No Secrets

Bismihi Ta’ala


It’s strange how life works, isn’t it?

One day you’re the happiest person in the world, and the next, it feels like the worries of the entire world have settled on your tiny shoulders.

And as we drove back into it, the city air had been doing its thing with me, unsettling me and making me feel all sorts of uneasy, as I entered our old residence. As much as I tried to shove it away, the prickly feeling in my tummy didn’t yet ease.

It had been a few moments of relief, but the calming effects of the view of the contrasting bougainvillea bushes against the lush greenery of the small town we had just visited had already been lost, as we found ourselves entering the suburbs once again.

For a minute there, I found myself immersed in the vision of the intermittent splash of stunning jacaranda trees visible from the highway, abadoning myself to the feeling of winter in the city too.

Breathing in, letting the relatively denser air fill my lungs, the point was to dispel the less favourable emotions that were coming at me once again. It was owed to the fact that it had been, in my opinion, another fruitless month.

Along with the pulling of my legs and aching tummy as I felt the pain subside momentarily, it was no secret that there was not even a possibility of a positive pregnancy test this month.

And as I sighed and slid open my phone, playing the voice note from my sister, my mood worsened substantially.

“Let me know as soon as you guys are in Johannesburg,” Fareeha said bossily. “We’ll come see you.”

“We’ll come to you,” I typed to her quickly, before she made any plans to visit.

This time, I knew that Rabia was here with us and I didn’t want to risk any clashes. Knowing my sister, as soon as she clapped eyes on her, she would probably dive right into it. Perhaps she would even do a live introduction right there, and risk my entire two month mission of keeping them away from each other being sabotaged.

But I hadn’t yet let Fareeha know that I was in town yet and I had good reasoning for it. Never mind I was being slightly obsessive and unreasonable. I wasn’t going to budge because I knew that if I gave her even a little bit of an advantage, Fareeha was going to completely steal the show with her new and sole ambition in life.

I pulled the bunch of lilies I had bought out the boot, almost with a vengeance as I made my way through the interleading garage door after my mother-in-law, barely even reaching the glass table at the front before the wailing of a baby caught me completely off-guard.

And for a minute, I thought it was my warped mind playing tricks on me.

Or perhaps it was a cat. But there was no cat here. And if it wasn’t a cat… well… That noise could only mean one thing.

My heart lifted as I heard it, and as if the sombreness was immediately eliminated, it was as if my entire existence had suddenly found its purpose once again.

All I knew knew was that as my mother-in-law headed over to where Hamzah was sitting on the couch, it was like some magnetic force that was dragging me over as well.

The precious lilies were abandoned on the glass dining table, and I found myself almost tripping over a baby bag, racing before my mother-in-law to scoop the baby in question up, without even a second thought of who, how and why…

And okay, in retrospect, I knew it was just a little bit of a psychotic reflex but I really couldn’t help it. My heart was already endowed with love for any little human that I saw.

”Oh my, Masha Allah!” My mother-in-law said, glancing at him and smiling widely as I placed him onto my shoulder. “Hamzah, why didn’t you tell us Liyaket was leaving his baby?! We would have left our shopping for tomorrow! I can’t believe you!”

Neither could I.

”Mummy,” he said easily. “Can’t you see how capable I am? Just two hours with me and he’s literally on cloud number nine.”

The baby was already silent and sucking on his fingers.

”Yes, I can see that, but we would have loved to help,” she said easily. “You don’t have to act like superman.”

Or be so selfish, I wanted to add, but I didn’t. After all, it wasn’t quite his fault that I was baby-obsessed.

“Does he need a nappy change?” I asked, glancing at my brother-in-law while I felt the fullness of his diaper.

I could see Hamzah rummaging around in the nappy bag for something, and finally emerging with a nappy and two different wet wipe pouches.

One was some brand hygiene wipes and the other was Huggies sensitive baby wipes. I could see that he had no idea what the difference was so I grabbed the appropriate one, dug for the changing pad in the bag and made my way to the next room to lay the cutie out on the top of the bed and change him.

I would have never guessed that changing a wet diaper would have made me so ecstatic, but it did. It had been so many years since I had done this but it felt like it was just the other day. The years flew by so very fast…

“So how was shopping?” I could hear my brother-in-law asking my mother-in-law in the next room. “What did you buy for me?”

It had been a while since I had met such a friendly baby, and his chuckles resounded through the room as I played a silly little game with his little toes, wiping him carefully and then sealing him up again, before re-buttoning his vest and romper. The smile he gave as he looked up at me felt like the sun had risen in the horizon of my heart.

Warmth oozed within me as I held him close, the feeling his heartbeat next to mine as his fingers gripped around my thumb, almost as if, in their rhythm, the two of us shared a little secret that no one else knew.

I wasn’t sure if anyone else could be as in love with babies as I was right then.

”We brought some food,” my mother-in-law was replying, and I could hear her go silent for a while as she unpacked the packets I had rudely left on the table.

