Burning the Bridges

Bismihi Ta’ala


Part 73

The overwhelming stench from the green garbage drum during late November of that year reminded me of the familiar smell of rotting flesh. It had been hot. Rainy with electric storms in the evenings, but hotter than I remembered it being the year before.

Often, on the farm where I worked, I would set ablaze the entire thing until it went up in flames, without even batting an eyelid, but today, nothing was coming easy.

Even setting the barrel alight was proving a task.

The stench was unbearable. Maybe I had left it a bit too long this week. With the windy conditions, I wasn’t prepared to light it until I was guaranteed smooth sailing, and today was the first calm day.

“Come now, Z,” I taunted myself, pulling my sleeves up to beyond the elbow, and steadying myself before the stench knocked me out. “Get with the drill.”

I ignored the images and emotions that poked at my conscience as I sniffed the air, knowing there was no way to stop them completely today. I just had to keep reminding myself:

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

And to yearn more for Jannah.

I had to keep reminding myself. I had to keep pushing myself. On days like this.. bad days… there was no other way than to channel every ounce of energy into the task at hand, blocking out everything that had ever broken me, and march forward to the ultimate destination. There was no place more beautiful than what lay beyond this.

I had pulled out the rod from the toolbox to hammer in a few more holes and already tossed a match into the drum, as I stepped back and watched the barrel go up in flames. It was soothing, to a degree, as I watched it burn. If made me feel as if I was, hopefully, burning the parts of me that had been destructive to my mind. It made me think of how I needed to burn those old bridges and build up new ones. The right ones.

About how I wanted to, so badly, make up for the things that I had done. About how badly I needed to.

I turned away from the smoking drum, already walking back to the room when I saw my phone flash in the corner of the little kitchenette. As predicted, the message from my sister was as curious as she was.

Is J back? She’s not replying to messages.

I slid open my phone and replied the obvious.

Probably jet lag.

Her next message was quick.

Are you sure that you’re okay? You don’t think you’re being a little… extra.

I sighed and unbuttoned the top of my overall, getting ready to change into something more comfortable. I was not getting into this argument with my sister again. It was probably going to put me in a worse mood if I did.

All I wanted to do was close my eyes and forget about the look in the girl in questions eyes when she saw me. It was as if I had broken a piece of her that she probably didn’t even realise was there. So much of hatred brewed in her eyes, and I simply couldn’t shake that feeling of guilt. I hated to do what I was doing, but there was no other way.

Z, don’t ignore me.

My sisters message came a few seconds later. She knew what I was doing. I did too.

You know that I love you and want the best for you. That’s all. 

I knew that. And that’s precisely what killed me.

I typed fast and furiously, wanting to evade the feelings that were surfacing.

I don’t deserve anything even close. 

Nusaybah was right. The girl that she wanted for me was the best, and I didn’t even deserve it. I didn’t deserve a girl who was so beautiful, so pure, but completely naive. Especially when it came to the likes of me.

Knowing about my life would unhinge the little perfect picture frame she had been living in her entire life, and throw her into the haze that I’ve been struggling to find my way out of for years. I couldn’t do that to her.


Think about how mummy would love her.

I swallowed. Hard. I couldn’t think of my mother now. It was irrelevant. My mother didn’t know what had happened to me these past few years. How I had spiralled. How I had let them both down.

She would probably be beyond disappointed with me too. The way my father didn’t even look at me, and refused to speak to me, was proof of how much I had failed them both.

I typed the next sentence without even thinking.

I would love her too.  

<this message has been deleted>

I shook my head and tried to shake away the thoughts. Feelings. Feelings were by the way.

Maybe she would marry the guy who had come to see her earlier on that month. Not that he was bad, but the thought of it felt like a punch in the gut, and I deserved every discomfort that this situation had brought.

He was all the things that she needed and deserved. I had nothing at all to offer her.

The reply to nothing came five seconds later.

What did you delete? Sorry, pookie bear was trying to pull my eyebrows out of I didn’t slice her some cucumber. 

The corners of my mouth turned up slowly as I read that.

Only Nusaybah would call my one year old niece a disturbing name like ‘Pookie Bear’. Weird name, considering that Safeeyah was named after my mother and surprisingly looked a lot like her too. She was a mixture between my brother-in-law Faheem and all the good and comforting things I remembered about my mother. Seeing her for the first time when Nusaybah was down had been the highlight of my year thus far, and I was actually really looking forward to them coming the following month.

I rolled onto my back and thought of her, tossing my phone across the bottom of the bed, realising that it was time to get out of the hellhole room and start with my weekky atonement.

And don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t that my room was an actual hellhole. The amazing family I worked for had given me a decent sized place, with a proper bathroom and good living conditions. It was just that the home I now had, had become what it was because of all the baggage I carried with me from when I was actually scum. I’d  moved all weapons into my room after I figured that my teenybopper crush had mistakenly stumbled upon my make-shift arms room. There was no other choice but to drag every reminder of the past into where I struggled to sleep at night.

Mistake number one, and why I could never think of my infatuation as more than a phase.

And once again, I was reminded of the reason that I felt that I was in hiding, and the cringeworthy feeling overcame me because I knew that there was no escape.

Repentance. Atonement, and all the things that go with it.

My bold, unapologetic truth.

In  Islam, it is the act of leaving what Allah has prohibited and returning to what He has commanded. The word denotes the act of being repentant for one’s misdeeds, atoning for those misdeeds, and having a strong determination to forsake those misdeeds (remorse, resolution, and repentance)

It was the ultimate solution. The reason I allowed myself to actually get up each day with a conscience that doesn’t kill me inside. And though part of my resolution was the inescapable nature to make it up to my father, without even seeing him, my atonement actually ventured into more complicated routes.

It started with small, consistent acts. Monthly, I would drop off a set amount of money at the wife of a man I was once paid to target, because I had found out that she was an orphan with no support system and had three small kids from him. And though her husband wasn’t the best of humans either, and had a reputation of supplying their neighbourhood youth with the most addictive crack, my conscience wouldn’t let me rest.

So each month, I would take a trip on my motor bike to leave a designated amount of money in her postbox so she wouldn’t have to worry about where her babies meals were going to come from. It was a small gesture. And if it meant I ate a little less for the day, so be it.

It was a small price I could pay for a bigger part I had played, but it was worth being able to sleep at night sometimes. There were, of course, times when I wished that I could give back more. When I wished that I could help more.

One day, when the money I earned was halaal and completely clean, I vowed to be more to the community. I hoped to always feel like I was helping someone out. But that was the thing with remorse.

Sometimes Tawbah is not enough for the soul. Sometimes we have to keep pushing ourselves with better deeds.

Right now, all I was doing was trying to undo a lot of the pain and hurt that I caused, and I knew that today I had to head closer to home.

And as I dragged myself out of the room and pulled the door behind me, making sure I latch it, I knew that as much as I didn’t want to, today was the day I had to go to my fathers place. Though he barely looked me in the eye as he watched me from the window, I knew that I would sometimes revel in the sight of him peeping behind the curtain to watch me weeding the grass or neatening up my mothers rose bush. It had been growing wild for some time, but a few months ago, I had pruned them down and to see them bloom again gave me a feeling that was close to redemption.

At least, that’s what I liked to think.

And as I pulled on my helmet, jumping onto the bike and turning it on with a roar, I knew that I had to get my mind into the game. I was doing this to right myself. To ease my reformation. To be the best that I could ever be, and I knew there was no other place to start from home.

And I knew that my father an I always had our issues. I blamed him for my mothers death and he blamed me for choosing a rotten sort of lifestyle that killed her, long after he had dusted his hands off it.

And the thing was, I barely knew her, but I knew from stories that I’d heard, that she was a special kind of lady. And despite everything I’d heard about her, then came the stories I remember Nusaybah telling me as kid.

The stories of the Sahabah entailed  the story of Zubair bin Awaam (RA) mother who someone so awe inspiring that it made me wonder how humans like this even existed…

Safeeyah (RA) was the mother the full sister of Hamza ibn Abdul Muttalib. It was said that she was the Prophet’s only paternal aunt who actually embraced Islam and migrated.

She had a strong personality and was therefore inclined towards sternness and harshness.

