Missions of Submission

Bismihi Ta’ala


Part 67

Never judge a book by its cover.

It was a pretty self-explanatory, old school rule of thumb, but there was no time that I felt it more than than when my own conscience pricked at me to learn that very important life lesson.

Inside every person, there’s a person you may not know. Everyone has secrets. Secrets that they hide within the darkest tunnels of obscurity. Some they keep to protect others. Some they keep to protect themselves.

And whilst learning this, I eventually came to know that there are few real men amongst men, who are idling in a certain kind of slumber in this temporary world, as if they are souls of free birds, stuck inside their physical bodies.

These are people who know where they belong, long before they even taste it. There are people of such absolute faith and conviction, that they hesitate not even a moment before they are ready to sacrifice themselves in Allah Ta’ala’s path.

While us weak souls will mourn separation from their wives and children, there are others whose hearts are inebriated with everlasting exhilaration. Who truly see martyrdom as the masterpiece of man’s greatness.

And I never thought I would see this… and I never expected it from a guy like I saw it in… but when the yearning for something other than more of this Duniyaa struck my heart, it was only then that I realised the essence of the menial life.

And it was one lazy Sunday evening when I took Mohsina to see her parents, that I had somehow found myself immersed in an idealistic train of thought, wondering quite aptly what made people who they were. Was it their past? Was it their present?

I was watching this macho-looking guy as he stood on one side of the yard, watering the rose garden with such dedication, even on a Sunday afternoon as if the rest of the world didn’t matter at all, and I couldn’t help but ask him the question on my mind.

“Hey, aren’t you off today?” I called out, after nodding in greeting.

Being outside, stealing moments for my smoking addiction would always put us in each others midst. I just never really took out the time to ask him much before that, and I kind of felt that maybe it was time to.

Zubair turned back as I felt around in my pockets to light up my cigarette. That damn lighter always evaded me at the most inappropriate times.

Watching me with the unlit joint in my mouth, he lifted his shirt slightly, dug into his pocket and tossed me a red lighter.

I lit the end with fervour, tossing his lighter back to him before before realising that he didn’t answer my question.

“Not going home?” I asked again, taking in a pull of the cigarette and savouring the calm it brought me.

I had been smoking for years and though I knew Mohsina hated it and I did want to stop someday, I needed it too much to even think of it anytime soon.

Zubair gave me a simple smile while he turned around to switch the hose off.

“This is home,” he said, with a certainty that caught me completely off guard as he turned to me, and my eye caught site of something shiny attached to the top of his pants, as he pulled up his t-shirt to pop his lighter back in.

It was so quick, that I would have probably missed it, but I was watching him carefully all the while and there was no way I could have mistaken what I saw. I immediately narrowed my eyes at him as he looked back at me, almost to challenge me. It was almost as if he expected me to ask more, but I wasn’t sure if I should live up to the challenge.

The thing was, I didn’t know much about Zubair. From what my father-in-law had said, I had figured that he was a good worker. A decent character, who didn’t cause much trouble and minded his own business, all the months he had been there.

Basically, he was what every good worker was. He was honest and hardworking, and he basically sorted out all the technicalities of the farm labour… the stuff that the old man couldn’t do himself.

And no one would expect any less, but I could see that under that baggy t-shirt, he was hiding more things than lethal weapons. His fort-like physique itself would probably be a force on its own, and as my curiosity piqued, and I was barely one to stay quiet when something pricked at me, so I couldn’t help but narrow my eyes at him slightly as I puffed out a cloud of smoke, and asked him exactly what I wanted to know.

”So who exactly are you?”

I didn’t ask it with a rude intention. I really and genuinely wanted to know who he was and where he came from.

After all, he worked for my in-laws who were people that I had become increasingly protective over the past few months.

My brother-in-law Muhammed Husayn was in the midst of adolescence and easily influenced, and if he wasn’t forced to study right for his end-of-year exams, then I knew he would be outside with him. Obviously, Muhammad Husayn had his own theories about who Zubair was, but you couldn’t exactly trust the theories of a teenager who wore army clothing and collected shiny weapons as a hobby.

Zubair was smirking at me weirdly while his white teeth shone from behind his curled up lips while he rolled up the hosepipe expertly around his well-toned arm, almost as if he wanted to tell me some kind of scandalous story, but was deciding against it. His arms were a deeply tanned almond bronze, and I could only imagine that he spent many hours out here in the sun, working like a dog.

He must be built with some solid stuff.

“Would you believe me if I told you that I’m just a regular guy?” He said with a humourless smile.

I gazed at him for a minute, and then shook my head.


He grinned, his cheeks spreading even wider this time, as if he expected that.

”Well then,” he said, placing the hosepipe on the hook on the wall and coming a few steps closer. I noticed that he didn’t make any moves to light his own cigarette.

I wasn’t sure if he smoked, but why he kept a lighter with him was beyond me. Instead, he took out a miswaak from another pocket, giving me a flash on that shiny looking object once again, while he chewed on it softly.

