Everyone’s journey is different. Every soul is shaped differently. Some people just take longer to touch base… some people just need a little more time to find their mettle.
But the goal to take that step… to make that change… to take the plunge… well, as time passes, it’s become something that’s increasingly difficult to achieve. With the dust that comes with social media, with the mindless scrolling and tainted illusion that sucks you in… in a new era, there are many new things that had evolved and occurred and sometimes we are at a loss for words because we cannot understand exactly how science and technology and the information overload that comes with it has taken over our minds and this world.
It’s not difficult to see how it’s effect has thrown us completely off base. In the effort to connect with everyone around us, we often forsake the connection that we should be aspiring for – we forget the One Who controls it all.. we forget what should be the most important. And with the device of delusion that’s continuously stuck to our hand, though it’s connected people to the entire world, it has disconnected a great number from Allah Ta‘ala… as well as from those closest to them.
And it scared me sometimes. Many things did. I was scared of changing, of not changing. Of being over the top, and of not being enough. I’m scared of finally taking that step, only to find out that it wasn’t in the right direction. I’m scared of knowing what I want, but not having the courage to finally reach for it. I was scared of the unknown, and at that stage of my life when I felt like I was on the fence, I was desperately scrounging around for scraps of inspiration, and I just wasn’t getting it.
“Hey Mos,” Lesley called from the other side of the office. “Can you figure this audit? I’ve sent you the evidence docs and I’ve checked and rechecked but I can’t see what Faadil is saying I need to see. By the way, I love your outfit today. And you are looking awesome. Your hijab style is goals.”
I looked as Lesley, as she walked towards me. She was wearing a pretty pink blouse and a grey skirt, which kind of matched with my charcoal coloured modest suit that I had bought online last week. Inside I had work a mustard cami and my matching hijab was slightly more draped than it usually was and I barely thought she’d notice. How Lesley even knew about Hijab style was beyond me.
As for me, I was just starting to revamp my wardrobe when I realized that I may not be working in an office next year, and the thought was making me slightly depressed. I knew that it was shallow but I was really looking forward to that part of my career. The part where I busted money on cute outfits and then regretted it.
I sighed and clicked on my inbox icon, opening the document and scanning through the bottom figures, cross checking them with the evidence she sent.
“It’s going to take a while,” I said, rubbing my temples. My head was pounding. I had already sat through two meetings and was currently working on a review for next week’s audit and my brain was cooked. “Have you ticked all the boxes. Maybe there’s no real issue with this one?”
”Faadil says there is,” she said sulkily. “He’s so bloody sticky when it comes to these things and he won’t even go easy on me even though I’ve been to him twenty times – heyyyy, Hamzah. Auditing master. Just the guy I need.”
Where did he pop up from?
Hamzah was walking past and I could only assume that he was coming from a rooftop smoke break because that was usually when he silently passed this way.
We did try to avoid each other as much as possible. It was awkward but being around other people when we couldn’t be transparent was also strange.
Of course, the situation wasn’t ideal but it kept us away from sin and that was important for me on this new journey I was trying to take. I just wasn’t sure on how far I was getting with it. Every day was one step forward, and then two steps back, as I got caught up in something or the other. Maybe I wasn’t cut out to be even remotely pious?
Lesley grinned and stood up, purposely showing off a little bit more leg than necessary as she walked around to the front of my table and leaned over to open the otter documents. Since my desk was right in front I supposed it was easier to just use my computer, never mind that they were disturbing my peace.
I shook my head and pushed my chair backwards begrudgingly, giving her enough space to manoeuvre without cramping my style. Some things didn’t change. At least her skirts were getting a teeny bit longer though. I wasn’t sure if she was actually getting modest or if it was the whole modest fashion thing that was just catching onto her. Either way, there had been some good changes. It was trending nowadays anyway.
“Hey Les,” Hamzah said as he came closer, and I glanced at him. Today he looked like Hamzah from the office. Not Hamzah that I saw on Sunday and made my family go gaga over him.
“Salaam, howsit?” It was a general greeting aimed at me that seemed pretty neutral. I hadn’t seen him today and I nodded back, pushing myself further back because I really didn’t need Lesley catching onto any vibes.
I was perfectly fine with steering clear of office rumours (even if they may be true) and so was Hamzah.
He glanced at me but said nothing more as he moved around to the front of my desk to look at what Lesley was talking about.
She was explaining something about the financial recording and then what Faadil said about how she couldn’t solve this to save her life or her job. Faadil did run a tight ship, but sometimes he was just mean.
“It may be something small that slipped through the cracks,” he said scanning through the documents that were on my MacBook for two minutes. “Oh yes, there we go.”
He clicked a few times and then finally typed in something and stood up again. He loosened his tie and I looked away and I could see him expertly placing himself close enough to get his point across but far enough not to have to invade personal space or look at her directly. He sent the documents back to her before he quickly explained what the issue was and then went off, back to his side of the offices.
And of course, I breathed a huge sigh of relief as he left but for some reason, I was a little unsettled.
