When Duty Calls

Bismihi Ta’ala


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

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

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

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

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

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

SubhaanAllah. Indeed it was.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2890

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

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

”Is it your first time in Qatar?”

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

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

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

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

”Hey bru, do you ever stop?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zee’s face immediately lit up.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Molvi smiled and Ziyaad looked shocked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I smiled, knowing where this was going.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She shook her head vehemently.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It’s no big deal,” I mumbled.

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

”What about me?”

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

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

She smiled and nodded.

“Maybe it’s time.”

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

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

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

How easy to practice …











Twitter: @ajourneyjournal







Bismihi Ta’ala


As a child that was a little bit on the prickly side, I’d always been a little obsessed weapons. Like all boys, whether it was a stick or a hand-made shield, fighting and defense was always a game I’d love to play. My first toy gun was my life. I wouldn’t leave home without it in my pocket. Having that assurance of it right there somehow comforted me. As a kid… well, you just had to take your precautions right?!

And of course, as I grew up, it wasn’t like I suddenly lost that rigidness and learnt what the real weapons were. It took years, patience and many lessons… but if there was one thing I learnt through the years of being away, its that constant and sincere Du’aa can come to save you even when you least expect it. Yes, Du’aa. Prayer. 

The truth is in the profoundness of the concept. The weapon of the believer. The essence of worship. Through constant Du’aa, the fact is that even if it doesn’t get us exactly what we desire, most often it removes for us some obstacle in the road that we don’t covet. 

And from the most beautiful story of the Quran, with the most unparalleled lessons, there is a most extraordinary Du’aa. Some Ulema are even of the opinion that this Du’aa of Yusuf (AS), through its uniqueness, is the most beautiful of all prophets’ Duas. 

فَاطِرَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ أَنتَ وَلِيِّي فِي الدُّنُيَا وَالآخِرَةِ تَوَفَّنِي مُسْلِمًا وَأَلْحِقْنِي بِالصَّالِحِينَ

The Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Wali (Protector, Helper, Supporter, Guardian)  in this world and in the Hereafter, cause me to die as a Muslim and join me with the righteous

In the story of Yusuf (AS), he asked for Allah to be with him in this world and in the Aakhirah. He asked Allah to be given the favour of being one of his special servants.
And from the very story, the lesson of Du’aa is undeniable.

The thing is… with all the years being away and not seeing my own parents… I never really thought I was missing out on much until I got shaken up. If I had to pinpoint the exact time when my life changed, I know that I could very easily tell you that it was a moment that I would remember for the rest of my life. Yes, I had every weapon at my disposal, but it didn’t help me one bit. It was not just the most terrifying moment of my life, but it was also the most defining. It was a moment the sky broke loose. When all was revealed. When a window to the other side of life was shown..

And everytime I raised my hands to make Du’aa, I couldn’t help but remember that hat a miracle it was that I was given a chance to be better…

Oh Allah, we are not worthy. This gift of the Quran, we have not even earned. Oh Allah, we have many crimes, Ya Allah. Oh Allah, we have transgressed greatly.
But oh Allah, You are the King of Kings. Oh Allah, make us dependent only on You. Oh Allah make us never ask of anyone but You. Make us Your special people. Make us turn only to You. Make us of the people of Du’aa. Make us of the people of Qur’an. Make us the companions of the Quran. Make our character the character of Quran. Make our hearts attached to the Quran. Oh Allah, make the Quran our day and our night. Oh Allah, make the Quran our entire life. Make us live with the Quran. Make us die with the Quran..
Oh Allah, choose us, Ya Allah. Make us Your special servants. Make us Your stars. Make us shine, Ya Allah. Out of Your kindness, accept us, Ya Allah. Accept this effort as we beg of You and ask out of humility…

Tears momentarily filled my eyes as I ended the Duaa, knowing that it may be a while till I returned to this place that felt so much more like home than any other. To have the privilege of making the Du’aa here and witness a Hafidh of Quran complete now, in time for my leaving was a gift in itself. It was the most apt farewell that came at the most perfect time.

I couldn’t even comprehend the many favors that came along with being here. To see all the people I had yearned to see while I was away was yet a great blessing. My heart had ached to see some of them for years. Old friends, Ustaadh and teachers. Even Maulana Umar had made and appearance today, and as I had watched him retreat I was still in awe of how much of the Sunnah that guy had in him. Through all my years, his walk… his talk., the way he would humour people… just like how Nabi (SAW) would give a person the tile of day, or an attentive ear when they spoke… the man had mastered much more than I had seen in anyone else through all my years.

