Exceeding Expectations

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 93

I didn’t expect to get woken up that morning with a cup of my fave coffee next to me.

Seeing that Hamzah was already up and showered, I could hear him clearing the stuff in the kitchen almost as if he’d been cooking, made my heart sing.

I, on the other hand, felt like a slob.

I had been slacking. With everything. Housework. Cooking. Qur’ān. Even salaah had become rushed and inattentive.

But since Hamzah’s arrival, miraculously, somehow, everything had been in check. There he was, Mr Perfect, now perched on the couch next to the room, reciting Surah Yaseen softly but audibly, and I couldn’t help but feel that I needed to go to him with my Qur’ān so I could be his student and just soak up all that Barakah again. He just had that effect on me, and made me want to polish my soul.

After slipping into the pits I had been in, I knew that the only resolution was to focus on cleaning and dusting my souls.

Even though we had talked till I (mistakenly) crashed, Hamzah, like the charged proton he was, was all over everything already.

I stifled a yawn as he peeped his head around the corner of the room door, and I sat up consciously, pulling my hair into a quick pony tail.

“Assalamualaikum,” he said with a small smile. “I won’t ask if you had a good rest. You were lights out.”

I covered my face with my hands as I recalled how I had crashed on the couch. And now, I was on the bed, and I didn’t even think about how I had gotten there when I had woken up at fajr and crashed again.

”Did you have to carry me to the bed?”

It was mortifying. I couldn’t believe that I had passed our while we were in the middle of speaking. How tired was I? 

“I managed,” he said cheerfully, and I pulled the covers over my head while I heard him chuckling, right around the same time that I heard my phone vibrate next to me. “Don’t worry, you weren’t drooling. Or snoring.”

”Gee thanks,” I murmured, peeping out and catching a glimpse of Hamzah’s retreating back as I grabbed my phone and sifted through it.

There were messages from my mother, Jameela and even Muhammad Husayn. I missed my brother so much, because now that Jameela was settled and he was growing up and I had so many of my own issues, I felt like I had completely neglected him during the past few months. Lastly, Nani had tried to call – three times, and I hadn’t heard a thing.

Her message came while I held the phone on my hand.

Mohsina. Aunty Khairoon wil fetch  me early for taaleem. We will fetch u. 

And just when I was getting used to everyone not bothering about me, today, of all days, when I was planning on ignoring them all and spending time trying to figure out my feelings about my marriage, my entire family was on my case.

“Why the frown?”

It was Hamzah’s voice that rang out as I looked up at him.

”Nani,” I said softly, sitting up against the headboard and pulling the blanket up to my chin. Johannesburg was getting super cold and I couldn’t function, even though I was in my fleecy pyjamas. “You know her and taaleem. She wants to fetch me. If I tell her you’re here, she will jump to conclusions and then everyone will know that you spent the night and it will probably be posted on her WhatsApp status.”

”She’ll be thrilled,” he said blandly. “You know how she loves me.”

I didn’t want to tell him that I didn’t want everyone to know that he was here, because they loved him too much to want him with me. Also, even though he had spent the night, he had slept on the couch.

Although I didn’t want to voice it, I was sure that he too didn’t want it to be public knowledge yet and that we should rather just keep it secret for now. We had established that there were people who weren’t thrilled for us and had made it clear that our reunion, when and if it happens, will all be under wraps.

I felt like one of  those celebrity couples who the paparazzi were forever after and the strain would eventually get to their marriage. And that was exactly what happened already.

“Tell her you’re not feeling well and you’re going to the doctor-hopefully for a shot that will do some magic,” Hamzah said, stopping to pull on his jumper. “No lies there.”

I nodded and typed out a message, knowing that it may worry Nani but it was better than her turning up here and harassing me about being on top of things.

I ignored my mother’s and Jameela’s messages and snuck behind the other side of the bed to get to the bathroom, because I had actually gotten so used to being on my own that having Hamzah here was very strange indeed.

Speaking to him too, was really strange.

We spoke a lot about Rabia. About how she had gotten involved with this, and why she would do it.

And I was all for women supporting other women, but for Rabia, I just couldn’t seem to see why I should. She never had a good thing to say about people and the fact that she didn’t seem to care made me so mad.

”She really loved that necklace,” Hamzah said, remembering how it ended up at our door. There was a spare key to our apartment block at his parents house and it was obvious that she was involved. “I just don’t know what she got out of this…”

”She separated a married couple,” I said heatedly, watching Hamzah as he fiddled with the threads on the rug. “I can’t believe she would sabotage us like this. That’s so evil. She probably brought the package here after knowing thag he bought it. How she found it, I don’t know. Even if he gave it to her, why would she do this to us, knowing how much it meant to us when we were proposed?”

A lot of pieces weren’t quite fitting together but I had figured out that much. Rabia wanted us apart and would stop at nothing to have it. The fact that my son was there with her in the same house made my blood boil. I had made Hamzah call his parents to make sure that he was with them and no-one else but them. I had reached the point when I couldn’t bare the thought of her toxicity touching him.

”I think she’s really in a bad space,” Hamzah had said, and I looked at him and frowned, because it sounded like he was making excuses for her again.

The thing is, I knew that happened too. People get into bad spaces. But it wasn’t just now that it started. From inception, Rabia never made an effort to be kind.

She never made an effort to even be pleasant with me. And I know akhlaaq was when you are able to overcome those feelings and be good to that person, regardless of how the other person made you feel, but with Rabia, did she really deserve forgiveness?

“I don’t know, Hamzah,” I had said with a yawn, my eyelids feeling heavy already. “It’s hard to just forget this.”

”I know, but I’m working on forgiving her,” he said softly. “I’m angry, but I know that deep down, she’s feeling bad. I know that much and if she has to say sorry, we need to try and mend things.”

Oh my word, the man was blind.

I knew that I should have put up a fight, but I didn’t even want to start an argument. I never thought I’d say this but I just didn’t have the fight in me anymore. I was so tired.

Also, telling him about work after he left and Faadil, the confusion and heartache I felt, and watching the stony look on his face as he digested that, was really hard and exhausting.

And then when he asked me if I’d considered it, I didn’t say anything. After all, it was Hamzah who had made it clear that our marriage was one of convenience for him. We both didn’t expect to fall in love. Feelings were by the way, if he had ever felt anything he said.

And of course, he partly blamed me, for entertaining Faadil all those months, for being with him and for giving him expectations… but where I was at at that time, was somewhere he couldn’t understand. I was grieving in ways that he wouldn’t understand. I needed support and I felt that Faadil was the only one who was willing to give it to me.

I had felt deserted and abandoned in every way possible… because I had forgotten that there was a loving and caring Rabb who was always looking out for me.

And then I lost Layyanah and somehow, it returned me to Him in so many ways.

There were still many things that were left between us. We still had things to talk about. To clarify. I wasn’t sure when we would get the chance but for now I would go with him to the doctor so he could at least leave me alone to think about everything we had talked about. Nothing was happening overnight.

We still had things to speak about. He still had things he had to explain too. But the night was over and in the daytime, reality hit that much harder.

“You ready?”

I had just stepped pulled on my fancy pants, so I speedily changed and tried to ignore the unsettling in my tummy as I gulped down the rest of the coffee that Hamzah had brought me. I had lost so much of weight that most of my normal clothes didn’t even fit me. I knew that I would have been more worried if I didn’t have so much to worry about. In a way, I was glad Hamzah was forcing me into this.

I just hoped that the doctors rooms weren’t full so I wouldn’t have to wait too long there.

”Let’s get this show on the road,” I said, walking out the room after applying a tinge of make up.

And yes, I had dressed up – just a tad bit more than usual. I wanted to make Hamzah’s eyes pop slightly, the way they did when I walked past him to get my abaya. Yesterday, I may have been a frumpster, but today, I was wearing my most flattering jeans and a black top that tied up just above the buckle.

I knew that I looked good. Even slightly skinny, after losing all that weight.

By the time I pulled my cloak over and turned to look at him, I could see him deliberately turn away, and I could already feel a triumphant smile spread over my face as he did.

“Everything okay?” I asked sweetly, binning the empty coffee cup that he had brought me, and turning to the door.

Served him right for saying that we were just filling gaps with each other because we missed our best friends. Looked like he was eating his words already.

”Fine,” he said, his voice sounding slightly squeaky, as he held the door open and locked it after me. He still had his key, and I watched him put it in his pocket and avoid my gaze before he followed me to the parking lot.

Being around each other was feeling strange again, and I just wanted to get this morning over with so I could get to Zaid again. I was already thinking about the night and what it would bring, and whether he would want to talk some more, although i tried my best to stop myself from overthinking.

Instead, I knew the best thing would be to move onto neutral topics and hope that normality would shift in soon enough.

”Is Zaid still calling you ‘Hah’,” I asked with a grin, eager for news about my baby as I watched Hamzah silently reverse out the parking. He had not looked at me, or even said a word since we left the flat.

I wished I could read his thoughts.

”Yup,” he said with a shake of his head, glancing at me quickly. “And he calls my mother ‘Da’. ‘s he still calling you nothing?”

He had a small grin on his face and I whacked him on the shoulder, pouting as I remembered how Zaid refused to even acknowledge that I had a name.

At all. Zilch.

And I knew that I wasn’t his real mother, but I took comfort in the fact that at least we had got one thing right. Hamzah was hammering him with it from the time we got him.

And though I was always picked on by Nani about nurturing my phone and not my child, in those initial days of marriage and parenthood, I knew for a fact that I had tried my utmost with being a good mother. I was with Zaid every moment, went all out, breastfed and broke my sleep patterns for him. Hamzah loved him unreservedly, made sure he recited Qur’ān for him every night, and it was no wonder that at eight months, his first proper word was ‘Allah’.

And I knew that Hamzah took the credit because he had started repeating that every morning, as his morning routine when he would wake up, and Hamzah would take him to the lounge after Fajr so I could at least get a little sleep, but what mattered was that it worked.

And since then, he had said everything else beside what I was to him.

I had tried for ‘Mos’, and then for ‘Mo’ and then for ‘Na’ but he was as stubborn as Hamzah. He just looked at me blankly and pointed to everything else besides what I was asking.

Now that I was away from him, it seemed like it was going to be even harder. I didn’t need a reminder of how much of his life I was missing.

“Thanks for rubbing it in. Did you mean it when you said I can have him for a night a week?” I asked, glancing at Hamzah as he drove.

He nodded, but he was back to not meeting my eye.

I suppose being away from Zaid was hard on Hamzah too. The only solution here was if we reconciled but he didn’t bring up the topic and neither did I.

Not yet. Safer topics were best for now.

”If I say something, I usually mean it,” he said, glancing at me before turning into the parking lot for the medical centre.

I was glad that we were there because I didn’t have a pleasant retort for that. He won’t say something unless he meant it. That meant that whatever he had said in the past too, was what he meant. Or did it mean that his apology was also something that he meant more?

We were at a place where things were not yet sorted, and I felt somewhere in between with my feelings. I was recovering from a dark place, and it was scary to have to acknowledge all the work that Hamzah and I still had to in order to get better.

And I was glad that we had just reached the rooms because I didn’t want to dwell on it any more. Right then, I was just glad that Hamzah had brought me here, and even though I didn’t want to come, having some sort of reason or diagnosis to these symptoms would be a relief.

And though I was way to proud to admit it, I would have never have come on my own because I knew that doctors costed an arm and a leg. If j had to be referred to a special, I knew that I would never be able to afford the fees on my humble home industry business earnings. That was why I desperately needed the job Lesley had set up for me. Truthfully, life was damn expensive, and with every passing month, it was getting more.

But that was the grind of reality. And until we saw the way the world was, until we saw the desperation in the eyes of common folk, and realised the real trials that people go through, we never appreciate how blessed we are. Life had been easy recently, but being back in the shoes I was years ago was good for me to realise how much Allah had blessed me.

The thing is, social media tricked us into believing that everyone else’s grass is greener. That the world is beautiful and fair and affordable. There aren’t many instances we see on the gram where we are actually forced to stop and reflect on how much we actually have, because it always leaves us wanting.

And the thing is, there are are often times in our life when we prayed for, visualised, and hoped to be where we currently at.  But still, it wasn’t enough.

Once we’ve received our blessings, we often get too worried about the next thing to notice it.

The cycle of chasing the next high never ends. We refuse to be grateful for the moment and stop stressing and overthinking about what’s coming next.

The Hadith speaks about the importance of being satisfied with what we have.

If there was one valley full of gold for the son of Adam, he would long for a second valley, and nothing would fill the stomach/mouth of the son of Adam but sand (of the grave).

And it was so true, because man stopped at nothing when it came to attaining worldly attractions.

And as I thought of the reality, gratitude filled my chest as I thought of how lucky I was that I had the opportunity to come to a private doctor, when others didn’t. We didn’t often think of these things as blessings, but imagining the alternative was something that called for true reflection.

Seeing the rooms weren’t that busy yet was also a huge relief. I took a seat while Hamzah went forward for me, grateful that he wasn’t that macho male type who forced me to do things for myself, trying to avoid contact with anyone who may know me.

And I knew that I was being rude, but I was really in no mood to entertain small talk. I kept my head down and minded my own business and Hamzah came to sit next to me, and when the doctor eventually called my name, I quickly got up to go in.

Hamzah remained sitting on the couch, and for some reason, I couldn’t see myself going in there without him. I looked at him, my entire stance so desperate that the receptionist turned to him and almost demanded him to go in with me.

I gave her a grateful smile, and we had moved toward the door, suddenly extremely wary about what this would all bring.

“You okay?”

It was Hamzah asking me but before I even had a chance to answer, the doctor who we had come to see was already in view so I swallowed my excuses and looked at her and smiled.

She was a middle-aged GP who I had been to once before, and as we took a seat and exchanged pleasantries, I was reminded of the last time Hamzah and I were on a doctors room together and how awkward it had been.

I didn’t know that this was going to be even more awkward, as I told her how I was feeling lately. And yes, I know it sounded dumb, but when she looked at me after the basic questions and asked me if Hamzah and I were married, I may have looked at her a bit funny.

What on earth did that matter?

”Have you done a pregnancy test?”

”Err, no,” I said, shaking my head. “I just started a new cycle, and I’ve been on the new pill since, like, 6 weeks ago. That’s probably why I had nausea. Before that I was breastfeeding and it was the mini pills so pregancy- erm, not possible.”

I said it with great confidence and the doctor was looking at me like I was deranged, but she said nothing as she got up, handed me a paper thingum and a cup to pee in and told me that she would see me in three minutes.

I was almost laughing as I thought of how ridiculous this was, and because I knew that this was probably just a waste of time. My cycle had been normal. Almost. Maybe a bit different but not entirely absent.

“But why?” I asked, looking from her to Hamzah, who was looking ten times more awkward than the last time, and I didn’t exactly blame him.

“Let’s just rule one thing out at a time, okay?” She said with a smile, as she opened the bathroom door and ushered me in.

And of course, I was thinking of just dipping the thing in water to prove to her this was ridiculous, but she would probably be able to tell and I didn’t want to waste Hamzah’s money either.

And then, the doubts started entering my mind.

People did fall pregnant on the pill right? It wasn’t like it was unheard of. I hadn’t stopped taking it, but I knew that I hadn’t always been diligent to remember every day at the same time.

I breathed out as I put the stick in the cup, washing my hands and already feeling a little more nauseous as I handed the stick to the nurse in gloved hands, and went out to where the doctor was sitting.

And it may have been my imagination, but as I looked at Hamzah with contempt, pretty sure that I had proven my point, I was certain that he was completely avoiding eye contact.

And just as I was about to ask him if he was okay,  I barely expected the doctor to come in and hand me a sheet for bloods, almost as if she already had come to a conclusion and needed a confirmed diagnosis.

“What’s this?” I asked, taking it from her as I watched Hamzah’s face change to a peculiar sort of expression. He wasn’t looking awkward anymore. Nope. Now he was just looking  petrified.

Terrified and worried and whatever other complicated and awkward emotion came with all of those.

”Congratulations,” Doctor said with a smile, looking from Hamzah to me. “The result is positive. We need to do some bloods…”

I didn’t even hear the rest. I could barely believe it.

The news had barely even digested before I felt it all consuming me, my body already reacting to the emotions that were building up, probably over all these months.

I may have expected some kind of weird reaction to something I ate. Maybe a bug that was going around and refused to leave. Maybe even malnutrition, because of the way I’d been neglecting myself and my health the past two months.

But this. This was way beyond my wildest expectations.

And because there wasn’t much else I could do, I blinked three times as she continued to speak, almost in a daze, shook my head in absolute bewilderment, and promptly burst into tears.

Sunnah of Entertaining guests

Hosting and entertaining guests is indeed a significant deed in Islam. The first man to entertain a guest was Nabi Ibrahim (‘alayhis salam).

This quality is directly linked to the level of one’s Iman.

As seen in the above narration, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) coupled honouring the guest with Belief in Allah and the Day of Qiyamah, which are two fundamental aspects of our Din.

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..💕


















Scars that tell Stories

Bismihi Ta’ala


Part 82

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

And to yearn more for Jannah.

Jannah. The epitome of beauty. The greatest of gardens. The most sublime kind of bliss.

My eyes moved to the message next to the bed, my senses overwhelmed with a bright new perspective as I read the post it once again.

And yes, I felt so blessed. I couldn’t help myself. Reading that post-it now on Zubair’s pedestal gave me all the feels of early morning bliss. I breathed in deeply, taking in every scent, every sound, every movement surrounding me.

Ubaydullāh ibn Mihsan al-Ansāri al-Khatmi (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever among you wakes up in the morning secure in his dwelling, healthy in his body, and he has his food for the day, then it is as if the whole world has been given to him.”

(Tirmizee Shareef)

I felt like Allah’s mercy was raining down on me, as I processed that I actually was here, married and a little (if not a lot) bit in love.

I knew that he didn’t usually sleep in after Fajr, but last night had been a late night and Papa had given him the day off his duties. He had even offered us one of the new glamping tents that had just been completed, but Zubair was insistent that we would stay nowhere but his humble littel bachelor-inspired abode. And I didn’t mind.

The flower pots by the window sill that Nusaybah had livened up with the most spectacular blooms were perched near the window, looking like they were giggling away at the sunlight streaming through. I could see that she had spent a lot of time livening up the pretty simple one bedroom cottage and I was so grateful to her, as I looked around me at the place Zubair called home for the past few months.

Despite the fact that it was so simple, it was homely and the personal touches added by Nusaybah them both made it feel exceptionally welcoming.

I couldn’t help my mind running away with itself as I processed this, turning to glance at Zubair again.

My gaze flickered to that mark again, and I studied it as I shifted up on the pillow, tracing the outline of what looked like a shape and some print on his upper arm.

This one was different. It wasn’t just another one of his numerous scars inflicted on his bronzed body. He had told me that he had been gifted with proof of his many different expeditions that he never wanted to talk to me about, unless I really wanted to know.

I didn’t mean to stare. An array of curved marks that tapered at the ends, elongated ones that looked like blade slashes, and then stunted scars that looked more like bullet holes.

Like a walking example, he reminded me of the conquests of the Sahabah Radiallahu Anhu that I would read about. The tales of valiant men who would take to the battle filed, leaving their brides or their children, with no fear whatsoever; sparring and fighting despite being injured and hurt, knowing that their end goal was nothing but Allah’s pleasure.

The tales of heroism were awe-inspiring.

And though Zubair denied that he’s ever had noble intentions, I knew that every scar had a tale of untold bravery but Zubair wasn’t eager to share any of his past. I understood why, knowing how much he had gone through, as I edged closer to get a waft of his spicy, pine-washed scent, inhaling him while I stared more closely at the mark below his bicep.

And before you think that I was obsessed, the actual reason why this particular mark had caught my eye was because of its specific shape. It was blurry and untidy looking, but my gut feeling was that once upon a time, there was a tragic story behind that very scar that I desperately wanted to know about.

