When Duty Calls

Bismihi Ta’ala


Sunrises. There’s just something about them that just makes you want to dive in and start all over again. Afresh. Anew. It’s a feeling deeper than gratification. It’s a deeper sense of appreciation that makes you just… ‘feel’. It inspires. Enables hope. It awakens something within. The truth was that deep down, positive feelings are what had kept me grounded. Grateful. There was just something about a sunrise that was loyal. Committed. Every day, without fail, it wouldn’t let you down. I breathed in, savoring the familiarity of it… no matter where I was in the world, seeing it had always brought out the best in me.

Every since I was a little kid, a new beginning was the highlight of every day. Something new. Something exciting. Somehow, with the inception of a new day, I knew that there would be something promising waiting for me. And today would be no different.

I took a last swig of my water bottle as I looked out, watching the two guys in my company also completely lost in the blazing colours that were before us.

The buzzing of the airport chaos was constant in the background of our setting as we gazed out. It was as if the sky was kindling a fire of it’s own as  we saw yellow streaks beyond the mountains morph to tangerine and crimsons rays of delight. The horizon was slowly evolving in all its glory, and from the glass window that boasted it, like an exhibition in progress, every person who passed by had to literally stop in their tracks and just stare.

We were entranced by the spectacle, the fiery ball appearing from behind a sheath of clouds, bringing with it a flood of warmth and relief from the darkness of before dawn. Like an ultimate relief brought out from an imminent doom… It was simply mind-blowing.

”It’s incredible, isn’t it?” someone said.

SubhaanAllah. Indeed it was.

The thing was, being here was unprecedented but now so much appreciated. Although my mother had loved the short trip to Jordan, Egypt hadn’t exactly gone as planned.

I cringed as I remembered it momentarily. of course, as always, family was lively and entertaining. The functions and the excitement was consuming and infectious as everyone went all out, in their usual Arab hospitality, preparing and hosting us out in their most exceptional ways. That was how I remembered it. There were so many memories there for me, but it was heartsore too, in many other ways.

And it was bound to happen at some point, because then, on out last day, tears had filled Ummi’s eyes, and I wished that I could somehow fix the pain that had been etched there. I felt a sense of duty to her through shielding her from it before, but as we drove out of the city for the last time, we had collided into a protest. The chants of hundreds of Egyptians filled the streets of Cairo and several other cities… the first such incident since years ago.

”Ums, don’t cry,” I said softly. “Just now you’ll make me start and then you know how that will end…”

”I can cry because it’s where it’s from,” she said softly. she gave a hint of a smile but her grey eyes were still brimming with tears. “The pain is not so much because I’m not staying here… but it’s not the same.”

“Of course not,” I had said, trying to be indifferent. The truth was that it was paining me too. ”Did you really expect it to be, Ums?”

I had tried to warn her before. I didn’t want to see this happen. I knew that it would trouble her. I just didn’t know how much.

“The thing is, Khalid,” she said softly. “I had imagined this place so many times in my dreams. Coming back home. Seeing everyone. Talking about this. But never… in my most vivid dreams… would I have imagined it being so far from my home. This isn’t my home.”

”One day, Ums,” I said softly, my heart breaking for her. I knew it wasn’t likely but why not give hope, right? “One day it will be.”

Say it loud, don’t be scared, Sisi must go.”

It was crazy how things had regressed after after the Arab spring.
It had been coming for a while, but the speed with which it gained momentum had shocked me. Political turnovers, sporadic violence, and waves of repression were rife as generation of activists energized long-stagnant politics in countrywide demonstrations that ousted President Hosni Mubarak. Since then it had been somewhat of a battle, and many may argue, but the main feels out there were we that it was all for democracy.
Allah knew best. The surprising fact was that Muslims were rallying and threatening Muslims, yet still… we are still quick to call other nations our enemies. The truth, as I’d heard before… was that no one was our true enemy greater than ourselves and our sins. That was undeniably, the main cause for all the unrest. So much of unrest and bloodshed.

The bloodshed. The bloodshed was what broke my heart… but as the Ummah of Nabi (SAW), I knew that it wasn’t unexpected.

