When the Heart Matters

Bismihi Ta’ala


Part 64

Life isn’t perfect. It never will be.

Everyone has their own hang ups. Their unsaid fixations and obsessions. Their flaws, and their faults that make them imperfect. Their little scars that have made them bleed and caused others to bleed too.

But with matters of the heart, it doesn’t really matter. People can change you. You can make people change. And as we go through in life, we come to learn that everyone we meet, all we experience in life, has a purpose… and it is we who choose whether to realise that purpose or not.

The thing is, it takes us a while to realise it, but every single thing, every challenge, every experience in our life was only intended for one purpose: to bring us back to our origin. Everything has flaws. We love what we love and reason doesn’t always enter into it. But we need to realise that if somewhere along the way, we’ve given our heart to the world, we have to take back the keys, and we have to reclaim it once again.

And with that…. I was still battling.

I had many hindrances. My past. My career. My sins. Social media was threatening to absorb my time again, and with being home with no Hamzah and only Zaid for company, I found myself turning to my phone more often.

But the heart, when it turns… it changes all that. So this time, I caught myself in time. I knew that I had to do something to stop it.

Diversions. I had to keep myself busy. Occupy my mind. Do whatever it took to keep myself off it.

And though I tended to find myself with feelings  caused by neurobiological withdrawal from the sense of being constantly connected… I knew that the only solution was to plunge myself into more productive tasks, like making dozens of mini cheesecake casings and considering doing a full online cakery to keep myself busy.

It was an idea that I was toying with for a while and it was my perfect opportunity to actually carry it through. I just had to have a proper plan.

And with the series of ups and downs in the past few weeks, things between Hamzah and I were actually smooth-sailing, for the first time since I could remember.

”Did he tell her about his new air fryer that he bought himself for his birthday?” Hamzah whispered, as we sat in my mothers kitchen and he stirred his coffee. “And his journal that he keeps a record of everything he eats for the week? I hope she knows what she’s setting herself up for…”

I whacked him lightly on his arm as he said it, trying to stifle my own laughter.

Poor Jameela. It wasn’t in Jameela to complain. She wouldn’t even say anything bad about him, except that he wasn’t really into traditional food. That part was a shocker.

I think the worst part here was telling Nani that Doc was a complete fail (and that he rejected her bajias)… especially when she still carried on as if the sun shone out from his behind…

“Sooooo handsome,” Nani was saying with an excited look, as Hamzah watched her almost running her hands together in glee. “And he is head doctor there, you know? Our Jameela will be the perfect wife for him, I just know it! She knows how to cook, how to bake, she will see to everything. Not like our Mohsina who can’t even fry samoosas properly.”

I narrowed my eyes, but ignored Nani as I saw Hamzah strain himself not to laugh. I was glad at least someone found her funny, because I certainly didn’t.

And okay, I know that I burnt the samoosas slightly when I was helping Nani earlier on, but she was just being a hater.
Papa still really enjoyed them.

Ma was murmuring to herself and I could see my father standing silently in the corner of her room and watching my sister, almost as if he knew her better than anyone else.

And then… There was Jameela, meek as ever, looking out into the meadow as the sun set over the grassy meadows, almost as if she was lost in a world of her own.

She was a such a dreamer that I actually could not even imagine what went through her mind at times. Her head was always in the clouds and her thoughts about life were exceptionally… romantic.

What she wanted from a spouse was probably exactly what I didn’t want. I wasn’t quite sure who would catch her eye, but I also had a feeling that once she fell for anyone… she would probably go all in, with zero defenses.

I caught her eye as I watched her pick up Zaid, fiddling with his little topee as she took it off and placed it on his head again, smiling as if she barely heard what Nani was just saying.

“He looks so cute with this on,” she said, hugging Zaid as he gurgled into his fist. He was sucking as if it was his lifeline and I had a strong feeling that his teeth were going to start cutting at any time. That was going to be fun.

And as much as I didn’t like it, Zaid had just been growing so fast. It was like I had just blinked and suddenly he was this gurgling baby who was already starting to crawl. From the mere roll, he was now crawling along on his body and it was only a matter of days before he would be moving around and probably driving me batty too.

“The topee?” I said, grinning as I turned to my sister again. “Hamzah insisted he wears one out now, so he gets into the habit of it as he gets older. I feel that he’s still a baby, but it can’t do much harm now, can it?”

I smiled as I watched him, feeling sad for a minute as I thought of Liyaket and Layyanah, who would miss every milestone that he would conquer… My heart ached momentarily as I smiled at Hamzah and caught his eye, wondering if his mind was also thinking along the same lines…

“Of course not,” she said quietly with a distant look in her eyes, snapping me out of my own thoughts. “And I know no one is perfect but I love that Hamzah has that… awareness… you know?”

I narrowed my eyes slightly, leaning close to my sister as she hugged Zaid again.

“So it’s a no?” I whispered as I sidled up to her, pretending that I was helping to pack the biscuits away. I could see from her expression that my sister was far from interested. “Doc?”

She had barely even looked at him when they were leaving.

If his mother and sister weren’t so stuck up, I might have actually pushed Jameela to go for it, but I didn’t really want her to marry into a family who was so laa dee daa. All they spoke about was brands and overseas trips, and I could definitely tell that his sister was another version of Rabia, except that she was married with two kids.

Instagram was her absolute lifeline.

“It’s an ‘I don’t know’,” she said with a grim expression. “I want… I mean… I need someone who knows where he comes from. Who knows his Rabb and loves Him. I want someone who I want my kids to take after… someone who I can talk to and listen to me and who sees into my heart, you know? I need someone who knows me here.

She touched her heart and I smiled, suppressing the urge to tell my sister that those kind of love stories only exist in Utopia.

Nevertheless, I knew what she was saying. She didn’t just want someone who isn’t just good, but someone who doesn’t count all the good things he does. Someone who not only respects you, but someone who who would go the whole mile. Someone who inspires, who sees her for who she was, someone who made her smile…

It sounded idealistic, and that my sister was… but I knew that she had one thing that she found most important.

She was after someone who would stop at nothing to please Allah… who had Him in his heart… someone who showed her what real love was always meant to be like.

How can you ever fall in love with someone if they don’t love Allah first…

The heart matters. It matters a lot. That feeling… the inclination you feel towards someone who moves you in a way that only Allah’s love can inspire, is something completely unique.

The thing is, she was right. You had to have someone who was going to have that ‘awareness’. With Deen. With family. With kids.

If you compromise even on smaller aspects; who is to know the quality of Deen your kids will acquire. If you’re not giving them Deen, you’re giving them nothing at all… They were only the greatest gift if they could benefit your Aakhirah. What use if not for Allahs sake?

When a person passes away, his deeds come to an end, except for three:

1. Continuous charity 

2. Such knowledge, from which benefit is derived. 

3. A righteous child, who supplicates for him. 

(Muslim Shareef)

A righteous Muslim childs good deeds is the most vaulable gift to be a source of reward for the parents. Parents are encouraged to guide their children, towards righteousness, so that they can gain maximum benefit, when they are most in need of it… and that will be after their passing.

And just like her, I also wanted that. It’s what I had wanted from Hamzah too.. and I saw that in him.

And as I watched him, I could see Hamzah and Nani chatting like two metres away while Zaid had already been taken by mother, who was rocking him off to sleep in a corner of the room.

“Was it that bad?” I asked my sister, not wanting Nani to catch me prying. She won’t approve of me bad-mouthing the perfect catch.

“He was flexing his biceps at me, Mos,” she said with a shake of her head, genuinely in shocked as I watched her recall it.

I wanted to giggle at the image in my mind but supressed it.

”Ah, Jams,” I said, smiling slightly. “You’re so pretty and sweet… I could only imagine that he was trying really hard to impress you. Can you really blame him?”

She looked troubled as she smiled, shaking her head.

“Impress me?!” she asked, her voice still low, but as if she couldn’t believe he would want to impress her. “In the end, he told me he thinks it all went well and I should come see him at the hospital sometimes, and now I feel bad because what if he really proposes… I don’t know…”

With guys, you just never know. Sometimes they play along and act as it they’re so interested and just change their mind at the last minute. I’ve had friends who waited through an insane amount of Samoosa runs to finally find the one who actually proposed. It was a seriously complicated process that I just could not understand…

Jameela was so lovely, sweet and innocent that I could honestly see the anguish on her face as she remembered the guy who she had met, probably thinking about how it would ever work.

And now that I looked at her, Jameela, with her softness and her natural femininity, needed someone who was to bring out the best in her. Her heart was on her sleeve and her head was filled with flowers and fairy tales and I hated the thought of anyone who would burst that illusion she had of life. She was wholly consumed by moments in the open fields, of life on the edge of reason… having this ideology that everything that happens is with true purpose that living for each other was a rule of nature.

My sister was simple enough but she had fairy-tale illusions. I wasn’t exactly sure what she needed but I did know for sure that she didn’t need a self-absorbed guy who treated her like an accessory.

And she would never say it aloud, but I figured that this guy was not exactly the most fitting match for her. I didn’t want my sister to feel uncomfortable or forced and as Hamzah caught my eye, he leaned forward to tell me to be easy on her, seeing the complicated look in her eyes.

I watched my sister as she packed some biscuits back in the container, biting her lip nervously as she did it, almost as if her mind was on something very concerning.

“Jamz,” I said to her softly, moving away from Hamzah as he went over to show Muhammed Husayn something on his phone. “Nani will understand. There’s no such thing as you have to say yes.”

She flashed me a quick smile and nodded.

“I know,” she said quickly, and I could sense her tension ease.

I smiled at Hamzah as he squeezed my shoulder lightly, my heart feeling a surge of gratitude as I looked at him.

“I’m just going out for a smoke,” he said softly as he felt around in his pockets for his cigarettes. “I’ll see you after Asr?”

I nodded, smiling at him as his hand slid over mine lightly, before he headed out again. Nothing was perfect, but I could positively feel that the last week had been good for us. Really good, in fact.

It sounded almost fairy-tale like, even to myself, and I also felt that it probably had to do with the fact that for the first time since we were married.. we had a whole week to ourselves.

I had emailed Faadil with the proof of payment for all the money I had owed him, but what I got from him was a reply saying that he wasn’t sure why I had sent it because he never asked me for the money back. Not wanting to continue contact, I left it at that and didn’t think much of it, knowing that it was settled and feeling so much better now that I didn’t have to keep lying to Hamzah.

With everything on a better footing now, somehow it felt like I was giving more of me, instead of putting up the usual walls that I always built. With Hamzah, love was something that I had just begun to understand. Anyone can love a thing because. But to love a someone despite, is rare and perfect.

That’s what mattered….

And that’s what got me. Despite everything, The thing with Hamzah was that he knew my secrets and he knows my flaws but despite it… he wasn’t holding it against me. He had a good heart. He still made me feel safe. It was a foreign feeling to me, because I had always been the one to protect everyone else.

Whether it was my father, my siblings or my entire family… for the first time in my life, it wasn’t just about financial security. Hamzah made me feel protected, made me belive that that no-one could ever harm me if he was there.

And I knew it sounded stupid, but even that scared me. I was scared to let go. Scared to give it my all. Even during the moments I wasn’t scared, there was still something within me that held me back, made me question, stopped me from just letting go…

And even though we had stumbled a bit, with the rockiness over the past few weeks, for some reason, I felt like things were getting better. We were getting closer, talking more, sharing moments with Zaid and stealing any minute we could find for ourselves, just to be together and give a little bit of each other… to each other.

I knew that Hamzah had been taking his grandmothers advice to heart when she told him to keep Rabia and I apart. Rabia had been shipped off to the farm and boy, was I glad that everyone refused to bring her back, even though she was insisting that she could not cope and needed to see Zaid. And although I felt a little guilty, I also knew that it was for the best.

With Rabia’s interference, there was always a hindrance or moments when our privacy was invaded. Moving into the new place also helped tremendously, and it was all the more reason for her to demand Zaid’s time.

And as the week passed by, busy minding my own business, with Rabia’s messages to both Hamzah and I about when she could come over, she was still in my mind.

The thing was, I was a pretty forgiving person, at most times. I didn’t really hold a grudge against people, especially when they may not know exactly what it was that they had done.

And because I was feeling a teeny bit bad for her, as we sat over supper towards the end of the week, I couldn’t help but ask Hamzah about her… not really expecting my thoughts to drift to her past and her marriage, but curious nonetheless…

At first, he shrugged and looked at me, almost as if he didn’t want to talk about it.

“I wont say anything,” I assured him, holding his gaze as he looked at me. “I just want to understand her better.”

I really did. And as I watched him, I could see him mentally relenting, as he twisted his long fingers.

He looked troubled as he frowned and then sighed, almost as if he was battling with himself over the words to use.

“It was an ugly divorce,” he started slowly, scratching his chin as he said it. “At first, everything seemed good. He seemed normal enough. Rabia… She saw some messages on his phone about five months after they were married.”

“Messages?” I asked curiously, hoping he didn’t mean what I thought he did.

“He had someone else, and his parents knew it… right from the start,” he said with a sigh, and it was obvious that it had hurt him.

Ouch. I physically grimaced as he said it.

“I think she loved him way more than she should have,” he continued, shaking his head. “I’m just glad that there were no kids involved…”

I was silent, digesting what he had told me. He was right about the last part though.

Kids made everything a lot more complicated. Who knew that better than I. Zaid was the reason that everything in my life changed. But that was a good thing…

”So is he married now?” I asked, my eyes widening. “To that other woman?”

Hamzah nodded, and a slight pain flashed in his eyes as he said it.

”I think that’s what gets her more,” he said with a shrug.

I raised my eyebrows, wondering at what point I would have found out if he hadn’t told me. That was hurtful.

“How did she take it?” I asked carefully.

I felt bad for judging her and always getting annoyed with her, but I also understood that her reasons for being the way she was kind of made sense. That must be awful.

“For a long time, all we saw her doing was cry,” he said softly, his honey-brown eyes gazing straight ahead as his grip tightened on the glass that was in front of him. “You couldn’t even talk to her properly. She was completely…”

”Heartbroken?” I finished off, my eyes softening as he nodded, taking a sip of his water and looking at me. The heart was something so fragile and gentle, and sometimes you just can’t contain how much it feels until it’s too late.

“Yeah,” he replied, breathing in shakily, anger flashing in his eyes again. “He was also substance abusing. When you’re on stuff, then it’s just an ongoing spiral downward. So it was like one thing after the other, and Rabia.. well, before marriage… Rabia was actually a really good girl. She didn’t even have a phone. The complete opposite of me… you know.. I was starting my articles, after final year… messing around while she was the epitome of piety, if you can believe it.”

Rabia? I couldn’t. He glanced at me and continued.

“She even wanted to go into Niqab but then he came along… they met through a friend’s brother… and he didn’t want her to and so she just changed her entire role and dream to fit his expectations…”

Oh my word.  I never thought I would say it… but poor Rabia.

And how on earth did she even end up with an idiot like that?

And no matter what had happened. How she had provoked me. Even if she really did intend to cause problems between Hamzah and I, I really wanted to be a bit more understanding towards her.

Sometimes I wonder how that’s fair. That she was so good and pure and then her whole life and marriage gets turned upside down. I knew that Allah had His plan for her… but I was so glad that I didn’t take off with her like how I felt like doing.

Silence is golden. Even silence of the thumb, when I felt like lashing out and telling someone off on WhatsApp or social media, but sometimes you have to just hold yourself back. As tempting as it is to have your say… to say your piece…

You never know someone’s story. Maybe they had a bad day or a bad week. Or just a bad patch…

To control what you say was hard at times, but so worth the Sabr in the end.

And although I was feeling bad for Rabia, not having her around was good for us as a couple. We had gotten closer, spoke more, indulged each other a little more than we would have otherwise.

And as Hamzah and I spoke that night, drifting off to sleep a little too late for a week night, I barely even noticed him leave the room in the early parts of the morning. I was still thinking about Rabia and her past, feeling a little depressed about it in general, and as I fell off to sleep again, waking for Fajr, Hamzah was already in the shower.

And I didn’t really expect him to be ready to leave at that time. I still thought that he may leave for Fajr and jump back into bed for another snooze.

Instead, I had barely even heard him get up to take a phone call during the middle of the night. Whatever had happened during the night… I had no idea… but the cool and calm Hamzah that I thought I knew and had gotten to know so well was no longer there.

“Where are you off to so early?” I asked, watching him as he pulled on a jersey, not meeting my eye.

Was he hiding something? It was strange. This sudden change in mood.

I couldn’t tell what was going on. Did Rabia say something to him? Was it me? Was it what we spoke about the previous night?

Was it someone else that he had spoke to or upset him…

“I need to be somewhere,” he said briskly, his voice sounding strained. “It’s urgent.”

“Hamzah,” I said, sitting up and hating that my voice sounded a little too desperate. “Whats going on?”

He turned and looked at me for a second, his expression unreadable as he stuffed his hands in his jacket pocket, breathing in deeply as he met my eye.

“We’ll chat later,” he said quickly, planting a quick kiss on Zaids forehead as he touched my cheek, and hastily turned to leave.

Something was going on.

I had no idea what it was about but for some reason… I could barely still the hammering of my persistent heart.

All I knew, as fear gripped me, was a horrible feeling creeping over me that something was very wrong…

Mission Revive a Sunnah: Avoiding Suspicion

Many times, messages, post and videos go viral on social media. It creates a frenzy of discussion and debates and often leads us to jump to untrue conclusions.

