Author’s note…

Salaamz all you lovely people!:D  hope everyone is enjoying the story. Please keep the comments and feedback coming in, it really motivates us bloggers to keep going and better ourselves. Jzk khair for all your kind words so far😘
So far,I haven’t made a posting schedule. I suck at sticking to timetables so I wont set out days for posting. Basically,whenever I have a bit of free time I sit and write however much I can. I’ve been free this past week so I could post everyday. But some days get hectic so please bear with me if I don’t manage to post everyday. I will try and post as often as I can.
Remember me in all your lovely duas!
Wassalaam xxx

Advertisements

Part 7

I woke up to the shrill ringing of my phone on the bedside table. I picked it up and looked at the time groggily…

4 A.M???? Why on earth was Zee calling me at this time??

“What???” I grumpily answered.

“Faaazzz!!! We passed!!!” an excited Zee squealed down the phone.

“Huh? Passed what?”

“Our exams, duh!!!”

“Ohh!” realisation dawned as I remembered that our results had come out last night. “couldn’t you wait till morning to tell me?” I asked, annoyed.

“It is morning! Stop groaning and start celebrating! You can start by praying 2 rakaat salah of shukr. Its tahajjud time now!”

I grunted and cut the call then made my way to the bathroom. Once I had made wudhu my brain started functioning and I started jumping with joy. I raced to my parents room; luckily they were already awake. “I passed!” I exclaimed, startling them both.

“Ya Allah, Fazila, you’ll give us a heart attack 1 day!” my mum said, putting a hand on her chest.

“Sorry mum, I’m just excited.” I said sheepishly.

“MashaAllah, I’m so happy for you, dear.” mum came forward and hugged me. Dad hugged me too and congratulated me.

In the morning I told Adnaan and Han the news and teased them that they have to treat me now. They laughed and Adnaan came forward to hug me,”I’m proud of you, sis!” He was the type who didn’t show much emotion so I was touched by this gesture of his. After breakfast Zee and I went to pick up our results. Alhamdulillah I had passed with distinctions. I went home and told my parents and Dad smiled and said he’ll tell Adnaan to begin applying for uni now.

Few weeks later Adnaan came to tell me that I had been accepted. I was stunned. It all seemed unreal till now but now that I had actually been accepted it made it seem more real. I took a deep breath to calm the nervous feeling in my stomach and went to tell mum. Mum teared up when she heard the news,”I can’t believe my baby is going so far away!”

“Who told you to suggest it then?” dad asked smugly. He shut up when mum gave him a look and turned to look at me,”I hope you realise how much trust we’re putting in you and don’t disappoint us.”

“Yes, dad, don’t worry. I’ll try not to let either of you down.”

Dad nodded and went to tell Adnaan to start sorting out the visa and stuff.

The year only started in September there so I had a few months left before going. Mum suggested that I do my hifdh in that time. I had a good memory alhamdulillah and I was free at the moment. If I pushed hard I could maybe finish in these few months. If I couldn’t manage to finish then I could just finish off by nana when I went there. She also suggested that since I have time right now, I must go in the kitchen and learn how to cook and bake. I was happy at her first suggestion and groaned at the latter. “Muuumm! Do I HAVE to?”

“Yes, you do my dear. After you finish your studies and come back it will be time for you to get married. Then you won’t have time to start learning everything. Rather start now. And this way, you can also help nani make things or cook on days you’re free so it can be easier for her.”

That convinced me. If I knew how to cook I could at least help out nani, like mum said. So I started learning hifdh in the afternoons by an apa that lived close by and I would go in the kitchen in the mornings. Zee also joined me because she said my mum had more patience to teach her than her mum. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. I actually realised that I loved baking and making desserts, and the added bonus was that we got to eat it all afterwards. Dad had an extremely sweet tooth so he was happy to try out all my experiments and mum was happy because she didn’t have to make sweet dishes for him every other day so it worked out well for everyone.

My hifdh was also going really well alhamdulillah. I was picking up really fast and Apa Nazia was in awe of my reading abilities. I told her it ran in my family and when she heard that I was Qari Hammaad’s granddaughter she understood,”oh mashaAllah! No wonder you recite so well! I knew your nani when she used to live here and my boys learnt hifdh by your nana. They said he is a very talented qari with such a mashallah voice. All the men used to love it when he led salah at the masjid. I didn’t know you’re that Rabia’s daughter.”

I pushed hard and managed to complete hifdh in 6 months alhamdulillah. My family was overjoyed and nana was also really happy and gave me lots of duas over the phone. People asked me how I did it but to be honest, it was no achievement of mine. Allah made it so easy for me. I was in awe of how easy Allah made the memorisation of the Holy quran even though we didn’t understand arabic. And what a great honour it was for us, because we were the only ummah who were given the honour of memorising their book. And Allah made that the means of preserving His holy book so that not a single letter can be changed till the day of qiyamah. How fortunate was I that Allah had selected me to be a means of preserving this sacred book and passing it down to my future generations.

Before I knew it the time had come for me to leave for UK. I had to be there a month before uni started. Adnaan was coming with me and he would stay there for a week to “see the place” as he put it. I knew the first place he would go see is Old Trafford. Adnaan was a crazy fan of Manchester United and was excited to finally be going there.

“Maybe I can even meet some of the players!” he said excitedly. Han and I rolled our eyes.

“And what’s so exciting about that?” I asked him,”they’re just humans like you and me. 2 ears, 1 nose, 1 mouth…and a sweaty, smelly body.” I scrunched my nose up.

“Errr, I’m not going to start smelling their armpits, weirdo! Just shake their hands, get their autographs. Or get them to sign my shirt or something! Then I can frame it in my room!”