Sa’d reported: The Messenger of Allah said, “I asked my Lord for three matters. He granted me two of them, but withheld one. I asked my Lord for my nation not to be destroyed by famine, and he granted it for me. I asked my Lord for my nation not to be destroyed by drowning, and he granted it for me. I asked my Lord for there to be no bloodshed in my nation, but he withheld it from me.”

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2890

I sighed as I looked around where I stood now, wondering if I could ever call this place home.

Coming to Qatar for a few days was never in the plan, but it was an eager diversion, even if it was for a getaway. There was something about travel that opened your mind… it made you think out of the box. From everything I’d seen and experienced, my life was now completely different to what I’d imagined. I just needed some time to adjust to the concept.

”Is it your first time in Qatar?”

I had been here between trips, like how Molvi was now, but never like how I’d come this time- with the intention to visit and view this place to settle in… to be home.

I looked at Maulana Umar and the guy who he called his brother-in-law. Another one of his crew had gone to get something to eat. Of course, I wouldn’t have ever in my wildest dreams imagined that I’d meet him at the Salaah room here but it was so good to see him because he reminded me of home. Or the place I used to call home. And I couldn’t help but be quite intrigued by the fact here we all were, united in another place that was so far from our unanimous home. Qatar had already gotten under my skin, and even though I was on my way out for now, I knew I’d be back here again.

The smoke from Ziyaad’s mouth was escaping unstoppably as he glanced at us, dropped his current cigarette into the tray and squished it, then promptly lit up another.

If anything, meeting Maulana Umar and the guys that he was with was enough to cheer me up after the ‘down in the dumps’ feeling I had after Egypt.

”Hey bru, do you ever stop?”

I could tell Maulana was joking but Ziyaad was the type of guy who always had a quirky answer for everything. And most of those times, his answers were chuckle-worthy.

“Sorry Molvi,” he said, taking a puff as he shook his head at us. “I know I need to quit but trust me, when you have Nafs like mine, you rather just stick to cigarettes.”

I grinned. He was a great guy but he cracked me up.

“You smoke, Maulana?” he asked, looking at me.

Smoking wasn’t my thing, but I wasn’t completely averse to it.

“Not really,” I said carefully. Back in the day, yes, I had smoked sometimes… in the past. But those days were over now. His face fell and I patted him on the back, feeling bad for him.

He was obviously addicted to it and who was to make him feel bad about it? Everyone had their weaknesses.

“But don’t worry,” I said promptly, winking at him. “I understand. Life’s stressful sometimes. I completely get you.”

Zee’s face immediately lit up.

”See!” He exclaimed, pointing at me and looking at Molvi Umar with a comical grin. “This guy! He’s like the coolest Maulana Dude I ever met… Was, meet Maulana Khalid.”


This guy was something else. I was so amused that I didn’t even notice the other guy approaching us, but as he pointed, my eyes settled on a well-built character who came toward us with a variety of chips and drinks in his hand.

Maulana Umar introduced us properly. He made me smile when he said that if I ever forgot his name I can call his Mus’ab, and of course, the name fit. Like the blue-eyed Sahaba, who was the flower of assemblies. Like the handsome youth who had wealth at his feet and gave it up for Deen. I didn’t know that this very guy was a guy who found the light amidst the throngs of darkness too.

“I’ve never met a guy named Khalid before,” Waseem said, looking thrilled as he shook my hand. “Reminds me of all those warrior stories Molvi used to tell me on our previous trips.”

I grinned. The Noble warrior. The sword of Allah. As a kid it was my only inspiration, and Ummi never ceased to thrill about the stories of Khalid Bin Waleed (RA). If only I could live up to that kind of courage. If only I could truly fulfill that kind of duty. Sometimes I felt that the older I got, the more mellow I became. Once upon a time I had that spark within me… but for a while, it had been somewhat lost…

Talking about lost, there was something about Waseem that I couldn’t place my finger on. Somehow, as we chatted easily about general things, I felt like he was strangely relatable. It was a while before I checked my watch, realizing that my family would be finished with Salaah and would be waiting for me.

