allah assist us and help us to heave faith in His love and plan always…


Much Love,

A xx

A forgotten Sunnah. Eaten fallen particles… next we’ll do some Sunnahs on food as mentioned in the post. 

Sometimes we forget the Barakah that can be in even a grain of food. To eat what has fallen on the cloth or even the floor… SubhaanAllah.
Anas ibn Maalik narrated that when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) ate, he would lick his three fingers. Anas said: “And he said, ‘If any one of you drops a piece of food, let him remove any dirt from it and eat it, and not leave it for the Shaytaan.’ And he commanded us to clean the plate, and said, ‘For you do not know where in your food the blessing is.’” (Narrated by Muslim, 2034). 









Twitter: @ajourneyjournal



Bismihi Ta’ala

N.B. Drugs, vices, alcohol and everything else that goes along with it are great trials for the Ummah and we pray with sincerity that we are saved from it.  A bit of a twist from the usual posts but also an important part of the story. Humble Apologies in advance for any shortfalls.

Muslim (2597) narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “It is not appropriate for a sincere believer to be given to cursing.” 


Once damaged, always damaged, right?

Everyone allows themselves to be victims at some point of their lives. Sometimes it’s just easier that way.

The thing is, for me, most days were spent thinking why on earth the entire world was working against me. How was it fair that some people were dealt the best of deals, houses, bank accounts and still get the best husbands at the end of it all. How was it fair that I always got the raw end of the deal, when I worked so hard to get myself to the top.

I had learnt a long time ago than being nice never works. It may make people like you, but it doesn’t get you to the top. There’ll always be that one deterrent that stops you from getting there. To get what you any in life, you had to play hard. Ruthless. You had to fight the referees. Change the rules. Cheat a lot. Take a break and tend to your bleeding wounds… but keep playing. Play hard, play fast, play loose and rough. And at the end of the day, no matter what you do, you make sure you win. 

And sometimes, to get that, you have to pull out the victim card. Whether you’re a victim of assault. Of a degrading lifestyle. Of abuse. Of unfiltered addiction. I was a victim, and I wasn’t afraid to let everyone know it.

“You using again, aren’t you?”

I looked up and sniffed. Was it that obvious?

“Why don’t you do something with your life?” Shabeer asked angrily. “Get out of this damn flat and make something of yourself. Go back to school. Bloody hell, you have a child to support. You can’t just sit here and rot in cocaine.”

”Its your fault,” I said, hating him right then. It was.

He had left me to my own devices for almost three weeks. Ignored my calls. Let his wife degrade me however she wanted. It’s not like I could even get out there and work. Who would look after the baby?

“Bullshit,” he shot back. “Nothing is my fault. That’s not even my child. You always had a problem. Don’t blame your issues on me. Blame your addictions on your crazy mother.”

”Shut up!” I shouted, seeing red.  “My mother is the only one who truly cares. All men care about is what they can get out of you, and then they leave you in the dump to die and screw off.”

“Whatever,” he said nonchalantly. “Where’s my watch?”

He was ignoring me and looking through the shelf it was on… well… maybe three weeks ago. He was used to my rants by then. They just flew over his head.

“I don’t know,” I lied, switching the TV on, trying to divert my own mind.

“Don’t talk shit, Hannah,” he said, getting angry. “I left it here. This is still my apartment and I can kick you out any time I want. I need it.”

”For what?” I spat. “To buy your spoilt wife a new handbag?”

“Shut up!” He shouted, spinning around angrily. “Don’t talk about my wife. Give me the bloody watch!”

I blinked. Now it was don’t talk about his wife?

Just the other day she was a nag. His family was a burden. Nothing else mattered. As long as he gave me what I needed… and I did what he asked, it was everything I had dreamt about. A real husband. Money. Fancy cars. Credit cards. Everything that went with it.

A quick fix Nikah and now… I’d just been dropped like a bloody hot potato.

What a pig. He used me.

