I’ve often heard people saying to follow your head over your heart.
But is it not your head, that logically gives you the reasons why someone may be right or wrong for you, and is it not your head, that replays the sweet memories over and over again?
The same brain is what causes those images to flash before you, like a high definition lens, when years later, you’re feeling most nostalgic.
The same brain, will be your sponge, and your storage device, as the precious moments of those beautiful sunsets, the romantic moments, and even your entire life passes by without you realising that you were really and truly making the most beautiful memories…
We don’t ever see each moment for what it is, until we’re forced to open our eyes to its beauty.
I switched my gaze from the canvas I was working on by my cottage window, to my husband who walked in the distance, immediately putting my brush down and watching his confident stride, donned in his working gear, out in the glorious sunshine.
I turned back to my painting, glancing at the little cottage I had single-handedly spent the day cleaning.
I bit the end of my paintbrush, trying to decide what colour to use next. It didn’t quite matter though, because whatever I would choose, nothing here was fixed or set in stone. Unlike life, things on a canvas could be easily changed, tweaked or resolved. When things around me didn’t make sense, I knew that on a blank canvas, I could somehow make it make sense.
I sighed, trying to drown out my thoughts that evaded me.
The picture of the beautiful but fiery sunset over an ocean that made jaws drop, was doing nothing for my peace of mind, but it was good to have something to focus on. I wanted to capture the beauty of something beyond now, and to be able to control the end result. I wanted to capture this beautiful sunset.
One that I’d never really seen. One that I wished that I could, one day, witness. I wanted something for my home- our home- that would stand out. Just a little something that captured all the colours blooming in my heart when I remembered how blessed I was, despite the trials that sometimes broke us.
It didn’t matter how basic our home was. How many chips our tea pot had on it. How patched up our curtains were.
Mohsina had wealth saved for a rainy day, a fancy apartment, multiple helpers and every other luxury she wanted at her disposal, but she couldn’t be with the two people she loved most in the world.
Being here with Zubair was the most treasured thing for me and there weren’t many moments I forgot it nowadays.
And I missed my sister too. Seeing Mohsina on Eid day was something that I thought would appease me, but instead, I just felt more confused after. I should have known better. Mohsina never broke, even through the most stringent circumstances.
Now, she seemed, surprisingly, numb. As if she hadn’t just been through the most heartbreaking kind of ordeal that broke her once beautiful home. Nani had plenty to say about why she was the way she was, but I really didn’t want to think about that right then.
It had been a week since I’d seen her and it was as if she had entered an entirely different phase of her life. The tell-tale signs were all there but till then, I chose to ignore it. I had messaged her earlier that day, hoping for some kind of assurance that things weren’t gone completely south as yet… but it had left me at a loss too.
Mosee, I miss you. When are you coming to visit? Hows my Zaidoo? When will I see him?
I missed Zaid. So, so much. I wanted to wrap him up, hold him tight and keep him forever.
And I knew that between us and Zaid, she would always choose him and his dimpled thighs. I mean, who would blame her?
Since he started taking formula full- time, he was really bulking up. She saw him every day, without fail, and even though I understood… with every day that passed, I really felt that she was slipping away from us too.
Her reply only came now, hours later.
I saw him earlier. He’s teething so was a bit whiny. At the lawyers now to sort out some paperwork. Will chat later x
I like how she slipped in the lawyer bit there without really raising any suspicions.
I was sure that she was at the office more than I liked and probably more than Hamzah felt comfortable with. I knew that she had things to sort out, but after knowing what Maahira had said about Faadil, I got the feeling that he had lured her there for his own reasons, and not for her best interests. I had a feeling that she was barely even aware of what he was even doing.
I wanted to ask her if her ex-boss was around. If he had helped to drop charges against her. If she really thought that she would pull herself out of this through the help of people alone. Also, if she had finally called her sister-in-law Saaliha who was waiting for her to chat to her.