”I’m going to have to leave you guys,” I said, looking at my watch and holding my hand out to greet them all. They still had a few hours before their flight. Maulana had already settled in the corner of the lounge with his Mushaf. He knew that there was no time to waste.

“No problem,” Waseem said. “but listen Maulana…when will you be heading back home? It’ll be good to see you again.”

I looked at him, not really sure if I should tell him. The truth was, I wasn’t sure where home was anymore. It felt nomadic but for some reason my heart wasn’t feeling settled in the place that I’d always sought refuge. It wasn’t settled back in South Africa.

”I haven’t really made any solid plans yet,” I said, looking them all as they waited for my answer. Maulana had put his Quran down as he cane to greet me. “I’ll take my mother back to Egypt and see from there. At the end of the day, whatever plans Allah has for me is on the cards.”

Molvi smiled and Ziyaad looked shocked.

”That means you don’t have a woman telling you what you need to do,” Ziyaad exclaimed, looking at me in admiration.

I grinned, but didn’t answer. Now wasn’t the time to get into that topic…

“Young and free, huh?” He said, looking at me with even more admiration. “Charming and good looking Molvi Dude like you, you must be having all the girls after you, nuh? I remember those days…“

He shook his head sadly and I couldn’t help but burst into laughter.

”Ignore him,” his brother said, shaking his head. “Ziyaad doesn’t like to admit that his marriage is the one thing he loves more than food.”

Heeeyy,” Ziyaad moaned, tossing the empty packet of chips in the bin. “That’s a low blow.”

Maulana Umar chuckled along with me. It was fun to see these brothers at each other.

“Don’t worry about this guy, Maulana ,” he said seriously. “When the time is right and you’re back in SA hopefully we’ll see you again. You’re brave to be out here. Taking big steps in Deen. Doing things that some of us are afraid to do.”

How did I tell him that even though I was brave on the outside, I had so many other fears.

”I’ll see you, Maulana,” I said, embracing him as he patted he on the back. “They’ll be waiting for me.”

“Jhee,” he said, nodding. “We’ll see you on the other side. Assalamu-Alaykum.”

I greeted him back, making my way back to the boarding area seats where they had been sitting. So many people, all from so many places… all headed in different places. It was something that I always loved about airports. Just sitting and watching… wondering where everyone’s story started and where they will end.

And right there, in front of me as I took a seat, was one of my favorite people. Just seeing her made me feel at home even in this foreign place.

”Missed me, habibti?” I asked, kissing her hand as I took a seat opposite her. Her gaze was focused ahead, as if there was something on her busy mind.

”You’re not moving so far away,” she said to me crossly in Arabic, as if she had been waiting for me to come back… just to argue with me again. It was a squabble she had started at the beginning of the trip, when I mentioned that I might settle here.

I smiled, knowing where this was going.

“And why not?” I asked her, still holding her hand. “You’ll be coming with me, you know.”

How I loved her. She was always cross for some reason or the other and it always made me chuckle.

”You’ll just be an immigrant here,” she muttered with a scowl. “You’re not just an immigrant. You’re better than that.”

”Says who?” I asked, raising my eyebrows. “Aren’t we all just slaves of the Almighty?”

“You can’t leave,” she insisted, ignoring me and getting angrier. “After all this time now you want to go again! No. It’s not right, Khalid. You must think about your parents.”

She was right but I felt like I was being held back. I knew they were making sense but how could I ignore a call to do this type of work? Here, where it just felt right?  What I didn’t know was that there’s a deeper sense of duty that had to call and it was about to unfold sooner than I thought.

”You know I’ll be back this time,” I tried to comfort her.

She shook her head vehemently.

“You‘ll change,” she murmured. “I know it and I don’t want it. No more… what they call this in English? Globe-trotting. Yes. You stay put. Get settled. Else I won’t be happy.”

I grinned, taking it lightly. Globe-trotting sounded so adventurous. I looked at the time, and my smile already faded.

The call for boarding was resounding through the speakers. Where was Ummi?

