When we Hold On

Bismihi Ta’ala

Hamzah
Part 92

Through our giants in history, the stories of the courageous men of the past which shaped me into the person I’d become since I’d started treading on a better path, if there’s one thing I learnt, it’s that we should never let ourselves sink into the pits of hopelessness.

A Muslim should not sit and accept defeat, as long as we have a Rabb who is the source of hope. Like the lion of Allah, Hadhrat Hamzah RA, we put on our best shield of imaan, and build our faith to fight the odds.

The thing is, we must always have faith. When we ask Allah Ta’ala for aid, know that He will send it, one way or the other.

And yes, I know it was ironic, because right then,  things weren’t looking good.

I had been fooled. Duped, in every possible way. Broken-hearted, in a way that felt like the organ in my chest was shattered.

Now, there was one more emotion I was dealing. I was so, so angry.

Rabia had overstepped. She had gone all out, broken rules, crossed boundaries too. She had befriended a man, and not just any man. Someone who I was sure had done this, had gotten close to her, just to make my life miserable.

And I knew how Faadil worked. Behind the scenes, in a way that could never be tracked, but he always worked with intent. And now, finally, it all made sense.

I knew what he was upset about. It had evaded me all this time… as I lived in the blissful ignorance that I was the only guy Mohsina had ever been committed enough to decide to marry. I knew that his coming to see her on our Nikah day was his sick way of trying to win the ‘prized goods’ back. I mean, there was no other reason.

After all, that’s all she was to him. Someone who would have pushed him to be better, earn better, and motivated for his position, who he could have kept as some kind of trophy.

Mohsina was determined and brilliant in her job, and he knew that her being able to back him was a sure way of moving even further up the corporate ladder, despite his lack of morals. I knew that the rejection that he’d probably suffered, whether her motivation was Zaid or not, probably hurt him deeper than he’d let on. Faadil didn’t take losing well, and experiencing that loss was something that he just could not digest.

I didn’t need Rabia to reply to me when I asked her if she’d seen Mohsina while I was away. I wanted her to be the one to show some remorse at least.

She looked me in the face and said that some things need to take its course. I didn’t know what she had told Faadil, but I knew that the fact that Faadil and her were speaking was right. I had given her a while to think about it, while I left for the ijtima, spent some time with Maulana Umar and came back with a clear head, knowing that I couldnt just let things hang in the air.

I knew what I needed to do. Maulana had encouraged me to try and patch things up, but the betrayal I still felt was unparalleled, and that’s why it took me so long.

Yes, it would take time to make things right, but the least I could do was speak to her in the meantime.

I needed to talk to my wife. She knew more than I did about what Rabia and Faadil actually were speaking about.

And so, knowing I had left it way too long, I decided to do it.

Despite all that was going on, standing under the threshold of the door of the flat I had shared with my wife, I was expecting to see Mos looking normal and unfazed when I knocked on the door.

Perhaps she would be standing there with a scowl on her face, spitting fire as she usually would, or just shooting daggers at me while offering the silent treatment… but nothing could prepared me for the guilt that hit like a punch in my stomach when I looked at my wife properly after all this time.

Yes, I had seen her on Eid day in passing when she came to leave Zaid, but now that I really looked at her, her face devoid of make up and her hair in a simple plait, I was literally taken aback.

Though still beautiful to me, Mos looked exhausted, and very un-Mohsina like. It wasn’t my guilt for not letting her explain, as I covertly scanned my wife’s form, her weight loss was evidently visible, that got me.

How was it even normal for people to visibly show weight loss in a month? And yea, I knew it was Ramadhaan, but how bad a toll did the last month take on her for that to happen? I won’t lie, I still blamed Mos for part of this mess.. but now that the blinding anger had worn off, and I realised that I may have also been wrong in what I had said, I could see the situation more rationally.

The thing is, as humans, we are very quick to hold others accountable, forgetting that we too are humans. People hurt us, even more so people we love, and even those of us with a forgiving nature have our limits. I never thought I’d ever be one of those people who could harbour a grudge, but here I was, standing at the door of my wife’s house, realising, that in nursing my grudge, I’d done an equal injustice to my wife leaving her to bear a burden alone that evidently wore even my unbeatable wife down.

I watched as my wife’s eyes widened, and then she closed the door. And then, with bated breath, I waited while I heard her unlatching the door, and I breathed out a sigh of relief. I could barely believe that I was actually holding my breath, after the way I had stormed out of our home those weeks ago.

She pulled the door open again and instantly moved further away, like she didn’t want to even stand in close proximity to me. Can’t say I blamed her. The words I said to her made me feel sick to my stomach.

“Let’s talk in the lounge.”

Her voice was cold and flat, and I went ahead of her to enter our open plan living area, looking around for any signs of what she had been up to these past weeks.

And what I saw, was a sure sign that Mohsina was very possibly mourning in her own way. She probably wasn’t even aware of it, but her new disregard for things to be on tip top condition was clearly evident.

Curtains were drawn, blankets were strewn over the couch, and in the middle of the coffee table was the only evidence of  life, with multiple coffee mugs and popcorn bowls.

I knew I was being nosy and presumptuous, but my heart was already feeling like there was a huge void in it, since I knew nothing about her life anymore.

It was so unlike Mohsina, who always made sure she was tidy to a fault, and accessorised with the latest trends because that’s what she did,

I suppose it came with her passion for Instagram. The nature of social media was to get people on trends, and she had always lived for that. These platforms shape us in more ways than we know, and sometimes we’re not even aware of the worldly obsessed messages they were sending us.

To be so simplistic and unbothered was extremely welcomed to me, but under the circumstances, it also made me a bit worried.

Even her dressing had become simpler. No fusses and frills. Plain and simple, with no brands.

It was as if something within her had been altered.

I didn’t have want to make any assumptions but it definitely made me think… How true was it that when the valuable things in life are threatened, then everything else in life loses value? How much is everything else worth when we don’t have peace?

All the fancy cushions, trendy curtains, ornamental pieces and matching throws, meant nothing now that Mohsina had been thrown into a corner where no one was really there for her.

And the Hadith this world is like a woman who is extremely attractive but has no morals or ethics whatsoever, came to mind. It bluffs people with its lister and leads people toward destruction.

It was narrated that Isa AS saw a very old and ugly woman who was full of makeup and jewelry.  He asked her: ‘How many times were you married?’

She replied ‘So many times that I can’t even remember.’

Isa AS said ‘What happened to your husbands, did they die or were you divorced?’

She replied ‘No, I killed them all.’

Isa AS stated ‘How unfortunate your current husband is, for he lives with you and is not cautious that you will do the same to him. (Fadhaail Sadaqaat)

This world. An empty promise, a great lie.

We think that the world can make us happy but when our world is rocked, we see the truth in what really matters.

I turned around as I reached the couch, watching her as she kept a careful distance behind me until I sat down, and then walked to the opposite side of the room, and perched herself on the barstool near the kitchen nook.

“How are you?”

It was all I could say to her, while she watched me back, a stoic expression on her face as she shrugged.

I waited a few minutes, for a response that never came.

“Can you talk to me, please?” I demanded, feeling edgy at how this whole day was turning out. “At least look at me.”

First Rabia and her tantrum about how I needed to be more of a man and stand up to my wife, just because she was feeling insecure about her lies, then the realisation that maybe Mohsina was right about Rabia and I needed to fix things.. and now the hard reality that it may all be harder than I thought.

“How do you think I am, Hamza?” The expression on her face was hard to decipher. A mixture of yearning, sadness, and anger. “Where’s my baby?”

If the guilt was packing a punch before this, now it was like a twisting a knife into my gut.

“I left him with my parents, so we could sort out this mess.”

The amount of responsiveness I was receiving was like I was talking to a wall.

I still couldn’t believe that we were at this place where we didn’t know how to be near each other without feeling angry.

Well, that’s what it looked like.

“I’ll bring him over as soon as we done talking if you want,” I added to soften her up, calming down and taking in a deep breath. “I’ll even grant you those overnight stays you wanted. I just want to talk.”

Her posture was firm and erect, as she sat in the stool, her hands placed on her lap.

“Wow, thanks, Hamzah, that’s so generous,” she said sarcastically, her gaze not wavering from me. “But I don’t see what there is to talk about a marriage that you only contracted out of a sense of duty anyway. Let’s face it, honey… We tried it out, realised we were a mistake, now you can rid yourself of me and my baggage.”

Her voice was dripping with venom, and I sucked my breath in because I knew that she was using my own words against me, and it sucked.

One time. The one time I’d let myself slip, I said something that broke us.

She had warned me. Told me I can’t take back the words, but I didn’t care.

I had messed up. Badly.

I remember hearing a lecture once where the shaykh said Shaytaan will use our good deeds to draw us to bad. Its such a strange statement, but then he went on to explain, the spouse who is tolerant to their respective other, or the daughter-in-law who tactfully deals with a critical mother-in-law, or a mother-in-law who patiently deals with a lazy daughter-in-law… all these people are following a path of goodness and gaining reward.

However, often, a day comes when something pushes you over your precipice, and in a moment of anger, you throw back your patience into that person’s face, or you express favour over them for you tolerance, or some words of gossip about how they’ve wronged you and how much you endure slips out and you badmouth the person… all those days and days of goodness and rewards can be wiped out by few moments of carelessness. This is Shaytaans ploy.

And damn, it was working well.

In anger, I had said things I never meant, but that’s the thing, we never do mean it. But words, once heard, cannot be erased, backspaced or deleted.

There’s a Ḥadīth Rabia had painted in really beautiful calligraphy before her first marriage, that truly deserved to be be written in gold, deserves to be written in gold.

Rasulullah ﷺ said, “Whoever stayed quiet, is saved.”

I wished that I had saved it myself as a daily reminder.

I got up, she following me with her eyes as I moved forward to a seat closer to her, because besides wanting to, it was ridiculous having a serious conversation from the opposite side of the room.

Immediately, her blank, flippant facade faded.

Instead, her entire expression morphed into some kind of aversive reaction.

“Just stay there, please,” she muttered, her voice sounding strained. “Don’t come closer to me.”

Really? Now she was going to punish me. Great.

“We’re still married Mos. Stop acting like we’re boardroom associates,” I rubbed my jaw in frustration, knowing that I’d hit a nerve with her by mentioning her second favourite place to be. At work. “If we’re going to solve anything, we need to have complete honesty, and we need to talk.”

“Fine,” she shot back, obviously not impressed by my references. “You want honesty? The truth is, I can’t stand you sitting nearer to me, because these past few weeks have seriously accelerated my anxiety level, and every time you come close to me, I can feel it shoot up even higher. Like literally. Right in my throat.”

“So now you’re using your anxiety levels as a hiding place?” I was holding back the urge to raise my voice, but I had forgotten how utterly frustrated an argument with my wife could make me. Mohsina had a way of pressing my most unfounded buttons.

“I’m serious, Hamzah,” she retorted, covering her mouth with her hand, almost as if that would shield her from me. “When you’re too close to me, I start feeling physically sick.. almost nauseous. Please. Just. Stop fighting with me on this.”

“Wha- Mos, what on earth are you even saying?”

No response. I moved to the chair closest to her and sat down. And much to my dismay, Mos jumped up and started walking away.

Feeling ridiculous, like some kind of puppy, I followed.

“Mos, can you be reasonable please?”

“STOP FOLLOWING ME.”

She wasn’t yelling, but she wasn’t far from it.

But my patience was dwindling. I had come here with a serious goal in mind. I didn’t expect to find the same grovelling Mohsina who I shut the door on, but this level of snubbing was just unreasonable.

We needed to talk.

I increased the lengths of my strides to catch up with her and grabbed her arm, just before she entered the bedroom.

“Let me go, Hamzah. Please, ” she begged, but I couldn’t.

“Mos, just listen, please.”

I was becoming desperate. The same way thaf she had become the day I had left her.

And while I was thinking of how ironic it was, nothing, absolutely nothing, could have prepared me for the succeeding response, as I spun her around to face me, and she immediately pushed me backwards with such a force that I was a little disoriented.

One minute I was speaking, hoping she could see sense and treat me like a human at least, and the very next, I was looking at my wife burst into tears, hold her mouth as she had done those weeks before, storm to her bedroom and lock the door, while I stood in shock in the passageway, wondering what on earth that was all about.

And that’s when I saw the trail of something that resembled… vomit on the floor.