Her first marriage was to Al-Harith ibn Umayyah, who was Abu Sufyaan’s brother. He then died before they had had any children together. She was then married to Al-‘Awwam ibn Khuwaylid, who was our Mother Khadijah’s (may Allah be pleased with her) brother. She gave birth to two of his children: As-Sa’ib and Az-Zubayr. When he passed away, Safeeyah RA devoted all her attention to her two orphaned sons, especially the younger one. Whenever he came home complaining of being bullied by children of his age, she would sternly rebuke him, tie him and beat him up so as to make him strong and firm.

When one of the members of her husband’s family once passed by her while she was treating her son in this way, he requested her to be kind to the poor orphan. She replied that she wants to make a man out of her son; a man that would be undefeatable and insuppressible, a man that would never surrender to any of Allah’s creatures.

It was reported that Zubair RA engaged in a duel with someone who slandered him and was so strong, that he broke the hand of the slanderer and severely beat him up. This man, with his pains was brought to Safeeyah and she asked him what had happened to him, to which was told:

He fought with Az-Zubayr and he [Az-Zubayr] did to him that which you can see.”

All in all… Safeeyah (RA) achieved what she wanted; Az-Zubayr RA grew strong in body and soul.

Ans yes; these were some of the most amazing personalities. We could only dream to be like them. In our broken way, we try and aspire to emulate them.

It was just that… I wasn’t quite sure if I what I could say about myself. There were times when I felt strong. Stronger than the world and everything that had happened to me… everything that I’d brought upon myself. And then there were times when it felt like the entire world was on my shoulders, weakened by the burden of it, and I couldn’t shrug it off.

And I supposed that circumstances were what they were, and there wasn’t much else to be said. The thing is, Allah takes us through stages that polish us, and eventually makes us shine because of it…

There were so many trials that we had encountered along the way, but the most noteworthy event was the one that hit the hardest.

It was a horrible, guttural kind of pain that ate me from the inside every day until I realised that my mother being killed by a stray bullet that was meant for my father, was really not my father’s fault. I couldn’t blame her death on anyone. It was determined long before and nothing he could have done that day would have saved her.

And yes, it was a loss that was felt unanimously and it hurt like hell. It was the reason my father never married again. But that wasn’t why I was trying to set things right again.

Why I needed to make it up to my father was because I had learnt that when you do something for Allah Ta’ala’s sake… when you help with the intention of setting right the affairs of the world that have gone so wrong… you are rewarded in ways you can never even imagine.

And that was my only consolation. Even though my father barely spoke to me. Even though he couldn’t look at me after knowing what I had become. Even though he would never forgive me, I knew that I had to keep trying.

And I knew that as long as I lived, I would keep paying the price for my sins. I would keep up with the atonement, keep seeking repentance and keep trying to be better.

That was the least I could do.

And so I did it.

And later that very day, as I sped through the rained out city streets on my way home, again I wanted to make up for my wrongs. I had stopped at my sister’s friends nursery to get another rose plant, because my entire life was going to be spent trying to make up for all the pain I had caused people. That day was no exception.

As much as I wanted to undo it, I knew that I couldn’t. Everything that I had come came with a price. My entire life, the company I had kept, the enemies I had earned along the way… was the price I paid. I knew that there was no way that I could drag a girl into the dirt everyone had on me.

And so it went, the story of my life.

I knew that I had to silently bear the brunt of my mistakes. For me, there would be no point in believing in fairy tales of note. For me, there would be a greater purpose in life, than just marriage and what would come after.

For me, I strongly believed, that maybe there was something greater than love.

They say the mind cannot comprehend what awaits us, that sadness will be forgotten.
They say that the eye has yet to see
and the ear has yet to hear the beauties that await us in our new home.

They say rivers of honey.
They say rivers of milk, they say rivers of wine.
They say if you give your life, then all eternity will be yours.

Maybe for me, there would be the sweetness of another dimension. Maybe for me would be the scent of musk as my blood spills on the ground. Maybe for me, green birds would await me. What could be more valuable that a greeting with the angels who promise eternal bliss…

I sighed as I placated myself, reaching home only after Esha salaah, pulling off my riding jacket and changing my soaked pants hurriedly, before getting ready for bed. The last thing I expected at that moment was a pounding on the front door of the little house I stayed in, which caught me just a little bit unaware.

And of course, with my history, senses were at once heightened as I grabbed a weapon, and moved toward the door.

I knew that in all likelihood, a killer probably wouldn’t be knocking on the door, but it could also be a trap. Fear wasnt in my nature, but curiosity was.

Although I could just ignore them, I knew that whoever it was, was probably someone who had some business with me. I had already unlatched the two latches, and stuffed the firearm under my arm, before yanking open the door.

I found myself blinking as I looked into the eyes of the guy I had seen just the week before. A easy-going guy I had surprisingly come to like, despite the fact that he looked at me as if I came from another universe.

“Hey, salaam.”

I greeted him back with a quick handshake, my weapon now safely tucked away under my arm.

“How’s it?”

I nodded and stepped back. It was pouring outside. He came in without hesitation, shaking off the rain from his jacket and smoothing it down.

”Sorry to barge in like this.”

I shrugged, moving over to the kettle to switch it on. I figured it probably had to do with that idiot, Hashim, who thought that he was invincible. The guy made my skin crawl with irritation.

“Tea?” I asked, knowing that it was the only thing I really kept here. My meals would usually come from the coffee shop kitchen.

He looked around awkwardly while I popped the firearm into the top drawer, and pulled out two mugs.

All my shiny toys were probably giving him the heebi jeebis, but I pretended like they weren’t there.

”I need your help,” he said quietly as I turned to him, looking like he was mentally carrying way more than he could handle. “Actually, my wife does. I think you may know a little about the money she borrowed… from the guy with the Porsche.”

So it wasn’t about Hashim. The guy with the Porsche. Of course I couldn’t forget.

I didn’t want to say that the Porsche guy had come back here, the day of the wedding, to see Mohsina just before she got married. Of course, I couldn’t say that… unless it was vital to whatever he needed.

He was the reason why I’d ever gotten involved with this family in the first place. The reason why I came back for atonement. Why I’d made it incumbent on myself to be here and protect this family that we’d harassed and caused so much of trouble to. Also the reason why I couldn’t seem to pull myself together and be the man I wanted to.

There was way too much at risk here to do what I wanted to do. Any move I made would land me in trouble.

“Yup,” I said blandly, not offering any further information. “My uncle’s client.”

All I knew was that I hadn’t seen him since then… since I’d left my uncle… and that meant that all ties with my uncle were also cut in the process.

I really intended to keep it that way, but Hamzah had other plans.

“I need you to dig up some info for me,” he said roughly, looking like his life depended on it.

I didn’t know that it did. What I also didn’t know was that what he needed from me was to once again build all those bridges that I’d worked so hard at burning.

“I need to know as much as you can get about every transaction he had with you guys. However much it costs, I need every dirty detail. They’re trying to lay it all on Mohsina. Whether it’s on his name or Hammonds, I need to know. There’s something fishy going on with him and the money and we’re going to get to the bottom of it. I need your help.”

The much awaited Zubair POV. Oops. Got a bit serious, didn’t even realise. Well, let’s see what unfolds… 

May Allah Ta’ala make us all true mujaahideen on this Deen… fighting our nafs and shaytaan with the same kind of determination…


A x

Mission Sunnah Revival: 
Sunnah of Noble Character: 

Nabi (SAW) gave attention, spoke and showed love to even the worst person of a nation until the person felt that he is being given special attention.

May Allah make us of those who uphold the Sunnah of character always.

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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Straight for the Heart

Bismihi Ta’ala


The assassination of ‘Umar Ibn Al Khattab (RA), was a martyrdom of unprecedented status. To become a marytr in the city of Medinah Munawwarah (since battles were mostly fought outside) was not a very common occurrence… but being who he was, this sublime honor was given as an answer to the very own Du’aa of this remarkable leader.

Being a master blacksmith, the man who stabbed him multiple times, expertly crafted a double headed dagger, specifically poisoned it… and stabbed him to an eventual death… during the early morning prayer.

And I think it’s important that we know that ‘Umar (RA) had learned from Nabi (SAW) that he would meet Allah as a martyr.

Anas ibn Malik (RA) said: ‘The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) climbed Mount Uhud, accompanied by Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman, and the mountain shook with them. The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) – stuck it with his foot and said(a prophecy), ‘Stand firm, O Uhud, for there is no one on you but a Prophet, a Siddeeq and two martyrs.” [Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il Ashab an-Nabi, hadith no. 3675].

