Moments of Vulnerability

Bismihi Ta’ala


Part 80

The world at large, but more specifically our menial lives, revolve around an information overload where the accounts and stories of awe-inspiring bravery have ceased to feature.

Whilst we get off on dopamine hits induced by arrays of pointless pictures on our Instagram feeds, we are starved of the splendour that once filled the pages of history.

The desire and restlessness that once raged within the hearts of the Sahabah have become text book incidents to us. We are foreign to a concept that entails extinguishing personal desire for lighting a longing for everlasting pleasure.

Martyrdom has, and always will be, the masterpiece of all man’s greatness. Their agonising and heartbreaking stories are a light amidst the darkness of this world. Meeting Hamzah for me, brought this alive. His spirit brought out something in me that stemmed from a selfless courage… something that I had forgotten about over the past few months.

And whilst every martyr attains unmeasurable closeness to Allah Ta’ala, the honourable title of Sayyidus Shuhadaa (RA) was awarded by Nabi (Sallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) only to the highest and most honoured of all of them… Sayyidina Hamzah (RA). There was something about meeting my real life Hamzah, that kindled a flame within me once again… a flame that would serve to rage on, to face everything head on, fearlessly, like the men I’d read about and always admired.

Despite the monster I had once been, I knew and lived the rule that nothing is as more important but the pleasure of Allah… and now, I was done with being scared, slinking away and hiding from the past.

I pulled out the dagger I kept with the saying that filled me with vigour and determination, placing it on the bed next to me to remind me that like the blessed heart of Nabi (sallahu alaihi wa Sallam) was uneasy with a desire and craving for martyrdom, so too should mine. Nothing should scare me.

It was a risky step I was scared to take before this, because if my uncle had to get wind of it, it could be dangerous. Yes, I felt scared and vulnerable right then but I needed to overcome it.

How long was I going to continue being scared for? Taking this step with my future wife, going all out to embrace what would be half my Deen, should never make me feel more fearful. In fact, it gave me that much more strength to do the right thing.

“Joe,” I said roughly into the phone, pulling on my best jeans and watching myself in my sisters room mirror cynically as I got ready. I looked so unlike the man I felt like inside. I could practically feel my heart pounding as I thought of what today would hold. “I need your help and you can’t say no.”

I had been at my sisters apartment from the morning because she insisted, and I couldn’t say no when she asked. She wanted to spend my final moments before marriage with me, but she was so busy fussing over wedding things that she was barely present.

”Your uncle says you’re not with him anymore.”

It was a simple sentence from the guy at the end of the line, but just hearing it from him made me angry.

So angry, despite knowing that I would hear that and trying to kill that very anger that would come up every time I heard of of my uncle meddling in my life.

What right did my uncle have to interfere in my relationships? Yes, we used Joe often for his contacts and to sort out paperwork we would need to figure out who the rats in our networks were, but I was the one who introduced Joe to him to do that for us. Joe and I were school friends before we did business together. We go way back.

It wasn’t that I admired my past, but it was what it was and every person I had met along the way had helped shape me into the person I was.

”Does it matter?” I muttered, plopping on the bed as I put the phone on speaker and pulled on the new pair of spotty socks Nusaybah bought me to wear with my new Kurta.

”I’ll call you back,” he said after a few seconds, and I wanted to give him a mouthful about shoving me off, but I knew I shouldn’t.

“You’d better,” I threatened mildly, knowing that Joe didn’t say things that he didn’t usually mean.

And it was just as well that I was in good mood that day, because I might have taken the half hour drive to his place to shake him up instead.

But today… I had more important things to do… and I couldn’t believe that this day had come.

That I was actually marrying her. The girl that I had been trying so hard not to freak out by ogling her as she would be sitting at the garden bench reading, or tending to her new plants, or working diligently in the coffee shop kitchen as if he life actually depended on it. I had spent months pretending to be ignoring her, when all I wanted to do was go up to her and ask her if their was ever a possibility of this day ever coming.

And here it was. I had told her that I was striving to be better, but I was having to dig up pieces of my past to do so.

I breathed in, knowing that I had to be forceful in my tactics now, even when I hated it. I hated this side of me that was all hard and rigid and rooting for a fight, but I hated the other side more. I hated knowing that now, I would have more than just myself at risk. Knowing that I couldn’t always control things and other people close to me made me feel vulnerable like never before.

I splashed the water in my face and made my whudhu, hoping to calm my fiery spirits with it. It went without saying that I was a little edgy. I needed to resort to my Lord… to sit on that Musalla and pray to Him, the Most High, because come what may, He was the only One who held a solution. This was a big step but it was what I wanted.

I prayed with an aching fervency because I wanted this to all be okay. I wanted to tame the wild beast in me, to calm my spirits to someone who could actually be worthy of this new role that I was going to take in life. I wanted the people who were going to become my family to always stay safe and protected form what haunted me.

I wanted to change my old ways, and turn a new page in my life. I wanted to be worthy of a husband. Of a father, hopefully, someday too. A resolution that was way more than I ever imagined, but the aching need in me was persistent.

I wanted to be a sterling example, like Nabi (Sallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) was and forever will be. I wanted to be such that even when I face my uncle who had done unmentionable things to me, I wanted to be so good to him that he would be moved by my character alone. This was the journey that I was willing to take for my own betterment.

This family had inspired me. Jameela had made me want to change. She made me want to be better. It was by her acceptance of me that made me want to strive for even more now.

Character. It was the only thing that would define me now, and that’s what had been the trump card in her eyes.

My phone rang at that point, snapping me out of my thoughts and bringing me back to the present.

I needed to leave for the Nikah- my Nikah- in ten minutes, but I knew that every minute was precious.

Hamzah was trying not to disturb me this week but I knew that if I didn’t confirm that final thread of information that had just occurred to me that morning, all that I’ve been helping him with would be futile.

None of it seemed worth it if by the end of this, Hamzah and his wife didn’t work things out. There was no way that I could rest if I knew that there was something I could do to save their marriage, and didn’t.

I breathed our with relief as Joe agreed to my favour, and I tried convincing him that what I was onto was going to change someone’s life. Judging from the first time I saw Faadil, all those months back outside his apartment building, I could tell that he was up to something. The way my uncle spoke to Faadil, made me realise that that Porsche that caused the incident to erupt out of control was going to lead to much more than that.

And despite knowing that Faadil and my uncle had been in contact over the few months, I never really knew what the relationship was. I knew that my uncle worked with him to uncover money. When I cut myself off of him, I didn’t want to find out. But now, from everything I had found out, I had an idea that Faadil had framed himself to get back at Mohsina, and I just needed the final thread to prove it.

“I’ve tried asking around,” I said in a level tone, thinking of the conversation I had with Nusaybah’s best friends brother. “Ahmed can’t help. He would if he could but he doesn’t do this anymore because of his family commitments. I know it’s risky but you’re my last hope, Joe. I need to know how the evidence came to the knowledge of the company. I want to know if Faadil framed himself.”

If was the only thing that made sense. Yes, Faadils reputation would be at stake if he framed himself but if he dragged Mohsina’s name in it with him, it may be a completely different motive. If may either mean that he would try to shove all blame on to her, or it could be that they’ll go down together, which would help him to earn her trust and then rebound again.

The latter seemed more plausible right then and I knew that I had to tell Hamzah but there was barely any time left and I was going to be late for my own Nikah if I didn’t hurry the hell up.

I told Joe that Hamzah would pay anything for clearance of his wife’s name, and money wasn’t an issue. It seemed to do the trick.

We settled on a price and that’s how I found myself walking out to my brother-in-law Faheem’s car, after Nusaybah clung to me for at least 2 entire minutes for dear life, my mind trying to focus on what exactly was going down that day. She finally let me go with tears swimming in her dark eyes, and my niece tugging restlessly on her cloak.

”Smelling good,” Faheem commented in his swanky British accent as I finally entered the car. “You ready?”

Faheems voice was light but clear, almost jolting me out of my train of thought as he watched me from the corner of his eye. Him and my sister being here was more than I could ever ask for. I knew that my father wouldn’t come but I still hoped. I really wanted him to make an appearance. I had stopped by his place in the week and left an invite in the postbox. I knew he got it because I waited behind the next house wall to how long after he would come and take the mail I left every day.

I nodded as I watched him drive on, not really wanting to talk yet. After the Nikah, things would feel more relaxed. It was a low key affair. I asked for it to be as private as possible, because of how many enemies I had made along the way. My uncle had been trying to get hold of me and I knew that he had more work for me with promising financial incentives, but I was refusing to relent.

I wanted to leave that life completely, and start afresh with a purer intent in mind.

More than anything, I wanted this to stay out of my uncles knowledge, so I wouldn’t have to worry about protecting Jameela before we got married.

After marriage, I was sure to do anything to keep her safe from my history.

I breathed in as I looked ahead, drumming my fingers together as I tried to control my nerves. Faheem wasn’t much of a talker, which made sense, because my sister spoke enough for the both of them. I looked out the window, watching the cars pulling up for Asr salaah, feeling a pit in the bottom of my stomach, but not because of what lay ahead. I was worried. Scared that something may go wrong.

“Stop looking so aggro.”

Aggro. It was Nusaybah’s word that I never quite understood the meaning of.

I glanced at Faheem as he turned off the ignition, closing my eyes briefly as I tried to recollect my thoughts. There was so much going on in my mind. I needed to switch it off.

“I’m not,” I said, pushing the door open and meeting my brother-in-laws eye. “I’m just worried that things may not all go that smoothly. I have a reputation for inviting trouble. You know that.”

We were walking toward the mosque, and even with a handgun strapped to my ankle, I knew that I was always at risk.

And don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t that I was afraid of dying. Not in the way most people were.

I had faced it head on, seen it way too many times to be afraid that way. What I was scared of was what would come after. I was scared of how my Lord would deal with me, after everything I had done. I was scared that my repentance wasn’t good enough, or sincere enough. But in the same breath, I lived with the blossoming hope that in death, it was the only place that I would find complete freedom from the life I had lived in this deranged world.

“They’re just people, you know,” Faheem said quietly, his accent a little less pronounced as he lowered his voice. “People who have power in this world maybe, but don’t forget that Allah is in control of everything else and He sees you. He sees you, bro. He sees that you’ve changed and you’re trying to be better. You think he’s not going to take care of you when you’re taking one of the biggest steps to make it all right?”

I glanced at him as we entered the building, emotion welling up in my eyes as I shook my head, my heart now beating a little more steadily as I approached the place where I would read Salaah. I didn’t want to believe that I was worthy of anything good. I didn’t want to let myself believe that it would all be okay. For me, I rather expect the worst and then get surprised at the best…

And oh yes, I wished for the best. In every way, and my heart was filled with anticipation for what lay ahead as the Salaah commenced.

The Nikah was scheduled to be after Asr and as crowds came in for the prayer, and then left again, giving me a clear sight of Maulana Khalid as he spoke to someone ahead, I knew that the time for me to pull up my socks and get to the front was right then. Everything seemed to be going in slow motion. People were mulling out steadily, and as I gazed at my shaky hands, I felt as if time had stood still.

And though I knew Maulana from when I was younger, he was well aware of my past and where it had led me, and now, he accepted me wholeheartedly without any judgement.

I could see Muhammed Husayn around the outskirts, and Jameela’s father approaching the front with two other men. Eyes were on me as I slowly walked up to the small crowd, knowing that this was going to be one of the most defining moments of my life.

I breathed in as I offered a greeting to them all, staying silent as Maulana Khalid introduced himself and then looked at me as if to check if I was ready.

And it was one of those moments when I seriously felt like throwing in the towel and running out of there, not because of what lay ahead for me, but because it only then when reality came crashing down on me like never before.

There was no one who deserved this less than I. My father wasn’t there, although I had hoped he would be. It was just a reminder that I would never be good enough. The truth was glaring at me as I watched Maulana hug my brother-in-law, who was also his cousin-in-law, and then turn to my future father-in-law with praises for me.

I couldn’t quite believe that I was hearing all these complimentary things coming from his mouth, where he spoke as if I was someone great. Hamzah was grinning stupidly as he said it, but I believed none of it when he pulled me to him, telling me that I was such an amazing kind of human for changing my life around the way I had.

All I knew was that this was all just for now, and when they found out what I was really like, they would quickly learn the truth about me. I didn’t know that they would look at me, as the Nikah started, with all this joy and expectation, and the only thing that kept me rooted to the spot was the thought of having a wife like Jameela who would somehow make this all make sense once again.

I wasn’t even sure how I got through the proceedings. I mean, I remembered the shivery nerves and the Maulana asking all the relevant questions. I had agreed, and I had said the binding words with a certainty that would define my life, but it didn’t change the fact that throughout it all, I still felt like I was floating.

I could feel my phone buzzing in my pocket as the small crowd came forward to greet me. I forgot about everything else for that time, living in the moment as everyone hugged and congratulated me as if this great achievement was all due to my own doing. The gratitude in my heart at that moment was insurmountable.

All I knew was that Allah Ta’ala had come through for us in a way that I never imagined. I was filled to the brim with amazement and my heart was literally bursting with pride as I found myself being guided out by my new brother-in-law, who was having a field day with Faheem at my expense.

”He’s ours now, bru,” Hamzah said with a smile as he slung his hand over my shoulder. I couldnt help but wonder how he was still smiling, despite knowing what would be the result of his own marriage very soon. “We’ll take over from here.”

Faheem grinned back, slapped my back and nodded his head.

”My wife says you’re welcome to him,” he said with a wink, looking at his phone. “No returns or exchanges.”

I knew they were joking but the tightness in my chest was still very evident. What if Jameela regretted this? What if the family realised that letting me into their little unit was the worst mistake of their lives?

The banter continued as we drove the short distance to the farm, me trying to keep my nerves at bay as we entered the farm driveway that had become home to me.

There were a few cars parked in the driveway, but knowing that this was going to be a small, private affair, I didn’t think too much of it. Winning Jameela’s Nani over was going to be a challenge, but I was going to do what it took. I could already see her from where we parked, and I couldn’t help but feel a wave of uncertainty overcome me as my father in law, Hamzah and Muhammad Husayn hopped off the car, and waited for  me to join. I already felt like part of the family and I didn’t deserve it.

I shook my head as I tried to dispel all negative emotions, doing the usual meeting and greeting with a few other family men who had just come in from the mosque.

Guided by Hamzah, I could feel his hand on my back as we waded through the people, making our way to Jameela’s family for a quick greeting, before Mohsina appeared from the passage behind the kitchen. I could barely remember who I saw, because I could think of nothing else besides the woman who I had been waiting for months to be alone with.

I wasn’t the type to get all flustered and tongue-tied. I’d seen way too much in life to let myself be swayed by such elementary thoughts.

After so long, it felt like my resolve was finally going to be diminished, and I was quite sure that once I saw her, all noble intentions of easing her into this new relationship would be dissolved.

Mohsina had already gestured to us to meet them down the passage, and as Hamzah gave me the go-ahead to pass through, it felt as if my legs were transporting me all by themselves. Somehow, being here, closer to Jameela, was giving me a courage I never knew I had. Without even realising how, I found myself in front of a room door, hearing about three female voices behind it, and knowing that I would probably have to wait a few minutes before they were entirely ready.

I knew women and their obsession with everything being perfect. After all, I had Nusaybah as a sister and semi-mother. I smiled as I heard a few hushed words and then a sudden screech, before muffled voices came closer to the door.

They were still dilly-dallying around the entrance of the room, and as I remembered my phone in my pocket, and the call I had made just before I went to the masjid.

The last thing I wanted right now in this moment was to be worrying, but Hamzah had done so much for me, and I couldn’t let him down. I knew that I had to be less selfish. I’d have to speak to him properly, to let him know about the latest developments, but as I slid my phone out of my pocket, all thoughts about Hamzah were already sidelined.

The messages were just a few, and besides Nusaybah’s emotional words that took me a full thirty seconds to scroll through, and a few other uneventful updates from Joe, my eyes immediately fell on the message from the unknown number.

I didn’t even have to slide it open to see it, and I could already feel my heart rate escalating. It was short, but it had the desired effect.

Congratulations son. 

I always hated when my uncle called me son. I wasn’t his son, and I would never be.
He never treated me like one, and this time, I needed to show him that I wasn’t that young boy that he used to lock up and control, to make himself feel strong.

It was at the point of my increasing fury that the door opened, and light immediately streamed into the passage my senses as I glanced up at the two females with Mohsina who were making their way out, stepping back and looking down again so they could pass.

I slid my phone back into my pocket, in anticipation for who I would be seeing next, but my consumed mind was still on the remainder of the unsettling message that I had glimpsed just moments before.

It was evident that it was a threat.

Heard that you are a married man now.
Enjoy it while it lasts.

Sunnah of the month of Rajab 

Sayyiduna Anas Ibn Malik (radiyallahu’anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would recite the following supplication when the Month of Rajab would commence:

اَللّٰهُمَّ  بَارِكْ لَناَ فِيْ رَجَبٍ وَشَعْبانَ وَبَلّغْنَا رَمَضَانْ

Allahumma baarik lana fi Rajaba wa Sha’bana wa balligh-na Ramadan

Translation: Oh Allah! Grant us Barakah (Blessing) during (the months of) Rajab and Sha’ban, and allow us to reach Ramadan.

(Shu’abul-Iman, Hadith: 3534, Ibnu Sunni, Hadith: 660, Mukhtasar Zawaid Bazzar, Hadith: 662, also see Al-Adhkar, Hadith: 549)

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..💕

















Starry Nights

Bismihi Ta’ala

Part 62

For the first time since we were married, Hamzah didn’t wake me up for Salaah.  I had fallen asleep putting Zaid to bed, and he didn’t even check in on me.

Okay. He might have checked in on me, and realised that I still had time and crept away silently, but that wasn’t the point. He didn’t wake me up.

And I could say that I expected it. Or maybe I didn’t.

What I did expect was his anger and his frustration. Maybe even his jealousy. I expected him to be flying off the rails with some kind of intense reaction.

What I didn’t expect was his silence.

And okay. I get it. I was a horrible person.

Bad, bad, baaaad. Really. I wasn’t the kind of person who was always easy and accommodating, and neither was I the most sociable, especially when it came to Hamzah’s family. I made life difficult at times. I sometimes took pleasure in his annoyance. I tested limits. I pushed boundaries. Sometimes a little too much.

And the truth is; there comes a time when it happens that sometimes you push people too far. You don’t realise how much they do, how much they put up with, how much they endure… until it reaches a point of no return. Until you’re left hanging your head in shame and trying to make up for all the times you never really appreciated them for being who they were.

And there wasn’t much that I knew, but what I knew right then was that there are few gifted people in the world who can see the good in every situation. They are trained hard to be optimistic and are blessed with the ability to see light, even in the darkest of circumstances. And that was what Hamzah was, and always had been for me, until that point. Not having him the way he always appeared and made light of every situation was a very difficult thing indeed.

Marriage was tough. It wasn’t always beautiful. You see the worst in somebody. You see them when they’re sad, when they’re mad, when they’re so unlovable that you want to scream. But you also get to see them at their wildest points, when they’re laughing so hard that tears run down their face and they’re at their worst version of crazy.

But marriage is also a way to gather rewards from Allah SWT. A good marriage will be blessed by Allah SWT and will be our chance to obtain paradise. As the Prophet (Sallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said in the following hadith:

There is no foundation that has been built in Islam more loved by Allah SWT than marriage.”

Marriage is the foundation of love for human in the world. Its built by nothing other than honesty, sincerity and faith towards the other.

And never mind what Rabia said. How she provoked me. Made me feel this small. How she had gotten under my skin and all worked up about social media and my previous life. It wasn’t relevant.

Even her annoying look and manipulative smile shouldn’t have had an effect on me, when it came to dealing with Hamzah. The thing is, when you worry about what people think, you will always be their prisoner, and you imprison yourself. And you’re stuck there, in that cage, and you can’t find your way out until you break it open…

And that’s where it all started. From the moment I got into the car, I had let Rabia’s opinions and comments shape me. I had let her warped outlook on life stifle me. Even after Hamzah had tried to put things right, all that was going through my mind was all the opinions and bullcrap she had been hammering into my head, from the moment she got into the car.

And then was the ring. And oh my word, it came like a lightning bolt from the sky. Amidst that beautiful setting that literally made my hair stand on end, when Hamzah pulled out that black box… I was honestly feeling that there was no way that I could let him believe all the lies anymore.