Of course, I knew she wouldn’t mind. It was no secret to her that I would abandon anything for even a few moments with a little human being.

Also, there was inarguably another reason for her silence. Although it had been a highly sensitive topic before, things had kind of simmered down now… but I could tell that she was probably debating whether to tell him that we stopped over at Mohsina’s family’s new coffee shop. We weren’t quite sure how he would take to it.

And though it had been on the trending list for a few months, and I had heard about it a few times because my sister had been there at least half a dozen times and could not stop swooning about it… I figured that since we might be passing through the area, it may be worth a try.

And it just so happened that we were literally starving because we couldn’t find many Halaal places around where the factory shop we went to was, and this was slap-bang, in the middle of our detour. Not only was it conveniently located, but it was also a really aesthetically pleasing location that soothed my heart significantly, even if it was for a little while.

And as we drove up the gravel road leading to the familiar property, I had stepped off the car and breathed in the fresh air, taking in the stunning little rose garden in the front as I walked up the two steps that led to the entrance of the shop. Not only was I already in love with the scenery here, but being there felt almost like being completely out of the city, as I felt myself shedding all the worries that had consumed me earlier on, letting myself get absorbed in the beauty of the beautiful bougainvillea bushes in the distance.

I gazed intently at the carefree collusion of creamy whites that turned almost pearl, pretty pinks that transformed to blood reds … and pinky-peaches that somehow morphed into burnt orange. The contrast against the streaky skies made me stop in my tracks for a minute, as I digested the colours that were very much like the horizon that was spread before us, with its silky smooth skybursts of reds and yellows that found its way into the calmness of the latter afternoon.

When nature painted, with Allah as the artist, truly, no filter was needed…

“You think she will be here?” My mother-in-law had asked quietly as we entered, scanning the room as if she expected Mohsina to pop out from the woodwork.

I knew that she was secretly hoping she would see her but I did think that it was highly unlikely. Even though it was a weekend, with qualified professionals, I knew that there wasn’t always weekend time.

We walked in, immediately noticing that the place was simple and very cottage-inspired. There was nothing fancy about its decor or furniture, but it felt so amazingly homely and comfortable.

And as I took it in, I could see that it’s inspiration was a picture frame of a pretty meadow, and I couldn’t help but glance at if a few times, trying to figure out who had painted it, wondering if it was some coincidence that it looked so strikingly familiar to the farm back home …

A younger boy who stood behind the counter, upon seeing us, quickly went to the back, and in his place out came a girl who at first glance could have been Mohsina, but I already knew wasn’t.

It was her younger sister, and even though I had met her once before, her name had slipped my mind completely.

“Assalamualaikum,” she said kindly, her eyes meeting mine as she flashed one of the rarest smiles I’d seen in months. It was just so sincere and welcoming that it  took me aback.

She had obviously not recognised us, I said to myself. If she did, she would have snubbed us completely. After all, Hamzah was the one who called off the Nikah.

The girls head was covered with a floral hijab that was tied tightly and her striking features were slightly sun kissed, as if she probably spent her glorious days out in the garden most times. The mesmerising rose garden in the front had to be the result of someone’s toil…

“How are you?”

My mother-in-law, seeing no males in the vicinity, and generally unconcerned about any dynamics that may have existed, unlike me, lifted her niqab and gave her a genuine smile.

And the thing was, even if you are in niqab, to reveal your identity was always the right thing to do, by whatever means. Personally, I was just a little worried about how she may take us being here after everything that had happened.

”Wa alaykum Salaam,” Mummy said, looking slightly hesitant as the girls expression changed. “I’m not sure if you remember us, Jameela?”

Ah yes. Jameela. That’s what her name was.

I could tell that she did, but she looked down shyly, almost self-consciously and nodded. So far, so good. I mean, she didn’t chase us out, so that was great.

Instead, she passed us a simple menu and then said:

”I’ll be with you in a minute. My mother would love to see you.”

And with that, I was kind of taken aback. For me, the situation was a little awkward but it seemed as if they were surprisingly elated at our being here, and it took a while for me to wrap my head around it because I really didn’t expect it. What I did expect was an acknowledgement and maybe mere politeness, but I really didn’t think it would go further than that.

And that’s when I realised that maybe there was some hope in this world where everything else seemed to be a dead loss.

And that wasn’t the end of it. And as her mother emerged and a surprisingly pleasant reunion took place, Jameela recommended to us the popular specials they had, served us the best coffee I ever tasted, and packed us off with four extra sandwiches to take home.

Homemade and absolutely delicious, might I add.

And after feeling all satisfied and at peace in my new surroundings, as I soaked up the sun in the outdoor area where the view was nothing short of spectacular, when I went up to the counter, Jameela merely shook her head at me.

“My parents say I can’t charge you ladies,” she said with a sweet smile. “Next time, I promise. Then I know you’ll will come back.”

”That’s not right, Jameela,” I insisted, taking out my purse nonetheless.

I never know what to do in situations like this. And this was awkward. The whole situation was.