“You really want to go back?”

I looked up as I turned my face, watching the crowds leaving. He knew just how to appeal to the emotional side of me. The truth was, over the years, the toughness I had as a kid had slowly deteriorated. Yes, some of the experiences had made me hard, but in the same way, a little more in touch with my emotions. I also knew what Yunus was doing. He was the one I had confided in. He was the one that knew the truth of what had happened to me back then… before I had adopted the amazing quality of Shukar and put the past behind me. The dark side of man that had haunted me for years while I was away from home was something I had disclosed to very few people. He was probably wondering why I’d want to go back if there was so much at risk, when I could just stay home… knowing that I’d be safe.

And he knew because Yunus was one of the main people who had helped me get back. After the trouble I had been in and the ridiculous allegations against me… somehow, Yunus had managed to make the arrangements for my return back home. And though I knew at the time I would have to get back to my new life, I just didn’t want to think about it. I just never imagined that it would I be so soon.

”We’re going to miss you here, Maulana.”

”You’ll be okay, bro,” I said placing my arm around his shoulder casually. I felt like I had to explain to him. He looked so lost. “I’ll try and come back soon. It’s just… my life is there now and I have people to see… classes to finish… if Allah wills I’ll meet you again…”

”Ah man,” he said softly, looking genuinely defeated.

Yunus was still the same. Soft, obliging type whose painful expressions punctured my heart. And of course, as we chatted in low tones at the front of the masjid, I felt myself a little more attached to him than I realized. During the past few weeks we had become so close that to leave him now felt like I was losing a bit of myself. I don’t know how he did it but he was the type that was very hard to say no to, and even over the years, nothing had changed.

And I couldn’t help but chuckle as we remembered the one person who could really straighten him out without feeling guilty. Childhood memories were so vivid, and I smiled as I remembered how his sister used to yell at him as kids. There were moments when I often had to stick up for him, because he wouldn’t tell her a thing. The poor guy would simply whimper and turn to get on with his work. It just wasn’t in his nature to put up a fight, and I think that’s what made the guy that much more lovable.

And of course, thinking back was always nostalgic. I couldn’t imagine how empty my childhood would have been had I not had the company of those kids who made it what it was.

“Khawlah says you going to go to your new Madrassa and find new friends and forget about us…”

”What?” I asked, frowning and putting my hand out to block the sun that was in my eyes.

I remembered Yunus clearly asking the question as I sat under the shade of the oak tree, watching a pigeon who had recently built it’s nest fending off another one coming over to try and stake ownership. Being young.. not understanding the harshness of nature at times….it confused me. The pigeon had worked so hard.. and yet another one comes in, thinking that the other one can just yank it’s young out to make room for it to take over. I didn’t understand that maybe the new young were at a greater risk  if their mother didn’t find a home soon…

You can just tell you Papa that you don’t want to go, you know,” Khawlah chipped in, her hands crossing over her chest bossily.

 I knew that she had set Yunus up to ask me the question. That was just her way, if anything bothered her, she’d get her brother wound up.., and poor Yunus, being the softie he was, wouldn’t be able to contain himself.

I shrugged. As if it was that easy. Papa was set on me being an Aalim for years. To break his heart would have been painful even for me to watch.

”I’ll never forget you guys,” I said softly.

”How do we know?” She pressed. She was inconsolable. “That’s what you say, but how do we know?”

Ah, Khalwah, don’t be so moody,” Yunus said. He had been watching me carefully. Somehow he just had that way with people… that feeling for someone else. “Everyone has to grow up and leave, You can see he means it. Of course he won’t.”

”Well I’m not going anywhere,” she said stubbornly, sitting on the bench. “I’m going to stay like this forever.”

Yunus chuckled and she broke into a smile as she suddenly got up, continuing with her work as we went on with the game we were playing. The ‘x and o’ on the sandy patch near the jungle gym was a favorite of ours, and I looked up at them both, wondering for that moment how I could ever forget those friends of mine.

In that space… at the time… losing a childhood friendship seemed like the biggest things in the world.

And I suppose it was ironic, and maybe it was wrong of me… but as life took its course, my life would go on without them. 

