Fired Up

Bismilllahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Time. Time flies. Time heals all wounds. Time waits for no man.

We all know. We’ve heard it all. We know all the proverbs, heard the theologians theorising and heard the elder people warning us about wasting time.

Sometimes, though, we’re too busy hanging onto something that we don’t really have, to move forward and grasp what’s really there. To let go and make way for what can be fully ours.

We still want to see for ourselves. We have to make our own mistakes. We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep our fears under the rug, and move forward into the ambush of life, whether we’re ready or not.

“Come on, bru,” I said, moving toward the edge of the bank we were standing on. It looked quite scary from up here. “Have some faith.”

It was one of those outdoorsy days, and we were encompassing natural beauty in the way we liked to do best. It had been a few months since we had come to the hunting grounds, and I enjoyed the feeling of being here. And no, I wasn’t becoming some crazy hunter guy. I just enjoyed the chase. Not to mention, I was all fired up.

I glimpsed the impala that was standing below us, and  Junaid was eyeing me out sceptically, completely convinced that I couldn’t get it.

I was, of course, trying to convince him that I had definitely improved since the last time at the hunting grounds, but he wasn’t buying it.

“It’s not that I don’t have faith,” he said, taking a few steps closer for a better view. “It’s just that the last time… Well…”

He trailed off, and I knew the guy was mocking my big mess-up on our previous trip there.

But, I mean, c’mon, cut me some slack, okay? It was my first time. That chic was probably doing this hunting animals thing for years. You can’t possibly compare.

I kept a straight face and tried to look hurt.

“That’s not fair, bru,” I said, dropping my tone. “You shouldn’t judge people like that. You could see that chic was probably a Mujaahidah in training.”

Junaid grinned and shook his head.

“What are your you guys talking about?”

The voice came from behind, and I turned back and grinned. Trust Waseem’s ears to turn into satellites the minute he heard anything to do with Jihaad. I thought he had got left behind somewhere in the bushes behind us.

“I’m talking about the last time, when Zee let a chic beat him to the hunt,” Junaid said smoothly, shaking his head.

Waseem grinned, but his smile had an edge to it. It was like his heart just wasn’t in it. It just didn’t seem like it was real.

When he had come back, it was awesome, of course, because we had all honestly thought that my brother was gone. Like, for good.

And of course I was happy that he had returned, but I guess I was a bit ambitious in my expectations. I maybe wanted him to be just as he had always been, and expected everything to go back to normal, but I was let down.

Waseem had changed and a lot of stuff had changed because of him. He had focused wholeheartedly on his work and Hifdh, and I was proud that my brother was nearly done with it. With the upcoming Ramadhaan, I could tell that he was excited to perform taraweeh as well, but it seemed like he was immersing himself in it so he wouldn’t feel anymore. I hoped that his wife would return so he would snap back, but he always had the most profound things to say when I asked him about her. Of course, Waseem always did have a tendency to be mysterious, but he took it to another level that day.

“I’m letting destiny take it’s course,” he had said, sounding like a wise old man who had seen too much in life.

“But we have no idea what’s going on!” I said, thinking it was so weird that everything was just at a stand still. “We’re all in the dark here.”

I knew that I was taking his life a bit too personally, but it did affect us all. And besides, I was tired of all the secretive behavior. I needed to know what he was thinking.

“In the dark there may be fear. But there’s still hope.”

I looked at Waseem, wondering where on earth he got these things from. Like, who on earth says things like that?!

“That’s deep, boet,” I said, raising my eyebrows at him.

“Whatever is meant to be, will be,” he added, making me wonder why he wasn’t trying harder.

It was obvious that the guy was having major trouble with withdrawal since his wife had gone, but Waseem remained as cool as ever.

And though it was killing me, doing what he was doing required great strength and I knew that I wouldn’t have half the amount of courage that he did. Of course I had great ambitions for the month that lay ahead, and I even made an intention to sit in Ithikaaf, but Waseem was different. I mean, to just sit back and let whatever was meant to happen, happen, was all well and good, but not exactly something that I could commit to. I was slowly making other changes as the month drew closer. I had even fasted a few days during Shabaan, with intention of Sunnah, and for me, it was a big deal. Staying away from food was huge for the Zee.

Now, as I watched Waseem, I just hoped he wasn’t channeling all his worries into a place where it had no outlet. Maybe coming here to the hunting grounds to let off some steam today would actually be good for my brother.