“We ordered so much. Let me pay for something at least.”

She shook her head again.

“My Papa will lock me up in the barn if I don’t listen,” she half-whispered, but I could tell she was joking. “You came to our home and after everything that happened… well, it’s the least we could do. It’s Hadiyyah.”

When she put it that way I couldn’t refuse. And they were kind of blowing me away, with all this niceness, even when we barely deserved it.

There was nothing more I could do or say, except thank her appreciately, as I looked around me, taking the place in.

Now that I was here again, I understood again that Mohsina had come from a simple home,  and that they had probably just made ends meet every month, without that much ‘extra’. It made me think about life so differently… because when I thought of it, this is what got me, all the time, and what Allah Ta’ala revealed about those who prefer others above themselves:

They prefer others above themselves, even though poverty become their lot (Holy Qurān, Surah Baqarah.)”

I just couldn’t get it, and although I had a deep desire to be, I wasn’t like that.

How is it that people that have so much, find it so hard to part with that which they own… yet people who don’t, take in so much in their stride? Was it because they have little and are content with it… so giving even of that little doesn’t make a difference? Or was it because they just possessed an immensely amazing gift that allows them to open their heart so unreservedly, that no matter what they lose in the pursuit of winning over someone’s heart, barely makes a difference…

What I didn’t yet realize is that the money earned by a person, if it is not blessed, will never be enough. The more one earns, the more are his needs. Its like continuing to eat without becoming satisfied.

And as I exited, my heart engulfed all sorts of strange emotions, my eyes fell on a selection of potted flowers for sale on a little stand there, and next to it were a few buckets of lilies that took my breath away. So instead, I looked through the selection of pretty lilies in a bucket in the bucket, who Jameela said she was selling for someone else, and bought two unusually coloured bunches.

“Such a lovely girl,” my mother-in-law was murmuring as we made our way out. “Next time we need to bring something for them. If I had another son I would have already sent a proposal for her.”

She chuckled light-heartedly but there was a hint of sadness in her voice, probably for the would have been daughter-in-law she had missed out on all those months back.

I kept silent, thinking what everyone would think in situations like this. Whatever happened. However Hamzah may have messed it up. Whatever Mohsina might have done.

Allah knows best.

“But it is what it is,” she said, almost to herself as we got in the car. “No use thinking about it. And three is a good number, though, right? Lucky my second pregnancy had turned out to be twins.”

Three is an amazing number. Although I’d be happy with two.

Oh, but I’m happy with one too. Am I?
Of course, I’m grateful, but just one more….

I smiled and shook my head to myself, thinking about how my mother-in-law had once mentioned that she never thought she would have any more kids after Imraan. And then bam… along came two at once, almost ten years later.

And I never did ask her more about it. I always assumed that she had fallen pregnant with twins naturally and there were no treatment options at that time. But now as she said it, the desire the ask her was overwhelming.

“Was it a shock?” I said carefully, putting the car into reverse and glancing at her as we left.

”It could have been one, two or three,” she said with a smile, and left it at that.

”Ah,” I said, as if I wasn’t quite sure.

But of course I understood what that meant. It was the option that Imraan didn’t want to consider as yet, but the one I was trying hard for him to at least think about. IVF, under stipulated conditions, was allowed, but to get Imraan to accept it as a viable option was another task altogether.

I sighed as I picked baby Zaid up now, holding him close as I took in that unique newborn scent, and headed back to the sitting room.

I wasn’t sure if my mother-in-law had told him where we’d been but as I heard more voices in the vicinity, I realised that Zaids parents were already back.

With a slightly heavy heart, I dragged myself to the kitchen, seeing Liyaket’s wife perched on a chair there, looking as calm as ever, as I held her baby in my arms.

“Ah there he is,” she said, smiling as she saw her son. “I really hope he didn’t trouble you.”

And if she wasn’t so lovely I might have resented her for having the cutest baby in the world, but of course I couldn’t.

“Not at all,” I smiled, passing him over to her. He was so sweet-natured, as he literally drifted into lala land again with his dummy in his mouth. “You should have left him longer. We hardly had any time with him. Hamzah was keeping him all to himself.”

Layyanah smiled, shaking her head.

”To tell the truth, I didn’t think he would!” she laughed, genuinely humoured. “Liy and I thought he’d phone after an hour with multiple complaints about how difficult babies are, but when he didn’t, we got even more worried!”

She was giggling as she said it and I smiled.

I too, could barely believe that my otherwise spoilt brother-in-law who could not even make a cup of coffee by himself was actually so handy when it came to babies.

”I hope you guys did what you needed to do?” I asked politely, as I switched the kettle on. “Can I offer you tea or coffee?

“I’m fine with tea,” she said gratefully. “But only if you’re making for yourself. It’s been a pretty hectic morning. The queues at the bank were crazy and I had to urgently sort out a problem with my account. Liyaket keeps telling me not to stress but I can’t help it. I worry, and yet he’s the accountant. Financial security… For Zaid, more than me. He keeps saying that it’s all Duniyaa, but you know..”

