A Dreaded Diversion

Bismihi Ta’ala

Mohsina

Part 59

Throughout history, it’s a well known fact that a fair percentage of women have always worked… whether as servants, housekeepers,  ladies’ maids, governesses, teachers, and tutors. Their children were never looked at as neglected, well… not anymore than the well bred housewives of the nineteenth century who rarely attended their children, surrendering the brunt of the child-rearing to the governesses.

And whether or not we like to admit it, with the shift in roles and the expectations of the twenty-first century, feminism has created a rather tricky backdrop to the mix.

And I knew I had once challenged this very notion, but one thing I’ve realised was:

The plain truth of the matter is that women were indeed, and still are in fact, more respected and cherished by men and other women when they keep their work to the confines of domestic endeavors.

The truth is that, no matter how hard women push or strive for acceptance in every single avenue, we have to, at some point, submit to the fact that everything in life has a purpose, and every creature has its sustenance already decreed.

“And there is no creature on earth but that upon Allah is its provision, and He knows its place of dwelling and place of storage. All is in a clear register.” Surah Hud: Ayah 6

The thing with rizq is that it’s not only about the ‘big bucks’.

Rizq too, as Allah sends it, comes in many different shapes and forms. It was a beautiful analogy that never struck me until a time of my life where I was forced to realise that whatever was meant for me, whatever reaches me, and whatever is destined, was never going to come only through my paycheque…

Often, I’ve heard people ask for Barakah in their provisions, but sometimes we fail to realise that it’s not only about our earnings.

Barakah can be a dealing with righteous people, that Allah sends as a blessing. Barakah can be an amazing family, with children who are passively contented with even the smallest of things. It can be your faithful spouse, who even when odds are against you, still comes through when you need it the most…

“I’m just finishing off with these messages,” I said, almost absent-mindedly, as Hamzah exited the bathroom, scrolling through as fast as I could and trying to distinguish the most hostile ones first.

It had been an hour after and though Maahira had helped me do some damage control and post a general story and post, there was stil so much to be sorted.

And though Maahi with her newly revamped Halaal account, had helped, I wished I could just throw in the towel and delete Instagram. I couldn’t help but be hooked on every little development. It was as if I was being sucked into the Bermuda Triangle of false delusion once again.

Also, Maahira’s efforts were pretty short-lived because it had just so happened that when she was leaving, she had happened to glimpse Hamzah’s friend outside, and on top of all the messages on Instagram, was her dozens of iMessages to do with her piqued curiosity about an eligible bachelor that she seemed to spot.

I didn’t even have the energy to explain to her that the Mohsin in question had a bit of a complicated family history and he wasn’t exactly looking to get hitched as yet.

I glanced over at Zaid who was sleeping soundly in the co-sleeper cot we had bought and as he shifted the duvet around, I didn’t even spare my husband a glance.

I barely even realised that Hamzah had already read his Qur’ān that he usually read aloud every night, because unlike every other night when I would wait to hear him, tonight I had barely even heard to his recitation that would dispel the evil and negativity that usually conflicted with my peace at this time of the day.

On that day, I was so focused and absorbed in my parallel world that I barely even let the effect of Qur’ān penetrate my heart…

And I knew that there was a reason he did this. The pious elders advise that this recitation of Qur’ān was meant to be a beautiful antidote for evil, for negativity and a remedy for every problem that we encounter as the darkness engulfs us. It’s just that, for me, besides losing myself to darkness completely, sometimes we don’t even know where’s the switch.

By the time I finally looked up and actually paid attention, he had already pulled off his kurta and slipped on a new pants as he got ready for bed. I was way too busy tapping away, trying to respond to each message individually, and uphold my virtual reputation, before everything went completely out of whack for me.

I just couldn’t figure out who hated me so much that they would be so intent on destroying my life.

And as my anxiety levels were reaching danger level, there was a single comment that caught my eye. A particular posted one by some random user without any real identity had literally floored me, and my heart flipped frightfully as I read it.

Theres a reason she is after everyone’s money. For the inside on how she lost her job, dm me

My word. What a huge scandal this was turning out to be.. To say I lost my job so confidently …  Could it possibly be Faadil or one of his right-hand guys who could have started this and blown it out of proportion for attention?

I mean, even for him… this was below the belt.

Apart from a few  emails that I had deleted without even reading, there had been no contact with him otherwise.

And as I looked up at the amazing guy I had wanted to change so much for at that time, because of his love for Qur’ān and my own yearning for it… I barely noticed him pulling out his miswaak like he usually did to keep on his bedside, next to his water bottle like he did every night. He had already set the alarm and switched off the bathroom lights. Hamzah was the closest thing to OCD without actually being OCD. It was weird, but in a completely unconventional way.

With all the emotions surging through me at that point, I could barely even focus on what he was doing and seeing, and I wasn’t even sure what was going on in my mind.

“Mos,” he murmured, as he set his phone down on charge on the pedestal in its usual place, pulled the covers over and edged closer. “It’s getting late.”

I could hear the insinuation about the phone in his voice as his hand came to rest on my shoulder, while I shifted away almost involuntarily. I knew that I was being a bit edgy but I wasn’t in the mood for any affection.

That last comment had been the final straw…  I was now anxious, highly strung and completely vexed about the social media events.

Of course, Hamzah’s frame of mind was also being tested and I didn’t want to be a catalyst.

“How long more?” He asked, noting my unresponsiveness as I tapped away, his tone colder now as I deleted the comments on my post and moved on to the next message. “Can’t you just give it a break for now?”

I shook my head vigorously.

“I just cant believe what these people think of me,” I said, feeling like I wanted to cry, not even taking my eyes off the screen. “It’s all fabricated…”

“But so what,” he said in a frustrated tone, propping his head up on his hand and staring at me while he narrowed his brown eyes. “Everyone is just pretending to be your friend on that thing anyway, so you think they like you. They don’t even like themselves, believe me.”

I had pulled off my hairband and hastily pushed the stray strands of hair back and looked back at him stonily.

“You are so cynical,” I retorted, sighing as Hamzah watched my reaction, and I swore I could see a smirk on his face. “So you’re just judging everyone on social media, saying they don’t like themselves, that’s why they’re there? What kind of dumb logic is that?”

I wasn’t even sure why I was having this conversation with him. It felt like we were back to all those months ago when he would purposely take the mickey out of me for having TikTok. The thing was, I wasn’t as crazy as I was about social media but hello… it was the way of the world and you really could not live under a rock in the twenty-first century. Like, can he be any more of a hater?

“All I’m saying is, do these people’s likes even matter?” he said with a confident and indifferent expression, his eyes having a hint of sarcasm. “People are fickle. They follow you today, tomorrow they’re gone. Their likes don’t pay bills, okay?”

Hamzah knew how to rub salt in the wound.

”Gosh Hamzah,” I snapped, glancing at him as he looked at me, my phone already shoved aside and forgotten for the moment. “Their likes and their follows actually do pay my bills. Stop being selfish. I don’t have a job. I don’t have any other income besides what social media ads or reviews that I do, and after Zaid came into the picture, I don’t even have much time to do them. I need to set things right before I lose all my followers, my profile and go completely broke with no one to even help me!”

Hamzah looked stunned for a second as I said it as he raised his eyebrows silently, and I watched him retract to his side of the bed, as if he had been physically assaulted.

My heart immediately contracted as I watched him swallow back what seemed like a huge fraction of frustration, and promptly tap the light switch off.

And then of course, as we were submerged in the darkness and silence ensued, the guilt started to creep in, and I couldn’t help but take another peek at the silhouette of his probable stony face and sigh in absolute resolve.

It wasn’t his fault that this had happened. There was also no need to bring Zaid into this. I felt indescribably guilty for pinning it on the child.

I was sorry. Sorry for snapping and being mean. Sorry for blaming our situation and making it seem as if it was all his fault…

“Hamzah…” I started, not exactly sure of how to say it. I was sorry for making Zaid an issue?

As much as I wanted to apologise, I couldn’t help but feel he was being a little emotional, especially after I’d been through so much that evening. Sensitive much?

I wanted to reach out and win some brownie points again but I wasn’t the type to swindle my way, so I waited a few seconds for him to respond, before I breathed in, and watched him turn around until he faced the ceiling.

I turned slightly as I watched him, a little fearful of what he was going to say. It wasn’t often that Hamzah got angry and it was obvious that my comment had provoked him.

His voice was icy as he spoke out in the dark.

”Do I look like the type of guy who would marry someone just because of circumstances?”

Okay. That was out of the blue.

“What do you mean?” I asked carefully, watching the rise and fall of his chest in the dark as he breathed.

His question was ambiguous.

I wasn’t quite sure what he was talking about. I put my phone on the pedestal anyway, knowing that there was only one way to salvage myslef.

“You seem to think that you can’t treat me as your husband,” he said briskly, answering my unsaid question. “Or maybe it’s just that women in our generation are too used to relying on themselves. Maybe you have too much of pride and independence that you can’t seem to get used to the idea of asking someone to actually help you when you have a financial problem. Why get married when you can do it all by yourselves?”

Ouch. That was a low blow. Even for Hamzah.

I lay very still as he spoke, barely even breathing. With the last sentence, he sounded like he was utterly exasperated by my continuous efforts to downplay his role as a husband. And maybe he was right.

The truth was, I didn’t want him to think that it was something I needed from him.
Money was an issue. It was no secret that it was the main downfall that caused us to break apart, and the main hindrance even when we wanted to get back together.

Money was the root of so many problems, and I could see it literally expanding as a huge boulder for us.

It was no wonder that Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said that the thing he feared most for the ummah was not poverty, but wealth. Money was the source of every evil and the root of every abominable act. It was the reason for divorce, the motive for so much of disunity and discontent ….

”Mos,” he said, his tone a little gentler now, as he noticed my silence. I wasn’t silent often. But what else did I say when he asked something like that.

“I can’t,” I said simply, knowing that he would get angry but needing to let him know it.

The thing was, if it was for me… I could do it. Maybe I could learn to. But the thing was…. how do I just ask him for money for my parents or my siblings or some mafia people who were harassing us? How do I ask him for money to pay back Faadil, who I deeply suspected was causing a problem for me because of it. I mean, I had asked him to take the money off my last salary but he didn’t.

Now he was probably thinking of other ways to get back at me. I had to pay him back as soon as possible…

“I’m used to earning my own money,” I said defiantly. “It’s not pride. I just… I don’t like to ask for something that I haven’t worked for…”

“But Mos,” he said, his voice sounding kinder now as he spoke. “This is where youre wrong. Your income is not only determined what you earn. It’s not even determined by these crazy sheep who can’t even use their brain to distinguish right from wrong. Allah Ta’ala has already decreed it, from the moment you came into this world. Whichever means, whatever way… even if it means me being a proper husband and providing for you, because I’m meant to be the source of your rizq… it is what it is. Never more. Never less. Dont you get it?”

It was such an amazing analogy that I couldn’t even fathom the magnitude Allah’s planning here. That before we were even born, our sustenance was already decreed. SubhaanAllah!

I was still silent, digesting all of this that Hamzah was drilling into me in a most diplomatic fashion.

“Mohsina, you’re my wife,” he said quietly, his voice so sincere and genuine as he said it. “You have to promise me, whatever you want, you need to ask, okay? Let me look after you, as much as you may hate the idea.”

My heart contracted as he said it. How could I promise him that? Did he even know what I would want money for?

“Hamzah,” I started, wanting to argue with him. He worked hard too. Knowing that my hard-earned money had gone to those ridiculous loan-sharks for disgusting use was enough to rid me of sleep at night. How would that make him feel?

”What’s so wrong with taking my money?” He pressed, turning to me and watching me in the dark.

It just didn’t feel right to take it. That was the problem. I couldn’t do this anymore. I had to tell him the real reason.

“I need to pay Faadil,” I said suddenly, almost as if it was something I just could not keep in any longer.

I looked up into the darkness, bracing myself for an explosion.

Instead, it seemed that now it was his time to be silent.

“Bossman?” He said, after almost a full minute, and I could hear the hostility in his voice as he said it. “You took money from him?”

”Mmmhm,” I murmured, closing my eyes as I imagined how he saw the entire situation. I knew that it was only a matter of time before he probably went crazy on me.

But as the silence ensued and I assumed I was getting the silent treatment instead, his voice suddenly spoke out again.

”How much do you owe him?”

His voice was hostile, especially as he said the last word. My heart was still beating rapidly as I was about to say it, but before I could, he hastily interrupted me.

”You know what,” he said, sounding a little less vexed than a few seconds ago. “It doesn’t matter how much. Allah Ta’ala is the One who opens doors. Every door that we thought couldn’t even open. He is Al Fattah… the Opener. He is Ever Powerful…. All Knowing… and He will sort it out. I don’t want you to stress about it again. Do you understand? Ever.”

He was so natural and casual in his words, that I didn’t even doubt them for a second. It was like saying all those praises and reminders had completely and instantly put his mind at ease. Miraculously, even my own heart felt so much more serene…

“I just feel like it’s going to be okay,” he said softly, sounding like he was completely at peace right then. “You know?”

It was our thing.

You know.

I know.

And I did.

”I know,” I replied softly, letting his words calm my heart and uplift my spirit. These heart-to-hearts did something for my soul. Truly, he had a natural talent with curing my crazy heart, even in the most unfavourable situations…

And just as I was, he seemed deep in thought for a while before I also drifted off, his hand somehow finding mine under the covers, almost subconsciously, giving me an aching hope that everything would be sorted out the next day.

And as the sun made its way about the next morning and I woke up to the sound of Hamzah exiting the bathroom, watching Zaid and I in bed, I was almost wondering if I had imagined last nights little exchange. I waited for a question or some kind of reaction from him, but much to my surprise, he didn’t even seem shocked or disgruntled about our conversation the night before.

Instead, after he left for work, a sum of money had already reflected in my account and though it was more than I needed right then, I was overwhelmed by how he had settled my worries.

This guy was proving his worth over and over, and I didn’t even have any other words to describe his generosity and amazement with dealing with me. More than that, Allah’s mercy raining down on me right then was more than I could encompass. Indeed, Allah had most definitely decreed my rizq in a way that I would have never thought.

The emotions within me were overwhelming for  minute, and that week came to a close and I tried to play my part too, while also continuing to fix as much as I could without going crazy, I couldn’t help but feel drained by the end of it. Once again, with me being on social media almost every second Hamzah wasn’t around, my nerves were wrecked, my chest was aching and Zaid literally refused to get off of me.

The breastfeeding had entered a painful transition and I found myself scrounging around for nipple shields and all sorts of things for some relief.

In short, it was a pretty bad time for me. And so, when Hamzah looked at my gloomy face on Friday morning, I supposed that I understood what he was saying when he voiced his thoughts.

“So I’m assuming you’re not up for any adventures this weekend?” He said, giving me a cheeky grin as he watched my expression.

I rolled my eyes. Adventures for Hamzah basically meant surrendering myself to the wild. I wasn’t sure if I had the energy for it.

“I’m not sure if I trust your version of adventures…” I said with a small but tired smile, not meeting his eye.

The waterfall had been something that I couldn’t simply forget, and after the initial moments of wanting to strangle my husband, with the isolation that part of the forest offered, Hamzah had convinced me to make the most of it. The beauty, the splendour and not only swayed my heart, but also created a foundation for us… a place where we had finally slipped into a comfort zone, and learnt that sometimes we needed each other to discover better parts of life too.

“I actually wanted to see my family for a bit,” I said quietly, knowing that I needed to talk to Jameela. Even though I had messaged her, I desperately needed to have a heart to heart with her… figure out what she was up to and if she really thought this guy was the best thing for her.

Secretly, I was really hoping that Nani found one Taaleem Aunty’s grandson and got her married as soon as possible. I was really quite missing Nani and my mother’s banter. It had been two weeks since I went home.

”I had an idea,” Hamzah said quietly, and I smiled as I looked at his excited face.

Weekends were his playtime, and his mind was already  working ahead to plan.

“Do I want to know it?” I asked with raised eyebrows.

“You may be interested since I’m the bonus,” he said with a smirk, “We can you go to your parents later or on Sunday? I want to see my grandparents on the South coast. It may be bit of a drive so we need a night there… But trust me… it’s going to be worth it.”

Why did I get the feeling he was planning something crazy and wild?

“Plus, no offense, but you look like you really need a break.”

I stuck out my tongue at him. In short, he was saying I looked like crap.

Okay, I know that I didn’t look great and I’d been slacking with my daily care routine, but I had literally been so drained. The social media front had died down, but somehow, I still got the feeling that it wasn’t over yet.

What I didn’t know it provided was an opportunity for nameless people on social media to discuss me within themselves. I didn’t know that the information that had come up due to this was a dangerous web of lies, embroiled with tiny truths, that could still ruin me…

I hastily looked in the mirror as I saw Hamzah watching me, seeing a flustered, tired looking girl with an untidy bun staring back at me. I instinctively massaged the area under my eyes, feeling as if my circles were becoming more pronounced with each passing day.

He said like I looked like I needed a break. That was a hint, and I knew I had to step up my game. Especially since we were going to meet his grandparents for like the first time ever, I knew that I had to make a good impression.

I had carefully picked out my outfit that I had bought on one of my recent breastfeeding-friendly online sprees from Shein, a button down Abaya style modest dress, coupled with a matching Sheila to go. Making sure my ankles were fully covered and no hair was exposed, the nude shoes I had chosen perfectly complimented  it. I felt something like an Instagram diva, minus all the selfies, and I was glad to keep it that way.

There was still a half hour before Hamzah wanted to leave and while he strapped Zaid in the car seat and went to buy a quick something that his Dadi had asked for,  so it was the perfect timing to grab my Sephora and Mac bits to ensure that I was going to look like a human today.

The black and sage dress was sitting beautifully since I had lost another kilogram (due to all the stress) that week and my nude-colour inspired make up (thanks to the latest MUA tutorial) was almost perfect. After the rough week I had, I really needed to treat myself to a good facial and makeover and I also knew that Hamzah might appreciate me looking unlike the haunted ghost figure I resembled for the past few days.

Also, we desperately did need the couple time. A diversion from the toxicity of social media. Out in the sun, water on my skin, with the waves crashing in the background. I was very much looking forward to getting sand in my nose and toes and who knew where else… for me, it was going to be salty feels all the way.

And as I grabbed my matching handbag and the famous mini salted caramel cheesecakes I had made to take with, meeting Hamzah at the door, I couldn’t help but notice  him raise his eyebrows.

“Excuse me, but who are you again?!” he asked with an exaggerated stare, as Zaid gurgled and I grinned while I passed them.

And yes, though I had made an intention to dress up for my husband, I knew that I had to look good for his grandparents too. With all due respect to us both, they can’t be thinking their grandson married a jungalee.

I winked as he widened his eyes at me, pushing my fashion sunglasses up to the bridge of my nose and keeping up my poker face as I walked past him. I ignored him, putting on a full dramatization as I walked to the car, barely even looking up as I balanced the tray of cheesecakes expertly, my mood all in full swing for a most amazing weekend ahead.

This time, I wasn’t going to be a wet blanket. I could be pretty fun too, if given some time. I just needed to be in the right zone with the beach vibes, and with my new outfit, I was completely in it. I was all psyched up.

Hamzah had already locked up and I had just popped the tray into the boot and got into the car, checking on Zaid who was still happily gurgling as he was restrapped in his car seat for now. He probably wouldn’t last long there anyway. He also barely recognised the civilised looking woman who was here, but it probably didn’t matter to him anyway, as long as his food supply was still intact.

And as I took a seat, watching Hamzah leaning against the back of the car with his phone and cigarette, puffing away calmly, I was kind of wondering why he was taking so long. Maybe he was so shocked that I could actually look normal, that he had to recover.

Hehe, I grinned to myself. After all, it was good to impress your husband now and again.

And while I sat patiently for a few minutes, it was only a matter of time before I pushed open the door, turned my head back and looked at him questioningly.

I was anxious to start this road trip. I was also really nervous about meeting his grandparents. Would they like me? Think I’m too educated? Would they have this whole impression that their son needed someone more simple? I knew how people in Hamzah’s family looked at me sometimes. Maybe I should have worn plain black. Was I being too fancy?

It would only be the second time to see them… but the first time was at our Nikah and you could barely count that.

I sighed, twisting my fingers nervously.

“You ready?” I asked, still on edge, not being able to resist looking at his cigarette with disdain as he puffed away.

Eugh. He was going to be honking by the time he came in the car.

He nodded silently, releasing a cloud of smoke before throwing the butt down and squishing it under his grey casual takkie.

”I am,” he said, his gaze fixed on me as I waited for his answer. For some reason, he was just looking at me silently, but not even getting into the car.

“So now?” I couldn’t help but say, raising my eyebrows at him.

“You look nice when you’re annoyed,” he said with a stupid grin, and I wanted to smack him. What was going on? 

“Hamzah,” I said frustratedly, now full-on irritated. “Are we going or not?”

”Oh, that,” he said casually, coming around and opening the car door in a most relaxed fashion, while he took a seat next to me instead of the driver’s seat. He was so calm at times, he actually made me anxious. “Didn’t I mention? We’ll leave in a few minutes. My parents and Rabia are nearly here. She’ll be joining us for the weekend.”

What?!


Mission Sunnah Revival

Sunnah of Time Management:

We come into this world with an allocated amount of time. We should, ideally, spend this time to please Allah and strive toward our Aakhirah.

Among the harms of social media are the harms of time wasting.

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to be particular even about our digital time, and save us wasting our time on these frivolous activities.

Oh son of Adam. You are nothing but a number of days. Whenever a day passes, another day has gone. (Fadhaail e Sadaqaat)

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..💕

#RevivetheSunnah

#RevivetheSunnahofbeingGrateful

#RevivetheSunnahofQur’aanTilaawat

#ReviveSunnahofDuaa

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

Advertisement

Ominous Obsessions

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 57
Rabia

Old habits die hard.