“Whatever rocks your boat, brother dear,” I said while Han faked a yawn. Adnaan humphed and went to go find a more interested audience.

“I wish I could come!” Han moaned.

“Awww, don’t worry, maybe you can come next time. Give me a list of what you want and I’ll try to buy it for you and send it with Adnaan. Just don’t go overboard please!”

Next came the hard part…packing! I called Zee over to help me. She walked into my room and gasped at the sight of my room. Clothes and shoes were strewn everywhere, my hijabs lay in a messy pile in one corner, and other bits and bobs were scattered about. I had literally emptied out my closet to see what I had. A couple of suitcases lay open and in the middle of all this mess I was sitting cross-legged,”was there a hurricane in this room or what??”

“Help me, Zee! I don’t know what to take and what to leave out!” I groaned, holding my head in my hands.

“Just take the important stuff. You’re gonna come back, you know.”

“Zeenat! I’m only coming back after like a year. I have to take everything I’ll need but I don’t know if everything will fit in these bags!”

“You’re going to UK, man! You can buy whatever you don’t have.”

“Ok but just help me to pack will you!”

We managed to stuff mostly everything in the suitcases, though I had to sit on them afterwards and Zee had to force the zips closed.

“When you open these bags everything will explode out of there,” Zee laughed.

The next morning, before anyone was up, I wore a loose t-shirt and track pants, slipped on my trainers and hijab, and jogged down to the beach. We lived like 10 minutes away from the beach and I often jogged this way early in the mornings…when I was in the mood for exercising that is.

I slipped off my shoes and sat down on the shore, sinking my feet into the sand. The beach was almost empty at this time so I removed my hijab as well, allowing the strong breeze to whip through my hair and blow stray strands onto my face. I turned up my face, inhaling deeply, letting the crisp, salty air infiltrate into my lungs. Scooping up handfuls of sand, I let it drizzle through my fingers slowly as I stared at the endless stretch of water before me. I could look at the ocean for hours on end without getting tired…the way the waves rose high, their peaks frothing and gleaming white, then crashed down again on to the water, creating the muffled, dull roar that was so soothing to listen to…the way the waves gentled as they came closer to the shore, till they gently kissed the shoreline before receding again. As though they were making sujood to Allah Ta’ala…

I was reminded of the power and strength of Allah Ta’ala every time I watched the ocean. How great must be the One in whose control the oceans lay, the same oceans that had the power to destroy the strongest of ships, yet they could not go beyond the hukm of Allah Ta’ala, they had to stop and recede…

Looking at the water, listening to the muffled roar always brought me a sense of peace and calmed the turbulence in my mind. Whenever I felt restless or down, or had a lot on my mind I would come here to calm down and gain some perspective. I thought about my move now and wondered yet again if I was making the correct choice by going. Was I cut out for this? Would I be able to handle all the new challenges and hurdles that were thrown my way? Would I be able to stay strong and not get caught up in the temptation of sin? I mumbled a silent prayer,”oh Allah, keep me strong and steadfast on my deen and don’t let me stray in any way…ameen.”

I stood up and jammed my hands into my pockets, looking at the ocean again, trying to memorise the feeling. This was one place I would miss the most. I walked backwards, trying to linger as much as I could. Then I blew a kiss at the ocean (don’t laugh, the ocean was the love of my life), retied my hijab and shoes and slowly walked back home.

Two days before I left Zee called up all our school friends and we went out for coffee. We had a lovely time just catching up and being our carefree selves again. I looked at them wistfully. I would miss these familiar faces, these wonderful moments. I would have to make new friends in UK. I didn’t know if I would fit in or be an outcast. The thought was daunting and I almost wished I could cancel the whole thing. But then I pulled myself together. I had been in PE all my life. It was time to explore new pastures, time to venture into new territories and embrace the unknown…

UK, here I come…

image

image

image

image

image

image

Part 6

I decided to speak to my parents the same day instead of waiting for the next day. I approached them in the lounge where they were sitting and cleared my throat,”uhmm,I need to speak to both of you about something.”

“Yes, what is it darling?” my mum asked.

“I’ve decided what I want to become…”

“And….?” mum prodded.

“I want to study psychology. Zee said I have the knack for it,” I said with a grin.

Mum stared at me for a while before saying,”well,that’s not a bad idea. And it’s not for so many years as well so it’s good.”

Dad nodded in agreement,”it’s a good choice.”

Then it was mum’s turn to clear her throat,”I was speaking to my mother the other day. She suggested that Fazila should go to university in Manchester and stay with them so they have company and a helping hand. They’re lonely since Riaz moved to Riyadh.” she finished in a rush, looking at dad.

There was a shocked silence as dad and I tried to absorb this news. Dad broke the silence first,”absolutely not! Are you crazy, Rabia? How can you want to send your daughter to go study all the way to the UK ALONE?!?”

“She won’t be staying alone, Faruk! She’ll be with my parents!”

“Your parents are old! What kind of chaperones will they be?”

All this while I had been silent, just listening to them arguing about this. I was shocked. I had never imagined myself going even as far as Cape Town to study. I knew how strict my dad was, so I had just thought I’ll go to a uni over here. I finally spoke up,”Riaz mama moved to Riyadh. How coincidental,” I giggled.

Mum looked at me weirdly,”is that all you picked up from this conversation, Faz?”

“No,”I replied, turning serious,”I’m just shocked by this whole thing.”

“What do you think about this idea?” dad asked me suddenly.

“I’m not sure,” I replied,”I didn’t ever think I’ll study abroad. But I don’t mind staying with nana and nani. I’ll just leave the decision up to you two.”