Thinking that he wasn’t yet awake, I touched its slightly raised surface once again and then quickly pulled my hand away as he stirred in his sleep.

I glanced out the gap in the curtain,  already certain that it was going to be a gorgeous day to be out in the garden for a bit, trying to divert my attention so I could stop obsessing over Zubair’s past life.

Stop obsessing over Zubair in general.

Zubair was such a character that I could barely stop myself from falling head over heels with his humility, sincerity and the way that he made me feel that I was the centre of his in universe, over and over again.

I wriggled my toes as I stretched my arms out, trying to silently shift away to head off to the bathroom and do the whole fluffing out my hair, looking normal and brushing my teeth thing when he suddenly shifted again next to me, already awake and turning to face me, and my heart felt like it was about to burst from happiness when he looked at me and smiled.

I honestly could not believe that this was all normal and halaal and I already felt that I was drifting on some kind of elevated cloud fifty-nine.

“Hey beautiful,” he murmured, touching my nose lightly with his index finger. “Assalamualaikum.”

I could barely breathe. I mean, I knew that he was my husband and I had to get over it at some point but the ease in which he embraced everything made him feel like a dream.

“Wa alaikum salaam,” I almost whispered, like a dork, staring into his mesmerising eyes as the morning light shone through the cotton curtains.

And then of course, I covered my mouth immediately because even though we weren’t so close together I knew that morning breath could be a knock out and I didn’t want to scare him away already.

I could live with waking up to this every morning.

“You up early?” He said softly, still giving me that intense look as he spoke, half yawning it’s his own mouth covered, a slight frown forming on his face, almost as if he didn’t like the fact that I was up so early.

“I’m- err,” I started, because I didn’t want to give him the impression that I was a spoilt brat who couldn’t sleep without block-out blinds. “Just can’t sleep once I’m awake for the day. And Mohsina had messaged to let me know that she may not be contactable today. She and Hamzah are going somewhere out of range.”

Of course I couldn’t tell him that I was sitting and staring at him like a weirdo while he slept. And Mohsina had woken me up earlier with a text to say that she hoped I was okay. I wanted to ask her more about what they were up to but I also knew that things were a little fragile between her and Hamzah, and Mohsina wasn’t always eager to share feelings.

I finished my excuse weakly as he broke eye contact and turned on his back again to face the ceiling. I had a feeling he was thinking about Hamzah too. I knew that the two of them were close, and as he lifted his arm to type a quick message on his phone, the crooked mark on his arm was visible again and I instinctively touched it lightly, not expecting him to flinch as I did. He put his phone away and turned his face to look at me.

“Sorry,” I said, immediately retracting my hand as an unknown emotion suddenly flashed across his face.

It was a milliseconds before it faded, and then he suddenly smiled, as if to cover it up, reaching out for the hand that touched it, grasping it in his own, and shook his head.

His reaction was so confusing.

“No need to be sorry,” he said quietly, bringing my knuckles to his lips. “Was just sending a quick message. Scars really fascinate you, don’t they?”

I swallowed and nodded as he turned to me again, looking like he was contemplating deeply.

Yours do, I wanted to tell him, but I wisely kept silent, because I was feeling a little weird about what had just happened.

The cotton sheets were pulled up to my shoulders to cover the straps of my cute but slightly revealing pyjama set that Maahira had sent for me via express courier that week from London, and I felt weird to have them anywhere but up to my chin. The daylight was a stark contrast to the privacy that the night had presented, and I felt like we were starting all over again in some ways.

As morning came, all awkwardness was now in full force.

I was shy and conscious now, and I worried if I was being too forward and nosy by asking these questions. Zubair wasn’t an easy person to read.

Nani would probably scoff at me and say that I had no shame, asking the man about marks on his body. She was probably right, and I couldn’t believe I actually admitted that she was right about something. In actuality, she kind of redeemed herself when she behaved at the Niikah and reception, despite feeling disappointed about her darling doctorsaab.

The thing was, marrying Zubair it felt like I was unwrapping this huge present full of goodies and I didn’t want to stop until I revealed every one.

”You don’t have to tell me about it,” I added quickly, as he shook his head and sat up, placing his feet on the floor, his back to me as he pulled a blue t-shirt over his head, still not turning to face me.

”You have a right to know,” he said, not looking at me as he spoke. “But it’s nothing courageous like you think… or some mark of bravery. It was a reminder of who I was. A symbol that the people I worked for used to use when you pass your first test. It was a tattoo that I removed.“

A tattoo?

it was the first time I’d ever heard of anyone I know having a tattoo.

I didn’t know what to say. I knew that tattoos were haraam, but I knew that it was also becoming some sort of trend for young people despite that.

“So you removed it when you realised that you needed to change your life?” I asked him.

He turned to me and shrugged.

“I removed it when I found out that all my ibaadat may have been completely futile since getting it. Years went by and to think that not a thing I did might have been accepted… I was devastated- having that reminder of the very thing that tainted me would have ruined me a li. I had to remove it. The scar is there for life.”

The scar. He said it with such venom, as if he hated everything it meant to him.

This man. This man. He just got me. Every time.

Zubair had changed his life, AFTER he got the ink. Many may argue that what is in the past, has past away.

There were far greater crimes that were committed in the times of ignorance, where they use to bury their little daughters alive out of feeling ashamed of having girl after girl and no sons.

They were forgiven for such a horrendous act, and yet, he took it on him to remove that evidence.

Despite the fact that the process of tattoo removal was probably torturous and expensive, he chose to remove it because he was so intent on changing everything about his life.

Despite that fact that our Creator knows everything, inside and out.

He didn’t wait for some loophole or favourable fatwa or take a chance. He wanted to erase every bit of his sordid past.

“Was it painful?” I asked softly, watching as he slipped on his shoes emotionlessly, already switching the kettle on for coffee. Sometimes I wondered if he truly let himself feel. It was like he was surviving on autopilot.

I sat up against the wall behind the bed, knowing that I should probably stop being so lazy but still feeling like extremely self conscious about my strappy pyjamas. It wasn’t completely indecent but I wasn’t exactly ready to be so forthcoming either.

“It was more uncomfortable than painful,” he said, frowning slightly as he probably recalled the sensation of that on his skin. “But it needed to be done. And I stuck out the pain because I was stupid enough to get it.. I didn’t exactly have the guidance I needed in my teenage years to know that it wasn’t allowed. It was before Nusaybah left that my uncle started to contact me, and my father had already given up on parenting way before that. It all downhill from there. I was just sinking lower and lower and my uncle had no mercy for cowards, even though he was one himself.”

He said the last part with a certain edge to his voice, like he usually spoke about his uncle, and I desperately wanted to ask him more.

“Did he do anything bad to you?” I asked, softly, but loud enough for him to hear as he sat on the office chair and wheeled around to face me.

There was a mixture of pain and grief on his face as he looked at me, and I instantly regretted asking him. I so badly wanted to take all that pain and tuck it away; where he would never had to feel it again.

“He did enough,” he said bluntly, instantly closing up now completely, his face blank as I could see him putting up walls as I looked at him. It was like the mention of his uncle immediately shut him down. “My uncle is not a kind man.”

I noted how he spoke in present tense, sensing that emotions surged through him like never before.

I hated that I had said something that brought it back for him, and I hated that he still looked so vulnerable when I asked him. I didn’t care about slightly revealing pyjamas anymore.

Zubair had now morphed into a somewhat of a little child as he sat there, and all I wanted to do was go over and hug him fiercely, so he would know that he didn’t have to worry about his uncle and he was safe now.

Well, I hoped that was true, of course.

“I’m so sorry,” I mumbled, shoving off the covers as I  got up and moved toward him, as the dazed look in his eyes lifted and he met my eye once again. “I’m sorry you didn’t have anyone who you could turn to, or who could protect you.”

He shook his head as I reached him, losing pluck to embrace him as I sat on the floor next to him, trying to stay as close to him as I possibly could, not knowing whether I could hols him or not.

It was weird, and Zubair wasn’t always someone who I knew how to read. Right now, he was all stiff and untouchable, and I could tell that emotion was hard for him. I instantly wondered whether not being able to touch him at times had to do with something that happened in his past.

Was it possible that this man was scarred more deeply from a pain that existed within? I didn’t want to even think of the possibilities. There was definitely a story that he didn’t want to tell.

“It’s not your fault,” he said stiffly, his body rigid now, as he pulled out two cups. “I didn’t have many people I trusted. I didn’t have the kind of upbringing where right and wrong was always clear cut. And yesterday, well, I felt like when Maulana spoke, he gave a bayaan just for me that I really wouldn’t ever forget because it really hit home.”

I looked at him as he said it, wondering what the Maulana had spoken about.

”What sterling marriage advice did Maulana give?” I asked with a smile, really curious now.

For him to remember that on his Nikah day, it must have been really quite something.

“He spoke about Tarbiyah of kids,” Zubair said simply, and my grin immediately turned into a flush that made me feel only slightly embarrassed as he said kids.

On his handsome face was a tiny smile that I could barely decipher. Kids. Okay. It’s a teeny bit too soon but I suppose it wasn’t completely off the charts to talk about.

“Don’t get alarmed,” he said, his greener eye darkening with the dry humour. “I know you guys have Zaid and it’s been a transition and to be honest, I don’t even know how I feel about kids. I just really felt it deeply when Maulana spoke about Tarbiyah, and how kids need nurturing. I know how much I lacked growing up. Now… its like as a new generation… we have so much to learn… with technology and always being so distracted, there’s so much we still need to master to ever be worthy of being parents. I know that I’m still young but it worries me that I’ve been so off track and that I’ll never reach that stage…”

His concerned expression caught me by surprise. It took me a few seconds to realise that he was scared, but not by some external factor. He was scared of himself.

“You’re not your father, Zubair,” I said softly, remembering him telling me that his father was too caught up in his own grief to really worry about Zubair after his mother passed away. Nusaybah was left as the one kid who raised the other. “Or your uncle.”

“It doesn’t matter,” he said roughly, running his hands through his hair and giving me a sideways glance. “I managed somehow. I eventually realised that I had destroyed the better part of my life with sins, and when I found Allah… I realised something else so valuable that it turned my entire life around.”

I knew that his past was filled with things he wasn’t proud of. But being an orphan, and feeling like you were all alone was something that made me feel so sorry for the littel boy that he was once.

“And what was that?”

I almost whispered it as I watched him pour water from the boiled kettle, while his pretty eyes stayed fixed on the cups in front of him.

And then, he looked at me, his brown eye twinkling ever so slightly as he spoke.

أَلَيْسَ اللَّهُ بِكَافٍ عَبْدَهُ

(Surah al-Zumar, Ch.39, V. 37)

“Is Allah not sufficient for His Slave?” He said quietly, his voice so passionate when he spoke, and I realised, not for the first time, how much Zubair had taken upon himself. How much he had dealt with, all these years, on his own. How much he had truly believed and felt that verse that he had just uttered.

“And what am I, if not His ‘abd?” he continued, his gorgeous teeth now visible as he gave a small smile. “Whatever Allah wills for His slave, whatever trial He brings my way… for all the darkness within me, all those wasted years…. how can I not reform myself if Allah has said that He is enough to be by my side?”

I breathed out as he said it, tears flooding me eyes and my heart not able to hold all the emotion that seemed like his realisation was choking me with.

He was hurting in so many ways. Over his past. Over his father. Over his uncle.

I desperately wanted him to be free of if all, but I knew that I could never help him unless he let me. And I had to try.

“Zubair, you’re not who you think you are,” I said softly, touching his arm. “Maybe your father was too caught up in his grief and disappointment to know better. He should be honoured to have you as a son. He would be if he saw you now. You’ve change so much. Allah is so happy with you, you have no idea.”

”He knows the real me, Jameela,” Zubair said curtly, obviously not believing a word I had said. “And my father sees me for who I am. There’s nothing to be proud of.”

He said it as if it was common knowledge and I refused to accept it, as he promptly added a jar of sugar to the coffee tray.

”You deserve to be happy, Zubair,” I argued with him, frowning as I watched him carry the tray to the table near the window.

“And I don’t deserve you. I’m not just a black heart, Jameela. I am darkness. Disgraced by my sins and scars. You… on the other hand… are nothing but light and hope, and I still don’t deserve you.”

I couldn’t help but feel my heart clenching at his words that he was and never will be good enough. His feelings about me did nothing to douse the rising anger at his constant self-bashing.

He had settled the tray near the window and I couldn’t help but think that it was the perfect spot to sit and enjoy the scenery that the outdoors offered.

Now I know why Zubair loved this little house. Why he also holed himself up here and never came out, to grace others with his presence.

I wanted to shout to him, to let him know that he was wrong. He thought so little of himself. He didn’t realise who he was. How much he had to offer. All he saw was blackness and jagged scars deep beneath the surface, that were still bleeding in ways he didn’t know.

He was drowning in self-doubt and denial that he was worthy of so much more. Carrying on like this was not a way to live. It was difficult and hurtful, causing him so much more than was necessary.

He was convinced that he deserved no good in his life, and I had already made up my mind that I was going to save him from himself, whether he wanted me to or not.

Mission Sunnah Revival: Thinking well of others 

Especially as these blessed months dawn upon us, we make extra effort to think good of others and make excuses for them. It’s easier said than done but we make Duaa that in this way, people will also think well of us.

Nabi Muhammad (Sallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said, “Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the worst of false tales; and do not look for the others’ faults and do not spy, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert (cut your relation with) one another, and do not hate one another; and O Allah’s worshipers! Be brothers (as Allah has ordered you!”) (Bukhari)

To put it briefly, having good opinion of people implies:

  • Thinking positive of others
  • Avoiding suspicion and wrong assumptions of others
  • Giving others the benefit of the doubt

Sunnah of the month of Rajab 

Sayyiduna Anas Ibn Malik (radiyallahu’anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would recite the following supplication when the Month of Rajab would commence:

اَللّٰهُمَّ  بَارِكْ لَناَ فِيْ رَجَبٍ وَشَعْبانَ وَبَلّغْنَا رَمَضَانْ

Allahumma baarik lana fi Rajaba wa Sha’bana wa balligh-na Ramadan

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

(Shu’abul-Iman, Hadith: 3534, Ibnu Sunni, Hadith: 660, Mukhtasar Zawaid Bazzar, Hadith: 662, also see Al-Adhkar, Hadith: 549)

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..💕
















When Emojis don’t Cut it

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 23

I’m not sure if there’s an emoji for betrayal. Like a knife going through someone’s back, or an arrow piercing through a heart or something painfully relevant.

Or was there an emoji for utmost devastation..? For feeling mentally, physically and emotionally broken? For terrifying fear… for the unprecedented event of shattering someone’s heart, breaking their trust,  without knowing how to stop yourself from doing that one thing that they thought you would never do…

Is there anyway to condense emotions so intense, into something so futile?

And even if there was… even though I had always turned to social media, to tapping away on my device, to channeling all my energy into a dedication or pictured post for my relief, I wasn’t sure if it would have made any difference. The emojis, I mean. A little symbol that had become a way of expression could never divulge how real and raw emotion can cause so much of turbulence within. Can emojis ever cut it?

The thing was, and always had been for me: A social media analogy was far less of a drainer. When you post something wrong or controversial, it’s easy to retract. To dilute with emojis. To send out an apology. To delete the post. To deactivate an account.

In real life… You don’t just lose a follower. In real life you lose someone you valued. You lose a friend. A beloved. Someone who you once may have had a real connection with, and in real life… well, it was so much more real.

What if every like, every face expression, every heart, and reply we give to someone online is actually taking away from our offline relationships?

And it was all coming at me at once, my entire world feeling rocked and a little more complicated… as I tried to rummage through my emotions and how I was feeling…

The feelings were so overwhelming, and I was breaking under them.

And then there was darkness, as if the trigger had been pulled, thoughts scattered like debris.

In the avenues of my mind, I was trapped at every turn…

I sat on the bench outside the hospital, unable to control the shivering as I tried to make sense of everything that had just happened. My mind was tripping with the lucid thoughts and accounts of what had just occurred, and I knew tonight would be no exception.

I couldn’t reach out. I couldn’t break free. I was completely submerged in ghastly thoughts. My mind was a haze of broken events that had transpired, and my heart was, through it all, feeling like it was horribly shattered.

”Your father owes me money,” the man said as he stared me down, me feeling all cramped and edgy with the most unfortunate thoughts, in the back of a Ford bakkie with a canopy, racing over the highway like we had some kind of urgent destination.

The man’s voice was surprisingly mellow, although his demeanor was repulsive. He watched me as I sat, silently at first, the vehicle bumping along as I kept hitting my head behind me.

No one had cared, and to tell the truth, neither did I. The little bumps were like jolts of rude awakenings that reminded me that it was a tormented reality, and not just a dream that I was hoping it was.

”You going to talk or we going to have to make you?”
He asked, after a few minutes, a wry smile creeping on his face.

I didn’t like the way he was looking at me then but I was already in a compromising situation, so there was nothing much I could do to help it, except co-operate.

These people didn’t appreciate an attitude but I was in no mood to be polite.

”So what do you want from me?” I asked boldly, not even knowing where I got the pluck from. “How do you know I’m going to be your solution?”

”You have money,” the guy said steadily. He was probably in his forties, with a small beard and bald spot on the top of his head. “You’re the accountant, right? We have an idea that you’re where your father is drawing money from every month.”

I sucked in my breath, angered by the way they were painting my father. Like some kind of beggar.

As much as I wanted to play his bluff, a game with him to irritate them, I didn’t want to spend any longer than necessary with these horrible people. I was in the worst possible situation and my only intent was to get out of it.

The memories of them searching me, unfazed by my aversion to their touch, was making my stomach churn with revulsion. Humiliation was putting it mildly.

I was at that stage where I realised that nothing I did or said was going to stop them, except if I gave in to them.

“I am,” I said carefully, my voice sounding foreign even to myself. “I’ll give you what you want. Every penny. But I don’t know how much you talking about or how long it will take.”

How I managed such a lengthy response, I didn’t know.

Middle aged balding guy looked at me, probably unsure of whether to believe me, but also as if he was seeing someone else beside some corporate rich glamour girl who could sort out his bills.

“And if you don’t?”

I swallowed. The way his eyes were penetrating, almost through me, was enough to break me whilst they sent me down memory lane.

Two years back… The image of the masked man who had cornered my father in the parking lot of his supermarket building, the butt of his ugly gun smashing down on my face as I tried to stop them, still haunted me… I still carried that scar… a significant physical mark on the corner of my cheek. If it was the same people, I knew these people would stop at nothing… I knew they could not just hurt me, but take away my dignity while they were at it.

And there’s always a story… and as our one goes.. my dearest uncle was the biggest player in this mess. The selfish drug-addict often borrowed money from people – leaving many people, including my father with the debts, and directing everyone to him for payment. Papa had been struggling with keeping his shop open and the added debt wasn’t helping the situation. Now, of course, we had an entirely different scenario, with angry loan sharks and aggressive drug-lords. Who this guy was, I wasn’t sure, but I knew either way, he wasn’t good news.

What a terrible price to pay for a few hours of a drug-induced high and pleasurable sin…

”We need at least half,” he demanded rudely, his face hard and devoid of any compassion. “Like yesterday.”

These people had seen too much.. dealt with too much … killed too many to even give an atoms worth of consideration for my mental state. He was chewing something, and spat out the window before he looked at me once again. He wasn’t finished.

“Else you’re not getting to go home tonight,” he said almost as an afterthought, his eyes telling a story that I never wanted to find out about. “There’s other things we can do with girls who look like you.”

I shuddered as he glanced at mw suggestively, nausea overcoming  me almost immediately. My eyes widened involuntary as he edged closer and I felt my body shudder with fear as his eyes did a complete once-over me.