And in actuality, the fact of the matter was that for this habit… well, I wasn’t exactly putting in the effort to even try kill it.

And with the risk of it sounding like addictive behaviour, as I scrolled mindlessly through the application that had pretty much taken over my life… I didn’t realise that it was precisely that addiction that was deterring the positive impact on my mental health and well-being, giving rise to cynicism at even the slightest of remarks…

“She’s such a lovely, simple girl,” I caught Bibi Masie murmuring to my mother as they emptied the pot of pasta into the Pyrex on the kitchen counter, and my eyes were already narrowing. “They make such a beautiful couple.”

The sun was shining brightly through the kitchen windows, not even doing a thing for my peace of mind as I squinted at them, while I sat on the bar stool, without them even registering my bemused expression. Mohsina had walked by and offered to help but they had shooed her away while they got lunch ready before the ‘city people’ headed back home. I didn’t even bother myself, as I tapped on my phone. They would sort it out.

But as she made the comment about Mohsina, I had managed a fake cough and a roll of the eyes as I forced myself to switch apps and scrolled through some WhatsApp statuses on my phone instead, still unable to believe that I had actually heard what she had said right then.

Lovely, simple girl? I mean, have they even seen her Instagram profile?

The girl was anything but simple. From swanky handbags to flashy cars, she had always been obsessed with flashing all her best, expensive bits, and now my brother would probably have to foot the bill for it.

And okay, maybe I was a little crazy at times but it just happened to be that I was famous for calling a spade, a spade and I couldn’t help the shock I felt when I heard the words that literally made me do a double take.

Okay, so maybe I should put my phone down.

You see, I had gone through a bad patch when I was going through a bit of heartbreak. The thing was, any experience of seeing my ex’s name on Instagram or any social media platform killed me. I was pretty down and found myself using Instagram to either ‘punish’ myself by looking at his profile and spying on him, or using the browse feature to distract me.

And as I went through the daily motions of cyber-stalking, checking my feed and not even succeeding in stopping myself there, I could feel the need to put my phone down before I slipped into dangerous territory, but I never did.

Back to Mohsina though. Although she had somehow changed a little of what she used to be, they made Mohsina sound like some kind of homely, perfect housewife, when she was the complete opposite of it.

“The farm is good for them,” I caught Mummy nodding and enjoying the compliments of her daughter-in-law as she retied her apron, not even noticing the hostile look on my face. “Zaid loves it… and I think Hamzah is surprised at how much Mohsina is actually taking to being outdoors here. It so peaceful, Alhumdulillah. You know these young people nowadays. Too used to their home and office routines. He kept telling me that they are city people, and it was too far to come, but look at them now…”

Hah.

Too far. What bullshit. Mohsina had probably been spewing venom into my brother’s ears about spending time with his family, which made him not want to come out here. Girls were never happy about doing in-law time these days.

And ever since their constant disappearing stints that seemed be happening more often, I couldn’t help but find myself getting all the more frustrated at the new couple and their annoying tendencies. The fact that they had basically deprived me of being with my nephew and hadn’t even asked me to babysit ever since the day I took him out, was the absolute limit.

And okay, I know that I made Mohsina get a little more aggro than her usual and it had made Hamzah angry but those two really needed to grow up and learn to deal with stuff. A little argument here and there never hurt anyone.

I had even tried to swindle Saaliha and make her hand him over while they were gone, but apparently Mohsina had given her explicit instructions and being the goodie-two-shoes she was, there was no way she would ever go against what Mohsina had said.

Messaging Hamzah that morning with my rants had fallen on deaf ears, and it peeved me even more when he replied in two short sentences:

You’re overreacting. Will chat later.

And for me, this was the ultimate betrayal. It was one thing that Mohsina completely disregarded my abilities take care of Zaid, but the more disturbing fact was that my own brother took his wife’s side, time and time again. 

It was all he said and there was nothing else I could do but dig my fingernails into my palms and grit my teeth, as they both passed through the kitchen again to reach the patio, before I said something that would ruthlessly expose Mohsina for the cow that she really was.

And because I knew that my brother was anything but the sweet and doting type, I couldn’t help but feel even more aggravated as I watched him obsess over his wife relentlessly for the most part of the weekend they were there. Currently, he had just stubbed his cigarette and came inside to fetch them something to drink. To tell the truth, the way they had both been acting, especially since Mohsina had started feeding Zaid, was actually making me feel a bit sick.

I mean, no one was forcing her to be this model mother and breastfeed Zaid. Personally, I just felt like she was doing it so she could hang onto him more. Hamzah made it seem as if she was doing some huge kind of great sacrifice, just because she was breastfeeding. I mean, people did it in their sleep… So what on earth was the big deal even?

“Hamzah is like a different person today,” Ma, my mother’s mother, murmured as she watched Hamzah closely, who was completely unaware of the eyes on them as he sat next to my new sister-in-law, head bent as he opened the two bottles of Coke he had brought out and engaged with her on the bench just outside.

They were so close together that I could think of nothing more than going over there and banging their heads together.

“Ma, Hamzah’s in love,” my Aunty said with a admiring smile on her face, and I honestly felt like I wanted to barf. “Of course he is different to what he used to be. He’s no more that little boy you used to scold for chasing the sheep.”

And though I wanted to laugh at the memory of little Hamzah being the horrific nuisance he had always been as a kid on Eid day, I was seriously too caught up in my own demonic thoughts to even humour myself.

Just like Imraan had always been Ma’s favourite, Hamzah had always been my Bibi Masie’s favourite and she never even had the decency to deny it. It was obvious that the two of them had probably had a heart-to-heart earlier, from the way she said it so confidently.

I was actually dying to know what else he had said to her, and with all the extra hands around today, being the day after we had Eid here, the newlyweds had plenty of alone time to be all icky and romantic.

It was just as well that no other men were around then. Couples who were in love made me feel irked. It wasn’t that I was jealous or anything, but well… I suppose you could call it an aversion, because the entire love thing had just gave me chills.

And okay.. having to abandon a marriage because the man who you loved was in love with someone else could have been part of the reason for me, but never mind that. I’m not here to vent about my own misfortunes. I just silently wished that they would stop being all over each other because every time I cast my gaze toward them, it was making me increasingly vexed…

And I knew I was being a little bitter but I couldn’t but feel that way. The fact that I wasn’t getting my dose of Zaid while he was being spoilt by everyone else was unsettling me even further.

Plus, it didn’t help that that Ma actually seemed to have warmed to the whole concept and even encouraged their despicable mushy behaviour.

Considering that, I couldn’t quite believe how she was acting now. In fact, at the time before their Nikah, Ma and I were the only people who weren’t keen on them getting married so fast, but for different reasons. For Ma, from the onset, she had always pictured Hamzah with someone a little different. More homely. I supposed being old-fashioned, when she heard that Mohsina and Hamzah had worked together, it didn’t really sit well with her that little Zaid would be such a deciding factor for them. Ma felt that just because there was a baby involved, it would really make things harder for them instead.

And I do admit that Ma’s reason made sense. It was the glaringly obvious hang-ups. No one liked over-educated girls. I knew that she felt that maybe Mohsina wasn’t cut out for being a wife. She had commented that Hamzah was used to being spoilt and she had her doubts about him having to adjust to the situation between them, and I completely agreed.

As for me… well, I would never say it aloud… but my reason had always been that I just didn’t want Mohsina as part of my family. Period.

And let me just be honest. I’m not really the interfering type. Okay. So now and then, when I tend to get a bit peeved, then I may stick my nose in where it doesn’t belong. But all in all, I’m not really that horrible.

And let me just make it clear again,. I wasn’t exactly sure what happened that weekend and neither was I quite sure of when exactly things spiralled out of control. The thing was, I fully believed that all I was doing, was trying to be helpful and keep myself busy without getting in anyone’s way. Well, for the most part.

And that’s what bugged me about Mohsina. Even when I tried to be helpful, well… she never acknowledged it. And it was no secret that from the first time I had met her, things weren’t exactly starting off on the most amazing note, and I could tell that the feelings were reciprocated.

Seeing Mohsina for the first time at the farm all those months ago, her particularly fetching features slightly enhanced by the glaring light of the sun that day, while I watched her from afar, was something I never forgot.

The domineering streak she had in her eye was already causing alarm bells to ring, and it was etched in my memory since.

I had just completed my iddat two weeks before that, and Liyakets wedding was supposed to be the event whereafter everything was just falling into place. The debut. My life was supposed go from zero to ten and Mohsina’s unyielding attitude that day had put me completely off base.

And I should have just blamed Hamzah, because it really was his fault from the beginning. My idiot brother. Maybe he was avoiding getting involved. Maybe he didn’t want to cross boundaries. But it was because of my annoying brother that I had to go up to her myself, trying to be as polite as I can, but still firmly trying to ascertain what exactly was going on when an unexpected guest arrived on the scene.

I still remembered the words clearly, as she looked at me, her eyes boring into mine, almost as if she was challenging me, when I asked if she knew who that horrible girl was, who was causing a huge ruckus.

I mean, the entire function was just being ruined with this turn of events and I desperately needed it under control.

She had cocked her prettily made-up head slightly and narrowed her eyes to slits, and her ‘office girls’ remark had immediately made me see red.

And I didn’t think I was wrong, for wanting them both out after that. The girl was already attracting bad attention and we couldn’t risk this sort of thing here, plus Mohsina was just being plain down rude about it.

And of course, her outburst was completely out of line, as far as I was concerned. She was getting in my way. It was my duty to make sure everything was smooth. My property and my rules. How dare she be so rude and indignant when I was trying to help maintain a peaceful atmosphere?

Besides that, the fact that she had so proudly stated that she was an office girl was completely unnecessary. It had been a pretty touchy subject for me and her rubbing in the part of my marriage that had gone seriously wrong was something that was obviously intentional.

I figured out that she had her sights on my brother and it only made sense that she had probably checked on me as well. It was the very obvious explanation that my brother never agreed with, but I firmly believed. From the start, Mohsina was out to get me, and I was going to make sure that I wouldn’t let her.

But incidentally, emotion is emotion. You can’t just switch them off, and as far as emotions go… well, recently, mine had been a little out of whack and I didn’t exactly think that they could be anything but justified.

And so, first impressions aside, I had tried to let bygones be bygones and realised that maybe I had to just try to divert my train of emotion and make the most of the situation when after months of uncertainty and Liyaket’s death, everything had finally come together for them.

And the death has shaken us all up. For a while, it was like a complete change of mindset for us all. But slowly, as we forget, we slip into old habits, and after Ramadhaan was over, I had basically found myself grappling even more desperately to stay on track.

And though I didn’t exactly want her as a sister-in-law, I knew that I wouldn’t have much of a say, so I had to cut my losses and move forward. Zaid was the ultimate catch. After all, he had become one of my favourites and spending more time with him now that Hamzah had married Mohsina trumped everything. And at that time when I had hoped that my brothers only reason for marrying Mohsina was Zaid, I didn’t exactly expect the entire thing to poke me in the behind and them to actually romancing each other at inappropriate times.

And of course, I couldn’t help but wonder again, what about everything that had happened in between? What about the proposal breaking on a whim, and then going all out on social media… living the life of an instagram diva?

Man, it was wild.

It had been post after post, reel after reel. She had done selfies and TikTok’s and some of them had really cracked me up.

It seemed as if every ounce of her was being channeled into the most awesome and gripping content, and during that time, I had become obsessed with following her, those few months, waiting to see how amazing her next expedition of adventure would be. What would happen next in her high flying life.

I had to admit… the girl had a knack with her stuff. She was so onto the trends. All of my instagram friends followed her and her pursuits, and I had even seen her at one of their Instafam meet ups. The pictures she posted were goals and her entire feed was amazing enough to think that it was absolutely real.

And then of course, because I followed her closely, were the mysterious pictures of an odd bunch of roses or a new perfume she was gifted, that would make her followers go wild in wonder. The picture of an un-tagged male silhouette that sparked some suspenseful interest was remembered too…

I wished that I had screen-grabbed those stories as evidence, but I had been so taken aback by the hype at the time, that I didn’t even think to. It was all very innocuous and private, but everyone knew that there was a special someone… until all of a sudden… the car accident happened and she had posted that there was a pressing emergency matter and though she would miss her loyal followers, she needed time away from social media to cope.

And bam. Just like that, that was that.

Her profile went semi-dead after, and though I constantly went back to check on her, I could see that slowly, all the incriminating evidence was probably archived or deleted and instead of the alluringly enviable life she had lead, was now a stagnant page with hardly any mind-blowing content.

The Nikah announcement post when she and Hamzah had gotten married was a generic picture and after that, I could see that @mostlymohsina and her fame was something of the past. I knew my brother wanted it that way too, and although it seemed like such a loss, there was not much I could do about it.

But I couldn’t stop checking, even if it wasn’t only her. To tell the truth, I had become a little obsessed. Often times, i had become accustomed to doing nothing of note – except sitting on Instagram. Every time I opened the app, I was presented with an endless feed of friends and family doing incredible things, having a wonderful time, without me.

And that’s the crux of the game, isn’t it? I mean, last week, there was the school friend whose wedding I wasn’t invited to; having found out about it through the gram. Then there was the family friend’s daughter who looks like the bomb after every workout and stops at nothing to let us know that we simply couldn’t touch her. And there’s the old bff who lives in Europe with her husband and is apparently back home for the summer holidays without even letting me know.

Social media was a grind. Fomo was real and damaging.

And though I knew that it was moulding me into a dissatisfied and ungrateful sort of person, I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t stop wasting time. From starting off with purer intentions, the profiles I now frequented had no link with Allah because often these profiles are made in such a way that they automatically beam a lot of negativity and immodesty. And this, of course, did nothing for my inner peace and reflection. I was increasingly on edge. The mental health took a turn for the worst, making me unproductive, distracted, and increasingly unmotivated. It was a horrible and vicious cycle that continued endlessly, and time was becoming more and more dispensable as I kept on wasting it on screen time…

There are two blessings which many people waste: health and free time.
Sahih Bukhari, 6049

And as my free time dwindled away, the feelings of inadequacy and discontent were mounting and when I eventually checked back into reality, everything else seemed so much more bleaker than ever, and just made me all the more frustrated.

With my mind in a constant huff in person, I couldn’t help but notice more flaws with everyone else. Come when the newlyweds visited the farm, with all the available hands to take care of Zaid, the two lovebirds were obviously on honeymoon island and I still wasn’t good enough to look after Zaid. I just knew that Mohsina had told Saaliha that with the intention of completely hating on me.

And of course, as I scrolled through Instagram later that day, really not feeling like socialising while everyone sat for lunch, double tapping mindlessly as I saw pics of friends with their families and babies, loving how glamorous and blissful the life looked, I couldn’t help but narrow my eyes as I thought about what a sneaky cow my new sister-in-law was. If only everyone knew what she was really about. Wouldn’t that be a complete shock? 

“Rabia, please come and eat,” Saaliha said sweetly as she adjusted her niqab, and I shook my head stubbornly, not wanting to join in at the table. “We’re waiting for you.”

”I’m not hungry,” I said bluntly, ignoring my mothers peeved looks from where she sat.

I could see Mohsina eyeing me out too, but she said nothing, and I didn’t even offer her a glance.

I knew it was bad manners to sit with my phone at meal times but I wasn’t in the mood to hear lectures. Zaid was also taking a nap after all the  attention he had gotten, so there I was, feeling as dejected and sorry for myself than ever. Caught up in my online identity, I had actually forgotten that I had a real identity, off the net.

All I could think of was why everyone else’s lives worked out perfectly and I was still stuck on some kind of unlucky train.

How come nothing ever worked out for me or no one ever came through the way I wanted? It was often that I wondered… what did I really do wrong to deserve the kind of life I had? How did I even deserve this stigma that felt like I was paying for something I did wrong, every single day…

And now, as I felt myself comparing my life to everyone else’s, and Mohsina talked and laughed and basically acted as if nothing had happened when she had completely sidelined me… I  could feel my anger heightening.

Without even realising it, I was back in Instagram and on her profile, searching through for something… anything… I could fuel my anger with.

Every influential profile has those. A negative comment or hostile response.The people who are out to get you, or make you lose a following.

And of course, like any influencer, I could see below a few of her posts that there was a fair share of mild negativity.

All I wanted to do was get under her skin the way she had gotten under mine.

I wasn’t quite prepared for the consequences or what would happen after. What I did know was that I wanted to get back at her, and cause her as much trouble as she had caused me.

It took me a while to hatch a plan. I knew that’s Mohsina’s instagram account was paramount in her life, even if she wasn’t that active. I figured that doing some small damage in the form of a peeved follower might teach her a small lesson, but I wasn’t completely certain about how to go about it.

And I wasn’t exactly certain about what I would find. I wasn’t even sure if there was anything to find. I was basically taking shots in the dark, when I put the comment out there, from one of my unknown accounts.

And having so many accounts that I used for different purposes, well, there was no risk of her finding out it was me. All I wanted to do was create a little stir, and get people to talk a bit. I had full intention of trampling the rumours about her ominous activities after a few days and letting people know that the @mostlymohsina controversy I had sparked was really not true at all. I had full intention of squashing the whole thing, not even realising how my obsession with social media was getting completely out of control.

What I didn’t know was that through my ominous intentions, there was something very incriminating that would come to my knowledge and the forefront… and would threaten to topple everything else too…


A little bit of a different perspective as the plot thickens. It’s been a bit quiet and I always love to hear the readers comments on this development.
JazakAllah to all for the likes and for reading… may we benefit from the lessons ❤️

Mission Sunnah Revival

Sunnah of (Digital) Company:

We live in a world where digital media surrounds us. We mindlessly forget that we are what we feed, and these WhatsApp, instagram and twitter feeds have an effect on us.

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to be particular even about our digital company, and save us from falling into bad companionship.

Abu Musa reported: The Prophet, (Sallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said, “Verily, the parable of good company and a bad company is only that of a seller of musk and a blacksmith. The seller of musk will give you some perfume, you will buy some, or you will notice a good smell. As for the blacksmith, he will burn your clothes or you will notice a bad smell.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5534,

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..💕

#RevivetheSunnah

#RevivetheSunnahofbeingGrateful

#RevivetheSunnahofQur’aanTilaawat

#ReviveSunnahofDuaa

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

When Spring Comes

Bismihi Ta’ala

Saaliha
Part 54

I once heard a beautiful saying that went something like:

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.

And I suppose it really hit home for me because as humans, we are always ready to fall into the trap of complacency.

Ghaflat. We forget our bounties. We take our gifts for granted. When we don’t taste the bitterness of trials, even the good times become unexceptional. We forget that even though winter can be so bitterly cold, the beauty of spring can never be hindered….

And indeed, Allah Ta’ala sends the trials, whereby we may be purified, strengthened and returned to Him. Allah sends the trials because we have to know for sure that with that hunger, thirst and cold, Allah can also relieve us with abundant food, the water and the shelter. Allah placed the test in our midst, but with it, He beautifully placed within our breast the ṣabr (patience), and even the riḍā (contentment) to withstand it.

Yes, Allah (SWT) sent Adam (AS) down to this world where he would have to struggle and face trials… But with that forgiveness of the first prophet, he also gave us a hope of His Divine help.

…if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome…

And as I looked out that morning, smiling at the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine… I couldn’t help but feel my heart lift slightly at the sight.

And the thing is … the amazing thing is that when we begin to appreciate even the little things, it opens up much more than we thought we would ever see. There are always flowers for those who want to see them, even when it’s not the season. There is always beauty, in even the most trying situations.

A new season would be coming, and as winter made its way out that year, after we had enjoyed the long nights and fireplace evenings, I couldn’t help but but wonder what the next season would bring.

And little did I know what a host of emotions were in store that very weekend. Some may call them interventions. Some call them coincidental. Whatever the term, it’s true that there are some things in life that happen the way we don’t quite expect it to…

“Mummy,” Uthman called, running into the kitchen with a look on his face that signified that he was pretty amazed. “Guess who’s here?!”

When I pulled out a spatula from the kitchen drawer, I couldn’t help feel the gust of hot air from the oven throw me off-balance, as I flashed a grin at my child. The feeling of being slightly out of sorts was a little unfamiliar. The weather had been warming up too, and it was a complete blessing, especially in this part of the world, where temperatures went under zero degrees Celsius in the midst of winter. The way the sunshine filtered through the window was one of the most comforting feelings.

“Hmmmm,” I said, smiling at Uthman, and rubbing my temple. “Is it the president?”

”No!” Uthman said, smiling at me like I was crazy.

Uthman was always excited to have visitors. The following week was going to be one of the best ones for him because Fareeha’s kids would be coming, when she left for Hajj. To tell the truth, I was a bit nervous for my crazy sisters kids to be in my zone, but I knew that if I prepared myself in advance and overdosed on rescue remedy, I’d be just fine.

There was really no need to stress.

“Oh wait,” I said, scratching my head thoughtfully. “Maybe it’s someone else famous?”

”Not exactly,” he replied, still finding it hilarious that I couldn’t figure out who was there. The truth was, I did know, but of course, my son keeping me in suspense was the most entertaining thing for him.

“Well, whoever the superstar is,” I said triumphantly with a grin, as I watched Imraan come in. “Please tell me them to join us for lunch. I’m already well-prepared..”

”Mummy!” Uthman said, jumping on the spot and shaking his head at the same time. Where did he get so much of energy from?! “Come and see!”

I laughed as Uthman ran outside again, his excitement mounting as I watched Hamzah get off the car, greet Imraan and pop open the boot. In the past, Hamzah had always brought something small, even if it was a box of smarties for Uthman when he would come, and Uthman always looked forward to it. The fact that he actually hadn’t come here in months made it all the more exciting and I was quite aware that after Liyaket passed away, my brother-in-law had way too much on his plate to even think of it .

Imraan had already helped Hamzah take some of his bags through to the house next door, and catching him on his way back, I couldn’t help but ask.

