When it feels like Home

Bismihi Ta’ála


Sometimes in life, when the focus has shifted and life’s giving you a bit of uphill, you’re given the grave choice between losing someone, and losing yourself…

And some people may call it selfish, but if you’re the kind of person that I am, you’ll understand what it feels like to wonder what will happen to your loved ones when you’re no longer around. To understand that if you lose yourself, nothing good can ever come out of it.

And if you are anything like me, and you lose yourself to someone, almost as if there’s no going back, your day and night becomes consumed with all sorts of thoughts and possibilities about what can and may happen.

It might sound crazy (and it is), but people like me, are one level above the realists. We are the worriers; the ones who think of every possible outcome for every possible scenario, even before it happens.

And I didn’t know it yet, that, that was exactly how it all started, but here I was, all soaked up and letting myself fall more and more into the sweet surrender of unconditional love, when I had slammed right into the most amazing lesson, that put it all in a nutshell for me.

And it was just as well that I’d heard it the day before, but in a beautiful narration reported by Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA), who was just a boy at the time, Nabi Muhammad (Sallalahu Alaihi was Sallam) advised his young companion to be mindful of Allah.

In the original Arabic of this, he uses the phrase “ihfadh-Allah, yahfadhak,” which literally translates as: “take care of Allah, and Allah will take care of you.”

And I’m pretty ashamed to admit it, but it had only become a recent habit of mine to recite the chapter of the cave with its innumerable benefits, also known as Surah Kahf, every Friday without fail.

And it was just as well, because within the extensive story of Musaa (AS) and Al-Khidr (AS), who was said to have somehow but unintentioanlly drunk from the Fountain of Life, it’s result being eternal life…. Allah teaches us something amazing about those we strive for, give ourselves for, and are consumed by the most…

Umar ibn AbdulAziz once said, “There is not a single righteous believer who dies except that Allah (swt) will protect his children and his children’s children.”

And to come back to that amazing moral… within the story of Musa and Al- Khidr (AS) , as these two men were journeying together, they came to a town where the people were, to say the least, extremely miserly and refused to give them even a morsel to consume.

It was at that place, as they were leaving the city, when Al-Khidr(AS) saw a wall that was crumbling, and promptly repaired it.

Now, imagine, like you and I, after the people’s refusal to assist them in their hour of need, Musaa (AS) was appalled by this seemingly virtuous deed, saying that he should have asked for some payment at least. Al Khidr (AS) then explained the wisdom:

And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the town; and there was under it a treasure belonging to them; and their father was a righteous man, and your Lord intended that they should attain their age of full strength and take out their treasure as a mercy from your Lord. And I did it not of my own accord. That is the interpretation of those (things) over which you could not have patience” (18:82).

And truly, we can never understand the wisdom of Divine knowledge, the extraordinary insight that those pious saints are given and how they are able to execute their tasks with such perfection…

The sublime fact here was that Allah (SWT) sent Al-Khidr to protect the wealth of these orphans without anyone else’s knowledge or invitation for one sublime reason: their father was a righteous man. Their father took care of the commandments of Allah, and Allah Ta’ala, in turn, not only took care of this man, but Allah protected the wealth of the orphans as a favour to their Duniyaa, even after he left this world.

And it was mind-blowing, because if you ask any man today what his greatest worries were, that was the crux of it, wasn’t it?

And as I looked at my friend that day, before he left for his trip to the bank, taking in his full beard, Sunnah attire and reformed ways, I could very clearly see that fatherhood had not only come naturally to him, but also reformed him in so many ways.

And it was so true, because in this case, being so close to my friend, as I witnessed him becoming a father, I couldn’t help but feel the same way.

And maybe it was the fact that for the day, I had been given the immense responsibility of watching over him for a few hours, that got to me, but that too, was not without coincidence.

“Are you implying I can’t take care of a two month old baby?” I asked Liyaket, trying to sound incredulous as I looked at his doubtful expression.

I mean, how hard can it be? All they do is drink and sleep, right?

I wasn’t yet thinking about the poo part. That, I’d pass onto someone else.

”It’s not that,” Liyaket said, biting his lip hesitantly as he held onto his son before he left. “You know this is my kid. My blood. Severe attachment issues going on.”

”Hey,” I said, trying to sound all cool and collected, as if I was the most responsible adult in the room. “I got this.”

“Okay, bru,” he said, stepping back as I heard his wife issuing some last minute commands about before he left, as if he was leaving me stranded in the desert.

And I got it. Because, from my own parents perspective and now that I saw my friend morph into fatherhood…

If you ask any man who they are working so hard for, who is the first person who comes to mind? Their kids.

But there was really no need to worry, because the answer was right there, in that Surah we are supposed to be reciting every week.

We just need to refocus. We need to pry our eyes away from the goal of being “great parents,” and set our sights on becoming “great believers.” (Which will inevitably lead to being a great parent.)

Just be good. Be sincere. Be conscious of Allah, attain piety, and Allah will, undoubtedly, take care of it all.

I held little Zaid close to my chest as his parents left, wondering why I suddenly felt like I had this enormous responsibility on my shoulders, as I watched him drifting off to slumber, almost like we had done this plenty of times before. And then I got it: I supposed that’s how a parent feels. One day you’re just a single being and the next day, you have this tiny little life depending on you for every little thing.

It’s amazing to see, isn’t it? The change that happens sometimes when a child comes into the world, how the focus shifts. Somehow, all you want to do is keep them close, shelter them from the world and keep them away from any harm that could possibly ever come to them.

There were so many things that had happened… so many trials that the world was seeing… and so much   that we had to keep our guard up about, that this parenting thing that Liyaket was already taken so seriously was already rubbing off onto me.

It had barely been three months but it was as if, without any warning even, my heart already held this binding attachment to the little guy. It was like coming home.

I already loved the kid. There we were, sitting for almost an hour, and it felt almost as if we had been best friends for years. I had bared my heart and soul, and it was as if he just got me, no questions asked.

It didn’t matter that he couldn’t exactly converse back. All I needed sometimes was someone to hear me out, and share my thoughts with. I mean, why else did you need in a soulmate? 

“Hey, that suits you,” Rabia said as she came down the stairs, smiling widely as she saw him lying in my arms, fingers in his mouth and spitting up a lovely tsunami of saliva while he was at it.

She was dressed in a long, flowy kind of dress, looking like she was ready to go somewhere important, but wasn’t in much of a rush to get going either. Maybe he was the diversion, but as her eyes settled on him, I knew that she was already a goner.

As for Zaid, he was oblivious to his cuteness as he lay there, gurgling away at nothing in particular, while Rabia went all gaga over him, with no reservations.

”Isn’t he just the sweetest little thing!” She exclaimed, bending and beaming at him as he smiled back at her. “And he likes me! What a big smile… oh my.. and he’s got stories for me too… Yeeess… I’m talking about you, little pooky pops...”

Pooky pops? Oh-Kayy.. That was a first.

I sat back and watched Rabia losing the little dignity she had left over a two month old. Seriously, what babies do to women…

“Can I carry him?” She asked, her expression unreadable for a few moments as I watched her eyeing him out.

I shrugged and picked him up easily, passing him over as she watched me in awe.

“You’re an expert, aren’t you? Where’s Liyaket?” She asked with exaggerated disbelief, taking him carefully and cradling him affectionately. “Does he need to burp?”

She eyed the bottle that was on the table, that I had literally just finished feeding him.

Okay, my bad. I did forget about the burping part. That would explain the white stuff that was now trailing down his chin, and his slight discomfort.

I wiped it with a tissue that was lying around. No time to find allocated face towels.

“He does,” I said bluntly, not admitting my mistake, as I put the lid back in the bottle and handed it to her. “You can see if he wants more after. Layyanah needed to go to the bank for a bit to sort out some account. They’ll fetch him after.”

Rabia’s eyes widened. I didn’t tell anyone in my family that he’d be here because I knew that they’d make a big deal over it. Like I was completely incapable.

As it is, Liyaket was supposed to be my best friend, but when he’d phoned ten minutes back, I could hear the humour in his voice as he was obviously calling to check on me, and not on the baby. And yes, when he had told me he would be coming into town and needed a hand with the baby, all I thought to myself was that it couldn’t be that hard, right?

Feed, play, sleep, right? Whatever. I was a little hesitant but as always, I wasn’t one to turn away a challenge.

Plus, soon I’d be leaving for the trip of my lifetime and I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to spend some alone time with the little guy again.

“The thing was, I wanted to be as available as possible. Liyaket didn’t have many people who were there for him and i wanted to be one of the few who were.

“They actually left him here alone with you?” She said, blinking in shock. “Looking after a baby? And you are this calm? Where is my spoilt and selfish brother and what have you done with him?!”

I grinned, despite her insults.

“Seriously, though,” she said, rocking Zaid as his eyes fluttered open again. I threw her his dummy in case he started wailing. “Doesn’t this just make you want another baby in the family?”

I narrowed my eyes at her, not really knowing how to answer that. I for sure, was not planning on it anytime soon.

“Let’s get to the marriage part first,” I said with a raise of my eyebrows, not mentioning Imraan on purpose as she looked away, pulling her face at the marriage part.

My sister may be an outright pest who interfered the ith everyone, but I also knew that she had gone through a pretty rough marriage and didn’t exactly come out with the best of mindsets. To top it off, last weeks Samoosa run with a guy who I had met at work had been an absolute lost cause, and she had made it very clear that she was giving up all hope of ever finding a decent man to marry.

As for my brother, I knew that his wife was kind of desperate for another kid. He had told me to make Duaa this time, when I went out with Molvi, for that specific thing, and I would.

This time, going out was going to be a completely different experience.

A mixture of nerves and excitement overcame me as I thought about how my first trip with Molvi out of the country in would pan out. I just couldn’t seem to contain my excitement.

And despite my contentment, I didn’t think many people could digest how I had just filed for unpaid leave after just a month of work. Audits, taxation and accounting no longer psyched me up like it used to. It’s like I had been completely consumed by another purpose.. a great calling that my heart was fervently yearning for…

Those few weeks with Maulana Umar had altered me, and as much as my heart was being captured now, there was no going back now.

Zaid was looking slightly unsettled as I watched him with Rabia, noticing him sucking on his fingers relentlessly. Hungry or tired? It was the greatest mystery in the land of tiny beings.

“I’m in love,” She declared, cradling baby Zaid close to her as he snuggled in.

I needed to have a chat with him. He was such a comfort creature with the ladies that it was almost embarrassing.This behavior was simply not on. If he continued like this , the ladies were going to have a field day with him. Not that he minded. But still. A little dignity at least.

Zaid’s eyes were now finally closed, and we placed him carefully on his size in a little cushion type thing that was apparently designed just for babies.

“Can’t I just wait for him to grow up?” She said quietly, careful not to stir him. She didn’t know that he slept like a log. “If I have to go through another Samoosa run I’ll just die.”

”Me too,” I said with a grin just messing around with her, sitting back now and placing my legs on the coffee table as I was finally able to relax. “Fed up of samoosas.”

Sheesh. This parenting this was no walk in the park. Now I knew why Liyaket cherished nap time so much.

Rabia gave me an unimpressed look. She obviously didn’t appreciate the humour.

”You don’t even know what a Samoosa run is!” She said bitterly. “Besides, when we went to Mohsina’s house, they didn’t even serve samoosas. They served moons and pies. Really now. Did you guys actually plan it that way?”

She looked at me sceptically and I smiled, not being able to dissolve the memory that it brought back. It was still funny even now, as I thought of it months later.

And because Mohsina’s expertise was to stir up things, the Samoosa saga was her way to get back at her Nani. It was her  idea to go against tradition and I knew that she had done it just because she wanted to annoy her.

And as we had just arrived at the house, after a few minutes  minutes of sitting and listening to general business talk of the men, I kind of decided that I needed a breather.

It may have been the plan, or just pure coincidence that on my way,  I had caught sight of Mohsina, outside the kitchen door, seizing the opportunity to have a quick chat before anyone else saw us.

”Hey,” she said, taking a step back into the kitchen and frowning at me, her cheeks slightly flushed. Her sister, who was in the room, cautiously made her way out. “You’re not supposed to be here.”

And I smiled guiltily, because I knew she was right. If Nani had to get wind of this, I would probably be in for it.  But I was drawn to her, well, not just because of how pretty she looked that day, but to be honest, because from the kitchen was the smell of something yummy and I hadn’t had time for lunch..

”I know,” I said indignantly, but not making any attempt to leave either. All I wanted was a samoosa. “Just checking what’s on the menu…”

It was just an excuse and she had turned away with a shake of her head, and I kept my distance, because I did still respect the rules we had set.

And as I watched her silently,  I could see her strategically taking some things out into a Tupperware, and placing some more things on a platter, before turning around to face me, with a triumphant expression on her face.

“You want to see something funny,” she had said mischievously with a grin, as we peeked into the room from where we were standing. “Watch Nani’s expression.”

I already knew that Nani was a really traditional character, and that made me like her even more. I had a feeling that she was probably the only one who Mohsina truly, but secretly took seriously.

It was just that I wasn’t quite sure if she would like me, so bringing the flowers that day was my form of a trade off for her approval. The dynamic between her and Mohsina had also intrigued me significantly, and I could see that Mohsina was itching to put some masala in the works that day, and she was very much successful.

I stood behind as we peeked into the room where the food was, from where we were standing, while Mohsina went onto the other side, scanning it for Nani and notably noticing her face change while she looked from one platter to the other, literally searching for samoosas, while I could hear someone asking where Mohsina was.

I could see Nani getting a little worked up, as she was calling for who I presumed was Mohsina’s mother… and that’s when Mohsina quickly straightened her scarf, gave me a warning glare that spelt that I better get out of there without a word of what she had just done, and made her appearance in the room once again, as if she was not just behaving like a unruly child a few minutes before that.

I was chuckling randomly for a good ten minutes after. For some reason, Mohsina got a kick out of living on the edge, and causing a stir. It was just that, living in the edge sometimes led to catastrophic consequences.

I stifled my sigh, looking at Rabia as she got up to put the kettle on. Looked like she wasn’t heading out after all.

And yes, as for Mohsina, maybe I should have known from the very beginning that her nature was a little erratic, but I thought that she would be able to draw boundaries where it mattered.

And now, more than ever, the lessons from the mistakes I had made now stood out greater than ever.

‘Knowing’ someone before you got proposed didn’t change a thing. Knowing someone before , set up expectations that sometimes didn’t materialize. Knowing someone before, having those memories, was something that stuck with you and literally hounded you… even when you were trying your utmost to move past it.

I sought refuge from the wrong I had done, from every sin that I thought was little, from every word I had said that may have been a source of Allah’s wrath raining down on me.


And now, as I found a new path in life, I knew that I had  found something better. By changing my life, by maintaining my respect… by keeping my honour intact, Allah had granted me not only peace… but a contentment that felt like I was coming home, every time I surrendered to Him.

Now, I knew better. I would do better. I knew that I’d never set myself up for so much of pain and heartache, the way that I had before.. Next time, I would play it safe.

I looked at my sister, who was still waiting for an answer.

”I think we can just blame it all on the samoosas,” I said with a grim smile. “Or lack there of. Next time, please insist- samoosas are obligatory.”

Rabia let out a loud burst of laughter.