I missed my mother. My friends. School. Of course, I missed everything familiar. No guy was as great or friendly as Yunus. No girl was as cool or pretty as Khawlah. My heart ached for familiar sights. For the garden. For outdoors. For the moments I’d spend under the sun, with my hands stuck in the soil. I  didn’t understand that my heart was undergoing other changes. I didn’t know that with this reformation, my heart was slowly anchoring itself, and that no matter where I’d drift to or find myself lost after that…  somehow it was that Tarbiyyah and Quran that would bring me back onto my axis.

I didn’t realize that years down the line I might have actually done myself a disservice by not going out of the way to keep in touch. Even after getting caught up, going off track and finding my way again… I still had the notion that I would be able to pick up where I left off at some point. How wrong I was. Hearing about Khawlah’s marriage had been the biggest wake up call for me. It was the moment when I realized that I hadn’t been true to my word and the only person to blame was myself.

And even after all those years of going away, when I thought I’d found myself, sometimes it just takes one incident to change your entire perspective.

And of course, somehow, as I found my way back home for the first time against all odds, I didn’t think that the main feature would be to meet the guy who made that first trip what it was. Honestly, if I had not met him then it’s possible that my whole trip would have been futile, since I didn’t achieve any other aspirations I had. It was a bleak afternoon towards the end of spring. The air was getting palpably warmer and the days getting noticeably longer. I didn’t think that this was the place that I would end up, but there I was, standing in front of a guy that my father had insisted I come see, despite knowing that I had many other places to be right then.

I looked at him as I entered the room, wondering if was in the right place. Yes, he was a good-looking guy, but he looked like he was having a rough time. I didn’t know just how sick he was, but despite that all, I didn’t know that I’d actually live to see such appreciation.

“You’ve been the star of my life.”

I was confused. I wasn’t sure what he meant. Was the guy serious?

“My wife’s Khawlah,” he said, as if it explained everything.

Did he know what happened regarding Khalwah? Maybe he was just trying to make me feel better. 

His breathing was shallow and slightly labored. I looked at him questioningly. 

”Khawlah?” I repeated idiotically, knowing who he meant of course. I just didn’t want to delve further into the topic. My visit wasn’t for that intention. 

“Yeah,” he said with a grin. No, he wasn’t taking the mickey out of me. He was so… genuine. “You’ve featured in so many new discoveries. Whenever I would hear, ‘Khalid used to say’…I know I’m in for something good. I don’t know what brought you here today but I’m so glad you came…”

Ah. Now I got him. As if I was deserving of that role…

“Well, that’s a funny story,” I said softly, trying to lighten the mood. I was a little stunned. The thing was, I was indebted to him

After hearing how much he had done for my parents in the period I was away, I couldn’t help but want to meet him. He was the guy who had given my parents so much of hope and strength when they thought I was gone for good.

Only at the time they didn’t tell me who he was. Seeing him brought another dimension to the equation. I felt strangely settled. Uplifted. Completely at peace that Khawlah had got an amazing husband. It was weird and completely unexpected but before even seeing my mother, this was the place I had ended up at and I didn’t regret it. 

“Strange that you’re supposed to be the one dead and I’m the one lying here…”

He chuckled. It was a deep kind of rumble for somewhere with his tummy, and it made me smile, despite the fact that his sickness was barely even humorous.

Of course I didn’t know what to say. 

”Hey,” he said suddenly, licking his dry lips and raising an eyebrow at me. He had a different kind of accent. “You know it was my ultimate dream to meet you. Can I tell her that you’re… okay?”

I gave him a small smile. He didn’t say alive. He said okay

”Let me meet my mother first,” I said quietly. “And we’ll let it all unfold from there…”

I just thought I was being streetwise. I didn’t know that Khawlah would be angry that Aadam had met me, and never let her know. All he was doing by not telling her was going with my plan.

He nodded and smiled knowingly. He knew what women were like, of course, and he didn’t want to cause any unnecessary confusion.

And of course,  it was weird for this guy, who was her husband to speak like this. To talk about me, some guy in his wife’s past, being someone who had changed the course of someone’s life. Maybe it was his inherent nature, but he was different.
People are often running others down. Saying bad things. Picking on their faults. It’s seldom that you hear good words. And I supposed I had hoped in a way that Khawlahs husband  wasn’t that amazing… but this was a sure tell-tale sign that Aadam was a genuinely great guy, and of course, I would have never been able to live up to that.

”It feels like,” he said again, a hint of junior in his eye. “Like the story of Yusuf (AS).. coming back after so many years, after his fathers Du’aa… do you know how much of Du’aa they made for you..?”