”Where’s Ummi?” I asked her, getting a little worried.

”She went to the pharmacy,” she replied, looking worried too as I checked my watch again.

I stood up, running my hands through my beard as I scanned the crowd.

“Wait here,” I said, picking my backpack up in case I needed it. “I’m going to check for her.”

I ran off to the pharmacy, only to return back to the bench where Ummi was already waiting. Relief flooded through me as I saw her, but as I got closer I could see the two women chatting fervently and I immediately felt a tightening in my chest. Something wasn’t right.

”What’s happened?” I asked them in Arabic. Fear gripped me as I saw Ummi’s eyes filled with tears.

“Not good news,” they both said. What now?

“Ums, tell me,” I insisted, the anticipation killing me.

”It’s your father,” she said tearfully. “He slipped in the bathroom. Broke his femur.”

Inna Lillahi. Not good but it could have been worse.

It was the one thing that had worried me when we had left him… knowing that he was alone back home. He had refused to join us… saying he was busy with work and would be fine. Papa was fiercely independent and wasn’t very old but worst thing that could happen was something like this for Ummi to rush back. There was no family close by to even offer their help.

”I’m so sorry, Khalid,” Ummi said softly. “I don’t want to ruin your plans. I know you didn’t plan on going back… not now at least.. but -“

Ssshhh, Ummi, don’t say that,” I said to her, shaking my head and stepping forward to grasp her arm comfortingly. “It’s no ones fault. Taqdeer, huh? We’ll take a detour. It may be fun.”

“May Allah reward you, handsome,” my mother said sincerely, clearly relieved. “You’re a good boy, Khalid.”

I smiled. Ummi calling me a good boy made me feel like a child again. I had forgotten the things I missed most about her all these years.

“It’s no big deal,” I mumbled.

Maybe a change of flights and some extra expenses but I knew I couldn’t let her down . For now, I had some time to spare before I’d get on the road, choose my path and commit to it.

”What about me?”

Ah. I had forgotten. I looked at her and smiled. It was when duty was calling, and right now we didn’t really have much time to waste. The ideal thing would be to head back straight from here. There was no time to make any stops. I had to step up and be there for my father. It only made sense to take her with us.

”What you say Habibti?” I winked at her, holding my hand out to help her up. “Maybe it’s time you come and see where I grew up?”

She smiled and nodded.

“Maybe it’s time.”

Sunnah of Du’aa after Salaah: One of the Sunnah of asking Allah is never to be despondent of Allah’s mercy. Remember that He is always listening and waiting to answer our prayer.

Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said that Allah the Exalted had said: “I have divided the prayer into two halves between Me and My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks. When the servant says: Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the universe, Allah the Most High says: My servant has praised Me. And when he (the servant) says: The Most Compassionate, the Merciful, Allah the Most High says: My servant has lauded Me. And when he (the servant) says: Master of the Day of judgment, He remarks: My servant has entrusted (his affairs) to Me. And when he (the worshipper) says: You alone we worship and of You alone do we ask help, He (Allah) says: This is between Me and My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks for. Then, when he (the worshipper) says: Guide us to the straight path, the path of those to whom You has been Gracious not of those who have incurred Your displeasure, nor of those who have gone astray, He (Allah) says: This is for My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks for.” [Sahih Muslim]

Lots and lots of Duaas. Let’s focus on trying to bring Du’aa into our daily lives…

How easy to practice …











Twitter: @ajourneyjournal






When Sins are ‘Little’…

Bismihi Ta’ala


Every person has a story to tell. And every soul is entitled to their own secret. Some people have those perfect ‘love’ stories that the romantics will go crazy about … and some people have morbid tragedies that can even sway the critics.

You see, I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that not everyone has their very own happily ever after. Some stories are just that. Stories. Not everyone marries Mr Perfect and rides into the sunset. I’ve heard many a couple agree that nothing about marriage is forever happy. There are moments of bliss, to be sure, and lengthy spans of satisfied companionship… Yet these come at no small effort, and the girl who reads such fiction dreaming her troubles will end when she is whisked away into the sunset… needs a rational woman to set her straight. Oh, and a reality check.