“Woah, look,” Junaid said suddenly, as he peeped through a shrub and I saw another animal come into view.

I assumed it was some kind of deer, but I couldn’t be sure. I wasn’t that clued up on the hunting thing yet.

“If you miss this one,” he muttered, putting his own rifle down. “I will probably kill you.”

I gave him a sly smile and pulled up my rifle, trying to aim the way that Junaid had taught me earlier that month while we were practicing at the shooting range,

Focus, Zee, I urged myself, determined to get it right this time. It should take a little more effort. A little more perseverance.

“Five,” Junaid said into my ear, counting down for me, so I could work focus on the prey. It was a difficult job to do both at once.

Three, two, one, and….

The piercing echo of the gunshot rung through the air, and as I slid off my ear muffs, I could see that something was definitely lying on the floor ahead of us, somewhere near where I had aimed.

It was the red deer, and though I was confused at first, because I was sure I had aimed for the impala, things got cleared up to pretty quickly as I turned to look at Junaid. At that point, he had a blank look on his face as I grinned at him, and it felt like dejavu.

My smile didn’t take long to fade. He was shaking his head, and looking at me hopelessly.

“I’m the man?!” I asked him, still hopeful.

And of course, I honestly could not believe it when a crowd of people appeared, once again, this time, much bigger than the last time. I could hear their excitement as they moved forward, and I stared at the chic clad, now clad in black as they moved ahead.

The ISIS chic. Even though her face was covered, I could tell that she was the exact same one.

Like, really? A girl can shoot like that?! Twice?!

My mouth literally hung open as I watched them, because I really could not believe what had just happened. Again.

No ways.

Juniad literally covered his eyes and hung his head as they all oohed and aahed over the kill. I obviously had no idea where to put my red face. And of course it was an eyeball, because even Waseem looked completely bewildered at the turn this had taken.

And then, of course,  my mind couldn’t help but wonder why. How? I mean, what was the odds of this kind of thing happening not once… But twice? It was either some kind of weird coincidence, a huge joke, or the unfolding of fate that was happening right at that moment.

“I cannot believe this,” Junaid said, voicing my very own thoughts. “Waseem, isn’t that your connections? Again.”

Waseem nodded numbly, looking ahead as he walked toward them to greet.

I could see him stretching out his hand and greeting the older man who was talking animatedly as they walked further on. And then, of course, as they walked, the girl in question came into view once again, and this time, instead of staring as I usually would, I looked down, knowing exactly what all this meant. Knowing exactly who she was.

Time. All it took was time. Time to realize how important time is. Time to focus on what really counts. Time to see that whatever is wasted on Duniya, is always lost.

It had been a long haul- an era of broken hearts, getting it back together and fitting in the puzzle pieces once again. Through shifting my focus, it worked. Through halting the chase of the world, a bigger picture came into view.

It was then when everything seemed to come together. When I saw the truth of the temporary world, and when reality became truth for me. And then, when I understood how valuable the time that we have here is, and that we can never win unless we are of the few that Allah (SWT) mentions in Surah Asr.

إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَـتِ وَتَوَاصَوْاْ بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْاْ بِالصَّبْرِ

Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and enjoin each other to the truth and enjoin each other to the patience.”

And unless I made myself of those few who had Taqwa, I knew I would be the ultimate loser. I may not have been the best, but I had tried to do what I could. I had taken the step in the right direction, and had been Divinely inspired to take the opportunity to change my life. And it wasn’t always easy. Through the journey of discovery, there were moments in deep valleys of despair, moments spent on mountaintops of triumph… And of course, then, finally, came the moment I had to see for myself, and take the plunge to make myself the best version that I could ever be.

And before I knew it, I realised that what’s broken… can be fixed. What’s hurt… can be healed. After it all… and after the darkness, the sun has got to rise again. The brightness will find it’s way through, once again. I saw the light, because when I looked back, it was easy to see when a mistake had been made. When I made the wrong choice, and took the wrong path. When I stumbled and fell, bringing down not only me… but people around me too.

But the important thing was the regret.  Oh, the regret.

I regretted so many choices, yet they seemed like decent ideas at the time.

If only I had used my best judgement and listened to my what was within… to that inner voice… to the hold over my heart that was urging me to do the right thing… I knew I would have chosen different. I would have chosen better. And to make it right, I just hoped that this choice, I would choose wisely. With this choice… I would avoid the deepest and most painful regret of them all; the regret that comes with letting something amazing pass you by.

