Part 122

Over the next few days my mind kept straying to Ahmed and nana. I wondered if they had resolved their differences. Nana was the same as usual. He didn’t give anything away, by word or action, and I didn’t have the courage to ask him outright. The only way I would know was to ask Ahmed and I kept a lookout for him at campus. On the fourth day I spotted him as I was sitting with Khadija and Asiyah on the bench at campus and I immediately jumped up.

“There he is!”

“Who?” Two pairs of curious eyes lifted to my face.

“Ahmed. I need to talk to him. I won’t be long. You’ll can wait here or in the car for me. Don’t look at me like that,” I said, finding Khadija’s knowing eyes on me, a smirk growing on her face, “I have to discuss some urgent business with him, that’s all.”

“Now what ‘urgent business’ would you have with Ahmed?” Khadija tapped her chin, pretending to think over it deeply. I rolled my eyes at her.

“Nothing of the kind you’re thinking,” I twisted my body around to look behind me and caught a flash of his white kurta as he melded into the people milling around, “crap! Let me catch him before he disappears completely!” I hurriedly walked in the direction I had last seen him. My luck was in yet again when I spotted Ahmed walking away from me in the distance, probably going to his house.

“Ahmed!” I gasped, jogging to keep up with him, “wait up!”

Ahmed whirled around, a frown on his face which deepened when he saw me rushing towards him.

“What?? What’s wrong?” He grabbed my arm then snatched his hand back instantly as though it had been burnt, “sorry,” he mumbled, shoving his hands in his pockets, “what’s wrong?”

I ignored the tingling feeling in my arm and smiled brightly at him, “nothing urgent, don’t worry. I was only running so that I don’t lose sight of you.”

“Okay…” he looked at me quizzically as though wondering why I wanted to catch him in the first place.

“My nana…and you…how’s things between you’ll?” I asked in a rush.

Ahmed’s face clouded over instantly. “Not good!” He said, blowing out his breath, “I apologised to him, for not thinking of offering him a lift and for raising my voice at him. He didn’t say anything…”

“That’s good, right?”

“No, it’s not. It means he shrugged off my apology. He simply nodded and turned back to his work. And now I’m pretty much non existent to him. He won’t talk directly to me anymore and if I have to talk to him first he’ll give me short, abrupt replies then turn away again. I don’t know what to do!” He ran his hand agitatedly through his hair, causing his imaamah to fall behind him, “I even went over to your house yesterday. I took him a gift and apologised to him again,” absently he bent over and retrieved his imaamah, setting it firmly on his head, “he only nodded again. Then there was such an awkward silence between us that after five minutes I left. I couldn’t take the coldness between us.”

“Oh no,” I whispered. I knew that nana was hurt and he was probably acting on that hurt but he should know the rewards of forgiveness. Ahmed couldn’t turn the clock back and do things differently and nana should realise that and forgive him so that they could move on. I was sure that Ahmed was too sensible to let a repeat of this incident happen again. “Unless I speak to him,” I murmured softly, “maybe he would listen to me.”

Ahmed looked at me doubtfully. “Wouldn’t he get angry at you for defending a strange guy? He would wonder what your interest is in all this.”

“Yeah, he wouldn’t take kindly to my standing up for you,” I replied, “but I can try, subtly, indirectly. Let me see. There’s no harm in trying.”

Ahmed flashed me one of his wide, dimpled smiles, making me go weak at the knees.

“Jazakallah, Fadheelah. Your support means a lot to me.”

“It’s fine,” I shrugged as though his soft words and warm smile had no effect on me, “I know you would do the same for me so we’re even.”

“Anytime,” he smiled once more at me, greeted me and left.

Over the next couple of days I watched nana carefully, waiting for opportunities to subtly bring up the topics of forgiveness and joining ties. In our home talim I read the chapter on joining ties from Fadhaaile Sadaqaat and also mentioned the sahabi who was promised jannah by Nabi S.A.W simply because he went to sleep with his heart clean and having forgiven everyone who had wronged him. Nana seemed to be listening but I obviously had no idea of what he was thinking.

On the third day, however, the perfect opportunity fell right into my lap and I wasted no time in grabbing hold of it with both hands.

Nana had called me into his study after dinner to help him with some of his work and now here I sat, infront of his computer, rapidly typing up what he dictated to me from his kitab. For a while there was silence, punctuated only by the clicking of the keyboard. Then nana read out a hadith;

“Every son of Adam is a sinner, but the best of sinners is the one who repents.”

I dutifully typed out the hadith then paused for a few seconds, my thoughts tumbling around in my head. Without volition my mouth opened and the words poured forth, “yes, everyone sins, everyone makes mistakes. But the best way to move forward is to forgive, to move past the mistakes and bury them completely. We can’t let our past control our future.” Instantly I tensed as nana’s head whipped around to stare at me. I pretended to be as stunned by my words as he was and looked back at him as if to say, “well, look at what this genius brain of mine just conjured up!”

“What did you mean by that, Fazzu?” Nana’s voice was stern, his gaze penetrating, as though trying to peep inside my brain.

“Nothing,” I replied quickly, “I…uhmm…it just came to my mind so I said it,” I held my breath, praying that he wouldn’t probe further.

“You’re right,” nana said abruptly after a while, “say it again.”

“Huh??” I stared at him blankly.

“Say what you said again.”

“Uhmmm…I said we should forgive and move on…because uhmmm…everyone sins and makes mistakes…” maybe my brain did have a genuine moment there because for the life of me I couldn’t recall the exact words I’d said to nana.

Nana’s mouth lifted in a slight smile. “Okay, let’s carry on. Where were we?”

I went to my room after I had finished nana’s work, wondering if he had gotten the hint and if he planned to do anything about it. I fell asleep with visions of nana and Ahmed on a battlefield, declaring a truce, floating through my mind.


I sat at the back of the class, my head bent, scribbling furiously away to keep up with Qaari Hammaad’s pace. I heaved a sigh of relief as he finally concluded the dars (lesson) with some wise words of wisdom as always. Dropping the pen on top of my book I flexed my sore fingers and rotated my neck to get the crick out of it.

“I’ll head over to the library now,” Qaari Hammaad said generally and that was a sign that the class was dismissed. Immediately the owes started getting to their feet, slinging their bags over their arms and shoulders and shuffling out of there. They did not stop and offer to carry Qaari Hammaad’s kitabs for him because they knew that it was always I who did that. I carried Qaari Hammaad’s kitabs and accompanied him to the library; I searched for whichever kitabs he wanted and got them for him; and I drove him home afterwards if he hadn’t come in his car, or took his kitabs to his car if he had. And that had been our routine even after our quarrel. No one had an inkling that things were not right between us and we preferred to keep it that way.

I lifted Qaari Hammaad’s kitabs in my arms and followed him silently out of the door. Even as I searched through the kitabs and got the ones he wanted, even as I led him to my car and drove him to his house there was an awkward silence between us that stretched with every passing second till I felt like screaming just to break the tension.

“Qarisaab,” I blurted once we were in his study. I’d had to follow him in here to place his kitabs on his desk and, pretending to stumble, I had slammed the door shut with my elbow. Qaari Hammaad had simply regarded me seriously and waited for me to deposit his kitabs and leave. But I couldn’t. I had to sort this out now and I hoped he would listen to me this time.

“Please, Qaarisaab. I know I was wrong but please make me maaf. I said things in anger that I was not supposed to and I regret it now. I won’t do it again inshaAllah, please forgive me.”

I held my breath when Qaari Hammaad lifted his head and pinned me with his piercing gaze, his expression unreadable. When he opened his mouth the last words I expected to hear poured forth;

“Every son of Adam is a sinner but the best of sinners is the one who repents.”

I stared at him, baffled, unsure of what he meant. Qaari Hammaad smiled slightly when he saw my confusion.

“You were wrong, Ahmed, but I was wrong to hold a grudge against you for so long as well. The best way to move forward is to forgive and bury past mistakes. We can’t let our past control our future.” He appeared to be quoting from somewhere and his smile widened as though remembering something. I didn’t care about that though. Qaari Hammaad was talking about burying past mistakes and that’s all I could concentrate on. He moved forward and lay his hand on my shoulder.

“You are like a son to me, Ahmed. That’s why I got angry when you went without me. But I realise that I should have made myself clear to you…”

I nodded quickly. “That’s all in the past like you said, Qaarisaab. My main concern now is whether I’m still like a son to you…” I paused significantly.

Qaari Hammaad laughed. “Of course. I can’t disown you so easily,” he pulled me forward into a hug which I wholeheartedly returned.

“It’s a good thing Fazila made me think twice,” Qaari Hammaad mentioned offhandedly as I was about to leave, “otherwise I would have still been stuck in my anger.

Fadheelah made him think twice? So that means Fadheelah had spoken to him? “How?” I asked, trying to sound as casual as he did.

“She told me that I need to bury past mistakes. And she said I can’t let my past control my future,” he shook his head and smiled, “I don’t know what she was talking about but she did make me think.”

I stared at him, my mind whirling at this piece of news. So Fadheelah had spoken to him after all, and had actually made him reconsider his stance. Once again Fadheelah had come to my aid in a difficult time and once again she had left me gobsmacked at the ease with which she managed to accomplish what I couldn’t. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude flow through me, filling me up till every nerve ending of mine tingled from the onslaught. I wanted to step up to her nana there and then and claim her as my own. I wanted to win her hand in marriage so that she belonged to me only. I wanted…

“Ahmed?” Qaari Hammaad was looking at me, his brows furrowed in puzzlement, “what is it?”

I shook my head. “Nothing,” I mumbled. I forced myself to smile and greet him before walking away from there on leaden feet.

Not yet…not yet…

Part 121

I quizzed nani after nana had closeted himself in his study about why nana was so angry. Nani sighed and shook her head.

“There’s an Ulama conference being held in London this weekend. Mufti Radhaul Haqq of South Africa and Mufti Taqi Uthmani of Pakistan are also going to be there. Nana says he told Ahmed to take him but he still left without him…”

“That doesn’t sound like Ahmed,” I frowned.

“That’s what I also said. I asked him if he told Ahmed directly to take him but he said no, he had simply mentioned it after class one day that he wanted to go and was looking for a lift. But since Ahmed had taken him last year and the year before he relied on Ahmed to take him this time as well. But maybe Ahmed thought he had found a lift,” nani shrugged, “so he left and now your nana’s furious.”

“Oh, boy,” I muttered, shaking my head. It hadn’t really been Ahmed’s fault but I wondered who could make nana see that.

“It’s not really Ahmed’s fault,” nani said, mirroring my thoughts, “but your nana is too angry to listen to reason right now.”

“Can’t he take the train?” I asked.

“Yeah, I think he will now. Let me go see if he needs me to start packing for him.”