Dad muttered something then said he needs a few days to think about it. I went to my room and thought this over. New place, new people… could I do this? But I also felt sorry for nana and nani. I had been very close to them before they moved to the UK. Sajid mama moved to Canada not long after that and Riaz mama stayed with nana and nani. But when he received a good job offer from Riyadh he jumped at the chance and moved there, thinking that nana and nani would manage just fine since they were still fit and healthy. I thought it rather selfish of him but well, different people thought differently I guess.

After lunch I went over to Zee’s house to tell her the news. She probably wouldn’t take it too well, since we’d been together since preschool. I walked in without knocking since I considered her house like my own.

“What’s up, sis?” I heard a voice behind me. I jumped and looked around to see Salim, Zee’s brother sitting on the kitchen table, eating lunch. He laughed,”so lost in your thoughts that you can’t even see me here?”

I pulled out a chair opposite him and sat down,”yea I am actually…”

I told him about my mum’s idea and he whistled,”ooh! Someone’s moving to the UK huh!”

“IF my dad agrees,” I corrected him.

“Hmm…and you wouldn’t mind?” he looked at me searchingly.

I shrugged,”I’ll be at my nani’s place so it won’t be so bad. I feel sorry for them living all alone so I don’t mind going for their sake. I’ll just have to adapt I guess.”

Salim studied my face then nodded as if satisfied by what he saw there, and started talking about something else. He was like another brother to me and knew me in and out. In fact we were so close that I told him things I couldn’t tell Adnaan also. From the time Zee and I were small Adnaan kept to himself and did his own thing. It was Salim who used to play tag, hide and seek and other games with us, Salim who used to ward off any bullies who tried to bully us at school. Later on, as we grew older, he used to take us to the beach or shopping. He was so patient with us. He was also equally protective over both Zee and I. When I was going out with Asif I had to be so careful so that he wouldn’t find out. Later on I had to be careful to never mention his name or what he did, otherwise Salim would have broken his bones for me. Which would have suited me fine but I didn’t want him to go to prison for murdering a worthless piece of crap. His dad gave him too much freedom so he got up to his fair share of trouble but he had a heart of gold.

Just then Zee walked in.

“What are you guys talking about?” she asked.

“I’ve decided which university I’m going to. I’m going to UM,” I told her with a straight face.

“Where?” she looked at me blankly,”UM?? Which uni is that?”

“University of Manchester,” I said matter of factly.

“Manchester??? But that’s in England!!”

“No shit, Sherlock!” Salim said drily.

I laughed and told her everything, and as I had expected, she was less than pleased,”what?? Noooo, you can’t go so far away! What will become of me???” she held a hand dramatically to her heart.

“I’ll miss you tooo much also, my jaan!!” I cried, wiping away a fake tear.

Salim rolled his eyes,”can you two chill! Your dad hasn’t even agreed yet, Faz!”

We shushed him and chased him out of the kitchen. We chatted for a while then I went home.

Few days later dad called mum and I to the lounge. He wore a serious expression on his face and I became nervous seeing it. He told me and mum to sit then faced us,”I’ve decided to allow Faz to go…” was I hearing him right??? “BUT…there’s conditions attached…” I should have expected that…

“Firstly, you’re going to have a curfew at night. No going out after magrib, unless it’s with your nana or nani…secondly, no sleepovers at ANYONE’S house. Whether there’s guys there or not, you’ll sleep at your nana’s every night…thirdly, if you get involved in ANY way with any guy, you’re coming straight home. And don’t bring any guy to us, saying you want to marry him. You’ll concentrate on your studies only and you can get married AFTER you’ve finished and returned here again. Have I made myself clear?” he looked at me with a grim expression. Well, that wasn’t so bad. I was expecting worse. I wasn’t planning to get involved with any guy anyways so I didn’t have an issue with his conditions.

“Relax, dad. I’ll be a haari poiri and study hard and make us Bhayats proud,” I said with a grin.

“I’ll speak to your nana about this as well. If he’s willing to take on the responsibility then you can go.”

“Oh, he’ll be willing!” mum said excitedly,”I know they’re going to be so happy!”

Nana agreed of course, so I was looking at a future I hadn’t even imagined. I was excited, nervous, happy at being given this opportunity yet sad to be leaving my family and friends. I texted Zee that night and though she was sad, she supported me and said I should make the most of this opportunity and if she had the chance, she would jump at the opportunity of going to any university. She was going to do a teaching course through Unisa. I told her that’s still better than wearing an apron and spending her days in the kitchen, learning how to make the perfect round rotis or how to fold samoosas. She laughed and said she totally agreed with that!

Now all we had to do was wait for my results then we could begin applying at the university of Manchester…

image

Part 5

Exams were finally done and dusted with and now the big night loomed up-the night of the matric farewell…

While everyone dressed to the nines, took dozens of selfies and posted them on every social network possible, then paraded around on their dates’ arms, Zee and I sat on my bed surrounded by goodies of all kinds; crisps,chocs, and a huge tub of choc-mint ice cream that sat in between us. I had bought chocolate doughnuts from the bakery and whipped up a large jug of iced coffee to go with. Consolation food, Zee called it. I glanced at her as she chomped away, a glum look on her face as she stalked our classmates on facebook and instagram. Zee had wanted to go from the beginning but I had persuaded her not to. She sighed loudly and dug into the ice cream,” that would have been us.” She pointed to a couple of girls posing in their gowns.

“Yea, imagine! We would have been looking like a couple of stuffed turkeys,” I giggled.

Zee looked at me weirdly.

I shut the laptop and pulled her up from the bed,”let’s go do something else! You’ll only feel worse if you keep checking to see what you’re missing out on.”

“Do what?”asked Zee.

“I know!” I exclaimed as an idea struck me,”let’s have a spa night!”