”Is everything okay?” I asked softly, wiping my hands on a dish cloth in my hand so I could venture to the car  and greet them. “They came so suddenly…”

”Hamzah thought it was best to be out of town for a while,” he said quietly. “Don’t mention it though. He hasn’t told her.”

”Why not?” I asked, not thinking that this was a good idea. “If Zaid is at risk then he should..”

It was true. Anything that could potentially be a risk should be assessed and eliminated. The truth was, from the time that I heard that Layyanah’s brother had called Hamzah, I had been on edge and it definitely seemed like a risky thing.

”Don’t stress about it, love,” he said, with a small smile. “Allah will take care of it.”

”Insha Allah,” I said quietly as I followed him to the door, still not convinced.

And as the morning sun streamed in, I could not quite believe how beautiful the hilly farmlands appeared this morning. As spring approached, and with the onset of rain that had also brought much hope and potential… I felt as if I was looking at a completely new place.

I gazed out, the morning sun doing its thing over the grassy landscape, while I watched it slowly illuminate the stretches before me. I couldn’t help but feel a little nostalgic. Like nostalgia in reverse, the longing for yet another hope and experience grew especially strong as winter started to wilt…

My eyes moved as I watched Hamzah already heading to the house that he usually used when he came, looking for Mohsina. It was about 200m away and Uthman was already excitedly chatting to him about the plans to do some exploring later in the day.

It was going to be a full house. My in-laws had also arrived the day before and having Zaid here was going to be the highlight of the weekend. I couldn’t wait to lay on the grass with him and blow raspberries on his chubby tummy. He was definitely going to bring the silly out of us that weekend, and I couldn’t wait to indulge myself to my hearts content.

“Assalamualaikum,” I called out, moving forward and helping Mohsina with her nappy bag and then reaching out to give her a hug as she jumped off the car with little Zaid. It had just been a few weeks and Zaid was looking like a little man already. I could not stop swooning over how cute he looked and I literally wanted to bite his cheeks off.

And I was literally about to take him into my arms when out of the blue, Rabia had already wedged herself in between Mohsina and I, swiftly snatching Zaid away before I even realised what was going on. I blinked, for a few minutes, looking at Mohsina in confusion, wondering what exactly had happened and where Zaid had gone to.

Rabia was already two meters away, grinning like the cat that caught the mouse.

”Sorry Sawls,” Rabia said, not looking sorry at all as she snuggled Zaid to her. “It’s my turn first. But don’t worry, you’re next. Mohsina, you and Hamzah can have some couple time. Take some snaps. I already told him that this weekend you aren’t going to have Zaid at all!”

She gave an evil laugh, walking away triumphantly as she gave him more cuddles. My sister-in-law was really something else. I looked at Mohsina, who was a little expressionless as she watched her, but skilfully recovering as she she smiled at me apologetically.

She looked like she was already well-equipped to handle Rabia.

”Sorry,” she said apologetically. “You know Rabia…

”Dont worry,” I said, waving my hand nonchalantly. “That’s Rabia, and we’re used to her. We’ll see you guys in a bit?”

Mohsina nodded, looking grateful that lunch was sorted. Each house was separate and had their own provisions, but there was no need for them to prepare if we already had more than enough.

I had already sorted my favourite salads because for me, a braai was all about the salads, and Imraan had already set up the stand for an old-fashioned charcoal barbecue. We kept it simple most times, but with everyone here, as always, my mother-in-law had really gone out of her way to prepare a bit more than necessary.

And as I got busy with taking out the lunch items, and setting the tables, I barely even have thought to what happened to Zaid thereafter. My mind was already working on overdrive, hoping that I wouldn’t forget to take out everything that we had made.

And after Rabia had forcefully removed him out of my arms, I had assumed that she had probably forgotten that I wanted to spend some time with Zaid too. I shrugged off the feeling of irritation as I heard the door opening, seeing Hamzah making his way in, with a disgruntled expression on his face as he looked around, greeting my mother-in-law who was seated in the lounge affectionately, and after a few seconds, looking even more frustrated than him, came Mohsina.

And it didn’t even click with me that Zaid wasn’t with either of them, until Mohsina came up to me, and said in a low voice:

”Have you seen Rabia?”

Mohsina was wearing a pretty but modest black dress with a sage coloured scarf. She looked particularly lovely and the colour really suited her, but as I looked at her troubled expression, it was only at that moment that I’d figured that the couple must have had a small tiff and it was very obvious that it was because of Rabia.

I shook my head, a little worried but not sure if I should do something. After all, Rabia was a law unto herself and she couldn’t have gone that far anyway.

”I’m sure she will bring back him soon,” I said, trying to assure her. “Must I call her? She probably took him for a walk.”

”Sorry,” Mohsina mumbled, looking at me gratefully now, slightly embarrassed. “Hamzah’s calling her for a while now. No answer. Anyways, I was so worried about him that I didn’t even ask if I can help with anything. Can I butter the rolls?”

I got it. She was worried about Zaid. How could she not be?

“Relax,” I insisted, smiling at her. “Everything is done. I’m sure Zaid is just fine and used to her. They must have had plenty of bonding time last week.”

I didn’t want to tell her how Rabia literally forced my in-laws to let her go to the house while Hamzah and Mohsina were supposed to be there alone. Their couple time must have been completely sabotaged.

Before she could say anything in reply though, I could see Hamzah making his way toward us, positioning himself just behind her while he leant on the counter.

”She’s on her way back with him,” he said, and I couldn’t help but hear that he sounded a little annoyed, but I wasn’t sure with who. “He fell asleep. Can you stop stressing yourself out now?”

Whether Rabia had meant to or not, I could see that she had succeeded in causing a row between the two of them. Hamzah was probably torn between his wife and his sister, probably wondering why Mohsina was so upset and thinking what the big deal was… but honestly, the brothers just didn’t quite see how manipulative Rabia could really be.

Mohsina just nodded briefly while Hamzah went back inside, and then turned to me, looking a little more settled, while she shrugged.

“Rabia is a little possessive over Zaid,” she said, her voice dropping. “Also, TMI… I know, but she saw the pill bottles the doctor gave me for induced lactation. I think she is worried she won’t get to spend enough time with him, but now she is really taking it a bit far.”

I didn’t want to tell her that Rabia just had a habit of going to extremes. Sometimes I wasn’t sure if she did it on purpose…

I didn’t comment on Rabia because I knew that nothing good could come out of it. I had learnt to keep silent at times like that, but the first part… well, that really interested, me.

“Wow… you’re really going to feed him?” I said, really feeling so excited for her, but not quite believing that she would actually do it.

She nodded, and her eyes were really shining with enthusiasm. I was just really quite surprised by the fact that she would be so willing.

”I’ve heard so many amazing experiences of bonding and how amazing it is to feed your baby,” she said quietly. “And you know… I was so fascinated to discover breastfeeding is mentioned in the Qur’an. I also read that the mother receives the reward of a good deed for every single drop she gives her child… did you know that?”

I was honestly amazed. How merciful is Allah Ta’ala that something which is so natural is rewarded in such great proximity. If only I knew that all those years ago, when I had fed Uthman for two full years, even though it was one of the most challenging things to do. Breastfeeding hadn’t been easy for me. I had suffered with the worst of issues during it, but I persisted because I wanted to do it.

“The baby doesn’t need anything besides the mothers milk for the first six months of their life,” I said ruefully while Mohsina smiled and nodded. That fact still amazed me, and she seemed amazed too.

“A huge saving, if only I’d known earlier,” she said light-heartedly. And of course she wasn’t serious, because how could anyone have ever known that she would be plunged into this kind of situation…

I smiled, although the entire situation still made me feel slightly heartbroken as I remembered how Layyanah had been so committed to exclusively breastfeeding.

“The price of formula has become crazy….”

I breathed in, trying to settle my emotions. I didn’t even realise that I was tearing. Gosh, it was her best friend, and I was going all emo on her…

Back to what she was saying…

“You’re right,” I said softly, swallowing and blinking hard to stop the tears. “It’s not only formula though. I actually got a shock when I went to the supermarket last week with Imraan and we cashed up. Everything is just gone so expensive…”

I mean, there was nothing like the price of commodities to bring you back to reality.. Everything was getting more and more pricey, and the cost of living globally was almost unmanageable for the majority of the world.

But all of that… the way we found ourselves in this predicament is something that is mentioned that on one occasion that Musaa (Alaihi Salam) once asked Allah (SWT), something to the effect of:

What is a sign of your happiness?

Allah Ta’ala, in reply, said to him that’s when He is happy… then the worlds processes take place in great harmony. This will mean that at the time of sowing the seeds into the ground, Allah Ta’ala sends his rain… and then, at the time of harvesting, Allah Ta’ala holds back His rain. Everything happens at the right time, in a methodical process. A sign of Allah’s happiness is that He puts the administrative and financial affairs of the people in the hands of people who are righteous and generous. That the events of happenings of the world occur in harmony…

Musaa (AS) then asked, Ya Allah, what then, will be the sign of Your unhappiness?

So Allah Ta’ala replied to say that the opposite is done. That in this case, when the people are sinful, the rain is not sent when it is needed. When the world is commuting evil, the rulers of the people are corrupt and incompetent. When everything is in havoc…  the price of consumables and life becomes almost unbearable.

And there is no other reason but our own sins. Our bad deeds and disregard for Allah’s laws is what brings the inflation, the corruption and the predicament we find ourselves in today…

I sighed, feeling a bit deflated about the situation, knowing that we could only start with ourselves. My mother-in-law had come to the kitchen already, talking jovially to Mohsina about Zaid now, as Mohsina made his bottle and they ventured into the feeding topic again.

It was baby talk all over again and it was cute, but I was never really ready to engage in it completely. And it wasn’t that I was jealous. I had passed that point a long time ago. I was really happy that Zaid now had a family that loved him so much, and a mother figure like Mohsina, who took him as her real son.

It was just that I wasn’t always sure how to react. I wasn’t even sure if I had a place in Zaid’s life, although I loved him to bits. Now, as Mohsina asked my mother-in-law her own advice about breastfeeding, I could see that she was extremely thrilled about the prospect, and the two of them were already speaking about how the hormones also change your body, moods and emotions.

It seemed to be scaring Mohsina a bit, because my mother-in-law had already told her that she would have to start trying to latch him soon if she really wanted to go through with this. That part had caught her off guard.

And as they spoke, I couldn’t help but feel like pregnancy and breastfeeding was so far off for me. Every month had been a waiting game, and it had come to the point when I didn’t even track my cycle anymore, because it would just leave more room for more grief and disappointment… disappointment which I just could not handle anymore.

Sometimes you just had to learn a little more about gratitude. I had learn to live in the moment. To be happy with what Allah had given me. I had learnt to look at those who couldn’t have kids at all, and be grateful for the fact that Alhumdulillah… Allah had given me one beautiful child at least.

And for starters… well, I wasn’t even dreading the onset of my menstrual cycle that month. It usually left an aching hole in my gut, for the first two days, until the feelings of inadequacy and brokenness had faded. And this month… well, I was due for it…

I paused with drizzling chocolate over the pavlova casings as I caught a snippet of what my mother-in-law and Mohsina were chatting about, while my mind tried to figure out dates. Uthman and the men were well out earshot and they were already having a full on coversation of pregnancy woes and breastfeeding problems.

”With Hamzah and Rabia I was just big all over,” my mother-in-law was saying, smiling fondly as she recalled. After ten years, she had the twins, but it must have been memorable in a way that she couldn’t forget. I just couldn’t imagine.
Carrying twins must have been something else completely.

“I had to be on her rest from 20 weeks,” she continued. “It was the longest 12 weeks ever, but Allah made it all work out perfectly in the end. They both came home after a week and the moment I saw them, I had already forgotten about the pregnancy…”

How beautifully Allah plans it. The minute we lay our eyes on that beautiful bundle, everything discomfort seems like nothing at all. I suppose that’s why Jannah was so beautiful. When we glimpse that beautiful abode, well… everything will make sense…

“Layyanah was all tummy,” Mohsina was saying, smiling notalgically. “All I remember her saying was that she just felt bloated at the beginning, and she did a test and it was positive…”

My mother-in-law smiled and I looked at her with interest, almost as if she had said something majorly significant.

Did she just say bloated? 

The calculations in my mind were still going on as I tried to figure out if I was right. According to that… I was already 4 days late. I mean, it wasn’t groundbreaking, but 4 days was 4 days, right? I mean, I did usually get a bit tired and bloated… but the thing is, now that Mohsina mentioned the bloating, welll… I knew I was definitely feeling it.

But no. It could not be. I was getting my hopes up for nothing.
Pregnancy is just one of many things that can cause bloating. It could be anything else. Anything else at all.

And of course, there was no need to think otherwise. In my head at that point, I was still telling myself that I would just wait for the usual thing to happen, as it had, almost every month for seven years, and deal with it when it does.

And as Rabia came back with Zaid at that very moment, all in high spirits with not even a consideration for Mohsina’s worry, I immediately took the bottle from her and asked her if I could feed him, before placing him on the carpet with little play gym I kept there for him. I wanted to forget my recent discovery, and losing myself in his gurgles and giggles was an amazing feeling.

I was literally obsessed with his double dimpled smile and his tiny fingers and toes. I really wished that they would stay longer than just the two days, and I knew that if I asked Imraan to talk to Hamzah, he may agree. It would be the perfect distraction for me, and I knew I needed it right then.

And despite the slight drama between Mohsina and Rabia that had ensued, the rest of the evening had been beautifully smooth. I was trying very hard not to focus on how many days late I was. Instead, I had turned my attention to the weather, noting that it was one of those amazing days that were mild and cool, but as the sun started to set, I could see Imraan already getting the fireplace ready for the chill that would take over soon.

Zaid was stationed permanently next to Rabia now, who was keeping them both warm while Mohsina and Hamzah had headed off for a little walk while there was still light outside.

And knew that I was being a little obsessive, but as I visited the bathroom to make whudhu (ablution), I couldn’t help but pop my head into the second drawer, wondering if I would be completely bonkers if I actually used a test right then. There were still two brand new ones, and as I glanced at them, something in me was creating an overwhelming desire to just check.

As much as I was trying to avoid it, I was one of those people who just couldn’t switch off my crazy. When something was gnawing at me, any slightly lenient situation would put me in a fix. After all, there was still some time before Maghrib salaah and I was already in my bathroom. The night would be busy and then if he too tired to check later.

Why not? My mind was saying. You’re already late.

And of course, the sensible part of my mind begged to differ.

So what if I was late? Four days wasn’t even a record.

You rather just check. You won’t be disappointed after. Whatever happens is Allah’s will.

That was true as well. But what about the disappointment after? 

I couldn’t stop myself. Despite the doubt and uncertainty, I had to know. I just couldn’t wait any longer.

I literally wanted to block my eyes after, not knowing how to bring myself to look.

I knew it took up to two minutes sometimes, but I also knew that when something was cooking then the result came quicker, and as I washed my hands and summoned every bit of courage I had within me to make its show… well, I finally allowed my eyes to stray to the stick that was lying next to the sink…

And when I say my heart skipped a beat, it was no exaggeration. Right there, were two dark pink lines staring at me… and I had to literally pinch myself to check if I wasn’t dreaming.

I hadn’t even realised that my heart was hammering noisily in my chest, and everything else had just taken a backseat for those few moments…

The winter was bitter… but the results of spring were oh-so-sweet…

I could barely believe that within my heart, as hope blossomed with no reservation, like the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…

My entire heart was bursting, as I realised that even when you cut off all the flowers in the winter…

You can never stop Spring from coming once again…


Sunnah of Forgiveness:

With the New Islamic Year already here, and these auspicious days, one of the lessons from the Seerah is how Nabi (SAW) forgave his oppressors, and let go of old whims.

A sublime quality that Nabi (SAW) inculcated into his life on various occasions, and especially on the occasion of Hijrah.

May Allah Almighty give us all the ability to forgive others for the wrong they do to us and make us more productive Muslims through this and may Allah forgive us all for our sins, ameen.
O Allah, purify our hearts from grudges, envy, and cheating. O Allah, amend our relations with our relatives. O Allah, amend our relations with our loved ones. O Allah, make life an increase for us in every good and make death a relief for us from every evil with Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful.
Aaameen.

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..💕

#RevivetheSunnahofbeingGrateful

#RevivetheSunnahofQur’aanTilaawat

#ReviveSunnahofDuaa

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

Old Wounds

Bismihi Ta’ala

Mohsina

Part 47

We all have things we don’t say. No matter how hard you try to avoid it, somehow, the truth always surfaces, and somehow, old wounds sometimes open up…

“Mos,” Hamzah called, as I speedily made my way down the cobbled pathway ahead of him, hearing his footsteps right behind me.

I didn’t turn back, even as his black trainers came into view, as I kept my head down. I wasn’t exactly angry, but sometimes, I could swear that Hamzah did need a filter on his mouth. And also…. well, it was good to make a guy sweat.

I was still in good spirits, despite it all.

And one of the reasons was that last night’s function had gone off smoothly. Being the first family function after years, it was actually great seeing everyone… even the annoying cousins that I usually didn’t enjoy seeing. On top of that was an influx of family, work friends… even Mickey and Lesley with Muslim guy from HR had pitched up and it was simply so amazing  to have them there on our special day.

Afterward, knowing  that Hamzah was planning to leave the next morning, we had retired to our own homes for a few hours, already exhausted, due to Zaid’s fussiness as he slept for all of four hours, before Hamzah came to fetch us both.

And it was expected that the goodbyes were a little more emotional than usual. My parents had both grown immensely attached to Zaid, and so had Nani and Jameela.

“Mohsina.”

His tone was pleading and he was slightly out of breath, having had to jog to catch up with me, but there was very evidently a speed limit on my performance, due to the baby in my arms.

”At least let me take Zaid so you can sulk in peace?”

I shot him a stony glare, not surprised to see the grin on his annoyingly handsome face.

“Open the door,” I said feistily, holding tighter onto Zaid as he fumbled in his pocket for the keys,

”Only if you forgive me,” he said earnestly, stepping forward to take Zaid from my arms. “Really. I did say I’m sorry. I was trying to avoid your question so I gave you a dumb response…”

Hmmm. Was that even an excuse? Comments like that weren’t completely baseless. That was the part that got me.

“What do you mean?” I asked, narrowing my eyes and looking up at his face, noticing his suddenly grim expression, as he glanced at me back.

The conversation in the car had happened just a few minutes ago, but the words he had said hit a little deeper than intended.

The drive was pleasant enough, and surprisingly, Hamzah was a quiet driver.  While I chatted, snacked and munched  (mostly on chocolate) Hamzah kept his eye on the road in true dedication, determined to get there to our destination by late morning.

And even as I glanced at him from time to time, it took me a while to figure out that while I wondered if he was being quietly grumpy or if perhaps he wasn’t a morning person, that he was, in fact, actually reciting Qur’ān. As he drove the four hour drive to the local destination, sliding his phone open from time to time, probably checking some error or word he may have missed on his 13 line Quran application, Hamzah’s only purpose was to make sure he did his two para dhor for the day.

It was  after pulling into the most breathtakingly scenic road, seeing the mountains ahead of us, I had already figured that we weren’t exactly heading along  farm route like I assumed, and my first instinct was to ask him exactly what he had planned.

“So can I ask where we’re going?” I said, giving him a sideways glance as we sped along the smaller road, Hamzah’s eyes planted firmly on the road.

“Of course you can,” he said blandly, now glancing at me momentarily. “Doesn’t mean I have to tell you.”

I rolled my eyes at him as he smirked, and then turned serious again as he opened his phone again, and then moved his eyes to the road. Typical Hamzah.

And of course, as he did it, my whole intention was renewed, because even though he could obviously be a reclusive, irritable old grouch at times, I remembered my own attachment to Quran that had inspired me to change my life, and my pursuits and my spirits immediately lifted.

The fact that he was so dedicated and used this time for something worthy was quite admirable. I mean… This was, ideally, how our lives should be.

In the airport or the park, in between rounds or even in the shopping mall … our entire purpose and aim should be Qur’ān.  Qur’ān. Qur’ān. And how beautiful was it that the reading of it never makes one tired or weary… but it’s recital only increases ones love for the beautiful book of Allah. In fact, the heart only grows fonder, as recitation increases, and one finds himself or herself even more immersed in its love.

And if our hearts were pure as they should be we would never tire of reciting it.

And while I sat there watching him with severe FOMO, because I didn’t know enough of Qur’ān to recite without looking (and knowing that the minute I tried opening my phone application , I would immediately feel sick), all I could do was silently wish him to read louder as I put my head back and listened to his barely audible recitation as he continued.

“I had thought we were going to the farm,” I said when he stopped, feeling particularly soothed after three and a half hours in, not being able to take my eyes off the streaky sky that now came into full view, and seemed to stretch to beyond forever and more.

Hamzah didn’t look at me.

“Nah,” he said, as we turned into a dirt road. “Isn’t the farm standard a little… basic… for girls like you?”

Ouch.

Girls like me?

I frowned and I could immediately see the regret on his face as he realised what he had just said, and instantly apologized.

But the damage was done, and it stung. He had just implied that I was only after the big bucks. Again.

Besides, money and finances were a bit of a touchy subject for us … and I really didn’t want to delve into it.

It was just that, even my father didn’t know the full truth about what had happened when Hamzah had called off our Nikah and maybe it was time to see if Hamzah may know a little more than he let on…

But first, well… I had bigger fish to fry. He had just admitted that  there something he was hiding, too, and right then, I was determined to find out what it was.

I clenched my jaws together to stop my teeth from chattering, as we stood outside the door of the chalet where we would be spending that night at. I was literally freezing up.

I looked at his unflinching gaze, trying to read his expression. As always, Hamzah gave nothing away.

”Tell me, then, Mister,” I demanded, still annoyed but wanting to know more about the truth he wasn’t willing to reveal. “What you are avoiding telling me?”

I stepped back and plonked myself down on the cement bench behind me, not anticipating the coldness seep right through to my bone.