Nani went to the study while I slowly made my way upstairs. Ahmed was in for a tongue lashing if I was not mistaken, though I still felt that it wasn’t his fault. He couldn’t have known what nana was thinking otherwise he obviously wouldn’t have left without offering to take nana first.

I was right. Nana left for London by train on Saturday and returned on Monday by train as well. When nani asked him why he hadn’t returned with someone else he snorted.

“They saw me there, Ahmed and the whole lot of them, but not once could they ask me how I had gone there and how I would be coming back. I’m not going to go around begging for lifts. I will remain self sufficient for as long as I can,” and with that he strode off into his study again leaving us staring after him in bafflement.

“Men!” I muttered, voicing our collective thoughts out loud. They liked pointing out how petty women could be at times but they were not much better as well!

I couldn’t help wondering if nana had voiced his thoughts to Ahmed as I went about my tasks the next day. Nana was very fond of Ahmed so it seemed quite surprising that he would get angry at him over a small misunderstanding.

My unspoken question was answered later that day. I was having a cup of tea by myself in the kitchen. Asiyah had gone out with Khadija to buy a few things for her trousseau. I had declined to accompany them this time, feeling lazy to go shopping yet again. Nani was upstairs, probably praying her asr salah.

When the bell rang I automatically got up to answer it, only to stop in the kitchen doorway as I saw nana already pulling the door open. I spotted the familiar imaamah before I heard his deep, quiet voice.

“Assalamu alaykum, Qaarisaab.”

Nana replied curtly to his greeting before turning and striding off into the lounge. Ahmed stood there baffled for a few moments before stepping forward to follow nana. He spotted me standing there then and his face softened into a warm smile which showcased his dimples perfectly. Feeling my breath hitch as it always did with his smiles I smiled back and greeted him. My gaze strayed into the lounge and I remembered nana’s anger at him. The poor guy had no idea what awaited him. I had no idea that my smile had changed to one of sympathy when I turned my gaze back to him. Ahmed replied to my greeting softly before going into the lounge.

Against my will I remained where I was, wanting to know what nana said to him. I knew it was wrong to eavesdrop but I couldn’t help giving in to my burning curiosity.

At first their voices were soft, the words indistinguishable. However, just as I was turning to go back into the kitchen nana’s voice rose.

“I told you!! Yes I didn’t tell you personally but I mentioned it while you were right there. Since I had gone with you last year AND the year before, didn’t you think of offering to take me this time??”

“But I didn’t know, Qaarisaab. You had told me to take you last year and the year before so I did. When you didn’t say anything this time I assumed you had already found a lift so I didn’t offer…”

“You assumed!!! You assumed!!! Couldn’t you come and ASK??? Couldn’t you have asked me even once who I was going with??? Or were you just not bothered?!?”

“If I knew I would definitely have taken you…”

“How would you have known if you didn’t ask??? Was Jibraeel A.S. going to come with wahi for you???”

Suddenly Ahmed’s voice rose above nana’s, “you know what, Qaarisaab, I do not have time for these baseless accusations. I only came to meet you, to see how you were. If I had known that you would throw me to the wolves and accuse me of things which I haven’t done I would never have come!”

I quickly drew back as Ahmed exploded from the lounge, his face alight with anger, and stalked to the front door. Without breaking his stride he bent down and grabbed his shoes off the floor then pulled open the door and slammed it shut behind him.

I stared at the closed door, too shocked to think straight. First nana displays a temper that I had never seen before and now Ahmed. Was the world going mad???

After a few minutes I slowly, hesitatingly walked to the lounge, debating with myself about whether to see if nana was alright or run away from there. I halted as nana came into sight; a solitary figure with his head in his hands, the picture of sorrow and despondence. He sighed heavily and in that one sigh I heard a wealth of unspoken hurt. That one sigh made up my mind on what I had to do.

I padded swiftly to the kitchen and grabbed my abaya which I had hung earlier on behind the door. Slipping it over my head I grabbed the house keys and slipped out through the kitchen door.

I ran out onto the pavement, my eyes scanning the road on both sides, hoping against hope that I would be able to spot Ahmed. I did not want to take the car as it would attract nana’s attention and I didn’t think he would let me go, especially if he knew where I was going.

My luck was in. I heaved a sigh of relief as I spotted a lone figure in the distance, his kurta and imaamah making him stand out and leaving no doubt of his identity. I started to walk swiftly towards him while racking my brains on what to say to him once I caught up with him.

Before I could catch up with him Ahmed abruptly turned and disappeared.

“Crap!” I started running, not wanting to lose him. As I reached the place where he had turned I realised that it was a park. All the better, I thought. I might be able to talk to him better here than in the middle of the road.

I spotted Ahmed sitting on one of the benches, his head in his hands, his posture mirroring that of nana’s. I paused to catch my breath and gather my thoughts then walked over and sat down slowly on the other end of the bench. Ahmed did not lift his head.

“It was his hurt talking over there,” I said softly. Ahmed started slightly but kept his gaze trained on the ground, “he was hurt that you didn’t think of him, that you left without him. He was relying on you…”

“And how would I know that he was relying on me?” Ahmed snapped suddenly, his eyes boring into mine, “did he tell me?? No!! He said I can’t get wahi. Damn right I can’t get wahi so how was I supposed to know that he wanted to go with me??”

“I think he expected you to ask him who he was going with at least,” I said cautiously, wary of this side of Ahmed that I hadn’t seen before, “since he did go with you last year and the year before.”

“Fadheelah, your nana isn’t a child whom I have to think of all the time! If he wanted to go with me he should have asked! Simple!! I don’t know what’s going on in his mind, I’m not a mind reader!!”

I nodded. I knew he was right. I also wouldn’t think it’s fair if someone didn’t tell me something and just expected me to think of it. But at the same time the way Ahmed had responded had been wrong…

“You are right,” I agreed, “but don’t take it so badly. He is your ustadh at the end of the day and he’s only this angry with you because he’s close to you. I don’t think he would have become this angry if it had been anyone else.”

“Are you done lecturing me???”

I sucked in my breath. Ahmed’s mouth was set in a hard line and his eyes flashed with anger that was clear even in the weakening light of the sun. You shouldn’t have approached him now, I told myself, he’s too angry to listen to reason right now. You’re just making things worse.

“I’m sorry,” I mumbled, looking down at my hands, “it’s none of my business. I shouldn’t have gotten involved in your matters.”

“Yeah, you shouldn’t have.”

I jumped up quickly, blinking rapidly to hold back my tears. I didn’t know why Ahmed’s anger was affecting me so much. I had faced other people’s anger and still driven home my point several times. But now all I wanted to do was run away back home and cry into my pillow.

“I’m sorry…I…I’ll be off now,” I managed then turned around and began walking as fast as I could in the direction I had come from.


I ignored him and carried on walking.


“Fadheelah, please,” his footsteps got closer till he was right behind me, “listen to me, please.”

I whirled around to face him, annoyed. “What???”

“I’m sorry,” he saw the tears in my eyes that I had tried to hide and his face dropped. He reached out to touch my face then pulled back at the last minute and jammed his hands in his pockets, “I didn’t mean to get angry with you. You were just trying to reason with me and I shouldn’t have gotten angry. Please forgive me,” his eyes reflected his sincerity and regret and seeing that my own anger melted.

“It’s ok,” I blew out my breath, “I guess I do have a tendency to meddle in people’s affairs.”

“No, you don’t,” Ahmed smiled, “you try to save the world. It’s a good thing so you shouldn’t be sorry about it. You only have to improve on your timing,” his smile widened, “and you can’t do that with everyone. Not everyone takes kindly to someone else getting into their affairs.”

“Including you?”

“No, of course not. I am happy now that you came. See?” He pointed to his wide smile and I giggled.

“Okay, okay. Do you know I had never imagined that you could have a temper. You always look so calm.”

“Everyone has a temper. Some just show it more often than others.”

“When you did show it it had to be to your ustadh.” His smile vanished at that and I immediately regretted my impulsive words. And yet, I was glad I had said them as well.

“I can’t believe I raised my voice at him” he winced, “I’ve never spoken to any of my ustadhs like that. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“What will you do now?”

“I’ll have to apologise to him. He must be really angry at me right now.”

“He is,” I nodded, “and he’s hurt as well.”

“Wish me luck,” Ahmed rubbed the back of his neck, looking like he was about to go to the gallows. I almost smiled at his expression, though I would have also been trembling if I’d been in his shoes, “and now I think you should be getting back. It’s getting dark. Does your nana know you’re here?”

“Of course not. Do you think he would have let me come if he’d known?”

“Then go before he finds you here and adds kidnapping to my list of offences.”

I laughed and made salaam to him, my eyes softly clinging to his handsome, smiling face before I reluctantly turned away and began walking home again.

Part 120

Asiyah came back broken and in tears just as I had feared. I took one look at her and pulled her into my arms, nodding at Dom over the top of her head with a reassuring smile. He smiled back pensively, his eyes reflecting the same sorrow that tinged his smile then greeted us and left. I led Asiyah to my room and made her sit on my bed before going downstairs and making us both large mugs of hot chocolate. I also pulled out slabs of chocolate, a packet of jelly beans, a few other packs of candy and a pack of choc chip cookies, dropped it all onto a tray then carried it upstairs. Asiyah was staring out of the window at the setting sun, her face streaked with tears, her eyes clouded with pain. I sat down next to her and squeezed her hand.

“Want to talk about it?”

“I…yes…no…it was a failed attempt as you can see,” Asiyah managed, turning her large hazel eyes onto me.

I nodded sympathetically, not knowing how to respond. This was why I hadn’t wanted her to get her hopes up but she had reassured me that she wasn’t going with high hopes. But at the end of the day they were her parents so anything they did would obviously hurt her a great deal more.

“Here,” I said, handing her the hot chocolate. I took the other mug then put the tray between us on the bed. Asiyah looked at it and the corners of her mouth lifted in a slight smile.

“Is this a party?”

“It’s hardly the occasion for a party,” I replied drily, “it’s more like consolation food. You’re supposed to stuff yourself with candy till you pass out from sugar overload.”

Asiyah laughed. “Isn’t sugar supposed to make us more hyper?” She asked with raised eyebrows.

I shrugged. “Maybe the hot chocolate will reverse the effect? Who knows,” I grinned at her then leaned back against the wall and took a large sip of the hot drink ..

When I saw Asiyah moping around the next day I knew I had to do something. I called Khadija to ask her what to do.
“What’s up?” Khadija said, sensing the urgency in my voice, “what’s so urgent?”

“We have a mission,” I announced, “it’s an emergency.”

“What mission?” Khadija asked warily.

“It’s called “Operation Save-Asiyah-from-herself Mission,” I replied.

Khadija laughed. “I should have expected something like this,” then she turned serious, “what is wrong with her though?”

I updated her briefly on what had transpired the day before. Khadija snorted angrily.