“Well then, what?” I said, looking at him, even more confused.

”Well, then you’re right,” he said, without a moments deliberation, not smiling anymore. “I’m not a regular guy. I’m someone who you would probably stay very far away from, if you knew who I really was.”

I raised my eyebrows, wondering if he was threatening me.

But he didn’t look like he was, and I wasn’t a stupid guy. I had heard Mohsina talk about this guy.  I didn’t really understand what she was saying, but now that he was literally in front of me, I could understand it. I could see it worried that her siblings would spend their time around ‘bad blood’. What that meant, I wasn’t entirely sure.

The guy had quite a presence, and it wasn’t the most comforting one.

He looked at me for a few minutes, and then leaned against the wall, almost as if he was deliberately stalling the big reveal.

“Are you some kind of mafia?” I asked, feeling stupid even asking that. Of course what I’d heard Mohsina say could never be true.

He didn’t even look a tiny bit fazed by my accusation.

He shook his head, steadied his gaze on mine, and then pulled up his shirt slightly, before unstrapping the holder that I had glimpsed just a few minutes ago.

Within a few seconds, the shiny metal weapon lay within his hands, and as I looked at the intricate carvings, I couldn’t help but take a moment while I caught my breath.

There was no doubt that this was some sort of dagger or sword, but it wasn’t an ordinary one either. This weapon was something that was specially made, for a special purpose. And as I glanced at it, I couldn’t help but remember a Hadith about how a Sahabi would keep a dagger strapped on them, to defend the Deen. Him standing there, his dusty kurta hitched up, reminded me of nothing less. And as I took the weapon he was holding out, holding it carefully, I couldn’t help but feel the truth of the words engraved on it.

Forgive him who wrongs you;
join him who cuts you off;
do good to him who does evil to you;
and speak the truth
even if it be against yourself.

It was astoundingly beautiful, both the blade and the saying, and as I looked up at him, bewildered about what this all meant, I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of wonder.

According to a narration, It said that one of the swords of the Beloved sallalahu alaihi wa salam was written that very inscription.

When the weapon of the Prophet (Sallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), had been assembled, I found on the handle or blade of his sword three sayings, “Maintain relations with those who cut you off, speak the truth even if it is against yourself, and be good to one who is evil to you.”

Source: Mu’jam Ibn al-A’rābī 1507

Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani

Even on the battlefield, the Message of the Beloved sallalahu alaihi wa salam, inscribed onto Their tool of war, was one of forgiveness, kindness, compassion. What a stark contrast to the usual message drilled into soldiers, which is to show no mercy to the enemy.

It was inconceivably amazing. What this all meant about Zubair, I wasn’t quite sure. I looked at him, searching for an answer, still in awe of this weapon in front of me.

“It’s a new one,” he said with a small smile. “I have plenty of others with less admirable sayings… but I was truly hoping that with this, would be a new start…”

So there were more of these daggers he owned? How many of these things did he even own?

The aching question was… Why would he even keep these kind of daggers?

”You’re a good guy,” I almost whispered, questioning that myself, shaking my head, still awestruck and unbelieving. The next answer was soon going to answer my query.

”I’m a trained assassin,” he said without a hitch, watching me as I widened my eyes. “I don’t have to tell you what that entails. I’m trained to kill for money.”

I gulped and looked at him, shaking my head disbelievingly.

He was joking. Right. Hah.

He was just messing with me.

But as I lifted my eyes from the piece of lethal metal and met his, there was not a hint of humour in his murky eyes.

Oh hell. This guy was even worse than I had ever assumed. It was the first time I’ve ever heard of anyone with that type of job description and I couldn’t help but feel my heart tremor as I digested it. Did this guy think that he was from some Killers movie or something?

“You’re joking, right?” I murmured, my voice foreign even to myself as I stubbed my cigarette in a pot plant, trying to distract myself as he looked back at me, his eyes following my fingers as I stubbed the joint a little too ferociously.

”You serious?” I said after a few seconds, gazing at him now with a look of disbelief as he looked back at me seriously, knowing that his silence meant something.

Up close I could see his eyes were some kind of different colour.

He smiled and looked down, almost in humility, as I studied him, slowly beginning to believe the truth. All these months, my father-in-laws farm worker was a trained assassin. The question now was, was he here for business or not?

”So you’re here to kill someone?” I asked, a little protectively, trying to understand what his motive was for working here.

He shook his head, taking the dagger back and strapping it away silently, before looking back up at me.

”I would never hurt anyone in this family,” he said immediately, almost as if his life depended on it, and I actually believed him.

“But why?”

He looked at me, and for a second, I actually wondered if he was sussing me out, as if trying to figure out if he could trust me.

I almost wanted to laugh at the concept, but then he spoke.

“I hated who I was until I heard a talk one day,” he said softly, as if uncertain about whether to continue. “And it was like my entire heart had been cut open and penetrated by the message. Ironic… considering that I’ve done that to people in the past.”

I swallowed, feeling a shockwave pulsate through me. He really killed people in his past. I wasn’t sure whether I should still even be there.