It was the obvious change and no-one could miss it. I knew it. I’m sure Lesley noticed but she was so grateful that it didn’t faze her. The thing was, he didn’t make small talk or chit chat. With anyone. Not like he used to, where he would humour or even drop a line here or there. No side glances. He didn’t even look at Lesley for goodness sake.
It was just pure business and nothing else. No hidden agenda. And of course, I couldn’t believe it, but the evidence was all there. Hamzah was actually a changed guy and to tell the truth, it was leaving me feeling a little bit at a loss.
I sighed as I watched him walk through the electronic doors, unsure of what to feel.
And I know. I know what you thinking. I was acting harami-like. Of course I should have been happy. I mean, this was huge. Life-changing. Amazing. I was so happy for him.
But my fear, as always, was: where did that leave me? Here he was, this great maulana-like personality with so much of modesty and shame all of a sudden, and there I was, miles from there, not even sure when my journey was going to start.
“You okay?” Lesley said, and I only realised then that she was still at my desk. Still tapping away, using my laptop, even though Hamzah had sent her the files she needed so she could go back to her own desk and sort her stuff out. He obviously saw the peeved look on my face. He knew the things that annoyed me.
“I’m fine,” I said, clenching my jaw. “I just like my space.”
Why were people so invested in my space?
”Ooh,” Lesley said. “A little edgy this morning, aren’t we?”
I rolled my eyes. I really missed Layyanah some days. Lesley was a bit draining and best preferred in small doses. Plus I couldn’t chat about Hamzah to her. She didn’t know a thing yet.
“I need to finish this review,” I said, feeling a little bad and knowing I wouldn’t have many other coffee-companions if Lesley abandoned me. “We’ll meet later for coffee?”
Lesley was asking some questions earlier in the week about some Muslim guy who worked in HR and I was hoping to tell her to steer clear before she gets carried away as usual. She was even talking about reverting, which I knew wasn’t a bad thing… but if it was only for some guy, I had to do my bit and talk to her properly. Plus I just needed her off my back for now, so I could think in peace.
This mornings meeting had taken more out of me then I thought. Everyone was finalising their posts for next year. Deciding what they would be doing. Making ‘long-term’ plans. Telling Faadil that I wasn’t intending on staying on at Hammond’s next year was actually way harder than I had thought.
“You kidding me, right?” He asked, looking at me like I was crazy. “You plan on staying home next year? That’s a joke.”
He looked appalled, and I shook my head.
“Actually, I’m hoping to start my own business,” I said quietly, trying to avoid eye contact with this allegedly handsome man that Lesley kept going gaga over.
”You opening your own firm?” He said, raising his eyebrows. Of course, that was a bit drastic.
“Not exactly,” I said, carefully. “I’m not planning on doing auditing next year.”
What exactly was I supposed to tell him? That I planned on becoming a pastry chef? He would probably laugh himself sick.
Judging from my fathers reaction, I wasn’t going to test the waters. But if I wasn’t feeling the numbers, I wasn’t feeling them. Maybe some creativity was all I needed. Even if it was just for a little while.
He was silent for a few seconds, and then got up and looked out the window which overlooked the view of Jo’burg CBD and always got me in the mood for the corporate feels. Honestly, Faadil’s office was absolutely goals. It wasn’t only huge, but it also was on the top floor which meant that he got the most stunning view, especially during the early mornings and late evening hours, when he often worked. I mean, Jo’burg was my thing. It was just pumping with life and opportunity. In fact, gazing out right now was kind of getting under my skin, and I had to check myself again.
Maybe I could live with this. The glamour of a corporate life. That’s what it was all about, right?
“I’m going to offer you something that you can’t refuse,” he finally said, pacing the office now and turning to look at me. “A senior external auditor. The offer that everyone is after. But I’ll up the incentive, by 50k. Are you in? Do we have you here at Hammond’s next year?”
I looked up at him, slightly shocked at this crazy offer. Any sane person could not possibly refuse it. Like. Who on earth even studies for so long and realises that she hates her job? The question was, I wasn’t even sure what my mental state was at that moment. How badly did he want a demented person on his payroll?
Why did I always feel like I was on the fence?
“I’m not asking for an answer now,” he said, noting my silence which was partly stemmed by shock. “Think about it. Sleep over it. By next week Friday, give me your answer.”
He shoved his hands in his pockets and stood with confidence as he watched me trying to figure out what to say to him. Like, was he for real?
But it was a dream offer, but as sense kicked in again, I knew that I couldn’t accept. External auditors also went out of town regularly. My mother would probably freak if I left my husband and went out to work. Imagine Nani’s reaction. She would very possibly have my head.
I was already certain that I was going to refuse it but I left the room with my answer still pending.
My heart just couldn’t give it all up at once. The journey that was undergoing wasn’t an easy one. There were so many changes taking place… so much that I had to think about and wonder if this was the best thing for me.
And then there was Hamzah and his own journey, that was at a crucial point right now. In some ways, I felt like we were on completely different wavelengths, but in other ways, I expected him to be the one that would understand me the most.
All he had to do is find a job to suit his needs and settle in. With me, there were so many emotions, negotiations, compromises… which probably attested to the fact that I probably wasn’t cut out for this stuff in the first place. Why couldn’t I just figure this out? I couldn’t even figure myself out.