Sometimes you have to act on impulse to do what’s right. Sometimes you have to just take a plunge. Not everything in life can be intricately planned and penned out. Sometimes it may be erratic. Spontaneous. In the moment.

And this, I had to do right now. I was all fired up.

“Jun,” I said boldly, turning to my friend. I wasn’t sure how I would explain, but I just needed him to be there. “I need you to come with me. I’m about to do something crazy.”

Please remember this humble writer in your Duaas as these Mubarak days dawn upon us. We are coming to the end of the story, and I am trying to round off this blog by Ramadhaan, InshaAllah. 

May Allah make it easy to practice whatever we may have learnt from here. 

Let’s practice our SUNNAH InshaAllah! More Sunnah of eating:

*Eating with three fingers.*

The Sunnah is to eat with three fingers;
eating with more than three fingers is a sign of greed and is bad manners,
there is no need for more than three in order to gather up a morsel.
If it is necessary to use more than three,
the food is light and cannot be gathered in three fingers, then he may use the fourth or fifth.  

*See Fath al-Baari, 9/578* 

Practice, share and earn multiple rewards in shaa Allah.

SubhaanAllah. Let’s try and observe the Sunnah Duaas of eating InshaAllah.



#Revive theSunnahofSpeakingGood




Tweet: @ajourneyjournal


Past to Present

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Waseem: Into the future

“Can I sit here?”

I looked up as I heard the slightly familiar voice, realizing that the person it belonged to was no stranger.

I squinted slightly, nodding slowly as Raees sat down, wondering what on earth this guy wanted.

“I’ve heard a lot of things about you.. But I didn’t know you smoke,” he said, pulling out his own box of cigarettes from his pocket, and eyeing me out as he lighted his.

I quickly stubbed mine, annoyed about his comment and annoyed that he had to see it. I wasn’t a regular smoker. Recently, I just needed something to keep me from going completely crazy, and cigarettes were the best and safest solution. I didn’t want to go back to where I came from.

I didn’t reply to him, as I looked ahead in silence at the cars coming in and out of the service station. It was late in the afternoon, and it was slowly filling up as people were stopping for supplies or a quick fill of petrol.

“I wanted to talk to you,” he said now, and I waited for him to expand. I wondered what he was doing in my part of the world on a weekday.

“About Zaynah.”

I looked at him sharply as he said her name, annoyed that he had the audacity to say it. My Zaynah. My wife. Who did this guy think he was?

“How is my wife?” I asked bluntly, looking him in the eye. He shrugged and took a pull of his cigarette.

“Same,” he said vaguely. “She still doesn’t know you.”

I took in a a sharp breath as my heart plummeted back to where it had been two weeks ago when I had went to see her, with no response. She spoke to me as if I was a stranger, and looked at me as if she was just waiting for me to leave. I hadn’t been back since, and it wasn’t because I didn’t want to. I just didn’t think I had the heart to.

“So what did you come here for?” I asked him, waiting for him to cut to the chase and leave. He was taking long purposefully as he pulled deeply on the last part of his cigarette, and I narrowed my eyes at him as he got up, as if ready to leave.

The guy just irked me. He had this expression on his face that I wanted to rearrange every time I saw him, but I held myself back. For Zaynah.

“I was just thinking,” he said, almost to himself. “How we all like to hang onto things… even though we know that we really have no chance with them…”

He let the phrase hang in the air, and I narrowed my eyes as he shrugged at me, almost tauntingly.

Was this guy for real? 

“What’s your point, boss?” I snapped, standing up out of frustration. He was testing me and I knew that I would snap soon. It was just a matter of time.

“Cool off,” he said, now standing and flicking his cigarette away. “All I’m saying is the obvious. What Zaynah wants, and what she needs. Maybe you should consider.”

And with that, he walked away, leaving behind a single white piece of paper with my name on it. At first I was baffled, but as I picked up the envelope to realize who it was from, my hands immediately trembled from trepidation.

Zaynah. It was her writing.

I sucked in my breath and walked to my car, the contents of what lay within the letter sitting on my mind all the way through Salaah that day. I knew that it couldn’t be any good. I knew that Zaynah wouldn’t exactly be writing to me as a romantic notion. It was probably much more serious than that.