Yeech, it was frrreeeziing.

“Okay Missus,” he replied, shivering slightly in the morning cold too, even as he pulled on another puffer jacket over his current lightweight one. “Can we at least go inside first?”

I had one of my warmer coats over my grey modest tracksuit, while Zaid was covered in about four layers. Though the body heat was keeping him pretty comfy for now, I knew that it wasn’t a wise idea to be out in these cooler temperatures. I could also feel the tip of my nose going slightly numb, and I could assume that it would only be a few minutes before it started running unattractively, and I wouldn’t even have a hand to wipe it.

I nodded, a little half-heartedly, as Hamzah fiddled with the bunch of keys. It took a few tries before he got it, but eventually, the old wooden door creaked open and as he pushed it, signalling for me to go in, before he did, and pulled the door behind us.

And as I stepped in, I couldn’t help but feel immediately awakened, somewhere deep within me… a part of me that had been asleep for way too long.

The place was beautiful. Gorgeous, some may say. And if the door was any telltale sign of what lay beyond it, I might have thought that the place was a dump, but in actuality, I was kind of mesmerised by the untainted view before me.

SubhaanAllah. It was simply glorious. It had been a long time since I had appreciated nature like that.

The huge glass windows before me boasted most spectacular scenery, overlooking one of the most amazing canyons. For some reason, I always loved the time of year when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale… for days full of a fine, pale sunshine that sifted through the late, leafless golden red array.. Autumn had always been my favourite season. The air was as crisp as the leaves on the trees, and a sky so blue spread before us, that you could drown in it…

As I stared, for a minute, I forgot that I even had Zaid in my arms.

”Do you like it?”

I withheld my answer until I put Zaid down, glad to see that he didn’t even stir. He had been up early, despite the late night, and it was about time he caught up with all his missing sleep.

”This is stunning,” I said truthfully. “I’m not sure how you even found this place.”

It was tucked away at the end of one of the most bumpy dirt roads, but it was worth getting up at 4am and travelling eternity and beyond for.

It also looked like a woman had a hand in the room preparation.

Rose petals were scattered along the floor, and bottled grape juice was perched on the bed pedestal. I wanted to ask him if Rabia had been involved, but mentioning her would probably immediately dampen my spirits. I didn’t want to stoop down to her level and rat her out, but Rabia had come to take Zaid the night before, it felt like she gave me the complete cold shoulder and I was a little annoyed about it.

Like, what did I ever do to her, except give her tit-for-tat when she really deserved it. She couldn’t really be holding a grudge from so long, could she?

Either way, I had made a firm resolution after Ramadhaan to keep myself out of people’s business and avoid picking out their faults. Even if it meant overlooking my slightly annoying sister-in-law, and acting as if it didn’t affect me, I was at least going to try. At least Saaliha was nice, even though she kept apologising to me for her sister gatecrashing the wedding towards the end.

That was a cute thing though, and when I met her, I found myself instantly taking a liking to Fareeha too.

”I saw it online,” he said easily, pulling off his jacket as he looked around, feeling the air around us ease off, as the under-floor heating warmed it up.  “Imraan knows the people who own it. Strangest thing ever. They have an Instagram page.  It actually looks exactly like the pictures.”

He had that look on his face and I knew he was trying to provoke a reaction and the old squabble we always had about social media, but nowadays, it didn’t bother me much. With all the excitement during the past two weeks, I didn’t quite need the dopamine influx and had kept my Instagram posting to a bare minimum. I had come a long way. I no longer had the urge to show my life to everyone who followed me.

The reality was far more engaging. I just hoped that I didn’t slip into old habits when things calmed down…

”I can see what you’re doing,” I retorted, narrowing my eyes at him as I pulled off my scarf and cap almost unconsciously. “Trying to distract me so I don’t ask about what you were hiding. Just spill it.”

And as Hamzah opened and closed his mouth, almost as if he was going to say something witty back, but got thrown off, and it only struck me then that it was the first time that he had actually seen me without my hijab, and I kind of wished that I had at least been a bit more dignified about removing it.

Why was I like this? Maybe Nani was right when she called Jameela and I jungalees yesterday.

“Okay, gorgeous,” he said breezily, after a few seconds, walking toward the glass doors that led outdoors, feeling my cheeks reddening slightly at the impromptu compliment.

He had pulled opened the door that led outside slightly, promptly lighting a cigarette as he stood there and turned to me.

“I’ll tell you, alright? I didn’t want to go back there because there are too many memories.”

He placed the cigarette in his mouth and pulled in deeply as we looked at each other, me slightly confused, before I finally asked:

”What memories exactly?” I said carefully, knowing that things may have happened there that I probably had no idea about. I had taken a seat on the ottoman at the end of the bed, facing him.

He didn’t say anything straight away. Instead, he turned his face toward the open door, releasing a cloud of cigarette smoke than dawdled in the crisp morning air almost rythmically, before he turned back.

”Memories of our friends,” he said in low tone, after a few seconds of silence. “Liyaket. His wedding. Being there with him almost every holiday before that. Memories of all the good times I want to forget. Those kind of memories. You know?”

I swallowed and nodded, feeling an inevitable wave of grief overcome me as I digested just how lost Hamzah seemed right then.

I didn’t expect that. I didn’t expect him to actually have real emotions that affected him and made him into entirely different and softer kind of character, who wasn’t always messing around and chasing the next good thing.

Death. One of the most painful reminders about the inevitability of this life. One of the most resilient kind of forces that pull you right out of your comfort zone.

I wanted to go forward and comfort or hug him, offer him some soothing words, but… well, we weren’t exactly at that kind of comfort level with each other as yet and I couldn’t even think of what to say…

Also, he was puffing away at his menthol cigarettes with such ferocity that I wasn’t sure that he’d even notice me through all that smoke.

As you may have gathered, I wasn’t exactly the biggest fan of Hamzah’s smoking habit and often stayed as far away as possible.

And it was just as well, because Hamzah had already slipped through the opening, onto the balcony, and I didn’t blame him.

It was a most enchanting outlook. Mountains upon mountains, with the sun at its highest point right then, almost unveiling the naturally landscaped glory of nature that mesmerised us so completely.

A wired little bird feeder was situated on the edge of the balcony, and while I watched, tiny, colourful birds made their way in and out through little squares, arguing and teetering in a most adorable fashion as they pecked along at the scattered seeds, almost as if this was their most eventful meeting of the day.  I was sure that Zaid would enjoy watching them when he woke. He was starting to notice things and this would probably have him gurgling in glee.

And as I watched Hamzah, though I wanted to venture out too, I had a feeling that he needed his privacy right then, and I didn’t want to lose myself in the beauty as yet. Actually, I didn’t want to immerse myself in the moments, as much as they were calling out to me…

For some reason, I was still holding back. So much had happened in such a short time, and I felt as if needed to just let myself deal with it in the easiest way possible…

And as I turned away from him, knowing that Zaid would need another bottle shortly, I kind of absorbed myself in my tasks for the time-being.

I quietly folded my scarf with the pin on the counter, pulling my legs up onto the couch, I hastily pulled out laptop to check up on emails, as I tried to think of something to say when he came in next.

I stared at my laptop, a little displaced. I didn’t have anything to officially submit, but it was my new tool to keep me off social media. It wasn’t that I didn’t go on at all. I was just majorly limiting posting and getting carried away with baseless and mindless content.

Also… well, it had become a goal of mine to at least try and be the kind of wife that I wanted to. Maybe it was circumstances. Maybe it was history. Maybe it just needed more time.

I wasn’t there yet, but I knew precisely the kind I wanted to be.

An intelligent woman, a sincere well-wisher, a pious soul, a patient human, a comforting wife, a caring spouse, a loving mother, an expert homemaker… The Ideal Woman and a dream for many…

It was on the famous occasion when Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) stood up trembling, heading home to seek rest and solace in the tender care of none other than Sayyidah Khadeejah (radhiyallahu ‘anha).

This great woman, the best friend that she was, calmly comforted Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) giving him the strength he needed.
She addressed him thus, “By Allah! Allah Ta‘ala will never disgrace you! Indeed you join and maintain family ties, you bear the burdens of others, you earn for those who cannot acquire a livelihood, you extend hospitality to your guests and you provide assistance when a calamity or disaster strikes.”

Sayyidah Khadeejah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) spared no effort in consoling Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) at this greatest moment , which is perhaps the greatest of her deeds.

But this was the best of the best… and I knew that there were no greater examples that the Sahaabiya, and as looked into her life, I could tell that this was who  Sayyidah Khadeejah Al-Kubraa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was.

And though I was inspired and aspired for something even close to that, I always knew that I would fall short, because of course, my husband wasn’t the greatest human of all time, Nabi Muhammed (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam).

Yes, we all want that perfect kind of love. The beautiful life that you want to live every moment and never share, because you just want to have it all to yourself will it. Everyone wants things cut out for them..

But that was the test, wasn’t it?

Everyone has their battles, and their bridges to cross. This was a unique kind of situation and I knew Hamzah and I still had multiple hurdles to cross. Ill feelings may crop up. Old wounds may open. Encountering speedbumps were inevitable and without delving into the whole bed of roses advice, I already knew that in fully winning my husbands heart, I was going to have to be a little more than just the basics.

And we had gotten this far, and while many people try to please everyone else in gaining their admiration, I knew that there was so much of beauty in the Hadith that stated that when the woman pleases her husband, then immediately, her Jannah is made.

I wondered what I would tell him when he came back. Maybe I would be explain to him that it was how it was all meant to be. Maybe I would tell him that perhaps those who have passed and left have so much better that had been prepared for them.

And as my ears picked up the sound of a cutely disgruntled moan from the bed, my heart immediately lifted because I knew just the thing to be the perfect ice-breaker. Zaid. I knew taking him out, armed with him on my hip would immediately clear the air to say what I wanted to.

Getting to him before the squealing became a full-on howl, I hastily picked Zaid up and checked his nappy, glad to see that it didn’t need a change right then.
I had bundled him all cosily, up in his jacket and beanie as I stepped out the door, all psyched up to conquer the unknown, ready to make the announcement that Zaid the cutest, cutesy was awake.

And as I felt the icy gust of wind hit us as I stepped onto the wooden deck, it was at the very same moment that Hamzah met my eye, as he sat on the wrought iron chair, talking on the phone with his mass amount of stubbed cigarettes next to him.

He turned to me as he saw me, and something about the way he looked at me right then told me that this wasn’t just a regular phone call.

I paused for a minute, wondering if I should maybe go inside, but he raised his hand at me, as if to signal for me to wait.

“Listen, bro,” he was saying, sounding a little hostile as he spoke. “Today is not possible. I don’t know when is. I’m not even in town. I don’t care how urgent she thinks this is-“

There was silence as I assumed the person cut him off, and as Hamzah looked exasperated, he promptly said he’ll call back and cut the call.

Zaid let out a huge, excited gurgle and threw himself forward as he saw Hamzah, noticing that he was there, but Hamzah just smiled half-heartedly and seemed extremely preoccupied.

“Sorry, Mos,” he said, his voice low as he typed something in his phone. “You will never believe who that was.”

And of course, my mind was already in overdrive as it  already concocted all the plausible possibilities… and as I deliberated which one to voice, Hamzah was probably too stressed to even notice the worry in my own eyes.

He had already lit another cigarette, puffing away as he looked outside, almost as if he was trying to draw some serenity from the beautiful view.

“Who was it?” Was all I managed to half-croak, intensely afraid of what the answer may be.

Hamzah’s expression, as always, was unreadable, and my heart thudded incessantly in my chest, as I wondered if our entire day would be spoilt with that one phone call.

And just when I felt I couldn’t take the suspense any more, Hamzah walked up to me, gently lifted Zaid up to his shoulder, whilst pensively meeting my gaze.

“That was Hashim,” he said quietly.

The mention of Hashim’s name already stumped me. I couldn’t imagine what he wanted.

And like picking the scab of an old wound, the pain my friend had once felt had resurfaced now, for completely different reasons.

“He wants to meet Zaid.”


Dearest Readers,

I think I am due for my short break and am hoping I didn’t leave the readers with a huge cliffhanger ❤️
Just a quick one that I’d love to know how readers feel about:
I’ve been deliberating over this, and I’m just wondering if Mos should tell Hamzah the entire truth about her recent corporate past. Just curious as to what the readers think… and what would the correct thing to do be.

Love to hear from the readers ..

Much Love

A x

Don’t forgot our Mission Sunnah Revival

❤️

The Sunnah of Giving up arguing and having good manners…

Whilst we grapple to keep that connection alive out of Ramadhaan, and approach the month of Dhul Hajjiah, let try and increase our Ibaadat.

Abu Umamah Al-Bahili Ra reported Nabi (ﷺ) said,

“I guarantee a house in Jannah for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right;

and I guarantee a home in the middle of Jannah for one who abandons lying even for the sake of fun;

and I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah for one who has good manners/Akhlaaq.

In line with love for Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Salaam), a narration goes like this:

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..💕

#RevivetheSunnahofQur’aanTilaawat

#ReviveSunnahofDuaa

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah ­


­

When you Trust the Timing

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 46
Saaliha

”I thought you were joking,” Rabia voice broke into my thoughts incredulously as she tapped on her twin brother’s shoulder, looking immensely disappointed. “There’s really no venue?!”

The atmosphere in the car was thick with excitement and preoccupation, along with a bundle of erratic nerves that was very much expected.
And on a day like this, there was something about the way the hearts were swayed on a special days like today, encompassing the feeling of celebration that Nikah brings.

I was, undoubtedly, in amazing spirits as we left my mother-in-laws place that day, with Imraan and Hamzah in the front seat of his car, and Rabia and I in the back. Uthman had decided to go with his grandparents because he was bound to be pampered rotten during the short trip to the location where Mohsina’s family home was.

I glimpsed at my sister-in-law, tearing my eyes away from the scenic mountainous view I was immersed in ahead of us, which reminded me of one of the famous sayings of Umar bin Khattab (RadiAllahu Anho) which went like:

What is destined will reach you, even if it be underneath two mountains. What is not destined, will not reach you, even if it be between your two lips.

And today was a undeniable reminder of whats meant to be, will be, but Rabia’s statement, well… It was just the kind of negativity to dampen my mood.

As Hamzah gave her an irritated scowl, as he glanced at her in the rear view mirror, taking a longer pull of his cigarette than usual, I could sense the irritation he was feeling. The way that he was lighting cigarette after cigarette, meant that he was probably a little stressed that night, and I kind of understood.

”What made you think I was joking?” he asked blandly,  exhaling out the window as I watched her pout. “I told you that it was at the house.”

”Oh hell,” she muttered with an irritated face, as she scanned the yard, where the marquee was set up. “How annoying. My heels are going to sink in this damn mud. Plus, there’s nowhere decent to even take any snaps.”

Was that the only thing she worried about?

I shook my head and looked away, not trusting myself to say anything.

For some reason, my sister-in-law was getting more and more more on my nerves these days. The love for pride and pomp was something that I didn’t quite get. I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, probably even more irritated than my brother-in-law.

“You don’t have to show your followers every move you make,” Hamzah snapped unexpectedly, undeniably angry. “The best of Nikahs are the most simple ones, and hands down, I actually prefer this to any hall or venue function any day. More simple. Less stressful.”

It was actually quite nice that he was already standing up for his new in-laws. Imraan had mentioned that he felt strangely protective over them, with Mohsina only having a younger brother, and her father still getting out of debt, I knew that Hamzah was the type to take it much more personally than anyone else.

I wanted also to point out to Rabia that Mohsina didn’t have wealthy parents to pay for the function like she did, but I knew that it was top secret. Imraan had revealed to me in confidence that the family had gone through a rough patch and was still recovering, financially.

It had come to my knowledge that Mohsina had actually paid for the simple function herself, and it made me admire the kind of heart she had. The fact was that she wasn’t obligated to have a function, but for her parents sake and their respect, she was prepared to do whatever it took to make them happy.

”Thank God we’re having a proper Waleema,” Rabia muttered to herself. “Somewhere ten times better than this ugly dump.”

And of course, I knew that Rabia was famous for calling a spade a spade, but there was a difference between being straightforward and just plain down rude. Her words stung and her tone made me shudder, but more alarming was air of arrogance about her as she said it, and I immediately felt insulted. Unfortunately for Rabia, both her sisters-in-law were from farm-like places.

And it’s only when you witness the pride or arrogance of someone, do you realise what a detested and despised quality it is. After all, it was that quality which got Iblis thrown out of Jannah, and that quality of the Quraish, at the time of Badr, that caused their downfall…

And although I could tell that Hamzah had heard her, it was admirable that he had chosen to specifically ignore her and not start an argument, as he turned to Imraan. After all, remaining silent was always the best option when tempers were starting to flare, and I could tell by his thunderous face that he was really getting angry. Imraan shot Rabia a filthy look and she turned away, slightly deflated.

”I suggest you keep your comments to yourself,” he said sternly, and I got the feeling that it wasn’t the first time she had insulted someone’s home.

“Theres nothing wrong with having standards, right?”

Her question was ill-founded. And okay, I knew that my in-laws had spoilt her rotten as a kid, but this kind of behaviour was not something that they approved of. They never put anyone down or made them feel unworthy.

And being the youngest son, my in laws were insisted in having a bigger function at a popular venue, and Rabia was obviously one of the main event planners.

”Don’t make me walk out my own waleemah,” Hamzah had said firmly, as they tried to pull off the perfect waleemah function. “Any funny business… at all… I’ll take my family and leave.”

It was weird for him to say family, but it was true that Hamzah, Mohsina and little Zaid were now a little unit on their own.

Hamzah had made it clear that he didn’t want any photographers, music or extravagant details. People were thinking of the weirdest things just to make a statement and I could tell that my sister-in-law was testing limits. I just hoped that Hamzah was not going to get a huge surprise when he entered the hall two days later.

Besides, he had said enough.

And as I watched Rabia tapping on her phone and then  extending her arm to take a selfie… I couldn’t help but feel a jolt of irritation.

Everything had to be captured. Sometimes I wonder if it would really hurt to put the phone down and just take it all in, unfiltered. The rivalry doesn’t end… when it came to social media. It was a competition that knew no end, and she was completely sucked in.

And from this it was obvious that , Rabia was part of the‘beautiful’ generation. The generation that’s obsessed with making everything look just like an Instagram post; as perfect as can be.

Basically if you love taking photos, arranging the objects of the photo to make the image look ideal, or using filters and editing photos to make them look even better… well, you are too.

Rabia was clearly enamoured by the worldly things that Instagram and social media seemed to put on a pedestal. I mean, it was a well-known fact that it causes us to obsess over portraying a fabricated version of ourselves, and our lives, to the world.

The truth was that we see images of others flourishing online, on overseas holidays, extravagant functions, flashing money, living it up on their stories, not knowing the harsh realities (or falsification) behind those posts.

She smiled to herself as she tapped away, and I suppressed the urge to tell her something. Instead, I tried to focus on the low murmurs that were coming from the front seat while they found a suitable parking, in an attempt to decipher whether Imraan was having the talk he had planned to have with his brother or not.

And although I was still highly insecure about my sisters attempts at trying to find her husband a second wife, and rubbing off onto mine, Imraan and I had reached an easier place where we made a deal never to keep secrets from each other. Ever.

And though it meant that I had to reveal to him what Fareeha was up to and how it upset me, it also meant that when Imraan had come in that afternoon, looking a little more than just concerned, he couldn’t simply brush me off.

His face was riddled with worry as he took a seat, pulling out his phone and tapping vigourously as I eyed him out. The Nikah had gone well, and Hamzah too, seemed happy, but I couldn’t quite help feeling like something was amiss, and I knew he intended to get what was bothering Hamzah out of him today.

It was true that Hamzah had been against making Nikah from the initial stages. Somehow, he didn’t want to address the issues that had affected him and Mohsina back way things had changed back the previous year. Maybe it wasn’t necessary to bring up the past, but I only hoped that if didn’t cause any troubles in the future.

No matter what Imraan had said, I was quite sure that my brother-in-law was just nervous and that everyting would turn out perfectly.

After all, it was the first time he would see his new bride and it was completely normal. Given, it was a little late, since the Nikah was earlier that afternoon, but this whole situation was completely unconventional, so a few things were not exactly going to take place as per normal.

And as we had arrived a little early as planned, parking off near the house on account of Hamzah wanting to see Mohsina and Zaid before the function, I smiled as I watched him twiddle his fingers mindlessly just before getting off.

And even as we all stepped out, Rabia and I lifting our dresses slightly, her with a slightly annoyed look on the face, we were already overwhelmed at the kind of reception we received.

Of course, I could tell that they had been awaiting our arrival specifically, even though the marquee was erected in the front yard, Mohsina’s sister came to usher us toward the entrance of the house, whilst her brother sidled up alongside Hamzah, already talking easily about some car show that had happened last week.

And as I stepped up, looking around me, scanning only for Zaid, I suppose it was inevitable that as we made our way inside, there he appeared, his fingers stuffed in his mouth as a pretty girl held him.

And maybe I was slightly dazed that day, on account of so much that had happened in such a short time, I almost missed her completely. And as I looked from Zaid to this gorgeous female figure that I could hardly recognise, it took me a few seconds to process who it was.

“Assalamualaikum!” She said, flashing us both a smile as I register that it was none other than my new sister-in-law. “I’m so happy to see you guys…”

And I knew I sound crazy, but seeing her after over a month came like a shock, and felt like I was seeing a new person, and I could tell that Rabia was just as surprised to see how amazingly different she now looked. I had instinctively made my way with Rabia to where she stood and giving her an enormous hug, so thrilled that her and Hamzah’s big day had finally come.

”Wa alaykum Salaam!” I said softly, embracing her tightly. “Mohsina, I hardly recognised you. You look so beautiful.”

And I wasn’t just saying that. She really looked exceedingly stunning, with a gold-edged hijab that was tied absolutely perfectly.