Yes, people fall in love and go on to live pretty great lives. But there are people who fall in love, and live miserable lives trying to figure out how they ever fell out of it.

And then there are people like me. They are paddling along on this somewhat turbulent route, trying to just find that one thing that gives them peace. Through a little bit of sin, a little bit of falling… and then a dash of desire and aspiration… She doesn’t wait around for a prince to charge in and slay the dragon. Maybe she saves herself and in the end, rides off into her own beautiful sunset.

And that’s the place where her Allah fits right in. That’s where she finds her peace, within the sanctity of her Lord. Her refuge was right there, where there was no storm… And it took me a while to figure it out, but sometimes we have to go right back to the beginning to figure out the end. At what point did everything go so off… and at which point did it come together again.

The thing was, in what I remembered as my beginning, all I knew was that I was blown away. At that time… way back when… during my teenage delusion, I was taken in by a a ‘little bit of sin’ with a guy who promised me the world and more.

I was a 17 year old school student. He was 21 year old heartthrob. Sought after, painstakingly rich and strikingly handsome. Even if I didn’t want to know him… there was always a murmur through the crowd when he made an appearance.

And I’m not telling you this so you can envy me. Really. There’s nothing enviable about my story. I’m telling you this so you can know… when I met Jameel… I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Many teenage girls don’t have the foresight to see that a crowd-stopping boyfriend doesn’t always make an amazing husband.

Yes, of course he had caught my eye. There was barely a girl who didn’t know who he was. I was also warned to steer clear because he didn’t have the best of reputations. He had left a string of broken hearts behind him as he worked his way through most girls in the higher grade. He had been in the same school three years before and there was no mystery about him when his name was mentioned….

But being fickle girls, his notoriety didn’t stop any of the girls from wanting to be one of his conquests. I supposed every girl who caught his eye believed that she would be the one to change him. And every woman who ever thought they could change a man usually ended up with a real sore reality check… as well as a broken heart.

And then of course, one day, his flashy red BMW stopped next to me, as I walked the two kilometer distance back home. His window rolled down and I could barely breathe as he offered me that dazzling smile, as I stood there, thinking why on earth this guy had his eye on me.

And as I watched him watching me, I couldn’t think of anyone else who remotely resembled him. He was complicated, almost contradictory in so many ways. On the surface he was a bad boy, the talk of the town… but somehow there was a mysterious and compassionate side of him that he never failed to surprise me with.

And yes, I didn’t see sense at first. Besides knowing that it was against every principle I had ever had, every belief I had been taught… my first boyfriend was the one that I broke all the rules for. I would sneak out to meet him. I would stay out till late to be with him. I would lie to go out with him. It was wrong on every level. Small sins became bigger ones.

And yes, it wasn’t only because I found him unusually enchanting. His overprotective nature was intense. The fact that he would never tolerate a guy looking at me at school was somewhat alluring.

But then, as happens, I came to see another side of him… that bordered on obsession. When I entered the small teaching centre the following year, that my father had eventually allowed me to attend, I couldn’t stand him following me everywhere… that’s when I knew that it wasn’t healthy. I needed some space. I needed to breathe. I tried to get out of his clutches. I had to do what was best for myself.

But let me tell you something. When you’re young, impressionable and are looking for comfort in the wrong places… you make uneducated choices. You think that little sins are small things. They’re not. You just don’t see the reality of a situation until you get really caught up.

Pulling away was like trying to cut a metal chain. In that time, when I had been forced to let Foi Nani source a proposal for me just so I could call it quits on Jameel… I was bordering on desperation.

Yousuf was the grandson of Foi Nani’s friend and a promising prospect. Really promising. I had a feeling that Foi Nani knew about Jameel too and didn’t like the idea of him. And it had been going so well… until Aunty Nas had very conveniently intruded to kill every chance that ever existed for a different kind of life. A normal life. A life that wasn’t going to feel like I was in a prison.

And I’m sure Jameel had got wind of Yousuf coming home. He had waited outside campus for me every day that week after the proposal had come home. I tried to avoid him. He had promised me that he’d changed, but I just found his persistence scary..