And yes, I felt sorry for her, and she had it tough, but although  I wasn’t the biggest fan of her ex-husband, I couldn’t blame anything on him solely. Marriage is two people who are equally choosing to either make it or break it. Or maybe it wasn’t all that simple. I didn’t have all the answers, but I did know that I had plenty of time.

“No more Samoosa for me anytime soon,” she said blandly. “The problem is that everyone else gets the extra rich, cheesey ones and I’m just stuck with the tinfish.”

Tinfish samoosas? I chuckled.

“When I meet that husband of mine,” she continued with a frown. “If he even exists… I’m going to give him one big smack, for taking so bloody long.. howcome everyone has such good luck? … It’s so unfair… I met a girl ones who didn’t even have to go through all of this. Along came one rich, handsome guy from the blue and pitched up to propose. How unfair is that? And then Shabana… remember our second cousin..? she’s so spoilt rotten, can’t cook and doesn’t even greet properly when we meet her, but she got such a nice guy. And people like me end up with the rotten leftover.”

Ah, here we go again, the old ‘howcome’ saga. Howcome they get it all and we don’t? Rabia was a big fan of it and I wasn’t.

I shrugged.

“It’s Allah’s justice system,” I said simply. “You can’t question it. Allah already knows both sides of the story. We are all sinners and have done bad things. Everyone has their tests… look at people who are worse off than you before you start comparing…”

It was the golden rule to combat jealousy. And even if someone is bad to you, indeed, isn’t Allah is in charge of the how, why and where of punishment? If not now, will Allah Taála not even the scales at some point?

In a verse of Holy Qurán Allah says:

“… Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” (Holy Quran 60:8)

If we want to take our matters into our own hands, when Allah is the ultimate judge, is this not an injustice?

Rabia shrugged and sighed, looking at the sleeping Zaid and planting a kiss on his forehead, downing her cup of tea before getting up to leave again.

And yes, I understood her point. There are times when I wonder how people who I know or once knew ever got away with things that they did. There were times when I wondered how the scales will be evened, when it seems like nothing in life is fair and will ever be okay again.

But all these feelings… this hostility… the aversion to people… the ill feelings… it all went away when I took a new step in my new journey of life.

I didn’t have to hold onto past grievances because I had full faith that Allah already knew exactly what my heart had been through and had a perfect plan that was just for me.

And yes, for now, I had found a place where my heart was at ease… and I had found home.

I knew that if Allah was in my side, whatever hurt, whatever pain… I knew that my Allah would never abandon me.

Home was where my heart was contented and where I really had no desire to be anywhere else but where I was right then.

And as I got up and left Zaid in his sleepy silence for a good few minutes, I found my mind switching back to the present once again.

It was just two days left, before I would be leaving again, and I could barely wait.

And I supposed it was his luck that as he shifted again and the front door opened, with both my sister-in-law and my mother entering, the huge wail that escaped from his mouth got them both rushing over and swooning over him like they’d never seen a baby before in their lives.

Life, huh? It was weird that way. One way you were a normal person with not much purpose, and the next moment you have this tiny human being who turns everything around and brings a light even in the darkest of times…

Sometimes home wasn’t a place. Sometimes home was a feeling. Sometimes home was two eyes and a beating heart, and sometimes that home was all that mattered.

It was just three weeks, I told myself, feeling amazingly discomforted by the fact that I would be away from Zaid for so long. It felt liek a lifetime and I was beginning to feel like a real parent now.

Feelings of guilt and missing out on important milestones of his life were starting to plague me. This whole parenting this was becoming a little too a serious for me, but I couldn’t stop it. I supposed once it hit you, there was no going back.

My world had already changed, and life was already so different to the one of that free-spirited and carefree guy that I glimpsed in the mirror just a few months ago.

What I didn’t know that coming back home after three weeks would feel like I was coming back to a completely different world…

Mission Sunnah Revival

In an effort to revive a Sunnah, let’s try and put our family first, instead of friends, followers and anyone else… be the best we can be to those who truly do love us the most ❤️

Sunnah of being best to our family.

Aisha (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The best of you are the best to their families, and I am the best to my family...”

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 3895

Du’aa for Rajab 

اَللّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِى رَجَبَ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَان

Allaahumma Baa’rik La’naa Fee Rajab(a), Wa Sha’baan(a), Wa Bal’ligh’naa Ramadhaan.

“O Allaah! Make the months of Rajab and Sha’baan blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadhaan.”









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The Art of Waiting

Bismihi Ta’ala


It’s common knowledge about the human race, that when facts become a little illusive, people become damn inquisitive. Everyone wants the details. The low down. Wanting to know when and why and how it will all happen. Wanting to know, before hand, given advanced notice. Everyone wants to be one up in the game, so they won’t be caught off-guard, unprepared, on their back foot… when it all goes down.

But there are many things we are not given knowledge of in this world, simply because that’s the way it’s meant to be. Many instances when we have to wait… when we have no idea of whats in store for us in the future. And for one, when I delved into the dark, I had no idea what to expect or what would come out of my situation. And if I myself was a little confused and uncertain, well, how the hell was I going to give anyone else any answers?

But life is such that many things that Allah has kept hidden from us, and many things that only Allah has knowledge of. This world is such that we can plot and plan, but at the end of it, the final decision is in the hands of the one Maker, Breaker and Decision-Taker.

A man asked the Prophet (sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) about the Hour (i.e. Day of Judgment) saying, “When will the Hour be?”

The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said, “What have you prepared for it?”

The man said, “Nothing, except that I love Allah and His Apostle.”

The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said, “You will be with those whom you love.”

The Sahabah said: We had never been so glad as we were on hearing that saying of the Prophet (i.e., “You will be with those whom you love.”)

Therefore, I love the Prophet Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam, Abu Bakr (RA) and `Umar, (RA) and I hope that I will be with them because of my love for them though my deeds are not similar to theirs.

And yes, there were many things I didn’t know, like what date we were setting the wedding for or how many people I wanted to invite, but as I looked at my brother who was walking toward me with his Sunnah style beard and clothing, there was one thing that I did know.

And yes, even though I had many undesirable qualities in me, one thing that I did have in me was that I loved him for what he was. If I looked at my brother, or my father, or even Maulana Umar, who I saw more often now that Imraan was moving back to the farm, even though I myself had zero of his qualities, I had a deep-rooted admiration for them. For what their did. For how seriously they took Deen. For fighting (and at times, literally fighting) for what they believed in.

I was amazed by their perseverance in a western world, to be who they were and be consistent, even when there was so much against them.

I loved who they were, and through that love, I only hoped that we I could be united with them in the next world. That was all. But was it enough?

And as I cooled off on my parents lounger at our family home at a gated estate in the north of Johannesburg, shoes off and legs up as Imraan sat at the edge of my couch, I glanced at my phone and wondered how people did it. Like, with the click of a button, the whole world becomes your oyster. How do you even stay strong and hold yourself back? How did you control urges to do wrong and just be strong?

I watched my brother from the corner of my eye as he kicked his shoes off, knowing what he was itching to find out about.

And it was a welcome diversion. My mother had been hounding me about things I didn’t and couldn’t give her answers to. Like, what was Mohsina’s favourite colour? Would she prefer rose gold jewelry or white gold? Whether she was a chocolate or flowers kind of person.
Between her and my sister’s nagging, I had to make a u-turn every time I saw them. I could honestly do with some normal conversation. Details weren’t my thing, and frankly, I didn’t really care.

“So how did it go?” Imraan asked, his dark brows raised at me slightly as his one leg jiggled mindlessly. “The interview.”

I shrugged. I had told him last week that I was leaving Hammond’s to move to another company called TSW. It seemed like a good move to make and to tell the truth, I was feeling pretty excited about the change.

“They’re a big company too,” he said, watching me skeptically. “Big company with some big clients. May be a little bit of a jolt for you, especially since it will be the start of your career. Don’t you feel you may want to stick to who you know?”

”I like a challenge,” I said, running my hands through my growing beard roughly. “Change is good. Change is what helps me to grow.”

It was true. I thrived on change. There had been so many changes and I didn’t feel like I was lacking in any way because of it.

The interview with TWC had gone pretty well, by my standards. It was a slightly smaller company than Hammonds but they were desperately in need of a CA for their debtors department and I kind of got the feeling that I fitted the profile perfectly. Also, they had mostly men on the pay roll which I’m sure Imraan would be happy with.

Imraan went silent and I looked up as my sister-in-law, Saaliha came in with a plate of some sort of filled puri treat that I remembered. She probably remembered how I had devoured the whole tray and I thanked her and took one, munching noisily as she poured tea for Imraan and coffee for me.

Okay, I won’t lie. Now that I thought about it, I was a little spoilt. The thing was, I was the baby of the family and to tell the truth, till that point, I was ridiculously indulged by all the women that surrounded us. And now that I watched my sister in law, I wasn’t quite sure how Mohsina would adjust to that role. But it didn’t matter, did it? I had everyone else to do it for me, didn’t I?

”So you definitely moving ship,” Imraan said, taking a sip of his tea. “And your wife?”

He said wife like we were already married. I sat up and gulped half the mug of coffee.

“We haven’t discussed it yet,” I said nonchalantly.

And I was trying to play it cool and not think about next year too much. All I knew was that I had made it clear that Hammonds wasn’t an option for either of us. Faadil was another story altogether but what I did know was that there were some things that are better left unsaid. I had caught him more than once in some unfavourable situations and working under someone whose priorities were skewed was never going to do any good for anyone.

As for Mohsina, ideally I’d want her to be home. We didn’t need the extra income, so there was no need to really push ourselves to the limits when it came to building our careers.

“Really?” Imraan said, his eyebrows slightly raised. “Bru, you don’t think of will be a problem? I mean , for me, the woman is the Queen of the home. My wife knows that and she loves it. But you need to discuss it with her first, you can’t leave these things unsaid..”

I shrugged again. Okay, so let me just explain. Imraan and I were born a whole generation, if not two, apart, when he had gotten married, things were just a little different. Some things went without saying. Women I knew who were working back them may have had a little business on the side, just to keep them busy or earn additional income, but it wasn’t like how it is with my generation. We were just savage. Women had actual careers that they took really seriously. Women and men in the workplace were almost on equal wavelengths. They competed directly with each other. It was an idea that was never foreign to me because it’s what I had known all along, ever since I had entered the workplace.

To tell the truth, I knew that I had to clear some things up. There were a few things about my fiancé’s life that I wasn’t comfortable with and I had let her know some of it, in no uncertain terms. But it was one thing at time. Baby steps, right?

“It’s different now, Imo,” I said, placing my mugg down and sitting back and looking at my brother. “Chics are different. No one wants to sit at home.”

”What you mean no-one wants to stay home?” he said, looking confused. “It’s this feminism stuff isn’t it? Did she say that?”

“Not really,” I said, feeling a little defensive about it. I mean, how else was I supposed to feel, I know what I seemed like.

Feminism. Something that goes against the natural way of how the Almighty intended for the world to run.

Men and women are not created equal or there wouldn’t be any need for two genders for us to survive.

Women didn’t see the value in being home because to be out there, sacrificing their lives, their time and their marriages didn’t matter as much as proving that they were equal to men.

“Listen, bro,” he said, lowering his voice. “Your mother, Rabia and the wife are all going shopping for your proposal next week. What if she doesn’t think the way you do? You better sort your shit out before they waste all that stuff for nothing. Saaliha already bought a new cloak. Do you guys… meet.. ?”

”Not anymore,” I said confidently, glad that we had made the resolution to stay away until Nikah. And I had been doing so. So far.

He just shook his head.

“That means you’ll were involved right?” He said, his eyes slightly narrowed. My brother wasn’t stupid. He knows what happens to a boy and girl when they get together. Especially in a work environment where there are no boundaries.

“Not exactly,” I said carefully. I was still feeling awkward about discussing these things with my older brother. He was like 10 years older than I was. It almost felt like my father.

“Make Taubah,” said my brother-turned-nearly Maulana. “Like sincere repentance. You guys are making it all clean now, so try going in with a clean slate.”

He said Taubah like I needed to hang my head in shame.

“Don’t stress,” I said to him, waving my hand indifferently, not wanting to divulge further. “We just spoke.”

”Just spoke?” He pressed, completely oblivious to my awkwardness and obviously not believing me. He ran a real no-bullshit regime. “Either way…You know speaking is Zinaa too, don’t you?”

And okay, so maybe we had done it all wrong. I mean, I spoke to chics all the time and I never hid it from anyone. There was no use acting all holier-than-thou and going behind peoples backs and meeting up. For me, what you saw was what you got, and I wasn’t about to hide my sins. I knew it didn’t validate it, but my mindset was a little skewed and I knew it. I just couldn’t stop myself.

And that’s why, when things first started with Mohsina, I actually had no idea what was going to happen. I was taking it as it comes, like I usually did. And coincidentally, it was around that time when I was kind of sneaking around, not because I wanted to but for her sake, that Liyaket pulled me aside one day.

And I knew that Liyaket knew, because he helped to set it all up, but what he didn’t know was that I probably wasn’t as serious as he wanted me to be. What he said though, was what made me think:

If you not willing to change for anyone, don’t expect anyone to change for you.”

Liyaket always had these deep lines that came out of nowhere. And I supposed it kind of went with our conversation before he got married of settling down and getting out of all my previous immature habits. Liyaket wanted to me to settle down, and all I knew was that there wasn’t anyone worth settling down with. His point was that I probably wasn’t a person anyone took seriously about settling down with either. And of course it stung, but I supposed it was true.

And at that point, until then, I wasn’t serious. I didn’t understand boundaries. I didn’t have any. I had become so used to doing as I pleased. The thing was, when I saw Mohsina that Nikah day, looking unlike the career-inspired girl I knew from work, I kind of got the feeling that she was stressed about something out of her control. And I was just asking out of concern.

And she was looking just a little distressed and unlike herself, so I had to ask.

“I can’t find my brother,” she said, looking defeated and exhausted. “And we need to leave, like, right now. Have you seen him by any miracle?”

And of course I saw her brother. I remembered meeting him earlier that day. He was awkward, like most teenagers, he looked very much like he was still trying to figure himself out. And when Sa’ad got talking to him about something, I remembered him telling his father that they were headed to the front shed. Sa’ad was Maulana Umar’s son and I had introduced her brother to him, knowing he was a good guy, but not knowing that the two of them will go off and go awol in the bushes. And that was precisely where I was taking her to. No funny business was intended at that point. I just felt responsible.

“How do you like the farm?” I asked, just making conversation as I showed her the way. I wasn’t going to act like a cake now that we were out of work territory.

And as we walked across the meadow where two horses stood, almost submerged in the greenery, I was so used to it, that I didnt notice her staring at the plot in awe. And as I followed her gaze, I knind of guessed  it seemed like we were in a completely different world.

Nothing else did it justice. No words. No pictures. I didn’t even bother with raising my phone because this moment… well, it was everything. It was more than snaps or captions or posts. It was more than just living in virtual reality, blinded to the real life that was so brutal and consuming and kept her away from this kind of sincere beauty.

“Do you ever wonder about life beyond there?”  I said, looking out into the open, unable to digest that this place was really quite enchanting. It seemed like another world.

I looked at her for a minute, and at first I thought that she didn’t hear me. She didn’t meet my eye.

And then, as I averted my gaze and we trudged into the thicket, the easiest path to the mentioned shed, her voice sounded like a different person.