“I’d like to knock some sense into that stupid father of hers. There’s a limit to pride and ego as well, you know, and his has just reached the sky!”

“Tell me about it,” I muttered, rolling my eyes, “anyways, there’s no point wasting time on that man. There’s more important things to think about. Like how we can get Asiyah back to normal again.”

“Take her shopping,” Khadija replied promptly.


Khadija laughed at my incredulous tone. “It’s called retail therapy for a reason. And she needs to start shopping for her wedding anyways. When is it again?”

“A month from now,” I grinned at Khadija’s horrified exclamation, “that’s still better than the idea before it. Zul wanted the wedding in a week’s time, can you believe it?”

“Has he gone mad?” Khadija exclaimed.

“That’s what Asiyah asked as well,” I replied with a grin.

“I’m glad she refused. She’s a woman and she needs to prepare way more than him. Ask her if she wants to start shopping this weekend.”

“Okay, I’ll ask her,” I replied. I chatted to Khadija for a bit then hung up.

Asiyah had wanted the wedding in two months time. Zul had wanted it in a weeks time. When his parents had point blank refused to have it so soon he had agreed to extend it to two weeks. And that had been a great concession according to him.

“Has he gone mad??” Asiyah had burst out, pacing up and down the lounge agitatedly, “in two weeks time?? TWO WEEKS??? Is he insane???”

“Yup, for sure he is,” I drawled with a wicked smile, “he’s insane about you.”

Asiyah threw a cushion at me which I dodged easily.

“One month,” she had stated firmly, “and that’s the most I can compromise. Tell him nothing is gonna happen before then.”

“Poor, poor Zul,” I murmured, hiding my smile behind a sad face, “what has he done that you test him like this? Hasn’t he made enough sabr already with you? How much more can that poor man bear?”

Asiyah’s only answer was a snort as she turned back to her notepad and started scribbling something on it again.


I raised my head as she called me now, a slight frown on her face.

“Yeah?” I asked, looking at her quizzically. We were sitting in the lounge after dinner, Asiyah with her ever-present notepad and pen and me curled up on the sofa with a book.

“Come, let’s go over this list again. I haven’t left out anything, have I?”

I went to sit next to her, scrutinising the wedding list she had made. Asiyah was very organised and made lists of everything. I found it amusing how she would even make lists of what she had to do each day, though that did make her day much more organised than mine and saved her quite a bit of time. As soon as the wedding date had been finalised, which was sooner than she had expected, she had gone into a frenzy of sorts, wondering how we would get everything done on time. To combat her feeling of panic she had started drawing up lists to see how much we had to do. From the main things like the venue, decor and wedding dress to minor things like gift bags and candles, each item was neatly listed on one side, with the approximate cost of each item listed on the other side. That way she could try and fit everything into the budget she had. Initially she had been worried about the money though she had still refused nana’s offer of help.

“I’ve taken too much from you already. I can’t impose on you anymore.”

Nana frowned out of the window. “You haven’t imposed on us in any way…” he began but Asiyah’s voice stopped him.

“Still, nana,” she had started calling my grandparents nana and nani as well, “I have some money of my own. I’ll use that, don’t worry.”

“Which money?” I had asked her suspiciously afterwards.

“The one Allah is going to send for me,” Asiyah replied with a wave of her hand.

“Allah can send for you through nana.”

“No, please, Faz. I can’t take any more from him. I just can’t,” she had looked at me pleadingly and I had given in with a sigh, though I had still made her promise to come to us if she was well and truly stuck.

Asiyah must have prayed really hard because Dom had appeared a few days later with a bundle of notes which he carelessly tossed at her.

“Spend it wisely,” he said with a smirk.

When Asiyah tried to interrogate him on where he had gotten the money from he shrugged.

“Papa told me to give you. Don’t look at me like that,” he chuckled, “seems like the man has a heart after all.”

Asiyah searched his face for a moment before nodding and disappearing into her room to stash the money in her cupboard. I eyed Dom speculatively while she was gone.

“Did your father really give you that money?”

“Of course,” he smiled innocently. He saw my dubious look and laughed.

“I swear he did. I’m not lying.”

“Then why do I smell a fish here?”

“You’re too sharp by half,” Dom muttered but there was a slight smile on his face, “I’ll tell you if you promise not to breathe a word of it to Lise.”

“I promise.”

“I had to haggle the man and emotionally blackmail him to get him to take out the money,” he scowled, “it’s his duty to pay for his daughter anyways so I did nothing wrong. But I don’t wanna tell Asiyah because I know she’ll feel guilty and will end up trying to use as less of it as possible.”

“What a man,” I muttered with a shake of my head. I couldn’t understand Asiyah’s father’s animosity. Sure he hated islam but muslim or not Asiyah was still his daughter. Didn’t that count for something??

True to my word I hadn’t mentioned anything to Asiyah and I was glad to see her more relaxed as she realised that she would be able to fit everything into the amount she had received.

“Khadija was asking if you would like to go shopping this weekend,” I said as I finished reading through the list.

“Yeah, sure. The sooner we start the better.”

“That’s what I thought,” I nodded in agreement.

Asiyah and I both jumped as the door banged open, someone stomped in then slammed the door shut again with such force that the walls also seemed to vibrate. I jumped to my feet in shock, wondering if an intruder had just barged in…then stared open-mouthed at the door as nana stormed past, a black scowl on his face.

What on earth???

“Hammaad?” Nani sounded surprised and wary as well, “what’s wrong?”

I couldn’t make out the words but I could hear nana’s low, furious voice as he spoke to nani.

“That foolish idiot!” He suddenly exploded, making me start again, “he knew I wanted to go with them. I even remember telling him about it but he still went without me. If I had known he was so irresponsible I would never have relied on him in the first place!”

I stared wide-eyed at the doorway, my mouth still agape. Nana never, ever swore at anyone. Never! So for him to even utter this mild profanity showed just how angry he was. I shivered involuntarily. I would not like to be in the shoes of the person he was angry with right now.

Part 119-ASIYAH

I adjusted and readjusted my scarf in front of the mirror, a million thoughts whirling around in my head. My stomach was cramping nervously, my palms were sweaty and my heart was racing. It felt like I was about to perform infront of a crowd of thousands; yet I was only going to meet my parents.

My parents. Four months had passed since they’d kicked me out and not once had they come to meet me since then. It was like I had ceased to exist for them. I had gone back twice but had failed so miserably in my attempts at a reconciliation that I’d sworn never to go back unless I had some sort of sign from them. A sign that had never come. Yet today I was going back, with news that would definitely not please them, unless they simply didn’t care anymore. Faz had said once that indians were quite racist at times. They only liked marrying within their own kind and didn’t take kindly to marriages outside their own caste, so to speak. But not only indians were like that. My own parents were very staunch Christians and proudly Italian. Whenever Papa had joked about me getting married in the past it had been to an Italian guy. Or maybe English. Definitely not Asian and never to a muslim. Which was why I was dreading todays meeting even more.

“Ready, Lise?” Dom called from downstairs.

“Coming!” I jabbed the final pin into my hijab, grabbed my bag and went downstairs to join Dom who looked rather dashing in a thobe and head cap…topi, Faz had called it. I knew he had probably worn it to make a point to Mama and Papa and I said as much to him. However, Dom shook his head.

“It is partly for that reason but I also like wearing it. I’ve decided to wear it as often as I can now, inshaAllah. And I’ve also changed my name. It’s Mus’ab now,” he grinned and held out his hand.

“Ooh, nice, Brother Mus’ab,” I rolled the unfamiliar name off my tongue. Mus’ab. It sounded nice and it suited him somehow.

“How did you come up with that name?” I asked.

“Well, you know how you told me that you chose the name Asiyah because of her history? Because she grew up in the lap of luxury but had to sacrifice it all, and her life, all for the sake of her deen?”

I nodded.

“Mus’ab Ibn Umair was a companion of the Prophet S.A.W. with a similar history. He too grew up in the lap of luxury. It is mentioned in the books of history that he used to wear suits worth two hundred dirhams each and the perfume he used to apply emitted such a strong and sweet fragrance that if he passed from one street, anyone who passed from there after him would know that Mus’ab had passed from there. He had it all but when the call of islam came he chose to embrace it wholeheartedly. His family didn’t take kindly to that and kicked him out. After that he was forced into a life of poverty but he bore it all for the sake of islam. Nabi S.A.W once saw him passing wearing two old pieces of clothing and tears filled his eyes as he remembered how Mus’ab R.A. once used to be the most well dressed youth of Madina, yet how was his condition now. To the extent that when he was martyred in the battle of Uhud he owned only one piece of cloth which also was too small to cover his entire body. If his head was covered his feet would be exposed and vice versa. In the end Nabi S.A.W. ordered his head to be covered with the sheet and his feet to be covered with the leaves of a certain tree,” Mus’ab paused for breath while I stared at him, enraptured. Our Islamic history was so rich and vibrant yet I knew so little of it. I made an intention there and then to delve deeper into the lives of the ambiya and sahabah. These were the people we needed to strive to emulate, not the so called role models of our time, the actors and footballers whom people so adored. What had they really accomplished in their lives that we looked up to them so much? If we had to be like someone we should try to be the Faatimahs, Aishas and Khadijahs of our time. We should try to be the Abu Bakrs, Umars and Mus’abs of our time.

“Oh and he according to some narrations Mus’ab R.A. also resembled Nabi S.A.W,” Mus’ab added.

“Awww, he must have been so handsome then,” I said with a dreamy sigh. I caught the smug look on Mus’ab’s face then and rolled my eyes, “not you, silly! The original Mus’ab.”

“Well, they say the name has an effect on a person so…”

“Oh gosh, don’t tell me you’re gonna get even more big headed now!” I groaned and smacked my forehead dramatically.

Mus’ab laughed and punched my arm lightly in return. A minute later though, the smile left my face as the familiar house came into view. Mus’ab saw the trepidation on my face and squeezed my hand comfortingly.

“Don’t worry. They won’t eat you.”

He strode up to the door and rang the bell. A few minutes ticked by excruciatingly slowly then the door opened and Mama’s face appeared. Mama. I wanted to throw myself into her arms and bury my face into her neck, breathing in the scent of lavender that always seemed to softly cling to her. I wanted to cry all my pain onto those shoulders and have her wipe away my tears, telling me that everything was going to be okay…just like she had done when I had been little.

“Dom, Lissy…,” how I had missed her calling me Lissy…softly, like she was doing now and sternly when she had been angry or annoyed. I had always known whether she was angry or not, just by the way she said my name.

“Mama…” I seemed unable to say anything else as my throat constricted painfully.

“How are you, Mama?” Mus’ab said, extending his hands to her. She hesitated for a long moment, her eyes clinging first to Mus’ab’s face then to mine, the emotion evident on her face, then pulled open the door fully and stepped back.