Giving people the benefit of the doubt is part of the Sunnah. We should also avoid reposting anything that we don’t know the source of or which we cannot verify.

Abu Hurairah (Radiallaho Anho) reported that Nabi (Sallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said something to the effect: “Be aware of suspicion for suspicion is the worst of lies.”

May Allah Ta’ala save us from being suspicious and harbouring ill thoughts of others.

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..💕
















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When things get Complicated…

Bismihi Ta’ala


I never thought that I’d be the one to say this, but one thing I learnt in the past few months is that patience is hard. It’s really hard. And I promise you, I’m not one of those impatient people who can’t wait for things (except for food when I’m hungry, of course). I am one of the most patient people you will ever meet. As long as I know that it’s happening, I’ll sit back and relax and wait (patiently) for it all to unfold. But man, patience under some circumstances is like trying to push a nail through a metal wall. It’s practically unattainable.

And yes, I had tried my utmost to bear the tests. There were times when I was tearing my hair out with frustration, wondering if I had really done the right thing. I couldn’t help that creepy feeling that overcame me in the middle of the night and shook me awake, asking me if I was crazy. I couldn’t wait to se if it was all really going to turn out okay.

And then there were times when I sat with my kids, and for the first time in years, just enjoyed their chatter and company while they engaged themselves in some activity involving mud that would usually make me scream my head off, but barely phased me then. Those were the times when I was completely and utterly convinced that I had done the right thing. That the patience would pay off. That nothing in the world could ever beat the peace and contentment that I felt right then.

And at the end of the day, it was all about patience. Sabr. And it’s no wonder that the Saabireen are promised the greatest of rewards in the hereafter. They have been promised a reward that is unlike any other… where mercy will be raining on them in the hereafter. And surely they will never get left out because Allah knows exactly what every soul bears..

Do you think that you will enter Paradise without Allaah knowing who struggled (in His Cause) and who has been of the As-Saabiroon (the patient)?”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:142] 

Patience. It’s a really tough thing. To have the faith to continue to believe that your Allah does have a plan for you… that everything will fall into place, even when things get complicated… that no matter what you’re going through right now, it all will pass… this too shall pass.

Well, that’s something like a superpower.

”So do you ever wonder what the future holds for you? If you think you’ll ever venture down that road again?”

“You mean… find someone else and going through all the hassle of having to make a man happy all over again?” I asked with raised eyebrows.

I could practically see her smiling through the receiver.

”You make it sound so amazing,” she laughed.

I sighed, contemplating for a moment what she was saying.

”It’s not that easy,” I said. “Not when you have four kids. Men don’t want baggage like that. Lots of women think I’m crazy for doing this… but Zahira, what was I supposed to do? We think we’re keeping the peace by staying together but all we’re doing is causing more damage to kids when we put them through the pain of conflict… Sometimes we think it’s better because we’re keeping our family together. We may be doing that one thing but we’re breaking them apart in so many other ways…..”

“You’re so right,” she said convincingly. “I know how it is. I know after Saffia got divorced, it was a rollercoaster for her and Hassaanah for two years. I feel for you, doll… Being four hours away is hard when my friend is going through such a tough time. Listen, please don’t lose hope. You know you’re going to be okay, right?”

And at the end of the day, all I needed at times was someone to tell me that I had done the right thing. That it was going to be okay. She was really one of those rare kinds that made a difference just with her reassurance. And no, I didn’t expect the world to stop just because I was going through a tough time… but with everyone being busy with their lives, and me where I was right then, I couldn’t help but feel lonely at times.

The thought never crossed my mind before, but being in Iddat after a divorce could get exceptionally lonely. It wasn’t like when you lose a husband. Then there were streams of visitors coming to offer sympathy and somehow, family of friends were around to fill that gap. Adam had his own life. My mother was busy with hers. I couldn’t even dare to keep imposing on my father.

Chatting to someone who I could relate to and knew where I was coming from was so much easier. Even though Zahira was happily married with two kids, she always held fast to the fact that even happy marriages were a helluva lot of work. One day maybe, I might know what that feels like…

“Oh yes before you go,” she said, sounding excited. “I just spoke to Saffia this morning. There’s a guy who came to see her a week back, and he’s phoned again. He’s a bit younger but she really seems to like him. So looks like we’re going to have a Nikah in the family… and you know what’s the best part?”

”That’s great news!” I said, so excited for my friend’s sister. I didn’t know her well but she was an amazing girl who went through a tough time with her rubbish of a husband. He wasn’t as bad as Shabeer, but it had turned out that he was seeing someone else throughout their marriage and she never suspected a thing. “I’m so happy for her. She deserves a good guy. Where’s he from?”

”That’s the part I’m coming to!” She laughed. “He’s from somewhere on your side of the world, so we’ll probably be coming down and I’m going to make sure that I see you. How many weeks left till I can take you out for a cup of coffee?”

”Three weeks,” I sighed, not really anticipating it. I was getting so comfortable in my little hide-out that the thought of leaving it was now making me anxious. “Or you can come have coffee with me in my hole. I make an excellent cuppa.”

She laughed as Danyaal’s voice called out for me from upstairs. We quickly made plans to speak the following week, and I expressed my heartfelt appreciation to her being there for me throughout everything I had been going through. Her constant presence, support and reminders that Allah had a better plan for me was just what I needed to get through this. 

And as I made my way down the passage, I couldn’t help but think to myself that  another great thing about being home now was the amount of time I suddenly had on my hands. Like, I really didn’t know that there could be so many hours in a day. Right now, I felt like if I focused enough, I could give my kids all the attention that they needed. I felt like the terrible mother less and less every day, and more like a mother who was just trying to do the best.

And yes, it was normal because I still slipped at times.. when I got tired and frustrated and didn’t know what else to do with them except dump them in front of iPads and sit with my phone, but the thing with not having Shabeer around now was that it wasn’t much different from when we were married. There was no adjustment phase because the amazing thing was… he never was around anyway. 

Being a Friday night, it was generally our time to chill with some books, indulge in  some much-craved junk and just cruise around in the lounge. As I got the bowls and cups out for the night ahead, and read my maghrib Salaah, the buzzing of the intercom caught me a little unawares that night.

Of course, I wondered who it could be as I made my way downstairs again, checking through the window as I saw a familiar car. And of course, upon seeing it, my heart lifted because although I hadn’t seen him in ages, his visits were always exceptionally welcomed. I pulled the door open in semi- excitement, glad to see the huge and familiar smile as he pulled me and Zaydaan into a warm embrace.

”It’s been ages!” I said as I pulled away, looking up at my uncle as he took Zaydaan from me. Although Zaydaan didn’t know Siraj as well as the bigger two boys, there was something about my uncle that all kids liked. I suppose that he had a pleasant demeanor, and the fact that he and their favorite uncle looked alike was also very much in his favour.

“How’s my amazing niece doing?” he said, smiling sympathetically. “I know you’re sick of my excuses. I keep meaning to visit and every time I come to town I get stuck at the hospital and it’s impossible. Today I put my foot down and made an excuse. Aren’t you proud of me?! And guess who I’ve brought with me..?”

I glanced out as he said it, wondering who the surprise guest was.

”Na’ilah?” I asked, looking for my uncles estranged wife.

Na’ilah was a pretty lady who my uncle was married to, and though they were married for over ten years now, they had yet to have any kids. Siraj was just three years older than me, and even though he was my uncle, because we were so close in age, I really felt it for them as time went by, especially since my kid to adult ratio was increasing at an alarming rate and there’s was still stagnant. Siraj seemed to take it in his stride, but for Na’ilah.. it had hit her quite hard. I supposed aunties at family gatherings weren’t exactly the most considerate and would ask really insensitive questions that she didn’t like. Eventually, as the years went by, we stopped seeing her altogether…

”Na’ilah’s busy with work,” he said indifferently. “But I’ve brought another special lady…”

And of course, he didn’t have to say anymore because as she made her way up the three steps and I saw her one-dimpled smiled, my heart was already bursting.

Ma!” I breathed, almost not believing my eyes.  “You came to my house! I can’t believe this…”

I swallowed hard as I looked at my Ma, now so much older yet still looking as young and beautiful as ever. The memories of being a free and boisterous little kid while Ma entertained us were amazing. I had sorely missed out on that bond for these few years. Of course, I had seen her in between but it had never been like this. When I was married to Shabeer she would never dare to come to my house…

And I wished that I could find the words to tell her how sorry I was that we hadn’t been as close these past years. I wished that I could tell her how much I had missed her quirky humor and ever-present wisdom. It was just a pity that we had drifted apart after I got married.

”I’ve missed you so much,” she whispered as she held on to me, and I couldn’t contain my emotion anymore.

It was like all the hurt and pain and difficulties of these few months had been accumulating deep within, and now, through this channel that had finally arrived… it was the ultimate release. She came like a breath of fresh air and a breeze of unlimited hope. Ma’s presence in my home that day was like a magic I never felt before.

Since I was married,  something had changed with us and losing that bond I had with her was something I often thought of and regretted. Now that she was here… I was absolutely certain that with her Duaas… everything would be okay.

Whilst Siraj took the smaller two boys to play, the bigger boys watched us silently, obviously confused about the drama as we chatted tearfully. And just as I took a seat at the entrance hall couch with Ma, hoping to stabilize my erratic emotions, I immediately heard a squeal of delight from them as their eyes locked on the open door.

Somehow we had missed the sound of his car arriving, and before I even turned to see who it was, the ‘clickety-click’ of my younger brothers crutches were already an indication that our all-time favorite person was here.

”Hey, Salaam Ma,” Adams voice said as he stepped in. “Fancy seeing you here!”

Ma turned and gave him a smile as he came forward to greet her, with Khawlah in close pursuit. I watched the pair of them come in with an ecstatic reception from the boys who were obviously excited that their bed-time would get delayed. It was one of the main highlights of their day.

”We came to see you,” Ma said to Adam with a smile. “But Siraj says that you had other plans.”

”I did,” Adam said, pulling a face. “But the function was so boring, Ma. All those people talk about is money, houses, cars…. oh, and guess what else? More money. I couldn’t take it any longer. I had to find the escape route.”

I could see Khawlah shaking her head at him as she glanced at me. It was the first time that I had seen my sister-in-law so stunningly dressed up, and though she looked amazing, I could see that she was obviously not impressed that she had made all that effort for practically twenty-five minutes of short-lived excitement, unfamiliar company and not even a catered five-course meal to show for it. It really is a bummer.

”He called as soon as I found a seat,” she was complaining to me and Ma. “He didn’t even wait for his award. I think his boss might kill him. Personally, I don’t think he liked all the attention he was getting so he made a run for it.”

Adam grinned as he took a seat, resting his crutches next to him as Dayyaan dragged Khawlah off to see his new LEGO creation. Danyaal, who knew Ma a little better than the others, grabbed her hand to check out his extensive book collection. The two of them had a more than a few things in common and my heart instantly warmed to see them getting along so well…

And as I looked at my brother, I kind of knew that he would be back early when I heard about the fancy work function he was forced to attend that night. Adam wasn’t cut out for the corporate part of his job and for him, despite being so well-known, he hated all the glamour that went with it. That was just my simple brother and I loved that about him. Well, it was what everyone loved about him.

”Hey, it’s the man of the hour,” Siraj said as he walked into the room with Zaydaan still on his hip. “Too busy to even take his uncle’s calls.”

Of course, as soon as Zaydaan spotted my brother, he wiggled down and immediately and ran to climb onto Adams uninjured leg. Adam planted a huge affectionate kiss on his cheek before looking up at our uncle.

”Howzit, Uncle Siraj?” He said, giving him a wink. “I see you’ve finally tracked me down. Sorry man, it’s been a hectic week.”

”Hectic week or you been avoiding my calls?” My uncle said, narrowing his eyes at Adam. “You could have called me back at least once.”

”Don’t give me a hard time, yeah?” Adam said, his expression changing. “I was giving you a chance to catch up with your work. I knew I’d see you sometime…”

Siraj was looking at Adam sceptically as the two of them bickered on. The weird thing was that they weren’t usually like this. Usually it was me who was getting into fights and Adam who got along with most people perfectly fine. I could most definitely sense the annoyance, but as Zia came up to ask for a chocolate and I tried to convince him that it really wasn’t a wise idea to have it right then, since it was past his bed time, I kind of lost the plot of what they were saying until I heard my uncles voice rise…

Then of course, I hastily stuffed the entire Bar-One into Zia’s mouth and sent him along, hoping it really wouldn’t give him a twenty-five hour day… now already on high alert as Siraj bellowed on about something slightly concerning that I had absolutely no idea about…

It’s not a bloody joke, Adam!” He was almost yelling. Adam winced and simultaneously blocked Zaydaan’s ears as Siraj went on. His one eyebrow was raised in dismay. “You have no consideration for your health whatsoever! You can’t even make a decision! I sent you all the options for treatment and you’re dragging your feet! What about everyone else? Don’t you think they want to see you get better? How can you just go on like this… it’s just damn selfish man. Does your wife even know?!”

Of course, I was already half frozen in my tracks as I watched them, my eyes darting from him to Adam and back. I could see my uncles chest heaving dramatically as he looked at Adam, demanding an answer. He was unquestionably all worked up and red in the face and Adam was… well…  just stagnant. Completely and utterly unemotional. Something was definitely not right.

Errrr,” I said, swallowing hard as I tried to ascertain what the problem was. Once again, the performance wasn’t centred around me and I was kind of glad. Only, I felt bad for my brother because it looked like he was drama’s new scapegoat. “Can you guys tell me what on earth is going on?!”

Siraj’s eyes narrowed as he looked at me, and then shook his head at Adam again.

”You telling me that you didn’t even tell your sister?” He said incredulously. Siraj was still on a roll.

”Tell me what?!” I said, really feeling like banging both of their heads together. ”Is there something I’m missing here?”

Adam said nothing as he looked at us both. He just sat there and looked on, as if he wasn’t sure how to say what he needed to. And I knew that there was definitely something to say.

“Adam should’ve be the one to tell you,” Siraj said, looking a bit calmer now. “But he’s dragged this on for too long now. He’s not in the best of health.”

I frowned slightly as I processed what he said. So that was what all the fuss is about. My brother being stubborn and probably refusing to take his meds or something. I mean, really. Why couldn’t Adam just listen and do what he was supposed to do?

”Okay,” I said calmly. “So what’s the big deal? Can you guys stop behaving worse than my kids? We’ll work on it together and come to a solution. It’s not like he has cancer or something.”

The minute I said it, the regret of the last three words I had just uttered immediately gripped me.

And yes, I could barely believe it but the  expression on both their faces already gave it away.

And as my heart literally shattered in my chest, I knew that amongst many other things… life as we knew it was about to get very much more complicated…

P.S. I’m sorry…

A xx

Sunnah of Drinking water

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

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Sins That Leave Scars

Bismihi Ta’ala


“You know,” Aadam said, watching me from the corner of his eye. “You never told me the story of Prophet Aadam…”

I gave my husband a tiny smile as we sat side by side, acquainted very well by now with his cunning ways to convince me to do something. My favorite kids had heard their uncle and were sitting on the rug expectantly. It was very evidently time for bed, and not just for the boys. Aadam was stretching his tired muscles as he yawned, leaning back against the couch with a small smile playing on his lips.

”I practically know that story by-heart…” I moaned, remembering the days when Danyaal used to make me read it, sometimes five times in one sitting.

”Just one time more time, yeah?” Aadam grinned. “For old times sake?”

The night had been fun, with popcorn and board games, but it had been a busy day. The last of the term, with way too many eventful happenings…

I knew exactly what Aadam was trying to do. He was trying to get me to be more involved with the kids, so I could forget the reality that I had just discovered. It was easier said than done…

”Please Khawlah-“ Danyaal started, packing away the blocks.

Aunty Khawlah,” Aadam cut in smoothly, with one raised eyebrow. “That’s my wife you’re talking to.”

A huge grin crept on Danyaal’s face as he looked at us. He was such a wonderful child, that I couldn’t help but just adore him. Rubeena was so lucky to have been blessed with such a star… He barely fussed about anything, and he truly was one of those rare kids that shone out from the rest. He had even started Hifdh classes this term, and I was so, so proud of him.

And though Aadam was trying to teach his nephew a little thing called respect, I could imagine that if Foi Nani had witnessed this, she would have been horrified. For her, Aunties were ‘Foys and Kalas’. There was no way you could get away with the modern-day substitutes.

Aadam’s family, on the other hand, were not even remotely cultural. They used no Indian or other terms to address their elders. I mean, the kids called their granny Nona. It was too… English…

Fancy, Foi Nani would have said. I missed her. I wished she could have met Aadam.

Aunty Khawlah,” Danyaal said, looking up at me with a tired smile. “Please can we have the story of Prophet Aadam (AS). We haven’t heard it in ages. And then.. we promise to sleep.”

“Hey,” Aadam said, narrowing his eyes threateningly. “Are you’ll trying to negotiate the sleep-time routine?”

I smiled. Of course they were.

”We promise,” Dayyaan said, sticking out his pinkie finger for Aadam to shake, and  nodding solemnly. His hair was falling over his eyes as he shook, and I stuck out my hand to brush it away.

Zia was mumbling something incoherently, as he lay on the carpet, fiddling with two blocks that he was holding, barely even aware of what he was doing awake.

They were all such characters, and yet,  were all so unbelievably connected to my heart…

”One story, and you’ll better sleep,” Aadam was warning them, as he leaned forward. “Else the bedtime monster is coming to catch you’ll.. and it’s not going to be fun..”