“I feel like I haven’t been living all this time,” she said, , sounding completely different to the self-centered career girl I knew all along. “Like we’ve been missing out on all of this for so long and everything else is just one big lie. Can you imagine waking up to this every day? Can you even imagine just leaving the whole world and it’s illusions, and just putting it all behind, because this … well, this is so much more real than you’ve ever felt in your life.”

I looked at her, silent because I was a little shocked, but she didn’t really notice. Instead, she just laughed.

Almost as if she realised something humorous.

“Oh yes,” she grinned, walking along. “You don’t have to imagine. You guys probably do it all the time.”

The next words I said without even thinking. And there were some alarm bells ringing but I was completely oblivious to it as I said them.

“Why don’t you stay over and you can see for yourself?”

And of course, I didn’t even realise what I was saying until I finished say it. Of course, I meant that she could stay with my sister – there were so many rooms there-  we each had our own allocated houses on the plot and my sisters was pretty much free.

She gave me a weird look and then all I could think was, oh shit. I really put my foot in it, didn’t I?

And she didn’t get a chance to respond because we had already reached the shed and her brother and Sa’ad were already in view with a few different farm knives in front of them. All my fathers tools and slaughtering knives were here and it seemed like Sa’ad had been introduced to them before. I just didn’t know that Mohsina’s brother was into all that stuff, but teenagers were weird like that. I could already see Sa’ad giving me weird looks, and I knew that being Maulana’s son, he was probably wondering what I was doing with a girl, but for me and my mindset- well, I didn’t owe him any explanation. I was too busy fretting about the stupid thing I had said a few moments back. I didn’t want her to get the wrong idea.

“My parents will be waiting for us,” was all she said as she left, pulling her brother with her as I nodded, feeling a little awkward now.

She was going to be travelling home alone, and i knew I should have offered  to follow them or something but at that point I was already feeling that I had crossed way too many boundaries. And I was right. But see, this is what happens when boundaries are crossed. It doesn’t end there, because once a spark is ignited, it’s kind of hard to put it off.

But that was all history, and I knew that Imraan had a point.

Yes, there was a shame in sin, but the bigger shame was when you don’t repent for it.

And after Imraan’s chat, and him explaining way more to me, I pulled myself together. I really did want to be better. A better Muslim. A better person. Besides Jumuah, I barely even made it for Salaah to the mosque in years and I knew that something had to change.

I left home after greeting my mother, responding to her questions after she showed me the fifteen choices of jewellery and asking me to choose which one to take for the proposal which was getting everyone all in a frenzy. Of course, she was only planning ahead, and though it made me only a little unsettled, after chatting to Imraan, I kind of got why.

I felt like I needed to work on so much, before I took that step. But given time… Well, who knew what time could bring? There’s something amazing that I learnt about waiting. There is a beauty in waiting, sometimes, for something that you really want.

Once you slow down, then you see it. Once you slow down long enough from overanalysing, overthinking and unraveling the past. Sometimes we have to shelve the fear, abandon the hesitancy, and then just take the bait, like a fish in icy waters, looking for its prey.

And there’s a beauty… a certain art in waiting for something you really want. There’s an appreciation in not having what you want right then, just because you want it. It’s the training. The suppressing. The knowledge that not everything in this Duniyaa is for us to use and abuse as we want. The art of waiting is that it gives us time… Time to take those baby steps. Time to find that comfort that we need to.

As I stepped outside, instead of heading to play cards like I usually would, I knew that maybe it was time to do some true introspection. It was time to use the time I had for the better, not for the worse.

And maybe waiting would be easier if you knew something would definitely be a part of your story, but sometimes when you focus on that, you may be depriving yourself of all the other amazing things that are waiting for you on the path you’re meant to take.

Sometimes all those wrong chapters of your life need to be left behind. Let them serve as lessons and move on to better things.

Maybe it was an epiphany, but I knew that this was coming and right now, was the time. It was time to follow the footsteps of those that I wanted to be with, not now, but forever.

Mission Sunnah Revival: Sunnah of Lowering/Guarding the Gaze 

It is in this instance and era, surrounded by half-naked people, that we must have the courage to follow the command of Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (Sallalahu alaihi wa Sallam) and lower our gazes.

Despite what anyone may say, looking upon that which one is not supposed to is going near adultery, for an illicit affair begins with a lustful glance.

Allah wishes for us not to commit this ugly sin, and thus He commands us to lower our gazes:

Tell the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.

And tell the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty…” (Quran 24:30-31).

The Sunnah of lowering the gaze even on social media is also important and detrimental to our imaan if not done, a stepping stone to greater sins.






FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

Desperate Mistakes

Apologies for the confusion. Am re-publishing the post since the notifications haven’t worked. Happy reading 🤍

Bismihi Ta’ala


Sometimes its easier not to reply. To not read those messages. Not to read into someone’s words. Not to have to explain to anyone. Not to blame ourselves, our timing or our lives.

But maybe it’s not so easy when you know some things could have been avoided. That you could have made it right, before you did it all wrong. That you wouldn’t have regretted, if you had just not made that mistake.

And as it turns out, sometimes you have to do the wrong thing. To falter. Sometimes you have to make a big mistake to figure out how to make things right. Mistakes are painful, but they’re the only way to find out how to make yourself better. Sometimes you have to err to become a better version of you. To repent. To return. And to find your way back to the beginning, to Allah, and to where you need to be to start all over again.

And okay, I know that my mistakes may have been a little stupid. There had been so many over a short period of time, and sometimes when I looked back I wondered if I had been sucked into some kind of Bermuda Triangle that was draining me of all common sense. Maybe I was a little over confident of my ability to be the kind of die-hard that I usually was. In normal situations, I was as solid as a rock, but when emotions were involved, I wasn’t quite sure how to draw barriers.

It had been a hectic day that was going to be a start to a rocky few months. When Layyanah had introduced me to her mother, I completely got why she wanted me to be there.

There we were, waiting nervously and in a bit of a frenzy as we worried about whether she would eat or not, whether she would stay for long or not, what to tell Liyaket or not, and all up in arms about how to deal with the situation that had kind of come out of the blue.

Firstly, the woman came in a Rolls Royce. (Can you believe it?) Her long hair was flying in the wind, and she wore a white slinky white suit, with huge sunglasses and high heels. She honestly looked like she stepped out of a Kardashian episode and I’m not even kidding. To tell the truth, aesthetically, the woman looked absolutely perfect, and even though she was probably in her 40’s, every guy who she walked past turned to look because she was that much of a show stopper.

But as she walked towards me and I greeted her Bruegel, there was something in her eyes that I couldn’t quite figure out. Yes, she was a beautiful woman but inside, under all those layers of expnsive perfume and make-up, I had myself wondering if she was really and truly happy. Somehow, when I looked through her, she resembled a shell of a person walking around.

She spoke informally, almost as if she was putting on a show. Her voice was a little higher-pitched than necessary and now that I could see her up-close, her eyelashes looked so layered that I wondered if they would fall off.

”So how’s married life, love?”

She smirked as she watched Layyanah after air kissing her on both sides of her cheeks, and then eyeing me out with a wink.

“At least I can say that my daughter married a C.A,” she said, shrugging and looking at me. Her accent was emphatic and put-on. Actually, it was more of a put-off. “Problem is, I don’t even have any snaps to show for it. I hope you took some decent wedding pictures at least, Layyanah. I have to show the girls that you didn’t get married in an Abaya. I mean, the dress is not Dior but I suppose it will do.”

Layyanah shook her head as her mother coaxed her to smile, and Liyaket sat obediently toward the back of the room, looking anxious to make an exit. His introduction had been brief and awkward, and I completely got why.

”Fay, please don’t take any pictures for Instagram,” Layyanah requested.

Fay? She called her mother Fay?!

Her mother waved her hand indifferently.

”It’s just a little bridal glamour,” she said, not looking at me yet. Of course, I was just the non-existent friends. I was grateful she didn’t know any more. “Stop having a heart attack.”

Layyanah pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes.

“Anyway, this place is so quaint!” Fay cooed, flipping her long hair and sitting back again as she put her phone down. “Not exactly my style, you know, but I suppose you can’t have no money and still have the best. You do know that, don’t you, hunny?”

Layyanah was silent. Liyaket excused himslef now, knowing that there really was nothing else for him to do after he showed himself for all of two minutes. If I was him, I would have done the exact same. Why should he stick around for the name-bashing?

Fay seemed completely oblivious.

“You know, I was telling your father,” she said excitedly. “Our anniversary is coming up and I’m itching to plan a function, love. Back then, our wedding was so basic. Better than this though, and it was cute and stuff, but not tasteful, you know? These functions I see online… They’re exquisite! Of course, we will have to see whats trending in three months time and I’m following all the right decor pages for tips. Okay, so maybe I had a 1000 people and a five course meal but now it’s fine up to seven courses and everything is individually plated. Let’s not forget the hand-made personalised favours that they’re giving guests that are something else completely. A dream wedding,  Layy, if only you just listened to us we could have given you everything you wanted…”

I kind of wanted to duck away but I couldn’t. It was just too sensitive.

“Everything I wanted?!” Layyanah cut in, raising her eyebrows. “Oh please Fay, it was everything you wanted. I was just going with the flow because there would have been a big performance if I didn’t agree!”

Woah. I didn’t realise that Layyanah could be so edgy, even to her own mother. I mean, it was still her mother, right? Surely there had to be some barriers there.

Her mother was unruffled. She looked like she was used to this.

”Layyanah darling,” she said. “You’re my daughter, I know exactly what you like.”

She said it so naturally and Layyanah was buying none of it.

“You have no idea!” Layyanah spat, her eyes flashing angrily. “All you want to do is waste money on stupid junk that no-one even cares about! And Daddy is even more stupid because he just dishes out to you as you want. Let’s just spend money on temporary dumb things even though people are starving in the world. You know why you guys are perfect together?! You both have no sense and no bloody conscience and I cant believe you still want to waste money on more bloody extravagance!”


I was stunned into shock because Layyanah didn’t use the word ‘bloody’. She used another more vicious word that I only heard in some Netflix series. I was only grateful that Liyaket was gone so he didn’t see this side of her. He might have been a bit scarred.

And I completely got her point, but as I watched them go back and forth I realized that this whole dynamic was all skewed, and it kind of scared me.

Instead of Layyanah being petrified of her mother and the consequences (like I was at any given moment when my mother was around), she treated her like one of her casual friends. She spoke to her like she would speak to any girl from the office, maybe even a little looser. She even addressed her haphazardly by a nickname, with no respect. And the thing was, I was no expert on parenting and it was a far off notion for me (duh!), but I could see exactly where the problem was.

Some parents confuse parenting with being friendly, but they forget the most important thing.

Anyone can be a friend, but parents have a unique and important role that involves them ‘parenting’ first.  And yes, it was all Layyanah, my friend, but the fact was that Layyanah behaved this way because her parents never drew any boundaries. Speaking your mind was disrespectful when you spoke however you liked. Assertiveness is only okay when you don’t trample the rights of others. Especially your parents. The thing was, nowadays, bringing honour to those who brought you up was no longer a thing. Where once Muslim kids were admired for their manners, nowadays, they aren’t. Nowadays, they just gave crap and then recieved more in return.

Jibraeel (AS) said, “Inform me about the Hour.” He (the Prophet)(sallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, “About that the one questioned knows no more than the questioner.” So, he said, “Well, inform me about its signs.” He said, “They are that the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress…”

Sahih Muslim (8)

And that was exactly what it looked like. Like a slave who was just being subjecting to whatever Layyanah was dishing out. She was giving it to her mother, with absolutely no reproach for what she said.

And as I sat there, reeling in shock, boy, was I glad when Layyanah finally said:

”We’ve already discussed this topic fifty million times over, so can we just drop it?!”

Layyanah was looking at her mother now, and I could see she that she had calmed down, which hopefully meant that the no more language and profanity were on the cards. Her mother shrugged and turned to me, and at that moment, I felt a teeny bit of sympathy for her. Just for a milli-second, and then it was gone.

The thing was, unfortunately,  there was no respect from either side, or even any kind of mothering. She didn’t offer her any useful advice or tell her how to take care of her husband, like I know my mother would do. She didn’t even give her any Duáas, like any normnal parent would.

Honestly, now all Layyanah looked like was defeated and teary and like she needed was a shoulder to lean on and someone talk to. Here her mother was, all focused on how to spend more money and be more extravagant.

I wasn’t even sure what to say, but Fay just gave an exasperated sigh and then turned to me, all smiles.

Oh gosh, was it my turn next?

“Why do I feel like I know you?” She asked, and my heart skipped a beat in my chest as she said it.

There we go. Probably from the photos that they sent the hitman.

I smiled sweetly, sticking out my hand, business style. Layyanah had introduced us briefly but not formally.

“I’m Mohsina,” I said pleasantly. I was used to putting on a front. “I’m a CA at Hammonds. Layy and I worked together.”

Well, that kind of impressed her, but she looked at me quizzically, and then suddenly, her eyes lit up,

“Oh my word,” she mused, her eyes getting wider. “Your’re the Mostly Mohsina, aren’t you?! Hey, I know you! Like I really know you! How’s your mother? And your sister? Oh yes, I remember that time when you guys went on that family holiday to the beach house on the west coast. It looked stunning! I keep telling Layys father that we need to take a holiday locally. Like, Ras Al Khaimah always blows us away, but maybe after Dubai we’ll try something local.”

Okay, so let me explain- so in all fairness, it wasn’t exactly a family holiday. It was a holiday of family, and I wasn’t exactly lying but social media was a tough world. It was just the wording that mattered. My father had gone with my mother and sister to visit some of his family at a beautiful villa, and the pictures were magically stunning. Private beaches and heated pools. The most unusual coral and white sandy shores. Of course, it was the perfect content to use for my weekend post. The thing is, you had to keep coming up with content to keep people interested. Don’t hate the player. That was the game.

“I feel like I’m your best friend,” she went on, clasping my hand and gazing at me in admiration. “And you’re like an influencer, right? Ive been following you for two years now and I lurrvv your feed!”

And of course, I was feeling all chuffed and excited that all my hard work wasn’t going to waste. I mean, that’s what it was all about right? Making an impression. Making sure that people remember you for all the fancy and unique things you post. It’s not about reality. No ways. It was a world that was as far away from reality than anything.

I just couldn’t understand why I was feeling so far from that world right then. it was like I had been disconnected from it, even if it was just for this little while.

And I was still trying to process my feelings while Layyanah tried to offer her mother something, but she was already talking about leaving because she didn’t want Layyanahs father to find out where she was.

I mean, even though she was superficial and extremely caught up, she was still a mother, and that’s why she had come.

And as my brain was still processing this very strange relationship, out of the blue, Jameela suddenly knocked on the door, excusing herslef and then knelt down next to me. Of course, Layyanahs mother seemed thrilled to see her, because she was my sister. I had a feeling like she felt that she really did know me, even when I had never met her before in real life. And okay, it was a teeny bit freaky. Jameela was looking confused as her mother gushed over her, and then she turned to me as her focus changed, kneeling down slightly, close to my ear.

“We need to leave,” Jameela said, her voice sounding a little more hysteric than usual. “Like right now.”

I turned to look at my sister, excusing myself from Layyanah as I noticed the panicked look on jameelas face. We did need to leave. The wind was starting to pick up significantly.

“What’s going on?” I hissed at her, pulling her away from the them as I excused myself and moved into a corner.

”We just have to leave,” she muttered, keeping her voice low. “I’ll explain later.”