“Mohsina,” I called, my voice a little less aggressive now because seeing her like this, unwell and in tears, was something I couldn’t take.

I could hear her coughing, gagging, and after some silence, soft sobs could heard from behind the door. I wanted to break that door down, take her in my arms, and tell her that I never wanted her to hurt again.

But I couldn’t. Not when I was the source of all her pain.

So instead, I grabbed some paper towels, cleaned up what I could and asked her if she wanted me to help her out.

There was still no reply.

“Mohsina,” I almost whispered, my head against the door when everything had become a little quieter. “Please. Open the door.”

”No.”

Her response was unwavering, despite her probable state.

“I’ll do anything,” I begged, my voice even more gentle. “I just need to talk.”

”Take off your kurta if you want me to come out of here.”

Her voice was stiff and completely formal, despite the connotation of the statement. I felt my ears redden slightly because I really didn’t expect that.

“Mohsina, I-” I started, but she didn’t let me finish.

“And your t-shirt,” her voice cut out again. “Actually, just have a shower. I’ll pass you some clothes. I can’t take that… whatever you’re wearing. That Oud scent you like so much.”

Now, it made sense.

Well, kind of. But it never bothered her before.

“I’m taking you to the doctor early tomorrow,” I said, not believing that she was unwell for so long and she actually never did a thing about it.

”You’re not,” she said, still from behind the door. “I’m perfectly fine. It’s only when I’m around you that I feel like this. Now are you going to scrub off that stench or not?”

She said it like I was stinking.

I couldn’t help but chuckle. At least Mohsina and her attitude was still intact.

”I will, but I want some time with you,” I said strategically. “And I am taking you to the doctor in the morning. Or I’ll call Nani and tell her exactly what’s going on with you. Including the Netflix.”

It was no secret. My wife had her weaknesses. Now and then, when I’d check her phone, I would see the app there. We all have our things that we do. We have to make tawbah, and ask for a way to pull ourselves out of our sins before then take over our hearts.

I could feel her shifting around behind the door, before she settled down again.

I figured that she was probably sitting against it.

And there was nothing else I could do besides slide down with my own back to the door as well, wishing I could see her face as I spoke.

“Rabia and I had a fight,” I said quietly, knowing that she could hear me, and needing to let her know why I was here. “A big one. She is speaking to Faadil. I don’t believe that they are just friends who met randomly and neither do I believe that she never shared things about you with him. I think she’s been very open with him for reasons unknown to me and you know how that makes me angry. I don’t trust him one bit. I don’t trust anything he says. I’m hoping you don’t either.”

There was silence from the other side of the door, but I knew she was listening because of the slight shuffling I could hear.

I wanted an answer but I wasn’t sure if I was ready for it. Maybe I didn’t deserve it.

”I feel like I don’t know who to trust,” I said, hanging my head and closing my eyes. “Every way I turn, there’s been some kind of obstacle. I do know that I owe you an apology for not believing you. I have to be honest. I was shocked and upset, but I know that I crossed a line.”

”Hamzah,” her voice sounded strained. “You don’t owe me anything. I understand that you were just doing what you needed to do, because Liyaket and you were best friends, I understand that you felt indebted to him because Zaid is his child and I was part of the package-“

”Mohsina.”

My voice dipped low as I warned her, hoping she would stop saying all those things that I had said to make me feel like we were nothing.

The thing is, she didn’t understand. We were anything but nothing. We were everything. But so much had happened and now the lines were just so blurry.

“You don’t owe me anything.”

It was all she said, and I didn’t know what else to tell her. My heart was aching for her, with her, but I couldn’t tell her everything on my mind because her and Faadil still happened and I still felt that betrayal. It was just that, right then, knowing that she was here with me now, and not with him… I didn’t feel it so much.

“Go and shower,” her voice said through the door. “I’m going to the lounge. I’ll leave your clothes on the bed. We can talk after.”

Her voice had lost its fire, and I got up slowly, peeling off my kurta and hanging it up in the front while I made my way to the bathroom.

I wasn’t sure what was up with Mohsina, but I made up my mind that I was going to get to the bottom of this. She wasn’t the type who was supposed to be so cut up and broken over a situation. Mohsina was an army. She was strong and feisty. Fierce and determined.

I missed that part of her.

I changed quickly, eager to get back to her and continue our conversation. Coming back to the lounge, I was surprised to see two toasted sandwiches on a plate, waiting for me.

A peace offering? I hoped so.

Maybe not the best outcome here. But it was progress. It was most certainly progress.

I had returned from the ijtima trip that same day, but was forced to storm off the table and come here when Rabia’s comments had become too much for me. In short, I was starving.

I took a seat and watched my wife come closer, half expecting her to retreat, but was pleasantly surprised when she didn’t.

“Cheese and tomato,” she said as she poured us both a glass of water, and I recited Bismillah before taking a sip. “Simple, but my new fave.”

I smiled as I tucked in, enjoying the chillies she had put into it as I ate, stealing glances at her as she nibbled on half a slice.

Something was definitely amiss, and I needed to get to the bottom of it, but I had full faith that it was still going to be okay.

“Sometimes the simple things are the best,” I commented, thinking of how we sometimes aim for big gestures and expensive gifts when peace was priceless. I watched her as she frowned slightly, almost as if she wanted to ask something, but decided to be quiet again.

For a moment, as we sat there, it felt as if no one could touch us. I didn’t want to think of what happened or what was to come. I just wanted to be there, with her, and enjoy the moment.

I didn’t know what was going to happen after.

“We have a lot to talk about,” I said, watching as a strand of hair fell over her face, and I was tempted to reach out and tuck it away. But I didn’t. “Can I bring Zaid tomorrow? He can be here for the night. I’m just hesitant to leave here until we talk this through.”

It was true. I felt that if I had to leave for Zaid, this entire thing would just get postponed. Something would happen that would prevent us from figuring things out. We needed to talk about what happened between us. About how she felt. About whether there was ever a possibility of us reconciling. About what we needed to do from here.

Even if it took the whole night.

Mohsina looked at me, and nodded slowly. She looked slightly deflated, but at least she wasn’t putting a fight up about this.

I already had the plan in my mind. I was going to somehow get us to have a normal grown up conversation. Figure out some things at least.

I was already planning to talk, stay there till the morning, even if it was on the couch, and then take her to the doctor to figure out exactly what was going on with her.

Tomorrow seemed worlds away. As much I wanted to speak about anything and everything, I knew that if we had to start arguing, I would have to leave, and that was the last thing I wanted.

I couldn’t even think about aborting this mission without feeling like scum.

From the blurry lines… now, everything was suddenly looking so much clearer. And maybe I was being overly optimistic, but I was quite certain that tomorrow everything would make sense. That the hope I had invested in us was not completely unfounded.

I reached out as Mohsina watched me, touching the top of her hand with mine, watching her look at me, as if she was startled.

Hold on, my eyes were telling hers.

I don’t know how to, hers were saying back.

Hope.

I didn’t have to say it. My eyes were full of it.

A beautiful analogy.

H.O.P.E.

Hold on.

Pain ends.

And it did end. Well, at least for now, it did. I held on to a sliver of hope, and my heart was already so much fuller.

Nothing was certain in this life, but all I knew was that for tonight, the pain had dulled, and it was going to be okay.

Tomorrow would be another day, and I was just ‘hoping’ that we would have enough hope to pull us through.


Sunnah of Entertaining guests

Hosting and entertaining guests is indeed a significant deed in Islam. The first man to entertain a guest was Nabi Ibrahim (‘alayhis salam).

This quality is directly linked to the level of one’s Iman.

As seen in the above narration, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) coupled honouring the guest with Belief in Allah and the Day of Qiyamah, which are two fundamental aspects of our Din.

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..💕

#RevivetheSunnah

#RevivetheSunnahofbeingGrateful

#RevivetheSunnahofQur’aanTilaawat

#ReviveSunnahofDuaa

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand


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A Perfect Twist

Bismihi Ta’ala

Saaliha
Part 48

Ping.

Fareeha: Ah come on, Sawls. I just want 2 test the waters. C if she may be interested.

I narrowed my eyes at my phone, grabbing a handful of choc peanuts as I walked out of the kitchen, and sitting on the couch to munch on them. See if she may be interested?

Fareeha sounded like a predator on the prowl. As if the previous evening had not been enough for me. I was at my wits end as I witnessed Fareeha literally chatting my sister-in-law up, asking her all sorts of questions, probably trying to see if she was a suitable match for her husband. I’m not even sure how normal the situation was or how sane my sister actually was.

Me: Please Far. You are giving me more stress this way. Rabia has been testing my patience nowadays and if we are related in more than one way, it may just tip me over the edge.

Fareeha: Lol *can’t watch face* That bad?

I knew I sounded mean but it was true. I snuck a glance at my sister-in-law, seated in frying of me in a cuffed jeans with a white tie-up blouse with her hair tied back in a pony, jotting down something from her phone to her diary.

She was so immersed in her task, that she barely noticed my strained expressions. Her entire existence was channeled into this one function and it made me wonder what she was going to do after it was all over.

Me: yes. Bad. Also, there will be plenty of other people there tomorrow that may be more suitable.

I didn’t want to say that I would help her find someone because knowing Fareeha, she would twist my arm to do so or follow me around relentlessly while greeting guests and insist that I let her chat up every eligible female.

Fareeha: okay fine. Just tell me one thing.

I sighed, bracing myself for more questions about Rabia, who was literally sitting in front of me now and penning down the final list of finger foods that had to be at the entrance table.

I was supposed to be helping her but Fareeha was doing a pretty good job at distracting me.

Fareeha: Am I being a crazy woman?

I stopped myself from sending another mean reply. today was better than other days.

Me: Not today.

Which was there truth. She was being a little more reasonable than usual and not pushing her agenda in true Fareeha style.

Fareeha: good. Need a diversion. I’m just trying 2 take my mind off that appointment for Uzayr on Monday. I’m so nervous. What if they say my son is beyond repair?

I internally cringed. I had completely forgotten about it.  Fareeha was taking her son to a speech therapist tomorrow for an assessment.

It was a private lady who worked with little kids, and though I wasn’t sure if it would be the solution. Either way, I was just glad she was doing something but I was equally worried for her.

I sighed, glancing up momentarily at my husband and in-laws who were in the open plan kitchen, as I made my way toward the nook again, phone still in hand. I was supposed to be checking it the events lady had started the lady’s set up today. The venue was only hired from tomorrow morning but Rabia, being Rabia, had insisted they give us time to set up today.

“I hope I didn’t forget anything,” Rabia said, looking from her phone to the notepad in front of her, and then frowned slightly. “Oh gosh. The burfee. I didn’t fetch the burfee.”

Imraan barely noticed. He too, was tapping on his phone incessantly while I quickly sent a few reassuring words for Fareeha before I placed my phone, screen down, on the center island.

everything will be okay. Trust Allah. Du’aas always xx

We never lose hope. No matter how bad or how hopeless. A believer must always have hope.

”Must I go and fetch it?” I asked sweetly, hoping the quiet time would give me a chance to think of the best way to deal with Fareeha tomorrow.

Rabia had given me a list of other things like drinks, cakes and biscuits to sort and set up for the function.

”No!” Rabia said, looking appalled that I could even suggest that. “I need your help with the drinks too. And the flowers, plus to go over the front set up. Maybe Daddy or Imraan could go?”

We had already gone over the front set-up a dozen times. It was to be absolutely immaculate, with a sparkling runner and one floral arrangement at the centre. There also needed to be a person stationed there, to make sure kids don’t mess it up.

I glanced at my father-in-law, who was sitting on the couch with Uthman, looking at a wildlife video.

“I don’t think Daddy is moving from the couch today,” I said, flashing a smile.

My father-in-law had a lot of running around that week, fetching and getting things that my mother-in-law was trying to sort out. Having a function was more tiring that we thought. Sometimes it just took these discomforts to remember the wisdom in simplicity.

If only we had gone for a function at the house or farm that was half the size but Rabia had insisted that it was necessary to invite everyone. The list just wasn’t coming to an end.

“Well, if Imraan could get off his damn phone and actually do something then it may actually help!” Rabia snapped, clearly getting agitated at how engrossed Imraan was, that he didn’t even notice her burfee dilemma.

He glanced up, phone still in hand, as he rubbed his forehead emphatically.

“Sorry,” he said meekly. “It’s just… Hamzah.”

Ooh,” she said excitedly. She clearly was in a good mood. Rabia thrived on good stress.

“I didn’t even check my Instagram to see if Mohsina loaded any pics. Ask him how’s that place? The reviews were really good. Plus, they’re fully halaal.”

“I’m sure it’s good. He says it looks like the pics. He just has another… issue.”

Imraan looked stumped as he said it, and Rabia immediately raised her eyebrows at him.

My heart, for some reason, beat a little faster. I knew instantly when my husband was stressed.

”Trouble in paradise already?” She asked, and I couldn’t help but notice the tiny smirk on her face as she said it. “It’s about time the past came back to haunt them.”

Now, why must she be like that?

”Rabia, stop making assumptions,” my mother-in-law warned. “It’s not nice what you are saying. Wishing well on others is part of having good akhlaaq..”

Imraan shook his head.

I was hoping not. We didn’t need Hamzah in depression again. Once in his lifetime was quite enough. I had nevere seen my brother-in-law so hung up over someone, as he was when things didn’t work out with Mohsina. After he lost Liyaket, I honestly thought that he was going to lose his mind, until Zaid came to save the day.

”I’m just asking. It’s not like past events won’t pop up. How can you all just forget so easily about how Mohsina literally went awol and left Hamzah on a whim?” Rabia continued, ignoring my mother-in-law and raising her eyebrows. “Did anyone ever ask him what went on? Did anyone even wonder what really went on all these months?”

”Its not really our business,” Imraan said, and I agreed, despite the niggling feeling that Rabia wasn’t rest assured. “And Hamzah was the one who called it off and he doesn’t talk about it. Why must you worry about it?”

”Because it’s weird,” she said, here eyes narrowing suspiciously. “You guys know she’s quite a sensation on the gram. All that time her followers were skyrocketing when she was posting over-the-top content on social media. High-flying life. Most riveting socials. If I’m not mistaken, I’m sure she was probably even involved with someone in the interim-“

”Stop,” Imraan said sternly, holding his hand up. “All this is not necessary to bring up.”

I was glad he said it. That he made her stop, and verbalised it. That he made her guard her tongue, although I feared that it may have been a little late. My mother-in-law looked visibly stirred by what Rabia had just said.

Also, well, Rabia and her mouth was something that had to be addressed sooner or later. And often times, just because of the tongue, marriages and relationships are completely trashed. People are hurt. Old dust is dug up. The one muscle in our mouth is sometimes many a reason for horrible consequences.

And I remembered the story that occurred, on the occasion of the farewell Hajj, when the camel of Safiyyah bing Huyayy (RadiAllahu Abha) went lame and refused to move and she was left with no conveyance to continue.

Zaynab (RA), another wife of Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) had an extra camel and the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) asked her if she would give it to Safiyya.

Zaynab, visibly displeased with the suggestion, retorted, “Should I give to that Jewess!”

It’s reported that just by the three words she uttered, Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) turned away from her in anger and would not have anything to do with her for two or three months not to show his disapproval of what she had said.

And sometimes we overlook what our mouths utter, with very little regard for how we may come across. Sometimes we have no consideration for the feelings of others, as long as our own egos are fed, not even thinking twice about the consequences of that action that may just be done in the moment…

“I was only saying what’s true,” Rabia said, flicking her hair back as she retied her pony. “When someone exposes their entire life on Instagram then it’s only natural that people will nitpick and dissect every bit of information… especially when it’s someone as popular as her.”

Hmmmm. Mohsina was on a roll with her social media the last few months, before her life completely changed. But that’s what mattered, wasn’t it?

“Let’s not forget that Mohsina had changed a lot of her life before Hamzah and her got proposed again,” I said quietly, not really wanting to butt in but knowing that it was important that she understood it.

And I wasn’t biased just because Hamzah was my brother-in-law, but Rabia had to also understand that Hamzah wasn’t a saint back when they got proposed for the first time either. Sometimes we are just too possessive over our own people to understand the truth of a situation…

“That’s precisely the point,” Imraan said, agreeing with me, as he placed his phone down. “And I hope you’re not planning on telling Hamzah any of that Instagram stuff. You know how he hates it.”

”Exactly,” Rabia retorted. “That’s why he should know about it!”

Goodness.

I wanted to drill some sense into her.

”Don’t cause issues,” Imraan said heatedly. “There’s a little baby involved. With Zaid, things are different and you know that. I think they value that more than anything. They’ve taken Maulana’s advice and it’s sure to be a source of Barakah for them because this situation is avoiding more conflict between families. They want to make this work. Obviously it will take effort and compromise and now that there’s been a call from Layyanah’s family about Zaid…“

I sucked in my breath, feeling immediately concerned. If the family had been in contact, did that mean they wanted him?

”About Zaid?” I said, my heart beating faster. “Do they want him?”

Imraan glanced at me knowingly, and I could immediately sense his own concern.

“We’re sorting it out,” he said, almost absent-mindedly, as he typed on his phone again.

But Rabia didn’t even notice that. She was still stuck on the previous train.

”Not every marriage is the same,” Rabia said bluntly, looking visibly taken aback by what Imraan had mentioned. “What if only one partner is willing to make the compromise, and the other is only intent on messing around and sucks all the barakah out of the marriage? What if the guy lies, and they say stuff about what they are and they’re really not that way? What if he acts like someone he isn’t, because he just wants to fit all the priorities you set. I have been married before, you know, and men are just disgusting  liars who take advantage of the women who love them.”

I glanced at Imraan, who was looking a little too terrified to say anything more here. Rabia was taking this a little personally.

My mother-in-law had already started talking calmly, trying to make amends.

”All Imraan was saying is that we all have to work on ourselves, our marriages, and to build that connection with Allah and to keep trying -“

”You think I didn’t work on my marriage?” Rabia almost yelled, cutting her mother off, obviously only hearing what suited her grievances and twisting the words. “Is that what you are suggesting? I worked hard. I I put up with his disappearances. With his bad habits. I did everything that I could to make him happy but he still went off with that thing from the office.”

I sucked in my breath, widening my eyes as my mother-in-law sighed, and then turned away. I knew what this was about.

What was that saying? You can take the horse to the water but you cannot, by any means, force it to drink.

There were some things we didn’t mention, and this had always been one of them. The reason for Rabia’s divorce wasn’t exactly a secret, but I did have an idea that it wasn’t only an infidelity issue on his part.

And okay, I did understand that Rabia had a tough marriage. Extremely difficult, in fact. It couldn’t have been easy, going through everything that she did. To top it off, when she had heard that Hamzah and Mohsina knew each other from the office, it was like an offence to her…

It was also evident that Rabia did harbour some resentment and found it unfair that things had worked out for Mohsina, and not for her.

”We know that,” my mother-in-law said in a soothing tone. “You did try. But also, this is not your marriage that we are talking about. We know this wasn’t easy for Hamzah either. Instead of saying bad things, rather make Duaa that this decision they made was a good one, and that their marriage is filled with love and barakah. Let’s make Du’aa that Zaid is also not taken away from them. There’s no need to wish bad upon anyone just because you had a tough time in yours.”

For once, Rabia seemed a little short of words.

”Fine,” she said, blinking back tears and rolling her eyes. “It’s not like anyone cares about me anyway. At least I still have Zaid, if Mohsina doesn’t hog him to herself. What was the reason to even take him with?! Next week I will force them to go by themselves and hold him hostage.”

She pulled her face, and I smiled because I could do see she was over the worst of her meltdown.

My mother-in-law smiled too, glad to have a lucky escape from any huge tantrum, and continued with her work, almost as if nothing had even happened. I assumed that she was a little over Rabia and her antics, and there was no-one in the room who wouldn’t say the same. She was in a better mood today than any other day, and we were grateful to be spared.

But the news about Zaid… well, that was still in the back of my mind. I did ask Imraan if we could keep him while they went away, but I understood that they wanted him with them too. I mean, it was the first time he would have them both to himself, and we had to respect their wishes.

And, now, his mother’s family were suddenly very interested in getting to know him and I wondered if it was only because Hamzah and Mohsina had decided to make him a part of their own little unit. Were they possible feeling threatened that they would never have a chance with Zaid now that he had his own family?
It was it some other excuse that had kept them from him all this time?

I didn’t want to think of the possibilities. Why was life so complicated..?

I breathed out, trying to dispel my anxiety.

Tawakkul, right? What was I just telling Fareeha. We never lose help in Allah. No matter what obstacle or challenge, Allah is always in full control.

“I’ll go for the burfee,” my father-in-law’s voice suddenly said from where he sat, eager to make an escape as he got Uthman on his feet quickly too, and headed off. The fact that my son had possibly overheard this conversation was a concern, but I was still feeling restless about other developments. The news about Zaid was unsettling me.

In fact; as the time for the waleemah approached the next day… a lot of things were unsettling me.

The conversation with Rabia that day, the things she had said, the news about her past marriage.. had unsettled me too.

And even as we continued with the next hours preparation, I couldn’t help but think that maybe I might have been a little too harsh on Rabia. That I may have been a little too quick to judge. She did have a tough time. Maybe I wasn’t giving her a chance. Maybe, by writing her off, and thinking her unworthy… I was being a horrible person that didn’t want good for anyone else either.

The thing was, after Ramahdaan, I had made a resolution to try and be better. To overlook. To make the most of the polishing that my heart had endured during the beautiful month, and keep my heart on a nobler and more purposeful path.

And how? Well, when you get married, you don’t expect your spouse to fulfill your every need. When you have friends, don’t expect friends to fill your emptiness. Seek the help of people, but realise that they cannot save you.

And if there’s one recipe for unhappiness, its that; expectations. As humans, we never ,lose hope. The problem, thoigh, is where we place our hope. My hope and expectations were in people, things and relationships… when my hope and faith should only be in Allah.

Only Allah can save you.

And perhaps that’s where Rabia, the past Mohsina, and everyone of us at some point, get it wrong.

And I hadn’t mastered it, but people around you sometimes help you to learn the lessons you need to.

And as the next day approached us, faster than we thought, and excitement in the air was mounting immensely. There was great preparation put into the entire day. My sister-in-law was very precise in her timing and had allocated a time for everyone to leave the house. The plan was for the new couple to change at the home, and my mother-in-law was desperate to see how the outfit they had bought for Mohsina would fit her, before we would leave, and Hamzah and Mohsina would follow about half hour after.

And of course, meeting the newly weds (I was just glad they weren’t late) was the cherry on the top, after seeing how rested and calm Zaid looked after his night away with his most favourite people, I was already in better spirits. I had faith. Hope that this really was the best thing. I was completely convinced that Hamzah and Mohsina would pull through, with Zaid always with them, and that everything would be perfectly all right.

And the thing was… If there was one thing I could salute my sister-in-law on, it was the fact that she had done everything to utter perfection, but still managed to keep it simple. And yes, maybe she had gone a little overboard with the entrance tables and the multiple floral arrangements on each table, but even as my brother-in-law looked cynically at it all, he couldn’t fault her.

And of course, I was glad that it was all going smoothly. Everyone was looking amazing.

Zaid was even wearing a cute mini-suit, and I couldn’t help but steal him away from Mohsina, even though he was instantly attached to her the minute he saw foreign people. He had settled down after a few minutes, and whilst Hamzah and Mohsina stayed in the car for a few minutes extra, probably chatting about the latest developments with Zaid, I couldn’t help but silently hope that everything was okay.

I knew that Hamzah had requested a security guard at the venue and Imraan had arranged it through Maulana Umar, and were being extra cautious with who was taking him. Glad that they trusted me with him, with special instructions of course, I kept his close to me, but even letting anyone else carry him.

With the new snippets of information about Layyanahs family being in contact, my heart was half in my throat as I witnessed Mohsina scanning the hall, as if for some invasion that we weren’t expecting.

The fact that something was threatening to go wrong had obviously got them on edge too, but I was optimistic that nothing could spoil this day.

And so far, as we scurried around, taking care of guests and awaiting the Du’aa and Qiraat recital, I was quite convinced that everything would be perfect.

I had just turned to see Laila and Haseena walking in together, and as I offered them a wave, maybe my thinking about everything going wonderfully was too optimistic because it just happened but none other than my lovely sister scurried in after them, chatting to Laila excitedly and then clapping her eyes on me, before she instantly came over.

And of course, I was already prepared for some dramatics as I had just excused myself from Mohsina’s family table, when I turned to my sister, wondering what she was going to start with about right then and hoping that her old ambitions of finding a co-wife were not still at the forefront of her mind.

“I’m so excited,” she said, her voice only slightly high-pitched as she pulled me aside. “You cannot believe what just happened.”

To tell the truth, I was afraid to ask.

But I would forever be in suspense if I didn’t.

”What?” I asked, shrugging my shoulders as I held Zaid a little tighter. How was I supposed to know?

“Aadil just got an SMS,” she said, her voice sounding thick with excitement. “Remember we put our name down for Hajj all those years ago?”

Hajj. My heart contracted just at the thought of the beautiful journey. Imraan and I had first gone, two years after we were married, when I couldn’t fall pregnant.

I remembered the feeling of rejuvenation I already felt, even as I stepped off the plane, being on the blessed lands for the first time in my life. I recalled the feeling of atonement, as I glimpsed the Ka’abah.. knowing it would be live at first sight. The emotion that had engulfed me, when I stepped out for the journey of a lifetime, that was both exhausting yet exhilarating and such a spectacular experience that nothing else in my life could ever have anything on it.

The cherry on the top, of course, as I had made constant Du’aa for Allah to cleanse my body of the infertility and grant me a child… when I had gotten home, I was already expecting Uthman and donned the niqaab and I already knew that Hajj was the reason that my life had to change for the better…

After all, Allah had done so much for me. He had blessed me with so much, just by virtue of that small sacrifice that I had made, which could never compare to the sacrifice of Ibrahim (Alaihi Salaam) that we were emulating,

“You’re going for Hajj?” I asked meekly, my expression unashamedly riddled with conflicting emotion. While I was so happy for my sister, my own heart felt extremely grieved that I wasn’t the one who would be going once again.

Selfish, I know. Who better than my sister to enjoy this perfect gift…

She nodded, already looking as if she was beyond happiness.

Nevertheless, I planted a smile on my face, because I did know for sure that this experience was one that would completely change her life for the better.

It was the perfect twist. I had glimpsed Rabia in the crowd, taking some snaps of the decor only, because Hamzah would have probably had her head for it if anything else… but honestly, she looked happier than she had in a while.

She was visibly excited, even as some older aunty I didn’t know came and spoke to her, and I secretly hoped that there was a son that she had for my sister-in-law who would be suitable…

In addition, Fareeha’s attention was now completely off Rabia and diverted onto the most amazing journey of her life, and I couldn’t help but feel that somehow, this would perhaps soothe her erratic nerves.

Even with her reservations and challenges, there’s nothing that Du’aa could not solve. Nothing that the polishing of the heart could not assist, and I needed to remind her of this before she embarked on her beautiful journey.

And I was so overwhelmed with emotion, that I barely even noticed someone playing with Zaid over my shoulder, as I smiled widely at Fareeha.

“I’m so happy for you,” I said, tears welling up in my eyes as I pulled her towards me. “I have a whole list of Du’aas for you. This is going to be a journey you will never forget.”


Assalamualaikum dearest Readers

Please forgive me for my delay. A bit of a longer post to make up for it ❤️

Trust that everyone has a wonderful Eid ul Adha. 

Just to give a little spirit of Hajj… I thought it would be good to bring in a little reflection. May Allah grant us understanding of this great sacrifice.

I hope that during these days, where the most beloved actions to Allah is Ibaadat, we made the most of it. Every action, every charity, every right we fulfill… everything is ibaadat for a Mu’min. Just to stay away from Haraam, itself, is ibaadat. Let’s make extra effort to stay away from Gheebat, social media and all other forms of haraam.

May Allah forgive us and accept all our ibaadat.

PS. Don’t forget your Takbeer after every Fardh  Salaah, and remember to make lots of heartfelt Duaa…. especially for this sinful author.✨

Much love,

A xx

The day of Eid is a day of celebration within the boundaries of Sharee’ah.

Those that slaughter, must read,

Bismillaahi Allawhu Akbar
بسم الله، الله اكبر
Then slaughter.

Males must not intermingle with those strange females, we are not permitted to, in Islaam.

When we uphold the Sharee’ah, الله تعالى will bring about favorable conditions.

_Takbeer e Tashreeq after every FARDH salaah._

اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ لَا إلَهَ إلَّا اللَّهُ وَاَللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ وَلِلَّهِ الْحَمْدُ

Allaahu Akbar, Allaahu Akbar laa ilaaha illallaahu wal’laahu Akbar. Allaahu Akbar wa lillaahil hamd.

“Allaah is the Greatest, Allaah is the Greatest. There is no deity besides Allaah and Allaah is the Greatest. Allaah is the Greatest and all praises belong to Him Alone.”

Mission Sunnah Revival

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..💕

#RevivetheSunnahofQur’aanTilaawat

#ReviveSunnahofDuaa

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah ­

The Simple Things

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 41
Mohsina

Sometimes we get so caught up in life that we forget that we don’t always need to be busy, to be rushing to the next thing or to keep on checking our phones or e-mails. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that it’s okay to slow down, to pause, to take a break and to take notice of the little things that aren’t so little.

Sometimes we don’t realize someone’s prayer that saved us from falling deeper. Or a smile that came through for us when we needed it most. Or a a simple kind word that made a difference to someone’s difficult day.

The simple things, sometimes, can take us a long way.

And yes, for me, there was a time in life when I stopped worrying about the simple things, and stopped caring what people think. When I shifted my focus, when I got detached from people, and built that wall that kept me an arms length away… at any given time.

Watching my father being held, at gun point when I was 18 years old, when nothing we had was good enough to invoke any mercy, had shifted something within me.

It was from that point on that I decided that I would be fearless. Unyielding. Unattached. I supposed that was my coping mechanism.

When it came to suitors, to family, friendships, and to Hamzah too… I never risked digging my hopes in so deep that coming out would prove to be any sorts of painful.

I always knew that people could leave. Come and go as they pleased. Leave each other, and never return. It was something I’d realised from listening to friends talking about relationships or being a little too cautious for my own liking. 

And so, instead of focusing on the One who never leaves, that’s when I shifted my focus to things. Shoes, handbags and accessories were easiest to deal with. People, to me, were the problem. 

So when the blues got to me, as I sat in my room, one day in Ramadhaan, it took me a little by surprise.

And maybe it was a combination of my mind finally attuning to reality, and also being the time of the month and the emotions that came with it… all I knew was that it felt like she had left me and the light had followed her. Simply put, whichever way I saw it, there was a gnawing ache in my body which translated to me missing Layyanah immensely.

Suddenly, the world was filled with so much of darkness that it was almost impossible for me to see at all. And as I trudged along, a flickering torch lighting much less of a path than I’d hoped, there were moments when my heart gave in completely.

How much my heart yearned for her advice, her laugh and just her general two cents, I wasn’t even able to fully comprehend, but being so busy with Zaid had filtered it for me, so it wasn’t so obvious.

But then there were the moments. Moments at night when I couldn’t seem to drift off to sleep, where I would stare at the ceiling and wonder how she could  leave me like this. At such a dead loss, completely clueless as to how to even sort out and live my own life, nevermind her little boy’s…

It was the day after Maahira had messaged, when Zaid was still with Hamzah and family, when I had gone down to see if there was anything to munch on (it was that time of the month and I was feeling a little spiritually low, and Maahira was also coming to visit after iftaar so I could explain the whole marriage saga), so I grabbed a packet of cookies just as Nani walked into the kitchen, and gave me one of her eye-balling looks.

I was being my usual unbothered self, as I strutted around the then empty kitchen, looking for something to munch on and to do whilst I heard her voice from behind me that made me jump.

“No roza?” She said with a frown, looking at me, almost accusingly. Nani was looking at me accusingly as I hid the stash behind my back.

I pulled my face slightly because next, I already had a plan to head straight to the shelf near the stove, due to the fact that for some reason, someone had left a huge slab of Cadbury Bubbly chocolate (that everyone knew was my ultimate favourite ), right in proximity of my wandering eyes.

But with Nani’s eyes now fixed on me, I slunk back to the bar stool, determined to leave my chocolate-cravings for later.

“No, Nani,” I said with a small smirk. “I’m not fasting.”

”Oh,” she said, obviously peeved that I would have the guts to even admit it.

And I got the old traditional thinking but after explaining to my brother that women take a break from certain forms of worship once a month, he now obediently turned the other way if he ever saw us sneaking a treat to our rooms. Nani obviously, thought it was appalling that he knew, but I thought it was important that he knew that we weren’t cheating.

“You missing Zaid?”

It was Nani again and I knew that was her way of asking why I was still sitting there, because it was the first time I had set foot on the kitchen after ages.

And to tell the truth, though the short break definitely had helped with my sleep deprivation, I was actually missing him so much that I pottered around my room trying to deal with myself in the best way possible. As much as I wanted to call every minute and see how he was doing, all I did was message Saaliha (maybe a bit too many times) to ask how he was… but despite her being polite, her answers were always brief and to the point.

For all I know, she had probably been given instructions by Hamzah not to over indulge me and I got that. Well, a little, except for the fact that I still thought that he was behaving like a selfish brat.

I sighed audibly, unable to contain my annoyance.

“You okay?” Nani asked bossily, and turned back to mixing the batter she had put in the metal bowl in front of her.

“Just tired,” I said half-heartedly. I still had piles of work to do and I just couldn’t seem to get around to it. Faadil had messaged me about six times this morning for follow ups on budgets but I just wasn’t feeling like getting into it. I knew that my job was on the line too, but for some reason, it didn’t even faze me.

Sure, I missed some aspects of my apartment but sitting like a lump and getting spoilt rotten had been absolute bliss.

Besides, Nani was in a particularly good mood because she hadn’t once even commented on my laziness. Maybe she was feeling sorry for me or just wanted to be nice, but when Nani actually missed an opportunity to hound me about learning to cook, I knew that the odds were in my favour.

And as she turned to look at me, a slight frown on her forehead, I couldn’t help but notice how different she appeared. It had been so long that I had really taken her in, that I didn’t quite realise how much she had aged.

Although she was still highly capable for everything that she had carried out over the years, her back was now slightly hunched and her movements were a little slower than before.

There it was. Another reminder that time was running away with me and if I didn’t say anything it would forever be lost…

And I suppose that’s why, although it was probably the best time for me to head back upstairs and either do the work Faadil had mailed me this morning, or just some general adhkaar and Ibaadat (worship) that I’d kind of made a habit of to ground me, I knew I shouldn’t.

It was just that, somehow, after the general cleansing and lightening and purifying of my heart over the weeks had taken effect, there was nothing else that I really wanted to do than bear my heart and soul and that was exactly why I sat there for another five minutes and wondered how exactly to approach the topic that I’d been avoiding with Nani for over a year.

”Nani,” I said finally, watching my grandmother whisking her mixture vigorously while the extractor hummed above her, ready to fry her mixture.

“Nani, I’m sorry,” I blurted out, already feeling embarrassed about how emotional I was already getting.

Nani glanced at me and frowned, her face slightly perplexed as she probably tried to figure out if I was just making a joke or what.

She said nothing, but as she looked at the sincerity on my face, I could see her expression ease, while she chopped carefully on the chopping board, before she finally broke into a small smile.

“What are you sorry for?” She said roughly in Guji, looking at me enquiringly.

“For everything,” I said quietly. “For not listening. For disappointing you. For causing problems. For making the wrong choices. For telling you that you have favourites…”

Yes, I had. I had accused Nani of having favourites. And I made it clear that she never treated me as one of hers.

I understood now that Nani was coming from a place where she was worried. Immensely worried and concerned that I wasn’t going all out to settle down and make a life for myself. And not get married, but that was beside the point.

Nani looked like she was shocked. But now that I was into it, I might as well go all out.

”Also, I’m sorry that things with Nadeema got so bad. Nani, I didn’t want it to be that way, but she was doing something that I couldn’t tolerate.”

There. I said it. I didn’t tell Nani what she did but I gave her an idea. I didn’t tell her that she had been speaking to the guy I was proposed to, and was even meeting him. I didn’t want to bring it all up now. It was the unmentionable things that we never mentioned.

But now I had just mentioned it.

“It’s okay,” Nani said in Gujarati. “Khair. He wasn’t right for you anyway.”

I narrowed my eyes slightly at Nani, wondering howcome she suddenly changed her opinion.  She had been so furious when I called it off.
Convinced that I would never find anyone better.

My  entire adult life had been spent hearing about how I can’t be so fussy and picky and no-one likes educated girls, and now she was saying that he wasn’t right for me in the first place.

I wondered if the change of heart was the current situation I had found myself in. Maybe Nani had finally realised that I didn’t really need a man to have a baby. Ah. The relief. At least it will save me from more soppy, spineless Sameers.

“Really?” I asked, curious, wondering if she was for real.

She shrugged, glancing at me as she dropped spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil.

The smell of freshly fried bajias was making my mouth water. Now let me tell you, my Nani didn’t just make a simple bajia.

Hers was the type with all the best stuff in it. The type that made you do metaphoric circles around trees in your mind as you bit into their crunchy texture. The type that made you salivate embarrassingly, just by smelling them.

The type I knew I had to learn to make, when I eventually decided to get married.

She was silent for a while, while the oil spluttered and simmered, and then turned and looked at me.

“His mother didn’t like my Samoosas,” she said with a serious face, and I couldn’t help but chuckle.

Nani’s samoosas were legend. There clearly was something wrong with his mother.

“And he wasn’t right,” she continued. “Not your type. Too ‘small-build’ for you.”

“What?” I said, widening my eyes.

Haaibo.

Was Nani saying I was too fat for him? Okay, I know he was on the smaller side but it wasn’t like I was that huge.

She shrugged.

Oh great. I couldn’t believe her.

She had turned back to the bajias, almost as if she hadn’t just called me fat.

It was at that point when Jameela entered the kitchen, and I knew I should have just let it go, but I was quite offended, so I couldn’t just be silent.

And fine, maybe Nani had forgiven me for my past mistakes but saying I was fat wasn’t exactly a good way to end the conversation.

“Jameela,” I whined, as my sister started taking out a jug for the milkshake. “Nani said I’m fat.”

Jameela had forgiven me for my outburst about her teenage-inspired-badboy-crush but she hadn’t mentioned it since. She still blushed awkwardly if anyone mentioned him or we saw him going past.

“I didn’t say she’s fat,” Nani said, not in the least bothered. “I said that boy was too small for her. Not right for her size.”

I looked at Jameela pointedly, while she grinned.

”I told her the truth,” Nani said pointedly. “I didn’t say she was fat. She mustn’t become like your Choti kala. Weight goes up and down like yo-yo. How will she find a boy when he won’t know who she is the next time he sees her?”

I spluttered as she glanced at me, wondering what Choti Kala would say about this. I knew Nani was just messing with me but it was fun to have something else to worry about.

Besides, I knew there was a stage when I was a little on the chubbier side, but being a lot more conscious of my weight now had brought me down pretty well. I knew that this Ramadhaan, unlike others, I had actually lost some weight. I was looking better than before. I also knew that I had been through so much recently that maybe I needed to just go with the light humor for now.

And as Nani went on about “makko” men (she probably meant macho), I couldn’t help but think of what Nani would think of Faadil. Despite the fact that he was ‘office men’s’ with big, big business, he had a good build. Plus he was super handsome and charming, that he could even charm the socks of me, in the most challenging of situations.

But then again, no-one quite knew about all his other antics that he got up to when he thought he had covered his tracks so well.

Okay, trash the thought. That was my utopian mind taking over. Nani would probably have a heart attack if she got wind of who he was.

Jameela was snickering silently to herself, and I stuck my tongue out at her.

Muhammed Husayn, evidently, had also smelt the famous bajias  and had just sauntered into the kitchen to investigate.

I already knew what was coming. Great. A family affair at my expense.

He sat silently and listened, while Nani explained her very intense whole theory about how sizes matter and opposites that attract. About how size determines the type of selection available and how girls who are thinner have a better selection of the opposite gender to go with. The theory went something like: The larger you are, the less selection is available for attraction.
It was like magnetic fields all over again in high school physics, which thankfully, I had dropped in grade 10. No regrets.

Shew.

”For Mohsina,” she said, matter if fact. “She can’t have one skinny small mens. She needs one with… what you call this thing?”

She tapped her upper arm and gestured at Muhammed Husayn while he smirked.

“Muscles, Nani,” he said blandly. “Muscles.”

”Yes,” she said, thrusting her spoon in the air. “He needs muscles. Can’t marry one bichaaro boy who can’t even pull you out the car seat.”

Great. Now she was suggesting that I get stuck in car seats. I loved my grandmother to bits.

My mouth was still hanging open, but as I watched my siblings grinning at me, I just shook my head at them and rolled my eyes.

The laughter was much needed, even though I wouldn’t admit it. I stayed silent though, as they went off to get ready to break fast, and I sauntered off to the lounge, knowing that my slight disconnection was probably due to the fact that I hadn’t been immersing myself in Ibaadat as much as I wanted to.

I had pulled out my phone from the shelf I had placed it on early, looking at another reminder from Faadil, and decided to ignore it for now, opening my Instagram after what seemed like days. A host of direct messages stared at me as I closed the app again, not yet ready to go into the mundanities of that kind of life yet.

Make up tutorials. Daily care routines. Trending memes that would cause a bit of a stir and create some much needed humour…

It all seemed so far away from me.

While I was searching everywhere for peace, I didn’t know that it was right in front of me, within this glorious message that was sent from above.

There are certain things that come only from the magic of His closeness, that you are privileged to seek. I had taken pride in the wrong things. I had taken pride in my fake life, that I was trying to make greater than it really was.

Because if there was one thing that I had learnt in Ramadhaan, it was that time was something I wouldn’t get back. I knew that if i didn’t make the most of this time, I would certainly be stupid. This was the time when I had to invest. The time I had to beg, steal, borrow and make sure I take advantage of, no matter what.

And for that time, I sought refuge in Allah, battling to find that place where I could connect with my Creator m once again. I sought refuge in Allah, in His mercy, and on the hope that He may see something within me to forever make me His bosom friend.

And as I had been waking up in the wee hours of the morning to seek Him, I found myself once again. I had tasted the sweetness of Quran. Of salaah. Of Duaa.

I sought refuge in it, even though I didn’t always have the words. In conversing with my Lord, even when I wasn’t quite sure what to say. I bore my heart and soul, so much so, that my parents and siblings had actually begun to get worried.

Our beloved Nabi, salla Allahu ‘alaihi wasallam, is reported to have said:

There are three characteristics, whoever they are found in him, will experience the sweetness ofIman; that he loves Allah and His Prophet, more than he loves anyone else, and that he loves another person, not for anything, but for the sake of Allah, and that he hates to return to infidelity, like he dislikes to be thrown into fire.”

And it was that sweetness, a bliss that had consumed me, that I couldn’t seem to get enough of.

And I didn’t know it yet, but there was something quite noteworthy that it was all leading to.

Ever heard that saying, sometimes what you’re looking for comes when you’re not looking at all? 

It just so happens that there’s nothing that rings truer than that, for that particular day.

And having my family around me that day was all part and parcel of what was to be revealed. It lightened the mood. Made things simpler. Lifted my hopes.

I knew they were just poking me. Getting me to lighten up. Maybe even make me laugh. And I almost had. Nani was in good spirits, and still at it as we made our way to the iftaar table after salaah. I had been diligently frying the samoosas,  without even grabbing any testers, while Papa and the rest took a seat and made usual small talk.

Nani was going on about teaching Jameela how to make round rotis, and that’s precisely when I spotted Muhammed Husayn making his way to the kitchen shelf and grabbing the alluring Bubbly chocolate that I had set my sights on earlier.

And I know it a simple chocolate, but for a chocolatarian like me, it was the worst thing that could happen if Muhammed Husayn had just grabbed it at 6.30PM when all other chocolate stocks were low and even the slots on the Checkers app were  fully booked. With my brother, any edible would be devoured in 3 seconds, flat. For me, this was disaster.

I mean, chocolate was the answer to all my problems, especially when I was in fragile states like today.

And I really didn’t mean to stare him down so accusingly, but he must have noticed because he suddenly looked at me, and then said, almost apologetically:

“’This yours?”

And I couldn’t lie. It wasn’t really mine. But Jameela had noticed my annoyed expression and frowned at him, always quick to pick on my brother who had a bottomless pit as a stomach. Especially when it came to the finer things in life.

”Hey greedy, you had yours earlier this week,” she said accusingly. “That was Mosee’s.”

And of course, I was annoyed with him, but what else could I say besides the usual:

”Shame, no, it’s okayyy! Let him have it.”

But Jameela was like the our personal Haraam house police, and wasn’t going to have any of it.

“No,” she said, turning to look at me. “It’s really yours. Like, it’s legit haraam for him to take it without asking you. When you didn’t come down since Zaid left, I forgot to tell you. He brought one for each of us.”

”Who, Papa?” I asked, thinking of how sweet my father was. He knew just what my favourite chocolate was.

“No,” Jameela said blankly, glancing nervously around the table, while Ma and Nani watched her. They both had that look on their faces and I wasn’t even sure why, until she spoke again.

“Hamzah’s mother sent it,” she said quietly. “When they fetched Zaid. She sent a few things. The last time she came to the shop I sent a few things and… Shame, she didn’t have to.”

Jameela flushed slightly as she said it, probably thinking I might be angry about her entertainment of my ex-in-laws. I wasn’t though. It just felt strange.

”So nice of her,” Nani said, missing the awkwardness completely. “To send for all of us. I thought maybe for a special occasion like the masjid sent last week.”

“They had sent for completion of Qur’aan,” Jameela was saying. “This she sent with sooo many other things. Plus, that mosque does two khatams in Ramadhaan. Most people are only finishing their Khatam next week.”

I was secretly a little happy that Hamzah’s mother had actually sent something for me. It made me feel all fuzzy inside.

I was losing interest in the conversation but I couldn’t believe how fast Ramadhaan was going. I was just glad that by next week I would be reading again and be able to make the most of my Qur’aan. It was the one thing I truly missed during these few days.

My heart was feeling a very palpable void.

”Hamzah will finish tomorrow,” Muhammed Husayn said, almost out of the blue.

And I must have had a confused look on my face because as Jameela looked at him too, I couldn’t help but wonder what my brother was on about.

“Finishing what?” I said, still slightly confused.

”He’s reading his last part for tonight. At the house behind the new Masjid in JHB North. I went there last week. He was also talking to Papa the other day when he came and he confirmed it.”

What? My heart literally skipped a beat as he said it.

Why, oh why, didn’t I come down when they came to fetch Zaid? I was being stupid and emotional because I didn’t want him to go. But now, I missed out on this whole conversation that had happened and I couldn’t believe I had acted so childish.

”He’s a Hafidh?” I said dumbly, and Muhammed Husayn looked at me like a I born on another planet.

“Duh.”

It was Jameela’s turn to look at me in surprise. She probably didn’t know either. I mean, she would only know if I had told her.

And why on Earth was my heart beating so fast?

”Wait,” she said, looking at me again. “You telling me he’s a Hafidh and you didn’t know it?”

“We never discussed it,” I said quietly, as if that explained it, barely even believing it myself.

How could we have not even spoke about that?

How could we have never discussed that he was a protector of the most beautiful book? How could we have not spoken about what an amazing gift he had been blessed with? How did I not even see the value of that, before this…

I breathed in, not even seeing clearly anymore. For some odd reason, tears were blurring my vision, and I wasn’t even making an effort to stop them.

Of course, my brother was still giving me the kuku look, Jameela was just shaking her head at me and Nani and my mother were sitting there, with a shocked expression on their face, as if they couldn’t quite believe what had just been revealed and my odd reaction.

To tell the truth, neither could I.

This wasn’t just big. It was huge. And everything just seemed so clear now, depite my oscured vision,  and it was like everything single thing that had happened till that very point was all leading to this. It was a huge discovery that was somehow so much more important in my life than it had ever been before.

Yes, this wasn’t anything unique. There were thousands of Huffaadh around here. A blessing that each of them had, to hold the Holy Qur’aan within their bosom. It was a seemingly simple task that took years of effort and practise and healed even the most obstinate of hearts, but till that day, I hadn’t realsie the true amazement of it.

There was a huge lump in my throat that seemed to be obstructing my breathing canal. I looked up at them, with blurry vision, taking in a deep breath, and knowing that this was no coincidence. Sometimes the simple things in life are really not so simple at all.

“Excuse me,” I almost whispered, swallowing as I pushed my chair back.

I didn’t need to tell them where I was going.

I think they all already knew.


Mission Sunnah Revival

The Sunnah of Duaa…

Whilst we grapple to keep that connection alive out of Ramadhaan, I think the Sunnah of Duaa is one that we need to keep with us… InshaAllah

The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, ‘Du’a is worship itself’. Then the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) recited this verse, ‘Your Lord says: “Call upon Me and I will respond to you. Verily, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell in humiliation” [The Noble Qur’an, 40:60]’. [Tirmidhi]

#SunnahofMaintainingTies

#RevivetheSunnahofSadaqah

#RevivetheSunnahofGivingGifts

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

No Secrets

Bismihi Ta’ala

Saaliha

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.

”Saaliha?”

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.”

#RevivetheSunnahofGoodAkhlaaq

#RevivetheSunnahbeforeSleeping

#RevivetheSunnahofGuardingtheGaze

#RevivetheSunnahofLickingtheFingers

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

A Gust of Wind


Bismihi Ta’ala

Mohsina

No one really knows at what point their life will change. Most of the time, we are just weathering the storm, going with the flow, taking things as they come. And then suddenly, out of the blue, like a gust of wind that sometimes nearly knocks you out, it reaches us. Sometimes change comes at a time where you never really expected it, even when you are completely averse to it. It comes with its magical whispers, waking you up to another world, and before you know it, you’re already it’s best friend.

And sometimes change comes in the form of a crazy drunk colleague who gets you understanding a lot more about your purpose in life, even when you were running away from it all this time.

And so it happens, often times in life, things happen that may seem funny in retrospect, but at that moment… well, in that moment, there’s no way that you can ever see a remotely funny side to a situation that’s almost ruining your day.

And in a way I could understand how this may have been the beginning of quite a complicated relationship, but in many ways, it could have also served to be the reason that I would find myself in a very compromising position at work during the next few months.

“How you doing, babe?” Lesley slurred, all smiles and positive vibes as she winked at me, and I wanted to kind of curl up and play dead on her behalf.

It was obvious that she didn’t realize it, but she looked like at something out of a Star Wars movie.

“Lesley, what are you doing here?” I hissed, getting up and looking around, trying to figure out if anyone else had noticed her discomposure. She was wearing a short dress and her hair make up was still looking semi-decent, but she was still sticking out like a sore thumb.

“A lil birdie tol’ me about the wedding parr-ey,” she said weirdly, her eyes glowing in a way that meant that she was a little tipsier than we thought.

Um,” was all I managed to say, because as I got up and noticed someone hovering over by the house, watching us both, I was already kind of freaking out about how to handle the situation with Lesley.

It was quite obvious that Lesley had not only gate-crashed, but she had probably had a little too much to drink on the way too. The fact that she had called this a wedding party obviously meant that she had expected something different here instead of a small and civilized Nikah and lunch.

The question was, what did I do from here?
Did I expose her? Hide her? Or simply try and get her out of here before it becomes a big deal that I couldn’t control?

“Lesley,” I said, trying to be calm. “Can we chat for a bit? Over there?”

I gestured to a spot behind a tree. I could already see a few eyes on us, and I wished that we could go somewhere and I could make this a little more appropriate, but it was impossible in this open area.

“I came for a wedding!” She exclaimed, shaking her head and spreading her arms out to the view before us. “I’m so ex-hited! I just want to be here, out in the open, have a par-ry! Cele-bation time, yeah?”

She did a little jiggle with her hips and I widened my eyes, noticing more people stopping and watching us as she stumbled slightly.

Bad. This was getting bad.

And of course, I wanted to pick up my phone and tell Layyanah so I could get some input and advice from a third party, but firstly, I had no phone on me for once, and also – I knew that I couldn’t be so selfish. She and Liyaket were spending some time together, and I kind of wished that I could just duck Les away somewhere until she resurfaced to a subdued state… but before that could even happen it was inevitable that someone was coming towards us and I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to tell them.

I offered a small smile as the girl approached,mentally sizing up the pretty girl with the black and yellow modest dress and black hijab, trying to smile at her before she accused me of trying to cause havoc at a peaceful wedding.

“Salaam,” I said, trying to keep a smile on my face.

“Assalamualaikum,” she said, a little stiffly, and I could feel the annoyance that she was oozing.

Hiiii!”  Lesley called from where she was, completely oblivious to the hostility, and I cringed inwardly.

“May I ask if you know her?” Stand-offish girl asked, raising her eyebrows at me judgmentally.

“We work together,” I said carefully. “At Hammond’s. She was feeling left out so, err, she kind of found her way here…”

I gave an awkward laugh but the ice-queen didn’t look amused. I had seen Mickey here somewhere, and I knew that Liyaket and him were close so that probably explained this predicament. Maybe he didn’t get the memo on it being undercover.

Oh,” the girl said, not looking too happy with that consensus. “So you’re all are office girls?”

I cocked my head slightly and narrowed my eyes. Why did she make that sound so demeaning?

I replied with a shrug. Who cares what she thought.

“Office girls and office boys,” I said, slightly sarcastically.

She reminded me of Nani, but even Nani was nicer. This girl was just being evil.

To tell the truth, I wasn’t in the mood to humor her. It was one thing if Lesley was behaving inappropriately but to act as if it was my fault was just ridiculous. Either way, I was feeling a little protective over my colleague so there was no need for me to even try and get on this girl’s good side, if she even had one.
I stared her down until she finally spoke again.

Her next words were just icy.

“Well, this is our property and you need to tell her that she needs to leave,” the girl said, looking indignant, and I kind of felt like punching her in the face.

No!” I said vehemently, getting all charged up. “I won’t do that.”

Her property? I wondered who she was to Hamzah’s family. Shame, maybe she didn’t get enough attention when she was younger. I rolled my eyes, preparing myself for a full on confrontation as her eyes widened in shock. And yes, I was all ready for it.

And the truth was, I didn’t exactly think about my behavior, and I was all about giving tit for tat, but it was besides the point. It was just as well that at that moment there was a voice behind me that called out my name and I spun around, to figure out who this unknown person was and if I even knew her.

The thing is, when someone pisses you off, there are a number of ways in which we can react. Some people break down into tears, some simply ignore the offender and walk away, and others retaliate. Now, I wasn’t the type to go all weepy and give her the satisfaction of breaking me. It wasn’t my style. I was the type to give it right back to her, exactly like she deserved it. But the thing was, I had to check myself. Was it pride? Arrogance? Or was I just giving into my Nafs and behaving like the animal inside me that I hadnt yet tamed?

As people who should be an example to others, as Muslims, the question we need to ask is, “What is it that will please Allah Ta‘ala?”

And it always helped not to lose your cool. It helped to take a moment, to breathe, and then think about your response… And that little interruption allowed me to take a second to check myself.

And yes, I was glad that I didn’t lose my head because it probably would not have been a pretty sight. I also may have just ruined Liyaket and Layyanahs big day with a big scene and that was the last thing I wanted to do.

The new unknown girl who was in niqaab came over, said something to Miss Goody-Two shoes and then turned to me, and I could see from her eyes that she was smiling.

She looked a hundred times more approachable than the Mean Girl version 2.0 who was trying to make my life a misery minutes ago, and there was a live lesson for me right there, even in the way she introduced herself. Character was something that shone through no matter what.

“I’m so sorry about that, Mohsina,” she said sweetly, after greeting. “My sister-in-law tends to get a bit overwhelmed in stressful situations. I’m Saaliha, Hamzah’s brother’s wife. Just checking if you maybe want to take your friend to a room to um, rest? There is a free one behind this one.”

She gestured to the room behind us, and I was slightly surprised at her suggestion. The thing was, Lesley wasn’t exactly a guest, but this was a big lesson for me. I wasn’t even sure how this girl knew my name and who had told her what to say, but that mystery wasn’t important right now. All I knew was that there was a lesson to learn right there.

The thing was, they could have easily got her escorted out of here, especially since she wasn’t in the most admirable state… but to treat her with dignity and kindness was what trumped it for me. She obviously had no idea that Muslim weddings were any different and I’m sure she didn’t come here with the intention of causing havoc. Lesley was out of line, but she still didn’t deserve to be treated with contempt.

And there I was, wanting to punch a girl because she had a bad attitude.

When Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would dispatch any of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) to fulfil a need of Deen, he would instruct them saying, “Give glad tidings and do not chase (people) away. Create ease, not difficulty.” (Sunan Abi Dawood #4835)

The thing is, Allah Ta‘ala has blessed us with a Deen that is not only natural but also an embodiment of ease. It is a natural attraction… a means for people to be invited, without even verbally explaining. All we had to do was have the best manners so that they will want to understand the beauty of Islam.

And since I was so busy admiring this contrast of character that was right before me, it took me a few minutes to process what she had said about taking Lesley to a room until I turned to see her in question, in all her trampled glory, nearly flat out on the grass.

Okay, I got that country air kind of feeling but Lesley was just taking it to another level.

Also, well, I supposed that she was just all into the whole party vibe and she had probably misunderstood the entire concept when she heard ‘wedding’.

I sighed and nodded, wondering how I was going to get her to come with me, but Lesley was in such a dazed state that she willingly obliged, hanging onto my shoulder as we walked together to a room around the corner from the house.

I felt like a mother who was taking care of my naughty kid. Lesley was even acting like a remorseful teenager. She looked guilty and apologized, merely nodding in agreement as I explained to her that I was going to leave her to get a bit of rest, and helped her to get under the blankets. It was only half a minute or so before her eyes started closing, and I left her to doze off for a little while, knowing that Layyanah would probably be looking for me and hoping to find Jameela too before lunch.

And it was a crazy day yet, because with the hype of the wedding and being so excited for my friend, I tried my best to do what I could in terms of helping and serving.  I clashed into Miss Goody-Two-Shoes about three times, but I purposely stayed out of her way because I really did not want to be bitter about her earlier attitude.

Besides, there were so many other amazing things about the day to focus on.  The thing was, as I looked around, I knew that in Layyanah’s mind and from what she was used to, her wedding lunch or waleemah might have been completely different. I knew that her parents would not have settled for anything less than the best for her.
This function, however, was simple, with paper plates and slightly fancy paper serviettes. Some mats were laid on the floor, Sunnah style, and I assumed it was the house people who sat there. There were no engraved favours or personalized napkins. There were no fancy orchid flower arrangements, but simple flowers that were in single vases on the table, which I knew were picked from the garden here. The simple white table cloths and lack of cutlery was far from what she was accustomed to. There was no themed wedding cake, only a few simple trays of home-made treats, that would be served after the meal.

To top it off, as the cherry on the top for me, some of the neighbors had been invited and to see their simplicity and the way that they observed the Sunnah of washing hands, eating and even licking their fingers so impeccably was a breath of fresh air. And yes, I was watching them carefully because it was something that I never saw in the high-flying circles of Jo’burg where extravagance was rife, but something that many had sadly lost the essence of. It was simply beautiful to see it alive here.

And although this was much less than what she might have imagined materialistically,  as I glanced as Layyanah, who was sitting next to me, all she seemed like was beautifully at peace.

I had helped her to do her make up and someone else had offered to tie her hijab. That change also, was so amazing to see in itself. Everyone had come together to help make sure the few guests were served most graciously. It was intimate and comfortable and most stress-free. There was nothing but happiness and sunshine that was shining down on us, and it just reinforced for me that big bucks and fancy things were not the best things in life, after all.

And I was all about piling up dirty dishes and taking them for washing as everyone sat around and talked, but as I glimpsed at Jameela talking to some aunty, I could feel my feet aching and seeing the extensive garden got me feeling all nature-inspired once again. I wanted to soak up the sun for a bit, before the clouds would take over. I could already see the wind getting a little more disruptive as I picked up a few serviettes that had flown off the table. It looked like rain may be on it’s way.

And even though I knew that going to find Muhammed Husayn and heading home may be the best idea right then, as I glimpsed Layyanah sitting in the distance with Liyaket, my heart did a little contraction on seeing how intimate and settled they looked, forgetting for a moment all the drama of the week and what I was supposed to be focusing on right then.

Seeing those two just made me feel all fuzzy and warm inside, because I was just so glad that everything had worked out for the best. And as I stood and eyed them out from behind for a few seconds, seeing Liyaket getting up and placing his hand on Layyanah’s shoulder reassuringly before he left, I knew it was my cue to catch up with her briefly, and see if she needed anything. Some things, you could only tell your girls, and I got that.

Lifting my dress slightly as I made my way over, I plopped down next to her, completely ungraciously, happy to see that she was beaming blissfully. I sat without saying a word, made a silent Duáa for her, seeing the wisdom in the words that were advised to say after a marriage would take place.

When supplicating for the newlywed, Nabi (Sallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) would say, “Barak Allahu laka wa baraka alaik, wa jama’a bainakuma fi khair” 
“May Allah bless you and send blessings upon you, and bring goodness between you.” 

And yes, I wished all of that and more for the two of them, and my emotions were driving me to all sorts of undesirable states but I knew I had to hold it together and at least appear composed.

“Hey you,” she said casually, as I nodded my head at her, too choked up to say anything. She smiled and looked ahead.

The weather was slowly changing and I could feel the wind picking up as we sat there. I wrapped my arms around me as the breeze intensified, looking out into the meadow. Somehow, the sunshine had made everything seem brighter. Now that there was a little cloud cover, my mood was feeling a little more subdued.

“You clean up good, by the way,” she murmured, nudging me ever-so-slightly with a small smirk. “Dressed to impress, neh?”

I laughed sarcastically.

“Now that you noticed, there was a random girl who wasn’t too impressed with me today,” I said, rolling my eyes, not really intending to relate the entire story to her.

“I may know her,” she said, looking like she wasn’t letting on what she knew.

“Really?” I asked. How did she know what had happened? “Who was she anyway?”‘

“Does it matter?” she said softly, and I knew that she didn’t want to say anything bad. “What matters is that I do know someone who was impressed by you today. About how you handled the Lesley drama. Why didn’t you tell me?”

I looked at her, slightly confused.

”You know?” I asked, stating the obvious. “Who?”

Who was she talking about?

”I heard,” she said, raising her eyebrows, but still smiling. “Liy just told me.”

I was hoping she wouldn’t hear. Which reminded me that I needed to check up on Les before I left. Maybe feed her some Briyani and get her an Uber back home.

Layyanah had enough on her head as it was. I never thought that I’d be the type to be considerate but there I was. Considerate and all.

And hey, wait, what did she say about someone being impressed by me?

I hoped it wasn’t some weird stalker type with unkempt hair and crooked teeth.

“You never know when you make an impression on someone,” she said quietly, not exactly answering my question. “At work you’re always so hard and composed and focused, and I loved that part of you. The go-getter, the straight-talk, the corporate monster in you is good but I like the other side to you so much better.”

“What other side?” I said innocently, trying to keep a straight face. “Did I happen to show you that I’m actually human?”

She grinned. It was so good to see her so happy, and she wasn’t just smiling with her eyes. The happiness was overflowing, directly from her heart.

“There’s a lot more to you than you think of yourself, you know, Mos,” she continued, her smile wavering slightly. “Sometimes we don’t realize how we impact someone else’s life. How you can make someone smile when you say something quirky to them. Or they feel chuffed when you compliment them. Maybe your input made someone think twice and I know it did for me.”

Ah man. I was so chuffed by her words. Like really, I think that was the nicest thing anyone ever said to me. I actually didn’t know that I could actually come across as …. nice. Wow.

“And so,” she continued, not meeting my eye. “So when you asked me about my mother earlier, if I told them about my Nikah… I know I had to at least let you know that she contacted me. I haven’t told Liyaket yet.”

My inflated ego was slowly deflating. Why did I smell trouble?

Weren’t Layyanah’s parents like fixated on this great and glorious lifestyle for their daughter? But I couldn’t get carried away as yet. Maybe there was a good reason for it and they weren’t really coming after me like the mafia-like people who had probably put a hit on me for helping their daughter to run away.

And like a gust from the blue, I felt like the wind was knocked out of me, as she relayed to me exactly what was going on.

“Can you please stay a little while longer?” she said, her eyes pleading with mine as she finally looked at me. I wanted to cry. Surely, I was going to die on an isolated farm 220 kilometres from home.

“I really wanted you to meet her.”


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

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

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

22nd October 2021
Friday

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

(Muslim Shareef)

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

 

An amazing quality to inculcate into our lives…

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofEnteringtheToilet

#RevivetheSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofUsingtheRighthand

FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

Temptation

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

“Let’s talk numbers,” I said, putting on a poker face and my best mafia voice.

“Show me the money and I’m all yours.”

Well, I supposed I deserved it when Waseem swatted me at the back of my head. I rubbed it, over-exaggerating the pain, and followed him out of the building.

“I’m in a fix,” he finally said, rubbing his temples, and just looking slightly stressed.

“Dad’s seized all my accounts,” he explained. “Except the one he doesn’t know about.”

Sheesh. I didn’t have to ask why. It was his way of showing Waseem who was boss. Dad had contacts. He could do anything when it concerned money. Unfortunately, this was just kind of low… Even for him.

Waseem went on to ask me if I’d help find out about that property that my Dad seemed to be going crazy over. He was worried that Dad would take the opportunity to probably turn the house over, since he seemed to be so peeved about his marriage.

I nodded, realising that this was a bit serious. I had a big responsibility and I wasn’t sure if I was about to pull it off. I mean, I knew I had been pulling off some big stunts with my new ‘mature’ outlook on life, but stepping up to interfere in my father’s affairs was a tough call.

I nodded while Waseem hurriedly went forward for the second Jamaat since he was a bit late. He greeted and left again quickly, just pausing to greet a few people briefly. He looked straight ahead and seemed like he had a lot on his mind, and I really did feel bad for him.

And so, after greeting Junaid and making plans to meet up with him the following week, I set off to actually do some of the work that I was supposed to. I organised an awesome wedding car for Waseem, even though I knew he wouldn’t care, and set up a mic system for Mo to use tomorrow. I was going to take it a step further and organise a ‘Halaal Mp3’ for the function, but I wasn’t sure if my brother would approve.

We had strict instructions to simplify every bit of Aasiya’s attempts to ‘fancify’ the whole occasion, and as I looked at the set up at Mo’s place, I realised we had a huge job on our hands.

From  shiny cutlery, draped lacey thingums and matching fabric serviettes (napkins?)… My eyes were overwhelmed with the decorations. I mean, do people really care about all those things? Do they even notice?

The whole ‘garden set-up’ was awesome, but I just hated to think what would happen if it rained. It would definitely ‘dampen’ the spirit and make it a day to remember.

I went home after Esha Salaah that night, and thankfully, Dad wasn’t home to draw me in to any more of his conquests. Mum seemed to be in a strange mood, but she didn’t say much as I went up to my room to get an early-ish night in preparation for the next morning.

Well, I supposed that it was just as well that as I woke up the next morning, the sky was quite clear. As sunrise came in, and I watched the view from my balcony with my early-morning cigarette in hand, the sun was making it’s presence very felt.

I’m sure Aasiya was very glad… She probably had the whole thing planned out from A-Z and I’m know that Muhammed wouldn’t have been as cool as he was if it all didn’t go according to plan.

I got there early to see him very busy trying to tone down the whole scene as he walked through the table settings, undoing bits and frills of the men’s section as he caught Aasiya looking elsewhere. It was kind of funny, but I felt a bit sorry for Mo, stuck between making Aasiya happy and fulfilling Waseem’s requests of simplicity. I thought I had heard him say he just wanted a simple Sunnah style supper of about 50 people, so I was kind of anticipating him getting a shock when he saw the lay-out that was prepared for him.

As for me… I was psyched.  It was like my previous day’s dream was becoming a reality.

First things first… Of course, I had made sure that I was dressed, in full fancy ‘Kurtah-style’ wedding attire with pants above my ankles, knowing that I was ready to be Waseem’s right hand man. Mo was also looking cool, but what really amazed me was the evidence of a beard making it’s presence felt. I could see that my eldest brother was definitely exploring the better side of life.

Secondly, when I realised that the dream had become something of a reality, I honestly felt like I was on Cloud 55. Platters of the most awesome munchies were already being set, and of course, there were girls of all types coming in to set them up.

I took it upon myself to play the supervisory role again, thinking that I was doing good. I just wanted to help out. I didn’t exactly go ‘into’ the ladies section, even though it was empty, so what was the issue if I just helped them out a bit. Just for now.

And of course, I never intended to fall into the trap of Shaytaan. The thing was, there can be no good where there is an element of bad. Even if you do something with the intention of helping someone, if it involves displeasing Allah, there can never be any goodness in it. It’s what we often fail to understand.  There’s no obedience to a creation if that obedience equals disobedience to the Creator. That’s not possible.

It’s like phoning a chic to wake her up for Fajr. It didn’t make sense. Or even like, when people have mixed functions to please certain family members or the more ‘elite’ class of people who don’t have knowledge of Deen… There can be no blessing in their function, because it is against Allah’s command. And then people wonder what happend to the marriage, when the very inception of it was completely against Allah’s command. And it goes on to other dealings as well… Like even when a business is operated against the laws of Allah… There can never be any goodness in what comes out.

And in all honesty, in my efforts to be ‘helpful’, if the hot girl with the really tight cloak, (and it was really tight, I kid you not), and bumped up scarf with the fringe sticking out, (is that a stupid fashion or what?) hadn’t asked me in her extremely unnerving voice about the cool drinks, I would have been fine. In fact I would have been awesome.

But as she spoke, something kind of flickered in me… Like a fused light bulb suddenly being rebooted. I looked at her, full on, taking her in. I could read her body language. I could see that she liked me. And she definitely wasn’t one of those girls who were just teasing. I knew the type.

It was how I used to operate when I didn’t really have emotional attachments… Or any conscience. A small dose of physical services would always do the trick, and even if I never saw the girl again, it wouldn’t make a difference. That was how those things went. No strings attached.. No pressure.

Honestly, I would never admit it to anyone else, but I was seriously thinking of taking advantage… The thought crossed my mind… More than once.

You’ve been so good all this time, something was telling me. You deserve this. Be free. 

That’s how the thoughts came at you. It wasn’t an outright commandment. The thought is just planted… And it was just a matter of pulling a few Zee moves and getting the goods. I’m not saying that I was going to go through with it, but the opportunity was definitely presenting itself to me.

But as we turned the corner around the back of the house, once again, like the previous day, something was on my side again.

Aasiya, who was supposed to be in the front, facilitating the caterers, popped out of nowhere, studying us both in a very suspicious light.

Yeah, I could see what she was thinking. But being the Zee, of course, I was as smooth as ever. Ice cream had nothing on me that night.

I asked her if she needed help with anything, ignoring her scrutinising looks. The chic, on the other hand, just went a light shade of red. Well, a little redder than the layer of blush plastered on. She muffled some excuse to Aasiya, and quickly turned to go back. I shrugged my shoulders, looking indifferent.

Aasiya knew me better than that. She raised her eyebrows and made sure I didn’t find my way near any other girls that night.

Of course, I quickly realised that I had gone completely off-track. I mean, I had nearly lost the entire plot in those moments.

Watch yourself, Zee, I warned my Nafs.  You’re getting caught up.

I actually couldn’t believe that I was thinking the way that I was. It was like I had no control over myself… Like when I used to just let myself go… When I thought that I was just a free soul in this messed-up world.

But what really got me was that although I was evidently so messed up, like all the other times, Allah still saw something to salvage in me. This time, He sent Aasiya at that particular moment to kill the whole thing. I couldn’t believe it. I could not fathom how lucky I had been, despite my ridiculous desires that made me go off.

The thing was, no matter what level anyone may reach, we cannot ever assume that we are free from the effects of evil. In fact, that’s when Shaytaan seizes the opportunity, because he works on our weaknesses. That’s when he tries harder, to get us to go off-track again. It’s always well planned out. He will whisper into the heart, and suggest his plan… And then, we either act on it or not.

But it’s not as obvious as we think… That owe’s definitely got strategy.

Because if you’re praying, he’s not going to come right at you and tell you to just stop praying. Slowly, by giving in to him and your Nafs, he will make you delay, or doubt your intentions. You might even stop, if you’ve given in to him completely. That how he works. Or he does it by making everything seem much peachier than it really is… So if something is completely forbidden, and you’ve been restraining yourself for a while, he will present it to you in such a way that you cannot resist. That’s how awesome he makes it seem.

But at the end of the day, I had to remember:

“Every human is a slave. You either a slave of your desires or a slave of Allah. You either live your life by your own rules or by the rule of Allah.”

I checked myself. Was I living in obedience to Allah or to my own Nafs? I immediately asked for forgiveness, seeking refuge from Shaytaan, who seemed to have taken advantage of my spirit today. It was amazing how brilliant he was at seizing an opportunity, and I just relented so easily. But even though he had all those sly tactics, I had to remember that Allah was obviously The Greatest. Allah was above it all. With all the wedding excitement and the ‘lurv’ in the air, I had just got carried away.

“You okay?” Mo asked as I got to the front of the men’s section, probably noticing my slightly forlorn look.

I nodded. I was fine. In fact, I was more than fine. I was saved from sin, once again. I was given another chance to prove myself, despite me being hopeless.

He was greeting the people coming in, and I joined him, greeting some of the people I vaguely recognised. It was only then that I realised how many people they had actually invited.

I wasn’t sure what Waseem’s reaction would be, but as I glanced outside, I realised that I wouldn’t have to wait long to see. He was already here, by the entrance we had kept open for him, letting his wife off the car, and immediately, as he held guided her into the ladies area, I noticed that Waseem wasn’t in the least bothered about anything else. All the concerns and weight of the world that he had carried yesterday seemed to have disappeared. He seemed completely free of any burdens… Because his worries seemed to lifted, just for the moment with his wife by his side.

Well, it was a bit clichèd, but it was definitely what the ladies would call ‘sweet’.

Yeah, my brother was that type. The sweet type, who used all these corny phrases. It always used to perturb me when I heard him calling chics weird names before, but now that he’d channelled his ‘sweetness’ into what it was meant for, it definitely had the desired effect. He always made everyone seem extra special, and it was precisely that reason why he showed her to the ladies section, and then came to join us, greeting guests, even though we told him that he should be sitting. I knew he found the whole ‘do’ to be a bit much and a tad bit extravagant, but with consideration for Mo, he didn’t say a thing.

The Du’aa of one of Waseem’s friends from Madrassa started off the function, and all that we expected of the function was more than we had anticipated. Everything went off awesomely, and I honestly felt like there wasn’t a Walimah that I had gone to that touched it. And it wasn’t because the lighting created the rustic look, and presented the perfect ‘intimate style’ wedding. It wasn’t because of the ‘soft’ colour theme and all the decor that complimented the ‘earthly’ colours, flavours and scents for ‘seasonal styling’. And to tell the truth, it wasn’t even about the awesome and delicious 5 course meal that just went down the right alley.

The thing was, it wasn’t any of that that made it the ‘it’ function for me. It was amazing because it was pure, and it was pure because there was really no Haraam within it at all. People may have thought it was boring, or devoid of something, but in simplicity was where the Barakah lay. Don’t get me wrong. Aasiya had made sure everything looked great, but nothing was overdone, and nothing was breaking the command of Allah.

For this part of Pretoria, it was extremely strange, but that’s what it made it good. That’s what made it real. That’s what made it stand out like a rare diamond in the darkness.

And after a long evening, after even killing the urge to be lazy and helping them right to the end, all I wanted to do was get into bed and knock myself out. I was already thinking about my soft bed and block out curtains that would allow me to sleep till noon, as I entered the front gate. The door wasn’t latched, and though I found it strange, I turned the handle, already making my way up to my room.

And it was just as well that the rest of the house was quiet, or I wouldn’t have heard the soft muffles coming from the couch on the landing. As I got up the stairs, I caught a sight of a figure in the semi-darkness where the noise was coming from, and I was immediately on guard. Something was just not right.

“Ma,” I said, my voice sounding slightly foreign. It was shaking. “What’s wrong?”

She looked up at me from where she sat, and I could see that her hair and face was fully done, as if she was ready to go out. I could also see that her eye make-up was smudged and her face was streaked with tears. I expected some kind of explanation, but all she did was stand up and say, in a barely audible voice:

“Your father wants to see you.”

Cutting the Cord

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Everyone who knows me as ‘The Zee’ knows pretty well the kind of guy that I am. With me, what you see is what you get. That’s it. No hidden agenda.

Waseem, on the other hand, always had this mysterious and ‘deep’ side to him. Amongst other more obvious things, I supposed it was the whole evasive quality that he possessed that made him so appealing…

Yeah, I know… He was something of an enigma.

Purposefully thoughtful, even in public… Always creating the impression that he knew more than he was letting on.

I wouldn’t lie. I got it. It added an edge… I could tell that it just made him seem kind of… Exciting.

And because of that, sometimes, I honestly didn’t even get what my brother was saying. He was never just straight forward. I’ve heard of people beating around the bush, but my brother took it to another level. He ‘spoke around the bush’.

And so, when he had said, “See you after Asr?”, I had to rethink about ten times to remember if there was a mysterious or unassuming edge to his words he had said. Given our morning drama, I took it at face value and I just assumed that he meant he would ‘see’ me after Asr. Not that he would see me from about 200 metres away from the front of the Masjid where he was about to make NIKAH and get someone to drag me over to him. I was appalled, to say the least. And I’m sure you believe me when I say that I was not a dramatic kind of guy.

In all honesty, the whole reality was just damn unnecessary. Couldn’t he just have told me, in simple terms, that he was doing the whole hook-up that very evening?

I walked to the front as Waseem requested, trying to step up my appearance as I had no idea I’d be in the spotlight. The Zee was going to be ‘the brother’ in the whole scenario.

When Mo had got married I was too young to take advantage, but now I was determined to make the most of the opportunity. I tried to ease into a slightly more presentable version of Sunday Zee as I joined Mo at the front with two of my uncles, and watched as the Maulana Dude started the proceedings.

He was speaking on the great Sunnah of Nikah, and stressing on simplicity.

Molvi Umar was back in town, and Waseem had seized the opportunity to make his Nikah at the same time. Wise move, I had to admit.

I looked at my brother, the man of the hour. Waseem was looking super-cool in the whitest of Kurtahs, and he didn’t look nervous in the least. I putposefully tried to sway his stance by giving him a few unnerving glances that were meant to stir him, but his gaze remained fixed ahead. He was super contained… Like he knew exactly what he was doing. This whole marriage thing didn’t cause any discomposure whatsoever. And in all honestly, I was sure that nothing anyone could tell him would faze him.

I momentarily thought back to my father’s words earlier that day. Waseem had left and I had gone back inside to ease the situation. My father was still screaming his head off, talking to my mother about what a failure her sons were.

“Tell him I’m taking him off my will!” he was saying to her, raging. “Go and tell him! I’m seizing all his accounts! And tell him never to come here for anything ever again!”

I stared back at my father, shaking my head. Really? More ugliness? More worldly focus? He still didn’t get it.

Waseem didn’t care about any of it. He just wanted acceptance and my father wouldn’t relent. All he knew was that he had a different ambition for Waseem, and Waseem had let him down. Waseem chose a different path to world pursuit. He didn’t want to follow in Dad’s footsteps.

And I supposed that was what my father couldn’t understand. Why would anyone not want what he had. His life was awesome…. In his eyes. But, what he failed to see was that it was only temporarily awesome…

My thoughts were interrupted by a sudden break in the ceremonial proceedings. I was forced to focus.

“Do you accept?”

The voice sounded like it was directed at me, but being seated next to Waseem was misleading.

I watched my brother nodding and getting up to say the words that would finalise the contract. I had missed most of the beginning, but I assumed that Bombshell girls’ father had already acceded to the request and now it was time for my brother to give his word.

To make his mark. To show his zeal. To step up to the platform where he could take his Deen to another level.

And of course, nothing would stop him.

Qabiltun Nikahaha.’

And… Like the commentary in my mind had come to a close… With that, the deal was sealed. Contract accepted.

The simple two words attested to the completion of half one’s Deen.

The simplicity of the whole ceremony just got me, at that point. There were no frills or fancies required. No-one had to spend thousands of rands to soup up this affair, because in essence, this was not a function of social benefits. It was a religious fuction that meant so much more than met the eye. What lay ahead, in terms of unity and improving religion was so much more than what any give credit for.

I was taken aback by it for a few seconds, knowing that my brother had actually taken this step. He had said the words, and I could see that he meant them in entirety. He had said the words and changed his life. He had chosen to not just settle, and follow his heart.

I drank it all in. I knew it wasn’t my imagination. The horizon was a little brighter already.

BarakAllah, wa lakuma wa Barakah, wah Jama’a bayna kumaa fee Khair.”

(May Allah bless you two, surround you both with blessings, and bring you both together in whatever is good and prosperous.)

Maulana closed the Nikah off with those words, and left us with a beautiful Du’aa to ponder about. And I wasn’t generally the pondering type.

I mean, I had attended dozens of Nikahs but this one just brought a whole other dimension to the whole union. Not just because it was my brother’s. I was just seeing things so much more differently. It’s beautiful simplicity and basis made it that much more awesome.

It just made me wonder… Why did people complicate life? Why did they have to accessorise it with so much of extravagance when the very ritual was just so intimate and simple, just as it was. In fact, being ignorant, everything I had thought was ‘backwards’ before I had the knowledge of Deen now seemed completely rational and sensible. It was like a whole new doorway opened up for me, shedding light on the obscurities and helping me to see the deeper meaning behind everything in our religion. There was so much of wisdom in it’s teachings, that I couldn’t believe that it didn’t amaze me before.

The thing was, when everything is meant to be simple, why do we complicate matters and make it difficult for ourselves? Even when it came to basic things… Why not just look into Islam and do it the righg way?

Like… Why unnecessarily go to the painful trouble to shave your beard every day when it’s Sunnah to keep it? And why worry about gelling and doing your hair, by adding highlights or all those weird shenanigans, when you know you should cover it up or put on a hat? Why spend hours killing time in front of a mirror deciding on Guess or Armani, when the best brand is the Sunnah one?

And when I looked at my own life and how I wanted that one girl just for me… Why fight for the girl that you’re afraid you’re going to lose, when you know Islam will secure her for you by Nikah? Why make our weddings such a big hoo-haa when our Prophet (SAW) made it known that simplest is best?

It was just so simple… Fundamental. If Islam was taken seriously, there would be little corruption in the Muslim society. It was just sad that so few were favoured with the knowledge to realise it. I wish I had been enlightened sooner, but truly, it was only those whom Allah wished to favour who were given that ability to see this beauty. Because that’s what it was. Pure beauty.

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “When Allah wishes good for someone, He bestows upon him the understanding of Deen.”

And so, I knew it wasn’t just anyone who was able to see this beauty. Allah had guided me in such a way that I was no longer blind to the purity that existed here. My eyes and mind had been awakened to the splendour that had always existed, and now had been given the priviledge to see, first hand.

“I see your bru’s tied the knot,” a voice said from behind. “Modern day Mus’ab’s getting a happy ending.”

I turned around and saw a familiar face approaching. Junaid. I remembered him well now and actually cracked a smile at him, nodding.

Mus’ab? I would have to find out more about that nickname.

And of course, Waseem had had come a long way from when he had first met him. He hadn’t wasted himself completely. That much I knew.

I engaged myself in light conversation with the guy, still pensive. All of it was happening too fast. Waseem, who had been like my right-hand-man for the past few weeks had gotten hitched. Emotions were getting me carried away… And I almost started to laugh at myself.

The Zee was actually starting to tear up!

And it was amazing, because as I watched my bright-eyed brother who looked even more awesome than usual, constantly smiling at everyone who came forward to greet him, a few months ago, I would have never imagined that he would end up up here. That he would come so far, and rise above his past. That he would cut the cord that linked him to his thoughtless sins, unveiling his bright future. I would’ve have never thought that he would make it so far, and prove that he was worthy of a straight life. And there was no doubt about the effect it had…

It gave me hope… Made me hope. For everyone I knew and for myself too. Maybe it wasn’t too late. Maybe everything wasn’t always as clear cut as it seemed. Maybe there was that little pot at the end of the rainbow, even for me. Maybe I too, would find the gold.

Dates were being served and I grabbed one as I lead the way out, waiting for my brothers near the car. I greeted Waseem as they approached, letting him know in the one gesture that everything was probably going to be okay. It had to be.

We jumped into the car, and I saw Mo hand him an envelope, which was probably something of a wedding gift, and the car started. My own heart was racing for my brother, realising the enormity of what he had done.

Happily ever after or not… No-one knew… But I realised that there is an end. In fact, there’s an end to every storm. Once all the trees have been uprooted… Once all the houses have been broken apart.

The wind will hold up. We’ll find some cover.

The clouds will seize. The rain will stop. The sky will eventually clear, and only then, do we learn how strong we were, because we survived it. We rose above the damages, and made it through.

And as the cars all started moving and the day started to close in, we had no choice but to keep on moving forward together. To Waseem’s wife and future.

Right now, there was no going back.