Springtime Secrets

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 61


I truly believe that there’s no better place to spend the springtime than outside, with the grass beneath your toes, sun shining hot, wind blowing cold, sitting under the towering jacaranda trees, letting violet-tipped blossoms fall all around you.

And as my morning dwindled away in that very nature and I finally decided that it was time to find my way back inside, savouring the feeling of morning air that draped itself around me like a new dress, I couldn’t help but soak it all in.

Green upon green… beauty upon beauty… met my hungry eyes as I glanced back, feasting on the glorious colours that springtime had brought. Untying my soiled gardening attire and flinging it on a low bush beside the kitchen entrance, i couldn’t help but smile as I heard Nani’s voice, picking flowers and making a bouquet to post next to the kitchen counter when I stepped back inside.

It was just one of those days that I felt direly in need of having springtime sprinkled over everything.

As much as we appreciate the beauty of Spring, as we witness the splendour of the seemingly dead being revived, as colours spring from nowhere, and possibilities are abundant… when sweetness blooms… we tend to forget that our lives and our hearts need a season of blooming too.

The truth is that the true nature of the human heart is as whimsical as spring weather.

And to aid the heart, the Qurʾān and the Sunnah are two flowers whose fragrances are only smelt after they are watered. They are the spring of our life that revives our lost soul, waters our parched hearts and plant seeds of hope once again. They are a mercy to mankind, reminding us that our hearts can still bloom with love and gratitude, in appreciation of the gift that Allah sent to restore our brokenness once again.

I would never forget the first colour of spring bloom that year, and the point in time which I spotted it just before the kitchen window as Nani spoke nineteen-to-the-dozen in the backdrop. It had started off with an amazingly unique, peachy colour, as it opened into a bronzey orange that twinkled in the sunlight and that I found simply enchanting.

”I heard our Mosee is gone to the stay at Hamzah’s Dadi,” Nani was saying, her eyes looking even more serious than ever as she glanced at me coming in, her hands busy with chopping the coriander for her next batch of samoosas. “I hope she is behaving properly and not being lazy, like how she acts here. Won’t even lift a spoon and act like she is so busy with the baby. I won’t be surprised if her mother-in-law and sister-in-law are watching her every move and complaining.”

”I don’t think that her mother-in-law is with them,” I said innocently, purposely not divulging Mohsina’s annoyance about the fact that her sister-in-law was constantly in her face.

That was marriage though. There’s always someone who will annoy or irritate you and you have to just keep having Sabr and be the best kind of person you can to them.

Often in our journey in life, we forget that everything about our purpose in life should be channeled toward getting closer to our creator.

And of the most sublime characters of the propagations of Islam, is the quality that trumps all other. Good character. How we treat others.

“Also,” I piped up, remembering that she had actually been trying to create a good impression. “She took some cheesecakes with.”

Chi,” Nani said, shaking her head, not looking impressed in the least. “One tray of cheesecakes? Whose nose that will go into? When I got married we cook big, beeeeg pots of food and roll 5 kilo flour of rotis every Saturday. No one to even help until Nanas brother got married. If I had baby, I would put baby on top of counter and do work.”

Eish. Nani and her competitiveness. Honestly, it was like the people were made different back then. How they managed, I don’t know.

“But mummy, she’s improved a lot,” Ma said, sticking up for Mohsina. “From not even making a breakfast now she even fries an egg for Hamzah every day. At least she is giving him something.”

”Bhengori, you always defend her,” Nani said stubbornly, raising her finger as she pushed her scarf back. “From day one, Mohsina never learn to cook. Only one thing you and Iqbal taught her: study, study and study. Big big accounting books and no Indian delights. Jameela, you don’t get all these funny ideas. You can only study best BSc. Baking, sewing and cooking. That’s how you will keep your husband happy.”

I smiled, not trusting myself to say anything else. From my friends who were married, I knew that cooking was something that they all struggled with at first. Our generation was just a teeny bit spoilt. Our mothers did everything for us. But as I saw Mohsina growing and learning in marriage, I knew that there was hope for me too.

Besides, I knew that men weren’t only worried about stuffing their faces, right? What about love? I was a sucker for love. Feelings. Emotion. That was important too, right?

“You will have no troubles if you can keep husband happy,” Nani was going on as she cleaned the dhaniya. “And that other doctor I was talking about, Jameela, I think we must go and meet Khairoon and he can see you-“

”Mummy, I’m not sending my daughter like that so one boy can see her,” Ma said stubbornly, raising her eyebrows as she sipped her cup of tea. “If he wants to see her we need to ask Jameela if she is okay with it and then he can come home properly.”

I smiled shyly, not really feeling this whole proposal thing. They just made it sound so unromantic. Meet the boy. See if you click. And then… it’s the waiting game.

But also, maybe I needed to wake up and say goodbye to the dream of being swept away by my Prince Charming and stop saying no to every guy that everyone suggested.

For Mohsina to actually encourage me to get married before twenty was a big thing.

“Bhengori, how can she not be okay with it?” Nani said in gujarati. “Don’t give them so many choices, you must decide and let her meet him at least.”

Goodness, I must just meet all these random men. My nerves will be frazzled. The situation would be so awkward. What if I hated him?

To me, she turned and said:

”Jameela, he is sooo fair and handsome, like one white man he is,” she said dreamily, and I couldn’t help but giggle.

For Nani, fairness was gold. Why were Indian people so shallow?

What about his akhlaaq? His Deen? His attachment to the masjid? What about how he deals with people.. and how much of the Sunnah he has in his life.

Either way, Nani was going on about him like he was some kind of faultless being that fell from Jannah and also, well… if he was so nice, why didn’t she marry him?

“But Nani, I don’t think white men are my type,” I said meekly, trying to crack a joke.

“But he is a doctor,” Nani said excitedly, as if that was the be all and end all of life. “Khairoon already said he wants to come and all you have to say is yes and they will come tomorrow.”

No. She cannot be serious. This was pressure. I could feel my cheeks flaming up as Nani and my mother looked at me expectantly.

”Er, okay,” I found myself saying weakly, knowing that I was going to regret it.

The look on Nani’s face was priceless though, and I supposed it was worth her excitement if I had to sacrifice my own comfort for a little while.

And as I left the kitchen, leaving my mother and Nani to make their plans for tomorrow, I couldn’t help but feel an odd sinking kind of sensation in my gut.

And as my eyes fell on the dusty peachy orange colour of the rose as I stepped out into the afternoon sunshine, my hand automatically stretched out to enjoy the natural feel of it’s silky petals and I couldn’t help but feel my heart lifting. No matter what happened… what my heart endured… Nature just brought something out in me that I couldn’t even describe.

I would purposely go out there and read my Qur’ān and soak in all the goodness that it’s words had to offer me in this surreal setting.

I had purposely escaped Nani because I knew that spending more time around her was going to give me nerves, and as I heard someone come from behind me, I couldn’t help but smile as I glimpsed my father coming down the stairs after me.

I knew that he had been busy lately with the shop and trying to think of new ideas to keep things going. From time to time, I assisted and I knew a little about the worries he faced and him hoping not to fall back into the hands of loan sharks and people who would threaten his peace of mind.

“Salaam Papa,” I said softly as he approached me, stretching out his arm to squeeze my shoulder affectionately. I leaned in for a short embrace, realising how much I’d missed my father the past few days while I had been avoiding the coffee shop.

My father’s arms, for me, had always been a safe and comforting place. I knew that for Mohsina, being as independent as she was, she didn’t see him quite the same way. For her, Papa was the one who needed the protection. Papa was the one who would turn to Mohsina for guidance and if there was ever a problem, she always knew exactly what to say. How she took on so much was beyond me…

“I hear they’re planning your marriage,” my father said, grinning as he saw me roll my eyes. I wasn’t surprised to hear that Nani would probably even start shopping for her outfit tomorrow.

“You coming to the shop?” he said, looking at me with a smile. It was a Saturday and one of the busier days of the week.

“Are you alone there today?” I asked, not revealing anything in my expression.

He simply nodded and then looked at me again. I didn’t know that Papa was alone.

But as he said it, I vaguely remembered Nusaybah mentioning something about her and Zubair going to see a grandparent that weekend, which was something that her brother has asked for time off for.

And I couldn’t help but remember the day before when I was out there, thinking anout what a wonderful person Nusaybah was. When I first met her, I never thought that she would turn out to such an amazing character.

Meeting her was like a gust of fresh air that came with so much of amazement and splendour. Not only did I learn about the beautiful character of the Nusaybah bint Ka’b who her mother named her after, but I learnt so much more.

Nusaybah bin Ka’b (RA) was a well-known ‘sheroe’ of the time and gained a reputation as the most distinguished woman who took part in the Battle of Uhud. She was one of two women who expressed an interest in swearing their Bayah or allegiance to the Prophet (Sallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) in the second pledge at Aqaba. She believed that a woman had the same duty in defending the new religion as a man.

When I met Nusaybah, her character was so similar to the war attendant she was named after, that every time I looked at her, all I could see was this amazing and determined young lady who wanted to help the world. She was so quirky and animated, but at the same them, so focused on Deen and just trying her best to be the best.

Most of all, I could see she had this deep-rooted concern for her brother, and having no mother, had stepped into that role from ages back. She often spoke about how Zubair was so young when he lost his mother, and how she always tried to toughen him up before she died. And though she didn’t go into much detail about her brother due to obvious reasons that she probably did not want to divulge… I figured that she really loved her brother and just wanted the best for him…

“Jameela,” my father said, jolting me back to reality, and there was a flicker of concern in his dark brown eyes as he looked at me. “Are you happy with meeting this doctor boy?”

I looked at my father, not meeting his eye as he said it.

I stayed silent and looked down, feeling too shy to say anything more, as he ruffled my hair, noted my silence, and then walked along again without saying a word more.

There were times when I felt that maybe Papa knew more than he let on. After all, it was Papa who was always around when I tried so hard to mask my feelings and disappointment when Zubair would barely even acknowledge that I existed. And I knew it was wrong and that I had to fight my feelings, and this was precisely why I had been making myself even more scarce, and I think Papa knew it.

But how did I even explain that to my father?

I caught myself in the nick of time, before my little train of thought ran into a full daydream, because I knew very well that even thinking of the possibilities was steering my thoughts into dangerous territory.