“Where’s Muhammed Husayn?”

She shrugged.

“Someone said the shed at the front of the plot,” she said, not seeming too worried. “I tried looking for him, but as usual, I can’t find him and now I’m going to the car. I don’t care anymore! Let him stay here!”

Oh hell, now my brother was gone awol. He had probably got that guy to show him something old and historical and went to explore. Weird child. Typical teenager. Inconsiderate. As usual, I had to pick up the pieces because Jameela was pretty useless at everything besides planning coffee shops and wasting money.

I told Layyanah I’d see her soon, and even though her mother was leaving too, she held on to me a little longer than necessary, sounding both nervous and excited at that same time, as I left them to say their goodbyes.

And I was all excited and optimistic for my friend and this new chapter of her life, but I was also aware that it could also turn out horribly if she didn’t watch her back.

And if it all turned out okay, I would be eternally grateful. But for now, I had bigger things to sort out, like getting home.  I was all out for soaking up the sunset but my parents were already freaking out about us being home after dark and I knew it was time to leave.

And after heading off for the shed to look for my brother, my entire purpose in life was disrupted. All I did was follow the instructions and go toward the front of the plot (If I knew where that was). The problem was, it was so huge and vast, that instead of it being a short drive, it ended up being a half hour route on foot that brought me right back to where I started. I was positively fuming, wondering why the hell Muhammed Husayn was so irresponsible, when all I had to do was ask someone for help that I so desperately needed.

There were many things that may have been a cause, and set me off track. I was soaking in my glory, all chuffed by the recognition of my Instagram page that was apparently amazing (according to Fay), and probably set me off on a wrong foot from the beginning. Jameela was going bezerk on me because she was intent on leaving and I was getting all sorts of panicked because it was nearly Asr time and I knew that if I didn’t hurry up, timing in getting home would be a disaster. To top it off, there had been a cloud burst and I was all soaked and shivering to the extent that I was actually regretting even coming here on the first place.

And yes, I must have looked an utter state. And it was no wonder that I emerged all wet and terrrifying as I trudged up the bank to where my car was parked. I could see Hamzah in the distance but I wasn’t going to risk it the whole conversation out of work thing, especially when I looked like this. I wouldn’t have done it in any circumstance, and besides, it was against every rule of decency I had ever known.

And although I desperately tried to block my face, luck was just on my side that day. And no, I didn’t want to pass all the blame over, but I would have just walked straight ahead and tried calling Husayn for the 15th time that hour, but I was also tired and hungry and I just wanted to go home.

See, I knew about barriers. Walls. I always had them up. I was extra careful, especially  after Nani had been on my back about having too much of freedom. I took these things seriously. Yes, I wasn’t the best and I spoke where necessary, but I wasn’t that type. I wasn’t the type to just fall into traps. I was the type to avoid them all, but this one, I didn’t even see coming.

“Hey,” he said briefly, obviously noticing my strained face that I was desperately trying to hide. Yes, it was only Hamzah but I looked like a disheveled rag doll.

I expected some remark about Snapchat or Facebook as he watched me busy on my phone, trying to call my brother desperately, only to get no answer, but he didn’t have that usual attitude that he did at work. He looked calmer. Easy. Maybe the air here had smothered his annoying tendencies.

Or maybe he was probably just feeling sorry for me because I looked like a shipwreck.

”It’s okay,” I said, trying to appear composed when I wanted to cry. He actually looked like a completely foreign person now, in a dark kurta and slightly styled hair. At least someone here was looking normal. “I’m okay.”

He nodded, and then narrowed his eyes.

”You don’t look okay,” he said, and I looked at him. His eyebrows were raised questioningly. “You sure everything is okay? Is Lesley still around?”

“Lesley’s fine,” I snapped, a little faster than I intended. Of course I didn’t look fine. I had just been attacked violently by torrents of rain. Why did he have to rub it in?

Also, why did he have to bring Lesley into this? She was already on her prepaid Uber back home, and it was so unfair. All I wanted to do was find my brother and go home too.

And of course, now Hamzah was looking at me like I was some kind of kuku case. But honestly, there really was more to life than Lesley. And yes, I didn’t resent her, but I think I had enough of her for the entire week. The girl had really tested me that day.

He held his hands up, and I could immediately see that weird look in his eyes again.

“I was just checking,” he said defensively, but his voice didn’t sound like him. Well, not like the usual him. “I’m glad you sorted it out. See you.”

And I should’ve left it at that. I mean, there was no real harm done. But now I was feeling bad.

Why, I didn’t know.

And that was mistake number two.

Because no matter what, feelings and regret and whatever else was brewing, I knew that it wasn’t worth the risk of falling into sin. But sometimes, we’re just weak. Sometimes our minds are screaming for us to be a little rational, but our hearts are pulling us the complete opposite way.

No, it wasn’t okay. And yes, it had happened before. Being alone with him, even here in the open, even if I needed help. This wasn’t the same as it was before.

It was a desperate measure. Maybe a mistake that I didn’t even think much of, but would cost us so much more than I could ever imagine at the time.

”I’m sorry,” I called out, blowing my nose, because it was all snotty and runny due to the crazy weather and helluva emotions. His back was still to me as he paused, but didn’t turn around.

“Hamzah, wait. I need your help.”

Dear Readers,

Just a quick one to say that I always look forward to your comments. Any thoughts on Layyanah and what she may be getting into?

Always appreciate the input, it definitely gets the creative juices flowing. 🤍

much Love

A xx

Mission Sunnah Revival: the beautiful Sunnah of eating and licking fingers.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

١٥ ربيع الأول ١٤٤٣
15th Rabee’ul Awwal 1443 – South Africa

22nd October 2021

رسول الله صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم said:
If the morsel of any one of you fall, then he should pick it up, thereafter remove any dirt etc on it, and eat it. And he should not leave it (morsel), for satan.
And he should not wipe his hand, with a cloth, until he lick his fingers, for verily he doesn’t know, in which portion of his food, is the blessing (Barakah)

(Muslim Shareef)

If a morsel fall down, then we must not regard it as, reprehensible.
There’s great reward in picking up a morsel and eating it, regarding it a Sunnah.
If it’s not possible to eat it, then place it in such a place, where some animal can eat it.j

Clouded Conceptions

Bismihi Ta’ala


I had been so sucked into work this morning that I wouldn’t have even known if something had happened at the office to cause all the drama. It was clear that something was off. Plus, Layyanah was wearing a turban style hijab which was completely new to me. I was wondering what and why and whether Divine inspiration had come from above… because I never saw Layyanah covering her hair before.

And now I was left with the ardent task of trying to figure out what happened, after being forced to hold down the show while Liyaket went for his meeting, so Layyanah wouldn’t have a nervous breakdown in his absence.

How was my luck such? I internally groaned. So much for not getting involved.

Gosh, I should have trusted my instinct and walked away. it was no wonder I steered clear of these kind of situations. It just gave me unnecessary anxiety. But then what kind of friend would I be?

Stop being selfish, I chided myself.

At that point, there must have been some deeper reasoning as to why I was the one who Layyanah was going to turn into her most entrusted confidante…. I just didn’t know it yet.

Because of course, I couldn’t just leave the girl there. At that point, though we weren’t best friends, I actually quite liked Layyanah. She was one of the less snobbish but feisty girls who were at the office. She also wasn’t scared to say what she needed to when it was required. She didn’t worry about those few who would purposely stare at you when you walk past them, and then say something inaudabile just to get you all revved up.

“I’m leaving work,” she explained. “I mean, I have to. My parents are adamant that I must stay home and they want me to get married. To someone of their choice.”

Hmmmm. I widened my eyes appropriately.

Being in the crappy mood I was, I was tempted to nod and be impartial, but I knew I couldn’t be so heartless. Plus, if Layyanah left, she would leave me alone here with those annoying girls, I don’t know what I would do. She can’t leave work. No, that’s not going to work for me.

“Are they forcing you?” I said, wondering if she even knew what this meant.

Like, do those old forced marriages still exist? Arranged marriage, I understand. I knew that there was no pressure to say yes, if you weren’t compatible. But this sounded like something out of some nineteen-voetsek Bollywood movie and I couldn’t fathom that it was still allowed.

Layyyanah shrugged. It didn’t seem like she thought it was abnormal. It was almost like she expected it. But like, how do you even just accept someone who your parents choose? And then, what about Liyaket? Most of all, what about me?! Was this even real life or some soapy drama thing.

I took a deep breath in and looked at my acquaintance turned friend, trying to put on a comforting voice to ease her fears. Only problem was that I wasn’t very good at that, so instead of sounding kind, I just sounded edgy. Partly because I was worried about how long this coffee break was taking and partly because the whole situation was just stressing me out.

“Lets meet at lunch to talk,” I said decisively, knowing that I needed to get back to work it would also give me time to wrap my head around the problem and think of a practical solution. After all, I really did like Layyanah and it was horrible to think that I wouldn’t see her again. Because in all fairness, I really needed her to be my friend slash work-ally.

And though I made my way to my desk, eyes on me because my coffee making break had taken a little longer than expected, my mind was already consumed by worst-case scenarios. Opening the spreadsheet I was working on, my mind could simply not focus on it. Besides trying to avoid Jameela incessant messages about what I thought about her new design for her coffee shop logo, I finally called it a morning at 11.45, messaged Layyanah and told her to meet me at the coffee shop down the road.

It was a popular place that many of the office occupants frequented during the week, and today, I was hoping we could find a quiet spot to chill with minimal interruptions. Plus, I wanted to catch up with some posts. We weren’t allowed to be on social media at work and my lunch break was my haven to reconnect with the world.

Grabbing a table in the far corner, Layyanah bought us two cappuccinos and joined me while I took out my phone to take a snap of the coffee cups. I mean, there was no use going to fancy coffee shops if you didn’t share a story about the presentation of the coffee you drank. And the pattern of the frothy layer on the top. Latte art was always trending. Like duh.

I placed my laptop next to it my coffee. Just for extra effect took another snap, zooming in so I could get the full effect. Ooh yes, that was perfect.

The two cups looked good together with the Laptop and I immediately clicked the post icon.

Caption: Coffee with BFF.

Nah. Something more work inclined.

Caption: A dose of work earns a dose of coffee with the bestie.

Winking emoji.

Yep. That sounded more like it. At least they would know that I worked hard to earn my play time. And I had a  good friend that I could talk about my work nuances with. Well, not really, but it was all for the gram so no one really cared about the truth anyway.

My mother was sending me a WhatsApp message but I purposely ignored it. There was no need to reply immediately. I was doing something important and posting updates for people that paid attention to my life. It made me feel good, and my social media following was reaching nearly 6.5k. That was important. People who didn’t really know me were most important. What wasn’t hitting me was that this media I called social, was actually anything but. I was slowly becoming an anti-social freak with a gadget attached to my hand.

Oh but yes, what about hashtags?
#coffee #friends #bff #bondingtime

I quickly put in a heart and two girls emoticon, making sure to hashtag more appropriate things like #work, and then tagged @layyanah_m before looking up at the real life version.

Layyanah was sipping on her cappucino carefully, deep in thought while finished with my snaps, took a quick selfie and then put my phone back in my bag. I was tempted to take it out again to check the likes in the post. I had already seen some double taps but Layyanah didn’t look like she was in the mood for an Instagram update, so I waiting for her to spill her story.

And then she started and the urge to pick up my phone was overwhelming. I wasn’t sure how to engage with her without it. Nowadays it was normal to chat to people with one hand occupied, right? I saw it all the time.

I grabbed my phone, scrolling through posts of old friends with their babies, through some other influencer type feeds, wondering what it was I could do to earn more followers. It wasn’t like what she was telling me wasn’t important, and she wasn’t looking annoyed that I was on my phone, but it wasn’t making me stop in my tracks. Well not yet.

”So Liyaket thinks we should make Nikah,” I heard her say all matter of fact, while I conveniently spat out my coffee all over the table. Oh gosh. How did we get to this point?

I put my phone down. Finally, and then looked at my friend.

Layyanah didn’t look fazed. I wasn’t sure if she even noticed.

”What?” I asked, widening my eyes at her. “Why on earth would he suggest that?”

She frowned slightly.

“Erm,” she started, not really noticing my discouraging approach. “Because we’re compatible. Because it’s the right thing to do. And because I really want to spend the rest of my life with him and no-one is going to stop me. Weren’t you even listening?”

I looked at her shamefully.

She had a certain defiance in her eyes as she gave her motivation and I was in between wanting to cheer her on and wanting to slap some sense into her.

Make Nikah? Just like that. Like, whose bright idea was that? Like, they were only going out for 2 seconds.

“Why can’t you just talk to your parents and let them know that you have someone and do things properly?” I said, wondering why all the drama but kind of guessing at the same time. As I said, drama, it wasn’t my thing.

Layyanah sighed and looked at me, her eyes looking all melancholy once again.

“They’ll never accept a son-in-law from another cast,” she said finally, swallowing hard and saying the word ‘cast’ emphatically. “Outdated Indian traditional thinking. Crazy, but that’s how we are. Nevermind we’ve lived in western world and want to everything else like the west. They still hold onto their old stupid old-fashioned and warped values. Of course, I’ll tell them, but I know what will happen. It’s too much of a blow to their egos to accept a ‘Khan’ as a son-in-law. My brother already knows- he was ready to approach Liyaket at the airport. Lucky Liy was fast to get out of there. Hashim messaged me with his derogatory terms and threatened me after he dropped me at home. But I don’t care. You know why?”

I shrugged. I really didn’t know. Probably because I wasn’t listening properly in the first place

“Because I see my sister suffering every day,” she almost spat, her whole demeanor changing as she became angry.  “Married to a first class idiot who cheats and lies and parties every weekend. And she can’t go anywhere because his parents have too much of pride to ever let it out the bag. And they have too much of money. And contacts. Not like my parents are any better… but for Liyaket… well, it’s not the same. He wasn’t brought up like that. It’s not like Liyaket  even has a father to fall back on or vouch for him. He knows what it is to come from somewhere that has no privilege. He doesn’t take anything for granted. Liyakets father passed away when he was a baby. He was raised by his grandmother because his mother had to work 18 hours a day to put food on the table. Gosh, I cried when he told me the story. His life is too far-fetched… too basic… too lower class for them. They would say I need to marry better. That we’re not compatible. But to tell the truth, Mos, I know I won’t find better. He treats me like a queen and I know it’s wrong to carry on like this, but I think that this is what’s best for me and that’s why when he said that Hamzah says we should make Nikah then I think that may just be the solution…”

It took me a few moments to process, feel the emotions, and then I narrowed my eyes at her before cutting her off.

“Hamzah suggested Nikah?” I asked incredulously. I almost wanted to laugh now.

Treats her like a queen? Please. It was probably only because he wanted her to succumb to him. I knew that Liyaket was a nice guy but no guy was that amazing. Right? He probably had some dodge connections to do it too. Highly possible.

“Like just like that? No plans, just Nikah?”

Layyanah shrugged.

“Apparently Hamzah’s family is very holy like,” she said, looking slightly calmer as her eyes strayed to the doorway where the devil himself was standing.

Hamzah and Liyaket had entered the coffee shop and I kind of got the feeling that they were looking for us. Well. For Layyanah- but you get what I’m saying.