And despite being so pissed off with him, I supposed if the watch was here, I would have given it to him by now.

Only, it wasn’t. Rolex’s pick up a lot with the dealers.

Shabeer was still rummaging around in the drawers, looking for his stupid watch. I supposed I might have found it funny. Only, I knew how Shabeer got when he was angry.

“Do you want a line?” I asked him, hoping it would calm him down.

Maybe he’d relax and stick around for a while, instead of running of the the ridiculously annoying Rubeena. Maybe we’d have some fun. Well, it had worked before. When Shabeer was in the mood he was super easy-going. Not to mention, such a breeze to persuade.

“I’m not falling for your freakin’ games tonight,  Hannah,” he shot, glaring at me. “You stole my watch, didn’t you?”

I shrugged.

Who cares? It was just a watch. He had enough money, he could buy another one.

All I saw was Shabeer heading towards me. At first I thought that maybe he had come to his senses…. maybe he had realized what he had been missing… after spending that time with his annoying wife.

Before I could even think properly, all I felt was Shabeer grab me so hard by the neck that I could barely breathe. I felt dizzy as my head hit the corner of the wooden table. He came so close to my face, I could smell his cigarette breath right on me.

I wanted to swear him. I wanted to hurt him. But I could barely even talk.

“I let you get away with it when you were pregnant,” he snarled, looking at me with his bloodshot eyes. “So you either shut up or I’ll make you.”

I wished I could hit him. Thank goodness the baby started crying.

He let me go, swore me, and the grabbed his car keys as he made his way out.

I sat there after, helpless baby in my arms, in a kind of trance. I wasn’t sure what was happening to me. What I was going to do. Some days I felt like just ignoring her. She was such a bawler. I couldn’t deal with the pressure of motherhood at such a young age.

My mother would come and help me, but she also had her own life. Her own ambitions. People she had to meet. Men she was plotting, odd jobs she was doing. My father would send money sometimes. I wasn’t even sure if I was fit to raise a child. I wasn’t even sure if I could be a mother.

Days passed. Weeks too. I was caught in my own world of delirium. I couldn’t think properly unless I had a fix. If I didn’t have drugs, I’d raid the medicine cupboard.

Shabeer had left me alone sometimes for days on end. He said I needed to sort out my shit. Sometimes he would pop by and I’d beg him for some cash for the baby’s milk. He always had enough. Of course, that too got used up on more coke. A distant family relative of my father eventually came to take the baby. I had told my mother to get someone to take care of her. I remembered the lady from when I was little. She never had her own kids, and as I let my baby girl go, I was strangely relieved. I felt free. Liberated. Able… and then, I couldn’t help but feel the immense guilt.

I drowned it with more drink and drugs. My mother didn’t come much to check on me any more. She did try to warn me. She told me that drugs had messed up her life, but now she had found a new prospect. Some rich old man who she was looking after… probably wanting to cash in at the end.

And then, the message from Rubeena came.

”Assalaam, Hannah. How are you?”

“Ws,” I replied vaguely. I was switching TV channels while tapping on my phone , trying to find something to watch. What did this woman want from me? 

The mundane soapies didn’t even sway me at all. Why did it feel like my life had no purpose?

”I’ve spoken to Shabeer. I’m sorry that everything didn’t work out the way you planned. Maybe you expected your marriage to be something different. By now, I’m sure you’ve seen through him and know exactly what he’s all about. He has many weaknesses. Don’t let the money fool you. Remember, I’ve had four kids with him. I’ve been with him for eleven years. I know him inside out. I’ve been through some really tough times. The thing is, I stuck around because I loved him. I still do. But I also know that you deserve better. I also know that you deserve another chance in life. You are still young. You’re a clever girl, Hannah. You don’t need to deal with this abuse.”


The witch. She was trying to throw me off because she wanted him to herself. All he did was ruffle my feathers a few times because I spoke to him badly. He didn’t like it when I spoke back. He was a man. All men get those macho vibes from time to time. They wanted to be treated like royalty and she felt threatened by that. He wasn’t the problem. She was.