“Anyway,” he continued, shaking his head as if he was trying to shake the memories away. “I went up to the Aalim to ask him… with my sins and my past, how it is ever possible for me to be a friend of Allah? I was so sure that he would kick me out of there. Tell me that people like me have no place in Islam. But then he looked at me, with so much of conviction, and he told me: ‘Raise your hands with deep regret, remorse in your heart, and turn to your Rabb. Shed a few tears… even if you’re faking it… but turn to him and meaningfully say: Oh Allah, I want to be Your friend, so forgive my sins I committed since maturity and grant me the ability to only do what pleases you in the future.’
And that was it. So then became the beginning of a new life for me, and my mission in life became something completely different to what I had known my entire life.”

The words struck my heart almost immediately, and as the weight of his words hit me, I was awestruck by its magnanimity. I understood that even if he was a bad guy at some stage, it was obvious that he was no longer on that misplaced path. That just the faith of this Aalim was someone who had brought a man in the deepest rut of darkness, onto an illuminated path.

“So what is your new mission?” I asked, finding my voice after a few seconds. All this talk about   assassins and missions was seriously making me think that one of us were deranged. I was pretty sure it wasn’t me. “And how do I know if you’re for real?”

I was cynical. I felt like I was stuck in some kind of prehistoric world. I needed to know more, to learn more, and I wanted to test him.

”I protect people now,” he said simply. “I see to those who can’t do it themselves… take care of what people can’t defend themselves…”

I looked at him warily.

“And how do I know what you’re actually here for?” I asked him, because I was never the type of guy to just take someone for their word.

”Maybe one day I’ll get to show you,” he said with a shrug, almost as if he wasn’t really interested in proving anything to me, specifically.

A mission of submission, he called it.

It was like he had made his peace with himself and he had already decided that he had changed. It was between him and his Lord and that was that.

I wasn’t sure if he could really be trusted. I also wasn’t sure why I asked him to come with me. Maybe I wanted to trust him, or maybe I wanted him to prove himself to me.

And if I hadn’t known better, and I hadn’t asked, well, I would have never known exactly who Zubair really was.

Maybe he had dealings with Hashim in the past or maybe he just wanted to help, but when he asked to accompany me, there was really no way that I could refuse him because he seemed so intent on helping me.

And I didn’t expect much when he offered to help me. I honestly and truly just expected Zubair to be an innocent bystander, watching the interactions between Hashim, his two burly armed guys and and Imraan and I, and silently listen to our interactions. I didn’t know on what level he had worked in the past, and how people saw him. I didn’t know how unhinged he really was.

And I had watched him as he got into the car, knowing that all he carried with him was this strangely shaped dagger with a message that changed his life, for some reason, I felt strangely inspired. Awakened. It was as if Allah had placed this guy directly in my midst to learn some important lesson, and all that was about to be revealed in good time…

And honestly, the way he had become right then was very much like how the Sahabah was. With his dusty Kurtah and fearless spirit, with nothing short of fervour and hopeless ambition in his eyes. It made me think that maybe I was the one who had been on a misplaced mission my entire life, and not him.

In it, I could see a thirst to protect and to fight for what was right. And an amazing quality of people who had a tainted past, was that just as intense as his bad deeds in the past had been, I could that anything good that he aspired to do was approached with the exact same fervour.

As much as he had done wrong and sought blood for the wrong reasons, now he was adamant in making it up, and trying his utmost to avenge it in the more honourable way possible. By atoning for the wrong, by exceeding it with right.

His mission and his life aim was something that literally knocked the wind out of me, as I watched him with a new sense of amazement as he spoke to me.

“You just say what you need to say,” Zubair had said softly, his voice sounding smooth and unassuming, as we got off the car at Imraans place. I had chosen to meet there because I didn’t want Mohsina to know. I just hoped that she wouldn’t find out. “They’re probably going to come at you from all directions, and try to scare you into accepting their conditions… just… Don’t be scared.”

It was easy for him to say. I felt so responsible. Over the fear of Mohsina finding out, all I wanted was to keep my family safe. Protected. I never wanted anyone to touch my wife or my child, and that was my priority. Thinking about my wife was something that brought a tremor to my heart.

I had so much at risk and to not give in to Hashim was something that I couldn’t imagine.

But Zubair wasn’t backing down and his way with words were something that infiltrated my thoughts deeply as I entered, though I was positively reeling from anger, I somehow managed to keep my calm as I entered.

And at first glance, I could already see that Imraan was out of his element.

Hashim had a nerve. He had turned up with two fully armed men, wanting to make some kind of untouchable statement. I could only imagine my sister-in-laws state of mind right then, as I saw Imraan frantically pacing up and down as she called him to the kitchen.

I could tell she was worried, from the hushed hysterics that I heard as I passed the kitchen. Even Uthman was out of sight, and I could imagine her straddling him to the chair he was sitting in, just to keep in out of harms way.