He touched my cheek, unashamedly, scrutinising every bit of my body. The guy who had shoved me down the staircase had morphed into our designated driver, but I could tell them the guy in front of me was the disgusting master-mind behind it all… and I couldn’t even break free from his unyielding grasp.

And I wasn’t sure how I even did it. How I convinced him to let me go. How I managed to log onto my accounts then, showing them that I would hand it all over, if they just left me alone. I sat, cross-legged with a Dell laptop on my lap, hands trembling while they watched over me, my phone in their hands for OTP’s and controlling any incoming calls or stopping any like of mobile tracking, to do that payment they so desperately wanted. They were rushing for it to be over so they were out of risk, and then they hastily shoved me out of the van as we passed by the same route, leaving me to scramble off the road just in time to flee a passing car.

I was mortified. Unmistakably robbed and violated. I had basically handed over the bulk of my savings and it wasn’t even the full amount that was owed to them.  The repulsive odour of the older man as he breathed over me, watching me do the transaction he was instructing me to was implanted in my memory, even as I tried with all my might to shove it out.

And he wasn’t thrilled but I promised them that the next week I’d have the rest. I assured them that I was offered a promotion with a huge increase. I would be getting a hefty incentive and a bigger salary every month… and of course it would all be settled.

And even though I was now safe, sitting on the bench for a moment longer as the breeze sashayed over me, my heart was heavy and burdened because the knowledge that they kept so much more than just my hard-earned money was what was breaking me beyond all boundaries.

They couldn’t just stop at that, it wasn’t enough.

And because they could see how I was clutching onto it, how valued it was to me, it had become their prerogative to take from me one of my most irreplaceable items I’d ever possessed.

It was the necklace and diamond pendant that Hamzah and family had gifted me just the week before, symbolising the finality of our commitment. The proposal. And the memory of that afternoon the had handed it over was as clear as day as I recalled how we had just finished talking alone, about future plans and how we wanted to live a different kind of life to the office life we had known for the past year… when he leaned toward me for a brief moment and said, with a smirk:

“I chose it myself,” he said, his eyebrows gesturing slightly towards where his mother was standing and watching us, with a longish jewellery box in her hand. “They insisted you would like the other one but I think I know you better than them.”

His stunning lashes were even more attractive close up and I looked away as his mother chased him down the hall, telling him that it was their time with me now, and he needed to behave himself.

Of course, I nodded and agreed with them as he pulled his face and then grinned at me before making his way off to the men’s side. And as his mother popped open the box, I couldn’t have been more in love with the the stunning piece of jewelry that already became my best friend. Call me superficial, but if I wasn’t certain about Hamzah before that, this was most definitely a winner. It was a simple and elegant diamond piece but I knew that it cost a fortune, and I instantly felt horrible and shallow because he felt like he had to spend so much of money on me… like, I wasn’t complaining.. but did I appear to be such high maintenance?

In any world, a 1-carat diamond pendant was no play. But despite that… that itself wasn’t the big deal. I knew what it was because it was highly trending and I had seen the chain being advertised on social media.

It was called the ‘Eternal Flame’ setting which was inspired by this legend of undying flames, which continues to burn despite all external elements. Apparently, according to some lengend which was probably a load of hogwash but got the sales coming in at a steady pace..  these eternal flames, which burn continuously, join two souls together in unconditional love. And it was extremely intense and romantic, and even though it did make my tummy do a slight flip-flop, I wasn’t going to show him that he had won the trophy. Well, not yet.

I stood silently as Hamzah’s sister-in-law, Saaliha, gently clipped the necklace on over my grey chiffon scarf. I had work a white dress with grey detail that day and the pendant accessorised it perfectly. To tell the truth, I was on cloud nine, and that chain was a memory and the only thing of real value… of surmount importance, and because of their blatant disregard for my dignity, had been yanked off me as collateral…

I pictured Hamzah’s face for a second, as I sat there, trying to tune my senses out of everything that had happened.

How will I ever explain to him why I couldn’t salvage it? Why didn’t I fight to keep that one part of my self-worth, the part that should have been one of the most important right then…

My heart was still beating rapidly, even though it had been ten minutes since I had been freed, shoved me on the pavement outside the hospital. How my wobbly legs had carried me over to the entrance, I wasn’t sure. It was late and my phone wasn’t returned, but I didn’t care. My worst fears were over for now and all I wanted to do was crawl into my bed and sleep this away as if it never happened. There was no use going to the police. This wasn’t a criminal issue. It was a self-inflicted problem that I couldn’t ever divulge to anyone…

I had already made up my mind that I could tell no-one about this. My fathers reputation… his pride… his Izzat, as Nani would say… all of this… I could never let them know that things had gotten so bad that I nearly had to give myself up. Nearly. I couldn’t even think what might have happened if I hadn’t prayed fervently to ask Allah’s help to shield me from any evil intentions.

I took a deep breath as I lifted myself off the bench, finding my bearings, and then entering the hospital once again. They had left my keys with me so I could get home, but anything else of value was taken and stashed for when I paid the rest. I took a deep breath as I made my way down to the elevator. It was now close to midnight and I assumed that everyone had gone home. I’m sure that my mother had tried contacting me, but I would have to deal with that tomorrow.

Of course everyone had left by then. I didn’t know that they had left to search for me. That they were fervently reciting their adhkaar and tasbeehs, crazy with worry and hoping for my safe return, I didn’t even realise how much of time had passed. When the security guard saw me, I could see him talking into his Walkie talkie hastily, but as I waved at him easily, he looked confused, and then just shook his head and nodded back at me.

How I cleaned myself up, re-did my make up in record time and even drove home that night was like a blur. Tears flowed freely as I sat there, my mind taking me when I finally reached my driveway, I stopped as the gate closed, and sobbed my heart out for a few minutes before I finally drove up to go to the house.

And I was a little shocked as I saw Ma, Nani and Jameela all crowding around me even before I entered, racing down to the garage as they realised I had arrived, looking as if the entire world had collapsed in my absence. In all of that, I didn’t even realise how long I had been gone.

“Shukar to Allah!” Nani was saying loudly as she saw me, looking as if she was utterly distraught.

I paused for a second as she said it, again and again, and it was as if my entire world was being revived, with those words.

Shukar to Allah. Shukar to Allah.

I mean, how had I not even thought this… to thank Him for bringing me out of what had been a most unexpected ordeal? How had I not seen Him with me, all this time. In my hour of need, whilst I sat in my little bubble of hope of escape, was it not Him that brought me through? In my darkest hour, when I didn’t know if I’d ever see the light of day again, was it not Him that brought me home?

Allah. Allah. Was it not Him only, that despite my sins, despite my disregard, despite everything that I had done that proved my complacency and heedlessness… that had come through for me?

Allah, of course; it was only You. When I was caught in a maze, a place of uncertainty, a web of greed and hopelessness… it was only You that brought me through. When I was lost in a forest, and every path looked the same… it was only You who brought me home.

I was slightly shaking while Nani wiped her tears away and grasped me by my shoulders gently. I cringed as I remembered how those repulsive men had handled me.. I couldn’t stand anyone touching me, not without thinking about the horrible feelings I had been subjected to… not without that memory leaving it’s horrid mark on me.

“We were so worried,” Ma whispered, shaking her head, and just looking plain down relieved.

Muhammed Husayn was making calls, saying I was fine and had come home, to whoever he was talking to.

Ma’s eyes were brimming with tears as I stepped back, feigning indifference as they asked me again and again if everything was really okay. Jameela and Muhammed Husayn were standing around, looking like lost puppies, and I kissed their cheeks, putting on a brave front, knowing that I’d have to think up a workable explanation in record time.

I took a deep breath and put a smile on my face, knowing that I couldn’t show any weakness.

And that’s why I made up my mind that I couldn’t say anything to them about Papa. It would only cause more worry and concern. I explained to them that my phone was stolen and there really was no need to panic. It was slightly stressful  but I was okay, and everything was going to be okay. There was a reason Faadil had offered me that incentive, just a few days before. There was no time more than the present that I could do with it.

All I had to do was mail him, tell him I was ready to take that offer, sort the cash situation out, and put up with a year or two more at Hammond’s. That’s all.

There had to be a long term plan though. After that, I could pursue my dreams. I knew that I had to think about something for my family to be sustained, that was going to put less pressure on them. And missing work the next day, because I knew that I couldn’t face everyone, (especially Hamzah) yet, I spoke to Jameela about her plans for her coffee shop. She actually had worked things out quite meticulously. My sister had good business skills, and I found myself l among towards this as a small business to start up. Papa had to get out of what he was doing. The supermarket was becoming a risk.. there were too many factors attached.. too many horrible people involved now. Factors that haunted me and made it extremely dangerous.

And it so happened that Papa was discharged the next day, and seeing him almost made me tear up again. I wasn’t sure how to describe it, what kind of emotions were pulsating through me as I tried to explain the feeling of broken trust, of humiliation, of extreme and piercing sadness… and then of pity, as I wondered how we had gotten to where we were.

The way he looked at me when he first came in, for a split second, I felt as if he knew the ordeal I had endured and then when I looked at him again, I was sure I was mistaken. That rush of emotion… that overwhelming grief and terrifying fear as I relived it… no words, expressions or even emojis could do it justice.

And even though I was brimming over with frustrated emotion, I wasn’t going to bring it up. And maybe I could have at some point but not when he was in this state. I knew I should be a good girl and quietly deal with my own emotions. I had long ago accepted that I had to take care of of my family. I also understood that we had to somehow drag ourselves out of this… somehow, we would pull through.

For the first time in years, I didn’t care about my phone. About new posts. About downloading all my applications and keeping up with what was going on.

I read my Salaah a little more fervently those few days. Prayed a little harder. Asked a little more desperately. I deeply craved some guidance. Some hope. Some unfiltered sign that I was doing the right thing.

My heart was aching. Breaking. Undeniably shaking in conviction and faith, and I had to set it right.

Oh Allah, only You know my condition. Oh Allah, I am tormented with nightmares. I’m traumatised by those oppressors. Only You know my pain, Oh King of Kings. I want to be freed. Oh Allah, erase all these evil memories from my mind.

Oh Allah, you choose whats best and protect me from hurt, protect me from others, and protect others from me. Oh Allah, when no-one else was there, You saved me… You’ve shown me how big You are, and how small I really am. How Great you are, and how insignificant I am. I come to You in weakness, You help me with Your strength… Oh Allah, I entrust all my affairs to you, I surrender it to you… 

My eyes were, for the first time in years, brimming with tears as I pleaded.

I didn’t know how else to handle my emotions. Who else to pour it all out to..

I didn’t know what to think about my future. About my marriage. It’s not that I didn’t care. I just had no energy  to burden someone else with our family problems. I simply could not come clean, and in the back of my mind, although I knew that what I had to do may cause a stir…

I also knew that there was no other way and presumed that whatever small hiccup this would cause would soon pass.

And although I maybe expected a tantrum, an argument or a fight… what I didn’t expect was my decision to do what I needed to, to be blown completely out of proportion. By the end of the following week, after making my final decision and everything feeling like it was going way too fast, the phones were ringing off the hook…

Jameela was tearing up, trying to ask me what was going on. Ma was desperately trying to understand if what was said and what she had heard was really meant… and Nani… well, Nani was the giveaway. The one sign that stood to show that the situation was entirely hopeless… as she sat on the kitchen stool, her head hanging in her hands as she refused to speak to anyone as the entire thing went down in the most unexpected way.

Never in my life had I felt so disgusted with myself, so disappointed… so broken about everyone else being shattered too.

The day Hamzah exited our lives, when he called the house phone to ask for me… sounding completely civil  as he spoke to my mother and then my brother, and then they passed the receiver over to me, I barely recognised this person whose voice was dripping with painful venom whilst he said what I never thought I’d ever hear him say…

I knew that there was no hope for anything else. No expression, reaction or emoji could ever do it justice.

Everything was falling apart.


Sunnah of Making Salaam

It’s common nowadays that even when seeing other Muslims out and about, people are hesitant to greet. Let’s try and bring back this beautiful Sunnah and reignite the love ❤️

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

٤ جمادى الأولى

Hazrat أنس رضى الله تعالى عنه narrates that he passed by some children, so he greeted them (made Salaam) and he said: رسول الله صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم used to do so (greet children).

(Bukhaaree Shareef/Muslim Shareef)

Greeting children inculcates humility, and at the same time, teach children the importance of offering Salaam.
It creates love and affection in hearts.
If there is fear of lust, by greeting a pretty girl or handsome lad, then one should refrain.








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The Passage of Time

Bismihi Ta’ala


Through the passage of time, the memories of days gone by are often distilled by a series of muted moments. It’s funny that as the moments happen… they seem to last forever… yet if we have to try and when you have to summarize our whole life for a month or a year or even a lifetime, its documentation can sometimes be reduced to a single page.

The backdrop to my life during that rollercoaster of emotions consisted of my setting up a business plan for Ahmed, seeing to my kids, writing and editing the letters that Adam had put in my care and working on my (blossoming) marriage, which nourished me spiritually and kept me at ease, despite the imminent tragedy that had seem to be happening at the time.

The truth was that sometimes in life, you’re dealt out a little more than you bargained for. It changes you and brings you back to your Purpose. Sometimes Allah shakes you to remind you that’s there’s a Greater Power out there… to remind us about how little we are… and how big He really is.

”Mum, is Uncle Aadam going to die?”

I looked at my eldest son as he asked the question, not knowing how to answer him. He was looking at me with so much of unfiltered confusion in his eyes. This was so hard for him to accept. I didn’t know what to focus on. I wasn’t sure how much more I could manage. I felt like I was torn into a million pieces.

Ahmed sensed my emotion, and I smiled gratefully as he placed a hand on Danyaal’s shoulder and guided him out to the balcony. I didn’t know that Dayyaan had already heard his brother.

”Mummy, why does Allah make people sick?” His voice was curious as he asked.

I sat at the kitchen table at Adam’s apartment and looked at my second son, not knowing how to answer him either. For the twentieth time in the past few weeks, I so badly wished that my brother and sister-in-law were right here…. they always knew what to say.

”I think it’s because he wants us to turn to him,” I said carefully. “To ask Him to help us… because isn’t He the only one who can cure us? Isn’t He only one who can help us?”

Siraj looked at me as I said it. I felt like I was reminding myself and him, just as much as I was telling Dayyaan the truth of what Allah wanted us to realize.

”But why do people have to die?” Dayyaan pressed on. “Why do they have to go away from us?”

I took a deep breath and looked at him, swallowing as I thought about it.

”I think it’s because we don’t belong here,” I said softly, instantly knowing that was the exact answer that Khawlah would have given them. “We’re not created to live here, honey, and when people die, it’s because Allah has called them home… and believe me, boy, it’s like a million times better than any house you’ve ever seen here!”

Siraj’s face held a tiny smirk as he watched Dayyaan nod and then move off contentedly to where Ahmed and Danyaal were. Thank goodness. I wasn’t sure if I could handle anymore of the kids’ questions. I wasn’t sure if it was just me or if kids these days were really just getting way too deep for my liking…

”So much simpler to comfort kids, huh?” He said blandly.

”Too right…” I murmured. Once we grow older and begin to understand reality… well, it’s just that much more challenging.

“On a more serious note,” my uncle was saying quietly. “We need to start thinking seriously about what implications this will have. His deterioration is accelerating. It’s not going to be easy if he continues like this. We will have to get a caregiver. Someone to help him. Take him to the bathroom. Help him eat. We can’t expect his wife to take it all on…”

My heart contracted in my chest as he said it, and I couldn’t help but remember the constant ache in my heart as I thought about how suddenly it had all changed. Whether it was actually a stroke or just the result of the enlargement of the tumor was still unclear. Adam would probably be hating that he had become like this. It was his worst fear. Just yesterday he was talking and laughing. Joking about what a terrible patient he was.

Today, my mind just couldn’t process the damage that had happened overnight, but as I thought about it, it seemed to make more sense. The boys would get angry when I’d refuse to bring them, but what they didn’t understand was that Adam was almost always sleeping anyway. But yesterday… well, yesterday was different. Yesterday we had shared secret hopes amongst ourselves. Yesterday we had hoped that maybe the cancer had disappeared. I expected him to magically recover but what I didn’t realize was that maybe Adam knew better than us all. From the way he sat, I could tell that while we all went through the stages of grief, denial, anger, bargaining… Adam was already on the path of acceptance.  He had already moved on, because he knew that all he could do from now was to use the last reserves of his energy to give himself a memorable farewell…

A single tear rolled down my cheek as I thought of my brother. My favorite person. My best friend. My go-to guy.

Siraj swallowed hard, pulling off his glasses as he rubbed his eyes. I could see he was tired. He had been on night shift at a hospital and had rushed here first thing in the morning. With his new facial hair that had become his standard look, Siraj resembled Adam almost identically now. It was, understandably, a little freaky.

“Keep your glasses on,” I sniffed with a small smile. “You guys look too much alike for comfort…”

He pushed his glasses up his nose again, looking at me with a furrowed brow.

“I hear that there’s a baby on the way..”

I looked at my uncle a little hesitantly as he asked again, not sure confirm the news or not, I wasn’t sure if Khawlah wanted anyone to know.

“Adam told me,” he said softly. “Before he…”

I gave a shadow of a smile as I thought of how excited Adam was that night. He had called me just as he stepped out for Salaah to the Masjid next door. It seemed like he had called Siraj too.

“I have one more letter to write,” he said. “I could hear him gasping slightly for breath as he walked. “I’ll call you later. Before bed if I can get some time without her in earshot. We just found out that she’s expecting. I’m literally floating…”

I gasped in disbelief, shocked that at this time, when they were both understandably stressed and a little unprepared… that had actually happened. I knew my brother loved kids. I just didn’t expect it so soon.

“I’m so happy for you guys,” I said softly, my eyes dampening at the corners. “Masha Allah! What exciting news. Just please take it easy now. You have something to look forward to…”

”Stop stressing, Rubes,” he had said. “Whatever’s in the plan will happen. This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. You know how they say there’s goodness in every situation? I actually can’t believe that amidst this craziness we were given such a gift. I’ll catch you later, yeah? Maybe around 9. At the mosque.”

Though the masjid wasn’t far I always worried about him pushing himself too much. The truth was that my brother never missed his Salaah in Jamaat, unless he was feeling really terrible. That day wasn’t a good day, but after getting the news, he was  evidently on top of the world.

Ahmed and the two big boys had been getting ready to leave for mosque too and I waved to them as they headed off, watching my husband reverse out carefully from the narrow driveway. Everything had just fallen into place so beautifully, but it wasn’t always a walk in the park for me. There were moments when I wondered if he didn’t get annoyed with them for barging into the room or screaming from the top of the stairs. There were moments when things were crazy and a little testing. There were times when I couldn’t give him the attention I wanted and needed to because there were four young humans who needed my attention too. It was like I was waiting for an eruption of some sort all this time, but with Ahmed’s passive and accommodating personality, every day just seemed to be easier. He took it in his stride as we worked to find some kind of routine, sharing tasks and giving each other a break where needed. That was what it was about right?!

“I had warned him against it,” Siraj was saying, as my mind adjusted back to the present. “That he shouldn’t risk it. He was adamant. And then I found out that after a week that he was refusing to do the chemo anyway. Caught him by surprise one day at the hospital, chilling at the cafeteria…”

What?!” I asked, now in shock. He wasn’t doing any treatment? That was crazy.

Siraj shrugged.

”He has no faith in medical intervention,” Siraj said. “Said it’s a waste of time. I couldn’t change his mind. He said that he would take his chances and what was meant to happen would happen..”

”But he used to go three times a week!” I exclaimed, still a little confused. Shocked, too.