I tossed my phone aside, not wanting to read any more. I was starting to feel edgy again. I didn’t think that I had a problem.

I never did. Shabeer knew that. All I knew was that we had fun together and that’s what made me better than her. He had told me that.

Later on that evening, after popping a few of the painkillers Shabeer had left next to his bedside, I picked up my phone again.

“Hannah, I’ve found Allah. I’ve started praying. Living. Loving. Appreciating everything I have for what it is. I’ve stopped comparing myself to others. I’m not unhappy anymore. I don’t look back anymore. I look forward to an amazing future with Allah in my life. I’ve found a fulfilling part of me that’s been missing all along. Caught up in Shabeers problems and my marriage, I never could see what I was missing. All I knew was the emptiness I was feeling… always looking around to fill that gap up with some impermissible thing… more Haram… That’s all I thrived on. I want you to know that now it’s different…”

Emptiness? I couldn’t help but get goosebumps as she said it.

It was the first time she had ever reached out to me. I was also completely sure that there was something she was gaining from it. As I read it, I just couldn’t help but hate her more. Now she thought she was better than me? 

I shook my head, seeing the bigger plan here. All this business about finding Allah… what was she on? She was so spoilt and lazy. Self-centered too. All this crap she was feeding me was just a ploy to get me out of her hair, and I knew it.

When I met Rubeena for the first time, I was in awe of her amazing life. She had everything. She had a lovely house, gorgeous kids, a handsome and rich husband. Honestly, this was the life I had dreamt of living since I was a little girl.

The night Shabeer showed interest in me was like my most amazing dream coming true. Pretending I was Khawlah had brought me to an entirely different level for him. He doted on me endlessly… it was like I was his every dream and desire… well… until he found out the truth.

And like the worst kind of punch in my stomach, everything about him changed when he knew who I really was. It was too late for him to turn back then. He was already too deep in. I had to tell him that I was pregnant with his child, so he knew that there was no getting away. And of course I knew it wasn’t right, but that was the way of the world. To get things done, there was no other way but to cheat your way through.

And okay, maybe life with Shabeer wasn’t as amazing as I had thought. For men, as long as you give them what they need physically, half your battle is won. The other half was trying to win his kindness, which was a difficult task to achieve. The more I tried, the more he praised that witch. He was always comparing me to her. Always saying how much she changed her life now, and for some annoying reason, he was in awe of her stupid spectacle.

And of course, there was no-one else that I could blame but that goody-two shoes who made my blood boil.

And course, this was all Khawlah’s fault. Khawlah, who everyone thought was so amazing. Khawlah, who had somehow become the wife of Rubeena’s famous brother. Khawlah who had risen to and even higher pedestal now that everything in her life was so damn perfect …

I wished I could really just get rid of her, once and for all. In my mind, I had concocted multiple plans to do so. I could sabotage her marriage. I could even convince her to move out of this town, if I scared her enough. If it wasn’t for her, I know that things would have been different. She had taken everything that was supposed to be mine. She was living the perfect life. She was living my life.

And maybe I would have let her be, but on the day that Shabeer gave me the  divorce was the day that I lost it. Rubeena had suffered a miscarriage.

Served her right, I thought to myself. I had it out with Shabeer after I heard she was pregnant. I couldn’t believe it. Why would he even want to still be with that spoilt brat? The biggest problem was that now he was going on some kind of crazy mission to ‘serve’ his wife and family. A little too late if you asked me, but all he said was that he’d been thinking and this thing we had was fun but not practical.

Fun but not practical?

I wanted to gorge out his eyes. He had said it so casually. Made it like I was just kind of call girl. Just someone who was there for his convenience. I was never going to stand for that.

Of course, I had put up a big performance, saying I’d call the dealers and put his name in their bad books. I told him I never wanted to see him again, thinking he’d reconsider. I even tried to convince him to stay. I needed him. I needed his money, and everything that he had given me. I promised I’d have my revenge.

He seemed set on leaving, and there was nothing I could do about it. He was giving me two months to find a place to stay, but I didn’t think that was gracious at all. He was just trying to get rid of me with the least problems. My mother was right. Men were all scum.

And I could always find someone else to scrounge off but I didn’t want to get out there again. After the sordid debacle with Khawlah, my entire reputation was spoilt. Her stupid big mouth of a friend had threatened to tell my friends about me swapping exam papers. I couldn’t risk that. It would have turned the biggest trouble-makers in school against me, and no matter what, I wasn’t ready to take that on.

I sat and thought for a long time. I tried to stay sober because I didn’t have much money to do otherwise. When I felt like I needed something, I’d start to self-harm. Somehow, it would ease the pain.

Then of course, I was tired. I was broke, too. The mind games were making me sick. I felt helpless. I needed a way out. A way that was going to cost me nothing but gain me some money.

And then of course, I had an idea. I was tired of moping around. I needed to get serious. I was tired of men. I didn’t want love. Not any more. I was tired of chasing that game that I kept losing.

I tried to think of my strengths… The things that had kept me going. And yes, at first the plans sounded crazy. Really unthinkable. But the more I thought about it, the less psychotic they sounded.

I’d always be good at pretending. Acting. Portraying someone who I wasn’t. I mean, that was how I had bagged Shabeer. It was the only way I got anything in this world. It was the only way I could make something of myself.

After a good few days of planning my vengeance, I knew now was the right time. It was the perfect plan that would get everyone exactly where I needed them to be.

I threw on a purple maxi dress that my mother had used at some point in her life and found a matching scarf somewhere in my cupboard. I dressed perfectly and made my face up expertly, knowing that I looked the best that I had looked in months. I looked like a sophisticated young hijaabi. Almost like Khawlah.

Using the Uber app on my phone, the silver corolla was waiting outside precisely twenty five minutes before the time of Danyaals school dismissal.

I was good with details. I remembered things well. On the few occasions that Rubeena couldn’t make it to fetch him, I had recalled Shabeer’s rants about having to do rounds. He was always annoyed about having to fetch the kids. I even remembered exactly where Danyaal’s school was.

I walked into the office with my head high, fifteen minutes before dismissal. Smiling at the secretary, I asked if I could take my nephew, Danyaal, a bit earlier- if they didn’t mind. His mother was unavailable to make it and I had another kid to fetch from the other primary school a few roads away.

“Which grade is he in, my dear?” The white lady behind the desk asked. I kept my face pleasant. “And what did you say your name is? I just have to check on the list if you have authority to fetch him.”

“Sure,” I said confidently, grabbing a sweet that was in the bowl at the front and smiling appreciatively. “He’s in grade 2B. The name is Khawlah. K-H-A-W-L-A-H.”

What a fancy school. It reminded me of the one my mother had put me in when she had first married Uncle Nazir.

Money was king. It got you places. It spoke to the big guys.

”Ah, yes,” the woman said, smiling and peering at the computer. “Your name’s here. I’ll send a message for him to come right down. You can take a seat or wait outside. He’ll be right there.”


Just some reflection and a challenge: a general pattern we see around us is that many people are unhappy with their lives because they keep comparing themselves to others. Someone had suggested a gratitude journal… so we can reflect over the bounties we’ve been given. I think that’s an amazing idea. To look at others who are less fortunate also puts everything in so much of perspective …

May Allah grant us contentment, 

Much Love, 

A 🌸

Sunnah reminder: Speaking Kindly: Abu Hurayrah(RA) relates that Nabi (SAW) may , said: “Whoever believes in God and the Last Day should speak a good word or remain silent.  And whoever believes in God and the Last Day should show hospitality to his neighbor.  And whoever believes in God and the Last Day should show hospitality to his guest.”

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