All posts by oceanus868

Part 201

Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh…

So, here we are! The final season of this blog and what a season it promises to be, as I’m sure you’ll have already seen from the sneak peek😉 full of twists and turns, suspense and of course,cliffhangers, it’s gonna be a roller coaster ride all the way till the end. So buckle up and enjoy the final leg of this momentous journey!

xxx

“Fazila!” Mummy’s…my mother inlaw’s…voice rose over the din my hair dryer was making. I stuck my head out of my room and yelled, “coming!” before quickly drying my hair fully and stowing the dryer back in the top drawer. When I came down to the kitchen mummy had already cleared the countertops of everything and was wiping them down, despite the fact that Sally…our domestic…was right there washing the dishes.

“You mustn’t leave the oil in the pan after frying anything,” she said the moment I entered the kitchen, “as soon as it cools down a little you must pour it out into the container. And the counters were also so oily still. And messy. You must pack away everything……”

“I was still going to fry half moons for supper,” I interrupted, “that’s why I left the oil and tray like that.”

“Half moons?” Mummy frowned, “what for? We’ve already fried samoosas for tonight.”

“I know but Ahmed likes them so I thought I’ll fry up some……”

Mummy waved her hand dismissively, cutting me off. “No need to make them today. Then too much goes to waste. We’ll make them some other day now.”

“I can always pack them for Ahmed the next day so they won’t go to waste……” I tried.

Mummy slammed the dish cloth down on the countertop with a low thud. Her lips had thinned when she looked at me again, a look I knew well by now. “Some other day, Fazila. That’s why you must ask me before doing anything so we don’t have misunderstandings like these. How many times must I tell you. Go pack them away again in the freezer now and come help me make the naan for supper.”

Pack them away again…meaning she’d seen them in the fridge, had known I’d meant to fry them…and had still packed away the oil and everything, deciding that since she didn’t want me frying them I shouldn’t. After all, she always had the last word……

With a mental sigh I removed the half moons from the fridge and packed them away again, tamping down the small bit of resentment that rose up in me. My mother inlaw was a control freak, something I had come to know quite soon after coming back from my honeymoon. This was her house with her rules. She had made that clear from the beginning. I still remembered the day all my high hopes had crumbled around me with vivid clarity.

We had come back from our honeymoon on Saturday and spent Sunday just lazing around. On Monday I had to go back to school though now my timings were different. I now taught only part time which was from nine from twelve…and madrassah from two to four. I had even given up my Riyaadh to Han because I knew I wouldn’t manage to come out of the house so early. Still, I had to leave the house by eight-thirty at the latest. I had come down on Monday at seven to have breakfast with Ahmed before he left for work. After he left I had wandered around a bit, waiting for mummy to come down so I could ask her what to cook and help her before I had to leave. She hadn’t come down on time though and I had left before I got late. When I’d come back the food was obviously done so I didn’t have anything to do. Wanting to avoid eating without helping out like a guest I had come down early again on Tuesday so I would have time to make something. Only I didn’t know what exactly to make…and I had forgotten to discuss the menu with mummy the day before. So, feeling slightly lost, I had explored the pantry, fridge and kitchen cupboards, removed the ingredients for white sauce pasta which was the easiest thing I could think of making and hastily put it together. I’d left a note on top of the casserole dish letting mummy know that I’d made it for supper and would see her at lunch. Then I had left, feeling happy that I had at least contributed to my share of the cooking. When I had come back mummy was waiting for me in the kitchen.

“Fazila, what is this?” She indicated at the casserole dish she was standing by.

“White sauce pasta. I made it for supper,” I replied with a smile.

“Why didn’t you ask me before making something? I was going to make chicken tikka with naan for supper. Now who will eat that because this is already so filling……” she trailed off, staring at me.

I was still smiling, thinking nothing of it. “It’s okay, mummy. You can make the chicken tikka tomorrow and I’ll make something for lunch instead.”

That’s when she had told me. Pinning me with her gaze, enunciating each word clearly and slowly she said, “that is not how it works, Fazila. I want you to ask me before you do anything. This is my house with my rules. I decide what to cook. If you want to make anything come and ask me. If I agree you can make it. Otherwise I’ll tell you what to make. You understand?” Then, seeing my stunned face her tone had softened. “If you make your own thing and I make mine we’ll end up having too much food then it will all go to waste. Rather make one nice thing for lunch and one thing for supper. You understand that, don’t you?”

Yes, but why can’t we work together? Why can’t I make what I want for lunch or supper and you make what you want for the other meal? Why does it always have to be your way? Does this mean I have no say in YOUR house?? I should have said all that. After all, I’d seen how my own mum and Sumi worked. They worked as a team. If Sumi felt like making anything mum would let her go ahead and make something else. That’s why Sumi actually preferred coming over and working in the kitchen with mum rather than doing her own thing at her own house. I had seen teamwork and it was not like this. I should have told her that. Instead I had simply nodded and escaped to my room, feeling dazed and unsettled.

That had set the precedent for our future interactions. Little by little she had clipped my wings before I had even had the chance to grow them. She had run the house with an iron fist for decades. She was not willing to give up even an iota of that control to me. I guess she had put me in the same category as Sally and Brenda, the upstairs helper. We did what she told us to do or else faced the consequences. And the consequences were not pretty at all, as I’d found out the day I’d decided to do my own thing for once………

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Not a post *hide*

Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh…

I’m sorry y’all…I totally planned to post today but we plans and Allah plans…the ideas are there, buzzing around in my head but I can’t seem to put them on paper. I’m also busy in other things so maybe that’s why I can’t concentrate on the post fully. I’ll try and post as soon as I can inshaAllah❤

Duas xxx

Sneak Peek into the Future

Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh…

Today’s Thursday so I couldn’t leave you’ll hanging. Isn’t that sweet of me?😉 you won’t be thinking I’m sweet when you’re done with this post though. This isn’t a continuation of the previous or the coming posts, hence the different title. It’s just what the title says, a sneak peek sometime into the future. A sneak peek of what’s to come in the coming season. The next season will start where I left off so this is a once off, unconnected post. Enjoy…especially all the suspense😜

xxx

Shouting. Voices raised above each other. Footsteps thundering on the polished floors. The metallic sound of guns being drawn. And above all that, the screaming. The ear-splitting screams that seemed to go on and on, reverberating through the space, renting the air with the sound of pure agony…

“Faz! Fazila! Wake up! It’s just a dream, only a dream…”

My eyes flew open to look into mum’s distressed ones, her hands still shaking me gently bringing me out of the terror the had gripped me in it’s jaws. My throat felt raw, making me realise that I’d been screaming in my sleep…again.

I clutched my arms around myself the moment mum let go of me, rolling myself up into a tight ball. I rocked back and forth silently, trying to escape the images that flashed before my eyes vividly, replaying in my mind with renewed brutality. I felt mum’s hand on my back.

“Go back to sleep, sweety. It’s still early.”

I raised hollow eyes to meet hers, accepting her plea with a wordless nod. Mum hesitated, probably wondering whether to leave me alone in this state.

“I’ll be fine,” I said hoarsely, “go back to sleep.”

Mum nodded and backed out of there hesitantly. I barely noticed her go, my mind elsewhere…on that night…the memories I’d shoved deep into the recesses of my mind brought forth again by the nightmare. With a grunt I got to my feet. I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep. I never did.

I went to the bathroom and made wudhu then prayed tahajjud and made dua afterwards, letting out all my anguish, my suppressed pain and sorrow infront of the only One who truly understood me. I picked up the Qur’an and started reading, letting the words wash over me, soothe me, wash away the remnants of the nightmare.

Dawn had set in by the time I put down my Qur’an. I prayed my fajr then made my way downstairs and out the kitchen door, making my way to the garden seat that was placed strategically on one side, looking out over the lush green lawn and vibrant rose bushes bordering the back garden. It was cold and I pulled my shawl tighter around myself to ward off the chill. The sky was lightening, streaks of pinks, purples and blues arcing across the deeper blue. This was my favourite time of the day; quite ironic since I’d always loved going back to sleep after fajr before. Now I relished the peace and quiet of pre-dawn when even the birds hadn’t roused out of their slumber yet. This was my time, when I could just be me. When I didn’t have to put on a brave front infront of my family. When I didn’t have to pretend I was getting stronger by the day, that I was moving on and healing inside, when the truth was that I was dying a little more inside each day.

“Faz?” I hadn’t heard the footsteps approaching so I started a bit when mum appeared before me suddenly. I moved over a bit to allow her to sit down next to me.

“How you feeling?” Mum asked quietly.

“Fine, Alhamdulillah,” I responded automatically.

Mum sighed. “You don’t have to pretend with me, you know…” when I didn’t respond she touched my hand briefly, “it was worse this time, neh?”

I didn’t ask her what she meant. I knew. “Yes,” I replied. I kept the memories of that night so tightly locked away that a scab had formed over them, shielding them from me…till I had these nightmares. Then the protective layer was ripped away, exposing the wound beneath. The time after each nightmare was always the worst, when the pain, sorrow and loss were the freshest, leaving me reeling under the onslaught until I could somehow manage to cover it all up again and shove it back where it belonged. “How did you know?” I asked mum.

“Your screams. Usually they’re loud but not so…painful. This time you were screaming so much I thought you’d snapped.” She touched my hand again, “I mean it, Faz. You don’t have to pretend for me. You don’t have to pretend for anyone. I know you put on a brave front to make us worry less but we can see through it. We know you’re not healing because you don’t want to! Darling,” she took my face in her hands, “don’t pretend for us. Don’t even make the effort for us. Do it for yourself. For your own well being. Look at you, you’ve gone so thin. You can’t carry on like this, you’ll make yourself sick. And remember, there’s not just you now,” her hands left my face, moved downwards till they came to rest on the swell of my stomach, “you’re carrying a child, sweety. You’re responsible for another person now. If you make yourself sick you’ll harm your baby. Look after yourself for your baby at least,” her eyes looked pleadingly into mine and I nodded, dredging up a small smile to reassure her. She didn’t know how difficult it really was, moving on. She didn’t understand, none of them did. How did I begin to explain the loss of someone so essential to me it was like ripping a vital organ from my body, leaving me a bloody mess then expecting me to pick myself up and survive. How was such a thing possible??

“Oh, that made me remember. Nilofar sent this for you. It’s good for the baby, she said.” She placed a small container in my hands, containing what looked like fresh, sweetened ginger. I wrinkled up my nose.

“Does she know it has to go through me to get to the baby?” I asked sarcastically. There was no love lost between the monster inlaw and I, a fact she had made clear time and again. If she was even making an effort it was solely due to the baby, not me. Though I guess I shouldn’t call her a monster. She was the grandmother of my baby after all, a relationship I would have to make sure I nurtured. It wouldn’t be fair to deprive the baby of it’s dadi just because I couldn’t be in the same space as her without sparks flying.

Mum laughed a little. “I’m sure she’s well aware of that. And if she can make you angry as well then I’m grateful to her. It means you can finally feel emotions, even the not-so-good ones. That’s a good sign.”

“Hard to feel anything with a dead heart,” I muttered then was surprised at myself for admitting that to her.

“Sweety, I know it’s hard,” mum drew me into her arms, “I’m not saying it’s easy. But it’s been months. You have to look after yourself. And like I said, you have a baby now. Ahmed is gone but you have his baby at least. Look after yourself for him or her at least. And keep looking forward, sweety. If you refuse to move out of the past you’ll never move forward. Look ahead, look into your future and take steps in that direction then you’ll come out of this hole you’ve buried yourself in, inshaAllah.” With a final tight hug mum left me, going back inside the house. I looked down at the swell of my stomach, visible even under the shawl. I placed my hands on it gently, feeling the small movement inside.

“Only us two, nunu,” I whispered, “only the two of us now. Me and you.”

And then the tears started. Rising up from somewhere deep inside me, they flowed out of my eyes, seeping into the parched, cracked, barren plains of my heart, drawing from it all the pain, the grief and sorrow that had choked it. The pain consumed me, never ending, a fire that burned hotter than ever, making me curl into myself even as it swept me along to fates unknown…

Clearing up some matters…

Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh…

I would like to bring to light certain matters that have been a matter of controversy for some time now, namely the intimacy between Ahmed and Faz. From the time they got married I’ve had some readers point out that I’m going too much into details with their physical interactions, that it’s against haya, that it’s not allowed, that it’s a betrayal to my deen, to name but a few. Some have gotten pretty nasty as well, telling me how disgusting the content is etc etc… Previously I’ve responded to such comments individually in the comments section but this time I thought I’ll respond once and for all here so all the readers can read it and get a clarification, those who have commented and those who might be thinking similar things but have not voiced their thoughts.

My husband is a qualified, well known mufti and has answered many questions over the past few years. He is reliable and trustworthy and he’s also got taqwa when answering questions Alhamdulillah so he wouldn’t be biased just because I’ve asked him something in my own interest. I take his fatwas for all my mas’alas so previously as well I made him read the nikah post to ask him if I’ve written anything wrong. He asked me, “is this a married couple?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “in that case it’s fine. There’s nothing wrong.” I answered this to my readers but some were still sceptical over his answer, some implying that if I’d asked a senior mufti the answer would have been different. This time as well concerns are raised with people finding the content too explicit. Again I made him read and asked him if my writing is wrong. Again he asked, “they’re married, right?” I said, “yes.” He said, “then it’s fine.”

So to all the readers who still find the content wrong and unislamic; I have asked the mufti I trust and follow and he has given me his reply. My heart is now at rest. I will not force you’ll to follow the same mufti and fatwa. If you still find it wrong you can always unfollow and choose to read other blogs. We have many blogs written by wonderful authors Alhamdulillah. Read something you’ll are comfortable with instead.

To all the readers who gave me their feedback nicely, Jazakillah khair. I truly appreciate your concerns and feedback. As for the nasty ones… spare me your negativity in the future. I could do without your verbal sewage, really.

Wassalaam xxx

Role Models

THOUGHTS INTO WORDS

My son asked me in Ramadhan, “ummi, do you have to pray Qur’an out of Ramadhan also?”

It struck me, hard. We were talking about doing something out of Ramadhan when I mentioned having to pray Qur’an as well. Hence the question. Such an innocent question yet it hit me so forcefully. I do pray Qur’an out of Ramadhan but my time for praying my daily portion is after fajr…when he is sleeping. I was ashamed to realise that out of Ramadhan my son does not see me touch the Qur’an. It got me thinking; what if he had grown up with that impression? Would it have affected his life negatively? Would he have thought that Qur’an is reserved for Ramadhan only; not because he was taught that but because that is what he saw from his role model. Yes, dear brothers and sisters; we are our children’s role models…

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Part 200-C

Pristine white sands…deep blue waters…light blue skies, dotted with puffs of white clouds…a cool breeze blowing softly, making the palm fronds sway gently. I was in heaven on this earth and it made me think, Ya Rabb, if a tiny piece of this earth that is worth less than the wing of a mosquito in Your eyes can be so beautiful, how much more beautiful will Your jannah be? Ya Rabb, just as You have granted me the opportunity to visit a place this beautiful on this earth, grant me the opportunity to enter jannah as well. And the best part was that this world and all its beauty was temporary, but jannah? Jannah was everlasting, eternal.

A slight rustle to my right caught my attention, making me turn my head from the scenery before me. Ahmed plopped himself down on the lounger next to mine, clad in nothing but shorts. I eyed his muscular body appreciatively then blushed when I caught his gaze on mine, the knowing gleam in his eyes telling me he knew exactly what I was doing. His gaze left mine in a leisurely appraisal of my body, much like the one I had treated him to. The look in his eyes turned appreciative. “I could get used to seeing you like this always,” he said huskily and my blush deepened. I wasn’t wearing much myself, clad in a top that knotted at my midriff and shorts. The perks of having a secluded villa on a deserted stretch of beach. I was so grateful that I had married someone whose ideas matched mine. If I had married someone who didn’t take the concept of purdah as seriously as I did he would have booked us in a five star popular hotel that tourists mainly frequent. The facilities would have been much better but it would have been crowded and I’d have had to keep my purdah on all the time. What Ahmed had done was book this private villa for us in an unpopulated area, twenty minutes south of Jacó which was a town on the Pacific coast. We had hired a SUV from the airport in San José…the man at the car hire office had told us we would need a SUV to get around the rough terrain…and driven down here. It was basic and self catering, lacking the comforts of a hotel but it came with the hefty bonus of my freedom which made the small compromises more than worth it. And since it wasn’t peak season right now the beach was completely empty. I kept a cover up on hand just incase but so far I hadn’t seen anyone else around.

“What you thinking about?” Ahmed asked, drawing patterns on my arm softly.

“How lovely this is…having the beach all to ourselves…I’m glad you thought of this instead of a hotel,” I said, smiling at him.

“I knew you’d prefer this. I saw how much you love the beach house at home. Besides, I wouldn’t have missed out on seeing you like this for anything.” His hand moved purposefully, the smile appearing on his face again. I gasped and tried to catch hold of his hand, only to lose my train of thought a moment later. Turning to him I lost myself in his touch.

Our days followed the same dreamy pattern, lost as we were in each other and the natural beauty of our surroundings…until I woke up early one day, my sense of adventure rearing it’s head finally.

“Where you going? Come back to bed,” Ahmed said sleepily, tugging on my hand. I tugged back, trying to pull him up. When that failed I sat down next to him and tried to heft him up; an impossible task, considering the bulk of his body. Finally I used the one weapon I could, my tongue.

“Get up, sleepy head. Let’s go somewhere today.”

“Where?” Ahmed squinted blearily at me.

“First get up and drink this. Then I’ll explain.”

“You serious, huh,” Ahmed remarked, eyeing the cup of coffee in his hand. I cradled my own cup in my hands and nodded at him seriously.

“We’ve been lazing around doing nothing these past few days. Let’s go exploring today. See this place since we’ve come all the way here.”

“I wouldn’t call it ‘doing nothing’,” Ahmed remarked, eyeing me with that gleam I had come to know well by now. With a laugh I moved a little further away.

“Oh, no, you don’t. And yes we’ve spent our time very nicely……”

“More than nicely. I can’t think of a better pastime infact,” Ahmed interrupted, raising his eyebrows.

“Okay yeah it’s lovely but that’s all we’ve been doing! We can use our nights for that but let’s do other things during the day now. Let’s go exploring!” I reiterated, waving my arms about for emphasis. The coffee sloshed dangerously in my cup and I hastily put it to my mouth again.

Ahmed gave a long suffering sigh and swung his legs out of bed. “I had hoped your sense of adventure would stay buried for this trip. Or come out in bed only,” I blushed again at his look. This man was incorrigible! “but okay. Where do you want to go?”

My face lit up as I lunged towards the laptop sitting on the side table. “Let’s see……”

There seemed to be loads of things to do in Costa Rica. I searched for places close to Jacó and found several. I finally clicked on one and jabbed my finger excitedly at it. “This one!”

Ahmed scanned it briefly then turned to me with a dubious look. “With your abaya and niqaab? Will you manage?”

“I’ve done ziplines before in abaya. I’ll manage inshaAllah. Let’s go!”

I’d had an adventurous streak a mile wide from the time I’d been young. I loved camping, hiking and other outdoor activities. I loved nature and would rather go camping in the woods than shopping or to a spa. Not that I didn’t enjoy shopping and spa days as well but I loved this much more than that. So I was buzzing with excitement by the time we reached the place. My mood must have been contagious because Ahmed started to look eager as well.

Costa Rica was mainly forests and wilderness. They came right up to the beaches so our villa was nestled between the forests and the beach. We’d decided to explore part of the rainforest today but not on foot. No, this was much more elaborate and creative. We climbed aboard a tram for a one hour aerial tram ride that took us through all different levels of the rainforest. We saw all different kinds of fauna and flora on our way; sloths, capuchin monkeys, toucans, hummingbirds, to name a few. The tram ride ended on a mountain side where the only way down was by zipline. I laughed and whooped in exhilaration all the way down, my face feeling pink from the exertion even under my niqaab. We took a walk then, seeing reptiles and snakes on our way back to the car.

We spent the afternoon lazing around on the beach but my sense of adventure had well and truly woken up and Ahmed seemed to sense that…or maybe his own sense of adventure had finally been roused because the next day he actually woke me up!

“What on earth…have you seen the time??” I asked indignantly, convinced that he must have knocked his head somewhere and gone a bit coo-coo.

“Yeah but if you want to go on the cruise to the island you have to get up right now. It’s a day trip and we don’t have much time. It leaves at ten and it’s already nine-fifteen now.”

That perked me up. “Cruise? To which island?”

“Tortuga Island,” he said, pronouncing it the Spanish way. I laughed and hurried out of bed to dress up and whip us a quick breakfast. “Leave the breakfast,” Ahmed said, seeing me in the kitchen, “the package provides breakfast at the docks.”

We drove to a private dock where we had a lovely breakfast of fruits, yoghurt and scones with coffee before heading for the large boat docked nearby.

“This is a catamaran,” Ahmed said, gesturing to the boat.

“I see. Taking Spanish lessons, are we?” I asked, smirking at him.

He laughed. “Nope. Came across it on my searches. And it’s not a Spanish word, just a plain old English word. Come on.”

The ride to the island was wonderful. There weren’t many people aboard with us so we sat on one side where I could lift my niqaab and enjoy the salty breeze whipping across my face. The island itself was beautiful and picturesque, with white-sand beaches and forests behind it. We didn’t stick with the group but wandered off on our own, exploring as much as we could. We came back at lunch time where luckily there was fish with steamed vegetables and fresh fruit available. “I’ve never eaten this much fish and veg before coming here,” I said laughingly to Ahmed.

After lunch we were given a tour of the many small islands around the area before heading back to the main shore.

“When did you book that tour?” I asked Ahmed curiously as we drove back to our villa.

“Before we came here,” he replied.

I gaped at him. “So your whole performance yesterday about how you were wishing my adventurous side remains buried blah blah blah…???”

Ahmed grinned at me. “Hiking through the wilds is adventurous, going on a boat ride to an island is not. And I knew you’d like it so……” he shrugged.

I shook my head and smiled. My husband knew me too well. Alhamdulillah, I said softly for like the millionth time.

Contrary to his claims Ahmed did prove to be as adventurous as I was. We didn’t go out everyday, preferring to spend some days just waking up late and relaxing at the lovely beaches. Yes, beaches. Plural. Another thing I found out was that Ahmed hadn’t booked us at just one place for our three week stay. He had booked us several beachfront villas at different beaches scattered across the Pacific coast…and the Caribbean side as well.

“A tree house???” I gaped at him in laughing disbelief when we reached our second ‘villa’. It was in Costa de Pájaros, a slight distance from Jacó. It was beautiful with just as gorgeous views…and looked just like a typical African style chalet, complete with a vaulted wooden roof and polished wooden furniture and cabinets. The large open balcony looked out over lush greenery and beyond that, the ocean. A nature lover’s paradise, I thought, and commented as much to Ahmed. He grinned at me in response.

“I knew that about you from the time you mentioned Costa Rica to me all those years ago. I was curious, you know, and googled it up. I knew then that you must be the outdoorsy type. This place isn’t for pampered princesses.” I laughed at his last description. It was true. I couldn’t imagine Amira or Aliyah in such a place. They’d probably go running off to find the nearest city as soon as they could.

“I’ve forgotten half the places you mentioned to me that day,” Ahmed said softly from behind me. He turned me around to face him, “but this place stuck in my head. I couldn’t hear about it without thinking of you. And whenever I saw pictures of it anywhere I would picture you in them…lying on the beach…or standing here like this,” he brushed my hair back from my face softly, “the sun behind you, making your hair shine…this happy smile on your face,” his fingers skimmed across my lips, “smiling at me…only at me like that,” he brushed his lips against mine, “I tried to push the thoughts from my head, you know. I knew it was wrong,” he leaned back, smiled wryly, “but these certain images used to persist. Drove me mad sometimes.”

I slipped my arms around his waist, leaned against him, breathing him in deeply. “Only you, habibi,” I whispered into his chest and felt his arms tighten around me in response.

We spent the rest of our days alternating between relaxing at the secluded beaches and enjoying each other’s company, and going out exploring some more. We went to the Monteverde Sky Walk one day. Consisting of a series of eight suspended bridges connected by walking trails, it was a long hike through the rainforest, catching glimpses of birds, monkeys, sloths and other animals along the way. I was definitely glad I had thought to bring my sturdy walking shoes along! We explored the coffee plantation afterwards which I totally didn’t mind since it came with free coffee samples that warmed me up from the inside and soothed my aching limbs.

A couple of days later Ahmed surprised me again, this time with a sport that I hadn’t tried in years. Horseback riding. And on the beach of all the places.

“Do you want to go?” Ahmed asked me hesitantly, “I remember you telling me a while back that you used to love riding horses when you were younger but you hadn’t had an opportunity to do so in years so I thought you’d like to try this. But if you don’t want……” he cut himself off with a gasp as I launched myself at him, knocking him onto the sofa which was luckily right behind him.

“I want! I want! Of course I want!” I squealed excitedly, “did I also mention that it’s been my dream for I don’t know how long to go horse riding on the beach? I saw it somewhere and it just looked so awesome!” Ahmed shook his head then laughed when I peppered his face with excited kisses, squealing, “I love you so much!” in between.

“I should find out more of your dreams if it will get me loved like that,” he laughed when he finally managed to extricate himself from my clutches.

Ahmed had his conditions though. Riding a horse astride in abaya wasn’t exactly a walk in the park and he worried that my legs might end up showing. In the end I wore a long pair of socks coupled with my knee-high boots that I had luckily thought to bring along, and pants that didn’t keep riding up. Attired to our satisfaction we finally left for Rancho Monterey for our afternoon tour. It was just the two of us this time with Diego, our guide. It felt strange being on a horse after all this time but exhilarating as well. We rode through a forest trail, ending up on the beach at just before sunset. Diego was slightly bemused when we made him stop in the middle of the two hour ride to pray our asr but was quite accommodating and understanding as well. Riding along the smooth stretch of sand, the sun a bright orange globe dipping into the fiery water, the sky a magnificent splash of reds, pinks and oranges was the most beautiful experience of my life. I snapped countless pictures with the new camera Ahmed had gifted me with just before we came, capturing the moment in my heart as well as on film.

A few days later we moved to another villa, this one in the small village of Sámara. It was small and basic but secluded once more and it came with a small swimming pool. We took a drive up to Tamarindo the next day for another tour, this time to the Tenorio Volcano National Park to see the famous Rio Celeste. The water here was a lovely hue of turquoise due to some some volcanic chemical reaction as our guide explained to us. It was beautiful, unlike any other stretch of water I’d seen before and the waterfalls which we came to after a slight walk took my breath away. I stood there hand in hand with Ahmed, completely entranced, letting the falling cascade of water ring in my ears, letting the fine mist spray over me. We crossed a weatherbeaten hanging bridge on our way back though Ahmed was a bit trepid about that and stayed behind me the whole way, his hands resting lightly on my waist.

A few days later we moved again, this time to the other end of the country, the Carribean side. The beaches here were different with white and black sands and clear waters. Ahmed had booked us a large and fancy villa this time, complete with a swimming pool, sauna and Jacuzzi, to make up for the basic ones on the other side, he said. We stayed in Cahuita for a few days and in Puerto Viejo for our final few days. We hardly went anywhere those last few days, spent them in solitude on the secluded beach, swimming in the warm ocean and in the pool, sunbathing on loungers and having long, intimate conversations. We grew extremely close on this trip, our bond strengthened by the long hours spent in each other’s company, getting to know each other in and out. These three weeks were undoubtedly the best weeks of my life and as I lay wrapped in Ahmed’s arms I made shukr to Allah once more for blessing me with such a wonderful husband………


Aaaannnddd here we are! The final post of Season Four. Which means I’ll be taking a break now😁 but since I’ve already taken a long break in Ramadhan I’ll take a short one now. I’ll be back next week Monday inshaAllah❤

Enjoy and drop me your thoughts and feedback xxx

Part 200-B

“How was it?” Han pounced on me the minute I walked through the door after bidding an extremely reluctant farewell to Ahmed. After spending an entire week together neither of us wanted to be separated anymore. Ahmed had even suggested us running away to the beach house till rukhsati…a very impractical suggestion and defeating the whole purpose of a rukhsati because that way I would never get ready enough to move into his house! So I reluctantly turned down his very tempting offer with the consolation that there were only three more weeks left. Where before three weeks had been too little for me, now it seemed like too long. Naturally I couldn’t wait to move in with him anymore.

“Awesome!” I replied with a huge smile. Han eyed me speculatively.

“Had fun?” She smirked.

“Of course! We went to the Union building which has the most lovely gardens ever, we went to Roodeplaat dam where we had a picnic and did some kayaking. Oh and I made a whole new set of friends and went out with them once as well. They’re so much younger than me but I still had a blast with them!” I said, all in one breath.

“That’s not the kind of fun I was talking about, silly,” Han replied, still smirking, “I meant the other kind of fun…ugh, never mind. I don’t think I even want to know the answer to that,” she cringed and walked back to the kitchen. I laughed and trailed along behind her, glad I didn’t have to think of an answer to that!

Unfortunately I was not as lucky with mum. I would have thought my sister would be more direct than my mother. I was wrong.

“So…did you…uhmm, you know…did you sleep with him?” Mum asked me in a rush after catching me alone in my room.

“Mum!” I exclaimed, hot colour blooming on my cheeks. What on earth was I supposed to say to that???

“I just wanted to know because you might get pregnant if you did, you know,” mum replied defensively, “and there’s still three weeks left till the rukhsati. People will know if you fell pregnant before or after.”

I folded my arms across my chest. “Firstly, that’s none of their business. Secondly, he’s my husband! I can do whatever I like with him and I wouldn’t get a sin for it. Thirdly, I went away for a whole week with him. People are going to know something happened whether I fall pregnant to confirm it or not.”

“So something did happen!” Mum exclaimed, “could you two not have made sabr for three more weeks?”

“Not my husband. According to him everything is halaal right now so…” I shrugged, “and he’s my husband. I have to fulfill his rights, neh? I’m not allowed to say no,” I mumbled defensively. My cheeks were still tinged red with embarrassment. What I had told mum was partially correct. Ahmed was my husband and I couldn’t have denied him even if I’d wanted to. Not that I’d wanted to after a while. My initial resistance and weak protests when he had turned to me the second night had been washed away by the onslaught on my senses as Ahmed broke down every one of my barriers, touching the core of my heart just as he touched my body, encouraging me to open myself fully to him, body, heart and soul even as he bared himself to me in turn. Such a beautiful experience it had been, this level of intimacy that I experienced with no one but him. With everyone else there were barriers, even with the mother who gave birth to me, who had seen every inch of me as a baby. Still, after a certain age I had to cover from her. I was so used to covering up that I felt exposed and vulnerable infront of Ahmed, tried to hide my shyness under the covers of the bed and the cover of the night. But Ahmed taught me that in my submission lay my strength and in my giving lay my gain; the submitting of this incredible man in return. And when I finally yielded to him he took me to heights of pleasure never before imagined, where nothing existed except me and him and the magic we were weaving around us. I barely…just barely managed to remember the dua to be prayed at this time before I was swept away again.

This breaking down of the final barrier between myself and Ahmed drew us even closer than we were already were. We became inseparable which was to be expected since passion, no longer suppressed, flared hotly between us at every waking moment. It became a true honeymoon in every sense of the word, a honeymoon cut short far too soon, which is why our separation now was so much harder to bear.

I now knew why the Qur’an referred to this intimacy in such terms;

هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَكُمْ وَأَنْتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَهُنَّ ۗ

They are clothes (covers) for you and you are clothes (covers) for them.
[Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 187]

It was true in the physical sense as well and in another sense as well, that spouses conceal the faults and shortcomings of their spouses from other people. What happens between a husband and wife should remain between the couple, including the sexual act. Infact discussing what happened in the bedroom with other people is so abhorrent in the sight of Allah that Nabi S.A.W likened it to a male and female shaytaan copulating in full view of the public. Which is why I didn’t mention anything to mum, though just the thought of discussing any such thing with my own mother was enough to give me the heebie-jeebies!

“Well, at least one good thing has come out of it,” mum was grumbling, bringing me out of my reverie, “you won’t be complaining that the rukhsati is too soon and you’re not ready anymore.”

I laughed. That was true. The rukhsati couldn’t come soon enough for me now!

Despite thinking it was too far away the days flew by in a frenzy of preparations and before I knew it my rukhsati day had dawned. My second wedding, I thought, grinning to myself. Other people put mendhi once, invited people for the wedding feast once, had their big day once only. I had everything twice because this was also my wedding day. The nikah had been too rush-rush so mum went all out this time, inviting our immediate and extended family members plus family friends for a lunch dawat. Ahmed’s side had already done their share of feeding and inviting so they didn’t keep another dawat this time; not that they would have had time to keep another dawat because our flight was at five so we would be in the air at supper time. Where to, Ahmed hadn’t told me yet. He only told me to pack light, summer clothes and that our flight was at five so I should be ready by three. I had already packed my suitcases that would go to my new house and another suitcase that I would take with me so I was ready in that aspect. I now sat in Maseeha’s house once more, getting ready for the final big event of my life. Well, where I was the bride anyways. My dress this time wasn’t as bold and shimmery as my nikah dress or as sparkly as my walima dress. It was actually one of the dresses Ahmed had picked out for me in Jo’burg because what better dress to wear than what my husband himself had chosen for me, right? Mum had wanted me to wear another dress, one I had bought especially for this occasion but I preferred this one. Made of plum satin and lace, it had intricately beaded flowers on the satin sleeves and at the waist before falling to the floor in a flare of lace. I matched it up with a peach hijab and heels and a pearl adorned clutch bag, donned my favourite set of jewellery and I was done. My makeup, like my nikah day, was nude except for red lips, something I knew Ahmed loved. I hugged Maseeha with profuse thanks then left with Han and Zee. The rest of my cousins were going to meet us at my house, having refused to accompany me in order to help mum with the setup.

Mum, my aunts and my cousins had transformed our back garden completely. A huge marquee had been erected for the ladies, with a smaller one at the front of the house for the men. Rows of mats with white table cloths on them lined the inside, with round tables scattered around them for people who couldn’t sit down to eat. Amira, Aliyah and Swaleha had brought a sofa from inside to place at the front of the marquee for me to sit on, despite my protests that I didn’t mind sitting anywhere. I sat there with Zee on one side and Han on the other side, though they kept running back and forth doing other things as well. My in-laws arrived after a while, looking stunning as usual. My mother inlaw’s dress was actually more fancy than mine was. I caught mum giving me silent looks from the other side of the marquee, inclining her head slightly towards my mother inlaw and back at me in a silent message. I shrugged and grinned at her. I loved my dress and I knew Ahmed loved it. That was all that mattered, really.

Lunch was delicious, with molten burfee and chicken and mushroom pastry cups for starters. The main course was mutton biryani, roast chicken and chips, saucy pepper steak and lemon butter fish with steamed vegetables. Dessert was peppermint crisp tart, raspberry white chocolate mousse in individual cups, and chocolate self saucing pudding hot from the oven with warm custard to drizzle on top, the perfect complement to this cold winter day. I ate while chatting and laughing with my cousins, all of whom were teasing me about my upcoming honeymoon and taking wild guesses about where Ahmed was taking me. I shrugged, not having any idea myself. I didn’t even know which side of the world I was going to, never mind the country. I had tried to badger Ahmed, persuade him, bribe him…all to no avail. He refused to give me a single clue except that it would be nice and sunny there…which meant it was probably somewhere on the northern hemisphere since we were freezing our butts off here in the south. Ahmed himself was as excited as a small boy at eid, sending me suggestive messages and counting down the hours till we would finally be alone.

I also can’t wait, I typed back, grinning as I ate a spoonful of pudding.

“Look at her. Ignoring us from now,” Zee complained. She snatched the phone from my hand and dropped it in her bag, snapping it shut and shoving it on her other side. She grinned at my indignant look. “You’ll be with him in a few hours anyways. Give us your attention for now.”

“Fine. But only because I’m not going to switch on my phone till I get back so you’ll won’t be able to reach me over there,” I grinned.

“Hey! At least let us know where you’ll be!” Amira protested.

“Nope! Find out from Han since I’ll have to phone my parents to let them know I’ve arrived safely.”

“Look at her. I hope I won’t be this bad when I get married,” Aliyah muttered.

“You’ll be worse. Who keeps going on and on with, “Rashid does this…Rashid does that…oh, Rashid said this to me! Oh my God, you’ll won’t believe what Rashid did!” I said in perfect imitation of Aliyah’s high tones, “that’s why I keep telling you to make nikah with him ASAP. You’ll can’t stay away from each other even now, imagine how you’ll be after nikah…ouch!” I yelped as Aliyah’s clutch connected with my head. The rest of the group was laughing away loudly.

At three my phone started ringing away in Zee’s bag. I held out my hand for it and she handed it to me with a huff.

“So impatient, man.”

“We have to leave. I’m sure he’s pacing up and down by now,” I replied, laughing as I answered the phone. Sure enough, Ahmed was waiting for me in the car, his bag already stowed away in the boot. He even told Adnaan to come and look for me because we had to leave now or else we would miss the flight.

There was a round of tearful farewells…this time it was goodbye for real and mum broke down in my arms, hugging me tightly. I cried myself, knowing that my life as I knew it at my parents house was truly over. I was beginning another chapter now, filled with new characters and a new location. At least I was still in PE otherwise I knew I would have cried buckets more. Ahmed waited for me patiently outside, shifting uncomfortably at the emotional scene before him. Dad and Adnaan hugged me tightly as well, Adnaan whispering in my ear to behave myself even though I was a married woman now. That made me laugh and so it was that I found myself on the way to the airport in a lighter mood.

“Tell me now where we’re going, please??” I begged Ahmed. He grinned at me, joy making his eyes sparkle and opened his mouth.

“Nope!” He said and shut it again. I gave him a look but knowing that I wouldn’t get any more out of him, settled back in my seat.

We flew to Jo’burg first, which I knew was just a stop-over…then to……

“Madrid??” I asked, turning to Ahmed excitedly as he led me towards the boarding gates, “we’re going to Spain?”

Ahmed shrugged and grinned. “You’ll see.”

After hours more of suspense I found out that Madrid was just another stop-over. I was quite disappointed, especially since I was quite tired by this point, till I saw our final destination. I turned to Ahmed, my mouth open in disbelief.

“We’re going there?? For real?? Or is it just another stop-over?”

Ahmed grinned at me mysteriously again. “You’ll see.”

“This better not be another stop-over,” I grumbled but deep down I knew it wasn’t. I remembered that conversation we’d had long ago in England where we’d been discussing places we’d love to visit. We’d both had the usual places on our list though mine were more adventurous than his when I had mentioned this place.

“Why there of all the places?” Ahmed had asked, baffled.

“Are you kidding me?? Have you seen the place?? Meaning on internet…I haven’t seen it personally myself. The beaches…the nature…the scenery…” I sighed in bliss, totally carried away in my enthusiasm as I described what I had read up on it so far. Ahmed had smiled at me then, the dimpled smile that always made my heart flutter and uttered three words,

“One day inshaAllah.”

I hadn’t taken him seriously of course. How could I, when our future had been as uncertain as the changing winds that gathered force and receded with remarkable upredictability. But the fact that he had remembered…had actually made good on his words, made my heart melt out of love for him. I smiled up at him and squeezed his arm in silent appreciation. He squeezed me back in return, confirming with his eyes what his mouth hadn’t said.

Yes, I remembered. And yes, I believed. I believed in us…that we will be together someday…and here we are…you and me…together, always…


Soo,I have a task for you’ll. Can anyone guess where Faz and Ahmed are going? Anyone who guesses correctly will get a bonus post dedicated to them in the next season inshaAllah, since this season has only one post left. So start guessing!😉

Not a post…

Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh…

I won’t be able to post today unfortunately, due to time constraints. Sorry to make you’ll wait, especially A. who was counting down the hours to the next post🙈 I’ll post tomorrow or Wednesday inshaAllah.

Duas xxx

Part 200-A

The week in Pretoria passed swiftly. Ahmed dropped me off for my lectures at whatever time they were scheduled and picked me up afterwards. Some of my lectures had long gaps in between and Ahmed offered to come pick me up then drop me off again for my next lecture but I declined. It would be too much up and down for him. So I frequented the library in my free time, doing research and working on my project, or went to the cafe to have a cup of coffee while reading, or if any of the girls were free at the same time as I was, I sat and chatted to them. They were all so diverse, with different quirks and personalities but I got along with all of them despite the age difference between us. They invited me to hang out with them out of campus as well, undeterred by the fact that I wore niqaab and looked like the odd one out, but I politely declined, unwilling to leave Ahmed alone while I gallivanted around town. So I went gallivanting with him instead. We went to the Union buildings with their famous and beautiful gardens and spent an afternoon walking around, enjoying the greenery and panoramic views of Pretoria. I liked the sound and sight of Roodeplaat dam on my laptop and dragged Ahmed there one day after my lectures were done. We picked up lunch along the way and had a lovely picnic on the banks of the river. There were a few other people there, either fishing or boating or braaing meat on small braai bins. I was leaning back on my elbows, idly watching the water and people canoeing or kayaking past, when Ahmed stood up, a glint in his eyes and challenged me to a kayak race! I sat up and stared at him like he’d gone mad.

“You want me,” I waved a hand down the length of my body, “to race against you?” Another wave to encompass the bulk of his body.

“Yeah, why not? Come on, it will be fun!” He leaned down and pulled me to my feet.

“I’ll never win, you know!” I grumbled as I trudged along behind him. Ahmed looked at me with raised eyebrows.

“The ever-optimistic Fadheelah, and already giving up?? Doesn’t sound like you.”

“I’m optimistic but not delusional, Mr. Muscles!” I squeezed his bulging bicep for emphasis. Ahmed simply laughed and rented two kayaks for us. I had done this before actually so I felt my confidence return as I gingerly lowered myself into my seat. Come on, Faz, you can do this! Just get into the rhythm…paddle left then right, left then right…who was I kidding! Even my best effort couldn’t match Ahmed’s and I had bored holes in his back with my eyes by the time we finished our race.

“See! Happy? Told you I didn’t have a chance of winning this one! It was an unfair race anyways because your muscles outweigh my whole bodyweight by like a hundred kilos!” I huffed. Exaggeration at it’s best and even I couldn’t keep the smile off my face when Ahmed cracked up at my jibe.

“You weren’t bad yourself, princess,” Ahmed hugged me briefly, “I once raced against Humi and Issi, my cousin. Left them both so far behind I think they even lost sight of me,” he chuckled, “you were right behind me the whole time so that’s really good…what?” He asked, seeing the look on my face.

“Nothing. I’m trying to figure out if you’re blowing your own trumpet or trying to blow mine,” I replied, grinning.

“Ouch! That’s what I get for my compliments!” Ahmed held a hand to his chest in mock affront.

“Pshhhtt! What are mere words! Buy me some ice cream or coffee and cake then you can talk!” I replied.

Ahmed laughed. “My food baby. Let’s go.”

The whole week I’d been turning down offers to go somewhere or the other with the girls. When Friday came, however, they didn’t accept any excuses…especially when their offer of joining them on Saturday also got turned down since Ahmed had other plans for us.

“When you going back?” Sukaina asked.

“Sunday,” I replied.

“That’s too short! We won’t see you for months after that,” I had told them I needed to come up twice a year, “you have to join us today. Phone your husband and tell him. You’re not getting out of this one.”

I opened my mouth to protest but the other girls cut me off, not letting me get a word in between their insistent demands. I finally gave in with a laugh, holding up my hands in surrender.

“Okay, you’ll win. Let me go phone him now.”

Ahmed wasn’t too pleased about it. “They’re not gonna take you clubbing, are they?” He asked suspiciously.

I laughed loudly, causing the girls to look my way curiously. “Babe, seriously? Do you really think I would go in a place like that, niqaab and all?”

“No, you wouldn’t,” he admitted, “but still, they’re way younger than you. Teens still and you know how kids are at that age. Don’t agree to something you might regret later on.”

“Relax, babe. They know I’m married and an alima and married to a mufti on top of it. I’m also wearing a niqaab which screams non-entry at any shady place. Plus they’re decent girls. They don’t seem like the wild sort. But,” I added, sensing that he was going to argue again, “if worst comes to worst I’ll call you, okay?”

“Okay, fine. But I miss you,” he adopted a sad tone, “are you sure you don’t wanna spend some time with me instead?” His voice dropped to a husky, intimate tone and I felt a wave of heat rush through my body. Suddenly the phone was snatched from my hand.

“You’ll have her the whole night, mufti, I can promise you that. Now she’s unavailable so bye bye!” Liyanah cut the call and dropped the phone in my hand. I gaped at her in shock. She smirked at me in response and led me back to the crew who were waiting impatiently by two cars. Maariyah was driving one, Ashley the other. I sat in the car with Ashley and Sana while the other two went with Maariyah. Ashley was a fast driver and soon had us weaving in and out of traffic at breakneck speed. Sana gasped and gripped her seat, her gaze flying to the speedometer.

“Slow down, man!” She yelled, “this is why I should have driven. You’ll get us all killed!”

“Relax, nothing’s gonna happen,” Ashley replied, laughing, “you don’t see Faz screaming, do you?”

I wasn’t, though if I did scream it would be out of exhilaration. “I drive the same way so to me this is normal,” I laughed from the back seat.

“See, it’s normal,” Ashley shot Sana a smirk, “we should teach this domkop how to drive.”

“Voetsek,” Sana muttered, shoving Ashley hard.

“Watch it! You knock me out, we’ll definitely crash!” Ashley said, laughing.

When we reached the place I couldn’t help laughing. This was what Ahmed was worrying about?? I pulled out my phone and snapped a picture of the entrance then sent it to him with the caption, “rest easy, mister! Not a night club, is it??🤣”

It was a shopping mall. The Grove, written in large white letters. There was an entertainment centre inside which is where we headed. We ate lunch first as it was already two by that time then went to the entertainment area. Bumper cars, bowling, mini golf. The other girls were game for everything but turned to me expectantly, probably wondering if I would actually step into a bumper car. I grinned. They didn’t know me yet.

“Lead the way,” I said with flourish, sweeping my arm towards the bumper cars.

It was awesome! We had a blast crashing into each other then trying to avoid each other. We staggered out of there ten minutes later, laughing, and headed for the bowling alley. I loved bowling, had played many times with my cousins. I won the first round, much to the surprise of the other girls who were also really good. They insisted on a second round just to beat me. And they did. I had become overconfident, thought it would be peanuts to beat them again. And I lost. Not last but third…still a major drop from the first round.

“Pride comes before a fall,” I laughed, sitting in a corner so I could flip up my niqaab, wipe the sweat off my face and gulp down water. The others were cheering, especially Liyanah who had the highest score. Whether I won or lost though, it had been immensely enjoyable and that’s what mattered the most.……..

“How was it?” Ahmed asked as soon as I walked through the door. He was sitting in the lounge, his laptop open before him. I smiled and walked over to sit next to him, kicking off my shoes, abaya and hijab along the way.

“Awesome! Told you they’re decent girls. We went to eat lunch first…pizza and burgers and chips…then went to the entertainment centre at the Grove. We did bumper cars first then bowling. I haven’t done bowling in long, man. It was lekker,” I loosened my hair and fluffed it out with a sigh, grinning at Ahmed.

“Looks like you enjoyed yourself,” Ahmed commented, smiling, “did you win in bowling?”

“The first round. Shocked all of them so much they challenged me to a second round,” I laughed, “then I became overconfident and thought I could top them again. I didn’t. Came third,” I shook my head.

Ahmed laughed. “Pride comes before a fall?”

“That’s exactly what I said!” Great minds think alike? I grinned to myself.

“Well, at least you weren’t a sore loser…with them. You didn’t chew their heads off like you chewed off mine,” he winced dramatically.

I chuckled. “That’s ’cause it was a fair match. I wasn’t overpowered by muscles.”

“So you had fun without me, hmmm?” Ahmed closed his laptop and placed in on the low coffee table then turned to me, a glint in his eyes. I backed up warily.

“Yup, loads of fun. We even went to Wakaberry afterwards. The fro-yos were deelish,” I smacked my lips for emphasis.

“So now it’s my turn. You’ve ignored me the whole day today…I’m feeling really neglected…” he was leaning slowly towards me, the glint in his eyes more pronounced. I jumped off the sofa, giggling. “Time to spend some alone time with me, princess.”

“I need the loo…really badly. And then I think I’ll have a shower. I’m feeling so hot and sweaty,” I said. Ducking out of his reach I raced to the bathroom, Ahmed hot on my heels, my laughter trailing behind me…………

We were booked back on Sunday. Uncle Imtiaz had booked our flights, paid our air fare, everything. Not one to let an opportunity pass by though, he had booked us back for Sunday instead of Saturday because he wanted Ahmed to drive to Jo’burg on Saturday to meet some business acquaintances of his for some business matters. Ahmed had agreed then refused to take me shopping in Pretoria, saying I could buy whatever I wanted in Jo’burg since we would be driving down anyways. So Saturday morning saw us driving to Jo’burg which was an hour’s drive away. We reached at around eleven and went straight to the mall…at my suggestion.

“There’s no need to book a hotel room just for a few hours,” I had said in response to Ahmed’s suggestion, “we won’t even spend a few hours in it. Maybe a couple of hours at most.”

“Then you want to go straight to the mall?” Ahmed asked incredulously.

“Of course. That’s what we came here for, neh? We can shop a bit before zuhr and lunch.”

Shopping with Ahmed turned out to be a new experience since it was the first time I had actually come shopping with him. I could tell he wasn’t really interested but he tagged along for my sake and waited patiently for me while I tried on clothes after clothes. At least I got to know what style of clothes he liked. Definitely not Indian clothes, I thought, suppressing a giggle when I saw him struggle not to show the horror on his face as I stood before him in a baby pink and blue punjabi.

“Well?” I asked, twirling before him in the changing room, “isn’t it gorgeous?”

“Uh, yeah. I’m sure it will look really nice on you even when you turn ninety,” he replied with a straight face. I gaped at him laughingly.

“Are you saying I look like an old woman?” I demanded.

“I didn’t say anything like that.” Ahmed held up his hands but his mouth twitched with a suppressed smile.

“Fine! I get the message. No it is then. Is there anything you like in this shop?” I slipped off the dress and slipped on my abaya and niqaab again, walking out of the changing room with him. I indicated at the rows of dresses hanging before us and looked at him questioningly. He looked back at me, unimpressed.

“I didn’t want to come here in the first place.”

“Okay, let’s go then. We’ll go see another shop.”

In the end he did prove to be helpful, choosing several gorgeous dresses for me and humming in approval when I tried them on. Casual, not over the top in bling and splendour yet flowing over my body in muted hues, they were stunning and suited me really well…and at least I knew he also liked them.

We had an early lunch and prayed zuhr in the salah room in the mall because Ahmed had a business appointment at two. He was reluctant to leave me alone but I waved him away, assuring him that I’d be perfectly alright on my own. This was Sandton City after all…big enough for me not to even finish half of it by the time Ahmed got back, and perfectly safe. I browsed through the shops, stopped for some Haagen Dazs along the way, and was still engrossed in it all when my phone rang.

“Done already?” I asked.

“Yup. Are you done?”

“Are you kidding me?” I laughed, “this place is huge! I haven’t even seen quarter of it.”

“Well, you don’t need to see all of it anyways. So long as you have everything you came to buy.”

“I don’t shop with fixed lists in mind,” I replied, “I buy things as I go along. Come by Zara. I’m standing outside it. I want to show you something.”

In the end I convinced Ahmed to pray maghrib and eat supper before driving back. We staggered home at around nine, arms laden with shopping bags, prayed esha and crashed though I knew I’d have to wake up early to pack since we had to leave by twelve to catch the two o’clock flight.…………..

Part 199

The sharp, cold air of the bustling city enveloped us as we stepped out of the plane. Shivering I pulled my coat tighter around myself and followed Ahmed to the terminal where we checked out and collected our bags. We hired a car and drove to the flat which was about thirty minutes away from the airport. It was a small, two bedroom flat but nice and comfy. The kitchen, dining room and sitting room took up one half, a big open space. The bedrooms were on the other side, with one bathroom between them. I peeked into them then turned around, almost bumping into Ahmed who had come in behind me with the bags.

“Which room do you want?” I asked, gesturing to the open doors.

“Ermm, any,” he replied, looking slightly confused. He looked into both of them then gestured to the first one. “This one is better. It has a double bed.”

“Okay, I’ll take this one then,” I gestured to the other one which had two single beds against opposite walls, taking my bag from Ahmed. I turned to go into the room then was brought to an abrupt halt by the hand that clamped down on my arm like a vice.

“And where do you think you’re going?”

“Uhmm, to my room?” I turned back to him, eyebrows raised.

“Why your room? Why can’t this be our room?” He gestured towards the room he had chosen.

I hesitated. “Do you think that’s wise?”

“Fadheelah, we’re husband and wife! Not two strangers stuck in one house together. What’s wrong with sharing one room?”

“Yes, but……” How ironic that I had argued so vehemently with mum over this very thing, yet here I was overcome with doubts. It wasn’t that I was against sharing one room or even one bed. It was what would happen if we did that, that I was worried about. And I had reason to worry. My husband had not seen any reason to wait for the rukhsati from the time we’d made nikah. We’d had several close calls over the past few weeks and the only thing that had stopped us from going all the way had been me. Not that I found it wrong to sleep with my husband before rukhsati like some people did. I just felt that it would be so much better to wait for the big night…kind of like building up the suspense and anticipation…it made the end result so much sweeter. But if we were going to sleep in one bed for a whole week the chances of that happening were very slim.

“Talk to me, Fadheelah. Is there a reason you don’t want to share my bed?”

“It’s nothing, babe,” I smiled into his worried eyes, “I just felt it would be better to wait till rukhsati before going all the way. Don’t you think the wait and anticipation will make it more wow?”

Ahmed laughed, looking relieved. “Is that all? Rukhsati is just a formality. You moving in with me. That’s all. And whenever we do it it will be wow. I think you’ve already made me wait long enough for all that anticipation to build,” he waggled his eyebrows at me suggestively.

“A few more weeks won’t hurt you, mister!” I laughed and ducked into the room. There was a double bed but it was still quite narrow. The two of us would fit quite snugly on it. Oh well…I shrugged and threw caution to the winds. Whatever happened happened. I would just go along with the flow……

We prayed asr and maghrib then went out to eat at a nearby place. I wanted to eat ice cream afterwards so we got soft serve cones then just walked around hand in hand, talking softly. By the time we got home it was late so we prayed esha and crashed. I had to admit, sharing a bed was so much better than sleeping alone, especially on cold winter nights like these. I snuggled close to Ahmed, laying my head on his shoulder and fell asleep, feeling warm and snug in our own little cocoon………

The next day Ahmed drove me to campus which was a ten minute drive from our flat. It felt so weird to be on campus again. Memories assailed me as I stood on the pathway, looking at the buildings before me, the many different pathways branching off, interspaced by green lawns and scattered benches…at the students milling around, sitting in groups or alone. Memories of another campus, of a teenage version of myself, full of excitement and exuberance at exploring new opportunities, making new friends. I almost expected the tall lanky frame of Yusha to emerge before me, or Khadija and Asiyah to walk towards me, dragging me off with them. A sharp pang of loneliness pierced me. I was alone now, in a strange place once more. I felt a hand on my arm, turned to see Ahmed smiling down at me as though he knew exactly what I was thinking. I wasn’t alone though, I realised, smiling back at him. I had this one constant in my life, the person who had impacted me most during my campus life and who stood by my side even now.

“Imaamah dude,” I whispered, grinning to myself.

“What’s that?”

“Imaamah dude,” I repeated, chuckling, “remember that?”

“How could I forget,” Ahmed replied, rolling his eyes dramatically, “there I was, walking along, in my own world and this psycho comes to stalk me, screaming, “imaamah dude!” like a banshee……”

“I was not stalking you!” I replied indignantly, punching him lightly on the arm.

“Looked like it!” Ahmed replied, laughing, “running after me like that, your scarf all the place. And screaming at the top of your voice…”

“I was not screaming!” I narrowed my eyes and took a step closer to him threateningly.

“I thought I had gone mad…till I turned around and saw you hunting me down. Then I realised I’m not the c-crazy one here……” he laughed harder and backed up a few steps. I stalked him, step for step.

“I did not look crazy at all! I was trying to get your attention since you were so much in your own world it seemed like you’d gone deaf!”

“You definitely got the attention of the entire cam-campus! When I turned around all I could think was, “wooowwww, such a loud voice in such a s-small package??” He laughed even harder, his face red by now. I swiped at him and he jumped back nimbly, his back bumping against the car he had parked in the parking lot.

“Excuse me! I definitely wasn’t that loud!”

“How do you know? Your ears are probably used to the volume by now!” He was holding his stomach and laughing. I tried to cuff him on his ear but he caught my hand, bringing it to his lips.

“Banshee or not, you definitely screamed your way into my heart,” he placed my hand on his chest. I tried to pull away but he held on tighter, grinning at me. Looking around I suddenly became aware of a group of girls looking at us in amusement, some laughing outright.

“For someone who doesn’t like public attention you’ve definitely gained a lot of that right now,” I told Ahmed in a low voice. He grinned and let go of my hand.

“Give me a call after you’re done, okay? I’ll pick you up inshaAllah.”

I nodded and watched him drive away before turning back towards the campus…and the group of girls who were still standing around.

“Assalamu alaykum,” a pretty girl in a red scarf said as I walked towards them.

“Wa alaykum salaam,” I replied, smiling.

“Sorry we were staring. You two were so entertaining,” another girl giggled. She was tall and skinny, with straight red hair that fell till her shoulders and a smattering of freckles across her nose and cheeks.

I laughed and shook my head. “We forgot where we were.” Seeing no guys nearby I flipped my niqab over my head and smiled at the girls. There were five of them, two of whom had hijabs wrapped around their heads. They looked young, definitely younger than me. Well they would be! They were probably fresh out of matric while I was the old married aunt. I grinned at the thought.

“That your brother or something?” The third girl asked…the one with a bright floral scarf.

“Nah, my boyfriend. His name’s Ahmed. Mufti Ahmed Cassim,” I replied with a straight face. The girl’s eyes popped. Glancing around I saw the other three girls staring at me slack jawed before they recalled themselves and snapped their mouths shut. Only the fifth girl, a tall blue eyed blonde looked unconcerned…and amused by the others reactions.

“Oh, ermm. Nice. You two make a lovely couple!” Red-scarf said.

“I know, right? Many people tell us that,” I gushed while trying to hold in my laughter.

“You from around here?” The fourth girl, a curly black haired girl with thick, black-framed glasses perched on her nose asked.

“Nah, from PE. I’m doing my masters online from UP though so I had to come up for lectures for a week. I told Ahmed to come along with me. My parents weren’t too happy about it but I got my way in the end,” I flashed them a brilliant smile.

“Awww, nice,” red-scarf said, though she looked more stunned than happy.

“My parents would of killed me,” floral-scarf muttered, shrugging and smiling when I looked at her.

“Oh, my parents are cool like that. Even his Alhamdulillah. They didn’t even object like my parents initially did.” Gosh, their faces! I bit my lip to hold back the laughter threatening to burst out.

“So ermm, where you staying?” Freckles asked.

“Ahmed’s cousins flat. He was kind enough to offer it to us. It’s so small and cozy you know. Makes everything so intimate. Like a honeymoon before a honeymoon if you know what I mean!” I gushed, looking at each of their faces in turn. Red-scarf and floral-scarf looked horrified, freckles looked shocked, curly hair looked scandalised and slightly dazed…even blonde looked slightly stunned. I could almost see the thoughts passing through their collective minds; a niqaabi in a full blown relationship with a mufti?? Tawbah tawbah! Haraam alert!!!

“Well? Don’t you’ll think it’s so lekker??” I demanded, looking at them. They all seemed incapable of speech, simply nodding their heads dazedly. I tried to hold it in, I really did, but their expressions did it for me! I burst into giggles, clapping my hand over my mouth to muffle my laughter. I looked at them and laughed and laughed. “Sorry…your faces!…you’ll should see your expressions…oh my word…I’m dead,” I held my aching sides and laughed till tears of mirth leaked out of the corners of my eyes. The girls were looking at me like I’d gone mad. “Relax…the good news is I’ve married my mufti. He’s my halaal boyfriend,” I grinned at them then giggled again. Red-scarf rolled her eyes.

“You got us there! Do you always play pranks on strangers?”

“Nope, just the ones with a sense of humour,” I grinned.

Blonde laughed suddenly. “I like you!” She said, slapping me on my shoulder, “but then I have a sense of humour too so……”

And suddenly all of us were laughing like loons, right there in the middle of the main pathway that led to the main building. And in that moment I knew I’d made new friends here in this unfamiliar place.

“I’m Fazila, by the way,” I said when we had finally calmed down.

One by one the rest introduced themselves. Red-scarf was Maariyah, Floral-scarf was Sukaina, curly hair was Sana, freckles was Liyanah and blonde was Ashley. They were all studying different things but they had been friends since high school. I was new, a stranger yet they accepted me into their group with the familiarity of long-time friends. And they definitely made my first day of campus fun and memorable.………..