I smiled. Of course. For Yaqub AS.. the lesson was that despite time, distance and the probability that he will never see his son again… it never stopped him from asking. He never stopped pleading. Even when the people would ask him why he still prayed… after so many years… it was because this prophet understood something that a mere person didn’t. Even if decades pass, and still your Du’aa remains seemingly unanswered… why not continue to ask? The magic of Du’aa is that even if it’s not answered the way you think, it serves as a shield to protect you from something else that may have caused much harm…

”I suppose it is,” I answered. My father who was the only person I’d seen since arrival, had told me that everyone had thought I was dead.

”I never thought I’d meet you,” he said, looking at me like he’d seen a ghost. I mean, I didn’t blame him.

I smiled and read a short Du’aa for him as I saw him closing his eyes tiredly.

I smiled as I saw the humour in his eyes and opened them again. I was about to leave, but he lifted his hand up slightly.

”Is there anything I can do for you?” I said, thinking it was the least I could do. I didn’t want to inconvenience him by staying too long.

He looked at me at that point, and in that one glance it was like millions of veils were lifted  from his eyes and I could see right down to his soul.

”Im the type of guy who had everything I ever wanted,” he said quietly, his eyes telling a tale of untold regret. “The best of cars, houses and clothes. I’ve owned Ferraris and Porsche’s… had them best of them all, yeah… The best of watches, gadgets and shoes. I have money in my account waiting for me to spend…furnished apartments that are all on my name. I thought that was the life, yeah. That I’d found the gold. That this was the be all and end all of life… sounds like it, right?”

I nodded, wondering what it must have been like to be like him. I was never a fan of material things but cars… well, you can’t flash a Ferrari in front of a guy and expect him not to twitch.

”And here I am, yeah,” he said subsequently, his voice dropping. “I probably wouldn’t have realized that those things can do nothing for me. I’m lying here in a queen sized hospital bed, in a private ward. I can take a private jet on any day of the week.. but none of that can do a thing for me. I can’t go back and re-live that time I wasted. I can’t undo the things I’ve done wrong in my past. I can’t even buy more time. I know you know all that but what you don’t know is that if I never met Khawlah… if I never knew any of those promises that she told me about… if I didn’t get to find out that I’m not made of my mistakes and I’m not made of my sins… I’m telling you for sure, my friend…. I would have been a complete goner.”

I had looked at him at that moment, his eyes filled with out gratitude and his expression now completely at peace. I closed my eyes and made a silent Du’aa, willing for Allah to grant him complete relief. I didn’t know him but I felt like I did. He was inspiring. Awesome. A guy whose story made me think about myself and how I took my own situation for granted. I knew I could never be grateful enough…

And yes, I wanted so badly to set everything right but as it happened, as I noticed a car following me back from the hospital that day, I knew that I wouldn’t get to meet my mother that day. Or that year. It was bad luck that I had been traced back home, and going to my house would have put my family at risk. The Egyptian conflict had amplified and I didn’t want to risk it. I headed straight back on a flight, knowing that somehow, if it was meant to be… I would find home someday. 

And here I was, finally. Years down the line, I had been given another chance. As we drove back home that day, Yunus exceptionally silent and me in a world of my own, I couldn’t help but think of how time runs away with us. From those little, daring and somewhat carefree kids, here we were, side by side, out in the big world with so much of hope and aspiration…

And yes, maybe I too had a past that haunted me. I had run away but now I had come home, and done what I need to. I had tied up all loose ends. This time, my mother would come back with me for a while, see her family, and settle some of the fears she had before she had come here years ago. I would fulfill her right.

Once upon a time I tried to escape my past. To forget the pain. Once upon a time, I had lost the innocent that came with youth, when I took a step in the wrong direction. But one lesson I learnt was that when the Quran is in your heart, it will always let you find your way back..

And of course, it was something that stuck with me through the years. It was the sincerity of one guys words that made me think.

Our actions are little. Valueless. Not even worth looking at. We know our condition. We know our deeds. But we ask. We ask our Lord… Oh King of Kings, we ask, Like Yaqoob (AS) asked, and continued to ask… because we hope that hope that one day, maybe Allah will look at us with his look of mercy and give us.. not like how we deserve, but because He knows that if we can’t ask of Him, we really have no where else we can turn to. 