As much as I tried to stop myself from forming any sort of attachment, there were some things I couldn’t control… like the severity of my beating heart when he came into the vicinity, or the fifty shades of pink I would turn if anyone mentioned his name. It was like long before we even knew of each other, something within me already had an inkling that at this point of my life, this guy would appear and take over all my sanity.

Stop, I warned myself, trying with all my might to control my nafs. My sister had warned me way too many times about him.

He wasn’t good enough. Not rich enough. Not educated enough.

He was far from suitable and I couldn’t even think about a future with someone who had no proper form of income. My father himself was still finding his footing, and to depend on him to support us was quite ridiculous. Right?

And as I walked along, with no real purpose, with the thought of everything had happened and the mention of Mohsina as well, I knew that it may be about time to check in on her. I suppose I better tell her that Nani was quite intent on calling Doctorsaab home, and that would probably be something she might want to be back home for the following day.

I recalled that she had a hectic week with people going crazy on her on Instagram after someone falsely accused her of some sinister intentions, and I hadn’t spoken to her much about it. How people could just divulge and share things with no verification was beyond me. I knew that it was a lesson to take. Social media was such a horrible platform because with the click of a button, someone’s izzat can be completely ruined.

Feeling for my phone, which I could never seem to hold onto for very long, I found myself heading back inside, purposely ignoring Nani’s voice from the kitchen.

I couldn’t deal with her excitement right then, and as I reached the lounge, the buzzing of my phone was coincidental as I grabbed it and scanned the screen, immediately seeing Mohsina’s name.

Jamz, I need to know something.

It was a simple question but I wasn’t sure what it was about the message that got me on edge.


My reply was casual and simple but I was dying to know what she was asking.

Was there anyone else who saw Faadil the day he came home?

That was random. Why on earth was she revisiting the past like that? Unless Hamzah…

Oh no, I was already getting nervous for her.

Me: Did Hamzah find out ??!

Mos: Just answer the question. I can’t call right now, but…

My heart was beating steadily in my chest, as I tried to think back to that day. I was in the coffee shop, pulling out the sack of flour when I saw him in his formal attire, and as I spoke to him briefly… it was clear to me then.

Clear as day.

Me: Zubair saw him from a distance. Is everything okay?

I was well aware that she didn’t like Zubair and I truly hoped that she was not going to pin anything on him.

Mos: I told Hamzah about Faadil.

Oh my word. My heart thudded in my chest as I read the message again.

Me: Mos. Is he okay?

It was a dumb question. Of course he wasn’t okay. I couldn’t imagine how that must feel. I didn’t ask her how much she said. I just hope she told him enough to clear the air.

Mos: You know Hamzah. He hasn’t said much but I can tell he’s upset. Probably hurt. We can’t talk much… we’re not home, and his sister is hovering over us like a sniper. I didn’t tell him about the day of the Nikah.

Me: You didn’t?

I was incredulous. Why was my sister like this? Why?

Mos: He will never believe that Faadil came of his own accord, and that will break him, Jameela.

Oh hell. Now I knew why she was asking. She was intending on keeping that a secret.

But was it wise?

I typed quickly, hoping to reassure her.

Mos, I don’t think that Zubair will ever say anything.

She took a few moments to reply this time, but I could see that she was typing.

I hope so, Jameela. I’m worried. My sister-in-law knows something and is causing problems for me and if this ever comes up, I don’t think Hamzah will ever believe that I wasn’t involved with him at that time. It just looked so bad…

She’s right. It looked really bad. It was as if she was stringing Faadil along all that time, when she was supposed to have ended things with him and decided to marry Hamzah. What was going through Faadil’s head at that time, I couldn’t understand either…

But the truth was completely different.

Let me think.

I sent those three words, hoping that it would settle her mind and make her stress less. Zubair was just a worker here. I doubted that he would get involved in things that didn’t concern him. i knew that there was no way.

I sighed, feeling a headache come on at the mere thought of all the admin this would entail.

Even the soothing scent of roses as I walked back to the house did nothing for my peace of mind, as a trudged along this time, wondering how on earth my sister got herself involved with a character like Faadil in the first place. Something that started with sin could never end in peace…

Now, there was this whole secret and Zubair was in the middle of it.

I felt as if she wanted me to tell him to be quiet.

I took a deep breath as I headed out, knowing that a small walk would help to settle my thoughts.

Maybe I could talk to Nusaybah or leave some kind of anonymous note. I wasn’t sure how exactly I was going to get the message across but I was quite worried for Mohsina and concerned about what this could bring.

Taking a walk around the yard as the sun made its way out for the day, I didn’t even realise that I was heading to the front of the property where the little houses and empty stable was.

With the sun blazing now in full force, I found myself trudging along thread the semi-dilapidated building that hosted a few different rooms, and two separate bathrooms for staff. I didn’t often come out there because there really was no need.

I knew that Zubair stayed around the front of the building and I purposely steered clear of that section, not wanting to intrude and intending on passing by without even giving it a second glance. Knowing that he wasn’t around today also made me a little braver, as I found myself looking around a little more intentionally, wondering which room exactly  belonged to him.

And as I purposely killed the curiosity and went around the back, despite the little yellow flowers that were blooming on the sides of the hedge, noticing that the part of the grounds were quite neglected, I couldn’t help but wander up the back pathway was looking like it needed a serious clean up. It was dreary and sandy and in dire need of some pressure hosing, and as I walked up to the little door that was once a store room for the horses equipment, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of eeriness as I approached… despite the scent of spring blooms in the air.

The cobbled pathway right there looked as if it was completely neglected, and for some reason, I was extremely wary about what may lie beyond the closed wooden doors that were now straight ahead of me. They were the typical old, oak farm style doors that were surprisingly heavy to shift, despite them being quite worn out, and as I found myself right in front of them, I couldn’t help but try and do just that.

And as I knocked on the door, just to be safe that no one was around, I couldn’t help shift myself around as I pulled up my dress slightly and used all my lower body force to attempt the door to budge.

Using my entire body weight now, it felt almost as if something was pushing against the door, stopping it from opening for some odd reason. As hard as I tried to dislodge it, it only budged like two centimetres, before getting stuck agaIn. And the more resistance it gave, the more determined to get in there I was, for some reason. I pushed and huffed a few times, putting all my effort into it, until something behind finally relented and it swung open to a certain point, giving me a tiny space just to move into and enter.

And as my eyes adjusted to the mild lighting and my eyes caught sight of what was ahead, I had to literally stop my legs from buckling underneath me, as I gazed in absolute shock.

All I knew right then was that everything that I had thought about Zubair… every little idea or inkling that we had ever assumed was true… was nothing further than the truth.

What was in front of me was the most unassuming thing that I could have ever imagined. All I knew right then was that this dark secret that had been revealed to me in this unexpected way was no coincidence, and in the depths of my heart…

I knew that there was no saving anyone from what would unfold from here.

Mission Revive a Sunnah: Avoiding Suspicion

Many times, messages, post and videos go viral on social media. It creates a frenzy of discussion and debates and often leads us to jump to untrue conclusions.

Giving people the benefit of the doubt is part of the Sunnah. We should also avoid reposting anything that we don’t know the source of or which we cannot verify.

Abu Hurairah (Radiallaho Anho) reported that Nabi (Sallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said something to the effect: “Be aware of suspicion for suspicion is the worst of lies.”

May Allah Ta’ala save us from being suspicious and harbouring ill thoughts of others.

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

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

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
















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When Spring Comes

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 54

I once heard a beautiful saying that went something like:

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.

And I suppose it really hit home for me because as humans, we are always ready to fall into the trap of complacency.

Ghaflat. We forget our bounties. We take our gifts for granted. When we don’t taste the bitterness of trials, even the good times become unexceptional. We forget that even though winter can be so bitterly cold, the beauty of spring can never be hindered….

And indeed, Allah Ta’ala sends the trials, whereby we may be purified, strengthened and returned to Him. Allah sends the trials because we have to know for sure that with that hunger, thirst and cold, Allah can also relieve us with abundant food, the water and the shelter. Allah placed the test in our midst, but with it, He beautifully placed within our breast the ṣabr (patience), and even the riḍā (contentment) to withstand it.

Yes, Allah (SWT) sent Adam (AS) down to this world where he would have to struggle and face trials… But with that forgiveness of the first prophet, he also gave us a hope of His Divine help.

…if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome…

And as I looked out that morning, smiling at the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine… I couldn’t help but feel my heart lift slightly at the sight.

And the thing is … the amazing thing is that when we begin to appreciate even the little things, it opens up much more than we thought we would ever see. There are always flowers for those who want to see them, even when it’s not the season. There is always beauty, in even the most trying situations.

A new season would be coming, and as winter made its way out that year, after we had enjoyed the long nights and fireplace evenings, I couldn’t help but but wonder what the next season would bring.

And little did I know what a host of emotions were in store that very weekend. Some may call them interventions. Some call them coincidental. Whatever the term, it’s true that there are some things in life that happen the way we don’t quite expect it to…

“Mummy,” Uthman called, running into the kitchen with a look on his face that signified that he was pretty amazed. “Guess who’s here?!”

When I pulled out a spatula from the kitchen drawer, I couldn’t help feel the gust of hot air from the oven throw me off-balance, as I flashed a grin at my child. The feeling of being slightly out of sorts was a little unfamiliar. The weather had been warming up too, and it was a complete blessing, especially in this part of the world, where temperatures went under zero degrees Celsius in the midst of winter. The way the sunshine filtered through the window was one of the most comforting feelings.

“Hmmmm,” I said, smiling at Uthman, and rubbing my temple. “Is it the president?”

”No!” Uthman said, smiling at me like I was crazy.

Uthman was always excited to have visitors. The following week was going to be one of the best ones for him because Fareeha’s kids would be coming, when she left for Hajj. To tell the truth, I was a bit nervous for my crazy sisters kids to be in my zone, but I knew that if I prepared myself in advance and overdosed on rescue remedy, I’d be just fine.

There was really no need to stress.

“Oh wait,” I said, scratching my head thoughtfully. “Maybe it’s someone else famous?”

”Not exactly,” he replied, still finding it hilarious that I couldn’t figure out who was there. The truth was, I did know, but of course, my son keeping me in suspense was the most entertaining thing for him.