And though we know that the final result here was the brutal assassination of one of Islam’s greatest leaders, what many don’t know are the events leading up to it.

Feroz Abu Lulu was Magian… a fire worshipper. He was an expert blacksmith, and a slave, captured during the conquest of Nahawand. His job was to craft things for the Muslims, and he did it expertly. One of the items he made was hand mills, used to grind things in the past.

So the story goes, Abu Lulu thought that he was being treated unfairly by his master. Being a dissatisfied labourer, he awaited Ameer-ul-Mu’mineen, ‘Umar (RA) one day and complained to him that the taxes he paid to his Master, Mughirah were too excessive.

Upon investigation, and using his mastermind administrative qualities, Umar (RA) overlooked nothing. He found out that that the man was making a lot more money than he had let on. ‘Umar (RA) told Abu Lulu that his master was in fact, not asking for so much. But ‘Umar (RA) still intended to speak to al-Mugheerah and ask him to reduce it.

Abu Lulu got angry, saying: “This man is just to everyone except for me!”

Even this man, who turned out to be his killer, knew that Umar (RA) was a just and fair man… yet the man was not happy with the verdict. Upon his leave, Umar (RA) asked him something to the effect:

“Why don’t you make a mill for me?”

He replied: “I will make such a mill for you that people will never stop talking about it.”

When he departed, Umar (RA) asked his companion, Ali (RA), “What do you make of this statement?”

Ali (RA) said to him: “Oh Ameer-ul-Mu’mineen, he has threatened you!”

And although Umar (RA) knew this was the undeniable truth, what, do you suppose was the reply of this great leader?

If it was any other leader of this magnitude, he would have never stood for such an open defiance. Any other man, who had such an entitled position would have called his troops to arrest this perpetrator. But look at his Hikmah. Look at his Yaqeen. All he said was:

“I will hand my affair over to Allah Ta’ala. He will take care of me.”

When I heard this part of the story, I was simply blown away. Such a great leader.. ruler of the Golden age of Islam, conqueror of multiple nations… yet never lost sight of the goal. He knew that Allah’s plan was the Ultimate. He knew that  Allah was the Only One in control.

And yes, it’s sometimes difficult for us, as meagre Mu’mineen, to swallow this. It’s so challenging when you feel compromised, to wholeheartedly submit to the one Master of the Worlds.

And as my new friend, Laila, told me this amazing story, I couldn’t help but question my own Yaqeen.. my own faith. Tawakkul.

Of course, everything has it’s reasons. Of course, we will be tested, with regard to our Deen, our faith, the things we love… Allah tells us this in the Qur’an… And we know it.

“The one thing we need to keep asking for is Aafiyah,” Laila said softly. “Only ease, ease… ease in every walk of our lives…”

I wasn’t sure how we had got to this point. How we had gotten so deep into this conversation, that all I saw was the beauty and insight that she had when it came to Deen. She had such an amazing understanding. It was no wonder that I had poured out my entire hearts content to this girl and learnt many a thing from her life as well.

And it’s mind-blowing how the people of Allah have a completely profound way of seeing everything. They have something beyond wisdom. They have insight that’s unparalleled.. that aimed straight for the heart.

“It’s really so lovely to meet you,” I finally said, my soul already feeling so comforted.

Laila smiled her lovely smile.

“I’m sorry that I overheard you guys,” she said meekly. “I finally saw you sitting and I was really wanting to just meet you… I guess I caught you at the wrong time.”

“Hey, it’s not your fault. Everything happens for a reason, right?” I said with a smile. “If you hadn’t come… if you hadn’t overheard the comment that was made… if you didn’t follow me.. well, I wouldn’t have met you, right?”

She nodded and smiled.

“Of course, but please just tell me if I’m interfering,” she said quickly, looking at me. “My family said I have this habit… so you don’t have to answer me. Was that your mother-in-law?”

I nodded, not trusting myself to say more. We hadn’t got back to this point… we were so busy talking about everything else. It was so hard not to say anything bad, when you were feeling so bruised on the inside.

“It’s not the worst I’ve heard, don’t worry,” she said quickly. “My brothers’ in laws were really crazy at first.. but Allah had a plan for him too… and it all came together.”

“Alhumdulillah,” I said automatically, so glad that my in laws were not the only crazy ones.

“Can I ask you something?” She said suddenly.

I looked at her questioningly and nodded.

”Are you really only sixteen?”

She seemed in awe as she said it, obviously shocked by the fact that I had married so young. Sometimes even to me, it seemed surreal.

“I am only sixteen,” I confirmed, quite amused by her widening eyes.

“You must be thinking I’m so nosy,” she said, shaking her head. “But honestly, you are so mature for your age… I mean, when I was sixteen, I barely knew how to look after myself… I was really so different to you. And for doing what you’ll did… instead of the usual boy and girl stuff that’s so much easier…  you’re one in a million. I actually couldn’t believe it when Yusuf had told me that you were so young. Both of you. I love that you guys opted for the halaal way… it really beats everything else, I can promise you that.”

I smiled shyly, a little conscious of this girl who was offering me so much of praise but barely knew me.

”You’ll are amazing,” she said genuinely, grasping my hand momentarily.

She was so refreshing. Extraordinarily spirited, in a completely natural way. I couldn’t believe that she had three kids. She told me she had toddler twins and a baby who kept her busy. I loved that she was so easy-going and such a breeze to talk to. I loved that she also had the perfect advice for me when it came to my mother-in-law.

Wisdom and patience. That was what it was going to take to crack her… that was one way to get straight to her heart.

”I knows it must be so hard when you’re in the situation,” she said toward the end, looking sympathetic. “But you really have to choose your battles because as people get older… they’re a bit difficult to understand. Mother-in-laws don’t always act out of spite. Sometimes you have to overlook… It’s their insecurities that can make them crazy. At the same time, you don’t want to be rude or hurt their feelings. So try to understand her insecurities… and do small things like praising her, being extra kind, giving gifts… and see if it makes a difference. At the same time, try not to put your husband in the middle… Because it’s the worst thing we can do. We expect them to take our side and sometimes they don’t. But also know that this is a normal and really common problem.. and it will get better. Turn to Allah for help. You’ll either get stronger and learn to take her comments with no worry whatsoever… or maybe she’ll truly understand the love that can exist between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law too…”

I nodded thoughtfully, wondering if my mother-in-law was capable of showing compassion…

I glanced at the hallway clock and felt an unexpected wave of sadness as I realized that the evening was coming to a close. She was getting up to leave. How I was dreading this day, yet how everything had turned around…

It was at that precise moment that Danyaal sped in, almost knocking Laila over in the process. He looked like he was on a serious mission.

“Sorry,” he mumbled, looking a little embarrassed.

I smiled at him as he greeted her, and I couldn’t help but feel proud of this little guy. He was growing up so wonderfully.

“Uncle Yusuf is looking for his lovely Laila,” he said almost robotically, and I ruffled his hair as we grinned at him. That was so cute.

Laila laughed.

“That’s typical Yusuf. Brainwashing the child,” she said, shaking her head.

“Tell Uncle Yusuf I’ll be right there,” she said with a smile and a tiny hug, obviously charmed by sweet Danyaal.

He nodded obediently, and rushed out, already on his next mission, as Laila came forward to greet me. I was surprisingly disappointed that she had to go.

“It was amazing meeting you,” she said as her name was called from outside. I guessed that it was her Yusuf waiting for her.

She smiled and hugged me warmly, and I stood for a few seconds and watched her leave, thinking about how strangely everything had worked out.

Who would have thought I would have met such a pearl of a person here?!

And just as I watched them leave, I couldn’t help but snap back to reality. Although I had a good mind of asking Ahmed to take me home after the embarrassing ordeal, I knew that eventually I’d have to face everyone again, and this time, I planned to do it with no ill-feelings. After Laila had praised my maturity… there was a message for me. I needed to be tough too. I had to behave like a grown up.

I sighed as I stepped out of the lounge, hearing voices as I peeped around the corner.

And as I spotted Aadam with Zia on the counter in front of him, he immediately caught my eye and gave me a small smile. I was so relieved to see him then, but seeing how exhausted he looked put things into perspective for me.

All this… he was putting up with. Aadam would do anything to keep his mother happy. Even put his own exhaustion on hold… to keep her content. This battle with his mother was not going to be an easy one for me.

“Hey gorgeous,” he said easily, tearing open a chocolate for Zia as he glanced at me. He looked just as relieved to see me.