Sometimes I wish that I could have bought more time back then. Set things right. Sometimes I wished that I had taken life a bit more seriously when it mattered. Maybe it was my friends. Maybe it had been my parents. Perhaps it was someone else whose mind I had crossed for some reason or occasion. I don’t know what measure of time or distance or place… I cant comprehend the hours or minutes or seconds… but I do know that it was at the most crucial moment when someone’s Du’aa came to save me from something that would have been a true tragedy. The essence of worship, the answer to every problem. The solution that truly worked. Du’aa was something that I saw the magic of years down the line.

All I knew was that at that point, just before the flaming blaze of the explosion that changed my life, as I bent down to pick up a piece of log that was in the middle of the road… a Sadaqah that showed me the immediate removal of a calamity… those few milliseconds that delayed my re-entry to the car were unbelievably crucial to my survival. Had I got there just 20 seconds earlier, I knew that I too, like my cousins, would have been burnt to smithereens. I too, would have been a complete goner. And I could almost see it… at that very moment, someones heartfelt Du’aa was headed directly at me, intervening just in time and completely shielding me from the disaster that had just unfolded.

And that’s when I learnt about Duaa.

A lesson that stuck for life. As we stopped the car just outside my house now back home, the shadow of my mother sitting on the porch suddenly caught my eye and my heart immediately jumped to my throat.

I knew her tell-tale signs by now. Ah yes, I knew my mother too well. My mothers famous habit was to plant herself outside as a warning to me… generally when she had a bone to pick with my father or when I was in some kind of unprecedented trouble. I didn’t know that she had a visitor. I just knew that when I saw her with her arms crossed and her charcoal eyes slightly narrowed, my only chance at survival was to make a silent Duaa. Today I had to pull out all the weapons I could because there was certainly something unseemly waiting to erupt…


Dearest readers, 

I can’t seem to manage more than one post a week for now, so please forgive the delays. A little bit of revelations in this much longer post… hope most of the questions are being answered…


Much Love,

A xx

Lots and lots of Duaas. Let’s focus on trying to bring Du’aa into our daily lives.. that will be the next Sunnah InshaAllah 

Sunnah of Honoring ones elders 

Reviving this Sunnah…
As youth we should remember that how we treat our elders is how we will be treated when we reach old age.
Sayyiduna Anas narrates that Nabi said: “No young person shows respect to an old man on account of his old age without Allah Ta’ala appointing someone to show respect to him when he becomes old.”

Revive the Sunnah of honoring elders.

How easy to practice …









Twitter: @ajourneyjournal







The Little Things

Bismihi Ta’ala


Sometimes the smallest things take the most room in your heart. Sometimes you don’t see it coming.  You never know it from the start. It could be a little word. A small gesture. A lingering smile. We never know when our hearts are suddenly swayed and then like a gust of wind from the blue, things are just not the same anymore.

At the end of the day, the way we are brought up and what we are exposed to shapes us. It makes us who we are. The heart, by default is something that easily turns. In the blink of an eye, it’s entirety can be devoured. If we feed our heart with everything besides what our Lord requires of us, it’s only natural that our hearts will incline to that.

In that, if our hearts are corrupt; if our intentions are corrupt, such deceit will follow in our actions.. For how will a fruit tree bare fragrant and delicious fruit if it’s roots, underground, have decayed?

I paused for a second as I let the thought sink in, thinking to myself how genius it was, as I thrust the shovel into the sand, digging up the debris that were left behind, trying to clear a path for me to walk through to continue my task. The smell of wet earth was particularly comforting, as it became more apparent that the roots of the huge oak tree started her. It was home to many animals, including nocturnal ones.

The tendons were still very much alive. They still had infinite potential and as I continued to dig in, with each movement, something inside me was getting revived. 

”You know what they say in Egypt about friends,” my mothers voice called out from the patio.

I had heard it plenty of times before. My granny had often used the proverb when I was younger. I just wasn’t sure if Tariq was trying to get information from me or if he was really being serious. He was a good guy, but his mouth was a tad bit on the loose side.

Even if a friend is honey, don’t lick them all up.

Tariq’s words were still ringing in my mind even though he had left an hour ago. I tried to make light of them but unfortunately it wasn’t that easy, I couldn’t help but feel that he should have more decency than to talk like that.

I looked at my mother and shrugged, trying to play it down. It didn’t matter, did it?

”You should have spoken your mind,” she said, just before she turned to leave. How did she even know what was on my mind?

“And what good would that have done?” I rattled to her in Arabic. “Speaking good and overlooking faults always wins the battle. The one who gives up arguing even when he is right, well Ums… you know the Hadith…”

Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “I guarantee a house in Jannah for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right; and I guarantee a home in the middle of Jannah for one who abandons lying even for the sake of fun; and I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah for one who has good manners.”