“Come in.”

We followed her into the lounge where we sat down on a two-seater sofa while she sat on the corner sofa. There was a few minutes of silence as each of us contemplated what to say to break the heavy silence enveloping us.

“How are you two?” Mama asked finally.

“We’re well, alhamdulillah,” Mus’ab answered, the praises of Allah automatically rolling off his tongue. I saw Mama frown when she heard it but she said nothing.

‘Where are you staying?” She asked.

“Lise…Asiyah is still with her friend Fazila and I’m with a friend of mine, Musa,” Mus’ab replied.

“Asiyah?” Mama looked confused, “is that your name now?”

I nodded. “Yes, I changed my name to Asiyah. And Dom changed his to Mus’ab.”

“I see,” Mama murmured. She shook her head as though still trying to come to terms with all these changes.

“Anyways, Mama, the reason we came here…” I began when I heard the key turn in the lock, “is that Papa?”

“Yes, he’s back,” Mama suddenly looked as nervous as me and Mus’ab.

“Okay, let him come then I can tell you both at the same time,” I replied.

“Marcie!” Papa called out, his footsteps getting closer, “do we have visitors?” He stopped abruptly in the doorway as he caught sight of me and Mus’ab. I stared in shock at the man in front of me,so familiar yet so different at the same time. Papa had lost a lot of weight and he seemed to have aged during these few months. He looked haggard and drawn and I had the sudden urge to wrap my arms around him and comfort him, though I did not know the reason for his apparent change.

“Hello, Papa,” I said softly, feeling a lump form again in my throat.

Papa stared at us for a long moment. “Why have you come?” He asked finally.

I took a deep breath. “I’m getting married.”

The sentence dropped like a bomb in the silent room and received the expected response from both Mama and Papa. They both jerked forward in shock.

“What??” Mama gasped first, “to whom?”

“His name is Zulfiqar Ansari.”

I should have known that Papa would think of race next. “What is he?” He snapped.

“He’s a muslim,” I answered calmly.

“I know that! I’m asking what breed he is!”

A muffled snort of laughter escaped my mouth. “Breed, Papa?….He’s a Bengali.”

Papa curled his lip disdainfully. “An Asian! I should have known that you would choose the worst of the lot! The more extremist the guy the better, huh?”

“Actually the guy isn’t extreme in the least,” Mus’ab cut in, jumping to my defense, “he’s an ordinary guy just like you and me.”

“There’s nothing ordinary about you now, or any other muslims,” Papa snapped, his face turning red, a sure sign of anger.

Realising that the conversation was not going to progress any further I stood up. “My wedding date isn’t set yet but I think it will be soon. I would like…” my voice broke, “I would like you both to be there, please. For me. For the fact that I’m still your daughter and you’re still my parents. No religion or belief will ever change that.” The tears were rolling down my cheeks by now and seeing that Mama’s composure finally broke.

“Just let them come back, Gio!” She burst out, turning to Papa “our baby is getting married in a few weeks time, then she’ll belong to someone else! Do you want to live with the regret of not cherishing her final moments in this house, as our baby, for the rest of your life??”

Something flickered in Papa’s eyes and he clenched his jaw, hard. I saw him waver for the first time and a spark of hope ignited in my heart. But then he straightened, his resolve strengthened yet again, and the little hope that had ignited within my heart died a swift death.

“My condition stands, Marcie” he said in a steely voice, “convince them to leave their faith, then they will be most welcome here once again.”

“You know very well that’s not going to happen,” Mama cried, “they’ve stuck to their faith all this time, you think they’ll abandon it now???”

“That’s my final decision. Take it or leave it.” The iron mask was back in place, the previous softness completely obliterated.

“We’ll just have to leave it then,” Mus’ab stood up and held out his hand to me, “come on, Asiyah, let’s go.”

“Asiyah?” Papa frowned.

“Yes, my name is Asiyah now. Take care, Papa. I will still wait for you at my wedding.” I brushed past him, keeping my gaze averted from his face, for I knew that if I had to look into his eyes and see the coldness within their depths as they regarded me, I would break down completely.

Mama accompanied us to the door. At the very last minute, just before we stepped out she pulled us by our arms into a tight embrace, holding us close to her. I almost lost it then, as the sweet, painfully familiar scent of lavender assailed my senses, transporting me back to a time of gingerbread cookies, grazed knees, lots of cuddles and joyful laughter. A time when our biggest worry was Papa not catching us raiding his candy drawer once again and even the biggest bruise could be soothed by Mama’s and Papa’s kisses. With great difficulty I kept myself together and returned her embrace, almost impersonally.

“Don’t lose heart, my babies,” Mama whispered in our ears, “Papa will come around. This is affecting him as much it is us but he’s too proud to show it. But I’m sure he’ll crack soon. I’ll keep working on him. Just give him time. He will come around.”

We nodded and held on to her for a few seconds before pulling away and making our way out.

Despite me ruthlessly hardening my heart and crushing all remnants of hope before coming here, my heart still shattered to pieces as I left the home I had grown up in yet again with nothing but broken dreams which lay scattered on the doorstep. Tears of loss, of pain and grief poured from my eyes as I sobbed all the way home.

Part 118

​Asiyah?? They had come with a proposal for Asiyah?? Who exactly was ‘they’?? Ahmed??

I leaned weakly against the wall, my mind whirling at this piece of news.

“Have you come to propose for Asiyah, Ahmed?” I could hear the surprise in nana’s voice.

“Not me. Zul wants to put in a proposal,” Ahmed replied and the relief that rushed through me was so strong, I thought my legs would give way under me. Shaking my head at myself I pushed away from the wall and pulled myself together. I went into the kitchen to help nani, wondering what nana was saying now.

And then it hit me. Zul was actually here! To propose for Asiyah! So it really had been love at first sight for them, hmmm.

I couldn’t help grinning goofily at the thought. I wondered why Asiyah hadn’t mentioned anything to me. Surely she must know of his intentions…or did she??

“Why are you smiling so much today?” Asiyah asked me over lunch.

“Oh, nothing! I’m just happy,” I replied, grinning at her. I couldn’t tell her because I wasn’t supposed to know anything in the first place.

“Ya, even I was wondering why you smiling so much today,” nani put in, “you keep smiling at Asiyah. Has she done something for you?”

“Maybe because I happen to know of some good news coming her way,” I replied mysteriously. I winked at Asiyah who was looking at me, puzzled, and started clearing up.

“Fazila!” Nana called from the lounge as soon as lunch was over.

“Jee, nana?”

“Come here little while. And bring Asiyah with you.”

“Can you please tell me what’s going on?” Asiyah asked when I started smiling again.

“You’ll find out for yourself in a bit. Come on!” I made my way to the lounge with Asiyah on my heels.

Nana got straight to the point. “Asiyah, I’ve gotten a proposal for you…”he began.

“Proposal? What kind of proposal?” Asiyah furrowed her brows in confusion.

“A marriage proposal,” I put in.

Asiyah started in shock and stared at me while I smirked at her.

“From Zulfiqar Ansari. I assume you know him?” Nana asked.

“Zulfiqar…?” Asiyah still looked puzzled.

“Zul,” I clarified.

“Oh!” Asiyah’s mouth formed a shocked ‘O’.

“He came to me with his proposal since I’m like your temporary guardian. I don’t know much about him but if you’re interested I can do some background checks on him. Let me know what your decision is,” and with that nana walked out, leaving Asiyah still gaping after him in shock.

“Did you know about this?” I asked her.

“What? No, of course not! I had no idea otherwise I wouldn’t be so shocked.”

“I wonder how he thought of marriage though,” I mused, “I mean, you two barely know each other, right? Haven’t you’ll just met each other that once when I introduced you’ll to each other?”

“We’ve bumped into each other a few times after that,” Asiyah admitted, “or maybe he planned on running into me. I don’t know. But we got chatting, you know. He’s very talkative and friendly and we did hit it off. But I had no idea that he was thinking of marriage…” Asiyah trailed off, “I don’t know what to do!” she burst out suddenly, looking stressed out, “I’m not sure if I’m ready for marriage yet. And I don’t know how my parents will take the news. I’m sure they won’t be happy but then again, they might not even care…anyways, this is not about them, it’s about me. What if I’m not ready to handle marriage? What if I say yes only to make a mess of it??”

“Relax, Lise,” I said, “pray istikhara salah and make dua. You’ll get your answer there.”

“What’s that?”

“Pray two rakahs of Salaatul Haajah,” I told her, “it’s like any other salah except that you make the intention of Salaatul Haajah in the beginning. Then after making salaam pray this dua,” I found the hadith with the dua and read it out to her,

Narrated by Jabir bin ‘Abdullah R.A, “The Prophet (Sallal Laho Alaihi Wasallam) used to teach us the way of doing Istikhara, in all matters as he taught us the Suras of the Quran. He said, “If anyone of you thinks of doing any job he should offer a two Rakat prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer):

Transliteration: Allâhumma inni astakhiruka bi ilmika wa astaqdiruka biqudratika wa as’aluka min fadlikal-azimi, fa innaka taqdiru walâ aqdiru wa ta’lamu walâ a’lamu wa anta allamul ghuyubi. Allâhumma in kunta ta’lamu anna hâdhal amra ____________________ (name your need here) khayrun li fi dini wa ma-ashi wa aqibati amri faqdir-hu li wa yassir-hu li thumma barik li fihi wa in kunta ta’lamu anna hâdhal amra ________________ (name your need here) sharrun li fi dini wa maâshi wa aqibati amri fasrifhu anni wasrifni anhu waqdir liyal-khayra haythu kâna thumma ardini.

TRANSLATION: “O Allah! I seek goodness from Your Knowledge and with Your Power (and Might) I seek strength, and I ask from You Your Great Blessings, because You have the Power and I do not have the power. You Know everything and I do not know, and You have knowledge of the unseen. Oh Allah! If in Your Knowledge this action ____________ (name your need here) is better for my religion and faith, for my life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then make it destined for me and make it easy for me and then add blessings [baraka’] in it, for me. O Allah! In Your Knowledge if this action _____________ (name your need here) is bad for me, bad for my religion and faith, for my life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then turn it away from me and turn me away from it and whatever is better for me, ordain that for me and then make me satisfied with it.”

“Then make dua. You’ll get your answer in the morning inshaAllah. You might see a dream which would give you your answer or you might just get a strong feeling as soon as you wake up. If you feel positive that means it’s a yes and we can go ahead with the plans,” I grinned at her.

Asiyah took a deep breath, the nervousness already visible on her face. But there was something else there as well, almost like a sparkle in her eyes.

“How do you find Zul though?” I asked, “as in, how do you feel about him?”

“He’s very nice,” Asiyah admitted, blushing slightly.

“You like him!!” I exclaimed, spotting the tell-tale signs.

“I don’t know. I get this warm feeling inside when I think of him. Maybe I do like him,” Asiyah said then turned even redder and threw a pillow at me when I whistled and clapped my hands.

Things happened very fast after that. Asiyah gave nana the go-ahead a couple of days later, saying that her answer had been positive. Nana asked around and made the necessary checks before telling us that he couldn’t find anything worthy of criticism about Zul.

“He seems like a nice boy,” he said, “he’s a hafidh of the quran and very particular about praying all his salahs at the masjid and reciting quran regularly. He’s also gone out in jamaat a few times though he’s not regular. Ahmed said he has a good heart and very good character. He said Zul will make you happy. So if you give us the go-ahead he would like to come and see you.”

Asiyah looked happy and confused at the same time. “How does this work?” She asked me when nana had left us once again, “how do you guys go about this?”

I realised that Asiyah had no idea of the halaal way of going about things so I explained our samoosa runs and proposals to her.

“This whole samoosa run is an indian thing,” I said, “you don’t need to fry samoosas when the guy comes to see you. But basically he’ll come to see you and ask you the relevant questions and you’ll do the same with him. You won’t get to know him fully in that meeting but you can find out enough to build a base on. Then you wait for his answer. If it’s positive you make istikhara again and if your answer is positive you can give your answer as yes.”

“That’s all?” Asiyah looked at me in trepidation, “but what if he has habits that I don’t know of and I only find out after marriage? Can’t I get to know him for some time and then decide?”

I shook my head. “That’s all zina, Asiyah. Communications between males and females is only halaal after nikah. If you communicate before nikah you’ll be committing a sin and that will take away the blessings from your marriage.”

“But I don’t know him!” Asiyah burst out, “how can I commit myself for life when I don’t even know him?”

“You place your trust in Allah,” I said reassuringly, “you’ll ask your necessary questions at that meeting. Don’t hold back. Ask anything you want. Then when you make istikhara again you’ll be consulting with Allah. If Allah puts a positive answer in your heart that means Allah has chosen him for you and Allah will make him the best husband you can ever have. You just have to keep making dua and leave the rest to Allah.”

Asiyah took a deep breath but she looked calmer. “Okay, tell him to come over. Let’s have that meeting then I can start deciding.”

The meeting was scheduled for that week on Saturday. Zul arrived with his parents and Ahmed, looking nervous. It was the first time I had seen him look so uncertain and I found it pretty hilarious. I had already had a blast teasing Asiyah non-stop until she had threatened to stop talking to me altogether.

Asiyah made her appearance, wearing a long, beige dress and floral hijab. Zul couldn’t seem to tear his eyes away from her till he caught me smirking at him. He rolled his eyes and turned his attention back to the conversation on hand until it was time for them to have their talk. They then disappeared into the dining room, leaving the door ajar, with Dom sitting just outside the doorway.

Almost an hour later, just as we were wondering if they had set up camp in the dining room, Zul and Asiyah emerged from there. I took one look at their blushing, smiling faces and knew that they were going to end up getting married.

And I was right. Zul had given his answer right then, before leaving, and it was a sound ‘yes’ from his side. Asiyah made istikhara for two days then also gave her answer as positive.

“Are you sure?” Dom asked her for the umpteenth time, running his hands through his hair agitatedly. He seemed more frazzled than Asiyah at the speed with which things had progressed and been finalised, “you don’t have to rush into this, you know. There’s no pressure on you. You can take your time to think about this.”

“I’m sure,” Asiyah said with a serene smile. Just last week she had been a nervous wreck and now she looked so calm and sure of herself…and so happy. Her eyes were sparkling like never before and the smile just wouldn’t leave her face.

“How did you fall for him, though?” Dom asked, looking puzzled, “he’s not really your type, is he? He’s so bleh…no offense,” he added hastily when Asiyah scowled at him, “it’s just that you can have your pick of any handsome guy you like yet you chose the male version of a plain Jane. I’m just trying to see what you saw in him.”

Privately I agreed with him since I had thought about the exact same thing myself. Zul was very average. He was short and stocky and he already had a balding patch in the centre of his head. To disguise it he kept his hair cropped short but I could still spot it. On the other hand Asiyah looked like a model. She was tall and willowy and she had the kind of looks that turned heads wherever she went. Whereas Zul was the kind of guy no one would give a second glance to.

“It’s not only about the looks, don’t you understand?” Asiyah said, exasperated, “he might not be a Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp but he’s a nice guy. He’s genuine and he has a heart of gold. I know he’ll take care of me and make me happy inshaAllah. And besides, I don’t find him bad looking at all.”

“Well, he has nice lips so you’ll have a good time there at least,” I put in with a cheeky grin.

Dom guffawed while Asiyah gasped, “Faz!! Trust you to notice something minor like that!”

“It’s not minor,” Dom said, still laughing, “it’s one of the main tools of pleasure.”

“Oh, please, not you too! Have some haya, tsk!”

Dom and I laughed while Asiyah rolled her eyes and tried to hide her red cheeks.

“We need to tell Mama and Papa,” Dom said after we had sobered.

“Yeah,” Asiyah looked at him with troubled eyes, “you’ll come with me, right?”

“Of course. Can’t let you face the firing squad alone,” he grinned at her reassuringly which she returned with a weak smile.

“Let’s go tomorrow,” Dom added, “it’s a bank holiday so Papa will also be at home.”

So it was decided that the two of them would go the next day to break the news.

Part 117

“Lisa! Asiyah! Fazila!”

Asiyah and I jumped, startled by nana’s loud voice bellowing from downstairs then looked at each other in bewilderment.

“Let’s go. It sounds urgent,” I said, jumping up from the bed.

We made our way downstairs then stopped in our tracks at the sight that met our eyes. Nana stood outside the study door, his arm slung around Dominic’s shoulders, a broad smile on his face.

“Jee, nana?” I asked, looking from him to Dominic, puzzled.

Dominic was looking behind me. “Lise,” he said hesitatingly.

“Dom? What’s going on?” Asiyah looked as puzzled as me.

Dominic looked at nana then back at Asiyah. He took a step towards her and smiled. “I’ve accepted Islam. I’m a muslim now.”

His words dropped like bombs in a suddenly silent room. I stared at him in joyful disbelief while Asiyah shrieked and leaped across the space separating them, throwing her arms around him in a tight hug. I heard her sobbing into Dominic’s shoulder while he rubbed her back comfortingly and whispered something to her. Nana and I looked at each other and nana indicated at me to move away from there. This was their private moment and we didn’t want to intrude on it in any way.

“Can you believe it?? Dom accepted islam!!” Asiyah exclaimed some time later, bursting into my room. I looked up from my laptop and smiled.

“Yeah, imagine! How did that happen?”

“Well, he said your words the other day got him thinking and he decided to read up more on islam. His aim was actually to find more fault with it so that he could use it against you or me the next time we met. But he couldn’t find anything bad in what he read. Then a muslim friend of his gave him an english translation of the Quran so he read that and he loved the message inside. That partially convinced him that islam wasn’t as bad as he was thinking it was. But the main thing that clinched the deal for him was the dream he had…” Asiyah paused.

“Go on,” I looked at her, intrigued.

“He dreamt that he was wearing two pieces of white cloth. He had wrapped one around his waist and draped the other over his chest, shoulders and back…”

“The ihraam?” I furrowed my brows questioningly.

“Is that what people wear when performing the pilgrimage?”

“Yeah, that’s the one,” I replied.

“Yeah, so that’s what he was wearing. Then he saw himself walking towards the Kaabah and he was left speechless by the magnificence of it. He remembers raising his hands and praying infront of the Kaabah then walking around it with other people and praying something again, then prostrating infront of it. And he said that when he laid his forehead on the ground in prostration he felt a sense of peace and tranquillity descend over him. He didn’t want to move from there. Then he suddenly woke up. He said he bolted upright the moment his eyes opened, his heart racing. The dream had been so real for him that he was completely disoriented. But he had this feeling in his gut that something was going to happen…that he had to do something. So he decided to come by nana and ask him a few things. He cross questioned your nana, I’m afraid,” Asiyah shook her head in embarrassment, “but your nana answered all his questions without batting an eyelid. And by the end of it he was ready to say his shahaadah,” Asiyah wiped a tear from her eye while I smiled goofily at her, elated by this turn of events.

“You must send him my apologies,” I said after a while, an embarrassed flush staining my cheeks, “I feel so bad when I think of the way I used to speak to him and even think of him before. Allah even gave Umar Ibn Khattaab R.A. hidayah after him being the greatest enemy of islam. He was actually on his way to kill Nabi S.A.W but Allah gave him hidayah instead. So I had no right to judge your brother.”

“Actually, Dom told me to thank you. Your outburst that day actually made him rethink his stance on islam. So you were indirectly his means of coming into islam.”

I smiled then, absurdly happy at this piece of news. “Really? Alhamdulillah, I’m so happy to hear that. At least my big mouth came in handy for once.”

Asiyah laughed. “Maybe you should become a motivational speaker. I mean, you led Sulaiman, me and now Dom to islam.”

“Oh, believe me, motivation was the last thing on my mind when I sparred with your brother that day,” I said drily, “besides, it’s my nana who’s done all the hard work. I was simply the driver, carting the passengers to him. Though I’ll still get the full reward for being the means, alhamdulillah. There’s a hadith on that,”

“The one who directs towards good is like the one who did the good deed.”

“Subhanallah,” Asiyah said softly.

“How will your parents take the news?” I asked suddenly, “I’m sure your dad won’t be pleased.”

“Ey, I don’t know, man” Asiyah replied, cringing “Dom said he’ll tell them tomorrow. Papa will definitely blow a fuse. I hope he doesn’t blame your nana again for this.”

“I hope not. I don’t want another scene like last time,” I replied.

“Mama is very close to Dom. He’s her favourite so I’m sure she’ll be shattered as well. But she won’t want Papa chucking him out as well.”

“I thought you were your mum’s favourite,” I said in surprise.

Asiyah shook her head. “I’ve always been my Papa’s baby. That’s why it’s hit me very hard that he’s become so cold towards me. I would never in a million years have imagined him treating me this way,” Asiyah’s eyes filled up with tears unexpectedly.

I squeezed her hand comfortingly. “Inna ma’al ‘usri yusra. After difficulty will come ease. Just keep making dua.”

Asiyah smiled through her tears. “Definitely. Dua is what gets me through each day.”

A couple of days later Dominic came back, looking subdued. He asked for Asiyah and when she came he got straight to the point without waiting for me to leave.

“They’ve kicked me out as well,” he said without preamble.

“What?” Asiyah gasped, her hand flying to her mouth in shock, “what about Mama? Didn’t she say anything?”

“She was against it. She kept pleading with Papa to let me stay and to bring you back as well. But Papa was too angry to listen to her. He was yelling his head off and calling me all sorts of names. And he kept asking me if your nana,” he nodded at me then, “was the one who made me a muslim. I denied it and said I had decided by myself. I told him about the dream I’d had but he scoffed at it and said I’ve become brainwashed. Then he said the same rule applies to me; either I renounce islam or leave. So I left.”

“Allah give them hidayah,” Asiyah uttered, despair lacing her voice, “what will you do now, Dom? Where will you go?” I turned to leave discreetly, feeling like I was intruding.

“At the moment I’m staying with a friend. But I was thinking of renting a flat for the two of us,” he paused for a few seconds, as if to ascertain that I’d left, then spoke again, his voice lower than before, “you can’t stay here forever, Lise. These people have been very good to you and they would never kick you out but you can’t keep imposing on them. We need to find a place of our own.”

“There’s no need for that,” I blurted out unthinkingly, my feet carrying me back to the lounge, “I’m sorry, Dominic. I couldn’t help overhearing what you said to Asiyah. I understand where you’re coming from but there’s no need for Asiyah to leave. She’s not imposing at all…and I’m not just saying this out of courtesy. I mean it. Asiyah has her own room here and she does her own thing. And we love having her around. My granny has taken to her like a long lost granddaughter and she’s like a sister to me. So really, I would prefer her to stay here. Though it’s up to you, of course,” I said, turning to Asiyah.

“But still…” Dominic protested.

“Do you have anywhere to stay for now?” Asiyah asked him.

“My friend’s willing to let me stay with him. He’s a good muslim guy who doesn’t mind helping me out. And I know he’s genuine but still, how long will we keep imposing on other people?”

“We can get a flat but how will we pay the rent and other bills?” Asiyah asked.

We’ll work out something,” Dominic said but I caught a flash of uncertainty in his eyes and that made me push forward.

“Asiyah is right. It’s expensive to get a flat and keep it running. If you already have a place to stay it doesn’t make sense to leave and get a flat of your own. But if you don’t have anywhere to stay and you are gonna get the flat for yourself then you can take Asiyah along,” I suddenly realised how overbearing I was sounding, meddling in these people’s affairs like it was my own business and I flushed, “I’m sorry, I sound like a meddling aunt now. I’ll just go put the tea on now and leave you’ll to your talks.”

I caught the gleam of amusement in Dominic’s eyes as his teeth flashed in a sudden smile. “Well, make sure you don’t start listening from the kitchen door now, aunty.”

Asiyah gasped, “Dom!” as my cheeks turned even redder, uncertain as to whether he was joking or serious.

“I’m joking!” Dom called out as I turned to beat a hasty retreat, “it’s actually rather cute how you are so protective over Lise…like a mother bear,” he grinned while I rolled my eyes in response.

“Well, I’ll still go get some juice anyways,” I went to the kitchen where I found nana sitting and drinking tea.

“What’s going on?” He asked.

“Dominic is here,” I replied, “his parents kicked him out as well so he wants to rent a flat and take Asiyah with him. He said he doesn’t want her to keep imposing on us,” I shook my head.

“No, no, there’s no need for that,” nana said, drinking the last of his tea and standing up, “let me go and speak to him. Asiyah can carry on staying here and he can stay at the madrassah if he doesn’t have anywhere to go.”

That clinched it. Dominic couldn’t say anything to nana so he agreed to leave Asiyah with us and stay with his friend for now. I smiled happily at that. I had gotten so used to having Asiyah around that I couldn’t imagine her gone anymore.

Little did I know that I was going to have to bid farewell to Asiyah not long thereafter, for reasons that I hadn’t even considered.

It was a couple of weeks later, as I was coming down for lunch that I heard voices coming from the lounge. As curious as I always was, I decided to see who had come, only to walk in on nana, Ahmed and Zul deep in conversation. Mumbling an apology I quickly backed out of there and made my way to the kitchen. A part of me was wondering why they had come to see nana and what they were talking about when Ahmed’s slightly raised voice stopped me in my tracks.

“Actually, Qaarisaab…the reason we came to see you was…errr…” he seemed to hesitate a little, “…we’ve come with a proposal…”

A proposal?? What kind of proposal??? Against my will my heart started beating a little faster as I strained my ears to hear what he had to say next.

“…for Asiyah…”

My heart almost stopped in my chest...

Part 116

This post is for my dear pal, H, who kept insisting on a bonus post. Here you go, babe😊 Enjoy!

“I had the misfortune of sitting next to one of the snooty girls today in my last lecture. And oh my God, she kept looking at me weirdly and sniffing suspiciously,” Asiyah was saying as we walked along one of the hallways of campus, “I was starting to wonder if she was high or something when she suddenly hissed, “what is that awful smell on you??” I just stared at her and said, “what??” Then she grabbed my hand and smelt it then wrinkled up her nose and said, “it’s your nails! They’re stinking!” And she said it loudly just as the professor paused while talking!”

I looked at her wide eyed and giggled. “And then?”

“The professor turned to look at us with a scowl then asked us what was wrong. And that girl had the nerve to tell him that my nails were smelling too much and she couldn’t concentrate so she wanted to switch places. I think he also thought she had a few screws loose!” Asiyah giggled, “he sarcastically told her that if something like that bothers her then she must move by all means. So she went to sit somewhere else, after giving me a dirty look again. Good riddance, I say!”

I laughed. “I suppose she hasn’t smelled henna before.” I had a habit of applying henna on my nails regularly. Last night Asiyah had seen me applying and she had also wanted to try it out. She had also found the smell strong at first but she had loved her maroon nails this morning.

“Yeah; probably not. They’re not smelling as much this morning though, so I don’t know what she was on about. But she actually focused the attention on me. After lecture several girls approached me, wanting to see my nails. They loved the look and didn’t find it smelly at all. You should have seen the snooty girl when she saw the other girls oohing and aahing over my nails. She looked like she had swallowed a box of lemons!” Asiyah chortled and I laughed as well, “so now they also want to apply henna on their nails. They were asking me where I got it from. I said I’ll let them know,” she looked at me quizzically.

“I got mine from P.E but I know you can find it over here as well. I saw nani bring a few cones home last time. I’ll ask her where she bought them from inshaAllah.”

Asiyah nodded, holding out her hand and admiring her nails again. I let my gaze wander as we walked then stopped as it landed on a familiar face in the distance. Zul. He was grinning and waving at me and I smiled and waved back.

“Who are you waving at?” Asiyah asked curiously.

“Some guy I know. Come, let’s go make salaam to them.”

“Them? How many of them are there?”

“Two,” I replied, hoping I was right and it wasn’t just Zul there. I walked over to where Zul was standing and sure enough Ahmed was there as well.

“Assalamu alaykum,” I greeted them with a smile, “Zul, you’re in a good mood today. You were actually smiling and waving at me. What’s up?”

“Ah ah. Can’t a guy just wave at a familiar face he sees?”

“Not with that cheesy grin. Tell me now, what happened today? Won the lottery, did you?”

“Just my luck that I had to befriend a shrink,” Zul muttered, “now everything is about feelings and questioning why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling.”

I laughed. “Not a shrink, idiot, a psychologist. There’s a difference!”

“I don’t understand all that,” Zul said with a wave of his hand, “give me cars and machinery and then we can talk!”

“No, please don’t do that,” Ahmed put in, “then he’ll talk your ear off till you’re begging for mercy. Once he starts with that he can’t stop!”

“Hey, you’re supposed to be on my side here!” Zul protested as I burst out laughing.

I suddenly became aware of Asiyah’s silent presence behind me. “Oh, how rude of me!” I exclaimed, “I’m jabbering away with you two and I completely forgot about my friend. Sorry, Lise,” I apologised with a guilty smile, “this is Ahmed and this is Zul. Guys, this is my friend Lisa…I mean, Asiyah.”

“Assalamu alaykum,” Ahmed greeted softly, averting his gaze carefully, “are you a new muslim?”

“Wa alaykum salaam. Yes, I am.”

“MashaAllah, Tabarakallah. Welcome to Islam, sister.”

“Jazakallah,” Asiyah said shyly.

I caught sight of the look of awe on Asiyah’s face at the same time that I spotted a genuine smile on Ahmed’s face and I felt a sudden stab of jealousy. I gave my head a firm, mental shake. He’s just being polite, man. No need to get all up in arms over it!

I shifted my gaze to Zul’s face then stifled a grin at the way he was looking at Asiyah. He caught my eyes on him and quickly caught himself.

“Assalamu alaykum Asiyah. Nice to meet you.”

Asiyah replied to his greeting equally politely. I spoke a little with them then turned to go.

“We have to go now. See you’ll around.”

They nodded and I had taken a step to follow Asiyah away from there when I suddenly whirled around. Leaning close to a startled Zul I whispered in his ear.

“Take your eyes off her, bru. It’s rude to stare.”

“I wasn’t…” Zul began, turning red.

“Yes, you were,” I winked at Ahmed who was grinning in amusement then sauntered away from there, a smile playing on my lips. I really could get used to shutting Zul up like that!

“What are you smiling about?” Asiyah asked curiously.

“Oh, I was just teasing Zul. Did you see how he was looking at you? You must be getting that a lot from guys,” I chuckled.

“Yeah, but not as many looks as I get now, with my hijab and abaya. Though the looks I get these days are a lot less friendly,” Lisa grinned, “I like that other guy though. What’s his name, Ahmed?”


“He was friendly yet so respectful at the same time. Did you see how he barely even looked at me? Apart from your grandfather I haven’t seen anyone else doing that.”

“Yeah, Ahmed’s changed a lot,” I replied, “he’s very practicing mashaAllah. He’s my nana’s student.”

“Aah, so that’s who he’s learning from.” Lisa nodded approvingly.

We drove home and freshened up before going down to help nani with dinner. Lisa insisted on helping out as well with cooking and household chores and she had taken quite an interest in indian dishes. I had laughed when nani had tried to teach her how to make rotis as well but she hadn’t seemed to mind and was actually picking it up quite well. I often joked with her that she’ll be better than me in no time.

After dinner Asiyah and nani went upstairs while I remained downstairs, making myself a cup of hot chocolate. Just as I had poured out the milk I heard a knock on the door. Wondering who it could be at this time I went and peeped through the peephole then scowled.

What was he doing here???

I pulled open the door slightly without unlatching it, then narrowed my eyes at Dominic.

“Lisa is in a good mood.”

Dominic looked baffled. “Errr, okay. That’s nice.”

“Yeah, it is. So I don’t want anyone to spoil it. Least of all you.”

Dominic held up his hands. “I haven’t come to shout at Lisa if that’s what you’re thinking…”

“Well, that’s good. She told me that she hasn’t seen you around for a couple of weeks and she actually seems more relaxed now. Your words don’t keep playing in her mind and burning her up from inside. She’s in a better space right now, which is why I don’t want you to spoil that.”