And besides the fact that Hamzah annoyed me, I generally steered clear of him for other reasons too, only addressing him if he really got in my way. Because of default company and Liyaket and Layyanah, he was often around, but the fact was that he had earned his reputation in the months he had been here, I didn’t plan on even indulging his witty charm. He was the one who everyone looked at as the craziest guy in the crowd, who always cracked a joke at the most inappropriate moments, and, who, though extremely good-looking, no sane Muslim girl would ever touch with a ten foot pole because they knew that all he was good at was auditing and messing around.

And that was why I found it so hard to believe that he had actually suggested they make Nikah, because boy, the guy himself was way off that track of thinking.

I mean, what on earth happened to him, if his family was so holy?

And because I had been engulfed by darkness for far too long, for some reason, I was unable to see that this was probably coming from a good place.

Nevermind the fact that the longer they carry on making Zinaa, the less barakah there would be if they had a future together. Nevermind that Imaan actually lifts out the body when you engage in that sinful act. Nevermind that that maybe Hamzah was actually trying to recommend something good that would serve them well in future.

Nikah was the last thing I wanted Layyanah to do right now and I wasn’t even sure if my reasoning was valid. If she made Nikah she would definitely leave work at some point soon. Knowing Layyanah, she’d probably fall pregnant really soon and then feel all nauseated when she came to work and that would be the end of my friend.

The thing I didn’t realise was that Allah Ta’ala created an inherent thirst for companionshipin the heart of every human. The objective of Nikah was to attain peace of mind, which was something I had been lacking of late. Due to my Netflix addictions that were clouding my mind, I was a little delusional with regard to the purpose of this blessed union. My sins had played a huge part in making me see wrong things as right, and right things as wrong.  Sometimes we were so quick to make judgement and say what we feel, but seldom, we actually stop and think about what Allah will be happy with. About what Nabi (SAW) himself would have advised us to do. Our lives are so far from that and my life was particularly in need of reform at that point.

I grabbed my phone again, raising my eyebrows in greeting and then ignoring them as they came to the table, taking the chance to catch up on any Instagram comments. The truth was, I was annoyed at the two of them for suggesting this Nikah thing. This would put a spanner in the works and change everything as we know it. I delved into my phone, tuning my mind out of the present, avoiding any confrontation.

And as always, the virtual world was eventful. Already a few followers had commented with some emojis. Obviously they thought that this was the best kind of corporate life ever. And then of course, Maahira, an old school friend who I chatted with often and was now working in London messaged to check one where we were having coffee. She had worked in Sandton before she moved to London and I was in the midst of replying to her when Hamzah rudely clicked his fingers in front of my face.

“Hey TikTok,” he said, his voice intruding my precious moments of Instagram fame. Why did he have to always make himself important?

I didn’t look up at him, because I felt like there was no point. Well, until he said smoothly:

“There was an announcement. Bossman is looking for you. I suggest you go and see what he wants.”

Mission Sunnah Revival!

Wearing Shoes and Covering the head when entering the toilet.

It is recommended not to enter the toilet with the head uncovered, because of a report which says that when the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) entered the toilet, he would put on his shoes and cover his head. End quote.



FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

Part 3: Chartered Changes


Bismihi Ta’ala


Being a woman in a male-dominated workplace is tough. Being a Muslim girl in the workplace is that much more challenging.

Often times I felt myself over over compensating. Going the extra mile. Making sure I never stepped out of line.

I supposed that’s why I was always watching my back. I wanted to be successful and I wanted this to work out. More than anything, that was my focus right now.

I turned to see Mickey (his real name was Mikael) approach and I let myself breathe a sigh of relief. Just another one of us. But just as well, the fun was over for this trip. It was time we headed back.

But wait. One more snap, before I left. I flipped the camera to face me, smiling widely as I tried to keep my scarf in place with the unruly wind. Perfect.

Now to post.

@mostlymohsina (my main Instagram handle and page) had approximately 6327 followers (well, the last time I checked which was about 2 minutes ago).

There were new follow requests every day though. Many were ex-students from the high school I attended, while others were people I had met along the way. I knew people spoke about my ventures. I had a knack of making simple things look super thrilling. That’s what social media was about though, wasn’t it?

Of course, then there were the few odd followers who I had no idea of who they were, but nonetheless, they were followers of my (seemingly) iconic lifestyle and I had to keep the game on for them. Things out there weren’t easy on the social media platform either. It was savage and it sucked you in, but I was already too far in to ever back out of it. In a way, it was my refuge too. When I was alone at night, it’s what kept me focused.

Ah yes, it was hard work. Keeping the posts and keeping people engaged. Sometimes a little drama was needed, just to create a new following and keep current followers hooked too.

Of course, I had to show the girls back home how amazing the corporate world was. Especially those who were probably sitting at home with a kid, browsing though social media, waiting for their husbands to come home. I couldn’t imagine that kind of life, to be honest. Maybe it suited other people, but it was far from what I had ever wanted for myself.

I was one of the lucky ones who had made it this far and I had to make it known.

The problem was, not everyone shared my sentiments.When I had expressed my views to Ma one day, she just gave me a:

”If Allah is happy with you then who else you have to impress?”

Pfft, as if it was so simple.

But she didn’t know. She didn’t know that the whole world was watching your every move, waiting for something in your life to go wrong just so that they could point a finger at you and blame it on your choices.

I turned my attend to Mickey who was gesturing for us to follow him. Hamzah wasn’t even bothered. The wind was blowing so fiercely right now that I had to shut my eyes. Why was the Cape always this windy?

Honestly, this was just doing sabotage to my impeccable hijab look.

”Come ON!” I urged Hamzah, getting impatient. If he didn’t follow I was prepared to leave the annoying sod to catch it from Faadil. I didn’t want to risk getting into trouble. “We need to make it before the bus leaves.”

“You mean, before bossman comes and hounds us for having a little fun when we’re allowed to?” Hamzah asked with a raised eyebrow, clearly knowing where my thoughts were as he caught me eyeing the time. 

I rolled my eyes at him. 

“Come on, Mos, don’t be such a suck up,” he moaned, turning to glance at me. “Get into trouble now and then. Besides, the guy needs to remove that carrot from up his behind.”

I rolled my eyes at him.

Okay, I’ll admit it. Faadil was a bit extreme with his bordering on oppressive manner and no-bullshit regime, but Hamzah had absolutely no respect for rules. None at all.

Although the two of them barely got along, there was no denying that the one thing that had gotten him selected for this trip was his genius auditing skills and ability to pink out errors in record time. He really was better than any one of us here, but he was too busy being a wisecrack to admit it. Of course, Faadil wouldn’t admit how valuable Hamzah was to the team either, because Hamzah just had a way of getting under people’s skin. And not in a good way.

I grabbed my backpack and slung it over my shoulder, ready to leave, not tolerating Hamzah’s nonchalant attitude. Work was work whether he liked it or not. 

I turned to look behind me as I heard other voices with Mikael’s, hoping the Liyaket and Layyanah would come back soon from their little escapade.

Oh yes, let me just give you the low down regarding them. FYI, those two are obsessed with each other but I really hoped that they’d see sense and break it off with no strings attached before it was too late.

The fact was that though they looked cute in theory, the painful facts were that while Liyaket Khan was a hard working and motivated guy from a small town who was out to make it for himself, Layyanah was a typical rich and spoilt Jo’burg girl from HR who had paid to come on this trip just so she could be with him. And though we got along and being with him was somehow bringing her down to earth, I didn’t want to be the one to break it to either of them.

Besides the fact that I knew that they would never work long term, I really didn’t have the energy to worry about their forbidden romance. As I said, my focus here was on the work. I wasn’t here for the drama. 

I trudged along, hearing Hamzah talking to the other group members behind us now, taking some time to clear my head for the work day. It was time I focused and got my head back into the auditing game.

It was obvious that Layyanah’s parents would never approve of him, and that was why she was sneaking around seeing him- but Layyanah was the type of girl who was used to getting her way. Besides her being spoilt rotten, I sincerely loved this girl and the last thing I wanted to see was any of them hurt. 

I sighed as I shielded my eyes from the sun, not seeing either of them nor hearing Hamzah come up behind me, sandals in hand as he adjusted his cap with the other hand. 

“Don’t worry about the two love birds,” he said bluntly, walking ahead of me speedily as I fell behind. The others were far behind and showed no sign of hurrying up. “They’ll find their way back before bossman notices.”

“Hey!” I shouted, running after him as he sped up, overtaking me so he’d be the first back. The conniving rat! I gritted my teeth as I tried to beat him back, whilst trying to look poised at the same time. It was impossible.

Oh well, I thought to myself, glancing back once more for my friend who was still awol. I was getting late. I suppose the two love birds would have to find their way back on their own. As always, I had to worry about myself. I mean, no one else was looking out for me.

Little did I know, this was about to change much sooner than expected. Not too far in the future there would be a wake up call that would change much more than just the way I thought.

Dear Readers

This new theme and story line is pretty experimental so please bear with errors or anything that may be offensive.

Obviously there will be great lessons to learn. I would also like to go into Sunnah revival, so if anyone would like any particular Sunnah to be mentioned, let me know, or we can start with the basics and work from there? I’m still struggling to balance my time and since posts may be a bit longer in future, I was thinking I can do just one a week. Or two shorter ones.

Comments and thoughts are always welcome. ❤️

Much love

A xx

And the Plot Thickens Again…

Bismihi Ta’ala


Memories are a funny thing. It’s quite amazing though… how the mind works. The things you can’t seem to remember, yet the things you just can’t seem to forget. But with memories… and remnants of our somewhat illusive minds… there comes a beautiful reminder about time. About life. About loss. Just like how childhood, and beauty and new life come to evolve… a new existence, a new world in which much will be born… will also come to die. Our problem is that we become enslaved to the moments that have gone by, enslaved to old worlds that have already passed away.

But in reality, more than a thousand times a day, we are born. With a new hope. To start again, to start afresh. Yet many of us choose to just let ourselves die again and again, as each new moment fades. We forget that each birth is a new opportunity to start over, to turn around, or to keep going. To accept. To seek forgiveness, To overcome, to heal, to rise again.

Because when you’re a believer, you see things from an entirely different perspective. Every test is a blessing. Every situation is a means for reformation. For others, death is the end. For us, death is just the beginning. Just as childhood and beginnings and life come to pass… the pain and the hurt also do. Sometimes we just get a little caught up that we forget the point of our existence is to keep returning to the One who reminds us that we still have a chance at a new beginning… That every new discovery is a great opportunity to turn to Allah and start again.

Of course, right then, as I processed this turn of events, I did see it from a different perspective. It would be a new beginning. A new start. Somehow, this too would bring a new realization that I did not yet see coming.

Right then, I was a little caught up in the present. My heart soared as Nusaybah had broken the news that my cousin had gotten a post for internship with immediate effect in the city, and they were serious about settling here. Of course, I was over the moon. Astounded by Allah’s mercy. I could barely believe that I wouldn’t really have to say goodbye…

”You wouldn’t have believed me otherwise, huh?”

Nusaybah was grinning widely as she watched me,  and I could already feel the corners of my eyes dampen as I thought of how lucky I was. My friend wasn’t leaving me. She wasn’t leaving. It was something that I had been so scared about, but now all my fears were put to rest when she had shown me the two apartments that they were looking at renting.

”They’re absolutely lovely,” I said to my friend as we got into the car. Both were close to the Masjid, close to the hospital he would be working at and not a huge distance from the the Medical university she wanted to attend. It was perfect.

”Maybe you’ll use your apartment more often now,” she said, and I heeded the silent question mark as I glanced behind us at the flat that held so many memories of Aadam.

Aadam’s apartment. It would never truly be ‘mine’. I wasn’t yet sure if I could stay there. Every time I had gone there to do a speedy clean up, there were just too many memories of him. I didn’t have the heart to sell it. His presence was so felt, in every morning I woke there, at every corner I took. It was like I was just waiting for him to pop up from behind the couch with his one quirky eyebrow raised and tell me that this was all one huge hoax. Oh, how I wished.

”There’s still one more,” Faheem said, cutting into my thoughts as we drove along. “It wasn’t entirely available but the pictures looked great.. Its actually a house…”

He smiled as Nusaybah as she scrunched her face excitedly. My cousin and Nusaybah were actually such a sweet and amazing couple… and I actually could not believe that I had missed this potential before this. Yes, she was boisterous and determined.. and Faheem was reserved and a tad bit intense… but this was complete proof that opposites really did attract. I just wasn’t sure how he would fare with her constant unconfined spirit. Though not as averse to emotion as Ahmed, Faheem was pretty introverted.

“I haven’t seen it yet,” Nusaybah said excitedly. “But Faheem said I’ll lurvv it! Its a really nice neighborhood… somewhere near Ahmed’s place.”

I nodded, glancing at my wrist watch again. It would be nice for to them to stay near to Ahmed. Khadijah was gazing out the window and humming to herself while she played with a little ice-cream shaped lip gloss Rubeena had gifted her. Begrudgingly, my daughter was always being spoilt by everyone. Whether it was Rubeena, or my in laws… she just had to say the word and her every desire would be fulfilled. I just hoped that she wasn’t going to become a bratty monster. Aadam wouldn’t have been very pleased with that.

And as I remembered Aunty Radiyyah, it was just as well that we were going to Ahmed’s neighborhood, because really needed to make a stop and see them both. Ahmed had mentioned something by-the-way about Rubeena not being well, and now that I thought about it, I knew that the worst thing that could happen is Aunty Radiyyah leave for the airport later that day without Khadijah and I seeing her. My daughter would be hysterical.

”Nus,” I said tapping her on the shoulder as Faheem took an off ramp that lead to our old neighborhood. “Can we make a stop please? I just want to see Aunty Radiyyah for a few minutes.”

“Anything for you, doll,” Nusaybah nodded as I explained to my cousin where the house was.
Nusaybah was chattering away as per usual, her face bright and her cheeks were flushed with happiness. I had always wished Nusaybah to find the most amazing person, when the time was right. I was now certain that she had found her own fairy tale ending and I made a silent but fervent Du’aa that it would remain that way.

”I’ll come with you,” Nusaybah said breezily. “I barely got to speak to her on the wedding day and I have no idea when I’ll see her again…”

She trailed off as a wave of sadness hit me, realizing that she was right. The truth was, neither did I. Aunty Radiyyah didn’t give me any definite answer when I spoke to her on the phone the day before. She seemed really emotional about leaving too. She hadn’t been to see her extended family in years but she would miss everyone here immensely. My heart was somewhat in despair as I thought of her not being ‘just around the corner’ anymore. It was all kinds of sentimental..

The crunching of their driveway gravel beneath the car tyres were always a welcome sound for my daughter. She had a huge, one dimpled smile on her face as she looked ahead, her amber eyes fixed on the door as if Aunty Radiyyah would pop out any second. We were a little earlier than I thought, and as we stepped off the car I could not help but take a huge gulp of scented air, nostalgic as I remembered the fragrance of those yesterday, today, tomorrow’s that bloomed every Spring. Ah yes, today, in the spectacular morning sunlight, they were in all their glory.

How the time whizzed by. It was my favorite time of the year once again…

Wow, Mummy,” she squealed excitedly. She was pointing to the yellow-flowered tree that stood at the Centre of the garden. “Look at those! I never saw that one before!”

Of course she didn’t. And it was no wonder that she Aadam’s daughter because she never missed the magnificence of nature. She was too young to know that the yellow-flowering Tabebuia tree that bloomed did so annually, and it’s striking beauty was so intense that no one could miss how it brighten up the entire front yard.