[Abu Dawud]

I smiled as I noticed my mother’s unchanged expression. She had her hands on her hips and an unimpressed look on her face.

”But this is not your life that it has to do with,” she said pointedly. “Some things are worth the argument. You should care more than that…”

”Don’t take it so seriously,” I said, walking up to her and planting a kiss on her soft cheek. As long as I’d remembered, Ummi’s cheeks were always somewhat like cotton wool. If she didn’t hate it so much I would have pinched them, but I knew that she would probably smack me.

“I see even after all these years you haven’t broken the habit of listening to my conversations?” I said with a grin.

She shrugged and gave me a wry smile. I had missed her smile. Her charcoal eyes. It had been so many years that I had forgotten the parts that had made home… well, home.

I grinned and shook my head to myself as I thought of her intuition. She always had this sixth sense about people who brought trouble, and Tariq was never in her good books. Though we knew each other for years, I think she was always wary of his charming smile and poetic phrases.

”If things were different you wouldn’t have been so unaffected,” she said, a note of sadness in her voice.

I didn’t say anything. Somehow, the light-heartednesse of the situation had been exhausted. Things between us had become serious as the atmosphere intensified.

Things weren’t different. That was the thing. It was what it was and it was no-one’s fault. What was meant to be had happened. If something is not on your Taqdeer there is nothing that can be done to change it. Destiny was such. Now that so much had happened since then.., and so many years had gone by… I had no intention whatsoever of going back down the road.

I breathed in deeply as I got back to my task again of rebuilding the treehouse, holding the spade with both hands, heaving before I went in for another dig. This time there was a “thwack” as it hit a solid piece of something, and I pulled back, trying to figure out why there was such a shallow point right there. Possibly something I had buried as a young kid? A piece of rock from the old store room maybe? Much had changed since I got back, and the yard was one of them.

My mother had gone back inside but I couldn’t help but feel uneasy. Of course, when Tariq has mentioned a ‘rich widow’, I didn’t think about who it could be. Yes, I had laughed it off… not knowing who he meant. When two and two was put together, I had to admit that the prospect made me feel uneasy. His brother wanting to propose to someone because she had money to rescue his business was definitely not an admirable thing to do.

Now that I knew who the someone was, it made me feel even more unnerved. I had no idea that her husband had passed away, until a few days back. All I knew from the talk was that whoever had to propose now would have some really big shoes to fill.

I hoisted myself up onto the first branch of the tree, steadying my body as I reached the level of the would-have-been playhouse that my father had started when I left home. Who he was building it for, I had no idea. You could barely notice it, but as I had strutted around aimlessly the past week, still trying to figure out what was next from her, I knew that a revamp would be just the thing to keep me occupied. Papa had suggested teaching at the Uloom to keep me busy, but my thoughts weren’t that focused as yet. Catching up with all the things I had missed about home seemed more appealing for now. I just needed some time to adjust…

And of course, now that the memories had been revived, I couldn’t help but feel like the silly guy that I was back then. How life had caught me unaware… though it sometimes made me laugh at myself back then… it also filled me with regret.

I was so childish. Ignorant. Unaware of reality. I still remembered the conversation I had had back then with my mother, thinking I had had it all figured out. Falling into the wrong crowd, leaving madrassa… taking life like it was one big joke and then suddenly wanting to marry the girl who I had promised I would when I was ten years old just because seemed like she could fix it all… well, that was where I had stood back then. I mean, who even knew what they wanted at ten?

And yes, even though it was laughable now, and made me chuckle aloud… what haunted me was that I had blamed my mother for a long while afterward. Stupidly.

I had blamed her because I didn’t have the foresight in me to understand about Taqdeer.

I didn’t get that it wasn’t meant to be.

“I knew that you would come back, you know that?”

It was the day I had arrived, and I couldn’t yet bear to look at Ummi, whose eyes were brimming with fresh tears again as she took in my presence. Her face was drawn from the years she had aged and the lump in my throat seemed to intensify as I saw her pain. How could I hurt her like that? How could I have left without making it all okay?

”It would have been sooner if I could…” I said, running my hand through my now full beard yet still feeling like the coward kid I had been back then. “Ums… I’m sorry for that last time… I couldn’t…”

She shook her head vehemently as she held my head in her hands, kissing my forehead and then turning away so I couldn’t see the tears flowing.