I only hoped that she wouldn’t tell Mohsina anything. I knew Imraan would take care of that, but the worry still consumed me.

And despite it all, I was calm. Although I was fully focused on psyching myself up as I took a seat, I couldn’t miss the fact that the minute Hashim saw Zubair, something shifted in his gaze, and I could see his normally volatile demeanour come down a few notches.

It was a surprise to me, but it was a cue for me to step up too, and I took the opportunity with open arms.

“I’m not giving you custody,” I said bluntly as we sat down, looking Hashim in the eye, after a few moments of awkward conversation. “But I’m prepared to talk.”

As much as Zubair had boosted my confidence, I knew that it wouldn’t be fair to completely disregard the motto he had set about when I first got to know him.

Show kindness.
Maintain relations.
Forgive even those who oppress you.

They weren’t just empty words. They were words that had lifted and inspired me when I least expected it. It would be my new mission, that I needed to try and live by.

And I knew this, because man, this guy had tested me, more than anyone had ever. But to give him back exactly what he had given me did nothing for me. As it turns out, there’s no happiness in vengeance.

And although I was being kinder than I could have… He wasn’t looking happy about it, but he nodded and shifted his gaze from Zubair to me, and then back to Zubair.

“Why is he here?”

The question was aimed at me but I could see Zubair’s entire frame straighten as he said it, his unusual eyes narrowing menacingly, and from the way he looked at Hashim, I could already tell that he was regretting it.

”If I was in your position, I wouldn’t be worried about me,” Zubair said, looking at Hashim.

And though Hashim was a threat to any sane person, the strangest thing about Zubair was that as he looked every one of them straight back in the eye, there was not even a flash of fear on his striking face. This whole thing could go terribly wrong, and yet here he was, a look of utter disinterest, almost as if this just bored him. It was then that I came to realise the true nature of this guy. Death was something that didn’t scare him, but the very notion of that made chills run down my spine.

”Nevermind,” Hashim mumbled with an exasperated sigh, and I could see he felt the same as I as I heard him say something to the two armed guys at his side as they looked at him expectantly, as if waiting for an instruction he wasn’t giving. There was a change in plan and this was something unanticipated.

And just as it was for them, it was something I didn’t expect.

By nature, Zubair was fierce.

Zubair was the most unassuming guy when you met him briefly, but being here with people who knew him, it felt like I was unsheathing his layers of camouflage that he hid so well. When placed in situations that threatened his peace, those very layers that made him seem so vulnerable seem to peel back, one by one… and there he was, right in front of me. This fierce and powerful guy who had a presence that I hadn’t ever anticipated.

And in retrospect, I suppose what he was trying to say back when he lent me his lighter, was that he was an absolute animal, and there was no other way to put it. Zubair was a force of nature, a raging beast in sheep’s skin that I got to know about when I least expected it.

And that’s when I came to realise, that no matter what, my Lord was always watching out for me. Even when I thought I had no one, what had actually happened was divinely inspired, and the fact that Allah Ta’ala had sent this warrior into my midst exactly when I needed was something that I could never undermine.

He was the epitome of tact, the perfect blend of domineering power and grace, even in the most extreme situations. His words cut through the air like a sword, short but to the point, and I could only imagine that he had probably sat in many meetings of this type before, probably in his previous life.

And to tell the truth, I had been really worried about this meeting. It had kept me awake and gave me nightmares in whichever way was simultaneously possible, but somehow, Hashim agreed to my demands with little resistance, and although I was open to letting their family see Zaid and visit him, for them to take him, even for short periods, was another story.

I knew that I couldn’t allow that without talking to Mohsina. I also knew that the chat with her about all this was overdue, but after a long and heated conversation that eventually ended in Hashim and I parting ways for that day just before Jumuah salaah because Imraan wouldn’t allow it to go further, I could finally breathe easily.

I looked at my phone for a minute, seeing Mohsina’s messages, but not knowing how to explain it to her… I knew that we would have to figure this out properly, and I was going to take my time in doing so.

What I didn’t expect, as I left, was for Rabia to be waiting next to the car, bags already packed and ready to leave with me. By any standards, it was inappropriate, but explaining to Rabia would be catastrophic.

Imraan had given me a pitiful look as he saw it, because he knew that there was no way that I could say no to my sister.

It was a complete crusher of my plans. I had hopes of getting to know more about Zubair on the way home, after what had happened today. I wanted to know how his reputation preceded him, even when he wasn’t in that kind of circle anymore. I had so much that I wanted to ask him, but with Rabia making herself a new passenger, it would be impossible.

And I knew that I could have said no, but having  my sister upset wasn’t something that I was prepared to deal with.

Keeping the peace was something that was somewhat of a weakness, at the most inappropriate times. To speak to Rabia and get her to understand that it was hardly appropriate was something I wasn’t prepared to do. She was a grown woman with a mind that I barely understood, and frankly, I didn’t want to start an argument right then.

I knew that I had agreed to keep her and Mohsina apart but I couldn’t shut her out completely. She was also entitled to see Zaid, even if it was for a little while. That would be the plan.