So we went in the kitchen and whipped up a batch of face masks. Then we went back to my room and applied face masks, soaked our feet in footbaths, then had a mani and pedi, chatting about random things all the while. It felt good to be doing this after so long. We needed to do this more often.

After a while Zee looked at the leftover face mask mixture,”you made loads of this stuff. What are we gonna do with the leftovers?”

“I did make a lot, didn’t I? Pity there’s not more people to share it with… I know!” I exclaimed suddenly as an idea struck me. I motioned for Zee to be quiet and tiptoed out of my room and into Haneefa’s room which was right next door to mine. As I had assumed, she was fast asleep on her back with her mouth slightly open. I smiled evilly and crept back to my room.

“What are you doing?” A confused Zee asked as she saw my expression.

“We’re gonna “share” our face masks,” I replied with a grin. I explained my plan to her and she chuckled as she heard it.

“Come on, let’s do it. Though we’ll never hear the end of it afterwards.”

We crept into Han’s room and stood on either side of her bed. She was a heavy sleeper so I was hoping she would only find out in the morning when she woke up with a dry, hard mask on her face *cringe*

I slowly started applying the mixture I held on to her face while Zee started applying her mixture on Han’s exposed hands and feet. She stirred once and we held our breaths but let them out again when she continued to sleep on. We almost got away with it…almost…but then Zee had to go spoil it all by dropping a bit in Han’s open mouth. Han immediately woke up with a shriek
and shrieked even louder when she felt the sticky wetness on her face,hands and feet. She leaped out of her bed, messing her sheets and floor in the process. Zee and I burst out laughing and ran back to my room. Han followed us, shouting and swearing at us. She grabbed a fistful of the mixture from Zee’s bowl and threw it at my head, missing completely and splattering it on the wall behind me.

“Ssssshhhhhhhh!!!” I hissed,”do you want to wake the whole house up, idiot?? And don’t mess my room otherwise Anna will bite my head off for having to clean the walls AGAIN! You wanna continue this, let’s take this outside!”

“Fine!” huffed Han.

So that’s how we found ourselves outside at 11 o’clock at night, playing “face mask fight”. Like a food fight but with the face mask mixture. We took fistfuls of the stuff and threw it at each other, shrieking, laughing and dodging it as it came flying towards us. When that was finished Han went inside and brought out eggs. I was looking at the neighbour’s yard, hoping we didn’t wake them up, when I felt a sharp sting, then sticky gooey wetness sliding down the side of my face. I shrieked and ran after Han, who was laughing like a maniac. I wrestled an egg from her and dumped it on her head then ran away from her, laughing at seeing her sleep-fuzzed hair now plastered with egg shells and yellow slimy liquid. Zee was behind me and laughing  so hard, she had to hold her tummy and sides.

“Not on my hair, silly! I just shampooed it this morning!” Han yelled.

She tried to throw another egg on me but I ducked and it landed on Zee’s ear instead. Then it was Zee’s turn to yell and our turn to laugh. Zee came after us but then I stopped her.

“Ok, enough! We’ve wasted enough food already. Besides, if we continue to make noise, either our parents or that cranky old uncle next door will wake up, then we’ve had it. Let’s go in now.”

We went in and took turns showering then getting into bed. Luckily my parents and Adnaan slept at the other end of the house so they hadn’t woken up by the commotion.

This would be 1 matric night to remember, I thought as I drifted off to sleep…

“So what are your plans for next year?” Zee asked me while we were having breakfast the next morning.

I sighed,”I still don’t know what I wanna become, can u believe it? I wanted to become a paediatrician at first…”

“But that course is so long!” Zee interrupted.

“Yea, that’s why my mum isn’t too keen on it,” I replied,”then I wanted to do dentistry but the other day Han had something stuck in her tooth and couldn’t see so she wanted me to see and blegh! Her mouth was smelling like anything! It totally put me off dentistry.”

Zee started laughing,”you’d be wearing a mask then, silly!”

“Yea but still! You know how sensitive my sense of smell is. It’s so not the profession for me! Anyways,what about you? Have you thought of anything yet?” I asked her.

“I don’t know yet. I don’t think my dad will even let me go to university. I’ll probably end up doing something through Unisa.”

Zee’s dad was the typical indian, who gave his son all the freedom to go wherever he wanted to and do whatever he wanted to, but was the opposite with Zee and her sister Faiza. He was really strict when it came to them. He hadn’t even allowed Faiza to go to university so I wasn’t surprised to hear Zee saying this.

“Well, Unisa is also good. You can still become whatever you want to become through that.” I said, trying to console her.

“Hmmm…you know, you would make a good psychologist!” Zee said suddenly.

“Psychologist? Really? I haven’t thought about becoming that.”

“Yea, you would. See how people keep coming to you to offload. They want to tell you all their problems.” Zee said.

I started laughing,”that’s because I listen. All people want is someone to listen…really listen to them. It makes a big difference to them.”

“Yea so that’s what psychologists do. They listen. You have the knack for it.” Zee said.

She left me with food for thought as we cleared away the breakfast table. I pondered over it and decided that I rather liked the idea. I decided to speak to mum and dad about it tomorrow…

image

Part 4

Jumuah!!!

I sprang out of bed as soon as my alarm rang, an amazing feat for me because I hated waking up generally. I usually switched off my alarm, then spent the next 10 minutes or so alternately dozing and trying to convince myself to get up. A lot of the mornings I would end up dozing off and my mum would have to come and pull off my duvet, forcing me to get up amidst groans and grumbles.

Jumuahs, however, were different. The atmosphere was so serene and calm, especially tahajjud time; so I would try and get up in time to pray tahajjud salah, though the other days I didn’t manage to do that yet, unfortunately.