”He’d go to the children’s oncology ward,” Siraj said with a shake of his head. “Play with the kids there. Give them some hope. The doctor there was full of praises for him. Said he’s really something. He really is…was…”

I shook my head, unable to formulate any words for a few moments. To play with the kids? My word, my heart was overflowing with love for my little brother. Adam really was one in a million.

”I don’t know how he did it…”

And all this time my mother thought it was jadoo that was getting him down. At least the imposter had been low on the scenes after her appearance on the Nikah day, and Mum was calmer now, as she sat on the side of his bed, trying to soothe herself as she watched my brother sleeping.

”Maybe it was all that cell phone radiation,” she was saying earlier. “I told him that technology wasn’t the best thing for him. Mothers know these things. Computers, iPads … gadgets … every day, all day… of course it must have its effect…”

I looked at my mother silently. Maybe she was right. At one stage work was Adam’s entire life. It had sucked him in. He was so young but so successful. All that meant nothing right now… and at the end of the day, whatever Allah plans will unfold…

It was precisely at that moment when Khawlah exited the room, and I could see that she had been crying. She came up to us while I stepped aside, whispering to me that Adam wanted to see me. I could feel my heart beat escalate. When I had gone earlier, he had turned his face away… like he didn’t want to talk to me about anything as yet. He just wasn’t ready.

”Adam,” I said softly, as I approached his bed. His breathing was audible and completely unnerving. “Can I get you anything at all?”

He looked at me cynically, and it was as if he couldn’t quite comprehend what I was saying. His hair had been combed and he was wearing a fresh t-shirt. He was looking as handsome as always, but I couldn’t help but notice that the left side of his face was very obviously limp. I could see the effect of the diagnosed stroke better as he spoke.

“You act… like… I’m… dying…”

His breaths were spaced apart and his voice was a little more hoarse than usual. His labored breathing had become even more heavy than the past few weeks, but today was scary. It seemed that infection had set in. His lungs had been taking a massive blow. Siraj said it happened with Immuno-compromised patients. It was something he’d either fight back or let get the better of him…

The corner of his mouth lifted as he glanced at me. As if this was the time for humor. I wanted to twist his ear.

Could any joke even minimize the horror of what was really happening to him?

Shurrup,” I said quietly, swallowing my emotion and  pulling the chair up closer to him. In his right hand there was a Tasbeeh and I could see the beads moving slowly as he looked ahead.

”I … read your… e-mail.”

I had written him an e-mail almost a month ago.

Being the crazy and emotional woman that I was on my Nikah day, I had gotten a bit emotional when  I tried to thank him in person and decided to mail it to him. I knew that it was a bit unconventional but a girl had to do what a girl had to do.

”Don’t you think you could have done it earlier?” I asked snappily, feigning annoyance and biting back emotion purposely. I didn’t want to show him how much this hurt. I didn’t want him to know how seeing him this way was breaking us.

I breathed in.

”I wasn’t… ready… to say… goodbye…”

I met his gaze as he said it, the afternoon light catching the evidence of a single shiny streak that ran down his one cheek. I wanted to reach out to him… to hug him… to tell him to hold on for us just a little longer, but it was like there was a huge lump at the base of my parched throat that was obstructing anything coherent. Instead, all I could do was grasp his hand with vehemence and look down as my own eyes filled with tears. My little brother. This was my baby brother. How did we even begin to justify this? How was this even fair?

”Stop crying,” he warned, his words merging together as he slurred slightly. “You’re going … to spoil your… make-up..”

“Who cares about the make up?” I babbled incoherently, remembering him telling me those exact words on my Nikah day. I couldn’t stop the tears that were running down my cheeks. As much as I wanted to stay strong for him, I couldn’t hold it back any longer,

I felt so indebted to him. For sorting everything out. For being so accepting. For being such an amazing human. For giving me a chance, despite me giving up on myself. For showing me, through the letters he had made me so carefully pen… that true and real love for Allah Ta’ala could really exist.

Now I knew why he had put me on the task. It wasn’t about him not managing to pen them. There was a deeper purpose behind it. It was about him showing me a perfect reality that could give me hope once again. It’s what made me take the plunge. It’s what made me take a chance. It was the only thing that completely turned it all around for me.

What he and Khawlah had was something that I thought could never exist. I didn’t know that such a beautiful and uplifting love for each could be nurtured in this ugly world. They had given me so much of hope. Inspiration. Endless ambition…

”Aren’t you scared?” I asked him, my voice breaking as he looked at me trying to unsuccessfully hide my  obvious sobbing.

He shook his head and half smiled.

”I’ve seen… so much…” he started, slightly incoherently as he breathed heavily in between. “I’ve seen.. how Allah… can provide… from sources… you can’t even… imagine…”

How could I forget? 

It was too much for him to say. It was too much for me to even process. His chest heaved as he halted, and despite wanting to tell him so much more, all I could do was weep bitterly, right there and then, for everything he had gone through.

Of course. From sources we cannot even imagine. It was what I had told relayed to in the e-mail. The verse that lifted my spirits every time I read it.

And whoever fears Allah, He will make for him a way out. And provide for him from where he does not expect (sources he can’t imagine).
And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a (decreed) extent.” (65:3)

It was a reminder of everything I’d witnessed. I’d seen so much of goodness when I turned to Allah. I’ve learnt so much about expecting the best from my Lord. Surely, when you have faith and trust in Allah… when you are conscious of Him, then He will never disappoint. He will provide from sources where our feeble minds can never even begin to comprehend. I saw it in every waking moment…

”I love… you, Rubes…” he whispered, almost inaudibly, his syllables unclear as he said it. My heart shattered as he said it, unable to hold the weight of what this all meant. Amazingly, I held it together as I closed my eyes, opening it to see my brother now already drifting into some other dreamlike world.

”I love you too, Adam,” I whispered softly, reaching out for his hand. I wasn’t sure if he had even heard me.

He closed his eyes as watched his breathing steady and settle into a rhythm. I didn’t know what to do next. Whether to wait for him or to go away. I sat there for a few more minutes, on the corner couch, staring at his sleeping form. It was the only time he seemed to get any relief. Not that Adam complained about the pain, but I could tell from the way he unexpectedly winced at times that his agony was far worse than he’d ever let on.

I sat there as the memories played in my mind… almost like a film in reverse… rolling through the years where it would feature my brother with the most memorable lines of all. In my mind, he was forever alive. Full of excitement. Always bubbly and jovial. His charm. His wit. His sincere compassion. His genuine inspiration.

The eagerness that he possessed to change everything… his entire life, just so that he could have a chance to do it right… I wondered for a moment if the memories would stay that way or if they would fade as the years went by.

Adam had insisted on reading all his Salaah that day. Khawlah had helped him to make a whudhu for Asr. Everyone was still hovering around, not sure of what to do. Even Zuleikha and her husband were unsettled. Eventually they had all left, and as per my brothers request, I had given Khawlah the letter and as she read it, I turned away, not wanting to feel the emotion that was probably overtaking her right then.

I found myself outside the room again, in limbo, because I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening.

I tried to steady myself as I walked out, using Ahmed as a support as he came towards me, a little overwhelmed by everything that had happened that day. Even he looked a little unsure of how to react. No-one knew what to say. What to hope for. How to deal with this…

When I looked at Aadam that day, I wasn’t sure what it was… but just before the Maghrib Aadhaan sounded that day, I could see only a look of intense serenity on his rested face..

I didn’t know that it would be the last time I saw my brother alive, although I was almost certain that Allah had selected him to be one of those privileged souls who were too special to stay in this tarnished world any longer…

They say that for those people whom Allah Ta’ala loves, He assigns an angel, specifically allocated to be at their service at the time of death. Just like how a doctor will give a sweet to distract a child from a painful prick of an injection… this guardian angel plays the same role by releasing a beautiful scent under his nose, making him oblivious to all but that sweet fragrance of what’s to come … and before he knows it, his Rooh is painlessly extracted from his physical body just like a hair is pulled out from a stack of hay. He feels nothing. Not even a twinge…

Amidst the cries of grief and loss that our hearts were submerged in, I could tell that as he was taken to the ghusl khana to be washed, his soul was almost pleading with us to hasten to his grave. Surely his Allah had fulfilled His promise. Surely his abode would be a pleasant one. Surely, as the prayer for Maghrib Aadhaan was called and his Janazah was prayed thereafter on that beautiful day of Jumuah, and we had that intensely peaceful feeling of reassurance… hope upon hope that his grave would be expanded vastly upon his arrival…

Yes, death was brutal. Like a punch in the stomach… Blurring your vision for a short time, and then bringing the reality of life that we had long ago lost the essence of into focus once again.

Death didn’t look at your wealth, status or your dependants. Death didn’t look at your youthful beauty, expectant wives, or wait for you to meet your unborn child.

Death, in it’s ferocity, didn’t even look at your age.

And yes, it breaks homes, and yes, it destroys souls. It is awful and painful, yet only a reality that we have to face. As if it was ripped apart, your heart will never be the same again. And my heart broke a little more, knowing that everything will change, yet also be the most real I had ever felt before.

Because the realisation then hit me:

This was only meant as a reminder… To remind us that indeed, each and every one of us belong to our Creator only.

The feelings were like a piercing through my very soul. With the passage of time, I’m sure I’ve forgotten more than I remember. Some memories I’ve willed myself to forget. Some I’ve clung onto for dear life.

But other memories of those final days…. well, they would surely remain with me forever…


Mission Sunnah Revival!

Just a reminder, especially in these times of craziness and uncertainty to make abundant istighfaar and try and bring more Sunnah into our lives. Let’s keep the miswaak available for frequent use, InshaAllah. Let’s also try and fast – Nabi (SAW) used to keep plenty of fasts in the month of Shabaan. Allah give us the tawfeeq.

Hold fats to our Sunnah, istighfaar and lots of Durood, especially on this day of Jumuah…

Let’s do so with the intention that Allah alleviates all the trials of the Ummah. Aameen 

Much Love, 

A xx

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.

A forgotten Sunnah. Eaten fallen particles… Sometimes we forget the Barakah that can be in even a grain of food. To eat what has fallen on the cloth or even the floor… SubhaanAllah.

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








Twitter: @ajourneyjournal





The Only Thing

Bismihi Ta’ala


As human beings living in this temporary world, it’s only natural that we will never understand the concept of ‘forever’. We don’t understand the reality because we see how night turns into day and day turns into night. We see flowers wilting and seasons changing. We see the people aging and lives ending…

Our concept of forever is limited… restricted… so temporary.

But the real ‘forever’.. the real forever is what comes after. It’s what we are promised. It’s the home of our desires and the basis of every dream. Sometimes it’s the only thing that really keeps us going. It’s only one day, when we walk in Jannah, when we will understand how forever really works. How truly limitless it is.

How every difficulty here in this temporary world will make eternal sense.

“I used to be the type of person who put everything materialistic above everything else. It was the only thing I ever cared about…”

I looked up at Aadam as he watched his nephews kicking the ball around. We had taken a little stroll  to the park near the apartment, now sitting and enjoying the soothing sound of gushing water from the the little pond there that I never seemed to tire of.

He wiped off the tiny beads of perspiration from his forehead as he spoke. His breathing was still slightly heavy from chasing after the boys just a few minutes ago.

“I don’t believe that,” I said, shaking my head and reaching out for his hand. “You were never a selfish person.”

Rubeena had taken over now and we watched her as she kicked the ball back and fro to them. Zaydaan was chasing after the pigeons nearby, and Zia was trying to join in on the make-shift goal scoring with no success. She was probably one of the few women I knew that could actually kick a ball with direction. I supposed having four boys gave you different kind of skill too.

”Khawlah,” he said, turning his gaze back to me and moving closer on the bench. “You saw me, all those years ago. And maybe you didn’t know me but I’m sure I was nothing like the kind of guy you’d always pictured for yourself…”

He looked at me and I smiled at him, taking in his now modest frame and unkempt hair, covered with a prayer hat. I remembered those days when his styled hair and bulky frame was the most noticeable thing about him.

”You loved your nephews,” I said simply, resting my head on his shoulder. “You changed your life. You found Allah. It doesn’t matter beyond that…”

“You make me sound so noble,” he said, his one dimple flashing as he glanced at me. “But I was so far. The only thing that consumed me was how much further in this world I could make it. How much more I wanted to push. If this had happened to me back then, if I had gotten sick… all I would have wanted to was spend all my time making an even bigger name for myself before I lost the ability to. I would have wanted to do was make the most of being alive. I would have probably been on my way to Kilamanjaro now… abseiling or mountain climbing or sky-diving… doing all the things I had never done before, just so I could say I made the most of my life..”

”You can still do all of those things,” I said with a grin.

“I know I can, sweets,” he said simply, his dark eyes meeting mine as he smiled and slipped his arm around me. “But the point is, I don’t want to anymore. Sometimes I wonder what little deed I had done  and overlooked and thought was all gone to waste. Sometimes I wonder which action it was of mine that made Allah look at me with such a gaze of mercy that it changed everything. But you see, love, I didn’t know it then, there’s a secret hidden in the sacrifices done for the sake of Allah…”

I looked at him as he breathed in deeply, gazing at the serene display of greenery ahead, almost as if he was trying to come to terms with it himself. Almost as if he was trying to digest the favors of Allah upon him, even in the state he was in…

“Sometimes the goodness doesn’t stem from the source we invest it in,” he murmured softly into my ear. “Sometimes it comes out of the blue, and it’s only now I can see how true Allah’s promise is when he says “Is there any other reward for good other than good?”
He granted me a goodness so far beyond my expectations. He gifted me with such a fulfilling marriage and solid belief through it. Lesson learnt… never ever regret any good put forward for the sake of Allah. With Him, nothing is ever lost…”

I looked at my husband as his eyes fixed onto mine, burning from deep inside as he spoke. He was so sincere and unwavering.

“I wanted to see my mother change,” he said softly. “And I can see it happening Khawlah. I know that my Duaa is already being answered. I want my sister to be happy again… I want to see her settle. I want to wake up at night and talk to my Lord. I want to feed people and do good. Real good. Most importantly, yeah… the one thing I want do right now is be with you and the boys and make the most of this…”

His voice broke as I looked at him, touched by his emotion. I had completely forgotten about that Du’aa he had made. His mother was truly becoming such a different person to me, and I couldn’t believe the change as I saw her every day. Amazing proof that Duaas work wonders…

”Aadam,” I said, swallowing hard, trying to lighten the atmosphere and at the same time, digesting the reality for like the millionth time since he was diagnosed. “You’re young. You’re only 22. Please don’t talk like you’re on your death bed…”

Aadam smiled cheekily as he squeezed my hand.

“I’m just baring my soul to the girl who stole my heart…“ he said simply. “This time without any weird stunts that will land me in hospital.”

”Well I should hope not,” I grinned at him. “I’m not sure if my heart could handle more right now. The only thing that’s keeping me going is knowing that you’re going to sail through this test and be okay…”

The sun was filtering  through the tree above, it’s streaky light settling on the ground in front of me in various patterns. It was strangely soothing.

“Do you know that Nabi SAW never made Du’aa for a long life?” He said, after a few moments of silence.

”I didn’t know that,” I said quietly. “But… you can choose to ask for whatever you wish…

”I know,” he said, pecking my cheek. “So let’s make a deal, yeah.. you ask for what you wish, and I won’t stop you… and I’ll ask for mine…”

The ball rolled up to our feet at that point, and Aadam stood up to join the boys again, while I forgot for a moment what it was we were really talking about. I forgot to ask him what he really meant…

And some things kind of slip beyond your view, dwelling there while you bury yourself in oblivion because it just makes the most sense to you right then…

And as they continued with their little game, so too did time move on… and life as we knew it continued. The days turned into weeks and time revealed to us many things we didn’t anticipate. Aadam got stronger, then weaker. He battled. He fought. He hurt. He healed. His emotions fluctuated with each new day.

Every day was different. Challenging in their own ways. Amazing too. Some mornings Aadam seemed so energetic. Alive. Some nights he seemed to be completely broken. Frustrated. I concentrated on the good, knowing that there were many who were worse off than him. I tried to be strong, supportive, and withstand the tests with conviction…

”Is your heart okay?”

My friend was looking at me with concern in her eyes, as she cleared a spot on my bed to collapse into. I glanced at her, not sure how to answer. Was my heart okay?

”It’s a little shattered,” I murmured truthfully. “But it will hold up.”

”That’s the spirit,” Nusaybah said encouragingly. “And what about him?”

I thought of Aadam, picturing him in my mind.

He was so fiercely independent that some days I couldn’t tell if he was really okay, or just about pulling through…

”He’s coping,” I replied, knowing that he wanted me to think he was perfectly okay. I saw the signs every day, but his mind was on a completely different wavelength to his body.

She offered a tiny smile, and turned to face me.  

“Emotionally, he’s perfect,” I said confidently. “Most days. I really can’t believe that he’s pulling through with so much of conviction…”

“I knew it,” she said simply, munching on her packet of chips in true Nusaybah style. “Because he had all the tools to bring it together, but he just needed you to help him to see it. You’re so strong, Khawlah. It must be taking a helluva lot from you. Can I do anything for you at all, honey? He’s going to be okay, you know. Just keep on giving Sadaqah…” 

I shook my head, and then nodded and swallowed, remembering the Hadith that if wards off any bad and prevents calamities too.

Umm Salamah (RadhiAllahu ‘anha) reported,

The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

“Good works protect from evil fates. Charity in secret extinguishes the wrath of the Lord, maintaining family ties increases life span, and every good deed is charity.

The people of good in the world are the people of good in the Hereafter, and the people of evil in the world are the people of evil in the Hereafter. And the first to enter Paradise are the people of good.”

[ al-Mu’jam al-Awsaṭ 6252 – Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani ]

Aadam hesitated not even a moment in doing anything he could. His generosity was on another level completely…

I was so glad that my friend had such an amazingly positive outlook on life. It was so refreshing and different to the gloom that we faced from other people day in and day out.

This is what I loved to hear. Positivity. Hope. Ambition. There was so much to be grateful for.

”You’re the best, Nus,” I said, looking at her with a wider smile. “I’m fine. Can you pass over that packet of Doritos that you’re hogging now?”

“This flavor is amazing,” she said, tossing me the packet. “It didn’t help that there was an exotic-looking muscle man in the kitchen that made my heart nearly cease in my chest. Who is he and where have you been hiding him all along?”

”You talking about Faheem?” I asked, knowing that Ahmed and my cousin were busy planning a road trip for the next day. 

Ever since Ahmed had put an indefinite delay on his wedding date, everything’s become a little upside down. Since it was their holiday season, my uncle and his family were down from the UK and having no wedding to plan for was leaving this at a little bit of anti-climax. The pros were that I was getting a chance to bond with my cousins. The cons was that Ahmed’s erratic decisions were unsettling everyone’s plans.

“Is that his name?” Nusaybah asked, her eyes glazed over. “Please tell me he’s not married or out of bounds.”

“I think he’s pretty much available…” I said, a little hesitant about where Nusaybah’s mind was going.

“Can you picture it?” she asked, her eyes still looking scarily dreamy as I watched her. “You and I… on a picnic mat under the glorious pine trees… while Mr Muscle and Mr Perfect are busy knocking around with a soccer ball while we sit and laugh about the ‘back in the day’ when we used to eat Doritos and talk about our futures…. Fast forward two years, Khawlah, and bam!! Two little munchkins are in the picture… a little girl that Adam always says he wants, and a little boy who looks just like Mr Muscle down there … already destined for each other since inception because their parents are best of friends…”

My goodness. She was officially gone bonkers.

Err Nusaybah,” I said, shaking my head at her in disbelief. “The guy doesnt even know your name and you’re planning to have a family with him. That’s just creepy.”

”But he’s beautiful,” she breathed, looking sincerely disappointed.

”Nusaybah, I think you’ve officially lost your marbles,” I sighed, as I looked at my friend. “The love affair with your mathematics books has to end. Do you know that they said Einstein had lost his mind? It was all those limitless numbers and  ridiculous formulas-“

”Formulaeeeee,” she said in a monotone, emphasizing the last part.