And that’s why I had to tell him about Faadil.

And I couldn’t never forget the look on his face as he looked ar me, sea breeze blowing in my face, the smell of the sea heightening as the waves crashed around us. I told him that Faadil hadn’t just loaned me money. That our relationship had somehow spiralled to something where I was in a corner, and it seemed that he was the only one who could pull me out… and he had.

In the only way Faadil knew how to. By making it something that went beyond the boundaries of friendship.

I had lost faith. I had lost hope. I had even lost my own izzat in his eyes.

“Him?” Hamzah had muttered, his eyes darting back and forth in anger. “Of all people, Mohsina! Seriously?! After I warned you, you willingly got involved with that womanising excuse for a man. Do you even know what he’s capable of doing?”

I swallowed, fighting back tears as he looked at me, stalking off back to the house ahead of me as if I was worse that the scum of the earth. Maybe I was.

But it didn’t matter, right? I had changed. I chose something better. I cut myself free and rose above it.

I made Taubah. Is it not true that when you leave a sin with resolution to never return, then it’s as if you have immediately become His friend?

But Hamzah was still hurt. I figured that giving him a space would be the best idea, despite feeling like I was never going to be able to solve this hostility that was between us.

I felt hopeless as the night seemed to lengthen extensively, as I fed a very needy Zaid who was seeking extra comfort due to being in a strange place and literally waking up every hour.

I could barely stop my mind from working either, deriving the most unassuming scenarios in my head. Jameela had messaged with very little hope, saying that we could talk tomorrow about what was bothering me.

She had sounded off-ish but I put it down to her having to meet some boy who was coming to see her tomorrow. Jameela wasn’t quite the one to get excited about those things. I just hoped that she wasn’t her usual uninterested self and gave the guy a fair chance. After speaking to my sister briefly, I figured I would have to get all the information out from her the next day.

Drifting off to sleep still feeling anxious, I remember waking in the middle of the night after, around midnight, wondering if he would ever forgive me. I was in dire need of some hope and inspiration and as I dragged myself out of the warm bed and made a fresh whudhu, I knew that nothing else would be quite as effective as fervent Duaa during the depths of the night when everyone was asleep.

It’s weird how desperate situations bring out the best of us at times. How we slip into our comfortable (or sometimes uncomfortable) ruts that feed our inherent complacency.

I prayed hard. Desperately. Hoping against hope that Hamzah would come around and be okay with me again.

And who could underestimate the purity of such amazing Du’aa. Indeed, those heartfelt prayers in the depths of the night were of a magnitude that one could never perceive, until its result is seen, sometimes in ways that we can never imagine.

I hadn’t been one who was ever constant in Tahajjud salaah. But what I did know was that when the night was at its darkest, and the unfiltered magic of tahajjud pumps through the veins… there’s no other solution or answer that relieves you more than what comes after, even when you’re not expecting it.

And as I deliberated over whether going back to bed was a viable option, I already knew that I wouldn’t be able to find peace until this was settled.

I just couldn’t. I had to find Hamzah and even if I had to squeeze a reaction out of him, I had to know what was in his mind. I snuck out the room after what felt like an exceptionally long first half of night, seeing the door slightly ajar and as I crept toward the top of the staircase, I could hear his voice speaking to his grandmother. I couldn’t quite believe that she was up so late. But I figured that Hamzah and his Dadi were pretty close. They were very possibly catching up on lost time, and probably even talking over what was bugging Hamzah too.

“So did you and her have a fight?” She was saying, her voice quite concerned. “She barely spoke last night, and I don’t like to see you upset like this, Hamzoo. You still haven’t said what’s troubling you.”

I felt bad for not making conversation. I wasn’t exactly the talkative type and after yesterdays events had put an unexpected spanner in the works, it made it more difficult for me to actually strike up a conversation with anyone, let alone really chat to Hamzah’s favourite grandparent.

“It’s nothing, Dee,” he said tiredly, and I could hear the strain in his voice as he said it. “We just… argued over something stupid from the past.”

There was silence for few seconds and I could hear a microwave door opening and closing, as it went on.

“I want you to be careful,” she said quietly, but still loud enough to travel to the top of the staircase.

I sucked in my breath.

Was Dadi worried that I was going to purposely hurt Hamzah? I could feel my heart clenching as I waited for him to question her. It was he just going to badmouth me and leave it at that?

“Of what, Dadi?” He asked, his voice as curious of my mind. “We already spoke about the things that were really troubling me.”

Hmmm. I wondered what they spoke about.

”I know,” she said, her voice lowering significantly. “Everyone has faults. Marriage is not easy. It’s not only the good times. Your sister knows it too… But I see the way Rabia talks about her. Talks to her. Whatever is true or not… I think it’s best to keep the two of them away from each other…”

Her voice trailed off as they left the kitchen area and I could hear them walking away, and I scurried quickly back to the room, heart thudding in my chest, wondering why Dadi would say.

I retreated to the bed for a moment, my heart trembling slightly, cuddling Zaid to me, watching him sleep, trying to figure out how I was going to make it up to Hamzah for getting him so upset.

And it didn’t take me long to figure that I needed to do something. That they were probably discussing something that was bothering him, and I needed to fix it. I was the one at fault, after all. I couldn’t sit there and wait for it to all unravel and crumble before me.

And so I made my way down the stairs tentatively, looking for Dadi who was now nowhere in sight.

The lights in the kitchen were dim as I tiptoed through it, wondering where on earth Hamzah disappeared to if he wasn’t in the room.

I felt like a ghost, creeping silently in the shadows, as I got to the window, immediately catching sight of a cloud of smoke coming from behind the ponytail palm tree that stood behind the house. I could already see the shadowy figure sitting at one of the black benches surrounding the fountain.

It was one of those nights where the stars weren’t clearly visible at first glance, but as I stared more intently, I was sure I could see them winking at me in turns, almost as if they had a secret that they were yearning to share.

I was sure not to make a single sound as I squeezed my body through the tiny gap in the doorway and made way towards him.
I literally froze in my tracks as I caught sight of my him, legs stretched out in front of him as he sat there as if there was no other place he ever felt more at home, under the twinkling stars.

For a minute, I wished that I could read into his thoughts, as he smooched the night sky as if there was nothing beyond the dazzling beauty before him. The moon shone down clear and blindingly bright, as the sounds of cicadas in the trees and the crashing of the waves were the only thing accompanied us.

And I wasn’t sure if he saw me, but as I crept up to him, gently taking a seat right next to where his one arm rested, he didn’t even as much as sneak a single glance at me.

I didn’t want to speak, for fear of breaking the spell that the blackness seemed to have cast over him, but I also knew then that if I didn’t say anything at all, neither would he.

“Hamzah,” I said softly, watching the tip of whatever he was smoking light up as he took a pull from it, holding it in for a while before releasing curls of clouds around his face, obscuring him from my view.

Maybe that was his intention. Hiding from me, concealing his face, so I couldn’t see his expression. Emotion was a weird thing. It gets you when you don’t always expect it.

I knew he wasn’t exactly in the mood to talk. I also knew that if have to do a little more than just coax him.

”I know you’re angry,” I said, my eyes avoiding his as I spoke. “And I know it’s not fair to expect you to just forgive me. And I’m not sure where we need to go from here, whether you will want to… I know that it’s hard, and you don’t owe me anything but…”

I know that I once said that even if Hamzah didn’t want me after he found out about Faadil, I would be okay with that.

Well, not okay. But I’d survive.

But somehow, now that we were here… the more I thought about it, the more I just wanted everything to be okay. I wanted Hamzah and I wanted Zaid and as I prayed fervently for my family to remain intact, I didn’t quite understand how much Allah Ta’ala truly appreciates the slave who turns to him in absolute despair.

And oh yes, that I was. Hanging my head in shame and hoping for a miracle.

I closed my eyes again, not wanting to meet his eyes.

For a minute, his gaze had settled on me and softened, almost as if he wanted to reach out to me. But just as quick as it happened, it flickered away.

“Hamzah,” I started again, noting his ongoing silence as he tipped his joint to his lips and leaned his head back against the back of the bench. “Say something. Please.”

The silence was unbearable, and as anger splayed within me, without even thinking, I reached out and grabbed his cigar, my eyes flashing in anger as I pulled it to my mouth, watching his eyes widen in shock as I breathed in.

The prices I paid to get his attention.

Worst mistake ever. A tiny wisp of smoke escaped as I coughed and sputtered, smashing at my chest as Hamzah’s smile grew into a fully blown chuckle.

He found it funny? It was disgusting.

“How do you smoke that?!” I spluttered, still struggling to breathe as I looked at him in shock. “It’s torture!”

It really was. I handed the disgusting thing back to him, ignoring his cynical smile on me as he watched my recovery.

”Not very ladylike,” he said with a smirk, shaking his head and expertly taking in another pull as he watched me from the corner of his eye, and then looking up again at the stars as he breathed out again.

“Not ‘man-like’ either!” I retorted, feeling like I was going to gag. “It’s just… yuck! Why?!”

He shrugged nonchalantly.

“Why not?”he said bluntly, scowling. “Makes me feel better. When my mind won’t stop and I can’t switch off the thoughts… I can just come out here, read some Qur’ān and look out the stars while enjoying my smoke…”

It looked almost like he was whispering his sweet recitation to the starry skies as he looked up, and the Surah that mentioned the star’s immediately came to mind, just as he started to recite…

وَٱلنَّجۡمِ إِذَا هَوَىٰ

By the star when it goes down(falls).

And as I stared at him without reservations, the moonlight glowing above his smoky silhouette, he went on to explain.

“In the past, the stars were something that the Arabs would often pay very close attention to,” he said softly, as he finished his beautiful recital, making me gaze up at them too. “Something of a pass time that they would spend looking at… because well, there wasn’t much else to do, right?”

I smiled as I wondered what people in the past did without technology and laptops and instagram.

I had a feeling that they were probably better off without the mental health problems. 

“And as Nabi (Sallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) would receive more and more revelation… they came to learn that with every shooting star, meant the shooting down of the Shayateen who would try and go up to the heavens to overhear the verses of the angels, and try and corrupt them. Basically, every shooting star was actually a symbol of the preservation of the word of Allah…”

“Amazing,” I murmured, still staring up at the blue-black skies as they twinkled. 

A shooting star wasn’t just a shooting star. It was a symbol of Allah’s mercy upon the Ummah…

“Anyways,” he said, shifting in his seat and rolling his head around to watch me. “While I was sitting and thinking about thinking… well, I figured something out. And maybe this isn’t the ideal way for this to happen but we don’t always choose when things dawn on us…”

“What?” I said, a little annoyed at his beating around the bush, not entirely sure what he was onto as he stubbed his takkie forcefully in the sandy patch around the bench and then looked up.

He leaned back and gazed up into the sky again, almost as if he wasn’t quite sure how to say what he needed to.

“You want to take a walk?” he asked bluntly, eyes fixed on me as he suddenly leaned forward.

Take a walk? Didn’t he remember where a walk had lead to yesterday?

I narrowed my eyes and looked at him, my heart beating faster as I saw something that I didn’t quite recognise in his eyes.

It wasn’t the usual way he looked at me, when he was either trying to annoy me or to get some kind of reaction out of me. This time, there was a concern and a pure compassion within them. Almost as if he was seeing right through to the depths of my heart.

I frowned as I looked back at him, feeling sad and confused and at a loss… because of everything that had happened in the past and went so wrong…

”I know I was angry,” he said, shifting around a tad bit uncomfortably. “But it’s not like I didn’t know that Faadil may have been part of your world at some point. It’s just that I didn’t want to really believe it. I had forgiven you a long time ago for what might have happened… but sometimes… we forget that Allah Ta’ala is so forgiving, and He doesn’t dig up all the old dirt when we make a mistake and deals with us. With Taubah… He’s already written out sins off, no questions. People like me… We’re just weak, you know?”

”I know,” I said, a smile playing on my face as I looked at his familiar features in the moonlight,  and there’s something so honest about it that it made me feel really vulnerable. “People like me too.”

I remember once telling Jameela that Faadil was gracious. It was at a time where I thought that money and flashy things were most important. What I didn’t realise was that the moment I chose that life, I made a trade off.

The guy in front of me was a different kind of gracious. The most purest kind. The type who did it only for the sake and pleasure of Allah. Because he knew that there was no other way to win hearts but to give of yourself, until you have given so much that you’ve literally rooted yourself into their hearts.

”Mos,” he said quietly, his gaze lifting to mine as he locked eyes with me, the tip of the cigar bright against the night sky. “You know I love you. Right?”

He said it so simply, as if he had said it millions of times before, but he actually hadn’t.

I could feel the back of my eyes pricking with tears, but I didn’t want to looks stupid and cry. Not now. I didn’t want to cry right then. Nooooo.

I nodded, fresh waves of emotion hitting me as I glimpsed the sincerity in his eyes, taking a deep breath in as I looked back at him.

He gave a small smile, reaching for my hand and holding it firmly, his thumb stroking the back of my palm.

“The truth is, I belong to you,” he whispered softly. “You belong to me. Wholly. Inexplicably. Unconditionally. No matter what we face. Even if it hurts one or both of us sometimes.”

He moved my hand until it was gripped within his palm, and gave a tortured smile as I let a tear fall from the corner of my eyes.

”Rather you don’t cry,” he said softly, brushing the tear away with his thumb. “It’s not fair on me. After everything, you know, you shouldn’t put me through this…”

His one dimple flashed as he smiled adorably, cupping my chin with his hand.

“You say so?” I asked breathlessly, still kind of in a daze, and wondering if I was dreaming. This had been so effortless. So easy. Like forgiveness was the sheer product of his love. I just hope it wasn’t the calm before the storm.

“I know so,” he said with raised eyebrows, winking at me. “Also-“

It was before he could even finish when I literally lunged at him, fiercely embracing him with all my might, barely even believing that somehow, Dadi had put a word in for me so that Hamzah would forgive me.

I had no idea what she said. How she did it. All I knew was that I was so grateful that it was all okay…

How much we owe to the wiser elders in our lives who step in when we can’t see the sense. Their value and their foresight was something that I never really valued until these years of my life.

”Easy, gorgeous,” he laughed, hugging me back as I held onto him, still not believing how easily I was let off the hook. “I was also thinking that you still have to give me your Sabaq, you’re not off the hook for that…”

”Of course,,” I said tearfully, nodding and looking back at him as I smiled through the tears. “But listen… I think we may have to leave a little earlier than expected tomorrow… actually, today. Jameela needs me home for her Samoosa run.”

Hamzah raised his eyebrows questioningly, as if it was something completely unprecedented. It was weird to be having actual conversations about serious stuff in the middle of the night.

“Ah, so we‘re trading swimming with the dolphins in for Jameela’s guy?” He said, his nose scrunching, unimpressed. “How old is Jameela again? I thought she was only sixteen…”

“She’s nineteen,” I started, feeling terrible about missing out on his plans for the morning. If we even manage to wake up on time. Swimming with the dolphins? Really?!

I had no idea that my husband was such a romantic.

But I couldn’t let Jameela down. Plus, I had to speak to her about that Zubair guy. Make sure that what he saw never gets out. Ever.

“I think we may have to plan another trip soon,” I said softly, my stretch scarf I had grabbed slipping off my head as I looked at the constellations above us. “I hardly got to spend time with your grandparents and this place is amazing…”

I could see Hamzah watching me with elation as if what I had said just made his night.

”Can we like… make it a date?” He said softly, almost awkward as he smiled, propping his head up on one arm and looked at me, as he brushed a few strands of hair away from my face.

A date. That was super cute.

“It’s a date,“ I whispered conclusively, turning my face to the starry skies again as my eyes focused on their beauty.

All we needed was time, I convinced myself, as the niggling feeling started in the pit of my stomach, as I leaned closer to him, ignoring the flurry of emotion settling in my tummy.

I just had to believe that it would be okay. And it would.

Within the twinkling stars there was a hope that shone from somewhere beyond, lifting me up to a place that was filled with new resolution… whispering sweet words that convinced me that under the starry skies, there was always a flicker of light that would shine eternally…

Dearest Readers,

Though I was hoping for a bonus post, but I will definitely try and post again by Monday to reveal Jameela’s POV. Will reply to comments soonest.

Much Love

A xx

Just something useful I came across last week:

(Don’t laugh)

How To Fight With Your Spouse

Fights happen in marriage. It’s a normal part of the deal. Marriage consists of two people, and as such, they will naturally differ and disagree on things from time to time.

The real question is: HOW do we disagree?

What should these arguments or fights look like?

Should they be a free for all?

Or are there some ground rules, guidelines for how to conduct ourselves as husbands and wives when we do fight?

Here is what I’ve learned from my own marriage and the marriages I’ve seen around me: Do not fight dirty.

What’s fighting dirty?

Some people, when they get mad, aren’t able to contain their anger or control themselves. They feel their anger building and let it rage into a blazing inferno, raging out of control. In this state, they let loose, allowing themselves to say whatever comes to their angry mind. They deliberately target what they know their spouse is sensitive about, what will devastate and wound the spouse. They go for the jugular. They have no filter in that moment and will say literally anything and everything they can think of in order to hurt the other person and “win” the fight.

But there is no winning like this. Even if you “win” like this, you’ve lost

You’ve lost the trust and love of your spouse, you’ve damaged the relationship, you’ve sacrificed your marriage to score some cheap points in the heat of anger.

This is fighting dirty.

If a couple gets into the mode of fighting dirty, it can be hard to fix. Some things, once said, cannot be unsaid. Once your spouse has heard you belittle, disrespect, or mock him or her in a certain way, he or she cannot un-hear that. The damage is done, despite the apologies that might come later. Not all jabs are erased by even a sincere apology. Some things cut deep, and leave lasting marks. This affects the relationship quality, weakens the marriage bond.

This reminds me of a hadith of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم:

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: “أَرْبَعٌ مَنْ كُنَّ فِيهِ كَانَ مُنَافِقًا خَالِصًا وَمَنْ كَانَتْ فِيهِ خَصْلَةٌ مِنْهُنَّ كَانَتْ فِيهِ خَصْلَةٌ مِنَ النِّفَاقِ حَتَّى يَدَعَهَا إِذَا اؤْتُمِنَ خَانَ وَإِذَا حَدَّثَ كَذَبَ وَإِذَا عَاهَدَ غَدَرَ وَإِذَا خَاصَمَ فَجَرَ.” [صحيح البخاري]

“There are four signs that make someone a pure hypocrite and whoever has them has a characteristic of hypocrisy until he abandons it: when he speaks he lies, when he makes a covenant he is treacherous, when he makes a promise he breaks it, and *when he argues he is wicked.”* [Bukhari]

It’s this last feature of the hypocrite that we want to study. In English, it’s translated as “he becomes wicked,” but the meaning of فجور (fujur) has to do with excess, extremes, like an explosion. It’s an open demonstration of disobedience and defiance brazenly, a gushing out of emotion like water gushes out and explodes in a tsunami. Out of control. Beyond all bounds.

We cannot get like this when we fight. We can’t fight dirty.

Here are some concrete things you should NOT do while fighting with your spouse:

1️⃣. No cursing, swearing, cussing. We don’t use the f-word or other filthy language, no matter how angry we feel.

2️⃣. No name-calling.

3️⃣. No using what you know is going to really truly hurt and devastate your spouse. Don’t use the intimate details they shared with you in confidence once against him or her, just to twist the knife now in a fight.

4️⃣. No bringing in other stuff not related to the current fight. Focus on the issue at hand without piling on other stuff that’s irrelevant.

5️⃣. No dragging up past mistakes your spouse made in the past, if you’ve already forgiven him or her. This is unfair.

6️⃣. No threatening divorce willy nilly. Don’t keep bringing up the possibility of leaving the other person during every small and big argument. This is unnecessary.

7️⃣. No involving the kids. Go have your fight in the privacy of your own room, especially if it gets heated.

8️⃣. No belittling or mocking your spouse in the presence of others. Show respect and restraint even if you’re mad.

9️⃣. No mocking things your spouse genuinely can’t control or help, like an illness he or she has, a fertility problem, being too short/ tall, being dark or light-skinned. These are unchangeable features of your spouse that were determined by Allah who Created him or her; this cannot be helped. It’s not his or her fault. You knew this before marriage. Don’t come now and mock it because you’re mad. This is a cheap shot.

🔟. No attributing intentions to your spouse. You cannot know someone else’s intentions, because the niyyah is in their heart, known only by themselves and by Allah. You can say what it looks like, but you cannot just assign a specific (malicious) intention to the other person when you can’t know that since you can’t see into his or her heart.

These are the top ten etiquettes that are important to stick to during marital disagreements. It’s not a free for all. We don’t go wild. There are certain red lines we never cross, even at the height of anger.

The Muslim has taqwa of Allah, even when angry or in the middle of a heated fight. A Muslim is not foul-mouthed, vulgar, or merciless. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said,

“لَيْسَ الْمُؤْمِنُ بِالطَّعَّانِ وَلَا اللَّعَّانِ وَلَا الْفَاحِشِ وَلَا الْبَذِيءِ.” [سنن الترمذي]

“ *The believer is not one who insults others, nor curses others, nor is vulgar, nor shameless.”* [Tirmidhi]

If done right, with restraint, self-control, and taqwa, a couple can actually get closer and more aligned after having a fight.

If done wrong, fights can destroy a marriage entirely.

May Allah grant us all taqwa of Him even during moments of anger, and bless the marriages of this ummah, ameen.

Umm Khalid Haqiqatjou
No Copyright. Please feel free to share with others.

Mission Revive a Sunnah: Avoiding Suspicion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
















FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah

No Secrets

Bismihi Ta’ala


It’s strange how life works, isn’t it?

One day you’re the happiest person in the world, and the next, it feels like the worries of the entire world have settled on your tiny shoulders.

And as we drove back into it, the city air had been doing its thing with me, unsettling me and making me feel all sorts of uneasy, as I entered our old residence. As much as I tried to shove it away, the prickly feeling in my tummy didn’t yet ease.

It had been a few moments of relief, but the calming effects of the view of the contrasting bougainvillea bushes against the lush greenery of the small town we had just visited had already been lost, as we found ourselves entering the suburbs once again.

For a minute there, I found myself immersed in the vision of the intermittent splash of stunning jacaranda trees visible from the highway, abadoning myself to the feeling of winter in the city too.

Breathing in, letting the relatively denser air fill my lungs, the point was to dispel the less favourable emotions that were coming at me once again. It was owed to the fact that it had been, in my opinion, another fruitless month.

Along with the pulling of my legs and aching tummy as I felt the pain subside momentarily, it was no secret that there was not even a possibility of a positive pregnancy test this month.

And as I sighed and slid open my phone, playing the voice note from my sister, my mood worsened substantially.

“Let me know as soon as you guys are in Johannesburg,” Fareeha said bossily. “We’ll come see you.”

“We’ll come to you,” I typed to her quickly, before she made any plans to visit.

This time, I knew that Rabia was here with us and I didn’t want to risk any clashes. Knowing my sister, as soon as she clapped eyes on her, she would probably dive right into it. Perhaps she would even do a live introduction right there, and risk my entire two month mission of keeping them away from each other being sabotaged.

But I hadn’t yet let Fareeha know that I was in town yet and I had good reasoning for it. Never mind I was being slightly obsessive and unreasonable. I wasn’t going to budge because I knew that if I gave her even a little bit of an advantage, Fareeha was going to completely steal the show with her new and sole ambition in life.

I pulled the bunch of lilies I had bought out the boot, almost with a vengeance as I made my way through the interleading garage door after my mother-in-law, barely even reaching the glass table at the front before the wailing of a baby caught me completely off-guard.

And for a minute, I thought it was my warped mind playing tricks on me.

Or perhaps it was a cat. But there was no cat here. And if it wasn’t a cat… well… That noise could only mean one thing.

My heart lifted as I heard it, and as if the sombreness was immediately eliminated, it was as if my entire existence had suddenly found its purpose once again.

All I knew knew was that as my mother-in-law headed over to where Hamzah was sitting on the couch, it was like some magnetic force that was dragging me over as well.

The precious lilies were abandoned on the glass dining table, and I found myself almost tripping over a baby bag, racing before my mother-in-law to scoop the baby in question up, without even a second thought of who, how and why…

And okay, in retrospect, I knew it was just a little bit of a psychotic reflex but I really couldn’t help it. My heart was already endowed with love for any little human that I saw.

”Oh my, Masha Allah!” My mother-in-law said, glancing at him and smiling widely as I placed him onto my shoulder. “Hamzah, why didn’t you tell us Liyaket was leaving his baby?! We would have left our shopping for tomorrow! I can’t believe you!”

Neither could I.

”Mummy,” he said easily. “Can’t you see how capable I am? Just two hours with me and he’s literally on cloud number nine.”

The baby was already silent and sucking on his fingers.

”Yes, I can see that, but we would have loved to help,” she said easily. “You don’t have to act like superman.”

Or be so selfish, I wanted to add, but I didn’t. After all, it wasn’t quite his fault that I was baby-obsessed.

“Does he need a nappy change?” I asked, glancing at my brother-in-law while I felt the fullness of his diaper.

I could see Hamzah rummaging around in the nappy bag for something, and finally emerging with a nappy and two different wet wipe pouches.

One was some brand hygiene wipes and the other was Huggies sensitive baby wipes. I could see that he had no idea what the difference was so I grabbed the appropriate one, dug for the changing pad in the bag and made my way to the next room to lay the cutie out on the top of the bed and change him.

I would have never guessed that changing a wet diaper would have made me so ecstatic, but it did. It had been so many years since I had done this but it felt like it was just the other day. The years flew by so very fast…

“So how was shopping?” I could hear my brother-in-law asking my mother-in-law in the next room. “What did you buy for me?”

It had been a while since I had met such a friendly baby, and his chuckles resounded through the room as I played a silly little game with his little toes, wiping him carefully and then sealing him up again, before re-buttoning his vest and romper. The smile he gave as he looked up at me felt like the sun had risen in the horizon of my heart.

Warmth oozed within me as I held him close, the feeling his heartbeat next to mine as his fingers gripped around my thumb, almost as if, in their rhythm, the two of us shared a little secret that no one else knew.

I wasn’t sure if anyone else could be as in love with babies as I was right then.

”We brought some food,” my mother-in-law was replying, and I could hear her go silent for a while as she unpacked the packets I had rudely left on the table.

Of course, I knew she wouldn’t mind. It was no secret to her that I would abandon anything for even a few moments with a little human being.

Also, there was inarguably another reason for her silence. Although it had been a highly sensitive topic before, things had kind of simmered down now… but I could tell that she was probably debating whether to tell him that we stopped over at Mohsina’s family’s new coffee shop. We weren’t quite sure how he would take to it.

And though it had been on the trending list for a few months, and I had heard about it a few times because my sister had been there at least half a dozen times and could not stop swooning about it… I figured that since we might be passing through the area, it may be worth a try.

And it just so happened that we were literally starving because we couldn’t find many Halaal places around where the factory shop we went to was, and this was slap-bang, in the middle of our detour. Not only was it conveniently located, but it was also a really aesthetically pleasing location that soothed my heart significantly, even if it was for a little while.

And as we drove up the gravel road leading to the familiar property, I had stepped off the car and breathed in the fresh air, taking in the stunning little rose garden in the front as I walked up the two steps that led to the entrance of the shop. Not only was I already in love with the scenery here, but being there felt almost like being completely out of the city, as I felt myself shedding all the worries that had consumed me earlier on, letting myself get absorbed in the beauty of the beautiful bougainvillea bushes in the distance.

I gazed intently at the carefree collusion of creamy whites that turned almost pearl, pretty pinks that transformed to blood reds … and pinky-peaches that somehow morphed into burnt orange. The contrast against the streaky skies made me stop in my tracks for a minute, as I digested the colours that were very much like the horizon that was spread before us, with its silky smooth skybursts of reds and yellows that found its way into the calmness of the latter afternoon.

When nature painted, with Allah as the artist, truly, no filter was needed…

“You think she will be here?” My mother-in-law had asked quietly as we entered, scanning the room as if she expected Mohsina to pop out from the woodwork.

I knew that she was secretly hoping she would see her but I did think that it was highly unlikely. Even though it was a weekend, with qualified professionals, I knew that there wasn’t always weekend time.

We walked in, immediately noticing that the place was simple and very cottage-inspired. There was nothing fancy about its decor or furniture, but it felt so amazingly homely and comfortable.

And as I took it in, I could see that it’s inspiration was a picture frame of a pretty meadow, and I couldn’t help but glance at if a few times, trying to figure out who had painted it, wondering if it was some coincidence that it looked so strikingly familiar to the farm back home …

A younger boy who stood behind the counter, upon seeing us, quickly went to the back, and in his place out came a girl who at first glance could have been Mohsina, but I already knew wasn’t.

It was her younger sister, and even though I had met her once before, her name had slipped my mind completely.

“Assalamualaikum,” she said kindly, her eyes meeting mine as she flashed one of the rarest smiles I’d seen in months. It was just so sincere and welcoming that it  took me aback.

She had obviously not recognised us, I said to myself. If she did, she would have snubbed us completely. After all, Hamzah was the one who called off the Nikah.

The girls head was covered with a floral hijab that was tied tightly and her striking features were slightly sun kissed, as if she probably spent her glorious days out in the garden most times. The mesmerising rose garden in the front had to be the result of someone’s toil…

“How are you?”

My mother-in-law, seeing no males in the vicinity, and generally unconcerned about any dynamics that may have existed, unlike me, lifted her niqab and gave her a genuine smile.

And the thing was, even if you are in niqab, to reveal your identity was always the right thing to do, by whatever means. Personally, I was just a little worried about how she may take us being here after everything that had happened.

”Wa alaykum Salaam,” Mummy said, looking slightly hesitant as the girls expression changed. “I’m not sure if you remember us, Jameela?”

Ah yes. Jameela. That’s what her name was.

I could tell that she did, but she looked down shyly, almost self-consciously and nodded. So far, so good. I mean, she didn’t chase us out, so that was great.

Instead, she passed us a simple menu and then said:

”I’ll be with you in a minute. My mother would love to see you.”

And with that, I was kind of taken aback. For me, the situation was a little awkward but it seemed as if they were surprisingly elated at our being here, and it took a while for me to wrap my head around it because I really didn’t expect it. What I did expect was an acknowledgement and maybe mere politeness, but I really didn’t think it would go further than that.

And that’s when I realised that maybe there was some hope in this world where everything else seemed to be a dead loss.

And that wasn’t the end of it. And as her mother emerged and a surprisingly pleasant reunion took place, Jameela recommended to us the popular specials they had, served us the best coffee I ever tasted, and packed us off with four extra sandwiches to take home.

Homemade and absolutely delicious, might I add.

And after feeling all satisfied and at peace in my new surroundings, as I soaked up the sun in the outdoor area where the view was nothing short of spectacular, when I went up to the counter, Jameela merely shook her head at me.

“My parents say I can’t charge you ladies,” she said with a sweet smile. “Next time, I promise. Then I know you’ll will come back.”

”That’s not right, Jameela,” I insisted, taking out my purse nonetheless.

I never know what to do in situations like this. And this was awkward. The whole situation was.

“We ordered so much. Let me pay for something at least.”

She shook her head again.

“My Papa will lock me up in the barn if I don’t listen,” she half-whispered, but I could tell she was joking. “You came to our home and after everything that happened… well, it’s the least we could do. It’s Hadiyyah.”

When she put it that way I couldn’t refuse. And they were kind of blowing me away, with all this niceness, even when we barely deserved it.

There was nothing more I could do or say, except thank her appreciately, as I looked around me, taking the place in.

Now that I was here again, I understood again that Mohsina had come from a simple home,  and that they had probably just made ends meet every month, without that much ‘extra’. It made me think about life so differently… because when I thought of it, this is what got me, all the time, and what Allah Ta’ala revealed about those who prefer others above themselves:

They prefer others above themselves, even though poverty become their lot (Holy Qurān, Surah Baqarah.)”

I just couldn’t get it, and although I had a deep desire to be, I wasn’t like that.

How is it that people that have so much, find it so hard to part with that which they own… yet people who don’t, take in so much in their stride? Was it because they have little and are content with it… so giving even of that little doesn’t make a difference? Or was it because they just possessed an immensely amazing gift that allows them to open their heart so unreservedly, that no matter what they lose in the pursuit of winning over someone’s heart, barely makes a difference…

What I didn’t yet realize is that the money earned by a person, if it is not blessed, will never be enough. The more one earns, the more are his needs. Its like continuing to eat without becoming satisfied.

And as I exited, my heart engulfed all sorts of strange emotions, my eyes fell on a selection of potted flowers for sale on a little stand there, and next to it were a few buckets of lilies that took my breath away. So instead, I looked through the selection of pretty lilies in a bucket in the bucket, who Jameela said she was selling for someone else, and bought two unusually coloured bunches.

“Such a lovely girl,” my mother-in-law was murmuring as we made our way out. “Next time we need to bring something for them. If I had another son I would have already sent a proposal for her.”

She chuckled light-heartedly but there was a hint of sadness in her voice, probably for the would have been daughter-in-law she had missed out on all those months back.

I kept silent, thinking what everyone would think in situations like this. Whatever happened. However Hamzah may have messed it up. Whatever Mohsina might have done.

Allah knows best.

“But it is what it is,” she said, almost to herself as we got in the car. “No use thinking about it. And three is a good number, though, right? Lucky my second pregnancy had turned out to be twins.”

Three is an amazing number. Although I’d be happy with two.

Oh, but I’m happy with one too. Am I?
Of course, I’m grateful, but just one more….

I smiled and shook my head to myself, thinking about how my mother-in-law had once mentioned that she never thought she would have any more kids after Imraan. And then bam… along came two at once, almost ten years later.

And I never did ask her more about it. I always assumed that she had fallen pregnant with twins naturally and there were no treatment options at that time. But now as she said it, the desire the ask her was overwhelming.

“Was it a shock?” I said carefully, putting the car into reverse and glancing at her as we left.

”It could have been one, two or three,” she said with a smile, and left it at that.

”Ah,” I said, as if I wasn’t quite sure.

But of course I understood what that meant. It was the option that Imraan didn’t want to consider as yet, but the one I was trying hard for him to at least think about. IVF, under stipulated conditions, was allowed, but to get Imraan to accept it as a viable option was another task altogether.

I sighed as I picked baby Zaid up now, holding him close as I took in that unique newborn scent, and headed back to the sitting room.

I wasn’t sure if my mother-in-law had told him where we’d been but as I heard more voices in the vicinity, I realised that Zaids parents were already back.

With a slightly heavy heart, I dragged myself to the kitchen, seeing Liyaket’s wife perched on a chair there, looking as calm as ever, as I held her baby in my arms.

“Ah there he is,” she said, smiling as she saw her son. “I really hope he didn’t trouble you.”

And if she wasn’t so lovely I might have resented her for having the cutest baby in the world, but of course I couldn’t.

“Not at all,” I smiled, passing him over to her. He was so sweet-natured, as he literally drifted into lala land again with his dummy in his mouth. “You should have left him longer. We hardly had any time with him. Hamzah was keeping him all to himself.”

Layyanah smiled, shaking her head.

”To tell the truth, I didn’t think he would!” she laughed, genuinely humoured. “Liy and I thought he’d phone after an hour with multiple complaints about how difficult babies are, but when he didn’t, we got even more worried!”

She was giggling as she said it and I smiled.

I too, could barely believe that my otherwise spoilt brother-in-law who could not even make a cup of coffee by himself was actually so handy when it came to babies.

”I hope you guys did what you needed to do?” I asked politely, as I switched the kettle on. “Can I offer you tea or coffee?

“I’m fine with tea,” she said gratefully. “But only if you’re making for yourself. It’s been a pretty hectic morning. The queues at the bank were crazy and I had to urgently sort out a problem with my account. Liyaket keeps telling me not to stress but I can’t help it. I worry, and yet he’s the accountant. Financial security… For Zaid, more than me. He keeps saying that it’s all Duniyaa, but you know..”

She trailed off and I smiled, because I knew. The worry was real and although we were supposed to have Tawakkul, we were so weak. Besides, with our kids, does it ever stop?

”We all worry,” I said knowingly. “We are weak, even though Allah tells us over and over to hand it over to Him…”

And because I knew of Layyanah’s family, who I had recently come to find out was one of the wealthiest families in Johannesburg, it was no secret that I had already had it in my mind that she was pretty materialistic so it didn’t surprise me that she was talking about money.

Liyaket, on the other hand,  was a simple guy who had worked exceptionally hard while he was studying, even doing all-nighters to keep up with work and studies, because for them, nothing ever came easy. The two of them had completely contrasting backgrounds.

And although I had formed my assumptions, the next thing she said caught me completely off guard.

“I suppose at some point, we just have to hand it over, don’t we?” She said quietly. “When we look at the type of life the Sahaaba lived, how can we ever say we are of the same Ummah? Like for example.. the other day I was just reading about Hadhrat Faathima (RA), in a book I found in Liy’s mother bookshelf. How simple her life was, how she worked so hard and how her husband adored her because of it… where are we and where were they? Do you ever wonder?”

She shook her head shamefully while I looked at her in awe, barely believing that this was the same girl I had heard about, who was so spoilt that she had never even had to dish out her own food.

And now, as I tried to process how Allah’s plan works, I was listening to her tell me more about the simplicity of Deen..

This girl was making me review my own intentions in life. It was like I had been missing the point all along.

”Sometimes,” I said, feeling overwhelmed for a minute. “It’s amazing how they endured so much, huh?”

Perhaps it was all the hormonal emotions that were taking it’s toll, but her entire demeanour and beautiful outlook was having such an immense effect on me that I literally just wanted to crumple up and sob my heart out.

“Anyway,” she said, barely noticing, shifting around and moving baby Zaid onto her other arm as she finished feeding him and grabbed two more biscuits. I hastily went up to take him, eager for a little more time. “I’m not sure what time Liy is planning on leaving but I’m just going to carry on eating because this feeding makes us so feel like we’re starved, neh?”

I smiled. I remember how I used to eat about seventeen times a day when I was breastfeeding.

The kettle was already halfway boiled as we chatted easily about babies and their erratic feeding schedules, when I could hear Imraan calling me from the other room.

And since he had just probably arrived, I excused myself to see him, and see to Uthman as well. They were probably a little hungry, since Imraan had gone out to meet a client for the day and Uthman had gone for some additional school tutoring.

“Assalamualaikum,” I said with a smile, peeping out the kitchen door. “How are you? Can I send something for you to eat?”

”Sawls,” Imraan said causally. “I’m fine. Where’s your phone? Fareeha is trying to get hold of you.”

When was the last time I had used it? I had gotten so busy with the baby that I had even forgotten

Oh yes.

“It’s in the car,” I said, smacking my hand on my forehead. “Let me go and fetch it.”

”Don’t stress, love,” he said casually. “Maulana Aadil called to say that they were on the road, so I told them to come here.”

”What?!” I said, widening my eyes at him. “No!”

Imraan frowned.

“Why?” He asked innocently. “Don’t you want to see your sister before we go home? Is everything okay?”

He wouldn’t understand. He was also looking at me like I’d lost my marbles.

“It’s just,” I said slowly, carefully retracting. “I thought we would visit them for a change. I didn’t think you’d go and invite them over without telling me first. It’s so sudden. And I really just wanted to go there and chill while Fareeha did all the tea-making..”

I loved entertaining people, and Imraan knew it. I supposed that’s precisely what made him more suspicious.

”Listen,” Imraan said, his phone and the buzzer going off at the same time, and his voice softened as he said the next sentence, and moved to the corner of the lounge where no-one could see us. “You’re acting crazy and completely unlike yourself. Don’t get offended… but it’s not just now, it’s been for a few weeks now. Do you want to tell me what’s going on?”

I closed my eyes momentarily as Imraan spun around, pressed the button for the top gate, and then turned around again to face me.

”You rather go out and greet them,” I said meekly, as he looked at me and narrowed his eyes.

I could hear my mother-in-law and Layyanah chatting in the next room, feeling like I was missing out on precious moments with the baby.

“They can wait,” he said stubbornly. “You know you can tell me anything. I’m not going until you spill it.”

Breathe, Saaliha, I told myself. Just breathe

It was no big deal. Maybe the two of them wouldn’t clash at all. Perhaps Rabia would be out for a while longer, and Fareeha would be long gone before she even made an appearance.


Imraan only called me by my full name when he was in a no-nonsense mood.

“I can’t,” I finally mumbled. “It’s a secret.”

How would I ever explain this craziness? 

That, I can never mention.

“We never keep secrets,” he said softly, sounding as if I’d knocked the wind out of him, with the words I’d just uttered.

Seconds felt like minutes, as I heard car doors slamming and Fareeha’s voice screaming at her kids as time was running out.

Imraan was inching closer to me, his expression even more disturbed than before.

I swallowed, looking at him, but determined not to breathe a word of my concerns out loud.

“Are you sure absolutely sure?” He said, looking resigned already, as he stepped back, his expression now one of undeniable hurt.

I nodded. I wasn’t thinking further than right then.

“Right,” he said abruptly, turning to leave, and for some reason, there was no other time I remembered that I’d felt more down in the dumps than I did right then.

It didn’t matter though. All I knew was that, come what may, this secret was one that I could never expose…

Sunnah of Giving and Receiving gifts. 

In an attempt to create love, especially if they may be rifts or some kind of problem… the Sunnah of giving gifts is always a perfect remedy ❤️

Rasullulah (Sallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said: “If anyone receives something from his Muslim brother, without asking for it, he should not reject it but he should accept it is his sustenance (rizq) which has been sent by Allah Taála.”

(Fadhaail e Sadaqah)

Du’aa for Rajab 

اَللّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِى رَجَبَ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَان

Allaahumma Baa’rik La’naa Fee Rajab(a), Wa Sha’baan(a), Wa Bal’ligh’naa Ramadhaan.

“O Allaah! Make the months of Rajab and Sha’baan blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadhaan.”









FB/Instagram: @thejourneyingmuslimah


Bismihi Ta’ala


As a child that was a little bit on the prickly side, I’d always been a little obsessed weapons. Like all boys, whether it was a stick or a hand-made shield, fighting and defense was always a game I’d love to play. My first toy gun was my life. I wouldn’t leave home without it in my pocket. Having that assurance of it right there somehow comforted me. As a kid… well, you just had to take your precautions right?!

And of course, as I grew up, it wasn’t like I suddenly lost that rigidness and learnt what the real weapons were. It took years, patience and many lessons… but if there was one thing I learnt through the years of being away, its that constant and sincere Du’aa can come to save you even when you least expect it. Yes, Du’aa. Prayer. 

The truth is in the profoundness of the concept. The weapon of the believer. The essence of worship. Through constant Du’aa, the fact is that even if it doesn’t get us exactly what we desire, most often it removes for us some obstacle in the road that we don’t covet. 

And from the most beautiful story of the Quran, with the most unparalleled lessons, there is a most extraordinary Du’aa. Some Ulema are even of the opinion that this Du’aa of Yusuf (AS), through its uniqueness, is the most beautiful of all prophets’ Duas. 

فَاطِرَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ أَنتَ وَلِيِّي فِي الدُّنُيَا وَالآخِرَةِ تَوَفَّنِي مُسْلِمًا وَأَلْحِقْنِي بِالصَّالِحِينَ

The Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Wali (Protector, Helper, Supporter, Guardian)  in this world and in the Hereafter, cause me to die as a Muslim and join me with the righteous

In the story of Yusuf (AS), he asked for Allah to be with him in this world and in the Aakhirah. He asked Allah to be given the favour of being one of his special servants.
And from the very story, the lesson of Du’aa is undeniable.

The thing is… with all the years being away and not seeing my own parents… I never really thought I was missing out on much until I got shaken up. If I had to pinpoint the exact time when my life changed, I know that I could very easily tell you that it was a moment that I would remember for the rest of my life. Yes, I had every weapon at my disposal, but it didn’t help me one bit. It was not just the most terrifying moment of my life, but it was also the most defining. It was a moment the sky broke loose. When all was revealed. When a window to the other side of life was shown..

And everytime I raised my hands to make Du’aa, I couldn’t help but remember that hat a miracle it was that I was given a chance to be better…

Oh Allah, we are not worthy. This gift of the Quran, we have not even earned. Oh Allah, we have many crimes, Ya Allah. Oh Allah, we have transgressed greatly.
But oh Allah, You are the King of Kings. Oh Allah, make us dependent only on You. Oh Allah make us never ask of anyone but You. Make us Your special people. Make us turn only to You. Make us of the people of Du’aa. Make us of the people of Qur’an. Make us the companions of the Quran. Make our character the character of Quran. Make our hearts attached to the Quran. Oh Allah, make the Quran our day and our night. Oh Allah, make the Quran our entire life. Make us live with the Quran. Make us die with the Quran..
Oh Allah, choose us, Ya Allah. Make us Your special servants. Make us Your stars. Make us shine, Ya Allah. Out of Your kindness, accept us, Ya Allah. Accept this effort as we beg of You and ask out of humility…

Tears momentarily filled my eyes as I ended the Duaa, knowing that it may be a while till I returned to this place that felt so much more like home than any other. To have the privilege of making the Du’aa here and witness a Hafidh of Quran complete now, in time for my leaving was a gift in itself. It was the most apt farewell that came at the most perfect time.

I couldn’t even comprehend the many favors that came along with being here. To see all the people I had yearned to see while I was away was yet a great blessing. My heart had ached to see some of them for years. Old friends, Ustaadh and teachers. Even Maulana Umar had made and appearance today, and as I had watched him retreat I was still in awe of how much of the Sunnah that guy had in him. Through all my years, his walk… his talk., the way he would humour people… just like how Nabi (SAW) would give a person the tile of day, or an attentive ear when they spoke… the man had mastered much more than I had seen in anyone else through all my years.

“You really want to go back?”

I looked up as I turned my face, watching the crowds leaving. He knew just how to appeal to the emotional side of me. The truth was, over the years, the toughness I had as a kid had slowly deteriorated. Yes, some of the experiences had made me hard, but in the same way, a little more in touch with my emotions. I also knew what Yunus was doing. He was the one I had confided in. He was the one that knew the truth of what had happened to me back then… before I had adopted the amazing quality of Shukar and put the past behind me. The dark side of man that had haunted me for years while I was away from home was something I had disclosed to very few people. He was probably wondering why I’d want to go back if there was so much at risk, when I could just stay home… knowing that I’d be safe.

And he knew because Yunus was one of the main people who had helped me get back. After the trouble I had been in and the ridiculous allegations against me… somehow, Yunus had managed to make the arrangements for my return back home. And though I knew at the time I would have to get back to my new life, I just didn’t want to think about it. I just never imagined that it would I be so soon.

”We’re going to miss you here, Maulana.”

”You’ll be okay, bro,” I said placing my arm around his shoulder casually. I felt like I had to explain to him. He looked so lost. “I’ll try and come back soon. It’s just… my life is there now and I have people to see… classes to finish… if Allah wills I’ll meet you again…”

”Ah man,” he said softly, looking genuinely defeated.

Yunus was still the same. Soft, obliging type whose painful expressions punctured my heart. And of course, as we chatted in low tones at the front of the masjid, I felt myself a little more attached to him than I realized. During the past few weeks we had become so close that to leave him now felt like I was losing a bit of myself. I don’t know how he did it but he was the type that was very hard to say no to, and even over the years, nothing had changed.

And I couldn’t help but chuckle as we remembered the one person who could really straighten him out without feeling guilty. Childhood memories were so vivid, and I smiled as I remembered how his sister used to yell at him as kids. There were moments when I often had to stick up for him, because he wouldn’t tell her a thing. The poor guy would simply whimper and turn to get on with his work. It just wasn’t in his nature to put up a fight, and I think that’s what made the guy that much more lovable.

And of course, thinking back was always nostalgic. I couldn’t imagine how empty my childhood would have been had I not had the company of those kids who made it what it was.

“Khawlah says you going to go to your new Madrassa and find new friends and forget about us…”

”What?” I asked, frowning and putting my hand out to block the sun that was in my eyes.

I remembered Yunus clearly asking the question as I sat under the shade of the oak tree, watching a pigeon who had recently built it’s nest fending off another one coming over to try and stake ownership. Being young.. not understanding the harshness of nature at times….it confused me. The pigeon had worked so hard.. and yet another one comes in, thinking that the other one can just yank it’s young out to make room for it to take over. I didn’t understand that maybe the new young were at a greater risk  if their mother didn’t find a home soon…

You can just tell you Papa that you don’t want to go, you know,” Khawlah chipped in, her hands crossing over her chest bossily.

 I knew that she had set Yunus up to ask me the question. That was just her way, if anything bothered her, she’d get her brother wound up.., and poor Yunus, being the softie he was, wouldn’t be able to contain himself.

I shrugged. As if it was that easy. Papa was set on me being an Aalim for years. To break his heart would have been painful even for me to watch.

”I’ll never forget you guys,” I said softly.

”How do we know?” She pressed. She was inconsolable. “That’s what you say, but how do we know?”

Ah, Khalwah, don’t be so moody,” Yunus said. He had been watching me carefully. Somehow he just had that way with people… that feeling for someone else. “Everyone has to grow up and leave, You can see he means it. Of course he won’t.”

”Well I’m not going anywhere,” she said stubbornly, sitting on the bench. “I’m going to stay like this forever.”

Yunus chuckled and she broke into a smile as she suddenly got up, continuing with her work as we went on with the game we were playing. The ‘x and o’ on the sandy patch near the jungle gym was a favorite of ours, and I looked up at them both, wondering for that moment how I could ever forget those friends of mine.

In that space… at the time… losing a childhood friendship seemed like the biggest things in the world.

And I suppose it was ironic, and maybe it was wrong of me… but as life took its course, my life would go on without them. 

I missed my mother. My friends. School. Of course, I missed everything familiar. No guy was as great or friendly as Yunus. No girl was as cool or pretty as Khawlah. My heart ached for familiar sights. For the garden. For outdoors. For the moments I’d spend under the sun, with my hands stuck in the soil. I  didn’t understand that my heart was undergoing other changes. I didn’t know that with this reformation, my heart was slowly anchoring itself, and that no matter where I’d drift to or find myself lost after that…  somehow it was that Tarbiyyah and Quran that would bring me back onto my axis.

I didn’t realize that years down the line I might have actually done myself a disservice by not going out of the way to keep in touch. Even after getting caught up, going off track and finding my way again… I still had the notion that I would be able to pick up where I left off at some point. How wrong I was. Hearing about Khawlah’s marriage had been the biggest wake up call for me. It was the moment when I realized that I hadn’t been true to my word and the only person to blame was myself.

And even after all those years of going away, when I thought I’d found myself, sometimes it just takes one incident to change your entire perspective.

And of course, somehow, as I found my way back home for the first time against all odds, I didn’t think that the main feature would be to meet the guy who made that first trip what it was. Honestly, if I had not met him then it’s possible that my whole trip would have been futile, since I didn’t achieve any other aspirations I had. It was a bleak afternoon towards the end of spring. The air was getting palpably warmer and the days getting noticeably longer. I didn’t think that this was the place that I would end up, but there I was, standing in front of a guy that my father had insisted I come see, despite knowing that I had many other places to be right then.

I looked at him as I entered the room, wondering if was in the right place. Yes, he was a good-looking guy, but he looked like he was having a rough time. I didn’t know just how sick he was, but despite that all, I didn’t know that I’d actually live to see such appreciation.

“You’ve been the star of my life.”

I was confused. I wasn’t sure what he meant. Was the guy serious?

“My wife’s Khawlah,” he said, as if it explained everything.

Did he know what happened regarding Khalwah? Maybe he was just trying to make me feel better. 

His breathing was shallow and slightly labored. I looked at him questioningly. 

”Khawlah?” I repeated idiotically, knowing who he meant of course. I just didn’t want to delve further into the topic. My visit wasn’t for that intention. 

“Yeah,” he said with a grin. No, he wasn’t taking the mickey out of me. He was so… genuine. “You’ve featured in so many new discoveries. Whenever I would hear, ‘Khalid used to say’…I know I’m in for something good. I don’t know what brought you here today but I’m so glad you came…”

Ah. Now I got him. As if I was deserving of that role…

“Well, that’s a funny story,” I said softly, trying to lighten the mood. I was a little stunned. The thing was, I was indebted to him

After hearing how much he had done for my parents in the period I was away, I couldn’t help but want to meet him. He was the guy who had given my parents so much of hope and strength when they thought I was gone for good.

Only at the time they didn’t tell me who he was. Seeing him brought another dimension to the equation. I felt strangely settled. Uplifted. Completely at peace that Khawlah had got an amazing husband. It was weird and completely unexpected but before even seeing my mother, this was the place I had ended up at and I didn’t regret it. 

“Strange that you’re supposed to be the one dead and I’m the one lying here…”

He chuckled. It was a deep kind of rumble for somewhere with his tummy, and it made me smile, despite the fact that his sickness was barely even humorous.

Of course I didn’t know what to say. 

”Hey,” he said suddenly, licking his dry lips and raising an eyebrow at me. He had a different kind of accent. “You know it was my ultimate dream to meet you. Can I tell her that you’re… okay?”

I gave him a small smile. He didn’t say alive. He said okay

”Let me meet my mother first,” I said quietly. “And we’ll let it all unfold from there…”

I just thought I was being streetwise. I didn’t know that Khawlah would be angry that Aadam had met me, and never let her know. All he was doing by not telling her was going with my plan.

He nodded and smiled knowingly. He knew what women were like, of course, and he didn’t want to cause any unnecessary confusion.

And of course,  it was weird for this guy, who was her husband to speak like this. To talk about me, some guy in his wife’s past, being someone who had changed the course of someone’s life. Maybe it was his inherent nature, but he was different.
People are often running others down. Saying bad things. Picking on their faults. It’s seldom that you hear good words. And I supposed I had hoped in a way that Khawlahs husband  wasn’t that amazing… but this was a sure tell-tale sign that Aadam was a genuinely great guy, and of course, I would have never been able to live up to that.

”It feels like,” he said again, a hint of junior in his eye. “Like the story of Yusuf (AS).. coming back after so many years, after his fathers Du’aa… do you know how much of Du’aa they made for you..?”

I smiled. Of course. For Yaqub AS.. the lesson was that despite time, distance and the probability that he will never see his son again… it never stopped him from asking. He never stopped pleading. Even when the people would ask him why he still prayed… after so many years… it was because this prophet understood something that a mere person didn’t. Even if decades pass, and still your Du’aa remains seemingly unanswered… why not continue to ask? The magic of Du’aa is that even if it’s not answered the way you think, it serves as a shield to protect you from something else that may have caused much harm…

”I suppose it is,” I answered. My father who was the only person I’d seen since arrival, had told me that everyone had thought I was dead.

”I never thought I’d meet you,” he said, looking at me like he’d seen a ghost. I mean, I didn’t blame him.

I smiled and read a short Du’aa for him as I saw him closing his eyes tiredly.

I smiled as I saw the humour in his eyes and opened them again. I was about to leave, but he lifted his hand up slightly.

”Is there anything I can do for you?” I said, thinking it was the least I could do. I didn’t want to inconvenience him by staying too long.

He looked at me at that point, and in that one glance it was like millions of veils were lifted  from his eyes and I could see right down to his soul.

”Im the type of guy who had everything I ever wanted,” he said quietly, his eyes telling a tale of untold regret. “The best of cars, houses and clothes. I’ve owned Ferraris and Porsche’s… had them best of them all, yeah… The best of watches, gadgets and shoes. I have money in my account waiting for me to spend…furnished apartments that are all on my name. I thought that was the life, yeah. That I’d found the gold. That this was the be all and end all of life… sounds like it, right?”

I nodded, wondering what it must have been like to be like him. I was never a fan of material things but cars… well, you can’t flash a Ferrari in front of a guy and expect him not to twitch.

”And here I am, yeah,” he said subsequently, his voice dropping. “I probably wouldn’t have realized that those things can do nothing for me. I’m lying here in a queen sized hospital bed, in a private ward. I can take a private jet on any day of the week.. but none of that can do a thing for me. I can’t go back and re-live that time I wasted. I can’t undo the things I’ve done wrong in my past. I can’t even buy more time. I know you know all that but what you don’t know is that if I never met Khawlah… if I never knew any of those promises that she told me about… if I didn’t get to find out that I’m not made of my mistakes and I’m not made of my sins… I’m telling you for sure, my friend…. I would have been a complete goner.”

I had looked at him at that moment, his eyes filled with out gratitude and his expression now completely at peace. I closed my eyes and made a silent Du’aa, willing for Allah to grant him complete relief. I didn’t know him but I felt like I did. He was inspiring. Awesome. A guy whose story made me think about myself and how I took my own situation for granted. I knew I could never be grateful enough…

And yes, I wanted so badly to set everything right but as it happened, as I noticed a car following me back from the hospital that day, I knew that I wouldn’t get to meet my mother that day. Or that year. It was bad luck that I had been traced back home, and going to my house would have put my family at risk. The Egyptian conflict had amplified and I didn’t want to risk it. I headed straight back on a flight, knowing that somehow, if it was meant to be… I would find home someday. 

And here I was, finally. Years down the line, I had been given another chance. As we drove back home that day, Yunus exceptionally silent and me in a world of my own, I couldn’t help but think of how time runs away with us. From those little, daring and somewhat carefree kids, here we were, side by side, out in the big world with so much of hope and aspiration…

And yes, maybe I too had a past that haunted me. I had run away but now I had come home, and done what I need to. I had tied up all loose ends. This time, my mother would come back with me for a while, see her family, and settle some of the fears she had before she had come here years ago. I would fulfill her right.

Once upon a time I tried to escape my past. To forget the pain. Once upon a time, I had lost the innocent that came with youth, when I took a step in the wrong direction. But one lesson I learnt was that when the Quran is in your heart, it will always let you find your way back..

And of course, it was something that stuck with me through the years. It was the sincerity of one guys words that made me think.

Our actions are little. Valueless. Not even worth looking at. We know our condition. We know our deeds. But we ask. We ask our Lord… Oh King of Kings, we ask, Like Yaqoob (AS) asked, and continued to ask… because we hope that hope that one day, maybe Allah will look at us with his look of mercy and give us.. not like how we deserve, but because He knows that if we can’t ask of Him, we really have no where else we can turn to. 

Sometimes I wish that I could have bought more time back then. Set things right. Sometimes I wished that I had taken life a bit more seriously when it mattered. Maybe it was my friends. Maybe it had been my parents. Perhaps it was someone else whose mind I had crossed for some reason or occasion. I don’t know what measure of time or distance or place… I cant comprehend the hours or minutes or seconds… but I do know that it was at the most crucial moment when someone’s Du’aa came to save me from something that would have been a true tragedy. The essence of worship, the answer to every problem. The solution that truly worked. Du’aa was something that I saw the magic of years down the line.

All I knew was that at that point, just before the flaming blaze of the explosion that changed my life, as I bent down to pick up a piece of log that was in the middle of the road… a Sadaqah that showed me the immediate removal of a calamity… those few milliseconds that delayed my re-entry to the car were unbelievably crucial to my survival. Had I got there just 20 seconds earlier, I knew that I too, like my cousins, would have been burnt to smithereens. I too, would have been a complete goner. And I could almost see it… at that very moment, someones heartfelt Du’aa was headed directly at me, intervening just in time and completely shielding me from the disaster that had just unfolded.

And that’s when I learnt about Duaa.

A lesson that stuck for life. As we stopped the car just outside my house now back home, the shadow of my mother sitting on the porch suddenly caught my eye and my heart immediately jumped to my throat.

I knew her tell-tale signs by now. Ah yes, I knew my mother too well. My mothers famous habit was to plant herself outside as a warning to me… generally when she had a bone to pick with my father or when I was in some kind of unprecedented trouble. I didn’t know that she had a visitor. I just knew that when I saw her with her arms crossed and her charcoal eyes slightly narrowed, my only chance at survival was to make a silent Duaa. Today I had to pull out all the weapons I could because there was certainly something unseemly waiting to erupt…


Dearest readers, 

I can’t seem to manage more than one post a week for now, so please forgive the delays. A little bit of revelations in this much longer post… hope most of the questions are being answered…


Much Love,

A xx

Lots and lots of Duaas. Let’s focus on trying to bring Du’aa into our daily lives.. that will be the next Sunnah InshaAllah 

Sunnah of Honoring ones elders 

Reviving this Sunnah…
As youth we should remember that how we treat our elders is how we will be treated when we reach old age.
Sayyiduna Anas narrates that Nabi said: “No young person shows respect to an old man on account of his old age without Allah Ta’ala appointing someone to show respect to him when he becomes old.”

Revive the Sunnah of honoring elders.

How easy to practice …









Twitter: @ajourneyjournal







Life as we Knew it

Bismihi Ta’ala


Nothing happens without purpose. No move. No change. No transformation. The thing is, every setback is a sign for us.  A change in the path is a sign for us. A death is a sign for us. Broken hearts, too, are a sign. Even love. Everything in life has a deep purpose that brings us back to the reality that we are often forgetting.

”Mummy, what you doin’?”

Khadijah’s speech was discerningly clear as she plopped herself on my Musalla. Her little locks were loose and vibrant as she cocked her head to one side and watched me with interest. I hastily wiped my tears away and removed her shoes, pulling her to me as her tiny fingers played with my wrist watch. They were long and slim, just like her fathers.

Oh, my heart.

She was such a paramount part of me that I couldn’t even comprehend the feelings I felt at times. Sometimes I still couldn’t believe that I was a mother. I couldn’t believe that I had somehow become ‘Mummy’ to this young little lady who was such a soothing to my soul.

”Why you crying?” She asked, scrunching up her little face angrily. She wasn’t used to being ignored and I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing. From my family to Aadam’s… Khadijah has always been the center of attention. I just hoped that I wasn’t nurturing a spoilt brat…

”I’m making Du’aa,” I said quietly, kissing the top of her peach-scented hair. “I’m asking Allah for what I need.”

”Did you ask him for my Abba?” She asked bossily, still frowning. “Is he still there by Allah?”

Fresh tears welled up in my eyes as I tried to answer her. I was behaving like a lunatic… crying for every little thing. It had to stop.

”I think your Abba is very happy by Allah,” I sniffed noisily, feeling particularly emotional that day. Today I missed Aadam. Today I missed him a lot. I cleared my throat and trying to formulate my next sentence. “But Allah said that we can keep asking him for whatever we need. To keep your Abba happy and to give him the best home… and keep on asking and asking…”

I wished that I could teach her all the lessons that I had learnt as a young girl. The things that Mama used to tell me too. I wish that she understood it all right now as I remembered it but I knew it would take a little time before she could truly comprehend. I wanted to tell her about Du’aa. About how Allah listens. That sometimes it’s just the comfort of turning to Him that brings solace. That there is an incredible peace in submission. That’s it’s possible that sometimes when we don’t get an immediately answer, it’s never that Allah doesn’t answer us. It’s just that sometimes we need to alter our method of asking Him.

”But why you asking, mummy?” She said, her little voice sounding more curious than before. “Allah knows.”

I blinked at her, wondering if this toddler of mine really knew what she was saying.

Yes, it was true. Allah knew. Even when we don’t have the time to ask for every detail of what we need… but if we are engaged in Dhikr or Tilaawat… Allah makes it such that our innermost desires are answered anyway. Allah knows. Sometimes we don’t have to ask. But sometimes the comfort is in the very knowledge of just raising our hands to Allah…

This living and breathing piece of my heart was growing so fast. I held her to my chest for as long as she’d let me, just before she got up again and scampered off, glancing out the window momentarily as I watched the boys playing downstairs, taking in the familiar terrain that I had enjoyed as a kid. The huge oak tree still towered in its glory. The same birds still teetered above. The dusty banks where we would write on still lay bare. My heart soared at the prospect of years ahead of them, knowing that these boys too would enjoy the same kind of youth as we did and would grow up in the home that we had known and loved.

It was a month ago that Ahmed had agreed to buy our old house from Abbba, and it had been a week since him and Rubeena moved in. The boys had begged me to come and stay for a while while their mother settled in, and I knew that Rubeena could do with the help too. For Ahmed, it had taken him a while to get on his feet to start afresh, but what was more amazing for me was seeing my sister-in-law’s ease and acceptance with him. It was something that I never imagined I’d see in Rubeena. I had been watching her as she worked, seeing her in the same kitchen Mama would be in… and watching her as she would go about her day-to-day chores… just as Mama would. It brought tears to my eyes at times, yet was something that warmed my heart. It was a big step for Rubeena. It also took a lot of courage for her to agree to selling her house that she had always known and doing what Ahmed thought was best for them, because she had always been so fixated on the fancy life she had always lived.

Of course now, as I saw her, I know that Mama would have loved Rubeena. I just had a feeling that the two of them would have got along. I hoped that the Ahmed and Rubeena would have their own little bundle of joy too… but when ever I suggested that they needed a daughter, all Rubeena did was laugh. She and my brother seemed to have acquired an ease that I couldn’t have ever imagined.

As for me, in semi- defeated warrior style, since Nusaybah’s news of the imminent Nikah, I had slipped into a place where I found myself doubting my own decisions. Did I do the right thing? Was I maybe a bit too hasty in thinking life would be the same forever? Maybe Siraj’s proposal wasn’t the worst thing in the world… Maybe Abba was right and I needed to move on… To tell the truth, being the terrible friend I was, I was dreading her Nikah day, because I knew I would have to say goodbye to my best friend. Because I knew that our world as we knew it would be changed.

I sat there for a few minutes longer, begging Allah to alter my heart… to strengthen my resolve… and to make me into the kind of friend that she deserved. She had done so much for me. The least I could do was wish her the best.


It was Ahmed’s voice from down the passage. I looked up as he came into the room I was in, holding a small paper bag in his hand.

I looked up at him questioningly. He had matured so much. He had made an amazing father to the boys and I wasn’t just saying that because he was my brother. Those boys were unimaginably close to my heart and I would have taken on anyone who didn’t give them what they deserved. Of course, over the few years Ahmed had been faced with many challenges along the way- a bit too many for a guy nearing his mid twenties- as well as Shabeer wanting to take custody of his kids after realizing that Ahmed was a better father than him… but Ahmed had fought him in a custody battle that eventually sentenced him to a rehabilitation center for a few months. Though I was glad that the boys were still with their mother and Ahmed, I couldn’t help but feel a certain sadness about their situation. Shabeer was still their father after all. I prayed that he would get his act together and make some real effort as they grew.

For now though, despite Dayyaan’s initial resistance and missing their uncle unmentionably, with the stability that Rubeena and Ahmed provided them… I was quite certain that they were growing into the most amazing young men. I still loved them to bits.

”Rubeena found something the other day,” Ahmed said, looking at me a bit strangely. “I think it’s from when we were staying here…”

He said no more as he narrowed his hazel eyes slightly, looking at the package briefly before coming forward and handing it over to me. I adjusted my burka and eyed the package out, trying to figure out why it looked so familiar.

And of course, as I stuffed my hand in to pull out the contents, I could already feel my hopes soar. The book was as it was when I had first laid eyes on it and I felt my heart rate accelerate as I caught sight of its simplistic cover with the solid bold writing.

Khawlah Bint Al Azwar

An Extraordinary Heroine

Gosh. I couldn’t even remember how many years if had been. I looked up at my brother, feeling a little dazed by this coincidence. I couldn’t even fathom how the book had lasted so long.

And like a reminder of what I needed at this moment in time, it felt like it was just waiting for me to find it again after all these years, bringing to life for me the courageous aspirations of the stories of the woman who I had drawn so much of strength from as a young girl. It was a time when I had learnt patience. When I would aspire for their endurance. It was their courage that kept my mind focused on the true purpose of this world.

My thoughts wondered as I found myself pondering about that girl back then. Wondering when she had lost her spirit. Where all her gallantry had gone to. Where that drive had been displaced. Where the will to keep fighting had been sucked out… Had it all been exhausted through the pains of life, it was it maybe just waiting for an opportunity to surface once again…?

I clutched the book to my chest, my heart lifting as I thought of how it had inspired the lost and broken girl that had lived within me at some point.  I read some parts immediately, some aloud to my daughter over the next few day’s and some over the quiet periods when she would nap. I was lost in its magic, once again, as I read and reread the stories that had inspired and brought me through the darkest days of my life. All over again, I gained strength and fervor and willed myself to live up to the amazing women that featured in the stories.

And as the week sped by and I found comfort in the stories that brought back so many memories and emotions, the end of that week also brought my another surprise to my brother’s new home for a visit. Seeing each other had been a constant part of our days and since I barely spoken to her since her proposal week, we had a lot to catch up on.

The buzzing of the doorbell on Friday afternoon brought her armed suspiciously with a jumbo-sized chocolate cake topped with gallons of her delicious Bar One sauce over. I could already tell that my friend had spent half the day in the kitchen making comfort food. The only worry was that I wasn’t sure why…

”How did you know how to get here?” I asked her, thrilled at her presence yet not sure how she found the house.

”Yunus,” she said. “Shame, I think I woke him up. I just had to see you. He gave me the address in his sleep.”

I had nearly forgotten that my brother was back. I had spoken to him briefly on the phone earlier in the week, but knowing he would probably be jet-lagged, I had said I’d speak to him properly when I was back home. I was itching to know about his trip.

”Is that a celebration cake?!” I asked her, teasing her purposely as she barged into the house with a no-nonsense frown on her face.

”No,” she said bluntly, not offfering any more information as she dumped the dome on the table, plopped into the chair, cut herself a slice and then gobbled it up in about 7 seconds flat. She promptly cut another slice and started the process of devouring again. And again. And again. Six whole times.

It was painful to watch. What was going to be more painful was her complaining about her weight when she was done. Nusaybah was usually something of a health freak when it suited her.

”Okay, Nus, what’s going on?” I said, widening my eyes as I watched her.

Like really? Did she just come here so she could have company whilst she OD’d on her main anti-depressant?! It was crazy.

”It’s not going to work,” she said bluntly, crossing  her arms over her chest grumpily as she collapsed on the couch next to the kitchen.

”What?” I said, not getting her. She grabbed a bag of chips from the tray and stalked outside to where the boys and Khadijah were playing, popping it open as she sat there, and staring ahead of her in some kind of daze.

“The Australian,” she muttered with a distasteful look on her face. “We spoke yesterday. He’s too… unemotional.”

I wanted to laugh.

Unemotional?! What did she expect him to do?

”You know me, Khawlah,” she said with a huff, still chewing noisily. “I’m a crazy woman. If I don’t have a macho guy to hold me down I’ll snap out of control. I can’t be marrying a guy who beats around the bush and lets me do as I please. I’m not all refined and pious like someone we know. I’ll be bouncing off the walls.”

I raised my eyebrows as I looked at my friend.

“I’m not sure who you’re talking about,” I said.

Pious? Psssshhtt.

”Topic’s closed,” she said, stuffing her hand into the chips packet again and getting up. “I’m done talking.”

So she’s just going to bury her sorrows in food? Great.

“Why can’t I just find my own Mr Perfect?” She said softly, glancing over at me at she stashed the chips away.

I looked at her, expecting my heart to feel the usual stab that it did when she mentioned him, but today… well, today the pain wasn’t as severe. Today it was more of a pulling at my heartstrings. A dull ache, but also a warmth that engulfed me, making me appreciate with so much of me that I had the experience to love and be loved in that beautiful way.

”Maybe life is not about finding Mr Perfect,” I said simply, thinking about the last few days. “Maybe we just need to find the One who helps us to find our own version of perfection…”

Her eyes lit up as she looked at me, suddenly spurred on by my words.

”Thats just it,” she said suddenly, her voice suddenly all psyched up. “You’re spot on! I’m sick of looking for someone to save me. To help me follow my dreams. To be who I want to be. You and I both, Khawlah… we can’t be sitting here like this indefinitely…”

I glimpsed the fire in my friends eyes,  and like that first time I ever saw her, her glowing face was joyful, but behind that, a certain rigidity made her catch my attention in a completely different light. I could already tell that she was on to something and she wasn’t going to back down. It reminded me of the strength she had displayed throughout our friendship. Her words. Her encouragement. Her constant battle in keeping me afloat was something I still had no idea how to pay back,

“You know why I’m not worried, Khawlah?” She said suddenly, her eyes still shining. “There just one reason.”

I looked at her questioningly.

Rabbi Inni Limaa Anzalta Ilayya min Khairin Faqeer,” she said simply.

I was familiar with the Du’aa of course. It was the Du’aa of Musaa (AS). His pleading to Allah when he was at his very lowest… and then Allah granted him so much that he was relieved of every hardship that he had experienced. Through that Du’aa… he had been granted a home, provisions, a family, a wife…

Oh my Lord.. I am in desperate need of whatever goodness you bestow on me…

Just the words of that Du’aa was enough to make me reflect. To elevate my hopes. To build my sincerity.

“This is Allah’s wisdom,” she said pensively as we walked the garden path, me fully aware of the natural surroundings that were my refuge right now. “It’s Allah’s plan and it’s also a sign of His goodness. It’s Khair. You just reminded me… and suddenly… I got an epiphany.”

“Khawlah, I’m tired of sitting and waiting for my Mr Perfect,” she said with a hint of annoyed independence. “It’s not what we’re meant to do. And I’m tired of watching your life on pause since Aadam left. I can’t bear to see you all fixated on your past. And yes, I know it was wonderful and Aadam was the perfect love of your life but you’ve been living in this bubble for too long and it’s time to break those barriers you’ve so carefully built..”

I breathed in as she said it, not sure how to respond. Maybe she was right. Maybe I needed to start living again. Really living. Going places. Having clean fun. Taking walks to the park. Appreciating the beautiful sunsets that Aadam had shown me, once again. Riding horses like we used to do when I was married. Teaching my daughter how to savour the greatness of Allah that Aadam had been just as obsessed with. Taking in the moments that made every day.

Maybe we needed to allow ourselves to let go too. Maybe I just needed to stop living in the hope that somehow Aadam might come back and revive all the dead parts of me and teach me how to live again…. so I could learn to do it myself…

The truth was that Aadam was gone. He wasn’t ever coming back. He was gone. The question to me though was I going to continue living in that shadow… of distant memories and hopes that I  might eventually become that kind of girl that I once was… or was I truly going to change my situation and be that l fierce and nature loving girl that Aadam loved… determined to make the most of everything that I had…

Being out in the garden right then was exactly what I needed. Reconnecting with my passions. Nusaybah and I had many things in commmon, but our love for nature always topped the list. It was a lovely day and there was plenty to sit back and soak in. Our garden hadn’t been as vast as Aunty Radiyyah’s but it had a fair share of space. The boys and I had been working on giving it a facelift this week and I dare say we did a  wonderful job. I had taken some shoots of the flowers Aadam had planted at the apartment rooftop and used them here.

There were also a variety of seeds that he had bought way back when he was working on making the place look amazing , and watching the little sprouts peep out from the sand made me feel like I was a new mother all over again. Somehow, I had found a strange sense of comfort in old hobbies over the past week…

”Maybe you’re right,” I started. I looked around me as I said the words, trying to spot Khadijah as she had just been following us a minute ago. I looked behind me at the boys, wondering if she had gone back to them, but when I asked them all I saw was a blank look on their faces.

”But she was with you,” Danyaal said obviously.

Dayyaan’s eyes looked worried as he looked at me.

”She asked me for water,” he said carefully as he swallowed. “I told her it’s by the store room…”

I widened my eyes at him, knowing that Khadijah was fiercely independent. The shed was out of sight and I immediately felt my heart hammering away as he said it. I just hoped she didn’t get her hands on anything dangerous.

”I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean…” Dayyaan stuttered, seeing my expression as I hurried toward the back of the yard.

I shook my head at him, not really focusing on what he was saying as I hurriedly scanned the store room. Of course I didn’t blame him. Khadijah had her mind of her own, but she was nowhere in sight.

I glanced behind at the little patch of sand that was wedged between the wall and the room, but she was nowhere to be seen. All kinds of crazy thoughts were going through my mind. Had she been kidnapped? Lured? Wondered off as I had been so focused on my own conversation?

”Khawlah, I think you should see this…”

I turned to where Nusaybah was standing and immediately felt my heart rate accelerate as I followed her gaze. She was already heading out to the opened gate, and as I stared at the latch, I could not even fathom how my little daughter had managed to get it open by herself. It had been ages since anyone had used the back gate, and due to pur negligence, no-one had even checked on it since we were here.

I sprinted out, just as I had those many times as little girl… but this time it was different. This time there was a serious and life-threatening task at hand. This time, unlike any time before, I prayed silently in my heart, asking Allah to keep my daughter safe. This time, with my heart in my throat, I was filled with fear over what would be the outcome…

What I didn’t know was that through this little escapade, despite the trepidation that had gripped my beating heart, life as we knew it would be significantly altered…

A little bit of a longer post! Shukran for ALL the comments… really gets the inspiration going… will reply ASAP

Much Love

A xx

A new Sunnah. Consideration for beggars and Needy.

Especially in these surreal times, we sometimes forget that there are many out there who are in compromising situations and genuinely need assistance.

It is narrated that Sayyiduna Husain bin Ali  used to express joy upon the arrival of a beggar. He would say: “The beggar is transporting our goods to the Hereafter.”

SubhaanAllah. The Sunnah of giving was one that was second nature to Nabi (SAW).

allahuma baarik lana fi Sha’bana wa balligh-na Ramadan

Oh Allah! Grant us Barakah (Blessing) during (the months of) Sha’ban, and allow us to reach Ramadan.

Imam Shafi’i RA has stated: “I have heard that duaas are accepted

by Almighty Allah on five nights:

The night of Jumu’ah

The nights of the two ‘Eids

The first night of Rajab

The middle (15th) night of Sha’ban

Allah accept our efforts and Duaas.









Twitter: @ajourneyjournal





A New Life

Bismihi Ta’ala


Ajeeb. It was a word that my friend Zaynah often used to describe the apparent nature of this world. It’s heartfelt joys. It’s treacherous heartbreaks. How it sometimes left me smiling from ear to ear, or tearing from its vicious inconsistencies… It still brought one word to mind.

Uniquely beautiful. Beautifully strange. Strangely unique. Ajeeb. Truly, there was nothing that happened in this life that we could really explain. And though we are aware of exactly how the nature of this world is, we still remain in a state of strange uncertainty. The thing is, we know that this Duniyaa is meant to end.  We know with absolute certainty that we will have go. Eventually, we will all have to leave this path that we are treading and go back to our Lord. We can’t be scared of the inevitable. What we do need to fear, is how we will leave. Our aim, as we are now, is to live in the full knowledge that the crux of this world is not to attain the best of it, but to equip us with what we will need for the Aakhirah.

And like death and it’s reality can bring lessons that we need to so desperately learn… the gift of a new life too can bring a it’s own understanding too. People will live, and then die… and with every new chapter, a new little life will find his or her way into this world to aspire through the same journey that we all are meant to make. To live. To die. To know that their every breath and living and dying is only for One Allah. That was the way it worked.. that was the way we came to know and have always known… the cycle of life from way before we were born to well after we all die…

The soft sound of Adhaan awakened my senses as my mind adjusted to the reality. This birth was something quite surreal. It was like some kind of dream. An untainted reality that had caught me completely unaware, as I had witnessed my sister transition into the mature and amazing young woman and mother that she now was, I simply could not believe how she had grown.

There were so many things that I had learnt from her. So much of goodness that came from what she was going through. And of course it was no easy task, but for a believer, nothing is a calamity. Every situation is one where you can reap goodness from. Every calamity becomes a means of drawing close to your Lord.

Coming from the life that I had been living, to see her go through almost seven months of seclusion  was amazing. One could say even, isolation. Her serenity and comfort made me feel like I had been missing something hugely crucial all along my life. My life had been so full. Full to its capacity. Filled with menial tasks of shopping and functions and worldly whims and desires… I came to see a painful truth in its pointlessness.

For Khawlah, having the strength that she had to endure her tests so patiently really put so much in perspective for me. The thing is, it was a great test… but people like me saw it as a punishment. If I had been in her position, I knew that my weak faith would only let me respond to it like it was some kind of terrible fate. Instead, my sister had looked at it differently. Instead, she had chosen it to be her means  of finding contentment in the decree of Allah. It was her way of calming herself, gaining the strength she needed and focusing on the real goals and objectives that we as Mu’mineen should always have in mind. It was beautiful to witness but as she evolved, I couldn’t help but be completely in awe of the type of person that this had made her. It made me want to aim for so much more than I had ever dreamt of for myself. 

I sucked in my breath as Yunus’s voice heighten once again as he continued with the call to prayer in my nieces little ears, and my heart lifted as the testimony of faith was repeated in the ears of my new niece. It was such a spectacular sound. Just it’s tone and inflections were so uplifting and amazing that I couldn’t help but shudder with the realization of its truth as it was called out…

Ash-Hadu Allah Illaha Illalah…

Ash-Hadu Anna Muhammadur Rasulullah…

His deep voice almost echoed from the next door room. It brought back memories of my own birth, which was worlds apart from my sisters. She was, Alhumdulillah, blessed with such ease that I could barely comprehend it. Her labor was short, uncomplicated and almost painless. As I watched her sleep now, after the strength she had so courageously showed throughout, I could not believe that she had gone through this with so much of unwavering faith.

I placed next to Khawlah’s bed her energy drink that she had become accustomed to having during her pregnancy. Nabeez. A drink of dates that were left to soak until the water became sweet. Khawlah had requested this as her labor commenced and I could see such wisdom in the Sunnah as her energy levels depleted, the nutrients had nourished her throughout this time when she needed it most. It was truly incredible.

I silently kissed my beautiful sisters forehead as I pushed back a few stray locks under her burqa. I left her niqab next to her for when she awoke, knowing that she would be looking for it when she came to. It was a step that she had decided to take, and being out of her Iddat now already made her so much more aware of herself. I couldn’t help but think how proud of her I was as I turned to leave, glancing at my sister-in-law’s anxious face as I stepped out with a smile. As she hugged me, I instantly remembered the beautiful baby that had just arrived to add so much of colour to our world. It was a gift that Allah was blessing us with and I could barely believe that it was here…

“How is she?” Rubeena asked worriedly.

”She’s absolutely perfect.” I said softly, assuring her that everything was okay. I had promised that I would be out as soon as I could. Besides, Khawlah  was asleep and the baby would be taken to be bathed. Yunus had accompanied the new addition that had plenty of caregivers available. Besides the fact that there were so many volunteers available, including Aunty Radiyyah and Nusaybah, I could see that we would have a problem tearing him away. He was absolutely smitten.

Rubeena’s eyes were filling with tears and I could hardly blame her. Of course, she would be thinking of Aadam now. There was not a single one of us who weren’t, but no-one said it aloud. It was a silent murmur  that existed within our aching hearts. How grateful we were that Allah had brought a person like him into our lives to show us so much about character. Beautiful character. It truly brought about the realization that nothing else in this world matters. If you are loved by Allah then every path will be paved for you with ease…

”What does she look like?” Ruby asked, as she blew her nose. I could see Ahmed watching us from where he stood. He was looking a little disoriented. Like me, he couldn’t believe that this was actually happening. Some things, even after a months, still feel surreal..

I looked at my sister in law, trying to focus on her question. There were so many emotions going through me at that time. I knew that I had to tell her though. If I didn’t say it, someone else most definitely would. It was undeniable.

”Well, right now,” I said quietly, a lump forming in my throat. “She looks just like her father.”

I breathed out as a fresh wave of tears seem to surface, and I couldn’t help but smile at my emotional sister-in-law. She could not have been more different from Ahmed, yet the two of them complimented each other perfectly.

She nodded and went off to chat with her mother who was anxiously waiting to catch a first glimpse of the baby. Eventually, she was wheeled our to the nursery and as they caught sight of her, I could tell that the emotion at that point was a little overwhelming.

They were full of praises of course. Oohs and aahs… amidst expressions of absolute wonder and awe. A girl, after all those boys… a light amidst all this darkness that seemed to overcome them… Allah had surely fulfilled his promise by giving so much more than we had expected.

She was named Khadijah. It was a name that Rubeena and Ahmed had chosen, but Khawlah knew well that Aadam had always loved. Apparently he had mentioned once to the boys that his daughter would have the name of his favorite Sahabi, and so my niece had was graciously named after one of the four women of world.

And of course, she was the light of our lives. The beacon of hope that would bring us so much of joy. Abba was ecstatic. Dada lived for the every tiny momentary event in her little life. He was so thrilled with the new addition to the family.

And yes, though it was so amazing to have her, it wasn’t always easy. Every day held a different challenge for Khawlah but she persevered with the help of those around her, and in true warrior-mode, pushed through the first few months of motherhood as a capable young woman who resembled someone who everyone admired. She was fortunate that little Khadoo… as we had come to calm her, was the sweetest little baby. Unlike Muhammed, she had no colic and very few growing pains. She was, in fact, like a little angel that Allah had sent to add so much of Barakah to our lives.

As the first few months of her existence came to pass,  little whimpers that we had become accustomed to soon turned into joyful gurgles, and  we constantly found ourselves delighting in every new development and every little milestone. She was incredibly beautiful, and even though I may have been biased because she was my niece, no-one could deny that she was most like her father, even in character. She never felt his absence because she had become everyone’s baby and was truly was loved by all. Content and smiling, calm and always a pleasure to have around… little Khadijah would often spend days with her grandparents or cousins with no fuss. Once she was weaned, she would easily spend nights with Aadam’s parents, who were absolutely thrilled to have a little granddaughter after the boys. She was a coolness to their eyes and they delighted in having her around.

As for me, I couldn’t have been more obsessed with my new niece. As for my son… I wasn’t sure what it was about her but everytime we came to Abba’s place, all I knew was that my now five-year-old relentlessly doted on her.

”Did you notice that her eyes are changing?” I asked my sister as I watched my niece play with Muhammed. To top it all, it was the cutest thing that even as a meager two-year-old, she was a real madam. Even though she was a whole three years younger, Muhammed would often get bossed around by the dominating streak that she had obviously inherited from my sister.

Khawlah nodded and smiled.

“She’s got your eyes now,” she said, looking at my nieces hazel eyes. “But other than that she’s exactly like Aadam…”

”You forgot that she’s got your crazy curls,” I grinned as watched the two of them play with the Mega Blocks that were spilled on the floor. My son was busy passing her all the ‘girl-coloured’ blocks while he would keep the blues on another section of the bedroom rug. There were playing some kind of colour- based building game they had invented by themselves. Kids were so cute together at times.

I watched my niece as we spoke about her. Khadijah’s features were delicate and beautiful. As she grew, she was also changing in small ways. Her little personality was something that would make me giggle at times. Like Khawlah, once she made her mind up about something, she was pretty much convinced. What was more amusing was how she would bring the house down at times, especially when it came to brushing her hair, and I could tell that we were doomed to the same hair disaster fate as we had with Khawlah.

”My son is obsessed with her,” I smilef as I watched Muhammed give in to her request of passing all the blue blocks over, despite him being left with nothing at all. “There’s nothing that he wouldn’t do for her. Jameel says we rather put on a proposal from now…”

Khawlah laughed as she mixed a bowl of rice for the two of them, making sure it wasn’t too hot before she recited a Bismillah and started feeding them. Both cousins gobbled up the food. Somehow Muhammed seemed to be more obliging with his aunty than with me. Perhaps it was Khawlah’s no-nonsense approach that caught him unawares, but there was no doubt that my son was more obedient with other people around.

”Talking about proposals…” she said quietly as she fed another handful to the jumping Khadijah. She was literally all over the place as she her curls bounced around and dived in for intermittent bites of food. Her cuteness was almost intoxicating. It made me broody for a little girl… but then again, I knew very well that there were never any guarantees…

“Yup,” I said, looking at my sister and wondering what she was saying about proposals. Her expression had turned serious. Of course Jameel was only joking. Though these two small ones made me constantly giggle, I wasn’t sure if we could really base their marital future on it…

”There have been some developments,” she said vaguely, her face looking a little flushed as she spoke. I narrowed my eyes as I turned my full attention to her, realizing that she wasn’t talking about the kids anymore. She was actually looking shy. Like, nervously bashful… almost as if she had some great revelation…

”You mean..?” I started stupidly, a little confused at first. “With you?”

Khawlah swallowed nervously as she fed the last bite to Muhammed, who was now singing some Nasheed that his father liked to play. Khadijah joined in as she caught on to the tune, in her own jumbled up language. It was so cute that I had to restrain myself from biting her cheeks. I grabbed her and squeezed her tightly, despite her grumpy protests, as I forced myself to focus on Khawlah.

”Khawlah, tell me,” I urged, looking at her cynically and putting my niece down again. “Does someone want to come for proposal? Do you know him?”

She nodded as she looked back at me, and a streak of fear shot through her eyes. Of course. She was scared. I could tell that she was afraid of opening herself up again. Was it too soon? 

I could tell that she felt guilty for even thinking about it. I could tell that to open her heart again was an extremely far-off notion to my sister. It seemed like ages ago since I remembered my sister so vibrant and content… the way that she had been when Aadam was alive.

“No-one can know,” she said softly. “It was a suggestion that Ahmed had put forward to me but Zulz.. Like… I’m not sure what the intention is… or if this whole things is more about Khadijah because of his circumstances…”

I looked at her worriedly, wondering who it could be that would have that intention in mind. My mind was abuzz with possibilities of people who would want a kid more than a wife. As lovely as my sister was, it wasn’t easy for a man to wholeheartedly accept a child from someone else. It looked like Khawlah was looking for excuses to refuse. If had been more than two years since Aadam had passed away. I knew it took time but for what it was worth, I knew that she needed to be told that it was okay to move on… that it was okay to make a new life…

”You know that you’re allowed to think about it?” I said, knowing my sister too well by now. I had sincerely wished that she would one day take this path. I just didn’t know that she had already shelved the idea when this match could be the exact one that she needed. “Who is he?”

“Doesn’t matter,” she said quietly, avoiding eye contact and focusing on Khadijah as she tied her unruly curls back. She finally met my gaze with a nonchalant shrug.

“I already said no.”

Dear Readers,

As Ramadhaan approaches, my thoughts are to conclude this blog within the next two- three weeks. Instead of longer posts I might be posting a few shorter ones to finish off before the final week of Shabaan.

Please make maaf for any shortcomings. Do remember me in your Duaas. Always in need of them.

Shukran for all the comments,❤️  I will reply ASAP.

Much Love

A xx

A Sunnah Drink Called Nabeez

  • Soak dates for a night in a packed container. If not the dates, then you can simply soak Golden Raisins instead of Dates too.
  • Remove the seeds from Dates or Raisins, and grind it with water. You can add honey, but it’s totally optional
  • You can also drink without grinding the dates and can eat dates separately.
  • It is an ideal drink for Ramadan, especially in Suhoor. It helps people keep their energy during a day-long fast.

How easy to practise!

allahuma baarik lana fi Sha’bana wa balligh-na Ramadan

Oh Allah! Grant us Barakah (Blessing) during (the months of) Sha’ban, and allow us to reach Ramadan.

Imam Shafi’i RA has stated: “I have heard that duaas are accepted

by Almighty Allah on five nights:

The night of Jumu’ah

The nights of the two ‘Eids

The first night of Rajab

The middle (15th) night of Sha’ban

Allah accept our efforts and Duaas.

A forgotten Sunnah. Eaten fallen particles… Sometimes we forget the Barakah that can be in even a grain of food. To eat what has fallen on the cloth or even the floor… SubhaanAllah.

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








Twitter: @ajourneyjournal






A Shining Hope

Bismihi Ta’ala


In real life, you can’t skip chapters. That’s not how life works. You have to read every line. Meet every character.  Yes, there are times when you wish things could turn out differently. There are times when you wouldn’t want the pages to end. But that’s what stories are about. Sometimes you just have to keep going… even when you seem to lose hope.

And sometimes, we have to go back to the beginning to understand. We just have to take a step back. Slow down. Alter our journey. Realize what’s important. There is a comfort in the familiar, but new things can be as good as before. Part of life is embracing its lessons and  learning to adapt. To change. To believe that there’s a greater reason, a Higher Power and believe that there will be a better time coming..

And often, I tried to look back and remember. In those days of confusion and grief, I would often think of Mama. Of Khalid. Of Foi Nani. Of the beginning. When feelings were raw. When I had found the warrior within. Like the women in the  stories of the Sahaba I’d read, who would go out in the path of war, but carry the strength of 100 men.

They were warriors. They were fearless.

And like them, I drew my strength from those around me. Chest puffed out, head held high… I found solace. Everything finally came to together, even after I thought it had fallen apart.

When they slept, He was awake. When they broke, He carried you. When no one else was there, He was. He remained. He always remains. Remember that always, Khawlah. Remember that. Remember Who you owe everything to. 

It was like my lullaby. Soothing me and comforting me. Bringing me back to the time when I had felt like I would never feel okay again… but I was. I turned to Him, when I was sinking to my lowest. When everyone else left, Allah was always there.

I knew that Allah always hears the Duaa of His slave. My job was to just trust His timing.

And that was what it was about. Time. Timing. The passage of time that we all went through… and would eventually pay off.

”My word,” Nusaybah breathed, as she looked at me with widened eyes. “It’s grown…”

”Really?” I asked, hiding my smile. Of course it would grow. It just took time. “How much? Half a centimeter?”

”Actually nearly three-quarter!” She retorted crossly. “It’s quite a jump. I think this baby may be sucking every living nutrient out of you…”

I giggled, and Nusaybah looked at me with interest.

”Someone’s very perky today…”

I shrugged, lightly touching my tummy as I tried to feel the alleged bump.

“Spill it,” Nusaybah said, her dark eyes dancing as she watched me, hands on her hips. “What did Mr Perfect have to say that we have such a huge smile on my best friends face?”

I smiled again. There were two main reasons for my ease.  The fact that the nausea had subsided was also one of the best things that had happened to me. It had floored me. There were days when I felt like I was going to collapse. The only thing I could do was sleep and dwell in misery.

And then of course, amidst the grief, there was the news that Aadam didn’t actually do the chemo. Yes, I was a little angry at him and it had shocked me at first, but from what he had told Uncle Siraj, I now understood why. I understood that he had made a choice. That there was a time when he thought that he was selfish. When he put himself before everything and everyone else. When he put his life and his career and everything worldly before the idea of a baby. This time… he wanted to do it differently. This time he wanted to be selfless. He had risked everything… including a shot at recovery…. so that he could have a chance at making up for what he had lost. And though it broke my heart that he would never meet his child, it was clear that just the knowledge of what was coming gave him great comfort. Just that news had been enough for him.

And of course, Allah knew best, but with the relief that there was no real risk of foreign chemical bodies damaging the fetus, and now that my constant nausea seemed to have settled… I was thrilled that finally, I could just dwell in the knowledge of this miracle that was growing inside of me.

”Oh the usual…” I said nonchalantly, wanting to keep my secret of Aadam’s quirky correspondence a little longer.

Every letter had a beauty. Every letter was unique. How Aadam had thought of precisely what to say and when was beyond me….

Nusaybah was starting to pout, as I refused to give her the gory details. She was relentless in her approach.

Of course I was being a dampener to her spirits. This was her daily routine. Barge in. Be inquisitive. And then check (literally, with a measuring tape) on how much the baby bump had grown. She was going to be a real hands-on baby-sitter and second-mother to the baby. I could already tell.

Pleeeeaaase,” she whined, her bottom lip sticking out purposely as she blinked at me.

I held the letter in my hands firmly. Watching her frowning face gave me a sense of satisfaction. I held the letter to my heart as I recalled his playful banter. The advice. The little hope that always came along with the read. It was the part of real-life Aadam that I missed the most.

This is me.

And sometimes I feel like a ghost when you look at me, because when you look at me, you see me. It’s like you know that I’m not really as strong as I appear. It’s like you see more than the pain I’m trying to hide. You see me… and I’m scared that it’s going to kill your spirit. It’s going to make you lose hope. That’s why I had to pen this when I saw it… because I knew that you would understand if I told you that I read the most amazing thing yesterday. 

“Go and ask Musa (AS) about the nature of Allah Ta’ala’s gifts. He went to fetch fire and he was granted ‘Nubuwwat’ from Allah Aza Wajal.”

Beautiful, isn’t it? I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes you don’t know how much Allah has in store for you until you see it. I know that I learnt about Allah’s gifts, when you least expect it. I didn’t expect to find you, but I did… and not only did I find a beautiful wife and partner, but I found so much more. I want you to see that too. I wanted you to realize it, because I know you too well, sweets. I know that you’ll use me as an excuse. I know that you think I’m the best and such a catch and all the rest…

Okay, I’m kidding. I can just imagine you rolling your eyes, gorgeous.

On a serious note though, you’re probably wondering why I did this. Why I wrote all these letters. Why I wanted to remind you of me. Why I didn’t just let you be. The truth is, I really want you to you to move on… but at the same time, as crazy as it sounds… I wanted to give you something you could remember me by. Something that you’d look back on and say, “that’s the guy. That’s the insane guy that I was once crazily in love with.”

I hope you do.

That was the guy. I could almost see him grinning at me. Almost hear his voice in the back of my mind, reminding me of all the little things about him that I would often forget…. almost as if he had never left.

”Everyone is worried about you,” Nusaybah said softly as she caught my eye.

”Who’s everybody?” I asked, raising my eyebrows

I looked at my friend as she shrugged.

”School people,” she mused. “Friends. Family. Your mother-in-law.”

I smiled. We had reached a place that I thought was impossible for us. It seemed so far-fetched just a few months ago, but after Aadam’s sickness, we had somehow reached a height where we were both at peace with each other and everything that had happened. It was so unconventional and unexpected, but really, all I could think to myself was that my husband had some really strong Duaas.

I flipped over the letter and read the back on the envelope. He always left a little message on the outer part, and it always made my heart contract.

I love you, Khawlah. Its been amazing.

“I loved a guy with my heart and soul,” I said softly, as Nusaybah leaned in to see. “Do you think I’ll be okay?”

Sometimes my heart ached so deeply that I wondered if it will ever heal.

”Of course you will,” she said confidently. “But you have to give it a chance.”

I nodded silently.

There were so many things that had happened during the past few months. From the overwhelming grief to the excitement of the pregnancy, from the release of matric results (which shocked us all, in a good way) to the finalizing of Aadam’s estate… my mind was completely bogged with emotion.

I still missed him. Severely. Every day. Every moment. It just didn’t hurt as much as it used to. The aching within my gut seemed have shifted to less palpable parts… within my heart but less piercing. There were still moments when you feel it will never get there but with time… there is hope.

And amidst the hope, there were a fair share of surprise along the way. Meeting with the lawyer a few weeks ago was a dreaded, yet crucial part of the process. Sorting out Aadam’s estate was something that I was completely averse to doing, yet knew needed to be done.

Ahmed had sat with me while we contemplated how to go about it. What it really entailed. How to go about it correctly.

”Basically,” the lawyer had said, looking at me as I shifted in the seat. I hated the formality. I hated that this was about money and assets and  investments because all I wanted was my husband and I knew none of this could ever compare…

The lawyer cleared his throat and looked at me and Ahmed while I waited. I wasn’t sure why he was so hesitant. Was it bad news? What could be worse than my husband dying? If he had left nothing, then so be it. Bank accounts and off-shore investments… it meant nothing to me at all. I just wanted this thing to be over with so we could cross that bridge and I could get back to hibernating in my room.

Finally, he took of his glasses and put it on the table.What we didn’t know was that Aadam had left no stone unturned during his last few months. He had shocked us all to the core..

“Is there something wrong?” I finally asked, just a teeny bit annoyed. The man wasn’t getting to the point.

He shook his head and looked up from the paperwork.

”I just wanted to say that your husband was a very… unique person,” he said, and I could hear the unexpected emotion in his voice. It was unlike a lawyer to be so… involved. He was an older lawyer, but I could see why Aadam liked him. He had a sensitive approach. “Of all the clients I met… well, he was different. Selfless. So admirable. What’s more was that this didn’t matter for him. He was worried but he did this purely out of duty. You’ll probably be relieved to know that Adam’s estate is one of the largest I’ve ever worked with. It took time to do it the correct and Islamic way but he was insistent that I get it right before the end of the year. He’s funded madrassas. He’s put money towards building various Masaajid. On top of it all, he’s left a number of properties solely on your name. He’s got ongoing contracts for work he did in the past… that will still be paid off for years to come, because they are still using his resources. His feeding schemes and projects are ongoing. He’s got funds set up for the people he used to support, and he’s organized the ones that he wants you to handle. There’s much much more… but just to sum it up for you guys, basically, even if you do nothing else for the rest of your life, you will be completely comfortable.”

I looked at the lawyer and blinked. I felt like I was numb.

People he used to support? Funds? Projects? What was this guy even talking about?

”What about his parents?” I asked, when I had finally coming to my senses. He had spoken about me, but I was getting worried. I didn’t care about all that stuff. “His sister… nephews?”

”Everyone is accounted for,” he said assuredly. “Your husband was meticulous.”

I shook my head and looked at the papers that he had handed over to Ahmed and I. My brother looked just as unnerved as I was. The numbers were blasphemous. The rewards were extraordinary.

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, ‘When a person dies, his deeds come to an end except for three: Sadaqah Jariyah (a continuous charity), or knowledge from which benefit is gained, or a righteous child who prays for him’. (Muslim)

This was obviously a shock to Ahmed too. I mean, I knew that Aadam had scored some huge contracts and was extremely successful… I just didn’t know that it was on this level.

And I didn’t think it was possible, but in the few weeks after Aadam had passed away, I think I learnt the most about him than I had known during our entire marriage. I didn’t know about all the people he was secretly providing shelter for. Paying their rent. Sending the groceries. Providing medication. I had no idea about a fund he had set up, that solely provided for meals for poor kids. I didn’t know that every day, he would call three sick ladies to arrange their care for the day, and make sure they had everything they needed. I didn’t know all these secrets that revealed themselves after he passed on…

I wanted to be like Aadam… to take his place… but all that was left were the beautiful memories that he had left behind.

Yes. Many people may come and go but they live on in the heart. You remember them for their love. Their ambitions. Their unfailing inspiration. You hang onto their words, even if they may be long gone, because sometimes that’s the only way to draw strength. It was during those times when I realized that I could. When I withstood more. When I truly realized just how strong I really was.
And as happens with time, the days and months somehow came to pass. We prayed. We hoped. We healed.

I coped. With the long Iddat ahead, I had to. I’d venture into the garden at times, finding solace in the depth of the earth, letting my fingers sink in and feel the opportunity that awaited once again. I had forgotten how gardening had soothed me. How nature had aroused that yearning for a new beginning once again. I had forgotten the comfort of it’s aromas, and everlasting potential. Amidst it all, Aunty Radiyyah would arrive with her constant flow of gifts and energy. Rubeena constantly popped in to visit. The boys would come too, adjusting slowly but in their own way, and we all found solace in comforting dreams and the small signs that Allah soothed us with, as the days went by.

The wounds were still there, but with times passing, and the constant toil and effort of every day, the pain had come to fade. As my tummy grew and the baby became a reality for us all, there were times when I felt so content, that I couldn’t even understand its source. It was something I never imagined. It was like Allah had just placed and amazing assurance within me. Precisely how He places a binding love for a spouse in the heart… or an unbreakable attachment of a mother to her baby from even before birth… so too, He places Sabr Allah in hearts of those who need it most.

It was in those days after I’d moved back home for the long duration of my pregnancy, that I’d found about the late night conversations Aadam would sometimes have with Dada, after I’d go up to bed. It was when I realized how deeply Abba felt this test. How Jameel had truly admired my husband. It was when I saw the truth of how my husband had crept into everyone’s, even Yunus’s, hearts.

Dada had took Aadam’s passing hard. I didn’t expect it. Abba was one stage below. He never said it, but I could see it in his eyes when he looked at me. I could see the hurt… just like I had seen it when Mama had passed. He had never been one to divulge his feelings or emotion. Abba had always been the silent bystander, hurting quietly while the rest of us would tear with grief.

And then of course, there was Yunus. He took it the hardest. It was like the wind was completely knocked out of him. Yunus was at a complete loss….

The sickness. The fatigue. The weakness that Aadam had experienced before he actually passed away… it was all too close for him. He had seen the most of Mama’s sickness, yet he had never spoke. about it before. Yunus retreated further more into his own world, even though the rest of us tried with all our strength to pull him out.

It was during that period that I formed an unbreakable bond with my little brother. Perhaps it had something to do with the little human that was now living inside of me, that would become the apple of his eye… but what I didn’t know at the time was that it was an arrival that would bring Yunus back to his former self.

As mid- year approached, and I found my pregnancy becoming a little more trying than the early days, it was no wonder that when I awoke one night with a dull but persistent ache in my lower abdomen, I immediately went to Yunus’s room first, waking him up with a bit of a shock, but a feeling of ominous excitement that was brewing within.

Yunus looked at me with confusion, and as I briefly explained to him that I would need to go to a hospital shortly, I could see his eyes shining with ambition.

And that was what defined a true warrior. It was the difference between winging it and being someone who truly thrives. There comes a point when it all becomes too much. When we get too tired to fight anymore. So we give up.

But that’s when the real work begins.

We keep pushing. We try a new approach. We have to explore every avenue. Even within the darkness, there is always still a chance of light.

Sometimes it may take a real warrior, but it’s only the strongest soldiers who still hold onto the hope that maybe… just maybe … even in a blinding darkness, there was a still a shining hope.

Dearest Readers,

A bit of a soothing post… Alhumdulillah..  just to remember there’s always light amidst the darkness… 

Just a reminder, especially in these times of craziness and uncertainty to make abundant istighfaar and try and bring more Sunnah into our lives. Let’s keep the miswaak available for frequent use, InshaAllah. Let’s also try and fast – Nabi (SAW) used to keep plenty of fasts in the month of Shabaan. Allah give us the tawfeeq.

Hold fast to our Sunnah, istighfaar and lots of Durood, especially on this day of Jumuah ahead…

Let’s do so with the intention that Allah alleviates all the trials of the Ummah. Aameen 

Much Love, 

A xx

allahuma baarik lana fi Sha’bana wa balligh-na Ramadan

Oh Allah! Grant us Barakah (Blessing) during (the months of) Sha’ban, and allow us to reach Ramadan.

Imam Shafi’i RA has stated: “I have heard that duaas are accepted

by Almighty Allah on five nights:

The night of Jumu’ah

The nights of the two ‘Eids

The first night of Rajab

The middle (15th) night of Sha’ban

Allah accept our efforts and Duaas.

A forgotten Sunnah. Eaten fallen particles… Sometimes we forget the Barakah that can be in even a grain of food. To eat what has fallen on the cloth or even the floor… SubhaanAllah.

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








Twitter: @ajourneyjournal







A Battle of it’s Own

Bismihi Ta’ala


The battle was raging, the fighting furious. The archers disregarded the orders of the Prophet SAW by leaving their positions on the mountain when they saw the polytheists withdrawing .

When they saw the confusion and horror splitting the ranks of the Muslims, the polytheists focused on the Prophet of Allah (SAW) to finish him off. Mus’ab saw the impending threat, so he raised the standard high, shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar! Allah is the Greatest!’… like the roar of a lion.

He turned and jumped left and right, fighting and killing the foe. All he wanted was to draw the attention of the enemy to himself in order to turn their attention away from the Prophet SAW. What mastery… SubhaanAllah…

This one warrior thus became an entire army in himself. One in a million, this man… Would he not just back down?

Nay, Mus’ab went alone to fight as if he were an army of giants raising the standard in sanctity with one hand, striking with his sword with the other. But the enemies were multiplying on him.

Spear after spear. He fought on.., until he too was hit. One down. Two down… And then… a third one struck him with his spear, and the spear went through him. Mus’ab fell first and then the standard…

And of course, we all know that this was the event that lead to the martyrdom of one of the most beloved companions of the Prophet (SAW). That this event, where he strove and struggled to fight… where every ounce within him was battling for victory… was not unrewarded.

One of the most pampered youth of Makkah, Mus’ab bin Umair (RA) fell after he had struggled for the sake of Allah in the great battle of sacrifice and faith… and yes, he didn’t live to tell of it, neither did he have any great possessions to his name… but he died with the greatest comfort of all.  The comfort of palaces and pearls and pleasure that would last not only till Qiyaamah.. but even beyond…

And as I read and reread of the ambition and devotion of these great people that existed in the past, trying to find some focus and direction after my momentary downfalls… I couldn’t help but feel that maybe I had been missing something all this time.

As happens in this temporary world, sometimes we get caught up in its whims and fancies of our Nafs. Like a screaming child… We say what our desires tempt us to. We feel things that our hearts are inclining to. We cast gazes where we’re not supposed to. We taint our hearts and we corrupt our Imaan, when we give into everything we merely desire to do…

And yes, I know that I’ve had my fair share of not entirely unprecedented events in the recent past, but sometimes even the greater warriors fall, right? That’s the thing with being human. We’re allowed to err. To make mistakes. Find the balance, even after we’ve kind of lost the plot… that’s what it about, right?

”You just make sure you stay out of trouble,” Zuleikha had warned me the week before, clearly annoyed by the constant drama surrounding me for the past few weeks. After the hounding I got from my sisters, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever recover… and it wasn’t even over yet.

“Don’t worry,” I said wryly. “I think I’ve been through them all now…”

Zuleikha raised her eyebrows at me in annoyance.

”Proud if it, aren’t you?” She said begrudgingly. Of course I wasn’t. “I sincerely hope that you find a girl who can tolerate all your nonsense. You’ve made me grey these past few weeks. I honestly wish your future wife tons of luck.”

She was shaking her head at me in annoyance as I grinned, finding her just a little more moodier than usual. Maybe her husband was annoying her so her moods were damper than usual. Jameel still got on my nerves at times but things had simmered down by then.

As for her mention of girls, I had just had it out with my uncle and I was pretty much done with the topic. It was dusted.  And yes, maybe I gone a little overboard on the cousin front, leading my uncles daughter on… but you have to believe me when I say that I really didn’t mean for it to happen… I didn’t know that all her coo-ing and googoo-like eyes meant that she was really a little obsessed with me. 

It was just a misunderstanding. A young girl who got the wrong idea from a little attention that I had given her. I wished that I could take it back but I couldn’t. All I could do was repent and hope to atone for it in some other way…

I had just reached my brother-in-law’s place and I wasn’t sure why I had the feeling that something was up with the phone call he had made to me last week, but as I made my way up to the floor where his flat was, I couldn’t help feel a little awkward about the current situation. The last time I had been there was two months ago when my brother-in-law had very diplomatically tried to explain to me his sister’s reason for refusing my very well-thought proposal..

“Hey bro,” Adam exclaimed, after returning my greeting and giving me an affectionate pat on the back.  I could see he was happy to see me, but but I was there an hour earlier than I had planned.

”I know I’m early,” I apologized, feeling bad about disturbing his peace.

”No problem at all,” he said, his infectious smile already visible on his face. “You’re welcome anytime. The boys are here but they’ll be leaving just now… nearly their bed time…”

The boys? I caught sight of a little guys shoes at the doorway.

Ah. The nephews.

And at the mention of it, I seriously had every intention of turning around and going back home, but I knew that it wouldn’t be the most mature thing to do. At the end of the day..  my sister was married to their uncle. I knew I’d have to interact with them at some point. If it wasn’t for Adam’s almost shove into his flat, I knew I would have been rooted to the spot. I looked around warily, expecting the boys to pop out from somewhere and start doing kiddish things that would probably start annoying the heck out of me… but nothing of the sort happened at all.

Instead, I was actually left wondering where they were, as I walked to the lounge, catching sight of three heads that were silently bobbing around on the floor. It took me a few seconds to realize that the bigger two were busy assembling a race track on the carpet while the smaller one was occupied with the cars that went with it. I took a seat nearby while they snacked on chips and Adam went to the kitchen to fetch some cool drinks, feeling a little odd as these boys played silently while I watched. From what I remembered from those misled days when I spoken to Rubeena… the boys were nothing like their mother had described. I honestly doubted that think they were even the same kids…

”This part is not fitting in.”

I looked up to see an angry looking 6-year-old with two components in his hand and a frustrated expression on his face.

”Who are you?” He said, his frown deepening. “Where’s Uncle Adam?”

”Dayyaan,” warned the older boy. “Stop being rude. He’s Aunty Khawlah’s brother.”

I glanced at the other boy who looked surprisingly like his uncle. Danyaal, who I remembered Khawlah often mentioning, took the parts from Dayyaan and tried to assemble them with little success. It did look like it was a little tricky.

“Pass it here, I’ll try,” I said, stretching out my hand while little eyes scrutinized my fiddling fingers.

I wasn’t sure what made me say it, because it was completely out of character for me… but something about these kids just made me feel at home.

It took a few tries but eventually it clicked into place. The smaller boys eyes lit up as he took the assembled parts from me,  obviously content that he could get back to work. I could imagine Adam keeping them occupied this way almost every week. It seemed like the kind of thing he would do… get them busy instead of placing them in front of screen. For a computer-geek he was surprisingly anti-technology.

Danyaal grinned as he sidled up near me on the carpet, now knowing the ice was broken and asking for snippets of guidance where he required. Before I knew it, I had also delved into the whole track-building thing, eager to see how this assembly would eventually turn out. I got so into it, that I had even forgotten that Adam was around until I heard his voice behind us, telling the boys that they had to get ready to go. Obviously, there was a series of moans as Adam hurried them along because the track wasn’t yet finished, and even I felt myself getting a little disappointed. Like most other guys, I loved cars, and a Hot Wheels track was my favorite kind.

I could see Adam picking up pieces of scattered chips that were on the floor, making sure they didn’t get trampled on or go to waste as he went along. I watched him as the boys bickered in about who was cleaning up what. What Adam was doing right then took a humility of another kind. My brother-in-law was really something else. It was hard to believe that he had grown up knowing none of this and was now such a firm practicer of the Sunnah that he put most people I knew away…

”Looks like you were having fun there,” Adam said, cutting through my thoughts and raising his one eyebrow in surprise as he looked up at me. ”I didn’t think you were the type who could get along with kids…”

He was smirking and I knew he was taking a dig at me to ascertain my reaction. I stayed neutral as I shrugged, not really knowing what to say. I supposed kid-boy things were fun. In doses.

”How are you feeling?” I asked, remembering the real reason I came to visit.

I hadn’t seen my brother-in-law in a while and the visit was overdue. Being Adam, he had been the one to call me last week to check how I was, and I kind of got the feeling that he had something else to mention too.

“Great,” he said, a little too enthusiastically. “Doing great.”

I nodded, looking at him a little skeptically and then leaving it at that. I was glad that he wasn’t bed-ridden or feeling like crap. I was also glad that my sister was staying here at least a few days in the week… and both of them seem to be on cloud nine since then. I was happy for them. I really was.

”I know I called to see you last week,” he said suddenly, taking a seat opposite me. “I wanted to talk to you, but I’m not sure if I should say it…”

I looked at my brother-in-law questioningly, not really sure what to expect.

”I know your sister would probably have my head for this,” he continued, a hint of humor visible in his eyes as he spoke. “But this is kind of important to me too…”

I swallowed as he continued, not expecting him to bring up my past request after we’d been through it, but equally intrigued by the point of it all the same. He explained that he couldn’t leave it as it was… and I couldn’t help but be slightly speechless as he finished.

What he was actually suggesting something that would dig up all the old skeletons from the closet… and from where I was right then, I wasn’t exactly prepared to go back there…

”I don’t know,” I said, rubbing my temples, a little overwhelmed by his request.

”She’s changed her mind,” he said simply. “She asked me if you’re still interested. Obviously Im in no position to answer the question… I know it’s a bit late but maybe you’ll consider? Maybe she was just caught by surprise at the time but now… well, now she’s thought it through, spoken to lawyers… my father… and guess what, yeah? He actually wants to meet you… properly…”

Adam eyed me out while I stood there, hands in my pockets and slightly stunned at this turn of events.

Yes, I loved him but he had a helluva way of making things seem like they were no big deal. Only problem was that this was actually a real nerve wrecking thing and with all the drama in my life recently I wasn’t sure in what light I’d be seen. Did he really know what a rotten kind of guy he was suggesting for his sister? I wasn’t even sure why or how… but somehow I had gotten another shot with the girl who I couldn’t seem to get off my mind and the thought was making me feel a little edgy.

”Tomorrow?” I asked, not quite believing that it had to happen so soon. I wasn’t sure why I was set I’ll looking for excuses. Maybe it was the shock of it. “That’s a bit soon though… don’t you -“

”I’m taking your sister somewhere tomorrow,” he said, and I already understood. “I think it’s better if Khawlah isn’t here when it actually happens …”

I hated to say it but I knew it was true. Khawlah was convinced that Rubeena and I would never work out. So much so, that even I had begun to believe it. She also couldn’t keep a secret from Zuleikha and I wasn’t keen on her finding out just yet…

I swallowed and nodded, understanding his point and trying to psych myself up for it. This would be a complete game-changer. It would alter my entire life. It would change everything as I knew it right then.

But hell, everything within  me was telling me to go for it. There was no doubt, like the last time. There were no excuses, like I found my mind conjuring up two months ago. Right then, I knew that there was no-one else who I would have ever been so certain about… and there was no way that I was going to let the opportunity slip by. Somehow, Allah had placed everything perfectly… and there was no way that I was going to mess this up.

”I think you’re amazing, bro,” Adam said, as I made my way towards the door now, knowing that I had to neatly prepare myself. “But it’s a big step for any guy so take it easy. Don’t stress yourself out. Talk it out to settle her fears. Ease your mind… trust in Allah…  and then you can see how you guys feel, yeah…”

I was kind of spinning.

I couldn’t quite believe that this was actually happening. I barely slept that night, because I was so scared that I was going to mess it up. I asked Allah for His guidance, for a sign to know that it would all turn out okay. I kept going over various scenarios in my head, and eventually drifted into slumber just before Fajr Salah, struggling with all might to pry my eyes open on time so I would make it for the first Takbeer. I hadn’t missed it in years and I wasn’t going to let the thought of a prospective proposal ruin it for me.

Of course, I couldn’t sleep after so I busied myself with some work and then read some Quran before getting ready. It still sounded a little far-fetched, and reality was a foreign notion to me even as I got into my simple Golf, a little more dressed up than usual, and headed off down the estate to the house I’d been avoiding even glimpsing for a few weeks.

Of course, I was a little unsettled. My hands were slightly sweaty and I couldn’t quite believe that this was making me feel like some sort of invalid. It was completely out of character for me but I sucked it up and straightened my kurta, checking my appearance one more time in the rear view mirror as I stepped out, just concentrating on making my way to the door without any major hiccups. Adam had said that the kids would be with his mother and I was glad that there would be no spectators while I tried to prove myself to the woman who obviously thought I wasn’t worthy of her in the first place…

And as the door opened, I had to kind of do a double take, because in person, the situation was that much more intense. My heart was beating rapidly in my chest as I greeted Adam’s father, introducing myself briefly and answering his general questions about my job and everything else that I was currently doing.

And yes, I was nervous. The obvious fact was that I was a whole decade younger than his daughter, and I didn’t have half the money that her previous husband did… but since being a genuinely nice guy was his expertise, like Adam, he didn’t make it an issue. Surprisingly, I quite liked him… and until it seemed like all his fears were addressed and the end of our meeting was nearly at its end, I had kind of forgotten what the next step would be.

Seeing Rubeena after all these months was going to be something that I was half dreading and half awaiting, and as Adam’s father instructed me to wait there while he called her… I couldn’t help but wonder if this was all going to just fall flat on my face.

For the first time in my life, I was scared. So scared that everything was going to collapse and nothing would turn out the way I wanted. Despite knowing that it was all in Allah’s control… I wanted something so badly that I could feel deep fear gripping me from within at the mere thought of it not working out…

” ‘Salaam-u-alaikum…”

I looked up as she spoke, obviously not entirely prepared for her actual presence. All I glimpsed was a loose dress and her simply draped hijab. I had envisioned so many scenarios in my mind, but they all paled in comparison to the reality right then. Right then, as I gawked a little idiotically at this woman who I was trying so hard to forget for the last few months, the reality was that I couldn’t stop staring because everything at that moment was just kind of surreal…

”How are you?”

She was looking at me as I looked at her, slightly uncomfortable under my gaze, as I hastily looked away, knowing that I shouldn’t have been staring like that. It was a little creepy and I knew it.

”I’m okay,” I said, just barely audibly. “Fine, Alhumdulillah. How are you?”

Politeness was the way to go. Polite and nice. Calm, polite and the nice guy that I knew I sometimes could be. If I tried really hard.

And of course, as she answered and made her way slowly to the couch opposite me, of course, it was at the precise moment that the buzzing in my pocket kind of caught me off-guard. I pulled it out hastily, looking at the caller ID and getting only slightly worried as I looked up at Rubeena who was also probably wondering who was calling with the most inappropriate timing.

”It’s Khawlah,” I said aloud, not really comprehending why she would be calling me. Right now, of all times. Yup, she really chose her moments.

The call cut as I watched it, and just as I was about to call back it immediately started ringing again.

”Take it,” Rubeena said, her eyes looking slightly more serious than it did just a minute ago. “It may be important…”

I nodded and slid my finger to answer, placing the phone to my ear and really not anticipating the anxiety in my sisters voice as I listened to her. My own mind went into overdrive as she spoke, sending me into a slight panic as she explained her reason for calling…

I calmly told her that I’d leave right away, cut the call, and then hastily got up, knowing that this was a battle I would have to fight no matter what. A battle that I might lose, in order to win the greater war. A battle of sincerity that I was struggling to conquer. A battle where I would realize the true purpose of waging a war.