”Don’t scare them,” I rebuked him gently. But they were far from afraid. They knew their uncle too well…

As Aadam leaned forward to crawl onto the rug, his infamous tickle monster being the highlight of their before-bedtime routine. They were in stitches as they giggled away, loving the mixture of pure happy time and drunken tiredness. I loved to watch them. It almost cheered me up completely. Almost.

I watched my playful husband with his nephews as he eventually read them their story, knowing that I wasn’t in the mood to do it. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed someone else reading, though, that night. I was in my element as I listened to his easy voice, closing my eyes as the words glided into each other, almost in a calming rhythm. Aadam really did sound like a poet… His voice was gentle, yet firm, and I knew that if given the choice I would sit there and listen for hours.

Since I was so crazy about reading myself, I had a hunch that his calm mannerism was enough to put the boys into the most peaceful frame of mind. It helped him to put them to bed, and as he read their Kalimahs and Duaas for them softly, when we emerged from the room a few minutes later, they were already hopelessly knocked out.

I grasped Aadam’s hand gently as we retired the balcony bench, hoping to enjoy the city lights and the warmth of the early Autumn night. At night, the city lights were so vivid, that staring into them sometimes made me feel like I was in some sort of daze. It was stunning.

“Give me a smile, beautiful,” Aadam said softly, swinging his arm around me as my body involuntarily stiffened.

I physically slumped my shoulders, trying to alleviate the tension I was feeling, but Aadam wasn’t buying it. He pulled his arm away and leaned forward to look me in the eye, his dark lashes now even more noticeable in the dim light, as he frowned.

“Are you still thinking about Hannah?”

I breathed in momentarily as I closed my eyes, almost wishing that today wasn’t real. Hannah. She was so much on my mind… and I didn’t even know how to get it to stop.

Aadam sighed, as he looked away.

“I don’t know,” he said finally, swallowing worriedly as he placed his hand over mine. “After all this time… coming here and then giving you her sad story…”

I knew what he meant, but for some weird reason, I felt responsible for her. We had spent a good amount of our childhood under the same roof… in the same space… within the same boundaries. With the same crazy mother-figure. Only, she had it a little worse, because there was no getting rid of your real mother…

Aadam was waiting outside when I arrived, and as soon as I saw him, I could see a mixture of relief and worry in his eyes.

And of course, as I locked eyes with this girl that had been my sworn nemesis for almost a decade, I couldn’t help but feel a little obliged to give her a hearing.

”I came to talk,” Hannah said. “I remember Rubeena showing me once where her brother lived… and I took a chance by coming here. I wanted to try and fix some of it.. I know I used your name and I made your life a bit miserable…”

”A bit?” I said incredulously. I was a bit shocked that she was so… open.

“Okay, a lot.”

Responsibility was a hard pill to swallow, but I was honestly a little wary of her. I wasn’t sure what her intentions were, as she sat on Aadam’s couch and watched me with that unreadable expression she had often wore.

“Why did you do it?” I asked her. I was hoping to break that wall that she had built around her. I was hoping to see some sense in her madness.

”Does it really matter?” she said, looking at me with a frown.

“It does,” I said, narrowing my eyes at her.

“I don’t know,” she said finally, her expression still emotionless. “That house. Your father. It was nice, okay? Everything felt so much better. I wasn’t sure what it is about you, Khawlah, but everyone just seems to like you without you even trying. I always felt it was so unfair.”

What did you even say to that? When someone openly confesses that they were obsessed with making your life a misery? 

She sighed, and I looked over at Aadam who was sitting down at the corner couch behind us, head down and listening intently without a word. He had refused to let me talk to her alone. I could tell that he didn’t trust her,

“Anway, I’m here because I need help,” she said, looking a little unsure of herself now, for the first time I could ever recall. “My mother doesn’t really care. All she cares about is making other people’s lives a misery, as you know. You’re married and you can help me to get headway with re-adoption.. And I know I don’t deserve it but I mean it when I say that I don’t have much time left. I’m trying to change. In rehab we did a lot of tests and stuff… turned out I contracted HIV somewhere along the way…”

She said it with a nonchalant shrug, and as I met her gaze, I felt like I was in limbo. My heart kind of seized in my chest as I realized what a huge mess Hannah had got herself into.

“Binge parties,” she said, looking a tad bit ashamed as I gaped at her. “No-one really cares whose needle they using. You get so caught up in the high…”

And although she tried to portray that she didn’t care, when I glimpsed at her.. at her frame that was so delicate and her sunken cheeks that seemed to have no life in them… within the hollows of her eyes I could see something that I never saw in Hannah before. Something that she was trying so hard to hide, but was desperately failing to.

Fear. It was so ironic, because it was the one thing that had given her courage to come out here today. Fear was the fall that was lifting her back up… and somehow, that fear was bringing her closer to a reality that she had never known before…

Fear. Fear can cripple us. When we give precedence to bounties, things and people who take over our heart, the fear of losing it consumes us. Soon, what was once a gift becomes a weapon of torture and a prison of our own making. We wish to become free… And at times, in His infinite mercy, Allah frees us…by taking it away. By taking away a gift that we had taken as a right.
As a result of it being taken, we turn to Allah wholeheartedly. In that desperation and need, we ask, we beg, we pray. Through the loss, we reach a level of sincerity and humility and dependence on Him which we wou
ld otherwise not reach—had it not been taken from us. Through the loss, our hearts turn entirely to face Him.

Through the fear of loss… sometimes we gain so much more.

Hannah was afraid. So afraid of losing everything, including her life.

And as she spoke, I was visibly taken aback by her words. And then of course, I couldn’t help but think when asked for help with it… after all this time… why did she even want her daughter back? If she wasn’t well, was she even capable of looking after her… and for how long?

And as I sat with my husband that night, I tried to make sense of the things that had evaded me. How do people even end up so… lost? It just seemed so brutal…

“People survive for quite a while on ARV’s,” he said seriously. “Like for years…”

”Really?” I said, feeling a bit better. “So she’s not going to die like right now?”

Aadam smiled.

“Only Allah knows,” he said realistically. “But with the medical technology these days… if it’s HIV, she’s still got a chance of living normally…”

My heart was still pounding in my chest. It was like all hope had evaded me today.

Somehow, she had ended up with a raw deal when it came to a role model, but didn’t she make a choice? So many sins… leaving so many scars…

I thought about Mama… about my own mother. About how her love had exceeded every mark. Though I had known her for such a short time of my lifetime, like a fleeting moment of wonder, her compassion and sincerity in whatever she had conveyed to me in that time was unforgettable.

And then, as Khalid crossed my mind.. I couldn’t help but wonder what would have become of me if I had no friends back then to keep me grounded. What I would have done without that beautiful and rare love had moulded me into someone who could see the beauty in everything my Creator had blessed me with, instead of dwelling on the loss.

And then there was Nusaybah. How amazing was it that she had come into my life from nowhere, breaking down those barriers that I had built and helping me to glimpse the magic of rainbows and laughter, that I had closed my heart off to, all that time…

And now, I looked at Aadam, as he gazed at me as if I was the only person in his world. His love had come like a hurricane… with such ferocity that had lifted me to the most amazing heights, opening my heart, not just to a love I never felt before, but to a world of goodness and gratitude and amazement that I would be forever in awe of…

And of course, I could never forget, the One Constant. No matter what. No matter who. He was always there. He remained. He had got me through it all, through every person that He had placed along my path. I could almost still hear Mama’s voice saying it.

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

Gratitude is King. Always was and always will be.

“It’s amazing,” Aadam voice said, breaking into my thoughts as he watched me. “Where I came from… and how much I have… and I keep thinking that we’re okay for now, but I’ve seen people losing their Imaan in front of me, Khawlah. And to them they may believe that they found something better, but to me… They’ve lost everything that matters. Sins are something like quick sand… And once you get stuck, it’s so hard to pull away. How are we even deserving of being saved from that kind of life? Somehow.. I managed to scrape through, yeah? And I cant even be grateful enough…”

”I know,” I said quietly,  leaning back against Aadams outstretched arm, as I thought about what he just said. “I know I shouldn’t be judging her… but I just can’t understand one thing… How did she just let her baby go.. and continue with that life? Having a kid should have put a lot into perspective for her.”

Aadam shrugged.

“When people have issues, they don’t really think at all,” he said. “Maybe she was trying to do the right thing?”

”Maybe,” I murmured. “It’s just so irresponsible. People do that stuff all the time… and an innocent child gets involved. Drugging, partying, irresponsible behavior… and they fall pregnant and give their kids away or have abortions because they can’t handle it… It’s brutal..”

Aadam shifted as I looked up at him. His expression had altered and I could see feel his body tense up next to me as he looked ahead.

“Some people don’t have a choice in the matter,” he said, a flicker of something unrecognisable in his eyes.

“I think most people do,” I argued pointedly. “Having kids… well, it doesn’t happen by itself! You make a choice and you deal with the consequences. If you are grown up enough to do it, you have to man up and face it! There’s not much else to it.”

”Khawlah,” he said, swallowing as he looked at me, albeit nervously, as he got up. “I get your point… but it’s not always black and white…”

”Please Aadam,” I scoffed, narrowing my eyes at him. “What would you do? Like really? Would you ever just throw your child away?! ”

Of course, it was a rhetorical question, but he looked at me steadily as I asked it, almost like he was thinking about what to say. He clasped his hands together nervously, tentatively sitting down on the single seater opposite me, and met my unwavering gaze.

Hypothetically?” he said softly, and I narrowed my eyes at him slightly. “Or for real?”

What?!” I said, completely confused.

“You really want to know, Khawlah?” he almost whispered, searching my eyes fervently. “And you wont get angry?”

“You’re kidding, right?” I breathed, my voice shaky, as he looked back at me.

I didn’t doubt that Aadam had a past. When I first saw him, in all his teenage glory, I could see just what type of guy he was. That was why I probably wouldn’t have touched him with a ten-foot pole. He was different back then, and I probably wasn’t the first girl that had ever caught his eye..

Aadam’s face remained expressionless. My heart pounded in my chest as he gazed back at me.

“There was one particular girl,” he started, and I sat at the edge of my seat with bated breath. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to know this, but there was no going back now. He had already spoken too much. “ I knew her for a few years. Pretty well. We were… well…”

Oh,” I said, swallowing hard at the revelation. I wasn’t stupid. I knew exactly what he meant.

And that’s when he said it. That’s when he broke to me the news that broke my world.

For the second time that day, I felt like my heart had just seized in my chest. Literally. I honestly felt like I could not breathe. I couldn’t even speak.

His chest heaved slightly as he said it, and my own words had caught indefinitely in my parched throat. He slumped over in relief, as if a weight had been lifted off his burdened shoulders… and now, transferred directly onto mine…

How could he be so selfish?

“I can see it’s a shock,” he murmured, reaching out for my hand from where he sat. “I’m sorry, gorgeous…”

I pulled away at his touch. I mean, really? He tells me something that will crumble my world, and then he expects everything to be okay? 

A shock?” I said, breathing in with much effort. “You think it’s a shock? Aadam, do you have any idea what this means?”

Aadam looked up, his eyes ridden with guilt. Guilt and absolute regret. Here I was, all this time, thinking Aadam was being considerate by giving me time to adjust to married life… when in reality, he was holding back for his own selfish reasons… Because he couldn’t stomach his own sins. Sins that had left scars so deep, that their effects had shot even to the depths of my own heart…

“I know,” he said softly, his entire frame looking defeated as he stared back at me in desperation. “And I should have explained this a long time ago… I was scared..”

My heart was feeling like it was being torn apart. Bit by bit. Piece by piece….

“A girlfriend, I expected,” I said, my voice steady as I spoke. “Maybe even more than one… But this, Aadam…This is not a small thing. It’s not about liking cheese on my burger, or whether I prefer hot chocolate with milk… or even about sugar in my coffee…”

”I’m sorry, Khawlah,” he said again.

”These are big things,” I continued, my voice getting a little louder as I pointed at him accusingly. “Things you tell people when they marry you..! It’s things you tell people when you fall in love with them and give them your everything… These are things that you say when you’re sitting together and getting to know each other.. things you say before they become a huge issue… like what’s happening right now!”

”Khawlah, please, you’re not being reasonable. All this is in the past-“ he started, edging towards me.

”I need to go,” I said angrily, grabbing my bag and getting up. “Please call Ahmed to fetch me. I’ll wait downstairs.”

“You can’t wait downstairs alone. It’s not safe.”

“I’ll wait inside,” I said stubbornly. “I’ll be fine.”

“Khawlah, I can’t let you leave like this,” he begged. “You’re upset. Please, love… Don’t go…”

“Please understand. I need to be alone,” I said softly, my eyes pleading with his in mutual desperation.

It was a rare moment when we both just stood there, staring at each other, for the first time ever… with nothing else at all left to say…

And to respect my wishes, as he always did, Aadam stood there in forced silence, with a bleeding heart as he watched me walk away. My own insides felt like a series of daggers had penetrated their fore, as I tried to figure out why this terrible pain was one like I’ve never experienced before.

Unreasonable? No. I wasn’t being unreasonable. I was being realistic.

Yes, some things were not always black and white. Good people do bad things. Mistakes happen. People mess up. Everyone has their own battles, and this was just one of mine.

Tears stung my eyes as I practically floated down the stairs, silently praying fervently, aching for my Lord to get me through this one unscathed.



I gave my heart away,

In Your way, Allah,

I beseech Your Aid for one last battle,

Oh, Healer of Hearts… 


Dear Readers,

A bit of a longer post because I’m writing next week so will be a bit crazy. Please do remember me and all those who are writing in Duaas…

Love to hear from the readers . 

Much Love,

A xx


As per the previous post, we are now on the Sunnah of Drinking Water 

  1. The Sunnah of drinking water states that blowing on hot water or exhaling into a water glass can spread bacteria into the water. Therefore, it’s important that you move the glass of water away from your mouth after taking a sip so that you can avoid breathing onto thewater. Recite “Alhamdulillah” after drinking water.


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Desperate Measures

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


Most kids don’t believe in fairy tales very long. And maybe that’s the way it has to be. To survive in the big bad world, you have to give up the fantasies.. you have to stop believing in the play-pretend. The only trouble is that it’s not all just make-belief. Some parts of the fairy tales are all too real… despairingly true. There might not be a Red Riding Hood, but there is a Big Bad Wolf. No Snow White or Cinderella but maybe an evil step-mother…

But despite even the pitfalls of a fairytale, everyone still wants their own. Its like a human default. Everyone hopes that once in a while, right in the middle of a ordinary life, love will give you your very own happily ever after.

And the thing is, whenever I thought about a perfect marriage… well, I couldn’t help but think of my parents. As a kid, all I remembered was bliss. Sunshine. Rainbows. Getaways that seemed to never end… until we came home. Sheer bliss. Before Mama got sick, the base that my parents had created for us was one of such amazing warmth, stability and unlimited love… that over the years, I found it difficult to ever compare.

And of course, as I grew up and saw the harsh reality of couples around me… I forgot what marriage was about. Through the years I’d seen Zuleikha suffer… I’d seen Rubeena’s discontentment. I forgot that a perfect love could exist, until I glimpsed the beautiful world that Aadam had shown me.

I forgot that it wasn’t only about arguments and struggling. I didn’t know that marriage was not about feeling trapped. I had no idea that real love… was so much more… so much deeper.

The thing is, one thing I realized about a thriving marriage is that it’s not just about falling in love and making it work. Through forgiveness, through love… through compromise and through lots and lots of patience, it requires falling in love not just once, but many times… always with the same person.

And its never easy. Even ‘good’ marriages fail. Sometimes, you have to work real hard at overlooking someone’s annoying faults. Sometimes you have to ignore their inherent insecurities, that can make you crazy. But if you really want it, you have to strive for your fairytale. Sometimes you have to break down the barriers, knock down the walls.. and go beyond the boundaries of your own limitations, to make it all work.

And then, the reward of it takes you to another level . The height of beauty, in this world and the next. Truly beautiful couples.. well, they strive in winning Allah’s pleasure together in every way they can. They glorify Allah together in the quiet hours before dusk. They weep at night upon His remembrance. They are insatiable in the gratitude of His favours upon them. Qur’an forms the foundation of their every action, and the Sunnah is their very way of life.  They perform regular or random acts of kindness and charity… and all that exudes from their base is love. Love, love… and more love.

And the the most important thing to remember though, is that through all that striving.. Never lose hope.

Just as good marriages go bad, bad marriages can also go good. And its so important to remember this, if you are ever facing this predicament.

It was just that as I thought of Rubeena, as Nusaybah and I walked down the street at record speed, I just couldn’t help but wonder what direction she was going in.

And yes, I knew I was lucky to have Aadam. My heart was incessantly hammering in my chest as I thought of Rubeenas’ constant striving to keep her own marriage afloat. To weather the storm. To hold on so tight. Why was it sometimes so hard?

Nusaybah was still draping her hijab as we half-ran to the other side of the neighbourhood. She had such a beautiful modest streak, so she couldn’t stomach being less than decent when she left her home. Unlike many of the other girls in school, she wore flowy dresses and skirts which were the most beautiful hijaab modesty.  She pinned her scarf tightly around her head as we walked, picking up our pace as we entered Rubeena’s road.

The chatter of chirping birds above us were almost soothing as we trudged on speedily. It calmed my riddled nerves, but only momentarily, as the unexpected explosion penetrated my eardrums.

Get out! Just get out!”

The shouts could be heard from two houses down the road.

And I knew it wasn’t funny, but for two teenagers coming in from a place of calm to a situation of extreme dramatics… Well…

Nusaybah’s eyes were dancing frantically as she processed the words, and I could tell that she hardly believed that it was Rubeena’s voice.

“I don’t want to see you again! You and that witch of yours….”

Ooh, this was bad.

I shuddered slightly as I heard the word, which was actually a more offensive version. I looked at Nusaybah with wide eyes as I turned the handle of the door, witnessing Ruby in full-on crazy mode, as Shabeer just stood there and watched her. I instantly felt guilty about not coming here earlier in the week.

“Listen Rubeena, lets just talk.”

Rubeena was standing wit her hands clenched and Shabeer was looking as nonchalant as ever, as he said it. They both turned to look, and I felt a teeny bit self-conscious as I felt their eyes on me.

“Just go,” Rubeena said finally, looking defeated but probably gaining the courage she needed as she saw me.  “I don’t want to hear what you have to say.”

Shabeer stuffed his hands into his pockets and took a slow walk to exit the room.

I looked around and my heart dipped. Danyaal and Dayyaan were peeping around the corner as they watched their parents, obviously knowing that it wasn’t the right time to interrupt. Even as kids, when you see it often enough, you understood that when adults fight, you don’t get yourself in the middle.

“Will you take them outside for a bit?” I asked Nusaybah, who gladly nodded. I had a feeling she was still reeling from shock.

As for Rubeena, well, she had literally collapsed onto the couch… and was sitting there with her head in her hands. She was obviously in a fragile state… But I mean, what was new?

I breathed in as I berated myself for being so hard. I had to give her moral support. As much as I felt that Ruby kept doing this to herself… I knew I had to be sympathetic.

”Ruby,” I said softly, sitting down next to her. “What happened?”

Her sobs were getting heavier as I inched a bit closer, not really knowing how to offer her comfort. In all fairness, Ruby’s decisions were kind of unsettling to everyone’s lives.

”I dug my own grave, didn’t I?” She said, bitterness seeping through her voice.

“It’s going to be okay,” I said, not really sure what else to say. I rubbed her back comfortingly as I said it, a little worried about saying the wrong thing.

Her sobs halted uncharacteristically as she looked up at me with red-rimmed eyes. She had been crying her eyes out.

“She came… here,” she said, her breath slightly strained from all that emotion. “Acting all innocent and meaning well.”

I looked at her, a little confused.

“Hannah,” she said, clarifying.

Ah. Hannah had made an appearance .

“She knows about the pregnancy,” she sighed. “And Shabeer hasn’t been there so…”

She closed her eyes momentarily and inhaled.

”Khawlah, why am I so stupid?”

I blinked at the directness of the question, not really sure what to say.

“And don’t try to tell me I’m not,” she said with hostility. “Because I know I am.”

I took a deep breath. I felt a bit sorry for her right then.

“Ruby, I think there’s a difference between thinking with your heart and thinking with your mind,” I said, shrugging. “Sometimes we just don’t do what’s good for our soul. It doesn’t mean you’re stupid.”

Though Rubeena and Aadam were so different, the one thing they had in common was they always tried to see the best in people. Unfortunately, that too… sometimes came with its price.

“You know what she brought?” She said, raising her eyebrows.

I shook my head, wondering why Hannah would have brought something for Rubeena. It was uncharacteristic… and hugely suspicious.

“She brought a black romper!” Ruby almost screeched. “A black one! For the baby! Now if that’s not evil reincarnated, then what is?”

I almost wanted to laugh. Almost. Except it was weirdly freaky.

Goodness. Hannah was really something else.

“I think she wants payback,” Ruby said, sounding even more morose.

I just couldn’t help but wonder how Rubeena dealt with that.  The infidelity. The worry. The possibility that he might do it again.

Aadam had once told me that so many men do it all the time, and I found it so hard to stomach. Always looking over your shoulder, wondering who your husband was going to launch at next. It was like living in a prison… such a crazy ignorance.

I looked up as I heard a shuffling at the door, seeing little Zaydaan coming towards us. He was still quite little, and as he rubbed his eyes I could tell that nap time was well overdue.

”I can’t manage,” she finally said, her lower lip sticking out slightly. “I miss Adam. I can’t do this on my own.”

That part, I knew. Rubeena was not strong. She often used desperate measures. She was easy to influence and take advantage of. It didn’t help that my mother-in-law was not the easiest person either. When it came to Ruby and Shabeer, it was possible that he was just taking advantage of a fragile situation and her forgiving nature.

I wasn’t sure if she even still loved him… but he was there and he was prepared to do what it took …

“Listen, I’m here,” I said quickly, feeling guilty that I hadn’t been calling to check on her the past week.

Come to think of it, I had even been intentionally stalling on calling my mother-in-law. I knew it needed to be done sometime this weekend.

Being in school and having in-law responsibilities was a bit tough, but the last thing I wanted Ruby to do was take Shabeer back out of desperation now, when her heart was completely averse to it.

“He wants to sleep,” Ruby said as she held Zaydaan, almost half-heartedly. I knew what she meant.

“You rest,” I said softly, feeling sorry for her. “I’ll sort the kids for tonight.”

She looked at me gratefully. Thank goodness it was a Friday. I would have to phone to let Abba know I wasn’t going to be home early. I knew that Dada usually waited for me to dish out his supper for him every night, and when I’m late … he didn’t eat.

I inhaled deeply, hoping he’d understand my predicament.

I made my way to the kitchen with Zaydaan on my hip, looking at the time. I had enough time to make the kids sleep and pray Maghrib. Nusaybah also would need to go home before it was too late, so by some miracle… I had to get it sorted.

I hummed to myself and Zaydaan as I switched the kettle on, the tune of Mamas lullaby still stuck in my head since the night we had the kids at Aadams. The Dhikr soothed my soul, as I touched base with my Creator again. It was just what I needed.

I missed Aadam even more as I held Zaydaan close to me. He rested his head on my shoulder, and I wondered if I was lucky enough for him to fall asleep before we even got to the bed.

And of course, just as I could feel his breathing pattern alter and his body become almost motionless, a voice from behind literally made me jump.

“Is Ruby gone up?”

I turned my head as he spoke, instantly frowning as I  caught sight of him.

Oh hell. Of course he didn’t go.

I honestly thought that he had left. After Rubeena’s performance, all he had probably done was kill some time in another room for a bit and choose a moment that was most inappropriate for him to come out.

And of course, it was inappropriate. I was his brother-in-laws wife. He had no business coming into the kitchen when I was here alone. And Shabeer was blocking the doorway.

“Didn’t she ask you to leave?” I said openly, not really caring about being rude. Certain circumstances called for certain measures.

Wow,” he said, and I could tell he was taken aback by my tone. “The famous Khawlah has a fierce side that we never knew about.”

The famous Khawlah? I narrowed my eyes suspiciously.

Zaydaan was now wriggling around on my shoulder as I attempted to fill powder in his bottle. He didn’t seem too interested in his father. He didn’t even squeal to be carried by him as he spotted his entrance. Come to think of it, I had never really heard the boys talk much about their father. It was strange, but sad.

I put the lid on the bottle and shook it effectively to dissolve the powder. I stepped towards the exit he was blocking, willing him to move and leave. I knew he was throwing his weight around because Aadam wasn’t here, and it made me even angrier.

The thing is, ideally, not to put yourself into situations like this, would be awesome. But in all fairness, when I offered to help Ruby out, I didn’t expect this.

I placed Zaydaan in the pram next to me, hoping he doze off while he drank his milk, and looked in Shabeers direction.

I was seeing him properly for the first time, and all I could think was… He looked old. Much older than Rubeena. He wore a pants and shirt with a loosened tie, and possessed air of arrogance about him that gave me the creeps.

Shabeer, being one of those overconfident guys that obviously thought that the sun shined from somewhere behind him, expected me to humour his conversation. He might have been good-looking at some point in his life but right then, I could not see what Hannah or Rubeena had ever seen in him. Even if he looked like movie-star, I wasn’t ever falling into his trap.

And because he knew nothing about me, my next words to him came as a shock.

“You need to leave,” I said, dropping the volume of my voice, but speaking in a blunt tone. “Rubeena doesn’t need this inconsistency in her life and neither do these kids. Maybe she’ll phone you. Maybe she won’t. But right now, you need to go.”

And yes, though he looked taken aback by my words, being an expert in his field of weaselling his way through things, he recovered almost immediately.

“Will you at least tell her that I love her?”

I raised my eyebrows.


This guy was good. He was really good. After everything, turning on the pitiful, affectionate and doting husband who would do anything for his wife… It was a classic. The thing was, even as he stood there, looking so genuine, I knew exactly what he was all about.

I pushed the pram, almost jamming his leg in the process. Luckily he jumped aside in time, else I wouldn’t have thought twice about riding over his foot.

And even as I stood there in my half fury, desperate to get away from him,  all I could think about was the Hadith about the brother-in-law…

In a narration, Nabi (SAW) has said:

Beware of entering upon women.” (when they are alone)

One of the Sahaabah said to him, “O Messenger of Allaah, what about the brother-in-law?”

He said: “The brother-in-law is death!

[Bukhaaree, Fath al-Baari, 9/330]

And this brother-in-law, with his dodgy history… was probably worse than death.

And of course, as I let out a sigh of relief,  thinking I had got rid of him as he made his way out, I could still hear his muttering in the passage, almost to himself.

I continued to walk toward the stairs, hoping that Nusaybah would somehow make an appearance before I gave him a piece of my mind. She and the other three boys were still outside but since it was starting to get dark, I knew they would be in soon.

I silently willed her to hurry up.

“I can see how you’re judging me,” he was saying, obviously wanting to have the last word, as he put his shoes on. “Like you have the perfect life. Everyone makes mistakes, you know. Think about it. I mean, how well do you really know Adam?”

I paused in mid-step as he said it…. And then, I just saw red. I wasn’t sure what it was, but my fiercely protective inherent nature was somehow making its way to the surface, as this guy practically prodded at my sanity. Now I knew exactly why Hannah had set her sights on this guy. Their sadistic similarities were painfully striking.

How dare he bring Aadam into this?! How dare he speak to me like he knew me?

Did this guy have no fear of Allah… no conscience… at all?!

I spun around, delving into my pocket to retrieve the penknife that Ahmed had forced me to keep. I expertly swung it open in a single twist of my wrist, baring it’s sharpened blade.

Yes, it was completely unbecoming but desperate situations called for desperate measures. A little induced fear never killed anyone.

And of course, those emotions that were buried so long ago, made way again, as the old and forgotten Khawlah resurfaced. The Khawlah that everyone had always relied on. The Khawlah that would come back with a vengeance. The Khawlah that had, in so many figments of my ambitious mind, out of nowhere galloped into the field, sword flying, all ready to take whatever life had thrown at her, completely on.

I was angry but completely in control. That was the difference between Ahmed and I… but only I knew it.

“I’m sure you’ve met my brother,” I said, stepping forward just a little menacingly. “He’s an expert at archery and martial arts. He taught me well.”

I was sure I wasn’t imagining the fear on Shabeer’s face as he raised his eyebrows, almost disbelievingly.

And yeah, it was almost super-warrior like, but he was definitely alarmed. The mention of Ahmed was enough to get anyone scrambling.

”I’m going,” he said in a slightly higher pitched voice. He was contained but a little too quick in his exit to fool me.

He picked up a suitcase, before he turned away with a slight shrug of his shoulders, knowing this time, he had to drop his case.

And of course, as I stood there for a good few minutes, more than just a little stunned at my unexpected ferocity… wishing I could be like the sleeping Zaydaan that was completely oblivious to the ugly world… the cool evening draft from the back door made me touch down to reality once again.

At one end was Nusaybah, staring at me with a mixture of shock and admiration… and at the other end.. as the front door opened almost immediately after, well.. was someone who looked a little less enthusiastic to see me.

Oh,” she said. My mother-in-law caught sight of me, and immediately her expression changed.

“What are you doing here?”


Dearest Readers

Shukran to all the sisters for the love and input. It warms my ❤️

I’m so sorry about the comments that have unknowingly gone to spam. I will definitely check my spam queue more often..

I’m so sorry… I have a bit of a busy week but I will try and post by Saturday, Insha Allah. Shukran to all… will definitely try and keep to suggestions.

Much Love, 

A 🌸


I’ve often heard that the personality of Nabi SAW was such that he spoke when necessary and always gave an attentive ear.

Aisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) said: And this is how Allah’s Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used to utter (so distinctly) that if one intended to count (the words uttered) he would be able to do so. [Muslim]

We have been given two ears and only one mouth for a reason. Whenever somebody wants to share a story or just wants to talk to you, turn to them and listen to them attentively, as if only the two of you were in the room.  When somebody talks to you, really make them feel that you are interested in what they are saying.

How easy to practice- being a good listener is part of good akhlaaq!  

Let’s revive this Sunnah Insha Allah.

IG: @thejourneyingmuslimah

How easy to practise!

#revivetheSunnahof Sleepingearly






Twitter @ajourneyjournal



In the Deep End

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


You never know where you’re headed. No-one does. All we know is that once in while, we feel this invincible and incredible thing… and then, well.. you’re already in the deep end.

Love. A matter of the heart. A force of nature. Neuroscience says that it activates the same part of the brain as a habit-forming addiction. It makes us feel like we can be anything, do anything… achieve anything.

And what’s most important is to tell that special someone that you love them, while you still can. The thing is, life is such… this Duniyaa is such… that you never think that the last time’s going to be the last time – you think there will be more. You want more. You think you have forever, but you don’t.

Yes, horrible things do happen. Happiness, in the face of all of that… that’s not the goal. And yes, although the ultimate goal is to love purely and solely for the pleasure of Allah… I think the most important thing, through it all…. is Gratitude. And we often hear the phrase of Allah’s promise in the Qur’an in no uncertain terms.

“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.” [Qur’an: Chapter 14, Verse 7]

And of course, the beauty in the message here is so vital. The thing is that as we grow up, we get tuned to be ungrateful and not to see the blessings in our life. We focus all our energy and attention towards finding out what we lack.

And every so often in life, it happens that we see things for what they truly are. We see ourselves for how truly undeserving we are. People are, by default, expectant. Ungrateful. We expect the best, even though we don’t give the best. We think we deserve the ultimate, when our striving is not always the best.

The truth is, if we don’t understand our great favors as gifts from Allah, we often fall prey to believing that bad things that befall others are because they deserve it. The truth is this: whatever good comes our way is never to our credit.

A good financial standing, is not because we earned it. A righteous child, is never our ‘doing’. A loving spouse, is far from our right. When we begin to truly see these gifts for what they are, then that truth will humble us to such a degree that we will never tire of  thanking Allah.

I’ll miss you, beautiful.”

The words were almost drowned amidst the chaos of the boisterous airport, and I swallowed hard as he said it , silently willing myself not to pour out all my slobbery emotions on his strikingly white Kurta.

I wanted to say it but I just couldn’t.

Oh, be still my beating heart. In such a short time, the feelings were over-whelming.

It’s just two weeks, I reminded myself desperately. Only two weeks. And then he’ll be back.

I breathed in his musky aftershave as I held onto him, almost afraid to let go. I could feel his grip loosen as he tried to pull away, but for some reason… it was like the force just got stronger. Maybe it was the fact that his mother’s eyes were boring into my back as I tried to bid him farewell in the most dignified manner, although I was terrified of what was in store for me thereafter.

Khawlah,” he said a little uneasily, as his one evasive eyebrow tilted downwards in worry. “You’re behaving like I’m boarding the Titanic. What’s wrong?”

The crowd in the distance looked like they were moving on to the boarding gates, and I stepped back as I furiously blinked back tears and shook my head.

He already knew. There was no time, but he already knew.

“You’ll be okay,” he said easily, placing his hands on my shoulders. “And I know it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; but we’re going to work at this everyday… even when I’m gone… and I want to do that because you’re my best friend and I love you and she’s going to love you too. You’re going to be okay.”

I breathed out as his thumb gently wiped away the single tear that rolled down my cheek, and without another word, brushed the back of my hand to his lips, and then spun around and practically bolted down towards the departing crowd.

I felt as if my heart had spilt in two, as I watched him till the very end of the queue… greeting a few of the millions of people he knew speedily along the way and then turn around one last time to wave just before he disappeared completely out of sight.

My heart. Why, oh why did it have to be like this… I felt like he was leaving me to circling vultures that were just waiting to have their feast.

My mother-in-law had barely greeted me as I saw her earlier, and facing her again was already making me anxious. Would she talk to me?  Would she be nice?

Why did her behaviour really affect me so much? I just couldn’t seem to win her over.


It was Rubeena who was approaching. Thank Goodness. Despite trying to be a warrior, as still in a bit of a fragile state. I wished I had took Nusaybah up on her offer to come and give me some moral support.

“Mum wants to go for coffee,” she said blandly. She had Zaydaan in her arms, who looked like he was about to nod off. I pulled him into mine as he stuck out his hands, enjoying his welcomed warmth and comfort. Children were so real and unfiltered. I loved that they never took sides.

“Will you join?”

Coffee now? I turned around to see my mother-in-law watching me from a distance, pretending she wasn’t, as she suddenly averted her gaze.

I couldn’t tell if she really wanted me to join. On the other hand, if I said no… she might use it as leverage against me when Aadam came back. She’ll argue that I never make an effort. I was in a bit of catch. This was going to be a difficult  one…

What if she said something to me? Worse, what if I said something rude to her back?

”Khawlah, you coming?”

It was Ahmed who now approached from near the gates with his phone in his hand, not really looking up as he got to me… and I almost wanted to hug him.  Almost. He came forward, looking a little less confident than usual as he spotted Rubeena.

I was beaming with gratitude. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to spend time with her… I was just afraid of making a wrong move while I was at it. I needed some time to settle my thoughts.

I looked at Rubeena indignantly, but she didn’t really notice. It took me a few minutes to realize that Rubeena was not exactly in sync with my thoughts as my brother stood there… and I looked from Ahmed to Rubeena for a few seconds, trying to figure out if I was just being presumptuous.

No ways, I thought to myself. Rubeena was way older. And she’s married.

I made a mental note to warn Ahmed later about lowering his gaze. I didn’t want Rubeena to get the wrong idea. For now though, I knew I had bigger fish to fry them worry about possible chemistry between the two.

I had to somehow weasel my way out of the coffee date and leave on a good note with my mother-in-law… who was so difficult to please…

I didn’t understand it. She was Aadam’s mother after all. No-one could take that place. Why did I pose such a threat to her?

To top it all… rumour had it that she wasn’t happy about Aadam’s car downgrade either… and I was sure that it was part of the reason I was getting the extra cold shoulder today.

I dug in my bag for the Kit-Kats I had bought for the boys earlier, hoping they would serve as a distraction whilst I greeted her and went on my way. I wished I had brought her something as well.  Assuming the most natural stance as I approached her and the other three kids, who were with their grandparents, of course… I didn’t need any introduction.

”Khawlah!” The two screamed as I got there, almost knocking me over in excitement. I loved these kids with no reservation.

And of course, like a cat arching their back in the vicinity of a threatening acquaintance, I could already see my mother-in-laws defense up as I stepped forward to embrace them. I knew that they would also miss their uncle these two weeks. I felt like the rival female as my mother-in-law peered at me judgmentally, whilst I pulled out the chocolates from my bag.

Danyaal and Dayyaan were already almost on top of me, as I attempted to hand them over.

“Chocolates now?”

Of course, she was now towering above me as she icily said it, her eyebrows raised.

“It’s already six-thirty,” she said, now with a condescending smile. “We don’t need these boys getting hyper on us tonight. All that sugar…”

I sighed.

It was the classic ‘make a big deal out of a small thing’ issue, because she didn’t have the guts to just confront me about what was really bothering her. She was using other ammunition to try and build a case and I wasn’t buying it. I just didn’t have the drive in me to fight it.

“Mum it’s not like it’s that late,” Ruby started, trying to stick up for me.

“They can even save it for-“

“It’s already dark!” My mother-in-law snapped rudely, cutting me off before I even finished my sentence.

Ooh, I wished I could have given her a piece of my mind. What was this woman doing to me?

“Besides, we’re taking them to that toy shop to get them something,” she said with a toss of her flawlessly tinted hair. How did she always look so perfect? 

And of course, mention the word toy shop to four kids of understanding, and they were already bought. The menial chocolates were already forgotten. Besides the fact that there wasn’t a real toy shop at the airport, she had already won. I stuffed the chocolates back into the packet they were in, knowing that I was going to be no match for this woman who definitely wanted to outdo anything I could offer. Well, not today.

I could tell what her thinking was, of course. As it stood… I had ‘taken away’ her precious son… she wasn’t about to let me get the better side of her grandsons as well.

I sighed again as Rubeena offered me a silent apology. She shook her head and grabbed the chocolates, saying that she knew it will probably keep them busy while she was attempting to have her cappuccino in peace.

And of course, although I was hurt by my mother-in-laws constant efforts in trying to break me, I knew I had to keep trying, for Aadam’s sake. Where was the limit though? When did I stop trying and just call it a day?

And then of course, like an epiphany… I couldn’t help but digest it.

Maybe I was just getting it completely wrong. Maybe my intention had been wrong. In my attempts to win her over, maybe I had forgotten the point of it all. I was always trying so hard… that I forgot what my ultimate aim should be.

I had forgotten that my focus should be to please Allah. When I felt like letting her have it… I needed to remember that. I needed to remind myself that there was a bigger picture out there than giving tit for tat.

Ahmed and I walked in silence to the car, thoughts of how much more I could do clouded my mind. I had to be strong. I had to try harder. I had to shift my focus. There was no use getting upset over these things. Tomorrow was another day…and I had to work on what was more important. I had to work on pleasing my Creator first. It was only through Him that I could gain anything… even if it was, by some miracle, her entire heart…

”So,” Ahmed cut through my thoughts as we jumped into the car and automatically buckled up. “Your brother-in-law didn’t make it?”

I frowned momentarily as he said brother-in-law, before it clicked. Ah.

“Shabeer?” I said, wondering why he was asking about him. I wasn’t sure if I was getting the wrong end of the stick… or was Ahmed really …?


I had to make it known. I couldn’t risk this spiraling out of control.

Rubeena has to be in hospital for two days after her collapsing incident… but Aadam had very briefly told me that Shabeer had somehow got himself out of the deep end with the cops and was back home with her. I was sworn to secrecy but the good news was that Rubeena was pregnant… and not fatally ill, as I had feared.

Surprise surprise. Although I was happy for Ruby… and glad that Hannah didn’t win.. something about the notorious Shabeer just made me feel uncomfortable. The cheating, the whole situation with Hannah… and then… the way he had stared at me so candidly when I had met him. It was like he was always looking for something more… was Rubeena going to ever be truly happy with him?

“Ahmed,” I said carefully. “Shabeer and Ruby are still married. He may not have been there but things are looking pretty good between the two of them for now.”


Ahmed literally halted the car in the middle of the road, as he spun his head around to stare at me with a look that said I was probably gone crazy.

Was I getting the whole thing wrong? Why else would Ahmed be asking about Shabeer?

Rubeena was in a fragile state and I didn’t want anyone getting their hopes up.

“I’m just saying,” I said, knowing I had to nip it in the bud… even if it was just a thought. “I don’t want you getting your hopes up on someone…”

”My hopes?” Ahmed said, with a smirk on his face as he edged the car forward again.

“Rubeena is in a really delicate state,” I said, biting my lip consciously as he looked at me again. “You need to just watch how you behave around her… she might-“

”She might think I’m leading her on by looking at her?! I know her husband is a unfaithful piece of crap, but is she really that desperate?”

That was uncalled for. I was just trying to warn him. I didn’t care if he thought that I  probably morphed into some kind of crazy old woman persona. I didn’t care if he thought I was being old-fashioned. The gaze was a powerful thing… an evil arrow of the arrows of Shaytaan that can sway even the most focused and unassuming people.

“Answer me, Khawlah,” he said, with a forceful edge to his voice.

I frowned as I looked back at him.

“Is that how you lead people on? Tell me! Because I really want to know!”

Okay, now he was getting a bit fanatic about the whole thing. Crazy, right?

“All I was saying was-“

“I don’t start things that I don’t finish. I’m not you.”

I sucked in my breath as he said it, a little confused. What did he mean?


Now it was my turn to look at him like he was crazy.

“Oh, don’t act so innocent,” he said, banging his hand on the steering wheel. “You know what I’m talking about. You act like you are so good.. and you never make mistakes. Tell me, Khawlah, you never did that before? Left things hanging?”

“I have no idea what you are talking about,” I said heatedly, hating all these accusations. This was sounding so achingly familiar. Was he talking to Hannah? Shabeer? Someone else..?

“Yes, you’re living this awesome life of luxury with a famous doting husband and the best of everything, so you don’t care,” he said, in a bitter voice. “But what about your past, Khawlah? What about things you did?”

I shook my head as I looked at him in bewilderment. Yes, maybe in my childish ignorance I might have done some crazy things… maybe some stupid things too… but I never intentionally hurt anyone. I would never…

Ahmed was going to hear none of it as he slammed the brakes, swerved to the side of the highway, and hastily turned off the ignition. He wanted to get answers out of me and I had none to give. This was so dangerous and crazy, and I hated it.

Dammit Khawlah, you’re so good at acting stupid,” he finally muttered. By now I was convinced that my brother had irrevocably lost his marbles at some point in his crazy life.

This was completely unbeknown to me. It wasn’t about making mistakes. It wasn’t even about history. Somewhere along the way, something had happened that had landed me right the deep end.

I could gauge his raspy breathing in the pitch-black darkness of the night. I was at the height of frightening curiosity, and with no other warning… his words painfully cut through the dead silence as he spilled it out.

“Do you have any idea where’s Khalid?”

Sunnah Reminder:

Nawas ibn Sam’an reported that the Prophet of Allah, SAW, was asked about doing good and evil. He replied, “Doing good is having good manners. Doing evil is what troubles you inside and what you would not like others to know about.”

May Allah help us be of the best character and manners for our families, friends and all people around us.

Let’s revive this Sunnah Insha Allah.

IG: @thejourneyingmuslimah

How easy to practise!

#revivetheSunnahof Sleepingearly






Twitter @ajourneyjournal




A Different Kind of War

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


Who doesn’t want to be a soccer star?

Being a soccer fan myself, I could imagine that it must be some sort of perfect dream world. Imagine fans going crazy just because you decide to make an appearance? The glitter.. the glam. The fame and fortune that comes with it all… It’s so easy to get sucked in.

But a picture doesn’t always paint a true story.

And in this world of illusion, what we are exposed to is often sifted and targeted, and is often very far from the truth. What’s next to best, after being a soccer star?

A soccer stars wife, of course.

And an article I read recently, put this into an entirely different perspective for me. And yes, from what I read, she lived a pretty amazing life, materialistically. But in all honesty, I think that sometimes we do forget that there is more to life than what meets the eye.

Because then she broke it to her audience… in a most natural and unbiased way… That there are some days when she is broken inside. She feels robbed of her rights. She is a prisoner to the world and its whims. She stands on the scale, literally, five times a day, just to check that that she hasn’t put on a single kilogram.

She is a slave to fashion… and a victim to expectation. Her appearance has to be perfect, just in case… her man’s eye has to stray onto a woman who is dying to be another notch on his bedpost. She is an object to his gratifications, his full-time secretary, the mother of his kids and on top of it all… has to live in a constant fear of another woman taking her place.

And if what I read there, was not complete ignorance of this age, I had no idea what was… and I had to backtrack…


It existed once, and we think its over… but this kind of prison obviously didn’t end there.

The people of Arabia had sunken into a pit of  revulsion and disgust. It was a different kind of war. 


“The worst religion; and the worst house.”

And we can never truly understand the animosity of Jahiliyyah. They were overflowing with ignorance.

Women had lost their dignity. They had no value… they had been robbed of respect. They would walk in the streets… literally, naked. For a man to divorce his wife multiple times… kick her out… be with another woman… and then take her back the next morning… was a usual thing. 

The people drank dirty water and ate filthy food. Desires had deflected them and self-conceit had swerved them. Extreme ignorance had made them foolish. They were confounded by the unsteadiness of matters and the evils of deception. Man disregarded kinship and practised robbery. They flogged their slaves. They worshipped idols, liaised with the demons of parallel universe and shed each others blood. 

A woman had no right. No court. No one to defend her whatsoever. And as she displayed herself in that beguiling manner… her worth decreased, and of course, seeing no value to the life of a woman.. knowing she would be subjected to the same barbaric treatment as every other women…

Upon their birth… Fathers actually buried their little girls alive. 

And this was the time when the light of Islam made its onset. It came to give women their rights. It came to save mankind. It came to relieve them from their burdens, and ease the turmoil that had broken out with such ferocity. As the sun dawned on a new faith.. a new beginning, and a new way of life for all… a new religion came to shake up this city of foolishness… to dispel the darkness.

When Makkah slept and woke, there was no other talk other than a man who had come with a truth of One True God. A bringer of glad tidings. A warner to call unto the worship of One Supreme Being. And for the Arabs at this time of overwhelming darkness… It’s light was a beacon that would illuminate the entire world in time  to come.

And among the dwellers of Makkah was a boy who was one of his most attentive listeners. He was the apple of his mother’s eye. A boy who, when he walked, the women would tail him in stupefaction. A youth who was brought up with utmost luxury. His name was Mu’sab.

And he was no ordinary young man. His beautiful garments were so long that they dragged behind him when he walked. He wore tailored shoes that came from Yemen. He wore scented oils that people could smell his fragrance before he even walked into a room. Mus’ab was extremely handsome, and one could only imagine the rancour the ensued when his mother got wind of his new faith… 

But among the chosen servants of Allah, there are some whose faith doesn’t shake. Some who are so steadfast, that no money, luxury or materialistic gain can sway them. He sacrificed everything for Allah and His Rasool (SAW)… 

“It’s Mus’ab!”

Mus’ab? It wasn’t the first time that I had heard about him…

“Hey, hey, hey….”

I turned my head to see who it was talking, and Ziyaad winked at me as I switched my view again to see what he was on about. Around me a group of men had gathered as they spoke, and an exotic, but neat looking car sidled up next to us as we watched.

“Someone’s got a downgrade.”

A downgrade? 

“I wouldn’t call it a downgrade,” Molvi’s younger brother, Yusuf said, eyeing the car that approached.

“Who cares? A car is just a car,” a voice I didn’t recognise said blandly.

”That’s my man!” That was the Molvi talking, of course.

At that moment, the door swung open and only then did it click with me what they were talking about. Aadam stepped calmly out of the new, completely less flashy than his previous car, and gave us a Aadam-styled grin. Did he actually sell his Ferrari?

“Exactly my point,” someone muttered, still hanging onto their previous conversation about whether this was a possible downgrade or not.

To me, cars had mattered. Money had mattered. But the whole ‘a car is just a car’ phrase intrigued me so much, that I wanted to know who said it. I couldn’t quite place the voice in the growing crowd.

Aadam went around the other side like a real gentleman, opening the door easily as my sister stepped out.

Yeah, I supposed the two of them were ‘sweet’. I dropped my cigarette bud and squished it under my shoe as I offered to help, and the other guys obviously stayed at a distance. It was only after I had come forward to the noble thing, that the back door opened, and I got caught kind of off-guard.

Now despite not being the sociable type, I couldn’t help but feel a little inclined to these kids that were pouring out from the back. And although the macho guy attitude didn’t exactly mesh with all these soppy feelings, I knew for certain that they had earned, for some reason, a very special place in my sister’s heart too.

At the end of the day, I got it. A child is a child. I mean, if people (especially parents) take that notion seriously and do their utmost to just ensure that a child has the most normal kind of special childhood, I would have no problems. But what broke me here was seeing these kids so torn over their parents issues. Although the smaller two were mostly oblivious, catching the eyes of the bigger ones kind of broke my heart. Basically, what I saw was that look of defeat that even I wore as we grew up… and it ate me alive.

I stepped back as their attractively dressed mother jumped off, being careful not to look at her and allowing them space to pass me while I took Aadam’s luggage.

I kind of blamed her for this inner battle that the kids were facing. I mean, almost always, it was both parents that deserved a solid telling off about how they were messing their kids up. But the main candidate whose perfect nose I so badly wanted to break had basically been off the radar for a few weeks, and I was waiting for him to make an appearance that day. Somehow, after the drama on the wedding day with Hannah, Aadam’s brother-in-law had just gotten onto the wrong side of me.

As the women and kids went inside, the group of us were huddled on the side of the car drive through at Johannesburg airport, as we waited for them to finish their dangling cigarettes. Aadam looked like a typical high-flyer guy gone pious, with his tailored Kurta and hand luggage Samsonite bag that moved with his stride. His smile was infectious, as usual, as he outstretched his hand to greet Molvi first and then the rest of the guys. Aadam just had this easy-going nature about him that made everyone feel at peace. And of course, I couldnt believe that he had actually sold his sports car. I was so sure that Khawlah had something to do with it.

Molvi and his brother had flown in from Durban airport and were also leaving for Hajj on the same flight as Aadam, lucky guy… which explained the huge crowd that was there. Two of the guys were smoking vapes… and mixture of fruity smoke and tobacco were keeping onlookers at a distance. The only guys who didn’t smoke were Molvi and Aadam, and I killed my urge to light up another one as I stood next to them.

“Another real life Mus’ab, nuh?”

Being a finicky guy, I personally hated when Jo’burg people used the nuh/neh thing. It just annoyed the crap out of me. But wait, there was that Mus’ab again right? Who was this Mus’ab?

Wow. Waseem! Bro, I haven’t seen you in ages!”

I switched my gaze curiously as a guy from the crowd moved forward and I eyed him out, taking in his calf length Kurta and modest posture. Besides being dressed to Sunnah perfection, there  was something special about this guy. Piercing blue eyes and a charming smile… Aadam embraced him and as Molvi stepped back to where I was, he could tell I was curious.

“The two modern-day Mus’abs,” Molvi said with an illuminating smile on his face.

I nodded as he elaborated, explaining to me about how he had first met Waseem, who he called the first Mus’ab. It was a few years ago just when Waseem had changed his life. For him, it wasn’t only about a girl who he thought was out of his reach… he was giving up his family, throwing away the chance to be an heir to his father’s multi-million business and losing a home. He had risked everything to change his life… and Molvi couldn’t be prouder. According to him, Aadam was on a similar path, and it made me see my brother-in-law differently. The crazy part here was that Molvi had just told me that Waseem, was actually the Zee’s brother.

Like, real brother. I was in awe. The trademarked phrase of ‘a car is just a car’ was his.

“Are you guys talking about me?” Zee asked, hearing his name.

Molvi smiled and winked at him playfully.

Ziyaad was eyeing me suspiciously as I looked from him to his two brothers and raised my eyebrows. Now although I loved Ziyaad and his quirky humour… and between him and his older brother, there were definitely dials… with Waseem, I saw no connection..

”That’s your brother?” I asked him incredulously. “Like really?”

Zee frowned.

“Is it because he’s like Prince Charming and I’m Shrek?”

I wanted to laugh, but I’m sure you gathered by now that I  was pretty good at maintaining a straight face. Molvi was cracking up next to me though.

Zee grinned, just to show he didn’t take any offense.

“It’s okay,” he said coolly. “Waseem’s the enigma in the family. I got the drill ages ago. I’m just the damn go-to boy.”

Molvi shook his head and slung his arm around Ziyaad’s shoulder, trying to cheer him up. That was the thing about Molvi. He was so terrifying yet easy- going at the same time. Although his sturdy build, seriously striking features and solid gaze sometimes gave me the creeps, his amazing smile and ability to just make everything easy was so amazing. Such a perfect example. And this was something I learnt from the time I had spent with him on the last trip he had convinced me to accompany them on to Egypt, a few weeks before, because truly, when you travel with someone, especially when they are the friends of Allah, then only did you realize their true worth.

And those few weeks ago, I really didn’t have many expectations about the trip. He had mentioned we would give aid to refugees if need be, and do some Da’wah work while we were at it. His brother and one of his friends were with us as we boarded a bus after landing at the basic airport, dragging our bags through dusty streets and hoping to find a suitable place to stay.

I looked around at the Egyptian capital… A place of extremes, filled with ancient landmarks, snarling traffic, ornate mosques, and glittering modern skyscrapers. Who would have ever thought that there had been so many riots caused by the infamous Arab spring, just a few months ago? I took it all in as we walked, enjoying the boisterous  city scenery and trying not to worry too much about the rumours about terrorist attacks that always seemed prevalent. I had to relax.

Molvi, Yusuf and Imraan all seemed at peace. I had to get the drill.

They were so easy. Simple. Everything about him was Sunnah. And the amazing part about Molvi Umar was that he wasn’t a poor guy. From what I heard, he was a guy who had a considerable amount of money. His family owned a good business and his brother, who was with us, was an engineer. But all this… never made him lose sight of what his purpose was. He could have booked the best hotel in the city… stayed in luxury… made sure that we were in perfect comfort… but this man was not about the ‘finer things in life’. From what I had heard from his friend Imraan, and the sacrifices that he had made during his former years, Molvi was no man of the world. He had given up so much for the sake of this selfless work and he wasn’t going to stop there. Because his entire life was about one mission, to waste money on what was not necessary was something he could not bear. For him, he needed to get right into the heart of the camps… and the project. He wanted to meet the guys going through the rough times… whether they were Muslim or not. He wanted to converse, to mesh… and to completely be in service.

And of course, travelling as brothers who were in the way of Islam, many people had their eye on us. I mean, imagine four guys with fully bearded faces, full Muslim garb and backpacks on their shoulders.

Enough to break anyone’s swag, right? Yeah, I can tell what you’re thinking already. But let me just kill the stereotypes here. Most religiously clad people go to these countries with the intention of serving the people who are there. They don’t go there to ‘fight’. They go their to provide food, hampers, assist in medical aid… and many other valid reasons that have nothing to do with the treacherous ISIS.

And I know where you’re coming from if you were thinking that way, but although we were only only going to Egypt and the typical Islamaphobia was not common… but the odd few security personnel and passengers would definitely give us a second look. There were times in my life when I had wondered about this.

To tell the truth, for me- it was awkward. Being the kind of person I was, every time that someone gave me an odd look or double-checked my passport… I wanted to break their face. For Molvi, Yusuf and Imraan… it didn’t even faze them.

And I supposed that was the trick, because then of course, came the moment when a security guard at the airport pulled Molvi aside and demanded he open his backpack. And of course, my heart kind of just seized right there and then because I honestly didn’t know what I would do if they arrested Maulana Umar. And of course he had nothing with him that would be a warrant, but you heard of those stories where people were accused or even framed.. and had to spend years in prison for no reason at all? My mind was going into overdrive.

Though I came close to his build, and did present quite a threat, Molvi’s presentation was much more formidable. It was no wonder that from the four of us, they picked him aside as their target and I couldn’t help but think how unfair this world was.

What a test… and of course, as my gaze caught Molvis, extreme relief overcame me as I saw the complete ease that was in his eyes.

This man was something else. Of course, his response was on another level completely.

“We have nothing to hide, my brother,” he said calmly, talking to no-one in particular. “We are open. We are transparent. We have nothing to hide.”

The man who searched him seemed contented and I looked ahead as Imraan came up beside me. Molvis stance was so cool. Calm. Unexpected. And of course, he just amazed me even more as we went on. To top it all, he was completely right.

“You look like you’re panicking,” Imraan said calmly. “This is nothing … relax. You lucky Umar’s calmed down over the years…”

What I didn’t know at that point was that he had gone through much worse…

My brain just kind of froze as I processed what it was to be a Muslim traveler. I was caught up in my own world for so long… that the reality was such a shock. And of course, there weren’t only Islamaphobic people out there… but you HAD to expect the odd few. One thing I’ve learnt was that if you are open, friendly and genuine, then other people will treat you the same way most times. When you don’t make your dress/hijab/attire an issue, they don’t make it an issue.

And as works out, when your faith is in the One Who Controls it all.. Of course it all has to all work out in the end. Molvi and the security guy had a jolly conversation before we moved on, my heart still beating rapidly in my chest. I climbed out of the taxi that day as we reached the Mosque, with a relief that was unimaginable.

They called me the virgin Mujaahid… not because we were going to ‘war’ as many people would think, but because a Jihad is basically a struggling and striving with the inner self in order to please Allah. It was the first time that I had experienced this. This was a different kind of war. This was what Khawlah had always try to tell me about. It’s a process of putting aside all other whims and desires, trusting in Him alone and hoping to attain a reward that was reserved for those who attain a beautiful status of asceticism and disregard for anything else.

And man, as I travelled with these guys and got to know them, I just loved them and their work so much more. I even forgot about the macho and hard-core kind of vibe I was used to putting on. I was in awe of them, and as Molvi greeted he guys in the Masjid with affection, I could see the genuine warmth that they exuded when they saw us too. They were so welcoming… hospitable… so glad that we had braced them with nothing else to offer them but our meagre presence. They seemed to know Maulana Umar well, and had prepared a wholesome traditional meal for us that exceeded our expectations.

And just as we got ready for the next prayer, and I got my things together… A figure standing to my right caught my attention as I felt his eyes on me…

And of course, being the formidable me, and not being able to stand people staring at me, I switched my gaze steadily to this guy who was openly gaping at me with a look of absolute wonder.

And of course, as I caught sight of him, I couldn’t quite believe it myself.

Right before me stood a guy that I had not seen, literally, in years. I could still remember his ambitious laugh and superb character, as if I had just seen him yesterday. With the exception of a amazingly defined cheek bones and a sparse scattering of facial hair, as I would expect of anyone that age, he looked almost the same.

I wondered when he had got here. I wondered if he knew of everything that had gone down back home. At one stage he seemed so close to us… but now…

I had no idea when or how he had reached this place that seemed so far away… but I was soon about to find out.

Khalid?” I asked, a tiny smile creeping on my face as I watched him in awe.

“Is that you?”

Dear readers,

Sincerely hope all had a lovely Eid! Extra long post today with a different perspective.

Love to hear from the readers…

Much Love,

Nawas ibn Sam’an reported that the Prophet of Allah, SAW, was asked about doing good and evil. He replied, “Doing good is having good manners. Doing evil is what troubles you inside and what you would not like others to know about.”

May Allah help us be of the best character and manners for our families, friends and all people around us.

Let’s revive this Sunnah Insha Allah.

IG: @thejourneyingmuslimah

How easy to practise!

#revivetheSunnahof Sleepingearly






Twitter @ajourneyjournal


Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


The biggest mistake as Muslim parents living in a western world, is that we believe our role as parents is like any other parent. What other kids do, ours must follow suit. Furthermore, how other kids are raised, becomes the norm for us as well.

The painful truth is that western parenting methods have a really big glitch. The fact that kids can be vocal to an unruly and disrespectful extent, can often create disagreeable adults. Disciplining your kids in a western society with a simple smack, is a definite no-no. In short, any attempt to show whose boss and to mould your kids into straight and refined individuals who think before they talk, and ponder before they act, is taboo.

The thought came to me as I drove to my mothers house one weekday morning during the holidays, in an attempt to occupy the kids and also get the long awaited meeting with my mother over with. Zia had been recently re-exposed to one of the catchiest tunes of the century and was now ‘baby-sharking’ at peak volume, despite me going crazy on him from the drivers seat.

Now, I had been warned by Adam to filter their YouTube videos. I had been trying to get them to watch good stuff, instead of the usual crap, because killing their addiction completely was proving difficult. But yesterday, upon Shabeer’s request to meet with him at a restaurant so he could spend some time with the kids, a unhappy little boy at the next table sat and watched the “doo-doo-do-do” video about seventy-five times in one sitting, despite protests from other annoyed customers, just so that his parents could eat in peace.

I was appalled. And of course, if I didn’t know better now, I couldn’t help but think to myself- that could have been me! Actually, if nothing had changed in my life, it would have been me!

And of course, even as an exceptionally good-looking version of Shabeer stole glances at me, trying to figure out exactly I was thinking as he pretended to listen to the kids, I couldn’t have been more grateful for seeing the light. Now, while my kids talked, colored and even uncontrollably giggled, I was so much more at peace because I knew that they were in a much better place than ever. Technology-free was bliss. Without the constant need to take selfies wherever I went, to show the world that I was having a good time, when I really wasn’t, I honestly felt so much more… free.

The thing is, if anyone had to ever ask me why my children were suddenly so well-behaved, I knew I’d be able to say it without a hitch. It was only when I had found the peace within the shade of Allah, that I noticed the difference in them. When I started covering myself, stopped sinning and started praying, it was like a huge cloud had been shifted out of our vicinity, and all that descended on us was serenity. Peace, that I had never, in my entire life before, ever witnessed. The fact is that our lies, deceit, gossip and general disobedience to our Lord’s commands not only affect us, but cause a huge glitch in our network.

To be able to keep a firm hold over your child, despite the situation, was a gift indeed. As was the practice of the old, prince and princesses, dukes and duchesses, were taught differently. Likewise, Muslim children are special, and it has nothing to do with having a sense of false superiority. Our responsibility as the Ummah who was given the last and final messenger is a huge one indeed. Where other nations were sent multiple prophets, and multiple books, for us was reserved the one guide and one manual, which undoubtedly has such conviction and amazing insight to last us till the end of time. And we can never understand the gift on being brought up with Imaan (faith)… and the responsibility as a parent in fulfilling this trust.

Parenting is no walk in the park, but when we truly understand that we are to be shepherds over our flock, we will understand the true beauty of the responsibility that Allah has entrusted us with.

Abdullah ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects. A man is the guardian of his family and he is responsible for them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and his children and she is responsible for them. The servant of a man is a guardian of the property of his master and he is responsible for it. No doubt, every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6719, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1829

And as much as I sometimes looked back on my life and wondered if I really had done the right thing by bringing these kids into a marriage that I knew was not the strongest. I had to understand that what had happened was all in its place, and what mattered now was how I got through this. Getting married young was my idea. I wanted what I wanted. I wanted who I wanted. And I was the type that would do anything to get it…

Well, look where it got you now, Ruby, I told myself cynically. All that go-getting didn’t serve me very well in the end.

I tried to put the thoughts at bay as I breathed out and scooped a few more spoons of pasta into the three bowls I had taken out to feed the kids. Where Danyaal had always been easy about what he would eat, the other three were difficult to please. Most of the time it was either pasta or chicken pops. I honestly wondered if they didn’t get sick of the same diet, but it definitely made things a bit easier. I wasn’t the most ambitious cook, but nutrient wise, I wasn’t sure how good it was.

”Yummy yum,” Dayyaan said as he reached for the bowl in haste. I couldn’t resist to smack his hand away, with an irate glare.

Ask first!” I snapped at him, annoyed at Dayyaan’s general habit of helping himself to anything he had an inclination to. Where Danyaal would always ask, Dayyaan often took matters into his own hands. His independence and general attitude was starting to get on my nerves.

His face immediately fell, and of course, I couldn’t help but feel guilty. Was I being too hard? Too stern? Too mean?

Where was the balance between disciplining my kids and doing permanent damage? I was still struggling to get it right.

“Go and take a seat, and I will bring it for you,” I said now, my voice a little less harsh.

I seated them and placed their bowls in front of them, getting ready for the big talk with my mother that I had planned. I hadn’t told my mum about Shabeer and I also knew that Adam was immensely relying on me to smooth talk my mother into letting him make his own choice for marriage.

”Where’s Uncle Aadam?”

Danyaal was looking at me questioningly as he scooped up the last few grains of my mother’s Breyani. If I wasn’t mistaken, Danyaal had seemed a bit quieter than usual these days. He also looked a bit worried.

“I think he’ll come later,” I said, not really certain if what I was saying was true.

“Adam, not Aaaadam,” Dayyaan said, munching on his pasta as he frowned.

Despite Aadam having his own place, he still stayed with my parents most of the time. Recently, though, I wasn’t too sure.

“Khawlah says the Arabic name is Aadam,” Danyaal said, matter of fact.

Dayyaan was easily convinced.

“Isn’t Uncle Aadam getting married?”

Dayyaans question was directed at no-one in particular, but I immediately felt panicked  when he said that. I wasn’t sure when or where Dayyaan had heard it, but the information that kids had picked up involuntarily was scary. I could only assume  that my mother must have said something with the kids around. We really had to be so careful about what little ears may hear.

“No he’s not!” Danyaal said, clearly irritated. “Nona says he doesn’t like that girl. He’s too fussy.”

I really wished that I had zips that I could use to shut my kids mouths. Zaydaan, who had just started talking, never missed on opportunity to out-talk the others. It seemed like the only two words he had caught there were the most incriminating.

”Nona fussy,” he said, clear as day, just as my mother waltzed into the kitchen. I took one look at her and I could already see that she wasn’t too happy with me. I mean, what was new? I honestly wished that I had an invisibility cloak that I could throw on, at that moment.

Now, if you haven’t met my mother, let me just do a quick intro. To put it lightly, my mother was, and always had been, the most upright and sophisticated woman in the extended family. Maybe even in the entire town. My mother seldom wore flats, always had her hair done professionally and her face was always perfectly made-up… to the tee. Personality wise, in short, she was a force to be reckoned with. As you can imagine, I struggled throughout my childhood to meet her expectations, yet still fell short. To my mother, status was important. Excessive wealth was a necessity. And , of course, presentation was everything. How you looked, essentially,  could make you… or break you.

“Why are you turning my grandchildren against me?”

My mother’s glare was directed at me as she spoke.

“Ma, I -“

She cut me off with a simple wave of her hand and called for her helper to take the kids outside. I was glad that they wouldn’t have to hear the rest of the argument. My mother and I always had a strained relationship but I never minced my words when it came to the truth, even if she didn’t like it.

“Mum, they’re kids,” I explained, obviously annoyed. “I can’t control what they say-“

”Oh Rubeena, don’t give me that,” she said dismissively. “As it is my own son doesn’t respect me and my opinions, now your kids are heading the same way. Do you want to turn the whole world against me before I die?”

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Now she was blaming me for Adam and his lack of interest in her friend’s daughter.I had no idea how I got sucked into all of this… as if I didn’t have enough of my own troubles to worry about. I was sure if I told her about Shabeer leaving, she would probably blame me.

”Mum, you do know that Adam is not a baby anymore?” I started, knowing I needed to address the bigger obstacle here.

“Yes, but he’s never been this way till he met that girl!” She retorted, stating exactly what the problem in her eyes was. “And he would always listen! I do know better than you’ll and I know what’s best. If you had listened to me before you chose that husband of yours then you would have been in better place right now! What did I say? I told you to watch out. I told you that Waseem would come around. But no, you wouldn’t listen. As usual, you just went and did what you wanted!”

Of course she would bring up the tragic past and throw it back in my face. Waseem was the son of my father’s friend, and a childhood acquaintance. Yes, we would play weird pranks, watch DSTV together and have a ball while our parents socialized, but he was never a serious type of guy. He messed around a lot as a teenager and I knew he wouldn’t have committed to anyone at that stage. Of course, when I saw him, post-adolescence, a few years back, he changed his life in such a way that I actually couldn’t believe he was the same guy. I was sure that my mother would be shocked too.

“This is not about me and the choices I made,” I said through gritted teeth, knowing now that my mother definitely knew more than she was letting on. “Adam can make his own decisions and he doesn’t let anyone tell him what to do. Why would what I say even affect him? He’s a grown man who can think for himself.”

She scoffed.

“He’s my son and I know what’s best for him,” she said without a hitch. “He’s handsome. Wealthy. He’s got international investments… and of course, he’s reached a platform that no-on his age has ever reached, in his industry. He deserves the best and I would know that, better than anyone.”

Ugh,” I said, infuriated by her boastful attitude. A few months ago, her saying all this wouldn’t have worried me… but now, all I could think was; didn’t she know that there’s more to life than that?

She was living a painful deception.

I also knew that she was having a go at me because I never got so far with a career.

“He’s not perfect, you know! He has faults too!”

I wasn’t sure where I was going with this, but I know that she was getting to me. I had to recheck myself, review my intentions, and I took a deep breath as my mother raised her eyebrow at me. I had to get back to the point of the discussion.

“I’m just saying,” I said, a little softer now. “I know you love him. And he loves you. He does respect you, and he’s begging for you to just listen… He’s wondering why you can’t see things from his perspective…”

She shot an unhappy glance at me as I said that, obviously feeling that I was overstepping the boundary. That was the problem though. There had always been boundaries. Respect, I understood. Of course it had its place. Obedience, I understood. That went without saying. But as a child, I had to always watch my own feelings so carefully because I could never show if I was hurt, upset or even feeling broken inside. For my mother, emotion was a sign of weakness. No matter what happened in life, to be an unwavering pillar, despite the ups and downs that came with life, was the only way.

I wasn’t sure if I saw right but there was a flicker off something unfamiliar in my mother’s eyes before she finally spoke.

“Mum, he wants to get married,” I said finally. “He’s changed so much in the past few months, and I know you’ve notice it too. Don’t be so hard on him. That ease… that enlightenment… that complete peace that he’s found now, Mum, I know that it’s not normal. I know because I’ve found it too.”

She glanced up momentarily. If only she truly understood. That moment of pure freedom… that loneliness that comes with complete and utter submission… its more precious than life itself .

”I’ll talk to him,” she said, her expression now back to the usual stagnant and in-control one. My mother was a difficult person, but I knew that she would do anything for her son. Well, a least I hoped…

I left my mothers house feeling a little more hopeful that day, and not like a complete failure of a sister.

Knowing Khawlah was coming later that day got the boys all excited, and since she told me she wanted me to have a small break while she was there, I took advantage. I made a point of not telling Adam because I wanted to give it some time before he met her officially. I didn’t want to put fuel in the fire regarding my mother either. I just didn’t think that the excitement of my boys would get to my brothers ears, and of course, as I drove in after my 90-minute Thai massage , feeling all calm and relaxed, despite the pouring rain, I didn’t anticipate what met me as I parked my car and stepped out.

That’s of course, when I saw Adam coming down the stairs, and of course, my feelings of slight anxiety immediately dissipated because on his face was the biggest and most genuine smile ever. He looked like he was in a rush but he came forward and greeted me as per usual, looking me in the eye with a look of pure delight, as he ran his hands through his hair. He placed the prayer hat he had in his hands back on his head and it really suited him.

Khawlah’s effect was obviously going further than just changing his frame of mind. If he wanted to marry a girl like her, he clearly understood that he had to step up.

I looked back at him questioningly, obviously wanting to know how Khawlah had taken the unexpected proposal.

“Rubes, I asked…”

I held my breath as he looked at me, and then broke out into an even wider smile. Of course I was already excited, as I hugged my brother in congratulations.

”Well, I think she said yes,” he said, rather comically. I smiled. “She was almost in tears. That’s a good sign, yeah? Or am I counting my chickens a little too early…”

He looked doubtful for a moment and I grinned. I already knew what her answer would be.

“Her brother’s coming back. We have a few things to sort out before the Nikah. Mum… Her father… and yeah, of course, I needed to sort some other stuff out…”

I was barely even listening to him as I started planning the event in my mind. Subtle decor, of course. Nothing over the top. Maybe white roses with crystals… or even orchards, with a neutral runner…

“Rubes, are you even listening?!”

I jumped as I looked back at him, slightly perturbed at his annoyance.

We would have to make a guest list of course. I’m sure they both would want something small and intimate. It was so much better that way. I was already picturing Khawlah in a pretty dress, as my brother would see her for the first time, as husband and wife. I was thinking candles. Pretty pastel colored candles with rose petals. The ambience… the atmosphere… I simply loved weddings and the romantic, cosy feel that it brought.

”You got that look on your face,” he said, his eyes dancing as he shook his head at me. “Just letting you know that we’re doing this the most conservative and Islamic way.”

”What?!” I said, peeved that he disrupted my virtual decor. I would start penning it all done later.

He wanted simple? Of course it would be.

“I asked about Shabeer,” he continued, his smile now just a shadow. “I can’t seem to find him. His phone is off and he’s not at his apartment. I don’t want to do any hacking again but if push come to shove…”

The panic was rising in my gut as he spoke about Shabeer, because I knew that sooner or later, I would have to tell him. I wasn’t used to hiding things from Adam.

“I need to talk to him because he’s the only one who can sort Hannah,” he said seriously. “The sooner, the better. Khawlah’s obviously in a state over everything that’s happened, and you know I won’t let it rest…”

I cleared my throat as my brother reached for his phone, while I stood there, a little unsure of whether I should spill out the truth or not. My heart was hammering in my chest.

“You won’t get him there,” I murmured to Adam, knowing that sooner or later he would find out.

I was visibly nervous and I couldn’t hide it. Adams eyes narrowed as he watched me, and finally rubbed his temples in frustration as I looked back at him in silence, not having the guts to actually say it.

“Wedding drama, right?!” I said meekly, trying to soften the blow.

“Oh crap, Rubes,” he said, visibly disturbed about the havoc this would most definitely cause… I knew that I had a lot to explain.

”You took him back, didn’t you?”

I knew that this was definitely going to cause a glitch in Adam’s perfectly-synced system…

But a little wedding theatrics never killed anyone, right?!

Note: sorry about the extra long post. There’s so much stil to be revealed and I know everyone is waiting for the Nikah- but we are getting there!  

Much love,

A 🌸


The beautiful character of Nabi (SAW).

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“He who believes in Allah and the Hereafter, if he witnesses any matter he should talk in good terms about it or keep quiet.” [Muslim]

We often find ourselves in situations where we sit and talk about things that do not concern us. We waste precious minutes, even hours, just by talking about matters that will not increase us in knowledge, character or anything for that matter.

When speaking ill of a person or situation, the conversation becomes elongated, sadly due to the desire to gossip. The beauty of this particular Sunnah is that it will help you save time and reduce the amount of energy used to contemplate over irrelevant matters being discussed.

Let’s revive this Sunnah InshaAllah, because it is through our Akhlaaq that people can see the light of Islam and beauty of Deen.

How easy to practise!






Twitter @ajourneyjournal

IG: @thejourneyingmuslimah

Pants on Fire

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


“So how did it go?”

The question hung in the air for a few moments while I momentarily stopped what I was doing, leaving the jug with the cupcake mixture aside, while I took a moment to contemplate.

I was trying to do more for my kids. Trying to be a more available… a more ‘involved’ mum. The rainbow cupcakes I had promised Dayyaan could wait a few minutes more, though. I had to phrase my answer carefully.

“Well,” I started, glancing at my brother as he tried to read me, like he always did. Adam was an excellent judge of character, but I wasn’t giving anything away in my expression.

“I think it went okay,” I said, a little hesitantly.

Adam raised his eyebrows at me.

“Really?!” He said, sounding like he didn’t believe me. “So she just smiled and forgave them without reservation, yeah?”

Gosh. He was so cynical.

I pursed my lips, and picked up the bowl of batter, avoiding eye contact. It was time for a diversion.

I could hear Adam approaching me slowly but I continued with what I was doing as he sidled up to me, and suddenly wound up in such close proximity to my face, that I wanted to swat him away.

Liar, liar, pants on fire!”

He chanted it directly in my ear, stepping back now and shaking his head as he crossed his arms over his chest.

I jumped back when he made his accusation and blinked in annoyance. I wasn’t sure how he knew it, but Adam was the one person who knew exactly when I was saying something that wasn’t exactly true. My little brother always had a way to make me reflect over my words… I was quite peeved that he picked it up so fast though.

“So, did she take it as well as I did?”

I scowled.

Adam was smirking but there was noting funny about what he was saying. He was broken when he had found out… and even more upset when he realized what a huge scandal it turned out to be.

Now it was my turn to raise my eyebrows at him.

“Shut up,” I said to him impulsively, the irritation getting the better of me.

It just so happened that it was at that very moment that the kitchen door swung open and Danyaal waltzed in… of course an expression of shock on his face. He was obviously unhappy about something he had heard.

And of course, there was no way he would let it go.

“Mum!” He said in shock. “Did you just say ‘shut up’ to Uncle Aadam?!”

I looked at my son apologetically. He had started to call Adam, ‘Aadam’ from a few weeks ago. He had this perception that we were saying his uncles name wrong and I hated to admit it, but my seven-year-old son was right.

He stared at me accusingly now, almost like I had betrayed him. I didn’t like them to use language that was less than polite. I mentally kicked myself as I realized what a fine example I was setting. I often heard that kids don’t learn from what you tell them… they learn from what you do.

“I’m sorry,” I said impulsively, looking at my son guiltily.

Danyaal gave a sheepish grin, nodded as a sign of acceptance and then turned to Adam.

“Uncle Aadam, will you help me with my madrassa work please?”

Adam nodded and smiled. I wasn’t annoyed that he didn’t ask me. Danyaal valued Adam’s input because he knew what he was teaching them… and he did it so well.

When it came to schoolwork, I was always on top of things, but when it came to Sabaq… Sometimes I wasn’t sure if I was even saying the words properly, because I had been so lax with regard to my Islamic knowledge.

I knew I needed to work on it, but I had so many things going on. I felt my spirits lift as Adam told Danyaal that he’d see him in five minutes, and he scurried off to get his Madrassa bag.

I watched my son in awe. He was so sincere… so genuine in his efforts. He portrayed such passion and devotion, I knew, that was so hard to see in a little child. It wasn’t just his age. I knew that he was special. Different. Khawlah had told me this on different occasions, but the question that hung in the air was what brought me to tears almost every night.

What had I ever done to deserve this?! Such a star of a child? A lover of the Quran? For a kid of his age… with Television so easily accessible, and everything of the best at his disposal, even I could not fathom how he had turned out to be so committed… such a fanatic of Deen… so in love with every piece of Islamic history that he had read about.

What had inspired this, of course I knew…. but what I didn’t often want to think of, was that it definitely had nothing to do with me. It was just that I had, by some miracle, made one right move by bringing someone into their lives who would impact such a change.

The fact that I was still struggling so much wasn’t important, right? I mean, wasn’t it true that Musa (AS) was brought up in the home of the most abhorred tyrant? What defined him was that within it was his own mother, who was a woman who received Wahy from Allah, and who had  maintained contact with him, so he could grow into a Nabi and Rasūl of Allah. And of course who could forget the Queen of that palace, who through him acquired such unshakable faith in the face of her enraged husband, which was so recognized in her pursuit of truth, that she will be regarded as the best of the women of the world, till the end of time.

It was like my eyes had been opened after an eternal darkness. It was as if a clear vision was now brought right in front of my eyes. Seeing things differently now…. How lucky I was that my Creator was actually giving me a chance to try again….? How lucky I was that I had kids who were so focused and willing to learn..?

What did I even do to deserve so many favors..? Despite the trials that brought me closer to Him, and despite those things that I didn’t understand back then… how was I even entitled to such perfect ease…?

Lost. I had been so lost.

I hastily wiped the tears from my eyes before Adam noticed my emotion. I didn’t have to worry though..  Adam was caught up in his own thoughts, staring into space, in a world that I honestly wished I could get a glimpse into. There was just something intriguing about the way he was so pensively leaning on the kitchen counter right then, with his chin cupped in his hand and a thoughtful frown on his forehead.

I clicked my fingers in front of his face now, curious to know what was on his mind.

”I’m was just wondering,” he said, his dark eyes narrowing as he snapped out of it and spoke a little hesitantly.

“Did you talk to mum?”

My mother? I went blank for a moment.

“About um…”

I was still oblivious.

“About Khawlah,” he almost mumbled, clearing his throat.

I couldn’t help but notice how  he was so awkward when he said her name. It was so sweet, right? Like he was even modest about how he mentioned her.

But wait. What was he asking me again?

I mentally kicked myself. Again.


I swallowed as my brother looked at me, running his hands through his ash brown  hair and shifting uncomfortably.

This was awwwkwarrd.  

“Um,” I started, feeling like a crappy sister.

With my own drama that seemed to be unfolding endlessly for the past two months, I had completely forgotten that Adam had asked me to do.  I knew that there was great wisdom in consulting with learned people too. The following week was a meeting with a Scholar that Adam knew, who would advise me about divorce or what to do about my failing marriage, but the thought of speaking to a pious stranger about it was stressing me out.

Speaking to our parents too, had completely slipped my mind. More specifically, our mother. Everyone knew that a man could be easily persuaded by his wife, but mum was a force to be reckoned with. If I could just get her to be accepting about what Adam wanted, and his plans for making Nikah, I knew that my father would change his mind in the blink of an eye. Thankfully, she had not heard about the outrageous scandal. Yet. And if she did, I knew she would not hesitate to let me know about the less than worthy girl who I had introduced into her precious sons life.

“I spoke to her,” I said carefully, trying to save myself but not wanting to lie. “And she was a little better than before. Like, she was more… open.”

I bit my bottom lip and looked away, avoiding eye contact with my brother. I felt like how I had felt a few moments ago. Like a traitor. I couldn’t lie. I didn’t want to.

Yeah?! Really?”

Adam was looking at me with a hint of something unrecognizable in his eye. I knew I was going to hear more than I bargained for.

“So is that why she forced me to accompany her to her friend’s little ‘coffee date’ last week, so I could meet her incredible daughter?”

Busted. I was only trying to protect him, right?

Ah, fish. Ugh.

Adam’s expression was definitely not a pleasant one. Of course it wouldn’t be if my mother was still trying to set him up with random girls who he didn’t have any interest in.

This time he stood where he was and crossed his hands over his chest in a huff.

“Rubes, I just have one thing to say to you,” he said in a monotone. I braced myself for it.

“Liar, liar, pants on fire!”

I couldn’t help but crack a smile.

I wanted to giggle because instead of this super-intelligent nearly twenty-one-year old, he was behaving like a sulky four-year-old. Adam was clearly not happy with me, and honestly, I did feel bad about it… but really, he was making it so hard to maintain a straight face. I stifled my laughter as Dayyaan ran in, looking for his brother, and then looking from Adam to me as he noticed me finally give away to the giggling.

“Okay, I’m sorry,” I finally said, looking Adam in the eye. His expression was stony and I tried to put on a straight face as I spoke. “I promise I’m going to speak to her. Can we just get Khawlah in a better place first? Like, let’s just wait for this whole thing to die down… so it’s not such a huge scandal doing it’s rounds. I’m just giving it some time….”

Adams face softened. Danyaal would be waiting for him, and I knew that he had to get going too, but I needed to clear the air first. I just hoped he had it in him to forgive me…

“Rubes,” Adam said suddenly, and I couldn’t help but notice that look in his eyes. That mastermind web developer look that he often got, when I forgot that my brother was such an genius of a business man and not just my little brother. This time, I could tell he was onto something big.

He was pacing the floor now, ignoring Danyaals erratic shouts for him from his room and Dayyaan literally running round in circles around the kitchen table. Zia had somehow found his way to us and had joined in the fun too.

Adam was completely oblivious. He was definitely onto something really big.

“I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before!” He said, completely bewildered by whatever his train of thought was. He was pulling at his beard methodically before he finally stopped in his tracks and looked at me.

“I’m going to clear her name,” he said, with a faint smile on his face.

“But how?”

Indeed, how could he possibly clear a rumour of such ferocity? 

Oh, the lies. I sincerely hoped that someone’s pants were going to catch on fire.

“I have to go,” he said sharply as Danyaal screeched again. “But we’ll talk after. Your son is losing his cool.”

I was about to follow him but the sound of the front door opening caught my attention, and my heart involuntarily thudded in my chest.

After the burglary incident, I was still a little ruffled up, and I had made extra sure to keep everything locked. My heart was almost in my throat as I rounded the corner and saw a figure in the entrance hall, closing the door behind him.

Relief flooded through me as I exhaled, wondering if I was seeing right. Shabeer.

And then, of course, I just got furious.

“Hey babe,” he said as he saw me, stuffing his hands in his pockets as he stood there in expectation. “I missed you.”

After 10 days of no show, he waltzes in, almost as if I owed him something.  I wanted to twist his reddened ears.

Liar, liar, pants on fire. 

I wanted to shout it out, as he came toward me, leaning forward for some kind of welcome home. I made a resolution right there and then to never say anything untrue, even if it was to protect someone I loved.

I took a step back, giving him the most thunderous glare that I could manage.

The audacity.

“Please Ruby,” He said, with a look of sudden desperation now on his face.

I didn’t budge. I just wasn’t prepared for what he would say next.

“Please… I want to come home.”



P.S. Wonder if Ruby should let him come back…?   

Revive a Sunnah 

Revive the Sunnah of Not Over-eating 

Miqdam bin Madikarib said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) say:

‘A human being fills no worse vessel than his stomach. It is sufficient for a human being to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one-third of food, one third for drink and one third for air.’” [Ibn Majah]

It is an underestimated fact that food has a dramatic effect on your body’s and brain’s performance.

This Hadith clearly highlights that overeating is a reprehensible quality we should avoid.

How easy to practise!




Twitter @ajourneyjournal

IG: @thejourneyingmuslimah


Super Heroes

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


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

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

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

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

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

And it’s rare. So rare.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was, till we meet again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With time, I reminded myself. All with time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another super-hero was just what we would need.

Follow us on ig: @thejourneyingmuslimah

Dearest readers,

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

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

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

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

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

Rinsing the mouth after eating.

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

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5390).

How easy to practise!





Twitter @ajourneyjournal



Brutal Lies

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


Different people have been blessed with different things, in different quantities. Different values. It doesn’t always make sense to the common man, because intelligence, status, affluence and even provision, is not something that we can choose or easily change. What’s in your heart though, will determine your actions. The heart doesn’t lie, and at times, it cant be controlled.

The thing is, being brought up in a liberal home with plenty of choices, I  spent most of my life chasing things that I couldn’t seem to get. Money, love, wealth, success… failure too, to a certain extent. And each time, even when I felt I’d achieved, there’s always been a feeling that I was missing something big. Something huge.

I never saw the truth. Many people can’t, and I was no exception. They say that there are some people whose hearts have been sealed. They can neither see, nor can they comprehend. And the thing is, the entire world already has you duped. You’ve already been convinced that this world will make you rich and happy. It will make you successful. It will be your source of everything that fills your heart. But what they don’t tell you, is there’s a catch.  There’s a huge catch, because once you fill your heart with the world, then there can never be any space left for what comes after. What’s everlasting.

“But you prefer the worldly life, while the Hereafter is better and more enduring”

The Qur’an, Surah al-A’la (The Most High) [87:16-17]

Yes, we’ve been placed here. The world is there, but what I never realized is that we have to use it for to earn the hereafter. So the way life is, it turns out sometimes you have to do the wrong thing, to figure out how to make things right. Mistakes are painful, but they’re the only way to find out who we really are. And its theonly way you realise what a brutal lie you’ve been caught up in all this time.

And it hurts. It really hurts. When you messed up and everything is crumbling around you, the only thing you can do to catch yourself from breaking down is to find home. Find your base. Find the ground where you were,  before you let yourself  go.

I held my head in my hands as I sat on my favourite grey suede couch at the entrance hall of my beautiful house, half deliberating on what my next move was, and half dying from the anxiety attack that was definitely coming on.

Breathe. Breaaathheeee.

I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. The breaths were shallow and half-hearted. It was like my body didn’t even want the oxygen I was forcing into it.

My mind kept replaying opening the text message this afternoon just before my trainer came home, and I couldn’t help but feel like my world was closing on me, as I replayed the image in my mind once again. I cancelled all sessions. I had to catch my breath again, because the emotions were already suffocating me.

I think we need some space from each other. I’ll stay at the apartment. Let’s take a break and chat next week.”

That was it. No “love you”. No heart emoticon. Not even a black one. No emotion. I couldn’t understand it. I just couldn’t fathom it. After everything… after four kids…. this is how he wanted it to end?

I had hastily dialled a friend from gym, hoping to get some comfort and at least hear a word of support.

A ringing tone and then it sounded like the call just cut. No callback. I was stunned.

So this was how it was, at the end of the day. I’d pushed myself so hard, tried so hard to fit in and all I got was voicemail when I needed a shoulder to cry on.

I read the message again, as I scrolled through my phone.

It was so… cold. Unfeeling. Completely different to the man I had known all along. Completely averse to his natural charm. There was no other way to see it than to assume what I knew was the probable truth. The breaking factor that would probably kill us.

There was definitely someone else.

The truth was, I didn’t listen. It wasn’t the first time. I didn’t listen when everyone told me that I’d spend my life watching my husband, because Shabeer was a sweet-talker. I knew I’d have to deal with competition. I just didn’t think that I’d ever be in this kind of situation where I’d feel like I had actually reached rock bottom.

I breathed in again, and then exhaled, hoping that the fresh air would give me a better perspective. And if there was, which I was sure of, how did I move past it? Was there even any hope?

“Mum, Where’s Dad?”

I closed my eyes and rubbed my temples, hoping to gain some inspiration on what to say. How to explain. Could he not just come home and at least pretend that it was all okay?

I glanced up, looking at myself in the mirror, and thinking about how a man could make you feel so unworthy, even when everyone else insisted that I wasn’t. What was I lacking? Nothing. Everyone said I was looking great. Gorgeous, my trainer insisted. Never better.

The fact was that even with all that, it was him that mattered. Shabeer mattered. After all these years, I still had my hopes pinned on him. I never gave up. And yet, with his obsession with work and whatever or whoever else rocked his boat at this moment in time, he couldn’t even come home to see his children.

“Isn’t the Shaytaans all come out now? It’s late.”

It was just after Maghrib and I knew I needed to pray. I had started… slowly… but today was hard. Today, it was so hard to get myself out of the pit I had dug. Why was it so hard to snap out of the self pity party? Why did it take so much of effort to actually focus on the One Who controlled it all.

“Duh,” Danyaal was saying. “That’s why he should be home.”

”But he always comes home late,” Dayyaan argued.

“What’s Shaytaan?” Zia was asking, frowning as he listened to the other two.

Danyaal slapped his palm to his forehead in exasperation.

He looked like one of those serious kids who were too mature for their age. The fact that he had recently gotten tested glasses made him all the more geeky.  His brown hair framed the rim of his lime green spectacles and I stuck my hand out to free it from his eyes as I smiled at them all.

These were my kids. Mine. Shabeers’. Ours. And goodness, I loved them so much. It was just that… sometimes…. I didn’t know how to cope. Maybe I had been too hasty, in having my kids too soon. Maybe I didn’t realize the work it would be. Right now, with no-one to really rely on, I wasn’t quite sure what to do.

The kids were still talking about that story. I had read the book Khawlah had left recently multiple times, upon Danyaals insistence. I needed to be better for them. I had promised myself I would try, after Khawlah had left. I didn’t want them to feel that emptiness that gnawed at me, almost every day since she had gone.

“Shaytaan is the one who promised to make people do wrong things, remember? “ I said, explaining to him in the best way I could. “In the story of Aadam, he was the one who tricked them.”

Yup, was all I could think to myself as they argued. And he tricked your father too.

”I know that,” Dayyaan said obviously. “But what is he? Like what does he look like? Is he ugly and burnt with a dark fire?”

I suppressed a smile.  I wasn’t sure how to answer that. Why did kids always have such difficult questions?

Gosh, I wasn’t sure what made their minds tick.

What made a man’s mind tick. I was so confused. 

“I know he’s made of fire,” I said, trying to be in the present and thinking carefjully. “And I don’t think he looks very nice either. He doesn’t like people. That’s why he does what he does.”

Shaytaan. Satan. Iblees. I wasn’t sure why kids found him so interesting. Whenever he would feature in our conversations, there was always a special interest in the main antagonist. I wasn’t sure how to make it more detestable. After all, wasn’t he the cause of every trouble that mankind knew?

“I’m sure Khawlah would know,” Danyaal said suddenly, and I was certain that there  was a hint of sadness in his voice as he turned around to walk away.

Almost as if it was on cue, a jingling of keys and turn of the lock immediately alerted Danyaal’s hopeful spirits again, and he spun around in excitement. My heart also raced with anticipation as the handle turned, and just as the door opened, my heart simultaneously dropped. Just slightly. Even though it wasn’t Shabeer, as I had hoped, the next best person was just what we needed to lift our spirits.

“Assaalaamu Alaykum!”


I returned a greeting softly as Dayyaan screamed in utter exhilaration as he hurled himself at his uncle. I couldn’t help but break into a wide smile as Adam lifted him high above his head as he often did to Danyaal when he was smaller, to morph him into some sort of aeroplane. The sound effects were the highlight as Adam ‘flew’ him over all of our heads, and finally landed him, in fits of giggles, on the passage rug.

Zia was already running forward for his turn, and I was so glad that Adam had come at that moment, because I wasn’t quite sure how I would ever deal with these kids on my own tonight. I needed all the help I could get. My emotional state was way beyond immediate repair.

“That’s for calling me Mufassa,” Adam laughed as he incessantly tickled the half giggling and half-screaming Dayyaan, who was trying to escape. Danyaal pushed his glasses up his nose as he watched them with a huge grin on his face.

As I watched them, I couldn’t believe that my little brother was so great with them. I sighed in relief, thinking how lucky I was that I had this amazing family to distract me, as they squealed and screamed in pure delight. Even though Adam was so busy with work, I loved that he always found time for his nephews. The way my mother bragged about him, I could barely believe that this famous World class Web Developer was busy playing make belief with his five year old nephew.

I felt bad now, as I thought of how I had chased so many things I my life. Chased, at the expense of my family. Chased, at the expense of my kids. Chased, at the expense of my Creator… because my heart was never with Him.

The four of them were already starting to make up some random game, and I zoned out for a minute, and before I knew it, as I sat, half an hour had passed and the house was in almost silence once again. I wasn’t sure what magic Adam had done with them, but as my brother came in I couldn’t help but offer him a small smile, despite my sombre mood.

The thing with Adam was that he was always the light-hearted one in the family. Adam never ever moped around. Even when the odds were against him, Adam always rose above it. He was just that kind of personality that made the best out of situations. He was so carefree, and I was so jealous. I wished I could be that kind of spirit.

“Okay, out with it,” he said drily, sitting down on the ottoman opposite me and scrutinizing me relentlessly. He was making weird expressions with his face that made me want to laugh, as he cupped his chin in his hands and narrowed his eyes at me.

Adam was weird in a comical way, but it’s what made him who he was.

I stared back at him. It felt like we were playing the staring game that had become his hobby when he was eleven.

“You’re sitting there like you lost your husband,” he said jokingly, trying to make an expression like one of my father’s typical Indian aunties he liked to mimic.

I didn’t smile.

“Oh crap, I’ve put my foot in it, haven’t I?”

I nodded wryly, not ready to pour my heart out just yet.

”Lets talk about something else,” I said quickly. “How are you?”

Adam smiled his usual lazy smile, but I couldn’t help but notice a certain reservation behind it. I Just didn’t want to talk about Shabeer as yet. I wanted to focus on something else besides my doomed marriage.

“I’m awesome,” he said, so convincingly. “On top of the world, Rubes. I mean, what else could I ask for? I have the best sister and the coolest nephews. Life on this side of the world is amazing, dude. You should try being me sometimes.”

I grinned.

“Really?!” I said, raising my eyebrows at him. “I don’t mind swapping…”

He nodded emphatically as he pulled at his new beard and winked. It was quite strange to see my usually modern and sought-after brother with a typical Muslim-boy beard. My brother always had been, definitely, anything but typical. Like me, he had attended the top academic school in the province, and he had always looked the part. And of course, his choice of girls too, was a far cry. I wondered what they would all think of him now…

I felt a familiar ache in my gut as I unexpectedly thought of Khawlah. Why she had crossed my mind now, I didn’t know. I think I actually missed her more than I thought I would. I felt bad for being so bossy and demanding. She would have at least been here, if everything hadn’t changed.

I sighed. With Adam in and out and Hannah mentioning that Khawlah was getting married…. I didn’t want to impose when I knew she clearly needed to leave. I could sense her hesitancy. Things were getting uncomfortable. The day that she left was so heartbreaking to let go of her, when all I wanted to do was tell her how much we needed her here.

And then of course, there was Adam. My heart went out to my brother, because when I told him,  I could just see the look on his face. I could see my words physically diminished every hope that he had probably been holding onto for some type of happy ending.

I had broke his resolve. Crushed his heart. And I knew that he wasn’t exactly forthcoming about what he wanted, but my brother never was. Although he was always liked and known by everyone, he had a nature that was far from obvious. The fact that he was always easy-going and carefree lessened the blow for me, but I really  just wished it could have turned out differently for him.

“Let’s not talk about me,” he said, his smile momentarily disappearing as he swallowed hard. “Ramadhaan is coming up now. I need to focus- it’s going to be the first time I actually open my Quran, you know that?”

”Me too,” I murmured. Before this. The blessed month was just about keeping the fast, making yummy goodies and eating them.

“By the way, Rubes, I have a question.”

His expression suddenly got serious again as he watched me, and I hoped that he wasn’t going to ask me about a Shabeer.

“Please be honest with me,” he prompted in a low voice, and my throat was already dry. I really didn’t want to talk about my issues.

He went up to the mirror, turning his face from side to side intently, and then swung around to look at me again.

“Do I look like I’m getting old?”

H chuckled as he watched my serious expression change to exasperated. Gosh. He was too annoying. Adam was just the pits. Besides that, he was much too young to be thinking such things. There was a ten year age gap between us.

“I’m serious!” He said, still smiling. “Mr Molvi wants to hook me up… says he’ll find me someone suitable. You know how the chics love me, yeah?  Plenty of fish in the sea, right, Rubes? What do you think?”

I smiled at his feigned arrogance, but was also taken aback by the question. What did I think? What did I think?

I couldn’t help but say it. There was only one thing I could say here, that would be the truth.

The words just rolled off my tongue.

“I think Khawlah is perfect for you.”

And of course, the minute I said it, Adam’s face immediately fell, just as my own heart sunk. But I didn’t regret it. I didn’t regret it because even though I knew it had struck him in a place where it hurt the most, what I just couldn’t get over was this huge transformation that was standing in front of me.

This was something that you didn’t see often. It was a plunge that was literally taken in the darkness. This was the result of a young girl who had brought so much into our ill-lit lives. She had spread a light that no-one here had ever seen before. She had opened a passage to a beauty that we had never yet witnessed. How could she not be perfect for our family?

And it wasn’t because they had based this on something that people would think was ‘wrong’. I didn’t care about my parents. I didn’t care about the odds. From what my brother said, Khawlah would never even look at him. He had barely exchanged a full sentence with her. The kids, however, barely exchanged a word without her.  It was her sincere effect that had moved us to such a degree, that we couldn’t help but notice it.

From being a home that was deprived of the recital of Qur’an, somehow, my boys had memorized countless Surahs that even I didn’t know. From not even knowing what a Sunnah was, Danyaal had even convinced us to eat on the floor, just because he wanted to practice something that had inspired something within him. She had brought to life in their minds every single Prophet story, that their imaginations just could not have enough of the beautiful history that had gripped their hearts. The simplicity, purity and pure sincerity that all this was brought with… I could not even divulge.

The biggest miracle though, was yet to come. It had happened so slowly, that even I didn’t realize it. As Khawlah would pray before she left each day, I had watched her gestures and witnessed the peace within her. I wanted that. I wanted that connection. I had never in my life, prayed a full Salaah. The fact that it had brought a servant who was so far away from her Lord back into a lightened pathway that she was so eager to tread, was an iconic event on its own. From praying nothing, I went to performing three prayers in two weeks. In another three weeks, I was at the full compliment, and what was most amazing about this was that the beautiful person behind all this had no clue.

I sighed as I looked at my brother, realizing that there was no use talking about it when I didn’t truly act upon everything I now knew.

”I need to pray,” I mumbled as I got up, not wanting to admit how lazy and caught up on my doomed world I had been. Better late than never, right?

Adam blinked, and I could see he was thinking deeply about something while I was too. It was something we couldn’t forget, but it didn’t mean that all was not lost. Yes, Khawlah may have introduced us to this beautiful world of guidance and prayer and broadened horizons, but it was up to us to carry it through.

I prayed with a sincere devotion that evening, although I was delayed and in need of much reprimanding. For the first time, though, instead of dwelling in my own ugly issues, I focused on what was the greatest miracle here. Despite everything, we had still been blessed. Despite neglect, despite ignorance. Despite the utter disregard for the laws of the Almighty that we had intentionally  disobeyed, we had still been given an opportunity to see the other side. I could feel fresh tears escape as I thought of this great blessing. No matter what happened in my life, to have something real that I could hold onto was priceless. I just wished that I’d realized it sooner.


It was Adam at the door of my room, and on his face he wore an expression That I didn’t see on him often. He was worried.

I nodded at him so he would come in, looking at him curiously. He looked over at Zaydaan who was still sleeping in the cot next to my bed.

”What’s happening?” I couldn’t help but ask as my own heart thudded away in trepidation.

“I hacked Shabeer’s MacBook,” he said, his face grim.

I widened my eyes and smacked my hand to my mouth.  Oh gosh.

“I know it’s like… unethical and so…wrong,” he said hastily. “And probably like makrooh or something too…”

I couldn’t smile at the attempted humor. This was not funny. Shabeer will kill him if he knew.

“I just couldn’t see you like that,” he finally admitted, as he twisted his hands round and round. He seemed so nervous. So, so… troubled…

“Rubeena,” he said seriously, and I knew that it was serious. He only called me by my full name when he was speaking about major stuff.

“There’s a girl,” he said, and he paused there as my own heart plummeted, even though I already knew. What I didn’t know though, was what he was about to say next.

“Ruby,” He said steadily, and I could see the conflicting emotion on his face. He wanted to be strong, but the facts that he had come to know were too brutal.

“It’s Khawlah.”


Dearest Readers,

I know we are taking a while to get back to the Hannah and Aunty Nas drama, but I needed to clear a few things up before. Please make maaf for any shortcomings. I am always open to criticism. Please note that I will not be posting in Ramadhaan so please bear with these erratic posts as I conclude before then. 

May Allah Ta’ala grant us sublime contentment.

In preparation for Ramadhaan, this week, Insha Allah, let’s try and bring in a little about the Sunnah of eating, as touched on in the previous posts. I will try to keep it short, simple and effective🌸

Eat in Three Parts

Nabi SAW taught his Ummah something to protect them from diseases caused by eating and drinking. He said, “The son of Aadam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Aadam to eat a few mouthfuls, to keep him going. If he must do that (fill his stomach), then let him fill one third with food, one third with drink and one third with air.” [15]

How easy to practise!





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