”Whatever,” I said, waving my hand at her. “You’ve officially gone crazy. What about lowering your gaze, huh? It’s not like you to be guy-obsessing…”

”Khawlah, I can’t deal!” she suddenly wailed, throwing up her hands in the air as she hid her head in the pillow. ”I can’t even open a single book for the past two days! Every time I try it’s like there’s an overwhelming force that’s come to devour me!”

I wanted to laugh, but I knew it was wisest not to make fun of my friend. She was shaking her head, almost in a deep depression.

“Khawlah, do you think my mind is rebelling against me at the worst of times?!” She moaned. “There are only two months to finals!”

Two months? That was a lifetime.

Hmmm,” I said, not wanting to tell her that maybe she had burned out her brain cells. It would probably finish her. “You think maybe some motivation can help..?”

I was thinking along the lines of a professional tutor or alternate study partner. I didn’t know that my best friend had other ideas in mind…

”My word, Khawlah, yes!” She exclaimed, her wide eyes lighting up. “You’re a genius! A study partner and mentor. Can we start this weekend? I’ll set it all up, with a mini smoothie fridge, gluten-free snacks and the study works.. we’ll be on our way to multiple distinction passes in no time at all…”

”Not this weekend,” I said quickly, remembering Adam’s request that morning, ecstatic that I had an excuse.

”Why not?” She asked suspiciously. “Listen, you better tell Mr Perfect to go and fight the werewolves or something for the next few weeks. We can’t be having any interruptions.”

”This is kind of a big deal,” I said quietly, glancing at my friend as she frowned at me. Her eyes suddenly lit up as realization dawned…

Oh my socks…” she murmured, widening her big eyes even more. “Has he finally proposed for the big move? This is like an event of it’s own…”

”Not exactly,,” I said softly, not wanting to admit that it had crossed my mind a few times after we spoke. It did sound like Aadam was thinking about it. “But it’s probable…”

The truth was, even though I didn’t know what was really going to happen… I couldn’t help but feel that amidst my studies and his sickness, and everything else in between… time was running out on us, and Aadam felt the exact same way.

”Oh cadoodles…” Nusaybah breathed. “Please pinch me. Tell me I’m not dreaming. Please tell me that you’re actually thinking along the same lines as me, and not like the crazy old lady in young person’s body that you used to be…”

I stuck out my hand and pinched her arm in jest.

”It’s like one of those romantic novellas,” she whispered, rubbing it dramatically. “When the injured knight in shining kurta comes back from a fierce Jihaad, seeking the halaalest love of his life and just wanting to spend every remaining waking moment with his hijaabi warrior-princess before he has to head out again in the noble path…”

I closed my eyes and shook my head, fighting the urge to giggle.

Nusaybah was nuts, but so easy to laugh with. She made everything seem so simple, even though there were so many other things going on.

Ahmed’s uncertainty about his own future was still a concern, and with us just finishing the last lot of trial examinations, it was about time that I took a moment to breathe.

The truth was, with so much going on and Aadam just finishing off his treatment, he was so exhausted that we couldn’t even think further. Now that he had made it clear that there was no way he was continuing to put himself through anything so taxing again and feel even worse than the cancer made him, we were thinking a little more clearly. If was time for him to take a break, do his tests and then leave it in Allah’s hands.

Leaving home to live with Aadam was a big step right now, and as hard it was to digest, he was my husband after all. Maybe it was time to be make the big move…

Nusaybah was rummaging in my cupboard, already tossing out several outfits, some of them of an extremely embarrassing nature, when Ahmed’s voice from down the passage sounded out.

Now, sudden outbursts in my house were pretty much nothing out of the ordinary, but we usually tried to keep it together until all outsiders left. This was just a little out of character, even for Ahmed…

I widened my eyes as Nusaybah paused to look at me worriedly. I instructed her to wait there while I made my way toward the kitchen, clearly hearing Zuleikha’s raised voice as she addressed him.

”You can’t do this!” She was saying, he voice sounding dangerously on the verge of tears. She seemed absolutely distressed. “You can’t just go around breaking people’s hearts with a mere apology. What kind of person are you? She’s such a nice girl. I cannot believe you called it off! You’re not thinking straight!”

I could see my cousin looking back and forth as he watched them. Poor guy was caught in the midst of their banter.

”I can’t do it, Zulz,” he said simply. “I can’t marry someone just because they seem like a nice person.  People are allowed to change their minds. She said so herself. There’s no harm done. Can we just let it go?”

”No!” Zuleikha almost screamed. “I won’t allow it! Have you even thought about this properly?”

I stepped into view as they both looked at me. Obviously I knew what this was about. The topic had been the only one in discussion for the past month. Obviously, I could not have been more disappointed with Ahmed’s lack of ability to deliver, but I really didn’t have much time to dwell on it. I just didn’t expect Ahmed to come back with a changeover… the only thing that may set everyone off completely.

”I’ve thought about it very carefully,” Ahmed admitted, meeting her eye. “I’m ready to make Nikah. The only thing is… I’ve got someone else in mind…”

Don’t forget our Sunnah this holiday! 

Umar ibn Abi Salamah said: I was a young boy in the care of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and my hand used to wander all over the platter (of food). The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me, “O young boy, say Bismillaah, eat with your right hand, and eat from what is directly in front of you.” 

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5376; Muslim, 2022).

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

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When Little Secrets open Big Doors…

Bismihi Ta’ala



We all have things that we don’t talk about. Things we’re too scared to say out loud. We protect others. We protect ourselves. Sometimes, no matter how much we’re aching to come clean, we hold onto those little secrets because we don’t want to face what comes after.

And the thing is, in this day of social media, where everyone’s life is on show, sometimes it’s hard to adjust to the meaning of living a private life. Of living a life that’s not for everyone to see. Whether you say it or not, people are hanging onto every thread of information. Even the Aunty at the fruit shop wants to know the darkest details about your failed marriage that you’ve never even told your mother. No matter how much you try to avoid it, privacy was slowly becoming a concept of the past.

And during my life, I’ve had many things happen that would have shook anyone to the core. They were just that unbelievable, yet I kept the deep and dark secrets to myself because revealing them would have revealed way too much.

Then there are times when the secrets sometimes out themselves.. sometimes, things happen to reveal everything for what it is. Allah makes it happen at the right time… to relieve you. To unburden you. Like He promises, for us there is never intended any difficulty.

And when that happens… it’s like a world of opportunity suddenly opens for you. You can do things you never thought you could. See things the way you should have all this time. When that finally happens, you see a part of life that your little secrets were hiding away all along…

”So what does your mother say about your daily dramas?” Siraj asked, glancing at me with amusement in his eyes.

I was glad that he thought it was funny, but I couldn’t have been more embarrassed. All I was doing that evening whilst I waited for my uncle to fetch us was trying to juggle my crazy life, plus give my kids a dose of the good stuff at the same time by sitting down for some reading… And then of course, we were interrupted by the terrible sound of Shabeer’s voice which was bellowing from outside…

My cheeks flushed again as I remembered my husband making an utter fool of himself. He honestly took the tea when it came to crazy drunken people. It wasn’t the only time it had happened… but it was the first time any of my family members had actually witnessed the untainted reality of my ex-husband… and boy, was it a sore sight to see.

”You know my mother,” I sighed, pulling the seatbelt to click it in as I glanced at my uncle, glad that he had pitched up and sent Shabeer away with his tail between his legs.

“She’ll find any  reason to prove what a failure I am in my life. If she knows, I’ll never hear the end of it. She just loves Shabeer. Only Allah knows why. There really is nothing to love about that man.”

Siraj shook his head. I had a good mind of calling Shabeer in as a service to my poor neighborhood, but I wasn’t sure if I could handle that terrible sound inside my house.

Thank goodness the boys just thought it was amusing. They didn’t know that their father had a genuine problem that was probably going to cause a lot of issues in the future. I shuddered at the reality.

He really needed help. I still could not believe that he had pitched up at home in that state….

”Does he drink often?” Siraj asked, looking slightly concerned as he drive. “He seemed convinced that you are his dream girl…”

I rolled my eyes. He was obviously too drunk to remember how caged he felt in our marriage.

”He does,” I said.

And yes, I was all up for giving people credit for their good qualities, but with Shabeer, there was absolutely none due.

“Ever since I remember…”

Siraj raised his eyebrows.

”I didn’t know….” he said, shooting me a sympathetic look. “Looks like the guy put you through hell. Rubeena, do you ever think you’ll recover?”

I smiled, slightly touched by his concern.

I supposed he couldn’t fathom it. Siraj was, after all, a good guy. I could tell that his wanting to pick me up before we headed to Adam was because  he wanted to make amends, but he didn’t know how to. The two of them had been at each other’s throats since the diagnosis and Siraj was obviously feeling guilty. After all, you can’t stay angry with a sick person, right?

I sighed, thinking about Shabeer again, how misguided he was, and whether he would ever change. The truth was, it actually wasn’t funny at all. When Shabeer was my husband, I had hidden all his faults. Every single dirty one of them.

Now that he wasn’t, strangely, I still felt a need to protect him… but Siraj had seen something that I didn’t anticipate. He had unintentionally seen the truth of what I had dealt with for all these years… and it wasn’t very pretty.

”I might need a helluva guy to knock me off my feet if I ever do,” I said in jest, knowing that I didn’t intend on it. Right now, guys were the last thing on my mind.

And the thing was, it wasn’t like I hadn’t thought about it at all. There were moments when I was lost and confused, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I would end up growing old and lonely with no one  at all. And then of course, I had ambitions for the hereafter as well.

I knew that I hadn’t been a perfect wife either. I was far from a saint in my marriage. But when I eventually did make that move, I wanted to do it over. I wanted to do it right.

I wanted to have the kind of marriage that really did give me everlasting beniefits.

A believing woman who prays her salaah, fasts in Ramadaan, guards her chastity and pleases her husband will be told to enter Jannat from a whichever door she wishes. (Mishkaat)

Those were real goals. I wanted that. And it really wasn’t so hard, because  all we had to do was refrain from sin and do our duty… and we get such an amazing guarantee.

”Don’t let your mother pressure you into marrying an idiot,” Siraj said as he turned into Adam’s road. “Find someone who’s willing to accept your kids and love you with no reservations. Someone who has your interests right now…”

”I know,” I said, glad that Siraj had more common sense than my mother. “I need someone whose serious about being a better Muslim too. I always admired the bond that you and Na’ilah had. She’s got a lot of faith. You’ll are so solid…”

My uncle said nothing for a while, as he listened to the boys in the back seat talking about some soccer club in the area that Adam took them to once.

”I’m actually not sure what’s going on with Na’ilah,” he said, his voice dropping. I could see his expression change as he glanced at me. “Sometimes I don’t understand her. She’s lost interest in everything. No matter how much I tell her that it doesn’t matter… she still gets cut up about not having kids. It’s tearing us apart.”

I looked at my uncle in surprise. I had no idea. Not having kids was completely out of anyone’s control and I’m sure she knew that. I supposed that it was easier said than done, but with pure conviction, and knowing that Allah will only test you as much as you could bear… I knew that it was a challenge that could be conquered.

”Did you guys ever think of adoption?” I asked, thinking it seemed obvious.

“Plenty of times,” he said, shrugging and pulling into the parking space. “But she always comes back to the point that what I’d want my own kids. I would love to adopt. Really. She wants me to take another wife. You know what my life is like. Besides the fact that I’ll need time that I don’t have to find one… Tell me, Ruby, which woman in her right mind will actually suggest that and be okay with it?”

I smiled as he said it. It was crazy, but as soon as he saw my expression he immediately looked apologetic.

”You’re looking right at her,” I said drily.

“Hell, Ruby,” he breathed, as he got off and helped me take the rowdy boys out the car. “Is there anything that man didn’t put you through?”

”Haha,” I said. “I’d have to think really hard about that one. I can ask him for some tips for you if you’re really serious about finding another wife. He seemed to have mastered the technique.”

Siraj chuckled as we walked into the building, me behind him as we stepped into the lift.

And yes, the shenanigans that Shabeer had been up to we’re far from easy at the time… but looking back now , I was glad that I could smile and say that I had made it through. It definitely meant that I had made progress and was on the way to recovery.

Ans of course, I was in the best of spirits as I entered my brothers flat because I knew that my mother wasn’t there. It wasn’t that I avoided her completely. I just felt it better got my general well-being if I spent as least time as possible with her. The more we steered clear of each other, the less chances of any explosions in the vicinity.

Khawlah greeted as I entered, giving me a quick hug as I followed my boys in, and quickly escaped  to the kitchen as she saw my uncle behind us. Khawlah just had this amazing quality of modesty in every situation that I always admired.

“How’s Adam doing?” I asked as I followed her, wanting to know what to expect before I went in.

She smiled as she glanced at me, knowing my habit of having random emotional outbursts when I saw my brother. By nature, I was not the most emotionally stable of people, and seeing Adam in the state he had been in a week ago set me off like a never before… snorts and all. I was a tad bit embarrassed.

“He’s fine,” Khawlah assured with a smile. “I think he’s just glad it’s the weekend.”

I widened my eyes comically. I knew the reason why.

My mother had been staying here in the week and basically micro-managing everything from his visitors to his diet. I could imagine that Adam must be quite relieved about her temporary absence. All I knew was that my father was particularly excited about the turn of events. When I spoke to him yesterday, he sounded like a man who had been let loose after a century of captivity.

“Shame,” Khawlah was saying sweetly. “I think she just wants to take really good care of him. She’s made four different lists of things that he needs to do. I didn’t know that she was so… particular.”

More like annoyingly controlling. It was quite typical that my mother would turn this into something so selfish. Making up for lost time was well and good, but I always felt sorry for Adam as a kid when my mother wouldn’t be around when he’d come home on the weekends. I supposed that’s what made us closer. We never spoke about it, but I’m sure Adam knew exactly what she was doing.

I glanced at the list of weird cultures and juices that he was meant to stuff down his throat daily. Low GI. Gluten free. Fresh vegetables. Weird concoctions. Yoghurts that I’ve never heard of before. Poor Adam had to probably just sit put and bear it all.

The kids were already all over Adam as I stepped into the room to see him on the bed, sprawled out now as they jumped around like four crazy monkeys. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched them, wondering how my uncle and Adam were actually having a conversation amidst the madness that was very evidently going on.

And yes, I was slightly surprised at how quickly Adam and Siraj just shifted back into comfortable companionship gear, thinking how strange men were. Men were just unassuming like that. No fuss. No grudges.

And as I stood there, I couldn’t help but feel a lump in my throat as I thought about the reality. I knew that I was getting to that crazy and emotional state of mind that would bring on the ugly tears, but despite the obvious downfalls of Adam being sick… I couldn’t help but think of how amazingly it had brought our family together.

For Ma and Mum… for Adam and Siraj… for me and the boys and the rest of our family. Sometimes Allah has really strange ways of working. Sometimes there’s more good that comes out of a less than favorable situation than we ever anticipate…

”I think we need to take them to the park later,” Adam finally said as he shook his head and tackled Zia who was literally diving head-first off the bed. “These guys have way too much energy for my humble apartment.”

And of course, as I tried to simmer them all down, I couldn’t help but think how on earth Adam would manage with the boys in his state… but then again… why not?

Why shouldn’t he enjoy his nephews before there came a stage when he couldn’t anymore? Maybe Adam needed to be out and about. Get some fresh air. Feel more alive.

I plopped myself on the single chair as Siraj left for the hospital and Khawlah came in, luring the boys with some awesome pasta dish that they were obsessed with and giving me some peace to spend some much needed time with my brother. She was so amazing with them and I didn’t even know how she did it.

And as she smiled at Adam, I could clearly see that it was her who Adam drew his immense strength from. She was so unwaveringly ‘together’. I wasn’t sure how she did it it, but my brother was already looking so much stronger, now that she was here. A little more optimistic.

Today was a good day, and I was glad that I was here to see it.

“Are you coping?” I asked him, watching him stretch out his legs as he sat back in the rocking chair he kept in his room.

He looked at peace. Content.

”I’m fine as long as you’re not feeding me weird stuff that makes me want to cringe,” he said steadily. “Mums been on quite a mission. You think she’d mind if I tell her to that she can stay home?”

I stifled a grin, wondering how long this would really last. Adam’s bound to say something critical at some point, which would probably send my mother off on a tantrum about how her children don’t appreciate her. Besides the diet, I could just imagine my mother coming into the room every few seconds, checking to see if he was still breathing. My mother got seriously suffocating at the worst of times.

”I think I may have a solution,”  I said, with a smirk. “It involves some cotton wool and cello tape…”

Adam grinned back at me. I knew I was being mean but the thought of my mother not being able to say the random and overbearing things that she was accustomed  to gave me a weird sense of satisfaction.

”Seriously, though,” I said, dropping my tone. “Have you spoken to Khawlah?”

Adam looked at me questioningly.

”About what?”

I wasn’t sure how to say it without seeming intrusive. I just wasn’t sure if my brother had thought that far ahead… But I mean, come on. It wasnt really on the list of things we usually spoke about… but which normal guy doesn’t think about these things?

”About her staying here,” I said carefully. “Don’t you think it’s time you guys make the big move?”

I could see Adam looking slightly pensive, as he glanced at me.

”I’m not sure what you guys are waiting for,” I added, raising my eyebrows at my brother and crossing my arms over my chest. “I know what you guys planned, and everything that’s supposed to happen.. but right now you’ll have no idea what the future holds. Haven’t you heard the saying… ‘time waits for no man’?! Come on, Adam… I think it’s time for a change of plans.”

“Ruby…” Adam said, looking a tad bit uncomfortable. “I can’t just tell her to put everything on hold in her life and save the day… although I would love to have her here… it’s not fair…”

”Why not?” I pressed urgently. “What if you’re not being fair?! What if she wants to? What if she’s waiting for you to say it? Do you doubt her love, Adam?”

“Not even for a moment,” he said without missing a beat. He wore a tired expression on his face as he continued. “But it’s not what you think. I’m no longer that guy who she married. Right now I’m okay, but there are times when I don’t want her to see me… when I’m in such an appalling state. I don’t want her to have to deal with all of that. With the drowsiness and the irritation and the rest of my annoying habits. If I opt for chemo then she’ll have to deal with that too. I’m certain that Allah is going to bring us through this and it’s going to be exactly what she expected when this is over and we take that big step…”

”And what if it never happens?” I asked, my voice rising as I looked at him. I didn’t want to say it but someone had to. “You can’t wait that long. You’re missing the point, Adam!”

He shrugged, almost as if he hadn’t thought that far ahead.

“What if you never get better?!” I continued, internally shuddering at the thought. “What if you guys live in this dream world where everything is going to come together again and it never happens?!”

Adam blinked and watched me unemotionally as I stared at him, waiting for an answer. As far as I knew, there was a 50-50 chance. This could go either way.

What if? What if?! There were so many uncertainties in this life. He remained silent for a few seconds before he spoke again.

“You’re scared,” he said softly.

I swallowed and looked at him. Of course I was scared. Of course.

I didn’t want to lose my brother. But more than that, I didn’t want Khawlah to feel like my brother didn’t love her enough to show her who he was, despite what was happening to him. Because that’s what love was about. No matter what or why or how, to give to each other and receive and be absolutely unconditional in every way. That was love. That was what I wanted them to see.

And even if I never got to experience that kind of amazing love, I knew that with him and Khawlah, being there for each other would raise them to completely new heights.

”I’m not scared,” he said quietly, lifting his gaze to look at me.

I looked up at him as he said it, frowning as I realized that he was actually serious. He wasn’t?

His face was pensive again, and I knew that with Adam, no matter what, there was always something cooking in his active mind.