She flashed a nervous smile as her gaze flickered to her husband, and could tell that she was pretty overwhelmed.

I didn’t expect her to be out and about the house, like regular family member.

I had expected her to be like the usual brides who only make an appearance down in the marquee, dressed in some kind of gaudy outfit, but Mohsina was the epitome of sublime simplicity, but here she was, in a gorgeous white and gold embroidered abaya with extended sleeves, which seemed to be made to fit her most elegantly. Her cheeks were flushed with a little more than just blush but even so, she appeared unnaturally calm for a new bride. It took me a few seconds to realise that the reason for the enormous change in appearance was that she had, evidently, lost a ton of weight and I could already tell that my brother-in-law was a little more taken aback by how gorgeous she looked that day.

It was strange and sweet to witness their first meeting, and as he awkwardly approached her and extended his hand to shake hers, Zaid had obviously not got the Nikah vibes memo, and bubbling with excitement, plunged directly at him .

And of course, I couldn’t help but laugh because instead of letting the new couple greet each other, the little pumpkin conveniently transferred all the attention to himself. All Hamzah could do was hold him tightly and grin, as Mohsina shook her head, already giving up on the situation being any kind of conventional.

And how could it be? They had come together in a most unconventional way, and though everyone was thrilled, if life hadn’t turned out the way it did, it probably would have never changed.

For now though…. Having a baby in the picture already was going to be a bit challenging, but I could tell that they were both prepared to take it in their stride.

And even though no-one complained, I knew that it was probably time to intervene and get my own dose of Zaidoo, so I stepped forward, hoping he would remember me.

”Let me take him!” I said jovially, as I moved on to take Zaid from Hamzah. It took them a few minutes of awkwardness before they made their way to a slightly more isolated area, just outside the main lounge, and I couldn’t help but notice what a lovely couple they did make.

With Mohsina’s softer features looking particularly striking that day, and Hamzah with his natural charm, looking more like Imraan as the days went by, I knew that many eyes would probably be on them that day. Tears filled my eyes momentarily as I wondered how time had flown so fast, that my once 11-year-old brother-in-law was already married.

And as I left them, hoping they would get enough time to talk before guests started filling the hall, Zaid was passed from arm to arm as we tried to keep him from Mohsina for that evening.

He was, very evidently, restless and pining for her, and as the function started, her sister had come to take him outside for a small walk, so the lecture and beautiful Qirāt recital could take place without him bawling his eyes off.

All the time, as I sat, I could see Mohsina’s eyes searching for him, almost as if she could think of nothing else. He had, very evidently, taken over her life as much as he did ours. And of course, I tried to ignore the unfounded feeling that I may not get as much as him now as I hoped, but I had to also put my own selfish desires aside and respect her and Hamzah’s wishes.

And despite my small concerns, the joy and feeling of celebrating that was in the air was very much palpable. Mohsinas family, I could not deny, was most welcoming and hospitable. Remembering that she came from a simple home, I was in awe of how every member of her family served and saw to the needs of the guest personally and most graciously.

The food was, very evidently, deliciously home-made, and the small function went so beautifully that even Rabia had nothing to complain about. And although it was simple and completely unflashy, what I knew for sure, from her boisterous and very evident love for him, was that Hamzah was most definitely going to be pampered endlessly by Mohsinas amazing Nani, who kept swooning over him, unashamedly boasting about her new grandson-in-law, and stopping at nothing to make sure that everything was absolutely perfect.

And it was. From the beginning to end, the marquee devoid of cameras or there was so much of Barakah and happiness, that nothing could deter the couple from beaming so brightly, that I’m sure that their faces must have been sore from all the smiling they both did that day.

I was all lost in thought as I watched Jameela take Zaid to the front table where Mohsina was sitting and laughing with a friend of hers, noticing the look of sheer relief on both their faces as Zaid saw her and immediately grasped her neck, as if he never wanted to let go…

“Can you believe your brother-in-law is getting married?”

I turned slightly to the right with my smile widening, as I heard the voice of Haseena, Maulana Umar’s wife, grinning at my new sister-in-law.  My heart filled with joy, and I couldn’t help but reach out and hug her fiercely, taking in her familiar embrace as she hugged me back.

We had known each other for years, but seldom saw each other because of Maulana’s work that always entailed him going out for jamaat and taking her with him. Besides, life was so hectic at times, and with five kids, I couldn’t imagine what her days were like.

“I honestly am finding it hard to deal, Hasoo,” I said, remembering the nickname we always used for her before she was even married to Maulana Umar, or rather just Umar, at that time. “I can’t believe he’s grown up and I’m married for almost 12 years this year!”

Back then, Haseena was a completely ordinary, contemporary girl who loved to make a fashion statement and caught everyone’s attention. And though still positively stunning, when I saw her now, I could hardly believe that this girl in jilbaab was the same girl that had changed her life so drastically, and turned over a completely new leaf.

“It means we’re getting old, aren’t we?” She said, with a twinkle in her eye, and I laughed in agreement. It was bitter-sweet, this getting old thing.

And so was this event.

”It’s a bit emotional, isn’t it?” she said, almost saying aloud how I felt. “The baby… their friends… now, how Allah planned it… they’ve become a new couple. I know Maulana is optimistic that it will work out and the baby needs a proper home, but imagine if this was you or I, Sawls… it’s kind of a huge sacrifice isn’t it?”

I nodded solemnly, feeling an ache in my gut because I knew that Liyaket would have been really thrilled to see his best friend finally settling down. I had remembered hearing Imraan joking about how Liyaket often teased Hamzah about his tendency to jump from girl to girl in the office.

“He’s really changed,” I said softly to her. “I think he’s finally grown up. Soon we’ll be planning our kids weddings, have you thought about that?”

She laughed, and as we spoke easily about life, kids and everything else, the crowd was dispersing and the men slowly started filtering into the hall, she easily excused herself to go to the car where Maulana Umar was probably already waiting. Giving her an even more massive hug, as she left, I could barely believe that this day that we had all been waiting for so long was already nearly over.

Meeting Haseena was lovely and kind of the cherry on the top, as I remembered the earlier days when I just got married and how everything had settled into place. In a mere moment, seeing her again felt like no time had passed, and it was a beautiful feeling that made me look forward to the waleemah a little more.

Meeting with the people of the past reminds us of the way things once were, the happiness that we experienced growing up, and all the wonder. It was a natural feeling that just brought a smile to your face.

And as some familiar faces came up to greet us, the amazing atmosphere of unity and family was such a special feeling.

The feeling of everything falling into place so beautifully was incomparable. And as we got ready to leave too, toward the end of the function when Hamzah had come in to sit with Mohsina, and as they talked intimately, about something serious, I couldn’t help but feel a little at a loss for words, after Haseena’s words.

What these two had done was something that was quite amazing. Though it was a joining of families… a union of hearts and hopefully the initiation of something in breakable… but most importantly, it was the forming of a little orphaned boy’s home and family.

The fact that they had put all their differences aside and taken this plunge was something that I couldn’t quite believe my brother-in-law had so selflessly been able to commit to.

And yes, it may be a challenge. Imraan had voiced his concerns, unreservedly, to me earlier that week.

I did notice that Hamzah had been quiet recently, but to be fair, he had undergone a helluva lot in the past month, and no one could expect him to come out unchanged…

He had barely had a chance to really reflect over the Yemeni war situation before Liyakets passing brought him crashing down on him, and then was Ramadhaan and Al ‘Aqsa, that he had done in the spur of the moment, and in between it all, becoming something like a father to Zaid, well…

The whole transition may be extremely difficult and even heartbreaking, as they remembered their friends in every first word, first step and little achievement that he made through the years. Losing someone was not a once off.

You lose them over and over, sometimes many times a day. When the loss, momentarily forgotten, creeps up, and attacks you from behind, it’s like fresh waves of grief rip into your heart once again.

And although they will be living and carrying on without them, what a beautiful reminder it was, that they had most certainly left one of their most amazing gifts behind.

And as they left behind what may have started on rough and unsteady footing, and went toward what may be a better and more promising future that held something so much better, I couldn’t help but feel immensely excited about it.

And as I helped them clean away some dishes as Rabia sat and looked bored as she typed on her phone, Imraan speaking to Mohsinas father in the distance, my heart was palpably undergoing a host of emotions that I still couldn’t full figure, but as I took a seat, various thoughts were still whirling through my mind.

Seeing family and friends and so many people that we hadn’t met over the years was amazing. This was a union of two families, a breaking of barriers, and a spectacular reason for renewed hope… and the conclusion of the saying by Umar bin Khattab (Radiallaho Anho) as it continued, was a perfect reminder.

­

Go easy on yourself, for the outcome of all affairs is determined by Allah’s decree. If something is meant to go elsewhere, it will never come your way, but if it is yours by destiny, from you it cannot flee.

The thing is, life can be fulfilling at different times of our lives. Sometimes you just have to trust the timing. Theres always opportunity to be wanting to sit and wonder about how things could have turned out differently.. But you can also trust that you have never missed out on what was meant for you.

And though its hard to trust when so much is unknown, try not to take it in all at once.

Pause. Breathe in. Take it in, shade by shade, tree by tree, scent by scent, friendship by friendship… Take in the magic of the moment you are in, without really worrying about what’s to come next or beyond the amazemnet of that moment. Let it be enough. Breathe it in, and let it be enough.

The story thats unfolding right then may be world’s apart from what we expected but it doesn’t mean that it wont be beautiful and life-changing.

And as I breathed in the moment, savoring it’s uniqueness, the vibration on the table broke into my thoughts, as I wondered who would be trying to call me right then.

And just as I picked it up, seeing a missed call from my younger sister and knowing that this was probably not just a general courtesy call, it was at that moment that the message from her came through, and it gave me a slightly unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach as I wondered if Fareeha was really telling the truth.

Imraan told Aadil to join u guys for tea. We’re in the area. See you in 5. xx


Just a tad bit of wedding humour …

Don’t forgot our Mission Sunnah Revival

❤️

The Sunnah of Giving up arguing and having good manners…

Whilst we grapple to keep that connection alive out of Ramadhaan, and approach the month of Dhul Hajjiah, let try and increase our Ibaadat.

Abu Umamah Al-Bahili Ra reported Nabi (ﷺ) said,

“I guarantee a house in Jannah for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right;

and I guarantee a home in the middle of Jannah for one who abandons lying even for the sake of fun;

and I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah for one who has good manners/Akhlaaq.

In line with love for Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Salaam), a narration goes like this:

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..💕

#RevivetheSunnahofQur’aanTilaawat

#ReviveSunnahofDuaa

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah ­

A Change of Heart


Bismihi  Ta’ala 
 
Jameela 

Part 39
I once heard a beautiful something that went something like this:
 
The heart is like a mirror. If it is not cleaned properly, it will not properly reflect the recognition of it’s Lord.
 
And it may not seem like a game-changer, but you see, everyone thinks they are fine, until they realise that they’re not.
 
And only once I experienced this for myself, did I realise what it truly meant to have a dead heart. A heart that sees nothing beyond what is layered on top of its dust. A heart that is beating, but has no connection to the one who fashioned it. 
 
Because before this, I was alive in body, but my heart was drenched in ignorance. I was experiencing a spiritual drought. I was desperately in need of some showers of mercy. 
 
But every once in a while, there comes a time in life, a period of intense need, when the thirsty hearts of man are aching for a spiritual change of season, but need a little push to get there. 
 
And as Ramadhaan approached that year, I could already feel my heart yearning for its solace. The souls were stifled. Hearts were undoubtedly ill. The buzz in the air was palpable as Mummy did the usual mundanities of bulk grocery shopping and samoosas galore.
 
And don’t get me wrong, okay. I’m not saying that it was Nani’s samoosas …. but what I did know was that the samoosa filling that happened at the onset of every Ramadhaan did play a really vital role in this particular development, as much as Nani tried to deny it, but that, I’ll come back to later.

What I could say for sure was sometimes when you least expect it, life can do a 360 on you. 
 
A change that can change the hearts, like never before. 
And what changed it, you may ask? 

Well, all I can say is that there’s a time in life when you come to realise that there are certain things that can only come from the wealth of Allah Ta’alas treasures. Through dusting of the layers. Through cleansing the hearts. Through starving the Nafs. Through nourishing the souls… through Dhikr, through Salaah… and most of all, with Quran…  

Quran Shareef was the reason that Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) was able to cope with his life.
 
I mean, who can claim to have a life worse than him? No matter what our beloved Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) experienced, he was never hopeless, because he had the Quran.
 
And the same can ring true for us too. The cure from the Curer. The Healer of Hearts. With Him, with His sublime message, the storm can never be too fierce, and without him, surely we will get knocked by even the slightest of a breeze. 
 

But sometimes we need a little stumble, to seek our Lord again.

It was still the week before Ramadhaan when it all started, when we should have been preparing spiritually but we obviously hadn’t, as I walked into the room, I had no idea whatsoever about what lay ahead, but what I was seeing before me was already giving me a little clue…
 
“Hey pretty mama,” I whispered to my sister as I walked into the spare room of our double story home, which undoubtedly had the best view of the plot that my father had inherited from our late grandparents. 
 
There she was, my gorgeous sister. Even in her frumpy  clothes, she was still a stunner.
Nevermind, she was lounging in her scruffy grey gown and pink fluffy slippers. It didn’t matter that her hair was dishevelled and make up completely trashed, Mohsina was the step-in mother who was just trying to pull through. 
 
She was rocking Zaid vigorously as she tried to settle his squirming body, which seemed to be particularly restless that day. I honestly did not know she had this in her.

I could see her grape-coloured burka I had gifted her for Eid the previous year placed next to her, over the chair, and the Quran she had used since madrassa days lying next to the crib, on a higher shelf. It had probably been a while since she opened it, but I knew that recently, since we had lost Layyanah, she had made it her daily routine to read a few Juz of Quran, and I could literally see the effect on her heart. 

That was the beauty part of reading for the deceased. There’s no one in the equation who does not benefit, and neither does it remove from the reward of the reciter. In fact, it was probably her salvation from the craziness of this new life…

As for Zaid, Mohsina was really trying everything to keep him settled, but it wasn’t easy. Nani was trying too, putting all her past skills to good use, while she embarked on this great role of alleged great-grand parenthood. 

“Did you try the gripe water mixture Nani made?” I asked, looking at the empty bottle next to the bed, and feeling a teeny bit sorry for her.
 
Yasss,” she said enthusiastically, plopping down on the rocker while she held him tightly. His eyes were still wide open as he looked at her. “Tell her to make more. And then she can maybe massage him like she did last week. And put him on her knee to sleep. He hasn’t made a poo in two days.”
 
Oh gosh, TMI. Like why do mothers say things like that? 

Zaid was sucking on the pacifier in his mouth, but looking far from contented. 
 
And I knew it was the formula battle that was causing it. It was why Layyanah had been breastfeeding so persistently in the first place. I remember her once saying that she found that he twisted and turned in his sleep when he drank huge amounts of formula. 
 
She stifled a yawn as she tried to place him down as gently as she could, but he immediately gave out a moan, making her scoop him up and cradle him once again, pressing his stomach to keep him from squirming.
 
“Where is Nani, by the way?” Mohsina sighed, frowning slightly. She was looking a tad bit frustrated. 
 
I knew she wanted the help but I wasn’t good with Zaid at all. He always bawled in my arms.
 
“Filling samoosas,” I said with a small smirk. “From before Fajr. We’ll have samoosas coming out of our ears by the end of Ramadhaan.”

Mohsina’s eyes widened.
 
“I hope she is not planning on serving Samoosas today,” she said in a warning tone. “I ordered the woolies cookies and cappuccinos and Ma says she baked, and that’s all I was planning on giving them. Samoosas would just give them the wrong idea…”

Samoosas. Well, Nani’s entire life at the moment revolves around samoosas, and about that, there was nothing much I could say.
 
“Talking about woolies,” I replied with a tiny smile. “Nani wasn’t too thrilled about the nappy purchase from there last week. Or the formula. Said you’re wasting your money. She said next time to give you her list and she’ll get you a pensioners discount from the supermarket down the road.”
 
Mohsina grinned. Nani’s reaction to the whole situation was something that was pretty awesome. It was probably due to the fact that my sister was adopting an entirely new kind of role in her new-found life that was very much like the role Nani had always imagined for her… minus the husband. 

And of course, it was a shocker for me too. For the first time in years, Mohsina’s phone was barely in her hand. Work had taken a backseat. Her entire life had changed and Nani was noticing it too. Most of all, despite the heartbreak in the backdrop, it had almost completely healed their rocky relationship.
 
Almost. Except for the unmentionable things that Mohsina or Nani never mentioned. 
 
“Nani,” Mohsina mumbled lovingly with a shake of her head, and a humoured look in her eyes. “How can we explain to her the value of convenience? It’s the click of a button, and everything is here. Now I understand why new mothers always look like they do. Honestly, Jamz, I will never look at a stay-at-home mother the same way ever again. They are the new royalty.”
 
I never thought I’d hear the day that Mohsina would say that. And I was so, so in awe of her too. 

As for Nani, besides being thrilled about everything else, since she had heard about the new development this morning where Hamzah and family were due to come this afternoon to see the baby and discuss options on how to care for him in the best way, Nani’s entire purpose in life seemed to alter.
 
”Ohhh, he’s coming here?!” She had said disbelievingly as she heard my mother talking.
 
She said ‘he’ as if he was some kind of royalty or A-list celebrity. 
 
Her half-filled Samoosa was in mid-air as she stared at my mother inquiringly.
 
She was all anxious and excited as Ma explained to her that he wanted to spend time with the baby and was coming with a Maulana, and some of his family who wanted to talk about guardianship of the baby. Ma had made it clear that it was meant to be very professional and serious and no funny business was possible, and asked Nani to make special Duaas for them to come to an amicable decision. 

“Duaas are always there,” she said with an interesting glint in her eyes, but said no more as she continued stuffing the samoosas with chicken mince once more.
 
I walked toward the window, almost automatically, as she smiled back at me, glimpsing a kurta-clad figure in the yard and knowing exactly who it was. The kurta was uncharacteristic for a normal morning, and as I watched, not realising just how long I was standing and unashamedly staring, her voice sounded behind me.
 
 “Who you looking at like that?“ 

I blushed, knowing she had caught me red-handed as I quickly turned away.
Ah yes, the hearts were certainly ill and needed some intense healing…  
 
Especially mine. Tarnished and blackened by all the sins.
 
We tried, a lot of the time, not to cross paths… but sometimes it was unavoidable. 
 
Also, the way Mohsina was looking at me was even more unavoidable.
 
And as I looked at her too, I could see this changed woman who was nothing like self-centered one I had thought she was all these months. She had gone from someone that I could barely relate to, to an amazing woman who I looked up to and greatly admired .
 
Now, to add fuel to fire, she was mercilessly scrutinising me, with a sly smile as she raised eyebrows. 

“I know that look,” she said, shaking her head. “You like him, don’t you?”
 
I shook my head and she sighed. 

Well, not exactly. His name was Zubair and it was a few things that had come to my knowledge recently that had made me … understand  him a little better.

How he had gotten into trouble with his uncle. Why he had maybe resorted to what he had done. Why he needed to earn extra money in the first place, because he hadn’t finished school and his options were so limited, he just had to do all the dirty work that had got us into so much of trouble too…
 
“He’s not exactly usyaar, is he?” She said with raised eyebrows. “The complete opposite of you. Nani might have a thing to say about that.”
 
I swallowed and looked up at her.
 
Usyaar. The Gujarati equivalent of innocent and sweet-natured. Exactly what every mother-in-law was looking for in a son or daughter-in-law.
 
I knew that. And that was precisely the reason why I wouldn’t ever think of him as anything more than just an employee.
 
If only I could control my unruly heart.
 
“You got that look on your face,” she said with a cock of her head and warning glance. “Don’t get caught in that trap. Of feeling like you need to sneak around because ‘he’ is not what people expect of you…”

I blushed, even though I wasn’t guilty of being in that kind of trouble. I knew the rules. No furtive glances. No unnecessary chit-chat. No passing each other’s paths, even by ‘mistake’. 
 
My traps were only in my mind, but they were just as dangerous. As dangerous as he was, in fact. 

What I didn’t know was the Mohsina was only trying to ensure that I wouldn’t make the same mistakes that she did.
 
“I haven’t ever spoken to him,” I said, not wanting to entertain any further thoughts about the ‘he’ in question. “He keeps his distance even though he stays here.” 
 
The thing is, when we had first met him, in the coffee shop that day, we didn’t know that his mother was late and his father had kicked him out of the house after he started working for his uncle. His sister was married and in the UK for a few months… so he didn’t have much family here for support either. And that’s how he came to stay in the front house. 
 
”Papa seems to like him,” Mohsina conceded, glancing at me as she said it, rocking baby Zaid a little slower as he seemed to be nodding off. “I’m surprised.”
 
“He was the one who told Papa about his uncle and how he fooled you into paying him so much,” I said quietly, purposely changing the topic to slightly safer avenues. “I’m so sorry that you had to dig into all of your savings …”
 
I knew that Papa had finally spoken to her about it yesterday and it wasn’t until now that I felt confident to talk about it openly to her too. They had a long chat and spoke till almost midnight, before Zaid woke up bawling and Mohsina had to abandon the heart-to-heart because she was the only one who could pacify him.

What exactly they spoke about, I wasn’t sure… but from the way Mohsina seemed today, I could see that a lot of baggage was off her shoulders. She looked so much more serene.

“It’s only money,” she said quietly as she held Zaid closer to her. “And Faadil helped me. A lot. I paid him back most but there’s a little outstanding. I suppose it wasn’t the most ideal solution but one good thing is that it left less money available for all of his dodge extra-curricular activities…”
 
A slightly pained expression flashed over her face as she said it, and then she shook her head, swallowing hard as I looked at her inquiringly. 

“Activities?” I asked questioningly. 

