Finding Courage


Bismihi Ta’ala


Life is unpredictable. And then it’s amazing. At times deliberately unbearable. And then it’s amazing again. And in between it all, it’s ordinary and mundane, and all sorts of crazy, but we trudge through it because we know that at some point the moments of amazement will find their way to us once again.

The thing with life is that we always make everything about it super important. Whether it’s our jobs or our work or what we’re cooking for dinner… everything is majorly important until something more important comes to light. And that’s when you realize that it was the only thing that’s really important. Your health. Above all else. When sickness makes a show… that’s when we see how we borrowed from the bank of our health taking loans of stress and sleepless nights to pay for the things that don’t really matter… but when it’s gone, well, it changes everything.

And the thing is, it wasn’t easy when we’re tested. Because that’s exactly what it is. Our health and our wealth and the people that we love. It wasn’t easy to be strong and keep the faith through the tests. It wasn’t easy to keep believing and understanding that whether good or bad, everything only came from Allah Aza Wajal. We needed constant inspiration. Reminders. A continuous flow of unchanging Tawakkul that helped us to get through it.

When I looked back though, I realized that I was truly lucky. Whether it was Aunty Radiyyah, Zuleikha or Nusaybah… whether it was a Bayaan that someone sent me or a Wazifah that I had been told to read… I owed them the world for every piece of advice or motivation then so willingly offer to keep me going. It gave me courage. Hope. Perseverance. Because whether we find ourselves in extreme difficulty of whether we fall into complacency, we all need something to shake us up and remind us about Allah’s grand master plan. We all need to be reminded…

“Are you sure you’re okay?”

And as I looked at my friend with the very strength that I had acquired through her channel of love, she was obviously not buying my assurances.

”I’m perfect,” I responded, not really meaning it. There was just too much that had happened that was playing on my mind and I I knew I couldn’t hide from my friend.

I turned my face away as she narrowed her eyes at me and the smell of her Nik Naks hit my nose. For some reason I was beginning to resent the cheesy smell of  Nusaybah’s favorite chips. The main problem was that my dear friend seemed to be in love with them and overdosing on them during our study sessions.

”Listen Missy,” she said, crossing her arms over her chest and raising her eyebrows at me. “There’s only one Mr Perfect and the names not up for grabs… even if you do happen to be married to him. Spill it. Is he okay?”

“He’s perfect,” I said blandly, amused at the irony.

Mr Perfect was no longer perfect.  There might be some adjusting there for my dear friend. I looked back at my her, knowing that she was just concerned about me. To tell the truth, I was a bit concerned too.

I looked at my friend as she watched me, swallowing hard to suppress the tears.

“You have courage, Khawlah,” she whispered. “More than anyone I know. Pour your heart out on that Musallah if you can’t to me, and Allah will surely answer your Du’aa. I know you’re scared but I can almost see that hijabi-warrior mode switched on in your brain and I don’t know how you do it…“

Her eyes searched mine fervently as a single tear rolled down my cheek. I shrugged as I met my friends eyes, not really knowing how to answer.

Tawakkul, right? It was like a superpower. And as I sat and prayed that night, trying my utmost to plead with Allah through prayer and perseverence it was almost like I could feel my Lord reaching out for my hand.

Tawakkul. Sometimes we had to just pull it out and wear it over our clothes, even where we’re burning inside. After a while… the courage from within finds its way to the surface, knowing it has to pull us through.

I sat there, wondering what it was about life that made it all seem so surreal at times. I could barely believe that it had already been just over two weeks that the spinal tumour was confirmed and there were no words to describe the turmoil that had been engulfing me just at the onset of my final period of examination. The timing was completely unprecedented. Aadam’s uncle had explained that the tumour was an aggressive type and surgery wasn’t possible.

Somehow, through all the tests after the fall, they had missed this. This one crucial problem that would cost us so much. Maybe even his life. And yes, we could be angry but it was no-ones fault. How can we question Allah’s will? It was meant to be. The oncologists had been concerned about the Myeloma and it’s revelation had diverted them from the other signs of Aadam’s underlying condition. Usually patients were given time to consider all the pros and cons but Uncle Siraj had briefly and sternly said that he strongly recommended that Aadam start immediately. In a way, I was relieved to find out about it.

As terrible as it was, a certain amount of consolation accompanied the palpable fear. At long last… I was relieved that there was a reason for all the pain and discomfort. Relieved now that it wasn’t undiagnosed. Relieved that Aadam had finally consented to attempt some medical treatment… despite being so stubborn about it in the initial stages.

He would go to the hospital every day for a few hours and come back by the late afternoon, at most times, utterly exhausted. I had asked him multiple times about how he was coping but he never spoke about it and I had realized that it was something that he didn’t want to delve into. Whether he thought of it as tedious information or some kind of shortcoming on his side… I wasn’t sure, but I respected his wishes and let it be. We lived in a world where hope was our weapon and Tawakkul would see us through. My thoughts drifted back to the day before when everything had became starker than we ever wanted to see it…

“Drink this.”

I could see Aadam shifting uncomfortably in his seat as he looked back at my mother-in-law with his one raised eyebrow.

He studied the glass carefully.

”I don’t see anything floating in here,” he said with a tiny grin, despite his apparent weakness on that particular day. “Is it safe?”

”Of course!” She said, hands on her hips. “It’s only water.”

”Water that she’s made ‘phoook’ in about 25 times,” Rubeena mumbled to herself from behind us.

I grinned as I heard my sister-in-law’s voice, not expecting to bump into her here today. She had probably wanted to see Aadam before the big night. I smiled as I remembered how my mother-in-law was going on two weeks back about a lady who she was convinced was after her family, and was now going all out to protect them with her reading of various Amal, thankfully approved by Ma.

I turned slightly to smile at Ruby in mutual understanding, not expecting to almost do a double take as I glimpsed her lightly made-up face that seemed to be glowing from within. I was a little in awe as I looked at here, shocked that she looked so different today. Calm. Composed. Serene.

Being naturally pretty, she never did wear much makeup, but today’s subtle application was done just beautifully, to suit her completely natural demeanor. To accompany it, she had tastefully matched it with a beautiful pastel dress with a simple floral print that suited her perfectly. Of course, her abaya was thrown over the chair to cover the slightly fitted dress, until later on when she would be having her first meeting with her new husband…

”Wow, Rubes,” Aadam said, giving her a raised eyebrow. “You look like you’re going for a wedding or something …”

Never mind it was her own Nikah. That was just by the way…

And as I watched her chatting quietly to my husband, I couldn’t help but think that maybe Ahmed was a luckier guy than he had thought. i just couldn’t help but feel sorry for Rubeena who would have to deal with my clinically unexpressive brother well… for the rest of her life.

Of course, having first found about the Nikah two weeks ago was a bit of a shock for me, but not completely unexpected.

It took some processing but it was amazing to see that as I warmed up to the idea and truly became excited, I realized that this was the happiest I’d seen any of them. Rubeena was glowing. Ahmed was literally on top of the world. The best part was that the boys were equally excited when they realized who their new father figure would be. Surprisingly, Ahmed wasn’t as terrible with boy kids as I thought he’d be. 

And just as I was about to tell her how stunning I thought she looked, before I could get a word in, between us suddenly stepped my mother-in-law who was on a solid mission, relentlessly splashing drops of Aadam’s ‘phook’ water on her from all directions. She looked like some sort of weird sprinkler system.

I could see Rubeena’s expression change from peacefully composed to annoyingly exasperated in literally three seconds. I had a feeling that her serene composure was dangerously close to disintegration and I stifled my grin as I watched them both.

”Ma, please stop,” she said, rolling her eyes as she tried to avoid the droplets splattering her face. I could understand how annoying it must have been, but my mother-in-law was hearing none of it.

Ma!” She almost yelled now as her mother continued, holding up her hands. “My make up! You’re spoiling it!”

“You rather spoil your make up now than spoil your marriage later!” My mother-in-law almost barked at her. ”If only you know how people can be. Selfish and jealous. Anything they see, they look with bad eyes and then you’ll find yourself falling flat on your face even when you’re sleeping! You have no idea, Rubeena!”

I wanted to giggle, but I pursed my lips to conceal it. I got what she was saying. I knew that there was the evil eye and people who do weird things when they’re jealous and a little bit messed up in their heads… but that being said… like Rubeena, I also shared the notion that she was being a little over the top. Sometimes the bad things that happen to us are tests. Sometimes we needed to understand that Allah places these tests in our way for us to turn to Him…

And as the two of them argued inconclusively and finally left the room to fetch the boys and get them ready for the big night too, I smiled to myself, thinking about how sometimes things just work out so perfectly. I could see the relief on Aadam’s face when everything had fell into place for Rubeena the week before. When I hadn’t put up a fight with him about what I had always thought would be the worst move ever…

Surprisingly, Shabeer too didn’t stand much of a chance with trying to convince Rubeena to reconsider.

I snuck a look at my husband that evening, noticing his eyes serenely closed. I could see that today wasn’t a good day and I missed his usual banter. The thing was, the more serious Aadam’s condition became, the busier the house seemed to be getting. It also meant that he got more tired, and faster. We didn’t have much time alone. There were people who were coming to visit him that I’d never heard of before, apologizing for not coming earlier because they didn’t know. Now that Aadam’s cancer was out in the open, I supposed the reality was also hitting much harder on my heart…

And as I glanced at him, and then busied myself with clearing up some scattered cups that were lying around, I barely even noticed Aadam shifting around uncomfortably behind me and then suddenly sitting up and sprinting to the bathroom in haste, promptly retching his poor guts out as I listened in shock from the outside.

My heart was hammering in my chest as I heard it. It sounded horrific. His breath was raspy and his heavy breathing was audible even from outside. I couldn’t help but shudder at the noise of his gagging as I pushed the door open, then watched him dabbing his mouth with a face towel, not meeting my eye as I witnessed him at his worst state yet. Yes, he was fatally ill but the reality never really hit me because I had never seen him this way. 

”Sweets,” he said softly, not looking up at me yet. There was a slight quiver in his voice as he spoke. “I don’t know if I can do this today. I mean, I can’t. I can’t find the strength… the strength to drag myself out of this room… but I know that I need to…”

He sounded desperate as I watched him, searching for the familiar signs of humour in his eyes as he said it… but today, there was nothing. Today he was hollow. Inside and out. When your body can’t make the cut, there’s really nothing else that can be done. I wasn’t sure if I could even accept what he was saying. Aadam never complained. It was the first time he’d ever showed pain. Weakness. It was the first time he was showing any sign of defeat.

He leaned over the sink and looked at me from the side of his eye, almost as if he was beyond repair.

”I can’t do this,” he said again, his voice dropping as he looked at me. “I can’t.”

If only he could see the sins falling from him for every ache and pain that he had so patiently endured…

I shook my head at him, not knowing what to tell him. Everything that I had known and loved about him had been sucked out of him by this illness. Every hope that he had had was extinguished. I could feel my heart hammering as I watched him, taking a step closer and pulling him toward me as he sunk his head into my shoulder, involuntary heaving as he let it all out, finally realizing that his strength was not meant to bear so many mountains.

I helped him to the couch, sitting next to him as he gained his strength. I ran my fingers over the stubble on his neck, taking in the familiar scent of him as he pulled me towards him. 

It was amazing how Allah put empathy and patience in between hearts to pull us through the most trying times. It wasn’t like this was a a familiar feeling for us. This kind of feeling was foreign. Unexpected. Completely beyond anything I had felt before. This was above the romance and passion and intensity that had engulfed us over the few weeks that Aadam was still ‘okay’. Right then was something beyond superficial. It was when understanding and compassion and love were the founding factors. It was a calling to show him the beauty of the strength that Allah had most definitely given him to get through this. It was when I had to remind him that you can’t throw in the towel on something that Allah had placed in his path, despite how deeply you may be hurting inside.

Sometimes it was in those moments of weakness and vulnerability that we truly seek what we’re looking for. Sometimes when we think we’ve lost it all, it’s the very time that we find our greatest treasure.

”Aadam,” I said to him, holding his hand tighter as I spoke. “Listen to me. This is not forever. You will feel better. You may be hurting… but you will be okay. Yes, you’re allowed to have moments of weakness but let me just remind you that you aren’t defined by this. You are stronger than this and you will find the courage because this is what Allah promises. He promises us that we will never be given more than we can bear and one thing I know and have learnt over the years is that Allah’s promise always holds true…”

His dark eyes were still searching mine for answers as he looked back at me. 

“How is this even fair?” He asked, shaking his head.

I looked at him as he said it, obviously not having any words to answer him. We were never promised that this life would be fair. We were never given a promise of justice and recompense for this temporary abode. If only we could see what awaited us after… when we walk in our eternal home… then we’d truly understand.

“I mean,” he continued, looking up at me with the shadow of a smile. “That I have you. I took a little chance on an investment that I made and look how I’ve been repaid. Overpaid. Like I don’t even understand it… because all I am is a smelly sick guy who married a girl who blew me away and somehow I scored the gold…”

I couldn’t help but grin as I looked at him, glad to see the going of humor in his eye again.

”You’re not smelly,” I said to him. His lashes were darker than ever today for some reason, and his one dimple flashed at me as he smiled. “You always smell amazing…”

“If vomit and dettol is your flavor,” he said wryly. “Maybe I should puke around you more often. Like really go all out. Maybe even puke on you. Might do me wonders, yeah?”

”And yet another talent of yours,” I said, trying not to smile. ”I love that you do everything with so much of passion…. always going the extra mile…”

“Really?!” He said, raising his eyebrow playfully. “You think I have skill?! Wow.”

I nodded.

”You do,” I said with a sweet smile. “But you know which talent I love the most?”

Aadam cocked his head and looked at me pensively.

“Please do go on,” he said innocently.

“Most of all,” I said slowly, building up some momentum as he eyed me out cynically and crossed his arms over his chest.

“Most of all… I love that weird eyebrow of yours,” I said with a giggle. “It’s the cherry on the top!”

And just as I stuck my tongue out at his anti-climatic moan in good humor, it was at that precise moment that the shrill noise of the buzzer erratically sounded.

“My eyebrow?!” He asked, shaking his head. “Come on! This calls for a re-election.”

“I’ll think about it,” I said with a laugh. ”Let me get the door.”

”If it’s my mother, tell her I’m on a hunger strike…” he called after me.

I shook my head at him as I made my way to the door, tightening my hijab and stopping to unlatch it without really thinking about the possibilities of who would be outside.

To tell the truth, I expected one of Aadam’s or my family members. I expected a friend or someone who might have worked with him. What I didn’t expect to see was the striking female doctor that I had met at the hospital those few months back, looking at me with a slightly hopeful expression and a certain reservation in her eyes.

I could already sense her hesitation and as I spotted the little girl on her hip… my mind already racing with all types of possibilities that I had never imagined before.

Yes, life was unpredictable. Amazing. At times, unbearable… but in between it all, it’s all sorts of crazy that bring you back to the reason you were put here in the first place.

Sometimes things are not as they seem. Sometimes life unfolds in sinister ways to show you what the most important things in them really are. And sometimes the worst of situations can be the very instance when we find the greatest treasure of all…

Dearest Readers 

Apologies about the delays. I know I’m pushing it but I had a few patients in my house the past week and it still hasn’t ended!   Am aspiring to be more punctual InshaAllah #goals 

Duaas always needed 

Much Love

A xx

Duaa at the onset of Rajab, do recite.

Don’t forget our Sunnah Revival!

Favorite foods of the Prophet (SAW): Pumpkin and Barley. All we have to do is make an intention for Sunnah and we’ll get multiple rewards! 

Anas RA said: “I went along with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) barley bread and soup containing pumpkin and dried sliced meat. And I saw the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) going after the pumpkin round the dish, so I have always liked pumpkins since that day.” (Abu Dawud 3782)

A forgotten Sunnah. Eaten fallen particles… Sometimes we forget the Barakah that can be in even a grain of food. To eat what has fallen on the cloth or even the floor… SubhaanAllah.
Anas ibn Maalik narrated that when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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). 









Twitter: @ajourneyjournal


The Only Thing

Bismihi Ta’ala


As human beings living in this temporary world, it’s only natural that we will never understand the concept of ‘forever’. We don’t understand the reality because we see how night turns into day and day turns into night. We see flowers wilting and seasons changing. We see the people aging and lives ending…

Our concept of forever is limited… restricted… so temporary.

But the real ‘forever’.. the real forever is what comes after. It’s what we are promised. It’s the home of our desires and the basis of every dream. Sometimes it’s the only thing that really keeps us going. It’s only one day, when we walk in Jannah, when we will understand how forever really works. How truly limitless it is.

How every difficulty here in this temporary world will make eternal sense.

“I used to be the type of person who put everything materialistic above everything else. It was the only thing I ever cared about…”

I looked up at Aadam as he watched his nephews kicking the ball around. We had taken a little stroll  to the park near the apartment, now sitting and enjoying the soothing sound of gushing water from the the little pond there that I never seemed to tire of.

He wiped off the tiny beads of perspiration from his forehead as he spoke. His breathing was still slightly heavy from chasing after the boys just a few minutes ago.

“I don’t believe that,” I said, shaking my head and reaching out for his hand. “You were never a selfish person.”

Rubeena had taken over now and we watched her as she kicked the ball back and fro to them. Zaydaan was chasing after the pigeons nearby, and Zia was trying to join in on the make-shift goal scoring with no success. She was probably one of the few women I knew that could actually kick a ball with direction. I supposed having four boys gave you different kind of skill too.

”Khawlah,” he said, turning his gaze back to me and moving closer on the bench. “You saw me, all those years ago. And maybe you didn’t know me but I’m sure I was nothing like the kind of guy you’d always pictured for yourself…”

He looked at me and I smiled at him, taking in his now modest frame and unkempt hair, covered with a prayer hat. I remembered those days when his styled hair and bulky frame was the most noticeable thing about him.

”You loved your nephews,” I said simply, resting my head on his shoulder. “You changed your life. You found Allah. It doesn’t matter beyond that…”

“You make me sound so noble,” he said, his one dimple flashing as he glanced at me. “But I was so far. The only thing that consumed me was how much further in this world I could make it. How much more I wanted to push. If this had happened to me back then, if I had gotten sick… all I would have wanted to was spend all my time making an even bigger name for myself before I lost the ability to. I would have wanted to do was make the most of being alive. I would have probably been on my way to Kilamanjaro now… abseiling or mountain climbing or sky-diving… doing all the things I had never done before, just so I could say I made the most of my life..”

”You can still do all of those things,” I said with a grin.

“I know I can, sweets,” he said simply, his dark eyes meeting mine as he smiled and slipped his arm around me. “But the point is, I don’t want to anymore. Sometimes I wonder what little deed I had done  and overlooked and thought was all gone to waste. Sometimes I wonder which action it was of mine that made Allah look at me with such a gaze of mercy that it changed everything. But you see, love, I didn’t know it then, there’s a secret hidden in the sacrifices done for the sake of Allah…”

I looked at him as he breathed in deeply, gazing at the serene display of greenery ahead, almost as if he was trying to come to terms with it himself. Almost as if he was trying to digest the favors of Allah upon him, even in the state he was in…

“Sometimes the goodness doesn’t stem from the source we invest it in,” he murmured softly into my ear. “Sometimes it comes out of the blue, and it’s only now I can see how true Allah’s promise is when he says “Is there any other reward for good other than good?”
He granted me a goodness so far beyond my expectations. He gifted me with such a fulfilling marriage and solid belief through it. Lesson learnt… never ever regret any good put forward for the sake of Allah. With Him, nothing is ever lost…”

I looked at my husband as his eyes fixed onto mine, burning from deep inside as he spoke. He was so sincere and unwavering.

“I wanted to see my mother change,” he said softly. “And I can see it happening Khawlah. I know that my Duaa is already being answered. I want my sister to be happy again… I want to see her settle. I want to wake up at night and talk to my Lord. I want to feed people and do good. Real good. Most importantly, yeah… the one thing I want do right now is be with you and the boys and make the most of this…”

His voice broke as I looked at him, touched by his emotion. I had completely forgotten about that Du’aa he had made. His mother was truly becoming such a different person to me, and I couldn’t believe the change as I saw her every day. Amazing proof that Duaas work wonders…

”Aadam,” I said, swallowing hard, trying to lighten the atmosphere and at the same time, digesting the reality for like the millionth time since he was diagnosed. “You’re young. You’re only 22. Please don’t talk like you’re on your death bed…”

Aadam smiled cheekily as he squeezed my hand.

“I’m just baring my soul to the girl who stole my heart…“ he said simply. “This time without any weird stunts that will land me in hospital.”

”Well I should hope not,” I grinned at him. “I’m not sure if my heart could handle more right now. The only thing that’s keeping me going is knowing that you’re going to sail through this test and be okay…”

The sun was filtering  through the tree above, it’s streaky light settling on the ground in front of me in various patterns. It was strangely soothing.

“Do you know that Nabi SAW never made Du’aa for a long life?” He said, after a few moments of silence.

”I didn’t know that,” I said quietly. “But… you can choose to ask for whatever you wish…

”I know,” he said, pecking my cheek. “So let’s make a deal, yeah.. you ask for what you wish, and I won’t stop you… and I’ll ask for mine…”

The ball rolled up to our feet at that point, and Aadam stood up to join the boys again, while I forgot for a moment what it was we were really talking about. I forgot to ask him what he really meant…

And some things kind of slip beyond your view, dwelling there while you bury yourself in oblivion because it just makes the most sense to you right then…

And as they continued with their little game, so too did time move on… and life as we knew it continued. The days turned into weeks and time revealed to us many things we didn’t anticipate. Aadam got stronger, then weaker. He battled. He fought. He hurt. He healed. His emotions fluctuated with each new day.

Every day was different. Challenging in their own ways. Amazing too. Some mornings Aadam seemed so energetic. Alive. Some nights he seemed to be completely broken. Frustrated. I concentrated on the good, knowing that there were many who were worse off than him. I tried to be strong, supportive, and withstand the tests with conviction…

”Is your heart okay?”

My friend was looking at me with concern in her eyes, as she cleared a spot on my bed to collapse into. I glanced at her, not sure how to answer. Was my heart okay?

”It’s a little shattered,” I murmured truthfully. “But it will hold up.”

”That’s the spirit,” Nusaybah said encouragingly. “And what about him?”

I thought of Aadam, picturing him in my mind.

He was so fiercely independent that some days I couldn’t tell if he was really okay, or just about pulling through…

”He’s coping,” I replied, knowing that he wanted me to think he was perfectly okay. I saw the signs every day, but his mind was on a completely different wavelength to his body.

She offered a tiny smile, and turned to face me.  

“Emotionally, he’s perfect,” I said confidently. “Most days. I really can’t believe that he’s pulling through with so much of conviction…”

“I knew it,” she said simply, munching on her packet of chips in true Nusaybah style. “Because he had all the tools to bring it together, but he just needed you to help him to see it. You’re so strong, Khawlah. It must be taking a helluva lot from you. Can I do anything for you at all, honey? He’s going to be okay, you know. Just keep on giving Sadaqah…” 

I shook my head, and then nodded and swallowed, remembering the Hadith that if wards off any bad and prevents calamities too.

Umm Salamah (RadhiAllahu ‘anha) reported,

The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

“Good works protect from evil fates. Charity in secret extinguishes the wrath of the Lord, maintaining family ties increases life span, and every good deed is charity.

The people of good in the world are the people of good in the Hereafter, and the people of evil in the world are the people of evil in the Hereafter. And the first to enter Paradise are the people of good.”

[ al-Mu’jam al-Awsaṭ 6252 – Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani ]

Aadam hesitated not even a moment in doing anything he could. His generosity was on another level completely…

I was so glad that my friend had such an amazingly positive outlook on life. It was so refreshing and different to the gloom that we faced from other people day in and day out.

This is what I loved to hear. Positivity. Hope. Ambition. There was so much to be grateful for.

”You’re the best, Nus,” I said, looking at her with a wider smile. “I’m fine. Can you pass over that packet of Doritos that you’re hogging now?”

“This flavor is amazing,” she said, tossing me the packet. “It didn’t help that there was an exotic-looking muscle man in the kitchen that made my heart nearly cease in my chest. Who is he and where have you been hiding him all along?”

”You talking about Faheem?” I asked, knowing that Ahmed and my cousin were busy planning a road trip for the next day. 

Ever since Ahmed had put an indefinite delay on his wedding date, everything’s become a little upside down. Since it was their holiday season, my uncle and his family were down from the UK and having no wedding to plan for was leaving this at a little bit of anti-climax. The pros were that I was getting a chance to bond with my cousins. The cons was that Ahmed’s erratic decisions were unsettling everyone’s plans.

“Is that his name?” Nusaybah asked, her eyes glazed over. “Please tell me he’s not married or out of bounds.”

“I think he’s pretty much available…” I said, a little hesitant about where Nusaybah’s mind was going.

“Can you picture it?” she asked, her eyes still looking scarily dreamy as I watched her. “You and I… on a picnic mat under the glorious pine trees… while Mr Muscle and Mr Perfect are busy knocking around with a soccer ball while we sit and laugh about the ‘back in the day’ when we used to eat Doritos and talk about our futures…. Fast forward two years, Khawlah, and bam!! Two little munchkins are in the picture… a little girl that Adam always says he wants, and a little boy who looks just like Mr Muscle down there … already destined for each other since inception because their parents are best of friends…”

My goodness. She was officially gone bonkers.

Err Nusaybah,” I said, shaking my head at her in disbelief. “The guy doesnt even know your name and you’re planning to have a family with him. That’s just creepy.”

”But he’s beautiful,” she breathed, looking sincerely disappointed.

”Nusaybah, I think you’ve officially lost your marbles,” I sighed, as I looked at my friend. “The love affair with your mathematics books has to end. Do you know that they said Einstein had lost his mind? It was all those limitless numbers and  ridiculous formulas-“

”Formulaeeeee,” she said in a monotone, emphasizing the last part.

”Whatever,” I said, waving my hand at her. “You’ve officially gone crazy. What about lowering your gaze, huh? It’s not like you to be guy-obsessing…”

”Khawlah, I can’t deal!” she suddenly wailed, throwing up her hands in the air as she hid her head in the pillow. ”I can’t even open a single book for the past two days! Every time I try it’s like there’s an overwhelming force that’s come to devour me!”

I wanted to laugh, but I knew it was wisest not to make fun of my friend. She was shaking her head, almost in a deep depression.

“Khawlah, do you think my mind is rebelling against me at the worst of times?!” She moaned. “There are only two months to finals!”

Two months? That was a lifetime.

Hmmm,” I said, not wanting to tell her that maybe she had burned out her brain cells. It would probably finish her. “You think maybe some motivation can help..?”

I was thinking along the lines of a professional tutor or alternate study partner. I didn’t know that my best friend had other ideas in mind…

”My word, Khawlah, yes!” She exclaimed, her wide eyes lighting up. “You’re a genius! A study partner and mentor. Can we start this weekend? I’ll set it all up, with a mini smoothie fridge, gluten-free snacks and the study works.. we’ll be on our way to multiple distinction passes in no time at all…”

”Not this weekend,” I said quickly, remembering Adam’s request that morning, ecstatic that I had an excuse.

”Why not?” She asked suspiciously. “Listen, you better tell Mr Perfect to go and fight the werewolves or something for the next few weeks. We can’t be having any interruptions.”

”This is kind of a big deal,” I said quietly, glancing at my friend as she frowned at me. Her eyes suddenly lit up as realization dawned…

Oh my socks…” she murmured, widening her big eyes even more. “Has he finally proposed for the big move? This is like an event of it’s own…”

”Not exactly,,” I said softly, not wanting to admit that it had crossed my mind a few times after we spoke. It did sound like Aadam was thinking about it. “But it’s probable…”

The truth was, even though I didn’t know what was really going to happen… I couldn’t help but feel that amidst my studies and his sickness, and everything else in between… time was running out on us, and Aadam felt the exact same way.

”Oh cadoodles…” Nusaybah breathed. “Please pinch me. Tell me I’m not dreaming. Please tell me that you’re actually thinking along the same lines as me, and not like the crazy old lady in young person’s body that you used to be…”

I stuck out my hand and pinched her arm in jest.

”It’s like one of those romantic novellas,” she whispered, rubbing it dramatically. “When the injured knight in shining kurta comes back from a fierce Jihaad, seeking the halaalest love of his life and just wanting to spend every remaining waking moment with his hijaabi warrior-princess before he has to head out again in the noble path…”

I closed my eyes and shook my head, fighting the urge to giggle.

Nusaybah was nuts, but so easy to laugh with. She made everything seem so simple, even though there were so many other things going on.

Ahmed’s uncertainty about his own future was still a concern, and with us just finishing the last lot of trial examinations, it was about time that I took a moment to breathe.

The truth was, with so much going on and Aadam just finishing off his treatment, he was so exhausted that we couldn’t even think further. Now that he had made it clear that there was no way he was continuing to put himself through anything so taxing again and feel even worse than the cancer made him, we were thinking a little more clearly. If was time for him to take a break, do his tests and then leave it in Allah’s hands.

Leaving home to live with Aadam was a big step right now, and as hard it was to digest, he was my husband after all. Maybe it was time to be make the big move…

Nusaybah was rummaging in my cupboard, already tossing out several outfits, some of them of an extremely embarrassing nature, when Ahmed’s voice from down the passage sounded out.

Now, sudden outbursts in my house were pretty much nothing out of the ordinary, but we usually tried to keep it together until all outsiders left. This was just a little out of character, even for Ahmed…

I widened my eyes as Nusaybah paused to look at me worriedly. I instructed her to wait there while I made my way toward the kitchen, clearly hearing Zuleikha’s raised voice as she addressed him.

”You can’t do this!” She was saying, he voice sounding dangerously on the verge of tears. She seemed absolutely distressed. “You can’t just go around breaking people’s hearts with a mere apology. What kind of person are you? She’s such a nice girl. I cannot believe you called it off! You’re not thinking straight!”

I could see my cousin looking back and forth as he watched them. Poor guy was caught in the midst of their banter.

”I can’t do it, Zulz,” he said simply. “I can’t marry someone just because they seem like a nice person.  People are allowed to change their minds. She said so herself. There’s no harm done. Can we just let it go?”

”No!” Zuleikha almost screamed. “I won’t allow it! Have you even thought about this properly?”

I stepped into view as they both looked at me. Obviously I knew what this was about. The topic had been the only one in discussion for the past month. Obviously, I could not have been more disappointed with Ahmed’s lack of ability to deliver, but I really didn’t have much time to dwell on it. I just didn’t expect Ahmed to come back with a changeover… the only thing that may set everyone off completely.

”I’ve thought about it very carefully,” Ahmed admitted, meeting her eye. “I’m ready to make Nikah. The only thing is… I’ve got someone else in mind…”

Don’t forget our Sunnah this holiday! 

Umar ibn Abi Salamah said: I was a young boy in the care of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and my hand used to wander all over the platter (of food). The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me, “O young boy, say Bismillaah, eat with your right hand, and eat from what is directly in front of you.” 

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5376; Muslim, 2022).

Drink water while taking three breathing pauses. It is prohibited to drink water in a single gulp as our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Do not drink water only in one breath, but drink it in two or three breaths.”

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Future and Fears

Bismihi Ta’ala


When Mama first got sick, there were times that I felt myself floating beyond reality… almost as if there was no escape from the clouds that seemed to constantly loom above us.

I would creep away into my own little world, read my little books to my little self… or escape to Khalid’s garden whenever I felt the weight of sullenness start to rain on me.

It was on one particular autumn day that I sat under the great oak tree, just humming to myself and watching the pigeons flock together, when little Khalid plopped himself on the bench next to me.

”Hey Khawlah, are you okay?”

I had been exceptionally quiet that day, and nothing had escaped his notice.

”Yup,” I said, looking away. I didn’t want to talk about it.

He said nothing before he got up and started drawing in the sand as he usually would. I could see him playing a solo game of X and O’s and as I pretended not to watch him, he suddenly turned, tossing the stick away and looked up at me.

It was just Khalid, something was telling me. I could tell him.

His grey eyes were curious as he watched me. Khalid was always so jolly.. except when he was thinking deeply, like right now. I supposed that it was moments like these when he entered my heart…reserving his place there… all that time ago.

“See that tree there, Khawlah? The one with most of it leaves fallen off?”

I nodded carefully as I looked up at him.

His dark floppy hair was all over the place and his expression was slightly pensive as we looked at it carefully. It was almost bare. It’s dry leaves were piled up… abandoned at the bottom..

“A sick person,” he continued softly.  “Their sins fall off them like the leaves fall off the tree… imagine that, Khawlah? Imagine.”

I closed my eyes to imagine. I could almost picture it.

“You know what Papa says?” He said, and I already knew it was going to be something good.  ”Papa says that the believers are payed back for any little pain or inconvenience that they may feel. Get this, Khawlah: even if they’re looking for something in their left pocket, and it’s in the right one… they are rewarded even for that…”

Wow. I sat there, a little speechless.

”Khawlah, it’s going to be okay in the end,” Khalid said, his icy eyes softening as he looked at me. “Ummi says that if it’s not okay… it’s not the end…”

I couldn’t help but smile back at him. I had heard her say that before. Khalid’s smile was contagious as if morphed into a childish giggle as he made a funny face, and I couldn’t help but laugh back.

And it wasn’t like I had poured my heart out to my friend. I was only 6. Because without telling Khalid, there were many things that he already knew. He was exceptionally perceptive. For a kid, we sometimes underestimate their ability to understand… but they do.

And it was no wonder that when Khalid had told me that, all those years ago, somehow, his reassuring words had stuck with me whenever I happened to come across anyone sick… whether it was a menial flu or a fatal disease.

For Mama, for Foi Nani, and now, even for Aadam.. as I looked at him. It was like I could just see Allah’s mercy showering down on them… just like those leaves were falling off that magnificent tree, I could almost picture their sins being shed for them. I would picture their abode being prepared for them. I would fervently pray that I too, by some miracle, be blessed with a tiny bit of what they were receiving… and it was always a comfort.

”Khawlah. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to…”

I turned to look at my sister-in-law right then, her eyes still brimming with tears as she looked at us.

”I shouldn’t have done that,” Rubeena said from where she stood at the door. “Aadam should have been the one to say it…”

My mother-in-law stepped back as she came in,  little embarrassed about her open show of emotion, softening as she looked at her daughter. It was the first time I had seen the two of them in this kind of fragile state… so openly affectionate and empathetic… knowing that they were all in this together. I almost couldn’t believe that I was seeing this moment before my eyes. It was extremely emotional.

”It’s all my fault…” Aadam’s mother had whispered to me, just moments before. I shook my head at her… trying to convince her that it could never be.

And even though I knew that her feelings were nothing farther than the truth, if was only a reflection that in those crucial moments, these were the defining feelings that had somehow surfaced.

Guilt. Regret. Remorse.

”I pushed him so hard,” she said, shaking her head. “Always pushed him to be the best, work the hardest he could… and now see! See!”

And I suppose it didn’t even have to do with the apparent. It was just a regret that fills you when you realize that you’ve put so much effort, for so long, into the wrong thing.

”It’s no-one’s fault,” I tried to convince her. “It’s only Allah’s will. You can’t blame it on yourself…”

It was ridiculous. My mother-in-law stopped for a moment and looked at me, wiping her tears eyes as she tried to compose herself.

”Do you think he’s going to die?” She said, desperately seeking an answer as she looked at me.

And honestly, how do you even answer that? I wished I could console her, but the fact was that no-one knew what the future held. We all live in that fear of the unknown…

”Whatever happens,” I said, swallowing the emotion. “It’s going to be okay. You have to believe that. Its in Allah’s hands…”

She looked at me for a moment, slightly taken aback as she processed what I just said. She was actually a beautiful woman who I rarely got to notice, because of the way I had seen her before…

It had been a few minutes that we were in the kitchen, and as I heard shifting and Aadam clearing his throat behind us to signal his arrival, I found myself stepping away as Ruby left and I turned to look at him, still not really believing everything that I had just heard.

I still needed time to process it all. To think about how I felt. To let it all sink in.

”I’ll leave you two alone for a while,” I said, glancing at him and my mother-in-law.

For some reason, I couldn’t meet his eye. It was like my husband was no longer the man that I had known all this time. He was a patient. A cancer patient who was living with a fatal disease. How do you adjust to something like that? How do you change your mindset from thinking that you have the rest of your lives together… to wondering if you probably don’t..?

”Khawlah,” Aadam said softly to me as I passed by, attempting to  console his mother as best as he could. “You don’t have to go…”

”It’s okay,” I said assuringly. It really was.


It was my mother-in-law who spoke now, as she looked at me. I looked back with a small nod.

”Thank you,” she said sincerely.

It was just two simple words, but as they escaped her lips, it felt like every wall that had been built between us all these months was instantly being broken down. And although I barely knew it, it was that very moment that was a moment of revolution that would define our future…

I nodded and walked out slowly, still in a daze. The kids were bustling around and my mind, for once, could not settle into their tedious frame of mind. I needed to be away…

”Can we go?” I asked Aadam, now absolutely exhausted as he came out a few minutes later after assuring his mother he’ll be back to talk about it, . I desperately wanted to talk to my husband on his own.

There were so many things that were going through my mind… like an influx of information and questions that I couldn’t seem to shake…

”I’m so sorry.”

I couldn’t help but shake my head at him as he said it. Typical. He was apologizing to me.  It was so unbelievable that Aadam felt indebted, despite him being in the situation that he was. How crazy was that?

”You’re apologizing?” I asked, raising my eyebrows. “You have a condition that’s destroying your limbs and organs and you’re apologizing to me? Honestly… Aadam, you really don’t even have to…”

”No,” he said softly, stopping and turning me gently to face him. “You know it’s not that. You shouldn’t have had to find out that way. I wanted to be the one to tell you, Khawlah… to hold you before and console you after and tell you that it’s all going to be okay..”

My heart shattered a little more as he said it…

Is it going to be okay?” I asked softly, finally looking up at him. ”How bad is it? Is there a stage?”

”Let me just put it this way,” he started casually,  and I could see a hint of humor flicker in his eyes. “I’m not going to drop dead tomorrow..”

”Aadam,” I said with an exasperated sigh. “I’m serious. This is not a joke and you need to take this seriously too! I need to know!”

“Okay, I’m sorry,” he said meekly, with a tiny smile. “Lets just say that I’ll pretty much be my normal annoying self for at least a few more weeks. The cast is coming off , and then Siraj is pushing me for the radium and chemo treatments but I’ve turned them down… I want to try something else, and those may also have side effects but according to what I’ve read, they’re not as bad. Obviously,  try tell a medical doctor about alternate options and he shoots you down…”

Alternate options? I was also skeptical, as I looked at Aadam. What were the guarantees? But then again… Were there any guarantees in life at all? Right before me was a young guy with his whole life ahead of him… and now he was faced with something that was completely life changing, and not only for him.

He still looked the same. High cheek bones. Dark lashes. Striking features. I wasn’t even sure how something so deadly could be living inside of this guy…

Aadam averted his gaze  as he ran his hand through his beard.

”Khawlah, I’m not going to lie to you,” he said softly. “There are going to be bad days. There’ll be days when I won’t want to get out of bed. Days when I will probably make you angry and days when I will make you cry. Days when we’re probably going to fight like cats and dogs. Days when you will hate me. Days when I might hate me too… and you’ll probably walk out on me on some days, because this is going to test us in ways we never felt before. But I want you to remember that you have to come back, Khawlah… because I promise you, there are going to be good days too. Days that will give us hope and moments within them that will be the ones that you remember forever and remind you about this crazy guy you once loved, and no matter what happens, we still fought through this all in one solid piece…”

”I will never hate you,” I said, swallowing back all the emotion that he had just brought on. “And don’t talk like that. We’re going to get through this. You will fight it.”

”Khawlah, how do you do it?” He asked, looking baffled as he met my eye. “I wished I knew, because it’s like you never need my comforting… time and time again you keep proving to me how much you can bear and I don’t understand  it. Through this all, what I do know is that Allah has given me so many bounties amidst this sickness and one of them is that He brought you into my life to be the one that’s right here to hold it all together exactly when I need it…”

“I’m not what you think, Aadam,” I said, knowing that I wasn’t half as strong as he thought but not really wanting to go into that right now.

I had fears. So many of them, because so much of my own life would change. Our routine, our relationship, our future… And every decision that had to do with it would be revisited with this new and alarming piece of information in mind.

I couldn’t help but think about how we planned everything… to the last tee. How we would be apart for the year and then move in together. How Rubeena wanted to plan the function a week after my finals are over. How we had checked to see if we could make a booking for a getaway in advance… all those plans… now on hold as we waited for this unpredictable stage of our lives to be over.

And then came the plans for the following year, that had featured more often that I had thought it would. As we get older, our dreams get bigger too. I admired my mother for being the committed mother and housewife that she was, but times were different now. Well, that’s what everyone said. Everyone in my class was applying somewhere or the other. It was expected for me to do the same… even though my heart was never in it…

“Listen sweets,” Aadam had said one day a few months before as I sat with my dilemma and googling career options… as he folded his long legs to sit next to me. “You and I are brought up differently. I’ve always been driven by education. Maybe even shoved into it. That was my mother. That’s why I think that having a career is important… but for you, maybe not. Your brothers may think differently, and your father may not like it. But you married me, and if you really want to pursue something  … I can work anywhere … I’ll come with you, yeah? I know the environment is not ideal, so I’ll take you, have lunch with you, be your chaperone… you do what you need to do. I’ll be there.. just name it…”

”Can’t I just do nothing at all?” I finally said, exhausted from all the information I was processing. “I think 12 years of school is enough to put anyone off for life.”

Aadam grinned. Of course I would do something.  I was thinking along a completely different train…

”You don’t need to work, gorgeous,,” he said sweetly. “No pressure. You can sit at home, stuff your face and shop online the whole day and I won’t say a thing. Just don’t let my mother know.”

He smiled as he said it, but I knew there was a deeper meaning to his statement right then. I understood that his mother was extremely ambitious with regard to academic studies and though she might have felt she was motivating him… I knew that the pressure had impacted negatively on Aadam as he grew up.  That maybe she had focused on the wrong things. It was always the most important thing to her. He was always pushing to get to the top… and she loved him to be there. It was when  he got there that he  couldn’t understand what the big deal was anymore…

And yes, it was precisely then when he realized how much more there is to life… and he wished so badly that he had known if earlier.

My thoughts were a jumble as I filled application papers, not really knowing what I was setting myself up for and not really caring much about it either.

It was a back-up plan that would fall in if I ever changed my mind. I had sent them in to a few different campuses and left it at that, forgetting I ever did it. Aadam was still exploring treatment options and gearing himself up for it as the holidays started and it was a rollercoaster of emotions for those few weeks as everyone found out about the battle he was facing. Everything else took a back seat. I just wanted to be there for him before the following term would dawn again.

Of course, when he returned, Ahmed’s Nikah was the last thing on my mind. With the shock of the news… there was just too much else going on.

And in the midst of it all, as I entered the house after one exhausting day trying to convince Aadam otherwise about his treatment options, knowing I was getting nowhere at all.. All I expected to see was Dada sitting on his rocking chair catching his afternoon nap. Instead, as I entered the kitchen to grab a glass of juice, Ahmed was sitting on the bar stool, almost motionless… as he leaned over some documents.

”Assalamualaikum,” I greeted, opening the fridge door while my brother barely mumbled back a reply. I busied myself with choosing the flavor I liked, calmly took of out and just about poured a huge glass of cranberry and apple juice when Ahmed’s voice spoke out.

“Can you explain to me what’s the meaning of this?” He said suddenly, holding up the papers in the air as his penetrating gaze fixed on me. “Since when did you get all these ideas, Khawlah? Speech Therapy? Property Development? Law?”

”What are you talking about?” I asked him, completely confused. It was like he was building himself up, and now it was time to erupt… with no warning at all.

“University letters,” he snapped. “Provisional acceptance. From three different campuses. You really have a hope of that!”

Woah,” I said, feeling overwhelmed as I took a seat and put my glass down. With so much going on… I even forgot about those. “Am I really accepted?”

”Don’t you dare get any ideas,” he said with raised eyebrows. “Its not becoming of someone in your situation to go and run off to campus. Besides, you still live in this house until you leave. I won’t accept it and Abba won’t allow it either…”

”If doesn’t matter what Abba says,” I said stiffly, the defiant streak in me taking over. “Or you, for that matter. I’m married, remember? I don’t think I have to answer to you…”

How dare he tell me what I can or can’t do? He had no right. He had no idea what it was being in my situation… or what I was dealing with right then.

“Please,” Ahmed scoffed. “You really think Aadam is in the position to be making decisions like that?”

“I think he’s completely capable,” I said stubbornly. I mean, he wasn’t dead. Why was Ahmed acting like an idiot? 

Ahmed’s eyes narrowed at me as I faced him, not relenting with my gaze either. I didn’t know that all this had stemmed from something else that had erupted in his own life, that he failed to tell us about. All I could see was an intensely temperamental Ahmed threatening me with his fierce looks and rigid approach, and I didn’t like it at all.

”Mark my words, Khawlah,” he said angrily, tossing the letters across the table and glancing up to look at me. “This is not Adam’s choice anymore. You better burn those letters and forget about them or I won’t let him hear the end of it.”

I know everyone is taking it a bit easy this holiday season – please bear with me if next posts are a little delayed 🌷

Keep safe and Much Love, 

A xx


Sunnah of Drinking water

Drink water while taking three breathing pauses. It is prohibited to drink water in a single gulp as our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Do not drink water only in one breath, but drink it in two or three breaths.”

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Moments in History


Bismihi Ta’ala


Change. We don’t like it. Well, I know I don’t. We fear it, but we can’t stop it from coming. The thing is, we can either adapt to change, or we get left behind. By default, our lives are meant to be such that everything around us, within us and ahead of us constantly changes.

And one of the most extraordinary gifts that a person can ever be blessed with is the ability to smile amidst the challenges that they face. To take change in their stride. To make Sabr from the first test. To show forbearance at all times, whenever the burdens of the world that they carry may overwhelm them.

As was the outstanding quality of Nabi (SAW)… despite his trials, his losses and the grief that he endured within his blessed heart, he was always seen with a smile on his Mubarak face. Because he, (SAW), among all people understood that the nature of this Duniyaa is such that trials and tribulations are part and parcel of it’s disposition. He buried every child of his, except for one. He saw the pains of the beloved Sahaabah as they suffered from severe hunger. He experienced hurt and betrayal and abuse from even those whom he loved.

We are meant to learn Sabr. To practice Tawakkul. To build our faith and our belief that Allah does not wish for us difficulty, but only wants to strengthen us, to give us ease in the hereafter. To remind us that this world is not forever.

And along my journey, somehow, I had been fortunate enough to meet a guy who reminded me about this on a constant basis. He was the kind of person that you’d remember for those qualities, because in every situation that tests you, those simple things are lessons that remind you. Those moments are ones that you remember despite the sadness and despair, because they shine out through the darkness. Those moments are moments that not only make history… but moments that you can’t forget.

And though I’ve had my fair share of gripes with my mother-in-law, one thing I couldn’t deny was that someone.. somehow, had raised a great guy. Even if it was by some miracle, my husband had turned out to be an amazing human being.

Our character… the way we are and people see us… well, these are the things that aren’t tangible… yet leave everlasting impressions. Somehow, Aadam had acquired not just a helluva amazing approach to life, but also a conviction in his heart that no trial could shake.

“Are your uncle and them coming back tonight?” I asked, noticing the house suddenly empty as I got back downstairs.

”Uncle Siraj’s temporarily disowned me,” Aadam said with a raised eyebrow. “I don’t think he’ll be back any time soon…”

I glanced at Rubeena but she didn’t meet my eye. Something was up, and I knew that I had to get to the bottom of it.

”What did you do?” I said. Narrowing my eyes at my husband.

“Listen, sweets,” he said casually with one raised eyebrow, getting up and pulling out his crutches to use. “Don’t worry your pretty head about these things. It was some tests that I didn’t want to take… but I’m going to do them now, okay? It’s all under control, right Rubes? There’s a Greater Power here. It’s all under control, yeah?”

It was almost as if he was asking her and reminding her at the same time, and though I frowned and noticed her stagnant expression, with Aadam’s indifferent attitude and carefree approach to life, I obviously didn’t make a big deal of something that didn’t seem like a worry at the time.

The weeks of the second term exams flew by steadily, and being so busy with work and getting dragged into Nikah plans for Ahmed was pretty much consuming. It was the week when exams were due to end when my brother suddenly came to us and have us a considerate heads up about his heading off to Europe for two weeks. I would never forget the look on Zuleikha’s face when he said it. She was utterly peeved.

”Oh my word, Ahmed,” she squealed, looking up from the notebook she was writing in. “You can’t be serious! I’ve already set a date with the caterers.”

”Change it,” Ahmed said simply. “Nothings written in stone. I did tell you not to book anything yet.”

Zuleikha rolled her eyes at him in frustration. I could see through her niqab that she wasn’t impressed. Her amber eyes were narrowed, and I could see Aadam’s mouth lift up at the corners as he watched the two of them. To be fair though, maybe I should stick up for my sister. Ahmed seemed to be a bit softer with me after my teary episode when Aadam’s health had been a great concern. It had been consuming me for weeks, but with Aadam’s reassurance that everything will be okay… I was holding up just fine.

“Ahmed, are you sure you want to go?” I asked, a little disbelievingly. “Don’t you want to make Nikah first and then take your wife with you?”

Ahmed frowned.

”It’s a men’s Jamaat,” he said, as if I was crazy to even suggest it. “And I’ve waited my whole life to get married. I don’t think a few weeks will make a difference. Right Adam?”

Aadam smiled.

”I don’t know about you, bro.. but i couldn’t wait.”

”I’m different,” he said confidently. And with that he shrugged and walked off as Aadam and I made our way out after greeting an annoyed Zuleikha, and dismissing his behavior as typical Ahmed behavior. Besides, I was already preoccupied with psyching myself up for the night ahead. It was family night and supper with my mother-in-law always had it’s fair of drama.

Since Ruby still had a few days to come out of Iddat and supper was at her place … I kind of hoped that things wouldn’t erupt like they usually did. What I didn’t know was that tonight was going to be a moment in history that I didn’t anticipate.

”You guys are all so… unique,” Aadam was saying, almost to himself as we hopped in the car. “Ahmed is so rough and… powerful… And Zuleikha is super sensitive.. and considerate. Yunus is in a world of his own. He’s probably like one of the deepest guys I’ve ever met. As for you…”

I held out my hand to stop him in mid-sentence, already anticipating some quirky dig at me that Aadam was so famous for.

”I’m the most unemotional person you’ve ever known?” I said, shrugging indifferently and focusing on the road. My driving was becoming better and it was just in time because Aadam’s cast was due to come off in a week and he’d be more or less back to his normal self.

Well, I hoped.

“You’re my rock, Khawlah,” he said simply. “You are the way you are, and that’s precisely why I love you. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner… but back to the point..”

”No, no,” I said, waving my hand at him. “Carry on complimenting me please. Let’s not get back to the point.”

Aadam grinned as he leant over and planted a slobbery kiss on my cheek.

Euw,” I said, wiping it off.

”I can sit here and compliment you all day, beautiful,” he said seriously. “Without having you in my life, I really would have seen none of this. I would have been so lost if Allah hadn’t looked at me with His gaze of mercy and brought me from that pit of revolt that I was sinking in. I used to think that all these worldly things made me a cut above the rest, when in truth, all I have is a dark shadow that follows me wherever I go, reminding me that at one stage of my life, I was worth nothing at all. I had everything going for me, but I was still a lost soul. An unfulfilled being. I knew nothing of what my purpose was and who I was meant to be. That my living and my dying an everything in between is and always will be, only for One Supreme Being…”

I glanced at him and swallowed, pondering on that characteristic of him that never seized to amaze me. He was so humble. It was something that had blown me away from the minute I had gotten to know my husband, and that kind of humility only comes when you truly recognize Allah in everything you do. 

And I would never admit it to anyone, but when he we sat together, some time after the day of his big work function… What I saw in him was something that I didn’t often see in anyone before this. He had made it very well-known that all the glory, attention and awards meant nothing to him. For him, it wasn’t important.  All he knew was that no matter what people payed to him or said about him or spoke of him… he knew that otherwise he would be worth nothing at all. Nothing without Allah.

Ans tears had filled my eyes as I sat there, remembering his past and hurting for every pain that he had ever felt. There’s always a regret over time lost without knowing the Allah who gave you everything that you are. As he spoke about his childhood, his mother… his past… I always sensed a pain there that I wished so badly that I could make go away.

”Do you know what Yunus wants to be?” I asked him softly, with the train of thought still running through my mind as we sat in the car outside, not yet ready to go in until this conversation was over.

”He told me,” Aadam said with a smile. “Amazing guy. An Aalim, huh? I love him to bits.”

”Yunus talks to you?” I asked, wondering when it ever happens. Yunus was always in his own kind of silent zone.

”All the time,” Aadam said. “Sometimes in his mind. But we get each other.”

I grinned.

”Its such a noble thing,” he said as he thought of Yunus. “But not everyone’s destined for that. I know that I’m too rotten, yeah. Allah chooses those who do His work…”

Of course, I couldn’t help but think that growing up with Khalid had a great impact on him too. His influence was so intense that it had carried over so many years…

“And yet,” I said, catching on to my husbands sentiments. “The professionals in our community play an unbelievable role in uplifting this Ummah too. Especially those who do as much work as you do. Allah gives everyone different roles and skills for different reasons.. You’re a genius at what you do and you and you must never underestimate it, Aadam… you do amazing work.”

“Is someone actually complimenting me?” He asked incredulously. “I can’t believe this. Who are you and what have you done with my wife?!”

”I give credit where it’s due,” I said with a smile.

”I think the moment of truth is really close…” he said as I reached for the door handle. “The moment of declaration that I’ve waited for from the time I was married to the girl of my dreams…”

I shook my head as we walked up the steps to the doorway, amused by Aadam as usual. I straightened my face, as we pushed open the door, not wanting to appear too smiley with Aadam’s mother.

Yes, my mother-in-law had simmered down a lot but it was still awkward. The ice was still very much intact. I had no idea when it would be broken… but I didn’t suspect it happening anytime soon.

And as the door opened, my heart immediately lifted to see the boys running towards us in excitement. Since Aadam’s arm was a bit better now, he easily lifted Zaydaan and plopped a kiss on his nose. He was at that cute and podgy stage where his words were all mashed together and incoherence was his cutest attribute. He babbled on about something to Aadam while I hugged Rubeena and the other three, making our way into the house to see where my mother-in-law was.

Of course, she had taken over occupied in the kitchen and didn’t even bat an eyelid as all six of us made a rowdy entrance into her place of magic. I could already smell the yummiest chow mein and sizzling steak that was my all time favorite. My mouth was already watering.

“Howzit Ma,” Aadam said as he went up to her to greet. “Something smells good. New recipe?!”

Somehow Aadam knew just how to put his foot in it with his mother.

“No!” She snapped, her eyes narrowing at him. “Who told you that?! Can you believe that lady, that one that came home the last time to see my kitchen. She phoned last week to ask me for my recipe and I so graciously gave it to her. Little did I know she was planning to make it for the ladies function on Monday… and guess what?”

”Was it horrible?” Aadam asked hopefully.

”It’s not as good as I make it,” she said with a huff. “But everyone was going crazy about it and she never once even mentioned that it was my recipe! The cheek. Plus, I heard her tell her whole table about how Rubeena forced her husband to give her a divorce. Then she went on to talk about how my kitchen counters weren’t pure Caesar stone . Can you ever? How can people be so… evil?! Who even uses granite these days? What do they say about people like that? Better be careful… I just read my quls and avoided her for the rest of the night.”

Ah. The cooking drama’s of middle-aged women.

Aadam calmly tried to pacify his mother about how people are not jealous and don’t really wish bad, but are just like that because they admire her. She wasn’t buying it. Poor Aadam always tried to make every situation a positive one.

I glanced humorously at Ruby who was quieter than usual as she raised her eyebrows. Yes, my mother-in-law has been taking it slightly easier with me but it didn’t mean that she was being easy on Ruby. Her side comments were very evident of the fact that Rubeena’s life was far from her idea of perfect.

”So Khawlah,” my mother-in-law said, turning to me. I still felt awkward in her presence but at least she was being civil. “I hear your brother’s getting married.”

It wasn’t a question. She wanted more details. Ahmed wasn’t joking when he said that Aadam’s mother had taken a liking to him. He really had made an impression.

”I heard the girl is divorced with a child?” She pressed on, raising her eyebrows.

”Ma, can we stop doing the 411 on Khawlah?” Adam asked innocently.

I knew he was avoiding greater problems here but my mother-in-law shrugged it off as she continued to look at me.

”Jhee,” I said, a little unsure. How could I be rude? I had to answer her.

“Ahmed’s quite mature for his age… he feels it’s better to have a wife that will be more on his line of thinking…”

”Thats a lucky girl to bag an unmarried guy,” she said, raising her eyebrows. On the contrary, I thought Ahmed was lucky to find someone who tolerated his moods.

“But at least there’s hope for Ruby,” she continued casually. “I was worried that no man will ever be prepared to take on someone else’s kids, but this gives us both some assurance, doesn’t it, Rubeena?”

”Ooh, this food is too good to eat cold,” Aadam cut in to no-one in particular. He was looking at his mother, but the fact that she hadn’t eaten a bite didn’t faze her.

Rubeenas eyes were narrowing and my mother-in-laws voice was getting more high-pitched by the second. I had a feeling that Rubeena was really fighting her urges to say something that would put her in the ugly spotlight. Aadam’s father was watching the scene silently as my mother-in-law just went on and on…

And then of course, not unlike what I’ve seen before… almost as if she couldn’t tolerate it anymore… the expression on Rubeena’s face suddenly altered, and all of a sudden, almost as if she couldn’t help herself, she just erupted.

”Mum, please stop!” she snapped. “There’s more to life than bagging an idiotic guy.”

”Rubeena,” my father-in-law said meekly, his eyes widening in worry. “How’s about you show me where’s the dessert?”

“I wish I could,” she retorted. “But I cant even taste my food anymore! Ma, can you just give me a break? After you and Shabeer, and all your constant mental battering, don’t you think I’m already damaged enough? I definitely don’t need another man to come and mess up my life..!”

“You need a husband to be accepted in the community,” my mother-in-law said, and I honestly wished I could kick her under table. Only I knew that would go down well. My mother-in-law just didn’t get it.

”Mum, it’s not the end all and be all of life!” Rubeena said now, obviously a little fed-up. “Life is not only about extravagant houses and world-class kitchens and good-looking husbands. Ma, there’s a whole world out there that we know nothing about! There’s so much that Allah has promised us that we ignore and forget about just because we don’t see it right now. There’s a bigger picture, Mum… and there are so many more important things in life that when you realize them… it makes everything else that you thought was so huge look so amazingly insignificant.”

”Oh gosh, Ruby,” she said, rolling her eyes.  “You’re behaving like Ma now with your Bayaans. All I’m saying is you need to be more forward in your thinking…”

“I really don’t care about that right now!” Ruby snapped. “Sometimes things happen, and they open your eyes in a way you’ve never seen before. Sometimes life has many more lessons for us than we are willing to learn. Sometimes we get so caught up that we don’t realize that one day, we’re going to have to leave this world… and everything we have here behind us…. am I right, Adam?”

Adam was looking at Rubeena with his lips pursed and a stagnant expression on his face. I almost expected him to have something quirky to say back, but all he did was shrug as he glided his long fingers through his beard, and then glance at me a little warily.

”Ruby, don’t do this,” he said softly, and I could see him swallowing hard as she looked back at him… with a single tear rolling down her cheek.  “Not now…”

“Are you going to tell them or must I?” Rubeena said, her voice strained from emotion.

I watched them both in utter confusion as they looked at each other, speaking words through the silence that no-one but them could understand…

“Aadam, what’s going on?” I couldn’t help but ask, as he they sat there, just staring at each other.

”Sweets, I wanted to wait until you finished writing…” Aadam started, as he looked from me to my mother-in-law.

”Wait for what?” My mother-in-law asked with her brow furrowed and her attention immediately diverted as we watched them both.

And like a wave that came and knocked us completely off our feet, the news that they delivered was one of the most severest of blows.

“It’s Myeloma. A type of cancer that affects the bone, among other things… I suppose it explains his clumsiness…”

My mother-in-law was looking at him in utter shock. My father-in-law was stunned. I was completely speechless.

Inna lillahi wa Inna Ilaihi Rahioon. 

Oh yes. Sabr at the first test was so much easier said than done. I felt like I couldn’t breathe as I watched my husband, thinking how everything could suddenly be turned upside down in such a little time. Here I was, thinking we were living a comfortable little life, and out of the blue… a bomb just falls from nowhere at all. And what a bomb too…

“We were waiting for the final test results… and they’ve just come in today…” he started, trying to explain.

”Adam, is this a joke?” My mother-in-law asked, her eyes widened. “Because Siraj didn’t say a thing… if this is a joke I promise I’m going to whack you-“

”I told Uncle Siraj not to,” he said simply. “It’s not a joke, mum.. although I wish it was. I think the main thing is to be positive here… can we talk properly after we eat?”

“This can’t be happening,” she said with tears in her eyes. “You’re only twenty two… I don’t understand…”

”I’m still twenty-one, Mum,” Aadam said with a shadow of a smile. “For two more months. Don’t make me older than I am…”

“I have to go,” she said, her voice shaking as she shifted on her chair. “How can you expect me to eat? You acting like it’s so normal. I can’t do this, Adam …“

And with that she pushed her chair back noisily and stood up, walking to the kitchen almost in slow motion as all of us sat in semi-silence at the dining table.

My father-in-law was just staring into space, shocked out of his senses. Ruby was sobbing her eyes out in despair. Aadam was in no state to comfort anyone as he shifted uncomfortably in his seat and refused to meet my eye.

Of course, I swallowed hard and said nothing as I got up… making my way out to where my mother-in-law was, not really planning how I was going to deal with this all of what I would say.. but knowing that someone had to keep this thing together… to remind them about the purpose of life… to renew their trust in Allah and in Qadr and whatever He wills…

And sometimes it takes a harsh situation to bring out the best in people. Sometimes it takes something bad to bring out the good. Sometimes we don’t know what Allah has in store for us until in time, we see the fruits that can come even from a once barren tree.

”Mummy,” I said, as I entered the kitchen and walked up to my mother-in-law who was standing with her back to me. I placed my hand on her shoulder as I drew nearer, not knowing what to say but feeling her pain all the same.

It was a moment in history that changed everything.

And just as I reached her and she turned to face me with emotion overflowing from her eyes, she couldn’t hold it together even a moment longer. It was as if everything within her was falling apart as she gripped me helplessly and burst into tears.


Sunnah of Drinking water

Drink water while taking three breathing pauses. It is prohibited to drink water in a single gulp as our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Do not drink water only in one breath, but drink it in two or three breaths.”

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When things get Complicated…

Bismihi Ta’ala


I never thought that I’d be the one to say this, but one thing I learnt in the past few months is that patience is hard. It’s really hard. And I promise you, I’m not one of those impatient people who can’t wait for things (except for food when I’m hungry, of course). I am one of the most patient people you will ever meet. As long as I know that it’s happening, I’ll sit back and relax and wait (patiently) for it all to unfold. But man, patience under some circumstances is like trying to push a nail through a metal wall. It’s practically unattainable.

And yes, I had tried my utmost to bear the tests. There were times when I was tearing my hair out with frustration, wondering if I had really done the right thing. I couldn’t help that creepy feeling that overcame me in the middle of the night and shook me awake, asking me if I was crazy. I couldn’t wait to se if it was all really going to turn out okay.

And then there were times when I sat with my kids, and for the first time in years, just enjoyed their chatter and company while they engaged themselves in some activity involving mud that would usually make me scream my head off, but barely phased me then. Those were the times when I was completely and utterly convinced that I had done the right thing. That the patience would pay off. That nothing in the world could ever beat the peace and contentment that I felt right then.

And at the end of the day, it was all about patience. Sabr. And it’s no wonder that the Saabireen are promised the greatest of rewards in the hereafter. They have been promised a reward that is unlike any other… where mercy will be raining on them in the hereafter. And surely they will never get left out because Allah knows exactly what every soul bears..

Do you think that you will enter Paradise without Allaah knowing who struggled (in His Cause) and who has been of the As-Saabiroon (the patient)?”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:142] 

Patience. It’s a really tough thing. To have the faith to continue to believe that your Allah does have a plan for you… that everything will fall into place, even when things get complicated… that no matter what you’re going through right now, it all will pass… this too shall pass.

Well, that’s something like a superpower.

”So do you ever wonder what the future holds for you? If you think you’ll ever venture down that road again?”

“You mean… find someone else and going through all the hassle of having to make a man happy all over again?” I asked with raised eyebrows.

I could practically see her smiling through the receiver.

”You make it sound so amazing,” she laughed.

I sighed, contemplating for a moment what she was saying.

”It’s not that easy,” I said. “Not when you have four kids. Men don’t want baggage like that. Lots of women think I’m crazy for doing this… but Zahira, what was I supposed to do? We think we’re keeping the peace by staying together but all we’re doing is causing more damage to kids when we put them through the pain of conflict… Sometimes we think it’s better because we’re keeping our family together. We may be doing that one thing but we’re breaking them apart in so many other ways…..”

“You’re so right,” she said convincingly. “I know how it is. I know after Saffia got divorced, it was a rollercoaster for her and Hassaanah for two years. I feel for you, doll… Being four hours away is hard when my friend is going through such a tough time. Listen, please don’t lose hope. You know you’re going to be okay, right?”

And at the end of the day, all I needed at times was someone to tell me that I had done the right thing. That it was going to be okay. She was really one of those rare kinds that made a difference just with her reassurance. And no, I didn’t expect the world to stop just because I was going through a tough time… but with everyone being busy with their lives, and me where I was right then, I couldn’t help but feel lonely at times.

The thought never crossed my mind before, but being in Iddat after a divorce could get exceptionally lonely. It wasn’t like when you lose a husband. Then there were streams of visitors coming to offer sympathy and somehow, family of friends were around to fill that gap. Adam had his own life. My mother was busy with hers. I couldn’t even dare to keep imposing on my father.

Chatting to someone who I could relate to and knew where I was coming from was so much easier. Even though Zahira was happily married with two kids, she always held fast to the fact that even happy marriages were a helluva lot of work. One day maybe, I might know what that feels like…

“Oh yes before you go,” she said, sounding excited. “I just spoke to Saffia this morning. There’s a guy who came to see her a week back, and he’s phoned again. He’s a bit younger but she really seems to like him. So looks like we’re going to have a Nikah in the family… and you know what’s the best part?”

”That’s great news!” I said, so excited for my friend’s sister. I didn’t know her well but she was an amazing girl who went through a tough time with her rubbish of a husband. He wasn’t as bad as Shabeer, but it had turned out that he was seeing someone else throughout their marriage and she never suspected a thing. “I’m so happy for her. She deserves a good guy. Where’s he from?”

”That’s the part I’m coming to!” She laughed. “He’s from somewhere on your side of the world, so we’ll probably be coming down and I’m going to make sure that I see you. How many weeks left till I can take you out for a cup of coffee?”

”Three weeks,” I sighed, not really anticipating it. I was getting so comfortable in my little hide-out that the thought of leaving it was now making me anxious. “Or you can come have coffee with me in my hole. I make an excellent cuppa.”

She laughed as Danyaal’s voice called out for me from upstairs. We quickly made plans to speak the following week, and I expressed my heartfelt appreciation to her being there for me throughout everything I had been going through. Her constant presence, support and reminders that Allah had a better plan for me was just what I needed to get through this. 

And as I made my way down the passage, I couldn’t help but think to myself that  another great thing about being home now was the amount of time I suddenly had on my hands. Like, I really didn’t know that there could be so many hours in a day. Right now, I felt like if I focused enough, I could give my kids all the attention that they needed. I felt like the terrible mother less and less every day, and more like a mother who was just trying to do the best.

And yes, it was normal because I still slipped at times.. when I got tired and frustrated and didn’t know what else to do with them except dump them in front of iPads and sit with my phone, but the thing with not having Shabeer around now was that it wasn’t much different from when we were married. There was no adjustment phase because the amazing thing was… he never was around anyway. 

Being a Friday night, it was generally our time to chill with some books, indulge in  some much-craved junk and just cruise around in the lounge. As I got the bowls and cups out for the night ahead, and read my maghrib Salaah, the buzzing of the intercom caught me a little unawares that night.

Of course, I wondered who it could be as I made my way downstairs again, checking through the window as I saw a familiar car. And of course, upon seeing it, my heart lifted because although I hadn’t seen him in ages, his visits were always exceptionally welcomed. I pulled the door open in semi- excitement, glad to see the huge and familiar smile as he pulled me and Zaydaan into a warm embrace.

”It’s been ages!” I said as I pulled away, looking up at my uncle as he took Zaydaan from me. Although Zaydaan didn’t know Siraj as well as the bigger two boys, there was something about my uncle that all kids liked. I suppose that he had a pleasant demeanor, and the fact that he and their favorite uncle looked alike was also very much in his favour.

“How’s my amazing niece doing?” he said, smiling sympathetically. “I know you’re sick of my excuses. I keep meaning to visit and every time I come to town I get stuck at the hospital and it’s impossible. Today I put my foot down and made an excuse. Aren’t you proud of me?! And guess who I’ve brought with me..?”

I glanced out as he said it, wondering who the surprise guest was.

”Na’ilah?” I asked, looking for my uncles estranged wife.

Na’ilah was a pretty lady who my uncle was married to, and though they were married for over ten years now, they had yet to have any kids. Siraj was just three years older than me, and even though he was my uncle, because we were so close in age, I really felt it for them as time went by, especially since my kid to adult ratio was increasing at an alarming rate and there’s was still stagnant. Siraj seemed to take it in his stride, but for Na’ilah.. it had hit her quite hard. I supposed aunties at family gatherings weren’t exactly the most considerate and would ask really insensitive questions that she didn’t like. Eventually, as the years went by, we stopped seeing her altogether…

”Na’ilah’s busy with work,” he said indifferently. “But I’ve brought another special lady…”

And of course, he didn’t have to say anymore because as she made her way up the three steps and I saw her one-dimpled smiled, my heart was already bursting.

Ma!” I breathed, almost not believing my eyes.  “You came to my house! I can’t believe this…”

I swallowed hard as I looked at my Ma, now so much older yet still looking as young and beautiful as ever. The memories of being a free and boisterous little kid while Ma entertained us were amazing. I had sorely missed out on that bond for these few years. Of course, I had seen her in between but it had never been like this. When I was married to Shabeer she would never dare to come to my house…

And I wished that I could find the words to tell her how sorry I was that we hadn’t been as close these past years. I wished that I could tell her how much I had missed her quirky humor and ever-present wisdom. It was just a pity that we had drifted apart after I got married.

”I’ve missed you so much,” she whispered as she held on to me, and I couldn’t contain my emotion anymore.

It was like all the hurt and pain and difficulties of these few months had been accumulating deep within, and now, through this channel that had finally arrived… it was the ultimate release. She came like a breath of fresh air and a breeze of unlimited hope. Ma’s presence in my home that day was like a magic I never felt before.

Since I was married,  something had changed with us and losing that bond I had with her was something I often thought of and regretted. Now that she was here… I was absolutely certain that with her Duaas… everything would be okay.

Whilst Siraj took the smaller two boys to play, the bigger boys watched us silently, obviously confused about the drama as we chatted tearfully. And just as I took a seat at the entrance hall couch with Ma, hoping to stabilize my erratic emotions, I immediately heard a squeal of delight from them as their eyes locked on the open door.

Somehow we had missed the sound of his car arriving, and before I even turned to see who it was, the ‘clickety-click’ of my younger brothers crutches were already an indication that our all-time favorite person was here.

”Hey, Salaam Ma,” Adams voice said as he stepped in. “Fancy seeing you here!”

Ma turned and gave him a smile as he came forward to greet her, with Khawlah in close pursuit. I watched the pair of them come in with an ecstatic reception from the boys who were obviously excited that their bed-time would get delayed. It was one of the main highlights of their day.

”We came to see you,” Ma said to Adam with a smile. “But Siraj says that you had other plans.”

”I did,” Adam said, pulling a face. “But the function was so boring, Ma. All those people talk about is money, houses, cars…. oh, and guess what else? More money. I couldn’t take it any longer. I had to find the escape route.”

I could see Khawlah shaking her head at him as she glanced at me. It was the first time that I had seen my sister-in-law so stunningly dressed up, and though she looked amazing, I could see that she was obviously not impressed that she had made all that effort for practically twenty-five minutes of short-lived excitement, unfamiliar company and not even a catered five-course meal to show for it. It really is a bummer.

”He called as soon as I found a seat,” she was complaining to me and Ma. “He didn’t even wait for his award. I think his boss might kill him. Personally, I don’t think he liked all the attention he was getting so he made a run for it.”

Adam grinned as he took a seat, resting his crutches next to him as Dayyaan dragged Khawlah off to see his new LEGO creation. Danyaal, who knew Ma a little better than the others, grabbed her hand to check out his extensive book collection. The two of them had a more than a few things in common and my heart instantly warmed to see them getting along so well…

And as I looked at my brother, I kind of knew that he would be back early when I heard about the fancy work function he was forced to attend that night. Adam wasn’t cut out for the corporate part of his job and for him, despite being so well-known, he hated all the glamour that went with it. That was just my simple brother and I loved that about him. Well, it was what everyone loved about him.

”Hey, it’s the man of the hour,” Siraj said as he walked into the room with Zaydaan still on his hip. “Too busy to even take his uncle’s calls.”

Of course, as soon as Zaydaan spotted my brother, he wiggled down and immediately and ran to climb onto Adams uninjured leg. Adam planted a huge affectionate kiss on his cheek before looking up at our uncle.

”Howzit, Uncle Siraj?” He said, giving him a wink. “I see you’ve finally tracked me down. Sorry man, it’s been a hectic week.”

”Hectic week or you been avoiding my calls?” My uncle said, narrowing his eyes at Adam. “You could have called me back at least once.”

”Don’t give me a hard time, yeah?” Adam said, his expression changing. “I was giving you a chance to catch up with your work. I knew I’d see you sometime…”

Siraj was looking at Adam sceptically as the two of them bickered on. The weird thing was that they weren’t usually like this. Usually it was me who was getting into fights and Adam who got along with most people perfectly fine. I could most definitely sense the annoyance, but as Zia came up to ask for a chocolate and I tried to convince him that it really wasn’t a wise idea to have it right then, since it was past his bed time, I kind of lost the plot of what they were saying until I heard my uncles voice rise…

Then of course, I hastily stuffed the entire Bar-One into Zia’s mouth and sent him along, hoping it really wouldn’t give him a twenty-five hour day… now already on high alert as Siraj bellowed on about something slightly concerning that I had absolutely no idea about…

It’s not a bloody joke, Adam!” He was almost yelling. Adam winced and simultaneously blocked Zaydaan’s ears as Siraj went on. His one eyebrow was raised in dismay. “You have no consideration for your health whatsoever! You can’t even make a decision! I sent you all the options for treatment and you’re dragging your feet! What about everyone else? Don’t you think they want to see you get better? How can you just go on like this… it’s just damn selfish man. Does your wife even know?!”

Of course, I was already half frozen in my tracks as I watched them, my eyes darting from him to Adam and back. I could see my uncles chest heaving dramatically as he looked at Adam, demanding an answer. He was unquestionably all worked up and red in the face and Adam was… well…  just stagnant. Completely and utterly unemotional. Something was definitely not right.

Errrr,” I said, swallowing hard as I tried to ascertain what the problem was. Once again, the performance wasn’t centred around me and I was kind of glad. Only, I felt bad for my brother because it looked like he was drama’s new scapegoat. “Can you guys tell me what on earth is going on?!”

Siraj’s eyes narrowed as he looked at me, and then shook his head at Adam again.

”You telling me that you didn’t even tell your sister?” He said incredulously. Siraj was still on a roll.

”Tell me what?!” I said, really feeling like banging both of their heads together. ”Is there something I’m missing here?”

Adam said nothing as he looked at us both. He just sat there and looked on, as if he wasn’t sure how to say what he needed to. And I knew that there was definitely something to say.

“Adam should’ve be the one to tell you,” Siraj said, looking a bit calmer now. “But he’s dragged this on for too long now. He’s not in the best of health.”

I frowned slightly as I processed what he said. So that was what all the fuss is about. My brother being stubborn and probably refusing to take his meds or something. I mean, really. Why couldn’t Adam just listen and do what he was supposed to do?

”Okay,” I said calmly. “So what’s the big deal? Can you guys stop behaving worse than my kids? We’ll work on it together and come to a solution. It’s not like he has cancer or something.”

The minute I said it, the regret of the last three words I had just uttered immediately gripped me.

And yes, I could barely believe it but the  expression on both their faces already gave it away.

And as my heart literally shattered in my chest, I knew that amongst many other things… life as we knew it was about to get very much more complicated…

P.S. I’m sorry…

A xx

Sunnah of Drinking water

Drink water while taking three breathing pauses. It is prohibited to drink water in a single gulp as our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Do not drink water only in one breath, but drink it in two or three breaths.”

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Ig: thejourneyingmuslimah 







Twitter: @ajourneyjournal

A Glimmer of Hope

Bismihi Ta’ala

N.B. We’ve backtracked slightly, but we will get to the event of Khawlah’s tears in the next post, Insha Allah.

Throughout your life you will find that the events of leaving and losing… of breaking and  falling… of failing and  disappointment… all lead to one thing.

It all points you in One direction. One Purpose. One Allah. That Allah is all you need. He is your Wali. He is your protecting friend. That nothing else but Him will do. That no matter where else you may seek it, your happiness and peace and absolute reliance are for Him, through Him and with Him alone.

And it so happens in life that we are faced with tests in ways that we sometimes don’t understand. But being tested is all a part of this journey… in Allāh’s magnificent plan for us. And in facing these, we can either rise to the challenge, lift ourselves up from the fall and run towards the light… or we can hopelessly crawl along, giving into defeat and losing ourselves to despair.

And then there are some people who come along on your life’s journey, to show to you a better view. A clearer perspective. A broader horizon. They see the light through every darkness. A lining on every cloud. They are people who feel the sunshine, even in the rain.

And sometimes you just need that one thing to hold onto. To wholeheartedly believe in. Because that’s when it all fits together. Yes, what the future held for me at that point was painful, difficult and extremely emotional, but one thing that I had learnt through it all was that every slip or break or fall and was only a means of mercy. It was these challenges along the way that would bring a fresh start… a clean slate for the person who was faced with them and the breaking of a new dawn for those who truly understood how much Allāh had promised to those who pass this magnanimous test…

“I feel like never leaving this place,” Aadam said softly, as he looked back at the building we had just exited, still digesting everything that we saw. “I just want to take all those kids home with me…”

I smiled as I looked at him, quite touched by his emotion that day. I never quite got to see this sensitive side of Aadam.. and witnessing it today was actually quite emotional for me. And although I felt glad that this trip that I was kind of dreading  was over, it wasn’t any escape from the sore reality..

The reality was that there were so many innocent children that no- one wanted… some of them merely a few months old. And no matter how sorry we felt for them… the situation was probably never going to change. And yes, Allah doesn’t promise us justice in this world but He does promise us that every single account will be settled on a day where insurmountable justice will definitely prevail…

”One day, I’d really like to adopt a kid,” he was continuing. “Even we have our own, it doesn’t really matter, yeah? It will just be like an addition.. You know one day I’d like to bring the boys here. Maybe even take them to an old age home too. It will open their eyes, give them some gratitude and we’ll cash in on some rewards…

Hey, are you crying?”

I turned my face slightly and wiped away the stray tear that was rolling down the inner part of my cheek. For some reason unknown to me, I was just feeling really emotional about the whole ordeal.

”I can’t believe this,” he said, sounding awestruck. “The iceberg has melted. It’s a moment in history that we have yet to witness, folks …”

I stretched out my arm to twist his ear, annoyed that he was making fun of me.

Yikes,” he said, rubbing it vigorously. “Take it easy on the patient, sweets. No sympathy for injured citizens here…”

”Unfortunately your mouth seems to be in perfect working order,” I said heatedly, pouting slightly as he grinned.

”As always. You think you’ll be okay to drive?” He said, his voice softening a bit as I glared at him. “Maybe we can wait a while…”

”No, I’m okay,” I said, swallowing and lifting my gaze to meet his. I knew he was teasing. It was obvious that at the time, he didn’t know how to handle my rare show of emotion.

And yes, since Aadam had been off his feet, I had been learning to drive. Though Ahmed and my father didn’t approve… Allah obviously had a greater plan with a much bigger picture in mind, as Aadam guided me with utmost patience and skill to learn as well.

And of course, the lessons were always exceptionally entertaining, with Aadam’s ridiculous sound effects and silly banter. There were times when I had to pull off the road to stop myself from steering off-course because of it. Driving and giggling uncontrollably didn’t exactly go hand in hand.

I put my emotions aside as Aadam watched me, reversing out and followed his calm instructions on how to get back home. And yes, he was particularly nice that day, putting lots of effort into saying positive things and avoiding his usual road-rage jokes. I think seeing my emotion that day had changed something in him, and only when I looked back at it, even though all I did was shed a few heartfelt tears… for him, it was like an entire firewall had been broken down.

There was much to say that day as I tried to concentrate on the road back home, but little words I could think of to say it. Sometimes when emotions are so deep, it was hard to express what I truly felt, and by now, Aadam understood that. It had been a roller coaster the past few weeks and today was the peak. With exam stress at the onset and Hannah’s case for custody of her daughter now in progress… I felt myself a little overwhelmed with everything going on. I had promised to help her and now I wished that I hadn’t gotten myself involved in the first place.

After all, she was the reason we had gone to the orphanage. Her baby was now going to be placed in foster care because of the custody issue. It made my heart ache to see her there. I could see Hannah looking remorseful too now, after everything had take this turn. Maybe it would be better to rather just give up the fight and agree to visiting rights. The lady who was taking care of her daughter looked lovely…

”Don’t I get a ‘thank you’ for not picking on your driving today?” Aadam said, giving me a small smile as he brushed away another tear.

”Maybe,” I told him, still remembering his words earlier as I narrowed my eyes at him. “You enjoy seeing me a little worked up, don’t you?” 

Aadam was grinning.

”I’m so sorry,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “But I really do.”

I couldn’t resist a teeny smile as I looked back at him.

“Forgive me?” He asked softly. “Will you still come with me tonight?”

Of course, the mention of tonight was already settling weird things in my tummy and it wasn’t for the usual reasons. For one, it was a great escape from the reality that loomed above us that I constantly tried to escape but the thought of seeing unfamiliar people was definitely nerve-wrecking… and secondly, since Nusaybah had heard about the ‘fancy work function‘ that Aadam was taking me to, she had already taken on the great task of being the go-to lifesaver figure who would wave her magical wand and make me hopefully look a little like the after version of Cinderella.

Spending some time with my friend in a non-pressured and book-less environment was something that I really looked forward to and already made me smile.. but I was worried about what she would do to me. I made a decision to let her have her fun, because with everything that had gone down recently, as I left Aadam for those two hours with Rubeena, I kind of needed some wise words from my friend which I’m sure would put things into perspective for me…

“How is the old blood-sucker?” Nusaybah asked jovially, the minute she saw me. “Is his leg healed? I hope you’re taking advantage of the situation, missy, and not assuming the role of an aged citizen. Maybe assuming the role of a caring female doctor or loving nurse will do the trick …”

”Oh goodness Nusaybah,” I said rolling my eyes. “Does your mind only work on one track?”

Of course, at the mention of caring doctor figure, I couldn’t help but remember the encounter at the hospital that kind of shook my core. And yes, it was quite unbelievable that I had met this person who had once played an important role in Aadam’s life, but what was more unsettling was what she had revealed to me thereafter about how her own life had changed.

And I never did reveal it to Aadam… because once I made the decision not to go back there, I knew that bringing her up again would be completely unfair and a reminder of the past that he was trying hard to forget. It was just that what I had learnt was something that literally made me do a double-take… as I processed the strange and amazing ways in which Allah worked. The only concern is as where to go to from here… since the situation was not exactly an ideal one…

Nusaybah was grinning as she opened her bag to take out her 700 piece make up set. My eyes widened as she opened it. It was like one of the most enchanting things I had seen yet.

”Maybe we just need to give our Mr Cullen a small nudge in the right direction,” she said, expertly tapping into the tray of nude foundations and attacking my face with them. I tried to tell her that would probably be the last thing on his mind right now, but Nusaybah had her own ideas.

Sometimes I didn’t know how I put up with her, but I still loved her to bits. And of course, by the end of her master-work and entertaining chatter, when she finally spun me around and revealed what I looked like, I was utterly gobsmacked.

”The guy is going to be knocked off his feet tonight,” she said, with widening eyes. “Sorry, his foot. I forgot the other is temporarily unavailable. But nevermind.”

I grinned as I looked at her, a bit mesmerized by the new me that stared back at me. I was just so glad that I had already made my whudhu. With the layers of expensive make-up that Nusaybah had plastered on my face, washing it off right now seemed pain worthy…

And of course, because my friend was so super-organized and excited, she had killed every worry of mine with her mere presence. Not only did she sort out my hijab, graciously make up my face and provide the most elegantly simple outfit, she had just the right words to say that would put my main concern at ease.

”If anyone asks you anything,” she said as she left. “Just nod and smile.”

Of course. It was genius.

And of course, after her small pep talk, I knew that  meeting strange people there  could barely be as bad as I was fearing.

“Cinderella, are you ready for the ball?” Aadam’s humorous voice called down the passage, as I heard his crutches make their way down. I honestly wasn’t expecting him a whole fifteen minutes earlier, but because Nusaybah was always one step ahead of me and knew his OCD tendencies, she had already made sure I was ready for the unexpected.

I held my breath in anticipation as I called for him to come down, kind of building myself for the momentous occasion that would occur when he’d set eyes on me and be completely blown away. Nusaybah had been comically preparing me for it, and I held my breath with much anticipation, seeing the room door shift along he carpet as he pushed it… but completely not expecting the shrill ring of his phone as he stood in the open doorway with a sheepish look on his handsome face.

I could almost imagine Nusaybah rolling her eyes and smacking her hand to her forehead at the anti-climax of the whole event. Talk about a buzz that killed the buzz.

Instead of my knight in shining kurta gazing at me intently while time supposedly stood still, as my friend had hopefully predicted, all I got was an irritated huff as he switched it to silent, and then looked up at me apologetically.

Talk about the cons of technology. The worst part was, as soon as it stopped, it didn’t even have the audacity to be done. It started ringing again immediately.

He tossed the phone aside as I glimpsed the caller ID. It said ‘Siraj’.

“I’m so sorry,” he said awkwardly, biting his lip. “These things don’t exactly have an ‘awkward timing’ alert…”

”Shouldn’t you be taking that?” I asked, with a small smile, thinking of how Nusaybah would crack up when she heard about the non-event. Ah well.

”I’ll call him later,” he said, trying to sound indifferent. “Let’s not worry about that now… these are supposed to be game-changing moments… I’m so sorry…”

He winked at me but I wasn’t convinced by his ease. Why did I have a feeling that Aadam wasn’t being completely transparent?

“I can see you’re stressing,” he said calmly. “But Siraj is not only a doctor. He’s my uncle too. So can you stop fretting about the medical bits for once and just be you for tonight?”

He was right. I was reading into things too much, but Aadam was barely even bothered. Of course that must mean something. But still

“I’m just worried,” I said with a frown. “What if it’s something urgent?”

Aadam’s eyes were fixed into mine as he lent on one of his crutches, giving me that infamous look of his, with one eyebrow raised, that undeniably said that he had it all under control.

”What’s your worst fear?” He said, raising his eyebrows humourously. “I’m right here. I’ve broken my leg and I’m already feeling like the war-torn knight whose come for his princess. What else could go wrong?”

”Aadam,” I said, swallowing hard and ignoring his humor, because I was nervous about what the phone call could have meant. My worst fear. My worst fear was that I’d lose guy that had become the love of my life… and Aadam knew it.

There was still so much we didn’t understand. The pain. The tiredness. The lack of energy…

“Khawlah,” he said softly.  “Don’t you trust Allah?”

“Of course I do,” I said, without an inkling of hesitation. I did.

“Then trust me,” he said simply, holding my gaze and raising his one eyebrow in true Aadam style. “Because I’ve handed everything over to Him, and I truly believe that whatever it is that He’s placed in our path… We’re going to get through it. Doesn’t he say that His help is near? It’s not a matter of medicine or science or whatever other theories the doctors or the experts say. This is about what Allah has planned for me, and I promise you, sweets, when you place your trust entirely in Him, there’s nothing in this world that can shake it. It it wasn’t for Him, I would never be where I am today… I’m tuned and moulded and completely convinced that when I submit to His every decree, I’ll never despair of His mercy.’

I looked at Aadam with as he sat there, completely unwavering in his stance.

Ah, this guy. Why was he always rendering me speechless?

“I love you and I appreciate your concern, love, but you really need to just believe,” he continued as he edged closer. “Stop worrying about Hannah. Stop worrying about me. Believe, sweets. Believe, yeah? You weren’t assigned to carry this mountain that you’re bearing. Only Allah can move it. He can change any situation. You have to believe it. Believe that good things happen, and bad things happen, and whatever it is, Allah is bigger than it all. I promise you, all you need to do is trust in Allah and let Him carry you.. let Him handle all the things that you don’t understand…’

And that was Aadam. So carefree. Unburdened. Unaffected. There was nothing that could bother him, and even less that shook his resolve.

I  nodded slowly, as I let it digest. I could never argue his points.

”Can we go now, gorgeous?” Aadam finally said, smiling at as he looked up. “Because right now what I do understand is I have a stunning date staring at me and I’m not too sure how much longer she’s prepared to wait…”

And because Aadam was so unbelievably easy on himself as he reminded me of the best when all I could picture was the worst… His words came with and immediate calmness that descended on me, as he spoke. He was always so contented and amazingly carefree, that I couldn’t help but think of how Allah sent him into my world when I needed him the most.

I supposed that some moments are just made to lift you up.. to raise you… to remind you of everything that’s important to you whilst it’s still there. Those are the moments that stand out for you when you look back, that are your mettle and your foundation and your reason that you continued to believe. There were many, many things that I didn’t remember as the years went by but these were the very moments that I did.

There are some people who walk through life, with their shoulders bearing the heaviest of weights, yet when you glimpse at them, their faces have the broadest of smiles. They push through even the gloom. They see a beauty in pain. They don’t see the tests as burdens. What they see that there is a loving and a caring Lord who is above us, waiting to answer our call. They see and they truly believe that He is aware of our every need…

Sometimes we all need a little hope. No matter how gloomy the days may look, we all need some sunshine. Something to hold onto, to keep us going.

And for that little while.. as I grasped Aadam’s hand and stepped out into the night, I was almost certain that somewhere along the fading horizon I could see a sterling glimmer of hope that twinkled right back at us…

Dearest Readers,

Apologies again for the wait. I’m so sorry. My year ends are a bit crazy, and this one’s been more hectic than anticipated. 

I just wanted to provide a little hope as I know the readers are getting a little worried.. although its just a blog I feel even when we go through these tests in life as well, we always need a little hope.. belief, faith.. Yaqeen.. Whatever you want to call it.

May Allah make us of those who are always have trust in His Divine Plan.

Much Love 

A xx

Sit down before drinking water. No matter you are in hurry for something, but that should not stop you from taking a moment to sit down and drink water in a healthy way. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Sit down and drink” (Muslim). Science also proved that drinking water whilst standing or walking can cause Gastrointestinal Tract (GIT) damage, kidney damage, arthritis, nerve tension, and other disorders.

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Ig: thejourneyingmuslimah 







Twitter: @ajourneyjournal






A Warrior’s Fear

Bismihi Ta’ala


There are some exceptional people of the past who desired death as much as we desire to live. There were some extraordinary warriors of previous eras who would throw themselves into enemy lines, fighting with every ounce of them to not return alive. They would crave a meeting with Allāh, just as we, after a long arduous journey, yearn to return back home.

Their’s was a burning desire so intense, so bad… that Allah even granted the status of the Shuhadaa for their unwavering souls, even though they passed away in their beds.

Sometimes it’s not about winning or losing. About living or dying. But sometimes we want something so badly, yet we have to keep reminding ourselves that the outcome is not determined by our own efforts… because when Allah decides a matter, it is as if it’s already done… 

The thing is, as I pushed myself to the limits as I grew, I didn’t know yet that to be a real warrior, it wasn’t only about strength. You had to have your heart in it too. You have to gain passion. Love. Conviction. The overwhelming desire for death that overpowers all else… 

Because until you read about the lives of the true warriors, you never really learn what being a true believer is about. Amongst the stories of the legendary Khalid bin Waleed, Mus’ab bin Umair, Jafar bin Abu Talib (RA) and many more… one of the stories that kind of made it all real for me was the martyrdom of Abdullah bin Rawahah (RA).

And as the story goes, it so happened that  as these warriors of Islam were being martyred at Mut’ah… Allah Ta’ala, in His absolute power, made it possible for Nabi (SAW) to wintness these events as they were unfolding before his blessed eyes. He recounted the events to the Sahaba in Madina Munawwarah, as all intervening veils between him and the battlefield were miraculously lifted… He gave them the glad tidings, while they waited with bated breath. It was occurring just as he had prophecised.

“Zaid has taken the standard and he fought the disbelievers until he was martyred and he entered Jannah.”

You can imagine the thrill of the Muslims at his valour.

“Then Ja‘far took the flag and also fought valiantly until he was martyred. He is now soaring with the angels in Jannah with the aid of two wings.

Thereafter, Abdullah bin Rawahah has snatched up the flag.”

Nabi (SAW) observed a silence at this point, and the hearts of the Ansaar were in their throats, for fear of his fate. Nabi (SAW) was seeing the battle before his eyes, and they were anxious to know the outcome of their Ansaari brother.

On the battlefield, Abdullah (RA) had moved forward on his horse, but slightly hesitated to advance towards the enemies. He rebuked himself  steadily and said:

             “Oh my Nafs! I swear you will dismount from this horse and engage the enemies of Allah whether you like it or not. 

Why is it that I observe you harbouring an aversion towards Jannah? (Why is it that you are not advancing speedily?)

Oh my Nafs! Even if you are not killed today, you are inescapably going to die one day. This is an inevitable destiny of the process of death!

What you had desired is now available to you (an opportunity of martyrdom in  Allah’s path).

If you accomplish the feats of those two guided people (Zaid and Ja’far who passed away before him), then you will be well-guided!”

He then dismounted from his horse, his cousin came to him with a meaty bone, saying, “Have some of this, for you have suffered much these days.” He took it and ate a little, then heard a noise coming from a certain direction. He looked at the bone he  was  eating  and  said, “You  are  still  engaged  in  this  world!”

He threw down the bone, took his sword, pressed forward and fought until he was killed – May Allah be pleased with him!

Nabi SAW continued to relate to the Ansaar…

“Now Abdullah bin Rawahah has engaged the disbelievers. He also fought gallantly until he was martyred. All three of them are in Jannah and all three of them are relaxing on golden thrones, but…”

The Ansaar are relieved. Thrilled. But anxious at what else Nabi SAW has seen…

“I noticed the throne of Abdullah Bin Rawahah (RA) unsteady and shaking. When I enquired the reason for this I was informed that Abdullah (RA) was overcome with reluctance before he engaged the enemy. Only after a slight hesitancy did he step forward and fight whilst his companions, Zaid and Jafar engaged the enemy without a trace of reluctance.”

And with tears brimming from his blessed eyes, Nabi (SAW) then said.

“After them, a Sword of the Swords of Allah (Khalid bin Waleed (RA)) has taken hold of the flag of Islam… He fought until Allah granted the Muslims victory.”

And of course, I was simply speechless as I processed it. Their bavery. Their skill. Imagine. They loved Allah. They loved His Rasul. They loved to die!

But still… in those final moments of truth, was it not natural for fear to overcome some? And yet, was it not a true miracle to witness that passion of those who had such sublime love for Allah, that they would wholeheartedly march to their fate, knowing they they would most likely die at the hands of the approaching enemy…

The stories of war and their courage and their faith inspired me endlessly, but this was one that brought to light for me the truth of this world.

How this world snatches us away from our purpose is a peculiar thing. We’re still scared to lose this life, although we know that we are promised unexplainable pleasures in the hereafter.

No-one is immune to fear. Even the big guys get scared. No matter how tough anyone seems, there’s always a mellowness inside us that sometimes catches us off-guard.

And more than anyone, I knew this. I breathed in as I cowardly bargained with Allah… after so many losses, I was scared. So, so scared to feel that way again. I didn’t how I would really fare if my brother-in-law wasn’t okay.

And as I finally made it to the hospital that night, my blood pumping with Adrenalin as I literally pushed my humble VW to its limits, all sorts of things clouded my mind.

With my heart racing uncontrollably in my chest, I stepped into the hospital that night as I scanned the waiting area.

Khawlah sat in the corner, and as she spotted me, I could see her talking easily to a female doctor who I tried hard not to look at. She greeted her affectionately before she headed towards me with tears in her eyes. I didn’t know at that time, that it was for a completely unexpected reason.

“Is that Adam’s doctor?” I asked, anxious for news.

Inside, I was in turmoil.

“Not exactly,” she said with a small smile. “But she’s well acquainted with his history…”

”You mean there’s a medical history?” I said, not knowing that Khawlah was in a world of her own right then, and meant something entirely different. All I knew was that I couldn’t wait to see the facts. I had to know. “Is he awake?”

Khawlah shook her head at looked at me with unfiltered emotion in her eyes. And I could see that she was emotional and I seriously wished that I could have offered her a hug, but being who I was, all I could do was swallow hard and stuff my hands in my pockets as she looked ahead in a daze.

”Are you okay?” I asked, knowing it was a dumb question. We headed up to the ward as she sighed, and I could see that she was quite far from it.

”It’s just been an eventful day,” she said softly. “Sorry. Aadam is a bit battered up but he’s okay for now. There’s just too many things have happened altogether and it’s a bit draining…”

I couldn’t imagine being in her place. I wasn’t good with this stuff and I knew it was a helluva lot of havoc for someone as young as Khawlah, but what I knew was that she had a strength that none of us could even dream of. Resilience. Bravery. All that and more.

She didn’t elaborate as she headed down the passage, stopping in front of the ward and gesturing for me to go in. And of course, I was a little anxious at what I would see, but all that met me was a stagnant Adam that lay motionless on the bed.

”Don’t worry, he’s just sedated,” a man with a white coat, who looked spookily like my brother-in-law said with a small smile. “He’ll wake up.”

”Insha Allah,” I said automatically, stretching out my hand to greet him. “Ahmed.”

”I’m Siraj,” he said, as I noticed his slightly greying hair. “Adam’s uncle.”

The women in the room moved out of the vicinity as we spoke briefly, as Adam’s uncle quietly told me that his waking up was really important. If he was in a normal frame of mind it would be a good sign. If there was any brain damage, or memory blocks, there could be other complications…

I kept looking at Adam in intervals, hoping he would suddenly wake up… but not really expecting it. I mean, those momentary things just didn’t happen when I was around. And it was the most surreal thing ever, a mere 3 minutes before visiting hours were about to end and I ready to head out, my heart almost seized in my chest as I saw him shifting and then wincing, before opening his eyes to scan the room.

Of course, I could hardly believe it was actually happening as I saw his eyes flutter open because it was the moment we were all waiting for…

But, hell, I was so scared. I was literally holding my breath as he groggily closed his eyes again, and then opened them again with a frown.

”Adam,” his uncle said. “Can you hear me? Are you in pain?”

Adam raised his one eyebrow at his uncle without saying a word.

”Adam?” he said again, waving his hand in front of Adam’s face. “Can you see me?”

Hmmm,” Aadam said, licking his dry lips.

A good sign right? Or maybe he couldn’t talk?

Oh crap. All sorts of things were going through my mind. That wasn’t good.

”Do you need anything?”

Aadam shook his head slightly. Well, as well as he could with the brace he had on. He really looked a wreck.

You could literally hear a pin drop in the room as all eyes fixated on my brother-in-law for a good few minutes as we watched him shift slightly, probably trying to get to terms with what had happened. I was sure it was a huge shock for him to wake up like this and I really wished that I had words to comfort him… I wanted to call Khawlah because I knew she should be here, but I literally could not tear myself away.

”Do you know what happened?” Someone else was asking, as Adam seemed to finally focus.

And of course, we were all in limbo as Adam opened his mouth…

But his next words.. were what knocked us for a six.

”Anyone… seen my wife?” He said with slightly raspy breath, and a mischievous glint in his eye. “Or did she… actually make a run for it… after she pushed me over the edge?”

His face held a tiny smirk as he blinked at us, and of course, we couldn’t help but crack up at his impromptu humor.

This guy really took the tea. For the first time in a while, I couldn’t help but chuckle uncontrollably as I went to call Khawlah in, my heart already feeling less burdened by the awesome news that he was well and obviously, very much in his senses. It was like a huge weight that was lifted off my heavy shoulders.

I could see the shadow of a smile on Khawlah’s face as I narrated to her Adam’s comical words and she grinned with slightly teary eyes. I knew that as she disappeared into the ward, she would probably give Aadam a witty comeback to his odd compliments… and as I walked back to my car after that, feeling lighter and in a better state to take the drive back home, the relief was overwhelming.

Of course, the excitement was contagious. Everyone was ecstatic about Adam being back to his normal self. What no-one knew was that Adam was the only person who knew that this wasn’t just a simple accident. What happened was a sign of something more complicated that many of us ignored. Yes, it was a huge scare but I think we all so badly wanted Aadam to be fine and Khawlah to be happy, that when we saw him starting to mobilize and become more like his old self again, all we did was shove our concerns under the carpet and carry on with life.

Ignorance is bliss. Truly. I lived in my blissful world of samoosa runs and keeping my eyes peeled for girls who looked like they were ready to take the next step.

As time went on, and I gpt absorbed in my life, there was a restlessness within me that I couldn’t seem to extinguish. It had been brewing for a while, and as I saw girl after girl after girl… instead of the flame wavering, it only seemed to intensify. And through all that, I just couldn’t seem to find what I was looking for.

And that’s when I had to put my foot down. Enough was enough. The last girl I had met seemed to fit the profile of what I was looking for. The facts were, I wasn’t sure how all of this stuff was really supposed to feel. Though my past wasn’t the most admirable, I had never been serious with girls, and neither did I didn’t want to delve into my recent past to try and figure it all out. All I knew was that something about this particular lady made her stand out to me, and despite having other reservations…  I casually announced to my family that it was probably time to take some burfee down to her house.

And maybe I should have see the signs when Khawlah entered the room. Maybe I should have known when I saw her come into the lounge, that something about her wasn’t right.

If it was up to me, I probably would have kept the entire thing hushed until her mood lightened up, but since Dada was already there playing with Muhammed and listening in on Zuleikha’s excitement, he couldn’t help but blurt out, in true Dada style, that there were some very eventful happenings due to occur soon.. like a Waleemah.

Khawlah looked up sharply as he said it, with a slight frown on her face.

“The same one you were talking about?” She said, looking at me cynically. Well, of course she would be.

“Yup,” I said bluntly. “She’s the one.”

“But she’s divorced with a kid,” Khawlah said with raised eyebrows.

And of course, I could see my elder sister shoot me a worried glance as she raised her eyebrows, obviously not expecting this snippet of information that Khawlah had so graciously offered.

I breathed in deeply as I glared at her, just a tiny bit annoyed at her indiscretion.

“Since when is that a problem?” I said heatedly. “Your father is divorced too. With four kids.”

“Please Ahmed,” she said, shaking her head. “It’s not the same and you know it. You know what divorces can be like. You know what it does to kids. You’ve had enough experience in that field now. You really want that kind of baggage?”

”Ah Khawlah,” Yunus said as he sat in his corner couch and watched us. Sometimes I even forgot that my younger brother existed. “Why’re you being so hard?”

I could see Zuleikha wanting to say something too but I held my hand to stop her. I tried to ignore the underlying accusations there, but I knew how to handle Khawlah. She was just lucky that I was in a good mood.

“I know what I’m doing, Khawlah,” I said steadily. “I’m not a child.  I know what I’m doing and why I need to do this. Isn’t it Sunnah to marry divorced women?”

She shook her head, already looking a little remorseful.

“I’m not undermining you,” she said, looking apologetic. “I just… I wasn’t sure if you may be having other reasons for being attracted to her. Like maybe she reminds you of someone else…”

I waited for my body to react in the usual way it did, when I heard about Rubeena.. But much to my surprise that night, weeks since everything had gone down… finally, there was nothing holding me back. Nothing at all.

“Let’s not even go there,” I said with a shrug. “It’s done and dusted okay? How would we ever move forward if we going to dwell on the past?”

I supposed Ziyaad was right in one aspect, when he saw my withdrawn face all those weeks ago. Although I rejected most of his womanising theories, I realised there was some truth in his advice to find something.. or rather.. someone else to focus on. I smiled to myself as I remembered his good humour as I told him about my unintentional part in possibly breaking someone’s marraige. The regret still haunted me on some days.

Khawlah blinked with the realisation.

“I suppose you’re right,” she said pensively. “I think it’s great that you’re moving on… And I truly hope that you’ve found the person who will bring out the best in you.. be your better half… make you smile, and raise you to heights that are amazing and beautiful and overflowing with love for Allah. I sincerely want the best for you, and hope you are making the right choice. Of course, I’ll make lots of Du’aa that you’ll live happily ever after, with lots of gorgeous kids who have your eyes and all the rest…”

I could see Zuleikha’s eyes shining as she smiled. Khawlah had developed some of Adam’s quirky humour and I liked it. It was funny.

“Like you and Adam,” I said indifferently. I wasn’t a soppy kind of guy but I really did admire the easy bond that my sister had with her husband.

I really meant it as a compliment and honestly didn’t expect what followed….

Because just as she met my gaze, there was a streak of something unrecognisable in her eyes, and she promptly burst into tears.

NB. So sorry about the delay and any shortfalls in the post. I hope next week is a bit calmer. Also, make maaf for those who have mailed me, I will reply when I get a chance. Lots of comments are going to spam, and I will try and check those regularly as well..

Will try and post on time next week, Insha Allah. 
Much Love,

A xx

Sunnah of Drinking Water

Sit down before drinking water. No matter you are in hurry for something, but that should not stop you from taking a moment to sit down and drink water in a healthy way. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Sit down and drink” (Muslim). Science also proved that drinking water whilst standing or walking can cause Gastrointestinal Tract (GIT) damage, kidney damage, arthritis, nerve tension, and other disorders.

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The Fall

N.B. Little longer post… Apologies for the delay. InshaAllah posts should resume normally…  xx

Bismihi Ta’ala


One of the things that people often say is that you can’t move on until you let go of the past.

But the funny part is, if we follow our hearts… when we choose not to hold on to past grievances, we rise above it. A weight lifts. The sun shines a little brighter. For a few brief moments, we find that thing that we’re all chasing… we find peace.

And it was no surprise that as I accepted Aadam’s gracious request, and I made the choice to never go to that place where it could come between us again… we kind of slipped back into the ease and comfort that we always had. The fact was that I loved my husband. More than I had thought, enough to put this behind us and  in a way that made me realize that his sins were no longer a part of this great guy that I had fallen in love with.

And yes, I had fallen. In a huge way. And that was the thing with true love, wasn’t it? It wasn’t just for the now. Love for Allah builds you up, opens your heart and changes people who were once selfish into the most selfless souls. Through this union, Aadam’s presence had unveiled an entire world for me as I witnessed his ease, his compassion and the amazing character that he exhibited through everything he did…

I watched him as he drove, on the last day of my holiday with the cloud of upcoming school that loomed above, chattering about work and other things he had been planning, and just enjoying the last few hours before the craziness would start again…

“It’s not far now,” he said mysteriously, as we stopped for Zohr at a local service station. “But I promise you’ll love it. She’s been waiting for us the whole week and I just know that she’s going to love you.”

“She?” I said, as I jumped back into the car. “Who’s she?”

Aadam chuckled as he saw the worried look on my face. He continued to drive, and before I knew it, the car had already halted.

“We’re here, gorgeous,” Aadam’s voice whispered as he touched my cheek lightly, after what felt like just minutes later. I had dozed off, and without knowing it, another hour had flown by. “Are you ready to meet someone special?”

I nodded, still in a bit of a daze as I adjusted my hijaab and sat up. And as I processed it, I couldn’t help but remain absolutely fixated at what was before me, taking in the dazzling architecture that was built on the onset of a mountainous slope. From what I could see, we had travelled quite far from the dreariness of Gauteng, where the year-round dryness often tired me. The beauty of this lush landscape had rendered me speechless for a few moments.

Wow,” I couldn’t help but murmur, as I stared out into the open view.

“She’s beautiful, isn’t she?”

I nodded, still a little taken aback by the spectacle. It was only when I glanced at him as he pushed open the door, did I realize that he wasn’t only talking about the gorgeous view ahead.

I fumbled with the car handle, watching Aadam walk towards the woman who was approaching our car with a huge grin on her face. And yes, Aadam was right.

She was beautiful.

As Aadam smothered her with kisses on both sides of her cheeks, I could see her chuckling uncontrollably. I smiled as I approached them, already recognising that amazing one-dimpled grin that my husband had inherited. There was no question about it…

Aadam stepped back as he saw me approaching, and as she came forward, her fierce embrace caught me a little off guard.

”Khawlah,” Aadam said as I held her back and looked at him. “This is my Ma..”

You know I’m not too old to give you a hiding, Adam,” Ma scolded and wagged her finger at him, with tears at the crinkled corners of her eyes. “You took so long to bring her here. All those kisses aren’t making up for it, so don’t you dare think you’re off the hook!”

I grinned as Aadam widened his eyes at me. I didn’t even remember meeting her properly after our Nikah, with all the drama that day… but I knew that I did.

Looking at her now, up close, I could already see where her grandkids had inherited their genes from. Aadam’s grandmother was probably in her seventies, but she didn’t look a day over fifty. And though Aadam had spoken about her often, I never really wondered why I didn’t see this stunning woman sooner.

As we trudged upstairs, entering her apartment was like a breath of fresh air. It was done up so beautifully, with oaks and antiques, and as we stepped in and I gazed around, I could see the most spectacular view that it overlooked. I couldn’t wait to get out there and take it all in.

“I can’t believe you call your granny, ‘Ma’,” I whispered to him as she disappeared down the passage while Aadam winked at me and made himself comfortable on her antique rocking chair.

”I am Indian, you know,” he said, sounding nothing like it. I smiled back at the irony. It was one of the things that made Aadam.. well, Aadam.

As for his ‘Ma’, I could already tell that she was such a my kind of person. I could almost imagine her sitting on the single rocking chair next to the shelf and dozing off after her daily reading. The carved bookcase showcased a selection of Islamic literature, and I actually could not believe that she was so different from Aadam’s mother.

”Does Rubeena come here?”

I never heard Rubeena talking about visiting her grandmother before. It was sad that this woman lived so far away, and there was barely any contact.

“Not in a while,” Aadam said softly.

He swallowed as he looked at me pensively, almost deliberating on his next words.

Of course I was even more curious now. She barely came to visit and neither did I ever hear my mother-in-law talk about her.

“Why not?” I asked, looking out the window at the gorgeous skies. Their clarity was beautifully inviting. From up here, it all looked so close…

”Family issues,” he said with a shrug. “I was still young at the time, but I do remember that Ma and Mum had some words about Ruby marrying Shabeer.. Like, a lot of words… and it wasn’t pretty. They don’t really see eye to eye… I remember everyone being upset, and then Ruby got married…”

Aadam stopped talking as we heard footsteps down the passage again, and I smiled at him as I got up, despite how my heart was sinking.

From what I could see, their Nani, or Ma, as Aadam called her, was one of the few elderly people left in their family. And though Aadam mentioned that she had a son that lived closed by and two other daughters, I couldn’t help but feel like Rubeena’s kids should have known her better.

When I grew up, it was the elder  people who made the events what they were. We looked forward to seeing Foi Nani and Dada immensely. If it wasn’t for Aunty Nas I knew that Dada wouldn’t have been sent away. It had definitely caused a rift between Dada and Abba but they were slowly mending their relationship as time went by.

I just wished that people knew the reward in fulfilling the rights of the elders in the family. What was sad was that these things happened all the time.. but what worried me here was what if they never got that chance to get back on top of things and rebuild their‘s?

I promised myself that when I had kids, one of the first people they would get to know was this wonderful lady who was so thrilled to have us here…

“Aw Ma, that’s so sweet,” Aadam said suddenly, grinning as his Ma entered the room with a huge gift bag in her hand. “You didn’t have to get me anything..”

Aadam’s Ma raised her eyebrows as her grandson humorously.

”You get spoilt enough,” she said to him, placing the box next to me and the gift down as I smiled and thanked her. I was overwhelmed by her already. “This is for my new granddaughter.”

”As usual, I just get taken for granted in this house…” Aadam muttered, pretending to be upset.

His grandmother whacked him lightly on the hand as he pouted, and I couldn’t help but admire the easy relationship that the two of them had.

This was an entirely different side of Aadam that I had yet to see. With his mother, he always seemed a little on edge.. but here, he was someone else completely. He was just him.

Of course I was thrilled with the gift, but what was even more enthralling was the little envelope with handwriting that lay on top. I was itching to know what was inside… I just loved handwritten notes and I had no idea how this thoughtful woman knew it. Aadam had inherited a little more than just his amazing smile from her…

”Do you want to open part of your gift?” She said kindly. “There’s something I wanted Adam to see.”

I looked at her, already knowing that she was talking about the letter..

”Ma always has something up here sleeve,” Aadam smiled, winking at me and looking at Ma. “Are you finally taking up my offer? I mean, I know it’s amazing here but I don’t like Ma staying alone. I still don’t know why you don’t just move in with me…”

Huh uh,” she said stubbornly. “You want me to give this up and come live in a city flat and breathe polluted air? I’ll probably never see another sunrise ever again. Better idea- you’ll come and stay with me, since you always worried about your old Ma.”

”You know I’d love to,” Aadam said with a wink. “But Ma, your place is in the middle of nowhere… No Halaal food, no mosque…”

It was no wonder that Aadam had bought an apartment right next to the Masjid. I could see that his heart had an attachment to it and the fact that he was so particular about reading his Salaah there was what made me even more certain that this guy was even more amazing than he seemed.

“And what about my kids Ma…” he was still saying. “If I had to live here… Must I send them to boarding school?”

Never!” she said quickly, her eyes wide. “I don’t know how your mother could do that to you.. you know, you were such a pleasant child. Easy-going. Never fussed. She was just tooooo busy to cope with you. She didn’t have the time..”

Aadam looked slightly uncomfortable as she said it.

”Never mind…” he said softly, turning to look at me. “Can we read that letter now?”

My heart ached for my husband, as I looked away. There was a pain that existed there that I had never known about. Ma just smiled as she got up and reached into the gift bag she had left next to the couch, taking out an envelope from inside and handing it to me.

I had no idea what it was, but as I pulled out a piece of paper and saw the childish handwriting, I instantly smiled and read it aloud.

Roses are blue,

Violets are red,

If I ever get confused,

Please knock me on the head.

For you, Ma, coz I know you’ll do it.

Love you forever,

Adam ox

I giggled as I looked up at Aadam and his Ma, who were just as amused.

”When he gave it to me, I told Aadam that one day, I’m going to give it to his wife because she’ll need it,” she said with her one dimpled grin that was identical to my husbands. “And I finally did!”

Aadam was grinning now like an idiot, his legs propped up on the coffee table as he watched us in amusement.

”See,” I said, smiling at him. “I always say you’re a poet. How old were you?”

”No idea,” he said as he ran his hand through his beard. “But I had an awesome sense of humour…”

”Maybe around 10,” Ma smiled, getting up slowly. “Aadam used to come here often on the weekends. Now I’m sure you guys are hungry. Let me put the food on now…”

”I’ll put it on,” Aadam said, getting up as his grandmother nodded gratefully.

We watched Aadam head off to the kitchen as Ma and I spoke about general things. It was no surprise that we got along… I knew we would from the start. It was like the type of relationship you have with someone that you just meet and suddenly you just ‘click’… Like we’d known each other for years…

”Ma, the food is on low,” Aadam called as he walked in. “Are you busy telling her all my secrets?”

“Yes,” Ma said firmly. “Every single one of them. Even the one when I had to give you a good hiding because you took apart my entire computer tower.”

”Child abuse,” Aadam muttered, with a shake of his head. “The lights were fascinating. No wonder I’m so damaged.”

Rubbish!” she said with a shake of her head. Her expression changed slightly, as if she was recalling something. “You’re far from damaged… Alhumdulillah! You know, when I look at you, Adam, you’re so lucky, my boy. There’s not a day that passes that I don’t remember your journey… and every day it reminds me that Duaa can truly bring miracles. Allah knows… How I sat every night and took your name… I remember how worried I was… when you came to me that day a few years ago, looking like you were so lost. Night and day I would read that ‘Rabbana’ Duaa… the one that Maulana had spoken about for kids. I would pray that Allah fixes your heart and that you would find your way… and then, when you came again the next year, it was like magic. I could see it… I could see the weight lifted from you. You told me about Khawlah and how you wanted to change… About how you had been so wrong about everything your whole life… and now, look at you today..”

My own heart thudded in my chest as I looked from Aadam to Ma. She had tears in her eyes, and Aadam was looking immensely pained as she spoke.

”How merciful is Allah… You found this beautiful girl who changed your life. You took a chance and you changed everything and I really can’t explain to you’ll how happy I am to see you’ll here together today…“

Her voice broke as she halted, and I could feel tears welling up in my own eyes as I watched them. Goodness, this was so emotional

”Ma,” Aadam said softly, swallowing hard as he looked over at me. “You’re going to make us all cry just now…”

”Now you better not mess this up,” she warned cheekily, wiping her eyes with a tissue.

”Aw ma,” Aadam said softly. “This is your favorite grandson and his dream girl, there’s no way I’m going to-“

”Yes, well you better make sure of it,” she said with a wag of her finger. “You know you’re never too old for that wooden stick! Now you guys better hurry up and have some children before I die…”

”Ma,” Aadam said now, looking a little uncomfortable at the request. “We just got married. My wife’s still young … we need some time to adjust to each other…”

”Nonsense,” she retorted. “All you young people got the same stories. What’s this ‘adjust to each other‘? You’ll already there. When I got married there was no such thing. Now see, I’m living to see grandchildren and great-grandchildren and I want to meet yours too, Adam. You know that. Remember I’m not going to live forever.”

”You’re the resident dinosaur, Ma,” Aadam teased. “Don’t talk like that. You still got plenty more years…”

The chatter went on like that as we finally sat to eat the delicious lamb curry that she had prepared. As I devoured the food,  I could see where my mother-in-law got her cooking skills from. It was absolutely delicious.

And just as I felt like my tummy would burst, Aadam’s grandmother ushered us out, declining any help to get the tea things together and take it outside.

And if I felt amazed by this place when I got here, I would not be able to describe how awestruck I was by this staggering sight before us right then. I breathed out as Adam slunk back, watching me as my eyes feasted on the wonder of the gorge that lay ahead. The valley was lined with colorful bushes between their hills, and right ahead of us, was a gushing of unprecedented water that ran right from the onset… and cascaded in absolute magnificence to a small pool below. It was a waterfall that glimmered back at us in all its glory. At this time of the afternoon, it looked like the sun was slowly weaving in and out of this splendor, tipping on the crests and expertly avoiding the subsequent troughs that followed. Not to mention the contrast of the dreamy-blue skies against the flourishing green vegetation were a sight that blew me away…

It was with absolutely certainty say that I had never seen anything more breathtaking in my life.

”Its amazing, isn’t it?” Aadam said softly, coming up behind me as I leant over slightly. I had never been afraid of heights but this was something else. It was like a series of valleys that merged together, creating the most perfect vision that simply left me a little speechless.

”Imagine Jannah,” I said softly, tearing my eyes away to glance at him as he stood next to me. “In all this wonder, beauty and absolute amazement.. Imagine that world…”

Aadam gripped my hand firmly as he stared ahead in silence. Fluffy clouds floated by lazily and the ever- present breeze was a soothing to my soul. This was, undeniably, what Aadam wanted me to see… and as usual, it didn’t disappoint. I could not imagine how it must be to wake up to this every morning. No wonder Ma refused to leave…

“One day, beautiful,” Aadam said quietly, as he placed both his arms on the railing and looked over. “One fine day we’ll reach that place… you and me both…we’ll reach that rainbow that seems so far away. I can already feel that it’s so much closer. That the suns a little brighter and clouds have lifted… I feel like I’m on the right path now, Khawlah… Like how Ma said, I’ve treaded so far and now I’m getting there, to where my Lord wants me to be… and I’m certain it was someone’s heartfelt Duaas that got me here…”

He trailed off as he swallowed and looked at me.

“And I think I’m going to stop now because I’ve bared my soul to you enough this week,” he continued with a smile. “Maybe it’s time for some payback…”

I shivered slightly as the chilly breeze hit my cheek, and I snuggled into Aadam’s Downs jacket, which was the cuddliest thing ever.

”What were you thinking of?” I asked in a neutral tone, as I gazed ahead. “As long as you don’t take advantage..”

”Only a piece of your heart,” he said into my ear. “That’s all I ever asked for…”

”Done,” I smiled, watching his face light up as I looked back at him.

“Really?!” he said, raising his one weird eyebrow to look at me. “I’m not sure if I should accept that, though…”

”What do you expect me to do?!” I said bossily as I stepped back. “Scream it out to the world?”

”Precisely that,” he said with a grin. “Must I show you how it’s done?!”

I grinned back as I watched him climb onto the small stool on the other side and lean over the balustrade. This guy was a helluva lot of fun but he was definitely a little nutty.

”You ready for it?!” He asked, his eyes dancing as he turned to look at me for a moment, just before he shouted a huge ‘hello’ into the gorge ahead. This was entertainment at its best, and as his voice echoed back, I was amazed at how it reverberated throughout the vacant valleys.

”Aadam, the neighborhood will think you’re gone off your rockers,” I scolded, trying to get him to behave himself.

Sometimes I honestly wondered who was the older one here. It was hard to believe that I was almost a whole 5 years younger…

”I do this all the time,” Aadam called out, letting his voice echo throughout the valleys once again. “The neighbors love me, yeah…”

”You’re crazy.”

“About you.”

And as Aadam climbed up a little stool that had been perched next to Ma’s pot plants, I wasn’t sure if it was a lack of judgement or if it was just a buckling of his weakened limbs as he stepped ahead onto the raised ledge below the railing…

All I remembered was my heart literally jumping out of my mouth as something caved beneath him, and it felt like my entire world was in slow motion, as I watched it all unfold in helpless despair…

And that was when Aadam fell.

P.S. I’m sorry about the ‘cliff’-hanger…

P.P.S. As a matter of interest on the Duaas for righteous kids… does anyone know of any other Arabic duaas to read for kids specifically…? (someone had asked me) 

رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

Rabbana hab-lana min azwajina wathurriyyatina qurrata aAAyunin waijAAalna lilmuttaqeena imama

“Our Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous.”



‘O my Lord ! make me one who establishes regular prayer and (also) from my offspring ,our Lord ! 
and accept my invocation”
رَبِّ اجعَلنى مُقيمَ الصَّلوٰةِ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتى ۚ رَبَّنا وَتَقَبَّل د


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An Unexpected Visitor

Bismihi Ta’ala


Once upon a time, when I was far too caught up with a life that probably involved a lot of late nights, misguided aspirations and brain-crushing ideas, an unwavering friendship that pulled at the heartstrings was about to be severed…

Okay, so I’m sorry that this story is a little morbid, but I promise I’m not the kind of guy who would make you cry. Really, I wouldn’t.

Anyway, I’ll get on with it.

So there was once a boy and a girl who spent every minute of their techno-free (unbelievable, right?) childhood together, and were now well aware that their childhood (as they knew it)… well, was about to end. It was time to move on to the rest of their lives. It was the time that most people like me dread. It was time to grow up.

But this story about the boy and girl, and what happened after, is not the important one. What’s important here is the magic that had been born from this bond. This love, that these two kids can somehow formed, had stemmed from something that was so absolutely unique… that hearing about it kind of made me wonder who was the inspiration behind it all. I didn’t know that I’d have the privilege of meeting this very man years later… this boy’s father, who had been the pinnacle of every ambition, hope and aspiration that brought to life for these two kids, in every sense of theirs, the beauty of creation…

And it was through this, and everything they had come to see, that they truly lived and believed, that nothing was created in vain. That they saw amazement in every vision. Every moment, minute and passing interval, there was not a time when they didn’t remember that sunshine was a gift of Allah’s power, and the rain was a reminder of His mercy. A flower was never just a flower. It brought to life the advent of a great and momentous occasion that had just transpired. A rainbow was not just a rainbow. It was a symbol of Allah’s hope that spread across the sky, to remind them of how amazing and colorful life could really be.

It was a time when all things were tall, and all their friends were small. The world was new, and the skies were always blue… well, not really, because that’s impossible (except for real poets)… But you get my drift..

Basically, it was when the sun was at it’s brightest. Where everything was inherently magical, with no major effort. That was essentially, what childhood was about, and as this friendship bloomed in the most natural way, a love of Allah was cultivated and transferred from a heart that held so much of it, to a heart that was yearning to carry more. And from that blossoming heart… it’s love had brimmed and spilled over to be passed on to not just a few, but many, many others too… And at the end of this particular story.. I was one of those fortunate people that somehow got thrown, head-first, into the mix.

You see, there’s a great lesson here that’s evaded me all these months, since hearing this story.  All I saw was a cute little story of two kids that had no point. But then, as I looked deeper… I was simply blown away.

So let me just say this: Never, ever underestimate the smallest of actions. Especially with a little kid… you can never know the true effect of showing a young heart who their Creator really is. You never know what the value is of teaching a child the language of Glorious Qur’an. You will never regret teaching a child that their only reality is Allah, because this little effort really can go to insurmountable lengths. Because that purity… that connection that is formed at such a tender age… that type of love… is simply infectious.

Once you feel it, you will never want to let go. When the heart sings it, embraces it and lives it… the mist is completely cleared. The veil is permanently lifted. And no matter what that little kid will be told in a group or class of kids who know none the better, whether he is told that there is no sky, or the earth had materialized from one Big Bang or that humans evolved from some kind of apes… his (or her) sturdy heart will know better, because it will continue to sing…

Laa ilaha Illalah, laa Ilaha Illalah. 

There is no Reality but Allah. 

The Maker, the Breaker… Owner and Creator of the entire Universe.

And though I featured nowhere in that little tale that I just told you, there is something amazing about my life that tops the charts. Something that’s made me believe that wonderful things can happen to even undeserving people. Something that’s opened my heart to such a vast degree that I never thought I could ever witness.

Somewhere along the way, I found the gold. In some deviate alley, I stumbled upon a path that’s lead me to the most spectacular of treasures. An insurmountable pleasure. Somehow, through a magic beyond my understanding, I’ve managed to find it in me to love another person with all my heart and soul and to me… That will always be enough. Because even if I lived my entire life to achieve nothing else… I had already found what I need. I had already found the pathway to enteral bliss. I knew now that my living and my breathing and my dying was only for One Supreme Being.

We often hear about destiny. Fate. What’s meant to be. Yet, we still strive with our best for this world, push ourselves… try so hard to make it to the top. We buckle our belts, we wear a helmet, we stick to the paved paths, we try to be safe. We try so hard to protect ourselves, but sometimes it’s not enough. When the bad things happen, they catch you by surprise. The tests and trials come suddenly, with no warning… But we forget that sometimes that’s exactly how the best things come too.

And yeah, I was floating somewhere on cloud nine for the past few months, and it was tough getting down from there. It was amazing, because the light that had entered my life was one that had broadened my entire horizon. I suppose we don’t really notice when things are a little wonky when we’re propped up somewhere in the clouds.

And we’ve all had our share of pain, somewhere along the path. Pain. Sometimes it’s in the mind. Sometimes it pushes us to the edge. Sometimes it’s just part of who we are.

Pain. It comes in all forms. The small nudge, a minor twinge, the random ache and the normal pains that we live with everyday. Then there is the kind of pain you can’t ignore.

Some levels of pain are so extreme… that it blurs out everything else. Makes the rest of the world fade away…. How we manage our pain is up to us. We medicate, anesthetize, ride it out, embrace it or even ignore it. For some of us, though, the best way to manage pain is to just push through it.

I reached up to take the Mybulen from the top shelf, pouring out three, and hoping it would do the trick. I read a Surah Fathihah as I pushed it down, knowing it was the key to the cure. Above all else, rely on Allah alone, right?

And yeah, the meds were a temporary fix, but what wasn’t temporary in this world, right? Next week I would book an appointment with the chiropractor and it would all be sorted out. I bent to put my shoes on, sitting down to swallow the pills.

I breathed in as I swallowed the water, remembering the Sunnah of drinking as I sipped. Pause. Sip. Deep breath. That’s the only way the water goes to every cell of your body. It’s the only way that the passages are so amazingly opened up so that those nutrients can replenish those cells, that need the nourishment of pure water. That was the Sunnah that I had lived almost two decades of my life with knowing nothing about.

I checked my view in the mirror as I watched myself. I looked normal. It was just that I felt like crap. The ringing of my phone halted my thoughts, and I quickly pulled it out as I glanced at the ID. It was Rubeena.

“Assalaamualiakum,” I said as I answered,  psyched to hear from my sister, already forgetting my aches and pains. 

“Was-salaam,” she said, sounding tired. I understood. Her life was not exactly great right now.

“Howsit Adam? Am I disturbing?”

”Nope,” I said, feeling a little better as I put my takkies on. “Just getting ready to fetch Khawlah.”

”Ah okay,” she said, sounding disappointed. “You guys going out?”

”Well, we have a big day planned next week,” I said, my heart drumming away as I thought of it. I couldn’t wait. “We had a few things to sort out before…”

”Oh shucks, okay no stress,” Ruby said quickly, sounding even more down. I honestly was feeling so bad now. I had a feeling that she needed me and I couldn’t help her. Did I just put it out there or did I just ignore it and live my own little fairy tale?

I couldn’t hear my sister like this.

“Rubes, what can I do for you?” I said, trying not to think too hard about what I may be getting myself into. Khawlah would understand. Ruby was sounding like she had been rained on with a ton of bricks.

“I need to leave the kids with you,” she said, sounding apologetic. “Just the three. They’re easier to handle. I have some things I need to sort out. Mum hasn’t really been much help. It’s their holidays and it’s not like I can take them anywhere… and Shabeer is pretty useless.. Just for a few days.”

A few days?

Crap. This was going to eat into almost all Khawlahs free time. I knew she loved the boys but I really wanted some time with her. Alone.

“It’s okay if you can’t,” Ruby said quickly, sensing my hesitation.

I swallowed as I thought about it. On one hand I had my amazing wife who I barely got to spend time with, and on the other hand was my sister who was in a predicament and needed my help. Why couldn’t I just include the boys in whatever we were doing? Maybe the big ‘date’ would have to wait a few days… but what other choice did I have?

“Okay, no problem,” I said, not wanting to let her down. I had this overwhelming desire to just make everything easier for everyone. I just wasn’t sure if it was going to backfire. “We would love to have them.”

“Thanks a million, Adam,” she said, instantly sounding relieved. “You don’t know what this means to me. You deserve the best brother award. I’ll tell them that you’ll fetch them in a bit.. just let me know what time. They’re so excited.”

I sighed as she cut the call, wishing that Rubeena could have at least let me know in advance. I couldnt help but think she was taking advantage, because she knew we both couldn’t say no. We wouldn’t. Looked like I’d have to tell Khawlah to wait another half hour for me… so I could take the boys with me.

And I know I sounded like an old battered guy, but I was already feeling tired, thinking of all the effort this was going to involve. After a long week all I wanted to do was chill. I loved my nephews to bits but they needed attention. They craved it because since Rubeena’s problems with Shabeer, they sensed the tension at home. I hated to put them in front of a screen, and ideas to keep them busy sometimes evaded me. I had a good mind of asking Khawlah to stay over, and I dialed her number again, hoping to sweet-talk her around the new plan.

“Sweets,” I said, noticing my wife’s voice sounding slightly strained. “I’m going to be half an hour later than planned.”

“How are you feeling today?” she said instantly.  “Your back?”

It was like it was the only thing on her mind since the topic hand come up. I cringed as I remembered how I literally repelled her touch that day. I was trying to be strong by not taking a painkiller the previous week. For me, aches and pains were a regular thing. It came with my job. It was just that I didn’t like to medicate all the time. Meds always have side effects.

”It’s not that,” I said, running my hand through my beard. “Ruby’s sending the boys. They’ll be with me.. us… for a few days. I’m so sorry… I didn’t plan for this but it should be fun, yeah?”

”Oh,” she said, sounding a little distracted. I had a feeling she wasn’t really listening. “Okay I’ll see you after then.”

”I’m sorry, Khawlah,” I said, feeling disappointed too. She would have loved the trip I planned. Local but amazing. I just couldn’t help how things change plan. We plan, but indeed, Allah was always the best planner.

”It’s okay,” she said. “What’s meant to be will be right? We can make the most of it.”

Exactly. That was my wife. Reminding me of all the things I kept forgetting.

”You’re amazing,” I said, a little in awe of her understanding. “You make it all so easy. I love you, beautiful.”

”See you just now.”

I grinned as she cut the call, shaking my head at my wife’s fear of emotion. She had closed herself off from the beauty of expression. I could just pour my heart out to her relentlessly, until I was blue in the face, and all I would get back was a cynical smile. And of course, she just did it again…

And despite all this, it didn’t change the fact that that I was lucky to have her. I knew that she didn’t have me in my mind when she chose a partner. I knew that I was way off the mark. Completely off the charts…  But when I looked into her eyes… I could literally see through to her heart. It was brimming with love

I smiled to myself weirdly as I got some snacks ready for the kids, feeling a bit better already. I had bought a bit of time, and since I started doing some shopping for the apartment, I had been stocking up.

On the up side, knowing that I would be surrounded by my favorite people that night was the best feeling ever. Having Khawlah and the boys over would be a blast. Story time was always the highlight. Khawlah still topped the list with the way she read stories and Hadith… and I always felt contented when she was here with them. I could just picture them jumping around on the couches, (which I had to act like I minded, but I didn’t really) playing some annoyingly childish game, with her counting to ten to get them to pay attention again. Nights like these… well, this was what life was about.

It was how I pictured my life with Khawlah a few years down the line, hopefully with a few kids of our own. I could imagine her being a great mother… a great example… and picturing her as the woman who would hold my home together… well, there really was no other way I’d have it.

And of course, being a little bit of an obsessively organized guy, having gotten myself a little more sorted for the evening ahead, my mind was feeling a little at ease.

I grabbed my jacket and keys, glancing at the clock to ensure I’d be back for Salaah. There was plenty of time to head to that side of town and still be back on time.

And though I hated city life and preferred the natural scenes much more, the nice thing about having an apartment was the convenience of being able to just pull a door and leave. There never was a security problem in the building, and that’s what I liked about living there. Knowing that Khawlah might be here alone at times the following year if I had to go on any trips or be out of town was my main reason for choosing this place. For now, the location, simplicity and convenience suited me perfectly.

And that’s why, when the lift touched down at the ground floor, when I stepped out to see a glimpse a youngish looking Muslim girl standing impatiently in the foyer, looking at the mounted list of occupants in the building, I really didn’t even bat an eyelid. I figured she was someone else’s visitor, averted my gaze and walked ahead. I greeted the old couple who lived on the bottom floor as they left, and raised a hand to the security guard. It was only when I reached the door, that I heard a voice, and immediately knew that she was talking to me. I was the only person left there.

“Excuse me,” she said loudly, and I paused momentarily as I glanced at her. I didn’t speak to strange girls, but I knew how to handle myself.

She was almost Khawlah’s height and I assumed that she was around her age too.

”Yes,” I said, wondering what she wanted from me.

“I came to see a girl I know… I’m not sure at which number she stays but I’m told that she lives in this building. Do you maybe know her? Her name is Khawlah.”

“That’s my wife,” I said, narrowing my eyes at her involuntarily. “Who are you?”

I turned to face her, feeling a bit threatened now, knowing that this person was probably not supposed to be here. It was obvious that Khawlah knew nothing about her coming. She would have mentioned if she was getting a visitor. It was unlike her to invite someone without telling me. Especially a female that I’ve never seen before…

“My name’s Hannah,” she said, looking nervous as she said it. “And I really need to speak to her.”

N.B. next two posts may be a little delayed. Its that time of the year again.. request for Du’aas

Much Love, 



Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “A man is upon the religion of his best friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2378

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to keep the best company that can be to our benefit. Keeping good company is also a Sunan, and a means of reward.  

FB: The Journeying Muslimah

Ig: thejourneyingmuslimah 






Twitter: @ajourneyjournal




Building Bridges

Bismihi Ta’ala


“Khawlah,” Nusaybah said as I opened the door after school, on the last Friday of term one. I was feeling all euphoric and psyched at the onset of the holidays, but one look at my friends stony face had already killed my vibe. “I’ve got the worst news ever.”

I swallowed as I looked at her. I had just got off the phone with Aadam, who was obviously just as excited as I was that we had a short break ahead. What we didn’t know at that stage was that there were a few more hurdles in store for us before we could be absorb ourselves in holiday bliss. Brick by brick, a few more bridges were still left to be built…

“What’s happened?” I asked her, knowing very well that Nusaybah was also a tad bit dramatic.

”My father booked a trip!” She said, throwing her hands up in the air dramatically. “Three hours away! For FIVE whole days! There goes all our plans for burning the midnight oil! Honestly! Can you believe him?”

I closed my eyes in silent appreciation.

Allah had really answered my Duaas that week.

”Err, Nus,” I said, wondering if my friend had gone crazy. All that studying had to affect your brain negatively at some point. “How is that even bad news?”

I was elated. No Nusaybah next door meant no-one stressing me out about studying till the wee hours of the morning. No Nusaybah around meant I could sleep till late. No Nusaybah..

Gosh. I couldn’t believe I was such a horrible friend. And an even worse student.

“He didn’t even ask me!” She moaned, as she trudged down the passage to my room.

“That’s lovely news,” I said, smiling broadly. “I hope it’s somewhere nice, gorgeous and green. You know, I heard that the outdoors is the best therapy… really excellent for indulging your brain too. The nature, the sunshine… the swishing and swaying of the trees that work on your subconscience…”

Nusaybah scowled as she paused to open the door, and then halted in mid-action and froze, already in a frenzy.

Khawlah!” She whispered, looking appalled. “No-ones in here, right? Like, it’s  safe, right? To enter?”

I flung my hand to my mouth in shock.

Wait!” I said, widening my eyes at Nusaybah, while I pretended to peep around the door. “Let me just tell him to get decent…”

You should have seen the look on her face as I turned to look at her. She was absolutely mortified. I did not even want to know what she was thinking.

By then, of course, I was giggling uncontrollably, quite amused by my friend. I honestly didn’t know what she thought of Aadam and I, even though I had tried really hard convincing her that my life was pretty much like a normal teenager and that I didn’t hide my husband in my bedroom.

“Oh my goodness, Khawlah,” she breathed, seeing the room actually messily empty as she dove on the bed in appreciation.

There was actually no way I could ever even allow Aadam in here. He would be horrified.

“You nearly gave me a heart attack,” she said, closing her eyes and breathing in dramatically, like she was doing some weird Japanese calming technique. My friend was actually quite hilarious when she wasn’t on a mission to work the life out of me.

“You guys still acting like some middle-age couple then,” Nusaybah muttered, her chin cupped in her hands now as she rolled over and eyed me out. “Or did he finally reveal to you his bloodsucking tendencies and you made a run for it?”

I rolled my eyes.

”Nusaybah, please…”

“Hey,” she said, shrugging her shoulders. “My best friend is married to a possible Edward…”

“You need to stop devouring those Twilight books,” I said shaking my head, knowing it was a craze at school. “You’re becoming obsessed.”

I mean, really? Did girls not have anything more to do that sit and obsess over weird vampires? I wasn’t really sure what it was about the story,  but what I did know was that every young girl wants to save the gorgeous bloodsucking monster and rescue him from his lonely eternity. How warped is that?

“Okay, okay,” Nusaybah said, smiling comically as I stared her down. “I’m kidding. I’m just fake obsessing like those annoying girls at school. But on a serious note, I do expect to hear a few juicy details now and then. That’s all. How old are you’ll? Seventy-five? Honestly, Khawlah, sometimes I wonder. All that ‘waiting for forever’ junk is so outdated. You guys need to get with the times. Some action would be appreciated.”

”Can we talk about something else?” I said, not in the mood to explain our situation yet again. Besides, I was never going to talk to Nusaybah about those details at any point, and by the look of things, Aadam wasn’t ready for me to move in with him anyway. He was certain that staying together would be a distraction for me and that we had plenty of time.

And we did, of course. Our whole lives. What was the rush?

Nusaybah and I chatted about some issues  that had gone on at school, about how some girls were consumed with finding boyfriends, and of course… our aspirations after the year was over.

Sometimes I was so glad that Nusaybah was my friend. Instead of all the boy-girl obsessing that usually went on in school… and her constantly nagging my brains about inappropriate things… she did bring more substance to life. And excitement too. She was definitely so much more focused, and without her I probably would have been so lost.

She kept me grounded, because she truly was one of those friends that reminded me of Allah. She had such deep and unwavering faith, that I found it hard to believe she was my age. When I first met her, I didn’t understand what a great personality I had been privileged to befriend. Her entire outlook on life was so amazing that spending time with her was one of my favorite things to do.

And especially at this time of my life, I knew that it was so important to have good friends. Friends to learn from. Friends to guide you. Friends who can show you what’s important in life… and what’s really worth focusing on.

And when I learnt once about the Tafsir of the verse about friendship, I couldn’t help but be taken aback by its message. Ibn Kathir has briefly said, in his Tafsir, that every friendship will be turned to enmity on the day of Judgement. But he didn’t stop there, because at the end of the ayah, Allah says…

except for the righteous…

Close friends, that Day, will be enemies to each other, except for the righteous…” Surah Zukhruf.

And that particular part was so amazing, because the end of the verse was precisely the beauty of everlasting friendship. The line that is drawn, the distinguishing element… the deciding factor that makes it or breaks it. If a friendship is one that is for Allah Ta’ala, and it’s fulfillment benefits one’s relation with his or her Lord, then definitely, Allah has given a promise that these kind of friendships… will carry over to a life beyond this meager world.

The thing was, I was really anxious about Matric but I knew the key was keeping good company and knowing that there was an end to the madness. Sometimes I wondered what all the hype was about. This year, everyone insisted, would define our future.

But it wasn’t this year that scared me. What really made me anxious was all the talk about post-matric studies. It was the only thing on everyone’s minds. I knew that my father wouldn’t allow me to do anything besides what was correspondence learning… he had previously said he had learnt his lesson with Zuleikha.

And though I didn’t really mind, I always felt like people expected me to aim for more… and be more than just ‘a girl studying at home’. People were expectant. Condescending too. And then, just when I was feeling all down and out about it, she told me something made made me see it in a different light.

“Sometimes we have to stop gaping at the barriers and start building our own bridges,” she said, in her old wise voice.

And Nusaybah had made it all okay by being the one to remind me that not being able to study at a university wasn’t a barrier. She made me see that what I made of my life doesn’t define who I was. She had so beautifully said that as a Muslim women, there was a much broader role that Allah had set for us, besides what career path we wanted to chase, if it was our choice. Allah Ta’ala, in his infinite wisdom, had given us the noble task of nurturing little humans and bringing them into this world to tread on the most illuminated path. Allah does not burden us by giving us multiple roles and tasks.

First and foremost, he has given us a most esteemed role of being mothers of the Ummah, and although I found myself so blown away as she spoke so passionately, I still couldn’t help but think that my role of being a mother was still pretty far off. To me, it was at least 5 to 6 years into the distant future… what would I do in the meantime?

What I didn’t know was that Allah had a plan for me in a little miracle that was going to make it a reality much sooner than I thought. This amazing, yet unexpected addition to my life would be my reason.. my life… and rightfully, alter my entire future as I knew it, in the process…

Sometimes we just had to change our perspective, and a world of opportunity awaits.

I breathed in as I processed Nusaybah’s words, knowing that being married to Aadam was something that would play a major part in my decision too… I just didn’t know what a huge part in my future plans he would come to play.

Oh my scarf!” Nusaybah suddenly yelped, flinging her hand to her mouth. My friend was so dramatic, as she looked at me with wide eyes I couldn’t help but wonder what she was on about now. “Before I go… I completely forgot to tell you! I met this girl the other day at the park with my brother… I’m not sure if you remember… the one that used to attend Tafseer with us and then she left…”

I racked my brains for a few seconds, trying to figure out who this girl was and why Nusaybah was mentioning her. We had been attending extra classes for three years now, once a week.

“I have no idea, Nus,” I said, quite confused. “People come and leave classes all the time.”

“So anyway, nevermind. I saw her and she actually came up to talk to me!” Nusaybah said, waving her hand at me as if it didn’t matter. “And guess what she asked me?”

”Err,” I said, completely clueless. “I have no idea, Nus. She could have asked you anything.”

”She asked me about you!”

“So?” I said, not really knowing where she was going with this. Who was this girl, even?

”She wanted to know if you have a brother called Ahmed,” she said, her eyes widening. “I asked her why, but all she first said was something vague. Anyway, eventually I got it out of her and she said she was asking for her cousin who lives 4 hours away somewhere in some farm place… and they are looking for a reference…”

”A reference?” I repeated, sounding like an idiot. Why would anyone need a reference about Ahmed? Unless…

I knew that Nusaybah had some idea of what had happened with Rubeena… but she hadn’t heard it from me. Right now wasn’t exactly the greatest timing for this type of thing to be going on…

I could hear voices in the kitchen for a while now, and I had a feeling that Ahmed was home. I just wasn’t sure who it was that he was talking to. All I knew was that I had to get to the bottom of this.

“Khawlah, I need to leave,” Nusaybah said after a few minutes. “Please don’t mention my name…maybe you’re not supposed to know..?”

Nusaybah’s voice was slightly anxious as I opened the door. She was worried now, but she had already mentioned it so there was no going back, right?

Aadam had just phoned to say he needed to fetch the boys and was going to be a bit later to fetch me than he had planned, so I knew there was no rush to be ready. I had a bit more time…

I paused to give Nusaybah a quick hug before she headed for the front door. They were leaving early tomorrow and she still needed time to pack.

In the meantime, with much on my mind, I rounded the kitchen corner and was pleasantly surprised to see my sister visiting. I didn’t even know she and Muhammed had arrived. I gave him a slobbery kiss whilst I caught up on his incoherent chatter. He was so adorable at this age.

Zuleikha and Ahmed were talking about a trip they were scheduling for a few days, and as I looked at them curiously, I could see Ahmed’s frame become more rigid as I listened. Things between the two of us were a little strained since everything to do with Rubeena had blown up. I knew that Ahmed was upset, but the least he could have done was let me know if he was looking for suitors… before I heard it through someone else.

“When do you want to leave?” Zuleikha was asking him, and my ears pricked up as I tried to gather more information.

”Tuesday morning,” Ahmed said. “So we can be back by the evening. I rather keep it short. Maulana says that they are some other girls he wanted me to see next week. I don’t mind going alone.”

Tuesday? Why did Tuesday sound familiar… I was sure that something was planned for Tuesday, that was completely evading me right now.

”No,” Zuleikha said, shaking her head. “We’ll come with you. Right, Khawlah? Let’s just take it one at a time.”

Did he think looking for girls was like a shopping mission? He couldn’t just tick them off the list like grocery items…

I looked at my brother, taking on his unapproachable frame as he stood there. He was always so hard. Unwavering. It seemed like his mind was always occupied with something or the other… just waiting to get each task over with. He had no passion.

I couldn’t help but wonder if he was throwing himself into proposals too soon after the Rubeena drama. And yes, though I had to admit that him getting married would probably be a good idea… I just wasn’t sure how a girl would feel if she knew about the recent events that had surrounded Ahmed’s name.

”Ahmed,” I said carefully, hoping I wasn’t going to overstep the mark. “Are you sure you should be doing this so… soon?”

”I tried to tell him,” Zuleikha said, shrugging. “But he won’t listen.”

Ahmed scowled. Of course he would.

“What do you want me to do, Khawlah?” he scoffed, a little more abruptly than necessary. “I have to get married at some point. Now seems like an appropriate time, don’t ya think?”

”That’s the thing,” I couldn’t help but say. “Maybe it’s not a good time. Maybe you need to let thing settle for a while first before you jump into -“

”Really?!” He said, turning to me, his hazel eyes flashing angrily. “You have a problem with this too?! You had a problem when I spoke to Rubeena. Now you have a problem when I’m trying to find a wife to settle down with. Really, Khawlah? Is there anything you don’t have a problem with?”

“Hey,” I said heatedly, annoyed at his reaction. “Stop jumping down our throats! All I did was suggest that you wait. You’re most welcome to go and throw yourself into something that you’re not ready to take on.”

“I’m sick of people telling me what to do!” Ahmed growled, his face getting redder by the second. “I can’t make everyone happy! My whole life it’s been someone or the other… Abba, that woman he married, Foi Nani.. now you and Zuleikha think you’ll fit the profile. Don’t you’ll get it? You’ll are not my mother, so stop acting like it. Get off my back, man. You’ll can decide if you’ll want to come, but I’m going on Tuesday whether you’ll like it or not!”

My phone was buzzing on the counter top as I watched my brother stare us both down, almost as if he was waiting for us to challenge him.

Sheesh. Ahmed had issues. And a short fuse too. I glanced at Zuleikha as he turned and walked out, shaking my head, and just feeling defeated. Maybe I should have just kept my thoughts to myself. I didn’t know what to say anymore.

”He’ll come around,” Zuleikha said, the house phone now ringing incessantly.

I had almost forgotten that Aadam was due to fetch me, and as I put the phone to my ear, I barely even expected to hear his voice greeting me back.

“Sweets,” he said, his voice sounding calm, but definitely not himself. There was something about his next words that stopped me in my tracks.

I had a feeling that there was another bridge that was waiting for us to build and cross. Bit by bit, brick by brick… Somehow, through rocky and rough waters, we had to make it through…

“Is Ahmed there?” He said, sounding a little desperate now. “I’m so sorry. I’m a bit tied up for now. Somethings come up and I need you to ask him to drop you here please… right now. It’s urgent.”

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “A man is upon the religion of his best friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2378

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to keep the best company that can be to our benefit. Keeping good company is also a Sunan, and a means of reward.  

FB: The Journeying Muslimah

Ig: thejourneyingmuslimah 






Twitter: @ajourneyjournal