She trailed off and I smiled, because I knew. The worry was real and although we were supposed to have Tawakkul, we were so weak. Besides, with our kids, does it ever stop?

”We all worry,” I said knowingly. “We are weak, even though Allah tells us over and over to hand it over to Him…”

And because I knew of Layyanah’s family, who I had recently come to find out was one of the wealthiest families in Johannesburg, it was no secret that I had already had it in my mind that she was pretty materialistic so it didn’t surprise me that she was talking about money.

Liyaket, on the other hand,  was a simple guy who had worked exceptionally hard while he was studying, even doing all-nighters to keep up with work and studies, because for them, nothing ever came easy. The two of them had completely contrasting backgrounds.

And although I had formed my assumptions, the next thing she said caught me completely off guard.

“I suppose at some point, we just have to hand it over, don’t we?” She said quietly. “When we look at the type of life the Sahaaba lived, how can we ever say we are of the same Ummah? Like for example.. the other day I was just reading about Hadhrat Faathima (RA), in a book I found in Liy’s mother bookshelf. How simple her life was, how she worked so hard and how her husband adored her because of it… where are we and where were they? Do you ever wonder?”

She shook her head shamefully while I looked at her in awe, barely believing that this was the same girl I had heard about, who was so spoilt that she had never even had to dish out her own food.

And now, as I tried to process how Allah’s plan works, I was listening to her tell me more about the simplicity of Deen..

This girl was making me review my own intentions in life. It was like I had been missing the point all along.

”Sometimes,” I said, feeling overwhelmed for a minute. “It’s amazing how they endured so much, huh?”

Perhaps it was all the hormonal emotions that were taking it’s toll, but her entire demeanour and beautiful outlook was having such an immense effect on me that I literally just wanted to crumple up and sob my heart out.

“Anyway,” she said, barely noticing, shifting around and moving baby Zaid onto her other arm as she finished feeding him and grabbed two more biscuits. I hastily went up to take him, eager for a little more time. “I’m not sure what time Liy is planning on leaving but I’m just going to carry on eating because this feeding makes us so feel like we’re starved, neh?”

I smiled. I remember how I used to eat about seventeen times a day when I was breastfeeding.

The kettle was already halfway boiled as we chatted easily about babies and their erratic feeding schedules, when I could hear Imraan calling me from the other room.

And since he had just probably arrived, I excused myself to see him, and see to Uthman as well. They were probably a little hungry, since Imraan had gone out to meet a client for the day and Uthman had gone for some additional school tutoring.

“Assalamualaikum,” I said with a smile, peeping out the kitchen door. “How are you? Can I send something for you to eat?”

”Sawls,” Imraan said causally. “I’m fine. Where’s your phone? Fareeha is trying to get hold of you.”

When was the last time I had used it? I had gotten so busy with the baby that I had even forgotten

Oh yes.

“It’s in the car,” I said, smacking my hand on my forehead. “Let me go and fetch it.”

”Don’t stress, love,” he said casually. “Maulana Aadil called to say that they were on the road, so I told them to come here.”

”What?!” I said, widening my eyes at him. “No!”

Imraan frowned.

“Why?” He asked innocently. “Don’t you want to see your sister before we go home? Is everything okay?”

He wouldn’t understand. He was also looking at me like I’d lost my marbles.

“It’s just,” I said slowly, carefully retracting. “I thought we would visit them for a change. I didn’t think you’d go and invite them over without telling me first. It’s so sudden. And I really just wanted to go there and chill while Fareeha did all the tea-making..”

I loved entertaining people, and Imraan knew it. I supposed that’s precisely what made him more suspicious.

”Listen,” Imraan said, his phone and the buzzer going off at the same time, and his voice softened as he said the next sentence, and moved to the corner of the lounge where no-one could see us. “You’re acting crazy and completely unlike yourself. Don’t get offended… but it’s not just now, it’s been for a few weeks now. Do you want to tell me what’s going on?”

I closed my eyes momentarily as Imraan spun around, pressed the button for the top gate, and then turned around again to face me.

”You rather go out and greet them,” I said meekly, as he looked at me and narrowed his eyes.

I could hear my mother-in-law and Layyanah chatting in the next room, feeling like I was missing out on precious moments with the baby.

“They can wait,” he said stubbornly. “You know you can tell me anything. I’m not going until you spill it.”

Breathe, Saaliha, I told myself. Just breathe

It was no big deal. Maybe the two of them wouldn’t clash at all. Perhaps Rabia would be out for a while longer, and Fareeha would be long gone before she even made an appearance.


Imraan only called me by my full name when he was in a no-nonsense mood.

“I can’t,” I finally mumbled. “It’s a secret.”

How would I ever explain this craziness? 

That, I can never mention.

“We never keep secrets,” he said softly, sounding as if I’d knocked the wind out of him, with the words I’d just uttered.