It was a semi-silent ride back home with Rabia in the back, and Zubair sleeping with one eye open, as I supposed ex-assassins would do. And as I dropped him at the front of the house, getting off to thank him profusely, I could see that he was rushing to get back on the job again.

The guy was really something else. An assassin with the most powerful abilities and presence, and yet there he was, working in a humble coffee shop and serving people as if there was nothing else in the world he would rather do.

It opened my eyes to so much.
Made me believe that even when there’s no hope, even those who are stuck in the dingiest corners of darkness, still find the truth of light, and find beauty in simplicity. That even with misplaced visions, and mistaken missions, a way out is never far off.

Sometimes all it takes was a little bit of submission, to see the bigger and brighter picture…

And while I drove, all caught up my thoughts about Zubair and the mysteries surrounding him, I barely even realised that i had entered our apartment parking lot. I felt myself mentally switch off as I reached my parking spot, anxious to see Mos and Zaid again, somehow feeling like it had been eternity since that morning.

All I wanted to do right then was forget about the issues, the drawn-out day and be with my family, and as Rabia piped up from the back, I almost jumped in my seat. She had been sitting on her phone from the time we left and with the silence from the backseat, I had even forgotten that she was there.

“Don’t forget to take my bag out,” she demanded, tucking her phone away as she stepped onto the staircase as if on some mission, and I gave her a confused look as I wondered why she would need her bag. She had mentioned that she wanted to see Zaid and I was planning on dropping her back at the house after Esha.

“Your bag?” I asked, a little bit hesitantly, because I didn’t want to cause a huge argument here in the parking lot.

Duh,” she said, turning back to look at me with an irate look. “My PJs and clothes for tomorrow are in there. I doubt Mohsina will lend me any of hers.”

She grinned slyly and I swallowed nervously. I was in a bit of a fix. On the one hand, I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, and on the other hand, I knew that her and Mohsina in one flat would probably not be a good idea.

I had left Mohsina that morning with so much hanging. I hadn’t explained a thing to her, and coming back here with Rabia… well, I wasn’t sure how it would all go down…

“I promise I’ll be on my best behaviour,” she said, her lip pouted sympathetically as she looked back at me with wide eyes.

I couldn’t say no. With my sister, she always brought me to a point of painful submission,

And the worst mistake I made that day , as I pulled out her suitcase and trudged up the staircase, was believing her.

Mission Sunnah Revival: 

Being able to view the lives of others as if they are our own in the main building block to social media life.

It is only human to begin to think that the lives of strangers appear to be so perfect, as opposed to reality. Little do we notice that their content is carefully crafted to do this very thing, making us discontent with our lives.

To combat this, we should look to those inferior to us, so we do not become envious and begin to realise the bounty Allah Ta’ala has gifted us with.

Keep in mind:

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Wealth is not in having many possessions. Rather, true wealth is the richness of the soul.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6446, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1051

Someone asked Ali (RA): “How much was the Sahaba’s love for the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam)”

He replied: “By Allah! To us The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) was dearer to us than our riches our children and our mothers, and was more cherishable than a drink of water at the time of severest thirst.”

SubhaanAllah… what perfect imaan they had… May Allah enable us to practise..💕
















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When the Tables Turn…

Bismihi Ta’ala


Everyone loves a good speciality. Trust me. I know.

I’m sure by now, you’ve at least figured that I’m not one of those sickly skinny girls who are obsessed with my diet. I do not spend my precious moments before tucking into my regular double-decker cheese burgers (with a fizzy drink) counting carbs and watching sugar intake. I don’t even understand people who guilt themselves about essential edibles.

And as the daughter of the locally sought-after culinary expert, I’m pretty well acquainted with the drill. And no, the skill is not hereditary, so please don’t ask me to cook for you. My food is passable and that’s that. It doesn’t mean that I’m the next Nigella or whoever the Indian equivalent is, but I do know that a pure butter pastry (margarine what?) tops the charts and that freshly ground garlic is the best thing you’ll ever waste your time making. I’ve learnt even though you can barely taste spices like turmeric, you cannot possibly make a good curry without it. I know that ready-fried onions makes my mother turn up her nose and rotis made with pure ghee are completely unrelated to those flattish pieces of dough that I sometimes buy from the shop down the road (when I’ve run out of my mother’s weekly supply).

My father can tell the difference just by looking at it, and if that isn’t skill, I don’t know what is.

The thing is, everything has its speciality, and I’m a big fan of the foodie version. There’s always a highlight of the lot. The exception to the usual. And we all strive to find that speciality, whether it be in a dish, a side or even just a extra thing we make for fun. We like specialities. We like to have ‘unique’ things. Everyone wants to be different.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that there’s a little underrated thing that comes for free, that sets us aside from everyone else. It’s an inherent quality, and having it makes us unique. It makes us the speciality. Me. You. Anyone who has it.

Its called sincerity. It’s called beautiful intentions. When someone comes to you with a pure heart and goodness overflowing from them, there’s just something special about them that draws you to them and makes you love them. And wouldn’t you want to be the speciality of the human race, as we know it? And I’m not saying that everyone is out there to con you, but when people are truly sincere in what they do, Allah sees the truth in what you are presenting, whether it be the tiniest form of a charitable smile or the hugest trip of  lifetime ‘Fee Sabillilah’.

And then of course, comes the beautiful reality, because with sincerity comes a very special type of status. A status of exemption. The status of love. The Hadith of Jibraeel (AS) being summoned by Allah makes my hair stand on end every time I hear it.

Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘if Allah loves a person, He calls Jibrael saying,

’Allah loves so and so; O Jibrael love him… 

And make an announcement amongst the inhabitants of the heaven:

“Allah loves so and so therefore you should love him also.

 And so, all the inhabitants of the heaven would love him, and then he is granted the pleasures of the people on the earth.”

[Al- Bukhari and Muslim].


And no matter how often I hear this spectacular narration, I can never tire of it’s amazement. I mean, can you possibly even imagine Allah taking your name and mentioning it, not just to any angel, but the most noble of all angels that exist? The one who was given the honor of sending Wahee to the prophets and the likes. Can you imagine being so honored, that not only does your name leave their lips, but gets engraved with them so they are so much inclined to you, that they actually begin to love you?

The awe of it all just nearly sends my heart into cardiac arrest.

So, back to the point before I go completely off track here… Whilst on my pursuit to find the best form of sincerity in every action I did, like I had been learning in the Taaleem I’d been briefly attending before my Iddat, I had truly attained so much. Really. In hoping to be sincere in all that I did, I was making every attempt to move past my delusional past. I was hoping to find peace, contentment and to just keep my stomach full enough to stay away from sins and not put on exorbitant amounts of weight that will send my mother into fits of rage. 

The only problem was that it seemed like Shabeer was living in some kind of ‘stupid zone’ during this whole advent. While I was trying to ‘find myself’,  yet again, as I embarked on a mission to attempt to shake myself off of him and make future plans for the benefit of my kids and I, his constant calls and visits would come to throw everything off track again.

“Salaam babe,” his smooth voice came as I  raced down the stairs with my abaya, hearing the front door open.

Crap. He was early. And crap again. I really needed to remember to take his keys away.

Shabeer didn’t understand boundaries. He was like one of those irritating mosquitos that relentlessly stuck around no matter how hard you tried to slap the life out of him.

”Don’t babe me,” I said through gritted teeth. Honestly, was this man dense or just delusional?

“What are you up to? Getting bored yet?” He asked, ignoring my statement.

He said it with a hint of cynical humor, and I clenched my fist in preparation for a mental punch. Maybe a few.

I tried to picture him with a blue eye. It definitely made me feel so much better.

”You’re not supposed to be here alone,” I said, tightening my scarf around my head and glaring at him. “Why can’t you just ring the doorbell like a normal person?”

“I can come when I want. What is all this nonsense?” Shabeer said in a low tone, looking me up and down with an ugly frown. “ You look like one of those burka aunties from Fordsburg. Come on Ruby, we were married for 11 years. Now you acting like some untouchable hijaabi.”

”Shabeer,” I said, as if I was talking to a kid. “Don’t. you. get. it. We’re not married anymore.”

”Ruby,” he said, his voice sounding calm and collected, as I breathed out impatiently. “Seriously. Stop this silly game now. Let’s make up like good, responsible parents and sort this out. You know you can’t survive without me. I’ve worked my backside off to give you the best life I could. A beautiful house. A trending car. Extraordinary holidays. How would you keep up, doll? No average guy will be able to compare… All your friends would laugh at you. Come on, just let me come back home.”

“For what?” I asked, rolling my eyes. “So I can put up with more of your lies? Why don’t you call to speak to the kids once in a while? To pick them up? Spend some time with your sons? Really Shabeer, I haven’t even seen one thing change in you!”

”Ah Ruby, don’t be so hard,” he said, putting on his pitiful voice that I knew so well. “Baby steps, alryt? We can’t all just change overnight. Dammit, you have such high expectations. All you high maintenance women, and you’ll wonder why your husbands mess around. Don’t you ever get tired of yourself?”

“You are such a -“ I started, raging. All my aspirations to be a better person were going down the drain. Turning the tables around was Shabeer’s speciality.

Sheeeeshhh!” Shabeer said, raising his eyebrows and waving his hand at me. “Behave yourself, woman. The lawyer is here. We don’t want any ugly words reaching his ears. He might just label you an unfit mother.”

Shabeer sniggered as he watched my expression turn to thunderous, and I honestly wanted to break him.

The man made my blood boil. He really wanted to play things this way? 

I glared at him with such venom that he promptly shut up and made his way out of my view to discuss what he needed to with the lawyer.