“Well, whoever the superstar is,” I said triumphantly with a grin, as I watched Imraan come in. “Please tell me them to join us for lunch. I’m already well-prepared..”

”Mummy!” Uthman said, jumping on the spot and shaking his head at the same time. Where did he get so much of energy from?! “Come and see!”

I laughed as Uthman ran outside again, his excitement mounting as I watched Hamzah get off the car, greet Imraan and pop open the boot. In the past, Hamzah had always brought something small, even if it was a box of smarties for Uthman when he would come, and Uthman always looked forward to it. The fact that he actually hadn’t come here in months made it all the more exciting and I was quite aware that after Liyaket passed away, my brother-in-law had way too much on his plate to even think of it .

Imraan had already helped Hamzah take some of his bags through to the house next door, and catching him on his way back, I couldn’t help but ask.

”Is everything okay?” I asked softly, wiping my hands on a dish cloth in my hand so I could venture to the car  and greet them. “They came so suddenly…”

”Hamzah thought it was best to be out of town for a while,” he said quietly. “Don’t mention it though. He hasn’t told her.”

”Why not?” I asked, not thinking that this was a good idea. “If Zaid is at risk then he should..”

It was true. Anything that could potentially be a risk should be assessed and eliminated. The truth was, from the time that I heard that Layyanah’s brother had called Hamzah, I had been on edge and it definitely seemed like a risky thing.

”Don’t stress about it, love,” he said, with a small smile. “Allah will take care of it.”

”Insha Allah,” I said quietly as I followed him to the door, still not convinced.

And as the morning sun streamed in, I could not quite believe how beautiful the hilly farmlands appeared this morning. As spring approached, and with the onset of rain that had also brought much hope and potential… I felt as if I was looking at a completely new place.

I gazed out, the morning sun doing its thing over the grassy landscape, while I watched it slowly illuminate the stretches before me. I couldn’t help but feel a little nostalgic. Like nostalgia in reverse, the longing for yet another hope and experience grew especially strong as winter started to wilt…

My eyes moved as I watched Hamzah already heading to the house that he usually used when he came, looking for Mohsina. It was about 200m away and Uthman was already excitedly chatting to him about the plans to do some exploring later in the day.

It was going to be a full house. My in-laws had also arrived the day before and having Zaid here was going to be the highlight of the weekend. I couldn’t wait to lay on the grass with him and blow raspberries on his chubby tummy. He was definitely going to bring the silly out of us that weekend, and I couldn’t wait to indulge myself to my hearts content.

“Assalamualaikum,” I called out, moving forward and helping Mohsina with her nappy bag and then reaching out to give her a hug as she jumped off the car with little Zaid. It had just been a few weeks and Zaid was looking like a little man already. I could not stop swooning over how cute he looked and I literally wanted to bite his cheeks off.

And I was literally about to take him into my arms when out of the blue, Rabia had already wedged herself in between Mohsina and I, swiftly snatching Zaid away before I even realised what was going on. I blinked, for a few minutes, looking at Mohsina in confusion, wondering what exactly had happened and where Zaid had gone to.

Rabia was already two meters away, grinning like the cat that caught the mouse.

”Sorry Sawls,” Rabia said, not looking sorry at all as she snuggled Zaid to her. “It’s my turn first. But don’t worry, you’re next. Mohsina, you and Hamzah can have some couple time. Take some snaps. I already told him that this weekend you aren’t going to have Zaid at all!”

She gave an evil laugh, walking away triumphantly as she gave him more cuddles. My sister-in-law was really something else. I looked at Mohsina, who was a little expressionless as she watched her, but skilfully recovering as she she smiled at me apologetically.

She looked like she was already well-equipped to handle Rabia.

”Sorry,” she said apologetically. “You know Rabia…

”Dont worry,” I said, waving my hand nonchalantly. “That’s Rabia, and we’re used to her. We’ll see you guys in a bit?”

Mohsina nodded, looking grateful that lunch was sorted. Each house was separate and had their own provisions, but there was no need for them to prepare if we already had more than enough.

I had already sorted my favourite salads because for me, a braai was all about the salads, and Imraan had already set up the stand for an old-fashioned charcoal barbecue. We kept it simple most times, but with everyone here, as always, my mother-in-law had really gone out of her way to prepare a bit more than necessary.

And as I got busy with taking out the lunch items, and setting the tables, I barely even have thought to what happened to Zaid thereafter. My mind was already working on overdrive, hoping that I wouldn’t forget to take out everything that we had made.

And after Rabia had forcefully removed him out of my arms, I had assumed that she had probably forgotten that I wanted to spend some time with Zaid too. I shrugged off the feeling of irritation as I heard the door opening, seeing Hamzah making his way in, with a disgruntled expression on his face as he looked around, greeting my mother-in-law who was seated in the lounge affectionately, and after a few seconds, looking even more frustrated than him, came Mohsina.

And it didn’t even click with me that Zaid wasn’t with either of them, until Mohsina came up to me, and said in a low voice:

”Have you seen Rabia?”

Mohsina was wearing a pretty but modest black dress with a sage coloured scarf. She looked particularly lovely and the colour really suited her, but as I looked at her troubled expression, it was only at that moment that I’d figured that the couple must have had a small tiff and it was very obvious that it was because of Rabia.

I shook my head, a little worried but not sure if I should do something. After all, Rabia was a law unto herself and she couldn’t have gone that far anyway.

”I’m sure she will bring back him soon,” I said, trying to assure her. “Must I call her? She probably took him for a walk.”

”Sorry,” Mohsina mumbled, looking at me gratefully now, slightly embarrassed. “Hamzah’s calling her for a while now. No answer. Anyways, I was so worried about him that I didn’t even ask if I can help with anything. Can I butter the rolls?”

I got it. She was worried about Zaid. How could she not be?

“Relax,” I insisted, smiling at her. “Everything is done. I’m sure Zaid is just fine and used to her. They must have had plenty of bonding time last week.”

I didn’t want to tell her how Rabia literally forced my in-laws to let her go to the house while Hamzah and Mohsina were supposed to be there alone. Their couple time must have been completely sabotaged.

Before she could say anything in reply though, I could see Hamzah making his way toward us, positioning himself just behind her while he leant on the counter.

”She’s on her way back with him,” he said, and I couldn’t help but hear that he sounded a little annoyed, but I wasn’t sure with who. “He fell asleep. Can you stop stressing yourself out now?”

Whether Rabia had meant to or not, I could see that she had succeeded in causing a row between the two of them. Hamzah was probably torn between his wife and his sister, probably wondering why Mohsina was so upset and thinking what the big deal was… but honestly, the brothers just didn’t quite see how manipulative Rabia could really be.

Mohsina just nodded briefly while Hamzah went back inside, and then turned to me, looking a little more settled, while she shrugged.

“Rabia is a little possessive over Zaid,” she said, her voice dropping. “Also, TMI… I know, but she saw the pill bottles the doctor gave me for induced lactation. I think she is worried she won’t get to spend enough time with him, but now she is really taking it a bit far.”

I didn’t want to tell her that Rabia just had a habit of going to extremes. Sometimes I wasn’t sure if she did it on purpose…

I didn’t comment on Rabia because I knew that nothing good could come out of it. I had learnt to keep silent at times like that, but the first part… well, that really interested, me.

“Wow… you’re really going to feed him?” I said, really feeling so excited for her, but not quite believing that she would actually do it.

She nodded, and her eyes were really shining with enthusiasm. I was just really quite surprised by the fact that she would be so willing.

”I’ve heard so many amazing experiences of bonding and how amazing it is to feed your baby,” she said quietly. “And you know… I was so fascinated to discover breastfeeding is mentioned in the Qur’an. I also read that the mother receives the reward of a good deed for every single drop she gives her child… did you know that?”

I was honestly amazed. How merciful is Allah Ta’ala that something which is so natural is rewarded in such great proximity. If only I knew that all those years ago, when I had fed Uthman for two full years, even though it was one of the most challenging things to do. Breastfeeding hadn’t been easy for me. I had suffered with the worst of issues during it, but I persisted because I wanted to do it.

“The baby doesn’t need anything besides the mothers milk for the first six months of their life,” I said ruefully while Mohsina smiled and nodded. That fact still amazed me, and she seemed amazed too.

“A huge saving, if only I’d known earlier,” she said light-heartedly. And of course she wasn’t serious, because how could anyone have ever known that she would be plunged into this kind of situation…

I smiled, although the entire situation still made me feel slightly heartbroken as I remembered how Layyanah had been so committed to exclusively breastfeeding.

“The price of formula has become crazy….”

I breathed in, trying to settle my emotions. I didn’t even realise that I was tearing. Gosh, it was her best friend, and I was going all emo on her…

Back to what she was saying…

“You’re right,” I said softly, swallowing and blinking hard to stop the tears. “It’s not only formula though. I actually got a shock when I went to the supermarket last week with Imraan and we cashed up. Everything is just gone so expensive…”

I mean, there was nothing like the price of commodities to bring you back to reality.. Everything was getting more and more pricey, and the cost of living globally was almost unmanageable for the majority of the world.

But all of that… the way we found ourselves in this predicament is something that is mentioned that on one occasion that Musaa (Alaihi Salam) once asked Allah (SWT), something to the effect of:

What is a sign of your happiness?

Allah Ta’ala, in reply, said to him that’s when He is happy… then the worlds processes take place in great harmony. This will mean that at the time of sowing the seeds into the ground, Allah Ta’ala sends his rain… and then, at the time of harvesting, Allah Ta’ala holds back His rain. Everything happens at the right time, in a methodical process. A sign of Allah’s happiness is that He puts the administrative and financial affairs of the people in the hands of people who are righteous and generous. That the events of happenings of the world occur in harmony…

Musaa (AS) then asked, Ya Allah, what then, will be the sign of Your unhappiness?

So Allah Ta’ala replied to say that the opposite is done. That in this case, when the people are sinful, the rain is not sent when it is needed. When the world is commuting evil, the rulers of the people are corrupt and incompetent. When everything is in havoc…  the price of consumables and life becomes almost unbearable.

And there is no other reason but our own sins. Our bad deeds and disregard for Allah’s laws is what brings the inflation, the corruption and the predicament we find ourselves in today…

I sighed, feeling a bit deflated about the situation, knowing that we could only start with ourselves. My mother-in-law had come to the kitchen already, talking jovially to Mohsina about Zaid now, as Mohsina made his bottle and they ventured into the feeding topic again.