Dominic had the grace to look embarrassed. “Err, yeah. I need to apologise to her for that. I was acting quite stupid and childish.”

“Nice of you to admit it,” I was smiling slightly now.

“Quite the mother hen aren’t you, over my sister?” Dominic smiled in amusement.

“I guess so,” I shrugged candidly, “it’s because I’ve seen her at her lowest. It wasn’t a pretty sight.”

Dominic nodded guiltily. “I haven’t come to see her though,” he finally said, “I’ve come to see your grandfather. Is he inside?”

I nodded, frowning curiously. “Why?”

“Relax, I’m not armed or anything,” Dominic held up his hands drily, “are you going to let me in?”

I flushed slightly. “I didn’t mean it like that,” I said quickly, unlatching the door and opening it fully, “I was just asking out of curiosity. He’s in his study. You can come along.”

“I need some answers from him,” Dominic replied cryptically from behind me as I led him to the study. I knocked then went inside alone and informed nana about his visitor.

“Sure. Send him in.” Nana replied, removing his reading glasses.

“You can go in,” I ushered Dominic in then shut the door quietly behind him, wondering what he had to say.

Maroon henna’d nails

Part 115

“I will conclude, my dear sisters, by mentioning that true contentment indeed lies in following our beautiful deen. Every aspect of life is covered in our deen, contained and preserved in our kitabs and acted upon practically by the sahabah, taabi’een and other pious people. So whenever we have any questions regarding anything we should pick up our kitabs and we will find the answers within them. We make the mistake of looking at the west for our answers and end up making them our role models, when we have the perfect role models in our own deen. So pick up the books of history and read! Read about the lives of the sahabiyah. Read about Khadija Al-Kubra R.A., read about Aisha Bint Abi Bakr, Hafsa bint Umar and Faatimah Bint Muhammad. Turn back the pages of history and read about Maryam A.S. Read about Asiyah, the wife of Firaun. Read about Haajar, the wife of Ibrahim. Read about these sterling women and make them your role models. You will find all your answers within their lives inshaAllah…”

And with that the sister concluded the talim with a short dua. I turned to Lisa and smiled as we made our way out.

“Apa Sakeena has so much of wisdom, mashaAllah, huh.”

“Yeah, mashaAllah. I’m really enjoying these weekly talim sessions,” Lisa replied. She looked deep in thought as we drove home and I nudged her as we entered the house.

“Penny for your thoughts?”

Lisa laughed. “They’re actually worth more than a penny.”

“Ooh, why? Who you thinking of?” I smirked at her.

Lisa rolled her eyes. “Not that way, man. I was just thinking about what Apa Sakeena said in talim. About reading up on the great women of islam and making them our role models. I would like to read up more on them. Do you have any books that I can get my hands on?”

“I have Hayatus Sahabah,” I replied, “it has incidents of the male and female companions of Nabi S.A.W. But I don’t have anything exclusively on the women in islam. Let me ask nana, he might have.”

I went to the study where nana was reading his kitabs.

“Nana,” I began, “do you have any kitab on women in islam?”

Nana looked up, pushing his reading glasses up on his nose. “Yeah, I might have a few kitabs on that. Why?”

“Lisa wants to read up on them.”

Nana smiled and got up. He went over to one of his bookshelves and pulled out a thick book. He handed it to me.

“Here you go. You’ll find the biographies of majority of the great women in islam in here. Suggest to Lisa to adopt the name of the woman whose history affects her the most. The name of a person has an effect on them. It brings the qualities of the name in them. So tell her to choose wisely.”

I nodded and made my way to my room where Lisa was lounging on my bed, her phone in her hand. She smiled on seeing me but I noticed a tinge of sadness in her smile…or was it nostalgia? I couldn’t really tell. She flipped her phone over to face me.

“It was Dom’s birthday yesterday. He turned twenty four. Looks like he held a barbecue at home.”

I saw pictures of Dom surrounded by a group of girls and guys. In one he was holding up a large piece of t-bone, appearing to take a large bite out of it. In the second one they were all gathered around the braai bin, toasting what looked like marshmallows. In the third one they were holding up s’mores, with chocolate dripping down their fingers. And in the fourth he was blowing out the candles on a large, two tiered drip cake, with his friends whooping around him.

“Those s’mores look so yummy,” I commented flippantly, “except where the chocolate is dripping down their fingers. That looks gross!”

Lisa smiled. “I used to bake his birthday cake every year. Two tiered, with lots of icing and chocolate, just the way he likes it. I had even bought the candles for this year. And his gift. It’s sitting all wrapped up in my cupboard.” Her voice caught a little at the end.

I gave her a sympathetic smile. “Why don’t you still give it to him?”

“How?? I’m not going back there!”

“You don’t have to. Phone him and tell him where his gift it. Wish him a happy birthday then hang up. If he doesn’t want it it’s his own problem. At least you tried.”

Lisa still looked dubious. I held out the kitab I still held in my hands.

“Here. Nana said this contains all the biographies of the great women in islam. And he said try and choose the name of the woman who affects you the most. He said the name you choose will have an impact on you. It will bring the qualities of the name in you inshaAllah.”

“I was actually thinking of doing that,” Lisa grinned.

I sat down next to Lisa on the bed and we opened the kitab, flipping through the pages. Nana was right. From the time of Hawwa A.S., the kitab contained the legacies left behind by the sterling women in islam. We decided to read a few stories each day and finish off the kitab slowly like that.

“Wow! I’m blown away!” Lisa exclaimed a week later when we had turned the last page of the kitab, “there’s so much to learn from here. So many role models…”

“Yeah, shows how much women have managed to accomplish throughout history. And yet people think islam oppresses women,” I commented.

“Yeah, just shows how much we can trust the media,” Lisa replied, shaking her head, “I don’t know which name to choose from here,” she added with a gusty sigh.

“All of them are nice but there’s five main women who hold virtue over the rest. Four of them, according to some narrations, will be the wives of Nabi S.A.W in jannah…

“Khadija Bint Khuwailid. The first wife of Nabi S.A.W. The first woman to accept islam. She sacrificed her life and wealth for islam. When Nabi S.A.W got the first wahi (revelation of the quran) it was Khadija R.A. to whom he ran first. It was Khadija R.A. from whom he sought comfort. Nabi S.A.W mentioned once, “she supported me when no one else did. She stood by me when everyone forsook me.” Her contribution to islam is invaluable and immeasurable. Her devotion to her husband was unbeatable, to the extent that after she passed away Nabi S.A.W mourned her for years. He would make it a point to send food for her relatives from time to time. When Khadija R.A.’s necklace came in the booty after one war he took one look at it and tears filled his eyes as memories of his beloved wife assailed him again. Aisha R.A. was not envious of any of the other wives the way she was of Khadija R.A. Once, as she saw how Nabi S.A.W still revered her long after her death she could not contain herself and burst out, “why are you still missing that old woman??”(to the effect). Nabi S.A.W got so angry with her that his face turned red. Such was the rank of the beloved first wife of Nabi S.A.W, Khadija R.A…

“Aisha Bint Abi Bakr. The youngest and only virgin wife of Nabi S.A.W. She spent nine years in the company of Nabi S.A.W and in that time managed to gather such a large wealth of knowledge from Nabi S.A.W that she became the faqeehah (jurist) and muhaddithah of her time. Whenever the sahabah would dispute amongst themselves regarding a hadith or mas’ala they would take the matter to Aisha R.A. and she would solve it for them. Nabi S.A.W had the most love for her out of all his wives and in the last period of his life he requested his other wives to let him spend his final days in the room of Aisha R.A. They all acquiesced and he stayed in her room till he passed away, in her laps. When she was slandered by the munafiqeen (hypocrites) and some of the sahabah in the incident of Ifk, Allah Ta’ala revealed ayahs in the quran absolving her of all blame and reproaching the sahabah for speaking bad about her (check tafseer of Surah Noor for the full story). Such was the status and honour of Ummul Mu’mineen, Aisha R.A…

“Faatimah Bint Muhammad. The youngest and most beloved daughter of Nabi S.A.W. and the only daughter to be alive at the time of his death. She was the epitome of modesty. Once Nabi S.A.W asked his sahabah, “who is the best woman?” The sahabah had no reply. Ali R.A. went home and asked Faatimah R.A. She replied, “it is that woman who looks at no man and no man looks at her.” When Nabi S.A.W was told of this reply of his beloved daughter, he smiled and said, “Faatimah is from me and I am from her.” Her modesty was so great that she had requested that her body be placed in a casket upon her death so that no man would be able to tell the shape of her own body from the kafan (shroud). She had also requested to be buried at night because it is more concealing. She will be the queen of the women in jannah. Her modesty is so great that on the day of qiyamah when she will want to pass, an announcement will be made, “oh mankind! Lower your gazes for Faatimah Bint Muhammad wants to pass.” Such is the honour and status of Faatimah Bint Muhammad R.A…

Maryam Bint Imraan. She was the mother of Eesa A.S. The only woman whose name is mentioned in the quran and the only woman after whom an entire surah in the quran is named. The only virgin who gave birth, to a prophet of the time no less. She submitted herself to Allah fully and in return earned herself the highest ranks of jannah and the honour of being Nabi S.A.W’s wife in jannah…

Asiyah, Imra’atu Firaun (the wife of Firaun). The foster mother of Musa A.S. She was married to the greatest disbeliever and tyrant of her time, the pharaoh, yet when she embraced islam she did so wholeheartedly, such that no attempts made by Firaun could shake her faith the slightest bit. Firaun was so furious on hearing that she had chosen to believe in a God besides him that he nailed her hands and feet to the ground and threatened to kill her if she did not renounce her religion. But even in that condition she did not forsake her deen. Instead she prayed to her Rabb, a dua so powerful that Allah Ta’ala recorded it in the quran to be preserved till the day of Qiyamah;

رَبِّ ابْنِ لِي عِنْدَكَ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَنَجِّنِي مِنْ فِرْعَوْنَ وَعَمَلِهِ وَنَجِّنِي مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ

[Surah At-Tahrim]

“My Lord! Build for me a home with You in Paradise, and save me from Fir’aun (Pharaoh) and his work, and save me from the people who are Zalimun (polytheists, wrong-doers and disbelievers in Allah).”

Allah Ta’ala answered her dua and allowed her to glimpse her house in Jannah, a sight which pleased her so much that while being tortured she was actually smiling. She also prayed to Allah to take her soul before Firaun killed her. Allah also answered that prayer and before Firaun threw a huge rock on her which crushed her head her soul had already departed from her body. In return for her perseverence and steadfastness on imaan she earned herself the highest of stages in jannah and the honour of being the wife of Nabi S.A.W in jannah. Such was the rank and honour of Asiyah R.A…”

Lisa heard all this raptly then smiled. “Do you know whom I connect to the most?”

“Whom?” I asked with interest.

“Asiyah R.A. Because her story is so much like mine. She too was ostracised due to her faith but despite her difficulties she stuck to her faith. She gives me courage to face whatever comes my way because the reward by Allah is so great that all this is totally worth it. She inspires me to strengthen my imaan more and more each day. She gives me hope that after the storm the sun shines…even if the sun only shines in the hereafter…but that’s actuslly better, right? She is my biggest role model so I would like to adopt her name.”

Ok…Asiyah,” I grinned at her and she smiled back at me.

So Asiyah it was and I knew that she had indeed chosen the best name for herself.

Merits and Virtues of Ramadaan…

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wabarakatuh…

Hope everyone is well. The blessed month of Ramadan is nearly upon us alhamdulillah. This is a month of mercy from Allah Ta’ala, a month in which Allah pours his mercy and forgiveness down on us. This month is such a great gift from Allah Ta’ala, as mentioned in the following hadith:

– Abu Hurairah R.A relates that Nabi SAW said, “My ummah has been given five special things that were not given to anyone before them:
• The smell from the mouth of a fasting muslim is sweeter to Allah than the fragrant smell of musk.
• The fish in the sea seek forgiveness on their behalf until they break their fast.
• Allah prepares and decorates his special jannah everyday and then says to it: ‘The time is near when my faithful servants shall cast aside the great trials of the world and come to you.’
• In this month the rebellious shayateen are chained, so as not to provoke those evils that they normally do during months other than Ramadan.
• On the last night of Ramadan the fasting muslims are forgiven.”

The sahabah thereupon inquired, “oh messenger of Allah, is that night Laylatul Qadr?”
Nabi SAW replied, “no. But it is only right that a servant should be given his reward on having completed his duty.”

There are a few points I would like to mention:

• Firstly, we must try not to waste time as much as possible. We should read the Holy Quran in our free time, try and make as many khatams as possible. And also read zikr in our free time. It comes in a hadith:

“In this month, you should try to perform four things in great number, two of which shall be to please your Lord, while the other two shall be those without which you cannot make do. Those which shall be to please your Lord, are that you should in great quantity recite kalima tayyibah (Laa Ilaha illallah) and make much istighfaar. And as for those two without which you cannot make do, you should beg Allah for entry into paradise and seek refuge with Him from the fire of jahannam.”

The zikr which comprises all of the above is:

‘Laa ilaha illah, astaghfirullah, as’aluka jannatal firdaus, wa a’oothu bika minan naar.’

• Secondly, we must try and pray off all our qadha salahs, and if we don’t have any left, we must try and pray nafl salah as much as possible. It is mentioned in a hadith:

“Whosoever tries drawing nearer to Allah by performing any virtuous deed in this month, for him shall be such a reward as if he had performed a fardh in any other time of the year. And whoever performs a fardh, for him shall be the reward of seventy fardh in any other time of the year.”

• Thirdly, we must try and engage in as much dua as possible, especially at the times of tahajjud and iftar, as mentioned in the following hadiths:

– Abu Saeed Khudri R.A relates that Nabi SAW said, “during each day and night of Ramadan, Allah sets free a great number of souls from jahannam (hellfire). And for every muslim, during each day and night, at least one prayer is certainly accepted.”
                   (Narrated by Bazzaar)

– Abu Hurairah R.A relates that Nabi SAW said, “there are three people whose dua isn’t rejected; the fasting person until he breaks the fast, the just ruler and the oppressed person, whose dua Allah lifts above the clouds and opens unto it the doors of Heaven, and Allah says, “I swear by my honour, verily I shall assist you, even though it may be after some time.”

– Ibn Mas’ood reports that on every night of Ramadan, a crier from the heavens calls out, “oh you seeker of good, come near. Oh seeker of evil,turn away (from evil) and open your eyes.” Thereafter that angel calls out, “is there any seeker of forgiveness, that he may be forgiven? Is there anyone with a prayer, that his prayer may be heard? Is there anyone wanting anything, so that his wish may be fulfilled?”

When Allah, the Kings of Kings Himself is asking if we want anything from his limitless treasures, if we don’t ask to our hearts’ content, who can be more unfortunate than us, dear sisters?

• Fourthly, we can do all of the above but if we don’t preserve our good deeds well, then simple, careless actions of ours can tear all our efforts into shreds. Amongst those actions are lying, backbiting, slandering others, or any other sins, as mentioned in the following hadiths:

– Abu Hurairah R.A relates that Nabi SAW said, “Many of those who fast obtain nothing through such fasting except hunger, and many a one performs salah by night but obtains nothing by it except the discomfort of staying awake.” 
                                 (Ibn Majah)

Ulama have mentioned different interpretations for this hadith: firstly, it may mean breaking one’s fast with haraam food, as that would make all our good deeds unacceptable. Secondly, it can mean those who fast but while fasting, engage in backbiting and slandering others. Thirdly, it may refer to the one who, while fasting, didn’t stay away from evil and sin.

– Abu Ubaidah R.A reports, “I have heard Nabi SAW saying, “fasting is a protective shield for man, as long as he does not tear up that protection.”
                    (Nasa’i and Ibn Majah)

Once somebody inquired from Nabi SAW, “What causes the fast to tear?” He replied, “telling lies and backbiting.”

• Fifthly, the last ten days of Ramadan are even more emphasised, especially the nights, because there is a possibility of Laylatul Qadr being amongst the odd nights from the last ten nights. It could be on any other night as well, but the last ten odd nights are more likely, as mentioned in various hadiths. So we should try and stay awake as much as possible during those nights, or sleep early and wake up earlier than usual for tahajjud salah. It is mentioned in the following hadiths:

– Anas R.A reports that Nabi SAW said, “on the night of power, Jibraeel A.S descends upon the earth with a group of angels, praying for blessings for every servant of Allah whom they see in worship, standing or sitting and engrossed in Allah’s praise. Then on the day of Eid, Allah boasts about them to the angels, that “oh my angels, what is the reward of that worker who has done his job very well?” They reply, “oh our Lord, his reward should be given to him in full.” To this Allah replies, “oh my angels, verily my servants, the males amongst them as well as females, have duly performed their obligatory duty, thereafter they set forth to the Eid prayer ground, raising their voices in prayer to me. I swear by my honour, by my grandeur, by my grace and by my exalted position, that I shall surely answer the prayers of these people.” Thereafter Allah addresses the people, “go forth, I have forgiven your sins, and have replaced your evil deeds with righteous ones.” These people then return from the Eid ground in such a condition that their sins stand forgiven.”

– Aisha R.A reports that Nabi SAW said,seek Laylatul Qadr among the odd numbered nights of the last ten days of the month of Ramadan.”
(Mishkaat reports from Bukhari)

• Sixthly, eid night is a night of great celebration, both here in this world (we see how the aunties run into the kitchen upon sighting the moon, preparing pots of different kinds of food, because for us indians, food comes first!😜 And how the girls run to apply henna and try on their outfits etc) and in the heavens, because that night is the ‘prize giving night’ as mentioned in the hadith; but it is also a great night for making ibadah (worshipping Allah), as mentioned in the following hadiths:

– Nabi SAW said,”whoever stays awake for ibadah on the night preceding either eid, with the aim of gaining reward, his heart shall not die on that day when hearts shall wither.” (referring to the day of qiyamah)

– Nabi SAW is also reported to have said,”whoever stays awake for ibadah on the following nights shall enter jannah; Laylatul Tarwiyah (the night after the 7th Zul Hijjah), Laylatul Arafah (the night after the 8th Zul Hijjah), Laylatul Nahr (the night after the 9th Zul Hijjah), the night preceding eid ul fitr, and the night preceding 15th Sha’ban.”

Like Ketoqueen mentioned, Ramadaan is like a huge sale. Imagine if a yearly sale was occuring right at our doorstep with a bold sign proclaiming, “buy one get seventy free.” Who in their right mind would pass up an opportunity like that? We would be the first ones to rush there and inform all our near and dear ones as well so that no one would miss out. Well, this is exactly like that, only that the rewards are far greater than any worldly treasures yet hidden from sight. We need to become fully aware of these treasures within our reach and try our best to fill our treasure chests with as many valuables as we can, to ensure our success in the hereafter inshaAllah.

Please try and pass this on to as many people as possible, so we can all benefit from this inshaAllah…

Wishing you all a very blessed and special Ramadan and Eid! Remember me and my family in your special duas!

Ilal liqaa (till we meet again)
Ma’as salaamah! xxx













Wake-up call…

They met in Aalamul Arwaah, the realm of souls. Two souls, identical in appearance yet divided by a wide chasm of years and worldly experience. One of them held an unused ticket in his hand; a return ticket to the dunya, the world. The other held an expired ticket; his time in the world having come to an end.

“Where are you off to?” He asked his companion.

“To the dunya. My time there starts in a few days.”

“But you do know that you have to return, right?”

“Yes, of course! I know that I have to come back to my Rabb and I will long for the day I return every minute, every day of my life. I know that my journey is temporary and my eternal abode awaits me here. I will try my utmost to fulfill my responsibility in the world so that I can return and enjoy the pleasures contained here once more.”

And so, he left. Filled with the promises made to his Rabb, filled with the purpose of his temporary visit into the world, he ventured forth oh-so-confidently.

But alas! He knew not that this world is a place of temptations, of sinful pleasures and a whirlwind of untold delights that would suck him into its vortex, with hardly any way out.

And so he forgot. He forgot the promises made to his Rabb. He forgot the return ticket still tightly clutched in his hand, with its impending date of return getting closer with the slow ticking of the clock.

Or did he forget? I think not. I think he merely chose to ignore the glaring fact and bury it deep within the recesses of his mind. Thinking that the saying would prove true in his case; “out of sight, out of mind”.

But that’s no excuse, is it? For when the final boarding call comes there will be no escaping it. The ticket will have to be presented, the flight will have to be boarded. Are we ready to undertake this journey?

So let us wake up, oh muslimahs. Let us become aware of the existence of our return tickets. We do not know the date imprinted on them but we do know that it could be anytime. So let us prepare for this journey before the clock stops ticking and before our escort arrives to take us to our final destination. Let us pray each salah like it’s our last. Let us watch each sunset like it’s our last. And let us make the most of this ramadhaan if we reach it because it might be our last.

On this note I bid you farewell, my dear readers, for the blessed month of Ramadaan. Stay blessed, stay happy. May we all meet here after eid inshaAllah, and if not, may we meet in the gardens of jannah❤

Posts will resume after Ramadaan inshaAllah, on the 29th of June. I will be posting the virtues of Ramadaan a bit later on…

Remember me and my family in your duas…

Wassalaam xxx

Living life cloaked in modesty and islamic principles…