“Just a few things I found out about him,” she said with a shrug. “A while back….”
 
I smiled sadly as she looked away, but not wanting to ask anymore questions for fear of the answers. The fact that he had given her so much of money and saved us from a horrible situation did make even me feel indebted to him too…
 
The entire thing was just messed up and it was his fault.
 
My heart sank because she spoke almost as if she liked him, yet my sister was way too good for that self-obsessed twit. What she even saw in him, I had no idea…
 
Mohsina turned to me, her hands tightly wrapped around baby Zaid as she stopped rocking him, a serene smile on her face as she glanced at me victoriously and finally bent to lay him down. 
 
My heart contracted slightly as I could picture Layyanah doing this umpteen times before, biting back tears as I watched as she placed him down in the little cot she had bought from the baby shop yesterday.

I smiled amidst the grief, a little in awe of how Mohsina herself had done this whole new transition. Something in her had shifted.
 
And though I expected Mohsina to be all possessive and impossible, she was actually being pretty level-headed in her approach… and though I could see that it was stressing her out, she had really taken it in her stride. 
 
Well, until now, when she looked at the time and did a double take. 

“Oh my word, I didn’t realise the time!” she squealed, widening her eyes and looking panicked as she realised that she had half an hour till they were scheduled to come.

It was actually what I had come to tell her before I had seen her in her maternal glory and got completely distracted. 
 
“I still have to get dressed and read my Salaah! Jamz, please stick around here and tap him back if he starts to move. Or just call Nani. At least it will stop her from frying any samoosas…”
 
And with that, in true crazy-mum style, my sister had already zoomed off to shower and I hovered around and watched the little sleeping sweetheart, wondering how such a tiny human could bring about such a huge change in so many people’s lives.
 
Change, huh? I never thought I’d see it. Till that point, to be honest, I had really given up on my sister. Despite knowing that I should never give up on anyone… I had shelved the idea of ever trying to see eye-to-eye with her until now. 

Instead of the superficial and selfish sister I had been accustomed to the past few months, and amazing, selfless and maternal side of her was make its way to the shore and it gave me goosebumps to see the potential she had.
 
I was so, so proud of her, for putting this above everything, and not just fitting it in like I thought she would. 
 
After the strange behavior she had exhibited over the past few months, pushing us away and distancing herself further and further… somehow, it was like something had clicked into place when she had lost Layyanah. The arrogance she had previously displayed was no longer a part of her. Instead, there was a simmered down, completely contented version of herself that had come to the fore once this new situation had become apparent.
 
And I didn’t even think of her last words to me as I got busy with Zaid and my babysitting duty. I wasn’t even sure how time ran away with me, because the next thing I knew, car doors were slamming outside and Mohsina was sprinting out of the bathroom, scrounging around in my cupboards for something decent to put on.
 
I couldn’t imagine how she must have been feeling at that point, if I was stuck in my own kind of frenzy about what the outcome of this entire meeting was going to be.
 
No matter what she said or how tough Mos acted… It was obvious that this was important. What was happening right now meant a lot to her. Not only was she dealing with someone who was once quite important to her, but all over again, for other unprecedented reasons, she had to make a good impression and build their trust once again and this was a meeting that would hold so much of weight.
 
And of course, it was precisely at that time when Zaid decided he was hungry again and started bawling his head off. Mohsina was yelling at me to take him when I pulled open the room door to head downstairs and be my best version of politeness, when I caught the whiff of freshly fried samoosas in the air. From Mohsina’s unimpressed expression, I knew she did too. 
 
I also knew that she was probably going to kill me for letting it happen but the truth was that when Nani was set on something, especially when it came to samoosas, there wasn’t much else anyone could say to stop her. 

What we didn’t know was that this whole Samoosa Saga was probably going to bring about a lot more than anticipated.
 
Sometimes, changes are gradual. Steady, slow and easy, sometimes the changes give us time to be accustomed to them and give us some sort of warning.
 
Sometimes the changes need to be within us, and we have to work on our inner selves. Sometimes the changes start directly from our filthy hearts, so we can finally see Allah Ta’alas magic in everything once again. 
 
And yes, we were all waiting for Ramadhan that year, to bring its peace and comfort, but what we didn’t know was that our entire world was already starting to transform before that.

See once in a while, with the realisation of life and death, when the hearts are altered and our souls have been moved through the beautiful sustenance of worship, it’s like the ground beneath has shifted. You see things with a new eyes. It’s like your whole world has changed, and things will never be the same again 
 
See once in a while, once in a blue moon, people can surprise you.
 
And once and a while, the ones you least expect, they may even take your breath away…
 
 


Assalamualaikum 
 
Dearest Readers 
 
I sincerely hope that everyone had a beautiful Ramadhaan. May Allah accept all our efforts, and grant us istiqaamat. It’s quite a transition, getting back to the old routine.

Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said: “The most beloved of deeds are those that are performed consistently even though they may be little.”
 
May Allah guide us to maintain our efforts. 
May it be a means of change, not only for now, but also a means of us continuously improving.
One sign of acceptance is to be able to maintain our efforts and do more. InshaAllah. 

Mission Sunnah Revival will continue- let’s try and bring all the past ones back into practise InshaAllah, especially trying to stay off social media and guard our gazes…
 
Please do remember me in your duaas
Much love 
 
A x

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

 

 

 

Building the Bridges

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 38
Saaliha

Life changes in a heartbeat.

One day, everything is the way we always knew it as, and the next, it can feel like we’re in a completely different world.

Everyone has their own battles. Their own tests and trials. Everyone has good days. Bad days. Days that they show their bad ways. Yes, and bad things happen too. Horrible things. But to stand tall, accept and still have Tawakkal in Allah’s plan, in the face of them, is what can define you. To put others before yourself, to be patient in the face of adversity, to build bridges, instead of breaking them… can change the outcome of even what seems like the bleakest of situations.

All it takes sometimes, is a new way of looking at things, a way of letting go of old habits and memories. Forgiving and letting go of past grievances. A way to build new bridges. All it takes is to start afresh, to build up again, with a new heart and a new mind..

And with the building, there is a secret key ingredient that is thrown in, with the recipe to happiness. Expecting the best from Allah Azza Wa Jal can bring the best out of any situation, turn stormy skies to sunny ones, bring the light from behind the clouds, and even turn rain into rainbows …

Better things come along, and a stronger, wiser you is waiting to show you your own mettle, as you walk through these days that seemed like they would never get any better…

And as you sit on your sisters front porch, staring at that life you are leaving behind, you have to accept that it’s gone. All you can do is stand still and be ready, and be open to the path that life is going to take next.

“Oh my word, I’m so sorry Sawls,” Fareeha sniffed, blowing her nose noisily as she tried to breathe steadily once again. “It’s been a tough week for you guys but here I am, bawling my eyes out about things that barely even compare to what you guys have been through. After today, you’re likely to go back home and never come see me again and I wouldn’t blame you one bit…”

“Don’t say that,” I said comfortingly, looking at her with a new eye as my mind raced with thoughts about everything she had just revealed to me. “This is just as important…”

Fareeha’s usually jovial face was drawn with worried lines that made her look almost years beyond her age. I held her hand tightly as she gripped mine back, for the first time ever for me, revealing the illusive shadow behind the usually courageous girl that I knew was my sister.

Seeing her like this was something that I hadn’t caught a glimpse of in years, and my heart went out for her, as I wondered how she must really feel.

The warmth of my little nephew, the cause for her concern, who lay against my chest was already a calming for my restless soul.

The view from where I sat, overlooking the greenery of the beautifully elevated garden, was absolutely remarkable. At the end of the day, as the sky and sun met, it felt almost like hope was meeting fear, and here I sat, somewhere in between.

I sighed to myself contentedly for a minute, realising that always, no matter how far we’ve strayed from Allah Azza Wa Jal, there’s always hope to find our path back to Him.

”Its been a tough week, hasn’t it?”

She could say that again.

The incessant weeping had finally ceased, as I held him close to me, trying to draw comfort from the little bit of comfort he had drawn from me.

Our hearts had all taken a battering this week. Every. Single. One. Of. Us.

There was I, sitting with little Uzayr, cuddling him till my hearts content, while Fareeha sat opposite me, just over the sudden torrent of emotion that had overflowed from her most unexpectedly.

“I don’t know how to do explain it,” she was saying softly, just moments ago. “It’s not that I resent him, but the child is finishing me, Sawls. He just bawls for hours on end… and I have no idea why even. The nights are hardest. I don’t understand him and he doesn’t understand me. The way it’s going feels like he’s been challenging me till I’m nearly breaking. And I know he doesn’t know but its literally making me lose my mind..”

And as she explained, it was like all of a sudden, everything was fitting into place and finally making sense. Now, I understood a little more of her, and a little less of myself and how I had been behaving the past few weeks.

I had been so selfish, blocking everyone else out to satisfy my own warped ideas, even Imraan, before the blast that had come  to settle my perception right once again. It was a much needed reflection, but it didn’t make it less heartbreaking.

And even though I was understanding more, I still wondered, not for the first time, if maybe Fareeha was possibly being a little too impulsive with her decision making. Maybe she just needed time to let things settle. Maybe she just needed to restructure her home environment and make it work for her in a different way. Maybe finding her husband another wife wasn’t really the best solution to the problem that she was finding most challenging at this time.

She closed her eyes for the umpteenth time that evening, looking absolutely exhausted.

”It’s just a bad day,” I said soothingly. “It happens. It will get better.”

I gazed at Uzayr, her only son, with his curly brown hair and chubby cheeks.

Nearly two years old, I tried not to make mention of the fact that my little nephew was saying no substantial  words and had heavily delayed milestones. And although he had been an extremely calm baby, compared to his dramatic sisters, he had very suddenly become an over-active and hyper toddler that was making Fareeha literally pull her hair out.

“Do you think I’m doing something wrong?” She asked me suddenly, and I looked at her, not sure what to say.

I didn’t want to tell Fareeha that she may need to consider taking him for an assessment, if there were no changes soon. Besides talking late, he was, very evidently, finding difficulty with expressing his pent-up feelings, which made him all the more frustrated and troublesome.

Deep in her heart, I knew that she knew that something was wrong. But in situations like this… how do you know when to stop hoping something will change or just nip it in the bud and try and rectify whatever’s may be wrong?

It wasn’t an enviable plight, and I felt for my sister. I really did.

For the first time, it made it apparent why Fareeha may be completely averse to any more kids and would rather surrender her husband to another woman instead. I got it now, a little at least.

“You’re an amazing mother,” I told her reassuringly.

She really was. She did everything in her capacity for her kids, with little help from anyone else. Having a child that was a little delayed in milestones or not as fast as other kids didn’t define your parenting skills.

“This… whatever is going on with Uzayr, it doesn’t change anything about you,” I assured her. “You’re doing the best you can.”

Fareeha looked at me morosely as I stirred the cup of tea that she had just made, almost in slow motion, whilst she got up and pried his fingers off of me to put him down. After rushing down to Johannesburg for the funeral the previous week, I had asked Imraan to drop me at Fareeha’s place for a while to settle my own thoughts.

I just needed some spoiling and comfort food and I knew my sister was just the person to sort it all out for me.

”Again, sorry about the drama,” she said apologetically as she came back into the kitchen, shaking her head as she pulled her teabag out of her cup. “How are you all doing? Imraan? Your brother-in-law? And how is that little baby boy… that poor little child… an orphan so, so suddenly..”

I stirred my own cup as she looked at me questioningly with teary eyes, emotions overtaking me too for a minute, as I felt gripped the steaming cup tightly.

And she was so right. A sudden death is just so much more tragic. It’s like taking that familiar walk up the stairs on the dark, thinking there is still one more stair… when there isn’t.

Its a moment of uncomfortable shock as you try to readjust the way you think of things.

My heart contracted as she said it, and without a warning, tears were already forming in the corner of my eyes.

“It can’t be easy for the family,” she said quietly. “It’s part of life though, isn’t it. Death. We all know it’s going to happen but act like it’s a surprise when it does…”

Ah yes. That it was, for the living. But for those who have reached a place of excellence, it’s light upon light, as Allah says in the Quran:

Peace be upon you for what you patiently endured. and excellent is the final home.

Indeed, that final destination is most exceptional, if only we knew.

The events of the past week were a heart-wrenching reminder, but amidst the trials that had come was  beautiful silver lining that had stood out for all of us.

And sometimes, all we need is a shift in focus. As it became common knowledge that he was partly under Hamzah’s care now, like an immediate relief from our torment… all I could think about day and night now was the baby, and trying to ensure that  he would be safe and okay.

And the way I saw it, the lessons here were many. Right before us was the glaring example that showed us that despite who my brother-in-law was before, a situation that could have lead to his downfall had brought him to a place that had now completely changed him. There he was, an entire new person, now with a even greater responsibility- that we were all immensely looking forward to seeing him take it on.

But the task didn’t come without its hiccups. Of course, I had offered my undying commitment. I was rooting for Hamzah to bring him home forever to us so we could keep him and love him and shower him with everything that I was aching to but only problem was that since the news of baby Zaid, and my excitement over him, Imraans mood had noticeably changed, and it wasn’t for the better.

And though we had made our peace and I’d made up for my previous behaviour, Imraan’s face was still riddled with worry and I just didn’t understand it

“Hey, it’s good news,” I eventually said to him the previous night over supper, when I finally couldn’t stand his morbid face any longer. Even Uthman had gotten up and gone to play with his Lego’s. “Why are you looking like you’re in depression?”

Imraan sighed and looked at me, running his hand through his beard as he stopped eating. His measly portion was lying almost untouched.

”It’s not so simple, Sawls,” he said steadily. “He’s currently in between with Layyanah’s friend and Liyaket’s mother…. remember Mohsina? “

”Of course,” I said softly.

”She’s taken off work to see to him, but Hamzah said that can’t last forever…”

Would this bring additional problems that I didn’t anticipate?

”What’s the plan from there?” I asked carefully.

Imraan shifted uncomfortably as I watched him, not yet meeting my eye.

“He wants to go into court,” he mumbled. “It’s going to make this whole thing so much more uncomfortable but if that’s what it takes to get him, then it has to be done, right?”

I stared at Imraan, a little in shock over what he had just told me.

”What?” I asked, still processing. Wasn’t that a teeny bit drastic?

He obviously wasn’t in favour of the situation, but for me, it was bringing on major anxiety.

Court cases were the pits. I’d had plenty of experience with my family and their own issues. My cousin Lameez had to eventually go into court for custody over her daughter. It was horrible and left them all absolutely emotionally exhausted.

The court battles bring on so many issues and ill-feelings. If there was any way at all to avoid it… they had to reconsider.

”You know when Hamzah has his mind set on something, it’s hard to change it,” Imraan said softly, as I tried to digest the information.

I knew that about my brother-in-law. Even when it came to his marriage, it was finalised in no time… and the same thing happened when he called it quits. No-one could sway him either way. For Hamzah, it was either black or white. There were no other colours in between…

Imraan looked so hopeless that I wanted to hug him and chase all his worries away. He was clearly at a loss for words, and I knew that I had to try and provide some hope.

“For Allah’s sake,” I pleaded, appealing to a side of him that I could see was dwindling. “Tell him to leave it, for Allah’s sake. Don’t let them take this to court.”

And as much as my heart was aching for that little guy to be with us, I couldn’t let them go through with this. If everyone wanted their way, where was the room for negotiation? The advice of the pious Akaabireen was to exhaust every other means of mediation before the court. Whether they had to speak, argue or fight it out in a private setting, anything would be better than court.

Especially now, when it came to the blessed days, so close to Ramadhaan… why should we drag themselves to court and fight it out… and bring Allah’s blessings out of what is supposed to be a noble thing?

In the case of this little baby, who was the apple of their eye… the entire relationship will turn bitter if they had to turn it over to the lawyers.

I had to be positive and hopeful but I had to be reasonable too. If we all just keep pushing our own agendas, what about the little baby that this is all about?

”Going to court should be an absolute last resort,” I murmured, shaking my head. “This will break them completely. Maybe Hamzah may agree to seeking someone’s advice? Maybe once we make some enquiries you can suggest to Hamzah a way that will bring more Barakah…”

And that’s precisely what we needed right now. More blessings. Less conflict. Hearts coming together, to build more bridges that coils hopefully bring the best out of the situation.

With Ramadhaan around the corner, I really did wish that maybe they could come to some resolution, so bad-feelings could be avoided. After all, these were great days where we should be concentrating on mending ourselves and maintaining better ties with those around us.

Imraan looked at me, and immediately, his burden seemed a little lighter as his face lit up.

“You think he will listen?” he asked hopefully.

“I think its worth a try,” I said with a smile. “There’s only goodness in making Mashwarah. Allah‘s help will come. Have faith in Him, because if we have good expectations… then there’s no way that He can let us down..”

Imraan nodded, but it already looked like the hugest boulder was off his shoulders.

He had pecked me softly on my forehead as he got up, thanking me and then heading off to the study to start with his work.

Nothing was immediate, but what I had said to him made sense. Yes, it may take time, but he was certain that something could change…

And as I sat there right then, I wasn’t quite sure how to feel. It was a mixture of hope and shame, for how I had behaved in the past and how everything was changing so fast. I so desperately wanted to set everything aright again.

I knew that today, I would explain to him about Fareeha and why I had been acting so crazy. I too, hadn’t been having the best of expectations. Soon, I too would build those bridges that had been placed between us, and make an effort to mend our hearts, so we could find comfort in each other once again. Brick by brick, we would build those bridges once again…

And just as I felt my heart dropping a little as I sat with my sister, wondering if Imraan had spoke to his brother yet, my phone coincidentally lit up.

I glimpsed at the message from Imraan and immediately smiled.

You know you give the best advice.

He always gave me undue credit but it’s what I loved about him the most.

I wasn’t sure how I had been so lucky, but for Imraan, he just made everything so easy. I mean, there were many spectacular perks of Allah Ta’ala’s blessing me with one of the most amazing husbands, but this was one of his most outstanding.

At least my husband still cherished me enough to include me in the most crucial matter that was going on. My heart soared as I looked up at Fareeha and gave her a huge smile, all my fears already diminishing as the new snippet of information sunk in for me.

Whatever will come, or whatever is on its way, if Allah has taken care of you today, is it not the absolute truth that the same Lord will see to you in the future?

Life changes, sometimes in a heart beat. Some lose love. Some lose friends. Some lose pieces that they never imagined could be gone. And then without even realising it, these pieces come back, in the strangest of ways…

“Far,” I said, sitting back and opening my messages to reply. “I think that there may still be some hope in this hopeless world.”

She gave a grin smile and then raised her brows questioningly.

“Imraan just asked me if he can pick me up to go with him.”

“Ah, don’t leave me,” she said sadly, pouting her lips.

I smiled back. It really was the best news all week.

My wish was coming true. Imraan had taken what I’d said to heart and had somehow gotten through to Hamzah too. Finally, brick by brick, the bridges were coming together… and I was finally beginning to feel whole again. Because always, no matter how far we’ve strayed from Allah Azza Wa Jal, He will always welcome you back with more love than than anyone ever could if you put Him above everyone else.

“it’s for a really good reason, I promise,” I said with a smile. “Maulana Umar has intervened. He insists that the court should be avoided, as far as possible. They’re going over to the house to see Zaid and negotiate some kind of arrangement, to avoid a court case. He wants me to go with…”

 

 


Dear Readers ❤️

Shukran for your patience! Sorry, I really did intend to to a two part post but I’m still recovering from being unwell and time is not on my side since the first fast will be tomorrow. InshaAllah, this has provided some closure and we will continue after Ramadhaan.

May Allah help us to put the lessons into practise, mend broken ties and make the most of this blessed month. Let’s try and stay offline, delete social media, absorb ourselves in Quran and make lots and lots of Duaa…

Please make me Maaf for my shortcoming and remember me in your precious duaas.

Much Love

A x


Sunnah of Maintaining Ties

 

Especially as the month of blessings dawn on us, and we are preparing for extra ibaadat, let’s make an effort to maintain family ties.

“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain the bonds of kinship” (Bukhari)

A young man went to attend the weekly Hadith lecture of Sayyidna Abu Huraira but stopped when he heard him saying “If anyone sitting here has severed any ties of kinship (qata-ur-rahim), he should leave.”
He recalled that he had not been on speaking terms with his aunt living in the same town. The young man quietly left the gathering and went straight to his aunt’s house and asked for forgiveness for his past behavior and sought rapprochement. When the aunt inquired about the reason for this change of heart, he narrated the incident. She accepted the apology but asked him to inquire from Abu Huraira the reason for this unusual statement. Why did Abu Huraira leave all the other major sins and focus only on this? What was so special about ties of kinship? Sayyidna Abu Huraira replied that he had heard from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that our deeds were presented to Allah every Thursday night and anyone who has severed family ties has all his good deeds rejected. He did not want any such person sitting in his gathering, which was held on the same night, for fear that it could deprive the entire gathering of blessings. Another Hadith explains further the reason for this fear: “Allah’s mercy will not descend on people among whom there is one who severs ties of kinship.” (Baihaqi, Shuab Al-Iman)

Du’aa for Ramadhaan  

اَللّٰهُمَّ سَلّمْنِيْ لِرَمَضانَ وَسَلّمْ رَمَضانَ لِيْ وَسَلّمْه لِي مُتَقَبَّلا

Allaahumma sal’lim’nee Li’Ramadhaana, wa sal’lim Ramadhaana lee, wa sal’lim’hu lee mu’ta’qab’ba’laa.

O Allaah! preserve me for Ramadhaan, safeguard Ramadhaan for me and accept it from me.

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

 

 

Silent Dilemmas

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 29
Saaliha

“What on earth is that noise?!”

My mother-in-law eyes were riddled with worry as she winced with every deafening blast that echoed from outside.

It sounded something like a torrent of gunshots raining on our roof. Or our wall. Or somewhere really close. And instead of feeling safe in this out-of-city environment, usually peaceful retreat out in the serenity of the country.. I felt like we were like in the middle of a deadly war zone.