It was baby talk all over again and it was cute, but I was never really ready to engage in it completely. And it wasn’t that I was jealous. I had passed that point a long time ago. I was really happy that Zaid now had a family that loved him so much, and a mother figure like Mohsina, who took him as her real son.

It was just that I wasn’t always sure how to react. I wasn’t even sure if I had a place in Zaid’s life, although I loved him to bits. Now, as Mohsina asked my mother-in-law her own advice about breastfeeding, I could see that she was extremely thrilled about the prospect, and the two of them were already speaking about how the hormones also change your body, moods and emotions.

It seemed to be scaring Mohsina a bit, because my mother-in-law had already told her that she would have to start trying to latch him soon if she really wanted to go through with this. That part had caught her off guard.

And as they spoke, I couldn’t help but feel like pregnancy and breastfeeding was so far off for me. Every month had been a waiting game, and it had come to the point when I didn’t even track my cycle anymore, because it would just leave more room for more grief and disappointment… disappointment which I just could not handle anymore.

Sometimes you just had to learn a little more about gratitude. I had learn to live in the moment. To be happy with what Allah had given me. I had learnt to look at those who couldn’t have kids at all, and be grateful for the fact that Alhumdulillah… Allah had given me one beautiful child at least.

And for starters… well, I wasn’t even dreading the onset of my menstrual cycle that month. It usually left an aching hole in my gut, for the first two days, until the feelings of inadequacy and brokenness had faded. And this month… well, I was due for it…

I paused with drizzling chocolate over the pavlova casings as I caught a snippet of what my mother-in-law and Mohsina were chatting about, while my mind tried to figure out dates. Uthman and the men were well out earshot and they were already having a full on coversation of pregnancy woes and breastfeeding problems.

”With Hamzah and Rabia I was just big all over,” my mother-in-law was saying, smiling fondly as she recalled. After ten years, she had the twins, but it must have been memorable in a way that she couldn’t forget. I just couldn’t imagine.
Carrying twins must have been something else completely.

“I had to be on her rest from 20 weeks,” she continued. “It was the longest 12 weeks ever, but Allah made it all work out perfectly in the end. They both came home after a week and the moment I saw them, I had already forgotten about the pregnancy…”

How beautifully Allah plans it. The minute we lay our eyes on that beautiful bundle, everything discomfort seems like nothing at all. I suppose that’s why Jannah was so beautiful. When we glimpse that beautiful abode, well… everything will make sense…

“Layyanah was all tummy,” Mohsina was saying, smiling notalgically. “All I remember her saying was that she just felt bloated at the beginning, and she did a test and it was positive…”

My mother-in-law smiled and I looked at her with interest, almost as if she had said something majorly significant.

Did she just say bloated? 

The calculations in my mind were still going on as I tried to figure out if I was right. According to that… I was already 4 days late. I mean, it wasn’t groundbreaking, but 4 days was 4 days, right? I mean, I did usually get a bit tired and bloated… but the thing is, now that Mohsina mentioned the bloating, welll… I knew I was definitely feeling it.

But no. It could not be. I was getting my hopes up for nothing.
Pregnancy is just one of many things that can cause bloating. It could be anything else. Anything else at all.

And of course, there was no need to think otherwise. In my head at that point, I was still telling myself that I would just wait for the usual thing to happen, as it had, almost every month for seven years, and deal with it when it does.

And as Rabia came back with Zaid at that very moment, all in high spirits with not even a consideration for Mohsina’s worry, I immediately took the bottle from her and asked her if I could feed him, before placing him on the carpet with little play gym I kept there for him. I wanted to forget my recent discovery, and losing myself in his gurgles and giggles was an amazing feeling.

I was literally obsessed with his double dimpled smile and his tiny fingers and toes. I really wished that they would stay longer than just the two days, and I knew that if I asked Imraan to talk to Hamzah, he may agree. It would be the perfect distraction for me, and I knew I needed it right then.

And despite the slight drama between Mohsina and Rabia that had ensued, the rest of the evening had been beautifully smooth. I was trying very hard not to focus on how many days late I was. Instead, I had turned my attention to the weather, noting that it was one of those amazing days that were mild and cool, but as the sun started to set, I could see Imraan already getting the fireplace ready for the chill that would take over soon.

Zaid was stationed permanently next to Rabia now, who was keeping them both warm while Mohsina and Hamzah had headed off for a little walk while there was still light outside.

And knew that I was being a little obsessive, but as I visited the bathroom to make whudhu (ablution), I couldn’t help but pop my head into the second drawer, wondering if I would be completely bonkers if I actually used a test right then. There were still two brand new ones, and as I glanced at them, something in me was creating an overwhelming desire to just check.

As much as I was trying to avoid it, I was one of those people who just couldn’t switch off my crazy. When something was gnawing at me, any slightly lenient situation would put me in a fix. After all, there was still some time before Maghrib salaah and I was already in my bathroom. The night would be busy and then if he too tired to check later.

Why not? My mind was saying. You’re already late.

And of course, the sensible part of my mind begged to differ.

So what if I was late? Four days wasn’t even a record.

You rather just check. You won’t be disappointed after. Whatever happens is Allah’s will.

That was true as well. But what about the disappointment after? 

I couldn’t stop myself. Despite the doubt and uncertainty, I had to know. I just couldn’t wait any longer.

I literally wanted to block my eyes after, not knowing how to bring myself to look.

I knew it took up to two minutes sometimes, but I also knew that when something was cooking then the result came quicker, and as I washed my hands and summoned every bit of courage I had within me to make its show… well, I finally allowed my eyes to stray to the stick that was lying next to the sink…

And when I say my heart skipped a beat, it was no exaggeration. Right there, were two dark pink lines staring at me… and I had to literally pinch myself to check if I wasn’t dreaming.

I hadn’t even realised that my heart was hammering noisily in my chest, and everything else had just taken a backseat for those few moments…

The winter was bitter… but the results of spring were oh-so-sweet…

I could barely believe that within my heart, as hope blossomed with no reservation, like the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…

My entire heart was bursting, as I realised that even when you cut off all the flowers in the winter…

You can never stop Spring from coming once again…

Sunnah of Forgiveness:

With the New Islamic Year already here, and these auspicious days, one of the lessons from the Seerah is how Nabi (SAW) forgave his oppressors, and let go of old whims.

A sublime quality that Nabi (SAW) inculcated into his life on various occasions, and especially on the occasion of Hijrah.

May Allah Almighty give us all the ability to forgive others for the wrong they do to us and make us more productive Muslims through this and may Allah forgive us all for our sins, ameen.
O Allah, purify our hearts from grudges, envy, and cheating. O Allah, amend our relations with our relatives. O Allah, amend our relations with our loved ones. O Allah, make life an increase for us in every good and make death a relief for us from every evil with Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful.

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..💕















FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

When the Plot Thickens

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


“Khawlah, wait.”


Now that I give him a piece of my mind, he has time for me? His voice did sound weird though. Unusual. Was he ill?

Either way, he very well had deserved it. He was being ridiculous. Sitting in the house like a recluse for weeks… not even stepping out to enjoy the beauty that the Spring had brought since its inception that year.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Spring if we didn’t take the annual stroll through the neighbourhood, to embrace the onset of our favourite season. Each year had a different splendour. Every tree had a different story to tell.

I could not possibly explain the thrill that it gave me to witness the revealing of nature’s magic as winter came to a close. The array of pretty purples, pinks, blood reds and determined yellows… It was almost like each tree was competing with the next… flaunting their amazement in doses of mesmerizing beauty…

It had been our tradition from August every year since I was six, to witness Mother Nature’s surprising bounties. To go out and start planting… investing… observing the wonders that the new season had for us every year.

This year, though… Zilch. Not even a batting of an eyelid from Khalid.

“Khawlah, I’m coming.”

I walked faster as I heard his footsteps behind me, not even pausing to take in the lilac, purple and white flowers that had so miraculously appeared on the bush at the entrance of his house. Yesterday, today, tomorrow’s… they change with each day and then eventually… welt and decay…

How ironic. Just like Khalid.

The almost silent patter of raindrops were breaking my stride as I edged forward, blinking angrily as I wiped the droplets out of my blurry eyesight.


I was actually quite furious right then.  I had only asked him to give me a walk to the corner and he had point blank refused. It was the third time this month he had given me a silly excuse and now… Now, I was done. Stuck with his stupid PlayStation, as usual.

I stepped with purpose out of the garden gate, marching on toward the task at hand. I didn’t need a silly boy to look after me, just to go down the road. I was already eleven years old! I mean, I was almost as tall as him. I could do anything a boy could do and more.

And of course, in my furious pursuit of showing him that I didn’t need his company, despite the fact that passing the notorious ‘Purple House’ alone to go to the tea room down the road for Foi Nani was giving me the creeps… I was completely oblivious to reality. Clouded by anger, I sttepped off the pavement as I had done so many times in the past, not even thinking twice until I heard his panicked voice.


All I heard was the unprecedented alarm as he shouted out, just before an offensive squealing of halting tires gripped me with fear. It was as if the wind was completely knocked out of me as I found myself flat on my back, gazing up at the filtered sun in my eyes, trying to ascertain what I had gotten myslef into. The rain was still pelting down relentlessly, amidst it all. And ouch, my leg… it was like it had a dead weight on it. What on earth had happened?

I felt a weight shift off me as Khalid moved over onto the pavement, now sprawled out next to me, his chest rising and falling rapidly, as his breathing slowed down.

“Khawlah, what the hell is wrong with you?!”

He muttered, twisting in pain, gripping his arm with force as he moved away from me even more. It was a mere millisecond of confusion before I digested what exactly had occurred. It was the first time I had seen Khalid so angry.

Silly me. Crossing the road without even looking. I wasn’t even sure how Khalid had got to me so fast.  If he had not knocked me out of the way with that incredible maneuver… even with the car swerving the way it did, I knew I would have probably been hurt really badly. Now, instead…

I blinked as I glimpsed the imminent  gushing from his arm, smudging almost characteristically as the rain pelted down to diminish its evidence. Blood. So much of blood…  soaking into the side of Khalid’s teal blue t-shirt, running from his upper arm all the way down to his wrist. My thick corduroy  pants had saved me from any serious wounds, but as Khalid had used his body to cushion my own fall… his arm had been practically skinned alive.