Saaliha had even messaged me in the week to tell me that something huge had happened with Rabia and Hamzah, but Mohsina hadn’t bothered to even check what it was. I knew that Rabia had been acting suspicious, but it was as if Mos really just didn’t care anymore, and it made me really concerned.
I dropped my phone and looked up, watching him smile big as he entered our humble abode and came toward me, leaning down to peck my cheek while I grinned back at him, my heart doing all the usual backward and forward flip things it still does when my husband entered the vicinity.
But I didn’t forget. The thoughts were always at the back of my mind. I wanted to ask Zubair. I wanted to ask him if he had any more information on Faadil. If he had verified that Faadil was actually looking to cause problems and was after my sister. Basically, if he had proven anything else that would help to get Mohsina and Hamzah back together. If he wanted some help with making it work….
I just couldn’t seem to understand why he had just given up the way he had, after things went sour between Hamzah and Mos.
But I knew that I had to force myself to play it cool as he moved toward the kettle and switched it on. In time, I will bring up the topic, and get him to tell me everything he knows.
“Fast going okay?” He asked as I nodded, looking at the time as he opened the fridge to take out the dates for our iftaar.
He was amazingly sweet and thoughtful. Because we had been keeping Shawwaal fasts intermittently, Z did the iftaar preparation with the Kajoor and water and was never fussy about what I managed to put together for us afterward.
”Jamz,” he said, his eyes narrowing slightly as his face gave away signs of slight unease. “Can we chat?”
I hid my emotions well as I turned away from the painting, watching him pull on something more comfy before he looked at me.
He nodded. Then shook his head. Then looked at me with resignation and sighed.
”Is it about my sister?” I asked quietly. “Because she’s been acting really, really strange…”
I had completely forgotten about how out of sorts she was behaving after dropping Zaid off. She had mumbled something about feeling unwell, said she would see us later and then never came back. We hadn’t seen her since and Nani did not let it rest. Every day that she avoided us, meant Nani would have something more outrageous to say about my sisters whereabouts.
”No, sweets,” he murmured, almost looking troubled as I said it. “It’s something else.”
“Is it to do with your father?” I asked him, remembering my other mission. Remembering that I was supposed to somehow be saving him from himself, if I couldn’t save my sisters marriage.
“Listen angel,” Zubair said, straightening, and I could already tell from his face that he didn’t want to. “I know you mean well, but no. It’s actually about you and me. I want to take you somewhere. Anywhere. Just get out of here for a bit… have a break. We haven’t been on any getaway and I think its way overdue.”
”Oh,” I said, liking the sound of a honeymoon too because it would mean I could obsess over him more, but also, I was still thinking about all the things he needs to do here, at home. “Where will we go?”
”An old friend has a house on the west coast, and it’s got all the best hits of nature and fun. Beautiful sunsets too.”
He gestured to my painting as I watched him.
”Okay sure,” I said easily, a plan already popping into my head. I was happy wherever. Whether we were here or in Timbuktu, it didn’t make a difference to me. All I needed was my husband and I would be good. “But I just want you to think about meeting your father before we go.”
Zubair sighed, shaking his head.
“You don’t give up, do you?” He said, rubbing his forehead vigorously, almost as if he was stressed out. “You do know my father probably won’t want to see me?”
”That’s not true!” I shot back, crossing my hands over my chest. “How can you say that? He’s the only parent you had. You said that he loved your mother. Of course he would want to see you.”
He smiled as I said it, and I already felt like a child. For some reason, he always seemed so much wiser. He narrowed his eyes and cocked his head, almost as if he was onto me and my scheming ways.
”You are up to something,” he said, raising his eyebrows. “Did Nusaybah put you up to this? Is this what it will take for you to come away with me?”
“No and no,” I shot back, wiping my hands on my apron and walking toward him, probably looking like a canvas myself, as I clasped my hands in front of me. “I just want you to sort things out. You’ve done so much to rectify yourself. You’re a changed man. I’m not up to anything. I just have a feeling that this is the missing piece in your life.”