Hey goer-just!” Zia mimicked and smiled at me cheekily.

I couldn’t help but giggle at his imitation. Somehow when a three year old talks, it was so much cuter.

Aadam shook his head and threw him in the air before he put him down saying a soft Bismillah for him… as Zia ran off happily with the open chocolate in his hand.

I could see that Aadam had really missed his nephews. And no, I wasn’t jealous. The fact that he loved kids was amazing.

”I hope he ate some actual food,” I said raising my eyebrows, knowing Zia’s habit of eating everything else besides a well-balanced meal.

“Chocolate is food,” Aadam said seriously with a shrug.

He met my amused gaze for a minute, holding it there a little longer than usual.

“Are you okay?” he said, walking over and collapsing into the couch in the corner of the room. He looked like he was waiting to do that the whole day, as he stretched his long legs out tiredly. “I was looking for you… thought you had run away. Is everything okay?”

I knew it was the perfect opportunity to tell him about his mothers little stunt outside. It was tempting to complain. I was also feeling a bit insecure. After Shabeers statement that night and now the girl… I wanted to know more about Aadam’s past… but I knew it wasn’t the time to ask.

Sometimes, doing the noble thing is really hard. I swallowed my pain and grievances, because I also understood that he was really exhausted.. and to put his mother in the bad light right now or interrogate him was probably not the wisest thing to do.

Wisdom and patience, right? Although I really wanted her to learn a lesson from here, and never do that again, I also didn’t want to upset him right then.

“I’m fine,” I said, biting my lip to avoid saying any more. “Just tired.”

“Ha ha,” he said, running his hands through his beard. “I feel like I’ve been crushed and beaten to a pulp. I can never sleep on planes. I want to jump into my bed and sleep for three days.”

“I’m sure,” I said sympathetically, imagining his exhaustion.

“Sorry,” he said immediately, clicking his neck painfully as he sat forward. “I didn’t mean to sound callous. You must be really tired too, yeah? I’m sure mum’s been a handful… I hope she’s been civil.”

“Did you make Du’aa for me?” I said, ignoring the underlying question.

What?!” he said, sitting up suddenly, mouth agape. “You’re actually asking your biggest fan that?! That’s unthinkable!”

I grinned.

“That means yes?”

Aadam’s smile wavered, as he clasped his hands together a little nervously.

“If only you knew, Khawlah,” he said, his face suddenly unusually serious. “Every moment. Any chance I got. You know how they say that there are some people you just can’t stop thinking about?”

“Hmmmm,” I said, not showing any emotion.

“Seriously,” he said, his expression still earnest. “Do you never show any feeling Khawlah? Come on… I’m serious. Want to know what Du’aa I made?”

“I’d love to,” I said simply.

He gave me a sideways glance, before opening his mouth again.

“I asked Allah to make you the reason my mother changes.”

I widened my eyes.


“Hah, finally some emotion!” he said, raising his one eyebrow that seemed to have a life of its own. I still did not know how he did that.

Why?” I asked, incredulously. “That’s like.. I don’t know…”

“You think it’s impossible?” he said, without missing a beat. “You think it’s too much to ask?”

I nodded numbly.

“Khawlah, you really have no idea of how much of colour you brought into our world?” he said, his gaze intensifying.

I looked at him, a little disbelievingly.

“I don’t even know how to explain to you,” he said, shaking his head and looking away in thought.”It’s like a magic we never knew before. The best decision I made. Once upon a time I was just an uninspired soul.. an aimless existence… a tortured wayfarer. I mean, two years ago… I would have never imagined I’d even want to go for Hajj. I never thought I’d change. I always thought it would be something that I’d do when I’m fifty or nearly on my way out…”

I swallowed hard, not prepared for his next words.

“Khawlah,” he said tenderly, coming closer as he turned to face me. “Allah chose you to be the one to give us that craving for more.. that desire to know know Him. And I never thought I’d reach this place, but I did, and whether you want to believe it or not, you were so much a part of it…”

I shook my head and looked away, but I couldn’t say it…

No, it wasn’t me. I was just the window. They were the ones who had the guts to glance out. They saw the chance and they chased it. They took the plunge… and it was so amazing to watch them jump. It was like watching them dive into this endless ocean of opportunity that brought  them to heights that I couldn’t even imagine.

“I think that you have an amazing gift,” he continued earnestly. “Somehow, you’re going to reach a place that you never thought possible with her… and that realisation is going to make her love you more than anything in this temporary world.”

I blinked as I let his words digest, completely and utterly gobsmacked by this unseemly request… if you could even call it that. I mean, I knew that there could be a means to attain something, but I could barely be a reason for someone who barely liked me, to change their entire life. All I saw was how Allah had welcomed Aadam with open arms.. grasped him with such a fervor, that had somehow transformed him into the amazing guy I had been privileged to be with.

What I was completely unaware of right then, as Aadam watched me, was the greater plan that Allah had for him, that would topple my entire world, as I knew it. What I couldn’t see was the the unexpected piece of our hearts, a ray of hope amidst the despair, that Allah was planning to give me, through Aadam’s love… And of course, what none of us knew was that through his Du’aa, there was going to an amazing part of us being together… a gift of wonder that was going to not just change her… But change everything.

“You mean she may end up loving me even more than she loves you?” I said, keeping my face straight, despite being completely disconcerted by his words.

He grinned, shaking his head at me in disbelief.

“There’s something about you, Khawlah,” he chuckled in admiration. “I just can’t crack you. You’re my most impermeable hard drive yet… a firewall I can’t hack. But I can assure you that one day, sweets.. I’m going to crack you. I’m going to break that barrier you’ve built. That much, I can promise you. And when I do, I’m aiming straight for the heart.”

I grinned and stuck my tongue out at him. I had fun teasing him, but I knew that I was being a bit hard on the guy… seeing he could barely even sit up straight. And of course, before I could apologise for being such a ridiculous toughy, a bellowing screech from outside caught us just a little unaware.

We looked at each other worriedly as I processed that it was Aadam’s mother… who was intent on summoning him from where she was… instead of coming to check. I winced slightly as the pitch of her voice bordered on deafening, and Aadam sat forward in shock.

When his mother called… she really called. We both knew she wasn’t going to stop until he made an appearance right in front of her.

“We’re not going to get more than ten minutes alone tonight,” he sighed, looking frustrated.

“Listen… tomorrow, you’re skipping school. I’m fetching you early. It’s an order from your husband, so you just have to make an excuse, yeah? I have a surprise for you.”

A surprise? I didn’t like surprises. Well, unless I knew what they were.

I frowned as the bellowing sounded again, and Aadam grimaced.

“Catch you tomorrow, gorgeous..” he said,  leaning forward to peck my forehead, before turning to head out.

I had no other choice to but to follow him. Come to think of it… a day off with Aadam would be great. For tomorrow, at least I had something to look forward to.

For now, Aadam had put forward a tough order. A really tough one. I didn’t know how I was ever going to get my mother-in-law to ever see something good in me to find a way straight to her heart…  but what I didn’t know was that Allah had already accepted his Du’aa in a most unconventional way…

All I knew right then was it was time to put my next action plan into play… It was time to face my mother-in-law’s music…


Sunnah of Kindness: I think to be kind despite whatever a person does to you is a great lesson here. We know of the various incidents of Nabi SAW where he showed undeserving kindness to even his enemies. It is a truly beautiful Sunnah…

Jareer (RA)reported: The Messenger of Allah, (SAW), said:

مَنْ يُحْرَمْ الرِّفْقَ يُحْرَمْ الْخَيْرَ

He who is deprived of kindness is deprived of goodness.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2592, Grade: Sahih

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Lost Moments

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem 


Beautiful moments are not always perfect ones.

Some people say that they are unforgettable. Moments that stay with you. Moments that have a special place in your heart, no matter what the situation is, or how dull things may seem.

But there’s no other way to see them than this: Like the streams of light finding their way through the tiny gaps of rickety shutters .. Beautiful moments are like that. No matter what life has thrown at you, they simply blow you away.

“Muhammad,” Zuleikha beamed, wincing slightly in pain as she sat down.  “His name is Muhammad.”

I smiled as I watched him, his tiny little fists still as he slept, and his mouth making little movements, almost as if he was still hungry or sucking on an imaginary dummy. I thought he would cry as I placed him down in the little crib that Zuleikha had brought, but he didnt. He gave a tiny moan and settled again, into a deeper sleep, into his own little world. He was so amazingly special. Not to mention, extremely adorable too.