Oh shucks,” was all I said I saw it. swallowing hard as I saw his stony expression. He had saved my life. Literally. And no matter how dumbfounded I was by his super-hero move… Khalid’s expression was undoubtedly thunderous.

“Are you crazy?!” He yelled, his steely eyes looking even more fierce as they clouded over with anger . “You could have died!”

The droplets of rain had slowed down to a mere drizzle and I blinked at him in surprise. His gaze altered, as he stared at me, still gasping for air.

It was the magic of adrenaline. He knew what he needed to do, and somehow in that extreme pressure…

“I can’t believe you,” he rebuked now, shaking his head in frustration. “If something had to happen to you, Khawlah…. I don’t know… I would have never been able to… I…”

He trailed off as he took a deep breath, his steely eyes searching mine almost to the depths of my now tormented soul. Why did it feel like Khalid was bearing a huge burden on his broadened shoulders?

I looked at him, a little disorientated. I mean… Khalid had always been protective. Caring, at times too. Charming and appreciative … when he felt like it. 

In the past, a small delight at an extra toss of the dice in Monopoly would get him grinning from ear to ear.

“Ah Khawlah, you know how I love you.”

And of course, that didn’t mean anything. It was innocent. Conditional. In the moment.

Now… now was unexpected. This emotion was so… raw.

I looked at him as he broke his gaze away, getting up almost as if he was in a rush to get away from me. He had grown taller… become less awkward. He looked so much older… Almost grown up. His ruffled hair was thicker and his grey eyes seemed colder. I watched him as he stretched out his arm and squirmed in pain, flexing his developing muscle involuntarily.

When did Khalid grow up?

He was barely thirteen… yet he looked like a young man, all of a sudden.Those childish giggles… the boisterous fun… the endless games… was it really so long ago? Why was I feel like I was looking at another person completely?

And I got it. I got that we weren’t the same people we were back then. We had changed… we had grown. Goodness, we even looked different. But nonetheless… Not so long ago … we were just a pair of kids, playing hop-scotch beneath blossoming jacaranda trees and scurrying around in the pelting rain.

Not so long ago, we would compete to get to the highest branch of the infamous oak tree and let our imaginations run wild as we contemplated vivid dreams for the oh-so-distant future. Just the other day, I could speak my heart with no reservations. I could relate to him what I wanted from a life that seemed so far away. I could reveal my hopes and dreams for the future… and not only would he listen, but he would make me believe that it all would come true. And at that point… though we were just a pair of kids… And I knew how much we  meant to each other… I just didn’t know how much it could change.

And yes, it did change. After that day… it changed a lot. I never strolled in to call for him out after that. I never rapped on his room window in annoyance like I usually would. I stayed at a good distance if I happened to see him… because I knew the danger if I didn’t. Things were different. I didn’t want to accept it… but after that day… I had felt it too. Now I believed him… and now I knew that he needed to leave.

And yes, Ahmed was right. Of course, Aunty Radiyyah had a point. Maybe we were getting too old to just be friends. Boys and girls… well… they simply couldn’t be friends. Maybe we just did it all wrong. Back then, there was so much of Khalid in my heart… in every moment… every new blossom…every changing of season… even after a long while.. that I simply couldn’t just forget.

But that’s what the job of the heart is. It wasn’t like I hadn’t been warned. Something had stirred within it, and it needed to be filtered. The beholder of the most unseemly emotions sometimes buries them so far down… that it is almost as if there were never there. The heart hurts, and likewise, as it comes to feel more, break more, it also opens more… and so too, it heals.

And the remembering that incident after all those years, well… it brought on unexpected emotions. Not overwhelming ones… but ones that were quite thought-provoking, now that I saw it from a different perspective. I could not even imagine how subtly Allah saved me… that I didn’t even realize that I might have been in danger.

And of course, I couldn’t help but be grateful. As kids we think we know everything. Even as we grow up.

We think ‘Ah, shame… What’s the harm? They used to play together as kids. Let them be.’

But had we not been forced to know better… had Aunty Radiyyah not been any wiser… had Khalid’s father not sent him away.. who knew what kind of sin might have developed? Who knew what saving Allah had in mind for us when everything had unfolded just like it did. He foresight of parents who were wise and aware of the harms of ‘emotions’.. even at a younger age… was invaluable.

And of course, its so weird how when you are kids you think things will never change… and when you grow up how you can’t imagine them to be anything but different…


Nusaybah was visibly blown away as she looked at me, a little dumbstruck by my narration that I had just literally poured out to her, as we sat over our Life Science assignment… discussing everything but the difference between DNA and RNA.

”So Khalid just needed a push?!” She murmured, raising her eyebrows. “And he would have been a complete goner?”

I smiled and shrugged.

“Khalid was right,” I said blandly. “He was staying away for a reason. Probably his parent’s instructions. Either way, he knew why he was doing it. It was me that had been so childish and pushy… wanting him to stay the same when he obviously wasn’t. I can’t believe what a feisty thing I had been back then… so pushy.. gosh.”

Of course, I never doubted the wisdom of elders. Elders by default,  had seen more, experienced more.. and as a result, it’s precisely that which lead to their wisdom. When the youth don’t know any better, we have to trust the elder generations insight.

”So… what did Ahmed say about him?” Nusaybah asked, doodling away on the exam pad pointlessly, trying to seem like it was just a ‘by the way’ question.

“Ahmed thinks he’s involved in Egyptian politics,” I said, a little wearily. “He’s a bit scared for him… and rightfully so. Egypt is  in a delicate situation right now, after the Arab spring… but his mothers family is from there so I think he feels responsible..”

I could go on about politics for ages, but I doubted that Nusaybah was very interested.

”But what did Ahmed say about you and Khalid?” Nusaybah pressed, not wanting to know the finicky details that were giving me sleepless nights. I knew she wanted the gory details.

Khalid was always an ambitious guy. Scarily ambitious, and I was getting worried for him too.

Anyway, eventually, that night when Ahmed nearly gave me a heart attack, he did believe me when I told him we were just kids having innocent fun… I didn’t tell him every detail, but he seemed satisfied… Well, for now.

“I’m not sure what my silly brother thought,” I said, rolling my eyes. “He said Khalid seemed a bit unsettled when he mentioned to him that I was married… like he had no idea. And that’s what I don’t understand because I remember asking Aunty Radiyyah to request his presence at my Nikah. She had said that he wouldn’t make it. He was probably already in Egypt. I don’t know why she didn’t tell him at all…”

Ooh, and the plot thickens …” Nusaybah said in a mysterious voice, widening her eyes as she grabbed her purple pencil case to morph it into a microphone.

And here we are folks,” she bellowed, in a californian accent. She was disturbingly good at it. “… Khawlah, the sought-after warrior hijaabi turned to marshmallow royalty is caught up in a rollercoaster of emotions, as the past comes back to sweep her off her cerise-pink converse-clad feet.”

Hijaabi warrior turned marshmallow? No man.

I was already in stitches.

But wait! Hold up!” She yelled, gaining more momentum. “There’s a knight in shining Kurta already at her doorstep, on one glimmering knee.. begging her to give him her entire heart…

Her voice dropped.

“But her shattered heart is burdened… she is still struggling to find -“

Oiy!” I said, whacking her with the back of my paperback book. “My heart is already surrendered. Shurrup.

“So no regrets?” She said now, baring her dimpled smile as she raised her eyebrows at me. “Even with the mother-in-law from Hell? You know you would have got a better deal in that department with Khalid’s?”

I smiled, thinking of Aadam. He was lovely. Absolutely amazing. Kind to everyone he met. Not to mention, hilarious to the point of embarrassing giggles. How could I ever have any regrets?

“You have that look again,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Is Mr Perfect really so perfect? I find it easy to believe… but I’m not the one married to him…”

She said it easily, with no malice in her voice, but I couldn’t help but feel a little stab of that old guilt.

”What about morning breath?” She asked suddenly, her eyes widening in shock. It was like she just had an epiphany. “Is it really bad? And does he throw his dirty socks in a corner and expect you to pick it up?”

She gasped as her hand flung to her mouth.

“Oh my word, Khawlah,” she breathed. “Does he snore?!”

I grinned at my crazy friend.

“I actually don’t know,” I said nonchalantly. “I have the perfect marriage. I don’t have to deal with that… yet.”

What?!” She said, incredulous. “You mean you really never stayed with him?”

I shrugged again, as she eyed me out, feeling a teeny bit uncomfortable.

”That was the deal when we got married,” I explained to her. “That we would be apart and give Rubeena a chance to hold that amazing function she had her heart set on… when we eventually moved in after next year…”

“Yes, but no- one really sticks to that,” she said pointedly. “Like, I mean, my cousin had done the same thing but they were literally staying together every weekend.  You’ll are in Nikah… it’s unnatural to be so … strong.”

I looked away, not wanting to get into this.

“Oh my word, Khawlah,”  she said, and I was already regretting this conversation.

“Don’t  you think there’s something wrong with him?” She finally breathed, her eyes almost out of her sockets.

I rubbed my temples and shook my head. Nusaybah was making me worried too now. Was it really normal for a guy to be so… restrictive? What if he did have a deep and dark secret? I almost didn’t want to know what she had to say next.

Khawlah,” she finally said, her voice almost a whisper. I swallowed hard as I thought of all the possible theories. And then of course, Nusaybah’s one literally cracked me up.

“What if he’s a vampire?”

And of course, I was in fits of giggles when she said it, wondering if my friend was for real. Of all the things that he could be… A vampire? Really?

Nusaybah took the tea.

And yet, I loved her unreservedly.

“You know what my mum used to say?” She said suddenly, her eyes now devoid of the usual humour.

Nusaybah didn’t often talk about her mother. Come to think about it… neither did I.

“She used to say that Allah’s plans for us are always more beautiful than our own wishes.”

I looked at her, rendered speechless. Aunty Radiyyah had always said it too.., but in Arabic.  It was something she’d often tell me when I was struggling with Mama’s passing… helping me to stay afloat. And how true it was… even today. What I thought would happen and what Allah had planned… most certainly, there was an immense beauty in His plan.