It wasn’t rocket science. I knew she was crying. I knew my mother too well by now. To have had a son like me who had at one stage turned away from everything she had tried so hard to inculcate in him was much for her to bear. She had never disclosed the truth to anyone, even when I went away… but I knew now why she sent me. Being away from them made me reflect. Realize. Made me regret.

It’s not fair!” I had shouted at her. “You’d do anything for everyone else but for your own son! Its because it’s Khawlah, right? Looks like you’re more worried about her than me! It’s not like I want to mess around! I want to marry her!”

I was angry. Clouded by my thoughts. Controlled by emotion. Looking back I could not believe that I had raised my voice to my mother.

”Khalid, you needed to grow up first,” she said wisely, trying to make me see reason. “You can’t be getting married now. I won’t allow it. You think she will accept?! She’s not a stupid girl. You need to finish your Aalim course. Learn some responsibility. She hasn’t had an easy life. She’s lost her mother. She still has two years of school. Study something or be someone who she can rely on. If she is meant for you after it all… she will still be here… Tawakkal Allah...”

I had scowled and pushed her away as she tried to come towards me. I couldn’t believe that I had become so angry. Looking back, I couldn’t believe I had broken my mother.

My parents had given me so much. Everything a kid needed. They had put everything on hold to bring me the best of Deen. I had learnt so much from her, yet I still had it in me to break her with my rebelliousness. Of course it was not an easy thing. How much of grief and pain I had given my mother in that time, I could not even fathom…

How would I even begin to make up for it? How could I even prove to her how much I regretted all the pain I put her through...

But a mother. I didn’t understand then but I knew now. A mother is someone who knows your heart, even when you don’t even know it yourself. There’s a reason Jannah is under her feet. If it was her palms, she would have handed it over- undeserving. Within the ground, it bears her entirety. If you wish to achieve it, then only do you learn what it is to carry her weight….

”Don’t sweat the small stuff, handsome,” she had said mischievously with that twinkle in her teary eye, as I clung onto her at the door. “It’s all small stuff.”

Small stuff. I had laughed as she said it, but it all boiled down to one thing.

Taqdeer. It was what it was. I didn’t understand it then. It took me years. Years of battling with my Nafs, my heart and my overpowering inclinations. Being in Egypt had put a lot into perspective for me. It changed my views, my company and the way I saw life. Instead of the irresponsible guy I was back home, I  had morphed into a civilized and commendable character that everyone looked up to.

And then, of course, there was the accident. If you could even call it that. An incident that claimed the lives of two of my cousins. An incident that made me realise that a friend of ours who seemed to be on our side… really wasn’t. It had taken another year of battling to find base afterwards. I couldn’t go back to Egypt because of the politics that had heightened after the Arab Spring. I would have been in deep trouble. I couldn’t go back home because the guy who had set us up was waiting there to see if I would still be alive. It was time for me to take care of myself… time for me to be on the run…

And it was a tough journey. To see the other side of life. When I saw the guys advancing towards us as we set off past the border, gasoline in their hands… I already knew that we were in trouble. And yes. It was the most terrifying feeling. As the flames overcame us, somehow, I had managed to escape the brunt of it.

When I woke up, I was already taken captive… not yet knowing what crime I had committed, but knowing that I was set up. It was surreal. Facing death and living to tell the tale. Getting arrested for no reason that seemed to make sense. Being beaten in the depths of the night for crimes I didn’t commit. All we were doing was taking food and necessities over to a camp where it was scarce. We didn’t know that they would consider us as competition. That the people who intercepted us weren’t happy about it and made it political. Six months later, I had eventually found my way out, but in foreign territory. I couldn’t go back, I had to keep escaping until I found refuge in a Mosque near the Indian border.

And of course, as Taqdeer would have it… I completed my Aalim course there. I then went on to perfect my recitation in Quran, making sure to steer clear of Egypt in the process. Both territories were dangerous for me. Somehow, through trying to do what was right, I had become a violator. Jordan seemed like an amazing place to be, and that was precisely where I had ended up a few months before clashing into Yunus.

What a journey. My mind could not even wrap itself around the gratitude that I felt right then. The magnitude of what had happened. I never thought I’d get back home. I never thought I’d ever see my mother again, but Yunus came along and changed it. Allah had sent him to be a means of relief, and I could not even express how grateful I was to him. He was an amazing guy. Always had been and still was. I closed my eyes as I thought of everything I had made Duaa for, not even realizing that everything I wished for back then was now directly at my disposal.