Imraan!” I called, wondering where he was, just as he and Uthman loitered back inside, looking extremely chuffed with themselves.

”Jhee, my darling,” Uthman said, battering his long  dark eyelashes, inherited from his father, and grinning from ear to ear.

Imraan grinned identically and ruffled his head lightly.

Rabia, who was sitting on the couch, let out a spurt of laughter as she watched them together.

I rolled up my sleeves, meaning business. The summer intensity hadn’t yet eased off, despite it being in April. I longed for the calmer winter days once again… pining for cooler temperatures and the first fall of snow we may experience on the farm. Although it didn’t snow often in the region… it was possible that we may get a little if temperatures dropped significantly… and I could barely wait.

The vast lands looked simply stunning when we woke up to a world blanketed by snow. A white winter wonderland that was simply beautiful to gaze at.

”What is going on?!” I asked, putting in my stern voice shaking my head at the pair of them as I smoothed a layer of icing over the sponge cake that I had just baked. “What is that noise? Sounds just like gunshots.”

”It is gunshots, my love,” Imraan said with a grin, sidling up to me and swiping a finger of icing to taste. “But don’t worry, it’s just Hamzah shooting at some cans. He’s pretty good with targets. Looks like all that time with Molvi had some immense benefits.”

Imraan was chuckling about it, obviously thinking it was hilarious, while I narrowed my eyes at him. Never mind my son was learning all these violent tendencies before his time.

And okay, maybe I was a tad bit paranoid because it was my only child. When I believed I should protect him from everything, Imraan was the complete opposite. Him and Uthman got up to the most disturbing things at times. Sometimes they got thermselves into the strangest dilemmas.

And of course I could believe what he said. Maulana Umar was famous for his collection of handguns and rifles, from way back when we were all kids, in school. It was so strange, because his wife, Haseena, was the softest and most benevolent personality you could find.

Opposites really do attract, don’t they?

I pulled open the bottom drawer and grabbed some sprinkles, decorating the plain vanilla cake with an array of pastel shades as the four of them settled on the kitchen stools at the nook, obviously ready for some tea and cake.

At least the blasts from outside had stopped now that they were inside, and I found myself a little more at ease as Hamzah loitered in, looking like he had literally come from war, clad in his dusty kurta and outdoor shoes.

To be honest, it still made me awestruck, this change that had happened almost over night and came like a huge shock to us all. From that mischievous teenager and charmer, Hamzah was now suddenly this modest young man who looked down even when he came into the same vicinity as me. The days he had spent in Jamaat, away from home, had obviously affected his heart really deeply.

It was true what they said. The effect of pious company… of a good environment… of food with barakah and lots of Duáas… well, it definitely had its impact on anyone immersed in it. And of course. It was Imraan who had spoke to Maulana Umar to get him to convince Hamzah to go, so the rewards were all on him.

”Have you let off all your pent-up frustration?” Rabia asked, obviously poking her brother as he sauntered in.

I knew that Rabia had that kind of interfering personality, but I also knew that between brother and sister, there was always some little bickering that went on.

Also, Rabia, after her infamous divorce two years ago had been through a string of horrible samoosa runs so most people were a target for her. I understood that it was hard to find a decent guy who wasn’t on drugs, involved with way too many girls or just plain down incompatible… but it really wasn’t anyone else’s fault that her marriage didn’t work out for her.

Instead, she acted like everyone else had to pay for it. I think she was going through her own kind of dilemma that no one but her had an inkling about.

“What frustration?” Imraan asked innocently, frowning slightly at her.

”You know,” she said, getting up to switch the kettle on, and I could see a hint of shrewdness in her eye. “After seeing Mohsina at the hospital in his ex-boss’s car and losing his shit.”

Rabia!” My mother-in-law scolded, widening her eyes at her.

Oh no. That didn’t sound good. Actually, it sounded really bad. And I could see Hamzah’s face changing because of it. It was probably something that he didn’t wanted everyone to know about either. Unlike Imraan, who usually kept calm in most situations, Hamzah was a bit more vocal. This time though, he silently slunk back, as she said it.

But then again, Rabia also had a tendency to exaggerate things and work on her twin brother’s nerves.

My poor brother-in-law looked immensely uncomfortable as he muttered something under his breath that I couldn’t quite catch.

“Mind your own business, Rabia,” Imraan said quietly, shaking his head as my mother-in-law came around to grab a knife while I got the cups and saucers ready.

I just hoped she wasn’t planning on poking Rabia with it.

“It’s true,” Rabia said, and she wasn’t in the least bit remorseful. I could see Hamzah’s eyes narrowing at her as she spoke.. “I heard him on the phone with Liyaket. Does he really have one of those really expensive Porsche’s?! That means something must-“

Shut up!”Hamzah shot at her, slamming his empty mug on the counter before stalking off, looking like he was seeing red. I was surprised that the mug was still in tact.

But of course, I didn’t blame him.

My mother-in-law closed her eyes and held her head with her hand, obviously not knowing how to salvage the situation, and I felt myself really wishing that Rabia had a filter in her mouth.

Whether she was just oblivious, or a trouble-maker… lately she was honestly one of the most testing personalities I have come across.

Interfering and deliberately causing problems was not exactly an amazing trait to have, even if you’ve had a tough time. Why make other people miserable with you? 

”I was only telling you guys what’s true,” Rabia said as we all watched him disappear into the next room. “Who asked him to take it so personally?”

Ah, how guilty were we all of that? Saying something that’s true… using ‘Haqq’ as an excuse to say what we wanted to. Haqq spreads with goodness. Whatever happened to hurting people and their feelings? Whatever happened to guarding our tongues? What happened to the example of Sahaba-e-Kiraam… the Haqq of other people whether it was in person, or on social media? 

Hamzah had already walked out the room, escaping Rabia’s tormenting, while my mother-in-law turned to her angrily.

“He’s obviously upset about it!” my mother in-law said sharply. “It doesn’t matter what’s the truth. You’re still gossiping and causing problems. Why are you listening to his conversations anyway?”

Rabia shrugged and tossed her streaked ash-blonde hair.

Honestly, I took my hat off to my mother-in-law, who was staying for a few days with us while my father-in-law was in town.

Without exaggeration, she really was one of the most amazing humans beings I’ve ever come across, with the most stunning character. And I knew many people couldn’t say the same about their mothers-in-law but with such a wonderful person, who did so much for everyone and had an absolute heart of gold… I couldn’t help but count my amazing blessings.

There’s always a balance, isn’t there? With every difficulty, there’s an ease..  and supposed that with the tests that I went through before marriage, dealing with stigma and now with my new tests of fertility … Allah blessed me with the most amazing husband and in-laws.

My mother-in-law didn’t say anything further but I could see that she was hurt by the exchange. She really did like Mohsina and from what she said, she couldn’t make sense of why Hamzah didn’t try and work things out with her. To tell the truth, I wasn’t sure if anyone knew the truth. It was some silent secret that no one quite understood.

And everything else aside, although Rabia had her complaints, I had an idea that Rabia’s constant diversion was probably also due to her social media accounts that were steadily increasing continuously.

She had once explained how in today’s times, she needed a real account for people to see her, a fake one for her to see and suss out people and one secret one for spamming people to see how they responded. I honestly did not even get what she was on about, but I did know that before a guy would come to see her, she would do a full research and referencing, waiting for him to fail somewhere.

The thing is, being surrounded by digital company was just the same as actual company. The followers, the influencers and the entire content on any social media platform had its own source of ‘company’ and its own social vibe where people are accepted, cheered on, bullied or just plain down resented.

And as you get into it, the mind is bombarded with a digital system that we don’t even know has an immediate impact on our lives. The friends on there are the ones that you aim and aspire to be like, and who mould who you are too. These ‘friends’ are the ones that you not only follow there, but also looked at as a guidance to live your life.

Abu Huraira RA reported: The Prophet, Sallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, said, “A man is upon the religion of his best friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.

Just like how Hamzah had made an effort to find good company, it was like Rabia purposely lost herself in digital worlds that obviously had nothing more to offer than gossip and worldly pursuits. And of course, when you are only exposed to that kind of environment, it’s only natural that you become affected, and your Imaan is not left without any mark on it.

And of course I didn’t want to judge her, but I did also think that a detox from all that phone rubbish might reform her entire personality.

Rabia sauntered away, probably to revert to whatever she was scrolling through a few minutes back, lost in her virtual company that was probably also making her a little more uncomfortable to be around at times.

It took a few minutes before Hamzah came back and warmed up enough to started talking again but I could see that he was purposely ignoring Rabia.

“You know… you hear about those stories where one incident changes your life?” He was talking to Imraan and his mother and I listened. Even his voice sounded different. More mature. Like he had grown up, overnight.

My mother-in-law nodded eagerly. Even Uthman was hooked.

“That was me,” he continued. “At first I was fighting it, like thinking… why must I waste all that time when I could be doing other stuff, you know? But that’s the thing I learnt. It’s never time wasted, right? And when Allah Ta’ala calls you for His work… how do you even fight that? When Molvi gave the talk on that 3rd day after we left, he spoke about a man who didn’t pray for seventeen years and then came back… I was already a goner. My heart was completely changed and I knew it. There was no going back from there…”

Wow. That was the kind of stuff I only heard about in all those inspiring Bayaans.

But it was no wonder, because conversation had centred around the latest developments on the Jamaat front, as Hamzah recounted his recent trips, he also expressed a really keen desire to join with Maulana Umar for some other trips. His entire perception of Deen and Jamaat work had changed, now that he he gotten a taste of it. The stories about people who were once lost, that Maulana Umar had told him about, anout returning and coming back to Allah with such amazing conviction was truly heartwarming.

For a minute, I wanted to tell Imraan that maybe our purpose in life needed to change too. That maybe we also needed to see all this, to be completely changed as well. Hearing these stories and knowing the effort that went behind it… how much people truly do to spread deen… well, it’s no use if you don’t act on it, is it? The sacrifices are real and not easy. To trudge through the townships, to go into jungles for Allah’s message… If only we could truly understand how it must be to sacrifice everything for Allah’s Deen…

”So what was Liyaket’s reaction when he saw you after the trip?” Imraan said with a smile.

I zoned back as I watched Imraan talking. Hamzah’s change was so sudden that everyone around him could barely believe it.

I wanted to hear that too. Liyaket had changed so much too, from when I knew him back when they were kids to now. It was amazing how one persons change can inspire so many others.

“I think he was a bit shocked,” Hamzah admitted. “But then again, he’s got much more exciting things happening is his life, yeah? A new member in our crew.”

Hamzah sounded just as excited for his best friend, almost as if it was a family member. I had heard from Imraan that they had just had a baby and I could barely believe it. It seemed like just the other day, they were two young boy’s, still in school.

”So how is the baby, anyway?” My mother-in-law suddenly said, placing her cup of tea down as she smiled almost dreamily, probably thinking about the newborn.

She glanced quickly at Rabia, who was still lazing on the couch and didn’t seem to be listening. The talks of Jamaat and Hamzah’s adventures didn’t seem to interest her in the least.

She had cut another slice of cake as they continued talking. She wasn’t  overweight, but it was like her fourth  slice and she was beginning to remind me of Fareeha, who was still quite adamant that she didn’t need to change anything in her life to keep her husband to herself.

“Jhee,” my mother-in-law smiled. “He was looking so excited the last time I saw him. I’m so happy for them both. I need to get them something nice. Maybe one of those swing things- remember how Uthman used to love that?!”

She looked at me and I smiled back, reminiscing over those early days when motherhood was new and my son was still a little baby.

“He used to fall asleep in it,” I grinned. “He was so tiny.”

I looked at my son, now lanky and tall like his father, full of life and energy as always.

“Baby’s going home today,” Hamzah said, sounding excited about it. “I’ll go and see him later again, when I go back to Jo’burg. Liyaket and his wife aren’t doing pictures. Before anyone asks.”

With digital photography a norm these days, you don’t get many people who don’t take pictures anymore. Amazing, though.

“Okay, but does he look like Liyaket or his wife?” my mother-in-law asked with a smile. “His wife is very pretty, Masha Allah. So sweet also…”

It was true. I had met her a few weeks back when Hamzah was here, and they had popped in to visit.

”Liyakets also very pretty,” Hamzah said defensively, with a slight grin. “And the baby looks like himself. Like a baby. How do people even tell who babies look like anyway?”

I supposed that was true as well.

Babies, huh? A new one comes into this world and it’s a new topic of discussion. And I loved hearing about new babies and the joy they brought to this world. My mother-in-law was exactly the same.

The last newborn in the family was Fareeha’s son and she didn’t even do her confinement at my mothers. Her two girls were driving her crazy, so she stayed at home, while my mother went to her for two weeks.

I sighed as I started collecting the empty tea cups. How I wished deep within my heart that Allah would bless us with another bundle in the family really soon. Even if it wasn’t mine… I was absolutely in love with the idea of anyone’s baby in the vicinity, on a permanent basis. I was broody and over-obsessed and I knew that I had to stop thinking and move away before I made myself all emotional again.

They were still talking about how little babies look like when they are born and I got up slowly, clearing more dishes, trying not to draw too much of attention to myself as I quietly slipped away.

My thoughts were a whirlwind of emotion, and I couldn’t quiet understand why I felt this way, when it was supposed to be an occasion of joy. And I didn’t wish anyone ill. I really was so happy for Liyaket and his wife. Anyone who was blessed with that miracle… well, it was really such a precious gift that Allah Ta’ala bestowed on those who were granted it.

So much of love and joy and happiness arose from the occasion of a newborn baby, and it made me feel so elated… yet also, I couldn’t help that overwhelming feeling that questioned why I couldn’t be the one to be granted that beautiful gift as well?

And of course, my Allah was well aware of what was in my heart… I knew that so well but the ache in my heart just wouldn’t ease.

A bittersweet wave of emotion washed over me, as I hastily wiped a stray tear from my cheek… trying to busy myself with stacking the dishes in the sink, barely even hearing Imraan as he came behind me, silently placing his hand on my shoulder and giving it a reassuring squeeze.

He didn’t say a word at first. He didn’t even ask. How he knew, was beyond me. Imraan knew me so well, that at times I felt like he knew me even better than I knew myself.

”Everything in its time,” Imraan whispered quietly, as I leaned back into him, swallowing back more tears. “HasbunAllaha Wa Ni’mal Wakeel… right? Allah has a plan for us, right? Come back to the table, babe. Uthman’s started a quiz and you have to be on his team. You know how he hates to lose.”

HasbunAllaha Wa Ni’mal Wakeel

Allah is sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of Affairs.

It was already a soothing for my soul.

I nodded, smiling back at Imraan despite the wave of emotion that I felt. He was honestly the most caring person I could ask for, and as he made his way back to the table before me, I found myself forgetting about my worries as I got psyched for the game. It was one of my favorite Islamic general knowledge games  and it was the diversion I needed for then, and as we argued and laughed over stupid answers and about who was cheating, I almost completely forgot about the troubles that had been on my mind for the past few weeks.

Well, almost.

The ringing of the house phone was the disturbance that Imraan and Hamzah were waiting for to take their opportunity for a smoke break, and I hastily picked it up, thinking it was my mother who usually called most evenings. She was also one of the few people who had the landline number.

”Hello, Assalamualaikum!” I said cheerfully, not even looking at the called ID as I spoke.

“Wa alaykum salaam,” Fareeha’s jovial voice said, and I instantly stiffened slightly as I heard it. “Howsit?”

It wasn’t that I didn’t like hearing from my younger sister. It was just that our last conversation had got me a little worked up and I really did not want to even put my nerves through it again. Her whole second wife search thing was becoming so big that she had even become a discussion on someone’s social media account. I mean, In all fairness, you don’t blame people for getting a little sensitive about the topic.

Also, though, which woman in their right man actively looks for a second wife for their husband?

”Please don’t tell me that someone else is talking about you now,” I said, getting panicky again. I knew that once a blogger or influencer gets wind of some  gossip, news just flies around.

”Can you just chill?!” she said, laughing as she spoke. “There’s no bad news. Only good vibes. Okay?”

I let out a sigh of relief. Boy, was I glad. The whole thing was just stressing me out unnecessarily. I didn’t want my sister to ever approve of this. Her doing this would open a can of worms that I didn’t even want to think of as yet.

I sighed, coming to terms with my feelings and thoughts and what had been upsetting me the most the last few weeks.

In simple terms, I couldn’t accept what she was saying because of the impact it may have on my life too.

As much sense as it made… as much as my heart was telling me not to be selfish… the main issue that I was dealing with – with not having any more kids- was that I knew that taking a second wife would be the decent thing for any wife to ever offer her husband.

But such was my heart that I couldn’t control.

I just could not seem to do it.

And yes, it was selfish that I didn’t want to say it and give my husband a chance to experience fatherhood again, but I simply could not even find it within myself to make that offering.

I felt like the most horrible person alive. I knew that Imraan loved kids to bits. I also knew that he would stop at nothing to try again… but nothing, even the treatments we had done in Jo’burg, seemed to help.

“So is the infamous search over?” I asked, hoping it was. I moved away from my in-laws as I spoke, not wanting them to overhear me.

“The search is currently paused,” Fareeha said, sounding a little tired as she yawned. I knew her kids slept early and so did she. “I didn’t realise just how women can behave, Sawls…. Like really, can you imagine? I’m offering my husband and still have to deal with twenty-one questions!”

I cleared my throat, not really sure what to say.

“Maybe he’s rethinking the whole idea then?” I asked hopefully.

Hmmmm,” she said thoughtfully. “I don’t know. But also, I think I’ve just been looking in the wrong places. I didn’t even think before this. I always thought that getting someone I don’t know may be better… but in the past week, I’ve been thinking that maybe, I might as well get someone who I­ do know. Doesn’t that make more sense?!”

I wasn’t sure what made more sense. Not much that Fareeha said made much sense.

”I suppose so,” I murmured. Whatever made her happy, really.

“You agree, don’t you?” She pressed, a little distracted as I watched the siblings now bickering over something else as they came back in while Rabia was seated at the table. I just hoped that they weren’t going to start about any sensitive topics again.

“Yup,” I said absent-mindedly, packing away some biscuits that were lying out back into their Tupperware.

“So I have the most amazing idea,” she said, sounding all excited over again, and just the tone of her voice got my guard up again.

Her best friend Laila and I could almost always attest to this kind of ‘feeling’ we get when Fareeha gets a new idea. Whenever Fareeha had amazing ideas, that she insisted that she carry out… almost always… they were the most deluded disasters that ever occurred.

I braced myself, and my instinct wasn’t wrong.

“I think I know just the person I need to speak to!” she said, sounding like she had an epiphany. “I couldn’t believe that I didn’t think about it before this… and late last night, it was like some kind of revelation that came to me out of the blue. She suddenly just struck me as a really great option..!”

“Who?!” I asked, itching to hear who this mystery person was.

”Your sister-in-law, Rabia!”

I choked on the biscuit I was munching on, almost dying from a clogged windpipe as I tried to loosen it with a sudden dash of water. Imraan had heard me gasping for breath and was watching me with an eye of concern.

“Sawls?!” Fareeha said, as I put the phone on the counter. I was just a little concerned about how this idea was going to pan out, and knowing that this was putting me in a  huge dilemma.

This, for sure, was going to be one meeting I had to stop from happening.


Mission Sunnah Revival

Sunnah of Speaking good and good Akhlaaq

Sunnah of good manners/Akhlaaq 

Rasulullah Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam said: ‘There is no gift that a father gives his child more virtuous than good manners.’ (Tirmidhi)

N.B. Some translators of Hadeeth have translated the Hadeeth as, ‘A father gives his child nothing better than a good Islamic education.’

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

 

 

 

A Sliver of Silver

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 24
Jameela

The sweet, pearly scent of jasmine from the wayward creeper behind me filled my nostrils as I trudged along, carried away with my tasks, almost immune to their beauty as I passed them by for the twentieth time that afternoon. Well, almost.

The thing was, no matter how many times I passed them, I couldn’t not pause in awe over how, in that expanse of dry land, they stood out so boldly, in all their glory, still possessing the courage to bloom in such staggering numbers. Their beauty was art at its finest…  designed by the most Powerful Creator… unrivalled by the works of man…

SubhaanAllah.

It was that word which was purest in form, which raises your rank… that deed which is better than gold or silver… even greater in reward than Jihaad…

I whispered it, under my breath, as I stood still for a moment on our stretch of partly grassy land, soaking in the scorching sun before retiring to the small patch of soil at the edge.

On the small plot that we had called home for nearly two decades, I was finally seeing it with a new eye. The way the land curved would be perfect for a little slide and play area for kids . The extensive acres would work beautifully for bench and table chill-off and picnic spot. And the corner where the existing barn was, would be the perfect spot for the coffee stop and rose garden.

Mohsina and Papa had finally given me the go- ahead for the revamp and I was bursting with energy and enthusiasm to get this thing running, making my way over to the spot where I was determined to plant the sixteen rose plants I had grabbed at a discounted rate  a few roads away.

Rose Plants for Sale’, had said outside, and I barely even entered the premises when I was blown away by the garden than boasted not only every colour of rose, but every flower under the sun.

I had expressed my awe to the lady and little her daughter, Khadijah, who owned the house. The lovely niqabi girl had given me a few gardening pointers, and I appreciated it. She seemed like she kept to herself and her little garden and that was my inspiration for my own little space…

This, for me, was a small start but it had to start somewhere, right?

I tossed the spade aside, my bare hands delving into the dry Earth, pulling my watering can to offer some moisture to the parched soil, allowing my nails to soil unreservedly as dug into the textures that existed beneath the surface.

Compost. Yes. A little compost would be just the thing needed for a little more potential. I pulled the bag I had bought towards me and poured out the contents onto the patch of soil, immersing myself in the textures and colours of the sand as I forked it in, now with my personal garden tools. My finger nails were still edged with brown Earth but the feeling of crusty nails was welcomed.  It reminded me of hard work and toil and I wanted to feel like I was working with a purpose…

“Salaam Jamz. Howsit? What you up to?”