I knew that Shabeer needed money and wanted to sell the house, but I couldn’t even stomach the thought. He wanted to buy a flat for us, and get away cheap. There were lots of things to finalize and I didn’t want the kids to be around when we did it. Things that meant nothing to me, but I had to sort out for them. I had to get documentation in order so I could own the house, so I wouldn’t have to move out and disrupt their lives. I didn’t yet tell Shabeer about my plans, but I had enough money saved up to buy it from him, if he asked. I knew that this had potential to get ugly and I wanted to be prepared.

I sat on the couch and took a deep breath. I had to learn to breathe. Things were getting a little overwhelming for me and there was only so much I could do to stop myself from having an anxiety attack. And I knew I was that kind of person who didn’t deal very well in neurotic kind of situations, but as Shabeer finally left me in peace that morning, I knew that I had to get my act together and woman up.

And then of course, about half an hour later, just as  I finally felt the rising in my chest subside momentarily, my heart kind of shot out my mouth at the shrill ringing of the doorbell that caught me by surprise.

Of course I wasn’t expecting anyone.

The last thing I wanted while I was in enjoying my peace were people coming to annoy my life. I could just imagine what the ladies from gym would say. They would be looking at me all pitifully, talking about how I must be feeling like I’m in a prison. The facts were that it was the majority of them who were still stuck in that prison of an unfaithful marriage and chasing the world.

And sometimes I really did wish that it had turned out differently with Shabeer.  I still made Duaa that he would change some day, especially for the sake my boys. When I thought about how he had gone from bad to worse over the years, it was no wonder that my heart had changed too. I just couldn’t  feel that love anymore.

And thank goodness that as I glimpsed outside, instead of seeing half a dozen brain-eating women on my doorstep, I glimpsed the lean frame of my awesome brother who was resting  his shoulder against my front door.

He was alone, and as I pulled the door open to welcome him with the hugest of smiles (just because I was so relieved that he wasn’t Shabeer or a nosy woman who craved the latest gossip), something about the way Adam smiled back that day gave me a heads up that everything wasn’t okay.

“Assalamualaikum,” he said as he stepped in. “Where are the little guys? I’ve been missing them.”

Aadam had dropped them off the day before. Today, I had somehow convinced my father to take them for a few hours, just to kill their boredom. I wished I could be like those Instamums who did crafty arts and stuff with their kids all day long, but at this stage of my life, just the thought of paint on the carpet and glue all over the walls exhausted me. It was just hard to be at home with four kids all the time. They were literally eating my head in.

“They’re gone to mum for a while,” I replied. “I needed some time… can I offer you coffee?”

I didn’t elaborate on Shabeer as Adam nodded. Why should I bore him with my legal details?

He lowered himself into the couch, looking a little dazed while I switched the kettle on.

Now, I’ve always had an awesome relationship with my brother, and because he was generally so happy-go-lucky and barely complained about a thing, I knew him so well that if there was something bothering him, it was nothing that a good cuppa couldn’t squeeze out.

And of course, with my own neurotic tendencies, a cup of the condensed milk- sweetened version (with extra cream) was just what I needed to put all my anxiety at bay.  So when Adam sighed and rested his head back in exhaustion, I couldn’t help but prop myself up next to him with two mugs of luxury coffee, stare him down and force him to spill it out.

“You’re alone today?” I said, thinking it a bit strange since Khawlah was on holiday.

He shrugged. He definitely was not even remotely himself.

“She’s been busy,” he said, glancing at me momentarily.  “Her brother’s had somewhere to be a few days back. Some chic to see..”

”You mean Ahmed?” I said, my breathing a little stunted. He was going to see a girl? 

Adam nodded and shrugged. Goodness. My brother looked heartbroken. Maybe even more than me.

Focus Ruby. Focus on Adam.

“They didn’t tell you to come with?” I said,  really wanting more details, but also curious as to why Adam didn’t accompany them. He was married to Khawlah.

Plus, who was this ‘chic’ that Ahmed was suddenly interested in? The curiosity was killing me.

“She’s angry,” he said finally, raising his eyebrows. “We had an exchange. I suppose I didn’t think it was a big thing until I thought about it… but for her…”

I tut-tutted to myself as Adam spoke, feeling his pain, and forgetting my own inclination to know gory details of the samoosa run.

Trouble in paradise, huh? I just hoped it wasn’t serious.

“Was it something you did?” I asked him, not wanting to pry but itching to know. It was a completely tearing feeling.

“It was in the past,” he said, swallowing as he looked at me. “But I would never hurt her on purpose, Rubes. This is too much… she hasn’t spoken to me in days. She’s ignoring my calls. Doesn’t come out when I go there. It’s getting embarrassing to go there and I really don’t know what else to do…”

Adam looked absolutely distressed as he glanced at me and ran his hand through his beard. He was such a genuinely and sincerely nice person that I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. He placed the mug on the coffee table next to him, without even taking a sip.

Never mind. More for me.

I sighed as I watched him, looking like some kind of lost person. I didn’t know my brother’s past inside out but I had met his previous girlfriend, and I knew that it wasn’t just the kind of relationship that doesn’t leave any scars. At that time I didn’t know it was wrong. We were ignorant. The thing was, with Khawlah… she didn’t come from the type of life that we knew. The dysfunctional life that was full of gross details, ugly sins and disturbing dysfunction.

For her 16-year-self, though she was exceptionally mature, I could imagine that certain aspects of our immodest life were too sheltered to even process…

She lived in a childish fantasy where everything was sunny and earthly, and though I loved that and her idealism, the reality was that life was absolutely appalling.

Especially mine.

And just as I was about to explain that to Adam, my words kind of died on my lips as a burst of rowdiness blasted through the front passage.

And it didn’t take a genius to figure out that all four of my boys were back. I figured that sooner or later my parents would get fed up of them, and as they burst into into the room we were in, there was a series of excited jumps and greetings as Adam welcomed them with open arms and boy-like gestures. And of course it was all fun and exciting, but as they high-fived Adam, and I glimpsed my mothers face… I was already reminding myself about all my aspirations for being a better daughter.

She had an irate look on her face as she stood there, her hands folded on her chest, and for once as I followed her gaze, I was so grateful that it wasn’t directed at me.

And because I was in the clear, I didn’t even dwell on it further as I busied myself making another cup of coffee for my wonderful father, while my mother shook her head at my offer and stood there with that expression that I thought had become her inherent one.

I was so busy counting my lucky stars and whipping up the perfect cup of latte, that I barely even noticed her staring with hostility at Adam’s retreating back. It was only when her screech for him reached my ears, did I fully process her unconventional attitude towards her darling son. 

Mum?” He said, backtracking slightly and looking at her with a frown. “All okay?”

”Do I look like everything is okay?” She shot back, her face all stony and down-right disgruntled. “Have you ever seen me like this before?!”


That was mistake number one. I honestly wanted block my eyes. Though I completely got Adam’s point, let me just warn you that if you ever meet my wonderful mother, never… and I repeat, NEVER, let my mother know that her grumpiness has been noted before. She will never let you forget it.

Let me just tell you something, mister!” She almost yelled, her face beet red. Thank goodness the kids were outside. “I spend my whole life trying to make both you kids happy and this is the type of payback I get!”

Jasses. Why did I get tossed in everywhere? I was the resident dump-site.  All I was busy doing was minding my own business.

“Mum-“ Adam started.

You just listen to me!” she snapped, wagging her finger and edging closer to him as she tossed her newly highlighted hair back. “I won’t have you’ll making a fool of me. I will not be made into an unfit mother who brings up kids who can’t even hold together their marriages!”

She shot a look at me as she said it, and I cringed. I love how she blamed my failed marriage only on me. Like Shabeer was just a poor bystander. As if. 

“Mum, I don’t think you know what’s going on,” Adam said pointedly.

And, there we have it, folks. Mistake number two. 

Never, ever, tell my mother that she doesn’t know what’s going on. Even if she doesn’t know what’s going on, she still does.

”Oh, I know exactly what’s going on,” she snapped, raising her eyebrows. “I’ve had people asking me if you are also getting divorced. Already! Can. you. imagine. my. EMBARRASSMENT?!”

And I’m not even exaggerating with the punctuation there. That was exactly how she said it.

“They think there’s something wrong with me, that both of your marriages are headed for destruction! You brought that innocent girl into our home and you messed it up, didn’t you?!”

Adam was gaping at my mother like a goldfish. For once he had no smooth words to swizzle her.

”I warned you about this, didn’t I?” She continued with her resident glare. “I knew there’ll be problems. I even tried to show you before, but you were adamant!”

What? Was that what all her drama was about? I was dumbfounded.

When did the tables turn? How did people even know about the dynamics between Adam and Khawlah?

“It’s not as serious-“

”It DOESN’T MATTER!” my mother yelled, her glare still directed at Adam. “You fix this! I don’t care what you have to do or how you have to convince her. Even if it means that you sit outside her house day and night until she comes back, you make sure you put this right. You young people think that marriage is just a game! I won’t have both my kids moping around with failed marriages. I’m not an incompetent parent. Grow up and do what what it takes… or else!

I was gob-smacked. Not to mention, absolutely terrified.

The last part was what scared me. From experience, I knew that ‘or else’ from my mother was not just a regular threat. It usually involved a helluva lot of sucking up, painful cajoling and sleepless nights of feeling like the failed and rejected child. Believe me. I know.

And despite my father gaping at her in shock yet again, and Adam looking like he really wanted to cry, with that, she tossed her glossy auburn-colored hair back, spun around on her dainty heels, and gracefully walked out.


WIll reply to all comments soon.. A longer post that hopefully makes up for the delay!

Much Love,

A xx


As per the previous posts, we are now on the Sunnah of Drinking Water 

  1. The Sunnah of drinking water states that blowing on hot water or exhaling into a water glass can spread bacteria into the water. Therefore, it’s important that you move the glass of water away from your mouth after taking a sip so that you can avoid breathing onto thewater. Recite “Alhamdulillah” after drinking water.


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