Sometimes in our pursuit for different things, we forget the things that Allah has given us without asking. Sometimes we get so fixated on the things that we don’t get, that we forget about the little things that we never have to ever ask for.
Yes, at one stage I had wanted wealth and love and status so badly. At once stage I had been lured off track, taken in by a crowd who seemed like they were cool and focused, only to find out they were the exact opposite. It was short-lived but I wasn’t immune to it’s effects.

Papa had a knack of bringing me back on track with his words, but sometimes even the small pains we cause our parents can have repercussions. Through a little disobedience, we cause more damage. Being faced with difficulty sometimes helps us to channel our thoughts in the right direction. It helps us find our base. Eventually it brings us back home. 

And now that I was home and it was all over, never again will I take for granted the soothing smile of my mother… the warm handshake of my father. The acceptance of people back home. A roof over my head. The gifts that I was blessed with every day. Family. Friends who loved me. The fact that I had a home to go to, breaths that I didn’t have to ask for. A conversation with a stranger who knows where I come from. A smile from the tea-shop guy who remembered me as a little kid. I’ll never look at home in the same way again.

Exchoose me!”

At first I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it. I paused as I stopped the hammering, peeping through the tiny gaps below me as I saw little curls that flew all over her face. It was a laughable sight as I watched, and of course, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe I was gone crazy and had been transported back in time to a place where the world was new and the skies were still clear blue. I was almost lost in translation as I tried to make sense of it… holding my weight with the strongest branch of the tree and then making my way down as she went on for herself.

”Who are you and what are you doing here?” She asked clearly as I made myself more visible. For a girl of that age, her speech was remarkable.

And I couldn’t believe she was asking me that. I mean, I was almost certain that I should have been the one to ask what she was doing here. At my house. In my yard. She was hilarious.

I chuckled as my feet touched the ground, put my hands on my hips to mimic her and took a long look at the face that belonged to the strangely familiar bossy voice. All I knew was that though her hair was distinctly familiar, her little face was the cutest little picture that I’d never seen before. And as I heard the voices coming from the back alley, calling her name in frantic worry, I supposed there was not much else I could do to keep myself concealed from what was obviously awaiting…

There is an end to every storm. Once all the trees have been uprooted. Once the houses have been ripped apart. Eventually the storm will pass. The wind will hush. The clouds will lift.

Way before we knew about this, it all comes back to one thing.  It doesn’t matter how far you’ve gone. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through. And I’m not sure at exactly which point Taqdeer had changed for me. I don’t know which hour or day or time of the week, there is no measure when it comes to the mercies of Allah that can rain on you through patience and perseverance. Too many of us are trapped in that cycle of chasing, that we forget to live, feel and experience the beauty that we created. There is no way to understand the weight of what we bear, until one day we realize that right now, where we are, is where we were praying to be all along…

And through it all, if theres one thing I learnt, it’s this:

After hardship always comes ease.

It’s those little words and reminders that we sometimes forget. The little reminders that help us to be more like the people we want to be, were called to be… and hopefully always stay that way… for better or for worse.

But mostly for the better…

Dearest Readers,

I did plan to pen a little more of the story but as time would have it, I kind of had to make the most of whatever I had planned and condense the lessons that I had in mind for the preparation of Ramadhaan. Whilst we embark on the journey of this amazing month in the most surreal of times, let us not forget the little things that we take for granted. The time with family. The smiles of our kids. Just playing with them and enjoying their little laughter.

We will probably have a lot more time on our hands for the first few days. With no iftar parties of excessive gathering, let’s use the opportunity to get closer to Allah and seek His mercy. Let us lose ourselves in the wealth of Allah’s refuge. May we become so close to Him… so pious … that after Ramadhaan our hearts are completely changed.

May Allah alleviate the burdens of the entire Ummah and Mankind, and grant every person relief from the troubles and ailments that are engulfing us. I will reply to all comments soon and yes, InshaAllah, a few posts to be expected to conclude the story thereafter. 

Lastly, don’t forget to make Du’aa. Lots of duaa. May Allah accept!

Much Love,

A xx

A new Sunnah. Consideration for beggars and Needy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Almighty Allah on five nights:

The night of Jumu’ah

The nights of the two ‘Eids

The first night of Rajab

The middle (15th) night of Sha’ban

Allah accept our efforts and Duaas.









Twitter: @ajourneyjournal





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