I hadn’t even heard the car drive in. I looked from my eyes where I was kneeling to see Layyanah standing at her car, her cheeks looking slightly more flushed than usual as she stood, baby bump protruding cutely, looking like a perfect little mama-to-be in a sage dress top and skinny jeans that sat below her ankles.

Her scarf was tied around her head traditionally and she looked like she was probably coming from home. Even with no make-up, Layyanah looked amazing. I looked a bit like a hobo, in my torn overalls and gum boots. It was the only way work got done with its full intent.

“I’m getting this thing going,” I said, gesturing to the soil. “It’s our new business venture. Did Mohsina tell you?”

Layyanah smiled, her face instantly looking more at ease than just a minute ago.

”It looks lovely so far,” she said sincerely, nodding. “I love the concept. A little stop over for travellers or even an outing for a day. What a stunning setting you guys have here. What about a little petting zoo? I told Mohsina you guys have plenty of space. Where is she, by the way?”

A petting zoo?

That was an amazing idea. I made a mental note and looked up at Layyanah, who was waiting for my answer.

We had plenty of space. And even more so, because Mohsina had decided that it was time that she moved closer to work and got her own place. It was a fully-furnished and included in her package and I kind of understood why she would be crazy not to take it. It was just that I couldn’t help the heaviness I felt in my heart when I said it.

“I think she’s gone to look at the apartment ,” I replied, wiping my forehead with my palm and not wanting to delve into the subject and how it made me feel. How it made all of us feel.

I looked at Layyanah as she looked confused, and then she remembered. Of course she did.

The apartment. The part of the package that she had taken … what seemed to be the start of all these new changes and also a little heartbreak too.

“How are you feeling?” I said, changing the topic purposely as I gave my attention back to the now promising soul.

“More energetic in the past week,” she conceded, and as I glanced at her, I could see her face had fallen.

“Is she really moving out?”

I swallowed, not saying anything in reply as I continued with my task of tossing sand around..

By nature, I was a dreamer. Even as I absorbed myself  in work, my mind was miles away. A reader, a nature-lover, and a people-pleaser. I loved my family , and I loved things to be smooth and easy. When a little bit of drama usually ensued, my solution was always to tuck myself into my own world and to quietly get lost into the thicket of nature, daydreams and parallel universes.

The new venture though, was exciting me. It was the silver lining here. It kept me busy and calmed my mind.

Reality on that day was a far cry from where I really wanted to be, even though I knew that I needed to be there. Even though I knew that diversion was the best medicine right then.

Layyanah shook her head sadly and pulled the white garden chair to where I was, taking a seat opposite me, instead of going back home. She leaned into the back of the chair, stretching her legs out as she looked at me, almost as if she was unsure of what to say.

“Is this really happening?” She asked, pressing on, now looking like she was about to burst into tears at any point. It was obvious that she had this on her mind for a while and needed to get it out.

I looked at her and shrugged. I knew exactly how she felt. Mohsina was also ignoring me when I tried to talk to her about Hamzah. It almost seemed like she was a different person to the one who had been my sister for the past few years. Something in her had changed and I wasn’t even sure what it was. How could I ever understand or sympathise when she wouldn’t even give me the time of day?

The thing was, I didn’t understand it. This was what she was most scared of, but no-one else besides her was in control of. This was what was on her mind, when she was so scared of hurting people. It was almost as if she knew this would happen…

“How is Hamzah?” I asked, knowing that Layyanah probably would have seen him or known from her husband.

Layyanah sighed, her face looking slightly pained.

“Liy says he’s never seen him like this before,” she said, and my heart broke for them both. “He’s taken a week off… gone back home to the farm. His brother is there. He doesn’t talk about it but it’s obvious that he’s sunken into a hole of depression. It’s making me depressed. Is there nothing we can do to fix this?”

My heart contracted as I wondered the exact same thing.

But then again, I don’t blame him for heading back to that beautiful retreat that set my heart alight when I thought of it. I simply loved the small town feel, the nature and the feeling of not knowing what could be beyond the meadow..

The one time I had been there was like a dream.

Well. Until the intrusion of my peace by the girl who literally had me running beyond the hillocks.

And okay, maybe I was a bit naive, and I did expect the odd aunty or even some random guy… but it’s more or less goes without saying that anyone who had a fellow girlfriend making moves on you at any time and space would have found it creepy. I mean, you could easily move over to the ladies side if it was a guy stalking you.. but how do you escape a girl whose attention you didn’t want? Who had weird ideas? How do you explain the truth of what it is.. that’s it’s disgusting and you will never consider something so ridiculous?

Right? Because I knew that to walk away and remove myself from something that I had no control over, was the best thing, I did just that.

Like the sleepers of the cave, when the situation got overwhelming… their solution was to remove themselves and then leave Allah Ta’ala to do the rest.

And now, in this day and age, it seemed like trials were coming in quick succession. And I never did tell anyone the reason why I had to escape so suddenly, the day of Layyanah’s wedding. It was something that had eroded my mind for a few days, and then like anything that happens in life, fades into the background of our lives and then we forget about it.

And it was scary how my generation was getting on with the dialogue of ‘inclusivity’, as if it was all cool… and I was in shock so I didn’t anything or mention it before but I did realise that maybe it was a sign… a sign that maybe in this era, with social media at our fingertips and everything so accessible, just the constant talk about it and the fact that it’s becoming so normal (even if you condemn the act, which is a the way it should be) was actually detrimental to our Imaan.

Astaghfirullah. I sought refuge from the bottom of my heart.

Was I just so weak to be silent about what was forbidden and only hate a sin at heart?

“Are you okay?”

Layyanah was looking at me oddly and I nodded my head as I shelved my thinking for later.

I couldn’t tell her. Of course, I couldn’t say that it was one of her wedding attendees who was probably a connection who seemed to be exploring avenues with that were completely immoral. No. I couldn’t mention a thing. Wouldn’t that leave me to be questionable too?

I was still too young to deal with the scrutiny. Maybe it was better to just ignore it and act like it never happened…

“I suppose we all have to just accept it, don’t we?”

She said quietly, and I nodded as I realised she was talking about Hamzah and Mohsina again. I  dropped my garden tools and stretched out on the dry lawn in front of her. My heart was feeling a little less burdened in the sunshine.

”I suppose so,” I said, feeling a little sad about just that.

The afternoon sun was blazing down on us, and although I was perspiring slightly, I quite enjoyed the feeling on my back for that moment. It helped me forget the worries of my world.

Layyanah looked at me, cocking her head to one side.

”You know, if you really think about it,” she said, almost as if she was reminiscing now, her expression looking a little more at ease. “I know… Hamzah wasn’t Mohsina’s cup of tea, you know? Looks aside, I know girls go crazy for him and he knows it but Mos didn’t fall for his tricks, neh? But when it all happened what I can’t forget is what she did always say that even though he was stubborn and set in his ways, he had good values. He was a social butterfly, he was trusting and he was passionate about whatever he did, right? She admired it. Like he was cut out for what he was doing and he loved it. And it seems odd because he is so different to her because even though Mos is a genius at what she does, self-sufficient, a hard nut at a glance… she’s actually a bit insecure at times , but she shows it as being over confident, whereas she’s a beautiful, soft and loyal soul on the inside and when you dig deeper you can see it so well…”

Her ideology was perfectly fitted. She had pinned it right down to the absolute truth. Their personalities were absolutely contrasting.

They could probably spend every day fighting about mundane things. They could clash over everything.  I mean, I’m sure they would argue about everything.

Were they just too different? 

“And I keep thinking to myself,” she continued, her eyes dancing now as if she realised something extremely unexpected. “I know that they are complete opposites, but it’s almost like they fill in each other’s blanks, don’t they? Can two people ever compliment each other better?”

Ah. That was what she was trying to say, and she had a point there. Could that not just be the perfect combo?! Maybe. Differences can be fun too, right?

“Do we really have to?” She said, with a small smile playing on her face. I couldn’t imagine what she was talking about now and what she was so optimistic about, when everything had seemed like a dead loss.

”Do we really what?” I said, confused.

Layyanah’s eyes were shining slightly as she watched me.

“Do we really have to just accept their decision and move on?”

I shrugged. They obviously didn’t see it the way she did. Mohsina had said that they just aren’t compatible. Hamzah was too old-fashioned and had different ideas  about their future.

She looked like she was onto something but I wasn’t really wanting to interfere. The situation between Hamzah and my sister was pretty hopeless, according to me.

And as I glimpsed out into the horizon, as Layyanah said it was getting late and had to leave, I could see a figure that resembled Papa making his way toward us, slowly, as if he was soaking in everything around him for the first time ever.

He was venturing outside for the first time in ages as he slowly recovered, and I couldn’t help but smile broadly, thinking of how every cloud definitely has a little bit of silver around it. How even in the worst situations there is a sliver of goodness that we sometimes can’t see until they were right in our midst..

Some things just took a little longer… little more tears to get to the light… a little more energy to reap the rewards…

Some people just carry a torch with them, wherever they go. Light follows their footsteps, almost as if it doesn’t know how to shine without them.

Having hope is not dangerous. It’s essential to keep us going. Layyanah might have been talking a load of hogwash that didn’t make sense to me at the time, but when she left that day, somehow, my heart felt a load lighter than it had been those past few days. In any dark cloud, I could see a sliver of hope that was shining in the horizon.

Khair (goodness), people often say, comes even out of the most hopeless of situations.

Maybe, just maybe… everything wasn’t going to turn out as horribly as it seemed…


So I managed one more, next after the New Year InshaAllah ! Hope everyone is well! 💕

Quivk Q: Was wondering what do readers think about bringing Covid into the story, to bring in deeper lessons… or do we keep it completely fictional regarding that?

Would appreciate your feedback 💭

Just keeping it simple and sticking to the Sunnah we’ve already done. Being holiday time sometimes it’s better to maintain our current deeds… Allah make it easy ❤️

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.

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

No Filtering

Bismihi Ta’ala

Mohsina

In the same way that good deeds are a protection for us, and protect us from calamity… I’ve noted many times in the past that when you are submerged in sin it’s almost impossible not to openly welcome the wrath of Allah.

Often when you are drenched in darkness, the light seems very far away. Like that flicker in the distance, so evasive and unreachable, sometimes we lose hope completely of ever surfacing.

As a rule of thumb, Nani had once told me that reading my Tasbeeh every day is a foolproof hack to accomplishing even the most impossible of tasks. 33, 33, 34… and If I didn’t have enough time, even a shorter version…. Somehow, even the  unattainable gets achieved and the improbable gets accomplished, when you take out a little time for Allah in the morning and evenings.

And I knew I should have. I should have stopped with my worldly whims and fancies. I knew I should have done more of the actual cleansing. Dusting off the dirt. I would have and I usually did. But the thing was, I was busy. And I know I always use that excuse but that week, the office was buzzing with talks of the new incentive based promotion that Faadil had let out the bag on Monday when he called us to his office.

Hamzah was right. ‘Bossman’ was looking for me, but thankfully I wasn’t the only one who missed the memo. It was a whirlwind of excitement and enthusiasm after the little meeting and the office was a little more alive than usual. Everyone was giving off their best. Trying their utmost. No-one wanted to miss out on the opportunity that was opening up.

And of course, there were a few preferences, he had said, as he paced up and down, hair immaculate, clad in Hugo Boss jeans and an apple green shirt.

I wasn’t even bothering to look down and be a little decent while he spoke. It had become normal to ogle at strange men. The guilt was becoming non-existent. That was the thing with social media, Netflix addictions and spending more time on it. Once you get used to looking at whatever image your eyes fall upon, it becomes natural to forget that there was a filter on the gaze before. The dust had already settled, and it was becoming harder and harder to scrub it off.

And of course, Nthando, Mikael, Lesley and I were still sitting in a combination of frenzy and limbo after Faadil walked out after the (second) meeting he had called for, still trying to figure out what it was exactly that was going to set us apart from the others in this three month long competition for a huge incentive and permanent position at Hammond’s.

Oh yes, there were a few preferred graduates but no-one knew who they were. Some people had glanced at me, while others had muttered Hamzah, Robert and Lesley’s name… but no one really knew for sure.

Nthando was already scribbling notes in her diary, Mikael was busy with his laptop and Lesley just had this dreamy look on her face.

“The man just gets me every time,” she said, and my eyes always bulged slightly as she stretched out her long tanned legs. I wouldn’t say that they were particularly toned or anything but the girl had good genes, okay?

I’ve caught the guys literally stopping and watching her walk past, and to tell the truth, I assumed she enjoyed it. She was wearing a skirt, and though we had strict office rules about mini skirts, Lesley took it to the limit by wearing them just at the knee.

Every. Single. Day.

I couldn’t imagine what Nani would say about that if she had to ever come to my work place. And maybe I admired her confidence, but besides that, something within me told me that it wasn’t the kind of attention that I wanted to draw. It was just devalued. Objectifying. And so unnecessary.

“Did you see the way he dominates the office?” She continued, throwing up her hands dramatically. “It’s amazing.”

”Jah,” Mikael said absent-mindedly in his Cape Town accent. “When I grow up I want to be like Faadil the great.”

With Mikael I couldn’t tell if he was being serious or sarcastic but I half-laughed anyway and got up, not really wanting to sit around and listen to more Faadil-obsession, knowing I needed to get back to work after the eventful morning. Even the L-squared dramas were semi forgotten as we shifted into work zone, and I found myself getting lost in the work day and week. Never mind about them. For now Layy had sworn me to secrecy about their plans and I had agreed and forgot about it.

Other than that, I felt like I was stuck in this bubble of work, and it was all just going to burst before I even got to enjoy it. Maybe it was the mention of the incentive. Maybe it was just the worry of my future. But it had been more than once that week that I found myself wondering about things that I never did before.

Things like:

Was this what I really pictured myself doing for the rest of my life? Was this really my calling? Maybe I wasn’t cut out for an office job. Did I need an outlet? 

I couldn’t think about it too much without getting anxiety.

I sighed.

A distraction was just what the doctor ordered. A coffee and selfie time was the solution to everything. Layyanah had gone awol since from Wednesday. I wasn’t sure who or what had gone down but I figured that for now, the less I knew, the better it may be.

The thing was, there wasn’t even much time to ponder about it or even message because before I knew it, the week was over and I wasn’t even sure if I accomplished everything I needed to. Everything felt so rushed and in the moment.

And though I was feeling unaccomplished, I knew that some comments and likes would cheer me up, so I scrolled through my gallery and found an old post of a some nature reserve that Papa had gone to on the West Coast and posted it. Nature wasn’t my thing but it looked good on my feed and it was completely appropriate for weekend vibes. To tell the truth, the picture didn’t even need a filter. It was that beautiful, but that was just by the way.

Caption: Weekend vibes!

Another amazing week- productive and exhausting and definitely calling for some unwinding time…

I put in the emoji of the dancing girl, the heart eyes, and some nature and weekend hashtags before stashing my phone in my bag.

It was time to retire for the week so I packed up my stuff, shut down my computer and went for the elevator just a mere half hour after work time.

And as the elevator pinged open, I was a little annoyed to see Hamzah in the lift, coming from the top floor, work backpack in hand and looking just as annoyed to see me. Yeah okay, I could see he was rushing. Plus he was a mess. His tie was loose, his teal shirt was hanging untidily and the entire lift was stinking of cigarette. Ten floors down with him is going to make me super claustrophobic because besides having to deal with the stench of cigarette for that long, to tell the truth, I wasn’t exactly into the polite thing this evening.

“Press it closed,” I said automatically, not caring about being rude and audibly sighing in exasperation. “I’ll wait for the next one.”

Ugh. Fifteen minutes at least. He shrugged and pressed a button, looking relieved, but then suddenly jerked it open again.

“Get in,” he said, stepping out himself and gesturing to me. “You’ll wait ten minutes by the time it comes back. You have further to drive than me.”

He wasn’t happy about it and I didn’t need hand outs, but the traffic situation was stressing me out and my Choti Kala was coming home tonight and I really missed our conversations. She was the only one in the family who got my urgency to gain my corporate fame and I really needed to have a heart-to-heart with her. About life. Relationships. Family. It was away over due.

So when I heard footsteps and spun around to see Faadil pacing the office hallway, probably checking to see if he can lock up, and I figured why usually annoying Hamzah was being so polite, I jumped at the opportunity of the headstart. Of course, I thought, feeling relieved.. It wasn’t a hand out. With Hamzah there had to be some ulterior motive.

Right? That could be the only explanation.

“Trying to impress the boss, huh?” I muttered as I walked past him, raising my eyebrows judgementally. I was only half joking. I just had to have the last say. It would save me from saying thank you. “What a gentleman.”

I was being sarcastic. I mean, until I glanced at him and saw that he was looking exceptionally confused and I realised that maybe, just maybe, he had probably not even seen Faadil pass in the first place. And then of course, it got me wondering if maybe I was wrong and he was just being nice, but like, Hamzah was never just nice. Not for no reason.

“Why would I want to impress him?” He asked blandly, pulling a face as if he was disgusted at the mere thought.

“Erm, duh,” I said, as if was self explanatory. “Getting a head start for the big incentive slash promotion that everyone is dying over.”

He still had that confused look on his face, and then realization dawned, and he purposely stomped into the lift, punched the close button and turned to me.

“You think I’m that desperate?” He said, a disturbed look on his face. “Not everything’s about money, Mos. The thought of signing with Faadil for another two years is not exactly my dream job. Just FYI. Not everything’s about the big bucks.”

It was the first time I had heard him call Faadil by the name and from that I knew that he was slightly pissed off.

And with that, the lift pinged open again sooner than expected and he sashayed out onto the next floor, cigarette stench and all, before two more people came tumbling in, leaving me feeling just a little crappy as I waited to reach ground and step out, wondering if maybe I shouldn’t have been so judgmental in the first place.

But also, in my defense, wasn’t everyone here for the big bucks? He couldn’t tell me that he was so in love with auditing and taxation that he dreamt about it lustfully every freakin’ night. Everyone who worked here was in it for the money. There was no other reason to work like slaves.

But then again, it was only Hamzah so there was no need to break my head over it because it didn’t really matter anyway. I wasn’t sure why he smoked if it didn’t help his chill levels. The guy needed to go for some aggro therapy or something. Yeesh.

I walked up to my car, only greeting the guard as I stepped into the parking lot, pulling down the mirror to check my appearance again. Today was a low profile kind of day. I had worn a modest bottle green blouse with a loose grey pants, since it was a Friday, wore a longer coat over. I still looked good and my make-up wasn’t completely trashed yet, in case I stopped at the garage for a coffee and there were any decent prospects around. My feet were breaking from the heels I had worn to make me appear thinner and taller, but beauty was pain and I got that.

I checked my phone before I started my car, pausing to see my last post reaching a 100 likes and then psyching myself for the trip home. The roads were surprisingly uneventful that Friday. Usually Johannesburg boasted at least 3 a highway accidents and umpteen traffic jams, but this Friday was a little easier to get to my semi-farm based home and it was a welcome record.

I had just taken the off ramp when my phone buzzed in my lap and I momentarily glanced down. I tried not to type while I drove, usually pausing to message only when I stopped at a robot but traffic was slow and it was more or less safe in this area.

What’s the plans for the rest of the eve? 

It was a message notification from Maahira on Instagram. Seemed like she even forgot that there were other ways of communication.

She had sent me a picture earlier of her standing with a friend outside the London train station. It was pretty cool to think that my friend was so independent in a distant city all on her own.

I thought for a minute about what to say.

There was no need to say that I was going back home. The truth was, even though I was looking quite forward to spending time with my aunty, I couldn’t let her know it. That wasn’t the life we always dreamt of having. For Maahira and I it was always about the corporate life. The glitz. The glamour. The functions and events and the chilling with friends after work to catch up on social time so we could have the best of both worlds.

It had always been a dream of hers to work in London and I always wanted to work at Jo’burg CBD. It was just our preferences and though we often tried to convince the other to swap aspirations, we still supported each other’s choices.

I couldn’t help though but wonder how London must be like on your own. With no family to go back home to. No home cooked meals. No soji and mutton briyani on a Friday evening even. That was the part that got me, as I finally rode down our driveway. But for Maahira, she made it look so amazing.

Her Instagram following was close to 10k because London life was a huge draw card. And she really lived the life, I could see from her page.

Plus, she shopped at all these amazing places and people were always drooling over her modest fashion-wear posts. I suppose you had to make the trade off. Family life was nothing compared to all of that, materialistic stuff. When she comes down she promised she was bringing me a whole new wardrobe and I was super psyched.

I opened her message and replied.

Just had some fun times with some work friends. The night is still young.

I put in a winking emoticon and left it at that. I didn’t expect her to reply so fast though.

What happened at work this week?

Hmmm. I wondered if I should tell her about the promotion and offer from the company that everyone was going for. It was exciting but she might tell me not to try too hard for it. She always told me that I was better than some common corporate position and should only settle for the best.

Ah yes, I knew exactly what I could tell her about.

Just the usual craziness with a dose of dramatic office romance. It’s been quite a week!

Again, her reply was quick. Like, didn’t she have anything else to do on a Friday night. Like be out with some cool work friends.

Office romance! Ooh. Do tell!

And so I did. Only, I had forgotten that it was supposed to be a secret. Maahira seemed so far away, and letting her in on what was going on here was barely going to make a difference to her awesome life.

And for all my aversion to drama, What I didn’t realise was that my lack of filtering was probably going to cause a bigger drama than ever…


A little longer post than normal. Any thoughts on Mohsina and her way of dealing with things?

Love hearing your thoughts !

Much Love

A x

On that note, Sunnah of the week:

We should remember the famous saying, “If you do not have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that the Nabi (Sallalahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him say good or remain silent.”

An amazing quality to inculcate into our lives…

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah