Suspicious Encounters

Bismihi Ta’ala


Part 77

It was the Instagram post that first got me suspicious about Rabia.

And okay. Maybe I had been in a particularly suspicious kind of mood since the entire thing went down, and even the slightest thing made me feel said emotion, but I called it a hunch.

I mean, even Hamzah’s whole open love confession at the minute I was ready to throw in the towel made me a teeny bit out of sorts and thinking that something may be off with his brain alignment.

Like, what on earth was with his whole love declaration that felt like it set my entire heart on fire? I didn’t even understand how someone could even have words like that and not belong in some kind of romcom kind of screenplay that made you weak in the knees.

Hamzah knew that he had to go, if he wanted what was good for him. He had agreed with me that he couldn’t lose his job. But now, emotions were coming into play and he was confused, and that’s all. I just needed to keep steering him that direction. The one that would be best for him.

And then there was going back to work for the meeting with Hammonds, when I glimpsed the new woman who had taken my place as external auditor, and the suspicion started again. The good news was that seeing Faadil made me realise how truly over him I really was.

All I felt when I looked at it, was annoyance. The bad news was that the new girl was skinny and semi-attractive, and what got to me was the way that she looked at me as Faadil walked up to join me in the meeting room that day.

There was an outright scowl in my direction,  she seemed highly invested in him who was seemingly oblivious, and I couldn’t help but be quite certain that she had also fallen under the Faadil spell. My suspicion was kind of confirmed everytime she battered her eyelashes at him, and it kind of made me want to puke.

And all that aside, I couldn’t help the prickly kind of feeling that overcame me as I lay awake in bed two days after I had caved and decided to let Hamzah stay a bit longer in our home and my life, as I scrolled through my instagram feed and snuck disbelieving looks at him. Maybe it was just a hunch.

The star husband was laying next to me, one arm slung over me as he slept as if there was no evil that existed in this world, and on the other side of me was Zaid, arms and legs splayed out in the summers heat, with blankets all kicked off.

I wanted to log this onto my memory, never to be erased, so I could keep coming back and revisiting the moment. I didn’t know how many of these mornings I would have. I didn’t want to think about it.

And as much as I tried to get Hamzah to keep his distance, all it took was his swoon-worthy words and I had already melted like ghee on a thawa, and I wanted to kick myself for it. And yes, we were in Nikah and even though Hamzah had made it clear that even if he did sign, no papers would change that… the fact was that, sooner or later, I knew that Hamzah had to go. If not, it would be scandalous.

There was no way I was going to let him risk everything he had worked so hard for once this case goes to court. Though he promised that he would stand by me with fierce loyalty, our marriage would make him a complete target for every kind of treacherous assumption. A divorce on paper and distance between us would be the only solution. For now, it was the only way.

I sighed as I gently edged away from him, lifting his arm so I could move off the bed. So much for distance. All aspirations were out the window.

And I knew that Instagram was not exactly the wisest thing to be scrolling through mindlessly at 7am but sometimes, my overwhelming nafs got the better off me, especially when it came to escapism. I knew that I should at least put the phone down, engage in some dhikr at least, and my entire day would take a turn because of it.

And I did. I wanted to make it a habit of remembering Allah when I first woke up, and not see someone’s pouty, fake-lashed filtered face instead. I had to try and at least rid myself of the dust that had collected over the past few weeks. I had been so absorbed in the allegations and everything it had brought, even my Hifdh had taken a back seat for a while.

But the amazing thing with Hamzah was that since things had erupted, he was the one who had made sure that the Qur’ān was the one constant, even during the days we were at loggerheads with each other. He kept solemnly to his promise of helping me memorise parts of the Qur’ān. It had been doing its thing… cleaning and polishing my soil from all the dirt that had overcome it. Maybe it was a hope he had that Qur’ān would bring us together, like it had before, and whatever he intended, such was the miracle of Qur’ān… that I could most certainly feel the affect on my heart.

The heart was being polished. The grime was being removed. The dust was definitely being wiped off.

And there was nothing more I needed, because the phone had taken over our lives to such an extent that we slept with it and woke up with it, and before even remembering the purpose of our creation, our limbs would stretch out for the gadget that ruled and ruined lives, without even thinking.

The thing was, I always loved social media. Always have. It was an amazing tool for marketing and networking, but a not so amazing too for making me feel great about myself.

Social media is designed to curate and promote highlights. We post the best snapshots of our days, the best meals we eat, and the best places we visit. When you have a stretch of a tough few days, it can be easy to feel like everyone else has it easy and
Dnly you are dealing with this type of difficulty.
It creates a type of insecurity. A person starts to wonder why they cannot get things together when it appears to be so easy.

Although I knew how horrible it was and that it would only feed my silly insecurities, I still couldn’t seem to wean myself off it or delete it completely. Like a drug, it would draw me back to it, craving just one more hit of juiciness until I felt a little satiated.

In fact, everything I opened the app, Instagram just made me feel crappy.

That morning, after my dhikr counter had reached 500, I squinted my eyes slightly in the darkened room, trying to figure out how Rabias social life had suddenly gotten so … quirky.

There it was. The post that made me suspicious. That would raise all the questions in my mind. A picture of the favourite ice cream place that I had been obsessed with just months ago, and a picture of three cones, two sugar and one normal, in three different flavours, snapped together.

And okay, I knew that it was a very popular place at the sometimes trendy Melrose Arch but the guava and mint flavour ice cream that had been snapped in the picture made my heart kind of contract momentarily.

And I knew that I had no damn right to feel even the slightest bit nostalgic, having this gorgeous and amazing man next to me, and the cutest baby in the world snoring like an adorable little steam engine, but the emotion came without warning.

That was Faadil’s favourite flavour. His favourite flavour, always in a normal wafer cone (never sugared, he just had this weird-so weird- thing from childhood that made him hate sugar cones). A most odd flavour, I always thought one of the least popular, and although I didn’t want to go back to that space mentally, it was the place we frequented at least three times during those few months I was with him.

It was also the place where he always said that it dawned on him that he apparently didn’t want to just be friends.

And I had no idea he allegedly felt that way of course, but it was the day he had lent me the Porsche and before that had treated us all to ice creams, before some of the less demure girls jumped into the car with him.

It had flattered me of course. How much of it was real, I still didn’t know. The tune after was that the reason he had let those girls take a ride in his car was that he was waiting for me to be the one to get in, and when I didn’t, he had to find a way to get my attention somehow.

I never did the throwing myself at guys thing, no matter what car they drove. Personally, I feel the elusive, hard-to-get factor was probably what made the chase more exciting for him.

Whatever it was, for him that’s when everything kind of kicked off in his head, and despite me regretting every bit of it months after, I couldn’t help but feel the rising suspicion as I closed the app.

How could Rabia know who Faadil was? Could the instagram snapshots that incriminated me been her doing?

No ways. She couldn’t have been acquainted with him. How could she know who she is?

I shook my head as I put my phone down, sneaking a guilty look at Hamzah because I was suspecting his sister of such lowly things.

Just glimpsing him momentarily, while he slept so peacefully, made my heart burst with all sorts of overwhelming emotion as I shoved the thought out of my mind.

I shook my head. No.

Maybe I was being a little paranoid.

Just to be sure, I would try and suss her out later when I saw her. Ask her a thing or two about the gram. Or ice cream. After all, guilty people usually act a little nice than they’re supposed to. After the whole fall out with her, I had barely seen her, but with Saaliha around in Joburg for this weekend l, I knew that Rabia was bound to be around when they give everyone their amazing pregnancy news.

I had been so excited for them that I yelped crazily when Hamzah had told me the previous night, especially since I was well aware that Saaliha couldn’t fall pregnant for years. Allah was so merciful. Rabia was definitely bound to be there, even if it was only to suck the joy out of the occasion.

I sighed as I tried to think happy thoughts that morning, and although the morning had started off on a little bit of a questionable note, Hamzah shifting around as he woke up immediately lifted my spirits.

I had made him a special breakfast (well, as special as it gets with me, who allegedly can’t really cook) and I was trying to be as nice as I could be considering the awkward circumstances. We were at this very weird stage in our relationship where we were avoiding each other but trying to spend time together at the same time. Hamzah was doing his best to respect my wishes, but he was still holding onto hope that I would change my mind and I was so close to throwing in the towel on my plans, but I knew, for his own sake that I couldn’t just abort mission.

All I knew was that no matter how hard I had tried to push him away, he always found a way to rebound, and proved himself over and over again.

And since we usually ended up in my parents area on Saturdays because of dropping Zaid with Liyaket’s mother, I knew that there was no better time to pop in at my parents and Jameela, before the big day for her tomorrow. I had been so absorbed in my life, but seeing Hamzah was a bigger gossip than I was, and after Nani’s call the other day, he desperately wanted to find out what was going on from Zubair myself. I knew that my parents were preparing for Jameela but what I didn’t know was the Nani also had her own preparations going on.

And after she had huffed and puffed about it like the big bad wolf, I really didn’t expect her to be there as yet.

And so, if course, you could understand my utmost shock when I glimpsed Nani standing at the counter in all dedication, mixing something vigorously, considering that she had so much to say about the upcoming events, the delicious smell coming from the stove made me completely suspicious.

I mean, what on earth was she up to, when she had clearly said that she was completely against that ‘aloo’ coming to see Jameela. I mean, I couldn’t believe that she was calling him a potato. Her entire reaction was enough for me to understand that there were no samoosas coming from her this time, and my parents weren’t in the least surprised. I was just glad that my parents weren’t adopting the same stance, and were actually giving Jameela scores about actually wanting to meet Zubair.

“Hey Naans,” Hamzah said sweetly, his one-dimpled smile genuine as he saw her. I had to look away when I saw the pure affection in his gaze because knowing that he would become off-limits to me soon made me feel completely out of sorts. “We’ve missed you.”

Nani immediately looked up as she saw him, and her star grandson-in-law planted a kiss on her cheek as she continued with her exaggerated gestures and gorgeous smelling treats. He was so good with swindling her that it made me jealous.

”Mos,” Hamzah said, turning to me and raising his eyebrows, holding a squiggly orange thing in his hand.

I met his eye hesitantly as he watched me. He knew what he was doing. Making this entire thing harder for me was apparently his sole objective.

“How could you not tell me that Nani makes Jalebi? This stuff is a winner.”

I rolled my eyes at him, concealing my true emotions, but I couldn’t help but smile, watching Hamzah devouring the jalebi as if it was the most delectable treat in the world.

His brown eyes twinkled as he munched, and I could see from his face that he wasn’t just throwing Nani up.

“To what do we owe the honour?”

My humoured question lost its effect as soon as Nani heard it.

“Nadeema asked me to make it,” Nani said proudly, as if my dear cousins requests were the only thing in the world that mattered.

Nadeema was still one of Nani’s favourites, despite what she did to me. Of course, I couldn’t expect Nani to understand. In her eyes, I was the married one so I wasn’t worthy of pity, and Nadeema wasn’t… so she deserved sympathy plus a kilo of jalebi for extra effect.

Jameela had entered the kitchen at that point and was standing at the door, waiting to catch my attention, but Nani had already caught it. Now, I needed to know more, and I wouldn’t let this rest.

If Nadeema wanted to Jalebi, why on earth was it here?

”So is this all going to her?” I asked with a raise eyebrow, gesturing to the pile of orangey sweet stuff that was on the counter next to the stove. The thought made me want to smash it all up so Nani could serve her jalebi syrup.

Crushed. Orange. Jalebi. Syrup.

It’s not that I hated Nadeema. It’s just that, after the incident where she literally broke off my proposal, I wasn’t exactly obliged to like her. The thought that Nani would make her stuff in our home, with our cooking oil, made me want to cry. Oil was expensive, okay. And Nadeema was not worth it.

I could see Jameela trying to gesture to me, and whilst Hamzah saw her and tried to signal me too, but I was far too vested in this conversation to pay attention.

Since Nani mentioned Nadeema, all I saw was red.

”Of course no, Mohsina,” Nani said nonchalantly, sounding oh-so-reasonable. “This is extra batter. Nadeema’s jalebi is at her house, ready for the boy who is coming to see her tomorrow.”

It took me a few seconds to process that one. Wait. Jameela’s proposal was also tomorrow. With Zubair. His sister and brother-in-law will also be there. She knew this. She had told me. Did that mean Nani won’t be here for it?

Jameela’s gestures were becoming a little more vigorous, and with it were tiny little hisses that accompanied it, solely intended to draw my attention that was refusing to be diverted from Nani.

And who could blame me?

“She’s also getting a proposal tomorrow?” I asked incredulously.

I mean, what were the odds. I wonder who was the (un)lucky guy.

My poor baby sister was now jumping up and down with pure purpose, but now that I was onto something, I averted my eyes and wouldn’t back down. Jameela knew that I was never the type to turn down a challenge. Nani was about to show her displeasure about the situation by being there for Nadeema, and acting as if Jameela’s proposal wasn’t happening.

What I didn’t know was that she had gone one step further.

“Muneer will see her tomorrow,” Nani said, her face turning slightly so I could see her beam. “After Jameela broke poor boys heart I knew that I had to try and fix it.”

”Wha-“ I was cut off as she turned back to her frying and at the point that the rage in me was threatening to boil over, Hamzah had literally steered  me out of the room, whilst Jameela grabbed my arm to pull me away.

I was so angry, I could not believe it. Nani had completely lost her mind. She was doing the exact same thing to Jameela as happened to me.

“Just leave it,” Jameela warned through gritted teeth.

I didn’t want to. I wanted to scream at Nani for being so superficial, and claw at Nadeema’s face for being such a spoilt brat, but Hamzah had wisely blocked me off so I couldn’t go back to the kitchen. The look in his eyes told me that he knew me way too well, and what I was thinking was a really bad idea.

He had called to Nani that he would be back in fifteen minutes, sending me off with Jameela to safety and was already headed to the door for his ritual smoke break, grinning at us as he grabbed his lighter near the door.

”You didn’t tell her anything?” I hissed to my sister as I was shoved up the stairs.

”I figured that some things are not worth fighting over,” she said with an exaggerated sigh.”If Nani doesn’t want to be here, so be it. She doesn’t invalidate the Nikah and it’s not like I’m being a disrespectful grandchild by marrying someone below her expected income bracket. All that aside, it’s great seeing you and Hamzah together. Do you know how much of Duaa I am making for this to be okay. And it’s so amazing because I can see it being accepted right before me. You guys are so strong.”

If only she knew we were just stringing ourselves and everyone else along. She didn’t know that by us staying together we were risking so much. It had to be temporary.

”We’re trying to be amicable,” I said simply, not wanting to explain the whole arrangement we had. “When the court case goes public he will move out. I offered but Hamzah said he won’t let me leave. So…”

She looked at me suspiciously, and then raised her eyebrows.

”So you’re basically waiting for everything to head south before you kick him out?” She asked incredulously. “Mos, are we even related? How are you this horrible?!”

I frowned at her, wondering since when my sister gave me these intensely judgemental looks that made me feel worse than what’s under her shoe.

”Jams,” I said, trying to justify myself. “He will lose everything he worked so hard for if I don’t. Then, I’ll be really mean.”

Jameela’s eyes flared at me as I said it.

”Yes, yes, you said all that, but do you really think he cares?!” She scoffs as she glares at me.

“He has to care!” I said incredulously. “How can he not? This is his entire life. His degree, career, his repuation… Everything he worked so hard for! And he agreed to go.”

“Haven’t you realised that all that stuff is barely important to him?” She was pointing a finger at me accusingly as she said it.

I sighed. But she doesn’t get it.

“It is important,” I retorted obviously.

“Says who? Has the world taken over your heart Mohsina?” she said quietly. “Is that the only thing thats important right now? Status and position and how much money you’re worth. Because if it has, you have to let the Duniyaa go. You have to claim it back and give your heart to its rightful owner.”

My heart was slowly cracking at its seams anyway. It was a searing pain that penetrated right through because I realised that I was going back to that place that I had been at months ago.

”But how?” I said to her breathlessly. “How do I even get there? I’m so weak and hopeless… and now Hamzah’s going through so much because of me and he has to leave so what hope is there for me?”

I didn’t even know what I was saying anymore. I was just getting so emotional thinking of it all.

Somewhere along the way my bond that I had worked so hard at with Allah Ta’ala had been compromised. Maybe I hadn’t tried hard enough. Maybe I wasn’t sincere enough. Maybe I didn’t make enough istighfaar.

All I knew was that I wanted to make this right again, but I didn’t know how to.

“The only reason he’s going is because you threatening to leave him if he doesn’t go himself,” Jameela said to me resentfully. “He won’t be able to bear you being back to that point where you have to ask anyone for anything. Where you have to rely on someone. Even when you’re putting him through so much of pain, his only concern is for you. He only wants you to be happy, Mos. Even if he has to go and make himself miserable in the process.”

What?” I said, narrowing my eyes at her as she looked back at me, now avoiding eye contact as  if she said something she was never meant to disclose.

“How do you know all that?”

My voice was low and disbelieving. It sounded too close to the truth that I didn’t yet know. All this talk was making me suspicious. But then again, I was being a tad bit too intense on those very emotions that week.

“I don’t,” she said, her gaze immediately faltering and I knew that she was lying.

I narrowed my eyes at her, wondering what she would be hiding.

“Spit it out, Jams!” I barked at her, swallowing back my emotion. I could see her face turning a shade of whatever she turned when she was flustered.

“Okay, fine,” she said softly, still avoiding my stare. “Zubair said so.”

I raised my eyebrows at her. Zubair said so?! Is that all she had? She’s dropped a bomb and then stopped. How on earth could I just leave it at that?

“You spoke to him?” I asked, completely gobsmacked that my usually shy and evasive sister would actually talk to a guy. And not just a guy. The guy. Handsome stranger who she’s been going gaga over for way longer than she cared to admit.

Was she talking to him now? Like talking talking?!

“You and Zubair?”I asked, widening my eyes. “Are you guys….”


“Papa was there,” she explained hastily, her bashfulness very evident. “He wanted to see Papa and Papa thought it would be good if I was there as well. We chatted. A little. We didn’t have long but. I know certain people look down on him because they think that he’s poor but it doesn’t matter to me. Why do people think that wealth makes you someone? Sometimes people get swayed by the charms of the world as if it’s everything that ever mattered and will matter. We think we can find constancy in all these things but what we hold onto is inconstant and perishing. Money and status and everything the world presents is just a mirage….”

“You make it sound so easy Jams,” I said softly, wondering how my sister had become so wise. She was so…. pious.

On the day of Qiyaamah, Allah Ta’ala will apologise to the poor in the same was as a person does to another person in this life, by saying, “I swear by My Honour and Greatness that I did not keep away the worldly wealth from you because you were disgraced in My eyes, I did so for the sake of bestowing on you the great honours of this day; you go and look into the rows of Jahannamis for those who fed you or clothed you for My sake, they are all yours.

When the poor approach such persons they will all be drowned in their own sweat and the poor people will pull them out and lead them to Jannah. (Rodh-ar-Rayahim)

We look at wealth as if it’s the be all and end all of life. As if someone without money is not worth anything. Little do we know that there are people in this world who not a soul knows, but in the heavens, there is not an angel who does not know that blessed slaves name.

”He really likes Hamzah,” she said softly, looking all dreamy-eyed. “Thinks he’s one of the few people he can actually trust. We don’t want to lose him…”

Oh my word, they were a ‘we’ now. What. Wait. Did I miss so much? They discussed Hamzah and I as if we were something that was so important to ‘them’.

I narrowed my eyes and she looked away again and I knew that she was done for.

My word. My little sister hopelessly besotted was doing things to my insides

”I want to know everything,” I pressed, my eyes narrowing even more at her. “About what he said. About what Hamzah told him. And about what on earth you guys were chatting about. Was he pushing for this? Are we having a Nikah at the same time.. just tell me what’s going on?!”

I was completely in shock. While caught up in my own world I had completely sidelined the spicy masala moments that may have been happening at home. I was now an obsessed women, hanging onto every thread of information. And Jameela was looking frightfully suspicious when I mentioned the word Nikah.

My heart felt like it was about to explode with emotion, despite the looming clouds above.

“Relax,” she said steadily, a smile creeping on her face. “Zubair is a good guy and he’s not forcing me into anything. It’s me who wants to do this fast. Like, really fast. Make it halaal. And yes, Papa did agree that we can have the Nikah this week. It’s taken so long to get to this point and we’ve both felt this way for a while so….”

If I knew how to do a double take, I probably would. What?!

They both felt what way for so long?!

Oh my word, I couldn’t breathe.

“Are you sure you know what you are doing?” I breathed, still partly in shock.

Jameela and her bloody romancing. It was just too utopian-like.

She honestly could not wait to get married and I knew it wasn’t about the glitzy parts of the whole event for her. Jameela was too obsessed with Zubair to see beyond that.

She nodded eagerly, and I felt like somehow, this was always supposed to happen. But there was still a niggling feeling of hesitation as she said it, and I knew that there was still early days.

Nani still wasn’t okay with this. Zubair still had an awkwardly unmentionable history. Hamzah and I were still buying time.

All this time, this kind of ending for her was merely an idea but now that things were wrapping up, I couldn’t help but feel that something was completely amiss…

Mission Sunnah Revival

Sunnah of Thinking Good about others  

We’re so quick to assume bad things about people, even when we have no idea what’s the real story. Thinking the best about others is part of the Sunnah of Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) and is a great way to give us a positive outlook and always be good to others.

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

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

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
















FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah


When Hope is Hidden

Bismihi Ta’ala


Part 66

Sometimes you just have to be kind.

Treat people the way you want to be treated. Be good to even the nasty people. If serving people is below you, leadership is beyond you.

And honestly speaking, service wasn’t exactly my forté. I would rather be in out in the wilderness, breeze caressing my skin, blinking beneath the cherry blossom trees and basking in the glorious sunshine, than stuck serving stuck-up corporates in a coffee shop.

But such was life at times. Sometimes we just humble ourselves, even when it’s hard.

The thing is, there were just a few valuable lessons I was learning from not being my usual lazy self.

Some people are never happy, no matter what. Some people are grateful, no matter what. There’s no feeling quite like making a someone’s day. Oh, and comfortable work shoes are worth their weight in gold.

“One latte. One carrot muffin. I’m in a hurry.”

I’ve messed up two macchiatos and spilled an entire litre of hazelnut syrup on the ground. The outdoors is looking like an awesome, unfiltered escape and the coffee machine was being an absolute horror this morning. I really could do without the added pressure that this man was persisting on giving me as he watched me nervously fiddle with the gadgets, and looked at his chunky watch again.

“I’m sorry, I’m just…”

It’s already been a few minutes since I swiped his card and I can see his patience dwindling.

Today is definitely not my day. For some reason, I can’t do a single task without messing something up.

He didn’t like to leave me here, but Zubair was apparently gone out for some emergency and Papa said he had some errands to do too. All I knew was that Papa had predicted it to be a pretty uneventful morning but as predictions go, it was anything but.

I filled his coffee just as there is a noise from the back, the sound making me stumble slightly, hoping that Papa had arrived. Before I can turn my head, my foot slips on the little residues of hazelnut sauce from earlier causing me to tip backward, the burn from the sloshing coffee scalding my skin.

In the rush, I had just spilled whatever little coffee I had managed to get out onto my dress.

“Is there anyone here who’s competent enough to get me my order?”

The guy’s haughty tone is unnerving and the sting from the coffee mixes with the tears collecting behind my lids.

What do I tell him? I can’t figure out the machine? Why did it choose now to act up? Of all times.

Why was I so useless? Give me a book under the flawless blue skies and I would sit and read it till night falls, but when asked to do something productive- I was utterly  unproductive.

Everything was going wrong.

“Am I going to get some service today?” He asked, now full on irritated as I pressed another button, water from the machine splurging out, looking up from his device as he watched  the progress with his order.

I hated dealing with male customers, especially these type. The rude type. It wasn’t very often, especially during the day, but well… wasn’t today just my lucky day?

I swallowed back my emotion and pushed up my chin. Customer service. I had to numb my emotions.

“I’m so sorry about that. I’ll make you another one, on the house.”

His lips are pursed together as he glares at me.

“I already paid. Just make the damn drink!”

I flushed. I feel like making the drink and throwing it in his face. But of course I couldn’t.

“I’ll take over,” a deep voice says from behind me, and my body freezes, wet coffee-soaked dress sticking to me as I tried to hide it with my scarf, but I knew it was no use.

I couldn’t help but spin around, watching him avert his gaze as he moved forward gracefully, pulling out another cup as I had no choice but to move aside. His unusually coloured eyes were scanning the machine and expertly I looked away as he tapped something and did some magic with it.

He was wearing his Friday attire, kurta and hat, as if he had just come in, and not the usual uniform I saw him in. Catching a glimpse of the  tasbeeh counter he had just released from his hand that was already showing quadruple digits, and I felt a stab of envy as I realised that I was still sitting in the three hundreds for my Friday Durood counter. Perhaps he went somewhere far? 

I had no idea where he was but he had probably saw the customers car from outside and thought that no-one would be helping him. Except I was. It’s just that I wasn’t doing a very good job of it.

The angry customer scoffed, his gaudy watch counting the seconds.

“I just thought I’d be able to get a cup of coffee without it becoming some kind of circus performance.”

I could see Zubairs jaw tightening as he said it, effortlessly pressing in the tray that wasn’t clicking earlier and watching the steaming water with milk shoot out through the spout.

I moved along near the till to pack the muffin, careful to use the tongs carefully before he gave me scores about that.

”Sir, I’m so sorry about -“ I started, as I placed the muffin on the counter.

”It’s ready,” Zubair cut in abruptly, and I swore I could see him shoot me a glance of annoyance as he passed the cup over, and I hurried to grab a serviette from underneath the counter, packing the muffin into an eco-packet, always aiming to please.

The customer is always right.

And though ‘customers’ can be very difficult and might not respond to you in the way you expect, despite your good attitude, customer service is never about the results or the sales. It was hard being on this side of the counter. Customer service is about the experience you create when that person is with you.

But I tried to keep in mind that every time you meet somebody, you’re selling them yourself – your image, your personality, your goals, your personal brand but most importantly … you’re also selling Deen. You are in a mode of exchange with that person through every interaction.

I just wished that people could treat others, especially in the service industry, with a little more dignity. Sometimes a simple hello and thank you can go a long, long way. Sometimes a little overlooking can also be a saving grace.

Character was gold. Whether the customer or the person who is serving, I do feel like whichever position you find yourselves in… you had to just turn it around to your benefit. It was easy to be good to people who were good to you. But people who tested your patience and gave you uphill were the greatest test. It’s just that even with that, there is a limit to what I could take.

I had to keep telling myself that.

”Thanks,” the guy said to Zubair, not even sparing me a glance as he picked up his wallet from the counter. “Next time I’ll just ask for you.”

“Next time, try and be more polite to the lady,” Zubair said back, without missing a beat, and my eyes widened involuntarily as I wondered if I had really just heard him say that.

He was looking the customer squarely in the face with a fierce look as he said it, and I could see the customers eyes flashing angrily at me before he spun around and walked out.

I took a few steps backward as I watched Zubair’s entire posture morph, almost as as if he had just put on one persona, and was slowly gearing himself to go back to the usual.

I was shocked. And I didn’t even know why I was still even standing there. That was completely unexpected.

I never thought I’d see this side of him. In fact, I didn’t even know that this side of him existed. Up until now, he had been so… passive.

Conservative. Polite. Ihsaan kind of character.

Never had I heard Papa ever mention once about Zubair even raising his voice to a single person. This was completely out of character for him, and as I took a few steps backward to escape to where the single helper was working in the back, I couldn’t help but remember what I had found in that room two weeks ago.

Perhaps now that I knew… and he knew that I knew… he didn’t have to pretend. Maybe this was the real him. Maybe he was a violent and dangerous mafia killer who lost his mind and went off in a tangent. If maybe it was just certain things that ticked him off…

I felt like asking him how and when and why, but of course I couldn’t. I couldn’t get into the nitty gritty of these things. They would just bring up more uncomfortable topics that’s I wasn’t ready to delve into. It was an opening that would lead to other sins, and I was wiser than that. I couldn’t risk more.

I shook my head at my own craziness as I grabbed my phone from next to the till, trying to dispel all the weird thoughts as I glanced to the front to see Zubair was gone, probably to change, but knowing that he would be back soon to take over.

Mohsina had been messaging me from the morning, with something about Hamzah and his strange behaviour.

He had disappeared early that morning and Mohsina couldn’t reach him. She was going crazy with worry, and though I felt for my sister, I honestly didn’t know what to tell her. Hamzah and her had way too many secrets and I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to know them all.

He’s not at work.

It was her latest message, she had sent before the rude man walked in. I tapped quickly, wanting to know if she phoned the office.

Are you sure?

Her reply was quick.

I called. They said he didn’t come in today. He’s hiding something, Jamz. You think it’s someone else? Someone from his past?

I sighed. Of all things.

Hamzah won’t do that. Maybe it’s something else. A family matter? Something to do with Liyakets estate?

Her reply didn’t come fast enough. It was at least a few minutes before she  finally messaged to say:

He just got home. Rabia is with him. Wish me luck.

I instantly wondered if that was the case, why he was being so secretive. Could he have just gone to fetch Rabia?

It was weird… this whole thing that was happening. There was Zubair and his big secret, that I could tell no one because there really was no way that I could tell anyone that Papa’s favourite worker is an arms dealer or mafia member.

Plus, I had no proof. And then there was Hamzah, who had his own secrets and was also somewhere from the morning.

The message from Mohsina came through and I found myself looking at the time.

Hmmm, interesting.

Was it just a coincidence that both of them were gone at the same odd times? Zubair usually never left in the week. Hamzah too.

It was exactly 20 minutes ago that Zubair had arrived to save the day and that was the time it took to get the Mohsina’s new place in the North.

Were they perhaps together? I wasn’t even sure if they spoke but I had an idea that they did cross paths on the farm a few times. Hamzah was always outside and Zubair didn’t really have many places to go.

I wasn’t sure if I should tell Mohsina. What I did know was that she may just hyperventilate and then we would have more problems. Where my sister and her marriage was concerned, I rather just keep quiet and mind my own business. What I did want to desperately find out was if they were together.

And as I walked along the rose bushes, drying my dampened dress, breathing in the scent of outdoors as my mind cleared slightly, I couldn’t help but set my phone aside and let my roses distract me for a while. The afternoon sun was blazing down on my covered head and I didn’t even have a hat on, but I didn’t care. I was in my element right then and that’s all that mattered.

“Hey you,” a familiar voice had called behind me, a baby perched on her hip as she smiled. “I can feel the nature vibes bouncing off you. Thought I’d find you here.

I plunged my garden fork into the ground and slowly got up, dusting my hands off onto my baggy jeans as I smiled at the little munchkin in Nusaybah’s arms. She was a few months older than Zaid and she was super adorable, with these fat cheeks and black locks.

“I had to ask Zubz where the roses were and there you are, looking as stunning as they are this spring…”

She grinned as I had blushed, well… as red as I could go, given that my skin resembled a slightly coppery colour due to all those hours in the sun. Almost like that burnt peach rose. I was actually glad that my skin burned painlessly, unlike my sister, who would peel at the slightest touch of sunlight.

Nusaybah smelt of lavender and fabric softener as I leaned in for an hug, and I couldn’t help but hug her a little tighter before she leaned back again. She had become something of a sister to me too.

”You’re embarrassing me,” I moaned with a smile, shaking my head at her and taking the baby from her. “Why don’t you come in for some tea?”

And though I didn’t know much about Zubair and his past, I did know a few things about the present. Like with his sister leaving back for London this week, it was highly probable that she was the only other person that he would have been with this morning. Maybe I could somehow find out if they were together.

It was amazing spending time with her and her dolly when she was around. She was such a natural and easy-going person to be around.

Nusaybah’s husband was here trying to get a medical post in one of the nearby hospitals and assumed that it may be good to spend a few years closer to their family here. It was just proving to be more difficult than they thought. Going back to London was a temporary fix. From what Nusaybah had said, she really wanted to be close to family, especially with her little one growing so fast.

“I would have loved to but I cannot even spare a  minute,” she said emphatically, answering my request and shaking her head. “I literally just came to see Zubair because he wasn’t around this morning and I needed to speak to him about my grandfather’s condition.”

“Ah okay,” I said softly, hoping it wasn’t too bad.

Also, that meant that Zubair wasn’t with her this morning. So who was he with? 

“I promise I’ll stay longer one day,” she said sincerely. “ I have to meet your mother properly as well… you have no idea how grateful I am that my brother is here with such an amazing family and so much of stability. You don’t know what it means to me.”

Time and time again, this girl just got me.

She was grateful? Without Zubair, Papa would be so lost and unfocused. Even though we had a few workers, it was them who breathed life into the walls of our home and business and kept the momentum going.

And though we sometimes took our extra help for granted, sometimes we genuinely disregard the amount of time they actually put into giving us the best of themselves. They sacrifice family, sleep, even their comfort in many cases, just to make sure that things run smoothly in our homes and businesses.

Now and then, a simple smile, greeting or just a thank you was something that wouldn’t hurt us to give them. The thing is, we will be accountable for how we treat the employees who work for us.

Plus, the value of trustworthiness was something that was invaluable.

It made me think of the Sahaba, and in particular, Abu Dharr Ghifari (RA) who was known for being one of the most trusted and honest Sahaba.

After the light of Islam found its way to his heart, our Prophet Sallahu Alaihi wa Sallam asked him, ‘Where are you from, my Arab brother?’

Abu Dharr (RA) answered, ‘From Ghifar.’

A broad smile appeared on the Prophet’s lips SAW and his face was filled with wonder and astonishment.

However, Abu Dharr (RA) was also smiling, for he knew well that the reason behind the Prophet’s (Sallahu Alaihi wa Salam) astonishment was because the man who had just embraced Islam in front of him was from Ghifar. Ghifar was a tribe with a notorious reputation for highway robbery. Its people were famous for theft and were known as allies of darkness and night.

But as time went on, Abu Dharr’s (RA) reward was going to be abundant and his greeting blessed. He was known to have attained the highest, most honourable, and most respectable medals. Generations and centuries will pass away, but the Prophet’s opinion about Abu Dharr will always stay alive in people’s memory: ‘The earth never carried above it, nor did the sky ever shade under it a more truthful tongue than Abu Dharr’s’.

SubhaanAllah. There was no way to even honour such rare character.

“My father treasures your brother,” I said softly, shaking my head. “We should be thanking you.”

She had briefly mentioned that Zubair and his uncle had been close for a few years before the huge fall out happened just before he came to work for Papa. She had mentioned that her brother was pretty capable of looking after himself and kept apologising for the inconvenience, which I didn’t even understand. For Papa, Zubair helped us out so much that he actually felt indebted to him.

”No ways, it’s his job and he needs to keep it,” she insisted, taking a seat on the bench as her daughter started playing with my garden set.
A familiar feeling of despair arose in my gut as I wondered how on earth I could ever do anything to sabotage his job? Nusaybah was so grateful. I sighed softly and looked back at her, seeing a small smile on her face.

I switched off my thoughts to watch her daughter, finding it so cute that there was no way you could keep the garden from kids. They were just inherently magical and full of opportunity. They were drawn to it like moths to a flame.

”So, I’ve been meaning to ask… how was your weekend?”

The way she said it, with and her eyes all curious with hidden hope and her eyebrows raised, immediately got me a little suspicious. She smiled mischievously as she watched me, and I wondered how she knew. Did Zubair even know about the doctor who came to see me?

Err,” I started, biting my lip and not wanting to say anything bad. “It was interesting…”

I could see her face transforming from excited to suspenseful and I wanted to laugh too, because somehow, the situation was just really funny.

Thinking about Muneer and his biceps were also getting me all giggly now. I’m sure Nusaybah didn’t know about that, but it really was something.

”Sorry,” she finally said, covering her mouth secretively. “I was really not supposed to say anything but I couldn’t resist. My brother will kill me if he knows that I mentioned it. I’m so sorry. I was just curious to know…”

I smiled, feeling a bit awkward that Zubair knew that I had seen someone last weekend. Actually, I shouldn’t have been surprised because Zubair was probably the one who opened for them. I’m sure Papa was the one who mentioned it and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.

“Do you like him?”

Nusaybah’s question caught me unaware.

My heart hammered as she asked me and I couldn’t help but look away. I knew that she was asking about he doctor but here I was, thinking about her brother instead.


What was wrong with me?

”He was fine,” I said non-committedly, hiding my true feelings. “He seemed nice. He’s a doctor too.”

She smiled but her smile didn’t quite reach her eyes. Since her husband was also a doctor, it seemed like she may have been slightly appeased, but not entirely.

There was something on her mind and as I looked at her… something unsaid in the way she looked at me as I answered and although I wanted to ask her, but a bellowing from across the rose bushes sounded as I whipped my head around, immediately spotting Nani at the kitchen door.

Where did Nani come from? She was supposed to be at my uncle’s this weekend. There must be a reason why she decided to crop up here unexpectedly.

And before Nusaybah could even chip in and say anything further, Nani’s stern voice was already in top form.

Jameeela!” She screeched, in our true family-renown fish-wife style, and I grimaced as I saw the amused look on Nusaybahs face.

She obviously did not know that I had company. Or she just didn’t care.

“Come quickly. Aunty Khairoon phoned back. We have news!”

I smiled awkwardly at my new friend, nervousness creeping in as I wondered how I was going to react to Nani and what she had to say. Perhaps she had some hidden hopes of something I was oblivious to.

Was it news for her or news for me?

Great. Doctorsaab was back in the picture, and I really wondered what Nani would have to say about him…

Mission Sunnah Revival: 

Being able to view the lives of others as if they are our own in the main building block to social media life.

It is only human to begin to think that the lives of strangers appear to be so perfect, as opposed to reality. Little do we notice that their content is carefully crafted to do this very thing, making us discontent with our lives.

To combat this, we should look to those inferior to us, so we do not become envious and begin to realise the bounty Allah Ta’ala has gifted us with.

Keep in mind:

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Wealth is not in having many possessions. Rather, true wealth is the richness of the soul.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6446, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1051

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

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

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
















FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

Secret Weapons

Bismihi Ta’ala


Part 65

”How’s my baby doing?” Imraan whispered in my ear as he snuck up behind me, hands lightly resting on my tummy and I could already hear the excitement in his voice as he spoke.

It hadn’t changed. From the moment I told him, it hadn’t changed. He was still obsessed with the baby in my tummy and fixated on every little detail, even if there really wasn’t much to say.

Symptoms were minimal. Even morning sickness wasn’t that bad. I could still eat breakfast without puking at least, and that was a bit different from the pregnancy with Uthman.

Actually, way different. I even felt different this time around, and I knew that it could also be because I was that much older too. A whole 8 years does a lot to your body.

My body felt so very different to what I had felt when I was younger.

”Have you told your sisters yet?”

I knew why he was asking and I tut-tutted as I shook my head at him, giving him a warning in just a glance.

He was itching to tell his sister and I could see that the restraint of keeping the secret was killing him. Imraan never was one to keep things to himself. He was more the type to open his mouth when it was least appropriate and I just hoped that he could hold himself back for a week or two more, so I felt safer in the knowledge that the first trimester would be fully over.

“I’ll tell them in two weeks when I meet them at Fareeha’s,” I said conclusively, turning around and meeting his gaze. “It will just be a better time. I don’t want to let them know too early, and it will just make my mother way too excited…”

While my mother would be over the moon, Mehnaaz was always on her own buzz. She was very busy with her new admin job at the local pharmacy. It was probably my fault too that I saw her when I saw her and that wasn’t very often.

As for Fareeha, she had already invited me for her official very fancy ‘housewarming’ lunch that she was having. I wasn’t sure how Maulana Aadil felt about that but I did know that he pretty much let her do whatever she wanted to (hence the second wife planning that seemed to be on pause for now).

Even though… The thing was… I was extremely elated that she had been too preoccupied to think of it.

Come to think if it… After coming from Hajj she had been so busy with moving house and seeing to her kids that I barely even heard from her. And I completely understood her silence because after having them with me for over a week, I knew for sure that they were all consuming.

She was also very busy with her preparations because she was inviting our entire family, plus my cousins that I hadn’t seen in years, and I was actually quite looking forward to it.

During the past few years I had purposely stayed away from family gatherings because the questions from family members would always derail my emotions. People weren’t always sensitive. The questions about when the next baby was coming, and whether I felt motherhood was too hard, so I didn’t have a second one, always caught me off-guard. Maybe I was too sensitive. But it just made me feel inadequate.

Also, the fact that my cousin Shazia was a fertility specialist that every family member always referred me to made me feel insanely uncomfortable. I knew that she meant well too but I just didn’t have it in me to ask her for any advice.

Although I bore no grudges against her or Bilal, the situation was just strange for me. Now that I was expecting again, my mind was so much more at ease to see them and talk normally.

”Has it started moving?” Imraan asked, and I could hear the humour in his voice as he watched my tummy, almost as if he was as expecting it to start twitching under his watch.

He was being way too ambitious and he knew it.

”Imraan,” I whispered back. I didn’t even know why I was whispering. I just didn’t want anyone to know yet, “It’s too early. Can you let it grow a little at least?”

He grinned and stepped back as a sound behind us alerted us that we weren’t alone, and I sprang backward.

Euwww,” Rabia squealed as she walked into the kitchen, her face flushed from her run and all scrunched up as if she had been eating something sour. “Can you guys stop?! Just. Euww.”

Imraan grinned and brushing my cheek lightly with his lips as he turned to face her.

“Assalamualaikum to you too Rabia,” he said cheerfully, not bothered in the slightest. “Did you have a good run?”

I shook my head as Imraan turned to her, getting on with my task and careful not to create any suspicion as I watched Rabia climb up onto the stool.
She was dressed in a sports tracksuit with a cap and running takkies. I noticed her face looking flawlessly made up, and I just knew that I was probably going to see a full documentary of her morning run later on that day on social media.

If wasn’t that I judged Rabia for her constant need to capture and document everything. It was just that when I watched her, I couldn’t help but think that it was such a waste of time.

“It was way better than being in here and seeing such immoral scenes,” she crowed with a disgusted face. “Luckily, I’m going back today. So glad that I’ll have Zaid back in my arms by tonight, all gurgling and cooing. I’m sure he’s missed me just as much as I missed him.”

She sighed and smiled dreamily as she pulled out a bowl from the cupboard, turning her back to us both for a moment.

“Wait,” Imraan said as I silently cut a slice of farmstyle bread loaf, looking confused. “How will you go back? Aren’t you only supposed to be going next week?”

Rabia’s smile was disconcerting.

”Dear brother,” she said sarcastically, pouring her muesli into the bowl, and settling into a stool. “Haven’t you spoken to Hamzah? He’s on his way here. I’ve been messaging them every day since the weekend.”

Oh shame. My poor brother-in-law.

”I don’t know where’s my phone,” Imraan said, rubbing his temples and immediately looking stressed as he went to retrieve it from the lounge.

Rabia was sitting with her phone in her hand and scrolling through what I assumed was TikTok while she ate her muesli with yoghurt.

I watched her with curiosity, wondering what had inspired her sudden change in diet. Rabia was never really overweight, but she had suddenly become very healthy recently.
Even though she was only here for the week, she had filled the fridge up with a host of vegetables and protein drinks and stuff that I wasn’t even sure she as actually going to eat.

The thing was, I knew that it was all Instagram-inspired. We are social animals that are wired to mimic and emulate others. The social-contagion effect has been used to shape society for hundreds of years, from fashion trends to smoking cigarettes.

And when I looked at Rabia posing and lapping up all the attention she was probably getting for her early-morning selfie, I couldn’t help but feel a surge of despair as I watched her.

It was so sad… The need to look good and feel good was a trendy thing and although I got it, I didn’t understand why everything had to be done to meet the standards of people who mean nothing to you… and when I thought about it, what it really was, was more and more attachment to superficiality and worldly ambitions. If only we truly understood how insignificant this world was. How little it is, and how big the rest of creation is compared to everything we attest to.

Jābir (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) passed through the market with people around him. He came across a dead goat with its ears cut off.

He held it by (the remaining part of) one ear and said: “Who of you would like to have this for one dirham?” They said: “We do not like to have it for anything whatsoever. What shall we do with it?” Then he said: “Would you like to have it anyway?” They said: “By Allah, had it been alive, it would be of little value because of its cut ears. How could it be worth anything when it is dead?

Thereupon he said: “This world is more contemptible in the sight of Allah Ta’ala and of far less value than this dead kid to his master. If the world was equal in vale to a gnats wing in the estimation of Allah Ta’ala, He would not give a non-believer draught of water out of it’s resources.”

SubhaanAllah. It was certainly a wake up call.

“So Mohsina’s starting her cheesecake making again,” Rabia piped up, cutting through my thoughts and putting a spoon of muesli into her mouth, still looking at her phone with interest. “Two months of marriage and she’s already changing her profession. Doesn’t she know that she shouldn’t make all her plans revolve around a man?”

I had seen an advert that Mohsina had put up and I was already volunteering to do some baking orders if she had any queries from my side of the world. It was such an exciting concept and I could see that Mohsina had a real passion for it. I was also absolutely in love with her stuff. As for Rabia…

Well, I couldn’t say the same.

”Rabia,” I sighed, feeling a twinge of sadness for her. “You know your brother isn’t like that…”

She raised her eyebrows and placed her phone down as she met my eye. I could see Imraan pacing around our the patio on his phone, looking quite serious about something as he spoke.

”Hamzah?” She said with a tilt of her head and a condescending smirk. “Sawls, do you live under a rock?! Do you know how many girlfriends he’s had… if you could even call them that. He went through them so fast that there were more like just flashes of whatever he got out of them.”

I cringed as she said it, not liking how she was painting her brother.

Yes, my brother-in-law did have a bit of a rough patch and he wasn’t a saint but it didn’t mean she had to be bitter about it.

“But he changed,” I said pointedly.

He did. I know he did.

”Hah,” she scoffed, looking amused as she scooped out more  yoghurt into the bowl. “How do you know that for sure? Can a man really change? I thought they could but I don’t know anymore. Everyone says he’s in love but what is love anyway, but just another emotion?”

I sighed, knowing that she was talking from experience and I really didn’t want to argue with her.

”Anyway, it doesn’t matter… Whatever Mostly Mos finds out, it’s far worse what she’s done so there’s no way she can ever make it an issue.”

Rabia’s words rolled off her tongue so easily as she looked back at her phone, that the sheer indifference of her statement immediately made something in my chest catch.

Wait, what? It scared me, the way she said these things.

Now, I wasnt exactly clued up on how Rabia’s mind worked but I did know that she never just made statements like that with no basis.

”What?” I said, a prickly feeling at the back of the neck.

When were we talking about anyone finding anything out. That was barely even the topic. Bringing up the past and what happened… well, it was all completely missing the point.

I looked at her, hoping she was just being cynical and careless in here statements.

”Just saying,” she said flippantly, as if she don’t just make a ground-breaking statement.

“You know what I think?” I said, knowing that I wouldn’t get an answer from her and thinking of a way to remedy her thoughts as I frowned at her.

It takes skill to weave your words in a way that hit right where you needed them to. It wasn’t an easy task to do, especially with Rabia, who seldom listened to anyone but herself. I didn’t exactly have the skill that some people had of tricking people to think that my ideas were their own, but I knew that I had to try at least.

“What?” she said, glancing at her as she licked her spoon and placed it back in the bowl.

“I think love does exist,” I said simply, pulling a chair to sit opposite her, hoping to grab her full attention.

I didn’t want to forget her earlier statement. It was dangerously taunting.

“But there’s something else that’s more important,” I said, hoping it would make her see the bigger picture here.

After all, there was always a bigger picture.

“What’s that?” she asked, cocking her head to the side.

Taqwa,” I said simply, shrugging my shoulders. “The truth is… there will always be temptation… there will always be something that seems better or greener… but Taqwa is the only thing that stops you from doing something that will ruin you.”

I was hoping that it would stop her from opening her mouth and blabbering about everything and anything she heard. Taqwa was the only thing that pulls your dignity through at the end of the day. When you remember that Allah is always watching you, and that nothing is worth the pain sin will bring, you will automatically reroute.

“What if you’re already ruined?” she said with an evil smirk, as if nothing mattered to her anymore, but the pain in her eyes was evident.

“No one is beyond repair,” I said firmly, holding her gaze for a minute before she looked away. “Everyone is just chasing a feeling after all. But I think it helps to remember that whatever you’re chasing… it can never more beautiful than Allah… and whatever sin you want to do can never be worth risking your relationship with Allah… so you just have to keep asking yourself… is it worth risking everything just for a few moments of pleasure?”

She looked at me again as I said the last part, almost as if what I said to her was some kind of epiphany.

The thing is, Shaytaan will try anything and everything to avert us from the right track. After all, that is his sole promise… and what he vowed to do. Taqwa was the only weapon that can assist. When you are conscious of Allah and  you aim to please Him, then He will protect you even from that.

“Find me a man with Taqwa and I’ll marry him today,” she said, a smirk on her face and not missing a beat.

“But then, you have to be a woman of Taqwa,” Imraan’s voice said, before I could even respond as he came in, and I glanced up at him as Rabia narrowed her eyes.

Uh-oh. I wasn’t sure if that was the best thing to say to his sister. Especially right then.

“What are you trying to say?” she asked as her expression darkened.

“Nothing,” Imraan said, his tone light but the frown on his forehead giving away something about his state of mind.

Shooh. That was a close one.

Something was worrying him, and I was sure that it had to do with the phonecall he had receieved.

“It better be nothing!” Rabia scoffed as she pushed her chair back, huffing away as she grabbed her phone and left the room, obviously far from impressed with her brothers words.

I could tell she was annoyed and Imraan sometimes lacked a filter.

Also, he didn’t quite care about her tantrums. I was just glad he didn’t pursue the conversation else I know that there would have been problems.

I turned to look at my husband, but he barely even noticed Rabia leaving, and neither did he feel it was an issue. He was absorbed in his phone and as he typed, I could tell that he was consumed by whatever was at hand.

Perhaps the fact that Hamzah was coming today, when it was supposed to be a working day, was a teeny problem…

“Is Hamzah really on his way?” I asked, as Imraan looked up at me and then realised Rabia was gone.

His eyes met mine worriedly as he sat down. He sighed and rubbed his forehead, looking troubled.

“He’s coming here to try and settle a custody agreement,” he said simply, but I could hear the worry in his voice. “Hashim is meeting us and they want me to mediate. It’s a complicated matter. Hashim is a client. Hamzah is my brother. It’s going to be a tough one to keep peace. Obviously Hamzah comes first, he’s my brother after all… but Hashim trusts me and he’s not the easiest guy to deal with either…”

He looked so troubled that I couldn’t help but go forward and squeeze his hand, hoping that it would ease his mind.

“Just do the right thing,” I said softly, hoping that it would settle his mind. “Mohsina will come with?”

Imraan looked at me, and shook his head.

“He’s coming alone,” he said quietly, almost as if it was self-explanatory, and I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of discomfort about that. The thought was already sinking in before I realised what it meant.

Mohsina still had no idea.

”You mean he didn’t tell her,” I said angrily as I looked at him, shaking my head disappointedly.

Imraan was still sitting there, and I could see that was the last of his concerns.

“Imraan, you need to talk to him,” I pressed, not liking that they both had secrets they kept from each other. “Tell him that he needs to speak to her. How does he explain what’s going on?”

“I can’t get involved in their marriage,” he said simply. “Hamzah needs to make that decision and speak to her. Their secrets have nothing to do with me.”

I looked at him with narrowed eyes, not liking the way that he said. As if he knew more than he was letting on. As if Mohsina also kept secrets from Hamzah and Imraan knew it.

I knew that the brothers spoke often every day, and I had no doubt that Hamzah probably confided in Imraan about his marriage too.

And of course I was curious. But I didn’t want to pry. It was just that spouses were supposed to share each other, and protect each other. They were meant to be a covering for each other, like is mentioned in the Qur’ān.

There was nothing more complicated than keeping secrets when there were lives and people at stake. Those very secrets can turn out to be the most dangerous of weapons.

I sighed as he got up again, knowing that even if I had to tell him anything further, it probably wouldn’t make a difference anyway.

And I know I shouldn’t interfere. After all, it wasn’t my business. It wasn’t my child. But the love that I felt in my heart for the little guy was so intense, that I couldn’t bear the thought of Hamzah having to fight this battle about him alone. With Mohsina by his side, wouldn’t he be stronger? Wouldn’t they fare better, together against the odds that were slamming up against them?

And as Imraan went upstairs to shower and get ready, ignoring my sullen mood, my mind just wouldn’t rest.

Uthman had woken up and waltzed chirpily into the kitchen with a big salaam, happy it was his day off tutoring, saying something about astronauts and planets and for the life of me, I could barely even listen to what my son was trying to tell me right then.

Hmmmm,” I said absentmindedly as I put some milk onto boil for his Milo, my mind barely on what I was doing. I was packing away the leftover boiled eggs while Imraan rushed down, getting ready to open the gate, and I turned away from the window on purpose as the car came into view, not wanting to increase my already heightened anxiety levels.

I was still annoyed about the meeting. Should I message Mohsina? Should I say something? I was so confused about what the right thing to do was.

Uthman, however, his tousled hair standing up in all directions, was already over at the window, his bowl in his hand while he stood chomping on his cereal, and I could already feel myself become agitated.

“Uthman, sit and eat!” I scolded him, wondering at what age kids learn that it’s not okay to wander around and eat like an animal. I knew I was super stressed but my son really did test my patience.

“Mummy I think-“

”No stories,” I said firmly, flashing my eyes at him, wanting to deal with my brewing thoughts in silence. I knew it wasn’t his fault but my moods this pregnancy had been a little severe.

He hastily went to the kitchen chair, plopping himself down, and immediately opened his cereal-filled mouth again.

Honestly, all I needed right then was to think in silence…


I turned to him with a frown, already ready to scold him for talking with his mouth full.

”Swallow your food before you talk,” I said sharply, shaking my head as I watched him, his eyes wider than normal as he looked at me, when I realised that something was wrong.

“You okay?” I said, my voice soft as I watched him look at me, almost as if he was unsure of how to say what he wanted to say.

And though he had no idea if what the impact of his next words would be, as he said it, it felt a bit like a rug being pulled out from under me.

”Mummy, did daddy call those guys over to shoot?” He said with a little concern, as my heart hammered within my rib cage.

I knew why he was asking and the next words he said as he sat up a bit straighter just confirmed my worst fears.

“Because all of them had guns.”


Mission Sunnah Revival: 

Being able to view the lives of others as if they are our own in the main building block to social media life.

It is only human to begin to think that the lives of strangers appear to be so perfect, as opposed to reality. Little do we notice that their content is carefully crafted to do this very thing, making us discontent with our lives.

To combat this, we should look to those inferior to us, so we do not become envious and begin to realise the bounty Allah Ta’ala has gifted us with.

Keep in mind:

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Wealth is not in having many possessions. Rather, true wealth is the richness of the soul.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6446, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1051

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

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

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
















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A Wake Up Call

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 21

Often what makes us fall into despair is focusing on the wrong things. As it often happened, in my warped state of mind, when I was in trying situations, my mind tricked me into doing things that I knew were never going to benefit me, but regardless of that knowledge, still sucked me in.

And I knew I got it all wrong. And many of us do get it wrong a lot of the time. When we’re feeling a little broken, instead of focusing on the one who can fix us, we focus on the break. Instead of focusing on ar- Rahman, the Most Merciful, we focus on our sin. When we’re in pain, instead of focusing on the One who removes pain, we dwell in the pain. In this way, when dealing with problems of this Duniya, we focus on this life, but not the perfection of Allah Ta’ala. All of our pain, our despair, our heartache… is only because we focus on creation, instead of the Creator Himself. Sometimes we have to check where our heart is at and I knew that I had some serious introspection to do. I just couldn’t drag myself out of my rut yet. Sometimes we needed a wake up call to pull us out.

And as I sat on the bench, waiting for more feedback about just father, while Ma and Nani sat diligently reading their Yaaseen, there I was, flipping the camera on my phone, taking a picture of the clinical tiles of the hospital, convinced that it was just the diversion I needed.

This needed some live footage. Plus, this was a real drama. My father was actually not critical anymore, but he was still under observation and so with the pressure easing, a quick post and update was just what I needed. I had initially posted in my stories, requesting duaas, asking for prayers… hoping and praying fervently that Papa would be okay when emotions were at their most overwhelming  .. but now that the wait and desperation was over, I knew that a good soppy post and dedication would be just the thing to fix me… right?

”What are you doing?” Jameela asked, looking slightly annoyed as she saw me tapping away.

By the time I reached the hospital, Jameela had given me the news that Papa was stable. It was a relief, of course, but it didn’t mean that Papa was in the safe zone. The doctors were running some tests and we’d know for sure in the morning if he would have to ubdergo an op or not. Ma and Nani were having dhikr-reading marathons and using their WhatsApp groups for the best while I fulfilled my own attention cravings.

“Catching up on Insta,” I replied indifferently. In my mind, it wasn’t even flagged as a a problem. I continued to type.

You always encouraged me to pursue my dreams.

You taught me that there is no substitute for hard work.

You told me to fly and I knew I could do it.
My Papa, my hero. The one who motivated me. Who helped me to get where I am today.

I love you so much and wish you the speediest recovery so that we can have you here, edging us on again. Can’t imagine life without you 💔

It was a great post and it captured my emotions perfectly, but something was missing. There was just something about social media… something that devalued the dedication… and the truth was that it just didn’t make sense because Papa wouldn’t ever see it because he didn’t have Instagram and didn’t really care much about social media.

But, that wasn’t the point. It was my refuge. I was feeling pretty battered. Broken and tired and all sorts of stressed out. Social media and people had always been my answer, my refuge and my solution, no matter what situation I found myself in. Although I had improved in some aspects, it was still very much a part of my life. Sometimes someone’s comment or words of motivation would just kind of hit home for me. Maybe someone’s DM would inspire me. But today… well today, I wasn’t sure what it was but it seemed like nothing was working.

Jameela was still throwing me weird glances as I typed away, but I didn’t care. It was easy for her to act all righteous and judgemental. She didn’t have the responsibility of work and a career and having to deal with annoying people every day. She didn’t have to come home from a long day and feel the need to zone out of reality for a bit.

I respected her for way of doing things (even her weird ideas that she was convinced about) and she needed to respect mine. My sister and I were complete opposites in terms of our coping mechanisms. Often, she would assess things quietly and then talk them through, while often for me, I would say nothing to anyone but almost everything on social media. It was my way of dealing, but this incident was testing my limits… just a little.

I sighed as I finished my long post about the past hour, sitting here, full of anxiety and slightly exaggerating how we were dealing with it, when Jameela spoke, sounding relieved.

“There’s Layyanah,” Jameela said, and I glanced up as I saw my friend and entering with her hand over her little baby bump. I was already swooning. She was so cute. “And Liyaket’”

I didn’t think they’d come. But wait, who told them?

But it didn’t matter because as I glanced again, I instantly felt a little better as I saw them … and then a few seconds later, Hamzah was following, entering behind them both.

And I did a little double take because Hamzah was wearing a light-coloured kurta and prayer hat which shocked me, but then I kind of figured that he had probably left mosque and rushed here. He had these Thursday night programmes that he had started attending that were part of his whole new journey and it was quite inspiring. Well, in theory.

For a moment my resolve weakened and I felt like crumbling, knowing that I could finally offload onto someone.

“Hey doll, Salaam,” Layyanah was already in front of me and I got up, allowing her to wrap her arms around me so I could bury my face into her shoulder, even if it was just for a few moments of comfort and salvation, while I attempted to gain my composure once again.

I had to admit, even for me given the situation, it was extremely difficult to keep it together, because at that moment, even though my father was stable for now, all the possibilities that had overwhelmed me were still very much playing on my mind. I had become all kinds of snotty and emotional for a few minutes as I drove home, breaking previous records for tissue consumption and really just going all out this time.

To tell the truth, I really could not bear the thought of life without my father. My life would be crumbling if that thought was a reality…

I greeted Hamzah briefly, a little surprised that he had come, and I could see something on his mind, but he could see Ma and Nani watching him and expecting his attention instead. And I ignored the idea of something being amiss because we weren’t married or anything and it wasn’t exactly important to me but as he passed me, going over to greet them, I could see the hurt in his eyes as he unmistakably shook his head at me.

I swallowed hard, not quite sure how to deal. He seemed upset. Disappointed. Why though, I didn’t understand.

And maybe I wanted him to say something. I mean, I was demented like that. I liked a challenge. Someone who questioned me. Disagreed with me. Pointed out my faults and fought it out. I was a unique kind of crazy but he said nothing and then went back to where Liyaket was while Layyanah stood with me for a while before the doctor came, asking simple questions about what happened and making small talk.

She was just there to comfort me but the cold shoulder from Hamzah was very palpable. After speaking to my brother he had briefly greeted Nani and Ma and left. He had basically come for them, not me. And that was okay. Who cared? 

“What’s Hamzah’s deal?” I asked Layyanah, seeing them getting ready to leave too. Layyanah just shrugged and said something about him finding out about my father’s condition from his sister, and told me she’ll chat to me later again.

And of course I didn’t want to keep her and give her my pathetic explanation, so instead, I knew just the person to bug.

And when I plopped down next to Jameela again, I was all aggro and annoyed because I obviously felt like he was overreacting and I was pretty fussed up and l let Jameela know just that.

”Can you believe Hamzah?” I said, clearly miffed. “Acting all holier than thou and then getting fussed up like I owe him something? I’m the one whose supposed to be having a tragedy here. What is his deal even?!”

Jameela glanced at me, almost as if she was unsure of what to say. Or whether she should say it.

”What?” I said, frowning. “Stop giving me that look.”

What I didn’t know was that my sister was just a little less tactful in telling me exactly what I needed to know when I did.

”You told Instagram before anyone else,” she said pointedly. “You do know that? It’s like those people who find out their family member passed away via a broadcast or WhatsApp status. Do you even know how that feels? A private and personal thing that happened… maybe you could have let him know some other way?”

I scowled. She was on his side, duh.

”Did you even tell Layyanah?”

Layyanah? What did Layyanah have to do with this? Everything was okay. Papa was going to be okay. And I didn’t get it.

“Think about how they feel,” she said. “How we feel too. It’s my father… a family matter… and you put it out there for all your followers who know nothing about our lives to see. I messaged Layyanah. She said Hamzah wanted to come but not on his own, so he asked them to come too. You should be happy someone cares about your family as much to actually come and check. He even spoke to the doctor, do you even know that?”

After a few minutes that I realised how stupid I was and how I kept on putting myself in the bush over and over again. I could share the entire details with the social media world, give them the time of day, be so open and divulging where no one truly cared… but for the people who did care… well, I didn’t care two hoots about telling them.

“We have so much to make shukar for,” she continued, sounding like she was about to launch into a Bayaan. “Ma was just saying that it could have been an instant life-changing event. We lucky it’s just a warning. To make shukar to Allah is the least we can do… by being obedient and thanking him.. by recognising what part He played here to make it all turn out okay. I suppose we all have to make changes in our life.”

I knew she was hinting at my social media obsessions and it was a low blow. I didn’t even tell Layyanah. Who was I even looking for what from?

But now I was feeling guilty. Terrible, in fact.

What I didn’t know was that hardships were not meant to overcome, blinded, just to cross the bridge and get it done with. It turns out that hardships, trials, difficulties… Allah places at certain points in our life when we need Him most, and so we could turn to Him. And yes, I was trying to be better recently. Choosing Allah’s pleasure above my leisure. Weaning myself off Netties. Trying not to be so obsessed with reels.
But the fact was that when we choose Allah, when we become closer to Him, when we put Him above everything else, when we submit… it wasn’t always an easy life that we were promised. And the story of Umm Habibah (RA), wife of the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) was one that always stuck with me, when I thought of how sacrificing everything for Allah’s pleasure often didn’t bring you immediate rewards. Sometimes we have to toil, endure and wait a little longer before we see the fruits we reap through our patience.

Umm Habibah (RA) was one of the emigrants along with her husband, Ubaidullah ibn Jahsh, who was the first cousin of Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). To her misfortune, Ubaidullah, for some reason or another, took to drinking, and converted to Christianity.
Thus, Umm Habibah had to suffer not only separation from her home and family at Makkah, but she also suffered alienation from a beloved husband. Yet, as a courageous believer, she bore all these difficulties with patience and perseverance, finding solace in the freedom she enjoyed along with the other emigrants in Abyssinia under the protection of Emperor Negus who was an open-minded Christian.

And though this was far from easy, Allah is never unaware of the difficulties of His beloved slaves. He saw to her needs, and honoured her not only by being asked in marriage to Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi was Sallam) but she was also honored by having the Emperor of Abyssinia himself proxy suitor. Her marriage was unique and one of its kind, and Allah Ta’ala beautifully elevated her status through it.

It was a sound reminder for me that when you choose Deen and you put Allah first and look for your solutions with what Allah has ordained, though things may seem difficult and trying, there is always a perfect ending that Allah has prepared for his righteous slaves.

And okay, I got her point. Maybe I was trying to dilute my emotions by drowning them in social media. Perhaps I wasn’t dealing with this in the best way. Yes, it was hurtful what I did, I supposed, but sometimes I just didn’t think. My heart was bursting with emotion. On one side was my father and my family, the one part of my life that had been constant and always there, whether social media featured or not, and then there was Hamzah, this new addition that I was still trying to figure out exactly where he belonged.

And as Jameela got talking to some lady next to us, I knew that the only way to break away and set this right was to stash my phone for now and make my presence felt. Going up to where my fathers ward was, I took a little detour, taking time to think and hoping they would let me in. The hospital wasn’t especially fancy. It had good doctors and their nurses were said to be pretty decent.

I walked through a deserted corridor, slowly looking around, taking in the clinical decor with a dash of colour here and there. The medical ward where Papa was, was about two rows down, and as I passed a middle aged Muslim man with a bulge under his shirt, I didn’t even think much of it, as another guy followed behind.

“Her!” The man shouted. “It’s her. The daughter! Get her!”

It took a split second after for me to realize it was the man in front that was signalling to the one behind, and before I even knew what was going on, the man behind was already slap-bang in my  path, instantly pushing and slamming me hard against the wall behind me whilst covering my mouth with his sweaty palm. I was frozen with panic, gagging as the combination of his body odour and stench of cigarette breath overwhelmed me. My scarf was shifting as he held me, and I felt myself trying to reach to cover my hair at least, as the man held me even more fiercely, but it was no use. I felt paralysed with fear.

“Scream and I’ll shoot you,” he muttered in a raspy breath, as I felt the tip of a handgun press into my rib-cage and my breath quickened substantially. I honestly could not believe what was happening, as tried to look frantically around for someone to help.

How could I be all alone in a public place? Except for the two men, the floor was absolutely deserted.

As panic rose within me, I tried with all my might to break free and run, but he was already onto me, and I was like a trapped rabbit. The guy was too strong and savage, pinning me even harder as he felt me struggle, and before I knew it, I was shoved into a side door and we were going down an emergency staircase that was even more isolated than the hospital corridor.

This was it. No one would hear me here and I could feel the tears streaming down my face as I thought of my parents, family and friends, not knowing what these two disgusting men were probably going to subject me to, or where I was going. Not knowing if they would hurt me, kill me or kidnap me… I knew that this had to do with money but I didn’t want to accept my fathers current predicament until now. There were too many fears that had been confirmed, yet too many questions marks. This was the last straw for them and I knew that these people were brutal enough to get what they wanted by any means, even if it meant hurting someone to get it.

Never in my wildest dreams had I ever thought of this happening to me. I had been so caught up in a world that was so far from reality. Sheltered by my privilege. Delusional by illusion. Unaware of how my situation could change in a split second, if I didn’t watch where I was headed… and that was precisely how it was going down.

Life was taking a deliberately sickening twist and it was an awakening that was going to blow things way out of proportion…

Nothing was ever going to be the same again.

It’s been a bit quiet and I’m sure everyones been busy… hope to hear from readers soon..

Thoughts on Mohsina? Is a wake up call necessary and will it help?

look forward to reading your thoughts…🤍


A xx

Mission Sunnah Revival:

Sunnah of Making Salaam

It’s common nowadays that even when seeing other Muslims out and about, people are hesitant to greet. Let’s try and bring back this beautiful Sunnah and reignite the love ❤️

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

٤ جمادى الأولى

Hazrat أنس رضى الله تعالى عنه narrates that he passed by some children, so he greeted them (made Salaam) and he said: رسول الله صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم used to do so (greet children).

(Bukhaaree Shareef/Muslim Shareef)

Greeting children inculcates humility, and at the same time, teach children the importance of offering Salaam.
It creates love and affection in hearts.
If there is fear of lust, by greeting a pretty girl or handsome lad, then one should refrain.








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Epilogue: Extreme Expectations

Bismihi Ta’ala


Whether it’s work, family, life be or friends… the reality of this world is that you will find yourself on the brink of insanity at least once. This is because the world is created such that when you have Allah, no storm is too overwhelming. If you don’t have Him, you will get knocked over by even the slightest of a breeze. 

There are men created by Allah Ta’ala who are so wholeheartedly attached to him that even Jannah, with all its bounties and eternal bliss cannot distract them from the contemplation of Allah. How then can the temporal world engage their attention? 

The thing was, to be those kind of people, we had to work at it. We had to keep reminding. Remembering. We have to keep having faith  that the One who writes our story is free from any imperfections or mistakes. That His knowledge surpasses ours and that with His Divine foresight, He has prepared a future for us that will be the answer to every Duaa. 

Duaa. Oh yes, Duaa. How our prayer can penetrate beyond the heavens was beyond me. How easy it was to just raise your hands to the one, and see the doors of His mercy opening up… I still couldn’t comprehend. And I knew this much. By Allah, He will never ignore your prayer. I knew this much before that was what she had always taught me… even as a little kid. My mother was an inspiration. Always and forever. Whenever I would look at her, all I would ever see in her was faith. Immense reliance on her Allah.

And even as I sat with her for a few minutes before the Waleema rush would start, the same smile I always knew played on her lips, but there was a deep contentment within her that was long awaited. I had barely had a chance to speak to her properly and it was no wonder…. everything in the past day had just happened so fast.

“There had been so many Duaas,” she said quietly. “So many hopes and wishes. I knew that in the end my Allah wouldn’t let me down… of course He wouldn’t. Look at how wonderfully everything worked out…”

It was just another one of His immense favours on us. Immensely magnificent favours that I couldn’t even comprehend. 

“What a rush,” she smiled, shaking her head. “It took you long enough and then it was all fast forward, huh? What’s the plans from here, handsome?”

I smiled back, placing my hand on hers. I had to prepare my mother for what I wanted to do. I still had dreams. Things I wanted to achieve for myself. It was hard to pull the plug on it all…

“I’m not sure,” I said. “Maybe we’ll go to Egypt. Maybe we’ll go somewhere else. Start afresh. It may be difficult to start a life here where everything is lingering…”

I trailed off and her face fell. Besides teaching Deen, after all, I had been asked to go back to Egypt and continue my grandfathers legacy. There was much for me still back there. He had taught me about engineering and everything I knew to get his business going again..

“Don’t take my beautiful Khawlah so far away from me,” she whispered, holding onto my hand tighter. “Things didn’t always go the way I expected but she was always close by. Please.”

My mother’s charcoal eyes were riddled with worry as I processed what this meant. After all these years, my wife had somehow become the daughter that she never had. Since I had left, there had been a gap filled by the girl that I had always set my sights on.

And no, I wasn’t offended by her remark. There was an inkling of admiration in her voice as she said it and there was no doubt that she was right. I smiled at the irony, though, because it was just yesterday when the guy at the Masjid had made me feel like I had done the most admirable thing on earth by marrying a widow with a child. I didn’t see it that way. For me, I was the honored one. He didn’t know what Khawlah was worth. He didn’t that he was that he was way off track.

Of course, trust my mother to put it into the correct perspective for me. What I understood was that a husband had a special place with a wife. I knew that life was not always as we planned. Sometimes the processes and layouts were a little boggled up, but I was prepared to do anything to try and live up to what was expected from me.

And I supposed it was coincidence but when Maulana Umar had unashamedly praised him and said that Aadam was another Mus’ab of our time, I couldn’t help but see a parallel when he mentioned it. The lessons of that story were way to deep not to miss…

A family member of Nabi (SAW), Hamnah RA was married to Mus’ab ibn Umair (RA) who was one of the his most devoted companions. And as the story goes, His mother, Khunas bint Malik was extremely wealthy to the point of giving him the most luxurious lifestyle…

The Prophet SAW commented on this long after prophethood, when he said: “I never saw in Makkah anyone who was better looking, or who had better garments or more refined comforts than Mus’ab ibn Umair.”

Yet when he embraced Islam, his mother tried hard to persuade him to rescind his faith and go back to old pagan beliefs, but he adamantly refused. She stopped giving him anything, but he did not care for such luxuries. He remained one of the Prophet’s SAW most faithful companions.
Hamnah (RA) gave him a daughter named Zaynab.

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions immigrated to Madinah, Hamnah RA and her husband were among the early immigrants, as were the rest of her Muslim family. They were all devoted servants of Islam. The Quraysh, the people of Makkah, launched several attacks on Madinah to try to subdue the newly established Muslim state. Hamnah was one of the blessed women who went with the Muslim army to nurse the wounded and give water to the thirsty.
In the Battle of Uhud, the Muslims suffered a heavy defeat, with 70 of their people killed. She was with the army, but she was not aware who were killed. She saw the Prophet soon after the battle and he told her to endure her loss with patience.

She asked hi
m whom he meant.

His reply: “Your maternal uncle, Hamzah.”

She said: “To God we all belong and to Him shall we all return. May God forgive him and bestow mercy on him. He is blessed as a martyr in heaven.”

The Prophet (SAW) again told her to bear her loss with patience.
When she asked him whom he meant, he replied: “Your brother Abdullah.”

She repeated what she said about her uncle.

Yet the Prophet (SAW) told her of another loss, and on her enquiry he mentioned her husband, Mus’ab ibn Umair.

This time, she screamed with grief, saying: “Woe is me! Oh, for my grief!”

The Prophet (SAW) upon this, commented: “A husband has a unique position with his wife no one else can fill.”

The Prophet (SAW) asked her afterwards why she panicked.
She said: “Messenger of God, SAW, I remembered that his children are now orphaned and I panicked.”

And who would blame her? It was a loss that was unparalleled. Her kids were still young as Mus’ab was probably about only 35 when he was martyred. The Prophet (SAW) prayed for her and them, mentioning in his prayer that God may grace them with His kindness and give them generously.

Hamnah RA later married Talhah ibn Ubaydillah RA, one of the ten companions of the Prophet (SAW) whom he favored with glad tidings of Jannah.

What was noted about him was that Talhah RA treated his stepchildren most kindly. Of course, he too was one of the beloved companions of the Prophet (SAW). 

And I found the story simply amazing because of course, I did hope that one day I wish that I too will hold that elevated rank where many would smile back and remember me too with so much of admiration.

“You do have some big shoes to fill,” Ummi said again, winking at me me now. “But I’m sure you’ll manage to.”

I shook my head. I wasn’t aspiring for that. It wasn’t about an insecurity but I knew very well that a husband will always hold a special place with his wife and I didn’t resent it at all.

”I’m not too sure…” I said softly. 

“You’re a special boy,” she murmured, nodding as she looked ahead. “Always have been. So sincere. You have something about you that draws people to you and I know I can’t give myself credit, but you have an amazing gift and I’m so glad that your Quran put you on track and you finally found your calling…”

It took a long time but even in my darkest hour, all I had to do was remember the moments when I had been inspired by the words of the Quran. His words. When I was anchored by its weight. When I was awakened to the reality of the one verse that always humbled me and brought me back down to earth.

It was the one thing I really cherished what my father had drilled into me… the pains of a parent for their child are often underrated. Every bit of sweat and pain was never forgotten- how he persisted with me through the grueling years that it took to become a Hafidh…. It was my greatest accomplishment yet… even more than the recent few years that had passed me by.

It was a moment when everything within me had come to a halt. When the chase had stopped. When reality was brought to the fore.

Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah and what has come down of the truth? (Quran – 57:16)

Indeed, the chase had to end. We continue on the pursuit of this life but we will never truly understand our purpose unless we open our eyes and realize that there has to be an end. A halt. A stop for chase and an awakening to what is really important.

And for me, the time had come. In fact, it was long overdue.

“I’m so proud of you,” she whispered as I held onto her. “Your father too, you know.”

I smiled. My father. He truly was one of a kind. It had taken years but to live up to his expectations and after so long it was like what I had been chasing had finally been sought. Somehow, through this fulfilment I had been released.

And it was so strange but my parents were stark opposites. Where my mother had always been warm and cajoling, my father had a streak of rigidity that pierced straight through the rebelliousness of my youth. It was the reason my mother had sent me away to Egypt, but also the reason why I had come back; so far from where I had strayed in my youth. 

Ummi was looking ahead and it seemed out of nowhere a smile suddenly dawned on her face, and as I followed her gaze, I already knew why.

“We’ll talk later,” she said softly. “For now, I think someone special is waiting for you.” 

I looked over to her and immediately smiled, because it was just natural for my heart to contract slightly as I saw her.

And I could hardly believe that it was my wife because in just a day almost everything had changed. The thing was that only when I had come back to hear that Khawlah was interested in the house, only then did I realize that there might still be hope.

And of course, the past feelings were far-fetched and ill-based but how amazing was it that the high that came with a new and Halaal love had somehow surpassed it all?

That was why when I left my mother for that moment, I knew that there was only one thing that I could say for sure. Of course, why not make her happy? I had gotten everything I had wanted anyway. 

”Don’t worry, Ums,” I assured her. “The topic is closed. You won’t have to worry about us going far away. I’m  going to ask her what she wants. Whatever Khawlah wants to do from here, I’m okay with…”

My mother smiled in immense relief and I knew that for now, I had fulfilled her request and put her mind at ease. And as Khawlah waved to my mother from where she was and I walked over to the entrance of the front garden, the look on her face took me slightly aback.

“Is everything okay?” I asked, pausing to look at her anxious face. “You look worried. Where’s Khadijah?”

She looked back at me but gave a small smile. It was enough to erase my fears.

”I have a question for you.”

I grinned, relieved that nothing major had happened to upset her.

“You have a question for me?!” I asked, a little amused as I tried to lighten the mood.

“I’m serious, Khalid,” she said quietly, her smile fading. “It’s something that’s been on my mind…”

”Okay, okay,” I conceded, reaching for her hand. “I’m serious too. What’s up, lovely?”

She took a deep breath and averted her gaze.

”I’m thinking of inviting Hannah. Tonight.”

We had spoken about Hannah the night before. We had spoken about a lot the night before. About life. About our childhood. Even about Aadam. The whispers shared and the dreams that had been shattered. The Duaas that I had made for her and how she had spoken to Allah about me. The ambitions that we both had and the plan that Allah had that we could still not conceive…

It was an amazing adventure that had just  begun for us. A gift that Allah had sent through His mercy. My best friend and the girl I had come to love with all my heart…

Hmmm,” I replied, pulling at my beard. That was a tough one. “And her mother?”

“I would have,” she answered, “but Hannah says that she’s abroad. Chasing some rich old guy, she says. I don’t know if she’ll ever change but I do make Duaa for Hannah’s sake, that she does. She could really use some support and her mothers sanity…”

It was a lot to digest.

Wow,” I said quietly, my mind a little overwhelmed at her at that moment. After everything she had been through… everything that woman had put her through… she was really something to even consider it.

Khawlah’s strength and resilience stood out now more than ever. It was the thing that I had always admired and loved about her.

”Listen Khawlah,” I said after a few seconds. “You know you don’t have to? They’re not exactly family…”

”I’d grown to like Hannah,” she said quietly. “Even after everything she had done. Aadam had encouraged treating her well. It’s not her fault that her life was a little messed up. Maybe she made some bad choices. Maybe she just didn’t know what she was getting herself into…”

I nodded. Of course. 

”It’s completely your call,” I said, giving her a small smile. I wasn’t even sure if she had heard me. Her mind was still busy as I watched her… so deep in thought.

“I just don’t understand,” she finally said, glancing at me. “When Aunty Nas was married to my father, he gave her everything… but she still wasn’t happy. How much more do you have to have to be satisfied?”

To me, it was quite simple. 

”It’s not about that,” I said quietly. “The world is designed in such a way that even if you’re drowning in millions, your only source of completion can ever be Him. Maybe she just never had that…”

”You’re right,” she replied softly, her expression immediately easing as she reached for my hand with a smile. “And that was always what they were missing. I’m so glad that Hannah is finally finding her way…”

”And maybe you were the one who showed it to her?” I suggested, knowing well that my wife had the ability to shift even the most rigid of hearts. 

”I don’t know,” she said softly, shaking her head in disagreement. “I just wonder… How some people go through so much, you know? So many trials and hardships… and they have to go endure so, so much… and yet there seems to be no relief… she lost so much. Her home, her daughter, her mother, her dignity…”

I watched her expression change a she spoke, a little taken aback at how personally she was taking this. Her striking features were riddled with worry as she said it, almost as if she was waiting for some ease from this constant pain. Almost as if she was waiting for someone to offer her some relief…

And I already knew her so well that I knew that I had to be the one to remind her of what Allah’s plan is, and always will be.

“That’s the arrangement that Allah’s made with her, right love?” I reminded her softly as her eyes searched mine for some sort of hope. Something to cling onto. “It just so happens that sometimes our Rabb makes the most spectacular arrangements for us to attain Jannah. Nothing… and I mean nothing at all,  goes undetected, don’t you worry…”

She smiled, and it was as if all the burdens that she had held within her heart were completely relieved. Tests and trials were indeed a favour for the believer…

”I truly do hope that she finds exactly what she’s been looking for all this time,” I said quietly.

And as she continued to smile at me as if every weight had been lifted from her heavy shoulders for that moment, it was such a rare and amazing moment that we shared right then and I so badly wanted to savor. And even though all these years had gone by, there was still a part of me that existed within her, and a part of her that lived in me. There was so much that I had still yet to say but it just so happened that at that instant a slightly high-pitched voice sounded from just outside the gate and my wife’s head whipped around in shock, almost as if she couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

Her eyes widened as I cocked my head to one side knowingly.

”Wait,” I said, narrowing my eyes. “Don’t tell me. It’s Nusaybah, right?”

She smiled in agreement, because I knew that there was only one answer and I was so happy that her friend had made it for our big day. Of course, it was the one thing she had mentioned to me about Nusaybah. That she really wanted her to be here and had missed her so much. 

And of course I had to let her go because I knew that her friend being here would be the highlight of the day..

Yes. I would let her be. We had our whole lives ahead of us. There was so much I had been given… so much I didn’t anticipate that had surprised me, but the rule of this world was not that everything would go exactly according to our plan…

The thing is, nothing in nature lives for itself. Rivers don’t drink their own water. Trees don’t eat their own fruit. The sun doesn’t shine for itself. Even the flower does not bloom for itself.

Every system has its course. Every day will end. Every sunrise will end with a sunset. Lives may cease. Fears may overwhelm us. Losses may crush us. But after it all, after the pieces of our hearts have shattered, the One who made that very heart will heal it again.

Nature’s rule is that we live for each other too. We love each other. We share with each other. We hang onto hopes for each other too. When we give and love for the sake of Allah, everything in life takes on a different meaning. We smile. We bear… We sacrifice. That’s what real love was. 

Verily, the lover

submits to his beloved.

When a person falls in love

with someone,

submission and obedience

to the beloved becomes his habit

and second nature.

Disobedience to the beloved

becomes as

hard as is unwilling obedience

to one whom one does not love.’

When you love Allah, His obedience becomes the only thing that matters. When you love Allah, you see His hand in everything that comes through for you.  When you love Allah, you see provisions rising from sources you never imagined. 

Whoever is with Allah, his weakness will not harm him, and whoever is distant from Allah, his strength will never benefit him.

I do not know the measure of time or the rate at which it flowed past me. I don’t understand the weight of a moment or the duration of a year. All I know and can comprehend of the mathematics of a life that Allah had blessed me with, were the times that I’ve seen a miracle come through for me countless times in His Divine plan. It was extreme expectation, but for Allah, indeed, there is nothing that is impossible.

Expecting the best from Allah is the secret ingredient to happiness. 

So, I ask…

What then are your thoughts about the Lord of the worlds?” (Quran 37:87)


Apologies for my delayed post… I do hope I can manage to pen one more future post at least but my weeks have been crazy…

Okay, that said, will I be forgiven if I don’t post again?  *ducks*

Much Love 

A xx

P.S. please tolerate me a little longer and make special Duaa for me in these big days.


Sayyiduna Ali رضي الله عنه narrates: Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم said regarding Muharram:(as part of a lengthy hadith)

“In it there is a day that Allah accepted the taubah (repentance) of a people, and in which He accepts the repentance of other people.”

(Tirmidhi 741)

Haafiz Ibnu Rajab Hambali (رحمه الله تعالى) has quoted many statements that support the fact that this day refers to the day of ‘Aashuraa. He thereafter says: “Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) saying ‘He will forgive others on this day’ is an encouragement for people to once again make sincere taubah on the day of ‘Aashuraa. This statement also gives hope that Allah Ta‘ala will accept the taubah of the one who repents from his sins, just as He had forgiven the previous nation.”
(Lataaiful Ma‘aarif pg. 113 – 115)

Tolerance – a beautiful Sunnah 

Allah Taa’ala loves tolerance.
Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Abbas RA narrates that Nabi SAW said to the
leader of the Abdul Qays tribe: “You possess two traits that are
beloved to Allah, tolerance and deliberation (non – impulsive).”
Sahih Muslim Vol 1 Pg 35

How easy to practice …











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Not to be Okay

Bismihi Ta’ala


Whether it be within our lives or within our families or within our marriages… sometimes it’s okay for things not to be okay. Everything doesn’t have to always be blooming. We don’t always have to be fine.

I realised a long time ago that not everyone has a beautiful life. Some people are lucky, but many are not destined to have that kind of love that changes your life. Some of us settle for much less. Sometimes it’s what we unknowingly choose for ourselves. Sometimes it happens by default. But at all times… it’s in the Great Plan that Allah has for us…

But sometimes there are people that we come across that just leave imprints in your heart. They come with an important lesson. There’s nothing weird or creepy about it. It’s just the way they are… their demeanor… their approach… the way they present themselves. The way they see life through such beautiful eyes that you can’t help but see it too.

They have something called beautiful character. Not just beautiful. The best of character. And more than money, than looks, than sultry phrases… that character trumps as their most amazing asset. It doesn’t waver because beautiful character is something that’s in-built. It solid. It’s set so deeply in them, that no matter what their situation or circumstance or state of mind… this type of character is what shines through even the darkest of hours.

And yes, through my journey there had been many people that had changed the route, but what I knew for sure was that the moment that my beautiful sister had found the love that had calmed her raging soul, it was like our entire household had calmed with it. Life seemed a little brighter. All the hope was magically restored. Things took a sudden turn for the better. Everyone seemed a little more at peace.

And then, like a bolt of lightning from the blue, came the moment when the news of Aadam’s sickness rocked our world… and one by one, it felt like things around us started to crumble. All I knew for sure was that even though no-one really expected it…  my heart had already sensed it….

“I’m scared.”

I looked at my sister, her brows furrowed as she packed her luggage bag, and I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes as I thought of what these moments were going to bring. I mean, when she had gotten married… I knew she would leave one day… but this time, it just felt so much sooner than what we had all planned.

I never thought I’d hear my fearless sister ever say those words, but right now, at this moment, this is where we were. Although she barely showed it, it had been a while that I could see it in her eyes. The  revelation itself just came as a shock.

”You don’t need to be scared,” I said, trying to steady my voice, despite my own fears. “It’s going to be okay.”

”How do you know that?” She said, pausing in mid-fold and looking up at me quizzically.

The truth was, I didn’t really know. I just had this feeling that even though everything was changing and going a little out of whack, Allah would pull us through.

”I just have a feeling,” I said softly, giving her a small smile.

She paused to take out a few of her toiletries from the cupboard behind her, before turning back to look at me, emotion flooding her dark eyes.

“Do you think Mama would have liked him?”

The sincerity in her simple question caught me off-guard.   I hadn’t thought of my mother in a long while and as her image flashed through my mind, I could feel a lump forming in my throat. Some days I still missed her the way I had when she had just left…

”She would have loved him,” I said, meaning it. I mean, what was not to love about a guy who made my sister as happy as he did?

”Do you know what he told me the other day?”

She looked at me and folded her arms across her chest discontentedly. I looked up at her with slightly narrowed eyes. From what I knew of Aadam, I could only expect something out of the ordinary.

“He said that even if he had  done nothing else in his temporary life,” she started softly. “That if nothing else… it would have been enough that he found me… because it was through this Nikah where he found everything that matters…”

My heart contracted as she said it. It was like poetry.

“My word, Khawlah,” I murmured. “Are you trying to make me jealous?”

If my husband told me that I would have been jumping over the moon. As for my sister, she looked like she was halfway into depression.

”Zuleikha, don’t you get it?” She wailed dismally. “How do you return a love like that? How do you ever reciprocate?”

I looked at her and shook my head, understanding that she had completely missed the point.

”You don’t get it, do you?” I muttered, smacking my palm to my forehead and shaking my head at her. “This kind of love… well, it’s not like that! It’s not a favor that you have to return. Its not palpable or negotiable. It’s a gift, Khawlah. A gift you haven’t seen yet because you’re too scared to. You just have to open your heart and accept it because that’s the beauty in it… when you truly love someone for Allah’s sake and that love changes you.. it doesn’t need to be recompensed, because the reward in the feeling, that love… and that change that comes with it… finding the Creator of it and seeing that beauty of the truth… well, that’s enough. That’s what’s he’s saying. Having that love is worth way more than ever getting it back.”

True love. Pure love. It was the love for Allah that matched no other.

”I don’t know ,” she moaned. “It’s not normal. He’s so amazing and strong and I have no idea how to deal with that.”

I wanted to laugh, as I watched my sister, looking like she was in utter despair. She said the oddest of things and I honestly could not even fathom how her mind worked.

“Sometimes,” she said, dropping her voice. “Sometimes I just wish that he’d show some weakness, you know? That he’d act like a regular patient whose not really okay and let me see him for how he really is…”

Right back at ya, I wanted to tell her.

”Sometimes it’s okay not to be okay,” I finished off for her, smiling and looking at her, just so she knew that I was talking to her too. Just so she knew that she didn’t have to be so strong all the time.

“You don’t always have to be so strong. Do you know Allah waits for us to show some weakness… He wants us to be dependent on Him?”

I smiled at my sister as I spoke, a little amused by her annoyance. She was really one of a kind. And yes, of course I didn’t wish that on anyone, but if Jameel was in the same situation I could already imagine how dismal he would be… I wouldn’t be able to handle the drama.

And as if on cue, it was precisely at that point that Muhammed ran into the room, signaling Jameels arrival, and Khawlah’s sulky face immediately turn to smiles. Muhammed, of course, was ecstatic. Giggling, squealing and the works. He loved both Aadam and Khawlah to bits and it was no wonder why. They were so easy-going and had so much of patience with kids that I really and truly wished that they would one day have their own… hopefully sooner than they had always thought.

Knock knock,” a voice from outside said, and as I turned my head to look, Ahmed was already standing at the door with Jameel in tow, and the older of my girl cousins, whose name was Shaakira, trying to find her way in behind them. I had been wondering where my cousin wandered off today. Sara was her baby sister who was named after my mother. She had the sweetest nature too, unlike Shaakira who I never admitted sometime got on my nerves.

They were  usually always around when they were here… but for the past few days, I had no idea why, but I felt like I had barely seen Shaakira.

”I hear that there’s been a bit of chaos in the household,” Jameel was saying as he stood at the door, to no-one in particular.

Of course he was talking about the recent dynamics between Ahmed and I, but with Khawlah having much else on her mind, I really didn’t want to get into it. Yes, I had every right to be angry after Ahmed changed his mind about his upcoming Nikah. I also had more right to be upset because he refused to tell us who his future now entailed, which I thought was really unfair. For some reason, it was a huge secret and I had decidedly that it was time that I dusted my hands off his issues. I actually didn’t want to even see Ahmed at all, but being at my fathers house left little choice.

”Come on,” Jameel urged, winking and looking at me. “Sort it out. You guys can’t carry on like this.”

I gave him a death look. I felt like telling Jameel to mind his own business as he looked at me, as if it edge me on, but I swallowed my words as I looked back at him, knowing that he had good intentions.

Ahmed and him always had a rocky relationship, and even though it was better than before, there was a lot of room for improvement.

And yes, though I loved my husband, I could hardly compare our relationship to what I often heard my sister say about hers. Fair enough, she hadn’t yet entered into her marital home.. but for Jameel and I, I could safely say that we had our fair share of ups and downs and though I tried to look back at them as lessons learnt, I knew that there were many times when I regretted choices I made or things that happened. And then, when I felt myself feeling down or losing hope, I reminded myself that every relationship had their own set of trials. That everything wasn’t always meant to be perfect. That even the companions and family of Nabi (SAW) had issues and sought advice and guidance for it.

And I recalled clearly reading that even Ali (RA) and Faatima (RA) had their own set of issues where he would walk out and Nabi (SAW), on various occasions would bring the two beloveds of his together again. To disagree and have problems were also part of marriage and love, but the most important part was to rise above it and forgive, because their love for each other was on a level that put everything else aside. Their characters exceeded all else.

And that’s what I was striving for. Despite  mishaps. Despite disagreeing. Despite the past. There were times when I got so angry and frustrated, and times when it was so easy to let my tongue slip and say something potentially hurtful.

It has been related on the authority of Sahl ibn Sa’d that the Prophet (SAW) said,
“Whoever can guarantee what is between his jaws and what is between
his legs, I guarantee him the Garden.”[9]

SubhaanAllah. What a great reward for a little restraint.

I kept silent as Ahmed tried to make small talk, giving Jameel a small smile instead for trying to make some effort. He stood at the door, calling Muhammed to come out to give us time to talk it out, and obviously hoping for some resolution to the current issue of Ahmed’s indecisive life that was really driving me mad.

I honestly felt that I couldn’t tell him without causing a huge argument… But I knew very well that my brother had serious commitment issues. The minute something got a little serious… he seemed to suddenly wall up and think nothing of just walking away. Obviously, it had a lot to do with our childhood and his dodgy past but he had to move past it at some point. I was still upset with him for making me cancel the reservations and plans that I had made for his Nikah, and I had made it known that I won’t be partaking in anything that he was planning for the future. I know that it was a tad bit harsh but I really thought that he would do well to learn some lessons…

“Can you guys leave us alone now so I can have some bonding time with my sister?” I said, knowing that today wasn’t going to be the day we would get any positive answers from him and not really wanting to pin my hopes on it.

Ahmed raised his eyebrows at me.

”She’s my sister too,” he said, his amber eyes narrowing. I could tell it was because he wanted to test the waters with me.

I ignored him whilst Shaakira and Khawlah spoke about the big move that I could see my sister was still mentally preparing  herself for. Of course, it didn’t help that this wasn’t the usual kind of ‘move-in-with-your-husband’ kind of shift. The fact that Aadam was not exactly in the most amazing state definitely dampened the spirit.

”So did he tell you where you’ll are staying?” Shaakira was asking, a little too excitedly, as she looked at Khawlah inquiringly. “I mean, like did he say it for sure? Will you guys be spending the night together?”

She giggled and looked as me and Ahmed as she said it, and I could help but get annoyed.

And of course, as she spoke, I couldn’t quite help but think of how friendly and open she was being with Ahmed. Like, what was even going on? How was Ahmed even entertaining this?

If Khawlah or I had to behave like their were no boundaries with our male cousin Faheem, Ahmed would probably murder us. This bizarre behavior from Shaakira barely fazed him.

I narrowed my eyes at her as I watched them talking, not being able to help thinking that she was being a little too chatty and nosy about my sister’s married life for my liking.

Khawlah was, as usual, evasive with her answers, obviously feeling the same way. I couldn’t help but think that even though my cousin was just a year younger than Khawlah, she was seriously so much less mature. It was evident from her silly remarks that were a little too daring. Khawlah and her were worlds apart.

I held my tongue again, biting back the urge to say something nasty. I did, however, shoot Ahmed a reproachful glance which sent him out of the room with his tail somewhere between his legs, but Shaakira still refused to stop with the questions about Aadam and what it was like to be a part time wife, and how Khawlah needed to get her hair and nails done before-hand so she could be presentable. Her blabbering just didn’t end… to the extent that it was actually getting exhausting.

Somehow with people who are familiar, it was just easier to lose it. I tried to focus on her good points even though she was seriously getting on my nerves…

And of course, I’m sure it was just as well that Jameel called for me from the kitchen, signaling that he was ready to leave. His sister had some plans for the night that Jameel had inadvertently got thrown into. Jameel was very much unlike Aadam. Whereas Aadam got along with everyone and loved being around our family,  because Jameel was the type that easily tired of people, I knew that when he was around I had to cut my time short here… and today, although it was my last chance to really have proper quality moments with my sister, I knew that this was for the better. I was really about to snap with my cousin.

And although Khawlah was probably going to be back home intermittently, I couldn’t help but feel a heavy weight settle on my heart as I hugged her goodbye that day, knowing that she was entering a new stage of her life that was probably going to take a lot from her too. Emotionally. Physically.  Mentally too. And yes, I had accepted that everyone doesn’t have that great and amazing love that’s waiting for them, but I was certain that from what I had seen about these two lovebirds… and all the amazing things she had told me… I truly believed that with Aadam, she had got more than the bargain…

And my mind was kind of consumed in the moment as I thought about life and love and everything that the year had brought for us. I couldn’t believe that there was just a few months till the end of it. It meant that it was now over a year for Foi Nani and going onto eleven years for my mother. There were times like these, when the family was together and events that were momentary that made us miss them all the more.

And as I turned to go down the passage, deep in thought, pausing at the kitchen, and hearing my uncles voice in there, I couldn’t help but pop my head around to greet him. I like my uncle. Despite the issues in the past, he was one of the few family members we had

It was just that, as I saw him sitting at the table with his firmly set jawline and an unimpressed expression on his face, I already sensed that things were not okay. I supposed that kind of explained why Ahmed had come to the room in the midst of our tension… probably trying to avoid a bigger tension that was waiting to erupt. There was an entire romantic escapade that was going on right under our noses, and I couldn’t believe that it had gone unnoticed till now.

And yes, I couldn’t quite believe that I had missed this most important … the answer to Ahmed’s evasive revelation about Nikah.. but the fact that he was now in hot water with our once evasive uncle was definitely going to stir up a little more drama than I thought.

Facing my uncle was the one thing that my fearless brother was actually wary of.  This time Ahmed’s risky choices had really put a foot in it… and the result wasn’t going to be fun…

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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The Good, the Bad and the Intense


Bismihi Ta’ala


”What the hell is the meaning of this?” I growled.

I thrust the letters in my brother-in-law’s face the minute he opened the door, barely fazed by the expression on his tired face as he looked back at me.

And yes, the sensible part of my brain was telling me that I was absolutely off my rockers for confronting a recently diagnosed cancer patient in this appalling manner, yet the extremely agitated part of me was completely unconcerned.

”And Assalamualaikum to you too, bro,” Adam said blandly, raising his eyebrows at me. “I trust you had an amazing trip. How’s about a cuppa, yeah?”

He stepped back and gestured for me to come in, only half glancing at the papers I had in my hand. I walked in with my shoulders rigid, trying to appear more macho than I felt. The truth was, Adam’s indifferent reaction wasn’t what I expected. It wasn’t what I expected at all.

”Did Khawlah tell you what I said?” I asked, annoyed now and getting more worked up at the anti-climax of the whole situation. “Because she needs to understand that it’s not acceptable! In our family we don’t allow our girls to campus. Besides, this is not the time for all this kak… and do you even know what happens at those places?! Are you guys even thinking straight?! I won’t let my sister be some sort of… prey!”

”Tea or coffee?” Adam asked, ignoring me and running his hands through his unusually unkempt hair as he switched the kettle on. I couldn’t help but notice the excess stubble on his upper lip as he stood there, busying himself with his coffee container.

I was blinded by anger to see anything else, as I rattled off all the reasons why Adam had to wake up and tell my sister that she couldn’t just do what she felt. I was angry. So angry. Angry at Khawlah. Angry at him. Angry that he had gotten sick and now we were in this predicament that was changing everything. Angry that my own situation was compounding and we just couldn’t seem to pull out of the rut we were in.

I shook my head as he looked at me expectantly, shrugging nonchalantly and then taking out one mug to pour his own cup of coffee. He walked slowly over to his lounger, shifted the blanket that was bundled up on it with his other free hand, and sat back almost carefully, as he continued to watch me pensively. His behavior… or rather, lack of it… was highly unnerving.

”You seem pretty worked up,” he said, calmly taking a sip of coffee as he looked back at me. ”Regarding Khawlah, I’ve already spoken to her. She doesn’t want to study anyway. Is everything else okay?”

She doesn’t want to study? She didn’t tell me that. So all of this… venting… was for nothing?

I took a careful look at my brother-in-law as I stood there, not wanting to relax as yet. And despite my feelings,  his calm demeanor was somewhat soothing, and as he watched me I could feel myself calming down… without even realizing it.

Okay, maybe I was a little worked up about my own issues to think properly. Having to make a decision that was life-changing, not only for me.. but for my future and two other people who will be directly affected… was a little pressurizing.

And now that I was calmer, I digested my surroundings a little easier. When I barged in, I barely took notice of the darkness of the lounge, where the curtains were drawn. The bundled up blanket obviously meant that he was probably asleep… On the couch. I studied him, realizing that his legs looking even longer than they used to in his Pyjama pants. His face appeared slimmer than before, and his usually bulky arms were still toned, but barely as sturdy as they used to be. Adam was losing weight in a bad way. Three weeks without seeing him made it all the more evident.

And yes, though I didn’t expect it, I walked out of Adam’s flat with exactly what I had come there for. Adam just had a way of saying things. I couldn’t help but leave there so much more at ease than ever before.

Because every so often in life, it happens that we see things for what they truly are. Sometimes we are tested. Sometimes people around us are tested. Sometimes we are thrown in the deep end before we learn to swim.

And I was never good with emotions, but somehow, Adam just knew what to say to simmer my aggression. The thing is, I didn’t know how to explain to him how badly I wanted it all to just go away. How I wished that this didn’t happen to him. How everything else in my life was compounding at the same time, but as I walked out of his flat that day, I knew that Adam had some kind of amazing gift that put every other quality of his away. The thing is, I hated to admit it, but it really wasn’t his or even Khawlah’s fault. I knew where all of this had started. My temperament was only a result of my own doing. I had thought that feelings were by the way. I didn’t expect to feel it… but when Khawlah had mentioned a few weeks ago that Rubeena would be out and about soon, as a single woman… Shaytaan was already starting to put all kind of thoughts in my head. I couldn’t help but find myself feeling a little unsettled.

And I supposed that it was on a whim, but when Molvi had called to ask, just at that precise time, if I set a Nikah date as yet… I couldn’t help but find myself jumping for the opportunity at another Jamaat… no matter how far back I’d have to push the much-awaited event of a Waleemah.

I had been doing so well… and I had no intention of going down a road of sin again. All I knew was that I had to remove myself from the risk of falling deeper into the trap that I had found myself in before… and just avoid Rubeena altogether, until my Nikah was over.

And of course, I didn’t regret going. It was just that I didn’t exactly expect my world to come crashing down when I heard about Adam as I boarded the plane back home. I felt like everything around me was falling apart.

And it was like dejavu because as the news hit me, I could recall the exact same thing happening to me when my mother had taken a bad turn and landed in hospital. I was gone away with school for two nights to a biological swamp, and coming back with my mother hooked onto drips and the works was like a shock to my system. Yes, her sickness had always been there… but as was the case with Muscular Dystrophy… it can spike at any time and take a turn for the worse.

And as I sat on the plane back, fighting the insomnia that had taken over from the time I heard about Adam, I couldn’t help but feel a bit grateful that I had amazing company this trip that had grounded me so well. I knew that I had no right to feel like this. I knew that it was Allah’s will. And if was just as well that He had sent a walking and talking distraction right next to me, to remind me about the true purpose of life.

Well. His version of the true purpose of life.

”Just imagine,” he was saying as he looked at me and stretched, on the last leg of the flight back to Joburg.

Despite not liking him when I first let him, Ziyaad had become the ultimate go-to guy, whenever I needed a dose of humor. It just so happened that he was seated right next to me on the return flight, and I knew it was no coincidence. He was one of the most laid back guys I had ever met.

“I was having the most amazing dream,” he yawned.

I didn’t look at him to prompt him. I knew that wouldn’t stop talking anyway. That was just Zee. It was the last hour of the flight and he had just woken up, and energy levels were flying as high as the plane was making its descent.

”Imagine this, boss,” he said dramatically, his arms spread out. “Pure whiteness before you… The most exotic of Hoors surrounding you… in the most pristine place of unimaginable beauty.. and then… the queen of them of …all.. Hey, what’s your chics name again?”


”Yup, that’s your one,” he exclaimed. “Saffia. Just imagine. The queen of your Jannah… the apple of your eye..”

I shook my head as he went on, not being able to resist a smirk.

“Dude, how do you even think of these things?!” I asked in bewilderment.

“I’m well trained,” he said, putting on a serious face. “When things get tough with the vrou, sometimes you have to pull out the big guns.”

”Does all the buttering up really work?” I asked, amused.

”Well, boet,” he said breezily. “You have to have the skill. You can’t be pulling them out and not knowing where to shoot them.. with women it’s like a completely different ballgame. Believe me, I’ve had enough experience with the opposite gender by now…”

“Is this guy bothering you?”

I looked up to see Molvi smirking at me from the seat in front of us, shaking his head at Ziyaad.

“I’m just trying to get this guy psyched up,” he explained. “For a guy whose on the brink of Nikah, he’s like a brick wall of anti-emotion. If I was him I’d literally have some weird sort of ants in my pants.”

Molvi grinned back at him as the two of them playfully bickered about nothing in particular. It was Ziyaad’s easy nature that made him all the more fun to be around. He took Maulana Umar’s comments in jest as they went on.

“This is the type of guy who the women complain about…” Molvi said jokingly.

”Molvi,” Ziyaad said with a grin. “I was thinking of giving the vrou a break, but a third Nikah may just set me off completely. To tell the truth I think she gets sick of my inherent charm. I can’t understand why though because I really am such a catch…”

Maulana chuckled as I looked at them, stopping for a minute to remind myself about the kind of life that Ziyaad had had. I could hardly believe that he actually lost his child and his wife too… at his age… been through so much and still took life with so much of conviction and ease. He really was one of a kind.

And it made me think about how when I first met him… how I had judged him and thought that he was probably just a typical Joburg guy with an easy rich-boy lifestyle. It’s funny how we judge people without knowing anything about their lives… and strange how when we see how rough other people’s worlds are, we are forced to rethink.

And yes, it was a sore reality check too for me again… because as I went out in the path of Allah, there was nothing about the trip that ceased to amazed me. There was so much to learn and consider that I was blown away. To witness the result of ethnic cleansing that had happened decades ago and how it had impacted on Deen in Europe was something completely new to me. Muslims were forbidden from practicing Islam. From fasting. From reading Quran even in their own homes. Countries that were predominantly Muslim had some Muslims still, but not a hijab is in sight. And though it was heartbreaking to hear the tales of how Masaajid were destroyed and Islam was obliterated with such long lasting effects… what I couldn’t get over was the hospitality that the people had. People were willing. So willing. Accepting… so accepting that they were ready to take the Shahadah at times when we still weren’t ready for them.

It gave me a completely different sense of appreciation for what we had, and it was one of the reasons that I loved traveling. It didn’t matter where. Because I had little attachment to the place I called home, anywhere in the world could be mine. It was here where I would have the greatest adventures, connect with the most amazing people.. and learn the most amazing things.

And then of course, hitting home base after it all had a whole list of conquests that were awaiting me.

First things first… I knew I had to be there for my sister and try and be some kind of support. I just didn’t anticipate the plans she had for the following year coming in the way, but that was a different story altogether.

Secondly, to come back to the point of how the whole thing blew so way out of proportion in the first place, let’s just say that I had to contact my future in laws, even if it was just to say I’m alive. The important thing here, though, was that in the back of my mind… I knew that I had to set a date and give them some clarity on the Nikah.

And I would say that the first half of the planned visit went well. My future father-in-law was an easy enough guy to get along with. Conversation revolved around my trip and other general things, before we got onto the serious business.

And I knew that I was taking too long to get to the point. I didn’t realize that I was stalling on purpose. I kept telling myself that all I needed was to come here and see what my future held for me, and put everything into perspective again… but the longer I was here, the harder it was becoming to bring the subject up.

Besides, the little chatter box that had entered the room was literally talking our ears off. No-one else could get a word in edgewise. She was only three but she really would not stop talking. She was clearly very excited that her mother was getting married.

I was trying to adjust to the obvious cuteness, knowing that this would be a part of my daily life… when her mother came in, and hastily sent her away. I supposed she could see the expression on my face. I couldn’t say that I was disappointed. Chatty kids were cute, but I definitely preferred them in small doses.

“I’m sorry to hear about your brother-in-law,” Saffia said, as I finally looked up at her. She had just walked in and was still standing, and I couldn’t help but notice her serious expression.

Her eyes weren’t filled with laughter, the way they were when I first met her. I wasn’t sure if it was the news about Adam or something else that was on her mind.

“I hear he has cancer…”

It just hit that much harder when someone else said it.

I nodded, as she took a seat next to her father, still looking serious. As they sat side by side, I could see that she resembled her father most. For me, it wasn’t really about how a girl looked. Although there were a lot of things about her that appealed to me, more than anything, I needed someone that I could talk to on every level… someone who was patient, intuitive and level-headed too. Being who I was.. and going through what I had gone through wasn’t a breeze for girls to relate to…

“Papa,” Saffia said, turning to him slightly as she said it. “Can we talk alone for a while? Ahmed and I?”

Her father nodded a little hesitantly, and stepped outside like he had done when I had first seen her.

I looked up at her, as she watched him leave, glad that I wasn’t having to explain more to him. Besides, it was between the two of us.

“Sorry, I didn’t come earlier,” I said. “It’s just been a hectic couple of weeks…”

”We were wondering if you’d run away,” Saffia said, raising her eyebrows. She was smiling but I could tell that she wasn’t joking.

Why would she think that I’d run away? 

”Hey,” I said with a frown. “I wouldn’t do that to you…”

Things were quiet for a while as I sat on the couch, unsure of how else to explain my absence. She went on to talk about general things, but my head wasn’t in it.

I was still thinking about her words. Maybe I had been a little too evasive. Maybe I…

”Ahmed,” she started, turning to face me after a while. “I spoke to your sister…”

”Really?” I said, knowing that Zuleikha was upset with me for postponing the big event.

She wouldn’t have told me. She would have probably had a fat lot to say about me too.

Saffia nodded.

“I would hate to sound like the insecure kind of girl whose desperately been waiting for this great guy to come save her…. but lets be serious here…”

I cleared my throat, knowing she was giving me more credit than I deserved. I was far from a great guy. Right now I felt like scum.

“As far as I know,” she continued. “Both our families are waiting for you to make a decision and are worried about dragging the engagement on for so long… it’s already been almost 6 weeks…”

I said nothing. This girl spoke a lot more than I thought. Now I knew where her daughter got it from.

Six weeks was barely anything. It’s not like I was going anywhere. Well, not right now.

“My previous marriage,” she said, as if it was self explanatory. “He kept on pushing back the date and it was only later on that we found out why…”

“I’m sorry,” I said automatically, feeling bad that I was bringing back bad memories for her.

”It’s not your fault,” she said quickly. “But I have to be more careful now. It’s not only about me anymore. I need stability in my daughters life and when I looked at you the first time, despite your age… that was what I saw.”

“I haven’t changed,” I argued, trying to defend myself.

”It’s not that,” she said, not looking at me. “I’m not asking for sympathy either. It’s unfortunate, but Allah plans what happens and I supposed that my ex-husband was trying to make his parents happy. But the point I’m trying to make is that if there’s anything at all that may be stopping you from taking this step, Ahmed.. I need to know now..”

I nodded, not trusting myself to speak. This whole revelation was a lot to process. I mean, I didn’t plan on hurting the woman but the fact that she had been through hell before put an amazing amount of pressure on me. The situation was getting pretty intense.

There was nothing much more that I could say. I wasn’t even sure what to think.

What I had no inkling of  was that it wasn’t really the time until Nikah that was bothering her, but rather, there was another reason she might have suspected, that had steered the conversation directly this way.

“I suppose what I’m asking, Ahmed,” she said, taking a deep breath and finally meeting my eye. “Are you really sure that you want to make Nikah?”

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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When the Plot Thickens

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


“Khawlah, wait.”


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

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

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

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

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

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

“Khawlah, I’m coming.”

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

How ironic. Just like Khalid.

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When did Khalid grow up?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

I smiled and shrugged.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hijaabi warrior turned marshmallow? No man.

I was already in stitches.

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

Her voice dropped.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She gasped as her hand flung to her mouth.

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

I grinned at my crazy friend.

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

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

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

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

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

I looked away, not wanting to get into this.

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

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

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

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

“What if he’s a vampire?”

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

Nusaybah took the tea.

And yet, I loved her unreservedly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Readers

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

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

Much Love,

A 🌸

Sunnah Reminder:

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

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

Let’s revive this Sunnah Insha Allah.

IG: @thejourneyingmuslimah

How easy to practise!

#revivetheSunnahof Sleepingearly






Twitter @ajourneyjournal


When Roses are Black

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


Roses are black, violets are blue,” started Dayyaan, in a sing song voice, for the fiftieth time that day. “How does it feel, when no- one loves you?”

I cringed every time I heard the last line. I mean, why would anyone teach a kid something so… evil?

“Roses aren’t black,” argued Danyaal, yet again.

“Yeah, but that’s what Hannah says,” retorted Dayyaan stubbornly.

“Hannah’s stupid,” Danyaal said, without missing a beat.

I knew I should have reprimanded him, but I just didn’t have the energy.

“Too-Put,” Zaydaan mimicked, thrilled at learning a new word. “Toopad.”

I closed my eyes and rubbed my temples. They were going on about Hannah. Hannah. Hannah hadn’t been back in two weeks either. Then Danyaal would start about when Khawlah’s coming back.  This was just too much.

This day… this week… this month.

Bloody hell.

This entire year. It was just. Too. Much. Too much.

I had forgotten my reminders to myself. I had already forgotten.

Enough of the frustration.

Patience. Gratitude.

Tawakkul. For someone who had been completely lost most of her life, the true essence of Tawakkul came at a time that I least expected it.

Everything that could go wrong, seemed to be going wrong. My husband was absent. Probably unfaithful too. My helper had left. My roof was leaking. And of course, in all their instability and annoyance at my own incompetence, my kids were driving me crazy. I was literally in over my head when I got home that day, to find the door to my home broken down and my house in a royal shambles.

Tawakkul. A Muslim is told to leave home in the Tawakkul of Allah. To say those words, in the name of Allah, and in Him alone we trust. But it wasn’t just about leaving home. It was the whole idea of believing that no matter who or what comes your way, in the midst of whatever may be, there is always a Greater Power. There are times when we feel we have lost everything, or things look broken and nothing like how we wished they would be.  At times we even feel as though we’ve been abandoned and nothing is working out the way we planned.

But just like a newborn child who is screaming in the fear that his life and all nutritional sources have been depleted, things are often not what they seem. Tawakkul (trusting and relying on Allah) is realizing that our Protector has a plan for us.  Tawakkul is having complete trust that Allah’s plan is the best plan.

And then there’s the part when you have to tie your camel.

Trust in Allah, but tie your camel. (Tirmidhi)

And I love that saying of the Prophet (SAW). I love it’s practicality. I’ve always been a practical person. But, in all fairness, this was the part that confused me, because I lacked that knowledge that I needed.

The question was never about tying the camel, but for me, was figuring out which proverbial camel of mines needed to be tied? And where is the limit? When do I stop the metaphorical tying and double knotting the ropes and just let go?

I had seen the result of true Tawakkul. I mean, I had met people who had never taken a birth control pill, but yet, their children have been born with perfect spacing and exactly as they had ‘planned’. I had seen people who would refuse to update security systems, in the complete knowledge and conviction that Allah was the sole Protector.

And then I asked myself, was it their plan that had turned out so perfectly, with the will of Allah?  Or was it that Allah had made His plan seem perfect to them? Or maybe… it was just the extent of their Tawakkul, that had made the difference, when mines was so weak?

Yes, you tie your camel where you can, but you also understand that your camel may find a way to still wander. The post may not be strong enough. The camel may be too insistent. And when that happens, you still have the Tawakkul in Allah, that it was His plan.

And despite coming so far spiritually, somehow, when tragedy hits and you are all  taken aback, you can’t help but think to yourself…

I mean really, what more could ever go wrong?

And of course, that’s exactly where I was on that day, two weeks after my husband had announced he was leaving our marital home. Without even thinking, I dialed Shabeer, because there was no-one else that I thought that would be more appropriate.

I mean, he was my husband right? No matter what, he was the father of my kids. In this case, when the panic was overtaking my every limb, I could not even think of who else to call.

Of course, hearing my anxious voice, he arrived in a matter of minutes. I didn’t want to think of where he had been. I didn’t want to think about what he had been doing. Looking at him, even, was so unsettling, but I sucked it up and swallowed my pride, because I didn’t want to be alone.

”How did this happen?”

It was the first thing he asked when he saw the door, shaking his head in irritation.

No greeting. No question as to how I was doing. He barely even spoke to the kids.

“Did you lock up properly before you left?”

I looked at him in annoyance.

“Of course I locked up, Shabeer,” I said through gritted teeth.

The kids were surprisingly quiet as we spoke. Thankfully they were all with me as I went to fetch another helper that afternoon, so it was just ya matter of fifteen minutes that I was gone. I was certain I had locked the Trellidoor. Or did I?

I fought back tears as Shabeer narrowed his eyes at me.

He was so… rude. Obnoxious. So…Male. Ugh.

Why didn’t I see all of this before? And it was amazing, but as my Tawakkul had increased, as each day passed, I found myself missing him a little less. I found more peace. I had reached such a place where I was so comfortable, that I wasn’t sure how I’d ease back into his erratic routine. And now, looking at him again, after just two weeks, it was like I barely recognized this man who I had known most of my adult life.

What did I see in him again? I was taken aback at my own cynicism.

I blinked as I watched him assess the damage on the door, and then look at his watch, as if he needed to be somewhere. Where was he rushing off to? Was he going to meet her?

I couldn’t help but feel a pang if overwhelming jealousy… and then… it was gone.

He looked at me now properly, blinking as  if seeing me for he first time.

“Looking good, Ruby,” he said, raising his eyebrows and looking at me up and down. I pursed my lips, to stop myself from giving a response.

He wasn’t looking too bad himself, but I knew it wasn’t on account of me. Shabeer was the typical type that got most people’s attention. The one thing that Danyaal had  inherited, was his father’s hair. Shabeer’s tawny hair was now greying at the front, and I could see it clearer now in the hallway light. I had barely noticed it before. His face was clean, as if he had shaved this morning. His shirt was new and crisp… Almost as if it was just ironed. His wrist, of course, was wrapped in a new Rolex that I probably costed another fortune. Looked like Shabeer had been living high the life while he was absent from  home.

I scowled. The least he could have done was bring something for the damn kids.

“You coming from a funeral or something?” He continued, now with a frown on his face as he looked at my head.

I forgot about being annoyed and instinctively put my hand to my head as he said it, realizing what he was talking about immediately. Adorning a scarf was anything else besides just being respectful at a funeral house. It wasn’t that I had embraced it completely… I had been so two-minded. But now… the more I wore it , the more it grew on me… and I quite liked the feel. Besides that… I had been scarf shopping and I had found the most beautiful prints that I couldn’t help but buy.

“No,” I said to him, unnerved. “I’m trying something new.”

I honestly wondered what he was questioning me for when I was sure that he knew.

And of course, because of that one person that I was almost certain that had marked a presence in our lives, I was so sure that I’d actually see some sign in Shabeer as well. It was just that, what confused me was that when I looked at him… I saw nothing. He was as empty as a darkened pit.

The kids were starting to get restless, so I started to clean up what I could, and see how far the damage had gone. I sent them off to play, hoping they would be okay. I had a feeling that Shabeer had more to say, but I was at a point where I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to hear it.

The thing was with Shabeer, no-one really knew him. He was a deep and complicated mystery to everybody… but me. It was just unfortunate that he had somehow managed to lure a young and innocent girl into his warped world. One thing I knew was that when Shabeer set his sights on something, he didn’t back down. What I didn’t understand was what she saw in him. Even I was struggling to gather…

And though I Khawlah had tried to contact me the previous week, at the time, I just wasn’t ready to speak to her. I wasn’t ready to be selfless as yet. I didn’t want to hear her side of the story… or whatever it was.

All I could think of was my hurt, and rightfully so.  All I could think of was how I was fooled, because it was never something I expected.

As for my brother, I could only imagine his anguish when he discovered what he did. He never did tell me exactly what he saw on Shabeers MacBook. It wasn’t about not having what he wanted. Adam knew for months what the reality was, and he wasn’t fickle like that. All this while, he still had hope, but with this, it was the betrayal that was eating him from inside, and I could see him crumbling.

And of course, it was nothing short of a miracle that I had pulled through so easily. After a few days of dwelling in my own self- pity, and neglecting my kids, I realized that I couldn’t carry on like this. So I picked myself up.

I got off my trembling knees, and I forced myself to pray. In those moments that I would have defined as making history, I strongly believed that it was only that plunge, that brought me through. It didn’t mean that just because I felt really hurt and betrayed, I stop worshipping my Lord. What defined me here was my response to the test… how I sought help, through prayer, and that was precisely what elevated me again.

Shabeer had just finished on the phone with a guy called Shaun who did all his  handy work. It didn’t look like the thieves had gotten past the first bedroom. The security in the estate was tight but these things happened. Shabeer obviously, didn’t see it this way. He was bringing the roof down whilst he screamed at someone, assuring them that he wasnt going to back down. He cut the call in a huff, and looked at me with a frown.

Idiots,” he muttered. “Think they can talk themselves out of a lawsuit. They need to update their system. This is bloody ridiculous.”

“It’s okay,” I said instinctively. “It was meant to happen. Do you want something to drink?”

I wasn’t sure why I asked him that. Maybe I didn’t want him to leave. Maybe I wanted to buy more time… to get some closure.

”Listen Ruby,” he said, ignoring my question. He was looking at me pitifully, as if he was embarrassed. Did he think I was suggesting something else?

I closed my eyes, reeling in the momentary shock. He was my husband after all. I could offer him a cup of coffee, right? What the hell was his problem? 

How dare he feel sorry for me? How dare he look at me like I was a failed and desperate wife, when he was the one who had messed up? I really wanted to punch him in the face.

“I have a meeting,” he said, just a little nervously. “But I wanted to tell you.., before you find out from someone else.”

I kept silent as he continued.

“I know you’ve been busy, and it’s been hectic for me too,” he started, and I could just hear his charm switch on. He was going to sweet-talk through this and I really wasn’t interested.

“And I love the fact that you care about yourself and want to look good, sweets. You’re looking like a million bucks, and I’m like… blown away, babe.”

He smiled and I looked back at him blankly. After all these years, Shabeers throw ups were lost on me.

“It’s just that we need to sort out some stuff before we get back to where we were. I still love you… but so much has happened. While you were busy with your routine… I felt lonely. Sometimes you’d leave me alone till late at night, and I missed you. And of course… sometimes, things just happen. I met someone.

He shrugged nonchalantly and stuffed his hands in his pockets. My heart thudded methodically in my chest.

“Things just happen?!” I retorted, now just plain angry.

The audacity! He was blaming me. Me! And he was so brazen about it too.

So this was all my fault? Yes, I know I was busy. I was trying to get back in to shape. To look good. For him. I had left my husband longer than I intended to, but was it really an excuse? Was it?

Maybe I had been too naive. Maybe I had trusted too much. I never imagined that this would happen. Not to me.

I never realized the harms of intermingling before now. Leaving my husband with young girls in the house was probably on the top ten list of ‘Stupidest things you could ever do’. Sometimes, it just took a glance, and Shaytaan seized you. I didn’t realize that it was so easy to fall into the trap that lead us to ruin.

Shabeer shrugged again.

“I’m sorry Rubes, but I love her too,” he said, finally meeting my eye. “We’re making Nikah.”

And honestly, as he said the words, I felt like the wind was instantly knocked out of me. It was like I was gasping for some oxygen… and there was no way of getting it, because I was way in outer space.

I wasn’t sure which part hurt more. They fact that he said he loved her… or…

Nikah. He was making Nikah?

Of course. He had to make it right. Halaal. I wouldn’t have expected it to continue as anything else. I wasn’t that woman who would prefer my husband to have an affair, than to take on a second wife. Not now, in this game of mind. I had met so many like that… some of them my friends. They brushed infidelity under the carpet, because it meant they wouldn’t hav to share their inheritance with a mistress. It was disgusting. Maybe he had actually seen some sense.

But what inspired Khawlah to even incline to this man who I was beginning to see the truth in… I don’t know….

The emotions were overwhelming.

“But you don’t even know her!” I cried, fighting back the tears. “You know nothing! I can’t believe that she’d even agree! You! Khawlah… she’s a breath of fresh air, and you’re like… like… rotten eggs..!”

Oh Gosh. I said her name. Rotten eggs?! Really? Why couldn’t I even have a proper fight? Shabeer looked at me weirdly.

“She’s so easy… calm… obsessed with nature… kind to kids… like, what on earth does she see in you??!”

I couldn’t even believe that I was saying that, but I was. I couldn’t even believe I was talking about it. As much as I tried to hate Khawlah, I just couldn’t. I couldn’t even do that properly.

“Well, her mother is kind of putting pressure,” he started, sounding stressed. “And Ruby, I’m sorry to delve into this, but really- she hates nature. I mean the only flowers she likes are black roses.”

Her mother? Why would her mother put pressure?

It took me a few moments to process what he had just said. Her mother?

Despite the pain. Despite the betrayal. Despite feeling like I was buried under a ton of bricks… something in my brain triggered a switch.

Her mother?

Khawlah didn’t have a mother. She had a mother-figure… but I wasn’t sure that she was really in the right frame of mind to understand what was going on. I remembered Khawlah saying that she wasn’t well and was having a problem with making sense of things. And then, of course…

Oh. Crap.

Oh. My. Word. My stomach clenched in that detested way that it usually did, when I realized that I had made a really huge mistake.

Black roses.

Roses are black, violets are blue…”

The kids were just singing it this morning. What were the odds? Of course, this meant something. Of course, this was no coincidence. It was a huge revelation.

“So you mean,” I said, suddenly alert and now thinking straight again. “Khawlah with the curly hair? She wears a thin bracelet on her wrist… her mother’s?”

I had only seen Khawlah without her Hijaab a few times. But I remembered her gorgeous locks.

Shabeer looked confused.

“No,” he said, all matter-of-fact. “And Khawlah’s got straight hair. The kids call her Hannah Montana. ‘Coz I suppose… she looks the part.. anyway, I-“

He looked awkward as he spoke. Spoke to me. His wife. About his other woman. Girl. Really? What was this world coming to? 

Indeed, what a warped world we lived in. So many trials. So much of corruption. Why was it that I never noticed it before? Was I too caught up in the mix to even see the truth?

I sought refuge for all the wrong I had done I the past. I had also hugged men. Kissed their cheeks. Spoke flirtatiously. How warped was I? 

What was the saying? It takes two hands to clap, right.

I just never thought it was wrong because it didn’t become more. But it was.

Shabeer was talking but I wasn’t listening. I wasn’t even in the now. All I could do was think about how I cut the call the other day, when Khawlah had phoned. All I could do was think of all the hurt this had caused. A little betrayal. A little lie.

Sometimes the ‘little’ things we do, are really not so little.

I thought  of Adam. I knew that he knew Khawlah’s brother. I just hoped that my brother hadn’t disclosed what he knew.

I told Shabeer to stay with the kids. He could leave his stupid meeting for once and be a real father. I had some work to do.

I could think of nothing more than inflicting pain.

Hannah was the main candidate. This little lie was going to cost something really big.


Dearest Readers,

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @thejourneyingmuslimah

As per request, I will finish off this part of the story before Ramadhaan though… Insha Allah. Shukran to all the readers ❤️

In preparation for Ramadhaan, this week, Insha Allah, let’s try and bring in a little about the Sunnah of eating, as touched on in the previous posts. I will try to keep it short, simple and effective.🌸

Rinsing the mouth after eating.

It is mustahabb to rinse the mouth after eating, because Basheer ibn Yassaar narrated that Suwayd ibn al-Nu’maan told him that they were with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in al-Sahba’ – which is some distance from Khaybar – and the time for prayer came. He called for food, but he did not find anything but some saweeq (barley mush). So he ate some and we all ate with him. Then he called for water and rinsed out his mouth, and then he prayed, and we prayed, and he did not do wudoo’.

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5390).

How easy to practise!





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Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

A reminder from Islamic teachings: Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The believer does not insult others, he does not curse others, he is not vulgar, and he is not shameless.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1977


I honestly think that there should be some sort of test that parents take before they are allowed to have a child. Something that gives them a permit to introduce little humans into this world. I don’t know about you, but from my experience, there are are few people in this world who can honestly say that they were never damaged. The fact is, we all leave the nest with a few dents and scratches. Some parents smudge, some parents crack, and then you get the ones who mess you up so badly, that it’s like you’ve been shattered into millions of tiny jagged pieces, that are beyond any sort of repair.


I jumped as I heard the sharpness of my mother’s voice, and then her usual cuss at me, breaking though my placid thoughts. I blinked in shock, almost terrified for what she may do to me. How long had she been standing there for?

I was already expecting the blow to come from either side, but my mother always found a way to surprise me, even when she was inflicting pain. All I could feel was her hand yanking my head back at my hair roots with such a force that I fell back, tumbling off the chair that I was standing on. Ouch.

“What the hell are you doing there?” She snarled, ignoring my whimper of pain as I  tried to get back on my feet. She stepped over me and pressed her own face close to the window, just as I had been looking out, as she peered out too.

I had been standing on the little oak stool upstairs that was stationed under the window, looking out enviously at the other kids who were playing outside.

Ugh,” my mother said, shaking her head and scrunching up her perfectly made-up face. “What filthy children. And that boy. So rough and uncultured. I can’t deal with these rude little children anymore. Their father will hear about this.”

She was visibly disgusted. At what, I wasn’t too sure.

Why didn’t they ever ask me to come and play? Why couldn’t I have some outdoor fun once in a while? Maybe it was fun being rough and uncultured.

I stuck out my bottom lip she glared at me for even daring to envy them, and then she tossed her hair back and lifted me roughly off the ground.

“Real ladies,” she said sharply, wagging her finger at me as her eyes bored into mine. “Don’t play outside. We are refined. We buy nice things so we can look good and find men who will look after us. Real men don’t like girls who act like them.”

I frowned as my mother pointed outside for emphasis, straightened her dress, and then turned around to leave.

I was only eight. What did I really understand about real men? I mean, I had seen things on TV about men and women… and I did know more than other girls my age, but I wasn’t exactly sure what my mother expected of me. I was too young to even know what having a boyfriend really meant.

I went back to my room, finding a little comfort in counting my money and putting in back in my stowage. I supposed it was kind of an obsession. A form of security, that made feel that one day… maybe one day I would have enough money to leave my mother’s clutches and just get out of there. Money was what the made the world go round, of course. It would be my salvation.

Of course, if I had my own savings, then there’d be no more fights about Mum overspending. She always used me as an excuse. Thank Goodness, when I grew up, I would have my own money and all that wouldn’t matter any more. The only problem was that… since the last time, there definitely seemed to be less money that I had counted. I shook my head to myself, thinking that maybe I had counted wrong. Mum was the only one who knew where my money was. I knew that she sometimes ran short, even when uncle Nazir was giving her so much.

I shook my head, already annoyed at my mother. From depriving me of the simple things that a child looked forward to, my mother took the prize when it came to manipulating her own child.

And so the cycle went on. By nine years old, I already knew that everyone out there was jealous of me. Jealous because I was pretty. Jealous because we had money. Jealous because… well, people were just jealous. It was the explanation for anything that people said.

Mum had explained it to me it on different occasions, especially when I would face opposition from a kid who had values that were daringly opposed to mine. We had, of course, got everything of the best. Mum made sure that her new husband would give us over and above whatever he had promised.

She had basically drained most of his savings in under a year, with demands for a new house and her other luxury expenses. Catching my mother injecting herself or popping some random pill happened much too often to even think it was abnormal. There were times, at the end of the month, when she would exhaust Uncle Nazir’s savings, and then, in her desperation, she would basically take anything she could get hold of. The poor man would come to our new house less and less, and the look on his face would just give it all away. I only knew the half of it.

Secretly, I felt sorry for him. I liked him, in a completely unromantic way. It was surprising, because with Mum always either putting men down, or looking for the next one who she could get something out of, I didn’t expect it. But the truth was, he was a decent man. Different from the other two men who Mum had made me meet on previous occasions, who always had ulterior motives. He had a softer side to him that made me feel like I actually had a real father. And then my mother, as always, would turn the whole situation around to get me on her side once again. She couldn’t risk me finding comfort in anyone else but her.

“All men are the same,” she would mutter, her face purposely distorted to show her disapproval. “It’s just you and me, Hannah. You and me. I know that no matter what, you’ll look after me, just like I’m taking care of you.”

I looked at her blankly. I didn’t want to make any promises, at that impressionable age. I still had my dwindling savings. I had found another place for it, just to make sure no-one got hold of them.

“See what I’ve done for you?” She gestured around her. “Just look. All this is for you, baby. This house. This life. These clothes. All this, I did for you.”

She was waiting for praise. For a ‘thank you’, maybe. The luxuries she had attained for us were all attributed to her own doings. For a moment, all I could think was that it was the biggest load of hogwash that I had ever heard.

It was a brief moment of realization that suddenly dawned on me. I had heard Khawlah talking once to her friend. Khawlah. I didn’t understand her, and neither did I like her… but it didn’t stop me from spying on her. They had these intriguing ideas about life that Khalid’s father had told him. It seemed like they lived in a different realm to us, with so much of gratitude and emphasis on thanking Allah.

My mum, on the other hand, never prayed nor showed any gratitude. She was relentless in her pursuit for the finer things in life. All along, as I had been watching the little girl from afar, I had learnt a thing or two. I just wanted some close up views. I wanted a glimpse into her life. I wanted to see a bit of the other side.

And of course, as expected, I watched her and her friend chatter incessantly about something so profound that I wished I could hear. I wished I could be there. And of course, I wished I was her. It was as if she had no worry in the world. At that time, I wanted to be just like her.

But it was only a fleeting moment of checking into her reality, and then it was gone. Because one moment can’t erase the past. One drop of purity in a toxic solution can never remove the poison. It doesn’t take a moment to eradicate the venom of the past.

And as I fixated on what Khawlah had, I forgot about being grateful, and the jealousy made a show. Of course, it was bound to come. And even as Mum told me all the things that I knew were probably the hugest lies a mother could tell her child, somehow, I couldn’t say what I knew was the truth.  I wanted it to be us against the horrible world. I wanted to believe that she had really done all this for me, and not to satisfy her own extravagant desires.

I smiled at her as she squeezed my shoulder, almost to assure me that she was for real. That was the moment that it all changed. A moment that transformed the innocent little girl into a manipulating young girl. The moment where I chose wrong over right. Darkness over light. The moment when I ignored what was so evidently pure and true, and opted for the skewed version that would haunt me for the rest of my life.

I was her daughter, after all, right? Her own blood. She never would do anything to hurt me.

Even when she left me alone with a man who she knew, just so she could get out to have her fix, she had still convinced me of too. It would make me stronger, she argued. It would build my confidence. She said it would get me to realize how unreliable men really were, when all I achieved in those torturous moments were more damage. More damage and more destruction.

Afterwards, she cried. When she finally came down, she cried and cried. She apologized. She said she would never do it again, as she clung onto me for dear life, begging me to forgive her. But it was too late. I was already broken inside. I stared back at her with an empty hopelessness, because we both already knew that the damage was done.

The years kind of passed by in a blur, and arguments, whispers and strained conversations had become a part of my life. I barely saw my father. Mama had convinced me that he hated me too.  I pretended not to care. Again, when Uncle Nazir divorced my mother, the bitterness I felt was indescribable.

There we were, once again, rejected and literally out on the street, because some man had decided that we weren’t good enough for him. My mother had, once again, proven to me that there was no-one else I could trust but her. It was never her fault. In her own torrent of drugs and rage, she made it clear that we would never depend on a man again. Talk was cheap.

And that was the precise time when ‘boys’ became interesting to me. Looking for the comfort I never got, I sought it. For some reason, she didn’t care about the guys I would meet. She didn’t ask where I had met them either. They were merely experiments for me. Learning from my mother, I had learnt to push a man to the limits, to get what I wanted. I didn’t hold back of myself, but my emotions, on the other hand, were always in check. I would never love a man, I convinced myself. To say I had trust issues was an understatement. I would never put myself through that.

And then, of course, in the most unexpected way, I was taken by surprise.

Seeing Khawlah again after so many years brought back so many memories. Some of them were good and some were just… dark. Really dark. Life hadn’t improved much since then. Numerous boyfriends had promised me the world, but I would bail on all of them at some point, never convinced of their empty promises. As usual, Khawlah had the best of friends and always got long with everyone perfectly. I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had the perfect boyfriend too. Life was just unfair like that.

Being put in a school where most people were pretty normal, however, was good for me. I strove to fit in. I needed extra money too, and when I heard through a friend’s friend that someone wanted help looking after their kids, I thought it would be easy money. All I had to do was entertain kids for a few hours and I would get paid. It didn’t get much easier than that.

But there’s always a catch. I found out pretty soon that Khawlah had worked there too. That news broke my confidence as I witnessed her effect. That carefree happiness that she had… I could see it in those kids. They would not stop talking about her, and the amazing things she did with them. Here she was again, stealing what supposed to be my show. I was honestly sick of hearing about her, but I gritted my teeth and stuck it out, because I needed the money.

As for the lady I worked for, she was just freaking annoying. She acted like the entire world was about her stupid schedule. Obviously, I never showed her how stupid I thought she was. I was an expert at putting on a facade by then. I smiled and encouraged her to get herself on top of things, because I knew that more time would mean more pay.  I offered to look after her kids till late at night, if she had an extra class or a date night with her friends. I told her she needed to look good. I told her that everything would be all right when she got home, because I was there. I was good at convincing people. I was just as good at playing the good girl role, that I knew Rubeena wanted. It was just that matter how much I tried, she made it obvious that Khawlah was her favorite. And that was the moment that I finally cracked.

I didn’t anticipate it happening, until it actually did.


I blinked as I snapped out of my thoughts, a little annoyed that I had been disturbed. The kids were busy with their evening shows and I was catching up with social media feeds as I kept an eye on them. Well, kind of. The two bigger ones were jumping on the couch, but they didn’t listen to me when I told them not to anyway. I had just started working on the evenings two weeks ago, so the evening behaviour was a little strange to me.

I looked at the stranger who had walked in,  and I tossed my hair back and smiled. It was what I always did when there was a male in vicinity, and if I wasn’t mistaken, this particular one wore a Rolex. That definitely meant something to me.

At that stage, I wasn’t sure who he was exactly. Maybe the boy’s father. Maybe another relative. He smiled back at me, as he watched the kids jumping around.

“Looks like they tired,” he said, raising his eyebrows and stuffing his hands in his pockets.

I shrugged, indifferently.

“Their mother makes them sleep,” I said, not prepared to go down that road. It definitely wasn’t in my job description. There were limits to how far I would go to make money. Or were there?

He nodded, and for the first time, looked at me with something a little unrecognisable in his eye.

Was it interest?

Of course. I knew that look.

“I didn’t get your name, sorry,” he said, still looking at me intently. “Which one are you again?”

I blinked, somewhat taken aback by his question. Which one?

That probably meant that he hadn’t met Khawlah as yet. Khawlah, who the kids wouldn’t cease to bore me with details about their exquisite adventures. Khawlah, who had reached such an amazing height of recognition for them, that even after she had gone, they didn’t forget her. Khawlah, who I had lived for so many years trying to chase her shadow, and discover, by some miracle, the things that made her so unique.

There was no need to be subtle about it. After all, the damage was already done.

“I’m sure you’ve heard all about me,” I said, with the most innocent smile I could muster. “I’m Khawlah.”

Dearest Readers,

A bit of a darker side to achancetochange. I sincerely hope that I have not been explicit in any detail in striving to bring in a few lessons before we end of these chapters that are also a part of Khawlah’s story. Please make Maaf for any shortcomings. I am always open to criticism. I will be highlighting the harms of free intermingling, and we can very evidently see them above. As parents too, we have so many responsibilities to bring our kids up with a good balance of confidence and modesty as well.

May Allah save us all from the fitan that has gripped our community. May Allah grant us sublime contentment.

In preparation for Ramadhaan, this week, Insha Allah, let’s try and bring in a little about the Sunnah of eating, as touched on in the previous posts. I will try to keep it short, simple and effective🌸

Eat in Three Parts

Nabi SAW taught his Ummah something to protect them from diseases caused by eating and drinking. He said, “The son of Aadam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Aadam to eat a few mouthfuls, to keep him going. If he must do that (fill his stomach), then let him fill one third with food, one third with drink and one third with air.” [15]

How easy to practise!





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