Now, by then, I’d had my fair share of experience with little humans. I was actually beginning to miss the ones I’d become accustomed to quite intensely. Looking at the little bundle and having Zuleikha here was a welcomed distraction.

I gazed at him tenderly. I stil couldn’t believe that he was my nephew.

“So when are you going home?” I asked her, eyeing out the bag she had placed on the floor. It wasn’t very big.

Zuleikha shrugged nonchalantly. She had arrived in the morning, a few days post-birth, and though a surprise, it was great to have them both.

“I don’t know,” she said, and looked away.

She seemed to have something on her mind, but I didn’t ask. I didn’t want to delve into it, because during these past days, my sister seemed so much more at peace. Content. Satisfied.

I realized something beautiful about her at that moment, as I watched both my sister and nephew. Although she may have drifted away, at that moment, her heart was so in synch with reality, that it amazed me.

She had surrendered. Submitted. She had wholeheartedly accepted that even though she had gone a little off track, and forgotten Who she owed everything to, Allah had never forgotten her.

I could feel her peace. There’s always salvation in admitting defeat. The peace of prostration. To stay in that position, with your head lowered. To stay humbled and wait, until He raises you.

When you’ve had th world and searched it for what can be found behind every closed door or even the quietest corners… and then… you finally find Him.

There’s nothing that comes close to that. 

It was so ironic that it reminded me of what she had told me once as a child. Finding life a little unfair at that point in time, Zuleikha had gently reminded me of the essence of a believer.

The beautiful thing about the lives of the Sahabah RA, Khawlah, was that, even though their every breath was that of a surrendered believer, they never called themselves Mu’mins. They just submitted. Whatever it took. Whatever came their way. They submitted and they overcame…”

Thats what we should strive for. That’s the essence of a true Mu’min. Reading my books about the Sahabah again after ages, these few days, was a welcome reminder of what we needed to strive for.

It was about being the perfect believers. It was just about submitting.

I remembered that chat I had with her at the hospital. Zuleikha seemed a lot more focused now. I didn’t often find her in a kind of aimless daze, like I would before.

Besides the fact that Ahmed was nowhere to be found, everything in the household had returned to its former routine. Abba didn’t seem to worried. He said that Ahmed knew how to look after himself. I mean, it was Abba who had been intensely training Ahmed for situations like this and although I wished that Ahmed hadn’t pulled the trigger that night, the best thing he could do now was to let the whole thing blow over.

I sighed, just a little exhausted with all that had happened during the past few weeks. Jameel and Zuleikha. Ahmed. Rubeena.

Everything was so … tiring. I felt drained.

“What are you thinking about?”

Zuleikha’s voice broke through my thoughts as I paced the room, a little unaware of what exactly I was doing.

“I was just thinking,” I said carefully. “How everything works out… in the end.”

“Is it the end?”

“No,” I replied, with a slight smile. “But it’s definitely getting there. You’re looking like you’re in a better place too, Zulz. You’re not looking stressed. Everything sorted out between you and Jameel?”

This was the first time I asked her directly about the issues in her marriage. I had been getting hints here and there about the state of affairs but she had never said anything solid. Now, she looked at me with a slight frown, thinking before she answered.

“I have to learn to stand on my own feet, Khawlah,” she said, looking pensive. “I have to make my own decisions now. I have a little life that depends on me. The counselor at the hospital…”

She trailed off and widened her eyes slightly, feeling perturbed by her last few words.

Counselor? I didn’t know that Zuleikha had seen a counselor.

Aunty Radiyyah’s words came back to me once again, and I felt jolted awake at their magnanimity. I had almost forgotten just how serious and life changing her situation was.

”Your sister is in a lot of trouble, Khawlah,” she had said, speaking quietly, because she didn’t want the rest of the house to hear. It was the first time I had heard Aunty Radiyyah speak so softly. “Her marriage is breaking. Her husband is not to be trusted. He doesn’t like Ahmed, and I’ve heard that he wants to hurt him. He has a reputation of dealing with bad people. Please, my darling… please look out for her. Look out for you all. Look out for Ahmed. You’re strong, Khawlah. You’re strong. I know you can do it.”

Zuleikha looked at me now with determination in her eyes.

“Anyway,” she said blandly. “I’m working through my stuff. Jameel says he’s going to be a better father. He knows he has to change.”

I nodded. She felt guilty. She felt guilty about what happened with Ahmed, and she was trying to make up for it too. Maybe she was doing the right thing. I wasn’t sure. Maybe she was.

Hearing Zuleikha’s hope made me hopeful too. I wanted my sister to be happy, and I didn’t want my nephew growing up on a home that was broken too.

Things were looking up. I prayed that they would stay that way as we went along with our day-to-day lives, until Zuleikha had to go back home.

I missed them when they left. It was like an ache that wouldn’t go away, and it was only after a few days that I realized that all this time, I had just been filling the gap. I missed the kids I used to look after, and now that Zuleikha was gone, that gap was now empty once again.

School had become routine, and every day was more or less the same. It was Nusaybah who kept the day alive, with her bubbly stories and constant chatter. She was truly an awesome friend to have, and I loved that she always brought some light to the dullness of the day. She would often burst into laughter for no apparent reason, and I found it hard to believe that such a small person held so much of joy.

It was Nusaybah who gave me the idea of getting back into my hobby once again.

“You’ve lost your fire, girl,” she said, shaking her head and tut-tutting at me. “You’re behaving like an abandoned puppy.”

”I miss the kids,” I said, sounding a little defeated than usual that day. “And Zuleikha. Maybe I will go and see her later.”

“Again?” She retorted, looking shocked because I had just gone the day before. “Give your sister some peace. Let her sort out her life.”

I sighed. There wasn’t much that I kept from Nusaybah, and I valued her advice.

So that day, I delved into my books again, and fate just had it that I picked the one that Aunty Radiyyah had given me as a little girl.

I hastily opened the book, gliding my fingers over the writing that was at the front. Aunty Radiyyah’s.

Her personality was so alive. Boisterous. Nusaybah reminded me so much of her. Maybe there was a sign here.

I smiled as I opened it, letting myself get lost in the world of the little girl who had lost her mother. The feelings were so familiar, yet still affected me so deeply. As I finished it, about 45 minutes later, I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of nostalgia.

I missed Aunty Radiyyah. Her laugh. Her smile. Even her loud voice. The beautiful moments I had spent at her house were now a distant memory, but it didn’t mean that I could never see her again.

As she left, I remembered her words clearly as they came back to me.

“Your beautiful garden is waiting for you, my beautiful girl.”

My garden. She had always called it my garden. Not Khalid’s, although he had probably spent as much time there as me. She always had said that when I wasn’t there, Khalid wouldn’t even step outside. I supposed that was when it became my garden.

And of course, the last time she was here, she had quite obviously said that I could come and see it whenever I wanted to.

Why not? Why not today?

It was a Friday and Abba was home. I’m sure he would take me if I asked him. I dressed quickly, getting permission and making my way to Abba’s car.

I was already excited, as we drove through the streets of our quiet neighborhood. Going back to the street where we used to stay would be trip that would bring back a lot of memories, and I could see Abba stiffen slightly as we entered, almost as if he was anxious. He relaxed slightly as we passed our house, slowly turning to look inside.

Our old house still looked the same. It was still cream and double story, but there were different cars parked in the driveway. I almost expected to see little Yunus run out of the garage door or Zuleikha shout to us from the window, but with a pang, I realized that those days were long gone. Things were different now. Everyone was different too. We had all changed in so many ways.

So many memories. So many hopes. Those little minds held many aspirations and countless ambitions….

I blinked my eyes, trying to erase the past from my mind.

Aunty Radiyyah’s house was coming up, and I quickly averted my mind and looked up, ready to jump off.

My heart hammered as I spotted it. I could see it. I could already see the flowering creepers making their way further up the terraced wall, as we approached. The house was very much the same, but it had an heir of exuberance that I never noticed before. Colors had changed, and I could literally smell the freshness of it all I stepped out into the open and took a deep breath.

That garden. That garden. It was my haven, and I could already feel myself being summoned to it as I climbed the step to the front door, realizing that I’d never entered from there before.

I simply couldn’t wait. I couldn’t wait to sink my hands into the dewy earth. I couldn’t wait to revile in the scent of nature, once again. It’s calmness and serenity would be just what I would need.