The truth was, as human beings, we are created with an innate desire to love. To love and be loved. But another nature… Fitrah… that exists with us is the desire to recognize the One who created us… and the One who created Love.

And the thing about true love… is that it serves to bring these two beautiful aspirations together. It connects them in such a way, that on every level over, between and beyond those two great attachments… you are completed. Real love brings calm… not torment. Pure love, at the end of the day, is the love that never contradicts or challenges your love for Allah. It’s simply strengthens it.

How did I explain to her that a perfect love wasn’t about having a perfect spouse? How did I tell her that every person was beautiful… and it just took the right person to see it? That Mr Right was not only the one who caught your eye… but the one who opened your mind.

And that is why, if anyone ever has to has to ask… there is a extraordinary answer as to why love cannot exist before marriage. Pure love can only be love, when it is within the sanctity of what Allah created for it. Pure love can only be that which makes the Creator of Love happy with you too.

I wished Nusaybah to find the most amazing person, when the time was right…  I wished her all the happiness for her own fairy tale ending.

And of course, as the shrill ring of the phone brought us back to reality, I couldn’t help but think of how far I had come since those days. Through so many people Allah had placed in my path… and now through a love that had fulfilled me in many, many ways…

”Its Rubeena,” Nusaybah said suddenly, thrusting the phone at me with force. “She’s in tears…”

Dear Readers

Quick q: just needed some input.. As the story progresses. Any thoughts on a posting schedule? I feel weekends are busy so weekdays may be better? Or maybe a weekend evening?

If you would like to follow the blog via e-mail, please click the e-mail widget below. 

Much Love,

A 🌸

Sunnah Reminder:

Nawas ibn Sam’an reported that the Prophet of Allah, SAW, was asked about doing good and evil. He replied, “Doing good is having good manners. Doing evil is what troubles you inside and what you would not like others to know about.”

May Allah help us be of the best character and manners for our families, friends and all people around us.

Let’s revive this Sunnah Insha Allah.

IG: @thejourneyingmuslimah

How easy to practise!

#revivetheSunnahof Sleepingearly






Twitter @ajourneyjournal



Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


Like the transcending drops of rain that fall so freely from the sky, there will be  people whom Allah’s mercy will literally rain on, in the Hereafter. The way it was described when I had first heard it had made my heart leap with joy. There was so much of ambition in it’s meaning…. such unapologetic splendor in its promise.

And those two qualities are that which have no argument. Besides the first type, who are those who keep fast for the pleasure of Allah, are those who have beautiful patience amidst the trials that befall them. They will, undoubtedly, be of the intensely favored.

And of course, right now, I could imagine exactly why.

Patience is hard. It’s really hard. And then there’s Sabr-e-Jameel. Beautiful patience, like beautiful Yusuf (AS) and his father, is on another level completely. Sometimes you feel like you can no longer withstand it, and all patience has seized, as if you’ve broken, and that’s it. And then Allah suddenly grants you strength to endure whatever comes your way.

Because then comes faith. Faith is a funny thing. Life isn’t always fair. Terrible things happen…. People get raw deals. Justice is sometimes a far-fetched notion. Tawakkul is like a superpower; once you completely rely upon Allah to bring you through anything, to help you, to make you a way out, to heal you – you feel the end to the drought, the calm in the storm, the sweetness in your tears. The simple fact is this; Allah does not burden a soul more than it can bear.

Allah does not burden a soul more than it can bear.”

My mind processed the words again that Aunty Radiyyah had said with such conviction, after a telling me the story of how slander can be lifted, and justice had prevailed,  that I could not help but believe her. Of course it was true. Of course Allah knew my limits.

I knew Aunty Radiyyah would be the one to lift my spirits again. So splendidly she had worded the story of the slander of Aisha RA, and at the end I couldn’t help but weep in utter despair, just as the beloved wife of my Nabi (SAW) had done when she had found out, as if her heart was literally breaking. But now… now it had been a week since I left Aunty Radiyyah’s home that day with hope in my heart and the knowledge of truth that Allah can alleviate every sorrow in the depths of a soul.

Every day it got better. Every day held a new hope. Life would continue and things would get back to normal. Eventually…. I knew the truth with somehow prevail. The patience that it took while waiting… well, that was what tore me apart.

It was on a fairly warm day later that following week, that I knelt down on my knees, as my bare hand dug deep into the dewey earth, and tossed my last batch of seeds listlessly into the hole Danyaal had ever-so-carefully dug. The time had come to visit my favorites. No sooner had we covered it, did a single drop of moisture plop on my covered head, almost as if it was waiting for us to finish, and of course, just in time. At first, I wasn’t sure if it was real.

I reached out in hesitation as my hand felt the onset of the scattering of moisture, and the presence of the long awaited rain that we hadn’t felt for over two months. It made my heart soar. Being in the inner most part of Southern Africa often brought harsh winters, but the worst parts were the dryness that simply inundated us for weeks on end. The welcome drizzle was most gratifying, and I breathed it in with an ardent longing.

It reminded me of the mercy of Allah that those of Sabr are so solemnly promised. Waiting… yearning… accepting… and hoping for that release from whatever it is that is hurting or causing discomfort… it was a reward insurmountable.

I soaked it in, lifting my dress slightly and inhaling the fresh scent of almost-spring rains, reveling in its glory for a few seconds before the downpour would inevitably commence.

It was sheer bliss.


It was Dayyaan’s voice that rang out from the other side of the garden, and Danyaal smiled and looked at me as he heard it.

“I think he must have felt the rain,” I smiled with my arm stretched out, amused as Dayyaan trudged up to us in a huff, with a disgruntled look on his face.

“Its only water,” I said, trying to conceal my amusement.

“Yes, but now my gloves are getting all wet!”

Dayyaan had been gifted a full-on gardening set for Eid, and from what I had heard, it was the best thing his mother had ever got him.

“Did you finish your seeds?” Danyaal asked him, packing away his own tools.

“Luckily I did,” Dayyaan said, pulling off his gear and hastily retreating to the shed so he could put his kit away. He was mumbling to himself about the silly rain spoiling our gardening day, and it made me want to giggle.

By nature, Dayyaan was quite a character. Where Danyaal spoke softly and always thought carefully, Dayyaan was always delightfully vocal and sometimes had random outbursts. Despite their characters, Danyaals gentle features and light hair looked almost gold in the outside light, whilst Dayyaan’s sharp nose and jet black hair was a direct contrast. The two boys were world’s apart, and sometimes as I watched them together, I sometimes found it hard to believe that they were actually brothers.

Dayyaan stomped to the back patio without another word, and Danyaal shook his head in amusement. I didn’t blame his disappointment. After the long wait, and endless patience before I could get my thoughts together, I had finally decided it was time to see my favorite little people. His mother had said he had been looking forward to me coming all week, because I had the patience to work in the garden.

After all, that was what gardening was about, right? Patience, forbearance… and of course, the endurance to finally make it there to see the beauty of Mother Nature in all it’s best forms. This was my little haven.

Let’s run in the rain!”

I blinked, wondering if I was hearing right. Danyaal looked at me through his slightly misted glasses, and I smiled back at him, reminiscing over childhood days spent doing just that.

It sounded oh-so-familiar.

Nostalgia overcame me momentarily. I couldn’t help but think of Khalid, now remembering how he finally followed in my footsteps after my taunting on that pouring day, as we tried to get home, screaming and shouting in utter exhilaration as he sunk up the glory of running in the rain too. He had finally felt  just how much of fun it was too.

Tears filled my eyes, but I barely paid heed to them as the rain cleansed them almost immediately, and I made our way through the downpour that was very much already here.

I nodded at Danyaal as we moved along, almost challenging him in jest, to follow my jumping and childlike-splashing as I made my way back to the back entrance of the house. I felt like I was ten again. I giggled, as a soft booming rumbled through the sky, and the peltering drops drenched into my cotton scarf and flimsy shoes. I couldn’t help berating myself for not wearing my gardening boots.

To me, running in the rain, was not just about getting wet. It symbolised freedom. It was about going against the rules. It was about pushing the limits. It was that all-encompassing feeling of utter liberation, that poured onto you as the pelting drops of moisture would too.

And yes, we got soaked. I laughed and laughed, as I ran, of course, remembering  how I had laughed in glee at Khalid and Yunus as they ran after me with such apologetic ambition, almost as if they were afraid that the rain would hurt them.

I blinked as I reached out, knowing that the amusement was about to end.

The love. The laughter. The fun.

I grabbed his hand now, careful that none of us would slip as we climbed up the slippery steps. We both panted and giggled as we climbed up, taking one step at a time, now shivering with the cold as we adjusted to the sudden darkness before us.

I blinked again as I turned to him, processing Danyaal and his lazy smile. He was so open. Adventurous. Always up for a challenge….

Yes. Danyaal was just my kind of person. He wasn’t Khalid, no, with his dazzling smiles. He wasn’t Khalid, with his steely eyes. Not Khalid, with something quirky always at the tip of his tongue. Khalid always would be a beautiful memory, but those memories were just… well… they were just memories.

Now, I embraced the present. Now, was different. Now, was real life. It was a new time… a new adventure… a fresh start. But right now, what was more important was that we needed to get to get ourselves some fresh towels.

I sighed as we turned to the door, not anticipating what was ahead of us as we walked. Two figures that I barely noticed were sitting there, a look of amusement on their faces, as we approached the door.

At first sight, I didn’t comprehend. I didn’t even think. And then of course, as Danyaal spoke, my heart almost shot out of my mouth, because the realization was so unexpected.

“Uncle Aadam!” He exclaimed, in obvious exhilaration, partly due to his recent adventure, and obviously due to his Uncle’s presence. My breath quickened and I swallowed the saliva that had now gathered in my mouth.

Gosh. How did this guy have such amazing timing? He always seemed to catch me in the most unseemly situations at the most inappropriate times. I was utterly flustered as he sat there and eyed us both.

“Assalamualaikum,” he said, not exactly looking at me, but acknowledging my presence in a most subtle way.

“I see you’ll have been having some fun.”

I mumbled a reply as I  looked from Danyaal to his uncle, half shivering due to the cold, and half shivering because… well, because I really did not expect… this.