I greeted my mother normally that evening, and then visited my evasive father, to talk business talk, before heading upstairs to open the letter.

I tore the last piece of envelope from the top, hastily pulling out its contents. As I scanned the writing, it was like my life stood still before my eyes.


I know you have hope. I know you think that this will all work out. I think most people do… but while I am recovering, I have had a lot of time to think and figure out how to move forward from here.

Now that I’ve had all this time, I can’t help but feel guilty that I’m not fulfilling the role of a wife as I had definitely promised. It’s also not fair to you this way. I feel like the only way that it can fair to you is if we let go. It’s no longer a marriage…

I stopped reading as I stood there, with my legs trembling and my fingers shaking.

What was she saying? End it? Let her go, and never look back?

Divorce. The word itself made me cringe.

I had to sit. This was too much. Too much, all at once.

I closed my eyes and tried to picture her as if she was here. What would I say to her? This was so out of character for her. How can she even suggest that? How was I going to go on without even a hope of having her?

I steadied myself as I sat down, the thoughts whirling through my mind. I lay my head back, letting the tiredness from the past weeks take over as I closed by eyes and let the unfinished letter fall to the floor.

I wasn’t sure how long I slept… But before I knew it, my eyes shot open in the depth of that very night, as if something or someone had gently nudged me awake.

I looked around, my surroundings still strange as I processed where I was. My room. My father’s house.

Everything seemed like a blur. The past few months had been so erratic, that I wasn’t even sure if it was real.

Did I create my wife with my very own delusional mind? Did I possibly imagine her entire existence? Was she maybe only just a dream?

For a moment, I was so disorientated, that I barely remembered the past year.

And then, all at once, it all came flooding back, as if my life was flashing just before my eyes.

My father. Ziyaad’s baby. My past. My life. The divorce. And then… The tragedy I had to come to terms with… Letting go of Zaynah.

Just the thought of what lay ahead was torturous and horrifying, but it was what I could never escape. It was, by far, the worst thing that had ever happened to me. Yes, Zaynah hadn’t been here all this time, but I had always lived with the hope that she would return. I always held onto the notion that she would be back.

Now, I was in a rut. I didn’t want to get up. I didn’t want to wake up to what lay ahead today. I didn’t want to face the world without her there with me.

I breathed in, slowly letting my breath out, steadying my emotions. I glanced around, and half expected her to be sitting there on the Musallah, as was her usual spot when I would get up at this hour.

I could never beat her. Somehow, she was always the one who would wake up first, and I knew I could never even try to compete. I knew she would never let me win.

“How did you do it?” I said aloud.

I could picture myself shaking my head at her. No matter what time I set my alarm for, she would always be out of bed before me. It was a no-win situation.

“My Allah shook me up,” I could almost here her say. “How can I ignore it?”

I would usually be squinting at my phone, wondering how it had suddenly fast-forwarded to an hour after the alarm was originally set. I was usually angry.

“Pious people don’t need alarm clocks,” I would mutter, to both myself and her, berating myself for being so far behind, spiritually.

And then she would shake her head at me, pursing her lips with that smile that said that she was wiser way beyond her years.

“Waking up for Tahajjud doesn’t make you pious,” her sweet voice would say defiantly, trying hard to sound cross, as if she was ready to start a fight.

I knew what she was saying. But I also knew the woman I had married.

She was determined and passionate, and she left nothing to be criticised.

When I looked at her, it was no wonder that she reminded me of the Sahabah and their perseverance. Their Imaan was unmatched.

That was the crux of it, even for me, right now. I knew that one of the main factors that would bring me through this was my stength of Imaan.

“Leave it to Allah,” Zaynah would say. It was her famous words, and unlike her, who it came naturally to, I had to dig deep and manifest every inch of it into the belief that everything will work out in the end. It was like I had to dig deep and search into the depths of my soul and knowledge, to try and assure myself that things were not as bad as it seemed. That after it all, there was still hope for something better.

And that’s precisely when I remembered  Zaynah so passionately conveying to me a story of  a woman having so much of faith that Allah would sort her problem out, that she thought nothing of turning her full trust to Him, when everyone else, including the beloved Nabi (SAW) couldn’t redeem her.

Khawla bint Tha’labah (RA) was a great woman who enjoyed very high standing among the companions of Nabi (SAW), who were her contemporaries and knew her virtues. It was about her that Qur’an was revealed, and Allah alleviated her burden.