Seconds felt like minutes, as I heard car doors slamming and Fareeha’s voice screaming at her kids as time was running out.

Imraan was inching closer to me, his expression even more disturbed than before.

I swallowed, looking at him, but determined not to breathe a word of my concerns out loud.

“Are you sure absolutely sure?” He said, looking resigned already, as he stepped back, his expression now one of undeniable hurt.

I nodded. I wasn’t thinking further than right then.

“Right,” he said abruptly, turning to leave, and for some reason, there was no other time I remembered that I’d felt more down in the dumps than I did right then.

It didn’t matter though. All I knew was that, come what may, this secret was one that I could never expose…

Sunnah of Giving and Receiving gifts. 

In an attempt to create love, especially if they may be rifts or some kind of problem… the Sunnah of giving gifts is always a perfect remedy ❤️

Rasullulah (Sallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said: “If anyone receives something from his Muslim brother, without asking for it, he should not reject it but he should accept it is his sustenance (rizq) which has been sent by Allah Taála.”

(Fadhaail e Sadaqah)

Du’aa for Rajab 

اَللّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِى رَجَبَ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَان

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

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









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Silent Dilemmas

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 29

“What on earth is that noise?!”

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

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

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

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

Imraan grinned identically and ruffled his head lightly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opposites really do attract, don’t they?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But of course, I didn’t blame him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rabia shrugged and tossed her streaked ash-blonde hair.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I supposed that was true as well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HasbunAllaha Wa Ni’mal Wakeel

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

It was already a soothing for my soul.

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

Well, almost.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I just could not seem to do it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

”Your sister-in-law, Rabia!”

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

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

This, for sure, was going to be one meeting I had to stop from happening.

Mission Sunnah Revival

Sunnah of Speaking good and good Akhlaaq

Sunnah of good manners/Akhlaaq 

Rasulullah Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam said: ‘There is no gift that a father gives his child more virtuous than good manners.’ (Tirmidhi)

N.B. Some translators of Hadeeth have translated the Hadeeth as, ‘A father gives his child nothing better than a good Islamic education.’








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When Doors Open

Bismihi Ta’ala


Part 25

A whole new world can open up when we see things in a different way… when instead of looking at the doors that close; we see ones that open.

There’s a saying that goes, ‘Men have sight… women have insight.’

And if you think about it, it really rings so true. It’s just the little things that we do or notice that sometimes makes the world of difference…

And I’m no food connoisseur but I can tell you that when a women loves something, she gives it her all. A woman is someone who often puts her heart and soul into anything she adores. And if there’s something that I’ve come to love, cooking had become my refuge at times when I most needed it.

The thing was, as a teenager, I’d always been particularly sporty. An athlete, I supposed people would say. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I’d become addicted to a stove but when cooking became a passion, I sort of channeled some of that energy into my new ‘sport’.

I mean, who said cooking can’t be a sport? And though I sometimes hit the treadmill and did a work out or two with lunges and a cardio-inducing routine, my constant that would calm me down; help me to think… clear my mind… was to stir and cook up a storm.

And when it came to cooking, as much as I enjoyed my traditional rice dishes… as many of us do (especially lamb Briyani on Friday afternoons), it’s common knowledge that as women.. Indian women… no-one just makes a pot of Briyani and leaves it at that.

Simply put, Briyani is not Briyani if there’s no extra mile that includes the sour milk with greens, or the mango pickle or even the sambles, which we often call katchumar (don’t even ask where that word originated from because I have no idea).

Sometimes sojee (sweet semolina dish with butter) is the starter or the dessert.. and of course, there’s always the possibility of vermicilli or some other sweet dish instead.

And that’s basically the standard menu after the Jumuah prayer but the point isn’t that.

Honestly, there’s no end to how extensive the meal could get… but the point I’m trying to make here is not really about Indian cuisine.

The point is that we, as women… we go all out. We put everything into that meal, when we want to impress. Whether it’s our families or husband, everything has to be perfect. Complete. We will go the extra mile, put our heart and souls into something that could have been seemingly simple… because we want that little bit of recognition. We appreciate the appreciation. We thrive on that little bit of hope that our efforts will be understood… and that smile… or that ‘thank you’… or even the mere knowledge that the food has met expectations… well, that’s enough, right?

And when he says it… when he makes that eye contact and tells us that our food has made the cut… well, that elation we feel at the compliment… it’s simply gratifying. Our heart and soul has been satisfied.. our efforts have paid off.

But somehow, I wasn’t sure if I was getting it all right. All that effort, and the extra time we take… as well as the toil involved…

Have we ever stopped to only imagine what the situation would be like, if we put our heart and soul into pleasing our Rabb? If, with every breath of His name we take, we give our all? If with every Salaah, we really prayed like it was our last? If we held back nothing when it came to our Ibaadat… giving it our every inch of ourselves in the process?

Because in everything else we do that, why can’t we put our focus into doing it for the one who created our heart and soul?