The thing was, everything for him was pretty clear cut. It was easier for men.
Were men just more inclined to perfection that us? I remembered a Hadith that spoke about the spiritual perfection, but there was obviously a lot of wisdom in what was mentioned.
The Messenger of Allah, Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, said:
كَمَلَ مِنْ الرِّجَالِ كَثِيرٌ وَلَمْ يَكْمُلْ مِنْ النِّسَاءِ إِلَّا آسِيَةُ امْرَأَةُ فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَرْيَمُ بِنْتُ عِمْرَانَ
There were many men who achieved (spiritual) perfection and none were perfect among women except Asiyah, the wife of Pharaoh, and Mary, the daughter of ‘Imran.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī
I mean, I knew about the great women of the world. About the wife of Firaun, Tyrant of all tyrants, who had such firm faith that she had endured the most brutal punishment for believing in a God other than her husband, who was convinced that he was the Almighty himself. So unshakable was her faith that Allah set her soul free before her actual murder… and rewarded her when she was being tortured in such a way that a huge boulder was dropped on her while her body was reported to be literally nailed to the ground.
And then there was Maryam (AS), mother Of Isaa (Jesus) (AS) who was the epitome of faith and chastity, and whom Allah Ta’ala had Himself sent out of season fruits for her consumption, because of her extreme piety and Tawakkul. Such were the women of the world who were our examples, who displayed beautiful patience and modesty, and yet I was still questioning what my role in life was to be…
But yes… Yes, it was harder for women, especially when we went against the natural laws of what Allah had set for us, our space in the household, against what nature intended… but was it impossible?
The thing was, who did I want to aspire to be like? Was it the women of the world that were my role models, or the women of the Aakhirah that I wanted to be with?
I didn’t even know that soul searching was still an option, I was lost in a frenzy of work and goals and aspiring to be something that the world wanted me to be but I wasn’t sure of myself.
And because it was a Thursday evening, I was taking it easy with finishing off for the day, my mind was pretty occupied as I tried to finish off the last bits of intense work before Friday came. I always liked to leave the lighter, less brain-consuming stuff for Fridays. Plus, it gave me more time to read my Qur’an and to get back into the Jumuah zone. It was Nani’s insistence that all our reading had to be finished on a Thursday night and as I grew up, I kept to that tradition and tried never to break away from it. It was just that, during the week, I was slipping.
I hadn’t admitted it to myself yet, but my spirituality was very erratic, especially if Jameela was busy and not on my back. There were too many days that I felt like I was merely existing, and not really worshiping the way I was supposed to, praying like how I was supposed to.
And that was probably why seeing Hamzah like this, knowing that the Mosque had become his regular refuge, seeing his life changing… well, that’s why it scared me. I was all kinds of panicked, wondering what would happen if I never had to reach that stage.. if I never had to meet him where he was? Would we drift apart? Would he lose interest if I didn’t meet him on the bridge? Would he just give up on me, if I couldn’t come through?
My thoughts were a maze of infinitely overwhelming possibilities, and although I wanted to think the best, the horrid scenarios were coming at me like never before. And I barely heard my phone buzzing as I trashed a folder on my computer, realizing that it was last years audit and it was already on the cloud, so I wouldn’t need it. And as I turned to glance at Jameela’s name on my iPhone screen, which was strange because it was a normal call and not even FaceTime, I didn’t even think that there may be a deeper reason for it.
But as I picked up and I heard her panicked voice, all calm and reason flew out the window.
“Mohsina, you have to come home right now,” she said shakily, her voice sounding panicked.
I froze on the chair I was sitting on, shock waves pulsating through my body. It was like everything was crumbling around me all at once, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
“There’s been a huge incident .. We’re on our way to the hospital… Papa’s had a severe heart attack. “
Don’t forget extra Durood this Jumuah. 🤍
Just a quick one – any thoughts on Mohsina, her choices, her confusion? I feel like I’m hitting home for myself a lot- but is anyone else understanding the struggle?!
Mission Sunnah Revival! Sunnah before sleeping.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمر
Hazrat Baraa Ibne ‘Aazib
(حضرت براء ابن عازب)
رضى الله تعالى عنه
When رسول الله صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم would retire to his bed, he would lie down on his right side, thereafter he supplicated:
اللهم اسلمت نفسى اليك
O الله! I submit myself to You
ووجهت وجهى اليك
And I turned my face to You
وفوضت امرى اليك
And I entrusted all my affairs to You
والجات ظهرى اليك
And I placed my back (body) in Your protection
رغبة و رهبة اليك
In anticipation of Your reward and due to fear of Your punishment
لا ملجا و لا منجا منك إلا اليك
There is no escape, nor salvation from You, except with You
آمنت بكتابك الذى أنزلت
I believe in Your book, which You revealed
و نبيك الذى أرسلت
And (I believe) Your Prophet, whom You sent.
Supplicating the above, is actually a renewal of belief.
Sleeping on the right side, is beneficial from various perspectives and a Sunnah.
A person can get up early, without difficulty
It reminds of the grave, because we are buried in that position.