I smiled and strolled along. Not so long ago it was around this time of the year when we were just a couple of kids, playing hop-scotch beneath blossoming jacaranda trees and scurrying around in the pelting rain. There were so many memories here. In this garden… in this yard… every time I came here, I couldn’t help but think back to how much of fun we would have as kids, as we enjoyed the very best of nature’s gifts. Of course, who could forget the tradition from August every year since I was six, to witness Mother Nature’s surprising bounties. To go out and start planting… investing… observing the wonders that the new season had for us every year.

That childhood.. with its wonder and greenery… was invaluable. Though I tried my best to show the boys and Khadijah the best of what I had had … somehow there seemed to be so many more distractions in this new age. Sometimes the beauty of it flew right over their heads. This garden was somewhat the inception of all things beautiful and hopeful. It was a soothing for my bruised soul at the time, and the place where I felt like true royalty, whilst I basked in the magic of Allah’s creation. It was where dreams came alive and where I was the conquering queen of my very own secret abode.

I couldn’t forget. Suddenly, everything just seemed so clear. The energy. The drive. The restless ambition of youthful splendor. There was so much of it. It was both exhilarating yet exhausting, and I clearly remembered those days we spent, just soaking up the blazing sun and chatting about our childish aspirations.

I turned my gaze to where Khadijah and Nusaybah were skipping hand in hand as we paused at the porch steps. The sunlight shone down on her bouncy curls and I could almost see myself, that little daring girl in her, as she swayed her dress from side to side and stopped down to pick a flower from the side of the path.

Those were unforgettable times. Beautiful moments that I could hardly define.

I breathed out as I heard footsteps come to the door, relieved that I wasn’t too early to miss Aunty Radiyyah.

I knocked and braced myself for Aunty Radiyyah’s dynamic voice, and without doubt, her warm embrace. She was always so excessively welcoming, that I hadn’t prepared myself for anything else. Of course, as the door swung open, I hadn’t expected anything less.

And like a sudden jolt to my system, my heart kind of jumped to mouth as I realized that it wasn’t my dear Aunty Radiyyah, but a strangely familiar face that looked back at me. From the striking sunshine just outside,  my eyes were still adjusting to the darkness inside, yet I still wasn’t sure if I was seeing right.

I didn’t even realize that I was staring as I relived those moments when I would pound on the door like a hooligan, awaiting the adventures that the day held. Like a screen play rolling backwards, with us as the main characters… the memories were like flashbacks through my mind.

Of course, it was so hilarious that here I was, pounding on his door once again, and could not fathom how I had forgotten that him answering would be a great possibility.

And oopsi. I didn’t mean to wake him.

Somehow, I had forgotten that Khalid lived here again. Moreso, as I found myself face-to-face with this guy who had been such a prominent part of my childhood, I could not help but feel extremely awkward in his presence. Of course, I could see that he was a little startled too.

Those childish giggles… the boisterous fun… the endless games… was it really so long ago? Were we really completely different people?

I shook my head as I tried to recover, greeting briefly as he looked down a little consciously. Of course he would be. I was quite ashamed that I hadn’t been a little more modest. I wasn’t sure what had overcome me in the moment.

And I got it. I got that we weren’t the same people we were back then. We had changed… we had grown. Goodness, we even looked different. Older  different. I had forgotten those steely eyes.. Yikes

Oh gosh, I had to lower my gaze…  Nonetheless…


I could not believe my ears as I whipped my head around. She called him like he was her friend! Her voice was ecstatic as she lunged forward, grabbing hold of Khalid’s legs as I took a step back and watched my daughter as if she was another person’s child. It was obvious that she had struck up quite a friendship with this guy and I wasn’t too sure how I felt about it. And since when did she call grown people so linguistically expertly by their first name?!

This definitely called for a twisted ear when we were in the car!

”Is Aunty Radiyyah not here?” Nusaybah said it loudly, to no-one in particular, but I could see that she was trying to ease the awkwardness.

I could not bring myself to look up again as she asked the question. And I knew I shouldn’t. The one glance that had strayed had been a little too dangerous. All I could remember was the thudding in my chest as I realized who it was. It was something that caught me completely off-guard.

And as he put my daughter down and briefly explained that Aunty Radiyyah had popped out to the shop and would be back soon, it was just in time that the car hooter from down the driveway sounded. I said I’d be back to see her later, grabbed my daughter and literally made a run for it. Of course, I had to ignore my hammering chest and the snicker from Nusaybah behind me as I did so.

”And once again, the plot thickens,” Nusaybah said mysteriously, cackling away like a witch as I slowed down and we made our way to the car. “I can read you like a book, my friend…”

”Read what?” I said innocently, holding my head high and ignoring her. So what if I was a little flustered? It didn’t mean anything.

”He’s dreamy, isn’t he?”

I rolled my eyes at her, nudging her in the ribs.

Shurrup,” I snapped, giving her wide eyes and retying my niqab as I reached for the door handle. “You’re married, remember? And he’s a Maulana. Give him a break…”

“I know, I know,” she said begrudgingly, but with a cheeky smile. “But he’s human too. Like some kind of super- transcendent human with a-“

Nusaybah! ” I scolded, feeling embarrassed for Khalid. Nusaybah was way too descriptive for my liking.

I recalled her habit of giving guys super-freaky extra-terrestrial qualities. From vampires to aliens, I wasn’t sure what would be next and I didn’t want to find out.

“Sorry, sorry!” She said apologetically. “That evil arrow of Shaytaan is at it again. I promise, no more weird attributes. I’m trying, okay?”

I chuckled as she smacked her hand to her forehead and got into the car. I didn’t expect her to, but she actually told Faheem the whole story about what had just transpired. I could see that he found her amusing. At least he took it with a pinch of salt and I didn’t blame him. Honestly, Nusaybah was really something else.

And yes. That evil gaze that’s like the arrow of an arrow of Shaytaan. Yes, it had befallen us at one point and I knew that my friend knew it too.

Rasūlullah (S.A.W) said: “Evil glance is one of the poisoned arrows of Shaytān, (whoever indulges in casting furtive evil glances) on him be Allāh’s curse. Whoever forsakes it for the fear of Allāh Ta’ālā will receive from Allāh Ta’ālā the sweetness of Īmān which he will find within his heart.”

I wouldn’t have ever admitted it, but for those few moments as I stood there, like dejavu, the memories of our inherently magical childhood were as clear as ever before. Just the other day it seemed, we would compete to get to the highest branch of the infamous oak tree. Just the other day, we’d let our imaginations run wild as we contemplated vivid dreams for the oh-so-distant future. Just the other day, I could speak my heart with no reservations. I could relate to him what I wanted from a life that seemed so far away. I could reveal my hopes and dreams for the future… and not only would he listen, but he would make me believe that it all would come true.
And of course, then, as if it was just the other day, was moment when everything had changed completely.

Somehow, we had gotten a little caught up in a sin that was waiting to overcome. It was the day when I saw something different in his eyes. It was when the plot of our story had taken a completely different turn. It was a point of no return… when I knew there was no going back. It was when something had stirred within, when innocence had been ripped away and our entire youth had evolved…

And at that point… though we were just a pair of kids on the brink of adolescence… And I knew how much we meant to each other… I just didn’t know how much it could change. Things were different. I didn’t want to accept it… but after that day… I had felt it too. Now I believed him… and that was when I knew that even though he didn’t want to, Khalid needed to leave.

And that’s where I was stuck. I had forgotten the solution. The antidote. Tawbah. It was always the answer. Though we didn’t quite know what we had been saved from, Tawbah was the way that I could move forward. I sought refuge from every avenue I had strayed. Tawbah was the way to save myself then… and to save myself now…

See, we all make mistakes. Aadam (AS) made a mistake, but so did Iblees. The difference was in their response to the error they made. Tawbah is always the answer. When we see our mistake and turn to him… realizing our need for His forgiveness and mercy, we actually become more beloved to Him. It was actually after he had made a mistake, realized his need for Allah, and repented, that Adam (AS) was sent to earth as a prophet.

In fact Allah, in His infinite mercy, does not just accept our repentance—He loves to forgive. The Prophet (SAW) says: “If you were not to commit sins, Allah would remove you and replace you with a people who would commit sins and then seek Allah’s forgiveness, so Allah could forgive them” [Sahih Muslim (2749)].

I smiled at my friend as she joked about something, trying to shove off the insinuations that Nusaybah had suggested as we jumped into the car, my heart rate slowing down as we started moving again. Of course, I was all caught up in my childhood thoughts, despite how much I didn’t want to be. I was still a bit lost in my own world, that I barely even noticed the house that we pulled up to.

All I knew was as I glimpsed it was that I didn’t recall this house from my childhood. It hosted a simple driveway and what looked like a new white picket fencing at the front. At first glance, it was pretty and neat, but far from the contrasting natural beauty of Aunty Radiyyah’s entrance garden. It didn’t click with me immediately exactly which house this was..

No one would have thought that this was the very house that we had all been freaked out about as kids. Of course, Nusaybah had no clue and I didn’t want to be the one to tell her that this wretched one was the infamous Purple House…

What on earth was going on today? Was it ‘re-living childhood with Khalid’ day?

I scowled are my friend as she turned to look at me, but it was obvious that Nusaybah knew nothing about the history of the Purple House… or even Khalid’s connection thereof.

”So here’s the thing,” she said quickly, turning around to look at me. “Faheem says this house is not really for sale. But the agent did recommend we look at it. Apparently the owner is not around and wants to give it away for some noble cause or something of the sort. He says that it’s got so much of potential for a home. Since Faheem will be qualified soon… we thought maybe we could suggest something along the medical lines if the owner agrees…”

I nodded, getting her drift but not really interested in all the technicalities. I so badly wanted to tell my friend that this house was haunted, but I tightened my jaw to ensure that I kept my mouth zipped because I knew that I had no real proof except Khalid’s weird escapades. All I knew that it was probably going to take some real convincing to get me in there.

And just as I was about to make some excuse and  tell her that she could carry on without me…  the buzzing in my pocket as Ahmed’s name came up on the caller ID was obviously Divinely sent.

Only Allah knew how terrified I was of that house. I frowned slightly as I answered, not wanting to give away my true elation that I had an excuse, but also thinking it was probably him just checking on where I was. I had been taking a little longer than expected. I had mentioned to him that I’d be with Nusaybah and probably visit him later that day. He was probably just wondering where I was.

”Wa-alaikum Salaam,” his stiff voice said methodically. The thing with Ahmed was that you could never quite figure what kind of mood he was in.  Ahmed always sounded the same, whether he was over the moon or down in the dumps… his voice was always lifeless and monotonous. ”Are you close?”

”I’m just down the road,” I said, my voice a teeny bit more shaky than it should have been. I was just a little flustered about the house. I walked away, just out of earshot.

“You won’t believe where I am, Ahmed,” I muttered into the speaker. “Remember that house? The purple one that-“

”Listen Khawlah,” he said cutting me off. “Sorry, but this is kind of urgent. I need your help. I need you to see to the boys. We’re going to the hospital. Rubeena’s really not well…”

Dearest Readers,

Hope everyone is well and in the best states of health and Imaan. I’m going to try and post again soon…

Just a thought on the note of repentance.. as we live through these crazy and extraordinary times… a post I read brought to light a really interesting point. The only way that the situation will turn around for us, and our lives can continue without fear of this new and strange disease us if we truly turn to Allah and ask for His forgiveness. Allah make it easy.. as we hope for a miracle. Allah is the only Doer. We just have to keep on with the istighfaar and ask Allah for His mercy. really the only way things will turn around… it is in the Hadith that it’s shamelessness and immorality that leads to sicknesses that we’ve never heard of before. Let’s make intention too turn to Allah through Tawbah..

Much Love.

A xx

Revive the Sunnah of Du’aa

Having good Expectations and certain faith that Allaah will respond
Al-Tirmidhi (3476) narrated that Fadaalah ibn ‘Ubayd (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: Whilst the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ was sitting, a man came in and prayed and said, “O Allaah, forgive me and have mercy on me.” The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said, “You have been too hasty, O worshipper. When you have prayed and are sitting, praise Allaah as He deserves to be praised, and send blessings upon me, then call upon Him.” (Authenticated by Albani)
According to another version (3477): “When one of you prays, let him start with praise of Allaah, then let him send blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ, then let him ask whatever he likes after that.”Then another man prayed after that, and he praised Allaah and sent blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ. The Prophet ﷺ said: “O worshipper, ask and you will be answered.”

Therefore, whenever a worshipper asks Allah with sincerity, hoping for Allah’s mercy, and fulfilling the etiquette and manners of dua, he should be certain that his Du’aa will be responded to.

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

How easy to practice …











Twitter: @ajourneyjournal





When the Plot Thickens

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


“Khawlah, wait.”


Now that I give him a piece of my mind, he has time for me? His voice did sound weird though. Unusual. Was he ill?

Either way, he very well had deserved it. He was being ridiculous. Sitting in the house like a recluse for weeks… not even stepping out to enjoy the beauty that the Spring had brought since its inception that year.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Spring if we didn’t take the annual stroll through the neighbourhood, to embrace the onset of our favourite season. Each year had a different splendour. Every tree had a different story to tell.

I could not possibly explain the thrill that it gave me to witness the revealing of nature’s magic as winter came to a close. The array of pretty purples, pinks, blood reds and determined yellows… It was almost like each tree was competing with the next… flaunting their amazement in doses of mesmerizing beauty…

It had been our tradition from August every year since I was six, to witness Mother Nature’s surprising bounties. To go out and start planting… investing… observing the wonders that the new season had for us every year.

This year, though… Zilch. Not even a batting of an eyelid from Khalid.

“Khawlah, I’m coming.”

I walked faster as I heard his footsteps behind me, not even pausing to take in the lilac, purple and white flowers that had so miraculously appeared on the bush at the entrance of his house. Yesterday, today, tomorrow’s… they change with each day and then eventually… welt and decay…

How ironic. Just like Khalid.

The almost silent patter of raindrops were breaking my stride as I edged forward, blinking angrily as I wiped the droplets out of my blurry eyesight.


I was actually quite furious right then.  I had only asked him to give me a walk to the corner and he had point blank refused. It was the third time this month he had given me a silly excuse and now… Now, I was done. Stuck with his stupid PlayStation, as usual.

I stepped with purpose out of the garden gate, marching on toward the task at hand. I didn’t need a silly boy to look after me, just to go down the road. I was already eleven years old! I mean, I was almost as tall as him. I could do anything a boy could do and more.

And of course, in my furious pursuit of showing him that I didn’t need his company, despite the fact that passing the notorious ‘Purple House’ alone to go to the tea room down the road for Foi Nani was giving me the creeps… I was completely oblivious to reality. Clouded by anger, I sttepped off the pavement as I had done so many times in the past, not even thinking twice until I heard his panicked voice.


All I heard was the unprecedented alarm as he shouted out, just before an offensive squealing of halting tires gripped me with fear. It was as if the wind was completely knocked out of me as I found myself flat on my back, gazing up at the filtered sun in my eyes, trying to ascertain what I had gotten myslef into. The rain was still pelting down relentlessly, amidst it all. And ouch, my leg… it was like it had a dead weight on it. What on earth had happened?

I felt a weight shift off me as Khalid moved over onto the pavement, now sprawled out next to me, his chest rising and falling rapidly, as his breathing slowed down.