And of course… the event brought on a meaning that I didn’t want to acknowledge right there and then because not only  was it just him, but the other person who sat next to him, with his eyebrows raised and a look of disdain at my appearance on his stony face, was none other than my very own brother. Time kind of stood still, for those few moments. 

I sucked in my breath as Ahmed tossed me a towel, shaking his head at me as I tried to dry myself.  My hijab was soaked, my face was uncomposed and I doubted that I even looked human.

I honestly wanted the earth to swallow me up right there and then, and hopefully regurgitate me as the after-version of Cinderella following the wave of the fairy’s wand.

I was that desperate.

“Can we talk?”

To add insult to injury, of course, in real life, the fairy-tale stuff doesn’t ever happen.

There are no melodious proposals and no-one looks like royalty. Well, at least I didn’t. As I finally looked up, despite my embarrassment, I noticed that Adam did look pretty normal and his gaze was now fixed on me as he waited for me to give him an answer. I was honestly kind of stuck. I know I had been dragging this thing on, but I didn’t possibly think he could have had worse timing.

I wanted to shake my head. I wanted to ask them if they were both crazy. But nothing was escaping my mouth as I silently willed myself just to not make a huge fool of myself.

And then of course, it hit me. Some people are just suckers for a good love story. A magical ending. A happily ever after. Hopeless romantics, some would say.  Moved by the very movement of hearts, and swayed by the very swaying of souls, that surrender to each other.

Something felt different in the air that day. Magical, almost. After all, didn’t the scarce rain finally make its appearance after so many months? Despite everything that had come to cause such chaos… despite the hurt… despite the utter betrayal… despite everything. It obviously didn’t mean that anything was beyond repair. As Allah promises, there is always a way out.

And no, it wasn’t always going to be mystical rainbows and sheer exhilaration. People hurt. People lie. People sin. There weren’t always blue birds singing or fairy godmothers waving magical wants. There was seldom an event for morphing pumpkin carriages or glass slippers.

But what I did know was this; despite the drought, a little rain had managed to find its way through. The obstacles along the way… they were all the stride of the journey that we called life. The parched soil was now quenched. Like love at long last, it’s match was now met. Flowers sung in glee. Leaves danced in the soaring winding. Hopes flew high as they fueled on promising delight.

The dead was now… well, almost brought back to life. The rain had brought so much more than just a sweltering storm. It had brought hope. It had brought opportunity. Most importantly, it had brought an end to the drought… it had brought chance… it had brought change.

And just as I nodded in agreement, I finally raised my gaze to look at what I knew my future to hold. A great plan was in place, but I had no idea of it as yet. A plan to clear the air, to end the storm, and to finally see a sliver of sunlight in the stormy sky.

All that patience that had take its toll, and finally, just as the rain poured down in all its splendor, there was now an open promise for a better tomorrow. Some things were just worth waiting for. At the end of the day, after beautiful patience there will await beautiful things…

“I know you don’t know much about me,” he said, catching me completely off-guard. “You probably think that I barely know you too.  But Khawlah, I do. I know more than you know. Everything that’s here… That I’ve seen here… is you. And the truth about you, I know. That’s exactly how I know…”

Once in a blue moon, people do surprise you. Once in a while, the beauty of Deen can have astounding effects. And once upon a time, well…

Maybe you can have your very own little fairy tale.

Dearest readers,

So… looks like we’ve reached the end of the blog.

Okay, I’m kidding. A little more excitement to come as all is revealed and the next part the journey begins. Love to hear the rambles of the readers who have been a bit quiet recently. Keep me posted ☘️

Much Love,

A 🌸

Just a note about our Sunnah reminder this week:

The character of Nabi (SAW).

Nabi (SAW) was the most pleasant person. He would greet everyone with a smile and always spoke to people with gentleness. His companion said about Him:

“I have never seen a man who smiled as much as the Messenger of Allah.” (Tirmidhi)

This shows that the personality of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was pleasant and gentle.

Let’s revive this Sunnah InshaAllah, because it is through our Akhlaaq that people can see the light of Islam and beauty of Deen.

How easy to practise!






Twitter @ajourneyjournal

IG: @thejourneyingmuslimah



Walk Away

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


Every day is a new adventure. For my nearly-sixteen-year old self, that’s how I had come to see it. An adventure that sometimes takes us by surprise, and at times, never fails to allure, amuse, or even delight.

What we make of life is only how we see it. Although seeing the best and being the best is always a tough call, to conquer the evil that always lurks in the midst with goodness from within, was an unfathomable achievement. Good character, no matter what the situation, takes a strength greater than a 100 men… But it effects are far more worthy than we can ever imagine. It will simply blow you away.

I breathed in deeply as I reached the house that I had now come to know so well, reveling in the scent that lingered and taking in the the natural beauty of spring that was emerging in full force. It was that time of the year again, and as time went by, I knew that my time there too, was limited.

It had become a ritual of mine to take delight in the little buds that were forming on the bushes, and carefully track the constant rustling in the nests that were all being meticulously structured above. The unprecedented structure and beauty of nature never failed to amazed me.
And just like the sunlight brought hope for a new start, the little lights in my life always kept me going. It was like they knew I was there even before I even arrived. The door swung open just before I reached out to press the bell, and Dayyaan and Zia looked at me with wide smirks on their face.
“What are we doing today, Khawlah?” Dayyaan asked, his eyes wide with excitement.

“Dayyaan!” His mother shouted, and I could hear the scrunching of her sneakers as she made her way to the door. “Can you at least let Khawlah come in before you’ll bombard her?”

Rubeena emerged from the lounge area and as she entered my view, I noticed that she looked a little rough around the edges. Her hair was  a mess and her eyes were a bit puffy. If I wasn’t mistaken… it looked like she might have been crying.

”Is everything okay?” I asked, a little panicked now.

Rubeena had always seemed so… together. I was a little alarmed to see this sort of discomposure from her.


She opened her mouth, but I could literally see her almost choking on her words, as emotion overcame her again. I knew the feeling. The feeling when you so baldly wanted to speak… but you were scared that all that would come out was … more tears.

She hastily turned away as I watched her, and I quickly got the boys on the important task of setting up our favorite game to divert them, while leading her to the nearest chair in the adjacent kitchen.

“I’m sorry,” she finally spluttered, hastily rubbing away the tears at the corners of her eyes.” It’s just…”

She sighed, trailing off and swallowing as she looked at me, slightly embarrassed. Her cheeks were were flushed and her nose was as red a tomato.

“Everything’s a mess,” she blurted, shaking her head.

I swallowed hard, not knowing how to respond. It had been a few weeks since Zuleikha had spoken to me, and though I had promised her I would be careful and think about giving up my job… I wasn’t ready to leave them all behind as yet.

And yes, it had really got to me when I heard. I wished that I could tell someone what I was truly feeling. She thought I was ‘going out’ with Rubeena’s brother. The thought of what she suspected was even more loathsome to me than her. I was confused, overwhelmed and upset, all at the same time.

The worst part was that I couldn’t even talk to Nusaybah about it, because I was so worried that she too, would think something bad of me. How did I explain to them that I had done nothing wrong? There was just so much of opportunity for people to talk. It just looked so bad.

My heart thudded in my chest once again, whilst I deliberated my next words.

“I’m sorry, Ruby,” I said, genuinely apologetic.

I hated to see her like this. I hated all the conflict that was going on. I never spoke to Rubeena about what Zuleikha had told me but I knew some of the truth.

“The truth is, Khawlah,” she said, finally meeting my eye. “I’ve just had the hugest fight with Shabeer. My parents are angry with me. My brother doesn’t speak to me… I feel like I have nobody but these kids that make me crazy and I just don’t know what to do…”

She sniffed again, and I could see the beginning of another outburst. I could understand her feeling sorry for herself… But fueling that pity wasn’t going to do her any good. I wanted to tell her how lucky she was but I knew she wouldn’t see it that way, and it was at that precise moment that Danyaal chose to scamper in to the kitchen, grab an apple and dash out again, already ready to sink his teeth in.

I forgot that his mother was there, for a minute. It was just instinct from being with them for so long, and part of Foi Nani’s influence, that I had to shout out. Mama too, had always said that when Allah is in your heart, you remember him in everything that you do. Taking his name before eating or drinking was the least we could do, and I wanted these kids to take at least that with them if I had to leave them behind.

“Danyaal, say Bismillah!” I called out to remind him, thinking to myself how long it took for kids to learn it. It was so frustrating that no matter how many times I told them… they just never got it by themselves.

”I did!” he yelled back, already racing back to the playroom in hot pursuit.

For a second, I even forgot about Ruby who was sitting there, and as I looked back at her, instead of her tearful face, she was looking at me in a kind of daze. Almost as if she was dumbfounded.

“That’s what I mean!” she suddenly half-whispered, and it was like a light-bulb was coming on in her head. “That’s what I tried to explain to my parents! I mean, how are you so amazing, Khawlah? Never in a million years, will I be able to remember all these things. Sometimes I even forget to say it myself, because I’m so useless at being good. But you…”

She trailed off and shook her head.

“My brother saw something in you that I was missing all this time,” she said, almost in awe, and my throat suddenly went all dry. “And then he made the mistake of telling me.”

I swallowed hard as she continued,  half-dreading and half-anticipating the version of events that she was going to tell me, from her side of the story.

“He could see you weren’t the typical girl,” she said, a little sadly. ”So he asked me for advice. And who would blame him? You’re amazing, Khawlah. You’re stunning, inside and out. You have such impeccable manners… and the way you are with the kids… honestly, you’re my life saver.”

All I could do was nod and listen, like a robot. I was not sure what to say. It was the first time that Rubeena had ever said anything remotely pleasant about me. It seemed like her being emotional brought out a whole different side to her.

One thing Mama had always told me was that the greatest way to show what a Muslim was about, was through our character. The Prophet Muhammed SAW had a superb form of dawah, and superseding anything else, many didn’t realise that his greatest asset was gained through his impeccable characteristics. Not through war. Not through force of submission. Not through hatred. It was just beautiful character. To be the best type of person, even in the worst of situations was something of a miracle.

I tried… but I wasn’t sure if I really measured up to what Rubeena was saying. They say that whoever you meet, always understand that you should not leave them until you have learnt something invaluable that you yourself did not know. I’m sure that there were some things I could learn from her too. My greatest fault was that I never stopped to see it.