”I’m not scared for me, Rubes,” he said, in almost a whisper. “But I’m scared for you. Maybe for Khawlah. But more for you. I’m scared that you’ll crumble. I’m scared that if things have to take a turn for the worse… you might come crashing down. Just like how you want me to think about my future… I want you to consider yours too.”

”What do you mean?” I asked, narrowing my eyes at him. “What future?”

Your future,” he said obviously, with a glint of humor in his eye. “Love. Marriage. Maybe more kids, yeah…”

He grinned as he said it, while I widened my eyes at him.

More kids? Clearly that Cannabis oil was having other kind of effects on his brain.

”Adam,” I said, shaking my head at him. “It’s too soon. You can’t expect that from me.”

“Okay I’m kidding about the last part,” he said with a smile. “But it was worth a try. How’s about a deal, yeah? I’ll go ahead with my big move and I’ll help you to make yours?”

“What kind of deal?” I asked, narrowing my eyes at him suspiciously. I was half anticipating, yet half dreading his next words.

”Well, it’s kind of a secret,” he whispered mysteriously. “And you have to promise me that it will stay that way…”

I nodded silently as he opened the drawer next to his bed,  pulling out a pen and a notepad, and tossing it to me.

What I didn’t know was that there was a lot more to this little secret than he had let on. This little secret was going to be one that would open huge doors.

“My muscles are too tired to do any of this,” he said, looking at me with his eyes shining with excitement. “So I need you to start writing…”

Dearest Readers, 

A little bit of suspense but I’m trying to keep it as light-hearted as possible.

Hope everyone is having a good break and remembering that throughout our fun and holiday entertainment, we are Muslims first. ❤️

Safe Travels for those who aren’t around .

Much Love, 

A xx

Don’t forget our Sunnah this holiday! 

Umar ibn Abi Salamah said: I was a young boy in the care of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and my hand used to wander all over the platter (of food). The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me, “O young boy, say Bismillaah, eat with your right hand, and eat from what is directly in front of you.” 

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5376; Muslim, 2022).

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

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The Good, the Bad and the Intense


Bismihi Ta’ala


”What the hell is the meaning of this?” I growled.

I thrust the letters in my brother-in-law’s face the minute he opened the door, barely fazed by the expression on his tired face as he looked back at me.

And yes, the sensible part of my brain was telling me that I was absolutely off my rockers for confronting a recently diagnosed cancer patient in this appalling manner, yet the extremely agitated part of me was completely unconcerned.

”And Assalamualaikum to you too, bro,” Adam said blandly, raising his eyebrows at me. “I trust you had an amazing trip. How’s about a cuppa, yeah?”

He stepped back and gestured for me to come in, only half glancing at the papers I had in my hand. I walked in with my shoulders rigid, trying to appear more macho than I felt. The truth was, Adam’s indifferent reaction wasn’t what I expected. It wasn’t what I expected at all.

”Did Khawlah tell you what I said?” I asked, annoyed now and getting more worked up at the anti-climax of the whole situation. “Because she needs to understand that it’s not acceptable! In our family we don’t allow our girls to campus. Besides, this is not the time for all this kak… and do you even know what happens at those places?! Are you guys even thinking straight?! I won’t let my sister be some sort of… prey!”

”Tea or coffee?” Adam asked, ignoring me and running his hands through his unusually unkempt hair as he switched the kettle on. I couldn’t help but notice the excess stubble on his upper lip as he stood there, busying himself with his coffee container.

I was blinded by anger to see anything else, as I rattled off all the reasons why Adam had to wake up and tell my sister that she couldn’t just do what she felt. I was angry. So angry. Angry at Khawlah. Angry at him. Angry that he had gotten sick and now we were in this predicament that was changing everything. Angry that my own situation was compounding and we just couldn’t seem to pull out of the rut we were in.

I shook my head as he looked at me expectantly, shrugging nonchalantly and then taking out one mug to pour his own cup of coffee. He walked slowly over to his lounger, shifted the blanket that was bundled up on it with his other free hand, and sat back almost carefully, as he continued to watch me pensively. His behavior… or rather, lack of it… was highly unnerving.

”You seem pretty worked up,” he said, calmly taking a sip of coffee as he looked back at me. ”Regarding Khawlah, I’ve already spoken to her. She doesn’t want to study anyway. Is everything else okay?”

She doesn’t want to study? She didn’t tell me that. So all of this… venting… was for nothing?

I took a careful look at my brother-in-law as I stood there, not wanting to relax as yet. And despite my feelings,  his calm demeanor was somewhat soothing, and as he watched me I could feel myself calming down… without even realizing it.

Okay, maybe I was a little worked up about my own issues to think properly. Having to make a decision that was life-changing, not only for me.. but for my future and two other people who will be directly affected… was a little pressurizing.

And now that I was calmer, I digested my surroundings a little easier. When I barged in, I barely took notice of the darkness of the lounge, where the curtains were drawn. The bundled up blanket obviously meant that he was probably asleep… On the couch. I studied him, realizing that his legs looking even longer than they used to in his Pyjama pants. His face appeared slimmer than before, and his usually bulky arms were still toned, but barely as sturdy as they used to be. Adam was losing weight in a bad way. Three weeks without seeing him made it all the more evident.

And yes, though I didn’t expect it, I walked out of Adam’s flat with exactly what I had come there for. Adam just had a way of saying things. I couldn’t help but leave there so much more at ease than ever before.

Because every so often in life, it happens that we see things for what they truly are. Sometimes we are tested. Sometimes people around us are tested. Sometimes we are thrown in the deep end before we learn to swim.

And I was never good with emotions, but somehow, Adam just knew what to say to simmer my aggression. The thing is, I didn’t know how to explain to him how badly I wanted it all to just go away. How I wished that this didn’t happen to him. How everything else in my life was compounding at the same time, but as I walked out of his flat that day, I knew that Adam had some kind of amazing gift that put every other quality of his away. The thing is, I hated to admit it, but it really wasn’t his or even Khawlah’s fault. I knew where all of this had started. My temperament was only a result of my own doing. I had thought that feelings were by the way. I didn’t expect to feel it… but when Khawlah had mentioned a few weeks ago that Rubeena would be out and about soon, as a single woman… Shaytaan was already starting to put all kind of thoughts in my head. I couldn’t help but find myself feeling a little unsettled.

And I supposed that it was on a whim, but when Molvi had called to ask, just at that precise time, if I set a Nikah date as yet… I couldn’t help but find myself jumping for the opportunity at another Jamaat… no matter how far back I’d have to push the much-awaited event of a Waleemah.

I had been doing so well… and I had no intention of going down a road of sin again. All I knew was that I had to remove myself from the risk of falling deeper into the trap that I had found myself in before… and just avoid Rubeena altogether, until my Nikah was over.

And of course, I didn’t regret going. It was just that I didn’t exactly expect my world to come crashing down when I heard about Adam as I boarded the plane back home. I felt like everything around me was falling apart.

And it was like dejavu because as the news hit me, I could recall the exact same thing happening to me when my mother had taken a bad turn and landed in hospital. I was gone away with school for two nights to a biological swamp, and coming back with my mother hooked onto drips and the works was like a shock to my system. Yes, her sickness had always been there… but as was the case with Muscular Dystrophy… it can spike at any time and take a turn for the worse.

And as I sat on the plane back, fighting the insomnia that had taken over from the time I heard about Adam, I couldn’t help but feel a bit grateful that I had amazing company this trip that had grounded me so well. I knew that I had no right to feel like this. I knew that it was Allah’s will. And if was just as well that He had sent a walking and talking distraction right next to me, to remind me about the true purpose of life.

Well. His version of the true purpose of life.

”Just imagine,” he was saying as he looked at me and stretched, on the last leg of the flight back to Joburg.

Despite not liking him when I first let him, Ziyaad had become the ultimate go-to guy, whenever I needed a dose of humor. It just so happened that he was seated right next to me on the return flight, and I knew it was no coincidence. He was one of the most laid back guys I had ever met.

“I was having the most amazing dream,” he yawned.

I didn’t look at him to prompt him. I knew that wouldn’t stop talking anyway. That was just Zee. It was the last hour of the flight and he had just woken up, and energy levels were flying as high as the plane was making its descent.

”Imagine this, boss,” he said dramatically, his arms spread out. “Pure whiteness before you… The most exotic of Hoors surrounding you… in the most pristine place of unimaginable beauty.. and then… the queen of them of …all.. Hey, what’s your chics name again?”


”Yup, that’s your one,” he exclaimed. “Saffia. Just imagine. The queen of your Jannah… the apple of your eye..”

I shook my head as he went on, not being able to resist a smirk.

“Dude, how do you even think of these things?!” I asked in bewilderment.

“I’m well trained,” he said, putting on a serious face. “When things get tough with the vrou, sometimes you have to pull out the big guns.”

”Does all the buttering up really work?” I asked, amused.

”Well, boet,” he said breezily. “You have to have the skill. You can’t be pulling them out and not knowing where to shoot them.. with women it’s like a completely different ballgame. Believe me, I’ve had enough experience with the opposite gender by now…”

“Is this guy bothering you?”

I looked up to see Molvi smirking at me from the seat in front of us, shaking his head at Ziyaad.

“I’m just trying to get this guy psyched up,” he explained. “For a guy whose on the brink of Nikah, he’s like a brick wall of anti-emotion. If I was him I’d literally have some weird sort of ants in my pants.”

Molvi grinned back at him as the two of them playfully bickered about nothing in particular. It was Ziyaad’s easy nature that made him all the more fun to be around. He took Maulana Umar’s comments in jest as they went on.

“This is the type of guy who the women complain about…” Molvi said jokingly.

”Molvi,” Ziyaad said with a grin. “I was thinking of giving the vrou a break, but a third Nikah may just set me off completely. To tell the truth I think she gets sick of my inherent charm. I can’t understand why though because I really am such a catch…”

Maulana chuckled as I looked at them, stopping for a minute to remind myself about the kind of life that Ziyaad had had. I could hardly believe that he actually lost his child and his wife too… at his age… been through so much and still took life with so much of conviction and ease. He really was one of a kind.

And it made me think about how when I first met him… how I had judged him and thought that he was probably just a typical Joburg guy with an easy rich-boy lifestyle. It’s funny how we judge people without knowing anything about their lives… and strange how when we see how rough other people’s worlds are, we are forced to rethink.

And yes, it was a sore reality check too for me again… because as I went out in the path of Allah, there was nothing about the trip that ceased to amazed me. There was so much to learn and consider that I was blown away. To witness the result of ethnic cleansing that had happened decades ago and how it had impacted on Deen in Europe was something completely new to me. Muslims were forbidden from practicing Islam. From fasting. From reading Quran even in their own homes. Countries that were predominantly Muslim had some Muslims still, but not a hijab is in sight. And though it was heartbreaking to hear the tales of how Masaajid were destroyed and Islam was obliterated with such long lasting effects… what I couldn’t get over was the hospitality that the people had. People were willing. So willing. Accepting… so accepting that they were ready to take the Shahadah at times when we still weren’t ready for them.

It gave me a completely different sense of appreciation for what we had, and it was one of the reasons that I loved traveling. It didn’t matter where. Because I had little attachment to the place I called home, anywhere in the world could be mine. It was here where I would have the greatest adventures, connect with the most amazing people.. and learn the most amazing things.

And then of course, hitting home base after it all had a whole list of conquests that were awaiting me.

First things first… I knew I had to be there for my sister and try and be some kind of support. I just didn’t anticipate the plans she had for the following year coming in the way, but that was a different story altogether.

Secondly, to come back to the point of how the whole thing blew so way out of proportion in the first place, let’s just say that I had to contact my future in laws, even if it was just to say I’m alive. The important thing here, though, was that in the back of my mind… I knew that I had to set a date and give them some clarity on the Nikah.

And I would say that the first half of the planned visit went well. My future father-in-law was an easy enough guy to get along with. Conversation revolved around my trip and other general things, before we got onto the serious business.

And I knew that I was taking too long to get to the point. I didn’t realize that I was stalling on purpose. I kept telling myself that all I needed was to come here and see what my future held for me, and put everything into perspective again… but the longer I was here, the harder it was becoming to bring the subject up.

Besides, the little chatter box that had entered the room was literally talking our ears off. No-one else could get a word in edgewise. She was only three but she really would not stop talking. She was clearly very excited that her mother was getting married.

I was trying to adjust to the obvious cuteness, knowing that this would be a part of my daily life… when her mother came in, and hastily sent her away. I supposed she could see the expression on my face. I couldn’t say that I was disappointed. Chatty kids were cute, but I definitely preferred them in small doses.

“I’m sorry to hear about your brother-in-law,” Saffia said, as I finally looked up at her. She had just walked in and was still standing, and I couldn’t help but notice her serious expression.

Her eyes weren’t filled with laughter, the way they were when I first met her. I wasn’t sure if it was the news about Adam or something else that was on her mind.

“I hear he has cancer…”

It just hit that much harder when someone else said it.

I nodded, as she took a seat next to her father, still looking serious. As they sat side by side, I could see that she resembled her father most. For me, it wasn’t really about how a girl looked. Although there were a lot of things about her that appealed to me, more than anything, I needed someone that I could talk to on every level… someone who was patient, intuitive and level-headed too. Being who I was.. and going through what I had gone through wasn’t a breeze for girls to relate to…

“Papa,” Saffia said, turning to him slightly as she said it. “Can we talk alone for a while? Ahmed and I?”

Her father nodded a little hesitantly, and stepped outside like he had done when I had first seen her.

I looked up at her, as she watched him leave, glad that I wasn’t having to explain more to him. Besides, it was between the two of us.

“Sorry, I didn’t come earlier,” I said. “It’s just been a hectic couple of weeks…”

”We were wondering if you’d run away,” Saffia said, raising her eyebrows. She was smiling but I could tell that she wasn’t joking.

Why would she think that I’d run away? 

”Hey,” I said with a frown. “I wouldn’t do that to you…”

Things were quiet for a while as I sat on the couch, unsure of how else to explain my absence. She went on to talk about general things, but my head wasn’t in it.

I was still thinking about her words. Maybe I had been a little too evasive. Maybe I…

”Ahmed,” she started, turning to face me after a while. “I spoke to your sister…”

”Really?” I said, knowing that Zuleikha was upset with me for postponing the big event.

She wouldn’t have told me. She would have probably had a fat lot to say about me too.

Saffia nodded.

“I would hate to sound like the insecure kind of girl whose desperately been waiting for this great guy to come save her…. but lets be serious here…”

I cleared my throat, knowing she was giving me more credit than I deserved. I was far from a great guy. Right now I felt like scum.

“As far as I know,” she continued. “Both our families are waiting for you to make a decision and are worried about dragging the engagement on for so long… it’s already been almost 6 weeks…”

I said nothing. This girl spoke a lot more than I thought. Now I knew where her daughter got it from.

Six weeks was barely anything. It’s not like I was going anywhere. Well, not right now.

“My previous marriage,” she said, as if it was self explanatory. “He kept on pushing back the date and it was only later on that we found out why…”

“I’m sorry,” I said automatically, feeling bad that I was bringing back bad memories for her.

”It’s not your fault,” she said quickly. “But I have to be more careful now. It’s not only about me anymore. I need stability in my daughters life and when I looked at you the first time, despite your age… that was what I saw.”

“I haven’t changed,” I argued, trying to defend myself.

”It’s not that,” she said, not looking at me. “I’m not asking for sympathy either. It’s unfortunate, but Allah plans what happens and I supposed that my ex-husband was trying to make his parents happy. But the point I’m trying to make is that if there’s anything at all that may be stopping you from taking this step, Ahmed.. I need to know now..”

I nodded, not trusting myself to speak. This whole revelation was a lot to process. I mean, I didn’t plan on hurting the woman but the fact that she had been through hell before put an amazing amount of pressure on me. The situation was getting pretty intense.

There was nothing much more that I could say. I wasn’t even sure what to think.

What I had no inkling of  was that it wasn’t really the time until Nikah that was bothering her, but rather, there was another reason she might have suspected, that had steered the conversation directly this way.

“I suppose what I’m asking, Ahmed,” she said, taking a deep breath and finally meeting my eye. “Are you really sure that you want to make Nikah?”

Don’t forget our Sunnah this holiday! 

Umar ibn Abi Salamah said: I was a young boy in the care of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and my hand used to wander all over the platter (of food). The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me, “O young boy, say Bismillaah, eat with your right hand, and eat from what is directly in front of you.” 

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5376; Muslim, 2022).

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

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Future and Fears

Bismihi Ta’ala


When Mama first got sick, there were times that I felt myself floating beyond reality… almost as if there was no escape from the clouds that seemed to constantly loom above us.

I would creep away into my own little world, read my little books to my little self… or escape to Khalid’s garden whenever I felt the weight of sullenness start to rain on me.

It was on one particular autumn day that I sat under the great oak tree, just humming to myself and watching the pigeons flock together, when little Khalid plopped himself on the bench next to me.

”Hey Khawlah, are you okay?”

I had been exceptionally quiet that day, and nothing had escaped his notice.

”Yup,” I said, looking away. I didn’t want to talk about it.

He said nothing before he got up and started drawing in the sand as he usually would. I could see him playing a solo game of X and O’s and as I pretended not to watch him, he suddenly turned, tossing the stick away and looked up at me.

It was just Khalid, something was telling me. I could tell him.

His grey eyes were curious as he watched me. Khalid was always so jolly.. except when he was thinking deeply, like right now. I supposed that it was moments like these when he entered my heart…reserving his place there… all that time ago.

“See that tree there, Khawlah? The one with most of it leaves fallen off?”

I nodded carefully as I looked up at him.

His dark floppy hair was all over the place and his expression was slightly pensive as we looked at it carefully. It was almost bare. It’s dry leaves were piled up… abandoned at the bottom..

“A sick person,” he continued softly.  “Their sins fall off them like the leaves fall off the tree… imagine that, Khawlah? Imagine.”

I closed my eyes to imagine. I could almost picture it.

“You know what Papa says?” He said, and I already knew it was going to be something good.  ”Papa says that the believers are payed back for any little pain or inconvenience that they may feel. Get this, Khawlah: even if they’re looking for something in their left pocket, and it’s in the right one… they are rewarded even for that…”

Wow. I sat there, a little speechless.

”Khawlah, it’s going to be okay in the end,” Khalid said, his icy eyes softening as he looked at me. “Ummi says that if it’s not okay… it’s not the end…”

I couldn’t help but smile back at him. I had heard her say that before. Khalid’s smile was contagious as if morphed into a childish giggle as he made a funny face, and I couldn’t help but laugh back.

And it wasn’t like I had poured my heart out to my friend. I was only 6. Because without telling Khalid, there were many things that he already knew. He was exceptionally perceptive. For a kid, we sometimes underestimate their ability to understand… but they do.

And it was no wonder that when Khalid had told me that, all those years ago, somehow, his reassuring words had stuck with me whenever I happened to come across anyone sick… whether it was a menial flu or a fatal disease.

For Mama, for Foi Nani, and now, even for Aadam.. as I looked at him. It was like I could just see Allah’s mercy showering down on them… just like those leaves were falling off that magnificent tree, I could almost picture their sins being shed for them. I would picture their abode being prepared for them. I would fervently pray that I too, by some miracle, be blessed with a tiny bit of what they were receiving… and it was always a comfort.

”Khawlah. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to…”

I turned to look at my sister-in-law right then, her eyes still brimming with tears as she looked at us.

”I shouldn’t have done that,” Rubeena said from where she stood at the door. “Aadam should have been the one to say it…”

My mother-in-law stepped back as she came in,  little embarrassed about her open show of emotion, softening as she looked at her daughter. It was the first time I had seen the two of them in this kind of fragile state… so openly affectionate and empathetic… knowing that they were all in this together. I almost couldn’t believe that I was seeing this moment before my eyes. It was extremely emotional.