Sometimes it wasn’t only about the conquering.
Sometimes the greatest battles are fought on the inside.
Sometimes it was about doing the right thing… whether your heart wants to or not.

”You need to go?” Ruby asked, a little anxious as she watched me. “Is everything okay?”

I didn’t want to go, but this was the test. I wasn’t sure if this would sabotage everything but I took a deep breath, and then finally looked at her steadily, knowing that she had a right to know too.

It was her brother after all.

”I’m sorry, Ruby,” I said bluntly. “I have to go. Everything is not okay…”

A forgotten Sunnah. Eaten fallen particles…

Sometimes we forget the Barakah that can be in even a grain of food. To eat what has fallen on the cloth or even the floor… SubhaanAllah.
Anas ibn Maalik narrated that when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) ate, he would lick his three fingers. Anas said: “And he said, ‘If any one of you drops a piece of food, let him remove any dirt from it and eat it, and not leave it for the Shaytaan.’ And he commanded us to clean the plate, and said, ‘For you do not know where in your food the blessing is.’” (Narrated by Muslim, 2034). 









Twitter: @ajourneyjournal


The Big Move

Bismihi Ta’ala


You never know the biggest day of your life is going to be the biggest. The days you think are going to be big ones, they’re never as big as you make them out to be in your head. It’s the regular days, the ones that start out normal… that really get you by surprise.

It’s all about going with the flow. Sometimes we have to just do what instinct tells us to do. Stop fighting. Stop hanging on. When we follow our hearts, when we choose not to settle… magical things really can happen.

The light tapping on my room door caught me a little unaware late that afternoon, as I stuffed the last bits of unpacked debris back into my hurricane-like cupboard. I looked up a little hesitantly as I shouted for the person to come in, really not expecting my semi-enstranged husband to peep his handsome head around the corner while he looked in.

He actually hadn’t been here in weeks. With him feeling out of it and everything being pretty much upside down… I didn’t expect him to turn up here anytime soon…

”Are you decent?” He asked jokingly, his one eye half closed and his one dimple flashing as he grinned from the doorway. I smiled, despite not expecting his arrival… his presence always elated me.

He looked good today. Dressed up. Almost as if he was going somewhere.  Maybe it was a sign that I should have seen at the time, to signal what would come later… but gave little interest to. Sometimes my mind just missed those little important things.

The Tasbeeh in his hand was dangling as he walked in, and I could see that today, he had a bit more energy than normal.

“I’m always decent,” I said with an air of feigned arrogance, as I placed my hands on my hips. “But the room is far from it, so don’t expect to find anywhere to sit. How are you feeling?”

Aadam closed his eyes momentarily as he smiled and took a deep breath in.

He had kind of got the drill by now. As usual, he’d stroll in, looking all polished and perfect, while I’d be frumpiness in every sense of the word. It was like rewind and repeat… every time. I still wasn’t sure why he put up with me.

”I’m feeling like a new man today,” he grinned, winking at me as he effortlessly shifted one of my bags up to make a space. “I’ve adopted the attitude of gratitude. It’s a beautiful day. I have a beautiful wife. I woke up with a new ambition in life…”

”Aw man, that’s so sweet,” I smiled. “Are you on meds?”

Aadam grinned and shook his head at me.

”Really, beautiful,” he said, his dark eyes turning serious. “These days have been the best of my life, and it’s not because of how I’m feeling physically. You know I’ve learnt that if you think of Allah twenty-five times a day, your soul becomes accustomed to His remembrance. Spiritually… you can’t even imagine what kind of metamorphosis my heart is undergoing. This has been really good for my soul, yeah. The sickness… feeling low… feeling down… it just keeps bringing you back to this amazing Lord over and over again…”

I looked at my husband as I sidled up to him on the bed, really intrigued by this new attitude. It kind of gave me goosebumps.

Like difficulties, sometimes sickness can have its own kind of healing.

“So as you can see,” he said, planting a kiss on my forehead. “With all that time I have, instead of wasting it feeling sorry for myself… I’ve been catching up with my Qadha, doing extra Adhkaar.. sweets, it’s really not so hard to make the most of every moment… and so that brings me to why I’m here.. I just thought of you and bam… It was like an epiphany and I just came over…”

”Thats sweet, but I  can almost see your pants on fire,” I teased, amused by Aadam’s theories. ”Your mother will probably have your head for driving here, all by yourself. Your back’s sore again isn’t it?”

I had spotted him rolling his shoulders as he walked in.

”I knew you’d say that,” he said, grinning and looking extremely proud of himself. “You make my mother sound like the Queen of Hearts. And that’s precisely why I didn’t mention a word to my mother. Having so many women in my life can get quite exhausting…”

I did feel bad that his mother had kind of taken over his entire routine. I just wasn’t sure if there was a solution. Or was there?

“I’m sure it is,” I smiled. “Being a woman is exhausting sometimes. Especially when there are men in our lives who drain us of our energy…”

“Well, I’m sure you’re not talking about me,” he said proudly, looking quite certain. “I’m as sweet as they come. You just said so. Twice. Is it Abba? Ahmed?! It definitely can’t be Yunus. Where is he, anyway? Dammit, that guys the best, yeah…”

I loved how my husband loved my brothers. It was super sweet of him. And yes, he was sweet.

“Yunus is playing soccer,” I said, remembering him saying so earlier. “He’ll be back in a bit.”

I didn’t mention the fact that my little brother seemed a little lost since I told him that I’d be leaving home soon. I was sure that if I mentioned that particular fact to my husband, he’d tell Yunus to come and stay with us. That was Aadam.

“I miss him,” he said, grabbing the magazine that Nusaybah had left next to the bed and browsing through it. “Who is this guy, by the way?!”

He was gesturing to the guy on the cover who was my best friends vampire obsession. Of course, Nusaybah had brought it to show me a while back, for some odd vampire-related reason that only Nusaybah understood… and forgot to take it back with her.

Talk about getting caught red-handed. I could feel my cheeks reddening as Aadam squizzed through the magazine with a frown. I just hoped that there wasn’t anything incriminating in it.

“It’s Nusaybahs,” I said, avoiding eye contact, and hoping it didn’t show on my face. “She’s obsessed with those creatures. I don’t read that junk..”

I grabbed the magazine and tossed it in the bin, hoping he’d accept that and stop looking at me like I was a traitor who ogled other guys… or even worse… vampires.

I blushed as he looked at me and raised his eyebrows.

”Does Nusaybah really think I’m a vampire?” He asked seriously, crossing his arms over his chest and raising his one weird eyebrow. I could see the trace of his dimple as he fixed his gaze on me. He was trying really hard not to laugh.

I expertly avoided eye contact, wondering what information Nusaybah had written in that magazine. For all I knew, she’d probably circled a picture of fangs and named it after my poor husband. I was probably right.

I honestly wanted to kill her. Fair enough, we didn’t expect Aadam to pitch up here unannounced for at least a few more weeks, but she could have been more discreet by not scribbling ridiculous things all over the magazine. I did notice that the theories from Nusaybah’s side had calmed down since I mentioned the big move. I just hoped that it would be for good…

”It okay,” he smiled, and I was grateful that he wasn’t upset. It was quite laughable. “Please do let her know that I can’t even stand the sight of blood, yeah? To have it for dinner is quite terrifying…”

He chuckled as I grinned back at him.

“Talking about blood,” I sighed, remembering the earlier events and closing my eyes in embarrassment. “My uncle wanted to kill Ahmed. I don’t exactly blame him. He did put his foot in it again.”

That was all it took for Aadam to break into a grin, as if it was the funniest thing he had heard all day. Even funnier than the vampire theory. Surprisingly.

“It’s not funny!” I scolded, trying to stifle my own giggle. It actually was, in a really twisted way, but I’d never admit it. Ahmed’s women issues were bordering on amusingly problematic.

Aadam was shaking his head at me as sat up on the bed, looking like he was in disbelief.

”Sweets,” he said with a grin. “I told you once before… and I’ll say it again… your family is really quite unique. Not to mention your best friend. All the drama just makes me love them all the more to bits. And since we’re on the topic, did your uncle actually have the guts to take him on? Because even I’d be scared to venture down that road…”

”He didn’t,” I said with a shake of my head. “But it seems like my cousin is completely gaga over him. How it happened… I have no idea. To be honest, although he suggested they make Nikah… which was a different story with an entire escapade of drama altogether… I have a feeling that Ahmed doesn’t really want to marry her. He’s just chuffed with all the attention she’s gives him because she’s just that kind of obsessed personality. I really don’t understand how guys minds work, honestly!”

”Well, beautiful,” Aadam said, still grinning. “Let me tell you that the minds of the male species work only on one track. It been what, three weeks  that they’re here, yeah? He’s just out of an engagement that he couldn’t see himself following through with. It’s too soon for anything serious…”

I knew Aadam was right, but that obviously meant that Ahmed was just messing around..

”Don’t judge him,” Aadam said softly, looking at me intently. I. He could read minds. “He’s an awesome guy. He does such amazing work. He’s just gone off track. You know the guy gets to the masjid for every Salaah. Did you even know that he’s never missed the first Takbeer, in the first Saf?! He’s got a gift and I’m sure Allah loves him so much for that. Don’t judge him because you don’t know which action of his is so beloved to Allah that not only does he keep calling him to the Masjid over and over again… but he keeps on calling him out in his path… for the best kind of work..”

I looked at my husband, a taken aback by the information he had just told me about me about my brother. Yes, he had done wrong, but somehow, I supposed he had got something right. It reminded me of what I heard once about making excuses for people, which Aadam was always ready to do.

If a friend among your friends errs, make seventy excuses for them. If your hearts are unable to do this, then know that the shortcoming is in your own selves [ibid]”

”Make excuses for him,” I murmured, looking at my husband. “But when does it end? I know he’s got good qualities but he’s making everyone crazy…”

”I’ll talk to him,” he said, running his hand through his beard. “Maybe try and figure out what’s going on in his head. Hopefully wean himself off women for a while. It’s just the Nafs, yeah? Whether it’s wealth or clothes or women… They just want more and more, and if you don’t stop them…. they run away with you…”

”They’re definitely running away with him,” I said, really annoyed with my brother.

“Maybe he just needs a good chatting to,” he added on. “I love him but I can see what he’s doing. He’s probably hurting and upset that his life is getting a bit out of control too… but he doesn’t know how to stop. There’s no question that Ahmed is probably fishing for another kind of catch.. and thinking he’ll get lucky. Guys are extremely shallow.”

He shrugged as he said it, and I watched his expression change as he thought about what he had just said.

”Well, except for me of course,” he said softly, meeting my eye. “But that’s a different story altogether…”

The room was suddenly quiet as he looked at me. Today, for some reason, Aadam looked different. His face was neat and his beard trimmed back to the Sunnah fist-length. His dark lashes were even more prominent against the paleness of his skin. Being unwell and indoors had changed a lot of his appearance… but not in an entirely bad way.

There was much  that I wanted to say and ask, but somehow, I just couldn’t find the words to say it…

Aadam shifted and scratched his head thoughtfully, as he looked at me again.

“Why don’t you come with me since everyone here seems to be gone awol anyway,” he said, almost as an afterthought.

“Now?” I asked, a little taken aback. Right now? 

”Theres no better time than the present,” he said, swinging his legs off the bed and bending down to pick his shoes up.


“No buts,” he said, getting up and looking at me. “Haven’t you heard that ‘time waits for no man’?” 

He grinned as I looked around my room, not wanting to leave everything half finished like this. I really wasn’t expecting him tonight, and I still had to study. If I lost these few hours of work then I’d be way behind schedule tomorrow, and Nusaybah might just kill me.

”Khawlah,” he said, watching my hesitant expression. “I’m not taking you to Timbuktu. I’m only going to Rubeena. The boys will be thrilled to see you..”

”I’m coming,” I said, shoving Nusaybah’s bossy face out my mind and stuffing the few stray things into the bag while I grabbed a scarf.

I was just as excited to see the boys. What I didn’t know was that the evening would hold much more in store than we both anticipated.

And of course, as we greeted Dada and made our way over to Rubeena’s, I was still pretty calm and collected. The boys were highly excited and energetic as they saw us, and Aadam was just as thrilled to be in their space after all these weeks.

They had a helluva lot of news about the week and we listened to them as they updated us about school, madrassa and everything else that we had missed in their lives over the past two weeks.

”I’ve got a new train track!” Zia was saying excitedly.

”Uncle Aadam you have to see my new book shelf,” Danyaal was saying. “Remember we were supposed to build it and you got sick?”

Aadam nodded and smiled. I felt my heart contract. A lot of things didn’t happen when Aadam got sick.

“See my helidoktor,” Zaydaan said cutely as he thrust a blue helicopter in our faces. “Thees my blue helidoktor.”

”It’s not his!” Dayyaan retorted. “He thinks anything that’s blue is his! It’s so unfair!”

I grinned  and looked at Aadam. Typical childhood problems. Dayyaan was looking really fussed up by the whole situation, whilst Danyaal took me by the hand and pulled me away.

“Why don’t you come up to my room?” Danyaal asked. “I have something I want to show you.”

I glanced at Aadam who was already plopped into the couch, with his legs up on the coffee table.

”You guys go,” he said tiredly. “I’ll come later. This old man’s got an appointment with the couch.”

”Uncle Adam,” Zaydaan was saying as I made my way up the stairs. “I want to show you how my new star light works. I’m coming home with you tonight…”

That was all I heard before we entered Danyaal’s room, which looked so different to what I remembered. Instead of the little boys room it had been like when I had first started working there, his room now looked like a grown ups. In the corner, Rubeena had built him a beautiful book shelf with all the books we used to read.

”Look what I found,” he said as he watched me, making his way to the shelf and pulling out a book to show me. “I found this one last week.”

I took the book from him, trying to figure out what it was about it that looked familiar. Opening the first page, I immediately sucked in my breath as I saw it. It was the book that was gifted to me by Khalid, after my mother had passed away. How did it end up here?

”I think it’s yours,” he said quietly. “You must have left it here a long time ago.”

I looked up at him, my throat feeling dangerously constricted as I tried to breathe. Almost as if the only thing that would come out would be tears…

”it is mine,” I said, feeling extremely nostalgic.

Danyaal was looking a bit sad as he looked at me, and I wondered what was going through his mind. Did he feel like Aadam had taken me away from them? I made a mental note to spend more alone time with this little guy that I still loved so much…

”Are you guys okay?”

It was Aadam who was standing in the doorway, with a tiny smile on his face, and that very moment just made me smile. It just brought back so many memories of the past, and the good times and the times when I almost wanted to cry too. There were so many moments that had become a part of our story… it was an influx of memories that I could barely even process as I sat there. Where we were at that point, and where we ended up… when I looked at my husband, I didn’t even doubt for a second that Allah could perform the most amazing miracles…

”Mum’s here,” he said, running his hand through his beard as he eyed me out.

I widened my eyes at him, knowing that he wasn’t expecting her. I could see that he had already gotten a scolding about going out, and was now ready to drop the bomb on me.

“She’s asked for you..”

I widened my eyes at Aadam, anxious about what that may mean.

”Relax,” he grinned, squeezing my shoulder as I we headed down the stairs. “Shes not armed.”

I rolled my eyes at him, tailing behind him while he entered the kitchen, already expecting my mother-in-law to have an entire list of instructions for me for the weekend. She was honestly unstoppable. Like a force. She was always onto some new diet plan or organic concoction that Aadam had to take. I loved that she was so passionate about it but Aadam definitely felt differently…

”And so,” she was saying to Rubeena, as she showed her some video on her phone. “All you have to do is take these seeds, boil them, add some of the Xylatol… because of course, sugar is a huge no-no for cancer patients. It literally thrives on sugar. Maybe a dash of this powder.. and you’re good to go!”

I smiled as I saw Rubeena’s face, which was absolutely appalled at the color of the mixture that my mother-in-law had brought. What was even worse was Aadam’s reaction, as my mother-in-law literally thrust the container in his face.

Err, Ma,” he said, looking petrified. “What are those black things floating on the top?”

”Chia seeds, of course,” she said obviously. She turned to me.

“Khawlah, did you see? I’ll show you again in a bit. When you’re there on the weekends you’re going to have to make this for him. He’s going to love it. It’s almost like a mixture of juice and a smoothie… like the ones you’ll buy from that Vida Cida…”

Vida Cida?! 

Vida-e-Cafe Mum,” Rubeena said, pursing her lips stiffly as she hid her smile. “It truly is amazing. You’ll have to try it.”

I nodded meekly as my mother-in-law turned her back and Aadam shook his head at me vigorously, while making slitting throats gestures at Rubeena and I. I wasn’t too sure if it was going to be a feasible idea… I was actually getting a little terrified about what this may to do Aadam and I. It was probably going to ruin our lives.

“Must I leave it out for you for now,” my mother-in-law asked, completely oblivious as she glanced back at Aadam for a second. “Or refrigerate and keep it ready for you later, before you sleep?”

I could see Rubeena looking at Aadam with an amused expression in her eyes. She was really finding this thing quite hilarious.

Err Mum,” Aadam said, scratching his head a bit nervously. “I forgot to tell you.. you don’t have to stay tonight…”

We all looked at Aadam in surprise, as he swallowed a little nervously.

What?!” My mother-in-law said, looking horrified. “You can’t be alone tonight! Not after the day you’ve had. You’re supposed to be resting and taking your oil by now. You need to put your legs up and sleep. Cancer patients are not meant to be all over the place like you are. I actually can’t believe that you drove here yourself! I’m going to have to speak to Siraj about a proper plan for you…”

”Ma, I’m not a baby,” Aadam said sounding a tad bit irritated. “I think I need a break from the sugar-free and gluten-free diet. Please. Plus, I won’t be staying alone, so you can relax.”

”You’re not?” She said, looking confused. I was just as clueless.

”Khawlah’s staying,” he said simply, glancing at me.

This was the first time I had heard of this turn of events.

”I am?!” I said meekly.

For some reason, my heart was beating extremely rapidly in my chest. My mother-in-law was looking at us with a quizzical expression on her face. Rubeena was grinning widely, and I had no idea why.

“Oiy, don’t look so shocked,” Aadam said, turning to me. “I’ve never murdered  anyone in their sleep!”

“Well, that’s a relief,” I said, swallowing and trying to keep my cool. “I heard otherwise.”

“And I promise I won’t snore.”

“You better not,” I conceded, looking at Aadam in warning.

My mother-in-law cocked her head to one side and narrowed her eyes cynically as she looked at us both. I could see that she didn’t quite know what to say… and to tell the truth… neither did I.

All I knew was that sometimes some things happen that you don’t expect or anticipate. Sometimes the big moments… well, they catch you by surprise.

The days you think are going to be big ones, well… they’re never as big as you make them out to be in your head. It’s the regular days, the ones that start out normal… that really get you by surprise.

And sometimes when you let go… when you let things be… sometimes… well, sometimes magical things really do happen. And that magic can bring not just the most beautiful moments… but a foundation for a lifetime of wonder that’s yet to come…


Dearest Readers

I hope the story is beneficial as well as  entertaining thus far. I will be out of town from next week, so please allow me a short break of +/- 2 weeks. I am trying to post one more before then if time allows. 

Please accept my apologies if I am unable to. Always look forward to the readers rambles either way. Really helps with the train of thought! 💫
Anything I haven’t addressed can always be queried in the comments section.

Shukran for reading my humble works. 🌸


much love, 

A xx

Sunnah Duaa for drinking water 

اَلْحَمْدُلِلّٰهِ الَّذِىْ سَقَانَا عَذْباً فُرَاتاً بِرَحْمَتِهِ وَلَمْ يَجْعَلْهُ

مِلْحاً اُجَاجاً بِذُنُوْبِنَا


All praise is due to Allah, Who of his mercy has granted us sweet and pleasant water to drink and did not make it bitter and salty due to our sins.

Revive the Sunnah Duaa for drinking water. How easy to practice! 

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When things get Complicated…

Bismihi Ta’ala


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

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

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

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

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

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:142] 

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

Well, that’s something like a superpower.

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

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

I could practically see her smiling through the receiver.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P.S. I’m sorry…

A xx

Sunnah of Drinking water

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

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