“My parents would kill him, Khawlah,” she said now, clenching her fists nervously. ”My family is so fixated on money and success… and when you came back again… they got angry at me because they blamed it all on me. They blamed me. They thought I had set you guys up… or something outrageous like that.”

She scoffed, shaking her head.

“They don’t know what you’re like,” she said, the shadow of a smile now visible on her face. ”Shabeer asked me once why you didn’t greet him when you saw him in the driveway. I didn’t understand that it was actually you being modest… until I actually googled it. You’ve actually taught me something. Not just one thing. So much.”

I was still stunned. My stomach was in all sorts of knots and twists as she continued, and slowly, as she let it all out and it sunk in, I was beginning to feel a little normal again. A little normal in a new upside down world.

It was a few days after Zuleikha had told me about everything that she had heard from Ahmed, and I had shrugged it off that day, not wanting to worry about something that might have been completely invented. I so badly wanted to meet Ahmed and ask him myself… but something within me was telling me to let it be for now.

He was fine. He was safe. He was in good hands. And if I met him… I wasn’t sure what kind of reception my older brother might give me. I sighed as I thought about it.

I took her advice that day and she left, feeling slightly relieved in the knowledge that soon I would be out of that environment completely.

It broke my heart but I knew that if what she had said was true… there was no way that I could continue to break that family up with my presence.

And as much as my heart could not be controlled, I knew that I had to start making preparations to leave. Slowly, and in a subtle way, I had to give these kids as much as I could before I had to leave them on their way. I was tormented by the thoughts of what would happen to them when I left, but I knew that I had to put my fears aside and let them go.

Life would never be the same, but maybe… I hoped… in the future, I would meet them in a better and easier time of frame.

I sighed to myself as I sat with the kids the following week, trying to muster the words that I knew I had to say.

Rubeena had poured her heart out to me that day, and the feelings that had surfaced were hard to put at bay. Although playing with the kids was the most fulfilling thing, whilst i heard them giggling and squealing in delight during our mini pillow fight, my conscience just wouldn’t let me rest. The nagging feeling was still there at the back of my mind, reminding me that there was always an end to every story. Maybe the end to our story was approaching. Maybe it was time to write the final chapter.

It was nearly time for me to leave for the day, and with just a few minutes left,  the children were bouncing around on the rubber horse that was their latest addition to the playroom.

I smiled as I watched them, whilst holding little Zaydaan in my arms. He was particularly exhausted that day, after our high-energy afternoon, and I felt my heart unexpectedly soaring as I savored the feeling of this little dumpling in my arms. I held him a little tighter as I took in his lavender-scented powder, breathing in the baby-ness as I tightened my arms around his tiny frame.

“I love you,” I murmured to him, overcome with emotion and feeling nostalgic already. He mumbled some intelligent statement of toddler language in reply, and I found myself instantly giggling to myself.

They were growing so fast, and I just could not fathom how these little people had snuck so deep into my heart.

“Do you love me too?”

It was Dayyaan who asked the question, and I looked up to see him watching me with his little brother. His statement was as straightforward as little boys’ ones come. There was no mincing his words.

I was so absorbed in Zaydaan that I didn’t even notice him watching us. I couldn’t help but break out into a grin as he watched me, oh-so-seriously.

“Of course,” I said to him, nodding vehemently. “I love you all. You’ll do know that, right? No matter what happens, remember that Khawlah thinks that you’ll are really, really amazing.”

No regrets. I had to tell them that. I had to let them know.  After the chat with Rubeena, I wasn’t sure where I stood. She had to leave in a bit of a rush after her meltdown, so I didn’t exactly get to tell her what I needed to.

Danyaal was looking at me now, with that dreamy look that he sometimes got. My heart contracted momentarily as I thought of leaving them behind… of some day, walking out the door and not seeing them again. I was already having panic attacks about that tormenting moment. I was not sure how I was going to deal. I just wasn’t prepared for it being so soon.

“So, since you love us so much,” he said, looking thoughtful but with a mischievous  grin on his face.

I frowned at him, wondering what he was about to say.

”Please can we have one more story today?”

I smiled, shaking my head.

“Mum will be here just now and my father will be waiting for me,” I explained.

”It’s my birthday,” he said, a little sadly. “Please.”

I didn’t know it was his birthday. Although we never celebrated birthdays as kids, I wasn’t sure how to explain it to Danyaal as yet. It was on the bucket list of things I needed to say. I wanted to teach them so much… but there was so little time.

Either way, his puppy dog look was doing the trick.

”Pleassse….” Dayyaan copied.

“Pweeeeeezee,” mimicked little Zia.

I chuckled to myself, looking at the three rascals and shaking my head. They were so unknowingly manipulative, but they still made me laugh.

“Just one,” Danyaal quickly said, sensing me crumbling under their scrutiny. “Here.”

He thrust a familiar book at me, and I momentarily remembered the first day I had brought it for them. There were so many memories I had shared with these kids.

The pictures in the book were a sure winner, and over the almost two years I had been here, it had grown to be a favorite.

“The first one,” he said, knowing exactly which story he wanted. The story of Aadam AS was right of the front.

I sighed, shaking my head. It was the most popular one for the kids, but frankly, I was sick of reading it. I almost knew it by heart.

“Choose another,” I said flatly.

“Okay, let’s read the Lion King,” Dayyaan piped up.

“No!” squealed Danyaal, annoyed.

“Story of Aadam,” he insisted, and as if he suddenly spurred into action, Dayyaan climbed on the colorful ottoman at the center of the room, pumped his first in the air, and started screaming at the top of his voice.

“Lion King, Lion King, LION KING!”

“Aadam, Aadam, AADAM!!” Shouted Danyaal back, just as loud.

How did these kids even learn things like this? It was horrific.

They looked like a pair of those terribly behaved children who would just create spectacles to get their way. I widened my eyes at them and opened my mouth to scream.

My mouth was left hanging as we were all silenced by the abrupt voice at the door.

What is going on here?!” it shouted, obviously disturbed by the outrageous behavior.

I mean, if I heard that from the other side of the house, I too would have been shocked.

I whipped my head around, blinking as I glimpsed the figure who stood at the door. For a few seconds I was actually dumb-founded as I processed who it was.

Although I barely recognized him, there was no mistaking it. I could literally feel my face changing all shades of colors as he too, looked at me in shock. He obviously did not expect me to be here, and his next words were very evident of it.

“You?!” He said, looking strangely disturbed by my presence.”Sorry, I thought… Nevermind.”

He seemed genuinely shocked that I was there.

Oh goodness. This was a bit awkward.

The boys were looking from me to him, stunned by the reprimand and slightly shocked at their uncle’s presence. It was also obvious that he thought that I didn’t come here anymore, and hence, didn’t expect to bump into me today. This was a bit of an uncomfortable mess.

“Hey Uncle Adam,” called Dayyaan.  “You look like Mufassa.”

Now I wanted to slap my hand to my forehead, like Danyaal often did what Dayyaan asked a unexpected question. I knew that he was obsessed with the Lion King, but how could he call his uncle Mufassa?

Trust Dayyaan’s quirky sense of humor to break the ice. I wanted to giggle but I didn’t dare crack a smile. The tension in the room was still palpable.

His uncle smiled and dropped the box that he was holding down onto the floor as I hastily grabbed my bag to let myself out of the room. From the looks of it, I could escape without much notice from the boys, because Adam was already ignoring me and watching the boys obsess about the electric cars he had bought for them all. I was so glad it didn’t escalate. I always knew that kids were the best ice breaker.

I wondered why he had come. Maybe being Danyaal’s special day, he needed an excuse to visit his nephews. Maybe he knew Rubeena wouldn’t be home tonight, or she had actually stayed late on purpose.

I silently closed the door behind me, letting out a huge sigh of relief as I walked down the passage to the door.

My heart felt strangely at peace as I made my way to my leave. So many plans I had… so much I still wanted to say.

But the defining question was… Right here and right now, on this journey that I had decided to embark on… would it ever end? Would it ever be enough?

Maybe it was time. Maybe it was time for me to let go now. Maybe it was time for me to leave, and just let it be.

Maybe my time here was up. I had said what I needed to… conveyed what I could while I was here. I had been that little window that they so badly to get a glimpse into. How much longer was I going to hold on to them for?

My heart soared and sank almost simultaneously as I heard the joyful giggles from the other side of the house. Hearing those shrieks of laughter and bursts of excitement now were enough to send my escalating emotions into overdrive. I may had been their window to get a glimpse of the other side that they so badly needed to see… but maybe these kids needed more.

I was just a stranger, after all. They needed their family. They needed their uncle too. Maybe there was another window waiting to open for them, revealing a world that would hold so much more than I could ever imagine giving them.

The truth is that we all have this desire. This innate need, put in us by our Creator. The unshakable yearning to help others in need is like a reflex, whether for family, friends, or a stranger on the street. There is nothing evil about our nature, until we make it so.

I was just someone who had stumbled upon their path for a season of their life, and now it was time for me to move on. Things had gotten a little out of control, and it was getting difficult to distinguish between right and wrong.

I opened the front door, forcefully holding back the tears that were threatening to escape. I wasn’t going to cry. I wasn’t going to lose myself on this path that I had so carefully trod. This was all Duniyaa, after all. This was all a part of the beautiful  journey to my Lord, that lay ahead.

Today, I needed to be strong. Today, I needed to do the bravest thing. It was no walk in the park, to a destination that would most certainly offer you the sweetest ease. This was hurt. The bittersweet pang that rips your heart apart as you walk away, has nothing on convincing yourself that you need to stay. Only, you don’t.

I halted, swallowing as I deliberated what could be the of the entire game change, or just another weak moment. It was just as I convinced myself and stepped out, a familiar voice called out, as if it was designed to target the vulnerability of my heart strings once again.

The words taunted me, even as I took that one more step I needed to break away.

“Khawlah, wait.”


P.S. Wonder if Khawlah should leave or wait..?

Dearest Readers,

In preparation for Ramadhaan, last week we were working on Reviving the Sunnah of Miswaak. This week, Insha Allah, let’s try and bring in a little about the Sunnah of eating, as touched on in the post. I will try to keep it short, simple and effective🌸

It is mentioned that when eating, if you recite Bismillah before eating and Alhumdulilah when done, your sins are forgiven.


How easy to practise!





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