I breathed in deeply, already lost in my own little world. And then it hit me.

How stupid could I be?

I didn’t even check if Aunty Radiyyah was home! I didn’t even check if I could come. What if she was busy? Worse, what if she wasn’t home? It was just a simple etiquette that I had forgotten.

I let out an exasperated sigh, hoping for the best as I pressed the doorbell. It had been so long. The memories of Yunus, Khalid and I playing in the patio all replayed in my mind as I waited. Where had the time gone to? How did it all go so fast?

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 wouldn’t be waiting outside until Abba came back for me.

I braced myself for Aunty Radiyyah’s dynamic voice, and without doubt, her warm embrace. She was always so welcoming, that I hadn’t prepared myself for anything else. I hadn’t expected anything less.

The door swung open as I looked on, and I blinked in surprise, hardly believing my eyes.

My eyes were still adjusting to the darkness inside, and I still wasn’t sure if I was seeing right

It had been years. Almost 5 years. The time had seemed to go so fast, but at that moment, it felt like it was just yesterday that I had left this life behind.

Instead of Aunty Radiyyah, steely grey eyes peered at me enquiringly, with a hint of something that I couldn’t recognize.

Was it hostility? Disappointment? Maybe even resentment? I wasn’t sure, and I had a feeling that I didn’t want to find out.

I swallowed hard, feeling awkward as I cleared my throat, hoping that the right words would come out of my own mouth.

It was like Murphy’s Law. Even when you have so much to say, something happens that spins you around… and then… you just get stuck.

Aunty Radiyyah’s last words to me as she left that day. The truth of it stuck me now, and the hurt in her eyes was now clearer than ever.

“Don’t lose her, Khawlah. Don’t lose your sister. Sometimes, you can lose someone even when they’re right there. Sometimes, you can miss them, even when they are right next to you. Sometimes, you can have everything but you can’t have peace. That’s the worst type of loss.”

She took a breath, and that’s when I saw it. It was almost like it wasn’t there, but once again, the flicker of untold hurt entered her eyes again, clear as day.

Trust me, my Khawlah,” she said, In almost a whisper.

I know. I know exactly what it’s like.”

Changing Direction

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

There are moments… Moments that in a split second, your life changes forever, and before you know it, the path just looks like a completely different one to the one you’ve been treading all along.

You don’t have to always be tough. Sometimes the only way to get rid of a shadow is to turn off the lights, to stop running from the darkness and face what you fear, head on.

In my partly frazzled frame of mind, I kept on going back to that place where I tried to figure out where exactly everything went wrong. Sometimes you have to go back to the beginning to try and understand the end. I wanted to diagnose my current condition. Was it the inception of marriage? Was it the night at the club? Was it maybe because we weren’t strong enough to fight through?

I couldn’t figure it out. But what I did know was that I needed to find a way to move forward. A way to ensure that I wouldn’t get caught up again. It was a test of how strong my resistance was, and how I could fight back when my nafs wanted to overpower. The temptation was always there, and of course, just when the thought of relenting and going back to my old lifestyle began to seem all the more appealing, Allah sent an ally to see me through.


That was me, literally shouting across the Mosque as I spotted him in the depleting crowd, hoping that he wouldn’t leave straight away. I hadn’t seen the guy since after Hajj and though I felt bad for not getting in touch, I knew he wouldn’t take it to heart. Life had been just a little bit overwhelming.

“Boet! You’re alive!”

He leaned forward to shake my hand with a small embrace, looking genuinely glad to see me. I knew that I had gone AWOL again but I planned on bringing myself back from the dead once and for all. It didn’t matter what was in store for me, I would fight back with a vengeance.

I grinned back at my friend sheepishly, actually really glad to see him. He might be the person who would put everything into perspective and get the Zee to focus once again.

“I heard about your son, man,” he said softly as we walked out the back of the Masjid. “That must have been tough. Allah knows best.”

I nodded, my eyes burning slightly at the memory of Hamza. He seemed like a distant dream but his little face stayed etched in my mind. Of course, I couldn’t help but think of Farah when he came to mind.

I sighed as I remembered, recalling how insistently she was pushing for the end. It was really a no-win situation. She wanted to do something with her life, and basically, I was a lazy guy. In her own words, she needed someone who would push her to make something of herself… Someone who would motivate her to be ‘more’.

It all just seemed like a load of bull and excuses to me, but sadly, it also made me realise that maybe she was right about me. Maybe  I needed to change. Maybe I needed more direction in my life.

My brothers always told me that I was lazy, but now that it had been used against me, I knew there had to be some repair work in progress. Maybe I should get some guidance. Maybe I needed to change my direction of going nowhere slowly.

“There’s a talk here later,” Junaid was saying. “You going?”

I shrugged, not wanting to admit that I was a little over the sitting and listening to Bayaans. I felt ashamed that even the Jumuah Bayaans seemed like a blur, because I barely made it on time.

And of course, the argument about why I bothered at all entered my mind. Why did I go? Why did I pray?

But the thing was, even my off-track mind understood that all acts of devotion have been prescribed by our Creator Allah Ta’ala for our benefit. Sometimes the benefits are obvious, and at times, they are not.

Likewise, medication prescribed by a doctor has its benefits even though we don’t know its ingredients. We don’t need to know all the contents, side effects and benefits before consuming. Like taking that medication, what is important is that we carry out our duties and obligations to our Creator and understand that in His infinite Wisdom, these acts of devotion are for our benefit in this temporary life as well as for our eternal journey towards the place that really mattered.

I knew that my resolve was getting weaker as each day went by, and though it wasn’t fair to pin it in him, I felt bitter that Waseem was too busy moping about his wife to bother. I mean, I knew that he was cut up that she didn’t want to see him but he had to move on. No matter how much he loved his wife, if it wasn’t meant to be, it wasn’t meant to be. I think even I had accepted that, but I supposed that I was a different kind of guy. I couldn’t really compare myself to Waseem. 

We walked out of the Mosque as Junaid persuaded me to go for a drive in his new car, and though I wasn’t as worldly obsessed as I had been, I appreciated the diversion and the sound system that featured some foreign Molvi speaking about someone I hadn’t heard of before. Junaid had this streak of roughness, and I didn’t expect him to be listening to anything other than these dynamic kind of talks that made you want to hop on a plane and morph into a warrior Mujaahid.

I mean, it wasn’t like the Zee had expansive knowledge of Deen, but I knew a little bit of the stories of Sahaba from what Waseem had always forced me to listen to. It was always stuff that he had got from Molvi Umar, and the passion of the Jihad that they possessed always got me. This was no different, and I lost myself in the audio as I tuned in, almost on edge as he spoke about the great warriors of Islam.

Of course, being a guy, stories of the Mujaahideen always added a different edge for me. Modern-minded people would probably be horrified and label it as terrorism in the making, but listening to it just made me so passionate about Deen. Listening to it made me truly realise what it was to fight for Islam. To go out in the blessed path of Allah.

A particular incident about how this particular Sahaba came to Deen was played, and my ears were glued. I mean, picture this.

Broad shouldered. Fierce fighter. The strength and trump card of the army…Who was also an expert strategist. It was shortly after the Hudaybiyyah Treaty, when he embraced Islam. When this fierce warrior advanced to attack the Muslims at this incident, he was halted as he was immediately taken aback to see them praying Salaah in congregation. The very sight of it altered his mind and heart, and you could say that the flame of Islam was lit within.

His story is a rather perplexing one. He was the deadly enemy of Muslims in the Battle of Uhud and the deadly enemy of the enemies of Islam in the other battles, but he moment his heart was affected by Allah and his spirit was blessed by the Most Merciful, it overflowed with devotion to His religion, His Prophet SAW and to a memorable martyrdom in the way of the truth. This martyrdom enabled him to erase the burdens of his association with falsehood in the past.

One day, he sat alone in deep thought concerning that new religion that was gaining momentum and gaining ground every day. He wished that Allah Ta’ala would guide him to the right path. His blessed heart was revived by the glad tidings of certainty. Therefore, he said to himself, ‘By Allah, it is crystal clear now. This man is indeed a Prophet, so how long shall I procrastinate. By Allah, I will go and submit myself to Islam.’