Khawla (RA) exemplified patience while standing firm in her beliefs. She persevered until she got the truth. She wanted to stand up for her rights and rights of women, while maintaining her love for her husband.

The story of Khawla bint Tha’labah (RA) and her husband Aws ibn al-Samit is narrated by Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud and quoted by Ibn Kathir in his tafsir at the beginning of Surat al-Mujadilah.

Khawla (RA) is reported to have said:
“By Allah, concerning me and Aws ibn al-Samit, Allah revealed the beginning of Surat al-Mujadilah. I was married to him, and he was an old man who was bad-tempered. One day, he came in and I raised a particular issue with him again. He became angry and said, ‘You are to me as the back of my mother.’ Then he went out and sat for a while in the meeting-place of his people. Then he came back, and wanted to resume marital relations with me. I said, ‘No way! By the hand of the One in Whose hand is the soul of Khuwayla (i.e., Khawla), you will never get what you want from me after saying what you said, until Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) decide between us.’ He tried to force himself on me, but I was able to resist because I was a young woman and he was a weak old man. I pushed him away. Then I went to one of my (female) neighbors and borrowed a cloak from her and went to Nabi (SAW). I sat before him, told him what my husband had done to me, and began to complain to him about my sufferings because of my husband’s bad temper. Nabi (SAW) said, ‘O Khuwayla, your cousin is an old man, so fear Allah with regard to him.’ I did not leave him until Qur’an was revealed concerning me. He was overcome as he usually was when Qur’an was revealed to him, and when it was over, he said: ‘O Khuwayla, Allah has revealed Qur’an concerning you and your husband.’

And of course, many know about the verses that were revealed. Besides alleviating the women of the time from the outdated laws of Jahelia, Allah revealed to her that He had heard. He heard and recognized. He heard and responded… And what more could a Mu’min ask for?

[Allah has indeed heard (and accepted) the statement of the woman who pleads with you concerning her husband and carries her complaint (in prayer) to Allah: and Allah (always) hears the arguments between both sides among you: for Allah hears and sees (all things). If any men among you divorce their wives by zihar (calling them their ‘mothers’), they cannot be their mothers. None can be their mothers except those who gave them birth. And in fact they use words (both) iniquitous and false: but truly Allah is One that blots out (sins), and forgives (again and again). But those who divorce their wives by zihar, then wish to go back on the words they uttered – it is ordained that such a one should free a slave before they touch each other: this are you admonished to perform. And Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that you do. And if any has not the wherewithal, he should fast for two months consecutively before they touch each other. But if any is unable to do so, he should feed sixty indigent ones. This, that you may show your faith in Allah and His Messenger, those are limits (set by) Allah. For those who reject (Him), there is a grievous Penalty.] (Qur’an 58:1-4)


This woman was so perseverent, and had so much of faith that her Allah would sort her problem out, that she was not let down. It was solely her imaan that pulled her through, and got her this high standing. It was solely her hope in her Allah that He would come through for her, that sent down the Ayaat that comforted her.

Ibn Kathir mentions in his tafsir that a man said to ‘Umar (RA), when he saw him welcoming her warmly and listening to her;

You left a man of Quraish to come to this old woman?” ‘Umar (RA) said, “Woe to you! Do you not know who this is?” The man said, “No.” ‘Umar said, “This is a woman whose complaint Allah listened to from above the seven heavens: this is Khawla bint Tha’labah (RA). By Allah , if she did not leave me until night fell, I would not tell her to leave until she had got what she came for, unless the time for prayer came, in which case I would pray, and then come back to her until she had got what she came for.”

And what status she got for her determination. The test of Imaan was never an easy one. Yes, sometimes people let you down, but whatever had to happen, I had to remember that my Allah would always be there.

I had been completely side-tracked. This was not meant to be something that I should dwell on… Something that I could allow to consume me. Indeed, even our beloveds are tests for us… They were also temporary… Also a part of Duniyaa.

And this was only a test that would bring me closer to my Creator. After this, it would only serve me to keep on trying. If the one person who had become so much to me had to be lost completely, it didn’t mean that I would stop living… Through it all, I couldn’t forget what was always there.

The words came back to me, as they often did, reminding me of what I had been forgetting.

Never forget what He saved you from. That moment when you swore you couldn’t fix it, He did it for you. Never forget Who put you back together. When everyone pulled out, and you had to face it all alone, don’t forget Who pulled you through. Never forget who carried you, when the storm pushed you to your knees and there was no one else left. No matter who or what is beside you now, never forget the moments when it was only Him. Don’t forget Who remained.

He remained. He always remains.

A moment, yet again, when everything I had thought I didn’t understand seemed to come into perspective. When the confusion disintegrated and the darkness lifted. And as I sat there, on the Musallah that stayed in the corner near the window, I raised my hands to ask of the only One Who could fix what was broken inside.

The loud knock on my door was a diversion that got me slightly panicked, but I composed my thoughts, knowing that I shouldn’t get anxious. At this hour of the morning, I wasn’t sure who or what it would be, but I had to remain calm.

The future was not set in stone. This wasn’t the end. Whatever I would face, whenever it is, I knew that this could never break me completely. The past didn’t make me, and the present wasn’t a deal-breaker.

I opened the door slowly, seeing my mother rubbing her eyes, telling me that I need to go downstairs to open up. I hadn’t even heard the intercoms. I had a visitor at this part of the morning, and she wasn’t sure what it was all about.

I glanced at the cameras as I reached the landing, seeing a figure in white, and recognising the sturdy build with a certain hesitation, unsure of what this all would bring. I knew that this was an intervention I couldn’t ignore.

What lay ahead, ultimately, would determine everything that I would become. All I had to do was dust myself off, step out, and jump into it.

Don’t forget our Super Sunnahs!

Beautiful Sunnah!!

Eating a piece of food that falls on the floor. If a piece of food falls on the floor, then the person eating should remove any dirt that gets onto it and eat it; because he does not know where the blessing is in his food. It may be in the piece that fell, and leaving it makes a person miss out on the blessing of the food.

Anas ibn Maalik narrated that when Nabi (SAW) ate, he would lick his three fingers. Anas said: “And he said, ‘If any one of you drops a piece of food, let him remove any dirt from it and eat it, and not leave it for the Shaytaan.’ And he commanded us to clean the plate, and said, ‘For you do not know where in your food the blessing is.’” (Narrated by Muslim, 2034). 

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

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



#Revive theSunnahofSpeakingGood




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On Over the Orange Horizon: Zaynah

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Abbi’s expression changed, but my own thoughts were too consumed by my insecurities to even wonder what he’s furrowed brow actually meant.

“Zaynah,” he started, guiding me back down the passage. “Maybe we should talk about this?”

“Talk about what, exactly, Abbi?” I retorted. “They can’t just pitch up here and expect us to give in to every command. Abbi, I’m tired of this! I don’t like this place! Let’s just go back home. Maybe then these people will be happy and they can have their house back!”

My father frowned, looking from Zakiyya to me, and then at Nabeela. He shook his head.

“Zaynah,” my father said, looking confused. “What are you talking about?”

I looked back at him obviously. I just wanted to be as far away as I could. I hated feeling like we owed people things. I just couldn’t stand this uncertainty.

“I’m coming now,” Abbi said, hurrying off as he heard voices in the lounge again.

“We’ll talk,” he called over his shoulder.

I scowled and sat on the ottoman outside the room, ready to complain about them once again to Nabeela and Zakiyya. I was all ready to speak my mind, but the expression on their faces was one of unexpected amusement.

I glared at them, not for the first time that day, getting annoyed once again. They may have found it amusing, but they weren’t there the day when that man had phoned to speak to Abbi. He was so upset afterwards that he didn’t want to even eat. It was anything but funny.

“Zaynah,” Zakiyya said, looking at me squarely. “I think that you probably got the wrong end of the stick…”

Much to my dismay, Nabeela burst out laughing at that point, trying to cover her mouth to conceal it.

“What d’you mean?” I asked Zakiyya, ignoring Nabeela completely.

These two were really driving me mad. I wasn’t sure how much more patience I would have to exercise before I actually snapped.

“Zaynah, darling,” Zakiyya started, sounding like I was the slow one here. “They didn’t come here about the rent…”

I looked at her, confused. They didn’t? So what was all this about?

Before I could even ask her, the high pitched wail of Hassan’s crying caught us all off-guard, and of course, all three of us literally tripped over each other trying to see what exactly had happened.

Zakiyya halted at the door, realising that our visitors were still there and she wasn’t dressed appropriately. Nabeela pulled back shyly, and ao it was left to me to sort out. Consumed by wory, I stood in the doorway before I entered, calling out to Hassan to come over to me.

My gaze shifted to lower down, searching for him.

The poor child was looking like he was in physical pain as he clung onto someone’s white kurtah for dear life. I immediately pitied this person, because I knew how difficult it would be to pry this child off of him. I mean, I understood it completely, because it was the very reason that Hassan was actually with us here. He had clung to us relentlessly when we had gone to fetch Nabeela, and refused to release his grip until he was securely in the car. I predicted a similar outcome here.

“Hassan!” I scolded, hesitating to go forward to take him. My father looked completely defeated as he stood there, because he obviously didn’t know how to handle this child.

I mean… I didn’t blame him. He was well past his child-rearing years, so it was completely expected. I quickly realised that I would have to take a firmer stand, or Hassan was probably never going to leave this person.

I looked up at the Hassan’s victim, immediately and completely inadvertently meeting eyes with one of the people.

The one with the piercing eyes.

It was like a moment stood completely stagnant as I recognised this person, realising that he was the person who had come to see us about the house a while back.

The nice one, according to Nabeela.

Something about him had just made me feel so… Different. My palms dampened before I realised it… Were these people actually making me nervous?

I looked down quickly, embarrassed firstly about looking, and moreso, about Hassan’s behaviour. It was such a strange thing that was happening, because Hassan, the usual introvert, had never even seen this person before. I found it so weird that in the short time that he was here, Hassan had already formed a serious attachment to this mister who we all had no idea about as yet.

As for the mister… His expression, among other things, as I remembered in the one stolen glance, was maybe just  a little desperate.

I supposed he didn’t know how to handle the child not wanting to leave him. I didn’t want to be intrusive with these people, especially with only men around, but Abbi was looking at me pleadingly.

“Hassan, please come here,” I said softly, tried to convince  my four-year-old cousin… But his look was as stubborn as they come.

I wondered if this person was bribing the child or something… This was so embarrassing.

Then he spoke.

“Why don’t I take him for a drive or-”

“No!” I shouted, practically diving forward and seizing Hassan.

I had to literally tear his fingers off the guys clothing, since he was clinging on so fiercely. I ignored his screaming amidst other arguments within the room, hurriedly taking him back through the passage and handing him to Nabeela.

I could hear my father saying something about speaking to his daughter as I left, but till then, I didn’t understand what exactly was going on. I just knew that I had to get out of there. The whole interaction, though embarrassing, was strangely thought-provoking.

My voice was shaky when I opened it to speak to Nabeela, and I almost gave myself a shock.

“I-I don’t know what’s wrong with him,” I said to Nabeela, talking about Hassan.

My heart was still pounding… Probably from the adrenalin rush my body had experienced when I rushed out of there. I was not really such a frantic kind of person… It was all highly taxing on me.

Nabeela started back at me, her dark eyes seeming even larger for some reason. Hassan whimpered in her arms.

“I think it’s a sign,” she finally said, almost to herself.

“A sign?” I repeated, dazed.

“Yes,” she repeated, looking into space. “That he is the one. Your knight in shining armour. Your hope for a new tomorrow. Your love story conclusion.”

I stared at her, my mind boggled. How did she even come up with these things?

Zakiyya sighed, looking at my exrpression hopelessly.

“He’s the same one,” said softly, maybe not wanting to shock me more. “He came for you.”

My eyes widened in surprise. For me? But… I thought… How could it be? How can I ever accept that… Knowing the history here?

“I decided a long time ago, Zaks,” I said, breathing unsteadily. “I can’t… Those kind of people are not like us…”

Now it was Zakiyya’s turn to get annoyed. My father had just come into the room, but he stood silently and watched, probably thinking about his words carefully.

“Zaynah,” he started, nodding at me. “I know I shouldn’t but thats’s what I worry about too… How would you handle being in that family..?”

Zakiyya shook her head and turned to face me, making sure I had her full attention.

“What do you’ll mean?” Zakiyya said, raising her voice. “How can you say that, Zay?! Sometimes it’s not as it seems. Don’t look at what you knew… Look at who brought him.”

I let her words take it’s effect, just for a few moments.

Look at who brought him…”

Zakiyya was spot on with her judgement. Always. She had a tendency to always say the right things at the moments when it was most needed. Her statement that Autumn morning, just as the Asr Adhaan sounded, was one I would have never thought of. It reminded me so aptly of the beautiful story of when my Nabi (SAW) sent a man with a proposal with his reference.

And in this case, as the story is reported,  though this Sahabi was what people would call a complete ‘nobody’, its outcome of events portrayed a deeper moral for me.

And although this Sahabi, Julaybib (RA), was said to be short in height, deformed in appearance and his lineage was not known, the lesson of the story was what had it’s greatest effect on me. No one knew who his parents had been and with no clan to protect him ot no tribe willing to accept him as their own, he cut a lonely figure.

And of course, with the coming Nabi (SAW), he was elevated in status, and the fortunes of Julaybib (RA) changed. He would go and sit in the company of the Prophet (SAW) and listen intently, rarely speaking. He would, out of shyness, keep his gaze lowered. He now had the best of friends in the Prophet of Allah (SAW) and those days of loneliness and despair were over, for the Best of creation (SAW) had arrived. Julaybib (RA) was now part of community of believers.

And so, one day, as he was sitting in the Company of the Prophet, The Messenger Of Allah (SAW) asked him: “O Julaybib, ask for something, is there anything you desire.”

He raised his head slowly and said in a shy voice, “O Messenger of Allah, Allah has blessed me with your companionship. I get to sit at your blessed feet and hear your blessed words, what more could I desire?”

The Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) asked: “How would you like to get married, my dear Julaybib?”.

He smiled shyly wondering who would want to marry him. “Yes, oh messenger Of Allah, I would like that.”

The Prophet Of Allah (SAW) went to the house of a prominent and Noble Sahabi from amongst the Ansar.

He said “I have come to ask for your daughters hand in marriage”. The Sahabi was overjoyed he said: “O Messenger of Allah what could be a greater blessing than this.”

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “I do not ask of her for myself, It is for Julaybib that I am asking.”

The Sahabi was left stunned: “For Julaybib?” he asked in bewilderment.

“Yes, for Julaybib,” replied The Messenger of Allah (SAW).

He said: “Let me consult with my wife.” He went and told her. “The Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) has asked for your daughters hand in marriage, for Julaybib.”

She started crying and wailing, refusing.

Upon hearing the commotion, the daughter arrived.

It is said that she was so beautiful that there was none among the women of the Ansaar who could compete with her looks. She was so shy and modest that perhaps the sky itself had never seen her head uncovered. She had so much taqwa that she would spend her days and nights in worship.

The daughter asked what was happening; she was told that the Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) wants your hand in marriage for Julaybib.

As the Mother continued her crying and Wailing, the daughter spoke she said: “O my Mother, fear Allah, think of what you are saying, are you turning away the prophet of Allah (SAW)? O my Mother, it does not suit a believer to make their own decision once Allah and his Messenger (SAW) have decided on a matter. Do you think that the Prophet of Allah (SAW) will disgrace us? How blessed is the status of Julaybib, that Allah and his Messenger are asking for your daughters hand on his behalf. Don’t you know that the angels themselves envy the dust on the feet of one who is a beloved of Allah and his Prophet(SAW)? Ask the Prophet to send me Julaybib, for there is no greater privilege than for me to be blessed by such a husband. Prophet of Allah (SAW) has arrived with such a wonderful gift, yet my Mother,you cry and wail.”

SubhaanAllah. It was such an amazing story, with an even more heart-wrenching conclusion that made me weep profusely when I read further on, but the piety and lesson of this young Muslimah just got me every time.

And I knew all this, but it had to be pointed out to me.

When a reputable person refers someone… It’s not to be taken lightly. It means that somehow, there is something within the recommendation that has goodness in it. There must be something that was seen in him that made Maulana Umar actually bring him here to us.

“Do you see?” Zakiyya asked finally, realising that maybe I might have had a change of heart.

I wasn’t certain… But maybe… Just maybe… It was time to take a chance.

To look beyond the orange horizon. To gaze somewhere beyond where I had been putting my focus all this time. To delve into the unknown.

I nodded slowly, looking at Abbi’s worried expression.

I didn’t know what this would all bring… Or what he would have to say about it. And I supposed I would never know until I took the plunge.

I nodded my head, preparing to meet her halfway.

However, I didn’t know that I would have to eat the words that I had erroneously uttered just a little while before.

“Abbi,” I said, turning to face my father. “You think we can ask them to come back?”