“Khawlah, what the hell is wrong with you?!”

He muttered, twisting in pain, gripping his arm with force as he moved away from me even more. It was a mere millisecond of confusion before I digested what exactly had occurred. It was the first time I had seen Khalid so angry.

Silly me. Crossing the road without even looking. I wasn’t even sure how Khalid had got to me so fast.  If he had not knocked me out of the way with that incredible maneuver… even with the car swerving the way it did, I knew I would have probably been hurt really badly. Now, instead…

I blinked as I glimpsed the imminent  gushing from his arm, smudging almost characteristically as the rain pelted down to diminish its evidence. Blood. So much of blood…  soaking into the side of Khalid’s teal blue t-shirt, running from his upper arm all the way down to his wrist. My thick corduroy  pants had saved me from any serious wounds, but as Khalid had used his body to cushion my own fall… his arm had been practically skinned alive.

Oh shucks,” was all I said I saw it. swallowing hard as I saw his stony expression. He had saved my life. Literally. And no matter how dumbfounded I was by his super-hero move… Khalid’s expression was undoubtedly thunderous.

“Are you crazy?!” He yelled, his steely eyes looking even more fierce as they clouded over with anger . “You could have died!”

The droplets of rain had slowed down to a mere drizzle and I blinked at him in surprise. His gaze altered, as he stared at me, still gasping for air.

It was the magic of adrenaline. He knew what he needed to do, and somehow in that extreme pressure…

“I can’t believe you,” he rebuked now, shaking his head in frustration. “If something had to happen to you, Khawlah…. I don’t know… I would have never been able to… I…”

He trailed off as he took a deep breath, his steely eyes searching mine almost to the depths of my now tormented soul. Why did it feel like Khalid was bearing a huge burden on his broadened shoulders?

I looked at him, a little disorientated. I mean… Khalid had always been protective. Caring, at times too. Charming and appreciative … when he felt like it. 

In the past, a small delight at an extra toss of the dice in Monopoly would get him grinning from ear to ear.

“Ah Khawlah, you know how I love you.”

And of course, that didn’t mean anything. It was innocent. Conditional. In the moment.

Now… now was unexpected. This emotion was so… raw.

I looked at him as he broke his gaze away, getting up almost as if he was in a rush to get away from me. He had grown taller… become less awkward. He looked so much older… Almost grown up. His ruffled hair was thicker and his grey eyes seemed colder. I watched him as he stretched out his arm and squirmed in pain, flexing his developing muscle involuntarily.

When did Khalid grow up?

He was barely thirteen… yet he looked like a young man, all of a sudden.Those childish giggles… the boisterous fun… the endless games… was it really so long ago? Why was I feel like I was looking at another person completely?

And I got it. I got that we weren’t the same people we were back then. We had changed… we had grown. Goodness, we even looked different. But nonetheless… Not so long ago … we were just a pair of kids, playing hop-scotch beneath blossoming jacaranda trees and scurrying around in the pelting rain.

Not so long ago, we would compete to get to the highest branch of the infamous oak tree and let our imaginations run wild as we contemplated vivid dreams for the oh-so-distant future. Just the other day, I could speak my heart with no reservations. I could relate to him what I wanted from a life that seemed so far away. I could reveal my hopes and dreams for the future… and not only would he listen, but he would make me believe that it all would come true. And at that point… though we were just a pair of kids… And I knew how much we  meant to each other… I just didn’t know how much it could change.

And yes, it did change. After that day… it changed a lot. I never strolled in to call for him out after that. I never rapped on his room window in annoyance like I usually would. I stayed at a good distance if I happened to see him… because I knew the danger if I didn’t. Things were different. I didn’t want to accept it… but after that day… I had felt it too. Now I believed him… and now I knew that he needed to leave.

And yes, Ahmed was right. Of course, Aunty Radiyyah had a point. Maybe we were getting too old to just be friends. Boys and girls… well… they simply couldn’t be friends. Maybe we just did it all wrong. Back then, there was so much of Khalid in my heart… in every moment… every new blossom…every changing of season… even after a long while.. that I simply couldn’t just forget.

But that’s what the job of the heart is. It wasn’t like I hadn’t been warned. Something had stirred within it, and it needed to be filtered. The beholder of the most unseemly emotions sometimes buries them so far down… that it is almost as if there were never there. The heart hurts, and likewise, as it comes to feel more, break more, it also opens more… and so too, it heals.

And the remembering that incident after all those years, well… it brought on unexpected emotions. Not overwhelming ones… but ones that were quite thought-provoking, now that I saw it from a different perspective. I could not even imagine how subtly Allah saved me… that I didn’t even realize that I might have been in danger.

And of course, I couldn’t help but be grateful. As kids we think we know everything. Even as we grow up.

We think ‘Ah, shame… What’s the harm? They used to play together as kids. Let them be.’

But had we not been forced to know better… had Aunty Radiyyah not been any wiser… had Khalid’s father not sent him away.. who knew what kind of sin might have developed? Who knew what saving Allah had in mind for us when everything had unfolded just like it did. He foresight of parents who were wise and aware of the harms of ‘emotions’.. even at a younger age… was invaluable.

And of course, its so weird how when you are kids you think things will never change… and when you grow up how you can’t imagine them to be anything but different…


Nusaybah was visibly blown away as she looked at me, a little dumbstruck by my narration that I had just literally poured out to her, as we sat over our Life Science assignment… discussing everything but the difference between DNA and RNA.

”So Khalid just needed a push?!” She murmured, raising her eyebrows. “And he would have been a complete goner?”

I smiled and shrugged.

“Khalid was right,” I said blandly. “He was staying away for a reason. Probably his parent’s instructions. Either way, he knew why he was doing it. It was me that had been so childish and pushy… wanting him to stay the same when he obviously wasn’t. I can’t believe what a feisty thing I had been back then… so pushy.. gosh.”

Of course, I never doubted the wisdom of elders. Elders by default,  had seen more, experienced more.. and as a result, it’s precisely that which lead to their wisdom. When the youth don’t know any better, we have to trust the elder generations insight.

”So… what did Ahmed say about him?” Nusaybah asked, doodling away on the exam pad pointlessly, trying to seem like it was just a ‘by the way’ question.

“Ahmed thinks he’s involved in Egyptian politics,” I said, a little wearily. “He’s a bit scared for him… and rightfully so. Egypt is  in a delicate situation right now, after the Arab spring… but his mothers family is from there so I think he feels responsible..”

I could go on about politics for ages, but I doubted that Nusaybah was very interested.

”But what did Ahmed say about you and Khalid?” Nusaybah pressed, not wanting to know the finicky details that were giving me sleepless nights. I knew she wanted the gory details.

Khalid was always an ambitious guy. Scarily ambitious, and I was getting worried for him too.

Anyway, eventually, that night when Ahmed nearly gave me a heart attack, he did believe me when I told him we were just kids having innocent fun… I didn’t tell him every detail, but he seemed satisfied… Well, for now.

“I’m not sure what my silly brother thought,” I said, rolling my eyes. “He said Khalid seemed a bit unsettled when he mentioned to him that I was married… like he had no idea. And that’s what I don’t understand because I remember asking Aunty Radiyyah to request his presence at my Nikah. She had said that he wouldn’t make it. He was probably already in Egypt. I don’t know why she didn’t tell him at all…”

Ooh, and the plot thickens …” Nusaybah said in a mysterious voice, widening her eyes as she grabbed her purple pencil case to morph it into a microphone.

And here we are folks,” she bellowed, in a californian accent. She was disturbingly good at it. “… Khawlah, the sought-after warrior hijaabi turned to marshmallow royalty is caught up in a rollercoaster of emotions, as the past comes back to sweep her off her cerise-pink converse-clad feet.”

Hijaabi warrior turned marshmallow? No man.

I was already in stitches.

But wait! Hold up!” She yelled, gaining more momentum. “There’s a knight in shining Kurta already at her doorstep, on one glimmering knee.. begging her to give him her entire heart…

Her voice dropped.

“But her shattered heart is burdened… she is still struggling to find -“

Oiy!” I said, whacking her with the back of my paperback book. “My heart is already surrendered. Shurrup.

“So no regrets?” She said now, baring her dimpled smile as she raised her eyebrows at me. “Even with the mother-in-law from Hell? You know you would have got a better deal in that department with Khalid’s?”

I smiled, thinking of Aadam. He was lovely. Absolutely amazing. Kind to everyone he met. Not to mention, hilarious to the point of embarrassing giggles. How could I ever have any regrets?

“You have that look again,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Is Mr Perfect really so perfect? I find it easy to believe… but I’m not the one married to him…”

She said it easily, with no malice in her voice, but I couldn’t help but feel a little stab of that old guilt.

”What about morning breath?” She asked suddenly, her eyes widening in shock. It was like she just had an epiphany. “Is it really bad? And does he throw his dirty socks in a corner and expect you to pick it up?”

She gasped as her hand flung to her mouth.

“Oh my word, Khawlah,” she breathed. “Does he snore?!”

I grinned at my crazy friend.

“I actually don’t know,” I said nonchalantly. “I have the perfect marriage. I don’t have to deal with that… yet.”

What?!” She said, incredulous. “You mean you really never stayed with him?”

I shrugged again, as she eyed me out, feeling a teeny bit uncomfortable.

”That was the deal when we got married,” I explained to her. “That we would be apart and give Rubeena a chance to hold that amazing function she had her heart set on… when we eventually moved in after next year…”

“Yes, but no- one really sticks to that,” she said pointedly. “Like, I mean, my cousin had done the same thing but they were literally staying together every weekend.  You’ll are in Nikah… it’s unnatural to be so … strong.”

I looked away, not wanting to get into this.

“Oh my word, Khawlah,”  she said, and I was already regretting this conversation.

“Don’t  you think there’s something wrong with him?” She finally breathed, her eyes almost out of her sockets.

I rubbed my temples and shook my head. Nusaybah was making me worried too now. Was it really normal for a guy to be so… restrictive? What if he did have a deep and dark secret? I almost didn’t want to know what she had to say next.

Khawlah,” she finally said, her voice almost a whisper. I swallowed hard as I thought of all the possible theories. And then of course, Nusaybah’s one literally cracked me up.

“What if he’s a vampire?”

And of course, I was in fits of giggles when she said it, wondering if my friend was for real. Of all the things that he could be… A vampire? Really?

Nusaybah took the tea.

And yet, I loved her unreservedly.

“You know what my mum used to say?” She said suddenly, her eyes now devoid of the usual humour.

Nusaybah didn’t often talk about her mother. Come to think about it… neither did I.

“She used to say that Allah’s plans for us are always more beautiful than our own wishes.”

I looked at her, rendered speechless. Aunty Radiyyah had always said it too.., but in Arabic.  It was something she’d often tell me when I was struggling with Mama’s passing… helping me to stay afloat. And how true it was… even today. What I thought would happen and what Allah had planned… most certainly, there was an immense beauty in His plan.

The truth was, as human beings, we are created with an innate desire to love. To love and be loved. But another nature… Fitrah… that exists with us is the desire to recognize the One who created us… and the One who created Love.

And the thing about true love… is that it serves to bring these two beautiful aspirations together. It connects them in such a way, that on every level over, between and beyond those two great attachments… you are completed. Real love brings calm… not torment. Pure love, at the end of the day, is the love that never contradicts or challenges your love for Allah. It’s simply strengthens it.

How did I explain to her that a perfect love wasn’t about having a perfect spouse? How did I tell her that every person was beautiful… and it just took the right person to see it? That Mr Right was not only the one who caught your eye… but the one who opened your mind.

And that is why, if anyone ever has to has to ask… there is a extraordinary answer as to why love cannot exist before marriage. Pure love can only be love, when it is within the sanctity of what Allah created for it. Pure love can only be that which makes the Creator of Love happy with you too.

I wished Nusaybah to find the most amazing person, when the time was right…  I wished her all the happiness for her own fairy tale ending.

And of course, as the shrill ring of the phone brought us back to reality, I couldn’t help but think of how far I had come since those days. Through so many people Allah had placed in my path… and now through a love that had fulfilled me in many, many ways…

”Its Rubeena,” Nusaybah said suddenly, thrusting the phone at me with force. “She’s in tears…”

Dear Readers

Quick q: just needed some input.. As the story progresses. Any thoughts on a posting schedule? I feel weekends are busy so weekdays may be better? Or maybe a weekend evening?

If you would like to follow the blog via e-mail, please click the e-mail widget below. 

Much Love,

A 🌸

Sunnah Reminder:

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

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

Let’s revive this Sunnah Insha Allah.

IG: @thejourneyingmuslimah

How easy to practise!

#revivetheSunnahof Sleepingearly






Twitter @ajourneyjournal


Far from Pretty

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Note: Apologies for the delayed posts. An extra long post to make up. 

Please remember my family and I in your Duaas. Posting should resume as normal, Insha Allah. Shukran for the comments and Duaas 🌸 


“Leave her alone!” I shouted, overcome with an intense over-protectiveness over our ten year helper. “She didn’t do anything!”

Aunty Nas’s finger was still pointing at Aunty Agnus accusingly, but as I shouted out, I could see her confidence dwindle.

Her hand dropped to her side slowly and her mouth turned down slightly at the corners, as she tossed her head back and sighed emphatically.

“And what do you think you are doing?” she spat, narrowing her eyes and staring down at me.

I swallowed hard, standing my ground and looking up at her. She wasn’t that much taller than me. Without her stiletto heels that she habitually wore, she actually looked a bit like a child. She was that much less threatening too.

“I warned you before, missy,” she said in a venomous tone. “If you keep on getting in my way, I will wipe you out.”

She said the least three words with her eyebrows raised and increased venom, but I held my ground, standing between her and Aunty Agnus.

“I’m not scared of you,” I said to her, putting my hands on my hips and glaring at her.

Aunty Agnus was trembling behind me, obviously fearful of this horrible woman. Zuleikha stood on the staircase with her mouth open, watching us in awe. Ahmed and Yunus were loitering on the top, and out of the corner of my eye I could see a figure at four-o-clock. Actually two figures. Aunty Nas saw them too and the words that were on the tip of her tongue died as she did.

”This is so embarrassing.”

The words were head-splitting and abrupt.

Hannah stood in the middle of the entrance hall and rolled her eyes at us both. Her stick straight hair was now a different colour to what it had previously been. Her eyes had dark eye-liner around them and her lips, surprisingly, were puffy and devoid of any colour. She looked far from pretty.

What shocked me most though, was her company. She stood there, all done up, but the person who she was with was a dishevelled bad-boy type who looked like he needed a serious scrubbing. Not to mention, a serious shave too. His moustache was a bit much for me. Maybe Hannah thought it was cool.

A boy. Hannah had brought a boy home, and her mother said nothing. Instead of the angry expression she wore a few minutes ago, she now beamed at both of them, as of they were the most beautiful sight on the earth. I scowled. Aunty Agnus took the opportunity to sneak away silently, and I breathed a small sigh of relief.

“Hannah, darling,” Aunty Nas said, still beaming at them, and fluffing her hair out again.

She smiled at the boy in a different way, and it made me feel uncomfortable. Was Aunty Nas trying to impress this teenager too? Wasn’t she a bit old for him?

There was something seriously wrong with Hannah’s mother if that really was the case.

“Excuse me please,” Hannah said to her ‘friend’, dragging her mother aside and whispering to her in the corner of the room. I could feel eyes on me, and I turned to look at the boy staring at me. He shifted on his feet, and I looked at him in reproach, hoping he would quit the staring. He didn’t seem to care. Who was he, anyway?