And of course, many know the story of the three martyrs of the Battle of Mu’tah. They were Zaid Ibn Harithah (RA), Ja’far Ibn Abi Talib (RA) and Abd Allah Ibn Rawahah (RA). They were the heroes of the Battle of Mu’tah in Syria, in which the Romans mobilised 200,000 warriors. Nevertheless, the Muslims achieved unprecedented victory… But the rest of the story is what made him the Sword that Nabi (SAW) named him.

And who can imagine those heart wrenching words with which the Prophet SAW announced the sad news of the death of the three commanders of the battle? I mean, after all, it was his dear adopted son who rose to his martyrdom first.

‘Zaid Ibn Harithah took the standard and fought holding it until he died as a martyr; then Ja’far took it and fought clinging to it until he won martyrdom; and finally, Abd Allah Ibn Rawaahah gripped it and held it fast until he won martyrdom.’

This is only part of Nabi’s SAW speech, and this is the rest of the story: ‘Then it was gripped by a sword of the swords of Allah and he fought until he achieved victory.’

It was said that this great Sahabi, after accepting, used the same skills that he had used against Islam, now for Islam. He took every inch of passion he had used to fight Islam, and devoted now to Islam’s cause. He completely changed the Jahiliyya in his heart to something so much more worthy and pure.

And after all this… You may ask, who was the sword of the swords of Allah? Who was this great warrior, a true leader with scheming tactics, and the hopes and desires of a true Shaheed?

It was none other than Khalid Ibn Al-Walid (RA), who threw himself into the battlefield as if he were an ordinary soldier, when the others rose to Martyrdom.

As I listened to this awesome story, I wasn’t sure exactly what it was, but my spirits were immediately lifted, and that little dead flame that was almost completely extinguished was slowly rekindling itself. I was probably going to be obsessed with the Sahaba stories now; after hearing how this man had completely changed the direction of his life, and dedicated it to his Deen.

Maybe I hadn’t been the best that I could be, and maybe I hadn’t progressed as much with Deen as I needed to, but the least I could say was that I had at least found the path that wasn’t going nowhere. At least I had made it this far.

And although I wasn’t any kind of warrior, and even a slight version of an ISIS member, but I had also come from a place where I had changed direction, and more than ever, now I wanted to use myself for the sake of Deen. I probably wouldn’t do anything major, but meeting Junaid again gave me an idea that I thought was brilliant.

Why couldn’t I, also, use myself to change guys like me? I mean, if there was anything that I was ever good at, it was partying the night away, and I knew the tricks and traits like the back of my hand. Putting that knowledge to good use would be the best thing I could probably ever so, even if it meant I could save one person from going completely off-track, I would consider this whole venture worth it. Like Junaid and Waseem did for me  even if one person could change the direction of their life, through my effort, I knew I would be grateful. I mean, if no-one made an effort on me, where would I have been today?

What a brainwave, I thought to myself, completely chuffed with my lightbulb idea. I was really good at concocting these plans, and I just hoped that I could carry it through.

I had to tell Junaid, but as I turned to him, I could see a frown on his face as he slowed the car down, and of course, I too was forced to check out the scene ahead.

Blue and white flashing lights and a passing siren already gave us a heads up of what was going on. It was an accident up ahead, I was certain that Junaid wouldn’t make it for that Bayaan he wanted to. Instead of being relieved, I was slightly disappointed, because I was suddenly inspired by what I had just heard.

The car moved forward slowly and there was the accident scene slowly came into view. I could see several police cars parked off on the side, and I strained my eyes to see the car involved. Maybe we should have changed our route and direction to avoid all this havoc. It was too late now.

“Hey bru,” Junaid said suddenly, turning down the volume on his sound system. “Isn’t that your connections cab?”

He turned back to look at a car behind us frantically hooting and trying to weave through the traffic, and then turned to look at me, as he pointed at the Nissan Skyline GTR that usually grabbed a lot of attention. My father-in-law would only drive flashy cars, and though I knew I wasn’t much better, at this moment, I knew that his car and everything materialistic barely mattered to him, as he rushed toward what would probably be a disturbing discovery. When realisation dawned that it might even be someone that I know, I couldn’t help but feel that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

“Follow him!” I commanded Junaid, not able to contain the curiosity and obvious panic that was arising any longer.

He looked at me and nodded, trying to inch his way through the cars just as my father-in-law was doing. My heart was literally in my mouth as we finally caught sight of the scene of the accident, and I immediately saw the car involved. To say I was devastated was an understatement.

The worst possible scenario that had played in my mind had just become a reality. I could literally see the direction of our lives changing.

It was Farah’s new Range Rover that was completely destroyed, smashed up against the barricades with another car sandwiching her in. Just to see the extent of the damage put trillions of knots in my stomach, and as I grabbed the door handle and stepped out on wobbly legs, it was like my limbs were just automatically lifting me to where I needed to be.

I remembered reading once about adrenalin, and how it produced a rush in the body, altering the heartbeat in preparation for what may be life-changing activity. In this case, as I felt hands pushing me backwards whilst I argued with the officer, I knew that I just had to find out what was going on. There was no way I could not get through, and I finally uttered the words that I hoped would secure it for me.

“It’s my wife, man!” I shouted breathlessly, fighting just to keep myself as steady as possible. As sane as I could.

A flickering in the macho police guy’s eye caught my attention, and he shook his head one last time, before he turned to expressionless once again.

She had just got a new car. Her life was supposed to be gaining some direction. She was planning to make something of herself… And to actually do something that she considered ‘worthwhile’.

But in just a moment, things can take on an entirely different perspective. Your whole focus in life changes forever, and before you know, the path just looks like a completely different one to the one you’ve been treading all along. The only thing that matters now is what lays ahead for you.

“Sorry, my man,” he said roughly, not looking me in the eye, stepping aside to finally give me way. “You can go… They’re taking her away. I’m sorry for your loss.”

Sorry for the very delayed post. Lots of Durood today, and don’t forget our Super Sunnahs!

Beautiful Sunnah: 5 Sunnah in one action. SubhaanAllah!

The Sunnah way of drinking water:

Drink with the right hand.

Drink whilst sitting

Say Bismillah before and Alhumdulillah after

Look into the glass when sipping

After 3 sips of drinking water, say Alhudulillah Wasshukru Lillah.

There are many bodily benefits to these Sunnah as well. Let’s try and practise regularly!

We will be doing more eating and drinking Sunnahs Insha Allah.



#Revive theSunnahofSpeakingGood




Tweet: @ajourneyjournal

Focussing on the Shift

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


You know how every girl has that idea of a perfect love…

The consuming, hopeless and far-fetched kind…. The one that’s meant to completely blow her away?

And most of the time, it happens, but it’s never how it was all envisioned.

I mean, because we are engineered to expect it, she has this superb expectation of him seeing her from across the room… And their eyes lock, as if there is not a single other being in proximity. He’s meant to slowly walk up to her, and literally knock her off her feet in just about… Say, three words.

And so, with not meeting expectation, the appeal is radically down-sized, in most cases, because the initial meeting is always never that awesome.

But that’s the thing with emotion. It still feels that way. At that time, in my ignorance, it was the most empowering and uplifting thing. Mo was unbelievably sharp, popular, smooth… And the most amazing thing was… He wanted me.

And, just for the record, I never felt anything for him, until we were bound by the sacred union that I knew I could never get peace without. My conscience would have eaten me alive, had I not done what I needed to, just to make it all okay in the eyes of Allah. Even though I had gone off-track in my adolescence, I would have never been able to lose myself the way that ‘love’ promised, had I not done it this way.

There was really no mysterious story behind how it all happened. I mean, it wasn’t expected at all, but somehow, it all just happened, with no major set-backs.

Muhammed was a friend of Aayisha’s brother.

Aayisha. The sister who was from another wife of my father, with whom things never worked out. Aayisha was less than a year younger than me, and not surprisingly, no-one had told me about her… If anyone had known.

Seeing her for the first time was a shock to my senses… She was almost exactly like me in appearance.

Her personality, however, was less dominating. She was softer, more obliging… A dreamer, in some ways. Finding me was one of her greatest achievements, she had said, but obviously, she had needed help to do so.

And that’s where Muhammed had come in. He was the one who had helped them to find me… He had given her tips on how to locate me.

And maybe I had been too trusting.. Or maybe I was just naìve, in my youth, but Muhammed, being who he was, even at that age, was always a step ahead. The thing was, to be smart, you didn’t have to have the best of qualifications or degrees. It came from experience, which Muhammed had plenty of… In all fields.