I made wudhu and performed tahajjud salah, then sat on my musalla and raised my hands in dua. I loved these moments, because I could converse with my Rabb in peace and pour my heart out to Him, without any interruptions from anyone; and afterwards the calmness and contentment I would feel descending on me would be amazing. Truly these moments were to be treasured, for I could take from the limitless treasures of my Rabb without reserve. At these times, when the King of Kings Himself asks His servants to ask for whatever they want, if we don’t grab the opportunity and ask to our hearts’ content, who can be more unfortunate than us?

After I finished praying my fajr salah, I recited quran for a bit. I could already hear the sweet voice of my mum reciting quran in her room, blending with the deep, melodious voices of my dad and brother, who were reciting in the lounge. My parents were both hafidhul quran, and my mum had instilled the same love of the quran in all her kids.

Mum came from a long line of Qurraa. Her father was a well known qari and so was his father and so on. Along with an intense love and passion of the quran that had passed down from generation to generation, each generation had also inherited a beautiful voice and a talent of controlling that voice to the perfect tone and pitch, enabling them to recite the quran beautifully and melodiously.

Dad often jokes that the factor that clinched the deal for him when it came to marrying mum was her voice. Dad had gone to mum’s house to return a book he had borrowed from Riaz mama, mum’s brother. Nana opened the door and being the warm, friendly person that he was, ushered dad in and made him wait in the lounge while he went to call Riaz mama and bring dad some refreshments. While dad was waiting he heard a beautiful, feminine voice reciting Surah Rahmaan. Dad was enthralled! He got so lost in the beautiful sounds that he jumped when Riaz mama clapped his hands in front of him.

“Dude,where you lost? I called your name three times and you didn’t respond!”

“Who is she?” Dad blurted out.

“Who?” Riaz mama asked, looking confused.

“Who’s reciting quran??”

“Ohh! That’s my sister.”

“Is she married?” Dad impulsively asked, then turned red and hastily looked down.

“No,” Riaz mama replied, looking amused.

Dad nodded, downed his juice, mumbled an excuse and walked out, his mind preoccupied. He went to dada and told him he had found a girl he wanted to marry. Dada got happy because dad didn’t seem interested in settling down till that point.

“Who is it?” He asked.

“Qari Hammaad’s daughter,” dad replied.

“What??? Are you serious?? You’ve turned down so many girls from wealthy, well known families, and now you want to marry the imam’s daughter??”

Dada was less than pleased but dad was adamant and dada finally gave in. Dad went to see mum and the rest, as they say, is history.

Till today dad was in awe of mum’s voice and reciting abilities. I often found dad with his head in mum’s lap while she stroked his hair and recited her dhor to him softly.

My siblings and I had also inherited her voice and abilities, alhamdulillah. Adnaan had already completed his hifdh as well, and Haneefa and I both planned to do so after finishing school. After fajr was our time for reciting quran, and our house reverberated with the sweet sounds.

I loved Fridays for a number of reasons;
firstly because my mum went all out on Fridays with her scrumptious cooking. She said it was like the day of eid, so she made sure to cook up the yummiest dishes, topped off with a fabulous dessert each week. Even now, as I ran down the stairs, I could smell fresh waffles. Mmmm, my mouth started watering already.

“How you,mummy daarliinngg!” I chirped, blowing her a kiss and plopping myself down on a chair.

She raised her eyebrows at me, amused,”is that a hungry stomach speaking?”

“Of course not! I’m always this cheerful!” I winked, heaping waffles onto my plate. It was chocolate brownie waffles this week. I drizzled maple and chocolate syrup all over them then dug in!

Secondly, because it was the end of the school week! And the start of the weekend! Which kicked off with a family braai on Friday nights. My mum’s side family was all abroad but dad’s side were all here in PE, except Shehnaz foi who lived in Durban. The oldest was Julie foi, followed by Shehnaz foi, followed by my dad then Imraan chacha. My aunts and mum alternated every week in hosting the braai; tonight was at Imraan chacha’s house. I couldn’t wait to see all my cousins again, and catch up on all the latest gossip!

‘What to wear, what to wear…’

I stood in front of my walk-in closet and scanned my clothes. Tonight was a warm, balmy evening so I wanted something light and flowing. I settled on a light-blue,full-length dress with navy blue patterns on it, paired with a navy blue scarf. I took my pjs and toothbrush with, incase I ended up sleeping over again, as I often did. We got to my uncle’s house which was already buzzing with lively chatter and laughter. I walked in, searching for my cousins. I heard my name being squealed out before I was pounced on and had my breath knocked out of me.

“Jeez guys you only saw me 1 week ago. Chill out will you!” I rolled my eyes at their exuberance.

Two laughing pairs of eyes looked back at me, “Her royal highness has finally shown up!” Amira commented, lifting her eyebrows.

“I didn’t know what to wear!” I sighed dramatically.

“How about ‘anything will do’?” Aliya shook her head,” this isn’t a wedding you know!”

“Yea yea but I couldn’t rock up in sweatpants now could I! Which was what I was wearing at home. Anyways,let’s go see what’s cooking. Something smells yummy!”

I linked my arms through my cousins’ and walked over to the braai area. Amira, Imraan chacha’s daughter was 6 months older than me and Aliya, Julie foi’s daughter was 6 months younger than me. We were as close as sisters and shared everything together. They went to another school so I didn’t get to see them during the week but we were together almost every weekend, having sleepovers at each other’s houses and planning different stuff to do over the weekends. We were all finishing matric that year and Amira was already planning to go to Cape Town the following year to study law. Aliya was planning to go to Azaadville to become an alima, much to our surprise. But she had changed a lot this year and was passionate about studying deen further. And me…I wondered what next year had in store for me…time will tell I suppose…

image

image

image

Part 3

*Salaamz my lovely readers! Jummah Mubarak to you all. Don’t forget to recite abundant durood on our beloved Nabi (SAW).
Enjoy the post and remember me in your duas!☺

I wasn’t always like this. In primary I was like the nerdy type, with my big glasses and purple braces which encased teeth which were uneven and stuck out slightly. Yea I had an obsession with purple, to the extent that my braces also had to be purple. Blegh! I was like a female version of Dilton Doiley. Except that I wasn’t short. I wasn’t popular by any degree and I kept mostly to myself. Zee was my sole, faithful friend all those years. Her and my books. I was a total bookworm and used to bury myself in books every chance I got. I’m still like that. Give me a good book and I’ll shut out the world and get lost in an imaginary world where nothing ever goes wrong.

Anyways, that was till I started high school. My teeth had straightened by then so off came the braces, and I swapped my glasses for contacts. For some reason, my skin cleared up as well, instead of me developing pimples or acne, as is the norm with teenagers. “When it rains, it pours.” Well, good fortune poured down on me that year. I went from being a pale wallflower to being a vibrant centrepiece. All of a sudden, I was the centre of attention. Guys started noticing me. Girls wanted to be friends with me, to share the spotlight.

It all got to me. I became heady with all the attention I was receiving. I started breaking rules that I had strictly adhered to till now. Like not texting guys, not getting over friendly with them. At least I didn’t start dating anyone, alhamdulillah. Though I was tempted to but that was 1 line I didn’t want to cross.

That was until Asif came along…

Asif Umar…

The guy every girl dreamt of. The guy every girl fell for and got her heart trampled by not long after that. Wealthy, suave, good looking…and a player to boot.

I was one of those girls who fell for him. I fell hard, and he grabbed the opportunity and asked me out. My conscience screamed at me to refuse, to not go down that path. But I ignored all the voices and went with “what my heart was saying”. How gullible are we girls. We know he is a player, we know how he has discarded girls before us, yet we hold on to the hope that “we’ll be the ones to change him”. And alas, all we become is 1 more notch on his yardstick. 1 more conquest…

I was floating on a cloud of bliss. To me he was everything I wanted and more. People told me how he is but I chose to ignore them.

Till that fateful day…

I was going to wait for my mum’s car after school and passing a tall hedge on the way. I heard voices from the other side and heard my name being mentioned. I recognised the voice and stopped to listen, a smile growing on my face. Till I heard what he had to say…

“Ay, bru, I got lucky man! Everyone was after that chick, I just knew I had to win her over. Was a challenge for me, you know? But she proved to be an easy conquest! Few sweet words and I had her eating out of the palm of my hand!” he bragged and I heard the other guys laughing away.

I felt my legs caving in and slid to the ground in utter shock. I stared blankly ahead of me, my mind going numb, unable to absorb the impact of the words. Did I hear him right? Had I only been an “easy conquest” for him? I could not erase the words imprinted in my brain though, and as the realisation slammed into me, hot tears began rolling down my cheeks. I shoved my fist in my mouth, trying to muffle my sobs.

I don’t know how long I remained like that but as my sobs started to die down, I picked myself up and went to the bathroom, grateful that it was  empty. Just then my phone rang. It was my mum, wanting to know where I was. I quickly washed my face and composed myself before going to the car. I was silent all the way home, and once I was in the sanctuary of my bedroom I cried my heart out again. I cried for my foolishness and gullibility at falling for a player and hoping to be the one to change him. I cried for compromising my beliefs, lying to my parents, going out behind their backs..all for a guy.

When salah time set in, I prayed my salah and then raised my hands in dua, crying to Allah again to forgive me.

After that I decided that I had cried enough and I would not shed another tear over that jerk. My heart felt like it had been run over by a truck but I pulled myself together and forced myself to put Asif out of my mind. I blocked him on WhatsApp and Facebook, deleted all his messages without reading them, and ignored his dozens of calls.

I dreaded going to school the next day but I knew I had to face him at some point. After school he came up to me, trying to hug me. I pulled away and he frowned,”what’s wrong, babe? Why have you been ignoring me?”

“I’m not your babe!” I hissed,”I’m just another easy conquest for you!”

“No way babe, who told you that?”

“I overheard you speaking to some guys yesterday! That’s how you described me. How could you???” I was perilously close to tears at this point.

“Aw, shucks! I was just joking, babe! But we are just having a good time, right? We like spending time with each other, plus we look good together. We’re the “IT” couple, you know!”

“Is that all our relationship is to you? Just having a good time? And here I was thinking we loved each other!”

“Love?” He had the audacity to laugh loudly,”babe, come on! You’re like what, 15? Are you thinking of marriage and babies at this age?”

That’s when I snapped. I gave him a solid slap on his cheek that wiped the smile right off his face. “You’re an arrogant, self-centred jerk! Wait till karma bites you on your butt! Then we’ll see from which side of your face you’ll laugh!”

The look on his face was priceless! I guess I had the last laugh after all. Pity I was too miserable to enjoy it.

After that I got put off guys and dating, the whole relationship thing. I also heard an apa once mentioning in a talk,”why give your heart to a guy who’s not halaal for you, and whom you’re not allowed to love? That’s not true love, that’s simply infatuation fuelled by shaytaan. And marriages resulting from such relationships have no barakah(blessings) in them. Why not reserve yourself for your husband only, for true love begins with nikah and lasts till jannah and for eternity inshaAllah.”

So I realised that dating guys was just not worth it. It could only end in misery and heartbreak, it had to end at some point so there was no happily ever after there. And even if it did end in marriage there would be no blessings in such a marriage so what was the point of it all, really? So I chose to save myself the hassle and concentrate on my studies. Zee was behind me all the way alhamdulillah and with her support I put the whole Asif fiasco behind me and moved on…

I wondered why he was contacting me now, after all this time. I decided to just ignore his request, and concentrate on something else…

image

image

image

Part 2

The last few weeks of our final year seemed to be flying by and dragging simultaneously. I couldn’t wait to be done with exams and the stress that accompanied it, yet at the same time I treasured these final memories of high school life.

The main buzz at school was about the approaching matric farewell. It seemed to be the main topic on everyone’s lips, and I couldn’t help but feel a little left out as my friends discussed what outfits they would be wearing and who they would be going with. I plastered a smile on my face as I listened to their excited chatter.

“And I told Jameel he’d better be on time for once in his life that night, or he can find himself another date,” Laila said, flicking her hair back.

“Yea right, like you’re gonna let him find another date,” laughed Razia. She nudged me,”he can go with Faz instead. It might change her mind about not going.”

Laila narrowed her eyes at me,”planning to steal my man, Faz?”

“Hmmm,sounds like a good idea. Maybe I can get rid of those horrible neon pants he wears, since you haven’t managed to rid him of them.”

She made a face at me,”they’re not so bad actually, once you’ve gotten used to the glare.”

“She’s probably had to invest in some good sunglasses.” Sameera laughed

“Who needs sunglasses?” Jameel  asked from behind me. I turned around and saw him with two other boys from my class.

“Laila does, because of your neon pants.” I shuddered dramatically.

“Hey! They’re not that bad.” Jameel replied with a grin.

“Laila said if you’re late the night of the matric, she’s not going with you. Then you’ll be forced to go with Faz, coz she’ll probably be the only one still available.” Razia put in.

“And your dress code is black. Only black!” I told him.

“What? But I’ve already bought my outfit for that night. It’s a…wait for it..,”he paused dramatically,”…hot orange suit!” He laughed as I shuddered. “And I think you should buy an orange gown of the same colour. Then we can be matchy-matchy!”

“Wow, how lovely!” I replied sarcastically,”then we can look like a couple of Halloween pumpkins!”

The group erupted in laughter, while Jameel narrowed his eyes at me, though I could see him struggling to hold back his laughter as well.

“So who are you really going with, Faz?”asked one of the other guys.

I shrugged,”I’m not going.”

“Aah, come on man! You don’t know what you’ll be missing out on!” He persisted.

I smiled politely and made an excuse about my parents being too strict and not being able to get away,etc.

I found it sad that I had to make excuses to muslim people because they just didn’t understand my true reasoning. It was true that my parents were strict on me and my siblings and wouldn’t have allowed me to go anyways, but I myself also wasn’t keen on going. As much as we tried to explain away the wrongs happening at the matric farewells, as much as we tried to justify ourselves and say we wouldn’t do anything “haraam”, our very presence there went against the teachings of islam. The fact that we attended showed that we condoned everything going on there. The best way to show our disapproval was to boycott such events completely.

“Being Muslim means we are different. We aren’t sheep. We’re part of an era where Muslims are openly hated and threatened yet instead of standing firm by our beliefs we’re sacrificing them for acceptance.”

I recalled the words of a learned aalim I had heard some time back. I couldn’t agree more. If we as muslims didn’t stick to our beliefs and instead went with the flow, so to speak, how would we be able to give da’wah to non muslims? What difference would they see between us and them?

I was quiet on the way home, lost in my thoughts. Zee was getting picked up by her mum today so I was alone with my mum, who was playing Zain Bhikha nasheeds and singing along softly to them. When I got home I went up to my room, expecting peace and quiet there; only as I walked in, I found my room ransacked!

“Haneeeeefaaaaa!” I screamed.

A face peeked at me from the doorway,”jeee?” She gave me an angelic smile.

I scowled at her,”How many times must I tell you not to take my things?? And if you must, can’t you leave my other things in their places??? Instead you’ve made my room look like a rubbish dump!!!”

Ok, I was exaggerating there. But I was a neat freak. I needed all my things on their place, otherwise I couldn’t function. Haneefa, on the other hand, was totally opposite. Her room did resemble a garbage dump and I avoided going there as much as I could. My sister was 3 years younger than me, but at 14 she was tall for her age, and was almost the same height as me already. And I was no midget. The downside to that was, I had a wardrobe thief now! One who called herself a borrower, or a recogniser of great fashion sense (her words,not mine); which was a great compliment to me but which came at the price of this!! I looked around my room again and scowled even more,”you get moving and clean up this mess before I come back up! And you’d better put everything in it’s place!”

Haneefa rolled her eyes,”chill, will you? It’s just a lil messy, no big deal!”

I glared at her and walked out without answering.

I went downstairs and found Adnaan, my brother, in the kitchen, eating a bowl of something. He raised an eyebrow at me,”someone’s in a temper today!”

“Your sister ransacked my room again, as usual!” I replied, still annoyed. I peeked at what he was eating and my annoyance vanished. Caramel popcorn!!! I flopped down opposite him and grabbed his bowl,”did you make this?”

He looked at me like I had asked the dumbest question ever,”who else?”

You might think he was being sarcastic but he wasn’t. Adnaan made the best caramel popcorn ever! He was the homely type, and you’d be more likely to find him in the kitchen than me. He was also the silent type, a person of few words, resembling my mum in looks and personality. Perhaps that was partly why he was her baby,the apple of her eye,despite being the oldest. Haneefa and I had both fallen on our dad, both loud chatterboxes. Haneefa looked like my mum, with a bit of my dad as well. I had fallen totally on my dad, the only features resembling my mum being my large,dark brown eyes and thick black hair. “Owl’s eyes”, my dad liked to laugh, earning himself glares from me and my mum.

I dug into the bowl,wiping it clean in seconds. Haneefa walked in just then, sniffing the air and exclaiming,”I smell caramel popcorn!” She saw the empty bowl and her face dropped. I smirked at her and dumped the empty bowl in her hands. “Go make your own, baby sis! If you didn’t mess up my room you wouldn’t have wasted all this time clearing up and you’d have been enjoying popcorn instead. Keep that in mind next time you decide to raid my closet!”

I probably sounded like the meanest sister ever but hey, what are sisters for, right? I went back to my room in a much better mood, singing Zain Bhikha’s nasheed,”zammilooni…”. My family was a huge fan of Zain Bhikha, listening to his nasheeds at home and in the car, so 1 or other nasheed was always stuck in my head. I entered my room and smiled. Haneefa did clean up well, I had to give her that. I would cut her some slack next time. I sat cross legged on my bed and opened my laptop, logging onto Facebook. Immediately a friend notification popped up and as I read the name of the person who had sent it, my whole body tensed.

Asif Umar…

Why on earth was he sending me a friend request? What was he trying to pull this time? I looked at his display picture, of him posing arrogantly against a car, and felt the familiar anger rising up within me. Idiot! I slammed my laptop shut and lay back on my bed, moodily contemplating the bare ceiling as I let my mind wander to those days… I suppose I had to be grateful to him if nothing else, because if it wasn’t for him, I would not be the person I am today…

image

image

image

Part 1

I crouched in my seat,my body tensed for flight. My bag was ready and waiting beside me. I doodled idly on the desktop with my finger,my eye on the watch on my wrist. 1 minute to go…30 seconds…15…10…5…

BRRRIIIIIINNNGGGGG!!!

I shot out of my seat like a bullet, grabbed my bag and ran out like my rear end was on fire. I knew Miss would probably have my hide tomorrow for escaping so fast as usual but I didn’t care. Escaping before the crowd thronged the corridors and shoved each other down the stairs was more important. Getting to the cafeteria to get the first batch of hot doughnuts and ice-cold ginger beer to wash them down was even more important.

I was on my third doughnut when I heard panting and the thud of a bag on the floor next to my feet.

“Couldn’t even leave one doughnut for me,” whined a breathless voice.

I grinned and held out my half-eaten doughnut as my friend Zeenat flopped down on the bench next to me. She swiped it from my hand and gobbled it down,then grabbed my ginger beer and downed most of it. I stared at her, eyebrows raised. She grinned back at me,”whaaatt?? I was hungry!”

I wiped my hands on a tissue and stood up,”come on,let’s go,”I said,hoisting my bag on my shoulder.

We walked towards the car park, catching up on the day’s events. Zee and I had been together from pre-school, but unfortunately this year we were apart in a lot of classes. Though that did mean we had more gossip to share at the end of each day. We were nearing the end of our final year. Few more weeks then we would be done with school forever!

Zee was gushing over Mustafa as usual, when I heard my name being called. I turned around and came face to face with none other than…Mustafa!

‘Speak of the devil….,’ I thought, as he walked towards me, smiling.

“Hey gorgeous,” he winked, stopping in front of me. He barely acknowledged Zee and I felt quite bad for her.

“Yea,what is it,Mustafa?” I said, more curtly than I intended to. His smile faded a little and he shifted on his feet. “Well, I was just wondering if you’re going to the matric party with anyone?” he looked at me hopefully.

I sighed,”no Mustafa, I told you I’m not going for that.”

He looked perplexed,”why not,though? What’s wrong with just chilling with friends, having some clean fun and creating good memories? You’re not gonna get another chance like this one, Faz…just let go a little!”

I shook my head,”besides the fact that my parents won’t allow me to go, it’s just not my scene…and what’s the definition of “clean fun”, really? You know as well as I do,the kind of things that go on at those functions, though we’ve never been to them. It’s not the kind of place for muslims to be seen,Mustafa!”

Mustafa held up his hands,”okay okay,don’t go all holy on me,apa!” He grinned as I rolled my eyes at him. “Pity though, I was hoping I’d be the lucky one this year…oh well, if you change your mind, let me know, yeah! See you around!” He waved in the general direction of Zee and I and jogged off. I looked at Zee and caught her wistful glance in his direction. She turned to me and exclaimed,”I can’t believe you actually turned him down! Wait, you didn’t do it because of me,did you?”

I shook my head and laughed,”no Zee, he really isn’t my cup of tea. Besides I’m not going for the matric, remember?”

“Which guy is your cup of tea, anyways?” Zee mumbled,”and I don’t see why you’re so adamant on not going. Mustafa was right, it’s a one in a lifetime chance to create some good memories, you’ll never get this chance again. If he had to ask me, I’d be over the moon!”

“Zee, don’t get me started on all the reasons why I’m not going,” I warned. “Just ask yourself this; would you wanna die in such a place?”

Zee shivered,”ok, I get you. My folks probably won’t let me go anyways. So I’m gonna crash at your place and eat away my sorrows. You’d better stock up on lots of goodies!”

We laughed and got into my mum’s car. We chatted all the way home, then Zee went to her house through the gate connecting our yards. Zee and I had been neighbours for like forever. We were besties,partners in crime,sisters separated at birth,as we liked to joke. Her house was my second home, and vice versa.

I went up to my room, threw my bag on the floor, dived onto my bed and within seconds was fast asleep, dreaming of yummy doughnuts and Zee running after Mustafa, laughing manically…

image

Living life cloaked in modesty and islamic principles…