And it’s not only about food. Sometimes we invest in a career. A relationship. A pass-time that doesn’t give us  benefit. And because we put our heart and soul into the lesser things, often times, the investment backfires on us..

When then we end up focusing on the wrong things, and we are let down. Sometimes we are let down so badly that it seems like there are a hundred doors slammed in our face, before one finally remains open. Sometimes you have to be broken a little, to realise how it feels to finally be complete.

I glanced at myself in the mirror, next to the entrance of my open plan kitchen and lounging area, taking in the hijab-clad woman who was now in her early 30’s but still looking like that girl who was a little broken back then.

I couldn’t help but let my mind wander back to that less than amazing time of my life as I pushed the oven open and placed the casserole of pasta in the oven to melt the cheese… making sure the oven setting was perfect before closing it tightly shut again.

And it was just at that moment when Imraan stepped in, smiling brightly as he saw me.

Since forever, my husband and I make it a point to drop whatever we’re doing when the other person walks through the door at the end of the day to greet them, give them a kiss or hug and connect. Even if it’s just a moment before I turn back to cooking or dishes or whatever.., we always pause to let the other know they’re priority and we’re glad they’re home.

“Hey sweets,” he murmured, planting a kiss on my cheek as I wiped my hands on my apron. “Assalamualaikum. Where’s everyone?”

”Wa alaykum salaam,” I said, smiling back at him as he peeped into the pot on the stove. “I’m here. Who else are you looking for?”

I was teasing him, because I knew that he was looking for Uthman or Hamzah, who was here for the past week.

Last Hamzah was skulking around on the patio, keeping to himself, when I saw Uthman kind of sigh out of frustration and go and play with his ball outside.

Shame. The poor child did get lonely. The thing was, Hamzah was barely talking to anyone, which was absolutely shocking because when Hamzah and my son were together they usually couldn’t stop talking about cars, driving cars or watching car videos together. Uthman was too young to understand matters of the heart.

I hated to admit it, but I could see what kind of space Hamzah was in.

Rejection is a hard pill to swallow. No matter what the situation, when things don’t work out, there’s no pretty way to put it.

It was something that I was all too familiar with. A part of my past that I had tucked away, underneath the creases of where life had taken me, beneath the crevices of where I had hid away the feelings that had been buried and forgotten so long ago…

“What’s wrong?”

Imraan was watching me with his sparkly brown eyes, as if he was trying to read my thoughts. And when he did… He was usually on point. He knew me too well to tell that my mind was occupied. The thing was… I couldn’t exactly tell him that since Hamzah had been here in all his brokenness- my mind also had been pretty corroded with thoughts of my own past.

The thing was; some painful memories never leave you completely. Making peace with the past had taken longer than I had thought.

And I won’t mince my words, but when Bilal had called my own wedding off, literally a day before the Nikah, my parents had simply told me that it was for the best. That Allah wouldn’t take something away without replacing it with something better. That when one door closes, sometimes a brand new, amazing new door will open up.  Everything happens for a reason, they said, extremely calmly, but I hadn’t believed them or any of it.

Well, not until Imraan came along and I realised that this was exactly what they were talking about. That someone was going to come along to erase everything from the past, who wouldn’t care if I’d been proposed and things didn’t work out.

Who didn’t really worry about stigmas or the talks around… or about what was going on in the small town that we lived in.

Imraan, the guy I chose… who came to see me a few months later with such a striking sense of compassion and understanding was a definite contrast to Bilal’s stern demeanour, and completely different in almost every way. And though his best friend was Bilal’s brother-in-law, it made no difference to me because once Imraan became part of my life, when Nikah had healed me, I no longer felt like I had been broken into tiny pieces anymore, and I didn’t feel that sting when I saw Bilal with my cousin or witnessed them get on with their life. It was all okay, because I accepted that it was meant to be.

And that’s when I realised that Allah’s plan sometimes doesn’t unfold immediately. Sometimes it takes a little more time before you see the beauty in a seemingly warped situation. Sometimes there is something that may seem to be good for you, but Allah knew the harm it would have done, had it gone according to what you wanted…

”How has he been?” Imraan asked, cutting through my thoughts as he took a seat on the kitchen stool, his one leg placed over his thigh. Looking pensive. His voice was low as he glanced outside.

I could see Hamzah from where I was. He was lying listlessly on his back in the common patio area, arm slung over his eyes, almost immune to us even being on the same property, never mind 10 metres away. There were three separate houses on the property and though he stayed in his place usually, he came to the main house for most meals. The last few days though, he’d barely even ate anything.

It was really strange, considering how he was usually the biggest fan of my food and wasn’t usually shy when it came to eating. I had made his favourite pasta today, hoping it would draw at least a positive be vibe but I wasn’t so sure of it would work. Being married since the time he was a teenager, he was like a little brother to me too… especially since him and my own little brother were around the same age.

Hamzah didn’t ever come to the main house unless Imraan was around. Since he’d become mature enough to understand, he kept a respectable distance, although he always had a story or two to humour us with when he did come in. Now, though, it was like he was a different person and I just couldn’t help but feel so terrible for him…

The thing was, I always thought that men never got emotional. That they took things with a pinch of salt and moved on. After the whole proposal with Mohsina breaking off, this was something I never anticipated happening.

“I think he just needs some time,” I said softly.

Imraan nodded and sighed.

Of course he would understand. He was someone who was most in tune with people’s emotions… more than anyone else. And that’s why, when Imraan and I had made Nikah, he delved right into my emotions, without any hesitation. He don’t want me to harbour old feelings. He got to know me in a way that he even wanted to do the things I loved too. Being a sporty personality, he took it in his stride to have competitions with me, to run with me on our farm plot, and to even sometimes knock around with a tennis racquet. That’s what you do when you love someone, and besides that, he firmly believed that a healthy and active lifestyle was part of being a good Muslim. If you’re not doing Halaal things that make you thrive and pose a challenge, it’s inevitable that you will resort to Haraam.

Besides that, to be active and fit with your spouse was a great way to bond and observe a Sunnah.

It was reported Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) raced with Aisha his wife and she outran him. After a couple of years they raced again and this time he outran her, so he said, “this time makes up for the other.” – [Ahmad,Safwat as-Safwah, vol. I, p. 68]

I smiled sadly, as we both took a seat on the counter, even though the mat on the floor was already set for our meal. It had become a norm for us to eat on the floor, since Uthman had turned 6.

”I think let’s do this,” Imraan said softly. “Can we maybe ask someone who can motivate him… maybe Molvi can talk to him? Or what about Maulana Aadil? Isn’t Fareeha coming later?”

I nodded.

Ah, yes. Of course. Maulana Umar (aka Molvi) was Imraan’s best friend and childhood friend,and it would be great to get his advice here… but my sister and her husband were going to be here and Maulana Aadil always had a different way of looking at things.

I was sure that he was going to have something useful to say and as I heard my sisters laughter in the doorway about twenty minutes later as we rounded up supper, I already felt like the cloud that was looming above us was slightly lifted. Hamzah had come in for all of 5 minutes, taken a plate of pasta and sat outside to eat. I was just glad that he was eating a little more though.

Imraan and him had been sitting outside since then and I could see them chatting away, inaudibly, as I glanced out the sliding door, whilst cleaning up the floor mat.

I smiled as Fareeha’s girls ran outside, obviously excited about the open spaces here, I couldn’t help but grin at their eccentric matching  outfits. Her little boy was waddling away after them. My sister had the most unexpected dress sense for her three, but they all looked surprisingly cute.

Both Fareeha and her husband were such positive and comical personalities and having them around for these two weeks was such a pleasure. My two nieces often outspoke their mother, and there was no other way I’d have it. It was always so wonderful to have them all here at the farm.

Being here, settling in, after the fast pace of Johannesburg life was welcomed but it also got a bit lonely when there wasn’t a stream of visitors in and out.

A lot had changed since I was younger. Many of the younger family members had moved away from the small town into bigger cities and some families had even relocated completely, as the elder of the family passed away. Still though, the greenery was soothing for my soul. I knew that this was what was best for us too… to be away from the prying eyes of people who kept on asking why I didn’t have more kids… or why I don’t give my son a sibling. The scrutiny was beginning to kill me… and I appreciated being there now, more than ever. At l least my mum was still not too far away, and Mehnaaz, my elder sister, also popped by occasionally.

I turned my gaze back to my younger sister, watching her walk in with her flowing Abaya, her niqab into her head now as she entered the kitchen.

”Hey lovely,” she cooed, coming up and enveloping me in a huge hug. She placed the Tupperware she was holding on the counter. “I brought cupcakes. Must I make some masala chai? Laila sent me this simple and easy masala chai on Instagram and the other day but it’s made in a huge pot and I’m dyyyying to make it. I actually haven’t even had a chance to breathe since I came, we’ve been soooooo hectic… I feel like I’m getting more popular with age, so many people are inviting us home, yoh… how’s everything going?!”

I laughed. The Instagram recipes never ended. At least they used social media it for good stuff. Well. Most of the time. For my own sanity, I kept off social media. When I did go on, I got carried away and found myself going from one thing to the next in mere seconds.

“So you guys been busy, huh?” I asked with a smile.

That’s what happens when you come home to your farm town after a few months. Laila and Fareeha had been best friends since school days and she was also in town last week. Everyone wants a piece of you when you’re back. When I lived in Jo’burg it was the same story. Fareeha sighed and plopped herself on the stool, looking utterly exhausted as she grabbed a custard biscuit from the container that lay on the table.

Baking was a constant in our house. Even though cooking was fun for me, baking had become equally therapeutic… my go-to whenever I felt a little stressed or under the weather. It was one of the things that I often found myself talking about with Mohsina, not expecting her to also have a passion for it as well. She was actually someone who I really came to like. I was just sorry that it had turned out badly…

What exactly happened between Hamzah and her, I wasn’t sure. I didn’t want to pry and ask too many questions.