”It’s all my fault…” Aadam’s mother had whispered to me, just moments before. I shook my head at her… trying to convince her that it could never be.

And even though I knew that her feelings were nothing farther than the truth, if was only a reflection that in those crucial moments, these were the defining feelings that had somehow surfaced.

Guilt. Regret. Remorse.

”I pushed him so hard,” she said, shaking her head. “Always pushed him to be the best, work the hardest he could… and now see! See!”

And I suppose it didn’t even have to do with the apparent. It was just a regret that fills you when you realize that you’ve put so much effort, for so long, into the wrong thing.

”It’s no-one’s fault,” I tried to convince her. “It’s only Allah’s will. You can’t blame it on yourself…”

It was ridiculous. My mother-in-law stopped for a moment and looked at me, wiping her tears eyes as she tried to compose herself.

”Do you think he’s going to die?” She said, desperately seeking an answer as she looked at me.

And honestly, how do you even answer that? I wished I could console her, but the fact was that no-one knew what the future held. We all live in that fear of the unknown…

”Whatever happens,” I said, swallowing the emotion. “It’s going to be okay. You have to believe that. Its in Allah’s hands…”

She looked at me for a moment, slightly taken aback as she processed what I just said. She was actually a beautiful woman who I rarely got to notice, because of the way I had seen her before…

It had been a few minutes that we were in the kitchen, and as I heard shifting and Aadam clearing his throat behind us to signal his arrival, I found myself stepping away as Ruby left and I turned to look at him, still not really believing everything that I had just heard.

I still needed time to process it all. To think about how I felt. To let it all sink in.

”I’ll leave you two alone for a while,” I said, glancing at him and my mother-in-law.

For some reason, I couldn’t meet his eye. It was like my husband was no longer the man that I had known all this time. He was a patient. A cancer patient who was living with a fatal disease. How do you adjust to something like that? How do you change your mindset from thinking that you have the rest of your lives together… to wondering if you probably don’t..?

”Khawlah,” Aadam said softly to me as I passed by, attempting to  console his mother as best as he could. “You don’t have to go…”

”It’s okay,” I said assuringly. It really was.


It was my mother-in-law who spoke now, as she looked at me. I looked back with a small nod.

”Thank you,” she said sincerely.

It was just two simple words, but as they escaped her lips, it felt like every wall that had been built between us all these months was instantly being broken down. And although I barely knew it, it was that very moment that was a moment of revolution that would define our future…

I nodded and walked out slowly, still in a daze. The kids were bustling around and my mind, for once, could not settle into their tedious frame of mind. I needed to be away…

”Can we go?” I asked Aadam, now absolutely exhausted as he came out a few minutes later after assuring his mother he’ll be back to talk about it, . I desperately wanted to talk to my husband on his own.

There were so many things that were going through my mind… like an influx of information and questions that I couldn’t seem to shake…

”I’m so sorry.”

I couldn’t help but shake my head at him as he said it. Typical. He was apologizing to me.  It was so unbelievable that Aadam felt indebted, despite him being in the situation that he was. How crazy was that?

”You’re apologizing?” I asked, raising my eyebrows. “You have a condition that’s destroying your limbs and organs and you’re apologizing to me? Honestly… Aadam, you really don’t even have to…”

”No,” he said softly, stopping and turning me gently to face him. “You know it’s not that. You shouldn’t have had to find out that way. I wanted to be the one to tell you, Khawlah… to hold you before and console you after and tell you that it’s all going to be okay..”

My heart shattered a little more as he said it…

Is it going to be okay?” I asked softly, finally looking up at him. ”How bad is it? Is there a stage?”

”Let me just put it this way,” he started casually,  and I could see a hint of humor flicker in his eyes. “I’m not going to drop dead tomorrow..”

”Aadam,” I said with an exasperated sigh. “I’m serious. This is not a joke and you need to take this seriously too! I need to know!”

“Okay, I’m sorry,” he said meekly, with a tiny smile. “Lets just say that I’ll pretty much be my normal annoying self for at least a few more weeks. The cast is coming off , and then Siraj is pushing me for the radium and chemo treatments but I’ve turned them down… I want to try something else, and those may also have side effects but according to what I’ve read, they’re not as bad. Obviously,  try tell a medical doctor about alternate options and he shoots you down…”

Alternate options? I was also skeptical, as I looked at Aadam. What were the guarantees? But then again… Were there any guarantees in life at all? Right before me was a young guy with his whole life ahead of him… and now he was faced with something that was completely life changing, and not only for him.

He still looked the same. High cheek bones. Dark lashes. Striking features. I wasn’t even sure how something so deadly could be living inside of this guy…

Aadam averted his gaze  as he ran his hand through his beard.

”Khawlah, I’m not going to lie to you,” he said softly. “There are going to be bad days. There’ll be days when I won’t want to get out of bed. Days when I will probably make you angry and days when I will make you cry. Days when we’re probably going to fight like cats and dogs. Days when you will hate me. Days when I might hate me too… and you’ll probably walk out on me on some days, because this is going to test us in ways we never felt before. But I want you to remember that you have to come back, Khawlah… because I promise you, there are going to be good days too. Days that will give us hope and moments within them that will be the ones that you remember forever and remind you about this crazy guy you once loved, and no matter what happens, we still fought through this all in one solid piece…”

”I will never hate you,” I said, swallowing back all the emotion that he had just brought on. “And don’t talk like that. We’re going to get through this. You will fight it.”

”Khawlah, how do you do it?” He asked, looking baffled as he met my eye. “I wished I knew, because it’s like you never need my comforting… time and time again you keep proving to me how much you can bear and I don’t understand  it. Through this all, what I do know is that Allah has given me so many bounties amidst this sickness and one of them is that He brought you into my life to be the one that’s right here to hold it all together exactly when I need it…”

“I’m not what you think, Aadam,” I said, knowing that I wasn’t half as strong as he thought but not really wanting to go into that right now.

I had fears. So many of them, because so much of my own life would change. Our routine, our relationship, our future… And every decision that had to do with it would be revisited with this new and alarming piece of information in mind.

I couldn’t help but think about how we planned everything… to the last tee. How we would be apart for the year and then move in together. How Rubeena wanted to plan the function a week after my finals are over. How we had checked to see if we could make a booking for a getaway in advance… all those plans… now on hold as we waited for this unpredictable stage of our lives to be over.

And then came the plans for the following year, that had featured more often that I had thought it would. As we get older, our dreams get bigger too. I admired my mother for being the committed mother and housewife that she was, but times were different now. Well, that’s what everyone said. Everyone in my class was applying somewhere or the other. It was expected for me to do the same… even though my heart was never in it…

“Listen sweets,” Aadam had said one day a few months before as I sat with my dilemma and googling career options… as he folded his long legs to sit next to me. “You and I are brought up differently. I’ve always been driven by education. Maybe even shoved into it. That was my mother. That’s why I think that having a career is important… but for you, maybe not. Your brothers may think differently, and your father may not like it. But you married me, and if you really want to pursue something  … I can work anywhere … I’ll come with you, yeah? I know the environment is not ideal, so I’ll take you, have lunch with you, be your chaperone… you do what you need to do. I’ll be there.. just name it…”

”Can’t I just do nothing at all?” I finally said, exhausted from all the information I was processing. “I think 12 years of school is enough to put anyone off for life.”

Aadam grinned. Of course I would do something.  I was thinking along a completely different train…

”You don’t need to work, gorgeous,,” he said sweetly. “No pressure. You can sit at home, stuff your face and shop online the whole day and I won’t say a thing. Just don’t let my mother know.”

He smiled as he said it, but I knew there was a deeper meaning to his statement right then. I understood that his mother was extremely ambitious with regard to academic studies and though she might have felt she was motivating him… I knew that the pressure had impacted negatively on Aadam as he grew up.  That maybe she had focused on the wrong things. It was always the most important thing to her. He was always pushing to get to the top… and she loved him to be there. It was when  he got there that he  couldn’t understand what the big deal was anymore…

And yes, it was precisely then when he realized how much more there is to life… and he wished so badly that he had known if earlier.

My thoughts were a jumble as I filled application papers, not really knowing what I was setting myself up for and not really caring much about it either.

It was a back-up plan that would fall in if I ever changed my mind. I had sent them in to a few different campuses and left it at that, forgetting I ever did it. Aadam was still exploring treatment options and gearing himself up for it as the holidays started and it was a rollercoaster of emotions for those few weeks as everyone found out about the battle he was facing. Everything else took a back seat. I just wanted to be there for him before the following term would dawn again.

Of course, when he returned, Ahmed’s Nikah was the last thing on my mind. With the shock of the news… there was just too much else going on.

And in the midst of it all, as I entered the house after one exhausting day trying to convince Aadam otherwise about his treatment options, knowing I was getting nowhere at all.. All I expected to see was Dada sitting on his rocking chair catching his afternoon nap. Instead, as I entered the kitchen to grab a glass of juice, Ahmed was sitting on the bar stool, almost motionless… as he leaned over some documents.

”Assalamualaikum,” I greeted, opening the fridge door while my brother barely mumbled back a reply. I busied myself with choosing the flavor I liked, calmly took of out and just about poured a huge glass of cranberry and apple juice when Ahmed’s voice spoke out.

“Can you explain to me what’s the meaning of this?” He said suddenly, holding up the papers in the air as his penetrating gaze fixed on me. “Since when did you get all these ideas, Khawlah? Speech Therapy? Property Development? Law?”

”What are you talking about?” I asked him, completely confused. It was like he was building himself up, and now it was time to erupt… with no warning at all.

“University letters,” he snapped. “Provisional acceptance. From three different campuses. You really have a hope of that!”

Woah,” I said, feeling overwhelmed as I took a seat and put my glass down. With so much going on… I even forgot about those. “Am I really accepted?”

”Don’t you dare get any ideas,” he said with raised eyebrows. “Its not becoming of someone in your situation to go and run off to campus. Besides, you still live in this house until you leave. I won’t accept it and Abba won’t allow it either…”

”If doesn’t matter what Abba says,” I said stiffly, the defiant streak in me taking over. “Or you, for that matter. I’m married, remember? I don’t think I have to answer to you…”

How dare he tell me what I can or can’t do? He had no right. He had no idea what it was being in my situation… or what I was dealing with right then.

“Please,” Ahmed scoffed. “You really think Aadam is in the position to be making decisions like that?”

“I think he’s completely capable,” I said stubbornly. I mean, he wasn’t dead. Why was Ahmed acting like an idiot? 

Ahmed’s eyes narrowed at me as I faced him, not relenting with my gaze either. I didn’t know that all this had stemmed from something else that had erupted in his own life, that he failed to tell us about. All I could see was an intensely temperamental Ahmed threatening me with his fierce looks and rigid approach, and I didn’t like it at all.

”Mark my words, Khawlah,” he said angrily, tossing the letters across the table and glancing up to look at me. “This is not Adam’s choice anymore. You better burn those letters and forget about them or I won’t let him hear the end of it.”

I know everyone is taking it a bit easy this holiday season – please bear with me if next posts are a little delayed 🌷

Keep safe and Much Love, 

A xx


Sunnah of Drinking water

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

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A Warrior’s Fear

Bismihi Ta’ala


There are some exceptional people of the past who desired death as much as we desire to live. There were some extraordinary warriors of previous eras who would throw themselves into enemy lines, fighting with every ounce of them to not return alive. They would crave a meeting with Allāh, just as we, after a long arduous journey, yearn to return back home.

Their’s was a burning desire so intense, so bad… that Allah even granted the status of the Shuhadaa for their unwavering souls, even though they passed away in their beds.

Sometimes it’s not about winning or losing. About living or dying. But sometimes we want something so badly, yet we have to keep reminding ourselves that the outcome is not determined by our own efforts… because when Allah decides a matter, it is as if it’s already done… 

The thing is, as I pushed myself to the limits as I grew, I didn’t know yet that to be a real warrior, it wasn’t only about strength. You had to have your heart in it too. You have to gain passion. Love. Conviction. The overwhelming desire for death that overpowers all else… 

Because until you read about the lives of the true warriors, you never really learn what being a true believer is about. Amongst the stories of the legendary Khalid bin Waleed, Mus’ab bin Umair, Jafar bin Abu Talib (RA) and many more… one of the stories that kind of made it all real for me was the martyrdom of Abdullah bin Rawahah (RA).

And as the story goes, it so happened that  as these warriors of Islam were being martyred at Mut’ah… Allah Ta’ala, in His absolute power, made it possible for Nabi (SAW) to wintness these events as they were unfolding before his blessed eyes. He recounted the events to the Sahaba in Madina Munawwarah, as all intervening veils between him and the battlefield were miraculously lifted… He gave them the glad tidings, while they waited with bated breath. It was occurring just as he had prophecised.

“Zaid has taken the standard and he fought the disbelievers until he was martyred and he entered Jannah.”

You can imagine the thrill of the Muslims at his valour.

“Then Ja‘far took the flag and also fought valiantly until he was martyred. He is now soaring with the angels in Jannah with the aid of two wings.

Thereafter, Abdullah bin Rawahah has snatched up the flag.”

Nabi (SAW) observed a silence at this point, and the hearts of the Ansaar were in their throats, for fear of his fate. Nabi (SAW) was seeing the battle before his eyes, and they were anxious to know the outcome of their Ansaari brother.

On the battlefield, Abdullah (RA) had moved forward on his horse, but slightly hesitated to advance towards the enemies. He rebuked himself  steadily and said:

             “Oh my Nafs! I swear you will dismount from this horse and engage the enemies of Allah whether you like it or not. 

Why is it that I observe you harbouring an aversion towards Jannah? (Why is it that you are not advancing speedily?)

Oh my Nafs! Even if you are not killed today, you are inescapably going to die one day. This is an inevitable destiny of the process of death!

What you had desired is now available to you (an opportunity of martyrdom in  Allah’s path).

If you accomplish the feats of those two guided people (Zaid and Ja’far who passed away before him), then you will be well-guided!”

He then dismounted from his horse, his cousin came to him with a meaty bone, saying, “Have some of this, for you have suffered much these days.” He took it and ate a little, then heard a noise coming from a certain direction. He looked at the bone he  was  eating  and  said, “You  are  still  engaged  in  this  world!”

He threw down the bone, took his sword, pressed forward and fought until he was killed – May Allah be pleased with him!

Nabi SAW continued to relate to the Ansaar…

“Now Abdullah bin Rawahah has engaged the disbelievers. He also fought gallantly until he was martyred. All three of them are in Jannah and all three of them are relaxing on golden thrones, but…”

The Ansaar are relieved. Thrilled. But anxious at what else Nabi SAW has seen…

“I noticed the throne of Abdullah Bin Rawahah (RA) unsteady and shaking. When I enquired the reason for this I was informed that Abdullah (RA) was overcome with reluctance before he engaged the enemy. Only after a slight hesitancy did he step forward and fight whilst his companions, Zaid and Jafar engaged the enemy without a trace of reluctance.”

And with tears brimming from his blessed eyes, Nabi (SAW) then said.

“After them, a Sword of the Swords of Allah (Khalid bin Waleed (RA)) has taken hold of the flag of Islam… He fought until Allah granted the Muslims victory.”

And of course, I was simply speechless as I processed it. Their bavery. Their skill. Imagine. They loved Allah. They loved His Rasul. They loved to die!

But still… in those final moments of truth, was it not natural for fear to overcome some? And yet, was it not a true miracle to witness that passion of those who had such sublime love for Allah, that they would wholeheartedly march to their fate, knowing they they would most likely die at the hands of the approaching enemy…

The stories of war and their courage and their faith inspired me endlessly, but this was one that brought to light for me the truth of this world.

How this world snatches us away from our purpose is a peculiar thing. We’re still scared to lose this life, although we know that we are promised unexplainable pleasures in the hereafter.

No-one is immune to fear. Even the big guys get scared. No matter how tough anyone seems, there’s always a mellowness inside us that sometimes catches us off-guard.

And more than anyone, I knew this. I breathed in as I cowardly bargained with Allah… after so many losses, I was scared. So, so scared to feel that way again. I didn’t how I would really fare if my brother-in-law wasn’t okay.

And as I finally made it to the hospital that night, my blood pumping with Adrenalin as I literally pushed my humble VW to its limits, all sorts of things clouded my mind.

With my heart racing uncontrollably in my chest, I stepped into the hospital that night as I scanned the waiting area.

Khawlah sat in the corner, and as she spotted me, I could see her talking easily to a female doctor who I tried hard not to look at. She greeted her affectionately before she headed towards me with tears in her eyes. I didn’t know at that time, that it was for a completely unexpected reason.

“Is that Adam’s doctor?” I asked, anxious for news.

Inside, I was in turmoil.

“Not exactly,” she said with a small smile. “But she’s well acquainted with his history…”

”You mean there’s a medical history?” I said, not knowing that Khawlah was in a world of her own right then, and meant something entirely different. All I knew was that I couldn’t wait to see the facts. I had to know. “Is he awake?”

Khawlah shook her head at looked at me with unfiltered emotion in her eyes. And I could see that she was emotional and I seriously wished that I could have offered her a hug, but being who I was, all I could do was swallow hard and stuff my hands in my pockets as she looked ahead in a daze.

”Are you okay?” I asked, knowing it was a dumb question. We headed up to the ward as she sighed, and I could see that she was quite far from it.

”It’s just been an eventful day,” she said softly. “Sorry. Aadam is a bit battered up but he’s okay for now. There’s just too many things have happened altogether and it’s a bit draining…”

I couldn’t imagine being in her place. I wasn’t good with this stuff and I knew it was a helluva lot of havoc for someone as young as Khawlah, but what I knew was that she had a strength that none of us could even dream of. Resilience. Bravery. All that and more.

She didn’t elaborate as she headed down the passage, stopping in front of the ward and gesturing for me to go in. And of course, I was a little anxious at what I would see, but all that met me was a stagnant Adam that lay motionless on the bed.

”Don’t worry, he’s just sedated,” a man with a white coat, who looked spookily like my brother-in-law said with a small smile. “He’ll wake up.”

”Insha Allah,” I said automatically, stretching out my hand to greet him. “Ahmed.”

”I’m Siraj,” he said, as I noticed his slightly greying hair. “Adam’s uncle.”

The women in the room moved out of the vicinity as we spoke briefly, as Adam’s uncle quietly told me that his waking up was really important. If he was in a normal frame of mind it would be a good sign. If there was any brain damage, or memory blocks, there could be other complications…

I kept looking at Adam in intervals, hoping he would suddenly wake up… but not really expecting it. I mean, those momentary things just didn’t happen when I was around. And it was the most surreal thing ever, a mere 3 minutes before visiting hours were about to end and I ready to head out, my heart almost seized in my chest as I saw him shifting and then wincing, before opening his eyes to scan the room.

Of course, I could hardly believe it was actually happening as I saw his eyes flutter open because it was the moment we were all waiting for…

But, hell, I was so scared. I was literally holding my breath as he groggily closed his eyes again, and then opened them again with a frown.

”Adam,” his uncle said. “Can you hear me? Are you in pain?”

Adam raised his one eyebrow at his uncle without saying a word.

”Adam?” he said again, waving his hand in front of Adam’s face. “Can you see me?”

Hmmm,” Aadam said, licking his dry lips.

A good sign right? Or maybe he couldn’t talk?

Oh crap. All sorts of things were going through my mind. That wasn’t good.

”Do you need anything?”

Aadam shook his head slightly. Well, as well as he could with the brace he had on. He really looked a wreck.

You could literally hear a pin drop in the room as all eyes fixated on my brother-in-law for a good few minutes as we watched him shift slightly, probably trying to get to terms with what had happened. I was sure it was a huge shock for him to wake up like this and I really wished that I had words to comfort him… I wanted to call Khawlah because I knew she should be here, but I literally could not tear myself away.

”Do you know what happened?” Someone else was asking, as Adam seemed to finally focus.

And of course, we were all in limbo as Adam opened his mouth…

But his next words.. were what knocked us for a six.

”Anyone… seen my wife?” He said with slightly raspy breath, and a mischievous glint in his eye. “Or did she… actually make a run for it… after she pushed me over the edge?”

His face held a tiny smirk as he blinked at us, and of course, we couldn’t help but crack up at his impromptu humor.

This guy really took the tea. For the first time in a while, I couldn’t help but chuckle uncontrollably as I went to call Khawlah in, my heart already feeling less burdened by the awesome news that he was well and obviously, very much in his senses. It was like a huge weight that was lifted off my heavy shoulders.

I could see the shadow of a smile on Khawlah’s face as I narrated to her Adam’s comical words and she grinned with slightly teary eyes. I knew that as she disappeared into the ward, she would probably give Aadam a witty comeback to his odd compliments… and as I walked back to my car after that, feeling lighter and in a better state to take the drive back home, the relief was overwhelming.

Of course, the excitement was contagious. Everyone was ecstatic about Adam being back to his normal self. What no-one knew was that Adam was the only person who knew that this wasn’t just a simple accident. What happened was a sign of something more complicated that many of us ignored. Yes, it was a huge scare but I think we all so badly wanted Aadam to be fine and Khawlah to be happy, that when we saw him starting to mobilize and become more like his old self again, all we did was shove our concerns under the carpet and carry on with life.

Ignorance is bliss. Truly. I lived in my blissful world of samoosa runs and keeping my eyes peeled for girls who looked like they were ready to take the next step.

As time went on, and I gpt absorbed in my life, there was a restlessness within me that I couldn’t seem to extinguish. It had been brewing for a while, and as I saw girl after girl after girl… instead of the flame wavering, it only seemed to intensify. And through all that, I just couldn’t seem to find what I was looking for.

And that’s when I had to put my foot down. Enough was enough. The last girl I had met seemed to fit the profile of what I was looking for. The facts were, I wasn’t sure how all of this stuff was really supposed to feel. Though my past wasn’t the most admirable, I had never been serious with girls, and neither did I didn’t want to delve into my recent past to try and figure it all out. All I knew was that something about this particular lady made her stand out to me, and despite having other reservations…  I casually announced to my family that it was probably time to take some burfee down to her house.

And maybe I should have see the signs when Khawlah entered the room. Maybe I should have known when I saw her come into the lounge, that something about her wasn’t right.

If it was up to me, I probably would have kept the entire thing hushed until her mood lightened up, but since Dada was already there playing with Muhammed and listening in on Zuleikha’s excitement, he couldn’t help but blurt out, in true Dada style, that there were some very eventful happenings due to occur soon.. like a Waleemah.

Khawlah looked up sharply as he said it, with a slight frown on her face.

“The same one you were talking about?” She said, looking at me cynically. Well, of course she would be.

“Yup,” I said bluntly. “She’s the one.”

“But she’s divorced with a kid,” Khawlah said with raised eyebrows.

And of course, I could see my elder sister shoot me a worried glance as she raised her eyebrows, obviously not expecting this snippet of information that Khawlah had so graciously offered.

I breathed in deeply as I glared at her, just a tiny bit annoyed at her indiscretion.

“Since when is that a problem?” I said heatedly. “Your father is divorced too. With four kids.”

“Please Ahmed,” she said, shaking her head. “It’s not the same and you know it. You know what divorces can be like. You know what it does to kids. You’ve had enough experience in that field now. You really want that kind of baggage?”

”Ah Khawlah,” Yunus said as he sat in his corner couch and watched us. Sometimes I even forgot that my younger brother existed. “Why’re you being so hard?”

I could see Zuleikha wanting to say something too but I held my hand to stop her. I tried to ignore the underlying accusations there, but I knew how to handle Khawlah. She was just lucky that I was in a good mood.

“I know what I’m doing, Khawlah,” I said steadily. “I’m not a child.  I know what I’m doing and why I need to do this. Isn’t it Sunnah to marry divorced women?”

She shook her head, already looking a little remorseful.

“I’m not undermining you,” she said, looking apologetic. “I just… I wasn’t sure if you may be having other reasons for being attracted to her. Like maybe she reminds you of someone else…”

I waited for my body to react in the usual way it did, when I heard about Rubeena.. But much to my surprise that night, weeks since everything had gone down… finally, there was nothing holding me back. Nothing at all.

“Let’s not even go there,” I said with a shrug. “It’s done and dusted okay? How would we ever move forward if we going to dwell on the past?”

I supposed Ziyaad was right in one aspect, when he saw my withdrawn face all those weeks ago. Although I rejected most of his womanising theories, I realised there was some truth in his advice to find something.. or rather.. someone else to focus on. I smiled to myself as I remembered his good humour as I told him about my unintentional part in possibly breaking someone’s marraige. The regret still haunted me on some days.

Khawlah blinked with the realisation.

“I suppose you’re right,” she said pensively. “I think it’s great that you’re moving on… And I truly hope that you’ve found the person who will bring out the best in you.. be your better half… make you smile, and raise you to heights that are amazing and beautiful and overflowing with love for Allah. I sincerely want the best for you, and hope you are making the right choice. Of course, I’ll make lots of Du’aa that you’ll live happily ever after, with lots of gorgeous kids who have your eyes and all the rest…”

I could see Zuleikha’s eyes shining as she smiled. Khawlah had developed some of Adam’s quirky humour and I liked it. It was funny.

“Like you and Adam,” I said indifferently. I wasn’t a soppy kind of guy but I really did admire the easy bond that my sister had with her husband.

I really meant it as a compliment and honestly didn’t expect what followed….

Because just as she met my gaze, there was a streak of something unrecognisable in her eyes, and she promptly burst into tears.

NB. So sorry about the delay and any shortfalls in the post. I hope next week is a bit calmer. Also, make maaf for those who have mailed me, I will reply when I get a chance. Lots of comments are going to spam, and I will try and check those regularly as well..

Will try and post on time next week, Insha Allah. 
Much Love,

A xx

Sunnah of Drinking Water

Sit down before drinking water. No matter you are in hurry for something, but that should not stop you from taking a moment to sit down and drink water in a healthy way. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Sit down and drink” (Muslim). Science also proved that drinking water whilst standing or walking can cause Gastrointestinal Tract (GIT) damage, kidney damage, arthritis, nerve tension, and other disorders.

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An Unexpected Visitor

Bismihi Ta’ala


Once upon a time, when I was far too caught up with a life that probably involved a lot of late nights, misguided aspirations and brain-crushing ideas, an unwavering friendship that pulled at the heartstrings was about to be severed…

Okay, so I’m sorry that this story is a little morbid, but I promise I’m not the kind of guy who would make you cry. Really, I wouldn’t.

Anyway, I’ll get on with it.

So there was once a boy and a girl who spent every minute of their techno-free (unbelievable, right?) childhood together, and were now well aware that their childhood (as they knew it)… well, was about to end. It was time to move on to the rest of their lives. It was the time that most people like me dread. It was time to grow up.

But this story about the boy and girl, and what happened after, is not the important one. What’s important here is the magic that had been born from this bond. This love, that these two kids can somehow formed, had stemmed from something that was so absolutely unique… that hearing about it kind of made me wonder who was the inspiration behind it all. I didn’t know that I’d have the privilege of meeting this very man years later… this boy’s father, who had been the pinnacle of every ambition, hope and aspiration that brought to life for these two kids, in every sense of theirs, the beauty of creation…

And it was through this, and everything they had come to see, that they truly lived and believed, that nothing was created in vain. That they saw amazement in every vision. Every moment, minute and passing interval, there was not a time when they didn’t remember that sunshine was a gift of Allah’s power, and the rain was a reminder of His mercy. A flower was never just a flower. It brought to life the advent of a great and momentous occasion that had just transpired. A rainbow was not just a rainbow. It was a symbol of Allah’s hope that spread across the sky, to remind them of how amazing and colorful life could really be.

It was a time when all things were tall, and all their friends were small. The world was new, and the skies were always blue… well, not really, because that’s impossible (except for real poets)… But you get my drift..

Basically, it was when the sun was at it’s brightest. Where everything was inherently magical, with no major effort. That was essentially, what childhood was about, and as this friendship bloomed in the most natural way, a love of Allah was cultivated and transferred from a heart that held so much of it, to a heart that was yearning to carry more. And from that blossoming heart… it’s love had brimmed and spilled over to be passed on to not just a few, but many, many others too… And at the end of this particular story.. I was one of those fortunate people that somehow got thrown, head-first, into the mix.

You see, there’s a great lesson here that’s evaded me all these months, since hearing this story.  All I saw was a cute little story of two kids that had no point. But then, as I looked deeper… I was simply blown away.

So let me just say this: Never, ever underestimate the smallest of actions. Especially with a little kid… you can never know the true effect of showing a young heart who their Creator really is. You never know what the value is of teaching a child the language of Glorious Qur’an. You will never regret teaching a child that their only reality is Allah, because this little effort really can go to insurmountable lengths. Because that purity… that connection that is formed at such a tender age… that type of love… is simply infectious.

Once you feel it, you will never want to let go. When the heart sings it, embraces it and lives it… the mist is completely cleared. The veil is permanently lifted. And no matter what that little kid will be told in a group or class of kids who know none the better, whether he is told that there is no sky, or the earth had materialized from one Big Bang or that humans evolved from some kind of apes… his (or her) sturdy heart will know better, because it will continue to sing…

Laa ilaha Illalah, laa Ilaha Illalah. 

There is no Reality but Allah. 

The Maker, the Breaker… Owner and Creator of the entire Universe.

And though I featured nowhere in that little tale that I just told you, there is something amazing about my life that tops the charts. Something that’s made me believe that wonderful things can happen to even undeserving people. Something that’s opened my heart to such a vast degree that I never thought I could ever witness.

Somewhere along the way, I found the gold. In some deviate alley, I stumbled upon a path that’s lead me to the most spectacular of treasures. An insurmountable pleasure. Somehow, through a magic beyond my understanding, I’ve managed to find it in me to love another person with all my heart and soul and to me… That will always be enough. Because even if I lived my entire life to achieve nothing else… I had already found what I need. I had already found the pathway to enteral bliss. I knew now that my living and my breathing and my dying was only for One Supreme Being.

We often hear about destiny. Fate. What’s meant to be. Yet, we still strive with our best for this world, push ourselves… try so hard to make it to the top. We buckle our belts, we wear a helmet, we stick to the paved paths, we try to be safe. We try so hard to protect ourselves, but sometimes it’s not enough. When the bad things happen, they catch you by surprise. The tests and trials come suddenly, with no warning… But we forget that sometimes that’s exactly how the best things come too.

And yeah, I was floating somewhere on cloud nine for the past few months, and it was tough getting down from there. It was amazing, because the light that had entered my life was one that had broadened my entire horizon. I suppose we don’t really notice when things are a little wonky when we’re propped up somewhere in the clouds.

And we’ve all had our share of pain, somewhere along the path. Pain. Sometimes it’s in the mind. Sometimes it pushes us to the edge. Sometimes it’s just part of who we are.

Pain. It comes in all forms. The small nudge, a minor twinge, the random ache and the normal pains that we live with everyday. Then there is the kind of pain you can’t ignore.

Some levels of pain are so extreme… that it blurs out everything else. Makes the rest of the world fade away…. How we manage our pain is up to us. We medicate, anesthetize, ride it out, embrace it or even ignore it. For some of us, though, the best way to manage pain is to just push through it.

I reached up to take the Mybulen from the top shelf, pouring out three, and hoping it would do the trick. I read a Surah Fathihah as I pushed it down, knowing it was the key to the cure. Above all else, rely on Allah alone, right?

And yeah, the meds were a temporary fix, but what wasn’t temporary in this world, right? Next week I would book an appointment with the chiropractor and it would all be sorted out. I bent to put my shoes on, sitting down to swallow the pills.

I breathed in as I swallowed the water, remembering the Sunnah of drinking as I sipped. Pause. Sip. Deep breath. That’s the only way the water goes to every cell of your body. It’s the only way that the passages are so amazingly opened up so that those nutrients can replenish those cells, that need the nourishment of pure water. That was the Sunnah that I had lived almost two decades of my life with knowing nothing about.

I checked my view in the mirror as I watched myself. I looked normal. It was just that I felt like crap. The ringing of my phone halted my thoughts, and I quickly pulled it out as I glanced at the ID. It was Rubeena.

“Assalaamualiakum,” I said as I answered,  psyched to hear from my sister, already forgetting my aches and pains. 

“Was-salaam,” she said, sounding tired. I understood. Her life was not exactly great right now.

“Howsit Adam? Am I disturbing?”

”Nope,” I said, feeling a little better as I put my takkies on. “Just getting ready to fetch Khawlah.”

”Ah okay,” she said, sounding disappointed. “You guys going out?”

”Well, we have a big day planned next week,” I said, my heart drumming away as I thought of it. I couldn’t wait. “We had a few things to sort out before…”

”Oh shucks, okay no stress,” Ruby said quickly, sounding even more down. I honestly was feeling so bad now. I had a feeling that she needed me and I couldn’t help her. Did I just put it out there or did I just ignore it and live my own little fairy tale?

I couldn’t hear my sister like this.

“Rubes, what can I do for you?” I said, trying not to think too hard about what I may be getting myself into. Khawlah would understand. Ruby was sounding like she had been rained on with a ton of bricks.

“I need to leave the kids with you,” she said, sounding apologetic. “Just the three. They’re easier to handle. I have some things I need to sort out. Mum hasn’t really been much help. It’s their holidays and it’s not like I can take them anywhere… and Shabeer is pretty useless.. Just for a few days.”

A few days?

Crap. This was going to eat into almost all Khawlahs free time. I knew she loved the boys but I really wanted some time with her. Alone.

“It’s okay if you can’t,” Ruby said quickly, sensing my hesitation.

I swallowed as I thought about it. On one hand I had my amazing wife who I barely got to spend time with, and on the other hand was my sister who was in a predicament and needed my help. Why couldn’t I just include the boys in whatever we were doing? Maybe the big ‘date’ would have to wait a few days… but what other choice did I have?

“Okay, no problem,” I said, not wanting to let her down. I had this overwhelming desire to just make everything easier for everyone. I just wasn’t sure if it was going to backfire. “We would love to have them.”

“Thanks a million, Adam,” she said, instantly sounding relieved. “You don’t know what this means to me. You deserve the best brother award. I’ll tell them that you’ll fetch them in a bit.. just let me know what time. They’re so excited.”

I sighed as she cut the call, wishing that Rubeena could have at least let me know in advance. I couldnt help but think she was taking advantage, because she knew we both couldn’t say no. We wouldn’t. Looked like I’d have to tell Khawlah to wait another half hour for me… so I could take the boys with me.

And I know I sounded like an old battered guy, but I was already feeling tired, thinking of all the effort this was going to involve. After a long week all I wanted to do was chill. I loved my nephews to bits but they needed attention. They craved it because since Rubeena’s problems with Shabeer, they sensed the tension at home. I hated to put them in front of a screen, and ideas to keep them busy sometimes evaded me. I had a good mind of asking Khawlah to stay over, and I dialed her number again, hoping to sweet-talk her around the new plan.

“Sweets,” I said, noticing my wife’s voice sounding slightly strained. “I’m going to be half an hour later than planned.”

“How are you feeling today?” she said instantly.  “Your back?”

It was like it was the only thing on her mind since the topic hand come up. I cringed as I remembered how I literally repelled her touch that day. I was trying to be strong by not taking a painkiller the previous week. For me, aches and pains were a regular thing. It came with my job. It was just that I didn’t like to medicate all the time. Meds always have side effects.

”It’s not that,” I said, running my hand through my beard. “Ruby’s sending the boys. They’ll be with me.. us… for a few days. I’m so sorry… I didn’t plan for this but it should be fun, yeah?”

”Oh,” she said, sounding a little distracted. I had a feeling she wasn’t really listening. “Okay I’ll see you after then.”

”I’m sorry, Khawlah,” I said, feeling disappointed too. She would have loved the trip I planned. Local but amazing. I just couldn’t help how things change plan. We plan, but indeed, Allah was always the best planner.

”It’s okay,” she said. “What’s meant to be will be right? We can make the most of it.”

Exactly. That was my wife. Reminding me of all the things I kept forgetting.

”You’re amazing,” I said, a little in awe of her understanding. “You make it all so easy. I love you, beautiful.”

”See you just now.”

I grinned as she cut the call, shaking my head at my wife’s fear of emotion. She had closed herself off from the beauty of expression. I could just pour my heart out to her relentlessly, until I was blue in the face, and all I would get back was a cynical smile. And of course, she just did it again…

And despite all this, it didn’t change the fact that that I was lucky to have her. I knew that she didn’t have me in my mind when she chose a partner. I knew that I was way off the mark. Completely off the charts…  But when I looked into her eyes… I could literally see through to her heart. It was brimming with love

I smiled to myself weirdly as I got some snacks ready for the kids, feeling a bit better already. I had bought a bit of time, and since I started doing some shopping for the apartment, I had been stocking up.

On the up side, knowing that I would be surrounded by my favorite people that night was the best feeling ever. Having Khawlah and the boys over would be a blast. Story time was always the highlight. Khawlah still topped the list with the way she read stories and Hadith… and I always felt contented when she was here with them. I could just picture them jumping around on the couches, (which I had to act like I minded, but I didn’t really) playing some annoyingly childish game, with her counting to ten to get them to pay attention again. Nights like these… well, this was what life was about.

It was how I pictured my life with Khawlah a few years down the line, hopefully with a few kids of our own. I could imagine her being a great mother… a great example… and picturing her as the woman who would hold my home together… well, there really was no other way I’d have it.

And of course, being a little bit of an obsessively organized guy, having gotten myself a little more sorted for the evening ahead, my mind was feeling a little at ease.

I grabbed my jacket and keys, glancing at the clock to ensure I’d be back for Salaah. There was plenty of time to head to that side of town and still be back on time.

And though I hated city life and preferred the natural scenes much more, the nice thing about having an apartment was the convenience of being able to just pull a door and leave. There never was a security problem in the building, and that’s what I liked about living there. Knowing that Khawlah might be here alone at times the following year if I had to go on any trips or be out of town was my main reason for choosing this place. For now, the location, simplicity and convenience suited me perfectly.

And that’s why, when the lift touched down at the ground floor, when I stepped out to see a glimpse a youngish looking Muslim girl standing impatiently in the foyer, looking at the mounted list of occupants in the building, I really didn’t even bat an eyelid. I figured she was someone else’s visitor, averted my gaze and walked ahead. I greeted the old couple who lived on the bottom floor as they left, and raised a hand to the security guard. It was only when I reached the door, that I heard a voice, and immediately knew that she was talking to me. I was the only person left there.

“Excuse me,” she said loudly, and I paused momentarily as I glanced at her. I didn’t speak to strange girls, but I knew how to handle myself.

She was almost Khawlah’s height and I assumed that she was around her age too.

”Yes,” I said, wondering what she wanted from me.

“I came to see a girl I know… I’m not sure at which number she stays but I’m told that she lives in this building. Do you maybe know her? Her name is Khawlah.”

“That’s my wife,” I said, narrowing my eyes at her involuntarily. “Who are you?”

I turned to face her, feeling a bit threatened now, knowing that this person was probably not supposed to be here. It was obvious that Khawlah knew nothing about her coming. She would have mentioned if she was getting a visitor. It was unlike her to invite someone without telling me. Especially a female that I’ve never seen before…

“My name’s Hannah,” she said, looking nervous as she said it. “And I really need to speak to her.”

N.B. next two posts may be a little delayed. Its that time of the year again.. request for Du’aas

Much Love, 



Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “A man is upon the religion of his best friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2378

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to keep the best company that can be to our benefit. Keeping good company is also a Sunan, and a means of reward.  

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