After the scene with Aunty Nas, Yousuf’s family they had come to know about Jameel. They were wary but there was still hope… until things started compounding on me… and I felt suffocated.

Of course I still had doubts about Jameel, but I suppose that’s what happens when you are in over your heard. When you get involved in something Haraam, and it goes terribly wrong.

What I figured out after was that when Jameel said that Abba didn’t go missing by chance… was that he knew exactly who was responsible for it.

Aunty Nas had owed people money. Lots of money. The plain fact was that we didn’t have the money. It was a war of its own that was going on… and when Jameel had come back into the picture with a promise to make it all go away, I couldn’t resist. Deep down, I really did feel something for this crazily obsessed guy. Despite his never leaving me alone… I knew that if I just gave into him, everything would be okay.

To many girls though, they would have thought that I married the perfect guy. The teenage dream. The guy that every girl wants.

But it never felt like that. There was too much going on at the time to feel at peace and in love. Yes, there were moments of amazement and hope, but there were also moments of unexplainable torment. Somehow, even when you make a Haraam thing Halaal, you still end up paying for the sins you did before. There was never complete ease in our marriage.

And of course, in retrospect, all I could see here was Aunty Nas and her constant effort in controlling our family, even long after she was gone. It was like she could not stand to see us happy. Her entire existence was focused on making sure everyone of us was miserable… and I could clearly see her work still going on.

So when Khawlah called me, all cut up about a story with a theme that sounded heartbreakingly familiar, I knew that this work was not just the work of regular gossip aunties of our town. There was something sinister about this story. Something that spelled trouble, and of course, had an ulterior motive.

It was a feeling of mixed emotion. And yes, I had found my path in life. Finally, I had got to that place that I wanted to… but it didn’t mean that everything in the past would just disappear. I knew that there would many things that would set me back.

“Did you hear that Hannah is out of rehab?”

I shot Jameel a glance as he said that, using the sports towel to wipe his forehead as he watched me. Of course, he had come back from cycling where he had probably seen someone he knew…

Where Hannah was, Aunty Nas was never far. The two of them were cut of the same cloth.

“Who told you that?”

”A little bird,” Jameel said, trying to sound mysterious.

”Did you speak to Shabeer?” I asked, unable to contain myself.

Jameel pursed his lips and raised his eyebrows.

“I suppose I did,” he said. I didn’t like the fact that he was meeting Shabeer so often.

As long as Jameel steered clear of his shady past, I was happy. The minute it came up again… I felt threatened.

And yes, even though things had gotten better… we still had work to do on our marriage. It was a few weeks ago when things had come into perspective for us, once again. When I had come to assess where we really stood.

It was when I had finally decide to take that step and wear the niqaab… for Jameel… it was a huge blow. He couldn’t understand why I would ever want to be so hectic…

“What is this?” He had said angrily, pulling it off my face. “We don’t wear these things.”

I looked at him defiantly as he scowled. He was upset.

“I’m changing my life,” I said to him softly,  hoping he would understand. “I want your support but I don’t depend on it. I have Allah.. but I would really love you to do this with me too…”

Shit, Leikha,” he said in irritation, running his neat fingers over his stubble. “I’m trying man. I’m just not ready for all this crap. First the hijaab and the taaleem and all this… I can’t do it all… I’m not saying no, but slow down man.”

Was it really too much too soon? But why couldn’t he just see the things the way I did? Why couldn’t he just see the beauty it had brought and embrace it all? Why did he want to hold off?

I shrugged as he looked at me. What did I tell him?

Show him, something within me was saying. Show him what this life is about… Don’t push him. 

”Think about it,” I said softly, stepping back as I watched him. “You don’t  have to change overnight… but I need you with me. I want you to be a part of this. If you can’t be… then you can go on. Live the life you want. Do what you like. But I can’t be here.”

I swallowed as I remembered Jameels words, once upon a time when he threatened to kill me if I ever left. Today, I was giving him the choice. He either took my path, or we had to make a better decision for both of our sanity. The painful truth was that I truly did love him.