I spun around in an attempt to escape, but instead wound up face-to-face with narcissistic Hannah. She frowned at me, shoved me aside and then hastily grabbed her boyfriend’s hand and walked out.

Her boyfriend.

I sucked in my breath. So much had happened in such a short time, and I was still reeling in shock as I headed up the stairs again. I could hear Aunty Nas scurrying behind her and calling for her daughter, but Hannah ignored her.

That was Hannah. She never listened to her mother. Actually, she listened to no-one.

My other siblings had disappeared, but Zuleikha stood at the top of the stairs and grabbed my hand as I went up, dragging me to our room and shutting the door behind us with a force.

“Are you crazy?!” She almost yelled, her eyes wide in astonishment, wondering how I had just gotten away with almost murder in Aunty Nas’s eyes.

I shrugged at her. I didn’t see what I did as wrong. The strong reasoning within the cravices of my inner soul prompted me to speak out. I just wanted to do the right thing.

“Don’t you understand, Khawlah?” She said, in a slightly kinder voice. “We can’t just say and do as we please. There are consequences to everything. You have no idea what Aunty Nas is really like.”

“But Zuleikha,” I said, changing the topic because I was  still awestruck by what had happened with Hannah. “Hannah is wrong. Isn’t Muslims are not supposed to be like that?”

I was thinking about Khalid again. How he had told me boy and girls couldn’t be friends. He was probably getting ready to leave for his Madrassa now. I wasn’t sure when I would see him again. I felt a sudden emptiness in the pit of my gut. I missed my friend so much, that sometimes it hurt.

Zuleikha turned away for a few seconds and then met my eye again.

“This world is not a nice place, Khawlah,” she said, swallowing hard, but speaking with affirmation. “It’s not all about gardening and tree houses. We live in an ugly, disturbed world that has no morals. Sometimes we do things to make ourselves feel better. Sometimes, Khawlah…”

She trailed off, and spoke in a much softer voice.

”Sometimes, we do the wrong things.”

A boy and girl were not supposed to be friends. It meant they shouldn’t be together alone because Shaytaan would always tempt them to do evil. It wasn’t just about what they would do, but when they are involved in those boy-girl things, they leave Imaan altogether for that time.

It is reported that Nabi SAW said: “When a person commits zina, Imaan (faith) leaves him, until it is like a cloud over his head…”

I looked at my sister momentarily, not seeing the farwaway look on her face and the remorse in her eyes.

“Anyway,” Zuleikha said inconclusively, as we closed the curtains after watching Aunty Nas’s car reverse out. I hoped she was going home and wouldn’t come back. She was a lot to deal with.

“I think we should tell Abba that she mustn’t come here,” I said pointedly, as Ahmed and Yunus loitered into our room to watch her leave.

Ahmed just shrugged. He was taller than Abba now and he had retreated into a world where no-one could reach him or talk to him. Yunus was growing older too, but I still felt responsible for him and made sure he was still half-human.

“Aunty Agnus is not here,” Yunus said, shrugging his shoulders. I shook my head, not believing him. She probably just went for a walk to her friend. She would come back later.

But when Abba came home that night, Aunty Agnus still wasn’t around. Abba called Foi Nani to stay with us for a while, when he went to see Aunty Nas.

I didn’t mention the red box to anyone and Zuleikha didn’t speak about it as well. I assumed that everything would go back to normal the next day, but there was still no sign of Aunty Agnus. A few days passed and she still had not returned. I could see Abba feeling stressed, and he finally asked us what happened that night. I could tell from the look on his face when we explained to him. It the first time he was hearing this version of what had went on the night Aunty had left. He didn’t look happy at all.

A week went into two, and Aunty Nas didn’t return either. Foi Nani had come home to leave food every day, and some days she stayed over.

Foi Nani was getting older and a little bent as she walked. I studied her one night as she slowly lifted the pot lid, spooning the pungent curry slowly onto the platter. She was getting older. Everything was changing. Why couldn’t it all just stay the same?

Foi Nani had started staying with us full-time now, and although she enjoyed having her space, Abba’s desperate pleas to her since Aunty Agnus left had brought our her sympathetic side. She agreed to stay for a little while until Abba found someone else to help him. And as if that wasn’t enough, that night as we all sat around the dining area doing our homework, Zuleikha’s news was another curveball. A good change of events, but a change none-the-less. A change that the stubborn part of me didn’t want to come to terms with.

Being in her third year of teaching was Zuleikha’s dream, but now that she was getting older, Foi Nani had other hopes for her.

“I want to see some great grandchildren before I die,” she said in her no -nonsense voice, in response to Zuleikhas protests. Although she denied it, I had a feeling that Zuleikha secretly wanted to  get married too. She would keep saying taht she would never find the right husband, but in her heart of hearts, she wanted someone to whisk her away.

Her eyes were averted and her cheeks were flushed as the Ahmed family were due to arrive that breezy Sunday afternoon. It was a summery afternoon and excitement was in the air in our home for the first time in a long while. It was abuzz with activity and our nerves were on their wits end .

It wasn’t because of the expectant boys family. Foi Nani was behaving like she was getting married. Everything had to be perfect. I could get a whiff of her strong White Musk Itr that Mama had bought her on their Hajj trip years ago, as she came down the stairs.

“Ya Allah, I don’t know what they are going to think!” she exclaimed, her eyes wide and her voice pitch heightening with every moment that passed where Zuleikha wasn’t appearing to be the perfect granddaughter, wife and daughter-in-law, all at once.

She scanned Zuleikha with an inspecting eye, tactlessly disapproving of her scarf colour and making her change it four times before it was decent enough to get a small nod of approval. I shook my head as I watched them, wondering how this ‘mangu’ thing, as Foi Nani called it, was such a hefty event. Foi Nani was making a big deal about every detail. Do bigger boys really look at the colour of a scarf pin?

“All this effort…. If the boy is ugly I’m going to die,” Zuleikha muttered to me as she walked down the stairs for the last time, determined that she was not changing a single thing more.

Lucky Foi Nani was too busy setting the samoosas on the platter or she would have given her a repeat lecture of ‘looks are not the most important’. I had heard her telling Zuleikha that earlier on but I was wise enough to keep my mouth closed. Getting involved in Indian proposal politics was not a wise decision, especially when you had no experience of your own.

The buzzer rang and literally everyone started running around the house like mad people. Abba was making sure that he looked his best too, and Foi Nani was tying her dupatta for the umpteenth time just to make sure all her greying hair was all covered. Ahmed was teasing her. This happy event had brought out a playful side to him, although I didnt like all of it. He said she was trying too hard to look like a young Nani. Yunus was just smiling. It seemed like a long time ago that we had so much laughter in our home. I wished, a very silent wish, that we could be like this always. I wished Mama could see us too.

A single tear rolled down my cheek, and I hid my face away as Zuleikha’s pretty face glowed too with anticipation. With all her protests, I could tell she was still excited.

Although my insides were churning with mixed emotions, I had a smile pasted on my face as the guests  walked in, and so did everyone else. The first person to enter was a youngish girl, who I guessed was the sister. She looked nice. I could see her shy smile as we looked at her entering, but Foi Nani shooed is away quickly when she saw Ahmed staring and guided her into the lounge.

Next was a older looking man who I assumed was the father, and I wasn’t sure if he was just being respectful as he entered, or rude, but he walked straight ahead with not a word, following directions to the dining room. He was round and stern looking, but he looked like the type who had a good heart.

Third, came in the famous Yousuf that Foi Nani wanted for Zuleikha. I looked at him with interest, and I could tell Zuleikha was looking too. He had a long face, a small beard and the deepest dimpled smile I had ever seen. He had a very nice nose too, and he stood confidently for a few seconds before he was ushered away to the Dining area, where the other men were. He wore a simple kurta and I watched him scanning the room for a sneak pre-view of my sister just as he entered the men’s area.

Abba never really worried about keeping men and women separate, but with Foi Nani, it was a strict rule. Everyone was just getting ready to sit down when the last person finally entered  with a stern look on her face and an unreadable expression. We were waiting for her. I could see her examining our home probably for some kind of fault as she entered, and she pursed her lips as Foi Nani greeted her enthusiastically, determined not to even crack a smile. This lady, I could tell, was going to be a tough one to crack.

She looked around with an heir of arrogance, sitting down with a back straight and an elegant poise. Her daughter spoke easily and asked us questions about our school and Zuleikha’s studies, but her mother said nothing. Foi Nani tried to warm her up by offering her a variety of sweetmeats or impress her with cooking tips, but nothing seemed to work.

And as Zuleikha went off to talk to her prospective husband, I was forced to go around offering guests countless eats, even though I wondered how much these people would be able to ingest. Ahmed was looking at me and snickering, and I was getting so mad that I wanted to kick him. My fingers were sore from all the trays I had to carry, but I didn’t complain. I was just getting annoyed that Ahmed was sitting there like a recluse with no inclination whatsoever to help. Even Yunus was helping to take drinks.

I stuck out my tongue at him as I passed him in the passage, and he gave me a fake smile back, with a condescending glare. It made me so angry that I stuck out my hand to push him back, hoping to hurt him in the process. He jumped back as he saw me reach out for him, and instead of pushing him, my own balance wavered and I could feel my legs crumble beneath me. I tried to hold the tray straight, but it was to no avail. Both the tray and my clumsy body toppled to the ground, right at the entrance of the lounge. I was absolutely mortified!

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry, but I tried to hastily clean up the contents that lay on the floor as Foi Nani and Yousuf’s sister came rushing to help me. Ahmed had conveniently disappeared, and the other lady sat as she was seated, with no intention of moving anywhere. I just hoped that this wouldn’t cause it for Zuleikha. I looked up at her, but contrary to my fears, there was actually a crack of a smile on her face. Maybe my little stunt had actually brought out her sense of humour.

“Are you okay?” she asked me kindly, and I immediately felt bad for judging this woman who I thought was a bit horrible at first.

I nodded and smiled, relieved at the turn of events. The rest of the afternoon was looking a little less hopeless, and I smiled to myself a little prematurely, thinking that this was going to be it. Everything was going to be perfect! Zuleikha would get married and it would be happily ever after.

Well, it was just a simple case of counting chickens before they hatch, because no sooner had I given Zuleikha a thumbs up and a dazzling smile to show my ambitious hopes, did we hear a huge noise outside the front door. At first I thought something had fallen, but as the front door was literally kicked open, and a purple wedged boot appeared in my view, I immediately knew that something game-changing was going to occur from this point on.

Aunty Nas had gatecrashed this party, and it was not going to be pretty.

The Night Before the Morning After

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

From what I actually recall...

I tossed the tot glass I had just drunk at a random girl with a tray, turning around to find my way back.

Yikes. I could barely walk straight. I felt like my legs were on some kind of stilts, as I pushed my way back onto the floor. I grinned at my date as I finally reached her, pulling her close to me, only to realise…. Shit. It was someone else.

She was on fire though, whoever it was.

“Sorry, sorry,” I apologised, letting go of whatever I had grabbed of her, trying to control myself and take a step back. Focus, Ziyaad.

New chic didn’t look like she minded. I grinned at her, following her again and she smiled in an overly-enticing way. She nodded off to the new beat that was taking over and I heard someone calling me, ever so faintly.


I only heard that much as people started getting rowdy for some reason, and she was drowned out. I wasn’t sure exactly what was happening until I was literally spun around by someone.

“What the hell, Ziyaad?! That chic was like, all over you! And you…”

I held my hands up in self defense.

“Sorry, gorgeous… I thought it was you,” I said, not all that convincingly.

I leaned forward, aiming for full on mouth contact, but I ended up somewhere near her ear. So much for trying to kill the tension.

“How drunk are you? Idiot! Did you take that stuff that guy was handing out?!”

I looked up at her, shrugging my shoulders nonchalantly. What, exactly, was the big deal?

“Ziyaad, when will you ever-”

“You ready to go?” I cut her off, bouncing my head to the beat and trying to change the topic, to cut myself some slack.

She nodded, clearly hurt. I ignored the tears in her eyes, leading the way out.

I made sure I stopped to greet my loyal crew. There was a new guy, looked from somewhere in on the outskirts of town or something, trying to get in with the crowd. He looked a bit out of place. I  ignored him, even though I took at least ten minutes to make a scene and finally say my general greetings for the night. I had to keep my standard. I couldn’t let them know I was launching them for a chic.

Farah waited patiently, and the remainder of the night, I was sure, was probably epic. Problem was, I couldn’t remember much of it.

It had all just hit me as I woke up the next morning, trying hard to pry my heavy eyes open, aroused by the noises in the kitchenette of the Houghton apartment that Dad had recently bought.

Farah. Last night. Was it all I had always imagined?

Shit. I honestly couldn’t remember. Did we even…?

I sourced my iPhone 6S plus, on the bedside pedestal, unlocking it promptly.

Haraam satisfaction is only temporary.”

What the hell, man? Why was Waseem’s message still there? Had I really not opened my phone since before I picked up Farah? Was last night so hectic?

“Farah,” I called out. I needed to know. Only problem was that my voice sounded like a croak.

Nonethless, she entered, already dressed and ready to leave. I vaguely recognised the same skinny pants she had on yesterday, from the after party, and a borrowed a striped Guess shirt that I had left in the cupboard last week.

I couldn’t shake what I felt. She looked like a model. At that moment, I didn’t want anyone else to even look at her, so extreme was my possessiveness.

I found myself staring at her, feeling like I had lost a million dollars. Because I couldn’t even remember what it was like being with her.

“Don’t worry, my brother will fetch me,” she said. That was a bit of a blow. She had a tiny smile on her face, but her eyes told another story.

“Okay,” was all I managed to croak, rubbing my eyes. I tried to climb out of bed, massaging my temples. I quickly covered myself again, realising that I would be quite offensive if I stepped out.

Last night was a very sore reality for me, right at that moment. As daylight took over, I felt like my head was being pounded with a 10 ton hammer. Serious hangover alert.

“I made you coffee.”

“Cool,” I replied.

That would solve my headache. Maybe temporarily.

Temporarily. Temporary. Why was every single thing so damn short-lived? I couldn’t put my finger on it.

This sinking feeling in my gut… And the lump in my throat as she left… Why did it always have to end like that? Why did it always end up feeling so… Kak?

I drove home that day, after having coffee and a cigarette, dressing quickly, only to find that my tyre had got a puncture sometime last night.

How did I not even notice? Every single thing that could possibly go wrong, was happening. The clouds that I felt looming over me seemed to intensify. I was sure that last night was amazing, so why the hell didn’t I feel like it?

After calling the BMW technician to come home to sort out my car, the only thing I had left to do was shower. I needed my shower, with the overpriced Lush products I had spent on last week. Meant to ‘rejuvinate’. Let’s see how it works.

I ignored my household members, chasing only the feeling of being renewed, after a rough night out. I had just had the longest, steamiest, most fragrant shower, and finally emerged in my towel, admiring my frame in the mirror.

At least I was still looking like me, despite how I felt. I switched on my sound system for a music diversion, towel dried my hair roughly and looked longingly at my bed.

Yeah. That was more like it.

Ever so suddenly, like the socket was pulled out of the wall, the beat in my room just stopped.

“Think you can drown your sorrows with music, Zi? It don’t work that way.”

Oh, hell.