It was true. He reminded me of the Sahabah, who had seen the light of Islam after being lost in the dark for so long. He had come back with a fervour, knowing he had done so much wrong, and wanted to set it just as right.
It reminded me of the story of Wahshi (RA), and about how he had killed the uncle of Nabi (SAW), Hadhrat Hamzah (RA). The guilt of what he had done had eaten him to such an extent that he knew that just as much bad that he had done before Islam changed his life, he couldn’t live with himself if he didn’t rectify it all after Islam came to reform him.
Nabi ﷺ had recited the verse, “Say, “O My servants who have wronged their souls, never lose hope of Allah’s mercy. Verily, Allah forgives all sins. Undoubtedly, He is the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful”” (Qur’an 39:53).
Upon hearing this verse, Wahshi (RA) accepted Islam (recorded in Hayaatus Sahaabah and Tabarani).
After the demise of Nabi ﷺ and in the khilafah of Abu Bakr (RA), a few individuals claimed prophethood. Amongst them was Musaylimah Al-Kaddhab and his wife, Sajah. Abu Bakr (RA) declared war against Musaylimah, which became known as the battle of Yamama. In this battle, Wahshi (RA) killed Musaylimah using the same spear that he killed Hamza (RA) with. He remarked that this is in lieu of that. I had killed a great person and now I have killed the most wretched. I hope Allah will atone that evil deed, through this good deed.
And it was so typical of those great men who had changed their lives for the better. They wanted it to be a permanent change. Something that made an impact. As much evil as they had done wrong, they wanted to rectify it with just as much good.
Ans just like he wanted to help other people, I wanted him to make this right with his fast. I wanted him to be better, to feel better. I just had to use strategy for this case, because he didn’t feel that it was worth his time.
He grinned as I approached him, no regard for the mess I was looking like as he hugged me to his chest, while I tried to give him my doe-eyed face.
“I know you mean well,” he said softly, the green in his one eye a little more prominent today as he looked at me. “But this is not a good idea. There is way too much of history for us to just kiss and make up.”
I pouted, a little more severely this time, evidently not happy with his answer as I pulled away.
“But why?” I asked, my heart feeling pained as he turned away from me too. Like the topic was closed and there was no opening it. “He’s your father. Nusaybah said that he wanted to see you and-“
”Well, I don’t want to see him,” Zubair cut in, his jaw ticking as he walked toward the window and stuffed his hands in his pocket.
I sighed, wondering what his beef was. He refused to tell me, even after over a month of being married, he had barely opened up to me. Okay, I wasn’t being fair. He had told me a lot. But not everything. I was greedy.
I wanted all of Zubair, but what he gave me was just bits and pieces of himself that I was struggling so hard to put together and make whole again.
“Tell me why,” I pressed again. “Why you are so against it?”
“Because,” he said uneasily, still looking out the window.
“Because what?” I asked, throwing my hands up in the air, feeling like I was nagging my head on a wall. “What did he even do?!”
“Because,” he said, turning around again, his face looking like a kid. “He was supposed to shelter me and he threw me to the wolves!”
While we had spoken about everything else, about his mother, about the people who would come home after, about his fathers financial crisis, this was the most he had given me about his father’s relationship with him, and though I was grateful, it just wasn’t enough.
”Explain,” I said softly, taking the opportunity to seat myself in the chair behind me, and picking up the paintbrush once again. I just needed something to do with my hands. If I got closer to him, I would end up comforting him, and then I would get no more information. I really needed him to talk. “Please.”
Zubair looked away, stuffing his hands in his pockets, and I could tell that it brought back memories for him. Bad ones.
Ones that he wasn’t so willing to share. If killed me to have to sit there and watch him relive them.
“You ever wondered why I went to work for my uncle so easily?” He asked, his eyes still not meeting mine. “He obviously had earned himself a reputation.”
“Yes,” I breathed, wanting to know more, considering the circumstances. I thought that he needed the money and that was his motivation. His father was in a deep financial fix for a while before Nusaybah got married. That much, he had told me about. About how he would sometimes work doubles shifts. About how Nusaybah tried to earn money before their father said that she needed to look after him.
”We go way back,” he said, shaking his head as if trying to shake off memories. “He has something of mine. Lots of it. When I was seven, my father would send me to him for a month every summer holiday. His wife was my mother’s sister and she never had kids. She used to beg me and Nusaybah to come. I knew that… in her own way, she loved us. The thing was…. She knew that her husband had violent tendencies, but she never thought that he would ever channel it into a kid. She was wrong.”
I swallowed as he moved away from the window, sitting down in front of me, intertwining his fingers together as he did, and I could already feeling my heart contracting at his evident pain.
“Did he hurt you back then?” I asked softly, leaning forward to touch his hand comfortingly. He ran a hand through his hair as his expression changed. “Physically?”
I knew that his uncle had slapped him around when he was working for him, in the earlier years. But after Zubair got older and taller than his uncle, he stood no chance with him.
“My aunty would work,” he said steadily, not answering my question, his unusual eyes focusing on me. “He would starve me and tell her that I ate two meals during that time. When supper time came, he’d find a reason to send me on some errand. I knew what he was doing. He said I would get a meal when I finished my task.”
I bit back a gasp.
“What were the tasks?” I asked, my voice choking my throat as I wondered about how people could be so horrible.
What a terrible thing to do to a little child. What an absolutely helpless feeling to have, as a little soul, wondering who on earth would save you from this treacherous human whose care you were under.
”He wanted me to fight,” Zubair said, squaring his shoulders boldly as he looked up at me. “And win.”
“And so you did,” I said flatly, feeling like all the wind was knocked out of me. It wasn’t rocket science.
The scars were preoccupied enough. The elongated ones that he was always self conscious about. That’s where they were from.
Tears pricked my eyes as I remembered the first time he had tried to stop me from seeing them. How he had covered up as soon as light entered the room. He didn’t want me to know that this was his past. I hated knowing that he had been hurt the way he had, and the man who had done it was still walking around as if he deserved to.
“When you haven’t had a proper meal in days, you’ll do anything for a promised plate of food,” he said, shrugging, his face giving away tell tale signs of the torture. “You learn to appreciate whatever you have.”
That was so true. Zubair was someone who never wasted a single bit on our plate. He would suck every bone dry. Every grain would be eaten off the dastarkaan, even if it meant him scraping it clean. No matter how horrible my cooking was, according to Nani, every morsel to him, was like he was eating food from some divine source.
“Didn’t you ever try and tell your aunty?” I asked, feeling exceptionally hurt by this revelation. “Or your father?”
“When my aunty didn’t believe me about him not feeding me, I gave up on trying to convince her,” he said simply. “She was easily convinced by him. My uncle was someone who would break someone before they could ever think that he was wrong. It was Nusaybah who had noticed how I looked after that summer I turned nine. She was the one who told my father that there was no way that she was letting me go back. My father was going through his own problems. He didn’t know how to deal with me or keep the family afloat. He was also struggling to keep the house. But I still feel he failed me. He could have checked. He could have cared. Years later, when I went back to my uncle, he didn’t stop me either. He just cut me off.”
I breathed out as he told me about how he walked out the house with a backpack after Nusaybah left for London, expecting his father to stop him, but he didn’t.
“Im so sorry, Z,” I said quietly, tears streaming down my face as I felt my heart breaking for him. “I wish that I could make it all better.”
Not everyone has life easy. We never appreciate the ease we have… the security and comfort our parents so naturally give us.
Zubair shook his head, his hand cupping my face as his thumbs wiped my tears.
“Don’t cry, angel,” he murmured. “Just you, being here, makes me feel like Allah is healing me, inside out. With all your warmth and your purity, you are so much more than I ever imagined. I love you.”
I smiled, my heart melting slightly, but the grief within was almost unbearable at that point.
I felt as if I wanted to wrap that little boy up and keep him safe from the world. While I was being pampered like a princess, playing with my dollhouses, with parents who spoilt me and my sister who sheltered me relentlessly, 8-year-old Zubair was literally fighting battles to put a meal in his tummy.
“Have you ever told anyone about this?”
I wanted to know. I hated to think that after so many years, I was the only one he had ever confided in.
“I’ve never told someone that I loved them before,” he said, a small smile on his face as he nudged me, causing me to offer him a small smile at least.
I blew him a kiss, knowing that he was skirting away from the topic I was drilling him about, but also feeling a heaviness in my heart at his confession. Despite being honoured, and swooning over his words, it was just so sad that he had never experienced the feeling of loving, and being loved back. It was like he always kept an arms length, even from his closest family.
His story… his past.., It wasn’t just some random thing that had happened. It was something that had shaped him and moulded him into who he is.
“It’s been a long journey,” he said after a few seconds, taking a seat next to me, as I glanced at him, and picked up my paintbrush as he mixed some orange with some red. The sunset needed a little bit of tweaking, and though Zubair was no artist, I wanted to see what he would do with it.
“I know,” I said quietly, leaning my head on his shoulder. “But it’s not over yet.”
”I want to take you to see an actual sunset,” he said into my hair. “Far away from everyone else. From everyone here.”
”But I like our home,” I said, meaning it. “The people here. I don’t mind just staying here and being with you.”
”I know,” he said, a slight urgency in his voice. “But I think we need to go.”
I shifted slightly, trying to watch his expression. His jaw was rigid, and his eyes were darkening with worry.
“Is that a warning?” I asked, my heart beating slightly faster as I worried what could be troubling him so much that he needed to leave the farm. “Does your uncle know where we are?”
He said nothing as he continued to paint, and I continued to watch him. I didn’t need him to answer me to get the message.
“Did he threaten you?” I asked, my voice a little more high pitched than usual. “Zubair, please tell me, if he’s out to get you, we can do what you think is best. Is it to do with Mos and Hamzah? You just have to tell me what’s going on.”
The way that he was so focused on the painting was scaring me.
It took him a few seconds, before he put the brush down, and looked at me.
“You think I’m worried about me?” He said quietly, tipping my chin up slightly as he met my gaze.
I shook my head, then nodded, feeling like I was in a daze as he made me look up at him.
“Jameela, I don’t care what he does to me,” he said, his eyes fixed on me as he spoke. “He can hang me by a butcher hook and chop off all my body parts, for all I care. I won’t put it past him.”
The thought made me sick with disgust. Why did he have to be so bloody graphic?
“Zubair, no, please don’t say those things,” I said, shaking my head.
”I told you it doesn’t matter what he does to me,” Zubair said, his expression dead serious. “But Jameela, he didn’t threaten my life. That’s why we need to pack and leave.”
I looked at my husband, completely confused, and then looked at the painting in front of us, taking in the colours that had been blended so perfectly together, to present the perfect blaze of a bloody sunset.
And that’s when he finally uttered the obvious part, that I had been missing all along.
”Jameela, he wants to get me where it will hurt most,” he murmured, his voice breaking with every word he spoke.
The next sentence was almost a whisper.
“He threatened to kill you.”
Mission Sunnah revival: Sunnah of Duaa
Along with our Shawwaal fasts, lets try and keep to the Sunnah of duaa, even after Ramadhan. 🤍
Begin your dua first with praising Allah and then by sending peace and blessings upon His messenger ﷺ.
Then, make dua for yourself, dunya and akhira, for close family and friends, and then the ummah at large. Finish your Duaa by again sending peace and blessings on the Prophet ﷺ and praising and thanking Allah.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Du’a (supplication) is worship.”
In all situations, let’s bring in the Sunnah of Duaa every single day this Ramadhaan and after.
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..💕