I looked at my husbands handsome face, now riddled with worry. He had made it clear that he would not know what to do without me. I didn’t want him to be reliant on me. I wanted him to find a source of Greater Peace. I wanted him to truly find Allah. I was doing this for both of us.

He was shaking his head, and I could see regret filling his eyes as he met mine.

“I’m so sorry, Leikha,” He said softly, coming towards me and grasping me by the shoulders. “You know that wasn’t me talking, don’t you? I was so off-track. I’m so sorry I put you through hell, babe… it’s just… I don’t know how to deal with this. How will we go out? How will we visit my family when you are so… hectic… we’ll be so awkward…”

”Let’s take it as it comes, okay?” I said softly to him as he bit his lip, both of us watching Muhammed chattering to himself in the feeding chair as he ate his strawberries.

He was blissfully aware of the dynamics that had existed between us, and I was so grateful that Jameel had changed his evil ways. He had taken up healthier hobbies, like sports and cycling… but I needed him to understand that there was more…

And of course, it had been a tiny hurdle compared to others, but with heartfelt Duaas, my husband had accepted my change in his own way.

Now as I looked at him, being sober for months, I couldn’t help but see what a completely different and amazing person he could be. Yes, if anyone ever told you otherwise, always believe that bad marriages can go good. I had living proof.

And he had assured me that there was nothing to worry about, but deep in my heart, I knew that there was another problem of my past that needed to be addressed. A problem that had to do with Shabeer, Hannah and Aunty Nas. Someone was causing conflict and I knew that it was going to ruin us as a family.

When I went to my fathers house later that evening, it was no surprise to see Ahmed looking like he’d been knocked over by a bus. I had already suspected that Khawlah’s mother-in-law’s theories were not completely off-track.

It was just as well that Khawlah wasn’t at home. Ahmed looked up at me with a frown as I entered his room. I’m sure if he could have growled at me, he would have too.

I remembered Mamas words about my brother. Unlike Yunus, who was always soft and obliging… Ahmed had a hard streak about him that I just couldn’t crack.

And okay, I know we all get caught up in a little bit of sin from time to time. But how much is too much? When does an innocent conversation become something more? When does a simple glance become a lustful gaze?

I know that Ahmed probably didn’t mean for it to get this far.  How anyone had found out about this aspect of his work was probably the doing of Aunty Nas. Ahmed knew people. People who weren’t always up to good. He knew them because he used to hang out with them when he was younger.

His earning cash every now and then was because he mediated between Mafia and regular people who owed them money… making deals and trying to get people out of debts. It was a good intention… but a really dangerous job too. Although he said he knew the guys for years and they would never hurt him… what I knew about Mafia was that they could turn at anytime.  According to what Khawlah had suggested, Rubeena had called him to ask him for some guy’s number to sort out some debts that he knew back in the day.

It had to do with her husband who owed some money, and she was trying to resolve things before they got out of control. What they didn’t realize was that things were already way out of control..

What I wasn’t sure of was whether Ahmed would open up to me to tell me the truth. Khawlah was devastated. I tried to make her see sense, but she was a adamant that Ahmed knew exactly what he was going when he communicated with Rubeena. She was insistent that he would have known better. She was right, of course, but as I looked at my brother… I found it hard to understand what he was really thinking.

A pretty woman like her and a young promising guy like him… was there really no room for Shaytaan to come in between? Of course… it was all just theories but there was always an opportunity.

Oh, the pain and conflict that a little bit of sin could cause… I was physically aching to get to the bottom of this…

”Ahmed,” I said to him, hoping he would soften up as I sat at the edge of his bed. “Can we talk?”


Sunnah of honoring guests:

Abu Shuraih Khuwailid bin Amr Al-Khuza`i RA reported: I heard Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) saying, “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, should accommodate his guest according to his right.” He was asked: “What is his right, O Messenger of Allah?” He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) replied: “It is (to accommodate him) for a day and a night, and hospitality extends for three days, and what is beyond that is charity.”
(Bukhari and Muslim)

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