I knew that it was wishful thinking but I really hoped that they would sort it out.

And as I watched Fareeha making the tea that night whilst we chatted about general things, I was hoping that Maulana Aadil was doing some magic on my brother-in-law to get him to come around and set things right with her.

Fareeha was busy with the kids, seeing to them while I tried to help where I can. She finally emerged from the dining room where the two girls were having a small tiff – looking absolutely fed-up.

Her face was a picture of irritation and I honestly couldn’t blame her. Juggling the temperaments and grievances of three kids couldn’t be easy. As much as I wanted so badly to have more kids, I did understand what the challenge was. Seeing Fareeha was almost enough to make me reconsider. Almost but not quite.

And of course, I expected her to write it off as them being the usual kind of kids who tested you to no bounds, but what she said next was kind just a little out of the ordinary.

“I’m so sick of these kids!” she said, collapsing on the chair again, grabbing her cup of chai whilst she stuffed her mouth with a cupcake.

I didn’t want to say anything. Fareeha had been loading on a few extra kilos in the recent months but I didn’t realise how bad it actually was. She was already on cupcake number 6. With ganache and fresh cream…

“Shame, I’m sure they can be a handful,” I said sympathetically, trying to be cool while I moved the container away from her. “But Far, all kids are hectic. These days will pass and soon they’ll be-”

“Don’t you dare start with me!” she warned me, narrowing her eyes as she cut me off. “I’ve had enough comforting and coaxing. I can’t handle anymore kids. As much as Aadil is pushing for them, I’m compelled to reject his suggestions. I simply cannot manage with even one more.”

I pursed my lips.

We were one two sides of the fence. It was quite something seeing the other side of things though. Seeing someone who was so overwhelmed and exhausted by the whole parenting thing when I was so desperate for it.

“So he wants how many more?” I asked carefully, pulling a weird face.

Three was a good number. Well, I had always thought so, for Imraan and I. We just couldn’t even get to number 2. As always, I made shukar for my only son…

“At least two more!” she exclaimed with big eyes and a comical voice. “Can you believe him?!! I told him NO WAYS! If he wants more kids he must get another wife to do all the hard work. There’s no way I’m having more of his children. They’ve made me batty as it is.”

Only Fareeha would be so nuts to say such crazy things. I shook my head at her. I hope she wasn’t going to get herself into a problem.

“Fareeha, are you mad?!” I reprimanded her. “You can’t tell a man things like that. Even if you are joking. You never know what they will do… what doors it will open.”

She shrugged, as if it didn’t bother her. Like, did she really forget what happened with my mother and father all those years ago, when Mummy let go of herself?

She will swallow her words if it were to really happen. When Papa had taken another wife, we were already much older… as Fareeha insisted we find out who, when, how and all the rest because it bugged her so much.

She was feeling the worst for my mother and my mother was at least 15 years older than what Fareeha was now.

“So what did he say?” I pressed, panicking for my sister.

I was quite the possessive type, even though Far was the complete opposite. Maybe I had to have a chat with Laila about this. Laila had a way of getting through to Fareeha. Perhaps she could talk sense into my sister.

She was really behaving like a crazy woman. Off the hinges, with no control or care about herself even. She was definitely going to regret this.

“He said I have the right attitude,” she said proudly with a smirk.

I raised my eyebrows. Both Maulana Aadil and Fareeha were known to be a bit unusual on the whole. Cute in a way but also erratic and crazy, but this was just making me worried.

“What do you mean the ‘right attitude’?” I asked with a frown.

“He means,” she explained, taking one last bite of the cupcake she had and then pulling the Tupperware from me and opening it for another one. “That women need to stop behaving like it’s something wrong or out of the ordinary for a man have more than one wife.”


It was just always such a gossip factor for people.

Fareeha was chewing noisily as she went on, waving her hand dramatically.

“What’s the big deal?” She said nonchalantly. “Like it doesn’t mean she’s not good enough or anything like that. He is in full agreement that when it’s done the proper Sunnah way, there is always benefit. And I agree. He said that I must find him one at the end of next month.”

Uh oh. She was leaving way too many doors open here.

I couldn’t quite believe them. Was this another way of looking at things or was it just ridiculous?

Dearest readers…

Okay, I know… I know. It’s a controversial topic, especially for us ladies…

but someone asked me about this recently so would appreciate any thoughts? 💕

A xx


Revive the Sunnah of being Active 

Especially in this day and age when there are so many haraam things available for entertainment, it’s crucial that we try and adopt a clean environment or even a hobby that’s beneficial and Halaal.

In one of the Hadiths, Abu Hurairah mentioned that The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessing be upon him) said that:” A strong believer is better and dearer to Allah than a weak one, and both are good.”

This particular Hadith outlines the importance of being healthy and strong physically, which shows that exercises and keeping fit are important for Muslims. In a world where everything is one click away, people are no longer willing to do any effort to stay in good health physically or eat well.








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