And that’s exactly how I had fell into what was setting me up for… How I eventually fell in love with his world.

I wanted to be ‘free’… To live with no limitations. I craved comfort and security, more than anything, and he knew that. He offered it all to me, on a golden platter, just by being who he was. I didn’t realise that being free meant being lifted from the shackles of luxury, and having the ability to trust only in Allah’s plan.

And though I may have been somewhat mislead, there was one thing I had promised myself never to do. I had never, till that stage, got involved in anything, most of the time, due to the fact that I was never given opportunity. But, of course, when opportunity was there, it was a whole different appeal.

I wanted to explore that side of life. I could have easily given in, and been another girl that he never took seriously, but I wouldn’t let myself go there.

And I supposed that’s how I ended up being ‘the wife’. Just like that.

Mo had promised me the world and more, at the moment when I needed it the most. I was lost and confused, having left home, and having just learnt that my new-found sister had passed away in a car accident that was supposed to be my ride back home. It was devastation, hopelessness and desperation, all uniting to steer me in that one direction.

And, at first, I never regretted it.

He had loved, comforted and nurtured me to the best of his ability. He cared for and consoled me, when I felt alone and down. He never missed and opportunity to make me feel as special as I had never felt all those years growing up in a house that I thought I was a default. And the cherry on the top was that he defended me relentlessly, if anything ever came up about my past, he would use whatever means he could to brush it under the rug, and give me a fresh start.

With him by my side, I felt no fear, because whatever it was, Mo would sort it out and make it all go away. And the thing was, I had become so used to it, lost in his world, that I just expected him to keep on doing it.

So when Umar had cropped up at my home, exposing skeletons in the closet that I thought were long gone, my senses went into arrest.

I blamed Muhammed because pride and ignorance had taken over. I couldn’t blame anyone else, even though in my heart of hearts, I had only myself to look into.

The truth was staring back at me: I knew that this was a way of getting me back on track again. I had just started realising how off-track my life had been, and Allah knew that I needed a reason to change.

To change my life, to alter my perspective. To shift the focus, once again, and go back to my roots. To go back to where I had come from, despite everything that surrounded me now.

And so, back in the present, I shifted my gaze, as my husband entered his own home,  hesitant to come toward me.

Muhammed stood there now, a week after I had left him, watching me almost as if he was afraid of me.

Tears welled up immediately, as I felt remorse. After everything. There was nothing that this man didn’t do for me. He was an amazing guy… SubhaanAllah.

Allah had made him such that he was the one to bring me through the worst of my past… He had provided for me unconditionally, and I had thrown it back in his face.

I was sorry. I knew it, but he didn’t. All he knew was that he was just glad that I was back.

“I’m sorry,” he said, before I could bring myself to say it.

He closed the door after his brothers and walked up to me, almost as if he was afraid I was going to leave again. Afraid that I would dessert him if I was given half an opportunity.

“I never meant to take you away from your family,” he continued, making me feel even worse about my outburst the previous week.

I was riddled with guilt but I had to let him know what I had decided.

I had to invite him to the world that I had been completely and selfishly concealing him from, because of my silly insecurities. At the time we had married, I didn’t want him to know where I had come from, thinking that he wouldn’t want me… Based on the fact that our life was so much absorbed in pursuit of the world.

But, the truth was, when you truly love someone, you have to love for them what you love for you. You have to be able to offer them whatever is best for them, despite what it may do to you. No matter where it leads you, you let them free, because, in the event that they find what they need, ultimately, it will free you.

And so I put it forward to him. Despite loving the life that I had, I knew that staying right where we were was not benefiting either of us. I looked up at Muhammed, noticing his D&G Sunglasses perched on his head.

I finally understood that feeling… The one that had been eating me up, since that day I had feared the worst… Like I had predicted what was going to come.

The feeling that, in my heart of hearts, something had to let. Something had to change here.

It was like how I had learnt.. When we had done our daily Taaleem, Ummi Jaan would stress on disregard for worldly things… And I remembered how we had read of the Sahabah’s fear for themselves, even though they had endured such hardship. Their focus was so pure, that even when they were given so much of wealth after their suffering, they would still use their wealth in Allah’s path. They would use every opportunity to spend, only for Allah’s sake.

And the likes of Abdul Rahmaan Ibn Auf (RA) always held my thoughts. When they made Hijrah to Madinah, Abdul-Rahman (RA) was paired up with Sa’ad Ibn Ar-Rabi’ah (RA) who was one of the wealthiest men of Madinah. On that occasion, it was Sa’ad (RA), out of generosity and kindness to his new brother, who offered wealth and even his wife to Abdul Rahmaan bi Auf (RA).

But instead, Abdul Rahmaan bin Auf (RA) then said the famous words.

May Allah bless you in your family and wealth. But show me where the market-place is.”

It was “The market of Qainuqa” he was asking about. It was here where he started off, making a fortune in just days.

And Aaisha (RA) narrated that years later, when he caused the city of Madinah to tremble with his flock of 700 camels, she began to recall Nabi’s (SAW) words.

Aishah shook her head and gazed in the distance as if she was trying to recall some scene or utterance of the past, and then she said:

“I have heard the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, say: I have seen Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf entering Paradise creeping.”

Why creeping? Why should he not enter Paradise leaping and at a quick pace with the early companions of the Prophet (SAW)?

When the news of the Hadith Aishah (RA) had mentioned reached Abdur-Rahman (RA), he remembered that he had heard the hadith himself from the Prophet (PBUH) and he ran to the house of Aishah and said to her:

“Yaa Ammah! Have you heard that from the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace?”

“Yes,” she replied.

She said to him, “Do you remember what the Prophet (SAW) told you?”

The Prophet (SAW) was once giving the good news of Paradise – he was congratulating the Jannati Sahabi, telling them, “You’re gonna go to Paradise. And YOU are going to Paradise.”
When the Prophet (SAW) reached Abdul Rahman bin Awf (RA), he said, “Abdul, you are going to Paradise, but you’re going to get left behind.”

Abdul Rahman bin Awf (RA) asks, “Why, O Rasullullah (SAW)?”

Prophet (SAW) replied: “Because all the accounting of your wealth is going to lag you behind.”

Hearing this, Abdul Rahman bin Awf (RA) became very teary-eyed. He was hit by her question.

“You have reminded me of a hadith which I have never forgotten,” he is also reported to have said.

He was so over-joyed and added: “If I could I would certainly like to enter Paradise standing. I swear to you, yaa Ammah, that this entire caravan with all its merchandise, I will give in Sabilillah.”

Immediately, he tells the people working for him to take all of his goods and give them to the Bayt al-Mal as Sadaqah.

And so he did. In a great festival of charity and righteousness, he distributed all that massive caravan he had brought in the name of Allah.

It was just one incident of many that proved him to be on of the greatet Sahabah. This is what you call a perfect example of charity. It’s what we were supposed to compete for, in attaining Allah’s pleasure.

This world we live in, is full of materialistic wants and the desire to look wealthy. Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf’s (RA) qualities are too many to list, or even know them all, but here is another one to ponder over.

He had thousands of people who worked for him, when he was among his workers, people could not distinguish him from them. One day food was brought to him with which to end a fast.

He looked at the food and said:

“Mus’ab ibn Umayr (RA) has been killed. He was better than me. We did not find anything of his to shroud him with except what covered his head but left his legs uncovered. Then God endowed us with the (bounties of) the world…I really fear that our reward has been bestowed on us early (in this world).”

SubhaanAllah. And they still worried about thier hereafter, after the hardship they had endured. They feared they were getting compensated here instead of the Aakhirah.

We compete for everything of this world but forget what we supposed to be competing for. We sometimes don’t even care if we ever will win that competition, when it so clearly unveiled. Were our hearts completely sealed?

But now, I had made a choice. I didn’t want it to be that way.

“Muhammed,” I said finally, moving out of the proximity of the lounge, away from Waseem and Ziyaad. I needed him to answer this one on his own. With no ulterior motive. “I wanted to ask… If you would give this a chance. I want to change, but I can’t do it without your support…”

It was a long road for me… I was at a place where I could never imagine I would ever be at. I had gone against the odds, against the norm. I had told myself that ‘people like me’ don’t ever do this. People like me, coming from the place that I’ve come from, after giving it up, don’t get a second chance.

But here it was… And I needed to know where I stood. That second chance was staring at me, waiting for me to grab it.

My eyes had finally opened to the reality. It was the chance to change my life.